Color in cigars is a matter of degree. The classifications are based on the shade of brown held by the wrapper leaf. Because in general no dyes are used, it is rare to find a true black cigar. Many brands produce Maduro cigars which have a very dark brown wrapper but fall short of the black cigar or “Oscuro” classification.
Oscuro is a Spanish word often translated to mean dark. In cigar parlance it means black cigar. Until recently, the wrapper color guide in Perelman’s Pocket Cyclopedia of Cigars did not even include an Oscuro classification. This is generally attributed to the absence of any cigars dark enough to be considered black cigars.
Around the turn of the twentieth century, two extra dark cigars achieved the Oscuro classification as true black cigars. In the late 1990s Felipe Gregorio introduced the Belicosos line. This line left many claiming that it was just the darkest maduro in existence, but was still too brown to be considered a true Oscuro.
This was followed by the Series 55 Grand Reserve Blue line produced by Victor Sinclair
Cigar Company which was introduced in 2001. Wrapped in a literally black Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers the Series 55 Grand Reserve Blue marked the return of the black cigar. No similar debate existed about its qualification as an Oscuro black cigar. Victor Sinclair also produces the Bohemian Black line, which features a black Brazilian wrapper.
Other brands with a black cigar line are Hoyo de Monterrey and Tabacalera. Hoyo de Monterrey’s Dark Sumatra line is a black cigar that was introduced in 2002. It is wrapped in a well aged black cigar wrapper that’s leaves were grown in Ecuador. The Ecuadorian sun-grown, Sumatra seed leaves are aged in palm leaf bales called tercios. The binder is a Connecticut Broadleaf and the filler is a blend of Honduran and Dominican.
The Tabacalera Tropical Mombacho black cigar is a Nicaraguan Puro, which was introduced in 2004. The Mombacho is a very strong flavorful cigar the robustness of which will appeal to any experienced palate.
As with other colors of cigars, darkness usually denotes age of the wrapper which contributes to the sweetness of the cigar. The same is true of black cigars.