We all know that cigars come in many different shapes and sizes, but some take more getting used to than others. For instance, recently our Blind Review Panel was stumped on which end of the Bespoke Traditional Cotton Tail to light. To be fair, it didn’t have a band for them to place at the head nor did it look anything like other cigars. The Cotton Tail features a completely closed foot with a little twist in the center.
Closed Foot Cigars
Unlike the regular, open foot of a cigar, a closed foot uses wrapper grade tobacco to encapsulate the area where you light a cigar. There are different variations, but here are the most popular forms that a closed foot will take:
Partially closed (Someone did this recently…. ?)
Smooth, completely closed (Viaje Zombie)
Loosely, but completely closed (Black Works Green Hornet)
The closed foot serves two purposes: it looks damned cool on the shelf and allows us to sample the wrapper leaf by itself before the binder and filler are ignited. Of course, it isn’t a perfect sampling because the smoke is pulled through the other tobacco, but it’s usually a fun experience. Unless you’re one of those folks that just cuts it off and lights it like any other cigar – that’s cool too.
The benefits are most easily realized with a loosely closed foot. A partially closed foot usually doesn’t have enough accessibly wrapper to taste, and a smooth foot requires more skill (and less wind) to make sure that you light only the wrapper without its neighbors.
Shaggy Foot Cigars
A shaggy foot is just the opposite. Instead of sampling the wrapper sans binder and filler, a shaggy foot allows you to taste the other components without the wrapper! There are two popular types of shaggy foot cigars:
A shaggy foot that includes the binder and filler (most popular)
A shaggy foot that includes a whole lot of filler only
The second option, all filler, is a treat but requires more patience as the filler tends to burn in odd ways. But a quick touch up once you rendezvous with the other components of your cigar is usually all it takes get back on track.
The first option isn’t that difficult to light and, as Rich said in a blind review of the Bespoke Basilica A, is akin to smoking two cigars for the price of one. Smoking a cigar with a shaggy foot is like adding another layer to your experience.
First, you get the binder and filler – a prelude to the main event. Then, once you’ve taken stock of every possible tasting note from this combo, a third layer is introduced that adds previously undiscovered nuances and expressions.
Tell Us! Do you enjoy cigars with closed or shaggy foot?