Binders are an important part of creating the perfect cigar. The Binder holds the filler together. The flavor of the binder leaf must be compatible with the filler and the wrapper. The binder is an important part of the burn of the cigar.
There is not a tobacco variety that is grown just for the binder. The leaves used for the binder are usually chosen by the location of the priming as well as the structure of the leaf. Binder leaves need to be thicker and have more stretch, as they protect the filler as well as hold up to the shaping and rolling process. Typically, binder leaves are cut from the priming between the Seco and Volado section of the stalk.
All tobacco leaves are hung in barns for curing, after the leaves are harvested. Wrapper leaves are cured for 3 years. The leaves that are designated for the binder are cured for two years.
The flavor of the binder must be taken into consideration in rolling a cigar. The leaves that are designated for the binder come from the lower portion of the stalk. They have limited sunlight exposure and are cured for a shorter period, which limits the leaf’s ability to develop flavor. While binders have limited flavor, they do add to the complexity of the cigar.