Growing regions. Terroir. Seeds. It might sound like we’re referencing the subject of wine, but we’re actually talking about cigar tobaccos. Considering that both start out being connected to plant life, though, it’s not surprising both have a lot in common—at least in their respective starts in life. We have more in our new Stogie’d feature called Cigars 201:
Just like a fine wine, the flavor and aroma of a cigar is directly impacted by its country of origin. Variations in soil conditions, temperature, humidity, sunlight and a myriad of other unique factors all come into play to create distinct characteristics in tobacco leaves. Whether you are a green novice who is new to the world of cigars, or you are a connoisseur with a refined palate, it is helpful to understand the factors that make a particular smoking experience unique. This brief overview provides a glimpse into some of the finest regions for cigars around the world.
It is widely understood that cigars are mostly manufactured in South and Central America. A large number of the world’s leading cigar brands are based in Cuba, Mexico and Southern and Central America. Cuba, of course, is the most famous cigar producing country.
Cuba produces some of the finest and most diverse forms of cigars with premium quality. Its cigar industry has even overcome the aftermaths of the Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis. This includes the ongoing trade embargo that the United States enforces on the country, yet Cuban cigars have been able to increase in reputation over the years and smoke the competition.
When it comes to value and variety, the Dominican Republic is the leading producer of cigars worldwide, often dubbed as the “cigar country.” Its production is based on the central islands of Cibao Valley and Santiago, with 600,000 acres of plant fields. These regions offer the ultimate environment for growing premium tobacco. The cigar industry thrives in the Dominican Republic, while the fields are maintained to perfection to produce top quality cigars.
Famous for a variety of flavors, Indonesia is another one of the world’s best regions for cigars. The majority of its cigars are produced using the Besuki TBN shade-grown leaf, which adds the unique flavor you notice during your moment of relaxation. The term “shade-grown,” refers to a technique that limits the amount of sunlight to which the leaves are exposed. In this case, Indonesia uses special muslin nets that act as a safe haven for the plants, protecting them from direct sunlight. The Indonesian cigar industry also uses plants that are grown from the Sumatran seed. The Sumatran seed contains full flavor and adds emphasis to the filler, or the contents of the cigar.
Connecticut Valley is also renowned for using shade-grown brownish yellow cigars. Called Connecticut Shade, these medium-bodied, premium cigars are some of the priciest on the market. Connecticut Valley also prides itself on the Connecticut Broadleaf. This dark leaf is usually found in Maduro style cigars, which have a distinctly heavier flavor.
Generally less expensive and a bit milder, Mexican Cigars provide a flavorful taste and a sweet smell. Mexico’s best cigars are produced in San Andres Tuxtla, a prime tobacco growing location near the Gulf of Mexico. The San Andres Tuxtla region’s mild and humid climate allow for tobacco to reach its ultimate quality. The cigar industry also plays a large part in Mexico’s employment ratio, with several medium-sized cigar companies in surrounding areas. Two of their top-quality cigars are “Santa Clara” and “Aromas de San Andres.”
With ideal climate and soil conditions, Honduras is also one of the world’s best regions for cigars. However, the Honduran Cigar industry did not start overnight. It increased in size and popularity after the 1960s, when Cuban tobacco connoisseurs moved to the country and shared their expertise with locals, causing the industry to grow and succeed.
Similarly, after the Cuban Revolution, many Cuban cigar experts fled the country and moved to Nicaragua. A country well known for its cigarette tobacco production, Nicaragua had not yet cultivated a cigar crop. When the Anastasio Somoza Debayle dictatorship took advantage of Fidel Castro’s revolution, they funded the new cigar industry with the knowledge of the Cuban cigar experts and their tobacco seeds.
A country more recognized for the production of tobacco, Brazil plays an important role in other countries’ production of cigars. The majority of countries purchase Brazilian tobacco to use in their cigar production. Although at this time, Brazil is still more popular for its tobacco alone, its cigar industry is striving to make a name for itself globally.
Whether it is the delicious taste or the sweet smell of pure, distinguished cigars, the industry continues to grow, year after year. True connoisseurs enjoy a rare insight into their preferred cigar’s country of origin. Cigar flavors, aromas and textures all come together to represent unique cultures and histories from around the world. Tobacco aficionados can learn a lot about a particular region by sampling its finest cigars.
NOTE: Meggan Werkheiser is a freelance writer who writes about luxury items such cigars.
With this article, we begin a series called Cigar 201. Why “Cigar 201″? Because the title/name “Cigar 101″ has been done to death. Plus, with your interest in cigars, you’ve already passed at least Cigar 101, if not much more. Cigar 201 will go beyond the rudimentary “What is a cigar?”, “What is a cutter?” subjects and delve a little deeper into the world of cigars.
This article originally appeared at Amazines.com. If you’d like to contribute an article to “Cigar 201,” and spread your expertise in the world of cigars through Stogie’d, let us know of your interest by using our Contact form.