Cuba is the birthplace of premium cigar tobacco. The agricultural, curing, and fermentation traditions that are used throughout the world today, were first developed in Cuba. The best tobacco growing area in Cuba lies in the western part of the island in the Pinar del Rio province, and within the Vuelta Abajo region of that province. Excellent tobacco is also grown in the central region of Cuba. Cuban tobacco is famous for its robust flavor, fuller body, and spicy aromas. The unique microclimate and soil of Cuba creates supple and strong leaves which can be exquisite in appearance, flavor, and aroma.
Known in the trade as “the D.R.”, this island neighbor of Cuba’s has become one of the world’s most exquisite tobacco growing regions over the last quarter century. Thanks in large part to the intellectual capital that arrived after the Cuban Revolution, an indigenous tobacco culture, and many years of painstaking investment and labor, the D.R. is easily one of the premier cigar tobacco growing regions in the world today. Historically, the D.R. produced relatively mild Filler tobaccos, but the last decade has seen this country develop fuller and heavier bodied tobaccos as well as Wrapper leaf.
While there are indigenous and wild forms of Nicotiana (Cow Tongue/Silver Tongue) growing throughout this island nation, there was never a deeply rooted cigar tobacco culture in Jamaica. Around 1875, Cuban émigrés brought tobacco seeds to Jamaica and started the local cigar industry. Over the last century, many popular brands have used Jamaican tobacco as part of their filler blends. There have also been a number of very famous brands, including Royal Jamaica and Macanudo, rolled there as well. For a multitude of reasons, including war, hurricanes, and labor problems, the island has failed to achieve the status and momentum of neighboring Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The final chapter on Jamaican tobacco has yet to be written, so stay tuned.
Puerto Rico has been growing and producing premium cigars for hundreds of years. Puerto Rican cigar tobacco is Sun-Grown and relatively mild in taste with good burning qualities. This relatively unexciting description, coupled with higher local production costs, is why Puerto Rican tobacco remains relatively obscure in the premium cigar marketplace.