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Tobacconist University
Tobacco College

Tobacco College: Cigar Regions

 


BRAZIL

Tobacco has probably been smoked in Brazil, in either pipe or cigar form, almost as long as tobacco has been smoked by humans. Most Brazilian tobacco is produced for domestic and European cigarettes as well as for machine-made cigars. Premium cigar tobacco did not gain momentum in Brazil until the 1960s. While Brazilian cigar tobacco is not a major factor for premium cigar consumers, it does occupy an important niche in the wrapper market; and is emerging as a popular filler tobacco as well.

In the eastern province of Bahia there is a small swath of land less than 200 miles across, called the Reconcavo Basin: it is bordered to the east by the Bay of All Saints, and then the Atlantic Ocean. The Reconcavo Basin produces a very distinctive wrapper tobacco called Mata Fina, and its lesser cousins: Mata Sul and Mata Norte (stronger). Mata Fina is a Sun-Grown tobacco which is typically made into wrappers. It has a dark color, mild to medium strength, rich flavor, is very aromatic, and has a natural sweetness that yields excellent Oscuro and Maduro wrappers.

COLOMBIA

The thought that Colombia produces premium cigar tobacco surprises a lot of people. Historically speaking, Colombian cigar tobacco varietals (Carmen, Ovjas, Zambrano, and Plate) have had a reputation for being tough, thick, and requiring heavy fermentation. Contemporary cigar blenders are constantly searching to find that distinctive filler tobacco which will balance and set their brand apart. More than a few modern brands are currently using Colombian fillers to accomplish that goal. Current use of Colombian tobacco is an excellent example of how cigar blenders and growers push the limits of luxury tobacco to create and discover new delicacies and possibilities. The future looks bright for premium Colombian cigar tobacco.

ECUADOR

Located on the northwestern coast of South America, Ecuador has been growing premium cigar filler and wrappers since the 1960s. Its unique location provides Ecuadorian grown tobacco with consistent cloud cover throughout the growing season. Ecuadorian wrappers are said to be "Cloud-Grown" instead of shade-grown. This naturally diffused light diminishes vein size, yields thinner leaves, and creates a very supple leaf with consistent color. Ecuador is famous for having over 30 volcanoes and extremely rich volcanic soil. Most tobacco in Ecuador is grown at the foothills of the Andean mountains. Probably the single greatest threat to Ecuadorian tobacco is the El Nino effect. When the Pacific waters warm up, tremendous amounts of rain are unleashed in Ecuador, which makes tobacco cultivation impossible.

The two most popular seed varietals grown in Ecuador are Connecticut and Sumatran. Both Ecuadorian-Sumatra and Ecuadorian-Connecticut plants seem to exhibit milder strength and flavor when grown in Ecuador: perhaps due to the unique cloudiness or different soil. Ecuadorian-Connecticut plants can grow to over ten feet tall while their Ecuadorian-Sumatran counterparts mature at approximately six feet.

PERU

While this Andean nation does not have a long tradition of growing premium cigar tobacco, it does have some ideal growing areas. Currently some famous brands are using Peruvian filler leaf as distinctive component in their blends. As long as cigar makers seek new ways to differentiate their blends, the future for Peruvian tobacco seems bright.

VENEZUELA

Similar to Columbia, there is a very recent trend to develop premium cigar tobacco in Venezuela. While the country has cigar traditions going back hundreds of years, it has recently begun to emerge as a viable premium filler producer for the world market.





Certified R&D Tobacconists: United States

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Ryan Burke, CRT Twins Smoke Shop
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