There are many components that contribute to the flavor of a good cigar such as the tobacco variety, the soil and climate, curing, fermentation and aging as well as humidity. Different countries grow different types of tobacco and some may grow exceptional binder, another filler and still another may contribute the best wrapper. But the truth of the flavor is truly in the blend. The wrapper, filler and binder all play a part as well as the talent of the master blender. It takes a master blender to take the various offerings from all around the world to produce consistent quality and products to be enjoyed by consumers.
Many who try to describe the flavor of a cigar use the same terms as wine connoisseurs such as woody, spicy, smoky, and sweet, and acidity and some may even attribute these tendencies to a particular tobacco from a particular region of the world. However, cigars are a blend of tobaccos so this would not be accurate. Though some qualities may hold true such as Cuban tobacco being one of the best wrappers which gives cigars a certain beauty and silkiness. The western Cuban area of Vuelta Abjo produces a strong, full bodied tobacco with a spicy aroma and flavor that’s distinctive to Cuba. That may be why the Dominican Republic is known to produce quality tobacco from Cuban seed varieties in the agricultural region near the city of Santiago. Some premium cigars from the region include Macanudo and Arturo, if you would like a taste.
In North America, both Mexico and the United States are known to produce excellent tobacco. The Mexican San Andres Valley is famous for its sun grown variant of Sumatra seed tobacco that’s used as binder and filler in cigars and Maduro wrapper because of its ability to go through the cooking and sweating process that creates darker leaf colors. In the United States, the Connecticut River Valley north of Hartford, Connecticut produces Connecticut shade, some of the finest wrapper leaf tobacco in the world. Connecticut shade is a fine, brown to brownish yellow leaf that has a high degree of elasticity. Connecticut broad leaf, another tobacco produced there, is a heavier, veinier leaf that’s dark, almost black in color and used in Maduro-style cigars.
Other parts of the world that lend their unique flavors and characteristics to interesting and high quality cigars include Cameroon and the Central African Republic in West Africa. They’re known for high quality wrapper leaf, greenish brown to dark brown in color with a distinctive grain or “tooth” from Sumatra seed from Indonesia. The Indonesian Islands produces dark brown wrapper leaves that’re used to manufacture small cigars. The Philippines produces mild-hybrid tobaccos used in cigars that’re aromatic. You may ask how a master blender takes the offerings from the various climates and locales year after year to blend products that’re a consistent brand. The answer is experience, knowledge, and talent. Those combinations may include tobaccos from South American countries such as Honduras and Nicaragua, Central America and island nations such as the Philippines, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and Indonesia, and continental offering from the US, Mexico and Africa.
With the many differing varieties of tobaccos produced throughout the world used to create blends, cigar connoisseurs have many interesting experiences ahead of them.