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Expert Tip: Know Your Tobacco

Cigars can be produced anywhere utilizing similar training and rolling practices. It is the tobaccos used that are grown and bought from all around the world that will make your cigar distinct. A factory in the Dominican Republic will typically use more Dominican tobaccos in their blends but there are always exceptions to the rule so knowing your tobacco is important. You may already know the leading cigar producing countries but becoming familiar with specific growing regions and the factories that produce the brands you love is a helpful tool when searching for new cigars.

The majority of the tobacco grown in the Dominican Republic comes from the Cibao River Valley and the Yaque Valley sub-region. Up until Carlos Fuente Jr. successfully grew wrapper tobacco in the 1990s for his Fuente Fuente OpusX line, only binder and filler tobaccos were produced in the Dominican and factories would import their wrapper. The larger Dominican cigar factories worth noting are Tabacalera A. Fuente (Arturo Fuente​), Tabadom (AVO/Davidoff/The Griffins), and Tabacalera de Garcia (Romeo y Julieta/H. Upmann/Montecristo).

Despite political and environmental setbacks throughout the years, Nicaragua has grown to become one of the most predominant cigar producing countries in the world. The typical characteristic of Nicaraguan tobacco is medium to full-bodied in strength with a rich, sweet, and full-flavor. There are four main growing regions within Nicaragua. The home to the majority of the cigar production and the strongest tobacco is in Esteli. The Condega Valley, located North of the city of Esteli yields a thinner, more elastic sun-grown leaf. The Jalapa Valley, which is Northeast of Esteli and Condega yields a sweeter tobacco known for producing excellent wrapper. Finally the Island of Ometepe, created by twin volcanoes possesses extremely fertile, volcanic soil which can impart a unique spicy flavor to your cigar. Notable Nicaraguan cigar factories include Nestor Plasencia, PadronOlivaMy Father Cigars, Tabacalera Perdomo​, and Drew Estate.

Experiencing comparable civil unrest, Honduras remains one of the top three players. Honduran tobacco is typically characterized as full-bodied, strong, and spicy. There are three primary growing regions in Honduras. Located in the Southeastern part of the country, the Jamastran Valley has rich, fertile soil. In the center of the country, the Talanga Valley is a windy, mountainous region where tobacco is often grown in shaded tents. The third major growing region, Copan, is located in the western regions of the country. The most prominant factories in Honduras are La Flor de Copan (Trinidad/Saint Luis Rey/ Gispert), Gran Habano, Puros Indios, and Agroindustrias Laepe (Camacho).

While there are a vast amount of cigar brands and countless blends available, there are a much more finite number of actual cigar producers. Not every brand owns a factory. Instead, many big brands such as Rocky Patel or Alec Bradley will work with a specific factory within the aforementioned cigar producing regions. Therefore, identifying your cigar profiles with a factory instead of brand can be useful when searching for new cigars to enjoy that will fit your preferences. Considering a single factory will often produce cigars for a handful of different brands, narrowing yourself to a single brand can be limiting. The cigar industry is not unlike the whiskey or beer industry in that a large distillery and brewery will often create product for multiple brands. Therefore, knowing your tobacco is at times more important than knowing your brands. Where is the tobacco grown in your favorite cigars? In what factory is it produced? These are questions that can lead to the discovery of many new favorite blends. Ask us!