With the “organic” craze catching on worldwide; I’m not surprised that a certain amount of interest has taken hold here in our cigar industry. While items deemed “certified organic” must maintain certain guidelines depending on country of origin, the central premise revolves around uncorrupted virgin soils growing a crop with nothing more than the use of natural fertilizers; no chemicals of any kind can ever be used. When you think about the natural, non-additive nature of premium, long filler tobaccos and handmade cigars, you may be inclined to think that all premium cigar tobaccos are grown organically. However, tobacco, like many plants, is subject to disease. And in some cases, genetically engineered seeds and special fertilizers are frequently used to combat these diseases, improve yields, and provide a better finished product in terms of flavor, nicotine content, and combustion. Therefore, it is safe to say not all premium cigar tobacco is grown organically.
Many years ago I had the pleasure of visiting the late Silvio Reyes in Granada, Nicaragua. Granada is the oldest colonial city in Nicaragua. For most, Nicaragua is a place well-known for cigar production, but it’s also a frequent hot spot for eco-tourism, surfers, and missionaries who are all drawn to the vast natural wonders of Nicaragua. Granada remains the crossroads for all visitors. Silvio Reyes, an avid cigar lover, master blender, and owner of Granada’s most popular cigar factory, successfully brought these cultures together with his passion for cigar making. Silvio combined this deep passion with natural and organic agricultural processes, creating a truly unique cigar experience for all visitors of his town. Sadly, in 2012, Silvio Reyes passed away due to surgical complications but his vision has lived on with his family, who continue his business. The family’s secret rests in both their seeds and their location. Every winter, a hybrid Cuban and native Nicaraguan seed is planted on the family’s farm, situated at the base of the Mombacho Volcano, one of Nicaragua’s largest and most active volcanoes. This nutrient rich soil is ripe with nitrogen, allowing the tobacco to grow without the help of any unnatural fertilizers or chemicals. It is this soil where Silvio Reyes chose to grow Verdadero Organic, the industry’s only cigar made with 100% organic filler tobaccos.
Debuting some five years ago, Verdadero Organic has taken on a life of its own. Its organic fillers emit a unique raisin-like flavor profile perfectly complemented by a golden Connecticut wrapper. Building on this inaugural launch, 2013 promises to be an exciting year as the people at Dona Elba Cigar Co. roll out the second edition of Verdadero after more than five years, in honor and in memory of Silvio Reyes. The initial samples we received were some of Silvio’s last work and are considered his finest blending efforts by those close to the factory in Nicaragua. Using all Organic fillers once again, but in a heartier, spicier recipe, this new edition dubbed “OSG,” a.k.a. “Organic Sun Grown,” comes finished with an oily, Cuban-seed wrapper grown in Nicaragua’s most fertile soils at the base of the Mambacho Volcano. Some of the same unique aromas presented in the original Verdadero shine through in this new Verdadero OSG, but these unique nuances are presented in a stronger, spicier format to satisfy the demand of discerning aficionados looking for a little more ‘oomph’ in their cigars.