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In the 1960s, Nicaragua endured numerous political conflicts which disrupted and inhibited cigar tobacco production. But fast-forward to the last decade, and you’ll see Nicaragua has flourished, producing some of the richest, most complex tobaccos in the world. Estelí, Jalapa Valley, Ometepe, and Condega are the sources of most Nicaraguan leaf production. In this article, we’re going to explore these regions of Nicaragua and get an inside look as to why Nicaraguan cigars are increasingly popular and favored among cigar enthusiasts, new and old.
Found in Central America, Nicaragua is located between Honduras and Costa Rica. As the climates of these three nations are all similar, the ultimate difference is found in Nicaragua’s mineral-rich soil. Each region in this country contains unique soil characteristics and varying levels of mineral enrichment that result in distinctive aromas, flavors, and qualities in tobaccos grown there.
First, we’ll look at Estelí, Nicaragua. This region contains dark, dense soil that commonly yields strong tobaccos which are significantly spicy in character. Receiving exposure to the sun, the plants harvested within this region contain thick leaves that produce a stronger experience. Utilized for multiple components within a cigar’s blend, these leaves can be used for long-fillers, binders, and Sun Grown wrappers. AJ Fernandez uses copious amounts of Estelí-grown tobaccos in his blends like Man O’ War Ruination and San Lotano.
The next stop on our journey is Jalapa Valley. Like the soil found in Cuba’s famed region of Pinar del Rio — a fine, sand-like soil that is slightly red in color — here in Nicaragua this produces leaves that are relatively soft with a reddish hue. The sweet and aromatic Jalapa leaf is often used as a long-filler component, but the best-looking crops will be reserved for use as wrappers. Oliva Serie ‘V’ prominently features heavily fermented Jalapa Valley Ligero leaf in its blend.
Found in Lake Nicaragua, the humidity encompassing the remote island of Ometepe helps maintain the quality of its rich, volcanic soil. So dense with nutrients, the land requires minimal fertilization. The mellow to medium character of the leaf allows the earthy, sweet tobacco in this area to cure quickly, and is most commonly used as long-fillers in a cigar. AVO Syncro Nicaragua and Davidoff Nicaragua both contain tobacco from this lush island.
Lastly is Condega Valley, an area known for its cloud cover and rough, rocky soil which contains a high mineral content. Although the tobacco from this region is less potent, it still carries a hefty amount of flavor. Leaves from the Condega Valley appear thinner in texture, with a slight sweetness and a fair amount of strength, and are used most often as binders.
Now that we’ve explored the four main growing regions of Nicaragua, you’ll have a better understanding of how each territory contains soils that are crucial to the distinctive flavor profiles found in popular cigar blends. Try some of our finest Nicaraguan cigars for yourself – you might just find your next favorite!
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