Whilst cigar tobacco was originally grown and used throughout the Americas, as people have migrated, so have the seeds, meaning we can experience different cigars and flavours from a variety of regions.
What are cigar tobacco growing regions?
Cigar tobacco can’t just be grown anywhere, a lot of stars need to align in order to craft tobacco that passes today’s cigar standards. There are nine primary growing regions for the tobacco used to make cigars: Central Africa, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the United States.
All of these regions can make a tasty cigar but they all have their own unique differences.
Does it matter where cigar tobacco is grown?
Yes, where tobacco is grown can affect both the type of cigar, taste and smoking experience. All of the main growing regions create high-quality cigar tobacco but the different climates and environments impart unique characteristics that impact the finished cigar.
Whenever you purchase a cigar, the country of origin for each part of the cigar is proudly displayed. This tells you exactly what to expect.
How do growing regions affect cigar tobacco?
Even the most seasoned cigar smokers can be somewhat confused as to how the different growing regions impact tobacco. It truly all just depends on the environment and soil. For example, if the soil has a high iron content, then the tobacco may have a strong aroma, whilst more calcium in the soil can lead to a sweeter smoke.
We break down the different growing regions below and what to expect from a cigar with tobacco that has been grown in each area.
The different cigar tobacco growing regions
Many believe that Cuba is the Holy Grail region for growing tobacco, with a rich and long-running history, it’s easy to see why. The soil itself has been meticulously cultivated to create the ideal environment for growing tobacco. The leaves from Cuban tobacco plants are full-bodied and strong with notes of spice and floral aromas. Famous Cuban cigars include the Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta cigars.
North American smokers often opt for tobacco grown in the Dominican Republic as a close alternative to Cuban cigars. These two regions offer similar tobacco as many plants growing in the Dominican Republic actually derive from Cuban varieties. Dominican Republic cigars are often on the milder end of the scale, whilst remaining full of flavour. Famous cigars made using Dominican Republic tobacco include Davidoff and Arturo Fuente.
Although thought slightly less of for tobacco seeds, Cameroon is known for its top-quality wrapper leaves. Tobacco leaves grown in Cameroon tend to have neutral characteristics without any overwhelming aromas, this makes for the perfect accompaniment for cigars with a flavourful filler.
Nicaragua makes over 100 million cigars a year, producing tobacco suitable for a huge range of different tastes and budgets. The leaves on Nicaraguan tobacco plants tend to be robust and spicy, the complex notes can make for a variety of different smoking experiences. Nicaragua’s volcanic soil produces tobacco leaves famous for their sweet, earthy flavours. Popular Nicaragua cigars include Padron and Casa Manga.
Mexico has a long history as home to some of the world’s finest sun-grown Maduro wrappers. Mexico’s wrappers aren’t designed to sit in the background either thanks to the bigger flavours of spices, fresh coffee, chocolate and black pepper. Mexican tobacco is versatile enough to make a variety of cigar components, making Mexican cigars popular to this day.
During the US trade embargo during the 1960s, cigar manufacturers were urgently seeking alternatives to Cuban tobacco. It didn’t take long to discover that Ecuador was the perfect region to grow premium tobacco thanks to the volcanic ash mixed in the soil with plenty of sunshine and cloud cover.
Honduras and Nicaragua both share a border, so the tobacco they produce can be similar. Honduran cigars tend to be bold and flavourful with their own unique ambience and a less sweet taste than classic Nicaragua cigars. Honduras tobacco is used to create the La Invicta which is popular for its outstanding flavour and value for money.
Indonesia is home to the ever-popular Sumatra cigar wrapper, which is popular due to its punchy flavour and intense notes of pepper and spice. These wrappers are now also grown in Honduras and Ecuador but it’s worth noting that the original, authentic Sumatra wrapper was first created in Indonesia.
Despite many thinking of imports when it comes to tobacco, surprisingly, the United States does grow high-quality tobacco that’s used in premium cigars. In fact, some of the world’s finest cigar wrappers are grown in the Connecticut River Valley. Known as Shade-grown Connecticut wrappers, they are prized for their elasticity and mild flavours.
Whether you’re a cigar connoisseur or a new smoker, you now know how different regions can impact the type of cigar and the quality of the tobacco. With so much care put into the process, tobacco from all regions is high-quality but with different merits and flavours, you might just have to try them all!