Cigar tobacco can be found in Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Canary Islands (Spain), Costa Rica, Italy and the Eastern United States.
In the world of cigars, Brazil is mostly known for its dark tobacco, called Mata Fina tobacco. Mata Fina is a sun-grown tobacco which is typically made into wrappers and used for premium, long filler cigars by many cigar producers in the Caribbean and Central America.
This Brazilian wrapper is dark brown to black in color after fermentation, with a mild to medium strength, rich flavor, is very aromatic, and has a natural sweetness that yields excellent Oscuro and Maduro wrappers.
Cameroon wrapper is originally from the Sumatran black tobacco plant and is a hard leaf to grow. Grown in Central Africa, the climate is so temperate that the plants are completely sun-grown, which is made even easier by semi-permanent cloud cover which helps keep uniformity in the leaf's appearance. Cameroon wrappers have been used in a number of popular cigar brands for both premium hand-rolled cigars and machine-made cigars including Garcia y Vega, Arturo Fuente and different brands from General Cigar.
Cuban cigars are a particularly unique cigar, due in part to the specific variations in soil that can be found in different regions throughout Cuba. Due to this soil diversity, five different types of tobacco leaves are produced and are then used for rolling cigars.
This country produces some excellent quality cigar tobaccos, and is home to some of the biggest names in premium cigars (i.e. Arturo Fuente, Macanudo, Montecristo, and many more). The overall profile of Dominican tobacco tends to be mild, but this is certainly not true in all circumstances.
Honduran tobacco is usually medium to fuller-bodied, and the typical flavor profile tends to be earthy and flinty. Some of the Honduran cigars you may have tried might include Punch, Hoyo de Monterrey, Gispert, and Camacho (among many others).
Black tobacco seeds were introduced to the islands by the Dutch in the 15th and 16th century and have developed in isolation there since. It’s this genetic isolation that has led to Indonesian, or Sumatra seed, tobaccos being considered a unique progenitor species. Sumatra seed tobaccos have a very spicy yet slightly sweet characteristic that is loved by many cigar aficionados. For a long time Indonesian wrappers were associated with lower quality cigars and this unfortunate association still persists to a degree today. Indonesian cigar tobaccos can be outstanding and are found on several high end premium cigars including the very popular Romeo y Julieta 1875 line and several Drew Estate Acid cigars. Indonesian binders, which are usually downgraded wrappers, are also used on a great many premium cigars.
The popularity of Mexican cigars has waned in recent years, but they still have some excellent tobaccos, such as San Andres maduro for wrappers. Some of the bad rap comes from the harshness of some of the cheaper grades of tobacco. Brands that use a significant amount of Mexican tobacco include TeAmo and A. Turrent.
This country has made huge advances in the quality of their cigars, and, as a result, the popularity of their products as well. Nicaraguan leaf tends to be robust and spicy, with very complex flavors. Brands from Nicaragua include Padron, Joya de Nicaragua, and many of the cigars made by Don Pepin Garcia.
Peru produces some wonderful, rich, and complex tobacco, but it is normally used as a small amount of the overall blend. There’s a lot of body to most Peruvian tobacco, and there’s a smooth spice note without a lot of the harshness found in many heavier cigar leaves. This tobacco is used in a number of cigars, including some of the Montecristo line.
Philippines cigars are generally mild and aromatic smokes.Tobacco knowledge and skill spread throughout the Philippines as part of the international trade routes that the islands anchored. Tobacco soon became popular and eventually gave birth to the Philippine cigar industry.
Puerto Rico has lost some of its cachet as a source of fine cigars in the last three decades, the reality is that the island still produces some of the finest hand-rolled Puros found anywhere in the Caribbean.
Canary Islands (Spain)
Cigars have been made in the islands since the 1700's.
A small Central American nation situated between Nicaragua to the North and Panama to the South, Costa Rica is becoming well known for its cigar wrapper leaves, although it is still not a major producer of cigar tobacco. Costa Rican Maduro wrappers are slightly sweeter than other Maduros with a mild spice and deep, earthy tastes.
The two principle black tobacco growing regions in the United States are located around the Connecticut River Valley near Hartford, Connecticut and extending south into Pennsylvania. The two most prevalent varietals grown here are US Connecticut Shade and US Broadleaf. While the same Broadleaf tobacco is grown in both Connecticut and Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Broadleaf is sufficiently different in flavor and aroma to be named separately from Connecticut Broadleaf. Connecticut Shade wrappers add a characteristic creamy texture to a cigar while adding an earthy, clay-like taste. Connecticut Shade wrappers are found on many of the world’s leading premium cigars such as Macanudo, Davidoff, and Montecristo. Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers can be found on a wide variety of cigars while Pennsylvania Broadleaf is less common. Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers, downgraded, are featured as binders on a number of premium cigars.