The vast diversity of cigar types, from all different nations, gives the dedicated cigar lover a plethora of options to explore. The different tastes of these international cigars are, perhaps, one of the best things about enjoying a wonderful cigar. Exploring those options, perusing the differences, tasting the changes – it all amounts to a world of enjoyment.
What makes cigars from other countries taste different? Many factors influence how a cigar tastes. Remember, tobacco is a natural product, a plant. Plants live and thrive in soil, absorbing the unique chemical makeup of the soil in which they are grown. This is the source of some of those differences. Different soil types, acidic, alkaloid and others, all equate to a difference in taste, as well as the smoothness or harshness of the smoke. Of course, many other factors determine how a cigar will taste.
Another factor that plays a role in cigar taste is that of curing. The curing process varies drastically by manufacturer, by nation and by geographic region. Some tobacco is air dried in outdoor sheds; other types are cured in different ways. Therefore these tobaccos provide different flavors. The differences in aging, curing, flavoring and other essential parts of the process that happens after tobacco is harvested can drastically change the way a cigar tastes.
Ring gauge (the diameter of the cigar) also plays a role in flavor. Therefore, you might have two cigars rolled with the same wrapper, cured with the same methods and manufactured by the same company, but if their diameter is different, the flavor may be different as well. Generally, the larger the cigar’s diameter, the fuller the flavor will be. If you use cigar lighters filled with a substance other than butane, you can also change the flavor of your smoke (even butane can impart some taste). Geographic area also plays a role in cigar taste. For instance, if you were to enjoy a Jamaican cigar, you’d find it quite mild, usually. In contrast, one from Honduras would be quite a bit stronger. These are only a few of the factors that influence the taste of a cigar.
Let’s take a look at the various regions where tobacco is grown and see what factors influence the local cigars.
United States: Two main tobacco leaves come out of the US and those are the Connecticut shade and the Connecticut broadleaf. The Connecticut shade is a yellow to brownish-yellow leaf that is very elastic which produces a mild-medium bodied smoke. The Connecticut broadleaf is a darker, almost black leaf that is much heavier and veinier than the Connecticut shade.
Mexico: Most Mexican tobacco leaves are used as the binder and filler in cigars. The tobacco they produce is a variant of Sumatra-seed tobacco. Mexico’s cigars are typically made with 100-percent local grown tobacco.
Dominican Republic: The tobacco leaves from the DR has improved tremendously over the past 20 years. Majority of the tobacco that comes out of the DR is derived from Cuban-seed varieties. Although the Dominican tobacco is not as strong as the Cuban tobacco, it does provide a full-bodies flavor and is typically used in complex blends.
Cuba: Everyone knows or has heard of a Cuban cigar, the tobacco from Cuba is acknowledged as some of the finest tobacco in the world. Cuban tobacco leaves are strong and full-bodied, with spicy and aromatic flavors which makes the Cuban cigar renowned for its suppleness.
Ecuador: The second runner up for high-quality tobacco leaves is Ecuador. The tobacco from Ecuador is used for both filler and wrapper; it is also shade and sun grown.
Honduras/Nicaragua: The highest quality Cuban-seed and Connecticut-seed tobaccos come from these Central American countries. Both countries produce full-bodied tobacco with strong, spicy flavors and heady aromas.
Cameroon: This area of West Africa is known for their high-quality wrapper leaf. The Cameroon leaf originated from the Sumatra seed that was imported from Indonesia. It is known for its neutral characteristics, which makes it an ideal wrapper for full-flavored fillers.
Indonesia: Sumatra tobacco hails from the series of islands that make up Indonesia. Their tobacco is sometime referred to as Java or Sumatra. The Sumatra wrapper leaves produce a rather neutral flavor, making them perfect for mild cigars.
Philippines: The tobacco that comes out of the Philippines is a mild tobacco that used in all their cigars. The mild tobacco is a hybrid strain the Philippines produced and it’s very aromatic.
Photos credited to: http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2015/09/30/sarah_hazlegrove_photographs_tobacco_farmers_around_the_world_for_her_project.htmlWhat's the Difference in the Taste of Cigars from Different Countries? by Stephanie Bolen