A short course in Nicaraguan tobacco
Because Nicaragua has such a varied terrain, it is capable of producing a wide variety of tobaccos with their own unique flavor properties.
Esteli leaf is the strongest and spiciest Nicaraguan tobacco, and used primarily for filler. Esteli soil is jet black and highly rich in minerals. As a result, the tobacco is characteristically dark with plenty of body, flavor and aroma.
Condega leaf is grown in rocky soil and produces a much thinner leaf that’s also more medium in body. Used mainly for filler and binder, it is also used for wrapper. Because it is mainly sun grown, the leaf is very oily and ideal for adding complexity to the blend.
Jalapa leaf is the lightest and naturally sweetest Nicaraguan tobacco. It is grown in the northernmost part of the country near the border of Honduras, where the soil has vast red clay deposits. Due to its attractiveness, soft texture, rich-tasting character and complex aroma, it is used often for wrapper.
Ometempe leaf is grown in the volcanic soil of Ometempe Island in Lake Nicaragua. Because it is so rich in minerals, Ometempe tobacco has good strength and an earthy-sweet character that lends more depth to the blend.
Nuts and dark chocolate: the perfect complement to your cigar
Many cigar epicureans believe that eating nuts and dark, semi-sweet chocolate while smoking a cigar can enhance its flavors. Moreover, at last year’s IPCPR show, Miami Cigar & Company (La Aurora, Don Lino, Leon Jimenes) was handing out 99% pure dark chocolate with their cigars. I tried it myself at the show, and earlier this year with some almond bark I bought at a gourmet candy store – crushed almonds coated with dark chocolate, pressed into flat sheets. I can’t testify for certain that it draws more flavors from the smoke to the palate, but it sure did enhance the experience. Give it a whirl and taste for yourself. Either way, it makes a great combination.