Noteworthy Nicaraguan Cigars


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By Gary Korb

I can’t remember how many times over the years I’ve told inquiring minds that there are better cigars coming out of Nicaragua than Cuba. Certainly, Cuban cigars have their place, but when you look at most of the non-Cuban cigars that are getting the high scores and word-of-mouth referrals, it’s the Nicaraguan cigars that stand out. Names like Padron, Oliva, Perdomo, and Don Pepin Garcia immediately come to mind by the mere mentioning of the words “Nicaraguan cigars.”

One of the reasons for this is Nicaragua’s climate (remarkably close to Cuba’s),
and its rich, black soil. Moreover, Nicaraguan tobacco has a character and strength so distinctive, it’s been used for years by manufacturers in The Dominican Republic, Honduras, and even Cuba, allegedly, to add more power to their blends. It’s also one of the reasons Nicaragua produces such great tasting puros, or cigars made with leaves all from one country. Likewise, the cigars chosen for the sampler below offer an outstanding representation of Nicaraguan variety.

Mi Barrio El BilleteroPuros Huerfanos 681 Robusto601 Maduro BP (Blue) ProminenteCAO Brazilia Gol!El Triunfador #4Famous 70th Anniversary by Garcia Family RobustoPadron 2000Famous 70th Anniversary by Perdomo RobustoFamous Nicaraguan 3000 RobustoOliva Serie G RobustoCarlos Torano Signature Robusto

Tips

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.

 

 

 

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.