Even the blending experts don’t always agree on how much of a cigar’s flavor comes from the wrapper leaf – learn why, plus we pay forward a cool trick you can try to test your favorite cigar to see how much its flavor comes from the wrapper leaf.
2015 CA Report: Guide to Connecticut Shade Cigars
Your Guide to Connecticut Shade Cigars
By Jonathan Detore
Chances are you clicked on this link to learn more about Connecticut Shade cigars, and I promise you will…even you full-body guys – it’s time to get on board. Let me explain: a lot of veteran smokers who started with smoking Connecticut Shade wrapped cigars move on to more powerful wrapper leaf and never turned back, calling CT Shade smokes “newbie cigars.” However, this is most certainly not the case in the modern cigar business, considering the wrapper accounts for about 7% of the entirety of every single cigar. The rest can be filled with anything from an A-10 Warthog assault of Ligero, to a safe and satisfying seco core.
The Connecticut Shade wrapper is exactly what the name suggests; a tobacco plant grown in the Connecticut River Valley in New England. What makes this tobacco particularly special is the region in where, and the process of how, this particular tobacco is grown. To help make my point, I’ll turn to the world of Boxing. If you get in a ring with Mike Tyson, chances are you’re going to take one shot and drop like a sack of potatoes. But if you train by taking punches and acclimating yourself to fighting for years before stepping into the ring, you’ll be able to last longer in the ring and absorb the blows coming your way. In other words, taking your punches gives you more of a bite in the ring than if you didn’t train at all.
The same concept goes for cigars. Most tobacco is grown in the southern states in America and in Latin America where the weather is hotter, and is subjected to a more ungodly sun shining on the tobacco plants. In order for the plants to survive naturally, they toughen up to prevent damage done by the sun by growing thicker and strong. The thicker and stronger the leaf gets over time, the stronger and more powerful in nicotine and flavor it becomes. But Connecticut tobacco is different. Due to the cooler region, rich soil, and extra coverage from cheesecloth over the fields, these tobacco plants don’t need to grow so strong or as thick. This reduces the size of the veins, gives a milder crisp smoke, and makes for a light golden brown wrapper.
The taste you can experience from Connecticut grown Connecticut Shade wrappers is an impeccable smoothness, which is perfect for blending low strength/ultra-flavorful and complex cigars. However, more recently, we’ve seen this particular wrapper being used in a myriad of deceptively powerful stogies. In any case, Connecticut Shade cigars should never be overlooked, and to prove my point, I’ve compiled a list of 8 cigars you NEED to try. Yes, even those of you who like extremely powerful cigars.
Talk. About. Smooth… Not only does this cigar feature the extremely smooth Connecticut Shade Grown wrapper, but it also contains Dominican Olor fillers which are aged 18 years to remove any impurities from the tobacco. Typically that takes only a few months (if that), but hey, 17 years and 10 months extra doesn’t hurt. With extremely high ratings from multiple review panels, this mild to medium bodied cigar is a winner.
I typically remain impartial when it comes to cigars because it’s kind of my job. But ethics be damned – you need to smoke this cigar as much and as often as you can. No joke, probably the best Connecticut wrapped cigar I’ve ever tried in my entire cigar loving life. The complexity is off the charts, and it’s consistent from one to the next due to the fact that the tobaccos used are from one harvest. That means once the stock of tobacco runs out, it’s gone for good. This is your chance to try this mild to medium flavor bomb before they’re a thing of the past.
A true mild cigar through and through, this affordable cigar offers anyone the chance to buy a cigar with an extremely expensive wrapper for pennies on the dollar. It really showcases the true flavors of a CT Shade Grown wrapper, while also incorporating some nice light flavors that pop out throughout your smoke.
If you think King Arthur pulled a stupid sword out of a stone, you got the story all wrong. By sword, he meant cigar, and by stone, he meant humidor. But whatever. Either way, good ol’ Art sure had good taste. With a fan base that’s been around seemingly since the days of the Round Table, Excalibur cigars bring excellent flavors drawn out of the wrapper with the help of some premium filler tobaccos that bump up the strength to a beefy medium to full at the same time. Certainly a good cigar for mild bodied smokers daring to go for a well-respected, widely-smoked, more powerful fan-favorite.
They don’t call this a classic for nothing. Just like the Excalibur, this highly regarded cigar has amassed scores of followers who smoke nothing else because of the rich taste this flavorful offering pours down on to their palates. Using only the best Connecticut Shade Grown wrappers hand-picked in their stock pile of tobacco, this perfectly constructed and blended cigar is perfect if you’re looking for a straight burn, massive taste, and a medium strength profile.
Macanudo has claimed the top spot in terms of overall sales for years now, and it sure as hell is no coincidence. Smokers are drawn to Macanudo for its mild profile that delivers a smooth smoke, and alluring aroma that fills the room. It may not give you much in the way of strength, but the taste has always been the main attraction with these cigars. You can’t spend a day in a brick and mortar shop without seeing someone smoke one of these cigars or at least hearing about the brand, because more loyal smokers stick to Macanudo than any other brand on the market, with newbies usually picking it up as their first ever true cigar. It’s what lures newer smokers in by giving them the flavor of a true cigar.
5 stars, 5 stars, 5 stars. No matter where you go, you see ratings from consumers all giving this cigar 5 stars across the board. Nick Perdomo is one of the best known names in the industry, blending stogies that, instead of slowly introducing a smoke to you, pounds you away with intense flavor from your first puff to the last. The Connecticut is the mildest of all three offerings in this line (also featuring a Corojo and Broadleaf Maduro). But this medium to full bodied Connecticut Shade Grown smoke lays on layer after layer of the thick, rich, smoky, buttery flavors that has given this cigar its well-deserved notoriety.
From the esteemed Drew Estate factory under their Liga line, comes the sequel to the already-stellar Liga Undercrown. Re-blended with some really killer tobaccos topped with a Connecticut Shade Grown wrapper, this re-creation of a heavily favored cigar has just been released at IPCPR 2015 in New Orleans. But to be honest, I’m cheating a little with this list because it’s an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade Grown wrapper. I know, I know… But I’ve decided to add this little number for one reason: to give you a chance to taste and see the difference between the two wrappers. Similar in name but different in origin, expect more flavor from this Shade Grown beauty due to a thicker leaf caused by a hotter climate. The finish is short and clean, but the taste is a home run. A perfect addition to any serious cigar smoker’s humidor.
It’s time for another Connecticut revolution. Take up these incredible Connecticut wrapped cigars, and savor the flavor these perfectly wrapped stogies have to offer. But what else can you expect from one of, if not the most expensive tobaccos, in the entire industry? Try some out for yourself by picking up a sampler of these tasty morsels today. With your first puff, I guarantee you’ll be singing the praises of Connecticut River Valley Shade Grown tobacco.