Cigar Buying Guides

Top Connecticut Broadleaf Wrapped Cigars You Should be Smoking

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro is a tobacco leaf that is widely used throughout the industry and cigar smokers can’t get enough of it (including yours truly, as it has been a longtime fave of mine). What was once primarily used for binder and filler is now in high demand to be utilized as wrapper leaf. What should be noted is that high priming leaves are used for wrappers, while lower priming leaves are used for the binder.

So, why the change of heart and why do we love it so? Well, it’s dark, oily, rugged, rich, sweet and extremely flavorful, and it burns nice and slow. Nick Perdomo told me that it’s very resistant to water and it stretches really well for rolling. Grown in the Connecticut River Valley, the plants get full-bore sunlight as the leaves suck up all those solar nutrients. When harvested they are stalk-cut, meaning the entire plant is harvested from its base with the chop of a machete, then hung and dried which further enriches the plant. But on the flip side, it’s wide, thick, and veiny which requires extra attention from the torcedors working with it. They have to cut around the veins in order to make it nice and smooth as the appearance of your cigar is quite important.

Connecticut Broadleaf Cigars
Tatuaje’s Pete Johnson says, “Its ugliness is its beauty… I want it to have that gnarly rustic character, otherwise, it’s just not Broadleaf to me”.

Master Blender Jose Blanco enlightened me on the critical nature of the fermentation process of these maduro leaves. The temperature and heat need to be monitored up to three times a day to assure that it doesn’t get too hot. Over fermentation strips the leaf of its essential oils making it dry while robbing it of its flavor. Under fermenting will bring out bitter, sour and metallic notes and nobody damn-well wants that.

Steve Saka of Dunbarton Tobacco tells me there are two reasons why he loves the Broadleaf. Number 1: It steps way outside the typical flavor profile of other leaves with its earthy, rich, and naturally sweet taste. The flavor is just so unique that you can’t find anywhere else. Number 2: Its durability. You can smoke it when it’s cold when it’s windy, and during outdoor activities like fishing and it will burn great. You don’t have to baby it (which is the polar opposite of Cameroon wrapper). You can drop it to the ground, dust it off and keep on smoking.

Pete Johnson, the maker of Tatuaje, loves working with Connecticut Broadleaf for a couple of interesting reasons. The natural sweetness is a given, but it’s that level of spice that tingles on your lips even before lighting up. Pete loved smoking Henry Clays early on, which were rough around the edges but had that patented Broadleaf flavor. He says it’s not a pretty leaf, but he loves that, and actually told me that “Its ugliness is its beauty… I want it to have that gnarly rustic character, otherwise, it’s just not Broadleaf to me”.

Below I’ve chosen 9 Connecticut wrapped cigars that I enjoy – so tell us in the comments section which ones you’ve tried and which ones are on your must-try list.

Mi Querida Ancho Largo Toro

Mi Querida Ancho Largo Toro

Country: Nicaragua
Size: 6″ x 52
Strength: Full  

That amazing earthy, rich, full-bodied sweetness is all there in the Mi Querida. Cigar lovers wanted to know how creator Steve Saka could outdo the Sobremesa, but many have stopped wondering. The Nicaraguan filler and binder, and that supple and oily Broadleaf combine to create a full-bodied cigar lover’s dream. Upon lighting, you’ll get a bit of pepper and a wonderful slash of bitter dark chocolate, right in the first couple of puffs. About a third in there are notes of black coffee and a warm, yet sweet earthiness that lingers well after the cigar is gone. I found the retrohale to be both sweet and peppery, but not overpowering to the senses and you should give it a try. This cigar is pretty unique in character, skillfully rolled, and its complexity is undeniable. If you haven’t smoked it yet, make it a priority I say.

 

Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Toro 

Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Toro

Country: Nicaragua
Size: 6″ x 54
Strength: Full

Jamie Garcia (the son of Master Don Pepin) developed a cigar so good he had to put his name on it out of sheer pride. I featured this delicious cigar because I think it’s one of the very best to come out of their Nicaraguan factory and it deserves the recognition. This one has all the attributes of a Connecticut maduro: earthy and sweet with pepper on the start, but shifting into dark cocoa, cedar, earth, and notes of espresso. It’s a joy to retrohale as almost every one of those flavors are highlighted and intensified as I went for several hits. And while it is quite full-bodied, it’s also smooth as silk on the palate as well as in the draw and construction. What an excellent smoke.

 

 

Punch Rothschild 

Punch Rothschild

Country: Honduras
Size: 4 1/2″ x 50
Strength: Full

This cigar has been around for a long time and I may have actually smoked a 1,000 of them over the years. They look like little tobacco chocolate bars and upon dipping your nose into the box, that wonderful deep farm-like aroma is intoxicating. Earthy and spicy, but undeniably sweet, this old-school Punch classic is still relevant today and is a big seller. Again, this one may not rank high in the complexity department, but it is truly full-flavored and crazy delish at that. Espresso is a keynote as is dark black cherry which rears its gorgeous head around halfway into the smoke. Retrohaling is a bit on the spicy side but I made it through a number of hits. Old-school is still cool-school… Go Punch.

 

CAO Flathead V554 Camshaft

CAO Flathead V554 Camshaft

Country: Nicaragua
Size: 5 1/2″ x 54
Strength: Full

Rick Rodriguez hit it WAY out of the park with this dark box-pressed beauty that shimmers with extreme oiliness. I think it’s my favorite of the Flathead line due to its flawless construction and sweet and tangy profile. Magnificently box-pressed with its thick and chewy wrapper, the Camshaft is really a sight to behold even before cutting into it. But you can’t bypass the flavors in this stick because they are complex and exquisitely balanced. Espresso is the first thing I got but sweet dark fruit notes quickly followed, raising my eyebrows as to what would be next. It actually got a tad leathery halfway through as a slight earthiness worked the finish. I smoked this with a Knob Creek Bourbon and my palate was thanking God to be alive.

 

La Gloria Cubana Serie R Maduro No. 6

top CT broadleaf la gloria Serie R Maduro

 

Country: Dominican Republic
Size: 5 7/8″ x 60 
Strength: Full

I have loved the Serie R since my trip to the General Cigar factory in the DR a few years back, where I stood next to the roller of these cigars for an hour as he magically created those gems before my very eyes. “Would you like a few?” he said in his broken English, and my head quickly bobbed up and down as he graced me with a dozen that aged in my humidor for months before smoking – and what a smoking experience it was. If you want one hell of a deep dark bold and spicy smoke, seriously guys, look no further as leaves from four tobacco-producing nations are used in the inner blend – Mexican, Nicaraguan, Brazilian, and Dominican. I get a dark but sweet wood in the flavor profile along with black cherry and almost like a charred but pleasant oakiness. This is a great cigar and very worthy of my list.

 

Romeo y Julieta Montague Toro

Romeo y Juliet’s Montague Toro

Country: Nicaragua
Size: 6″ x 50 
Strength: Medium

Once again, when AJ Fernandez puts the magic touch on a cigar, it sells through the roof, as is the story for this Famous Smoke Shop Romeo exclusive. It’s only one of a few that made my list that’s on the medium-bodied side but make no mistake that it is packed with complexity and flavor. Like many AJ made sticks, the Montague started out with that upfront smack of pepper then shifted into distinct notes of rich espresso and I even got molasses on my taste buds. And you know what, a medium-bodied smoke is actually nice once in a while for cooling down the palate. Since it’s a Fernandez the construction is stellar as a whole lotta smoke comes barreling out. This is REALLY a cigar you owe a try if you haven’t had the pleasure.

 

Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Maduro No 3

Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Maduro No 3

Country: Honduras
Size: 6 1/8″ x 50
Strength: Medium

The Excalibur has always been a special cigar to me – probably one of my earliest experiences with a dark, rich, sweet maduro tobacco. The first time I tried them I was seriously hooked and my humidor always have a few in stock. With its 3-nation inner blend from Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic, it’s consistently highly rated by websites and magazines year after year and for great reason. I get notes of dark coffee right off the bat, but it also delivers a subtle creaminess as well. As a medium-bodied offering, it’s not very spicy, but rather brimming with that Broadleaf sweetness. Definite notes of black cherry and dark chocolate thrive on your taste buds and I even start to get a cinnamon hit as it comes to the two-thirds mark. The retrohale is loaded with extra flavor and easy on the sinuses. I have loved this cigar for ages and you really need to give it a try once again.

 

Tatuaje Cojonu 2003 Broadleaf Maduro

Tatuaje Cojonu 2003 Broadleaf Maduro

Country: Nicaragua
Size: 6 1/2″ x 52
Strength: Full

Okay, it is gnarly, as Pete Johnson puts it, but it is oily as can be and a beautiful sight to behold and to smoke. Made in the My Father factory, Don Pepin has an uncanny way to unlock the powerful flavors in cigar tobacco and this one is simply a magnificent creation. There’s a lot of spice in the first half-inch or so, but the Cojonu rounds out quickly giving off a very pleasant oakiness with a nice hit of cocoa. As the complexity and flavor profile builds, a roasted nuts quality comes through, like the type you get from a pushcart on a city street. The retrohale was pretty spicy and once was enough for me. While I basically love everything Tatuaje makes, this Broadleaf is a real standout.

 

Arturo Fuente Maduro Canones

Arturo Fuente Maduro Canones

Country: Dominican Republic
Size: 8 1/2″ x 52
Strength: Medium 

This baseball bat of a cigar has had a special place in my heart as it has been the official golf cigar of Tommy Zman for several decades. At a whopping 8 ½ inches long, this Presidente will get me through the first nine holes with ease. And tasty? Hell yeah, as the filler and binder are Dominican with that classic Fuente aroma and flavor. I also like them for a day on the links because they’re medium-bodied and you really don’t want stronger full-flavored smokes when it’s hot out and you’re doing physical activity. Naturally sweet with a distinct nuttiness that comes through is inviting, but it’s not overly complex and that’s okay because the flavors really stand on their own. Whether you’re golfing, fishing or you’ve just got hours to kill as the sun goes down, the Canones is a wonderful treat.

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Brian Davis
3 years ago

Fausto FT-166. One of my favorite PJ blended smokes. I always keep a nice stock of these in my humi. While I love them “young”, let them age 2 to 3 years and you have something truly heavenly. Same goes for the Avion ’13.

Tommy Zman Zarzecki

Tommy Zman Zarzecki

Editor-at-Large

Tommy Zman, is an obsessive enjoyer of life’s leafy pleasures. Growing up in the bowels of northern New Jersey, parented by an eccentric Polish father and a neurotic Italian mother, what else could this man possibly be other than a humorist? ZMan’s a real throwback to a time when men were kings of the castle and smoking a cigar in public didn’t label you an outcast and a pariah. He’s an old–school down to earth guy - but when it comes to p.c. tyranny and nanny-state legislature, he’ll draw his sword and swing for the fences. Tommy gathered a faithful following as a longtime feature writer at Cigar Magazine, and his testosterone laden FaceBook community, CROMAG NATION™ is truly the last great bastion for Men’s Men.

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