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The Cuban Tobacco

Cuban v. Non-Cuban

Certain countries have climatic conditions that mirror those of Cuba, in addition to long traditions of cultivation.

Other regions benefit from soil that resembles that of Cuba's famed Vuelta Abajo region, in the Pinar del Rio province.

And other tobacco-growing nations have flourished thanks to the know-how and ingenuity of Cuban experts who were exiled from the island after Fidel Castro's revolution.

But no sole region in the world matches Cuba in all cigar-growing aspects. Cuba's splendid growing conditions, combining perfect amounts of rain, humidity, and fertile soil, have no duplicate. And no region simulates Cuba's legendary seeds, master rollers, and a tradition of cultivation that has gone unchanged for centuries-conditions, most experts agree, that make Cuban cigar's the world's finest.

Honduras has a tobacco tradition that dates to the 1700s. But its local tobacco, continuously hampered by a lack of infrastructure, has only become popular in the last couple of decades. In general terms, Honduran tobacco is characterized by its use of Cuban seeds and its predominantly heavy, full-bodied blends. But there are plenty of exceptions.

Today, the Dominican Republic is the biggest producer of premium cigars, with a manufacturing tradition that dates to the early 1900s. But as late as the 1970s, Dominican cigars were virtually unknown around the world. The United States trade embargo against Cuba has greatly boosted Dominican cigars, which tend to have milder, sweeter flavors. But, again, exceptions abound.

Certainly, Nicaragua enjoys a rich cigar history, one that nears Cuba's, but it has been destabilized by political turmoil. Nicaragua, like many other countries, benefited from expertise of Cuban exiles fleeing Castro's regime. Some of its more outstanding blends, which flourish in Nicaragua's fertile soil, tend to be dark and full-bodied, although several medium flavored Nicaraguan cigars are best sellers.

The Cuban Tobacco