Cuba popularized the cigar culture. After the ban of Cuban cigars and the emergence of the competition brands, the cigar makers were hunting for the best leaves to create unique blends that match the Cuban product. Recently many of these brands are concentrating in the volcanic region, or the others source tobacco cultivated in volcanic soil. Why is this soil so significant for a cigar?
Cigar tobacco is produced with much care and attention. The farming conditions influence the flavor of tobacco leaves (Read how cigars get their flavor). That is the reason Cuban Cigars are much sought after.
The tobacco farmers knew the soil qualities, and when the cigar makers were trying to replicate the Cuban quality and flavors, the first requirement was fertile soil for well-developed leaves, and they settled their farms in other regions but there was no rest for them.
Quality of the volcanic soil
The volcanic soil is abundant in the essential nutrients required for the growth of tobacco plants like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur, and magnesium. It has better water retention & moisture retention capacity, an essential factor in tobacco farming.
All the soil is not the same
Though it’s all coming out from the earth’s core, all volcanic soils are not the same as the tobacco that grows on them. There are various volcanic regions where cigar tobacco is farmed, and the leaf quality is different in each area because of the change in soil character and the climate from place to place.
Tobacco grown on the dark grey light consistent, clay-like soil, tends to be more robust, but the grey powdery like volcanic soil can produce slightly milder tobacco. Now the high fertile reddish soil is suitable for smooth and silky tobacco.
Ecuador, Nicaragua, Indonesia - The volcanic regions famous for cigar tobacco
Ecuador – is the first volcanic region that became popular amongst cigar makers. Ecuadorian leaves grown in Los Ríos Province are best used for wrapping premium cigars.
Nicaragua - Esteli, Condega, Jalapa, and Ometepe are the regions where tobacco is farmed in Nicaragua and each and every region have their distinctive soil profiles. For example, Esteli leaves are strong and used for fillers. On the other hand, Jalapa, where the soil is reddish, produces wrapper leaves. We can’t forget Ometepe island, a unique location famous for its smooth and sweet flavored tobacco leaves. Having more rock content in the soil, tobacco leaves from the Condega region are thinner and have less flavor profile than the other regions.
Indonesia - Deli in North Sumatra is where premium cigar tobacco is farmed. The soil in this region is highly fertile volcanic Andisol which is reddish-brown clay that helps grow silky smooth tobacco leaves, which is a perfect pick for wrappers.