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Cigars From Everywhere: A Look At The Best Cigars From Two Nations

Sep 5, 2008
The best cigars in the world, if you're just looking at rankings, tend to come from only a few countries, most of them Latin American: Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and those banned-in-America Cuban cigars that everyone talks about. However, excellent tobacco is grown all over the world - some regions that you might not immediately think of include Connecticut, the American South, and the Middle East, home of a delicious sweet-smelling tobacco that makes those country's open-air markets such a joy for those who love to smoke.

And the knowledge of how to make a good cigar is as widely diffused as are the conditions in which great tobacco is grown. Here we take a look at the cigars of two countries hailing from the same general region of the world as the four cigar powerhouses mentioned above (Nicaragua, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Honduras), but which, for reasons we go into below, have only recently begun to rival the popularity of their neighbors' - even though both countries have long produced the tobacco used in some of the world's best cigars. But the cigar makers of these two countries on which we're focusing, Mexico and Brazil, have made great strides in recent years - and their offerings are definitely worthy of your cigar humidor.

Mexico
When you think about it, it's a little strange that Mexico isn't already known as a major cigar-producing nation. Thirty-four percent of adults in the country smoke tobacco in some form, and Mexican farmers have been growing tobacco for centuries for use in the country's own and in other countries' cigars. That high-quality Mexican tobacco is even used in Macanudos, the most popular premium cigar in the United States.

But some cigar aficionados have long considered Mexican-made cigars themselves suspect, despite the long-honed expertise of Mexican tobacco farmers. And the reason, alas, was, like so many things, political.
For decades, the Mexican government enforced a law that all of the country's cigars must be puros: that is, cigars made one hundred percent from Mexican tobacco.

Only Mexican leaves could be used for the fillers (the part that gets smoked), the binders (which hold the filler) and the wrappers, AKA the outer leaf in which the fillers and binders are rolled. Most other cigar makers blend tobacco from several areas to create a richer, more complex taste. This meant that the only area in which Mexican cigars could compete was in the area of price. Te-Amo, the country's major brand, was a popular, affordable cigar in the United States and other places for decades. But when the US cigar industry rebounded, during the 1990s, from decades of stagnation, it was expensive cigars that everybody wanted - and many disregarded the Te-Amo's quality. So a cigar that was already somewhat handicapped by its taste was now handicapped as well by, ironically, its low price.

But that's all changed now. The trade restrictions requiring all Mexican cigars to be puros were lifted during the mid-1990s, just in time for Mexican cigar companies to begin appealing to that discriminating, newly robust US cigar market. The Turrent family, owner of the Te-Amo company, offered the premium Te Amo Aniversario, using Nicaraguan, Dominican and Mexican filler together for a more complex taste. Now Mexican cigars can show off their incredibly high-quality tobacco to advantage, blending it with the best tobaccos of other countries to create a cigar that rivals any.

Brazil
The Brazilian cigar industry has found itself, in the past, in the same bind as that in Mexico - the country's tobacco is used all over the world, in some highly popular cigars, but the same smokers who puff on Brazilian tobacco all the time won't try Brazilian-made stogies. Here, unlike in Mexico, there's no legal obstruction - just a case of quality going underrated and underadvertised, fans say. Dona Flor is one of Brazil's best-known cigars, named after the classic bawdy Brazilian novel by Jorge Amado. Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, with its tale of a woman in love with both her respectable second husband and her randy first husband's ghost, explores the way we so often have to trade stability for excitement - although fans of this cigar suggest that its taste is both exciting and reliable. The cigar's creator, Felix Menendez, is yet another result of the Cuban cigar diaspora - his father, Alonso Menendez, made Montecristos in Cuba for decades, but left the country after its 1959 revolution.

Other Brazillian-made cigars include Angelina, Dannemann and Dannemann, Le Cigar, Aquarius, Augustua, DaMatta, Dom Porfirio, Don Pepe, Quiteria, Siboney, Caravelas, Delectados, Suerdieck, and MR.
About the Author
CigarFox provides you the opportunity to build your own sampler of the finest cigars that include cigar brands like Montecristo, Romeo & Julieta, H Upmann, Macanudo, Cohiba, Partagas, Gurkha and many more. Choose from more than 1200 different cigars! Other cigar products include cigar humidors, cigar boxes, and cigar accessories like Zippo Lighters.
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