Why Can't I Smoke American Cigars
With all the fuss about Cuban cigars, Nicaraguan-grown leaves, and Turkish tobacco, some US-born premium cigar aficionados might be wondering Why can't I just buy American Of course, Cuba and Nicaragua are parts of "America" (Central America), something that Canadians and Mexicans, too, get tired of mentioning to US residents who insist on using the word "American" to mean "from the USWith all the fuss about Cuban cigars, Nicaraguan-grown leaves, and Turkish tobacco, some US-born premium cigar aficionados might be wondering: Why can't I just buy American?
Of course, Cuba and Nicaragua are parts of "America" (Central America), something that Canadians and Mexicans, too, get tired of mentioning to US residents who insist on using the word "American" to mean "from the US." But, that little misnomer aside, the question is an interesting one. After all, with due respect to Cuba (where the modern art of the cigar was born), it's not like the United States is deficient in designing novel ways to spend one's leisure time. We are the country that brought you the Internet, paperback books, cheap can beer, feature filmmaking (at least if you follow the standard reckoning that posits D.W. Griffith's 1915 melodrama Birth of a Nation as the first truly full-length movie), McDonalds, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and Pong. Not to mention Star Wars, televised sport, YouTube, workout centers with TVs over all the treadmills, and comic strips. If it's a technology for woolgathering and time-wasting, which the cigar is (gloriously so, for its fans), why isn't the United States in the forefront here, too?
The question is especially acute since, as many premium cigar smokers will already know, the United States is actually an incredibly important source of some kinds of premium tobacco. Tobacco used in cigars comes in three kinds: the wrapper (which is just what it sounds like), the binder (which helps add stability to the cigar's construction and holds it together), and the filler (which is where the taste comes in). New England tobacco isn't known for its usability as a binder or filler, but it makes a heck of a wrapper. Connecticut Shade tobacco, one of the major types grown in this area, is in high demand among cigar companies as a wrapper.
The problem for a cigar made wholly of US tobaccos is that the plant itself is a finicky one--it grows best only under very precise conditions. For example, tobacco wants soil that is wet, but it doesn't want to be rained on. Talk about impossible to please! The reason so many cigar smokers bow before Cuba is because Cuba's Vuelta Abajo valley region is one of the only places in the world where these conditions can easily be met. In Vuleta Abajo, you have soil that is rained on extensively most months out of the year, but which gets little rain during the growing season. It's nice moist soil without rain! The temperatures are utterly forgiving--warm but never baking--and the wind is gentle too. Try to name a place in the United States that meets these kinds of conditions, and you'll appreciate more the roadblocks preventing a US-tobacco-only cigar. (The East Coast in the summer, for example, is fine for wrapper tobacco--it's rainier than Vuelta Abajo, but then wrappers need a little more rain than do fillers--but the rain, and the fact that it's cold half the year, make the area less of a safe bet for filler tobacco.)
That doesn't mean filler isn't grown anywhere in the United States. Pennsylvania and Ohio, among others, make the attempt every year. But this stuff just isn't grown in conditions as good as those in Vuelta Abajo, or in other places that come near to replicating its perfect tobacco-growing conditions (parts of Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, and other places). And, sadly, you can taste the difference. For that reason, US filler doesn't make as much money as does filler from other places, and it ends up going into dime-a-dozen domestic cigars--nothing that a premium cigar lover would bother with.
Since US tobacco growers can expect to command decent prices for wrapper tobacco and (sometimes) for binder tobacco (Broadleaf binders from New England are highly regarded), because our soil offers conditions a little bit closer to what these types of tobacco require, most growers choose to make these kinds of tobacco--rather than an inferior binder that will fetch a lower price. Aside from coming up with novel ways to use up leisure time, after all, US culture is also big on the idea of majoring on your strengths.
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.