Looking for an alternative to Cuban Cigar? Try a Nicaraguan. Just because a cigar says “Cuban seed tobacco” on its list of ingredients doesn’t mean the cigar will taste like the real thing — after all, the majority of the unique flavour comes from Cuban soil, rather than just the seed, itself. — you’re not matching a Hoyo De Monterey Epicure No.1 or a Cohiba Esplendido — but rather provide the smoker with rich taste and nuanced complexity that pay homage to the Cuban tradition. Most of the iterations below were created by cigar crafters who fled Cuba and took with them the knowledge on how to make an excellent cigar, and built factories in South America and other regions from where the US could legally import their goods after the US embargo.
Cuba’s Secret Ingredient
Cuba’s secret ingredient of a great Cuban cigar is found in Cuba’s Vuelta Abajo, a fertile section of land in the west. It’s both the climate and subsoil that lend to the rich, earthy, complex flavour of “Habanos”. Vuelta Abajo can take credit for the perfect humidity of 65 percent, an average temperature of 73 degrees Fahrenheit and a wealth of minerals and sand. The result is high nitrate concentration in the tobacco leaves, giving Habanos power, flavour and quality. No one has been able to duplicate them, though many have tried, and these cigars come close.
At the heart of this taste revolution is Nicaragua, which has forged the foundation from which many bold new blends have been built. Its rich, spicy tobacco has become the trademark of a new generation of cigars that can now take their place as a true alternative to the Cuban. A favourite of UK aficionados who actively prefer this region’s cigars is Davidoff Nicaraguan. This 100% Puro Nicaraguan blend combines a 10-year-old Habano Seed Nicaragua Rosado wrapper in a beautiful colour, with a binder from Jalapa and a filler blend of tobaccos from Esteli, Condega and Ometepe.
Another popular Nicaraguan cigar in the UK is Charatan. Only the very best harvests from Niraguan grown Cuban tobaccos are used for the composition of the filler. Ligero-leaves from the top of the plant are quite strong in their aroma, seco-leaves in the middle-part are much lighter and volado-leaves are used because of their good quality features, to receive more volume for the filler and to award a balance in the aroma. Robust Cuban style flavour of woods and mellow spices are exhibited by this large, solid cigar.
Up until the 1960s, Arturo Fuente cigars were made with Cuban tobacco, but after the U.S. embargo with Cuba was implemented, the family business began to manufacture its cigars with Dominican tobacco (since 1968). These blends and cigars are flavourful, distinctive and highly rated, offering something for everyone from those that seek a hearty, full-bodied smoke that will knock them out to those that prefer a smoother, milder blend that won’t dominate the palate.
Similar to the cigars made in the Dominican Republic, some Honduras tobacco has Cuban roots, with many tobacco growers fleeing Castro’s rule and planting their seeds, and their families, in a new country. The climate of Honduras is extremely appealing to tobacco growers, boasting an environment that allows all varieties of tobacco seeds to thrive, ultimately producing full-bodied, flavourful, strong, and aromatic tobacco. La Invicta offers the smoking enthusiast a no frills cigar, whilst using only the finest tobaccos grown in Honduras. These light flavoured Honduran cigars come in a wide range of sizes to choose from and have a medium flavour with a spicy taste with a hint of sweetness.