While it was once true that the cigar from the tobacco grown locally was the best cigar, that was likely true only because it was the only one available. Native Americans couldn’t head to a local cigar shop for the tobacco for their ceremonial pipe after all. Since smoking dates back thousands of years, most cultures faced few options. Now that you do have the world at your feet, you can stand to be choosier, and that means going with handcrafted cigars from countries that grow exceptional tobacco.
- Dominican Republic – It used to be that Cuba was the leading exporter of cigars to the United States, but that ended when embargos made that impossible. As a result, Cuban cigar families had a choice to make – stay and struggle, or relocate. As a result, many headed to the Dominican Republic, which led to it being the largest exporter to the United States. They had a decent cigar industry prior to that, so you can be confident of a quality cigar, such as La Aurora, which has been crafted in the Dominican Republic for more than a century. Other options include La Flor Dominicana and Arturo Fuente.
- Nicaragua – Cuban cigar families also investigated Nicaragua and found it had wonderful soil for tobacco growing. The industry has grown to the point that cigars are a big percentage of the country’s exports and there are many companies producing quality cigars. For example, Illusione cigars are made from tobacco cultivated in Nicaragua’s Estelf and Jalapa Valley. Other options include Oliva and AJ Fernandez.
- Ecuador – While not the huge cigar exporter that the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua are, Ecuador is known for high-quality wrappers. The rich and fertile soil created from the ash from its 32 active volcanoes and the resulting cloud cover creates premium cigar wrapper tobacco that really enhances the smoking experience.
At Top Leaf Cigar Lounge in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, we offer more than 170 top cigar brands, many of which either come from these countries in their entirety or are from cigar producers that import tobacco from these and other countries, such as Mexico and Honduras. Feel free to stop by to buy cigars or enjoy our cigar lounge with one-day, monthly and annual memberships.