Well, I’ve been threatening to write more about the inner workings of cigars; their tobacco make-up (wrapper, binder, and filler); how and why the geographical location matters to flavor, what the different parts of the tobacco plant have to offer; cigar shapes and sizes and the list goes on…
As a cigar beginner (back from a 20-year absence, since February 2018) It helps me to retain new information if I write it down, so I’m not writing as a demonstration of my expertise so much as a vehicle to “Learn and Retain”. Ultimately, I’ll be taking the Tobacco University offerings just to certify myself as a knowledgeable “Hobbyist”.
Today I am driven to explore some of what Brazil has to offer the cigar world by way of the San Pedro de Macorís Perla (4.125 x 40) by Royal Agio Cigars that was gifted to me last March by Jeff Martinez at Sellwood Cigar. At my first puff, I was blown away by this affordable and tasty treat. Upon further exploration (online cigar research), I found Brazilian Arapiraca was used as its wrapper and Brazilian Mata Fina tobaccos in the filler along with some other outstanding tobaccos (Dominican Republic [Olor & Piloto Ligero])… Wow!
So, since I’ve been sequestered to only where my hobbling on crutches can take me (taking the garbage out and getting my mail about once a week) for what seems longer than the past 5-weeks, I have some time to explore these topics and learn since I’m only halfway through this new crippling lifestyle.
I’ve been historically familiar with many of the Dominican cigars and tobaccos blends from my distant past experience with cigars. Since my return, I’ve enjoyed many of the premium cigar blends from the “Big-3”; Nicaragua, Honduras, and the variations and origins of the Connecticut Broadleaf from many of the popular “new” artisans and cigar-tobacco blenders who make their “magic” happen via their excellent cigars.
I’m Having a Brazilian Experience
After smoking my first San Pedro de Macoris, I was quick to exclaim my “Wow”. It was after I had smoked my second San Pdero this time a larger Robusto, I was sold! And, my Internet Search and Googling began.
It was no surprise that many cigar manufacturers embraced the use of Brazilian tobaccos for what I discovered where its deep dark flavored Maduro wrapper leaves. Keep in mind that Brazilian tobacco has been utilized in cigars for centuries accounting for present-day Brazilian exports at $2.62 Billion alongside sugar, coffee, and soybeans. Tobacco counts as one of Brazil’s important exports. 1
Searching through my online Humidor, a quick search revealed many cigars that I already possess that use Brazilian Arapiraca wrappers and many that use one of the sun-grown Mata Fina varieties.
From the Fellas at Famous Smoke
Mata Fina is the main varietal of the most popular Brazilian cigar tobacco. It’s a sun-grown leaf that’s stalk-cut – and when fermented, makes excellent Maduro and Oscuro wrappers. (This has me paying attention as another fine cigar from the Balmoral brand of cigars is the Anjeo Oscuro, but that’s another article.) It’s dark, smokes about medium in strength, and has a smooth, rich flavor that’s tinged with a natural sweetness. The earthy aroma is off the charts, too. Mata Fina comes in a few different varieties:
Mata Sul – the southern end of Mata Fina, where the soil is great and there’s plenty of rain. But since this crop is grown primarily on the side of a hill, it’s hard to bring home a good harvest. Mata Sul is mild in both body and flavor, and there’s not much of it going around right now.
Mata Săo Gonçalo – the leaf grown here makes outstanding wrappers, and are super-tasty from being fertilized with the natural byproducts of the nearby cocoa farming industry.
Mata Norte – grown in the much more arid north of the Reconcavo, Mata Norte tobacco is very full and very strong. It’s cured in the open air (as opposed to a barn), and when used as a filler, adds hearty coffee and nut flavors to the blend.
If you’ve never heard of them, you should know these other types of Brazilian tobaccos, too:
Arapiraca – it’s a thicker and meatier leaf than Mata Fina, but less intense in both flavor and aroma; because it’s more subtle, Arapiraca is used to help round out a blend by adding complexity. It’s a mellow smoke and burns with a white ash.
Brazilian-Sumatra – this is tobacco whose seeds originated in Indonesia but has taken hold well in Brazil. It’s a silky, shade-grown wrapper that doesn’t impart much flavor. 2
So, there you have it, my report on some of the Brazilian tobaccos that have me wanting more. Stay tuned as I explore even more of these fabulous tobaccos in my upcoming articles.
- 5 things you need to know about Brazilian tobacco By John Pullo February 17, 2017
- The Cigar from Brazil by Victoria Shorr
- Tobacco College: Cigar Regions by Tobacconist University
- Brazil Cigar Tobacco by Bartender
- Brazil Cigar Tobacco Regions by Bartender
- 2018 CA Report: Top 10 Brazilian Wrapper Cigars by Tommy Zman Zarzecki February 23, 2018
- Brazil Wikipedia