Until 2019, Nicaragua proudly held the #1 spot for cigar production worldwide, with over 150 million handmade cigars produced yearly. Additionally, they overtook the Dominican Republic as the largest provider of premium cigars in America. This product’s greatness comes with history.
If you want to learn more about it, keep reading! Below, you can find the history of tobacco production in Nicaragua, facts about the country’s soil, and more.
Tobacco Production In Nicaragua
Before the Spanish conquistadors stepped into Nicaragua in 1519, the local natives had already been cultivating tobacco for years. This particular variety was known as Chilcagre tobacco – commonly referred to as ‘black tobacco.’
By the 1940s, Condega and Estelí became famous for their tobacco production. Virginia and Burley varieties of tobacco began appearing in this era, too, primarily as ingredients for making cigarettes.
After Cuban cigar families left their homeland in the late 1950s and migrated elsewhere, they began looking for a place to cultivate premium tobacco like back home. Thankfully, Nicaragua had perfect soil conditions to do so. With “The Habano Tobacco Program” running strong since 1963, the first plantings of Cuban seeds were established in Jalapa.
In 1968, Simón Comacho and Juan Francisco Bermejo established The Nicaraguan Cigar Company by partnering with Anastasio Somoza. Thanks to this partnership, they were able to acquire access to the fertile soil of Estelí, Condega, and Jalapa, as well as resources for processing tobacco in Central Estelí. This gave them all that was needed to produce quality cigars that would become a staple of the Nicaraguan culture over time.
Nicaragua is the optimal environment for cultivating tobacco plants, boasting an atmosphere and soil resembling Cuba. Estelí, Condega, Jalapa, and – to a lesser degree – Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua are four areas where tobacco leaf production occurs with great success.
Nicaraguan tobacco is renowned for its solid and zesty flavors. To achieve a variety of Cuban and Connecticut seed tobaccos, the three remaining regions (Condega, Estelí, and Jalapa Valley) each cultivate distinct characteristics. Of these areas, Condega produces leaves with a thinner texture than Estelí’s but carries similar medium-strength sweetness; meanwhile, in nearby Honduras lies the Jalapa Valley, whose spicy aroma makes it an ideal wrapper choice.
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Visit the land of volcanoes, lakes, and cigars to gain insight into Nicaragua’s tobacco cultivation history. Contact Nekupe today to get all the details!