Monday, November 4, 2013

A Glimpse of Nicaragua

Being a photographer I get to travel to some very interesting places. Being a cigar smoker, one of the most interesting places I have recently visited was Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is located just south of Honduras and north of Costa Rica in Central America.

Some of the world's best cigars are produced and exported from Nicaragua.

One of the main reasons Nicaragua is such a hotbed for cigar tobacco is the soil. These volcanic lands, with dry soil, deliver a powerful and aromatic tobacco that produces great cigars. The tobacco from this region differs greatly from other countries. It has special sweet flavors, oiliness and refined spicy notes that make it prized by many cigar smokers.

In the northwest part of the country, not far from the Honduran border, is the city of Esteli.

Esteli is the second biggest city in Nicaragua and is home to the majority of Nicaraguan cigar production. The lands around Esteli are perfect for growing tobacco for use in cigars. 
The Esteli region has black and fertile soil and produces a heavy, full-flavored tobacco leaf. It is characteristically dark, and rich with full aromas, body, and flavor. Esteli is known for producing the most powerful of all Nicaraguan tobacco.

Many award winning cigars like Padron and San Lotano have come out of the small town of Esteli where their pride and culture keeps them striving to create an even better cigar.

Other important growing regions in Nicaragua are the Condega valley, Jalapa valley and the island of Ometepe which is located off the coast of Nicaragua.

Tobacco in the Condega valley is mostly sun-grown but with the heavy cloud cover in this area the tobacco plants have thinner leaves. The leaves here are used a lot for filler and binder and are usually very strong.

The island of Ometepe is located off the coast of Nicaragua. This island was created by the twin volcanoes called Concepcion and Madera which rise out of Lake Nicaragua. Concepcion volcano is the tallest of the two and is still active, while Madera volcano is considered to be extinct or dormant.
It is on this island where the volcanic soil is extremely fertile, and allows perfect conditions for growing tobacco for cigars. Tobacco grown on this island is described as producing a sweet and a uniquely spicy tobacco almost peppery.

 The Jalapa Valley is Northeast of Esteli near the boarder with Hondurus. The fertile soils here have been perfect for growing many different types of tobacco including the Criollo 98 hybrid.
This leaf was one of the original Cuban seed tobaccos and this hybrid helped in the production do to it's resistance to Blue mold.

There are many large premium cigar manufacturers today in Nicaragua.
My eyes were opened on my trip to Nicaragua. From the beautiful surroundings to the wonderful people, my trip was informative and enjoyable. If you ever have the opportunity to visit, I highly recommend it.
All photographs by Michael Barone, copyright 2013

1 comment:

Thank you for your interest. Enjoy!