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Tobacco College: Cigar Regions

 


CONNECTICUT RIVER VALLEY

There are two very distinctive cigar varietals being grown in this unexpected North American location. Just north of Hartford, Connecticut lies an amazing cigar growing area known as the Connecticut River Valley. The term “Connecticut” is not limited to the state, but refers to the river valley which also runs through Massachusetts as well. The soil in this valley is of glacial origins, which means it was deposited after the last ice age. It is less robust than volcanic soil and produces a very distinctive and lighter flavored tobacco. In 1900 a Cuban seed was brought to the valley in an attempt to simulate the Sumatra seed wrapper tobacco that was already being imported into the country. Sumatra seed grown in the valley gave poor results, but the Cuban seed, grown under shade with muslin or cheese-cloth, successfully gave birth to Connecticut shade-grown wrapper. Due to its northern location, the growing season in Connecticut is earlier in the year, between May and September. The plants are tall and elegant, reaching heights of over ten feet. Today, Connecticut Shade is one of the world’s most prized and beautiful wrapper leaves. It has extraordinary strength, small veins, silky texture, and consistent light tan to golden brown color.

While Connecticut Shade is tall, elegant, smooth, and silky, its counterpart, the Connecticut Broadleaf plant is small with enormous leaves. Broadleaf is grown next to shade, but directly under the sun. It is stalk-cut, instead of being primed like shade-grown, and requires extra fermentation to become smokeable. Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco is dense and very oily tobacco which darkens easily and is commonly used on maduro cigars as wrapper. Over the last century, broadleaf has been a popular wrapper for many mass-market cigars, but with extra care and fermentation, it is currently yielding excellent wrappers for premium maduro cigars. Broadleaf is a little thicker, rougher, and oilier than Mexican maduro leaves.





Certified R&D Tobacconists: United States

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Walter Gorski, CRTGeorgetown Tobacco
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Marc Murray, CRTSantinos Cigars and Cocktails
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Raymond Noriega, CRTStag Tobacconist (Stag of Colorado Ltd.)
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