When many cigar smokers talk about Connecticut Wrappers, you will always hear similar words associated with the leaf…mild, creamy, perfect for new cigar smokers, etc. As I puff away on this Quesada Reserva Privada, I think about the stereotypes that this certain tobacco has gained. While those descriptions are many times accurate, they do not apply across the board. I often ask, why has the Connecticut tobacco leaf become such an ignored choice for many cigar connoisseurs?
To me the Connecticut leaf can be one of the most complex and unique flavors that can be found in the tobacco world. Like any other cigar, there can be good ones and bad ones, or rather ones that you prefer and ones that you do not. The name Connecticut refers to the seed and does not necessarily mean it is from the U.S. of A. While many Connecticut Shade tobacco is grown in the Connecticut valley here in America, many other countries grow the leaf as well. The most common Connecticut leaf that is used in many premium cigars out now comes from tobacco fields in Ecuador. The reason for this, is Ecuador’s natural cloud cover and natural fogginess that allows for natural shade-like conditions without the need to cover the tobacco.
So what is so special about the Connecticut leaf? After all its just mild and for newbie smokers right? Not so fast. While the leaf naturally has some smooth and creamy characteristics, the entire blend of a cigar makes it stronger or spicier or richer, etc. Let’s not forget than many of the richest flavored cigars in the world are Connecticut leaves that are aged into maduros. Connecticut wrappers can provide a very complex finish to many different types of blends.
For instance, the Avo XO line has a much higher nicotine content than the Avo Classic Series even though both cigars are draped with different Connecticut wrappers. When smoking these two cigars side by side, you would notice the blend of the AVO XO is much creamier and smoother flavored cigar that actually has more of a kick to it, compared to the grassy and earthy notes of the Avo Classic.
The likes of the above mentioned Quesada Reserva Privada, along with other ultra premium Connecticut offerings such as the Dunhill Aged line, the new Padron Damaso, or many classic offerings from Davidoff have wonderful flavor profiles that only more advanced cigar smokers may appreciate. Each of these have a nice subtle spice on the back-end accompanied by a smooth sweetness. Each blend has a bunch of other nuances that make them very unique from each other. The complexities would be lost on a new smokers palate.
Then there’s the Nat Sherman Epoca or the RoMa Craft Intemperance EC. These cigars feature more of a spicy on the front-end of the draw while the creaminess shows up on the retrohale. These type of Connecticut offerings are definitely more on the medium to medium full range and many advanced smokers often over look them solely because of their light wrapper color.
So I challenge you, cigar aficionado’s, smoke some Connecticuts. Really focus in on them and try to identify the complexities each one has to offer. Some of the truly masterful blends out their are found wrapped underneath a delicious and delicate Connecticut leaf. Expand your palate and embrace these gems.