Before I delve into cigar wrapper types, I wanted to give a quick overview of cigar tobacco in general, specifically the common tobacco strains.
Tobacco originates from South America: Ecuador and Peru in particular. It belongs in the same family (Solanaceae) which includes tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes!
Fact o’ the Day– Did you know that out of the 66 different types of tobacco, only two are smokeable? Nicotiana rustica Linnaeus and Nicotiana tobacum Linnaeus, named after Swedish Botanist Carolus Linnaeus in 1753.
From Perelman’s Primer, “the Nicotiana tabacum type is the one we know today that is used for almost all smoking tobacco.” Within the tabacum family are are various sub-species such as blond, burley, Oriental and black. The first three are flue or fire -cured and are used primarily in cigarettes. Black tobacco is air-cured and the only one used in cigars.
Common Tobacco Strains
Of course there are tons of different Black tobacco strains, and agronomists are always experimenting in order to find the next best thing, but here are the five most common strains. (This list is yanked right from Perelman’s primer)
Bahia: this is grown in Brazil and is one of the oldest native-seed tobaccos. More info on Bahia tobacco located here.
Broadleaf: widely grown, especially in the U.S., this style resulted from the migration of natives from the Andes area into North America.
Habanesis Hybrids: these styles developed from seeds brought to Cuba from Mexico in 1534 and form the base of the “Cuban seed” tobacco family.
San Andres Negro: planted in Mexico and was cultivated by the Aztecs.
Sumatran: originally planted on the Indonesian island of Sumatra from seeds brought by Dutch explorers and traders of the 1500’s.