Originally Posted by Piobaire
Cuba is more full bodied, no? DR for something mild?
This is a common misconsception. While many Cubans are full bodied, it is not because they are Cuban. The strength depends on a) the individual tobacco Strains b)the location of the leaf on the plant (sunlight can have a major affect. the Ligero leaves, the top 3rd of the plant, are, all else being equal, stronger than the lower leaves) c)how the leaves are aged and stored. The Maduro wrapper, for instance, has been what we call fermented. It is stored in large collections that expose the leaves to tremendous pressure and heat, basically cooking it. In doing so, it releases more of the natural sugars (think "burnt molasses" as one of my coworkers says) and a more earthy flavor. Often, but not necessarily, these are fuller-bodied and stronger. The leaves are cycled to even out the treatment over the aging process, the amount of time and heat varying from manufacturer to manufacturer, blend to blend. To give you an idea, the Puro D'oro are a Dominican puro. A puro is made from a binder, filler, wrapper all from the same location of origin (The D.R. in this case). The Davidoff Millenium Blends are a dominican cigar, but the wrapper is grown in Ecuador from using a proprietary seed of Cuban Origin. These are on the Fuller side, but not as full as the Puro D'oros. At the same time, a friend of mine brought back some Cubans from the DR. They were hand rolled by a small artisan, not one of the big names, and was a a very light and flavorful smoke. The Davidoff Thousand Series are light (but very flavorful), but use an Ecuadorian Wrapper. These are the strongest in the Davidoff White Label line. La Flor Dominicana (again, the DR) makes some very full smokes. Their standard lines include Ligeros, and a few double ligeros (which are stronger and more flavorful). Avo, a Davidoff Brand, has quite the range, but in terms of body they fall in the light to the Medium/Full range. Don Pepin Garcia, the famous blender, known for his own brand, as well as blending work for Tatuaje, working with Pete Johnson, Ashton, as well as his work in Cuba before his defection, has made quite a name making medium to full Nicaraguan Sticks with a spicy/sweet flavor. I just finished the My Father li Bijou Churchill, which was a brand by Jaime Garcia, meant as a tribute to his Father and his father's cigars.
Historically speaking, Cubans have been the fullest body cigars, and the best in the world. However, over the last 30 to 40 years, Nicaragua, the DR, Ecuador, etc... have developed a Cigar Infrastructure. With increasing Political stability, many tobacco planters and blenders were able to establish secure brands and have perfected them over the last few decades, creating sticks of increasing quality and hte kind of logistical and political infrastructure that allowed these regions to develop and export these products, which previous they could not. As cigar tobacco (black tobacco) was best suited for Cuba, it took years of selective breeding to created strains capable of growing elsewhere with certain traits. This ongoing process, and through the development of shipping, infrastructure, and so on, these regions capable of growing tobacco began to start doing so on an ever larger scale, and to export them to domestic and international markets. Currently, these products can increasingly challenge the quality, strengths, and subtleties that previously could only exist in Cuban Cigars. It is important, I feel, that we see Cubans as one of many cigar styles. That is, with of all the Cigar makers in the world, we recognize that Cubans are not objectively the best, but rather we celebrate the amazing diversity of this Golden Age of Cigars and view Cubans as one of many examples, with their own special characteristics and feel that makes them Cuban. I have increasingly come in contact with Individuals who still insists that they only smoke Cubans (I am not talking about tourists from Overseas who have not had access to the others, but rather the kind of people who make the declaration as if they are somehow better than I am-they annoy me), and it saddens me, for the have not given themselves the opportunity to expose their palate to a seemingly infinite number of possibilites.
Full Disclosure--I work for Davidoff.