Get To Know The Regions of Nicaragua
Growing tobacco is a lot like harvesting grapes for wine. There are significant variances in flavor based on the verity of seed and the region in which it was grown. For this reason, tobacco that’s grown in one part of the world will have a very different flavor than tobacco grown elsewhere. For one good example of this, let’s take a closer look at Nicaragua.
There are four major tobacco growing regions in Nicaragua: Esteli, Condega, Jalapa, and Ometepe. Each of these regions possess different soil and climatic conditions, which imbue its tobacco with a variety of characteristics.
Esteli is the one of the largest cities in Nicaragua. It’s also where most of the Nicaraguan tobacco manufacturers are located. There is a lot of tobacco grown here. The Esteli region has hard black soil that gets a lot of sunlight during the growing season. The soil tends to yield a heavy, full-flavored tobacco leaf with a taste that’s extremely hearty. The tobacco from this region is dark and rich with full aromas, body, and strength. At times, it can produce a very spicy tobacco.
The Condega valley is north of Esteli. Here, the soil is rocky, and tobacco from this region is mostly sun grown, yielding a thinner leaf. While about 70 percent of the tobacco grown in the Condega region is considered filler, it does produce a small amount of rich-colored tobaccos that are excellent for wrappers. Tobacco grown in this area tends to be full-bodied and earthy, with a balance of sweet and spicy.
Jalapa is located along the border of Honduras at the bottom of a mountain range. Jalapa’s fertile soil is heavy with red clay, which produces a very smooth, creamy, and sweet tobacco. While some tobacco grown in Jalapa can be full bodied, most of it tends to be more on the mild side. A lot of beautiful wrappers are produced in Jalapa. (Tip: If you ever make the drive from Esteli to Jalapa, make sure you have an experienced driver. The road to get there may be one of the most dangerous roads I have ever experienced.)
Ometepe is a volcanic island located in Lake Nicaragua. The island was created by the twin volcanos Concepcion and Medera. The Concepcion volcano is still active. On this island, soil is exceptionally fertile, allowing for the ideal conditions to grow tobacco. Ometepe tobacco that can be very pleasant in small amounts but it’s got a very dominating flavor. Tobacco grown here can be sweet, however it runs the risk of carrying a metallic tase if it’s not perfectly blended. (Tip: Lake Nicaragua and the city of Granada are beautiful if you ever get the opportunity to visit. There is one tobacco factory there, and if you plan in advance you may be able to schedule a tour.)
We asked our friend Spencer Drake from HR Cigars to provide you with his take - check out the video below and some of our top Nicaraguan picks.