Cuba has a traditional, well-deserved reputation as the hub of Central America cigar making. Legendary British Prime Minister Winston Churchill received a regular supply of Cubans and his preference for a longer cigar gave rise to the ÂChurchillÂ size well known today. Thanks to the rarity of Cuban cigars in the U.S. dating back to a decades-old embargo, they have taken on an even greater mystique as Âhard to get.Â
But Â with the rise of such excellent brands as PadrÃ³n, Perdomo, Rocky Patel, Oliva, CAO and others, Nicaragua cigars are now getting top rankings among the experts and in leading trade magazines. In a story published last year, Cigar Aficionado Magazine, the bible of the industry, says that this is the Âgolden ageÂ of Nicaraguan cigars and that Nica-grown products soon will be the leading producer of premium cigars entering the United States.
In the view of Dominic, my traveling companion earlier this year, who is passionate about every aspect of the cigar experience, and regularly enjoys samples of the best of the best brands, Nicaragua has surpassed Cuba as the center of quality and taste in the industry.
Dominic and I visited the factory of Mombacho Cigars in Granada, and got to view everything from the seeds to the curing to the rolling to the enjoying. We brought them back to Gran Pacifica Resort to enjoy day and night, while sitting poolside, walking the beach or enjoying the sunset from our porch. I think we easily can add our newly discovered Mombacho brand to the ÂtopÂ list.
We also are big fans of Pittsburgh native and entrepreneur Sam Leccia, who has leveraged his experience creating the ÂNubÂ with Oliva to build his own company, Leccia Tobacco (http://www.lecciatobacco.com/) with a factory in Esteli and also one in the Dominican Republic. Both of his ÂBlackÂ and ÂWhiteÂ blends are simply delicious.
Cigars International says this of Sam: ÂAfter taking a 3 year hiatus he's back, and he's behind the wheel of some impressive new handmades. And the good news is, instead of selling out, he's sticking to his guns of developing creative, innovative cigars.Â
In a review, Cigar Aficionado says ÂBlack features a leaf of fire-cured tobacco, seldom used in the cigar business. (Almost all cigar tobaccos are air cured).Â
In yet another review, Stogie Guys reports: ÂFor those seeking something different, Black should be at the top of your list. Not just because itÂs different, but because itÂs good. In fact, this is a cigar thatÂs more enjoyable every time you smoke one.Â