So far in our Cigar Country Spotlight series, we’ve covered big players in the cigar world, such as Cuba and Nicaragua. These are probably the places that would spring to mind when you think about the cigar industry, but there are many places around the world that produce cigars that you may not be aware of.
One of the biggest players in tobacco production, which you may not be aware of, is Switzerland. In this instalment, we take a look at Swiss cigars and the tobacco industry in Switzerland.
While it is not known when tobacco was first introduced to Switzerland, there are reports dating back to 1563, making mention of smoking tobacco, indicating that it was being smoked there at that time.
However, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that Switzerland became a big player in the tobacco production industry. This came with the development of Villiger in 1888 when Jean Villiger established a cigar factory in Pfeffikon.
Just over 20 years later, the Davidoff family moved from Russia to Geneva to avoid religious persecution and ended up growing their brand in Switzerland.
Both brands remain huge players in the tobacco industry to this day and firmly put Switzerland on the map when it comes to cigar production.
With images of the snow-capped Alps coming to mind when thinking of Switzerland, it may seem surprising that tobacco is grown in the country.
That being said, while there are tobacco farms in Switzerland, the tobacco produced their tends to be lower-grade, as the climate simply isn’t right for optimum tobacco production.
As such, Swiss-grown tobacco has declined over the years, although Burley and Virginia tobacco is still grown in the country.
Instead, most tobacco used in Swiss cigars is outsourced to plantations in the Dominican Republic. The cigars are also rolled in the Dominican Republic, as transporting pre-rolled cigars is better than shipping over loose tobacco from a quality perspective.
When the cigars reach Switzerland, they are taste-tested by experts to check that they meet the high standards and quality required for sale.
Create Luxurious Pairings
With Swiss culture placing importance on luxury, from delicious chocolates to superb Swiss cheese, there is a world of pairing perfection to explore. You can take a look at our guide to pairing cigars with food to get a few tips on how to get started.
If you would like to try Swiss cigar brands, such as Davidoff cigars in the UK, then you can discover a full range to choose from online at Havana House.