How does the terroir affect the taste of your cigar?

The tip of a cigar from Havana House waiting to be smoked

People assume that the majority of a cigar’s tasting notes start to occur after you have placed it in one of your cigar humidors, but terroir plays one of the most important factors.

First off, let us explain the term ‘terroir’; terroir is the set of environmental factors that affect a crop’s genetic quality, environmental context and farming practices when grown in a specific habitat.

The concept of terroir originates from France, French for “region”, and is used in the agricultural industry, in particular in viticulture which is the study of grapes for wine, and also the growing of tobacco in this case. The characteristics of the soil, the climate as well as the terrain all have a detrimental effect on the finished product when it comes to smell, taste and appearance.

When it comes to soil there are many ways in which this can affect the cigar you are smoking; the ratios of magnesium and calcium will determine the sweetness of your cigar and the amounts of iron in the soil will determine what type of aroma your stogie will give off.

During the Cuban Revolution a terroir experiment was accidentally put into practice, as people – including the tobacco elite – left Cuba, they took tobacco seed with them, which found its way into Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. These thrived in these new climates and terrains, and are still used by many producers today.

Every cigar connoisseur can discover the taste consequences of this by experiencing the different tasting notes in cigars produced in each country with Cuban seed cigars known for strong and aromatic cigars, but don’t expect the same nuances you would find in the original tobacco that is still grown in the fertile red soil in the Vuelto Abajo region.

The cultivation of Cuban seed outside Cuba provides important indications about the effects of the terroir on the taste. Since, however, other factors such as the weather, the position on the stalk or the further processing of the leaves have an influence on the finished product, it is only possible to draw general conclusions. In order to be able to make well-founded statements about the influence of the terroir on taste, it is necessary to conduct a study in which only the terroir of origin is deliberately varied, while all the other factors remain constant.

This cultivation of Cuban seed outside of Cuba has provided the cigar industry with important indications about the effects that terroir has on the taste of cigar tobacco.

To be able to truly test the impact terroir has on cigar taste, Davidoff and Cigar Journal conducted a study in which the terroir of origin is varied whilst all other variables are kept exactly the same. You can read it here.

Terroir clearly has a massive impact on tobaccos and ultimately a cigar’s taste with the flavour of high-quality cigars enhanced with a fertile soil, with many able to improve it further through selective fertilisation of the soil, irrigation and the knowledge that the farmer has the ability to know his soil and can select the seed that best suits his terroir.

Why not try our Havana House cigar selections to see the different taste nuances from a variety of cigars from different countries? We suggest the All The Time In The World or the Big Mouth selections. We also stock all the cigar accessories such as cigar humidors, lighters, cutters, cigarette holders and much more, all delivered straight to your door.


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