The Comeback of Connecticut Wrapper
Posted on August 25 2020
The Comeback of Connecticut Wrapper
When asked about people’s first cigar experience, the scale tends to tip more on the lighter shaded cigars, Connecticut wrappers than the darker shaded ones, Maduro wrappers. That is the result in the myth of lighter wrappers are a lighter smoke. I am here to tell you a story about the rise, the fall and the comeback Connecticut wrappers.
Connecticut Wrappers 101
Just like the name suggests, Connecticut wrappers are tobaccos cultivated in the Connecticut River Valley. It is unclear exactly when and whom started the idea of growing tobacco in the river valley, but it was already a practice by the natives when the first settler arrived in the 1630s. It wasn’t until 1820s, where Connecticut shade tobaccos were recognized for their delicate, mild and pristine quality. Thus, it began being exported to Europe and used as a cigar wrapper leaf instead of pipe tobaccos.
There are three categories of wrappers under the Connecticut tobacco name; Connecticut Broadleaf, Connecticut Shade and Ecuadorian Connecticut. For the purpose of this blog, I will focus more on the Connecticut shade wrappers and the Ecuadorian Connecticut wrappers.
Per an interview with Nicholas Melillo on liveabout.com, who is a Connecticut native and the founder of Foundation Cigar Company, Connecticut shade is a variation of Sumatra tobacco and was introduced sometime between 1890s and the early 1900s. Unlike the tobacco fields in Sumatra, which are in the jungle and shaded by the surrounding trees, Connecticut River Valley lacked feature of natural shades. In order to replicate the same condition, farmers would build tent to cover the sun. Nowadays, many use cheesecloths to shade the tobacco plants.
Many cigar companies eventually turned to Ecuador to cultivate Connecticut tobacco seed as a cheaper alternative while still meeting the richness of the soil from the country’s active volcanoes and gaining natural shades from clouds that constantly protect them from the sun. Not to mention, the end product of Ecuadorian Connecticut tobacco is milder than Connecticut grown and it takes less time to ferment and age the tobacco before it can be used.
A good example would be Davidoff of Geneva. After escaping to Dominican Republic from Cuba, Davidoff used Connecticut Shade wrappers from Connecticut as their signature wrapper. However, that changed in 2001. When they switched to Ecuadorian Connecticut, simply because it had a higher yield rate, less expensive and less time to prepare the tobacco.
More Than Mere Smokes in the Air
Like most beginner cigar smokers, I sought out brands such as Romeo & Julieta, Montecristo, and Macanudo when I first got into cigars. As I look back, there were very subtle differences in terms of flavors when lighting up an 1875, Macanudo Gold or a Montecristo Classic. As I gain more experience and refined my palate, I shied away from these brands, but specifically Connecticut Shade Wrappers, until recently.
After joining Luxury Cigar Club, I was being reintroduced to Connecticut wrappers; that includes both Connecticut shade and Ecuadorian Connecticut wrappers. It all started with the 2019 September monthly box, it included an Atabey in Idolos size. As I lit up the cigar, I experienced a new side of Connecticut shade wrappers. Even though it was still considered a mild plus to medium strength cigar, there were complex flavors. Then the following month, we received the Back2Back Connecticut, which is medium strength, but still flavorful. By January 2020, we received a Roma Craft Intemperance EC XVIII Goodness. By that time, I was convinced that Connecticut wrappers were making a comeback.
Below I will list few honorable mentions of cigars with Connecticut wrappers that you should try:
- Drew Estate Undercrown Shade
- Charter Oak Rothschild
- Southern Draw Rose of Sharon
- Gran Habano Blue in Green
- Mike G Super Connecticut
- Persian King Rajah
- Protocol Themis
- Avo Syncro Nicaragua
- Caldwell Eastern Standard
These are just a few Connecticut shade wrappers cigar that is out there. Tell us what are some of your favorite Connecticut Shade wrappers that packs a punch in terms of flavors and/or strength.
- Kevin Sun