You may accuse us of oversimplifying, but to us, at least three types of people are responsible for a great cigar: the farmer who cultivates and ferments the tobacco, the blender who chooses the tobaccos and finds the right combination for their target palate, and the rollers who produce the cigar at-scale and are responsible for how your cigar ultimately burns.
Most cigar companies control the last two elements: they're headed by a master-blender who creates the blends and run factories where expert rollers create the premium handmade cigars
. Some contract out their blends, leaving the rolling to a third-party factory once they've developed a blend. Sometimes they even work with the factory's master-blender to develop the blends. For example, Alec Bradley and Rocky Patel both started off working with Nestor Plasencia to develop and produce their blends, although Rocky's started his own factory now.
But very few cigar companies control the first step of creating a premium cigar. They may choose their tobaccos extremely carefully, but they don't raise the tobacco from the seed to create the perfect leaf for their next blend.
So the few brands that do grow their own tobacco have unique control over the final cigars. They're the only companies in the world who can take full responsibility for their creations. And it's no surprise that they include some of the most highly regarded brands in existence since growing and fermenting the tobacco allows the master-blenders to reach new heights of creativity.
Here are four famous brands that grow their own tobacco:
No cigar company is better known for growing tobacco than Plasencia. Patriarch Nestor Plasencia not only manages the production of over 30 million cigars a year, but he also owns more tobacco farmland than any other company in existence.
The Plasencia family owns thousands of acres across all of the major regions of Nicaragua and Honduras. You can find their tobacco in countless blends by all of your favorite brands. If a blend contains Nicaraguan tobacco, odds are it's either Plasencia or Oliva tobacco. Heck, when Nestor was asked by Cigar Aficionado what percentage of the US market uses his tobacco, his response was 70%.
You read that right. More than two-thirds of all cigars in the US use Plasencia tobacco.
And, of course, the Plasencias produce tens of millions of cigars every year for brands such as Rocky Patel, Alec Bradley, Gurkha, 5 Vegas, Cuba Libre, Casa Magna, and Padilla.
Nestor Plasencia even created an entirely new cigar region when he founded a plantation on the volcanic island of Ometepe, in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. Now, the name Ometepe ranks alongside Esteli, Jalapa, and Condega in the Nicaraguan hall of fame.
Despite their long history of growing some of the best tobacco around and rolling some of the best cigars, the Plasencias waited a long time before launching their own cigar brand. The wait is over though and their Alma line has been taking the world by storm for the past few years.
The Alma del Fuego is one of their latest hits and one that represents the breadth of Plasencia tobacco. It's the best representation of Ometepe tobacco around and its Jalapan wrapper is nothing to scoff at either. A must-try for any fan of Nicaraguan tobacco. Buy Plasencia Cigars Online
Jose “Pepin” Garcia is one of the star blenders of the 21st
century. He's dominated headlines, awards, and shopping carts ever since he landed in Miami in 2002. He made a name for himself by producing Tatuaje with Pete Johnson and things just went up from there.
But Don Pepin's son, Jaime Garcia, changed everything for the Garcia family. Jose came back from a trip to Nicaragua to buy tobacco to discover that his son had created his first blend. He tried the cigar and decided to build a brand around the blend.
You may have heard of the cigar before: My Father.
Soon after, the Garcias opened a factory in Nicaragua and bought several plantations to source the tobacco for their growing brand.
These days, Jaime is the master-blender and Jose spends his days on the Nicaraguan farms cultivating, fermenting, and aging the tobaccos for their world-famous blends. It's a true father-son partnership, with the skills and hard-work of both Garcias evident in every My Father cigar.
Buy My Father Cigars Online
Arturo Fuente was one of the first mainstream cigar brands to embrace vertical integration and make a name for themselves with homegrown tobacco. Chateau Fuente grows almost all tobacco found in not only Arturo Fuente blends, but also Ashton cigars.
Chateau Fuente is probably best known for Carlos Fuente Jr.'s stubborn determination to grow a high-quality Dominican wrapper leaf. Many said it couldn't be done, but in the mid-90s Carlito proved them wrong with a gorgeous shade-grown wrapper and one of the most sought-after blends in existence: the Fuente Fuente OpusX. One look at the waiting lists for OpusX cigars and you know that the Fuentes still grow some of the best tobacco around. Buy Arturo Fuente Cigars Online
La Flor Dominicana
If anyone could match Carlos Fuente for ingenuity, it's Litto Gomez. The winner of the 2016 Cigar of the Year award has pushed the envelope on everything from tobaccos to vitolas. Oh goodness, the vitolas. From the squat and tapered El Jocko to the iconic Chisel and the award-winning Andalusian Bull, Gomez seems ideologically opposed to rolling a normal-shaped cigar.
But if there's anything he's better known for than his strange taste in vitolas it's his love affair with Ligeros. No other blender uses Ligeros more frequently or more effectively than Litto. Just ask anyone who's smoked the Double Ligero Chisel and they'll tell you the man knows how to blast away taste buds like no other. They'll also tell you to buy a box as soon as you can.
And Litto has mastered the Ligero thanks to his two Dominican farms, one 120-acre farm that he's owned since the beginning and another 40-acre farm that he bought in 2006. Over the years, Litto has mastered the art of growing and aging the most potent long-fillers known to man. And we wouldn't have it any other way. Buy La Flor Dominicana Cigars Online