Cigars With Tobacco from Pre-Embargo Cuban Seeds
After 45 Years, Cigars With Tobacco from Pre-Embargo Cuban Seeds Return
"I doubt many smokers have experienced cigars like these," says John Vogel, in his understated announcement of what is likely the most anticipated event by the cigar world in 45 years. Vogel, a graduate agronomical engineer specializing in genetic research, is director of Tabacos de la Cordillera, of Puriscal, Costa Rica. Since 2002, he has been growing 100% genetically pure Cuban tobacco naturally, from his proprietary bank of 47 rare, pre-Cuban Embargo "Ancestral" Cuban seeds.
Tabacos de la Cordillera now offers several cigar brands made only from tobacco derived from the exclusive seed bank, grown on the company-owned 65-acre farm. They include Cumbres de Puriscal, in 3 blends and 9 shapes ($3.25 to $5.90 suggested retail price); Purisco, in two wrappers and 5 shapes ($2.70 to $4.75); Colinas (the only short-filler line, using picadura tobacco from Cumbres and Purisco), in 6 shapes (2.50 to $3.05); Picos mini-torpedoes, in 2 wrappers ($2.00); and Min Cigars, in 2 blends ($1.00).
"Many non-Cuban cigar companies play on the names 'Cuba' and 'Havana,' to add to their mystique," states Vogel. "None can claim their tobacco is any different than all the others using the same current Cuban seeds. Only from Tabacos de la Cordillera can smokers enjoy the taste of true, peerless pre-Embargo Havanas ... the world standard reborn.
"Our legendary strains date as far back as 1945, and exist nowhere else worldwide, not even in Cuba. Most were developed before Castro aborted research and improvement of Cuban seeds, to focus on sugar crops for Russian Cold War demands. Before that epochal event, following 300 years of development by research scientists and expert tobacco farmers, Cuban tobacco was at its pinnacle of perfection and the envy of the world."
Vogel, of German and Spanish parentage, has the credentials to substantiate his claim. A graduate agronomist, he was an R & D project leader for 20 years with Consolidated Cigar Corporation. Management-level assignments took him into virtually every company activity, reporting to a company director. He followed that with 20 years of genetic and agricultural consulting to the tobacco industry. His accomplishments garnered him recognition by Consolidated Cigar, the US Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, and the Windsor County Agricultural Station (in Connecticut's tobacco-farming capital).
"My acquisition of these long-forgotten Ancestral Cuban seeds is not a story of dark intrigue," asserts Vogel. "Four decades of business travel to over 20 countries led to associations with world-renowned tobacco researchers and geneticists, including those from Cuban Land, the agricultural research institution that operated in Cuba until Castro disbanded it. These contacts were the sources of the seeds."
The news already has stirred requests by some of the largest players on the tobacco landscape, for samples of his unique product and visits to his farm and factory. Vogel's impact on the cigar world is understood when one realizes Cuba's modern contribution of seed is perhaps one new strain every couple of years, shared by every tobacco grower and cigar manufacturer. After a crop or two, the purity of each strain is degraded by cross-pollenation from other nearby tobacco crops.
"In contrast, Tabacos de la Cordillera enjoys a virtually limitless genetic diversity of tobacco strains," explains Vogel. "With 47 different, genetically pure pre-Castro seeds, we can combine strains in an almost infinite variety. We are offering several varieties of tobacco from Ancestral Cuban seeds to cigar manufacturers, and it is now being used in some of the world's most prestigious cigar labels. Also, by having the original, pure seed stock, we can maintain a consistency in our cigars that is lacking in the market today. Lastly, 40 years in agricultural research has taught me how to maintain the genetic quality of the original seeds, through ongoing, systematic seed replenishment."
Smokers can obtain Tabacos de la Cordillera's cigars at factory-direct prices, through the company's new Web site (www.tabacordillera.com). All cigars are available on a limited reserve status.
Cumbres de Puriscal, the flagship cuban cigars from Tabacos de la Cordillera, is made exclusively with tobacco from pre-Castro Ancestral Cuban seeds.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006