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Friday, 19 September 2008

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Two new maduro cigars ... Serie 1942 and Serie 1943 ... have joined the Fundación Ancestral connoisseur’s collection of premium cigars from Tabacos de la Cordillera (“Cord-YARE-ah”). The first three Ancestral blends ... Serie 1940, 1941, and 1944 appeared at last year’s RTDA show. All are available in classic shapes ... Churchill, Corona, Robusto, and Torpedo. The cigars are encased in presentation-grade cedar boxes of 25, as well as in sampler cartons of 5 cigars.

The cigars are uniquely revolutionary for several reasons. Most startling is the source of the tobacco ... Cordillera grows all its own tobacco exclusively from seeds developed by tobacco agronomists and genetic specialists in Cuba, long before the Embargo .. company director and career tobacco geneticist John Vogel describes the era as, “Cuba’s Golden Age of tobacco and cigars.”

Vogel acquired 49 different seed vanities from Cuban peer researchers, formerly with the leading tobacco research facilities, until Castro’s government closed them, to focus on sugar production for Cold War Russia. For decades, Vogel has preserved 49 varieties of pure Ancestral Cuban seeds, improving them through selective breeding. This precious genetic stock, thought extinct until he revived them, exist nowhere else in the world.

Vogel created the first three Ancestral blends ... Serie 1940, 1941, and 1944 ... with tobaccos from three seed varieties. The seeds for the tobacco in his Serie 1940 were introduced to Cuba’s leading tobacco growers in the Vuelta Abajo region of Pinar del Rio Province in that year. Serie 1941 contains tobacco from seeds that Cuban agronomists developed for other Pinar del Rio plantations. Serie 1944's tobacco is grown from seeds first seen on farms near the town of Artemisa, in (La) Habana Province.

The tobacco in the Serie 1942 maduro is grown from seeds that originated in the celebrated Vuelta Arriba region, also in Villa Clara Province, while the seeds for Serie 1943's tobacco were first planted in other areas of the province.

To give cigar connoisseurs an idea of how each individual variety’s character, Vogel has used tobacco for each Serie from only that one variety of seed, adapted to and grown naturally on Cordillera’s 65-acre farm near Puriscal, Costa Rica. Far from being one-dimensional, however, the cigars are noted for their deep complexity and elegant bouquet. Vogel attributes this to selective breeding ... he grows 500 plants of each variety on his experimental plot, then segregates the sub-varieties by physical characteristics ... including leaf size and shape, fine vein structure and wrapper texture, disease and pest resistance, flavor, aroma, and burning properties.

Vogel states, “We don’t claim ours are ‘Cuban cigars,’ or that they contain Cuban tobacco. We don’t say they’re ‘the best.’ We do state the fact that we grew all the tobacco in our Ancestral blends from 65 year old Cuban seeds, with flavor and aroma profiles like no other cigars.”

The Fundación Ancestral series, like all long-filler, handmade cigars now produced by Cordillera, incorporates another feature ... Dead-Center Ligero. It revives the old Cuban method of entubado (tubed) bunching, wherein each leaf is rolled into a “soda straw” that runs the cigar’s length. This method provides a visual check for the worker that the ligero is dead-center in the bunch and surrounded by a “bird cage” of similarly tubed base filler leaves. During binding and pressing, the array remains intact. This solves the two greatest problems among smokers. First, the foot-to-head smoke channels virtually eliminate tight draws and plugs. The tubed ligero leaves, captured in the center of the base filler leaves, also does not shift during pressing, making uneven burning a thing of the past.

The wrapper is finished off with a panuelo (handkerchief) cap. This cap design, plus crowned heads, make cutting easier and prevent unraveling of the wrapper following cutting, another source of irritation among smokers. Both of these techniques were common-place by cigar-makers during Cuba’s Golden Age.

Suggested retail pricing for Fundación Ancestral cigars range from $10.50 to $12. All five Series are available now at selected tobacconists.

Fundación Ancestral connoisseur’s collection of premium cigars from Tabacos de la Cordillera




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