Cigars - Brazil

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brazilpicHistory of Cigar Making in Brazil

Brazil was discovered as a New World in 1500 by the Portuguese adventurer Pedro Alvares Cabral, who claimed the territory for Portugal.  He landed on the southern coast of what is now the state of Bahia and Portugal established the city of Salvador in 1549. Little did they know they landed in the most productive tobacco growing region in all of Brazil.   

The Recõncavo region radiating out from the bay has been producing tobacco since its early days of colonization.  Growing naturally in this area, tobacco was used by the natives as snuff, chewed, or smoked in a pipe. It was the Portuguese and the Dutch colonies that eventually realized great profit in the beautiful, dark and flavorful tobacco leaves. In 1842, Francisco José Cardoso, a Portuguese, installed a cigar making factory in Sao Felix. Shortly thereafter, dozens of factories grew up in the area with three of them becoming imperia – Costa Pena, Dannemann, and Suerdieck. The production of Brazilian cigars from these factories flooded the European markets and lasted late into the 18th century.  

However, since then, cigar production steadily decreased while export of the dark tobacco leaves has increased. It seems it is now more profitable to sell the tobacco to cigar makers in Latin America and the Caribbean, and to European companies that produce machine made short filler cigars.





  CAO Brazilia Lambada Box  




CAO Brazilian

      While not a Brazilian puro, we felt that this beauty deserved a place on this page for its use of a Brazilian wrapper and its embracement of the culture and style of Brazil.      

Of the Brazilian companies that continue to produce cigars from the region are two more well-known brands, and several lesser known cigar makers.  Dona Flor is produced by the Menendez Amerino Company and is just beginning to export to the US.  Also just becoming available are the Monte Pascoal cigars distributed by Mata Fina Imports. 
  donaflor   montepascoal  

Other Brazilian-made cigars include Angelina, Dannemann and Dannemann, Le Cigar, Aquarius, DaMatta, Dom Porfirio, Don Pepe, Quiteria, Siboney, Caravelas, Delectados, Suerdieck (closed in 1999), and MR. 

  angelina   damatta   dannemann   josefina   lecigar   quiteria  


Premium cigar brands are also experimenting with Brazilian leaf as the trend towards fuller stronger cigars is on the rise. Those that have used Brazilian leaf include CAO, most notably in the wrapper of its Brazilia line of cigars.  H. Upmann uses some Brazilian leaf in its filler blend and Altadis USA uses it for filler and wrapper. Brazilian wrapper is also used in La Aurora Preferido Maduros, Carlos Toraño Signatures, and Alec Bradley Trilogy Maduros.  


While the tobacco itself is gaining in popularity, and Brazil is one of the worlds largest producer/exporters of tobacco in the world, the country’s premium cigars have been reduced over the years to a minor export at best.   


tobacco field

The Tobaccos of Brazil


Mata Fina is the main tobacco produced in the Recõncavo region. The tobacco is named after the region and is primarily sun grown.  Wrapper leaves are grown by the larger companies, while the binder and filler leaves are produced by small family farms of which there are many surrounding the villages of Cruz das Almas, Conceiçã da Feira, São Gonçalo dos Campos, and others.  The tobacco from this area is a very fine quality. 

São Gonçalo is a small village where the best wrappers come from. A beautiful sheen on the wrappers is a result of extra care by the planters, and by the cocoa mush used as fertilizer. 
North of Cruz das Almas, is a region called Mata Norte. The rain is not so abundant, and the soil varies from sandy to clay-like. Tobacco crops are planted later in the year in this region, and are primarily sun grown and stalk harvested.  Here the leaves are dried in the open air and thus are not suitable for wrappers, as they are exposed to sun, wind and rain. But this drying method yields a very full bodied smoke with rich, nutty, roasted and bitter coffee notes. 
Mata Sul is an area in the southern part of the Mata Fina and is blessed with good rain and rich soil, but the land is sloping making it hard to harvest. The tobacco is of good quality and a mild-bodied flavor. 
Caatinga is a region that is very dry and with sandy soil. The quality of tobacco from this area is of poor quality and is not used in premium cigars.
Other tobaccos grown in Brazil are Sumatra and Arapiraca. The Sumatra wrappers are very silky, but fairly tasteless and the Arapiraca can vary in quality from very poor and acidic, to very flavorful.

* See each specific malt and cigar tasting note page for individual pairing recommendations.  Flavor bars on each page serve as a quick visual key to tasting.

Header photo credit: Валерий Дед [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons