Villiger Do Brasil Maduro
President of Villiger Cigars North America: Rene Castañeda
It’s well documented that Mr. Villiger loves Brazil and actually, for all of the premium cigars that Villiger sells around the world, the Villiger do Brasil factory is the only premium cigar factory owned by the company. Can you shed some light on what it is about Brazil and its tobacco that Mr. Villiger loves so much?
That goes back to the tobacco history of the family. Some of the first tobacco that the company ever started working with was Brazilian tobacco, so Mr. Villiger has had a very close relationship with Brazil for many years. Keep in mind that as a company we started in the machine made cigar world and to this day we use a lot of tobacco from Brazil in our machine made lines. Then in 1979 we built our first handmade cigar factory. It was called Charutos Tobajara and then a couple of years ago we moved the operation to a new, bigger facility called Villiger do Brasil.
This particular blend is covered with an Arapiraca wrapper but it was released along with a sister brand covered in Brazilian Connecticut Shade wrapper. I don’t remember ever smoking a Brazilian Connecticut Shade before smoking the sample packs that Villiger sent earlier this year. Where in Brazil do they grow it and can you highlight some of the differences between Brazil-grown Connecticut Shade and the other more commonly found ones?
We grow that tobacco in the state of Bahia. I have seen it on cigars in local markets in Brazil but I agree, I haven’t seen it on any cigars in the US. It’s interesting because first off, it’s a very delicate wrapper. This makes it a challenge to work with and I’m assuming that that’s one of the reasons why more companies don’t use it. But it was a challenge that Mr. Villiger and the team were willing to take on in order to offer something unique to the US market. As for how it tastes in comparison to other Connecticut Shades, it is neutral on the sweetness, has the creaminess of the US Connecticut Shade wrapper and less of the bitterness. The challenge is being able to balance the other tobaccos in the blend so that you can taste that difference and as I said earlier, doing that with a very delicate wrapper. I want to be clear, the bitterness in the US Connecticut Shade is not a negative thing, it’s a bitterness that when it has been blended right allows for a good development of flavors in the cigar. If you make a little puro with only the Brazilian Connecticut Shade wrapper you can taste that creaminess, a touch of the vanilla, and a little bit less of the bitterness.
It’s interesting because when we started this project we were expecting all of the attention to be on the Maduro with the Arapiraca wrapper and the Claro with the Connecticut Shade would just be something unique to present to the market. But we’ve seen consumers coming back to us constantly for more information on the Claro!
Now jumping back to the Maduro, the thing that jumps out at you immediately upon smoking it is the unique sweetness on the palate. What part of the blend do you feel is responsible for this characteristic?
So I mentioned earlier how the Brazilian Connecticut Shade is neutral on sweetness. The Arapiraca is the exact opposite. The sweetness of the Maduro blend is more about the Arapiraca wrapper than anything else. It brings that dried fruit sweetness that is very typical of many Brazilian tobaccos. And in this case, the entire blend is made up of Brazilian tobacco so we’re able to balance it in a way that really allows the Arapiraca’s sweetness to be the rock star of the blend.