Out of the gates, John Bull has already been called “the working man’s Excalibur.” The cigar is pretty, with a dark, toothy appearance thanks to the silky Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper that cloaks a mellow blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos. Together they deliver a fairly smooth, mild to medium-bodied smoke. Upon first light, note the interesting mix of dark tobacco flavors and crisp, mellower tobacco flavors with notes of cedar and toast. Look for an even burn, a nice ash and voluminous clouds of smoke. There are some sweet cedary tones during each puff with toasty notes on the exhale and a slight touch of pepper as the smoke exits the nose. In short, John Bull is a solid, mild-bodied handmade with a good balance of contrasting flavors—a cigar that can be enjoyed brainlessly, puffing away while doing just about anything. Pair it with a chardonnay and golf, fishing, boating or whatever activity is your outdoor gig of choice.
The Nicaraguan cigar industry originated when Cuban cigar makers escaped the revolution and re-established their livelihood in Nicaragua with Cuban-seed tobacco. Blessed with dark, rich soil, their new home was ideal for tobacco cultivation and Nicaragua quickly became known for cigars that rivaled Cuban quality. Unfortunately, revolution and war came to Nicaragua in the 1980s and devastated the industry, but it’s rebounded dramatically and is once again producing tobacco considered by many to be the finest in the world.
The Esteli Valley is in many ways the heart of Nicaraguan production and is known for its very powerful and spicy tobacco. The Jalapa Valley produces arguably the finest tobacco in the country: somewhat sweeter and less intense than Esteli, but extremely complex. The tobacco of the Condega Valley is often described as a blend of the other two regions.
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