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January 2014

Equity in Ecuador's Cuban-Seed Wrapper

Posted: Jan 14, 2014 12:00pm ET

I still haven't cleaned the Ecuadoran soil off my boots. Something about that dusty patina on top of the black leather makes me think for a second or two that I'm some sort of a cowboy, or at the very least a rugged ranch hand. Never mind. In November I went to Ecuador to check out the recent crop of Havana-seed wrapper grown by the Tampa-based Oliva Tobacco Co. It's quite an impressive operation, and whether you know it or not, you've probably smoked at least one cigar with Oliva's wrappers. So why am I writing about this now? Well, the full article appears in the recent issue of Cigar Aficionado, and is full of great pics of tobacco farms as well as objective information on the tobacco, so you could regard this entry as a sort of digital appendage to the main text. But thinking back to the article, I realize that although I imply it, I never come out and say what I've been thinking for the last two months: John Oliva Jr. is one of the unsung tobacco men of the premium cigar industry. Not that he regards himself in that light. Not at all. But if you take a look at the Top 25 Cigars of 2013 and years passed, you'll find his wrappers appear on cigars up and down those lists.

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