Subscribe to Cigar Aficionado and receive the digital edition of our Premier issue FREE!

Email this page Print this page
Share this page

James Suckling

Global Warming and Cameroon Wrappers

Posted: May 4, 2007 9:14am ET

My mobile phone rang early the other morning in Los Angeles, which woke me from dreams of sake and Trinidad Robusto Extras the night before. It was a bit hazy, but it was a familiar voice coming out of the small speaker—Josh Meerapfel, the young tobacco entrepreneur and grower who produces the best Cameroon wrapper in the world. If you smoke stuff like Fuente Don Carlos, then you have smoked Josh’s wrapper.
 
He’s a good friend and had just got back from Africa. “We need some rain, man,” he said. “It’s really got me nervous. We should be fine, but this weather is crazy.”
 
Sometimes we forget how cigars are really an agricultural product, especially when they are made with tobacco from Cameroon and the Central African Republic. Wrapper there is all hand grown and hand cultivated. There is no irrigation, no tractors, no nothing. I have been there. Most of the tobacco growers live in mud huts with no running water or electricity. It’s real Out of Africa/Dr. Livingston I Presume/Real Deal Jungle, with tobacco fields.
 
When I was there we would hike for miles through thick jungle to visit various growers. A few weeks before one of the Meerapfel's  employees was attacked by a big cat. I can’t remember if it was a leopard or a lion or what. I didn’t care. I was sweating bullets walking through that jungle! I think I had to change my underwear when I got back to the camp.
 
Anyway, everyone speaks about the weird weather and how it affects their tobacco crop. I remember old Alejandro Robaina was talking about the same thing a few months back in Vuelta Abajo in Cuba.

Global warming is real.  I hope the earth corrects itself soon. Or maybe we will be growing tobacco in Los Angeles, if we can find the space?
 

Comments   7 comment(s)

Tanner K — New Canaan, CT —  May 4, 2007 2:40pm ET

Ahh, those Trinidad Robusto Extras are one of my favorite sticks... but back to the main topic. I happen to be one of those people who are skeptics of global warming. Now, I know that we do have an impact on the environment to a certain degree (with all the emissions from the energy we produce, how could we not?), but I'm not a believer in it. That being said, there are certain aspects of agriculture that are being threatened, one of them being the main contributor to our hobby. It would be a shame to see that our own actions have contributed to the extinction of certain species of plants and animals. However, I wouldn't worry too much, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the temperatures continue to drop, and our precious Cameroon wrappers continue to entice our pallets.


scott zegans May 5, 2007 1:46pm ET

the cameroon wrapper on the casa fuente cigar is out of this world


Brian Brinkley May 7, 2007 10:04am ET

So did Al Gore give you carbon credits for this story?Oh James, I did not expect you to sink this low, well I take that back. This is just as inaccurate and rittled with falsehoods as your Cohiba 30th article. FWI James the dimensions are 7 3/4 x 50 not 9+" long! It has only appeared in auction twice (once with an opened jar of 23 in Nov 05 and a single from the humidor in Nov 03)! The original price was not $2000 from PCC but $23,000 or $HK190,000, and it is not a full bodied in your face blockbuster but refined, light, mild, complex, something that takes tremendous concentration and being sober. If you ever come to Texas, give me a shout, and I will give you a real one!


Robert Smith May 8, 2007 12:32am ET

LOL !! I always wonder if cA gets fake cigars. Some of the reviews lead me to belive that. FWIW I never thought of a Choix Supreme as a dark, full bodied cigar. Makes one wonder where the cigars come from. I know they list in U.K. prices and a certain large U.K. retailer got busted some years back for selling fake cigars. Although I've not heard anythig bad since then.


John Bowman — NY, NY —  May 9, 2007 9:09pm ET

Global warming, as it is currently debated, is a two-part question. Is the globe warming and is it caused by humans or inevitable. If weather affects the tobacco crops in Cameroon or Cuba, and it persists for, say 5 years, we're in trouble. As pleasent a prospect it is to ponder California and Florida disappearing into the sea, the affect on cigars would no doubt be a disaster for cigars, especially Cuban cigars.


James Suckling May 16, 2007 2:56am ET

Brain: If you know so much about the 30th anniversary, why not tell me who the roller is that made them?


James Suckling May 16, 2007 4:20am ET

Brian: Thanks again for the lesson on Cohiba 30th anniversary. But you got your size wrong. It's 7 1/2 inches long. If I wrote a story that says 9 inches, then it was a typo, which happens. The cigar was created by Norma Fernandez, who was Fidel's private roller at El Laguito and remains in quality control at El Laguito. She wanted to combine two of Cohiba's most popular smokes: Lanceros and Robusto. So she came up with the special size for the 30th anniversary of Cohiba. I was at the launch in Havana. Did we meet then?Whether I am sober or not smoking a cigar is none of your business. Furthermore, the numerous 30th anniversaries I have smoked came from the collection of George Wong, who owns part of Pacific Cigar, the Far East and Canadian agent of Cuban cigars. So, their not fake. And I don't need to travel to Texas to smoke one. Que loco...



Please log in to post a comment—registration is FREE.

Log In If You're Already Registered At Cigar Aficionado Online

Forgot your password?

Not Registered Yet? Sign up–It's FREE.

FIND A RETAILER NEAR YOU

Search By:

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

    

Cigar Insider

Cigar Aficionado News Watch
A Free E-Mail Newsletter

Introducing a FREE newsletter from the editors of Cigar Aficionado!
Sign Up Today