Altadis U.S.A. has grown a new type of proprietary Honduran tobacco leaf, and it's shipping to retailers next month in a cigar called Yargüera H. Upmann. The new tobacco strain is named after the Yargüera estate where the leaf is cultivated, in the mountainous farmlands of northeast Honduras.
"It is a hybrid of Criollo '98 and the original seed brought to Honduras in the 1960s from Cuba by the Arias family," Janelle Rosenfeld, vice president of marketing at Altadis U.S.A. told Cigar Aficionado.
Over many years, through careful development and cultivation, the Arias seeds were crossed with Criollo '98 tobacco by a team of agronomists from Altadis. The Yargüera tobacco varietal was born, and Yargüera H. Upmann is the first cigar to be rolled with this new type of tobacco.
"The official name is Yargüera H. Upmann," Yasemin Ozoncul, marketing manager at Altadis U.S.A. explained. "It is not ‘by H. Upmann' or ‘H. Upmann Yargüera.'...Yargüera is the exclusive tobacco variety that our Grupo de Maestros worked almost six years in [developing] and the story is behind the creation of the seed. That's why we call it Yargüera H. Upmann."
The Yargüera tobacco is currently being cultivated in two formats: sun grown and shade grown, and both types are utilized in the blend of Yargüera H. Upmann. The Honduran puro is draped in a Yargüera shade-grown wrapper and features a Criollo '98 binder and fillers composed of Yargüera sun grown and Criollo '98. The cigars are made in Honduras at Altadis's Flor de Copan factory.
Yargüera H. Upmann will ship to retailers in three vitolas: Robusto, which measures 5 inches by 52 ring gauge ($8.50); Toro, at 6 by 54 ($8.75); and Torbusto, at 5 by 56 ($9.25). The company says that the Torbusto vitola is a figurado, tapered at the head and at the foot and wider in the center. All three formats will feature a cola gruesa—a thick-coiled pigtail at the head. Yargüera H. Upmann ships in boxes of 18 cigars.
"The cigar will be officially launched to the market the third week in February," Rosenfeld said.
While there are no plans to expand the Yargüera line to other brands at the moment, Altadis says it is possible the brand will grow beyond H. Upmann and include other Altadis U.S.A. products in the future.