The Connecticut River Valley is home to two major types of cigar tobacco, shade and broadleaf, and one very minor type known as Havana. The latter doesn't grow as tall or with leaves as silky as the famed Connecticut-shade variety, and it doesn't yield leaves as large as the aptly named broadleaf plant. It does, however, have interesting flavor, and rich, dark color.
The Havana-seed wrapper was very common in the early 1800s, and was the predominant plant of choice in the Connecticut River Valley, the slip of land bisecting Connecticut where some of the world's premier tobacco is grown. The dark and small Havana-seed plants were dumped in favor of broadleaf in 1833, according to Growing Tobacco in Connecticut, by P. J. Anderson, when a Mr. B. P. Barbour of East Windsor, Connecticut, brought a new strain of Maryland seed to the valley. That strain was broadleaf, whose bigger, thicker leaves enticed farmers with their superior yields and soon muscled Havana seed out of the valley.
Today, General Cigar Co., the maker of the Dominican Partagas, grows small amounts of Havana leaf for use on the Partagas Black. Since the Connecticut-Havana variety of tobacco is so rare, ratings of that cigar in Cigar Aficionado and Cigar Insider list the wrapper as, simply, Connecticut.
For a report on the state of the 2005 Connecticut tobacco crop, see tomorrow's Cigar Insider.
For ratings on Partagas Black Label cigars, click here.