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Tobacco Origins With Rick Rodriguez (Video)

Tobaccos from different countries of origin are used to lend different flavors and strengths to a cigar blend, but how are they chosen? CAO Cigars head blender Rick Rodriguez explains his thought process when selecting the tobaccos used in his blends.


Hey, guys. I’m Rick Rodriguez, the head blender from CAO. I get asked often what effect that the country has on the tobacco a lot. If you’re looking at tobacco from Nicaragua or from Mexico or from the DR or from the US, they’re going to give you unique flavors and unique bodies. If you look at countries in Central America, I always believe that those countries are going to develop for me a spicy cigar flavor. That spice can be hot like a pepper or hot like a black pepper. Spice, to me, comes from Central America.

When you talk to be about Connecticut shade, Connecticut Broadleaf, those terms to me equal a creamy, a smooth, a sweeter tobacco. The region that we grow tobacco is going to give you different flavors, different bodies. It means a lot where we’re harvesting that tobacco for what project. You can’t ever just go out there and say, “You know what? I want to use X, Y, Z from this country, but I want make this solid cigar.” Sometimes it doesn’t work. So when you’re blending a cigar, you need to make sure that you’re choosing the right areas, the right countries to develop the right product for your line.