Been receiving a few questions about Habana 2000 tobacco, a key component of the recently reviewed Henry Clay Habana 2000 Mirabelle robusto.

The following is a good backgrounder on this amazing breed of tobacco:

HABANA 2000 – THE WONDER WRAPPER

Emelio Espino, a sub director of the Ministry of Cuba‘s Agriculture’s Tobacco Research Institute was integral in creating Habana 2000. Habana 2000 is a cross between El Corojo, the standard wrapper leaf from the Vuelta Abajo, the Cuban region that many believe produces the best cigar tobacco in the world, and a tobacco called Bell 61-10, a mild cigarette tobacco that’s more resistant to blue mould than cigar tobacco. The Cubans first crossed El Corojo and Bell 61-10 tobacco to create something they called Habana 2.1.1. Then they took the new mixture and crossed it again with El Corojo, arriving at Habana 2000. “The whole idea was to develop something that maintained the character of El Corojo but was much more resistant to blue mould and other tobacco diseases.” Originally, tobacco men from the United States and Latin America misconstrued the composition of Habana 2000 as a cross between Cuban-seed tobacco and Connecticut shade. The Cubans began developing Habana 2000 in the mid-1980s. Because of an assiduous growing process, which was hindered by tobacco growers’ inexperience with harvesting the new leaf, Habana 2000 didn’t go into cultivation until 1992. From fermentation and drying to selecting and rolling, the early Habana 2000 crops were difficult to process. Quality, however, has improved with time.

HABANA2000 GROWN OUTSIDE CUBA

Outside of Cuba, Habana2000 is written without the space. There is some controversy as to how cigar manufacturers outside of Cuba obtained the real Habana 2000 wrapper seeds, but Habana2000 is now being cultivated in the Americas and most maintain that it’s a better quality wrapper than Connecticut and Sumatra-based types. Habana2000 that is wrapped around non-Cuban cigars is the most important innovation in the premium cigar market since Dominican-shade wrapper hit the market in 1995 and an indication of this is that in the last year, 25 percent of the Best Buys named by Cigar Insider were made with Habana2000 wrappers. – “The Habana2000 grown outside of Cuba is visually stunning. The tobacco is oily and dark, with silky texture. It has rich, complex and muscular flavours and heady, toasty aromas. The most telling observation I can make is that several brands that have added sizes and shapes with Habana2000 wrappers have outperformed their predecessors. The addition of Habana2000 varieties seems to have lifted these cigars from the ranks of the ordinary into the category of the most sought after cigars.”