Tobacos de la Cordillera director John Vogel has launched his latest line of premium, Costa Rican-made cigars with unique, revolutionary features. Cordillera's name for these extraordinary cigars pays recognition to its director, John Vogel. The industry's leading agronomist and tobacco researcher, he has dedicated 45 years to the research and development of superior tobacco. The Costa Rican tobacco and cigar producer is incorporating startling departures from conventional industry practices, for the Vogel brand.
The new line is offered in two blends: Red (natural shade wrapper) and Green (maduro wrapper). In contrast to most cigars, the maduro is milder than the natural, to satisfy smokers who like the flavor but not the strength of maduros. Vogel has once again used never-before-seen tobaccos for the Vogel Red and Green blends. Like the five Fundacion Ancestral blends, they are unlike any other cigars. These tobacco varieties were grown exclusively from proprietary, genetically-pure pre-Embargo Cuban seeds that Vogel acquired during his 20 years as an agricultural consultant to the tobacco industry. Vogel Green's tobacco springs from seeds first introduced at San Juan y Martinez, Cuba, in 1950, while Vogel Red's tobacco grew from seeds first planted near Santiago de Cuba, in 1951. The latter is the capital of Oriente Province, and an important source of strong and highly aromatic tobacco, as these cigars demonstrate. Vogel Red and Green began with "a fresh piece of paper", with tobaccos chosen specifically to demonstrate the eminence of the cigars of Old Cuba. Due to the unique lineage of the wrapper, binder, and filler tobaccos, they do not carry the familiar names of seeds used by the rest of the industry. Instead, the tobaccos are identified only as "Costa Rican". Their flavor and aroma are the alternative to all other cigars of today.
Vogel Red and Green, like all long-filler, handmade cigars now produced by Cordillera, incorporate another feature ... Dead-Center Ligero or Bull's-Eye Ligero (shown above). It is the result of the old Cuban method of entubado (tubed) bunching, wherein each leaf is rolled into a "soda straw" that runs the cigar's length. This method provides a visual check for the worker to reliably ensure the ligero is dead-center in the bunch, surrounded by a ring of similarly tubed base filler leaves. During binding and pressing, the array remains intact. This solves the two greatest problems among smokers. First, the foot-to-head smoke channels virtually eliminate tight draws and plugs. The tubed ligero leaves, captured in the ring of base filler leaves, does not shift during pressing, making uneven burning a thing of the past. The binder is finished off with a panuelo (handkerchief) cap inside the outer wrapper, which is also panuelo-capped. This cap design, plus crowned heads, make cutting easier and prevent unraveling of the wrapper following cutting, another source of irritation among smokers. Both of these techniques were common-place by cigar-makers from Cuba's Golden Age. Another major improvement is the use of wrapper tobacco for the binder. Its elasticity facilitates a tighter binding of the filler, which improves the progress of the binder's combustion. It is also wrinkle-free on the bunch, which transmits a smoother feel, through to the outer wrapper. Entubado bunching, double wrappers and improvements in head construction are more labor intensive and costly, but pay dividends in smoking satisfaction. Both Vogel lines are available in cedar boxes of 25.