When I stepped foot in Cameroon in 2002, I was surprised at just how lush everything was. I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and had all the wrong preconceived notions about this beautiful country.
I’ve never seen so many waterfalls in one panorama before, and to this day I still dream about some of the incredible landscapes that I witnessed. Luckily, I get another chance to revisit my experiences every time I smoke a Cameroon cigar.
The cigars listed below all feature Cameroon tobacco to various degrees, although probably not in the way you would naturally expect.
Let’s start with one of the most iconic expressions of Cameroon tobacco: the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signature. I’ve heard it said by others that the Fuente family has first dibs on Cameroon tobacco, and I have no reason to doubt it – you can taste the quality of their product.
This blend also extracts baking spices from the Cameroon wrapper in a way that isn’t easily replicated elsewhere. The profile is delicate much like the Cameroon wrapper leaf itself, and perfectly complements this sweet and spicy tobacco.
When I first heard that James Brown was working with Cameroon tobacco for Killer Bee Swarm, I was instantly intrigued. James is a man that is continuously improving, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his take on Connecticut shade and Mexican San Andres tobacco in the past.
Hyena uses one of the darkest Cameroon wrappers that I’ve seen over Nicaraguan guts and is a tribute for their time in Africa. James describes the Hyena experience as, “The profile is spice forward with white pepper & semi-sweet baking spices blended with herbal notes & cedar. The finish is a blend of bitter cocoa, cream & malt.”
When I first saw the Chisel vitola from Litto Gomez, my mind was blown! After getting over the apprehension of cutting and lighting something new, I went through several different Chisel variations before landing on my favorite: La Flor Dominicana’s Cameroon Cabinet Chisel.
After pinching the sides of the chiseled head to pop it, the Cameroon really shines with constricted airflow. The flavor pops much like the head of the cigar, and I’m able to dive into a rewarding experience. I’ve heard it said that this blend is also rewarding with a single punch on the top or bottom, but I’ve never ventured away from the quick and easy pop on this one.
Cameroon is notoriously hard to work with as wrapper tobacco, and RoMa Craft uses it as binder tobacco in the Aquitaine and Cromagnon series. The Aquitaine in particular sports an Ecuadorian Habano Ligero wrapper over the Cameroon binder, and is the fullest bodied expression on this list.
Aquitaine also explores a more savory dance partner with sweet and spicy sensations than the other cigars mentioned today. In addition to the sweet and spicy notes, there’s a grilled meat aspect that I can’t quite shake. If you have yet to try the Aquitaine, it’s one that you really must smoke to understand for yourself – no amount of words can adequately describe it on paper.
Lastly, have you ever wondered about Cameroon tobacco grown outside of Cameroon? Well, the Eiroa family has! They’ve been working on growing Cameroon seeds in Honduras for years, and finally had their breakthrough. Aladino Cameroon is the first Honduran puro to use a Honduran-grown Cameroon wrapper.
Personally, this cigar was in my Top 5 last year. It combines various amounts of earthy, sweet, and spiced elements with a pinch of citrus without being too aggressive. Aladino Cameroon went on to receive a near perfect score with our Blind Review Panel as well, with one reviewer noting, “This is proving to be a cigar any aficionado would enjoy but also one you could hand to a novice for a great experience.”
For further reading on African-grown Cameroon tobacco, read this 1998 article from Cigar Aficionado.