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Published Feb 08, 21
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In all of this area, down through the Yucatan and all the way to Honduras, they developed the ability to cultivate tobacco. https://scotchcigars.com/index.php/cigars/brands/." The cigars found depicted on Mayan monuments pay homage to a mysterious past when cigars were used in religious rites not fully understood as yet, but the growth of the modern Mexican cigar as an instrument of pleasure is a story told through three revolutions: the Mexican revolution that started in 1910 and broke up many of the great cigar estates that had already formed; the Sukarno takeover in Indonesia in 1949 that brought Dutch cigar makers to the San Andrés Valley in search of a new place to plant their favorite Sumatra seed, which had for years produced distinctive wrappers in Indonesia and would soon flourish in Mexico; and the Cuban Revolution, which brought Cuban experts to the valley to help Mexicans prepare a cigar that would capture the fancy of smokers in the United States--in this case, primarily smokers in New York City--who had been deprived of their Cuban favorites.

market until the Cuban trade embargo created a demand for new sources of quality cigars. "That was when the United States discovered the San Andrés Valley," says Ortiz, a warm man who is proud of the role his ancestors have played in the growth of the Mexican cigar industry. "That was in the late '60s, and it changed things greatly here.

We learned a lot from the Cubans who fled the Castro Revolution. A lot of them came to Veracruz and they helped change the way we presented cigars to the world." His great-grandfather had built a huge cigar estate before the Mexican revolution, shipping tobacco leaf to Holland where it was made into cigars.

More than 90 percent of the cigar fields were seized without compensation for the family, and the 10 percent that remained was mismanaged and gradually sold off. "Because of my great-grandfather's age and the effects of the revolution, he lost many things. He lost his will and his energy," Ortiz says.

I think the cream always rises. That's no false pride; it's a reflection of what we have done for many generations." Ortiz credits the natural qualities of San Andrés tobacco for his family's ability to recoup. He says it retains moisture better than other premium tobaccos because of the plant's unusual elasticity.

They treasure these cigars for their smooth blend and wallet-friendly price. Te-Amo cigars enjoyed a reputation as a working man’s cigar. This is because they are affordable and have a growing ubiquity at deli counters, especially in New York City. Yet, the Turrent family still makes them. The Turrent family maintains a careful eye on the quality of the tobacco that goes into the cigars.

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They use Mexican wrappers and filler in some of their cigars. Mexican cigar makers want to be more than an every man cigar. Their focus is on premium trophy cigars. They often blend their Mexican tobacco with Nicaraguan, Cuban or Dominican seed. The Turrent family has been making cigars for five generations in Mexico under the Te-Amo brand.

The line that bears the family name aims to produce a premium brand Mexican cigar with attention to detail and the rich history of Mexican tobacco. Of the roughly 400,000 kilos of tobacco produced in Mexico, 60% finds its way into well-known brands. A strong selection process allows the finest leaves to find their way into Casa Turrent.

That’s particularly true of its box-pressed line, which is compared favorably to Padron. Numerous stories circulate about tourists getting ripped off in places like Cabo San Lucas and Cancun with counterfeit Cuban cigars. Why not smoke local? The quality is outstanding and you can’t argue with the freshness. Turrent Cigars has numerous “Casas” — high-end lounges where you can relax in comfort with great local cigars and the house-made tequila designed to pair with the smokes.

The latest addition to the Te-Amo cigar line, the Revolution is a rich and flavorful smoke. Fuller-bodied than the earlier releases, they offer a complex taste and aroma profile making for an incredibly satisfying smoke. Crafted by the Turrent family, who have grown some of the world’s most sought-after tobaccos for generations, Te-Amo cigars have the rich, earthy flavor that is characteristic of Mexico’s San Andrés Valley.

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Changing times finally allowed the Turrent family to seek out new tobacco leaves and explore new flavors. This Ovalado, which incorporates a bit of Nicaraguan tobacco into a blend that relies heavily on the leaves grown by the Turrents on their farms in Mexico’s lush San Andrés Valley, is quite simply the best Te-Amo we have ever smoked—and it’s the least expensive cigar on the entire list.

It is a pity that records have been destroyed--all sorts of historical oddities were chronicled, including an account of the first tobacco workers' strike in San Andrés, which pitted Ortiz's great-grandfather, the planter, against one of Ortiz's grandfathers, who was a labor leader. In the old days, Ortiz would be grooming a son to take over the family business and carry the tradition forward.

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She has indicated that she wants to start working at the factory when she completes her university studies. Perhaps it is a new tradition started when Ortiz relied on his wife Josefina to make important decisions when he was ill with a mouth infection that kept him from sampling tobaccos.

While the Mexican revolution shaped the destiny of the Ortiz family and Tabacos Santa Clara, the friendly crosstown rivals at the larger Matacapan factory that produces Te-Amos credit the Sukarno takeover in Indonesia with creating the conditions that allowed them to produce a unique, all-Mexican cigar. With more than 1,000 acres planted, and more tobacco warehoused and drying in sheds throughout the small city of San Andrés Tuxtla, the Matacapan factory is one of the region's largest employers.

Everything is made here, even the cedar boxes used to package Te-Amos sent to the United States. Workers laboring here mix the sacred and the profane in a uniquely Mexican way: posters of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the country's most revered saint, are bracketed by calendars showing blond pinup girls in bikinis.

"The Dutch planters abandoned Indonesia after Sukarno took over," he says, inspecting several mature plants to be harvested in the next few weeks. "They came here to make tests because they knew this was a very productive tobacco area, and they found it was good-quality soil for Sumatra, but they never planted it commercially.