Nicaragua's tobacco-growing hotspot is within the valleys of its north-central mountains. Beginning in Esteli, this cultivation corridor stretches northwood to the Condega Valley and up to the Honduran border where the jewel of Nicaragua's fields lies - the Jalapa Valley. It is often remarked by expatriate tobacco men from Cuba that the Jalapa Valley reminds them of Cuba's legendary Vuelta Abajo.
Cuban Seed - First planted in the early 1960's as a potential alternative to Cuban tobacco, both the sun grown Cuban Criollo filler and shade grown Corojo wrapper seeds flourished. Depending on where and how it is cultivated, its flavours can range from a medium bodied naturally sweet leaf to a potent and sharp flavour. In general, filler grown in Esteli is considered stronger while those in Jalapa are considered to be richer. Today Nicaragua cultivates the filler tobacco that is most similar to the filler grown in Cuba.
Criollo 98 - Planted in Nicaragua in the late 1990's is another smuggled seed from Cuba. Developed after Habana 2000, the new hybrid is intended to be another improvement on the Corojo strain. Currently grown as both filler and wrapper crop, the Criollo 98 has a lean, peppery flavour with a thin finish.