Scarce and highly valued, Cameroon is one of the rarest, most prestigious and expensive wrappers in the world, to the point that some believe that it is the most exclusive on the planet. Its flavor is unique and incomparable, with spicy-sweet, chocolatey and coffee-like tones, which add a toasted and crunchy aroma and a silky sensation to the experience.
Unlike most high-quality wrappers, which are grown covered under tarps or tents that protect them, this leaf is grown in the sun in Cameroon, Central Africa, where the climate is more stable than in other areas and the light is more uniform, due to constant cloud cover during the tobacco growing season. While it is true that other countries, such as Ecuador, cultivate it from seeds from Cameroon, the best cigar makers use the leaf harvested in Africa because they consider that the “real Cameroon” comes from there.
Its “toothy” texture is due to the small oil clumps that concentrate just below the surface of the leaf, creating a pattern that resembles goose bumps. Precisely, the tobacco grown in the sun has more oil than the average and, therefore, its appearance shows more "teeth".
When talking about the Cameroon wrapper, it is impossible not to mention the Meerapfel family, because without their effort and dedication to cultivate the rich soil of Cameroon, most likely that prized cape would not exist. This family, which has been in the tobacco business for more than 140 years, began financing crops in that country in the 1960s, when production was still run by the French government. Later, in the 1990s, when France abandoned the operation, they founded their own local tobacco company called CETAC S.A. (Compagnie d'Exploitation des Tabacs Centrafricains).
Since 1960, as a result of the rise of machine-made cigars, the Cameroon wrapper began to become popular and during the 1970s, it was the stronghold of many brands in the United States, including García y Vega, Antonio y Cleopatra, Medalist and Cuesta-Rey.
Once the Meerapfel family consolidated its presence in Cameroon, the leaf regained popularity and the company became the mainstay of the production of this wrapper, with more than 80%. Since then, patented tobacco such as Meerapfel Cameroon has been improving and no one else has access to the seeds or the land, where the best plants can be grown, to the point that one of their favorite slogans is: “if it is not Meerapfel, it is not Cameroon”.
This wrapper covers some of Arturo Fuente's most prominent cigars, such as Fuente 8-5-8, the Don Carlos series, the Arturo Fuente Hemingway line and Casa Fuente. It can also be found in the Ashton Heritage Puro Sol, General Cigar's Partágas line, and in a series from Aurora, the oldest cigar factory in the Dominican Republic.
Today, most tobacco growers agree that Central Africa produces one of the best dark brown wrappers in the world.