Connecticut Shade: Loyal to the Soil
Updated: Feb 26
Windsor Soil is the official designation given to the unofficial soil of the State of Connecticut. Named after the town of Windsor, Connecticut, where European settlers began cultivating tobacco for trade in the mid-1600s. Today, the term Windsor Soil is synonymous with old-world tobacco among cigar industry experts.
Windsor Soil is categorized as Sandy Loam by the USDA, rich in minerals from deposits of the Connecticut River, and provides the perfect soil composition for growing Connecticut Shade tobacco. Windsor Soil is lightweight, with exceptional drainage qualities, so the soil does not become coarse and heavy from rainfall. These conditions work in favor of cultivating Connecticut Shade, as it is a delicate plant that grows tall, and requires less water than other tobacco varietals.
Connecticut Shade leaves grow smaller, and thinner and have much less noticeable veins when cured. After curing, the Connecticut Shade leaf produces a vibrant golden color. The smooth texture, golden color, and creamy flavor profiles of the Connecticut Shade leaf are made possible by the unique make-up of Windsor Soil.
The Connecticut Shade leaf imparts sweet, creamy, and earthy profiles. The distinct qualities, aroma, and flavor notes of Connecticut Shade are also attributed to
the growing environment of the Connecticut River Valley.
Windsor Soil is excellent for growing fruits and vegetables, as well. Throughout the Connecticut River Valley, strawberries, pumpkins, and sunflowers are often cultivated near tobacco fields. Northern- White cedar, American oak, and maple trees also grow naturally in Windsor Soils, and in proximity to Connecticut tobacco. This is where Connecticut Shade tobacco gets all its nuance.
So, next time you are about to enjoy a US- Grown Connecticut Shade wrapped cigar, imagine yourself driving through tobacco country in a New England landscape. It's harvest season. It's October, and the fall foliage has turned fire-red, bright yellows and orange. Oak and woodsy notes are in the air.
The distinct scent of Windsor Soil fills the breeze. As you drive further down the road and pass the iconic tobacco barns, all those fragrances come together, culminating in the aroma of Connecticut Shade curing in the open air.