Smoking a cigar is like taking a mini vacation. It’s relaxing & pleasurable especially when shared in the company of good friends. But did you know that 200 sets of hands go into making one hand-rolled cigar?
There is a lot of sweat and hard work channeled into manufacturing cigars. To truly have an appreciation for the fine pleasure sticks resting in your humidor, taking a cigar factory tour in another country should be on your bucket list.
You’re probably like me and have been smoking cigars for many years. I’ve tried various manufacturers, sizes and types of cigars. My knowledge of cigars is always growing but I feel like I have a pretty good grip on what I like and my favorites.
Then I was the high-bidder on a Rocky Patel Cigar Factory Tour at a charity event.
I had no idea what to expect…..but I knew it would be a fun and educational trip filled with something I love: CIGARS!
With the assistance of Rocky Patel’s staff, a female cigar buddy of mine and I made flight arrangements to Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
On the way in the airport in Miami, we met a few others going on the trip as well. Cigars have a way of making you instant friends.
From the moment we stepped off the plane and into the shuttle bus transporting us to the Rocky Patel guest house, cigars and adult libations were plentiful.
Enjoying a RP cigar & beer on the shuttle bus to Danli.
I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve…..for the excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead. Expanding my cigar smoking experience by learning the entire process of cigar manufacturing and how each step is integral to the creation of hand-rolled cigars was a dream come true.
We started out by settling into the Rocky Patel guest house in Danli. We were assigned rooms and that evening we had a reception poolside followed by dinner. On my first day, I smoked four cigars and tried several new blends.
Rocky Patel Guest House in Danli.
Smoking a cigar with my pal, Fritzi.
Then the next day we were off to the cigar factory which included a tour of fermentation rooms and processes.
Christopher Mey from Rocky Patel explains the parts of a tobacco plant and the fermentation process.
Our tour continued with wrapper selection and sorting rooms. Then on to cigar rolling and quality control. Our group posed for a picture in front of Rocky Patel’s sign.
The most amazing part of the cigar factory tour for me was selecting my own blend. I like a spicy, medium to full-bodied cigar…..so that’s just what I created in the cigar blending lab. We were able to bring home a cigar sample of our blend with us on the last day of the tour.
On the third day of our tour, we drove to the tobacco fields, toured the nursery, and visited the drying barns. I held tiny tobacco seeds in my hand.
We also toured the cigar box factory and production.
As is tradition on the last day of the tour, I wrote a note on the wall at the Rocky Patel Guest House and as luck would have it, we ran into Rocky Patel in he airport on the way home. We greeted Rocky with enthusiasm and a new found love of cigars.
The other cigar buddies we met on the trip still remain close friends. And my appreciation for a hand-rolled cigar has taken on a whole new meaning. Seeing firsthand all the steps in manufacturing a cigar from seedling to packaging was an incredibly eye-opening experience.
When I pick a fine hand-rolled cigar from my humidor, I think about the 200 sets of hands that have passed on their love of their craft and of Mother Nature to give us this rich pleasure.
As far as taking a cigar factory tour, these trips are readily available from many manufacturers. And cigar companies want their customers to experience the process first hand. Rocky Patel and Camacho, as well as Drew Estates Cigar Safari
Cigar Safari has been hosting groups for a while, and the trend is gaining momentum. If you’re looking to add a cigar factory tour to your bucket list, get in touch with the manager of your local tobacconist.
I hope this glimpse into the experience of a cigar factory tour has whet your appetite for a cigar adventure of your own. And please feel free to share your stories and pictures with us here at Cigar Chronicles. We love your feedback.
|Angye Fox is a serial entrepreneur and has a passion for business. She created her first company when she was 19 years old and has started and sold over thirty different businesses throughout her lifetime. Angye hosts the radio talk show “Chix with Stix”, which is about Cigars and Golf, every Saturday on the Tan Talk Radio Network, in Tampa, Florida. She owns an ad agency, and obviously smokes cigars and plays golf. Earlier this year she competed in the Rocky Patel Foundation 2011 Golf & Gala Event and she has been to the Rocky Patel factory in Honduras. She also visited the Fuente Cigar Factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic in June 2011 and golfed the world-famous Playa Grande golf course in the DR during that trip. She is delighted to answer questions through CigarChronicles.com. Just comment below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.|