About a week ago my friends at Barrister Cigars went to the Rocky Patel factory. Ever the gracious host the owner of Barrister invited me to go on the trip but due to certain circumstances I was unable to commit to the trip. Dave was nice enough to file the following report for the website.
Rocky Patel 2009 Honduras Trip
As we leave Barrister Cigars at 3:00 a.m. for our 5:45 flight, there is an equal sense of excitement and exhaustion. Sleeping on the flights gets us into Tegucigalpa ready to go. We are met by Nimish Patel, Rocky’s cousin, who will be our host for the trip as well as Oscar, our bus driver, jack of all trade helper. The bus is stocked with cigars, beer, soda and water which makes the 2 hour drive to the new hacienda quite enjoyable.
When we arrive at the hacienda, we are provided a fabulous Spanish food lunch followed by an afternoon of lounging by the pool, poker and dominoes. Dinner is a beautiful barbecue after which we all turned in early.
We awoke to a fantastic home cooked breakfast after which we piled into the bus to head to the tobacco fields. The tobacco fields are owned by Nestor Plasencia and we were able to see the growing process from seed to leaf including plantation, replanting, harvesting, sorting and fermentation. Over the course of time, a tobacco leaf is touched by more than 100 pairs of hands from plantation to finished cigar. To say it is labor intensive is an understatement.
After a stop for sweet corn on the cob on the side of the road, we went to see the box making factory. The factory is essentially a lumber yard where all of the boxes are made by hand from start to finish. We then returned to the hacienda for more food, drinks and relaxation.
The next day, after yet another great breakfast, we went to see Rocky’s factory. We saw how Rocky does a resort of the incoming tobacco leaves and ferments them a third time. We were shown how to construct a cigar and then given the opportunity to make our own blend which was then rolled for us. (they even gave us a five pack of our own blend to take home!) The thing that impressed me the most is the quality control. Each cigar is checked and rechecked and every cigar is draw tested to ensure that every Rocky cigar will smoke well.
The last night, they hired a band for a party at the Hacienda. At the party, we had the opportunity to spend time with Nestor Plasencia and learned a tremendous amount about growing tobacco.
In conclusion, the trip was a tremendous learning experience that we all enjoyed. If you get the opportunity to go with your local B & M, I highly recommend it.
To view more photos of the trip check out Shutterfly