Producing Puros – Plasencia Cigar Factory, Danlí, Honduras


Some of the most famous tobacco in the world is grown in southern Honduras, all of it from tobacco seeds originally brought from Cuba. Here, cigars, called puros in Spanish, are made by hand and there are a number of cigar factories near the town of Danli that you can tour.

We pulled into the Plasencia cigar factory which was started by Cuban immigrant Nestor Plasencia. Within moments a man named Hector, who appeared to be the head of the entire operations, emerged from his office, popped a cigar into his mouth and lead us to the factory. Hector enthusiastically showed us around the whole facility explaining the process from seed to cigar. The photos, below, take you through that process.

But first, a few staggering stats

2 years: length of time it takes for a tobacco seed to be transformed into a cigar

120: number of hands that touch every single cigar from farming to finished product

4,000: number of people employed by Plasencia

30 million: estimated number of cigars produced by Plasencia factories each year, mostly on contract for more than 30 different brands including world-famous names like Rocky Patel cigars

90: percentage of those cigars that are exported to the United States

Step 1: sorting and bundling

Picked tobacco leaves arrive at the Plasencia factory and are sorted into various quality categories. Sorted leaves are then tied into small, neat bundles.

Tobaco

Tobacco sorting - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Green Tobacco - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Step 2: stacking and fermenting

The tied bundles of sorted tobacco leaves are tightly stacked in vast warehouses and allowed to naturally ferment for up to a year. Fermentation ultimately enhances and polishes the taste and aroma of the tobacco, but the process produces an overwhelming amount of ammonia inside the warehouses where ventilation and even face masks are important safety measures. At times it really was hard to breathe.

Tobacco fermentation - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Tobacco fermentation - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Tobacco sorting - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Tobacco grading - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Step 3: stripping

Once the tobacco leaves have fermented women expertly strip out the central vein so the tobacco burns evenly.

Tobacco stripping - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Tobacco - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Step 4: rolling

A finished cigar is made up of three different types of tobacco leaves incorporated in three different stages.

Cigar filler & binder leaf - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

The main part of the cigar is called the filler. This is bundled together and placed inside a tobacco leaf called a binder because it holds all of the filler together. These rough tubes of tobacco are placed into wooden cigar-shaped molds which press them together, forcing the tubes to hold their shape.

Cigar ready for rolling - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

The pressed and molded tobacco tubes are then neatly rolled into a tobacco leaf called a wrapper.

Cigar rolling - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Cigar rolling - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Cigar rolling - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Cigar rolling - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Voila! Finished cigars.

Cigar rolling - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Step 5: warehousing

The Plasencia factory can produce tens of thousands of cigars per day in all shapes, sizes, strengths, flavors and brands. We’re still not sure how they keep them all straight.

Cigar - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Cigar sorting - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Rectangular Cigars - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Step 6: labeling and packaging

The Plasencia factory makes cigars on contract for more than 30 different brands (their only in-house brand is called Flor de Honduras). Each brand has its own label which has to be applied before they’re packaged and shipped.

Cigar labeling - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Rocky Patel Cigars - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Cigar packaging - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Rocky Patel Cigars - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

Shipping Cigars - Plasencia Cigars Factory Tour - Danli, Honduras

 

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21 comments on “Producing Puros – Plasencia Cigar Factory, Danlí, Honduras

  1. Great photos as always, guys! I had no idea that Honduras was such a significant cigar manufacturer/exporter, but I do love these sorts of tours and always try to do them. Coffee mills and candy factories in Hawaii, rum distilleries in Barbados… seeing how this stuff is put together is fascinating to me.

  2. Being a cigar lover I am truly jealous. Of all my travels I have yet to make it to a cigar factory.Dominicans, Nicaraguans and Hondurans are as good if not better than most of the Cuban cigars I have smoked. The factory you went to puts out some fine sticks and I have tried more than a few from there. Great story on the making of some fine cigars and what goes into it. Great photos also. I’ll get a factory one day I am just afraid I won’t want to leave.
    The Travel Fool recently posted..Road Trip to Lake OhridMy Profile

  3. Pingback: Plasencia Cigar Factory Tour

  4. Outstanding photography and very interesting statistics. As an American, I personally am particularly surprised by the fact that 90% of sales happen in the US. If that’s true, I wonder how much $ Americans spend on cigars OUTSIDE of our home country that then result in cigars coming back to our country.

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