Our visit to see Rocky Patel’s Honduran tobacco and cigar facilities was as informative an industry visit as we have ever had. For this company, it starts with the best tobacco they can obtain which is why Rocky gets his from legendary grower Nestor Placencia.

From top left. Starting from seeds the size of salt pieces, seedling are grown in small pods, thinned to one plant a pocket, then grown under cloth to protect them from the sun.

45 days later these plants are transferred to their fields where they grow another 45-90 days and can reach heights up to 9 feet. Curing – in grade school we called the process photosynthesis – is the next step in the evolution to a cigar and tobacco leaves are banded in pairs and cure for another 45-60 days. From the curing barns it’s off to fermentation, basically slow composting where the nitrates and leaf impurities are sweated out of the tobacco. Many sorting and quality control processes later, including aging the leaf for 6 months to 6 years, the tobacco is rolled into one of Rocky’s cigars.

By the time a Cigar Studio customer smokes that cigar, 300 pairs of hands will have touched that tobacco.