Honduras is one of the leading tobacco-growing countries globally. Cigar enthusiasts often claim Honduran cigars rival Cuban cigars in taste and strength. Since they’ve been cultivating and growing tobacco for centuries, it’s no wonder. It’s also known for its coffee and beef exports. There are a lot of well-known cigar brands that have been around since tobacco growers fled to Honduras during the Cuban Revolution. Honduras is the home of many of the busiest cigar factories in the industry today. If you have smoked none yet, here are five reasons to try Honduran cigars.
Honduran Cigars Rich Tobacco History
A wild tobacco variety called copaneco grows in Honduras. Rumor holds that the native Mayan people once smoked the copaneco. When the Spanish conquistadors colonized Honduras, they established the Royal Tobacco Factory and a tobacco trading post near Santa Rosa de Copán in 1765 to promote more colonization in the region. Since then, tobacco farmers in Honduras have switched to primarily Cuban seed tobacco strains.
After the American trade embargo began with Cuba in the ’60s, many smokers looking for a strong cigar turned towards Honduras for full-body smokes. The Honduran tobacco industry benefited from another revolution in Nicaragua, where many tobacco farmers and cigar rollers fled to Honduras and other neighboring countries after the Sandinistas took over in 1979. In the ‘90s, Honduran tobacco thrived. Yet, when Hurricane Mitch hit the country, it devastated tobacco farms and the country’s infrastructure. Honduras has recovered, however, and is now one of the most prominent cigar manufacturing regions in the world.
Fertile Tobacco Growing Regions
Honduras has three central tobacco growing regions: Copán, the Jamastrán Valley, and the Talanga Valley. Copán, one of the most productive tobacco-growing areas in the country because of its tropical climate, lies in western Honduras. It is also home to ancient Mayan ruins. The Jamastrán valley is in the south and holds the cigar-producing capital of Honduras, the town of Danli. This is where most tobacco is grown and rolled. It’s also where you’ll find most cigar factories located. It neighbors Nicaragua and has a similar soil that is fertile. Then, in the central region of Honduras lies the mountainous Talanga Valley. Here, the climate is very windy and tobacco growers use the encallado method, where they pitch large tents over the crops and grow wind-breaking king grass to protect the growing tobacco plants. Many high-quality shade-grown wrappers grow in this region.
Variety of Tobacco Types
There are three major tobacco wrappers grown in Honduras: Cuban-seed Criollo and Corojo, and the non-Cuban seed Connecticut-shade (AKA Honduran-shade). Honduran cigars are strong with medium to full-bodied smokes, with earthy, leathery notes and spicy pepper.
Top Honduran Cigars Brand Names
Honduras is the home of many famous classic cigar brands like Camacho, Hoyo de Monterey, and Punch. Many Cuban tobacco growers fled the political turmoil of the Cuban Revolution. Others exiled to surrounding countries.
You might know the Camacho Corojo by Camacho Cigars as the Original Bold Smoke. It is a Honduran Puro with a Honduran Cuban-seed Corojo wrapper and Corojo Ligero binder. It is a spicy blend with earthy cedar notes and black pepper. There is also a smooth and slightly sweeter Maduro version.
Punch, owned by General Cigar, has the Punch Gran Puro, the only Honduran Puro in the brand’s lineup. It features a sun-grown Honduran wrapper and binder from the highest primings of the tobacco plant. You’ll enjoy its hints of cream that blend well together with the earthy spiciness that’s characteristic of Honduran cigars.
Hoyo de Monterey has the Excalibur. It’s wrapped with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper grown in Honduras. The Connecticut Broadleaf binds the filler to complete the cigars. The fillers are Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Honduran. It offers a mellower smoke than other Honduran cigars. It also has a creamy flavor that goes along with the cedar and spice.
Emerging Honduran Cigar Companies
Besides the old classics, some Honduran cigar manufacturers have established within the last two decades. You’ll find brands like Rocky Patel, Alec and Bradley, CLE, and Plasencia on the shelves of most cigar stores.
Rocky Patel has many Honduran offerings like The Decade, Twentieth Anniversary, and The Edge. Alec and Bradley have the recently released Kintsugi and Prensado. CLE Cigar Company, which features brands like Eirora and Asylum, features a Honduran box-pressed Puro with Corojo wrappers and binders. Plasencia released a Honduran Puro during the 2021 Premium Cigar Association Convention and Trade Show. They called it the Plasencia 1865, featuring tobaccos from the Talanga and Jamastrán valleys.
Photo credit: Cigar Life Guy