Over the years, Guillermo Rico has been a grower, a leaf broker and such an accomplished catador (cigar taster) that, reportedly, he can discern five different leaves in a single blend. Born to a family of tobacco growers in Cubita, Columbia, he and his son George own GR Tabacaleras Unidas and the Gran Habano line of cigars. In 1966, they established their Danli, Honduras factory, La Perla Hondureña, initially producing cigars for Alec Bradley and other top labels. Given their experience and knowledge, inevitably, they started their own brands. They now also have farms in Columbia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Not surprisingly, the Ricos take great pride in both their process and products. They select the best Habano and Corojo seeds. Then they use the traditional entubar method of rolling—a method that assures each leaf burns at the same rate, and one long given up by most manufacturers as too labor intensive. Each leaf is rolled into tubes as the filler leaves are assembled, providing consistent paths for the smoke and air to travel straight though the filler. They invariably finish all their cigars with triple caps before draw testing them for quality control. The substantial Siglos received a sterling 91 point rating when it was unveiled in 2006. Orginially known as ‘Three Siglos’, they changed their name in 2009 to ‘3 SLS’ due to a trademark dispute. Its filler contains three types of ligero from three different countries—Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Columbia. The binder is a Nicaraguan Habano leaf and the wrapper, a deliciously oily Nicaraguan Corojo Shade Grown. As is typical of Cuban style cigars, the flattened cap is almost as level as the foot. The draw is easy. Look for a musty earthiness initially followed by leathery, sweet cherry-like nuances. At the end of the cigar, the flavor is at its height: peppery and spicy with a powerful finish. Our panel suggests allotting a good 90 minutes to smoke this granddaddy. Trust there's enough complexity and idiosyncrasy in this powerful smoke to keep your palate interested throughout. Enjoy it with small batch bourbon such as Maker's Mark or Knob Creek.
Honduras has been a tobacco growing and cigar manufacturing area for hundreds of years, but it was the Communist revolution in Cuba that really put Honduras on the map. In the 1960s, many Cuban cigar makers fled their homeland and arrived in Honduras to re-establish their way of life. The immigrants took advantage of the climate, soil, and geography, which were well-suited to tobacco growing, and began producing high quality cigars. The center of the Honduran cigar industry is the city of Danli and the nearby Jamastran Valley. The majority of the world’s pure Corojo tobacco is grown here, now that Cuba has stopped production of this iconic, spicy, and rich variety in favor of Corojo hybrids. Other important areas of Honduran cigar production include the Talanga Valley, Copan, and Trojes.
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