Cigar-making genius and proprietor of one of the world's largest cigar factories, Nestor Plasencia's road to success was riddled with turbulence. Like most Cuban exiles of the 1960s era, he holds sharp, bitter memories of the island’s post-Revolution period. And who could blame him? The Plasencia family owned two large areas dedicated to growing wrapper leaf when, on October 3, 1962, at 6 am, they were confiscated by the Castro government. In a moment, their livelihood was gone. Knowing the cigar trade but no longer being able to engage in it or gain profit from it, he and his family sought to leave their island home. It took nearly three years to get permission to leave the country, and when they finally did, they were allowed to take only a few dollars and two changes of clothes. When the family arrived in Nicaragua, they had nothing to rely on except the reputation of Nestor’s father, Sixto Plasencia. After rebuilding the business over a decade, cruel history repeated itself as the Sandinistas expropriated their properties in 1979, of which included 1,000 acres of prime agricultural land.
Bruised but not broken, Nestor rebuilt his business once more, this time based in Honduras. Now after many decades of toil and takeover, Plasencia owns cigar operations that span two countries, with more than 4,500 employees producing 33 million premium hand-rolled cigars per year, all rolled from Cuban-seed tobacco. His Nestor Reserve line offers a rich and robust taste with a wonderful aroma and exquisite construction. Note the beautifully square-pressed shape of this ultra dark brown toothy cigar, rolled with Nicaraguan and Dominican long leaf filler, a Nicaraguan binder, and Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. Expect a medium-bodied cigar with notes of pepper, earth, chocolate, and hints of sweetness. Rated an astounding ’93’ by Cigar Insider. Try pairing it with an espresso roast.
The Nicaraguan cigar industry originated when Cuban cigar makers escaped the revolution and re-established their livelihood in Nicaragua with Cuban-seed tobacco. Blessed with dark, rich soil, their new home was ideal for tobacco cultivation and Nicaragua quickly became known for cigars that rivaled Cuban quality. Unfortunately, revolution and war came to Nicaragua in the 1980s and devastated the industry, but it’s rebounded dramatically and is once again producing tobacco considered by many to be the finest in the world.
The Esteli Valley is in many ways the heart of Nicaraguan production and is known for its very powerful and spicy tobacco. The Jalapa Valley produces arguably the finest tobacco in the country: somewhat sweeter and less intense than Esteli, but extremely complex. The tobacco of the Condega Valley is often described as a blend of the other two regions.
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