When it comes to cigars, not all countries are created equal. What tastes great in one country might taste like dirt in another. It’s incredibly difficult to produce a world-class smoke outside of the U.S., but that seems to be changing at an exponential rate. While there is no shortage of great cigar brands originating from other countries these days, few have the reputation and quality reputation that Honduran cigars have.
Honduran Cigars 101: Everything You Need To Know About Table of Contents
For many good reasons and a lot of bad ones, Honduras has been synonymous with cheap Cuban cigars for decades now. Unfortunately, not many people know much about this fascinating country or even what makes a good Honduran cigar. This article is going to change all that by explaining everything you need to know about Hondurnalistas and their handmade sticks.
What Are Honduran Cigars?
Honduran cigars are typically handmade. What this means is that they’re made by tobacco growers in the country and not by a factory, which makes Honduran cigars somewhat exclusive to the U.S. Not only do Hondurans produce some of the best cigars around, but they’re also incredibly affordable. The average price of a Honduran cigar is less than $3, while most Cuban cigars can cost you anywhere from $10-$50 or more. They’re also easy to find, as they’re readily available at your local grocery store or convenience store!
What Is The History of Honduran Cigars?
In 1830, Honduras was established as a free nation. It was during this time that the first Honduran cigar factory was established in the town of La Ceiba. The growth of the cigar industry in Honduras continues to grow with each passing day. In 1875, there were only two cigar factories in operation and by 1900, there were more than 30. There were so many cigars made at the turn of the century that cigars had become one of the country’s largest exports. As a result of their growing success, which is still thriving today, more and more small Honduran cigars manufacturers are popping up all over the world.
Why Are Honduran Cigars So Popular?
Honduran cigars are increasingly popular for a lot of reasons. For one, they are manufactured in Honduras and the country’s reputation for quality tobacco is well-earned. Hondurans also make some of the best flavored cigars available, which makes them appealing to cigar enthusiasts who want something different. Additionally, cigars originating from Honduras have a high quality control rating. In other words, there’s a great chance that your Honduran cigar will be as good or better than advertised. But that doesn’t mean it won’t have its fair share of problems either. So while you might not be buying the world’s best cigar with your purchase, you can rest assured that it will be an enjoyable one regardless.
How Are Honduran Cigars Made?
Honduran cigars are handmade and are composed of a variety of long-filler tobaccos. The filler is usually comprised of two different types, Dominican and Nicaraguan, with the occasional Mexican included in the mix. The binder is typically made from Honduran tobacco, as well. The wrapper is what holds all the flavors together, so it’s important that this part be good quality. The wrapper is most often a Corojo-based leaf from Honduras itself or a Brazilian Maduro wrapper. Corojo wrappers provide some of the best flavor profiles in any cigar brand. A lot of times, Honduran cigars will have a very broad range of sizes and shapes, but they more often than not have a Churchill size for those who prefer just that size format and/or an easy-to-hold cigarillo size as well.
Who Are The Top Honduran Cigar Brands?
Honduran cigars are generally known for their rich, full flavors and are often considered to have a strength profile that falls between the boldness of Nicaraguan tobacco and the smoothness of Dominican tobacco. The country's cigar production has seen a significant rise in popularity over the years, with several brands standing out in the market.
Rocky Patel has emerged as a major name in the world of premium cigars. Although the company sources tobacco from various countries, they have a strong presence in Honduras and are known for their dedication to craftsmanship and quality. The Rocky Patel "Vintage Series," particularly the 1990 and 1992 blends, are excellent showcases of Honduran tobacco's potential, offering complexity and a well-balanced profile.
Camacho is one of the most recognizable Honduran brands and has a reputation for producing bold and flavorful cigars. The brand underwent a significant rebranding in recent years, which included a focus on their "Corojo" line, using a special type of tobacco that's grown in the Eiroa family's farms in the Jamastran Valley. This line is known for its rich, spicy, and robust flavors, characteristic of the Corojo seed.
Punch is one of the oldest cigar brands and was originally established in Cuba in the 19th century. Today, the Honduran-manufactured Punch cigars maintain the brand's tradition, offering a wide range of sizes and blends. The "Punch Gran Puro" line is an all-Honduran puro that has been a staple for full-bodied cigar lovers, featuring spicy and earthy notes.
Hoyo de Monterrey
Like Punch, Hoyo de Monterrey is another brand with Cuban origins that has found a new home in Honduras. Known for their rich and savory cigars, the Hoyo de Monterrey "Excalibur" series is among their most popular, noted for its smooth draw and complex flavors, which range from creamy to a more intense peppery profile as the cigar progresses.
Founded in the 1990s, Alec Bradley is a newer brand that has quickly made a name for itself, in part through their use of Honduran tobacco. The "Alec Bradley Prensado," which was named Cigar Aficionado's Cigar of the Year in 2011, is a prime example of the brand's high-quality offerings, with a blend that includes Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos for a rich and satisfying smoke.
Flor de Copan
Flor de Copan is a brand that may not be as internationally well-known as others, but it plays a significant role in Honduras's cigar industry. Based in the city of Santa Rosa de Copan, they produce a range of lines, including the "Flor de Copan Classic" series, which offers a traditional Honduran smoking experience with a reputation for consistency and craftsmanship.
Baccarat is a brand that caters to those who prefer a milder smoking experience. Known for their sweet-tipped cigars, which is a unique feature where the cap is lightly sweetened, Baccarat cigars are often recommended to new smokers. Their "The Game" series is widely recognized for its gentle, creamy profile and approachability.
Room 101, founded by Matt Booth, is a brand known for its boutique approach to cigar manufacturing. With a diverse range of products, many of Room 101's lines are produced in Honduras and offer unique flavor profiles. The "Room 101 The Big Payback" is a popular choice for those looking to enjoy the rich flavors of Honduran tobacco without the premium price tag.
What Are The Tasting Notes of Honduran Cigars?
There is a world of difference between what Honduran cigars taste like. Honduran cigars are made from four different types of tobacco: Corojo, Criollo, Habano and Connecticut Shade. The composition of the leaves in each type makes it unique, but the end result is a balanced cigar with a robust flavor. Cigar aficionados might argue about which is better, but there is no doubt that Honduran cigars have been widely praised worldwide for decades now. These are some of the most consistent and enjoyable cigars in the world. There are few brands that can compete with Honduras for quality and consistency without sacrificing anything in terms of price. Honduran cigars have also been accepted by everyone from cigar connoisseurs to casual smokers – even non-smokers! Whether you enjoy these unique cigars as an everyday smoke or want to learn more about them and where they come from, this article will give you all you need to know.
How Much Do Honduran Cigars Cost?
The best way to answer this question is to break down the different types of Honduran cigars, which run the gamut in price. Corona Gorda cigars start at just a few dollars and go up from there. Here’s a quick guide to what you’ll find in your local cigar shop:
- Corona Gorda - Frondoso Maduro $7.99
- Robusto Maduro $9.99
- Toro Maduro $13.49 No. 7 or Naranja (Orange)
- Torpedo Especial $14.99
- Piramide $16.99
- Double Corona (Corona Grande) $19.95
- Robusto Maduro No. 1st Year Edition ($24) Churchill or Churchillianos is more expensive than all the rest with a starting price of $22 for a box of 25 Toro size cigars.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Makes Honduran Cigars Unique?
Honduran cigars are distinctive for their bold, earthy flavors with a robust body. Grown in the fertile soils of regions like Danlí and the Jamastran Valley, these cigars are known for their rich, savory tobacco that delivers a hearty smoking experience.
How Does the Flavor Profile of Honduran Cigars Compare to Others?
Honduran cigars often present a spicy profile, combined with notes of chocolate, leather, and pepper. This sets them apart from the milder Dominican and the stronger Nicaraguan cigars, placing them in a sweet spot of intensity and complexity.
What Are Some Signature Honduran Cigar Brands?
Some renowned Honduran brands include Camacho, Punch, and Alec Bradley. These brands exemplify the quality and flavor that aficionados have come to expect from Honduran cigars.
Can Beginners Enjoy Honduran Cigars?
Absolutely! While they can be robust, many brands offer a range of strengths suitable for beginners. A lighter-bodied Honduran cigar can provide a great introduction to the rich flavors the region has to offer.
What Is the History Behind Honduran Cigar Production?
Honduras has a long, rich history of tobacco cultivation and cigar manufacturing. It surged in popularity after the Cuban embargo, when many Cuban tobacco experts brought their seeds and knowledge to Honduras, enhancing the local industry.
Are Honduran Cigars Handmade or Machine-made?
Honduras prides itself on its handmade cigars. Skilled artisans craft each cigar, ensuring impeccable construction, which is a hallmark of the Honduran cigar industry.
What Factors Contribute to the Flavor of Honduran Cigars?
The terroir, or the natural environment where the tobacco is grown, plays a significant role. The soil composition, climate, and topography all influence the tobacco's flavor profile, giving Honduran cigars their distinctive taste.
How Do I Store Honduran Cigars Properly?
To maintain their optimal condition, store Honduran cigars in a humidor at a steady 68-72% relative humidity. This will preserve their flavors and ensure a smooth smoking experience.
What Is the Best Way to Light a Honduran Cigar?
Using a butane lighter or wooden matches is recommended to preserve the cigar's flavor. Begin by toasting the foot, then light it while rotating to promote an even burn.
What Pairs Well with Honduran Cigars?
A dark, rich espresso or a glass of aged rum can complement the robust flavors of a Honduran cigar. For a unique experience, try pairing with a peaty single malt to accentuate the earthy notes.
How Does the Aging Process Affect Honduran Cigars?
Aging can mellow the flavors of Honduran cigars, leading to a smoother and more refined smoking experience. Well-aged Honduran cigars can exhibit enhanced complexity and subtlety.
What Are the Health Considerations of Smoking Honduran Cigars?
As with all tobacco products, smoking Honduran cigars poses health risks and should be enjoyed in moderation. Awareness and informed choices are key when indulging in cigar smoking.
What Is the Ideal Drink to Sip While Enjoying a Honduran Cigar?
For a harmonious experience, consider a beverage that matches the cigar's body. A bold Honduran cigar pairs splendidly with a full-bodied red wine, a stout, or bourbon.
How Should I Cut My Honduran Cigar?
Using a sharp guillotine cutter or a punch cutter can ensure a clean cut, enhancing the smoking experience. Cutting should be done quickly and cleanly to prevent damaging the cigar.
Can You Age Honduran Cigars at Home?
Yes, with proper storage conditions, you can age Honduran cigars at home. A well-regulated humidor can be the perfect environment to age your cigars, potentially improving their flavor and smoothness over time.
What Is a Good Time of Day to Enjoy a Honduran Cigar?
Honduran cigars are versatile. Enjoy a milder blend in the morning or afternoon, and reserve the fuller-bodied cigars for evening relaxation when you can savor the flavors and unwind.
How Can I Identify a Well-constructed Honduran Cigar?
Look for a firm feel without soft spots, a smooth and oily wrapper, and a uniform shape. The cap should be well-applied, and the foot should show a consistent blend of tobaccos.
Is There a Specific Season for Honduran Cigar Production?
While tobacco is harvested annually, the meticulous fermentation and aging processes mean that Honduran cigars can be produced year-round, ensuring a consistent supply for enthusiasts.
What Makes the Jamastran Valley Ideal for Growing Tobacco?
The Jamastran Valley boasts a climate and soil composition that is similar to that of the renowned Vuelta Abajo region in Cuba. These conditions are perfect for growing robust and flavorful tobacco leaves used in premium cigars.
Are There Any Cigar Festivals or Events in Honduras?
Honduras hosts cigar festivals and industry events,