I don’t smoke cigarettes, let alone cigars. Expensive and pungent, they are more often hanging out the mouths of fat businessmen than regular guys like me. That didn’t stop me from whisking off with a few other deranged editors on a press trip to Honduras for a hands-on tour of the Camacho cigar farm and factory. Why the hell not, right? Honduras is not exactly a glamorous vacation destination: It is the murder capital of the entire world. I wasn’t allowed to wander the streets without an armed guard. We pretty much stayed on the Camacho compound—eating, drinking, and yes, smoking cigars—but I still managed to get into a little trouble. And while I may not like them very much, I have a new found appreciation of how much time and effort it takes to make one single cigar.
A CIGAR IS BORN
After being harvested, the large Corojo tobacco leaves are strung up and hung in barns (like vampire bats) until all the green fades away.
Meet Sandra Ochoa, the general director of Camacho. She runs a tight ship and is one of the most sought after execs in Central America. Classy, fun, and one smart lady.
On site, you constantly are being doused in antifungal spray, lest the precious leaves catch a cold. I was impressed that Camacho is the only environmentally green cigar farm in the world though.
After they’re hung, the leaves are sorted for filler or wrapper, depending on the quality.
Once sorted, the leaves are bound and packed for even more aging.
Making little cigar coffins.
Cigars are big business here in Honduras and therefore need protection.
Once aged and cured, the leaves are hand rolled by Honduran women mostly because of their smaller hands and better eye for color.
My sad attempt at rolling a cigar. (Okay, I did get a little help. I’m used to rolling joints.)
This place is an Andreas Gursky photograph come to life.
Coming to America.
This innocent looking monkey, Chesperito, attempted to eat my face when I visited him one drunken evening. Asshole.
My favorite thing to do when traveling is see what pills I can talk the local farmarcias into selling me. SCORE! My beloved Valium.
Our last night there, a troupe of adorable kids performed for us in crazy outfits. Our own little toddlers y tiaras, if you will. I found the only other red in the village, Daniella. What a cutie.
Thanks Camacho and Honduras. It’s been real!
- Written by Greg Garry