In my most recent trip to Nicaragua I was fortunate to attend Puro Sabor 2018. Puro Sabor is a celebration of the Nicaraguan cigar industry and the people who make it so wonderful. I had previously been to Nicaragua once before, in the fall of 2015, and I was so grateful to be able to go back again. Since there's so much to cover about this trip I'll break it into a series of different articles each covering different aspects of the trip itself. One theme that I hope you'll notice in all of these articles is the people. The people are the most important aspect of every piece of the cigar industry in Nicaragua. Nothing is more important to the industry than its people and it's the relationships that make the cigar industry in Nicaragua so beautiful and so wonderful.
Something fascinating about mankind… We have the capacity to make things. Of course we also have the capacity to destroy or cause problems, but we hope to strive for the good. When we see craftsmanship or creativity many of us are drawn to it like a moth to a flame. In our past, creativity was a kind of survival skill. We had to create new things like shelter and tools in order to survive or improve quality of life. Since civilization emerged, our creativity has morphed into the aesthetic and the artistic. In some cases, it can even take on a competitive facet. We want to know if we can do it better than the other guy, or we want to know if we can do it at all, thereby competing with ourselves. We want to experiment with our own creative nature. We want to know if we can make what we see others make. We want to know if we can make it better. This has always been a part of our nature, and this trait is responsible for some of the most wonderful things that we still enjoy today.
The festival starts out in the city of Granada. Although not known particularly for making cigars, it is Nicaragua's oldest city. I found Granada to be much more tourist-friendly than my previous visit to Esteli. It is Nicaragua's sixth most populous city. Granada is historically one of Nicaragua's most important cities, economically and politically. It has a rich colonial heritage, seen in its architecture and structure. Granada was founded in 1524 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, and is allegedly the first European city in mainland America.
Let’s talk about dry boxing cigars. Summer is upon us and we will soon see higher temperatures and for some of us this can mean the dreaded battles with higher humidity. So why dry box your cigars? There are a number of reasons why you would want to dry box a cigar prior to smoking
Operation Esteli is a joint effort between BOTL.org and MPI designed to provide education enrichment, food security, nutrition, as well as safe housing and shelter to disadvantaged children in Esteli, Nicaragua. This is the second year for Operation Esteli. In 2014, more than $12,000 was raised, which resulted in the provision of teacher training, school supplies and learning materials, and nutritious school lunches to support more than 700 students, as well providing the funding required to construct a new home for a family in need.
Since I have already been to some cigar factories, I had some idea what to expect. What was so wonderful about the tour at the Don Lucas cigar factory was the close family atmosphere. While it is a small factory by some standards, they do not cut corners on quality or final product. They meet or exceed some quality control and aging standards that I have seen from other manufacturers. They don’t disclose what daily production rates are, but they vary. It all depends on what leaf they have in stock that day that is ready to be rolled. They do not base anything off production quotas, but only on quality standards. I greatly admire that practice, especially considering how rare it is becoming in the cigar industry.
Day two started out with a boat tour of Lake Nicaragua, which we had just seen from a distance the day before. Around the edge of the lake are a ton of tiny inlets or small islands created by the nearby Mombacho Volcano in its last eruption. Along the way, we saw a few monkeys, posh houses, and interesting birds. Unfortunately no bull sharks or American crocodiles.
IS A MAN ANY LESS "MANLY" BECAUSE HE'S NOT A BEER DRINKER? Speaking for myself, I never fully acquired a palate for the bitter, malty taste of beer. Maybe because I was always a soda drinker I got spoiled by the sugary taste of Pepsi, 7-Up, and the like, which today I no longer drink. Of course, as I matured, I came to appreciate a few beers, but mostly the lighter, sweeter fare.
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Voting Process Each of our 16 panelists were given 10 votes to cast. Our list is made up of cigars that were RELEASED in 2015. The cigars that are eligible do not have to have been reviewed on Blind Man's Puff, but the panelist must have smoke it at some point themselves.
Following our attendance to the IPCPR 2015 trade show this past week, we gathered all of the Blind Man's Puff team that was there so that we could do a recap of the event. We cover things we were excited about going into the show, things we were excited about coming out of the show, cigars we smoked and our overall thoughts about the event and products.