Honduran Cigars: Spreading the Seed
Many people may think of Honduras and recall a memory from 7th grade that involves a map of Central America, a pop quiz, and a prayer. For the avid cigar smoker, however, Honduras is thought of as much more. One of the biggest tobacco producers on our planet, cigar lovers think of Honduras as a virtual Mecca, a place where tobacco seeds go to make their parents proud.
Honduras, located near Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua is a country made up of an unstable history, one that involved fights for independence, hurricane devastation, human rights violations, and political diversity. Together these have all caused Honduras to be among the poorest countries in Central America. Unlike some of its adjacent countries, Honduras is rich with cigar making ingredients. When Central American neighbors want to borrow a cup of tobacco, the door of Honduras is one of the first places they knock.
Honduras is a segment of Mesoamerica, the nickname given to the land that reaches from Mexico to Costa Rica. Because Mesoamerica is located in an area that is home to a wide range of animals and plants, it's known as a biodiversity hotspot, an area with diverse resources and threatened by destruction. At last count, Honduras was in possession of over 6,000 species of plant, one of these being tobacco.
Similar to the cigars made in the Dominican Republic, some Honduras tobacco has Cuban roots, with many tobacco growers fleeing Castro's rule and planting themselves, and their seeds, in other countries. In fact, the early 1960's saw expert cigar makers come over to Honduras from Havana, with approval from Castro's government, to help with tobacco growing techniques. While initially intending to return to Cuba, some of these experts remained in Honduras, keeping with them their knowledge from Cuba's tobacco past and the tools for Honduras' tobacco future.
The climate of Honduras is extremely appealing to tobacco growers, with an environment that allows all varieties of tobacco seeds to thrive, particularly Cuban seed tobaccos and Connecticut seed tobaccos. This growing environment ultimately allows the tobacco grown in Honduras to be full-bodied, flavorful, strong, and in possession of a heavy aroma.
Cigar makers from Honduras have worked to make a name for themselves, providing a cigar that connoisseurs routinely seek to take out for a smoke. With the fertility of the land, the natural resources, and the knowledge passed down from generation to generation, tobacco growers in Honduras have been able to perfect the growing of home grown seeds, delivering some cigars that are 100 percent Honduran.
Many Cuban companies continue to work on Honduran land and many American companies have also taken root in the cities of Danli and the San Pedro Sula. Established as cigars made of the highest quality, cigars from Honduras sell frequently in the US, with only cigars from the Dominican Republic selling more often. This popularity has transcended continents, as Honduran cigars have started to gain popularity in parts of the United Kingdom, like a cigar sent off for a successful European tour.
While Cuban cigars were once without competition and viewed by so many as the only cigar on the market that could not be rivaled, Honduras cigars are beginning to gain momentum, challenging Cubans to a bout of greatness. When it comes to the cigar loving population of the US, it may only be a matter of time before cigars from Honduras beat Cubans since Cuban cigars can't get into America. They will have to forfeit.
As Honduran cigars gain in reputation, the country of Honduras also begins to gain ground, rebuilding from past destruction and turmoil. As the demand for Honduran cigars increase, the amount of acreage used to grow tobacco increases and the amount of revenue the country of Honduras receives from exports begins to rise as well. If this keeps up, we can only hope that someday Honduras will be as rich as the cigars it produces.