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Cigar Aficionado's Hall of Fame Class of 2012

Andrew Nagy
From the Print Edition:
Cigar Aficionado's 20th Anniversary, September/October 2012

(continued from page 3)

After La Gloria Cubana struck gold during the cigar boom of the ’90s, Perez-Carrillo responded by expanding his operations to the lush Yaque Valley, a tobacco-growing area in the Dominican Republic akin to Cuba’s famous Vuelta Abajo region, where Perez-Carrillo grew up. It was in Vuelta Abajo where Perez-Carrillo spent countless hours as a boy with his father in the tobacco fields, soaking up valuable lessons like dedication, humility, patience and respect—lessons he would apply to his own tobacco endeavors.

In 1999, Perez-Carrillo sold El Credito and the La Gloria Cubana brand to Swedish Match AB, continuing to work there until 2009. That year, he decided to go back to his roots by creating a new family-run cigar boutique called EPC Cigar Co. with his son Ernesto Perez-Carrillo III and daughter Lissette.

“I feel like I have to reinvent myself,” said Perez-Carrillo at the time. “I want to see if I can redo it again—it’s a challenge.” Now 61, Perez-Carrillo has responded to his own challenge, his cigars having found their way onto Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 list the last two years.

Nestor Plasencia
Owner, Plasencia Cigars, Central America

Nestor Plasencia’s cigarmaking empire spans Nicaragua and Honduras, employs more than 5,000 people and produces about 25 million cigars a year. He plants tobacco on Ometepe, a volcanic island in Nicaragua, and grows some of the industry’s best wrapper leaf.

Partagás, Rocky Patel and Alec Bradley are just some of the brands that use Plasencia tobacco. At his Plasencia Cigars factory he produces Casa Magna, a blend he collaborated on with Manuel Quesada, which won Cigar of the Year honors in 2008 from Cigar Aficionado. In short, Plasencia is one of the most influential men in tobacco.

Plasencia emigrated to Nicaragua at the age of 15 with his parents after Fidel Castro confiscated their tobacco farms in Cuba. His father found work right away in the Nicaraguan cigar industry, and a young Nestor was visiting tobacco fields and cigar factories, following in his father’s footsteps.

All was well until 1979, when the Sandinistas expropriated the family’s 1,000 acres of prime Nicaraguan farmland. Plasencia responded by starting a tobacco plantation in Honduras in 1981. He built a base for his tobacco-growing venture to turn into an industry giant when he added cigar production in 1985.

At 62 years old, Plasencia still puts long hours into his business, of which his son Nestor Plasencia Jr. has become a major part.

Manuel Quesada
Owner, Manufactura de Tabacos S.A.,
Santiago, Dominican Republic

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