When we bought this compound, we thought it was overkill,” says Jorge Padrón, addressing a dozen people in the courtyard of his cigar company’s production facility in Estelí, Nicaragua. “Now, we’re busting at the seams.” This was the last day of Puro Sabor, Nicaragua’s annual cigar festival, and Padrón was showing a small group how his company makes its award-winning cigars. The tour continued inside, moving into the main rolling gallery of the Padrón factory, a yellow building with a workforce that Padrón says is at maximum capacity. With approximately 90 pairs of rollers, the factory produced 9.5 million cigars last year. This includes high-scoring smokes like the Padrón Serie 1926, the Family Reserve and the 1964 Anniversary Series, which was named Cigar of the Year for its Torpedo size in 2021.
From factory to fermentation to tobacco field, Cigar Aficionado walks you through the many facets of Padrón’s operation for insight into how this 59-year-old company makes such fine cigars.
Jorge Padrón starts the tour outside the factory entrance, giving the attendees a bit of the company’s history and, of course, cigars.
In the rolling room of the Padrón factory, these skilled workers are applying moistened wrapper leaf to bunches of tobacco that have spent time in a cigar mold.
Cigars are arranged here for color consistency so that the wrappers will look uniform once they are pressed and finally boxed.
Trays of cigars after being pressed and banded. Most cigars spend time in an aging room, but Padrón is one of the industry exceptions. Once the cigars are banded, they are boxed up and sent out shortly after.
At the processing facility, wrapper leaves are being tied at the stalk to form a hand of tobacco. From here, the tied hands of tobacco will be placed in bulk piles for fermentation.
The turning of tobacco is a crucial step in the fermentation process and takes place once the pile naturally reaches a certain temperature. A worker rotates this pile of tobacco to make sure that heat and pressure is applied evenly throughout the process.
Padrón makes its own boxes at this onsite workshop where the air smells like sawdust and varnish. These workers are sanding down any rough edges.
The La Estancia farm in Estelí produces mostly filler tobacco for Padrón. The plants seen here are only 43 days old. Notice the netting in the background, which helps to shield the tobacco from wind.
Coal-black and full of nutrients, the volcanic soil of Estelí is what gives so many Nicaraguan cigars their unique character.
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