2007 Camp Camacho: Honduras
by David "Doc" Diaz
Friday, January 26, 2007
by David “Doc” Diaz
After my all too brief stay in Costa Rica and after visiting two cigar factories there, I continued my tobacco sojourn with my next stop in Honduras. My destination: Camp Camacho, home of Camacho Cigars. My flight from Costa Rica to Honduras was mercifully short and I was met in the Tegucigalpa airport by Camacho representatives who provided me transport for the 2-hour drive to the cigar capital of Honduras: Danlí.
The drive seemed short as the anticipation mounted and, at last, we were approaching the outer gate of Camp Camacho. As we passed through the gate, we were warmly greeted by the camp monkey, who ran beside our truck as we wound our way up the hill to the main residence.
The living quarters for guests are generous and all-inclusive, but the real gem is the main residence. A sprawling single-story hacienda, it has several sitting rooms, a full bar, pool and outdoor game area. Not one to wast any time in a cigar paradise, I plucked an El Legend-ario Authentic Corojo from the dining room table that contained a seemingly inexhaustible supply of cigars and made my way to the breathtaking view at pool-side.
As more guests arrived, we assembled ourselves with cigars and libation in hand and awaited the appearance of Mr. Christian Eiroa, president of Camacho Cigars. Christian was the ultimate host, socializing, eating meals, smoking cigars and carousing with us for our entire stay at the camp. He was a bundle of energy and enthusiasm and also a wealth of knowledge, which we were eager to soak up.
Our education began in earnest on the first morning, when we visited the numerous tobacco fields. Planted with the likes of Corojo, Connecticut Broadleaf and Sumatran tobacco, these fertile fields produce the leaf nearly year-round.
We stopped first at the Corojo field, a crop that fetches high prices because of its very low yield. Christian explained that Corojo produces tobacco plants that are short with small, thick leaves. To enhance the concentration of the tobacco flavors, the Corojo plants are topped to remove the flowers. As we walked among the tobacco plants, the workers were in the fields priming the Corojo plants from the bottom up. They take one priming (level) of leaves every 3-5 days. The Corojo has about 5 primings in all, because it is a shorter plant, while Connecticut, for example, might have 7-8 primings.
After the fields, we visited the curing barns where the leaves are hung from rafters and dried until they change colors from green, to yellow to brown. The curing process takes varying amounts of time, based on the type of tobacco and the temperature and humidity characteristics.
Below: a field of Corojo
Day two started with a visit to Camacho’s box factory. Here workers make new boxes and recycle old ones. This year, I saw the construction of the new Camacho Cabinet Humidors. These beauties were being sanded by hand, in-between application of various coats of stain and clear gloss.
From there we went to the rolling gallery. It was here that I really got a feel for the size of Camacho’s production. This incredibly huge room was full of torcedores rolling every size and shape of cigar. Besides the hundreds of stations where the bunchers and rollers did their work, there were also workstations where workers stripped the main stems from leaves, sorted finished cigars, placed bands and cellophane on the cigars, and shrink-wrapped finished boxes. It was here too, where Doc got his first try at rolling a few cigars. I was taught by an expert torcedora who showed me the finer points of cutting and rolling the wrapper around the binder and putting on a little round top cap. Needless to say, she was not in any immediate jeopardy of losing her job to me.
Below: Doc learns to roll cigars
During our time at the rolling gallery, we were served lunch while Christian talked about the new packaging that will be seen in 2007. He brought out many of the new boxing samples to show us, but most impressive to me, were the new Camacho Cabinet humidors. Oh man, I’ve gotta have one of those.
After horseback riding in the afternoon, we spent our last evening in a slightly subdued state. It was hard to think about leaving this mountaintop experience and returning to the real world. I had a nice opportunity to sit and chat with Christian under the beautiful starlit canopy that evening. Besides the brief interview, which I will air on a Stogie Fresh 5 podcast, I gave Christian a couple of Stogie Fresh gifts, as a small thanks for all his hospitality and time. Christian, if you’re reading this, I’d love to see a picture of you in that hat. Seriously though, the Camp Camacho experience is not one that I will soon forget. I plan to take Christian up on his offer to get the rest of my Stogie Fresh staff back to this Honduran cigar smoker’s paradise.
About the Author
David "Doc" Diaz is the publisher and the editor of the Stogie Fresh Cigar Publications. He has served as an educator, researcher and writer and has taught in the Health Education and Health Science field for over 30 years. He possesses an earned doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. Doc is a Certified Master Tobacconist (CMT), having received this certification from the Tobacconist University and is a member and Ambassador of Cigar Rights of America (CRA).blog comments powered by Disqus