Life has changed so much in the last week or ten days, is that all it’s been? It happened so fast, like a nightmare unfolding day after day as businesses close and the lives we used to live interrupted. This isn’t what spring in is supposed to be – it’s supposed to be March Madness, The Masters, baseball beginning to slowly unwind over another summer, vacations, plans for 2020.
Instead it’s closing schools, an economy cut off in mid-stride, jarring orders to stay at home, precautions against a global pandemic unleashed from books or movies – now reality, a battle in our time. In the rush to react, the sense of normal gone – flashes of what’s lost for now break through from time to time – break through the rush of getting through the day, anxious about tomorrow, heartbreak for people across the country facing sickness, and fear and loss.
Many of us have a niche, things we do and share – something that our friends just ‘know’ – a culture, a language, a feeling. It’s odd – many often go through our toughest times alone – others pick us up, console us, lend an ear if not a hand. But all of us at the same time? Not a person among us to say they’ve been through this before.
For those of us gathered here together reading these words, be safe – may we get through this – each of us alone but also together. For now, we might light a cigar, feel the relaxation that comes with the first draw – take a short time out – not an escape but a time to take it all in – remember other times, look an unknown future in the eye. We’re here, we’ll take it as it comes, and we’ll meet again in time. We’ll arrive back where we started and we’ll know each like we never have before. We’ll roll up our sleeves and get it done. We look forward to being here to serve you again in our shops – and while relaxing with a cigar in years to come, appreciate it even more.
Are you ready for some football??! La Flor Dominicana certainly is with their Super Bowl cigar! Even though the Vikings won’t be playing in this year’s game, the fans of this host state can enjoy a special cigar while watching the big game.
LFD is making their special edition football cigar an annual tradition, shipping it to LFD retailers in the host states. This year’s Super Bowl marks the fourth time Litto Gomez and his team are producing this commemorative cigar. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper blends well with the Dominican binder and filler to produce a full bodied stick. To complete the look of this special cigar, a football-shaped design is carefully carved by hand from Connecticut-seed Ecuadorian tobacco to be placed on the wrapper. Our staff was lucky enough to be at La Flor Dominicana this year and watch the cigars come together first hand.
LFD cigar makers use a scalpel to shape signature designs for specially-made cigars like those with a football sold in the weeks before the Super Bowl.
If you’re fortunate enough to be heading out to the Super Bowl to cheer on your team, swing by a local LFD retailer and grab one of these limited edition cigars…only 450 boxes were produced. Although we don’t have them here in Pennsylvania, we do offer several La Flor Dominicana cigars including a few new ones selected during the LFD Tour (more on that coming soon in this space) at Smoke Rings Cigar Bar where you can sit back, watch the game, and enjoy a smoke on a Sunday afternoon.
This is great video footage of a cigar roller placing the wrapper on a Perdomo cigar in the production room of the Perdomo Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Filler, binder and wrapper tobacco leaves of various types and regions are combined to create cigars with the distinct flavors and aromas that define a brand. The wrapper is the tobacco leaf that is on the outside of the cigar, covering the filler and binder bunch. You hear Nick in the video refer to the “chaveta” she is using – the traditional knife used to cut tobacco leaves.
Our tour was led by Nick Perdomo who explained every step of cigar-making over 3 days. Before reaching production, seeds were germinated in green-houses, the plants transplanted into fields once they are viable, harvested, cured in the curing barn, then fermented and aged for many months. The process is labor-intensive with every phase completed by hand.
Here are some great pictures that show the conditions in the facility. It is a large, clean well-lit area. Workers are seated at tables in pairs and production is non-stop. People are paid based on the number of cigars produced, not by the hour. The quality control process is constant and consistent as supervisors inspect the work being done. Also, every cigar goes through draw-testing to ensure that the amount of air that would flow through the cigar once lit is not too great (hot) or little (plugged). If the cigar fails the draw test, it goes back to the person who rolled it. Also, cigars are constantly ring gauge tested to ensure that each is the correct, uniform size and will fit properly in the boxes – made on-site in the box factory. The entire system is highly organized and efficient – a very impressive operation that was amazing to see.
Please feel free to post any comments or questions you might have!
The size and level of activity is impressive.
Look at those torpedos!!
A roller’s work-station.
The area is clean, comfortable and well-lit.
Pretty tough to not light one up!