The Puro Sabor Festival, a celebration of Nicaraguan cigars, returned for its 10th year after a two-year hiatus as a result of the pandemic. The party started at the airport, as attendees were welcomed with ice-cold Toña beer or rum. They were then transported to Granada, where they received goodie bags, including a box of 20 cigars from various manufacturers, and attended a dinner hosted by Drew Estate Cigars with live entertainment by a local band, the Mad Heavier Band.
The 2nd day was focused on cultural tourism, as participants explored Granada with a tour guide, learning about the city’s history. For lunch, they traveled to a privately owned home on Lake Nicaragua followed by cigars and optional boat rides to see Las Isletas. Some chose to return to Casa Favilli for a factory tour after lunch. In the evening, the Welcome Dinner was held at Hacienda Los Altos, followed by more cigars and dancing.
On the 3rd day, the festival moved to Estelí. Along the way the group stopped to have lunch and a tour of Victor Calvo’s tobacco plantation, followed by a visit to the venerable Joya de Nicaragua factory. There, they were welcomed with a presentation, coffee, cookies, and cigars, and given a tour of the factory. They ended the tour with a rum tasting from Flor de Caña Rum and a cigar blending exercise, where they had the opportunity to create their own blend. They received a bundle of ten cigars of that blend at the conclusion of the visit.
That evening, the festival’s Inauguration Dinner took place at STG (Scandinavian Tobacco Group), where the folks from Flor de Caña poured rum samples straight from barrels.
On the 4th day, some attendees separated from their groups to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Villiger’s new factory in Estelí. The function was highlighted by a welcome speech from Corina Villiger, daughter of Heinrich Villiger, and a pre-recorded speech from Mr. Villiger himself. The attendees toasted with Champagne and the newly unveiled Villiger de Nicaragua cigar before going on a tour of the impressive facility, which is a collaboration between Joya de Nicaragua and Villiger.
Afterwards, the group enjoyed lunch at Plasencia’s Finca El Tuco, where they had a taste of some delicious Nicaraguan food while enjoying some live music, Toñas, and cigars. Later, they rejoined their groups and visited the Perdomo Cigar Factory, where they had a tour given by Nelson Cuba, director of operations.
In the evening, they attended the White Dinner at PENSA, JC Newman’s factory, which began with folkloric dancers. The night was especially significant for Pepín García, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Camara Nicaragüense de Tabacaleros. After the award ceremony, there were more folkloric dancers before everyone hit the dance floor with the live band. The evening ended with Pepín taking the stage to sing the Cuban standard, “Guantanamera.”
On the 5th and final day of Puro Sabor, the group visited Padrón Cigars where Jorge Padrón, his son Jorge Luís, and his nephew AJ conducted the tour. The tour took attendees through the factory, one of the fields, and the box factory of this most celebrated of Nicaraguan brands.
Lunch was at Finca San Ramón, one of AJ Fernandez’s plantations. They were greeted with cigars, Flor de Caña rum, and ice-cold Toñas. Can you spot a pattern here?
Afterwards the last tour of the festival was at STG, Scandinavian Tobacco Group. The group was greeted with coffee and some Nicaraguan desserts that left everyone in a blissful coma. Everyone snapped out of it and sprang into action as the music started, and out came some folkloric dancers. Incredibly, the dancers managed to get everyone in on the fun, making this one of the liveliest tours on the itinerary.
The 10th Puro Sabor Festival came to a close with a celebration held at Oliva Cigar’s newest factory, Las Mesitas. As everyone danced and enjoyed the festivities, it was hard not to think that it was coming to an end. It was a lovely end to an informative and entertaining week in this beautiful country.