The Plasencia family has been growing top-quality tobacco for five generations. Today, Plasencia Cigars manufactures more than 35 million handmade cigars each year and grows tobacco on 3,000 acres in several locations, including Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. It has the distinction of having produced popular cigars for many well-known labels, including Rocky Patel Premium Cigars, Ventura Cigar, Padilla, Villiger and Alec Bradley.
After decades devoted to making memorable cigars for other companies, the family has launched their very own brand: Plasencia 1865. Tobacco Business recently sat down with CEO Nestor Andrés Plasencia to discuss his family’s deep roots in the tobacco industry and their new brand that helps to affirm the family’s legacy and dedication to tobacco.
Great People, Great Tobacco
The Plasencias grow tobacco in four different regions in Nicaragua and three different regions in Honduras. In addition, the family grows tobacco in Panama and Costa Rica. When asked what he considers the key to growing good tobacco, Nestor Plasencia offered up a secret to the family’s successes over the years: Great tobacco is grown by great people.
“The No. 1 thing is that we have talented team players that work beside us,” says Nestor Plasencia, Sixto Plascencia Juárez’s great-grandson and one of the world’s most well-regarded cigar makers. “We’ve managed to have a great group of people who have a passion for tobacco in their blood and who are looking at all the little details. If you focus on those little details from when you put the seed in the ground to the end when the cigars are made you will have a great product. Constantly looking at those types of details makes our tobacco.”
Introducing Plasencia 1865
While the employees and staff keep the quality of the products high, Nestor Plasencia considers the family to be the foundation of the company. In his view, it’s up to the family to lead the company and help produce the best tobacco possible. “Right now, my brothers and I are the fifth generation, working together with my dad,” he says. “We hope we are going to have more generations to come in the future to continue this family tradition in this beautiful industry.”
In fact, that particular vision was behind Plasencia’s decision to launch the cigar brand, Plasencia 1865. In reviewing the company’s operations, the Plasencia family felt it was missing what it considered to be the best part of the cigar industry: the relationship with the final consumer.
“We created Plasencia 1865 in order to distribute our own line of products,” explains Nestor Plasencia. “The first product we came out with was the Plasencia Alma series. ‘Alma’ means ‘soul,’ so we put our soul and heart into this cigar. We saved tobaccos from our best fields, and from the best crops out of those fields we aged the tobaccos and hand-selected every leaf out of the field in order to create an amazing product.”
The Plasencia 1865 brand currently consists of Alma Fuerte, one of five cigars in the company’s Alma Series. This cigar is a medium- to full-bodied cigar made with sustainability-sourced tobacco plants. The aging process for the tobaccos used in this cigar is elaborate, and only the best leaves are used for the cigar. Plasencia will also be introducing another line of cigars named Cosecha, which celebrates the company’s first-ever tobacco crop grown in 1865.
To the Plasencia family, Plasencia 1865 is a significant and important evolution of their company and their dedication to the tobacco industry. The company has used its master blenders to help create an amazing product. The family uses some organically grown tobacco in the blend and is excited to roll it out to retailers and cigar enthusiasts. The company, having been around for decades, isn’t worried much about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or its regulations.
“The thing is that there has always been a time when people have said this is the end of the cigar industry,” says Nestor Plasencia. “I think this industry is going to survive, no matter what. It’s sad to see all this legislation for something that’s enjoyed in the States and all over the world that takes you away for two hours for enjoyment with friends, family members and yourself. The industry will find its place and will survive.”
– Story by Antoine Reid
This story first appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Tobacco Business magazine. Members of the tobacco industry are eligible for a complimentary subscription to our magazine. Click here for details.