September 27, 2023 1:42 pm

Oscar Valladares Tobacco Adventure

“Do Not Leave For Tomorrow The Trip That You Can Do Today!”

~ Oscar Valladares

When Chicago’s favorite Norwood Royal Cigars owner, Vick Shah, aka The Don, invites you to visit The Oscar Valladares Tobacco Factory, in Danli, Honduras, you pack and go! Your humble Sippin’ with Stogies correspondent, Joey G, joined The Don, his trusted sidekick, Franky “GoGo” Galasso, WBSE member Brian Minevich, NRC comrade Tony Scipione, and loyal NRC customer, Tim Karpiel, for this unique once in a lifetime opportunity. Tim, a retired Chicago Police Sergeant, won the trip during Vick’s recent Don V Maduro release party raffle. Both of Vick’s personally blended DON V Corojo and Maduro cigars, are produced by Oscar Valladares, and can be purchased in store or online at NRCIGARS.COM

We arrived in Palmerola, Honduras on Sunday evening, February 5th, 2023. We were immediately greeted with good vibes from Oscar Valladares’ welcoming staff and brand new tour bus. Our main tour guide, Katerin Ponce, provided cigars, Francisco Javier Cordova drove the bus like a boss, Colombian photographer, William Wandurrago, provided water and Honduran beer, while an armed Jairo Luis Arias made sure we arrived safely at Oscar’s home in Danli. We immediately knew we were in good hands, and remained safe the entire stay with Oscar’s outstanding and very professional crew!

After being shown our rooms, Oscar greeted us at his open air kitchen and bar, by his outdoor pool, with an amazing barbecue rib and steak dinner. All our meals were prepared and served by Oscar’s stellar culinary team: Rosa Rodriguez, Noel Carcama, and Diana Aguilera. An after dinner cigar to wind down, a good night’s rest, gourmet Monday morning breakfast, and we were quickly off to Oscar’s tobacco farm, with more cigars and cold beer in hand.

At the farm, Katerin showed us the tobacco seeds, greenhouses, tobacco fields, fermentation warehouses, and sorting room, while explaining each of the processes and the different parts of the tobacco plant. It was absolutely fascinating to see and learn about the beginning stages of cigar production, especially seeing all the patient tobacco sorters in action, and stored pallets, each holding over 3,000 pounds of fermenting tobacco. We even took the opportunity to help unload crates of freshly picked tobacco leaves into the fermentation house, all while enjoying our Oscar Valladares cigars!

Tuesday morning, Oscar’s trusted business partner, Bayron Duarte, walked us through the production factory, explaining each aspect of the incredibly large and efficient operation, starting with the bunchers. Bayron explained that his personal experience and knowledge is the only mechanism in place to determine when the fermented tobacco is ready to enter into cigar production. The woodshop, where over 200 employees make the cigar boxes by hand, was unreal to see. The community giveback cigar rolling school, full of young and ambitious local students, was also an impactful sight to see. Oscar provides costly materials and pays a salary for each student’s year-long course. Their cigars, known as “The Rookie”, are branded to local stores and exported to bordering countries for sale.

The best and most intense part of the production factory was the rolling rooms, filled with focused master rollers in action. Here we were provided the rare opportunity to blend our own cigars, which were immediately rolled for us to enjoy. Personally, I was in awe at the level of focus and amazing cigar construction from Oscar’s skilled hand rollers. They are the true artists, producing over 25,000 cigars daily. This was truly an extraordinary and unforgettable experience. From the young hopeful students, farmers, bunchers, woodshop box creators, determined master rollers, to the most senior roller, Donilo Morillo, who has over 40 years of rolling experience, it was obvious they were all proud and content being a part of Oscar’s “creative lab!” 

Some bonus highlights of the trip included a very experienced Cuban cigar connoisseur and friend of Oscar, an international man of mystery only known as “That Guy,” who answered all our cigar production questions, and had the most amazing stories to tell. The large Honduran Ciceron art covered cigar box was always nearby and full of Oscar’s cigars for us to enjoy. Our options included Oscar’s original 2012 box press series, Rosalila, Wild Hunter, Super Fly, McFly, Ciceron, Leaf by Oscar, and even his 10 Year Anniversary expression, which is filled with five year old tobacco. Additionally, Oscar’s Honduran art covered coffee shop, which is also a cigar lounge, was extremely relaxing. This cozy spot has incredible coffee, liquor options, cigars, and very friendly service.

Finally, Oscar surprised us with individually signed cigar boxes, each containing an assortment of his cigars, with our full names on the bands. Oscar’s partners, brother Hector Valladares and Bayron Duarte, also signed the boxes. For a remarkably classy cherry on top final touch, Oscar shocked each of us, with a four pack of our personally blended cigars. These cigars displayed our chosen cigar names on the bands, mine of course being “Joey G”. Seeing our selected cigar names on our personally blended cigars was priceless, a dream come true for any cigar enthusiast!

We cannot thank Oscar and his synergetic team enough for such an incredible life changing experience. Seeing the entire process, from seed to cigar, definitely sows the seeds for a deep appreciation of this natural product. Oscar emphasized “we love to make cigars that are unique and awesome!” His team and tobacco adventure are full of good vibes, backed with invaluable industry expertise, a highly recommended and unique experience, all captured in this awesome Whiskey Network video:

Our Cigar Blends

Vick Shah: “ANP”
Frank Galasso: “The GoGo”
Joe Gulino: “Joey G”
Brian Minevich: “The Mini”
Tony Scipione: “Fat Tony”
Tim Karpiel: “Señor Grande”

Visit OVADVENTURE.COM to book your adventure today!

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