Cuba, Travel

Visiting a Family run Tobacco Farm in Viñales

Meet Rene . Rene is the owner of a small family-run cigar farm in the hills of Viñales. He is the grandfather of our Casa Particular host. He is a tiny old man who alone smokes 10% of his production with the government buying the other 90% of his harvest. He also drinks rum everyday and has smoked around 10 cigars a day since he was 13; AND believe it or not he’s incredibly active and agile on this Cuban diet. Maybe it is also the fresh air in this incredibly green valley that helps him stay so healthy

The tobacco leaves grow for about 2-3 months until they are harvested and hung in the tobacco drying barn, thatched huts that you’ll see all over the valley. Our visit was outside of the harvesting season, but we still got to see the impressive sight of rack upon rack of drying leaves. God that smells good! To prepare the actual cigars from the dried leaves Rene dribbles a few drops of rum and lemon on some leaves before rolling three of them into the final cigar. As a last step he added some honey to the tip, serving as glue and giving it a slightly sweet taste.

We are both non-smokers but those cigars really had something about them and we enjoyed a few of the hundred we brought back home (the maximum amount of cigars two people are allowed to export). Maybe it was because they were completely natural, maybe it was the honey or that we’ve seen the whole production cycle, I don’t know, but we never touched any of the cigars again back home…

Leave a Reply