Nica Libre Cigar Factory

Now, here is a man who appreciates his craft.

I’ve spent a few hours in the Nica Libre cigar factory here in Esteli, getting to know the process of cigar making, and photographing it.  While I don’t care for cigars myself, nonetheless, I find the process to be fascinating and the product to be beautiful.  And the folks here in Esteli, Nicaragua, are really friendly.

Check out these beautiful cigars.  They’re made by only one woman in this factory, who has sufficient skill to create them.  I bought several.  If you’re nice to me, I might give you one.

This is the tobacco as it comes from the plantation, to the fabrica.

This young lady puts those pretty labels on the finished cigars. This is Eli, with whom I talked at length about his art and writing.  Nicaraguans are pretty passionate about poetry, and Eli combines poetry with paintings and drawings.  And he manages the little warehouse at the factory, where the cigars are placed for several weeks to ‘finish’ prior to labeling, packaging, and shipment.

I purchased a number of Nica Libre’s lovely cigars, including some made from organic tobacco by local farmers.  The first two lengthy comments (from folks in the Portland area) get a free cigar when I return!

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  • February 19, 2010 - 7:43 pm

    Stacee Taft - Meaningful or just lengthy? 😉 You know I could go on for pages… tee hee

    I do love the first photograph you posted… seems like he’s creating his own job security by smoking his own work. 🙂 I love looking at their hands. They work so hard… most of us have no idea, here in the States, what work like that is like.

    I love that you not only take beautiful photographs, but that you stop to learn their stories. “Everyone has a story… tell me yours” is a phrase I’m trying to adopt so I’m not tempted to talk too much or make it all about me. 🙂

    We miss you guys, but are so thankful you’re having a wonderful adventure together! I love that you let us “travel” with you by posting stories and photographs!

    Thank you for being such an awesome role model in so many ways. (and I’m not saying that for a cigar, I really mean it!)
    – Stacee

  • February 19, 2010 - 8:01 pm

    James - Fritz, thanks for sharing these images from your adventure. It’s amazing to see these craftsmen creating a product, by hand, that many of us in the more developed world may take for granted. I can almost smell the pungent air as the fermented tobacco leaves are laid flat and transformed into these beautiful little uniform works of art.
    Is this a family cigar shop by any chance?

  • February 20, 2010 - 12:44 pm

    Marie - I want a cigar. Is that lengthy?

  • March 11, 2010 - 7:03 pm

    fritzphoto - Well Stacee, I didn’t take you for a cigar lover, but I’ll have one for you when I return!

  • March 11, 2010 - 7:07 pm

    fritzphoto - James, this isn’t a family shop–I’m not sure there are any here. There are 16 fabricas here in Esteli, and this seems to be one of the smaller ones. But they produce a lot of product, and it’s well rated in online forums.

    Remind me when I return; I have a cigar with your name on it!

  • March 12, 2010 - 4:02 pm

    Tobacco Farming and Curing in Nicaragua » Fritz Photography - […] interesting to note the similarities between cigar making and coffee production, both of which are major enterprises in this area. Listening to someone talk […]

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