Five generations of tobacco farming – over 150 years of cultivating the finest tobacco on the market – and 3 factories that produce cigars for some of the most notable brands in the cigar industry only means that when you finally decide to put your name on a cigar it will be outstanding. Of course I am talking about the Plasencia Family. It was back in 1865 when Don Eduardo Plasencia left the Canary Islands in search of success and opportunity and started growing tobacco in Vuelta Abajo, Cuba.
Each generation grew the family business and stayed true to their roots as farmers. Of course it was not easy, in fact many brands would have closed shop but not the Plasencia family. They fled Cuba when Castro took over and ended up in Mexico, and then eventually in Nicaragua where they restarted their plantations and factory, only to have it burned down by the Sandinistas. They fled once again, this time to Honduras where they started operations once more, led by the fourth generation farmer Nestor Plasencia Sr., who grew the business to over 1 million cigars a year. Keeping operations in Honduras the family found themselves back in Nicaragua re-tilling and working the fields and now lay claim as the largest grower of tobacco in the world.
After the many trials and tribulations the company now produces 40 million cigars a year from 4 factories, and 8 plantations and employs a hefty 6,000 employees, in Honduras and Nicaragua. You would think that is enough, but the 5th generation of Plasencias, Néstor Andrés, Gustavo, and José Luis convinced Nestor Sr. to finally make a cigar worthy of the Plasencia name. That cigar is the Plasencia Alma Fuerte. The name translates to “Strong Soul” , and when you consider what the family has gone through, that makes perfect sense.
The Plasencia Alma Fuerte was introduced in 2016 and boasts a bold Nicaraguan Puro blend described as:
- Wrapper – Nicaraguan (Jalapa)
- Binder – Nicaraguan
- Filler – Nicaraguan (Condega, Estelí, Jalapa and Ometepe)
There are 3 vitolas available for the Plasencia Alma Fuerte:
- Plasencia Alma Fuerte Nestor IV (6 x 54) MSRP $20.00
- Plasencia Alma Fuerte Sixto ii (6 x 60) MSRP $21.00
- Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V – Salomon (7 x 58) MSRP $22.00
Each vitola comes packaged in 10-count boxes that has a lid that can be flipped around and has a branded pewter insert over the wood and doubles as an ashtray. You want that box don’t you?
I don’t have the box, but I did receive a Plasencia Alma Fuerte Nestor IV at the 2017 IPCPR for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press. So after a good six months it was time to stop looking at it and to turn it to its rightful ash all the while describing it to you.
Ok, I am going to say right here this is a beautiful cigar. You learn something about tobacco and cigars after 5 generations and 150 years. The Jalapa wrapper is dark and oily with a wonderful, almost artistic mottling running through it. Just look at it; it invites you in, almost begging you to taste it. There is no skimping on filler either as it is solid and heavy in the hand. The triple cap is expertly applied with pride.
The cigar is adorned with 3 bands. there is a top band that uses a black and gold motif and is just a ring of the Plasencia logos. Directly below is the primary band also in a black and gold motif with the gold Plasencia logo up top and the golden word “Plasencia” inscribed in the center. Right below the phrase “Alma Fuerte” is printed. The third band is a golden footer band with the black phrase “Alma Fuerte” – just in case you did not see it on the primary band. The presentation is excellent and the bands are applied with the same pride as the construction of the cigar.
Looks and presentation are important, but what really counts is the flavor and aroma. Running the Alma Fuerte across the nose I picked up a nicely fermented sweet leaf on the barrel and the foot exudes notes of tea and fresh-cut hay.
I used my Palio double blade cutter to open it up and the cold draw had a perfect restriction and enticing earth and pepper notes. I was not ready to light this one up yet, I wanted to date it some more, so i rolled it about and savored the pre-light notes. Some sweetness entered to add to the pepper.
Well, it was time to get on with the journey so a warmed the foot with the soft flame of a cedar spill and took in the first few puffs.
Flavor hits right off the burn; follow along as I break it down for you.
Cigar Review Notes
- What an incredible start
- Toasted caramel, medium black pepper, and baking spice fire up the taste buds
- Coffee notes round out the first inch
- A sweet nutty aroma develops
- Sea salt adds to the sensation
- Perfectly formed, medium grey ash builds
- Straight and medium char line
- Moving towards the second third there is an earthy flavor with a hint of cocoa
- Light peppery spice is felt on the retrohale
- Coffee increases in second half with a minty back note
- The peppery spice increases after the primary band is removed
- Strength reaches full
- Earth re-enters
- Sweetness and cedar find thier way in the final third as I take it to the nub
- Total Smoking time was an amazing and enjoyable 1 hour and 40 minutes
Overall, the Plasencia Alma Fuerte was an outstanding cigar and worthy of the name Plasencia. The company cut no corners in the cultivation of the leaf or production of this cigar. I have to say, if our top 25 list was open to large brands, this cigar would be my pick for the number one cigar of the year in 2016. The price is high but this cigar is worth every cent and I will need to get some more and let them age, as this will be even more amazing after a year or two in the humidor.