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Old 12-10-2022, 03:54 AM   #1
CigarCraig
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Join Date: Jun 2022
Location: Malvern, PA
Posts: 16
El Reloj Cigar Factory Tour and FSG Farm Visit

Friday a week ago I found myself in Tampa, Florida, my first time visiting this area. I came down for the Cigar Heritage Festival on Sunday, but I really wanted to visit J.C.Newman’s El Reloj factory. They have spent the last few years remodeling the building, and it’s beautiful. The entrance has a company store, the mechanism for the clock in the tower for which the building is named, and a museum. We went upstairs and had some coffee and pastries for breakfast (delicious), and a vintage Diamond Crown Robusto No. 2. This cigar brought me back to the first time I smoked one in 1998 at a cigar party in Vegas. The cigar had held up well, for a Connecticut Shade cigar. We then got the tour, they have some treasures in the basement, old packaging, cigars, and a “vault” filled with a selection of boxes of cigars from the company’s history. They also do some of the long filler tobacco preparation in the basement. We went back upstairs to the production floor, where they manufacture and package machine assisted cigars on antique machines. The difference between machine assisted and machine made is that the former, used here, involve the operator placing a leaf on a die, and using pedals to advance the machine. Machine made cigars are more of a “push a button and a thousand cigars start spitting out”. I saw similar operations at General Cigar’s facility in the. DR. It’s mesmerizing to watch.




On the third floor they have a gallery for hand rolling cigars. This is where the American and Angel Cuesta are rolled. We saw wheels and wheels of Angel Cuesta cigars in the basement aging room, they are hoping to ship them in the coming weeks. We watched a gentleman, also named Angel, finishing salamones, amazingly skilled hand work. This looks like it will be a wonderful cigar.



The next step on this tour involved going to visit the Florida Sun Grown farm, where Jeff Borsyiewicz greeted us. I skipped the bus ride and rode with Kevin and Jessica (CigarProp/TrashPanda, etc.). After a delicious Barbecue style lunch, we checked out the farm where tobaccos in the American, and other cigars is grown. Jeff gave a very informative talk on all the trials and tribulations of growing tobacco in Florida, as he’s the only one doing it. The leaf in the field looked beautiful, and we saw the barn, with some more vintage machinery. It was a beautiful day, sunny and 80, a nice break for me from the fall weather back home. We ended the day stopping in to Corona Cigars in Tampa. Nick Perdomo was there doing an event, and we ran into some friends from home, in town for the weekend. It was a good day. Thank you so much to Sydney, and everyone at J.C. Newman for a great day! If his were the only reason I came on this trip, it would have been worth it.

The original post with pictures can be found at CigarCraig.com!


CigarCraig
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