Tabacalera Palma Procigar 2024

On this Procigar 2024 tour, we take a look at Tabacalera Palma. Tabacalera Palma has been in business for about 88 years. Jochy Blanco runs the operations of Tabaclaera Palma. This was an operation that I would see for the first time.

I was interested in touring Tabacalera Palma for several reasons. First, I think Tabacalera Palma is still unknown to many in my audience, so I wanted to share information on it. Second, its factory with a lot of history going back to 1936, so that appealed to me. Finally, even though we talked to them at PCA Trade Shows, I wanted to get to know Jochy and his son José Manuel better. Jochy is a power in the Dominican cigar industry, while José Manuel is a rising star. I wanted to see the duo on their home turf doing what they do best. The farm and factory tours were conducted by José Manuel, who showed his deep knowledge of his family’s operation from top to bottom.

Tabacalera Palma Procigar 2024

First, here is a little background on Jochy Blanco and Tabacalera Palma. The factory operations were first established in 1936. The factory had been known for many private labels. About a decade ago, Tabacalera Palma became an operation many cigar enthusiasts became aware of with the launch of Boutique Blends’ Aging Room Cigars line (by which Blanco is a partner with Rafael Nodal, Alina Nodal, and Hank Bischoff). At the same time, Blanco is one of the world’s premier tobacco growers and exporters.

In 2015, Blanco started producing his brands. He acquired IndianHead Cigars from Bill Bock, a series of value-priced cigars. In addition, he would launch his own premium cigar brand called La Galera. As a brand, La Galera was promoted quite well on this tour under the moniker “The Experience.” As we will see, it was more than just making cigars.

Tabacalera Palma Procigar 2024

I have mentioned in past Procigar recaps that the factory and farm visits are designed to showcase not just cigar making but also Dominican culture. No doubt, Tabacalera Palma delivered on both of these things. We stopped first at the farm, then at the factory. Both components incorporated a festival-like atmosphere while simultaneously showing the craft of cigar-making. As we have in previous Procigar recaps, we aren’t going to explain the details of tobacco growing, processing, and cigar making. I couldn’t do it justice in recapping it here.

The tour kicked started with a farm. The festival environment was present as soon as we stepped off the bus. There was music, food, beverages, complimentary hats, and cigars. One interesting food station was an empanada stand at the farm.

Tabacalera Palma Procigar 2024

Tabacalera Palma Procigar 2024

In my opinion, no farm visit is complete without getting a coconut opened up with a machete so one can drink the juice. Pro tip: the green (young) coconuts have the better juice.

While there was fun, there was an opportunity to learn about tobacco growing, harvesting, and curing (sorry, our curing barn picture did not come out).

After the farm, it was on to the factory where the festival environment continued.

The Dominican shaved ice was a hit with many.

It was time to enter the factory. Once inside, this was very much an old-school factory. The facility is obviously outgrowing its current space. Word on the street is Blanco will be moving into a much larger facility.

Tabacalera Palma Procigar 2024

One of my favorite things when I visit a factory is when the pairs in a rolling room bang their chavetas (cutting tools) to greet visitors. This happened at Tabacalera Palma.

While Tabacalera Palma is a handmade operation for many of its products, it also has a machine-made side of the house that we could see.

The penultimate gala of the week was the White Party. This is one of the signature events of each Procigar. The famous White Party occurred at Santiago’s Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración. The Procigar Festival is the only time of the year the Monument is opened up to a private event.

Upon entering the White Party, we were greeted by an orchestra playing music.

Usually, I’m not a fan of watching photo ops. The one exception is the one that features each member of Procigar.

While the music was quite loud, it was still enjoyable.

As with each gala night, attendees receive a box of cigars containing one cigar from each Procigar manufacturer. This one might be one of the nicest I have seen. Robert Glick designed the box, which incorporates cigar band art. The cigars curated were an excellent selection.

Tabacalera Palma Procigar 2024 Tabacalera Palma Procigar 2024

Finally, anything can happen during Procigar, and in this case, Tony Gomez of La Flor Dominican surprised his girlfriend by asking her to marry him.

Procigar 2024 moves into the final day next. We will have coverage of the Field Day and Charity Auction.

For full Procigar 2024  coverage, see our Procigar 2024 Coverage Hub

Photo/Video Credits: Cigar Coop