The production of Kafie 1901 Cigars has a new home, as Dr. Gaby Kafie has announced that he is now making his cigars at the La Aurora Cigar Factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Kafie 1901 Cigars has been associated with Honduras since its launched in 2013, first working with Tabacalera Puros Aliados. In 2017, he opened a factory in Danlí that not only bore the Kafie name and produced its cigars, but also produced cigars for a number of other brands. However, Kafie said that some very drastic changes in Honduras were part of the reason he decided to move production. Specifically, he cited two major hurricanes and challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, which he said prompted travel, health and safety concerns for himself and his team.
Because of these challenges, Kafie began to look elsewhere for a factory to work with, and it was in the process of developing the Kafie 1901 Serie L Natural that he found La Aurora and Manuel Inoa, the company’s master blender. “After working for nearly two years to develop this blend, it only came to life with the help of Mr. Manuel Inoa of La Aurora Cigars, one of the finest master blenders in our industry today,” Kafie said. “My experiences with La Aurora, their tobacco and team was so rewarding that when the opportunity presented itself, our organization decided to transfer all of our cigar production to La Aurora. The level of professionalism at La Aurora exceeded all my expectations.”
That cigar, which was announced in July 2021 and celebrates Gaby Kafie’s 50th birthday, was supposed to be produced at his factory in Honduras and had been slated for a release as early as last November. However, as he worked through the blending process, Kafie said he came to the realization that the lack of tobaccos available in the region would prevent him from producing the cigar. The cigar is now scheduled to be released in April or May.
Kafie anticipates that the La Aurora-made versions of his cigars will begin arriving at retailers sometime in the spring or summer of 2022, and in the meantime he will continue to sell through his existing Honduran-made inventory. Consumers will be able to identify the La Aurora-made cigars by both a seal bearing the Procigar Festival logo and serial number, as well as a stamp on the bottom of the box with the La Aurora logo. Additionally, the boxes and bands of the Kafie 1901 portfolio will be getting an upgrade, with Kafie saying that the changes will be obvious to consumers.
As for his core line blends, Kafie said they will remain constant, but noted they will now use tobacco that has been aged for a minimum of four years, which he said he expects to make them more refined and sophisticated. He credited La Aurora’s tobacco inventory, sourcing ability and its fermentation technique as key in being able to transition his portfolio to a new factory without adversely affecting the blends, and likely improving them.
Additionally, some of the other brands that were being produced at Tabacalera G. Kafie y Cia. will also be moving to La Aurora, namely Cedar Creek Cigars, The Chief Cigars and The Mansa Cigars from Alex Spencer Reserve.
As for what is happening to the factory in Danlí, it has been left in the hands of Kafie’s business partner, Oscar Orlando Ferrera, a transition that Kafie told halfwheel happened as of Oct. 31, 2021. “I am severing all ties with Honduras,” he said, adding that he is grateful to the country and the people of Honduras for all their support. “Our company and brands would not be where we are today without our principal years in Honduras,” he added, noting that his family’s roots are in Honduras and that his love for the country and people will live on. He believes Ferrera is still producing a couple of brands and that he will continue the factory’s operations.
Image courtesy of Gaby Kafie/Kafie 1901 Cigars.