January 2024

During Puro Sabor, Nicaragua’s cigar festival, Rocky Patel dropped some news. A new, thee-cigar, limited edition and a brand-new factory in Nicaragua.

Year of the Dragon

Include Rocky Patel in the roster of companies producing Year of the Dragon cigars; however, Rocky Patel is not merely creating a single Year of the Dragon cigar—rather, they are unveiling a trio of offerings.

All three variants share a common blend, featuring a Mexican San Andrés wrapper complemented by two binders from Connecticut, one of which is broadleaf. The filler tobacco hails from the Condega, Estelí, and Jalapa regions of Nicaragua, along with the Jamastran Valley in Honduras. The manufacturing process takes place at Tabacalera Villa Cuba S.A., the company’s factory located in Estelí, Nicaragua.

The lineup of these Year of the Dragon 2024 cigars includes:

– Rocky Patel Year of the Dragon 2024 Robusto Grande (5 1/2 x 52) — Exclusive to Duty-Free

– Rocky Patel Year of the Dragon 2024 Toro (6 1/2 x 52) — Exclusive to the U.S.

– Rocky Patel Year of the Dragon 2024 Robusto — International Exclusive

The initial release will be the Robusto Grande, available exclusively in duty-free shops, launching on February 9, the day preceding the commencement of Chinese New Year, which heralds the start of the Year of the Dragon on the lunar calendar. This particular Robusto Grande vitola is offered in five-packs, priced at $175. Although the quantity is limited, the company has not disclosed the exact number available.

The Toro, designated for U.S. distribution, carries an MSRP of $35 per cigar and is restricted to approximately 6,000 boxes of 10 cigars. It is anticipated to be unveiled at the 2024 PCA Convention & Trade Show in late March, with shipping slated to commence in April.

As for the Year of the Dragon 2024 Robusto, it is projected to be part of a sampler pack exclusively available to international stores.

New factory in Nicaragua

Renowned cigar maker Rocky Patel is embarking on the construction of his second cigar factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, marking a significant expansion for Rocky Patel Premium Cigars S.A.

The company is set to unveil its plans for the new factory complex, with an anticipated opening in the latter half of 2026. Spanning over eight manzanas, equivalent to approximately 14 acres, the expansive facility will comprise eight buildings, showcasing Patel’s commitment to enhancing production capabilities. With a capacity to craft up to 60,000 cigars per day, the new factory will not only encompass cigar rolling but also manage essential tobacco processing activities. This includes designated spaces for pilones used in fermentation, sorting, stripping, and tobacco storage.

Beyond the core manufacturing functions, the complex will feature additional structures such as offices, a cafeteria, and medical facilities. One distinctive addition is the concept of “cigar entertainment,” envisioned as a man cave-style lounge, providing a unique space for enthusiasts to indulge in their passion.

Patel envisions this new facility as an all-encompassing hub, strategically located adjacent to the company’s Finca Villa Cuba farm. Positioned on Miraflor, the complex is in close proximity to AJ Fernandez’s primary factory and the Oliva Tobacco Co.’s Estelí-based facility, fostering a synergy within the region’s cigar industry.


Rocky Patel’s previous venture in Estelí was the Tabacalera Villa Cuba S.A. (TAVICUSA), established in 2008. Notably, the rolling room in the new factory will be 15 times larger than TAVICUSA, highlighting the scale of expansion and growth. Currently, Patel outsources the company’s manufacturing to the Plasencia family, Scandinavian Tobacco Group, and Drew Estate.

However, with the forthcoming completion of the new factory, Patel has confirmed the eventual closure of the TAVICUSA facility, consolidating operations and optimizing efficiency within the expanded manufacturing landscape.

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