Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 2

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tobaccoasia 25 Djarum - Wood Tip Natural Leaf as "La Tabacalera". In 1887, the company estab- lished "La Flor de Isabela", the largest cigar fac- tory in the world at the time. Today, it is known as Tabacalera Incorporada and is still the largest tobacco industry operator in the Philippines. Some of the producers from the best areas are very professional and supply excellent tobacco to major machine-made cigar manufacturers. One of the most notable examples is probably Isa- bela Leaf Tobacco Co. Inc managed by Jose Pua, which produces first-rate dark air-cured tobacco from the province of Isabela in the Northern re- gion of the Philippines. Tobaccos from the Philippines, however, are not always simply a part of a nameless blend; they can also stand on their own in cigars enjoyed by aficionados the worlds over. In addition to the pleasing bouquet or aroma and their light-colored "claro" wrapper, the Phil- ippine cigars are usually quite light, enjoyable, and affordable and they are earning a growing recogni- tion in international markets. One of the companies enjoying a rising busi- ness is Tabaqueria de Filipinas, founded by Ga- briel G. Ripoll Jr. in 1993. The company was born of his passion for cigars and his experience of over 40 years in the Philippine cigar industry; it is the largest cigar manufacturing company in the Philip- pines today. Tabaqueria de Filipinas began as a five-roller operation located in a rented pre-war home in old Manila. Today, it is a company of over 200 em- ployees housed in a new factory in San Pedro, La- guna, but Tabaqueria continues to hand-craft Phil- ippine cigars in the traditional way and the tobacco is grown on their plantations in the Tubao Valley in Northern Luzon. With a manufacturing capacity of 15,000 ci- gars a day, the company does private labelling and makes its own handcrafted narra boxes and humi- dors. About 60% of their production is exported, with domestic demand catching up in recent years. For their main brands Antonio Gimenez, Indepen- dencia 1898, and Flor de Filipinas, they are proud of the fact that all the tobacco comes from the Philip- pines, except for the wrapper, which they source in Indonesia. Gabriel Ripoll claims Flor de Filipinas to be "comfort cigars" with smooth, robust flavors. In line with the trends for flavored cigars, some of their best-sellers are Flor de Filipinas cigars infused with rich flavors such as chocolate, honey, cherry, rum, and vanilla. As a looking-forward company, they also pro- duce cigars to suit many different tastes and oc- casions, and are more than happy to manufacture whatever their customers want, in long filler or short filler and with the customer's own labels. Tabaqueria - Flor de Filipinas Reserva panetelas Tabaqueria - Flor de Filipinas cherry blossom flavored cigars

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