Friday, September 27, 2013

History Series: Acid Cigars by Drew Estate


When you hear these two words: Acid or Drew Estate, you think of two very important people: Jonathan Drew and Marvin Samual. These two exemplify what hard work, passion, and dedication can bring you. Both Jonathan and Marvin attended college together and formed a friendship that would later become business partners. In 1995, they formed that business partner relationship and opened a small kiosk in the original World Trade Tower building. They sold cigars to the various business men and woman working there. This modest start proved to be at best shaky for them, but they forged ahead and eventually launched their own cigar line called, La Vieja Habana. Their line proved to sell quite well out of their kiosk.

In 1997, Jonathan and Marvin attended the yearly RTDA show where they were warmly greeted by industry insiders. They received high accolades for the Vieja and came away from the show invigorated and with renewed hope. It also made them realize that they needed to start their own production facility in Nicaragua. After borrowing money, Marvin and Drew purchased a facility in Nicaragua and dove in head-first. Jonathan moved to Nicaragua and began immersing himself in the craft that he loved. Everything from the growing and cultivating process to fermentation and rolling. Jonathan learned from the ground floor up. He slept on an old dilapidated mattress in the facility and was the first one hard at work every morning. Then of course, there was the whole running of the facility that JD had to learn. Everything from hiring and overseeing the rollers, to finding the perfect tobacco.

It's during this time that the ACID brand was born. With a vast array of botanical oils, spices, and herbs available in South America, JD began experimenting with infusing these natural ingredients into the tobacco. Wine was also added and the result was a truly unique line of cigars. In the early part of 1999, JD returned to New York with his new blends. To accomplish what would prove to be a successful line of cigars, a third element was added. An aspiring artist named, Scott “ACID” Chester who worked in whats called the DUMBO scene. This was a mixture of graffiti, urban, and industrial design made for unique packaging and never before seen art in the cigar industry. Marvin and JD launched the ACID line at the 1999 RTDA show in Las Vegas, NV. The ACID line proved to be an industry hit in the flavored botanical cigar realm.

The Acid cigar lines have gone on to become some of the most popular cigar lines for all those who enjoy rich botanical, herb, and spice laden cigars. For JD and Marvin, this daring and at times shaky business venture proved to be a genius move. Through the good and the bad, their passion never wavered. The result of that dedication was the birth of a brand new expansion of the cigar industry, ACID by Drew Estate.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

History Series: Graycliff Cigars


Graycliff Cigars was founded in 1997, but the history surrounding this world famous brand is much older. You will have to turn the pages of history back to 1740. An infamous pirate by the name of Captain John Howard Graysmith built what is now part of the Graycliff Hotel and Cigar factory. From 1740 until the 1970's, Graycliff was home to several different owners and was the backdrop to countless Royal's parties, political leaders, and even mobsters.

In 1776, Nassua was captured by the American Navy and the Graycliff Hotel and Cigar Factory became the headquarters for them. Today, you can still see remnants of the Navy headquarters. Originally, the jail for the Navy (complete with metal bars over the windows) is now the wine cellar for the Grayciff Restaurant. In the mid 1800's, Graycliff was turned into an inn. By the time 1860 rolled around, Graycliff was commandeered by a West Indy Regiment fighting in the American Civil War. It served as an outpost for The South who would sell cotton to the British in exchange for weapons and ammo to fight The North.

Then came the period of Prohibition in the 1920's. By this time, Graycliff had opened its doors to the public again. It was owned by a close friend of the murderess Mobster, Al Capone. Mrs. Polly Leach was her name and Graycliff was the center once again of lavish parties accompanied by cigars and barrels of liquor.

Shortly after, Graycliff was sold again to a private Canadian couple who helped to renovate and added gardens and a pool area.  After their death in the mid 1960's, Graycliff was sold to Lord and Lady Dudley, Third Earl of Staffordshire. For the next seven years, Graycliff became the center of many elegant parties. The halls and rooms were filled with famous couples of Royalty including King Edward the VIII. Even visits by Sir Winston Churchill were not uncommon.

Then in 1973, Enrico and Anna Maria Garzaroli purchased the beloved Graycliff estate and turned it into a lavish hotel and restaurant. For the next twenty-five years, people traveled from all corners of the world to visit the beautiful island and stay at the Graycliff Hotel. In 1997, owner Enrico Garzaroli wanted to offer premium hand rolled cigars to his menu. This is where the modern day birth of Graycliff Cigars begins.

Starting out with one roller who sat in the hotel entrance, he hand rolled cigars for the patrons. Today,  a small factory of sixteen rollers produce half a million premium cigars each year. This was no small feat to accomplish; the fact that the Graycliff Cigar name has risen to the level that it has, is a true testament to the fact that Enrico didn’t cut any corners. First and foremost, is the fact that out of the gate Enrico hired the master blender, Avelino Lara. Avelino is the man responsible for the original Cohiba and once worked as the personal roller for Fidel Castro.

What is their recipe for success? For the Garzaroli family, it's simple. Hiring only the most experienced  Torcedores who roll only one specific cigar size that he or she has mastered. Then hiring a master at his craft with endless knowledge to oversee production. The third key is to use only the finest most exquisite tobacco that money can buy. All of the tobacco that Graycliff uses is hand selected and spans the countries of Nicaragua, The Dominican Republic, Honduras, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Brazil. Today, the Graycliff brand features dozens of premium cigar lines. Some are available here in the U.S and around the world, others are offered as house exclusive cigars that you will have to visit The Graycliff Hotel and Factory to experience them.

This year at the annual IPCPR trade show, Graycliff released its latest cigar line, The John Howard Graysmith which pays homage to the founder of the original Graycliff Estate. This bevy cigar is hand-rolled without the use of any cigar molds, this gives each cigar a slightly different unique shape.  In just a few short months, it has already received high accolades from those in the industry. This is another fine example of award winning cigars from the famed Graycliff Cigar Co. 

Graycliff Cigars

Friday, September 20, 2013

History Series: Alec Bradley Cigars



The Early Years:
Alec Bradley Cigars are known today as one of the premier cigar brands in the industry. Although, that wasn't always the case. The company's founder, Alan Rubin was born in Florida  in 1961, to a business minded father who ran a hardware import company. Naturally, Alan's younger years were spent around his father and the business, that is where Alan began to learn the ins and outs of importing and sales. With natural tendencies and a business mind, Alan joined his father in the business in an official capacity right out of college. With Alan's help, his father changed the focus from cabinet hardware, to marketing hurricane clips for the  booming market that Florida offered. The timing was impeccable. In the wake of Hurricane Andrew (1992) the market for hurricane fasteners was booming. The move proved to be a valuable one and the company grew substantially. In 1996, at the peak of it's growth, Alan and his father decided it was time to sell the company.

The Beginning:
With Alan’s part of the proceeds from the sale, he decided to enter the cigar industry. The early and mid 1990's was a huge cigar boom in the U.S and he hoped to ride that wave to establish his new company in the industry. In 1996, he attended the RTDA show (Retail Tobacco Dealers of America) today known as the www.ipcpr.org/ (International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association) It's here that Alan found a cigar manufacturer and inked a deal to make his first cigar line. He named his business after his two children: Alec Bradley Cigars was born. Alan’s' original line was called, "Bogey's Stogies" and was marketed to golf courses and was sold through golf pro shops. With high production costs and the end of the cigar boom, Bogey's Stogies was all but doomed to failure. By 1999, Alan found himself with tens of thousands of dollars of debt and a rapidly depleting number of cigar smoking golfers.

A New Beginning:
In 2000, Alan decided to take his business in a new direction. Knowing he needed help, he hired Ralph Montero, a long time industry professional who knew the ins and outs of the industry. The move to hire Ralph proved to be a valuable one. Both agreed they needed to move the focus from the pro golf shops, to brick and mortar cigar shops. A new course was charted and Alan scrapped together enough money from his past business venture to launch the "Occidental Reserve” line. It was made by Henke Kelner at the famed Davidoff factory. Determined not to fail with his new strategy, Alan mailed out samples to hundreds of cigar shops. This was followed by making hundreds of calls and visits to the shops for feedback and solicitation. When the dust settled,  three hundred shops picked up the line and Alec Bradley Cigars was back in business.

Today:
With the new found success of the Occidental Reserve, Alec Bradley began releasing additional lines of premium cigars including Trilogy, MAXX, and Tempus. In 2011,  Alec Bradley Cigars rose to new heights and international fame when they were named the #1 cigar of the year by Cigar Aficionado Magazine, for their Prensado cigar line. Today based in Dania Beach, Florida the company produces millions of cigars a year and also creates private brands of cigars for other companies.  When asked about the success of Alec Bradley Cigars, Mr. Rubin had this to say, "We live true every day, believe in our products and respect one another."

That is a motto I think we all could live by, whether in our personal lives or as business owners. It's clear that Alec Bradley Cigars truly follows that statement and we all have benefited from and enjoy premium cigars from an outstanding company because of it.

Order Alec Bradley Cigars Online

Monday, September 16, 2013

Camacho Cigars


Camacho: Re-Blended & Re-Branded 
Camacho Cigars are world renowned for making some of the finest full-bodied cigars from Honduras. With a storied history that dates back to 1962, Camacho has recently undergone a complete re-blending of their cigar lines, along with an all new updated look. Keeping with their classic Camacho profiles, these new cigars are just as bold and flavorful, if not more so. Ranging from the milder Connecticut to the new Camacho Triple Maduro line, these cigars hold true to the Camacho roots but with a new twist. I've reviewed three of the new lines and will follow up in the weeks to come with the rest of the newly released blends. I hope you enjoy. Please feel free to share your comments and thoughts at the end of this blog post.


Camacho Connecticut Cigars 
Pre-light and Blend Profile:
Taking a look at the wrapper, it appears to be flawless. The seam is virtually none existent, it blends in perfectly. I'm smoking the Robusto size for this review, which comes in the standard 5x50 size. A quick check on the construction reveals a firm and stout cigar with no soft spots. The wrapper used is an Ecuadorian Connecticut; it has an oily light appearance. Constructed in the traditional Cuban-style, it features a triple cap. The binder is Honduran and the fillers are a blend of Dominican and Honduran long-fillers.
 
Flavor Profile and Tasting Notes:
The Camacho Connecticut starts out with a bit of spice on the tongue but after several minutes it disappears into the background. A creamy smooth cedar note takes over and is quite pleasing. Bits of spice are still evident, but they remain in the background. At the one inch mark, a pure white ash is forming with slender lines of black peaking through. I've picked up several notes of the nutty nature and slight hints of what reminds me of rum.
 
Entering the second third of the cigar, the spice tones have picked up and the cedar notes still remain. At this point, I would say the cigar has built up to a medium-bodied overtone. Nothing overpowering, but definite tendencies in that direction. The draw is very smooth; I haven't had to work hard at creating vast amounts of beautiful white smoke. At the end of the first third, I begin noticing a slight tone of fruit. It's faint, but present and worth noting.
 
The final third marks a similar profile that has been noted thus far. The flavor has remained very consistent throughout. Light tones of coffee are found and are flavorful. The burn has been impeccable, remaining cool and consistent. If you enjoy Honduran cigars and have been a fan of Camacho Cigars in the past, you will love the revamped Connecticut line. This medium-bodied cigar gives you a classic Connecticut profile with a bit of kick to it. This is a well made cigar that can be smoked anytime of the day.
 

Camacho Triple Maduro Cigars
Pre-light and Blend Profile:
After taking a look at the wrapper, I couldn’t help but feel the need to sit down and smoke this one. A rich dark-colored Honduran Maduro wrapper is used. It has a slight sheen to it. In fact, Maduro leaves are used for the binder and filler, as well. The feel to the cigar is quite firm and once again like on the Connecticut, it appears to be seamless and is finished in the traditional Cuban-style with a triple cap. Like the Connecticut review, I'm smoking the Robusto size 5x50.

Flavor Profile and Tasting Notes:
The cigar starts off with quite a bang. Rustic earthy notes and leather are predominate. Like the motto on the cigar bands states, “Built Bold”, if the start of the Camacho Triple Maduro is any indication, then this is going to be one of the boldest cigars that I've smoked in some time. As I work my way farther in, notes of baking spices emerged. As I mentioned earlier, the cigar has a very firm feel; I was afraid it might interfere with the draw. I'm happy to say that I've found it to be quite the opposite.

The draw is perfect and I haven’t had any issues. The burn is slow and cool with lots of smoke being noted. A gray ash has formed now and I'm about an inch into the smoke. The cigar is dominated with a dark earth and spicy overtone. The flavors are rich and hardy with an undertone of oak that's smooth. Rounding out the first third, expect it to be consistent and full-bodied.

The second third comes with the same profile continuing to be full-bodied. You definitely want to smoke this cigar after you have eaten. A spicy sweetness has begun to emerge that adds quite a bit to the cigar. The aroma coming off is very pleasant. You will notice lots of baking spices on the palette after the draw. It's pleasing and continues to add to the smoking experience. The ash continues to hold a full two thirds of the way in. It's taken on a more “shaggy” appearance with beautiful plumes of smoke still bellowing off the foot.

The final portion of the cigar is smooth with earth, leather, spices, oak, and a slight sweetness still remaining as the core profile. The cigar, however, is complex and if you have an experienced palette, you will be able to find many other notes and tones. If you're a full-bodied cigar lover and you enjoy Maduro cigars, this will quickly become a must smoke for you. It's smoothness and rich hardy profile will make this an instant winner for Maduro lovers.

Camacho Criollo Cigars
Pre-light and Blend Profile:
Looking at the Camacho Criollo cigar, the first think you will notice is the large brightly colored  label featuring a yellow background and black lettering. The wrapper is a Honduran grown Criollo 98 fourth priming. It has a very natural look with very slight veining and is tightly wrapped. Like all the Camacho cigar lines, it has the classic Cuban-style triple cap. The finish is what I call, “satin” and falls in between a matte and an oily finish, which gives the cigar a soft sheen look to it. The binder is a Honduran Corojo and the fillers are Criollo 98, Piloto Cubano, Honduras, and Dominican Republic. It has a firm feel to it and is lighter in weight than the Triple Maduro, that I just reviewed. Like the two previous cigars, I am smoking the Robusto size 5x50.
 
Flavor Profile and Tasting Notes:
Lighting up, I instantly started to get a sweetness on my palette. It's very pleasant and something I wasn't expecting. The draw is very airy, yet not to the point where it feels that you are just drawing on air. It's very acceptable and allows for a quicker burn on the cigar. Gentle notes of spices have started to culminate and I've begun to get a touch of white pepper on the palette. A full third of the way in and the burn is spot on. Vast amounts of bluish gray smoke flow off the foot of the cigar, releasing pleasant aromas.

Entering the second third portion of the smoke, the cigar has remained medium-bodied. Tones of almonds have entered the profile, along with a very smooth walnut undertone. A full two and a half inches in and the ash is holding tight. The burn line is remaining dead even. The draw continues to be light and airy making for a quick burn time. I do want to note that unlike other cigars I have smoked in the past that tend to burn fast and crack the wrapper, the Camacho Criollo burn remains cool and has no adverse affect on the cigar in any way.

The final third is just as smooth and flavorful as the first two thirds. Continuing with the medium-bodied profile, it performed admirably. Bold tones, along with a smooth underling smoke, the Camacho Criollo is an excellent cigar you could enjoy from late morning on. If you're more of a full-bodied cigar smoker, this would make an excellent alternative if you want to smoke something in the morning along with your favorite cup of Cuban coffee. For myself, I will definitely be adding this cigar to my humidor and use it as my after lunch cigar.

 

Friday, September 13, 2013

History Series: Gurkha Cigars



The Start
 
The year was 1988, Kaizad Hansotia was on vacation in Goa, India. Little known to him at the time, that vacation would change his life forever. Kaizad was working in the watch industry and often bought cigars to give as gifts, for his corporate clients.  While on vacation, Kaizad stumbled across some Portuguese cigar merchants, selling cigars on the street. Kiazad stopped to buy a few as gifts. As one thing led to another, Mr. Hansotia was invited to have drinks with them. Before the night was over, he had bought the struggling cigar brand known as, Gurkha Cigars for one hundred forty-three dollars cash. This included everything from the cigar stock, to the naming rights.
 
A Legend Is Born
 
Being a cigar novice, Kaizad's first step was to study the cigar industry and try to figure a way to bring the struggling brand to fruition. After studying the industry for months, Kaizad found one particular area that the cigar industry had not yet gone: high end cigars. At the time, the most expensive cigar brand on the market was, Davidoff that sold for around eight dollars a cigar. Naturally seeing this opening, Kaizad saw a potential opening for Gurkha Cigars and began exploring the possibilities of introducing a super premium cigar line to the cigar industry. Within a year, Kaizad introduced the first small batch premium cigar line that sold for $12.
 
As all true ground breaking innovators do, Kaizad received ridicule from those in the industry for releasing such an expensive cigar. But as history has proven, he was well ahead of the curve. He then began producing cigar lines in the fourteen-plus dollar range, which single handedly created a new segment to the cigar industry. As he began gaining a foothold, he started releasing additional lines of luxurious premium tobacco that was never before seen in the industry. Not long after his breakthrough, Kaizad created the world's most expensive cigar at the time,  His Majesty’s Reserve. This cigar sold for a staggering $15,000 per box. The cigar is expertly infused with an entire bottle of  Louis XIII Cognac and is produced in as little numbers as one hundred boxes per year.
 
Another area Kaizad saw lacking in the industry was packaging and presentation. Typical cigars back in the late 80's and early 90's, came in cheap boxes with very little presentation. He set out to change that. He began designing highly crafted cigar boxes and humidors to place his cigars in. In addition, he upped the ante by using a premium cigar band with quality paper and an eye pleasing logo. This was something that was really not being done at the time.
 
Today
 
Fast forward to today, and the Gurkha Cigar Co. has stood the ups and downs of the cigar industry. The cigar boom of the mid 1990's came and went, and Gurkha Cigars came out of it stronger then ever. They stand alone at the top of a vast array of cigar brands on the market. Kaizad has pushed the boundaries of what some thought, could never be accomplished, by producing cigar lines that sell for one hundred and fifty thousand dollars plus. Typically, these are purchased by CEO's of fortune five hundred companies, Kings, Princes, and royalty. Additionally, Gurkha Cigars through the years has added cigar lines at all price points, making premium, small batch cigars available to cigar connoisseurs worldwide.
 
With a commitment to quality, customer satisfaction, and a burning desire to bring his love of cigars to all those who appreciate the finer things in life, Kaizad Hansotia has revolutionized the cigar industry forever.

Order Gurkha Cigars Online

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

History Series: Rocky Patel Cigars

 
If you look at the many examples of American success stories, you will find common threads in them all. Determination, passion, and a desire to give their family a better life, are just a few common denominators. Rocky Patel, who was born in India with a birth name of Rakesh Patel, has these same characteristics. At a young age, Rocky immigrated to the U.S. where he attended law school and  became a Hollywood attorney to stars like, Gene Hackman and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Spending hours on the movie sets with his clients, the actors would sit around and smoke cigars. It was there that Rocky was introduced to cigars and quickly fell in love with them. Pretty soon cigars became Rockys' passion, which eventually led to him selling his law practice and creating his own brand of cigars. For the next five years, Rocky spent vast amounts of time in Honduras, learning the cigar trade. Everything from the growing process, fermentation, blending, and production.

In the mid 1990's, Indian Tabac by Rocky Patel was born. Rocky introduced the cigar to his long time former client, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Rocky starting putting on cigar dinners at Arnold's former restaurant, Schatzi in Santa Monica. The dinners led to Hollywood celebrities smoking Rocky's cigars and created a cult following in Hollywood. With this success, Rocky took to the road and started introducing his cigars to the shops around the country. All the while, he never stopped blending. He created hundreds of different blends trying to figure out the process, learn the trade, and cultivate his palette.

In 1997, Rocky released the  Indian Tabac Super Fuerte, which he recounts in an interview with Cigar Aficionado Magazine, as being his first real step forward in the industry. In his own words, “I think the graduation cigar had to be the Indian Tabac Super Fuerte. It was one of the first rich, fuller-bodied cigars on the market. When we came out with that cigar there weren't too many cigars with that boldness, that richness, that character, all mixed in together. That was our groundbreaking cigar.”

In 2002, Rocky changed the company name from Indian Tabac to Rocky Patel Premium Cigars. Since then, he has never looked back. In the late 1990's, he was producing around 1.75 million cigars, compared to today, where he produces tens of millions of super premium cigars. Now with dozens of cigar lines under his belt, numerous Best Buy awards, and literally dozens of 90+ ratings, the name Rocky Patel Cigars has come to be known as one of the finest premium cigar brands on the market.

In 2010, Rocky opened up his first luxury cigar lounge called, Burn, in Naples Florida. In addition, Rocky has launched his own Rocky Patel Luxury Lifestyle Collection, which not only includes cigar accessories like premium exotic lighters, and ashtrays, but finely crafted silk shirts and other amenities. It's safe to say that you only have to look at the history behind the man called Rocky Patel, to see a true American success story. It is one that all would love to duplicate.

Rocky Patel Cigars

Friday, September 6, 2013

History Series: Perdomo Cigars...Past and Present


Perdomo Cigars found its humble beginnings in 1992, but you will have to go back to the 1930's to find its roots to appreciate it roots. Silvio Perdomo, the grandfather of Nick Perdomo Jr., was an accomplished cigar roller for several different factories, in Jose de Las Lajas, Cuba. Some of the factories included, Cuesta y Cia in the 1930's, H. Upmann in the late 30's to mid 40's, then Partagas from 1945-1959. During Fidel Castros' brutal takeover of Cuba in 1959, many of those stuck in Cuba found themselves to be enemies of Fidel. Silvio Perdomo found himself in just a position and was imprisoned for fifteen years as an enemy of the revolution, until finally, he was aloud to immigrate to the U.S in 1974. Nick Sr., who also was an enemy of the communist dictator, narrowly escaped being executed and was shot twice in the leg fighting against Fidel Castros' murderess dictatorship. After a brief hospital stay, Nick Sr. fled the country through a catholic charity organization and made his way to Washington D.C.

 

Nick Sr. brought with him many things that a man of character has: including his love of fine cigars. He had followed in his fathers footsteps and was a cigar roller.  To further master his craft, he worked as an executive at Partagas and then for H. Upmann. When faced with entering a new country and needing to put food on the table, he took a job as a janitor at a health facility. The meager pay was barely enough to keep his family going, so in 1976, Nick Sr. moved them to Miami, Florida for a new start. It's here that the modern day story begins for the famed Perdomo Cigar brand. After serving his country in the U.S. Navy, Nick Jr. went to work as an air traffic controller. In the evenings, with his beautiful wife Janine by his side, they launched Tobacalera Perdomo from their garage. Not wanting to follow industry trends at the time of mild tasting cigars, Nick began producing full-bodied cigars. His timing was impeccable as the cigar boom of the mid 90's produced a plethora of new cigar smokers looking for full-bodied flavorful cigars.

 

In 1997, The Perdomo brand grew well beyond its humble factory in Miami; Nick moved the operations to Ybor City near Tampa. This, however, was not satisfactory to Nick as costs were high and he was limited in production. Nick Sr. came out of retirement to help his son set up a facility in Esteli, Nicaragua. In 1999, another facility was needed as they began selling well over a million cigars per year, so a custom built factory was erected to meet the growing demands that the company needed. 

During the cigar boom, bucking industry trends once again, Nick produced the Perdomo Squared, which at the time, was one of the first box pressed cigars to ever be produced. It was a hit and he had another winner on his hands. This cigar boosted The Perdomo Brand into another level of cigar fame.

Today, the Perdomo brand has a 88,000 square foot facility in Esteli, Nicaragua and employs hundreds of people in Nicaragua, along with a staff based at its U.S headquarters. They produced dozens of their own cigar lines, along with countless other brands being produced at their factories for the U.S. market and countries abroad.

Perdomo Cigars

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The History of Arturo Fuente Cigars

 
The year was 1902,  Arturo Fuente Sr. and his family had recently arrived from Cuba to the bustling streets of Tampa, Florida. It would be another full ten years before the birth of A. Fuente & Co. Alas, in 1912, the brand was born. Inside a west Tampa three story wood building, Arturo Fuente Sr. started making some of the best cigars during that time. Being a native Cuban immigrant, naturally, he imported the finest tobacco that he could acquire from Cuba, to hand roll his cigars with. From 1912 until 1924,  A. Fuente & Co. grew substantially to employ five hundred plus workers, filling the three story building from top to bottom, with the finest cigars in Tampa.
 
Late 1924, on a moon lit night, the A. Fuente & Co. factory burned to the ground. Completely devastated and penniless, Arturo Fuente Sr. worked his way back. Through the great depression, he struggled to provide for his family and to save money, in hopes of, one day, re-opening his beloved cigar factory. By the end the depression and World War II,  Arturo Fuente Sr. had saved enough to re-open on a part time basis and revamped his back porch with rolling tables. When not hand rolling cigars, Arturo worked as a baker and his wife took work in a factory.

The cigar business, however, was a family venture. When not working at the bakery or factory, the whole family could be found working together in the back of their home. Arturo and his wife along with several part time rollers, would delicately hand roll cigars for the locals. His younger children, Arturo Fuente, Jr. and Carlos would help out where they could; they started out sweeping the floors and helping out with menial tasks until they started rolling.

As all fathers envision, Arturo dreamed of passing on his cigar business to one of his sons. As the oldest, Arturo Fuente, Jr. was the likely choice, however, it was Carlos who threw himself into the business day after day. With a passion.  He learned the business inside and out. In 1958, when Arturo Jr. passed on the business, Carlos jumped at the chance and bought it for one dollar. Carlos immediately began growing the business by reaching out to other parts of Florida for accounts. Eventually, he worked his way up to New York targeting Hispanic smokers. He quickly found this was easier said then done. At the time, cigar smokers were very loyal to the brands they smoked.
 
In 1960, when a trade embargo took place with Cuba, the situation changed. With Cuban tobacco no longer available to the U.S market, Carlos began importing from Puerto Rico and Columbia. This took vast amounts of skill to artfully blend a cigar that had classic Cuban tastes that would appeal to the American smokers. Although, Carlos took on the challenge and started the process. As the years started to pass, another situation arose. Rising labor costs began to make producing cigars in Florida almost impossible. Attempts were made to start factories in Puerto Rico and Mexico, but failed due to quality issues.

Finally, in the 1970's, Carlos Sr. reached out to some friends based in Nicaragua inquiring about the quality of tobacco and growing conditions. Within a few short months, Carlos Sr. had moved his operations to Esteli, Nicaragua. However, in 1979, with a Nicaraguan Revolution going on, the Fuente factory became part of the casualties and was burnt to the ground. Utterly devastated, but far from out, Carlos Sr. made a bold move mortgaging his home and his Son Carlos Jr. scraped together his savings and moved once again, now this time to Santiago, Dominican Republic.

In September of 1980, Carlos Sr. and his son opened up a 12,000 square foot factory. Every penny they earned they immediately put back into production and the facility. By the mid 1980's, The Fuente name began to become a household name with the release of the Heminway cigar line. With their new success, they expanded the facility to include tobacco fields, curing barns, and even began growing their own wrapper leafs which is a time consuming and tedious process. 

By the 1990's, Fuente was an entrenched household name, being enjoyed by cigar smokers of all levels. With a cigar boom in 1996, Fuente Cigars was launched into stardom, but never turned its back on what made the brand great. Quality, consistency, great tobacco, and determination. Today, Fuente Cigars produce thirty plus million cigars per year; they are the standard that all other manufacturers strive to achieve.

Arturo Fuente Cigars