El Borracho - I was reading off cigar names to my wife one night (she's Hispanic) and she mentioned to me that many of them sounded like they were based off the La Loteria card game that Mexicans play a lot. Sure enough, lots of these cards are also names of cigar brands: La Sirena, El Mundo, La Calavera, El Corazon are just some that come to mind. So, I checked out the cards and the only one that really resonated with me was El Borracho (The Drunkard).
It was also around the time I met Carlos Guzman and wanted to use his San Andres. So, it all just kind-of aligned. Padron has such a legacy when it comes to the whole San Andres / Nicaraguan cigar game, so I figured what the hell... I'm going to do my own take on a box pressed cigar with that basic composition so that I could give my elitist cigar friends who smoke only '26 and '64 Padron Anniversaries something different to smoke.
Blenders Intent: El Borracho is meant for the seasoned cigar smoker who appreciates a balanced full bodied Nicaraguan cigar which gradually builds on the flavor profile and intensity.
La Madrina - I've always been real fascinated with Day of the Dead / Santa Muerte artwork and branding... I just couldn't get the right take on it for application to cigars. Then, John Huber from Crowned Heads released Las Calaveras... which I was super impressed with. So I really just wanted to one-up them. :)
In my opinion, Sante Muerte really highlights life & death in beautiful imagery. Conveying death in a beautiful manner isn't probably the best approach for cigars, but I believe we conveyed this beauty in the presentation. This cigar's a personal reminder to me to live life to the fullest extent knowing at any time death can be right around the corner.
Blenders Intent: La Madrina is meant for the seasoned cigar smoker who craves intensity and complexity all at once.
Desvalido - Roughly translated, this is a term some Cuban's have used to identify people without hope. This term resonates for me because it reminds me of all my initial beginnings in the cigar industry. Being an outsider to the industry and the trials and tribulations put me in that category at many times.
The band has a rooster as it's main element. I was born in 81, so that's technically a symbol of my birth year for the Zodiac Calendar. Dan & I then decided to glorify the hell out of it by making it as regal as possible. A contradiction of sorts to the whole term of being without hope: fighting and clawing our way into the industry.
Blenders Intent: Desvalido is my attempt at making cigars by combining tobaccos that I'm very familiar with and like and tobaccos I haven't given a shot because of my personal taste or bias. For instance, I'm not a huge fan of Honduran tobacco or many Dominican Tobaccos as well. And, I typically stay away from using Nicaraguan Wrappers. In working with Raul D., we've really worked some blending magic to get some of these underdog tobaccos into spots where they can really shine.
Siempre - Completely inspired by two events happening at the same time: firstly, I'd gotten VERY sick with a lung ailment (unrelated to cigars) called Valley Fever and for several months I was very concerned about my ability to continue smoking cigars. Secondly, the FDA's announcement to regulate the premium cigar industry.
Like many recent boutique cigar makers, these announcements were soul crushing. I literally thought everything I'd worked towards building would be thrown away by government regulations beyond my control. But, it was a real gut-check moment for me. Instead of holding off, waiting, or getting out of the business... I stomped on the pedal and made the decision to go all in.