Ep. 0011: Carlito Fuente on plans for a new Arturo Fuente cigar factory in Estelí, Nicaragua

At 2018’s Puro Sabor festival in Estelí, Nicaragua, Carlito Fuente of Arturo Fuente cigars dropped a bomb of an announcement. The Fuente cigar family — known for its Dominican-made cigars — let the cat out of the bag about its plans to open a cigar factory in Estelí. The Fuentes don’t do anything halfway, which means that this one company is looking to change the landscape of Nicaraguan cigars.

What’s more, Carlito announced that the person running the Fuentes’ Nicaraguan operations from seed to cigar would be Félix Mesa. There’s a chance you’ve heard the name. Felix is the owner of El Galán Cigars, which has a small factory in Estelí, as well as a retail store near the CIgar Snob offices.

Félix isn’t a household name in the cigar world, so when people learned that the guy at the helm of what’s sure to be a massive operation would be a relative unknown, it generated even more questions.

On a recent trip to the Dominican Republic, I had a chance to sit with Carlito Fuente and get deeper into the story. Why Nicaragua? Why now? Why Félix Mesa? And what should smokers expect to see coming out of this expansion and into their humidors? This interview is the first time Carlito’s publicly gone into this level of detail on the issue.