Owner: Luís Cuevas
This Habano and the Maduro both have Pennsylvania Broadleaf in the filler blend. What does that do for the blend?
If you look at the blends in the filler, they’re identical for the Habano and Maduro. The wrapper makes a huge difference. We tried putting a Connecticut wrapper on that blend and it didn’t work. With the Habano it did.
What the Pennsylvania does, to answer your question, is it comes close to what the Nicaraguan tobacco does in terms of strength, spice, fullness. And it’s a nice alternative to Nicaraguan. It gave the blend a little bit of depth.
Do you have pairing recommendations for this cigar?
Any alcoholic beverage that has a little bit of spice to it. I’ve found that there are certain bourbons that have a bit of spice to them. It goes well with those. Certain scotches as well. I don’t like peat and I’ve never smoked one with a peaty Scotch, but I have done a lot of single malts. It goes very well with coffee, particularly Cuban coffee.
Believe it or not, Coca-Cola goes really well with it. And it’s an odd thing, I know, because it’s sweet as hell, but it just tastes really good with it.
What are some of the things that you’ve learned about smokers and their palates from actually hitting the road and seeing them face to face?
I think consumers are very, very open to trying new things. Maybe the price point has something to do with it. I think if we were peddling a cigar that’s $20, $30, maybe they’d be more reluctant to do it, but I think consumers have a tendency to try new things. You meet consumers and ask “What do you normally smoke?” and then you can recommend something in our line that’ll fit that bill. I’ve also noticed that some stores attract waves of the same smokers. So there are stores that sell a lot of the Habano and others won’t for whatever reason. I don’t know why it is. Same thing with sizes. It’s really weird.
I’ve also learned that cigar smokers are friendly, inquisitive, and willing to try new things. You get your occasional “I only smoke such-and-such brand” but there’s a lot of good cigars out there. It’s like drinking only one beer or wine or Scotch or whatever. It’s nice to have variety. As long as you give smokers something good, you’re fine. Because they’ll flat out tell you, “This is crap!” Luckily we haven’t had that response yet.
People have gotten geekier. It’s not just about status. Same way as craft beer, right? People know what they’re doing.
And like craft beer, I think people are more exacting, right? They know what they want. And especially when you say, “What do you normally smoke?” You’re gonna wait around and they’re going to come back to you because you’re at an event or something and you want real feedback. Right? You better be able to hold up your end of the bargain.
Do you have any stand out interesting characters you’ve met while doing all that?
There was this one store in Arizona… I’m a second amendment guy, but over there everybody’s got a gun.
We sat down one day with a gentleman. He’s a Vietnam vet, big guy. He’s had all sorts of surgeries. So he’s got a cane. So aside from taking out a gun and showing us the gun and then he was talking to the other guy, you’re just taking out guns and guns are out everywhere, right? But the cane had a stun gun at the end of it. He stood up and he lit up that thing and I was like, “This is like something out of a movie.”