Owner: Luís Cuevas
It’s interesting you mention the second amendment in a conversation about cigars. As the cigar culture becomes more visible there in social media, I see how much overlap there is between the two interests. The number of pictures that you see of people sharing cigars and guns as aspects of a single lifestyle…
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that cigar smokers are frowned upon, right? Cigarette smokers sometimes actually get a better break. It’s absurd. The worst cigar smells infinitely better than a cigarette. And so you take that and you maybe empathize with the folks who have guns and are facing the same constraints now.
All right, back to the cigars. The Maduro is your personal favorite. For the person who wants to know about it before lighting up, tell them what they’re getting into.
You’re getting into an extremely well-balanced cigar. It’s frightening I guess because if you don’t know enough about cigars, you may think that our Maduro is going to be a chest-buster or that it’s stronger than the Habano. The truth is the opposite and that San Andrés wrapper’s really what makes it. It just makes it sweet. It’s well balanced. It’s got a strength that creeps up on you. You’re going to get that spice — not as much as you do off the Habano, but it’s there. It’s subtle and if you smoke it all the way through it’ll get you. It’ll get you if you smoke too quickly. But it does it in a very subtle way. It’s not Mike Tyson hitting you.
Where would you say the misconception that “maduro” means it’s an ass kicker comes from? And how does that misconception affect you as somebody who’s producing one that is more nuanced?
I think it comes from the way people were making them before. They were making Connecticuts extremely mild and they were ramping it up according to the wrapper. It was the factories and the blenders who were making it that way. You can get yourself a maduro that’s dark as night, but if you fill the cigar with seco, you’re going to get air.
So it’s what you put in it. Yes, the wrapper adds to it. Don’t get me wrong. But, case in point, our Habano is stronger than our Maduro, and you’ve got essentially the same blend inside.
As you mentioned, your Maduro is a Mexican San Andrés. What would you say are the characteristics of that wrapper and what do you think is behind the sort of surge in interest in that wrapper?
It’s become available. It used to be really difficult to get. But I just fell in love with it a while ago and I always wanted to use it even for other people’s blends at the factory; we could not get it.
I called the Olivas in Tampa and I had requested a different maduro wrapper. They didn’t have it, but they said, “But we have San Andrés.” I said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. Let me try this.”
It’s a phenomenal leaf that got a bad rap because in Mexico for a long time you were only allowed to make Mexican puros. Smokers were associating the tobacco with everything that went into the blend, and it all didn’t work well together.
The wrapper alone stands as a component that works well with a good blend. You get a subtle spice, a sweetness, a great burn, chocolate, creaminess. It just functions very well when you load it up with a lot of ligero. When you’re putting Pennsylvania and Nicaragua in it, you’re amping it up.