Vice President Espinosa Cigars: Erik Espinosa Jr.
Unlike the majority of the Espinosa portfolio, which is directed by your father, Erik Espinosa, Las 6 Provincias is your baby, you came up with the concept and you decide what direction it takes. Take us through that process – what are you trying to achieve with this line and how did you go about making it a reality?
It took a lot of sleepless nights. I wanted to put my own stamp on this industry. I wanted to incorporate Cuba in some way, but I didn’t know exactly how. I know that you can’t use a lot of city names and other things because of the possibility of a lawsuit, but I really wanted something for my grandparents. I’ve spent a lot of time with them and they’ve always told me about how much better times were back then. And then after a lot of hard thinking, I thought of the original 6 provinces in Cuba. The 6 provinces in Spanish translate to: “Las 6 Provincias,” so that’s the brand name and every year we release another edition named after one of the provinces.
Yes the country used to be broken up into 6 provinces but after Castro’s revolution, they split the country up into 13 provinces and now I believe it’s up to 15. In essence, by using the original 6 you are making a reference to the time before the revolution without saying so and by referring each blend to an abbreviation of the province name, you get around the trademark issue. That’s clever.
Now in terms of production, is every one of Las 6 Provincias a limited edition?
Yes they are. From the very beginning I set out with the intention to keep it small so we could tell the story behind the cigars. In order to do so we decided to ship most of the product to our Espinosa lounges first. This way we’re able to share its history, which is something I care about deeply. Unfortunately the bigger a cigar gets, the harder I feel it is to tell the story.
How many Espinosa lounges are there?
I believe we have about 11, which get the bulk of the product. When those are done, whatever is left over we give out to friends and family.
It’s a shame the cigar isn’t more accessible so that more people could get their hands on it. But you’re right; it would lose its essence if you did. And I imagine it’d be harder to make that good of a cigar. Right?
Absolutely. When I first came up with the idea, I wanted this crazy-amazing, flavorful cigar. When I reached out to our manufacturing partner AJ Fernandez and explained what I had in mind for the blend he wouldn’t do it. He wouldn’t give us the wrapper that we wanted or anything close to it. My team and I had to sit down with him and explain the idea and concept in full detail, the limited nature of it, the homage to pre-revolution Cuba, and he started to get it. Obviously he is Cuban and understood where we were coming from but the only reason he agreed was because he understood it was a small batch and we were not going to use up all of his best tobacco. If this were going to be a full production cigar it would be a different story. That’s the main reason why we keep it so small so we can make sure we can always get the next one when we are ready and we can continue making phenomenal sticks.
How should someone go about getting these cigars if they are interested? Are the lounges on your website?
Yeah, they should go to espinosa.com where we have a list of all the Espinosa lounges. From there they can call them directly. I believe most of them provide shipping. Also you can visit the store’s social media pages. Most of the time the stores will post the cigars on their social media when they get a large shipment and will say the amount of boxes they have available for sale.
These cigars are usually not sold as singles, correct?
Most consumers just buy the box. They buy the box and they take home a phenomenal box of cigars that speaks for itself.