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Brand Breakdown

Villiger TAA Exclusive 2023 

Manufacturer:Villiger Cigars
Wrapper:  Mexico
Binder:  Nicaragua, USA
Filler:  Honduras, Nicaragua
PRICE: $20.00 - $23.00

President of Villiger North America: Rene Castañeda

Villiger has a pretty diverse portfolio of brands. You have these mild cigars, then you have the Villiger Nicaragua, which is a stronger cigar, The Vencedora, which is also a stronger cigar as well as the Libertad. And then kind of in the middle, you have Villiger TAA Exclusive. This one is kind of like right in the middle; it’s very creamy, very sweet, a wonderful cigar. 

The Villiger TAA is in a way our playground to reach out to new consumers. It is the only project that we make in a different factory every year, a factory that is not one of our factories. The first TAA we made with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, the TAA 2020. The 2021 we made with Jochy Blanco of Tabacalera Palma, the 2022 was with Erik Espinosa. And this one, the 2023 is made with Aganorsa Leaf. 

So that’s the idea; we want people to get more familiar with the Villiger name and one of the ways is by going to people that we respect as master blenders. They’re also good friends of ours and by making cigars for us, we can get some of their followers to be exposed to our name. And they know that, we talk to them every time that we’re doing this project. They know that that’s the bridge that we’re trying to cross and fortunately because we have reached out to people that are very close to us, they have no problem with that and they help us to make great cigars to bring to the market. So we’re very proud of that project and we continue to do that and it gives us a chance to explore new blends, new ideas, and new things to develop for our cigars. 

Just to give you an idea, on a global level we have brands like La Libertad that you mentioned, we have the Villiger 1888 Dominican Republic. We also have the Villiger San D’Oro Colorado and Claro but then, we tend to have more of our own US-only cigars like La Flor de Ynclan, La Vencedora, the Cuellar Kreme, and the Black Forest. And as you know now we’re working with the Villiger Miami but now that brand is going to the international market as well. And let’s not forget, if not I get in trouble with the boss, we have Villiger do Brasil. 

Oh Brazil, the Swiss love their Brazilian tobacco, right? 

They do! And Mr. Villiger is no exception to the rule. You know, the last time that I was with him, he went to his humidor, he’s very formal, very old school. “Mr. Castaneda, I have a cigar for you. I have a 22-year-old Brazilian puro that we should smoke.” For sure, let’s smoke it. 

They do love Brazilian cigars. We have a boutique factory in Brazil, where we make Villiger do Brasil Claro and Maduro. We also make one of the versions of the Corrida Cigar. Corrida is mainly sold in Europe, but we have some representation of that brand here in the US as well. And whenever Mr. Villiger wants to do an anniversary cigar he goes down to Brazil and makes a Brazilian cigar. The latest one was the anniversary in 2020 and it was a Brazilian puro that was a very good cigar but it was a very short run that we put out. 

Speaking of limited editions, the Villiger de Nicaragua Edición Limitada 2022 was really well received. It garnered high ratings from this magazine and acclaim from cigar blogs. My understanding is that you will be releasing a new one soon. Do we have that right? 

Yes, as I told you, the idea is that we want to showcase and brag a little bit about the blending capabilities that we have with the Villiger de Nicaragua and even with our partner, ABAM Cigars in the Dominican Republic. So that’s the idea, to put out these short runs or limited editions to be able to showcase easily, aside from our core brands, some cigars that we think are very special. 

Villiger has come a long way in the US premium cigar market. We can all remember that first Villiger 1888 long-filler cigar that was released in the late 2000s out of the ABAM factory in the Dominican Republic. How do you see the progress? 

We have been working hard and I think we’re still in the beginning of the process. We’re trying to find our place in the US market. The best way to connect to the consumers is bringing them different options to get the feedback. We know that not all the cigars will be winners. But in the process, we’re getting a great response and respect from the consumers for the Villiger brand – and that’s really what we want. 

This article appeared in the Nov/Dec 2023 issue. Subscribe today to get the magazine in your mailbox.

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Vitolas:  Toro
Sizes:  6 1/4 x 52

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