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History of Cigars

Cigar Articles

History of Cigars

If you are new to smoking cigars, you may be interested in learning some of the illustrious history behind these fine products. Where did cigars originate? How did their popularity spread and develop over time?

Along with typically been credited with discovering America, Christopher Columbus is the explorer generally considered to have been the one to have brought tobacco to Europe for the first time. It was on the island of Hispaniola that two of his crewmen were introduced to tobacco by the natives of the island. Since smoking was widespread through the Caribbean at that time, when Columbus and his crew arrived in Cuba later they were able to experience tobacco once again in the form of rolled up tobacco, palm and plantain leaves – the prototype for a cigar.

When they returned to Europe, the conquistadors brought the new recreation of cigar smoking home to their countrymen. Smoking spread quickly through Europe, most notably through the French ambassador Jean Nicot, from whose name we derive the word nicotine.

By the 1700s, tobacco was a major cash crop for America. By this time, cigars were very popular throughout the world. Cigarettes on the other hand did not become popular until the 20th century.

Who are some famous gentlemen in history that enjoyed cigars? King Edward VII, President Ulysses S. Grant, Sigmund Freud and Winston Churchill were all huge fans of the cigar – Winston Churchill even has a cigar size named in his honor.

Out of respect for the long tradition of cigar manufacturing, premium cigars are still hand made to ensure that they contain the same high quality craftsmanship that cigar connoisseurs have enjoyed for centuries. When you decide to smoke a cigar, you are participating in a time honored legacy with deep historical and cultural roots.

 A Brief History of Ambrosia Cigars

When we think about Ambrosia cigars, we think of exotic flavor profiles, luxurious smokes and superior quality.  But, how often do we think about the history behind this famous cigar?

It all started with Drew Estate, which began in 1998.  Two fraternity brothers decided to devote their lives to making the finest cigars possible, and they set up a kiosk in the World Trade Center.  Unlike many of the dominating cigar houses today, Drew brothers did not inherit a tobacco farm, nor did they come from a family of expert cigar makers.  They knew that they would have to work extra hard to be taken seriously in the industry as complete newcomers, but they were up for the challenge.

It didn’t take long for Drew Estate to take off, largely thanks to Jonathan Drew’s ambitious idea to move to Nicaragua, allowing him to manufacture cigars on his terms using the finest materials he could find.  Meanwhile, his brother Marvin held down the fort in Brooklyn, operating the business while Jonathan ran the manufacturing in South America.

In 1999, the two brothers launched their Acid line, which remains extremely popular today thanks to its innovative blend of fine tobacco and herbs, oils and botanicals. Their popularity rose enormously over the coming years, and the two brothers went from being two broke frat boys to successful businessmen.

Then, they decided that it was time to launch a new cigar line, and they named it “Ambrosia.”  Ambrosia cigars have a high-end flavor and construction, and are today considered some of the finest on the market.  They contain exquisite Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos that are carefully blended with exotic spices, and are available in Cameroon, Connecticut and Sumatra wrappers.  Referred to as “Tobaccos Exxotica,” they are considered the most luxurious and aromatic cigars that Drew Estate offers today.

A Brief History of Arturo Fuento Cigars

The history of Arturo Fuente Cigars is a story of struggle, war and determination, all of which have contributed largely to the prestige that still exists behind the name today.  If you are an avid fan of these luxurious cigars, understanding the fascinating history behind the brand will make you appreciate the name even more. 

Arturo Fuente immigrated to the United States in 1902 after leaving Cuba during the Spanish-American war.  He settled in West Tampa, Florida, hoping to restart his life after war destroyed his hometown.  At the age of 24, he decided to open up a cigar business.  The year was 1912, and Cuban cigars were becoming more and more of a commodity among the elites of the country.  So, Fuente decided that he could use his experience with cigars from his home country in order to create a profitable business.

Fuente’s story is similar to that of other cigar pioneers who fled their home countries and made names for themselves by handcrafting the finest cigars possible.  At the time when Fuente started his business, his wooden manufacturing facility became one of a couple hundred in the Tampa area, meaning that competition was fierce.  Like the other manufacturers, Fuente had his exquisite tobacco imported from Cuba, and due to the state of the country following the war, costs were extremely low.

By the mid-1920s, Fuente’s company was taking off.  His cigars were becoming luxury items among the wealthy members of society in the United States, and so he incorporated his company in order to take his profits to the next level.  But, within just a few years, his wooden three-story manufacturing plant burned to the ground.  Fuente lacked the funds to rebuild, and so the company was temporarily dead.  To make matters worse, the Great Depression hit shortly after, meaning that his personal finances disappeared while his wealthy customer base was no longer capable of affording luxury items such as high-end cigars.

It wasn’t until 1946 when Fuente finally had the means to start production back up.  By now, he had the ability to pick up where he left off, but this time, he opted to operate his company on a small lot on his own home property.  Now living in Ybor City, Florida, he had the space to install manufacturing equipment so that cigars could be rolled essentially in his backyard.  During this time, Fuente and his family members all took part in the production process, including his wife who had by then become an expert cigar roller.

In 1958, Fuente passed the business down to his son Carlos who managed to create new accounts with high-end cigar distributors in New York City and other affluent areas throughout the country.  However, disaster struck in the form of the Cuban Embargo in 1962.  So, Carlos moved the company down to Nicaragua in order to continue obtaining Cuban tobacco.  During the Nicaraguan Revolution, the plant was destroyed, and so Carlos had to once again move operations, this time to the Dominican Republic.

In the 1980s, the company launched the Hemingway's line that featured the brands now-famous aged Dominican tobacco.  The line was hugely successful and contributed to the reputation that the brand still carries to this day.

Today, Carlos Fuente’s son handles operations, and Arturo Fuente Cigars produces about 30 million cigars each year.  A wide range of cigars are available, and the brand continues to introduce new ones using their signature Dominican tobacco.  So, the next time you smoke an Arturo Fuente cigar, bear in mind the many sacrifices that were made in order for the company to survive for over 100 years. 

A Brief History of Baccarat Cigars

When you think of sweet and smooth Honduran cigars, chances are that Baccarat is the first company that springs to mind.  It’s no surprise considering the fact that this company has maintained its excellent reputation for decades and continues to be a top-selling brand within the industry today.  Baccarat is one of the most recognizable names in the cigar universe, and most cigar connoisseurs rate their offerings very highly.

The Baccarat name started with Carl Upmann, a legendary cigar house that was launched in Cuba, and enjoyed much success through the 1920s and early 1930s.  However, in 1935, the company went bankrupt despite its massive popularity, as did many cigar houses as a direct result of the failing economy.  A cigar manufacturer from the Netherlands bought enough shares of the company upon its bankruptcy to be able to sell cigars under the Upmann name, having found a loophole that allowed them to get around copyright infringement laws.  It was during this time that the Baccarat cigar was developed.

Eventually, in 1989, Fumas Tobacco, headed by Julio Eiroa, relaunched Baccarat cigars under the Caribe name, and right way, they took off.  From there, Sal Fontana took over production of these cigars under his house, Camacho Cigars.  It was around this time that the cigars took on their signature creamy flavor profile, consisting of fine Honduran tobacco in a Connecticut shade wrapper.  This continues to be the formula today, as it has never gone out of style due to its exquisite taste.

Interestingly, by 1998, Camacho Cigars was struggling due to issues involving unionization.  The company took a massive hit in profits during this time, and almost went under altogether.  However, it’s claimed by the company that Baccarat cigars single handedly kept the business afloat, as its sales never dipped, and in fact only increased over the years.

Today, Baccarat cigars come from the legendary Davidoff company, an acquisition that has given cigar aficionados the peace of mind that one of their favorite cigars is in good hands.  The Baccarat cigar continues to be held to the same high standards of quality, and the recipe has not been changed.

A Brief History of Backwoods Cigars

Nowadays, when we think of little cigars, Backwoods is one of the first brands that comes to mind.  However, this wasn’t always the case.  Fans of the brand often struggle to realize that the company has only been around since 1981.

We will be taking a closer look into the history of Backwoods Cigars so that you can appreciate the brand more than ever before.  As you’ll see, they fully deserve their acclaim, as they’ve worked extremely hard to get to where they are today.

When Backwoods Cigars was first launched, they advertised their products as cigarettes, as did many companies that made little cigars using cigar tobacco rather than cigarette tobacco.  The problem was that the United States was just starting to go after the cigarette industry at this time, coming up with strict guidelines as to how products could be advertised.  So, Backwoods Cigars made the decision to advertise their products as cigars instead, which, technically, they are.

At the time, they were unsure of how this change in marketing would go.  After all, when we think of cigars, tiny little cigarillos aren’t exactly conducive to masculine imagery.  But, thankfully, their company only grew, because cigar enthusiasts quickly discovered that not only were these cigars more convenient to enjoy throughout the day, but outrageously tasty as well.

Backwoods Cigars has always maintained their commitment to quality, which is one of the reasons why they’ve thrived throughout the decades.  Another thing that helped their reputation was the support of the hip hop community.  Since the mid-1990s, legendary hip hop artists have referenced Backwoods in their lyrics, which has helped the cigars reach a new audience.

One thing that makes Backwoods Cigars unique is that they use both an inner and outer leaf to wrap their filler.  This makes their product particularly versatile compared to other cigarillos.  They’re also renowned for tasting incredibly smooth, while many other cigars of this kind can be quite harsh, even compared to cigarettes.

Today, their line has continued to expand, meaning that they offer more products than ever before.  Data continues to show that their cigarillos outsell the competition, and are more widely available than most in terms of retail locations.  If there’s one thing we can say for sure, it’s that they’ve come a long way since the 1980s.

A Brief History of Davidoff Cigars

When we hear the name “Davidoff,” we think of high-end cigars with a pretty hefty price tag that are associated with the more refined, luxurious things in life.  But, do we think about the man himself who created them?  Probably not.  Really, this is a shame, because the history of this legendary cigar brand is pretty fascinating and knowing it can help us enjoy these wonderful cigars on a much deeper and more intimate level.

So, how did Davidoff become the brand that it is today?  Well, it all started with Zino Davidoff, the man who was determined to create exceptional smokes for the world to enjoy. Zino Davidoff was born in 1906 to a cigar manufacturer operating out of Kiev, which, at the time, was part of Russia.  Davidoff’s father was actually quite legendary himself, especially once he decided to relocate with his family to Switzerland in order to launch a tobacco shop.  This tobacco shop did quite well, and was a popular spot among famous people of the day, including Lenin during the time he was exiled.

 Zino was heavily influenced by his father, and from a young age, he knew that the tobacco industry was his future.  He was happy to follow in his father’s footsteps, having seen the success that his father enjoyed.  So, at the age of 19, he decided to travel Latin America with the sole purpose of learning more about tobacco.  He spent a considerable amount of time in Cuba, especially as the tobacco industry was thriving there.

Clearly, Zino’s traveling experience led to a much deeper knowledge of what it takes to craft the most perfect cigars possible.  So, when he returned to Switzerland to work with his father, he was able to use a lot of the incredible knowledge he got from Latin America to further his father’s success.  He was capable of developing intoxicating tobacco blends that were highly unique at the time for that part of the world.  He also developed innovative techniques for storing tobacco, for wrapping cigars and for marketing the products.

 Thanks to Zino, the Davidoff family business took off like never before.  This is largely thanks to Zino’s first two cigar lines: the Grand Cru and the Chateau.  It didn’t take long before the Davidoff name was synonymous with luxury, and the clientele gradually became wealthier and wealthier, meaning that the company could now pull in incredible profits while enjoying a superior reputation among cigar enthusiasts.  Eventually, Zino took over his father’s shop as his father became too old to work.

In 1967, Cubatabaco asked Zino to create a cigar utilizing Cuban tobacco, and this proved to be an enormous success.  From there, he developed more cigars utilizing Dominican tobacco, which at the time was only just becoming popular worldwide.

If there’s one thing that Zino never compromised on, it was quality.  As his business grew and grew, he found that the consistency in quality was beginning to suffer.  So, without considering any other option, he burned the cigars that he believed were inferior in quality, and then relaunched his facility in the Dominican Republic.  This bold move proved to be a smart one, as it allowed him to produce a broader range of high-end lines, and the business took off like never before.

Today, Davidoff is one of the most sought-after brands in the cigar world.  As you can see, this has everything to do with Zino’s devotion to his business.  The quality remains just as high as it was decades ago, and we all have Zino to thank.

 A Brief History of Kristoff Cigars

Many origin stories of legendary cigar manufacturers date back over a century and involve generations of men finetuning their fathers’ practices to create the ultimate brand of quality cigars.  However, that’s not the case with Kristoff Cigars, which was established in 2004.  Yet, despite the short length of time that this company has been in operation, they’ve already more than made their mark on cigar history as we know it, and that’s all because of Glen Case.

Before 2004, Glen Case was an established banker.  Despite his enormous success, he wasn’t satisfying his creative side.  What he knew was that if there was one hobby that he was passionate about, it was cigars.  Glen had been an avid cigar enthusiast since the tender age of 18, and understood what separated the best from the rest.

The corporate world can launch many men into enormous success, but it can also wear a man down.  And, in 2000, Glen had decided that he had had enough.  Tired of the long hours and limited time spent with his family, he consulted with his wife about changing directions.  And, going into cigars was a no-brainer considering his passion for the industry.  Even better, Glen’s wife Teri was a cigar broker, having learned the trade from her father.

So, Glen decided to partner with Teri and represent American cigar brands.  While this was successful at first, he discovered that it was limiting.  After a while, one of his top companies decided they no longer needed his services because of how successful they had become with his help.  So, Glen decided that it was time to make cigars of his own.

Legendary Dominican cigar house Charles Fairmorn quickly reached out to Glen, asking him to represent one of their new U.S.-based cigars.  Upon learning that he was no longer a broker, they urged him to visit their factory in order to be able to develop hands-on experience and create his own blend.  The head of Charles Fairmorn, Rolando Villamil, personally oversaw Glen’s first venture into cigar-making in order to ensure that he was creating a quality product.  It took less than a month before Glen was successfully producing and selling cigars.

After creating a few successful cigars, Glen decided to officially launch his Kristoff cigars.  The name comes from his son, Christopher.  The first was the Criollo, followed by the Maduro.  Both quickly became successful, and before long, he had 18 different blends to his name.

Today, both of these cigars remain his most popular, and for good reason.  They’re truly luxurious cigars that are unlike anything else on the market.  The majority of his cigars are made at the Charles Fairmorn factory, although he has expanded to other facilities for a few specialty cigars.  He focuses primarily on mild and medium-mild cigars, knowing that they go over well with both the American and European markets.  And, Glen uses his background in finance to ensure that the business runs smoothly so that he may continue for a long time to come.

While America makes up most of his market, Europe continues to expand.  Therefore, it’s clear that Kristoff Cigars isn’t going anywhere.  Glen continues to be hands-on in his approach to maintaining his business, as he believes this ensures the consistent quality that customers have come to expect.

If there’s one thing to learn from Glen Case’s story, it’s that cigar-making isn’t for families that have been in the business for decades.  Anyone can turn their dreams into a reality if they’re willing to take a risk and dedicate their lives to delivering quality.

A Brief History of Nat Sherman Cigars

Many of us tobacco enthusiasts take for granted the spectacularly colorful histories of our favorite cigar manufacturers, ignoring the decade of fascinating history that have allowed us to continue enjoying our favorite smokes year after year.  Many companies come and go, but the ones who have managed to stick around for the majority of the past century are most certainly worthy of our acknowledgement.  And, one of the most striking stories behind any cigar brand is that of Nat Sherman, who continues to satisfy consumers with delectable cigars as time goes on.

 Nat Sherman, to the surprise of many, did not start out in the tobacco business in the way that many of our favorite manufacturers did.  He did not originate from a South American country, and nor did he find himself immersed in the cigar-making industry since childhood.  Nat Sherman, as it turns out, first rose to prominence as the owner of a widely celebrated speakeasy in 1920s New York.  Now, it goes without saying that he was himself a cigar enthusiast, as many reported.  However, little did he know at the time that his future revolved around cigars rather than metropolitan nightlife.

Sherman was an avid gambler, and it’s believed that this habit is what led him to becoming a partner of the celebrated Epoca Cigar company that operated out of Havana, Cuba and Miami, Florida.  It didn’t take long for Sherman to buy out his partner and take over the brand completely, which didn’t just give him control over the company, but the ability to dive deeper into the industry.

Shortly after, Sherman managed to invest in a new real estate property on Broadway in Manhattan, which made it easy for him to rent out a new storefront so that he could sell his now-famous cigars to wealthy New York residents.  The store sold high-end cigars and cigarettes, including those from the Epoca brand.  But, now, Sherman had his own name-brand cigars that he could offer as well.  By all accounts, only the most prestigious members of society patronized his store, establishing for him a reputation among the elites of the industry as well as society.

In the 1960s, Sherman began to experiment with his products, creating plastic-tipped cigars long before they were fashionable, and putting robust cigar tobacco into cigarettes.  Both of these practices are now very popular within the industry, and at the time, they helped him diversify his brand to appeal to a wider audience.  The store also began selling pipes, which only increased Sherman’s success.  However, by the late 1970s, Nat Sherman slowly lost its appeal in favor of other up-and-coming brands.

In the 1990s, Nat’s son Joel took over the company, following the death of his father.  Joel had worked in the flagship store for some time on and off, which allowed him to learn much about the industry before it would be his time to lead the company.  It was during this time that Joel decided to turn Nat Sherman into a high-end luxury brand.  Now, the flagship store is located on Fifth Avenue, and remains one of the most widely visited tobacco shops in the United States.  Joel is credited with launching one of the most impressive brand resurgences in the history of the tobacco industry.  After all, it’s a fickle industry, and staying on top for decades takes a lot of work.  It’s clear that Joel Sherman is capable of continuing his father’s vision for decades to come, as he continues to release new and exciting products that appeal to a wide range of tobacco enthusiasts.

A Brief History of Ted's Cigars

When we talk about legendary cigar companies, we almost always begin with the story of a courageous man who escaped Cuba to start an enterprise in Florida, or a family business that began in South America and has been lovingly passed down through the generations.  Rarely do we hear about a highly successful company that was only launched in recent decades and managed to climb its way to the top during a uniquely competitive era in tobacco-making.  Yet, that’s exactly how Ted’s Cigars became what it is today.

It all started with Ted Jackson, a Louisville native with a big dream.  Jackson started out as a cigar enthusiast, who eventually decided that he wanted to bring back old manufacturing techniques – primarily, the small-batch cigar.  Before long, he was regularly visiting South America, and taking a lot of trips to the Dominican Republic.  So much time spent there allowed him to study everything there is to know about cigar-making.  But, what struck him the most was the attention to detail and meticulous craftsmanship of old-world facilities.  Jackson knew that he wanted his cigar business to operate in a similar manner.

When Ted opened Ted’s Cigars in Louisville, Kentucky, his goal was pretty straightforward.  He wanted to offer a stunning cigar that was made in small batches using the more labor-intensive manufacturing techniques of the old days.  He knew that this would distinguish his product from the rest.  Remember that he launched his business in 1996, at a time when mass production was sweeping across the cigar industry with varying results.  While many brands began outsourcing their manufacturing, creating larger-than-life batches at a time and watching quality become less and less consistent, Ted decided to produce small-batch masterpieces that were only available in a fairly small number of cigar outlets.

But his efforts paid off.  Ted’s Cigars achieved cult status quickly, as more and more connoisseurs became intrigued by this concept of cigar-making.  After all, Ted never wanted to be the biggest manufacturer in the world.  He only cared about one thing, and that was creating a cigar that was consistently perfect.  Never drawn to big publicity, he remains a mysterious figure who prefers that his cigars speak for themselves.

Today, Ted's Cigar can still be purchased in his Louisville shop, although hundreds of outlets around the country offer it today.  It’s a perfect blend of Brazilian, Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos.  What makes his cigar highly unique is that it takes a no-frills approach, as does his business. Ted’s down-to-earth business practices allow the cigar industry to finally cater to the average joe, which is a refreshing change, to say the least. Thanks to Ted’s Cigars, we can always reunite with the origins of the industry by enjoying small-batch, no-fuss masterpieces like his.

 A Brief History of Villger Cigars

When we trace a cigar company back to its origin, we almost always end up in Cuba or a South American country.  This isn’t surprising considering the rich history of the tobacco trade in these areas of the world.  That’s why we will be taking a look at a brand that originated in Switzerland, a place where few would expect a tobacco company to thrive.

Then again, Villiger Cigars isn’t your ordinary cigar company.  Most of us are awfully familiar with their uniquely delicious and complex offerings, but don’t know the background of the brand.  As you’ll see, their story is extremely unique, and worth learning about if you’re a cigar enthusiast with an appreciation for history.

It all started in Switzerland in 1888, at a time when the tobacco industry was picking up in an entirely different part of the world.  It was Jean Villiger who turned into a reality his dream of crafting fine cigars in his home in Pfeffikon, operating as a small business while his wife, Louise, helped out.  They managed a modest operation through 1902, when Jean tragically died. 

While most businesses would have simply ceased to operate, Louise had the determination to continue the legacy and build the company into a more successful model.  She successfully maintained the business up until 1918, when her two sons, Max and Hans were able to take over for the next 30 years.  During this time, the company expanded as more and more people discovered the luxurious quality of the cigars that they were producing.  And so gradually the company evolved from a local business in a small region of Switzerland to a recognized tobacco brand throughout Europe. 

In 1951, Heinrich Villiger took control of the family business, and decided that it would be wise to convert to using Cuban tobacco.  At the time, the Cuban tobacco trade was at a peak, with connoisseurs around the world deciding that no other tobacco could compete.  Making this change proved to be hugely successful for Villiger Cigars, as the brand finally earned the international appeal that Jean Villiger had once only dreamed about.

In 1964, Villiger Cigars was such a recognized name that the company managed to appear at the 1964 World’s Fair, which was one of the most prestigious events that a brand could participate in at the time.  A few decades later, the company would expand its operations throughout various regions in the world, in order to meet ever-growing demands.

Present-day, Heinrich Villiger continues to run the now-legendary company, which is still based in Pfeffikon after all these years.  A popular brand in Europe for over a century, Villiger Cigars are now building a well-deserved reputation in North America as an even, reliable smoke with a distinctive flavor and feel.  Elegant in appearance, a box of Villiger cigars lends a touch of Old World style to any humidor.  They make an excellent purchase or gift for the cigar lover who is always on the lookout for new discoveries.

A Brief History of Camacho Cigars

These days, avid cigar enthusiasts can tell you all about the delicious varieties from Camacho and which ones are more satisfying to their palate than others.  But what most smokers don’t know is the fascinating history behind this brand.  It turns out that Camacho’s origin story is more than your average “rags to riches” tale.  And, in order to fully appreciate the fabulous cigars that the brand continues to produce to this day, it’s important that we take a step back and learn more about how the company began.

Originally from Cuba, Simon Camacho was exiled and relocated to Miami, Florida, which is where he first started manufacturing cigars in 1961.  An avid tobacco enthusiast himself, Camacho knew that he could obtain the finest tobaccos in Central America to make his signature smokes.  He opened up his own tobacco factory in Miami and began having excellent tobaccos imported.

As the business started taking off, Camacho set his eyes on Nicaragua as a place where he could manufacture his cigars.  After relocating his facility, his business took off more than ever before.  Before long, his cigars were beloved by famous smokers like Winston Churchill.

Camacho eventually passed away in 1990.  Five years later, the Eiroa family acquired the brand with the determination to continue his legacy.  This was when the manufacturing facility was relocated to Honduras, another country known for its exceptional tobaccos.

Julio Eiroa and Simon Camacho had a lot in common.  Both of them were originally from Cuba but were transported to Florida during the revolution.  Eiroa’s father had been a tobacco farmer since the early 1900s and had passed down his knowledge to his son.

Shortly after the time of the brand’s acquisition, Julio’s son Christian took over.  Julio had done well for himself and his family, acquiring massive plantations in Honduras where his signature tobacco could be cultivated.  Christian was able to take the Camacho name to the next level by developing exceptional cigar products that became highly popular within the United States and around the world.  By the late 1990s, about three million Camacho cigars were being produced annually, which shows how popular the name had become after the Eiroa family took over.

In 2008, the Camacho brand and manufacturing facility were acquired by the Davidoff family.  The Davidoff family was able to develop new branding and marketing strategies that have allowed the name to see success like never before.  And, under the Davidoff family’s guidance, the name began to adhere to far more strict environmental guidelines.

 These days, Camacho produces about 20 million cigars each year.  The brand is primarily known for its full-bodied cigars as well as the famous Corojo seeds.  Today, there are multiple manufacturing facilities to accommodate the demands of the growing number of brand devotees. If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that Camacho is a brand that’s been at the top for decades.  Thanks to perseverance and attention to detail, those who have had the honor of handling the company throughout its history have helped it grow and grow to become what it is today.   

 A Brief History of Montecristo Cigars

At BnB Tobacco, we pride ourselves on seeking out only the very best cigars that money can buy.  And, we know a good cigar when we see one.  Montecristo Cigars has been an iconic company for decades thanks to their absolutely exquisite flavor profiles and their refined manufacturing techniques. 

As it turns out, the history of Montecristo Cigars is as rich and exciting as their intoxicating flavor profiles.  And, by understanding how this company came to be the legendary brand that it is today, you’ll likely appreciate each puff of one of their cigars even more than ever before.

Montecristo Cigars are some of the most popular cigars in the world and for good reason.  From the very beginning, Montecristo Cigars have enjoyed a distinctive flavor, excellent aroma, and superior quality. This flawless construction using Dominican grown, Cuban seed long filler and Connecticut shade wrappers makes this truly a classic brand.

Since 1935, Montecristo Cigars has been redefining what it means to enjoy a luxurious smoke.  Fascinatingly, the name of the company comes from the famous Alexandre Dumas novel, as it turns out that the story was passed around throughout Cuban factories at that time.  When Alonzo Menendez first launched the brand, he decided to name it after his favorite novel, and now, the company’s name is perhaps as well-known as the novel itself.

It wasn’t long before Menendez had to flee Cuba because of Castro, and he quickly found himself in the Canary Islands of Spain with just a few dollars to his name.  The year was 1960, and he had to leave behind his manufacturing plant in search for something new.  While he had every intention of carrying on the Montecristo Cigars name, he ran into a conflict.  Castro had nationalized the Montecristo name, and Montecristo cigars were being sold in Spain at the time due to their massive popularity.  It would have been illegal for Menendez to sell his version, and so he had to change his brand name to Montecruz. 

Fortunately for Menendez, the Montecruz brand took off, and cigar enthusiasts didn’t mind that his creations were pretty close replicas to the Montecristo varieties that were being sold in stores.  Before long, Montecruz was an extremely successful brand among American cigar aficionados, and Menendez had even managed to replicate the luxury of the Havana wrapper with the Cameroon wrapper.  What helped was the interest that Alfred Dunhill, a widely respected distributor, took in the company after seeing how quickly Menendez’s ventures were taking off and becoming profitable.

Menendez was a smart businessman, and so when he moved to the Dominican Republic in the 1970s, he managed to reclaim the Montecristo name by spotting a legal loophole and using it to his advantage.  By now, his Torpedo cigar was the best-selling cigar in the United States, and he followed that success with a line of more complex and varied cigars such as the Open and the Edmundo Dantes.

Eventually, Montecristo Cigars was acquired by Altadis, a reputable investor that has successfully relaunched many classic and legendary cigar brands over the years.  Thanks to Altadis, the name still represents a superior product, and cigar connoisseurs continue to celebrate the line of cigars to this day.  The brand has launched several new cigars over the last decade, with each of them being extremely unique, refined and flavorful in its own way.  It’s clear that this is a name that isn’t going anywhere.  Today, the No. 2 is the most widely smoked cigar in the world, and few brands have come close to competing with its success.

The Montecristo name has stood for integrity, craftsmanship and luxury for nearly eighty years, and today, it continues to reign supreme.  Menendez’s story demonstrates his dedication to crafting the finest cigars possible for the world to enjoy.  And, thanks to his astounding efforts and incredible risks, we can still enjoy them to this day.





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