A bit of history: September 2013, sitting on my chair, I watch people walking around the stands curious to discover new cigars. As for Marc Niehaus, he continues his meetings and negotiations with potential distributors from all over the world. This is my second Intertabac Expo in Dortmund. Time seems endless. Suddenly, as I see two tattooed bikers in front of our stand, an idea comes to mind. Assuming that the cigar has become fairly democratic and that the clientele has grown, I think that the product has not changed much except for the size of the modules and their formats. However, it remains sober and relatively classic even if some brands bring a little fun. BINGO, I have an idea!!
3 years ago, I met Marc during a tasting of his Vegas de Santiago cigars. It was love at first sight, I love this guy. Without knowing it, we set off on a beautiful adventure, a beautiful friendship. But let us return to our vitolas...
I'm not going to revolutionize anything, just create the cigar that I would have liked to find in a civet. To do this:
1: Define the module, the size that makes me dream!
2: Finding the ideal assembly.
3: The skin
For the module, want to be plumper than the robusto, also not becoming ‘anything and everything’. After some reflection, I decided to go for a cepo 58. Not very frequent in our civets to my knowledge. Also, a little longer than a robusto.
For the blend, not being on the spot, it will be a little longer. Definition of strength, aromas, transmission of information to Costa Rica, preparation and dispatch of test cigars to Geneva. Then we start again, after having eliminated what I don't like, and we refine everything. After a few tries, I find the DNA from my cigar.
Ultimately, the ring. This one seems obvious to me since that famous day in Dortmund. Take up and adapt the logo I made "pimp striper" on my Harley helmet at the Euro Festival HD Grimaud by a good one in this field. A skull with a red eye, a wink to Terminator, flocked with the 77 which is nothing other than my year of birth and my favorite number and all this with a cigar in my mouth. A friend, Claudio Capuano, will significantly modify the logo to make it more sellable. Not being too much in favor of taking risks, I started the production of 1'500 cigars. At worst, I'd have enough to smoke and offer for the next few years. However, I post some photos on Facebook to share my delirium and there, surprise, the reaction is not waiting. Launch date mandatory, 7.7.2014. El Unico was born.
A few months later, El Niño will follow. It is a question here of responding to a completely different demand, that of the customers wishing to smoke a cigar after a business lunch for example but not having enough time. Therefore, a 77 shorts is essential. We keep the basic DNA but strengthen the gut a little to compensate for its small size. From a swimming pool in South Africa, I'll give you my contacts, we'll see!
In 2015, Marc offered to accompany me to Costa Rica and Nicaragua... this time, there was no question of missing the trip to Costa Rica. What a trip!! The brainstorming and cigarstorming days are nevertheless exhausting, taste, taste, taste... more desire... more palate... El Niño is born.
Back home, I finally launch the beast. A little anxious at first, as I always do, I realize very quickly that people are embracing it.
In 2016, which will be a beautiful year for me, the idea of making a bigger module comes to mind. After an AC-DC concert, the second in a few months, but this time with Axl Rose on mic, the idea of 666 El Diablo comes to mind. Limited series, in 6 by 66, because I am not convinced that this type of module is no other than a fashion effect in our countries, I prepare a pretty pair of horn for the occasion.
The year 2017 will be dedicated mainly to the creation of boxes. The idea isn't to stop the bundle but to have both and have a "sustainability" programm. We all know where the wooden boxes end their life...
In 2018, I'm back in Costa Rica for the second time! That's so great to return on this place to prepare the next step. I have an idea about a new size and I'm looking forward to spend some time overthere with the people in the factory. I want to increase the range with a torpedo. I tried before to work on a figurado but I left the project after few tries. Not convinced. But never give up. Here we go, I'm on the factory and I try to work on a 58 ring gauge but we don't have the cigar mold for it. We find a solution and the tasting can start. I'm back in Switzerland with my new baby: El Volcano. 2019 will be dedicated to improve the blend and if everything is okay, they will be launch in 2020.
2020 and the COVID 19 situation will be a huge change in my life. It's time to be 100% focus on my brand and stop the other activity after 23 years. July 1 will be the Independence day. A trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua is in preparation for the end of the year to work a new blend for a new range... A box of El Volcano too.