Interviews

March 25, 2009 A Cigar Weekly exclusive interview with Mario Andretti

Cigar Weekly Editor-In-Chief Thomas Bender interviews Mr. Mario Andretti just as the legendary motor-racing driver gets set to enter the cigar industry and establish a cigar line that will bear his illustrious name. Read more...
March 12, 2009 Cigar Weekly Interview with Tim Socier of Timothy's Fine Tobaccos

Join Cigar Weekly Contributing Editor Tom Chapman (tchapchap) as he visits with and interviews Tim Socier of Timothy's Fine Tobaccos in Bay City, Michigan. Read more...
January 12, 2009 Cigar Weekly Interview with Carlos Diez

Cigar Weekly has been anxious to follow up with Carlos Diez ever since his having taken over (one year ago) a company very well-known to avid cigar smokers. This interview comes on the heels of Carlos Diez celebrating his first anniversary as President of (the renamed) Reyes Family Cigars. Read more...
December 04, 2008 Cigar Weekly Interview With 25 Smokin' Figurados

The talented new group 25 Smokin' Figurados, a collaborative effort headed by frontmen Timothy Abbott and Gregg Kirk, have released a new CD and recently launched their newly-formed band at a gala event in Austin, Texas. Contributing editor Roger Farnsworth (ElkTwin) recently caught up with the band and had a chance to interview the cigar-smoking musicians. Read more...
October 24, 2008 Cigar Weekly Interview with Ernesto Padilla

Cigar Weekly would like to thank CW member easyt (Tim Wong) newly at Padilla Cigars for expediting this interview with Ernesto Padilla, founder and owner of Padilla Cigars. This is the 'longest' interview in CW history, having first been sent in the late July of 2006. Many thanks to Ernesto Padilla, too, for his candor and willingness to speak with us. Read more...
October 13, 2008 Cigar Weekly Interview with Christian Eiroa

Cigar Weekly's Contributing Editor Frank Seltzer (Mowee) was able to obtain this interview with Christian Eiroa on Monday, October 13, 2008, the day Camacho announced its acquisition by the Oettinger-Davidoff Group - a merger that will place Camacho amongst the top 10 cigar brand names worldwide. Read more...
May 12, 2008 Cigar Weekly Interview with Dr. Alejandro Martinez Cuenca

On February 13, 2008, Rich Perelman's CigarCyclopedia reported that Tabacos Puros de Nicaragua, manufacturer of Joya de Nicaragua had reached an agreement to end their distribution relationship with SAG Imports, headed by Manuel Quesada. On March 28th Cigar Weekly broke the news that TPN had reached a distribution agreement with Drew Estate. The new partnership became active on Monday April 28, 2008, ironically, the day we finished this interview with TPN president, Dr. Alejandro Martinez Cuenca. Read more...
March 10, 2008 A Conversation with Jose Blanco

CW Contributing Editor Frank Seltzer (mowee) sits down with Jose Blanco of La Aurora Cigars to answer questions about La Aurora and its many vitolas. Read more...
February 18, 2008 Cigar Weekly Interview With Don Kiki Berger

The news recently hit the forums at Cigar Weekly: "Cupidos are BACK!" This set off a long thread and a feeding frenzy among members, quite a few of whom jumped on the web and on the phone to order what was thought to be gone forever from Cuban Crafters. Cigar Weekly Editor-in-Chief Thomas Bender (TommyBB) recently spoke to Cuban Crafters' driving force, Don Kiki Berger, about his Cupidos, Cuban Crafters and cigars in general. Read more...
January 21, 2008 Cigar Weekly Interview with Jon Huber

Cigar Weekly editor Thomas Bender (TommyBB) recently had the opportunity to interview the Director of Lifestyle Marketing for CAO Cigars, Jon Huber. They discussed his new title and the changes occurring within CAO, Henri Wintermans and the takeover of the marketing arms of Carlos Toraño and Alfred Dunhill. Read more...
December 17, 2007 Cigar Weekly Interview with Carlos Diez

There is an old, often cited aphorism, "Blood is thicker than water," which aptly expresses the human yearning for and value placed in family. By and large, people set great store in doing what's best for their families, and see them as being at the center of their own efforts. Hardly any field of business endeavor is more family-oriented, or professes to be, than the premium cigar business, especially when one refers to the non-Cuban cigar industry. Read more...
March 19, 2007 Cigar Weekly Interview with Pete Johnson

March 19, 2007 -- Meet Tattoo Pete of Tatuaje Cigars Pete Johnson started enjoying cigars while he was in his band back in the early 90's. He first got into the business back in 1992 working for Gus' Cigar Shop in Los Angeles. Cigar Weekly's Dave Preston (Mr. Goodlife) caught up with Pete on a visit to Dion Giolito's Fumare in Reno, NV and here's what he had to say: Read more...
August 14, 2006 Cigar Weekly Interview with Nick Perdomo

August 14th, 2006 -- Cigar Weekly moderator Thomas Bender (TommyBB) sent a series of questions to Mr. Nick Perdomo, owner of Tabacalera Perdomo of Miami, Florida. This new written interview was a follow-up of an interview conducted by phone in 2003 by Rod Gwinn (Nice Ash). Read more...
March 01, 2004 Cigar Weekly Interview with Arlin Liss, craftsman

Arlin Liss is the proprietor of Arlin Liss humidors. Recently Rod Gwinn (Niceash) of Cigar Weekly received the exact humidor that Steve Saka reviewed and that has caused much controversy in Cigar Afficionado. Rod contacted Arlin to get some background on his business. NiceAsh: I just received in the mail a desktop humidor handmade by Mr. Arlin Liss. Mr. Liss has been making humidors for the last 10 years. At first glance you wonder how something that looks so nice could be used to store something like cigars. The material is a burl wood and you can visually see the attention to detail. Click here for the First Look TM review and pictures of the humidor. Read more...
January 01, 2004 Cigar Weekly Interview with Ilja van Horssen of CUESTA-REY cigar shop

Ilja van Horssen is the proprietor of CUESTA-REY cigar shop. Recently Rod Gwinn (Niceash) of Cigar Weekly had the fortunate opportunity to spend some time with Ilja in his very nice shop in The Hague, The Netherlands. NiceAsh: I have to say that this was one of the nicest store fronts I have visited and both Ilja and his wife, Yvonne van Horssen-Litz, were very gracious hosts. While I was there, I took some time and chatted with Ilja about the cigar business, while I enjoyed an SLR petit corona from 98 and a very good cup of coffee. Note, Ilja Van Horssen passed away, due to lung cancer, in July of 2006. CW and its members mourn the loss of one so young. Read more...
January 01, 2003 Cigar Weekly Interview with Nick Perdomo

The Perdomo cigar making tradition was restarted in 1991 when Tabacalera Perdomo, S.A. was started by Nick Perdomo, Jr. his father Nick, Sr., mother Mary, grandfather Silvio (who was finally released from prison and smuggled out of Cuba in 1974 by Nick, Sr.) and two Cuban master rollers. His sales and marketing staff then consisted of himself, his wife Janine and brother-in-law Michael Argenti. Here at his Miami headquarters in an office he shares with his brother-in-law and executive vice president Michael Argenti, Mr. Perdomo agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for Cigar Weekly Magazine. He also graciously agreed to answer questions from our readers. Read more...
April 01, 2002 Cigar Weekly Interview with C.A.O Vice President, Tim Ozgener

Aside from being Cano's son, Tim has really risen to the forefront of C.A.O., and has been a big part of C.A.O.'s recent success and new product development. Read more...
May 01, 2001 Cigar Weekly Interview with Martin Mayorga

Mayorga Cigars (and coffee) are a popular topic online these days and many cigar enthusiasts swear by the brand. And why not, the cigars are well made and yet sell for a fraction of the price of many other premium brands. Starting in the cigar business when he was only 22 years old, Martin worked with Nestor Plasencia in his native Nicaragua to create his signature blend. We caught up with Martin during a break from his ambitious series of rolling events to ask him about his cigars and coffee business. Martin also answers some questions from Cigar Weekly Members. Read more...
January 01, 2001 Cigar Weekly Interview with Gael de Courtivron

One of the most popular "boutique" brands of 2000 was La Luna Maduro Fuerte from La Luna Cigars International in Miami. With their smooth yet powerful flavor and reasonable prices, the Maduro Fuerte line became a big hit with experienced smokers and even developed a loyal following of enthusiasts called "Lunatics." We wanted to better understand this new force in the cigar business and La Luna Cigars owner Gael de Courtivron graciously agreed to answer some of our questions and talk about his latest line: the African Fuertes. Gael also answers some questions from Cigar Weekly Members. Read more...
July 01, 2000 Cigar Weekly Interview with Nick Perdomo

Miami, FL,-- Tabacalera Perdomo, SA, which began in 1991, started with two Cuban rollers and a sales and marketing staff consisting of Nick Perdomo and his wife, Janine. His grandfather, Silvio, worked as production manager for several of the most prestigious cigar factories in Cuba. His father, Nick Sr., also served as manager for a number of top Cuban producers until 1962, when he joined the exodus out of the country after Castro came to power. Most of Perdomo's cigars are produced at a 27,000-square-foot factory in the Nicaraguan tobacco town of Esteli, where some 300 workers, turn out 90% of the company's product. Perdomo has factories in Ybor City (Tampa, Fla.), Ecuador and Nicaragua. The company is one of the larger manufacturers of premium cigars made in the United States. Mr. Perdomo agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for Cigar Weekly Magazine. He also graciously agreed to answer a few questions from our readers. Read more...
November 01, 1998 Cigar Weekly Interview with Diego Trinidad

Much has happened since we last spoke with Diego Trinidad in June of 1998. Rumors about the man, his family and his cigars have been the source of many discussions on the Internet forums and chat rooms. With the long awaited launch of the new Trinidad y Hermano line, we decided to talk directly with Diego and try to get the straight story. Read more...
September 03, 1998 Cigar Weekly Interview with Linda Squires

You've undoubtedly read alot about the Retail Tobacco Dealers Association (RTDA) show held in Nashville in August, including the many new products that were introduced at the show. We wondered what the retailers thought of the show and the changes happening in the industry. We talked with Linda Squires, owner of The Squire in Santa Rosa, CA shortly after she returned from the RTDA show. With almost 25 years in the retail tobacco business, Linda Squires offers an experienced and knowledgeable perspective on the changes in the cigar business. Linda has been active within the industry and currently serves as Board Secretary of the Retail Tobacco Dealers Association. In 1974, Squires opened The Squire, in Santa Rosa, CA, a city of 150,000 located an hour north of San Francisco. The Squire is the oldest retail tobacco store in Santa Rosa. Read more...
August 01, 1998 Cigar Weekly Interview with Carlos Torano, Jr.

The tradition began in 1916, shortly after Don Santiago Toraño arrived in Cuba from his native Spain. Together with his three sons, Carlos, Jaime and Jose, Don Santiago became one of the largest tobacco producers in Cuba, growing some of the best tobacco in the Pinar del Rio region. Decades later, son Carlos made a key contribution to the industry, by introducing the renowned "Piloto Cubano" seed from Cuba to the Dominican Republic in the 1960's. Today Carlos, Jr. oversees this tobacco and cigar dynasty, now in its fourth generation. He is joined by son Charlie, daughter Carolina Toraño Levine and son-in-law Seth Levine. Together they manage five factories in three countries and a total workforce of 3,000, evenly split between factory and field. Read more...
July 01, 1998 Cigar Weekly Interview with Juan B. Sosa, Master Blender

The Sosa family has been in the cigar industry since the early 1900's in Cuba. They began as tobacco growers and later transitioned into the manufacturing and distribution of premium hand rolled cigars. They began small at the turn of the century but by the 1920's, Santa Julia, their hacienda in the Las Villas region of Cuba, became known and respected for its superior quality products. The family moved its operation to the Dominican Republic and the United States in the 1960's and founded the Antillian Cigar Corporation. Today the company, headed by master blender Juan B. Sosa, distributes six premium brands of cigars: Sosa, Sosa Family Selection, Macabi, El Imperio Cubano, E. Trinidad by Sosa, and Royal Honduras. The company also owns and operates a chain of cigar shops in the Miami area under the Macabi Shops name. Mr. Juan B. Sosa agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for Cigar Weekly Magazine. He also graciously agreed to answer a few questions from our readers. Read more...
June 07, 1998 Cigar Weekly Interview with Diego Trinidad

Not long ago the Cuban government introduced a new brand of cigars to the world: Trinidad. It was the third new brand in two years, following the Cuaba in 1996 and the Vegas Robaina in 1997. And like the other two brands, the Cuban government registered the names with the U.S. government's Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C. Permanent registration was granted in December 1996. To circumvent the embargo, the attorneys representing Empresa Cubana del Tobaco, relied on the original registration granted to Diego Trinidad, Jr. in Cuba in 1958. Having fled Cuba in 1960, Diego, Jr. began producing tobacco products in the U.S. in 1961. The trademark TRINIDAD Y HERMANO was registered in Washington , D.C. in 1961 and has been continuously used in interstate commerce since 1962. The Trinidad family believes the Cuban government was wrongfully granted the registration of the Trinidad name and they are pursuing legal actions to re-take control of their name. We talked with Diego Trinidad, Trinidad Tobacco's Executive Vice President. Together with his mother and family, Diego has been running the company since his father, Diego, Jr. passed away in 1980. They currently sell a brand of cigars under the Trinidad name, manufactured by Tabacalera A. Fuente. Read more...
May 17, 1998 Cigar Weekly Interview with Aylin Ozgener

Twenty-six year old Aylin Ozgener-Sherman, National Sales Director for CAO International, grew up around pipes as her father Cano Ozgener was working on his Meerschaum pipes. The pipes began as his hobby and grew into his business. Aylin remembers how much fun it was sticking labels on the ornate pipes. After high school, Aylin attended Indiana University where she majored in journalism and political science. Fluent in several languages and interested in international business, she traveled widely throughout Europe and spent a semester studying in London. After college, Aylin knew she wanted to work for CAO eventually, but gained experience as a sales rep for Samsonite. In addition to being named by Smoke Magazine as one of the "Young Turks" making waves in the cigar industry, Aylin has the distinction of being first woman to be featured in Playgirl Magazine's "Who's that Playgirl" column. Read more...
April 07, 1998 Cigar Weekly Interview with Chris Topper

On April 7th the editors of Cigar Weekly sat down with Chris Topper to discuss his family's business. Chris is the fourth generation Topper to work in the business. Read more...
February 26, 1998 Cigar Weekly Interview with Kevin Doyle

On February 26th, the editors of Cigar Weekly interviewed Kevin Doyle, President of Caribbean Cigar Company. We asked the questions we thought would be of interest to our readers. Mr. Doyle's candid answers are below. Read more...
January 29, 1998 Cigar Weekly Interview with Jeff Wingate

Located in the mountains of Colorado, Quintin USA, Inc was formed in 1968 to import clove cigarettes. Quintin began with the exclusive US rights to distribute Gudang Garam clove cigarettes from Indonesia. (See www.quintin.com/clove.html for more about clove cigars.) Quintin expanded it's line over time to include Terong, Kuta and Bima brands of clove cigarettes. After almost thirty years in the tobacco distribution business, a logical extension for Quintin was to expand into premium cigars. In February 1997, Quintin launched the Q'Oro line of premium cigars with five differing blends: Read more...
January 29, 1998 Cigar Weekly Interview with Michael Dunne

It started out taking a break from a project, enjoying a smooth premium Dominican cigar. An idea began to form. What if a group of investors established a company to create private label premium cigars? Build a reputation as a cigar company and then establish cigar lounges across the nation, a place where the aficionado could sit back and enjoy a cigar like they do in their own backyard. Could it be done? Chuck Norris, international film and television icon, thought it could. It was his backyard. Read more...