Dear Daniel, for those that don’t know you, who are you and how did you become a cigar manufacturer?
I started selling tobacco in a family owned tobacconist in Barcelona 30 years ago. For years I was traveling around Mexico, Dominican Republic and Cuba, getting to know and learning from the best master blenders. it’s in Nicaragua where I find the best tobacco farms, and flavour blends that totally different from what I have been done so far. I started producing my brands in one little factory in Estelí 6 years ago.
What are your brands?
El Viejo Continente and The Circus
What’s the story behind the names El Viejo Continente & Circus?
El Viejo Continente is a tribute to Europe and your long smoking tradition. The label is a pegamine with the two worlds, the new and old, it represents the tobacco connection between them. Some rings of El Viejo Continente are Latin names: Maximum, Robustum, Brevium, Mare Nostrum….
The Circus is a tribute to all the people who have helped me and participate in this amazing journey. The best engineers (Magician), always waiting to get over it ( Harlequin) and specially the best master blenders ( Twister), the result of all this work is a shot of flavour ( Canon)
You are European, you could have gone to any cigar producing country, why Nicaragua?
I found that Nicaragua has the best tobacco to make my blends.
You used to work with American Caribbean Cigars but now you have your of El Viejo Continente factory. Since when, and why did you decide to build your own factory?
American Caribbean Cigars was the second factory to make my brands, I’m very grateful to this great factory but it was time to me walk alone. For 2 years now I’ve had my own factory, producing logically my brands and 12 private labels.
What does this mean for your distributors? I know that several distributors also carry products from American Caribbean because they carry El Viejo Continente. Are you still collaborating with brands such as Bouncer for logistics?
The distributors have the representation of many brands in their countries. They do a very important job, they are the connection between the factory and smokers, they have all my support, normally I travel to visit all markets each year to do events with them.
Logically after working a few years with Caribbean it’s normal to share some distributors. I focus in my brands, distributors focus on all the brands they carry.
Who’s running the factory for you? Since you’re based in Spain you can’t be at the factory all the time.
I’ve three managers at factory and I’m in permanent contact with them. However I’m traveling to Nicaragua every month.
Where is the factory located? What factories are close by (to give people that know Estelí an idea on where to find you)
The factory is in Estelí, close to Oliva and Perdomo
How big is the factory, how many rollers do you have and how many cigars can you produce annually?
It’s a small factory, around 3000 square metres including carpenter. We have 18 couples rolling tobacco (68 peoples working exclusively on tobacco and around 200 people at the carpenter. We’re producing around one million of cigars annually.
Do you also grow tobacco, or are you planning to?
Right now I’m buying tobacco, I’ve got enough stock to be free from problems.
In which countries can we find El Viejo Continente?
You can find El Viejo Continente in 33 countries.
We were about to complain about a lack of information on the website, but then noticed you have a new website. When did that happen?
The website is working now, you can check it at www.elviejocontinente.com
Did El Viejo Continente suffer from the pandemic with production and logistics? Or did you have enough stock to continue supply without interruptions ?
Fortunately during the pandemic the factory was working without interruptions.
What are your plans for the near future? Accessories? New blends?
I’m always working in new presentations and new blends, for this year we have new lines: Edición Pitágonas, Mare Nostrum La Perla, Edición Estelí, The Circus Vulcano. You can see them on our web site.
Some countries are implementing plain packaging, and the number of countries is growing, does that worry you?
Having a carpenter at the factory we can adjust to different markets. Finally the most important is to sell cigars.
Is there anything you like to add for our readers?
I suggest to readers to visit my web site and to see the full portfolio, they can see cigars, presentations, blends and a video of factory.