May 2020

5 More Boutique brands that are likely to make it. After suggesting to get rid of the term boutique, since the value of the word has diluted so much, the discussion started. Podcast Protecting the Legacy replied, to which we answered. And we were guests during their 5th episode. We published a list of boutique brands that faded into obscurity. We published a list of boutique brands that stood the test of time. And a list of brands that we think will make it. Those articles resulted in enough feedback to update the lists. So there was a part 2 of brands that didn’t make it. And a follow up to the brands that made it. Now there is a second list of brands who we think will make it.

The second list of brands that we feel have a high chance of making it. The brands all hail from Nicaragua, except for one. That one is from the Dominican Republic. We also added two brands that we think can have a bright future if it wasn’t for possible FDA regulations and a despite over the name that’s being settled in court.

Southern Draw

In 2014, a few army and navy veterans decided to launch a brand with the ethics of Southern gentleman. That tradition, also known as the culture of honor, is grained into every fiber of Southern Draw. They teamed up with Abdel Fernandez, who’s produced the Southern Draw cigars ever since. But judging on the growth of the brand and the ever-growing fanbase, we think that Southern Draw can keep spreading that culture. We expect this to become a steady brand with a strong enough backbone to maintain and grow in the years to come. We reviewed the 300 Hands Maduro Corona Gorda

Ministry of Cigars - 5 More Boutique brands that are likely to make it


Based in Nicaragua, but not in Esteli where the majority of the Nicaraguan cigar production takes place. Mombacho Cigars is located in the colonial city of Granada. And not in a factory-style building, no, they occupy a villa. Casa Favilli, the former home of the Italian architect who designed most of the iconic buildings of Granada. Mombacho Cigars was founded as a tribute to all things Nicaragua. That shows in all the Mombacho blends as all the cigars they produce are Nicaraguan Puros. With the increasing popularity of the brand, we expect them to grow in the years to come.

Ministry of Cigars Mombacho logo

Black Label Trading Company 

World travelers and adventurers James & Angela Brown lived all over the world before settling down in Latin America. First in Costa Rica, as tour guides. And during those trips, James took his clients to Nicaragua and to tobacco factories. He blended some cigars and sold them. The feedback was so positive, that the couple moved to Nicaragua. They started a factory and Black Label Trading Company. Since then, they gained a loyal following and are now slowly entering international markets as well. We reviewed the Black Label Trading Company Royalty Robusto

Ministry of Cigars Black Label Trading Company

Casa Cuevas

A relatively new cigar brand, but not a new name in the cigar industry. The Cuevas family has a huge history in tobacco, both in Cuba and in the Dominican Republic. A fantastic reputation as tobacco growers, but they rolled cigars for private labels as well. Until a few years ago, then they started the Casa Cuevas brand. Even a burglary in the American warehouse can’t stop them. They turned that setback in a positive by creating a limited edition inspired by the robbery. And that limited edition is now a regular production line. Casa Cuevas is here to stay.

Ministry of Cigars Casa Cuevas Logo

DH Boutique

DH stands for Didier Houvenaghel. A Belgian agricultural engineer who studied tobacco in Brussels and Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Houvenaghel, also the author of From Soil to Soul, the most comprehensive book on tobacco, works with A.J. Fernandez for his brands Nicarao, La Ley, La Preferida, and La Furia. The cigars may not be well known in the United States but are gaining popularity in Europe and Asia by the day. With the growth in sales over the last few years, we expect to see DH Boutique cigars becoming a leader amongst boutique brands in Europe. We reviewed the Nicarao Especial Reserva 2015 from DH Boutique Blends. But Houvenaghel also blended the Robert Graham 1874 145th Anniversary and the Henk Maori Haka.

Ministry of Cigars - 5 More Boutique brands that are likely to make it

There are two brands that would have made the list, based on the quality of cigars. But both are facing problems that could mean the end of the road for them. 

Antigua Esteli 

The brand of music producer and cigar aficionado Art Garcia. A few years ago, he started Antigua Esteli and the brand is gaining traction. We reviewed the Segovias Oscuro and enjoyed it a lot. But currently, Garcia is battling with the Garcia family of My Father Cigars. The name and the artwork of Antigua Esteli come too close to their brand La Antiguedad according to My Father Cigars. That makes the future of Antigua Esteli in the United States unpredictable at the moment. The copyrights for the rest of the world haven’t been appealed by My Father Cigars yet, so maybe the brand will remain available internationally without any changes. We reviewed the Antigua Esteli Segovia Maduro Toro.

Ministry of Cigars - Antigua Esteli enters the Asian market

Ezra Zion 

Ezra Zion is following the path that Viaje started, just like Robert Caldwell’s Lost & Found. Small batches with funky names and ditto artwork. A great way to constantly come up with new and exciting blends. Yet with the possibility that the proposed FDA regulation will come into play, it is also risky. That regulation will prevent new cigars from entering the market, making the business model of Ezra Zion impossible. So that’s why we won’t burn our fingers on a prediction if Ezra Zion will be around in a few years.

Ministry of Cigars - 5 More Boutique brands that are likely to make it

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