March 2024

Casdagli Cigars unfolds a tale from 1800s trade to premium tobacco, showcasing a legacy of craftsmanship and history with every cigar.

Our story begins in the 1800s with Nicholas Casdagli. Born at the end of the eighteenth century near the mountain Casdagli in the Ottoman Empire, Nicholas established a commercial trading post. He founded a trading post in Odessa, where Russian grain was loaded onto their ship for transport to Smyrna. Upon arrival in Smyrna, Turkish pipe tobacco and coffee were picked up, and once loaded, the ship would proceed to Alexandria to collect Egyptian Cotton. The family traded these raw products in major cities such as Genoa, Venice, and London.

From London, the ship would return fully loaded with processed cotton, which was taken back to Egypt and Smyrna, emptying the ship on the way back to Odessa to repeat the process. Thus, the Casdagli empire originated as a shipping company. The first Casdagli ship recorded in the London shipping journal docked at the port of Genoa in 1827. However, the Crimean War in the 1850s resulted in a blockade of Odessa, forcing the family to relocate to Rhodes. In the 1860s, during the American Civil War, the family discovered that sea island cotton could not be obtained from the Confederacy, prompting Emmanuel Casdagli to establish cotton mills in Manchester. A family member was sent to Egypt to send raw cotton to their mill in Manchester for processing.

Eventually, the family purchased 2,000 acres of cotton land in the south of Egypt/Northern Sudan. This cotton trading continued for about 100 years, until 1956. In addition to trading tobacco and other goods, they also started a horse breeding farm, specializing in Arabian stallions. The family, having gained significant power, adopted a family emblem, a common practice among powerful families at the time. Since the family had relocated to Rhodes, they chose the Mighty Colossus of Rhodes as their emblem. This emblem was trademarked in 1885 and eventually registered with the Royal College of Arms in London.

But like every great adventure it must come to an end, and this happened in 1956 when the Suez-Crisis began. The family managed to keep their cotton Mill open until 1964 but were forced to shut down operations due to lack of cotton.

That said, the family had quite a name for itself back in England. So much so that even Emmanual Casdagli was a chief negotiator for the British Board of Trade. During January of 1951 Emmanuel met with the Cuban Ambassador along with the Cuban Trade Delegation led by Doctor Andrea Vargas-Gomez. This was primarily to seal a trade of over 5 million tons of Cuban sugar. Totally unexpected, the Cuban Ambassador asked Emmanuel wether, as a gesture of goodwill, the UK would agree to a resumption of imports of Havana Cigars which at that time had ceased completely. The Cubans wanted an importation license granted in the region of 100000 pounds. These discussions were very sensitive at the time for both countries because the UK had an agreement with the USA and the USA had placed an embargo on all Cuban products. The deal went through and made headline news when Emmanuel and the Cuban delegation were ambushed by a certain Mr. Evans of the Daily express. In fact, it made the front page on 31st March 1951 and Cuban dominance of the UK premium cigar market resumed.

So, the family got into trading cigars but how did they end up making cigars?

This all started with Jeremy Casdagli in Cuba in the nineties. Jeremy is an amateur scuba diver, there in Casa Di Amistad in Varadero he met a true cigar legend, Carlos Valdez Mosquerea, a master roller. So, in 1997 Jeremy decided to start up his own little Cigar boutique called Bespoke cigars, with a select number of cigars they would produce each month. They initially only made around 500-1000 cigars a month that they would ship back to the U.K and sell to the London cigar markets. The height of production was around 50,000 cigars a year in the early 2000s.

This all went well but in 2013 Jeremy met Hendrik Kelner Junior due to an acquaintance (Mike Murph, Mike made cigars in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, that’s how Mike and Hendrik met).

in 2012 Hendrik opened up boutique factory in the Dominican Republic and Jeremy saw his chance to raise Bespoke cigars to the next level. Hendrik made a blend existing of Peruvian, Brazilian, Nicaraguan and Dominican hybrid tobacco and this became their famous signature cigar. A perfect Lancero that offers Cuban-like tasting notes. This event leads up to a strong partnership, a combination of a cigar rolling legend and the famous Kelner boutique made the brand what it is today. But wait? You’re telling the story of Bespoke cigars while the brand’s name is Casdagli? Yes, back in 2018 Jeremy’s hand was forced to change name due to a trading dispute with Alec Bradly cigars. So, Jeremy decided to honour his family by naming his company Casdagli Cigars. Now why did i tell you the story all the way back from the 18th century? Well, if you look close to the bands of the Casdagli cigars you can see why, Casdagli honours all the major family events with pictures on their cigar bands. If you take a look at the traditional line, you see the family’s reception room of their villa in Egypt. The Daughters of the wind series shows the Arabian stallions, the villa Casdagli line shows their magnificent villa in Egypt.

That is what I like the most about the brand. All their cigars have a history to them and most importantly they are among the better long fillers out there. So, if you get the opportunity to try this wonderful brand you should!!

The brand has 4 big production line’s but recently started expanding their line’s. Here are the 4 lines where they started with: The Traditional line (production started in 2013) This line is based on the cigars that Carlos made for Jeremy back in 1997

The Club Mareva line (Production started in 2014) This is in cooperation with the founder of the cigar smoking championship, Marko Bilic, who owns a cigar bar called Club Mareva in spilt, Croatia

The basilica line (Production started in 2015) Was specially developed for the Arabian market. The basilica line offers a blend with the tasting notes that they prefer their like: Citrus and ginger

The cabinet selection (Production started in 2016) offers a blend that will appeal to all the coffee lovers out them! Originally the blend was developed for the Swedish market’s but quickly gained fame all over Europe.

As an ending note of this article i can only say one more thing, Follow up on this brand! Their coming out with new lines like cypher 3311, villa Casdagli,… Jeremy also started producing in the IGM boutique in Costa Rica and launched his daughters of the Wind line in 2018. This line has already won many plaudits. I really grew found of the brand and

even give tasting’s with the Traditional line (I always chose the traditional Cottontail due to its Cuban like tasting note’s and the unique Vitola that was almost extinct since the 1940’s) My personal favourite is the Daughter’s of the wind line, This blend looks like it is made for my favourite tasting note’s (Caramel)

Special thanks to my good friend for helping out with this article: Jeremy you are amazing!

Article by: Magdeleyns Lukas.

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