Date: July 2020
Author: Inspector Z

New cigars for Lebanon. Cigar Boutique, one of the distributors active in the West Asian country bordering Syria and Israel, is bringing in two new brands. Brands with legendary names. EPC Cigars from Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and La Familia Robaina. The brand created by Hirochi Robaina, grandson of the most famous grower of Cuban tobacco ever, Don Alejandro Robaina.

EPC Cigars

The EPC brand is only ten years young. But the man behind the brand is an industry veteran and legend. Ernesto Perez-Carrillo is a household name in the cigar industry. And someone to look up to. Perez-Carrillo earned his name and fame with the La Gloria Cubana brand. Not the Cuban one, but the New World version. The brand started in 1972 in Miami. Perez-Carrillo took the brand and factory over in 1980. Under the leadership of Perez-Carrillo, the brand grew. And it grew so much, that the Miami factory wasn’t big enough anymore. Production was moved to the Dominican Republic. In 1999, General Cigars acquired La Gloria Cubana and the sub-brand El Credito. With a 10 year contract for Perez-Carrillo to remain with the company.

When that contract ended in 2009, Perez Carrillo left General Cigars. A year later he resurfaced with EPC cigars and the La Alianza factory. Since then, he’s been building the brand and the factory. With success as the EPC brand won several awards, including Cigar Aficionado Cigar of the Year. Many other cigar brands are produced at Tabacalera La Alianza. Including some Crowned Heads lines, Alec & Bradley’s Gatekeeper, Viking Cigars. Even Royal Agio did a collaboration with Ernesto Perez Carrillo for the Balmoral Signatura series. A review of the Balmoral Dueto Robusto can be found here. And now, EPC Cigars are available in Lebanon.

La Familia Robaina

The Robaina family is tied to the Cuban cigar industry. Don Alejandro Robaina was such an outstanding tobacco grower that Habanos honored him. He is the only tobacco grower to ever have a cigar line named after him. And the only brand tied to a person since the revolution. Not even the highest-ranking officials from the Castro regime earned that privilege. His son is a high ranking official within Habanos. His grandson and protégée Hirochi was groomed to take over the tobacco growing operations. He took over a few years for Don Alejandro’s death In 2010. 

Hirochi branched out and started growing tobacco outside of Cuba. And since 2014, he’s been producing cigars in Nicaragua as well. The HR Cigars pay tribute to the history of the Robaina family. The cigars were launched with a Big Bang. Availability was an issue but in the last two years, the brand is gaining more momentum. And it’s leading to international distribution. The cigars are now available in Lebanon as well. A review of the HR Signature Belicoso is published here.

Ministry of Cigars - New cigars for Lebanon

New shop

Cigar Boutique has a few retail outlets all over Lebanon. Sources in Lebanon told us that one of the major Cigar Boutique outlets closed the doors. We reached out to Cigar Boutique. They denied that rumor and countered it. The company is opening a new shop instead. A duty-free shop. Not at the airport, but the harbor. This shop should open in the next few weeks.

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