Perdomo Cigars: From Humble Beginnings to Global Acclaim
I’ve known the Perdomo brand for three years, thanks to my friend Kevin Ingelrelst from Casa de Puros, who brought it to Belgium. I quickly grew fond of Perdomo for its great value and quality. This led me to explore the brand’s history, which we’ll discuss in this article.
It all began in 1992 with Nick Perdomo, a 26-year-old air traffic controller at Miami Airport. His only association with cigars at that time was his love for smoking them. However, his family background in the Cuban cigar industry, with both his father and grandfather being active in the field, inspired him. In August 1992, he took a bold step in Miami, founding Nick’s Cigar Co.
At the time, many thought Nick was making a mistake. The early nineties were witnessing an all-time low in cigar sales. However, this period preceded the cigar boom, which was about to begin towards the end of 1992 and into early 1993. In hindsight, Nick’s timing couldn’t have been better.
Continuing his job as an air traffic controller, Nick used his earnings to fund his venture. Initially, the company was modest, comprising only three rollers and two packers, including Nick and his wife Janine.
During the nineties, the popular trend in cigars leaned towards mild-bodied ones, typically using Connecticut shade wrappers. Nick, however, was not a fan of this style. He chose to differentiate his brand by using Ecuador-Sumatra wrappers with Central American fillers. This decision quickly earned Nick’s Cigar Co. popularity among aficionados of full-bodied cigars. The demand for his products soared, with the La Tradicion Cabinet Series Perdomo Reserve becoming a standout hit.
By 1995, the factory’s capacity was too limited to meet the growing demand. Nick decided to expand, setting up a larger factory in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida. However, this move proved financially unviable due to high labor costs in the U.S. Faced with no other choice, Nick relocated the entire operation. He established Tabacalera Perdomo in Nicaragua, near the city of Estelí. This venture turned out to be a tremendous success and saw rapid expansion.
From Seed to Cigar
Perdomo cigars are renowned for their high standards of quality. The production of a single Perdomo cigar involves 3054 steps, beginning from seed to the final product. This meticulous process starts with the seedlings of the tobacco plants in Perdomo’s specialized greenhouses, where the plants sprout and grow efficiently and naturally.
Each plant undergoes thorough checks when transferred from the greenhouse to the field. These checks focus on criteria such as color, posture, and the health of the root system. Once a plant meets these standards, it is planted in the tobacco fields to mature into a robust tobacco plant. The leaves, once ready, are handpicked, inspected for quality, and then taken to the Curing Barn.
After the curing phase, the leaves are moved to a special room with controlled humidity and temperature. Here, they are placed in large piles, each weighing approximately 1650 kilograms, to begin fermentation. At Perdomo’s, the leaves are fermented for a minimum of three years. The piles are monitored daily for humidity and temperature, ensuring the perfect texture, color, and aroma of the cigars. This crucial task is overseen by Aritides Garcio, a legend in tobacco cultivation.
Nick Perdomo is particularly fond of aging his tobacco in ex-Bourbon barrels, a process that enhances the tobacco’s color and further caramelizes its flavor profile.
The craftsmanship in Perdomo’s Tabacalera is evident in every hand-rolled cigar. Nick has trained his staff meticulously, ensuring each roller is capable of crafting the perfect smoke. The placement of seco, viso, and ligero leaves is critical in packing a high-quality cigar, representing craftsmanship at its finest.
As highlighted, Perdomo maintains exceptionally high-quality standards. Each cigar undergoes 17 checks before leaving the Tabacalera, examining for caps, imperfections, and conducting draw tests. The cigars are also checked for optimal humidity and any other potential flaws. Personally, I have never encountered a subpar Perdomo cigar; they consistently offer an excellent draw and beautiful wrappers, free from caps or cracks.
What about Perdomo today?
These days, Nick owns four tobacco plantations, and the Tabacalera produces more than ten million cigars annually. These cigars are among the most sought-after in the market, and the vast variety ensures that there is a Perdomo cigar for every aficionado. Tabacalera Perdomo has set a new standard for high-quality cigars.
Thanks to the superior quality of its tobacco, Perdomo has won multiple awards, including:
- Double Aged Vintage Series: Best Brand Nicaragua 2016
- 20th Anniversary Series: Best Cigar Nicaragua 2014
- 10th Anniversary Series: Best Brand Nicaragua 2018. Notably, the 10th Anniversary Maduro also received the award for best cigar.
- Habano Bourbon Barrel-Aged Series: Best Brand Nicaragua 2018. This particular series is one of my personal favorites.
- Lot 23 Series: Best Value Nicaragua 2012 (ranked number 6 in 2021 for best cigar).
These accolades highlight Perdomo’s commitment to excellence in the cigar industry.
Nowadays, Perdomo cigars are smoked and loved around the globe. They produce more than 10 million cigars each year. Perdomo has over 13 production lines, with one of their most popular being the Lot 23 line. (Fun fact: the land where the tobacco for the Lot 23 series is grown was originally intended for a new factory. However, Nick decided to plant tobacco there for one year, resulting in some of the best tobacco leaves found in Nicaragua). The Lot 23 series alone contributes to over 6 million cigars produced annually. The secret of Perdomo’s success lies in their aging process, particularly the barrel aging technique, as Nick has noted.
Article written by: Magdeleyns Lukas.
Pictures provided by Perdomo Cigars