September 2022

Brothers Gus and Billy Fakih, former owners of Cigar Inn in New York and founders of the Viva la Vida cigar brand are back with a new cigar: El Pulpo. And just as Viva la Vida, it is made by A.J. Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua with a bold Mexican San Andres wrapper over Nicaraguan filler and binder. The cigar, named after the octopus, is more intense than the Viva la Vida according to the brothers.

“The octopus is one of the most intelligent creatures in the sea,” explains Billy. “And when it gets its tentacles around its prey, the octopus won’t ever let go. The smoke of this cigar will completely surround your palate like an octopus. And it won’t let go.” “The octopus can change shapes,” Fakih continues. “If you put it in a square or triangular shape, the octopus will become that shape. It adapts. This cigar will adapt to your palate in the same way.”

(Photo/Cigar Aficionado)

Though prices have yet to be established, the Fakihs say that these cigars will retail somewhere in the $15 to $17 range—a few dollars more expensive than the core Viva La Vida line.

“You pay for the age,” says Gus in regards to the Mexican wrapper. “These bales were selected in 2017. It took a long time to develop this blend. Either we didn’t like the tobaccos or A.J. didn’t.”

Gus is clear that El Pulpo is not the original Viva La Vida blend with a Mexican wrapper, but an entirely different cigar.

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