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Sunday, March 14, 2010

You Hoarders!

It's funny when interviewing leaders in the cigar industry, they will give you information about their competitors by accident. When speaking to a cigar man, I probe for information. Now I may not use it for that particular piece, but I'll put it away in the "information bank". When probing, I always bring up the benchmark in this industry, The Padron's, the one response I get time and time again, "hoarders of tobacco". These guys buy and age tobacco like no other company in the cigar industry.

Most manufacturers live hand to mouth when it comes to product, if they are going to run a cabinet or vintage collection, most of them will buy it from a broker who is selling aged tobacco. Let me put it to you in these simply terms: Cigars in the process and concept of production is a lot like wine, certain years in respected growing regions are better than others. Factors that can affect tobacco are: hurricanes, drought, blue mold and infestations, also other characteristics develop and are discovered in the aging process that maybe the blender did not anticipate when he first acquired the tobacco.

Padron's hoarding tobacco, "How does this affect me?" you might ask, well it can have rippling effects throughout the cigar industry, for example Gurhka has a cigar called the Triad, great cigar but the maduro's MSRP: $100.00, the Padron's comparable which is last year's Cigar Aficionado's No. 1 cigar of the year the 45 anniversary for an MSRP: $32.50. His (Padron's) vintage tobacco which Jorge Padron has owned the entire time and does not have to pay the premium aged tobacco price from a tobacco broker. Jorge Padron and familia set certain production cultures that set them above the competition: Developing long relationships with the actual farmers who harvest their tobacco, never mass producing their product, using only the highest class of rollers who touch the product.

The Padron Familia, never broker tobacco or "private label" to any other company. Now the next time you find yourself in front of a large wall of cigars in a Spanish cedar lined humidor, with those intoxicating smells that are so captivating calling you with deep rich colors and eye appealing cigar bands that stand out to you, I want you to stop, recall what I am saying and ask yourself how many times has this particular cigar's tobacco been "brokered"? Then ask yourself, "Could I find a comparable cigar for less money"? If you have not grasped the term "brokered tobacco", I implore you to keep reading my blogs...