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Re+United: Perez-Carrillo And Giannini Make A Cigar

David Savona
Posted: February 11, 2014

Five years ago, almost to the month, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo left the La Gloria Cubana brand and his longtime associate Michael Giannini. Perez-Carrillo went on to start a new cigar company, EPC Cigar Co., while Giannini stayed at La Gloria's parent company General Cigar. Both have thrived in their current ventures, and both remained friendly over the years.

This week, the two men sat down in New York City with Cigar Aficionado to share surprising news. The two friends have come together again to collaborate on a new cigar. Both Giannini and Perez-Carrillo are staying in their current positions at their respective companies, but they have joined forces to create a limited-edition smoke called Re+United. The cigar is made with tobaccos from both men, and is the result of their working and blending together, just like the old days.

"This is all about friends getting together and having fun," said Giannini.

The idea for the Re+United project began about one year ago, when the two bumped into one another at the Gran Almirante Hotel in Santiago, Dominican Republic, a common gathering spot for cigarmakers. "We started chatting," said Giannini, who considers Perez-Carrillo one of his mentors.

Each man has a wealth of experience in the business. Giannini has been working in the industry for 33 years, while Perez-Carrillo has been making cigars for 43 years. The two worked together for 10 years at La Gloria Cubana.

Soon after their hotel chat, the two were working together in each other's factories, which are located right around the corner from one another in one of the Santiago Free Trade Zones, home to several cigar factories. This is a highly unusual move in the cigar business: While cigarmakers help one another in times of need, it's exceptionally rare to see competitors working together in this fashion on a joint project. 

Reunion cigar box.
The smoke they decided on comes in one size, 6 1/2 inches long with a 54 ring gauge. The wrapper leaf is one from General's vast inventory, an eighth-priming Ecuador Havana leaf grown by Oliva Tobacco Co., which is a leaf Perez-Carrillo doesn't use.

"I love that dark color," Perez-Carrillo said of the wrapper leaf, culled from high atop the plant. "And for me, personally, it's hard to get. It's limited."

The binder is Connecticut broadleaf, from Perez-Carrillo's inventory, while the filler is a mix of Dominican Piloto Cubano from General and Nicaraguan from Perez-Carrillo. The Dominican Piloto was grown from seeds from the 1990s, a form of the plant that's more of an heirloom, and not crossed with other tobaccos as with many later varieties of the seed. The Nicaraguan filler is from Jalapa, in the north of the country, which is better known for wrapper than for filler.

"We tapped into some really old tobaccos," said Giannini. Half the tobaccos are from General, half from EPC Cigar Co.

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Comments   2 comment(s)

JONATHAN DREW — NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES,  —  February 12, 2014 2:34am ET

It's nice to see the fellas at it again. Very cool.

Antonio Lam — Oradell, NJ, usa,  —  February 12, 2014 12:44pm ET

Looking forward to this. Congratulations...

Best Regards,

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