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An Interview with Jose Padrón

Chairman, Piloto Cigars Inc.
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Gina Gershon, Sep/Oct 98

(continued from page 12)

Padrón: No, we stopped taking back orders two years ago. If you run out, order from me. You can't have so many orders just sitting in the computers. For example, we got a shipment into Miami of 300,000 cigars a week ago. By the end of the week, we got rid of all of them.

CA: How many cigars do you expect to produce in 1998?

Padrón: Four million, if possible. I can't predict really how many will be made and anyone that does make those predictions doesn't know what he is doing. It has to do with the processing and the curing of the tobacco. For example, that little cigar [Principe], do you know why are we producing that little cigar? This way we can use a smaller wrapper leaf that comes from a lower part of the plant. Last year, we didn't produce that size, and we made fewer cigars.

CA: What is the production of the 1964 Anniversary?

Padrón: The Anniversary production last year was about 150,000 cigars. This year it may be that we will approach the 300,000 mark; we have enough wrapper in inventory to do that.

CA: It isn't much.

Padrón: No it isn't, but for me this cigar is the apple of my eye. I want the integrity of this cigar to remain constant. If I would have wanted to produce 2 million of these cigars I would have, but it wouldn't be the same cigar.

CA: How would you describe the strength and the flavor of the Anniversary?

Padrón: The flavor is my secret [laughter]--a secret I won't be sharing with anyone. It is a medium strength. People say that it is a good flavor. I smoke my own cigars and I think it is good but I will let the public dictate.

CA: Is there any special taste that you find in your cigar which makes it...

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