An Interview with Litto Gomez and Ines Lorenzo-Gomez
Owners, La Flor Dominicana
From the Print Edition:
Laurence Fishburne, Jan/Feb 00
(continued from page 15)
Gomez: We learned the basics. It's like, once you have the basic rules of playing football, you can play, but the way you play, it is up to the player. Or it's like a great chef. They all know the rules but they are going to put their own personal mark on it. This is how we have to work in cigars, because it is something that people are going to taste. It is about flavor. It is about taste. Anybody that doesn't have the sensibility of different tastes from one leaf of tobacco to another has no place in the business. You need to have that sensibility. You either have it or you don't.
CA: Getting back to the factory for a minute. You had a fire there in 1999. How serious a blow was that?
Gomez: It was very serious, because we had a lot of irreplaceable cigars in that room. It was only the cigar room; thank God the fire didn't get out of the cigar room and burn the whole factory. It could have happened. We were about a half an hour away from it happening. Thank God it didn't, but we lost a lot of product that is in very high demand.
CA: How many cigars did you lose?
Gomez: Four hundred thousand. But we had cigars in there like "A's," that are made with Cameroon wrapper. We had been making those cigars for 10 months, picking the leaves that were big enough. You know Cameroon leaves don't come that large. So we were picking the leaves for those cigars for a long time, and I finally had made about 20,000 or so, and they were all gone. We also lost about 60,000 El Jockos, and we always have a waiting list for them. It broke our hearts. We've recuperated, because there's plenty of tobacco now. We don't have those cigars anymore, and it would take probably five or six months to rebuild the inventories of those cigars. But we are coming out of it fine.
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