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An Interview with Ernesto Padilla

A conversation with Ernesto Padilla, owner of Miami's Padilla Cigar Co.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
Armand Assante, Mar/Apr 2008

(continued from page 4)

A: Only in the maduro. The good thing was the relationship between ASP and that factory was very tight. So they had access to tobacco that many factories would love to have. But ASP stopped growing in Mexico. That really made things more difficult.

Q: That ended the maduro?

A: That pretty much ended that. But then I met a guy with a small factory, Pepin [Garcia]. I smoked his cigars—I thought they were great. I was impressed. And we got to talking about the possibility of making a brand. But I was always looking around saying, "Jeez, how many cigars can we make?"

Q: So you were concerned with the size of the factory?

A: That, tobacco availability—he was extremely small at the time and I didn't know if he was going to survive. I was talking to different people, different factories, nothing was really hitting me, and then when I saw the construction on Pepin's cigars, and the flavor, I said, "Wow. This is really unique." There was nothing like it at the time. There were cigars out of Nicaragua that were full bodied, but they lacked refinement.

Q: What did you tell Pepin that you wanted? Describe the process.

A: I came to him and I was looking for something that was rich. I didn't know what he could do. I knew his style. Before coming to Miami he worked in Nicaragua, and he got to play with Nicaraguan tobacco and really learn how to work it. I wanted something that was Cubanesque.

Q: Did you know that you wanted a cigar with Nicaraguan tobacco?

A: Yes. That's where the flavor was.

Q: 2003 was your first year—how many cigars did you make?

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