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A Conversation with José Blanco

The gregarious sales director for La Aurora speaks about the cigar industry.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
Vegas, Mar/Apr 2006

(continued from page 6)

A: Yes, just to have it there.

Q: It's good. José Seijas [of Altadis U.S.A.] uses Peruvian, too. What do you think it adds to a blend?

A: To me, it adds a lot of flavor. It has body. It's a different type of tobacco. I'm a firm believer that the soil does everything. You have to have a good seed, but the soil is the main thing. These six types of tobacco [in the 1495], they all harmonize. Sometimes you take two good leaves and you don't get anything out of them. It's not appealing. But with these six they blend very well. I think it's a medium- to full-bodied, but totally different smoke.

Cigars today are more complex than before. Everybody's working harder. But you only get good cigars with good, old tobacco. There's no such thing as good, young tobacco.

Q: How many cigars do you make?

A: We do cigars for C.A.O., for Savinelli, for Miami Cigar, we have private labels in Europe. We should be around, big and small cigars, this year 19 million cigars.

Q: And if we only talked about large cigars?

A: Around seven million this year.

Q: How does that compare with 1997?

A: It was more than that [in 1997], but the product we're making now is totally different than what we were making before. We were just down to piloto Cubano, San Vicente, Connecticut and Cameroon. Now we have wrappers from Ecuador, we have wrappers from Brazil, we have wrappers from Nicaragua. We're growing Corojo.

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