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A Conversation with Nestor Miranda

The founder of Miami Cigar & Co. talks about the rise, fall and rebirth of his Don Lino brand.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
David Caruso, Jan/Feb 2007

(continued from page 9)

A: Oh, my God. (Laughs.) The only thing is—she wants royalties now.

Q: So you have Don Lino, you have Tatiana, named for your daughter, and you're still the exclusive distributor of La Aurora.

A: Next year, we're coming out with the new Don Lino signed by me. I'm going to have publicity. I want to have my dynasty.

Q: Why Don Lino? What does that mean?

A: Lino was the name of the person at the factory, and we used that. It was just a name. And it sold so well, why change it?

Q: How do you feel now about where Miami Cigar is?

A: I am blessed with having a great son. He is unbelievable. He lives for the company. And I have great support—my wife is there, too, but my son is the one running the operation. I give him the support of my experience in sales in the market, but my son is the one who makes the decisions in the company. I do not make decisions without consulting with him. I come out with ideas that we put together. For example, I was in Africa hunting in a safari. It was my dream, and I think it's every man's dream to be in Africa. I went hunting in Africa, and I had such a great time. I was on a plane for 21 hours. I was thinking it's such a great country, Africa, so I designed a box of cigars on the plane. When I came to Miami, I said to my son, "Let's come out with a cigar, Africa." He said, "Let's do it." We wanted to put on the front of the box the name of the mountain, Kilimanjaro. It was taken. I said, "OK, Let's come out with Don Lino Africa." They are gorgeous boxes. I wanted to put the name of the African animals—but in the Masai language. Intead of calling it Cheetah, we call it Duma. Instead of Zebra, we call it Punda Milla.

Q: Does it do well?

A: We did very well. We did 250,000 cigars the first year. My expectation was 200,000.

Q: Is there African tobacco in it?

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