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An Interview with Christian Eiroa

The man behind Camacho, La Fontana and Baccarat cigars from Honduras.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
Emeril Lagasse, Sept/Oct 2005

(continued from page 1)

Q: What happened there?

A: Just father-son stuff. They couldn't get along. Too many arguments.

Q: Your brother is…

A: Justo. My older brother. He's currently in the bottled water business.

Q: So based upon his problems, you were leery about working with Dad.

A: Yeah, and I didn't know if I wanted to be in Danlí [Honduras]. I had been in Miami for six years. One of the biggest concerns that I had was making a name for myself in this business so I wasn't just the old man's son. Trying to get respect. So I began to focus heavily on purchasing tobacco. I traveled to places all over the world.

Q: Tell me which places.

A: Mexico. Indonesia. I almost ended up going to Bangladesh to buy tobacco. Italy. This couple shows up to my office and they bring this one little leaf wrapped in a piece of notebook paper. And they open up the leaf. It's black. It's beautiful. And I said, "Where did you get this?" They said, "Oh, Panama. Are you interested in this kind of tobacco?" I'm saying, "Oh, you know, tobacco from Panama…." Meantime, I call the secretary, say, "Book me on a flight to Panama with these people." So I show up in Panama, we contract out the tobacco, and I end up flying there about six months later with a cashier's check for a quarter million dollars. I started buying tobacco like crazy. Then of course, we ran into 1998, when we didn't need tobacco from anybody.

Q: Were you caught with big inventories?

A: Yeah, we were caught with some containers in transit. We were able to get out of those.

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