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An Interview with Oscar Boruchin

Owner of Licenciados and 8-9-8 Collection cigars.
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Wayne Gretzky, Mar/Apr 97

(continued from page 20)

CA: What year was this?

Boruchin: It was 1990 when we acquired this company together with this brand. We also had the rights to sell the brand Moya, which is also a very old Cuban brand and also owned by the Fuente family. Moya was not as popular [as Bauza]. We had plans a few years ago before the cigar revolution--we were going to make a line of short-filler cigars with this name. But the Fuentes, of course, are so tied up in work right now that we have delayed the Moya project. We feel very strongly that in the near future Bauza is going to become a bigger brand.

CA: Between MATASA for Licenciados and A. Fuente for Bauza, what kind of production increases do you think you'll get in 1997, '98 and '99?

Boruchin: I feel strongly that we can grow at a rate of 25 to 30 percent a year in the next few years. It depends on the effort of MATASA and Fuente to expand their production capacity. And it depends on what happens with the demand of the other products. Don't forget that the Fuentes are the most sought-after cigar. The Fuente Fuente Opus X is today probably the most in-demand cigar in America. The Arturo Fuente brand is so popular that no matter how many cigars you get, they sell out within two to three days. They have a long way to go, but the effort being done to catch up is tremendous. I feel pretty optimistic about the future when it comes to getting more products from them.

CA: Is your family in the business now?

Boruchin: Yes. I have my son-in-law [Oded Ben-arie] in the business. He is second in command. He does a tremendous job. I am not there as much as I used to be. A friend of mine makes a Big Smoke every month. I'm absent three, four days a month just for that, and for trips to the Dominican Republic and Honduras. So, I'm away and he's always there and he runs the business now.

CA: Is Mike still in business?

Boruchin: Mike is still in the business.

CA: How old is he today?

Boruchin: Mike was born 1/11/11, so, he is 86. At one point, when he sold us the business, he retired. He came back about six months later; he asked me if he could come back to work a few hours a day, and, of course, for me it was a blessing. He watches my back. As long as Mike is there, nobody is going to stab me in the back. He's like a bodyguard always. Today, he puts in eight, nine, 10 hours a day.

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