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Fathers and Sons, Part 1

The cigar industry owes much of its creativity and longevity to the unique partnerships between father-and-son cigarmakers
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
Camilo Villegas, July/August 2006

(continued from page 7)

Sathya is working on changing the Holt's cigar catalog, plays a role in new-product development, and even joins his father and Ferrero taste-testing new cigars. "He has a very good palate," says Robert of his son. The fatherly pride is clear. "He's doing a great job."

ALBERTO AND ALEJANDRO TURRENT

It's impossible not to be immediately charmed by Alberto Turrent IV. The white-haired gentleman always seems to be smiling. His easygoing nature manifests itself when he explains why his son, Alejandro, is the first Turrent male in five generations not to be named Alberto.

"Too many Alberto Turrents!" he says with a laugh.

Alberto, 64, and Alejandro, 33, run Tabaclera Alberto Turrent, Mexico's premier cigarmaker and cigar-tobacco grower. The Turrents, who operate in the San Andres Tuxla Valley, outside the city of Veracruz, make Te-Amo, Mexico's most famous cigar brand, and last August launched the A. Turrent brand in the United States. They grow what's regarded as one of the finest maduro leaves in the world, San Andres Negro, a stalk-cut tobacco that is used to make many types of maduro cigars.

The Turrents have farmed these soils since the nineteenth century. Alberto Turrent's great-grandfather migrated from Spain to Mexico in 1880 and began growing tobacco. His three descendants named Alberto followed in the family footsteps.

Alejandro began working with his father in 1998. He focuses on the manufacturing portion of the business and his father spends more time on the tobacco side, but there's never a question as to who is in charge. "We don't really have titles," says Alejandro. "He is the boss, and he is involved in every aspect of the business. Whatever is left, I am in charge.

"We get along perfectly well, even though we often have opposite points of view, but he is always supporting my ideas," says Alejandro. "His management style is very flexible, very open for new ideas; he is pushing his people all the time to [get] the best from them. He says that being constant and to love what you do will get you anywhere."

Alejandro's name may have broken one tradition, but was there ever a doubt that he would join his father in the factory and fields?

"Never," says Alejandro. "My father is the fourth generation, and I've loved this business since I was a kid."


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