Interview: Frank Llaneza of Villazon
A discussion with the president of Villazon & Co., makers of Hoyo de Monterrey and Punch.
From the Print Edition:
John Travolta, Jan/Feb 99
(continued from page 13)
CA: What did you do?
Llaneza: Mr. Oliva brought me tobacco from three farms that were growing tobacco in Ecuador. He also had his own farm that he had purchased from a former employee of the American Tobacco Co. They were losing money, and it was going to be closed up. But Mr. Oliva bought it. He started making fire-cured wrapper there. We had already tested the natural wrappers, but he had one farm that had a distinctive taste and had the flavor that we needed.
CA: Was it Connecticut-seed wrapper or was it Cuban-seed wrapper?
Llaneza: No, it was Sumatran.
CA: Wasn't it a big change for your cigars?
Llaneza: A big change.
CA: When did that change take place?
Llaneza: Almost immediately. I would say 1980-'81. We had to make that transformation because we didn't have that kind of inventory of Nicaraguan wrappers.
CA: In the late '70s, I remember, the Nicaraguan wrappers were just like great Cuban wrappers. They were brick-red and smooth.
Llaneza: Yeah, a brick color, like this [Holds up a sample cigar].
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