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The World According to Perdomo

Nick Perdomo Jr. will make more than 10 million cigars this year—and he's not afraid to tell you how good they are.

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Perdomo is sitting in the dining room of Shula's Steak House, a Miami Lakes restaurant festooned with the likeness of the legendary Dolphins coach. The menu comes painted on a football; finish the monstrous 48-ounce porterhouse and you earn a spot on the wall. Perdomo hasn't made the list. Today's lunch was a comparatively modest sirloin and salad, which he's following with a Perdomo Estate Selecci;oacute;n, corona gorda size. "This is like our baby, this cigar," he says. "I'm proud of what we've done." He puffs on the dark, strong cigar. The rich aroma of Nicaraguan tobacco slips into the air, at home in the dark, clubby dining room. "Now we've broken into the club," he says. "I've always thought I had something to prove, because I'm extremely competitive by nature."
The days of pinching every penny are clearly behind him. A thick ring on his right hand spells out his name in gold, and he wears a Rolex Steel Daytona on his left wrist. It's one of 60 watches he owns.
"I lead by being paranoid, not by sitting back. I'm never comfortable," Perdomo says. He is still searching for that breakout, company-owned brand that will match the success of the cigar he makes for C.A.O. He's tireless when it comes to promoting his brands, grassroots style. He's a big believer in rolling events, where he or his brother-in-law, Argenti, will bring a cigarmaker into a smoke shop and talk up the values of Perdomo products. They'll be there, selling cigars one by one. And they'll never miss an opportunity to talk people into dropping what they're smoking in order to try a Perdomo.
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