Jean Clement, a Frenchman who made the Juan Clemente cigar brand in the Dominican Republic for some 28 years, died yesterday in New Orleans, site of the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers trade show. Members of ProCigar, the Dominican cigarmaking organization to which he was a member, confirmed his death. His age was not immediately available.
Clement was born in the Champagne region of France, and moved to Latin America as a young boy. Before the Dominican Republic was a major producer of premium cigars, Clement was inspired to begin making cigars in that country. In April 1982 he launched his cigar brand in France and Switzerland, using a Latinized version of his name. Jean Clement became Juan Clemente. While the cigars were sold in the United States, their biggest following is outside the U.S., and Juan Clementes claim wide international distribution. The cigar’s markets include Canada, Spain, France, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong and many Latin American countries.
His cigars were immediately recognizable by their footbands and bit of foil that covered the foot of each cigar. Clement’s company was known as Tabaquisa S.A.