Alan Fonseca has started his own company—the Salamanca Cigar Group—and is slowly bringing four new brands into the market.
Based in Pismo Beach, California, the Salamanca Cigar Group consists of two primary cigar labels: Joseph NicaVana Premium and Glandon Family Premium Cigars. Fonseca has created two blends for each label. The Mesmerize and NicaVana blends fall under the Joseph NicaVana label while Sir Leland and Matthew blends are Glandon Family cigars. Each blend comes in only one size and all retail for $9 each.
"My protocol is to build relationships with retailers and their customer base," Fonseca said. "We're doing the West Coast first for the first year or year-and-a-half. Then we'll focus on the stronger cigar markets."
NicaVana (6 1/4 inches by 52 ring gauge) and Mesmerize (6 1/2 by 54) are, according to Fonseca, the stronger of the four blends. Matthew (6 by 54) and Sir Leland (5 1/2 by 52) are not as full bodied. All are rolled in Nicaragua at the Nestor Plasencia factory and all are made with purely Nicaraguan tobacco, save for Mesmerize, which is wrapped in a leaf of dark Mexican San Andrés.
Fonseca said that the Glandon Family label is a tribute to his wife, Beth's, ancestry, who is also his business partner in this new venture. While Fonseca cannot use his family name due to trademark conflicts, he is using his family crest on the band.
"I understand that you have to have nice packaging and nice bands for your brand, but I won't be relying on packaging to sell the cigar," Fonseca said. "I want people to fall in love with the blend."
Fonseca was a founding partner of the Ezra Zion Cigar Company before departing the group in 2013. Salamanca is his first major cigar-related commercial enterprise since.