Padilla and Pepin Parting Ways

Star roller Jose "Pepin" Garcia is ceasing production of cigars for Ernesto Padilla, owner of the hot boutique Padilla cigar brands. Padilla Miami, 1932 and 1948 cigars will be rolled in a new Miami factory being opened by Padilla, perhaps as soon as two months from now.

Garcia has made cigars for Padilla since 2005, and rolls cigars for Padilla at both his El Rey de los Habanos factory in Miami and at Tabacalera Cubana S.A. in Nicaragua. Padilla also has cigars made by other companies. Tabacalera Aguilar makes the Padilla Serie '68 in Honduras, and the Padilla Habano is rolled in Nicaragua by Abdel Fernandez. Those cigars will continue to be made by the same producers.

"They're going in their direction, I'm kind of going in mine," said Padilla today of the change. He said Pepin told him "we can't make your cigars anymore" due to production of other brands. Garcia also makes Tatuaje, 601 and his own Don Pepin cigars, and last year took on a major client in San Cristobal, owned by Ashton Cigar Distributors.

Ernesto Padilla

"Don Pepin will be no longer [be] the manufacturer for Padilla Cigars" said Janny Garcia, Pepin's daughter, in an email sent this morning.

Both parties wished the other well, and stressed that they were parting amicably.

"There are no problems between us, the relationship is the same as ever," said Garcia. "We wish Ernesto his best in all future endeavors."

"He's a great roller and a great blender," said Padilla of Pepin.

Padilla intends to take command of his own Miami production, and says he will open his own cigar factory in Little Havana. He said he has a spot on Calle Ocho with about 2,000 square feet earmarked to become his new factory, where he intends to try some unique concepts. "I'd like to play around and do some things that haven't been done," he said. He intends to start with five rollers, and expand to around nine. "I'm not looking to make something just as good -- I'm looking to make something better," said Padilla. "I'm looking forward to the challenge."

For more on this story, see the March 4 Cigar Insider.


Note: an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Padilla Habano was made by Oliva Cigar Co. Oliva stopped making the Habano in October.