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Written by Puff Staff

Friday, 15 March 2002

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We were first introduced to this brand 3-4 years ago at a street fundraiser in San Francisco for one of their many orchestral artistic groups. During this day long celebration we noticed a guy at a small booth rolling cigars for people. Not wanting to speak with the "artsy" crowd much longer, we sauntered off and got ourselves a freshly rolled stogie, and a business card. We were first introduced to this brand 3-4 years ago at a street fundraiser in San Francisco for one of their many orchestral artistic groups.  During this day long celebration we noticed a guy at a small booth rolling cigars for people.  Not wanting to speak with the "artsy" crowd much longer, we sauntered off and got ourselves a freshly rolled stogie, and a business card.

When we got back to frozen Minnesota and tried to find these at any local tobacconist we were out of luck.  This led us to Luis Sanchez, the inspiration behind La Tradicion Cubana.  After a successful review in Top25Cigar, and a mutual appreciation for fine cigars, a friendship was formed.

This month we feature an interview with Luis Sanchez of La Tradicion Cubana, along with a review of his new Pyramid, a cigar that earns the name "pyramid"!


Top25Cigar - Help us understand how you got started in the cigar industry? How long have you been in the cigar business?

Luis Sanchez - The cigar business has been a part of my family since about 1928.  At that time, my family lived in San Juan y Martinez in the province of Pinar del Rio in Cuba.   They worked for American Brands in various areas of the cigar industry.   Therefore, it was inevitable that I follow my family roots and began La Tradicion Cubana in 1995 in Miami, Florida.

Top25Cigar - What brands do you currently produce, and do you have your own factories?

Luis Sanchez - We currently produce the award winning La Tradicion Cubana as well as Chester Sweets, Lunchour flavor cigars, Wall Street Smokes and various private labels for other cigar companies, hotels and golf courses throughout the US.

All of these cigars are hand rolled in our new Miami factory now located in the “Heart” of Little Havana.

Top25Cigar - Tell us a little about the history of your brands: when did they originate?

Luis Sanchez - La Tradicion Cubana originated with the company’s opening in 1995 but its essence goes back to our family roots in Cuba.  My grandfather Sr. Jose Losa was an avid cigar smoker and the blend we currently use was his idea of the perfect cigar.   Chester Sweets was made for the Ladies who enjoy a sweet cigar with no after taste in a small size (5x38).  Wall Street Smokes is a joint venture with two very close friends who are stockbrokers.  WSS is only sold to stockbrokers and their companies and received an outstanding review in the Bloomberg report.   Lunchour Flavor cigars were my wife’s idea of her favorite “blend”.  We currently make them in Rum, Chocolate, Cherry, Amaretto, Coffee and Vanilla.

Top25Cigar - It seems cigar manufacturers always have to be re-inventing themselves; do you have any new lines of cigars in the works?

Luis Sanchez - La Tradicion Cubana with our roots in tradition and making cigars in traditional ways has no interest or desire to re-invent itself.  We at La Tradicion Cubana believe that the traditional art of cigar making is best left alone and perfection can only be reached if this tradition is adhered to.

In an effort to achieve the production of the perfect cigar, La Tradicion Cubana has just introduced the “Pyramid” (6.5x75) and the “Great Pyramid” (8.5x80).  Both of these additions to our cigar family are made in the same meticulous, traditional way totally hand rolled without the use of any molds.

Top25Cigar - What do you least enjoy about the cigar industry, along those same lines what do you enjoy most?

Luis Sanchez - What I find most upsetting and least enjoyable about the “current” cigar industry is the attempt by some companies to try and ride the coattails of others in the industry.  Companies try to capitalize on the name recognition of others to promote their product as well as often attempting to discredit the legitimate company. 

What I most enjoy about the industry is the opportunity afforded to meet the tastes and needs of the avid cigar smoker.  La Tradicion Cubana continuously strives to produce a quality cigar that will please and satisfy the most discriminating cigar smoker.

Top25Cigar - Your company is headquartered in Miami, do you find yourself traveling due to industry demands, and where do those travels take you? Have you ever thought of moving the company to the countries that produce your tobacco?

Luis Sanchez - La Tradicion Cubana is a completely US made and based cigar.  Our company is located in the heart of Little Havana and we have no intensions of moving our company and its manufacturing outside the US.  

Our Cuban seed tobacco leaves are provided to us by our Miami based buyer who acquires for us the various leaves we use in our blend.

Top25Cigar - La Tradicion Cubana is considered a "boutique brand" by many publications, yet in independent organizations like TOP25CIGAR, your company continues to win accolades. Why do you think this is?

Luis Sanchez - Although considered a “boutique brand” by many cigar publications La Tradicion Cubana has made a name for itself within independent organizations like TOP25CIGAR.  Even though we are a small cigar family, La Tradicion Cubana has maintained a consistent product throughout its history.  The many hotels, golf courses and private label companies that we have developed a relationship with throughout the years know that they can depend on the quality of our cigars.

    

Top25Cigar - How do you manage to maintain consistency and quality, and at the same time keep your cigars affordable?

Luis Sanchez - By maintaining one localized manufacturing facility in Miami and a close relationship with our buyers and the growers they get their tobacco leaves from, we are able to maintain consistence and quality in our cigars.  It is this relationship along with our long-time, experienced rollers that enables La Tradicion Cubana to offer quality and affordability in our cigars.  We pride ourselves in producing a cigar that is consistently superior and affordable. 

Top25Cigar - Do you use any processes that you consider "unique" in the manufacturing of your cigars?

Luis Sanchez - The “unique” process used by La Tradicion Cubana in all of our cigar making is the traditional 100% hand-rolled Cuban way of making cigars. This process dates back to the glory days of Cuban cigar making in Cuba.

Top25Cigar - What do you see as the greatest challenges for you in the future? How will you address those challenges?

Luis Sanchez - The biggest challenge that I see La Tradicion Cubana facing in the future is to avoid being “eaten by a big fish”. La Tradicion Cubana has consistently resisted the temptation to become part of a big cigar conglomerate.  We at La Tradicion Cubana have always wanted and tried to remain an independent, family-owned entity.  La Tradicion Cubana aims to remain independent and in doing so continue to provide a quality cigar which has been the foundation of the company since its inception.

 

Top25Cigar - What is the greatest strength of La Tradicion Cubana and its products?

Luis Sanchez - Consistent quality and affordability are our greatest strengths.

Top25Cigar - If you could smoke only one cigar, in any one place, with any one person, what cigar would it be, where would you smoke it, and whom would you smoke it with?

Luis Sanchez - I would smoke a La Tradicion Cubana Torpedo in a free Cuba with my grandfather.

Top25Cigar - What cigars outside of your own do you enjoy? Along those lines, have you patterned your business after others you admired?

Luis Sanchez - I do enjoy a few other cigars such as La Gloria Cubana and La Luna Cigars both fellow Miami manufacturers.   La Tradicion Cubana is patterned after the traditional, old-world Cuban cigar manufacturer.  It is patterned in the ways of tradition and quality.  




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