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Written by Daniel Lopez

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

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profilestabacalera fernandez


 

krisk  The clunk from the sound of landing gear wakes me in my seat as it is evident that I have just landed in Managua, Nicaragua yet another time this year. As people from the plane scurry to be the first off I am reminded that I will be moving no where fast lugging around 150 extra pounds of camera gear. As the conveyor belt at the airport rolls by I double check to make sure I have everything. Got it! Tripod strapped across my shoulders, hard case on wheels containing the video camera , backpack with 2nd video camera and a still camera, and last but not least my duffle bag with clothes for the week. A quick stop at the duty free to pick up a special bottle of rum for a buddy and I am on my way. I make my way out of the airport to an awaiting driver from Esteli, Nicaragua that has been sent to bring me to a factory that I have been wanting to see for some time now. Night falls quickly as we drive along the highway in a turbo charged Toyota Helix, a model not made for the states with more than enough power to get me to Esteli in 2 hours flat.

Arriving in Esteli, Nicaragua I quickly notice that we are driving to the nicer part of town. Many of the cigar manufacturers own homes in a certain area of town and I am invited to stay with Kris Katchaturian on this trip. Kris greets me at the door and we do the man hug thing. A little background on Kris Katchaturian or "Don Kristopher" as I would soon call him out of respect and friendship. An Armanian man of stout stature with a silver tongue he is a man that I would soon grow very fond of. Every great story has a wise man that guides the character of the story, Kris is this wise man. When you are in another country such as Nicaragua it is great when you can trust someone to show you the right path, I trust Kris with my life. I first met Kris on my second trip to Nicaragua and we kept in touch. I was excited to hear that Tabacalera Fernandez was now created thier brand that would debute in early 2009. I would get the chance to visit this factory and meet the rising star blender A.J. Fernandez. Kris has a pallate for cigars that can be equalled to that of a sominaire of wine. He pulls no punches when he smokes new blends of cigars and has a keen eye for construction. This man is very generous with anything he has including opening his home on this trip to me and Alex Svenson from Cigar.com. Kris is a partner in the Tabacalera Fernandez factory located in Esteli, Nicaragua. The factory is known for producing cigars such as Rocky Patel Fusion, Rocky Patel Signature, Man O' War, Gurka Park Avenue, Sol Cubano Cuban Cabinet, Sol Cubano Artisan, Padilla Habano and ITC (Indian Tabac) 10th Anniversary.

I pull out the special bottle of rum and hand it to Kris, he looks at it and realizes why I brought him that rum. On our first meeting we had actually shared a bottle of the same rum and it has become a favorite for me ever since then. Very sweet and a perfect compliment to an after dinner cigar the rum is subtle enough that it does not overpower flavors of a fine cigar. He thanks me and we talk for a couple of hours before a knock at the door and a familiar voice is heard. We make our way to the door to greet Alex Svenson of Cigar.com and help him in. Alex is the Chief Merchant for Cigar.com so yes he has a dream job. He gets to smoke everything new and also works with many factories on exclusive cigars just for Cigar.com. Sounds fun right? I would soon learn that he works his tail off and it is very hard to keep up with him. He has unlimited energy and drive along with the fact that he does not rest until all of his work is done each day. Some people have Blackberrys, Alex has a Apple Macbook strapped to his side. Smoking since he was first able to score a cigar he is a cigar nut and the Wikapedia of tobacco today. At close to 6'-3" Alex is a big boy which makes him stand out in Central America but by no means looks like an easy target. If you are walking the streets of Nicaragua at night this is a guy you want with you, he knows the ins and outs of Esteli. I would learn alot from Alex and it was really great to be with him on this trip.

We all get settled in for the night and talk about our plans for the next day. We order the best damn pizza I have ever had and smoked into the night.






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