KILO: The Birth of a New Cigar
There have been some great blogs out there about the origin of KILO including Cigar Coop and Halfwheel. However, instead of a press release at this time, I figured with the blessing of Miami Cigar & Company I would put up a blog entry of how KILO came to be.
The wish to create a cigar began roughly 4 years ago on my first trip to La Aurora. It was during a tasting seminar given by Jose Blanco that the lust to learn more about tobacco began. Whenever given the chance to learn more I would jump at the opportunity. A couple of years later, another company took a handful of bloggers to their factory and it was here I got to make my first blend. While we weren’t able to create multiple blends, we got was a crash course in tobacco. At the end of the day, they gave me the “award” for best blend. This only made the fire within grow in intensity.
Shortly after that trip, I was hired by Miami Cigar & Company to be a consultant. It was here I shared ideas with the company that would eventually hire me full-time. I learned about my place within the company while keeping the idea for my own blend in the background until the time was right. That time presented itself early in 2013, when Jason Wood the VP of Miami Cigar & Company asked me to go to Santiago, Dominican Republic and receive another crash course in tobacco-growing, blend theory and various other aspects within the factory.
After a few days in the field learning about seed to harvest under the hot sun of the Dominican Republic it was time to head into the factory and learn about sorting, fermentation and blending. My teacher was Manual Inoa and Louis Falto from Puerto Rico was there as well offering his insight as he has created his own blend in the past. My wish was to blend two cigars. One was based on strength and flavor, the other was more of a traditional Dominican cigar.
I created 8 blends and rolled 40 cigars myself including the bunching, and the placing of the wrapper. Of these 8 blends, 1 of each style of cigar stood out above the rest. The first of which became KILO. The 2nd cigar, has been filed away for future use should Miami Cigar & Company allow me the opportunity for a follow-up.
Now that I had a cigar, I needed to get someone to sample it. Hector Paz, our Director of Sales who has become one of my good friends didn’t want to sample the cigar, teasing me “What do bloggers know about tobacco, I’m not smoking that”. I tried to give one to Nestor Miranda who was all set to smoke it when I warned him it that it was strong and he quickly put it down. Jason Wood, was away on business so I had these cigars and no one to try it. I sent one to a random blogger (The Smoking Greek) with the request he smoke it, but keep the review private. The review was positive and it was time to do some more field testing.
I took the cigar to Neighborhood Humidor, a local cigar shop that I spend a lot of time at and asked them to sample it. 14 people in all smoked the KILO and 14 people gave positive reviews. It was here that Hector Paz walked in and heard the positive reviews, and said “OK, let me try one”. I had none left and had to get more from the factory. So after 30 days Hector and Jason smoked one and the consensus was that the cigar was “too strong for them, but they can see where the cigar was good”.
The project now had a green light, but we needed a name. It’s funny how three friends of mine in different parts of the states have given me the same nickname. Kristy and Erin in Chattanooga began to call me Bear, and Samantha in Miami gave me the same nickname. This was a possibility for a name, but it didn’t last long. So one night while watching Cocaine Cowboys I though KILO had a cool ring to it. The first plan was a five pack wrapped in newspaper with a duct tape type band. It was a twisted tribute to Miami which was built largely on drug money of the 1970′s and the 1980s. Despite having the green light, I was worried about the novelty of the packaging but I liked the name.
After researching KILO I learned that gold bars are stamped 1 KILO because of their weight of 2.2 pounds. Now I just needed to come up with the band design. I was sitting in the office with Manny Iriarte and told him of the cigar and the concept. Part of the agreement I had with Miami Cigar was that I had to create everything myself. I told Manny, I needed to come up with a band, that wasn’t too graphic intensive and he drew a sketch for me and that would become the band. Gold, with cold foil embossing of the word KILO, and a faint 1 hidden behind the name.
With the cigar set to arrive in Miami on Tuesday, July 30th it is time to release them at Chattanooga Tweet Up. Originally set to be released in a 4 pack, they will instead be available for FREE with the purchase of Miami Cigar & Company product. Buy any 3 La Sirena, La Aurora, Anoranza, Casa Miranda, Nestor Miranda or Tatiana and you will receive a KILO free. Buy 5, get 2 free.
The cigar which will be available at the tweet up as a Robusto consisting of a Sumatra wrapper, Cameroon binder and Nicaraguan Ligero, Pennsylvania Broadleaf and two types of Dominican Ligero. The result is a cigar that is very strong especially through the nose. I would sum up the cigar as having notes of pepper, cedar and a touch of sweetness.
The cigar is a part of the Miami Cigar & Company portfolio, we look forward to your opinion to decide if the cigar moves into regular production.