The cigar industry is one steeped in tradition. There is a deep seeded love and respect for the leaf and those who came before that passed down the love and knowledge of tobacco. It is commonplace for companies to pay homage to these traditions and legacies, whether or not they are first, second, or third generation cigar manufacturers or tobacco growers. In the case of Casa Cuevas Cigars, their tobacco legacy spans over 140 years. Casa Cuevas Cigars is an interesting company to me.
The Cuevas family became tied to tobacco in 1881, four generations ago, and they have been manufacturing cigars since 1983. Yet they didn’t produce their own cigars until 2005, and didn’t officially launch Casa Cuevas Cigars until 2017. I believe this timeline makes the Casa Cuevas story more interesting, but also explains why even myself hadn’t tried their cigars until this year. However, after being amazed at the first two, and eventually all 5, of their cigars I tried, I knew I had to do something to try to highlight this company.
A couple things I personally love about the Casa Cuevas lineup of cigars are that they have several lifetimes of family knowledge in tobacco and cigars, and their blends are so intriguing. I always appreciate cigar companies that make their own products because they have great knowledge on the tobacco and cigars, typically they can produce incredible products at great price points, and they are involved in all aspects from blending to selling. Casa Cuevas checks all the boxes here for me. Regarding their blends, I love the diversity of tobaccos used across the portfolio. It really adds a lot of character and distinction between the cigars they offer, and I think that it is something that really would capture the attention of serious cigar smokers. Most importantly, they absolutely nailed it with their blends.
Honestly, I kicked myself for waiting so long to try Casa Cuevas Cigars, but I am happy that I finally did, and even happier to be bringing them into the shop. Give them a try, I think that you will be impressed at what this company is producing.
Now on to the Q&A portion of this Spotlight! I would like to take a second to thank Alec Cuevas for his wonderful responses and for taking the time to speak with me.
The Cuevas family has a long history in the tobacco industry. In your eyes, how does Casa Cuevas Cigars continually honor and pay tribute to that history?
“We honor our lineage in traditionally keeping all the titles for our facings in Spanish and more importantly, the facings themselves. For example, the Patrimonio is based off how our knowledge of cigars is passed from Father to son and has been for the past five generations. There’s also our Reserva line, a preexisting blend relaunched in 2019 that my grandfather created in 2005 for his personal tastes under the title Cuevas Habanos. To this very day he smokes the Natural (Connecticut) blend religiously as a morning smoke.”
I find it interesting that Tabacalera Las Lavas existed for years before Casa Cuevas Cigars came to be (what year did the factory open by the way?). What was the driving force for the creation of Casa Cuevas Cigars?
“The factory opened in 1983, under the original name Cuevas Hermanos as the factory was owned at the time by both my grandfather and my granduncle. When my father became the co-owner in 2009, he worked with my grandfather on the manufacturing side but had always wanted to have our own brand, just with no knowledge of how to accomplish this beyond creating our first three blends – our Connecticut, Habano, and Maduro from our Core Line. In 2016, the FDA publicly made a statement that announced brands could not come into existence after the end of that year, meaning only brands established before 2017 would remain on the market. This announcement is what drove us to double down on the creation of our brand. We had a soft launch where we sold to local shops on paper to meet the deadline, and officially launched April 1st of 2017. The FDA regulation has since been dropped, however that was the push we needed to create our brand.”
You obviously grew up in the industry and surrounded by cigar culture, but what is your first memory that fueled your passion for cigars?
“We would visit the factory very often in the summertime when I was really young. When I was about seven years old, I recall my grandfather officially introducing me to our staff at the time and he stationed me with the packaging team where I spent hours packaging cigars and differentiating the differences between the different shades of wrapper. I spent that week gradually educating myself and asking a plethora of questions that my father and grandfather had the answers to. This kickstarted my curiosity, and also spawned the passion I currently have for our product. I’ve come to understand how the creation of blends is very much an art form that has been rooted in our culture since my great great grandfather began cultivating tobacco in 1881.”
What are your go-to cigars from the Casa Cuevas portfolio?
“I’ve always been fond of our core line Connecticuts, but I’ve lately been gravitating more towards our Mandarria and Sangre Nueva lines. The Sangre Nueva is my official blend that was launched this year and is our first time using Ecuadorian Cameroon, a medium to medium plus smoke that’s full in flavor. The Mandarria has a shagfoot, meaning you’re smoking the binder and filler for the first five minutes before igniting the wrapper. It has a medium plus body and is predominantly spicier than the majority of our lines, as it consists of an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and an increased percentage of Pennsylvania broadleaf in the filler.”
What impact are you hoping that Casa Cuevas Cigars makes on its consumers and the industry as a whole?
“We don’t want Casa Cuevas to be the only thing one smokes. There’s some amazing cigars out there apart from what we have to offer and we always say we’re currently in a mini cigar boom. That being said, we aim to be a part of a consumer’s rotation, as we really do stand behind the product. Our impact as a company is to promote what cigars are all about – the experience they have to offer. We like to say we’re cigar smokers before brand owners, and we firmly believe that the educational standpoint of the cigar culture is one of the most important parts of the cigar smoking experience.”