Here at Sueno de Torres we have a love/love relationship with a traditional Cuban Cigar Roller. His name is Carlos. He learned the skill back home. Came to the United States about 8 years ago in search of opportunity and the American Dream. He began rolling for one of the larger name brand cigar factories available here in the Tampa Bay area and soon realized that his best bet for making big profits was to go it on his own. He procured his Florida wholesaler/manufacturer license and began the journey. Carlos has done extremely well with his own unbanded beautiful cigars regardless of the large language gap that he has been working to overcome.
We experienced Carlos's cigars 5 years ago on a lark. We ran into him at a flea market of all places and we bought a couple of his sticks. When we got home we went ahead and lit one up, without "curing" it in the humidor for days as is necessary with many name brands. It was the most pleasurable cigar smoking experience we had ever had. And so we became regular customers of Carlos, our low cost secret affair, with unbanded, non name brand cigars. Our dirty little secret. We even invited Carlos to our larger affairs and had him roll cigars in person and introduced him to our family and friends. Now Carlos is family.
The decision was made to help this talented and kind and hardworking man bridge the language barrier and share his amazing product with the world.
As we work to build our cigar business we are finding a certain stain on the reputation of non banded cigars. I personally feel it is a bit of conspiracy. If you knew that you could purchase a cigar, without a fancy label, without the 5 page full color spread in the cigar magazines, without the over produced boxes, and it was as good of an experience, and in many cases a better cigar smoking experience, those that have all that overhead wrapped up in those overdone cigars, might lose market share.
There really is a move within the larger cigar industry, to remove competition. If you had millions of dollars and lawyers on retainer, wouldn't you do everything you could to remove the competition. Much is happening behind the scenes as larger companies lobby in DC to ADD regulation that essentially removes all cigar competition online. Only the large companies and those that resell their product will remain standing if these new laws pass. Why would they do this? Its a trap. The confusion that a large business has to participate in "Cronyism" to stay profitable. We can see this playing out among most industries in the United States.
If you Google Search unbanded cigars, you will find article after article referring to them as second hand, or throwaways, or rewraps. While I'm sure that those exist, that is not a fair representation of what an unbanded cigar is. You have a high quality product, either made in the mainland or rolled in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic and then shipped over. They are not individually celo wrapped. They are not banded at the factory with gold gilding and glue. They do not sit in factory warehouses, they do not sit in shipping dock containers, they do not sit in US warehouses, before being shipped to retailer warehouses, before being shipped to retail locations. No wonder everyone thinks they have to "rest" their cigars in their humidor for weeks before its a decent smoke.
The unbanded cigars that are rolled here are handed straight over to local retailers. Those that are rolled in smaller factories are shipped straight to a US based wholesaler who then hands them directly to their retailers. The cigars, we have found, are fresher and more aromatic. They are surprisingly consistent and the blends are amazing.
There are many Pillars of the Truths of Life, many paradigms, that are shifting in society. How we look at politics, health care, religion. One of those paradigms, is cigars. It's time to stop the snobbery.
Enjoy your cigar.
Don't pay $50 for something you really can't even stand to have in your mouth, coughing and guzzling bourbon just to make it go down.