Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Art of the Cigar

When you look at what's involved in producing a quality hand rolled cigar, it's pretty amazing! From the farm growing a quality leaf, battling the elements, and various insects, to processing the leaves just right. Then the roller must blend the leaves to get just the right taste and burn. If the cigar is not rolled correctly it won't draw right or burn evenly. All this takes years of know how and experience. Now to do this on a consistent basis separates the amateurs from the pros. So next time you light one up take a moment to appreciate all that went into that smoke.

Padron

Yesterday I decided to drop by the Padron Headquarters to visit some old friends. It's amazing how far this small family business has grown. I remember their humble beginnings just struggling to survive and now it's one of the top cigar brands in the world. One thing the old man instilled on the family was quality not quantity. This rule holds to this day. Padron cigars go through a quality control process like no other cigar and that is why they are at the top of the chain. They are loyal to their customers and not greedy like so many other companies out there. They protect their dealers large or small. They do not allow the big stores to drop prices and push the small dealers out of business. Padron wants everyone to succeed on a level playing field. Just like they take care of their dealers they take care of their employees like one big family. As I was talking to Rudy Padron a little hunched back lady walked by. I remembered her from way back. I asked Rudy "She's still here." Rudy tells me she retired , but got bored and wanted to come back, so they brought her back. She can't drive she's like ninety, so someone picks her up and takes her home. How's that for a working atmosphere? Have you ever had a job you wanted to return to after retirement?
Well if you ever get the chance to visit the Padron office, do it. A wall of photos of famous celebrities adorn the wall. Newspaper clippings telling the history of the family's business are also proudly displayed. There is a retail shop in the waiting area with a full selection of Padron cigars. The place is spotless. You're sure to be greeted with a smile and when you go, you just leave with a good feeling.
I'm partial to Nicaraguan and Honduran cigars and Padron has always been one of my favorites.
If you like medium to full flavor cigars then you need to explore the Padron line. I can honestly say I don't think I have ever had a bad Padron and If you want the best cigar ever made then try a Padron Anniversary. I guarantee you'll like it!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

La Flor Dominicana

La Flor started making cigars in the cigar boom. I started doing business with them probably from the start, I don't remember exactly. Anyway since I can remember I have always had them on my shelves. La Flor is one of those companies that is a stickler for quality. I don't think I have ever had a Flor Dominicana that didn't draw properly or that was constructed poorly. This company does things right! I knew La Flor mainly for their light wrapper mild smokes of their premium line. Well the other day I pulled a sample out of my Humidor of a dark wrapper Air Bender from La Flor. I tend to like a medium to full smoke, so I figured I'd give it a try. What a smoke! Smooth full of flavor for me a perfect cigar. I was so enthused about this cigar I decided to call my friends at La Flor and ask for some samples of their other dark wrapper cigars. They gave me a ligero oscuro and a maduro. The ligero oscuro was every bit as good as the air bender, this will be one of my regular smokes along with the air bender. The maduro was good, but I liked the other two better, my personal taste. So if you've never tried a Flor Dominicana or if it's been a while you may want to pick one of these up and give it a try.

Miami Cigars

If your going to talk about cigars, then you have to talk about Miami. Miami is unique from any other city in the United States. 1) We have a huge Cuban Population and 2) We are the focal point for all imports coming in from the islands, Central America and South America. That pretty much makes us the Cigar Capital of the world. Many of the most famous brands in the world got their start right here in Miami. Ever hear of Padron or La Gloria Cubana. I remember when La Gloria was just a small family cigar business on 8th street, look at it now. We probably have more cigar companies based here than anywhere else in the world. Either way Miami is Cigar Central!
I literally have cigars samples thrown at me every day, from different factories and sales reps trying to get me to sell their cigars.
If the cigar wasn't made here it probably was imported and distributed through here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

About Me

Well I figure if your going to read my comments and views you should know a little about me. Maybe you've seen me on the youtube videos or at some of the many cigar events we've hosted. My name is Robert Fetner, I'm the President of Miami Tobacco Traders a cigar shop and events company located in the Miami/Coral Gables area of South Florida. We opened the shop back in 1998 at the time of the cigar boom. I was actually a salesman in another industry when I had a customer who asked me if I could get cigars in Miami, he was in New York. I was a cop in the 80's and worked the Little Havana area of Miami since I was bi-lingual. Not too many Gringos speak Spanish fluently. I was familiar with the little cigar factories all over Little Havana, so I started buying cigars and sending them North. Well the favor started to turn into a business as this customer bought more and more cigars from me. Finally it came to a point where I needed more space, the home office was packed with cigars.
I was thinking of getting a warehouse when I heard through the grapevine that there was a store for sale in Coral Gables. I met with the owner of Cigar Gallery, what the store went by at that time. We came to an agreement and I took over the location and re-named the store Miami Tobacco Traders. I was now officially in the cigar business.
My wife Maria and I run the store and have had the store now for 12 years. We are now the oldest store in Coral Gables under the same owner.
We have a website miamitobaccotraders which is mainly an online store, but I thought this blog would be a nice way to pass information and insight out to the cigar smoking community.