I have to admit I really didn’t know much about cigars other than my grandfather smoked them. It was in 2006 when I met Jonathan, an advent cigar smoker and somewhat of an aficionado, who introduced me to the world of cigars. He would tell me “smoking a stick is a great way to relax” and smoked different cigars like the Romeo y Julieta, Arturo Fuente, Padron, Davidoff, Rocky Patel, and AJ Fernandez with his favorite tequila expression Senor Rio Anejo. The cigar shop locator app was Jon’s best friend especially when we traveled. After hosting in store Señor Rio tequila tastings, we would find a cigar shop before calling it a night and I would smoke a cigar right along with him.
Realizing a Dream
Although Jonathan started smoking cigars at the age of 18 before, as he would say, it became fashionable and expensive. His dad was a cigar smoker, so he was around it a lot while growing up. He joked and said that when his family went for car rides his dad smoked his big stogie the entire drive with the windows rolled up and he loved the smell even as a kid.
Fast forward several years when Jonathan convinced me we should go to Nicaragua and start making cigars working with AJ Fernandez, one of the finest cigar makers. Knowing that this was his dream, I agreed and was ready for the adventure. What an amazing trip to Esteli, Nicaragua where we worked closely with and learned from AJ.
Jonathan blended the Señor Rio Anejo cigar to pair with Señor Rio Anejo tequila. It has a full body that is earthy and spicy giving you over an hour of luxurious smoke. I blended the Señor Rio Diamante to pair with a cocktail or glass of Señor Rio Reposado tequila. The Diamante, meaning diamond, was dedicated to my daughters because it was the year of the diamond in our family. Both of them were married in 2014, Tiffany in May and Crystal in November.
The cigar business is quite different from the tequila business and is very competitive with 330 million premium cigars shipped to the United States in 2017. Even though cigars and spirits go hand in hand, most cigar smokers are not always eager to try a new cigar brand. Señor Rio cigars debuted in 2014 at Total Wine and More stores as well as a few select cigar shops. While we received nice reviews and sold out of our first run, we decided to stop producing the cigars to focus only on our first baby, Señor Rio tequila.
Thank you to everyone who supported our short journey in the Cigar business, we hope you still enjoy your favorite stick with Señor Rio tequila. If you happen to have any Senor Rio cigars in your humidor, know that they are a collectable so store them well or enjoy the smoke in memory of Jonathan.
Memories to Last Forever
From time to time I still like to relax and enjoy a good stick while sipping tequila or a cocktail. It always brings back wonderful memories of Jonathan and our adventure to Nicaragua. Recently on a trip to Las Vegas I visited the Montecristo Cigar Bar at Caesars Palace. I enjoyed the Oliva Gran Reserva Serie V Limitada, it’s a very good smoke that is smooth and flavorful, just the way I like my tequila.
I would also like to congratulate AJ Fernandez; his Aging Room Nicaragua Maestro cigar was selected as the 2019 cigar of the year. I’m so glad we had the opportunity to work with one of the best cigar makers and I am grateful that we realized Jon’s dream of creating a cigar line!
Please visit any Total Wine & More store to buy your own bottle of Señor Rio tequila. From now until 12/31/20, we’ll donate $1.00 for every 750ml bottle of Señor Rio tequila sold to St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix Arizona. Together our kindness counts! Be safe, stay well, and support small business.
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