It’s about eight hours into 2014 and I haven’t done a damn thing yet. Burning daylight.
2013 was an amazing year for Nomad Cigar Company. Officially it was our second year but, realistically, the end of 2013 marked about 16 months of our cigars being out in the market.
To say that we exceeded our expectations would be an understatement. I released two new Nomad Classic sizes in the Dominican Line and from Nicaragua released the Estelí Lot 1386 and the S-307. I am pleased to say that all of them made numerous “Best Of” lists in 2013.
Not going to lie, the accolades are nice, but the feedback from retailers and cigar smokers really says it all for me. I am progressing, learning, and on the right track to building something bigger.
When I created Nomad there were a couple things I had to have. I wanted “open communication” with cigar smokers; hence putting my personal Twitter account right on the outside of the cigar band.
Secondly, I would share just about everything; what went right, what went wrong – basically what I have learned on this amazing journey. I think that point of view is refreshing to some, but I don’t know any other way to do it.
It is a team effort. I could spend the rest of my life studying tobacco and not know 1/100th of what some people have locked in their brains. I know what I know and I know what I don’t. Check your ego at the door and be open to learning from those who know way more than you.
So, what did I learn in 2013?
I think it would be easier to say, “What didn’t I learn in 2013?”
Seriously though, 2013 was a year to get up to speed on Nicaraguan tobacco. Matter of fact, I made 4 trips this year to Estelí and have spent the final two months here in Nicaragua.
The S-307 line has been a great addition to the Nomad family. I have always enjoyed a quality box-pressed cigar and a Sumatra wrapper.
When I went to blend the [S-307] cigar I was actually looking for a “stronger” cigar if you will. But, for me, I learned that the tobacco drives the process. Or, as I mentioned in a Tweet the other day…
“Blending: Start with high quality tobacco and let it tell YOU what IT wants to be.”
The amazing tobacco I was presented needed to be a medium body cigar - too many subtle flavors that would have been lost if I pushed the blend too far.
This was a pivotal learning moment for me and changed my approach in blending. It also enabled me to solve another blend problem (which I will get to in a minute).
So, what about 2014?
Enjoy the Journey - There are numerous things in the works for 2014 but here is what I can say…I plan on continuing to have fun and, as my daughter is fond of saying, “marching to the beat of my own accordion.”
Sure, it sounds cliché, but I see too many people agonizing over the day-to-day work involved in running a cigar company. It is hard work, but if I ever can’t have fun in the process, it will be time to move on to something else.
S-307 Family Expands - This month we will be expanding the Nomad S-307 line to include two new sizes and you can expect that announcement in the next couple days.
The S-307 was Nomad’s first full-production cigar in Nicaragua (Estelí Lot 1386 was a true LE). Immediately upon release there have been two sizes most requested - look for a 6x58 and a 5.5x44 hitting the shelves soon.
The “Connecticut” Enigma – For nearly two years now I have sought to release a blend with a Connecticut wrapper. Heck, that seemed easy enough*
*The blending of a Connecticut cigar reminded me of just how much I have to learn – and I already knew I had a lot to learn.
The entire process, which I thought was going to be easy, knocked me on my ass. It was frustrating, exciting, challenging, and elusive.
The fact of the matter, as I mentioned I learned a bit earlier, I was fighting the tobacco – trying to force it into being something it was not.
As I write this, I know how esoterically artistic that sounds, but it is the truth. I have learned the blending process is more an art than a science.
I don’t want to take too much away from the Connecticut announcement coming soon, so I think I will just stop there. I will say you can expect a release soon and that the cigar’s creation returned me to the Dominican Republic.
Go Big or Go Home – The latter part of 2013 was spent working in Nicaragua. Learning more about the tobacco, the regions, the soil, and volcanoes.
I wanted to create a “stronger*” cigar. I felt it would round out Nomad’s growing portfolio of options.
*I actually hate using the term “strong.” It conjures up images of black smoke and novice smokers turning green half way through the cigar.
But, I think any cigar smoker reading this understands what I mean. I wanted to something that engaged the palate to its fullest and richest extent.
It required finding tobacco that wanted to be pushed BUT would not just be stronger for the sake of being stronger – it needed to have it’s own characteristics and personality. I wanted Diva-like tobacco that needed to be tamed into getting along with each other. That last part might have been Flor de Caña talking.
I think I have the blend that will fit the bill. The blend is way more complex than I thought it would be…but more on that later.
In the end…
So, I guess all said and done, 2013 was a great year and I am really looking forward to 2014.
Thank you for allowing me this moment to share some thoughts and thank you for allowing me to explore my passion for tobacco and the cigar industry. It has been a great ride so far and I see lots of road in front of me.
Nomad Cigar Company