Esteli with the Elephant Hunter: Part One - Full Circle

I had a realization while driving back to Managua to leave Nicaragua after one of the best vacations I have been on in my life.  This fact alone is amazing since the drive is quite perilous and requires dodging people, cows, and cops wanting to shake down a gringo. Those who have driven from Managua to Esteli know exactly what I am talking about.

Let me take you back for some context. A little over two years ago, I had a meeting with Skip Martin at Pipe World, the local B&M where I live in Round Rock, Texas. I was doing internal social media analytics for Dell, and Skip was also working at Dell while just starting the CroMagnon brand – a cigar that received an 88 ranking from Cigar Aficionado this week.

That first meeting was for me to learn a bit more about cigars and for Skip to learn a bit about what I do, and our friendship has grown from that point along with Skip’s business. Skip formed Roma Craft Tobac with Mike Rosales and launched the Aquitaine and the Intemperance lines. If this wasn’t enough, he basically moved to Esteli and opened a cigar factory with Esteban Disla (more on him in the next article).

During the last two years, our friendship has continued to grow, and around New Year’s 2013, Skip invited me to come down and spend a week with him in Nicaragua. I gladly booked the trip with my miles, and set off to learn all I could. I learned a lot that I will detail in blogs over the coming weeks, but I also learned that there is still 99% of this amazing industry that I still don’t know.

I have been a long time cigar smoker, but until this trip, never a cigar appreciator. Don’t get me wrong - I love cigars and knew a little about the process, but this trip opened my eyes to the very complicated process of taking a seed all the way to smoke. Not only is the process technically hard, but there are several pitfalls along the way that even the best tobacco men can fall prey too.

I acknowledge that I, still, in the grand scheme of things, don’t know shit about tobacco - Jose Blanco wasn’t kidding when he tells me he is always learning and doesn’t know everything – but this is where things have come full circle. For the last two years, starting with that first meeting with Skip at Pipe World, I have been learning about cigars, and now it is my turn to sit at the “local shop” with you and share what little knowledge I gained during my trip.

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Retailer
Comment by Cigar Surgeon on February 20, 2014 at 7:18am

Great read Logan! Hope you brought back some Flor de Cana 12 and 18!


Mod
Comment by Matt Ross on February 20, 2014 at 7:27am

Esteli, and Nicaragua overall really, is a magical place!

Well written!

Comment by Dave Nichols on February 20, 2014 at 7:34am

Nice write up. Looking forward to the series of these. And I assume you grabbed a box or two of those Aquitaine's?

Comment by Docwill on February 20, 2014 at 8:03am

With a little editing, you might become quite the writer. This is wonderful. I await part two with anticipation.

Comment by Smokin Logan (Man Angel #1) on February 20, 2014 at 8:34am

@Seth thanks brother!

@Surgeon I didn't. I didn't have any room because I was muling back a bunch of cigars :) Besides I am not much of a drinker.

@Matt thanks, I give you all the credit for taking my thoughts and making sense of it, in the written form.

@Dave thanks brother. I got a few, including the ones I rolled myself.

@Docwill - thanks man. You should have seen it before I let Matt edit it. It was a total shit show.

Comment by Craig of @CitrusWalkCC on February 20, 2014 at 8:35am
Can't wait to keep reading about all of this.
Comment by Tyler on February 20, 2014 at 8:42am

Great article! Can't wait for the rest of the series.  Keep it up.

Comment by Smokin Logan (Man Angel #1) on February 20, 2014 at 9:03am

@Craig @Tyler thanks there will be a ton more coming!

Comment by Generally Useful Jared on February 20, 2014 at 10:28am

You're a social media dude, not a novelist - of COURSE your writing sucks. On the other hand, definitely looking forward to this series :) Cigars... rum... tropical foreign countries... my kind of vacation.

Comment by HardlyClerkin® on February 20, 2014 at 10:31am

This is the best thing since sliced bread, keep it up

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