I clearly remember the first time I met Shar Broumand back in 2010.
I just got my first batch of cigars shipped in from William Ventura and I was excited to walk into the Leaf & Bean in Pittsburgh to share a few of my brand new "Rodrigo Cigars" with my amigo "Island Jim" Robinson and his customers.
Shar was sitting at one of the tables with his MacBook with the white earbuds on, smoking some kind of maduro stick. Probably a La Gloria Cubana or something along those lines (back then Jim didn't carry too many boutique cigars like he does now).
After checking in with Jim I went about my business handing out some samples with a smile =)
"Hi, my name is George and I have this new cigar called Rodrigo. Would you like to try one?" He simply grinned and said "Sure... Thanks! By the way, my name is Shar"
Fast forward to January 2013.
Shar and I find ourselves in Granada, Nicaragua visiting Casa Mombacho on a trip organized by Island Jim.
That's Shar on the left and me, your chief amigo, on the right (don't ask about the guy on the far left).
I honestly don't remember too much about that trip. Probably because we were traveling with Jim. Which means we were traveling with a lot of Flor de Caña rum. Anyway... I do have some good pics and by the looks of it we had a good time, especially at Casa Mombacho (you really can't go wrong with cigars, rum and samba dancers).
So you're probably wondering what this Casa Mombacho place is all about??? Some sort of "Hotel California" tucked away in one of the oldest cities in the western world?
Well, kinda, yes...
It turns out some of our amigos from Canada decided to start a cigar company, but not in the usual way that most cigar companies are formed these days.
Mombacho Cigars (named for Mount Mombacho, an active volcano near Granada Nicaragua) was started almost a decade ago by some fun loving amigos from Toronto, not too far from Pittsburgh where Shar and I were both living at the time.
When I met the team I immediately I noticed two things that were different about Mombacho Cigar company:
1. They built it from the ground up. Instead of relying on someone else to make cigars for them in Esteli, they started their own factory in Granada and they put it in this gorgeous Spanish colonial home in one of the oldest towns in the western hemisphere. It was a sight to behold. The most beautiful little factory I've ever seen, period.
2. They didn't enter the American market. Most companies rush to sell to US consumers but they were patient. It wasn't until years later when they entered the US market under the brand name "Tierra Volcán". Previously they focused on Canada and catering to cigar collectors globally and especially in China, where a box of Mombacho cigars routinely sells for over $800 USD.
Being a contrarian type of marketer myself, I took notice of this small but smart company.
To top things off, they were just super nice people - the warmest and most welcoming you could imagine. They opened their homes not only to us cigar guys, but every year they host a massive party for the entire town of Granada. Everyone from firefighters and police officers, to the town's hotel and service workers and their families attend. They prepare a feast for everyone and put on a fantastic show.
Enter another amigo of mine to the story - Claudio Sgroi.
I also met Claudio when he visited us in Pittsburgh years ago. Born and raised in Italy, Claudio had a very successful run at Davidoff in Europe and in the Dominican Republic. We have a lot of amigos in common, including my mentor, William Ventura. Claudio and I hit if off immediately.
So was I surprised to see Claudio, who was now the Master Blender at Mombacho, at the party?
Yes, I was surprised, but not THAT surprised because it made sense.
I could tell something special was going on with this company and the fact that they attracted Claudio to move from the heart of the cigar world in the Dominican Republic to Granada Nicaragua was confirmation that this company had a plan and was going places.
(Here's a pic of the casa where they make the cigars in Granada, Nicaragua. You should visit. It's incredible.)
*Note: It also doesn't hurt that Mark Cuban chooses to smoke your cigar on occasion. Like that time when the Mavs won the NBA championship.
Fast forward again to December 2014.
Shar tells me he's going to quit corporate America.
That's a huge decision for a guy that has made a name for himself as a leader in the world of enterprise software. Shar is like a brother to me and he's known Rodrigo since day one and has helped me out in many business situations as well. I'm grateful to have an amigo like Shar and I was really happy for him.
I presumed he was going to focus his efforts full time on the En Fuego Cigar Shop & Lounge that he co-owns with Mike Abdoulah located in Las Vegas, only I was wrong.
A few days later it was publicly announced that Shar Broumand would become the President of Mombacho Cigars and Tierra Volcán.
Now hold on a minute here... first Claudio becomes Master Blender, then my bro Shar becomes President of the company!?
As they say in Texas - NOW WE'RE FIXIN' TO COOK UP SOMETHING GOOOOOD!!!
Fast forward to IPCPR 2015, New Orleans
No surprise that one of the highlights of the world's biggest cigar trade show was none other than Mombacho and Tierra Volcán Cigars.
And again... they did it their own authentic way.
From teaming up with famous artist Todd White to do a limited edition signed art box that sold for $600 a pop, to hosting the most elegant and welcoming press party within a mansion located in the French Quarter, Shar's team wow'ed their guests and the industry.
Ok... Now that you know a little more about what's behind this company I'm sure you're ready to hear about the cigars, right??? Good.
First off we're talking all Nicaraguan tobacco. Puros.
As you may have noticed, I have been reluctant to put a Nicaraguan puro on RodrigoCigars.com. Why? Maybe because I'm just more familiar with Dominican made cigars, but I've also found that while Nicaraguan tobacco is known for delivering a ton of flavor and strength, my palette prefers a little more of the sophisticated complexity that I typically experience in boutique cigars from the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
However, this is definitely not the case with Tierra Volcán. The cigars are smooth, flavorful, complex and balanced with a pleasant finish that won't wreck your palette.
The next compelling reason why I think you will decide for yourself to smoke Tierra Volcán is Maestro Claudio Sgroi's relentless attention to detail.
He just knows how to put together a world class quality cigar. One time I saw him demonstrate how to bunch a cigar using paper towels. It was awesome!
Check out his aging room. Gorgeous.
The quality and passion that Claudio and his team put into each blend becomes obvious with the first cigar that I am going to introduce to you from Tierra Volcán:
The 6 x 44 Corona Larga, appropriately named "Fino".
The Tierra Volcán "Fino" is a medium plus , smooth Nicaraguan Puro. Balanced and stimulating from start to finish. Enjoy this cigar any time of day, especially paired with a dark rum, (but if you do that then please wait until it's five o'clock... somewhere ;)
But seriously... I love this cigar and I think you will too.
And while we're at it, I'm going to introduce you to another truly special cigar from Tierra Volcán - the Volcanito.
The "Volcanito" is a rarity amongst its peers because unlike other cigarritos the Volcanito is entirely handmade from Nicaraguan long filler.
Most small cigars are machine made from short filler scraps. You know, the kind of cigar that comes in a tin.
The "Volcanito" packs the flavor of a much larger smoke with a medium to full body profile. An intense experience when you want to make the most of your time.
This is the ideal short format cigar.
Oh... and you gotta just LOVE the box. Beautiful craftsmanship and perfect travel size.
I want you to do me a huge favor and help me give Tierra Volcán and our amigos Shar and Claudio a very warm welcome to the Rodrigo Amigos family.
Therefore I'm offering a very special introductory deal.
Limited offer on the Tierra Volcán Fino includes:
LIMITED INTRO PRICE $189.97
Yup - just buy the box of Fino, which is a GREAT cigar, and you also get a box of Volcanito, PLUS you're gonna get a gorgeous ashtray suitable for the best smoking den or man cave all for $189.97.
RodrigoCigars.com is the preferred online retailer of Tierra Volcán so you will NOT see this anywhere else.
As with every cigar from RodrigoCigars.com, if you're not 100% satisfied return what you haven't smoked in good condition and I'll refund your money. It's that simple. Plus Tierra Volcán guarantees the quality so there's a double guarantee.
You can't lose. There's no risk and I'm REALLY happy to bring you this cigar made by some very, very special amigos of mine.
Thanks again for your attention, and your support because we simply can't do this without you.
As always it is a true honor to service you with great cigars.
CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW
Chief Amigo, RodrigoCigars.com
PS Here's a photo of that SWEET ashtray. Don't miss out.