We sat with Jeremy, The CEO and owner of Casdagli Cigars, and asked him a few questions. Here is what he had to say!
Q: Tell us how you got your start in the cigar industry.
A: I visited Cuba in late 1996 – I had just previously been spending time in Port Royal Jamaica scuba diving with the dive club based at Morgans Harbour Hotel – they needed cigars for the soon to arrive English Cricket team – so I sought out some Cohibas in Havana to bring back to Jamaica. You must understand that Havana had very few tourists back then and opportunities that were available back then in Cuba are simply not available now. I found myself embraced by the Cuban state tobacco company and over eth next 2 years was given the opportunity to trade with the best selection that Habanos had to offer. I guess this answers your second question also . Suffice it to say Cuban days are way in the past now and behind me. .
Q: Tell us why you decided to get into the cigar industry.
A: I will add something more to the above. I also found out once I had started trading and developing my own brand that our family had a big family history with the Cuban premium cigar business in the early 1950's. A story that had been lost in the past with many of our other family stories due to the Egyptian revolution in 1956. So it was a special motivation to stick to this cigar business as it linked me to my past family history.
Q: What was the motivation for the name Bespoke and then Casdagli Cigars?
A: So from 1997 - 2017 we were known as Bespoke Cigars . This name adopted us in a way as our brand was always referred to as “Bespoke”. Bespoke means “made to the order of”. So, from 1997 we were making tiny amounts of premium cigars from Cuba – around 1,000 up to 5,000 per month. They were made for top hotels in London, certain celebrates and Saudi princes… hence Bespoke. The rings made had bore the name of the customer. As we grew, I started using our old family emblem on boxes and rings: the Colossus of Rhodes. So we know the reason for the name change due to a potential very expensive court case with Alec Bradley. But what to change it to? A number of friends said that it was obvious to use “Casdagli Cigars” as the name as it refers not just to me but most importantly my family history. So now our family symbol is married back to the family name. The first time since 1958. Incidentally the Colossus of Rhodes was first trademarked by the family firm “Casdagli and sons” in 1885.
Q: What is your favorite cigar to smoke other than Casdagli and why?
A: Without doubt Arturo Fuente – especially their Hemingway series – sweet, full bodied, rich but low in strength . The construction perfect – a true benchmark to aim for.
Q:What is more important to you in a cigar? Flavor, Build, or appearance and why?
A: Well you see I answered that in the previous question – for me flavor and construction are the most important. As to appearance this can be a dangerous topic. The wrapper to me must be natural. When you unbox and view Casdagli Cigars what do you see. That the maduro is a natural one and often the darker shade is not uniform on the leaf. That Colorado Claro & Colorado wrappers are generally matte in color. These leaves being selected to complete complex flavors and blends whilst also balancing the cigars construction. They are not chosen just for beauty. Personally, I find the wrapper leaves we select beautiful to the eye for their natural form.
Q:If you could smoke a cigar with anyone who would it be and why?
A: Ahh without doubt Marshal Ney – Le Brave de la Brave. One of napoleons most famous Generals who come from a humble background. He commanded the rearguard during the appalling retreat from Moscow in 1812 and although often cut off he always got his men through with the woman and children that depended on him. He was often seen cigar and sword in hand encouraging his group on through waist deep snow. After the final collapse of Napoleon in 1815 he was sentenced to death. The evening before he was executed by firing squad, he was allowed to have a cigar party with some close friends. Ahhh the stories he could tell over a fine cigar.
Q:Do you have any advice for someone just getting into cigars?
A: Expect a long hard journey in a now very crowded market – but naturally if you have belief in yourself and a love for whatever business you may do you have a good chance of success. But obviously with today’s legislation against tobacco you could not find a more difficult time to start. So just make sure the quality of the product is the best that you can make as pure quality always see a way through.
Q: Which Cigar Subscription is the best?
A: This one I can’t answer so fully as I assume you refer to USA market? I understand Luxury Cigar Club has a pretty damn good cigar subscription – and as for magazines subscribe to Cigar Journal.
Luxury Cigar Club has teamed up with Casdagli in order to offer you this fantastic sampler showcasing some of the amazing sticks on offer from Casdagli. Included in the Casdagli Brand of the Month Sampler:
- Traditional Line
- Basilica Line
- Daughters of the Wind
- Cabinet Selection