When the best cultivators come across certain tobaccos, there is something in their experience that will on occasion whisper to them, “this one, in time, will be very special.” Space – like time – is money for a grower, and leaving anything in one place for any extended duration is costly. With that as context, think of how special a raw material must be for anyone in the business of selling it to dedicate to it both time and space. This is why aged tobaccos cost more when a cigar maker goes to buy for their blends. Typically, that additional cost has to be passed on to you and me at the register because people want cigars and cigar makers need to make cigars now. Stallone is proving to be anything but typical, and they don’t mind thinking long term as long as it benefits cigar lovers.
Tony Barrios is the blender and owner of Stallone Cigars, and his passion for blending is already evident in just the first few moments of speaking with him. He’s excited about tobacco, and it comes across in the cigars that he brings to market. Dedicated to providing the most vibrant aromas and experiences possible, Tony doesn’t mind waiting for a good thing. Rather than simply purchasing a grower’s time by buying already aged tobacco, Tony has worked to develop his skills and senses so that he too may discover the special leaves worthy of waiting for. He ages the tobaccos on his own time and in his own space. As a result, we don’t bear the extra expense.
The name “Stallone” and the story behind it are just as special as the tobaccos they use. Tony’s Grandfather used to call him “Nino” and gave him a Stallion as a birthday gift when he was a boy. The horse was wild, but he promised the child that he’d grow to conquer and ride many Stallions in his life. The Stallone brand keeps his legacy alive, and Tony’s latest special project – The Nino – is dedicated not only to the journey to get here but also to the one that lies ahead. When Brian Desind of Privada Cigar Club found out that there were some Ninos remaining, he knew they needed to shared. In an exciting announcement…of the limited run of 250 total boxes, almost half were still available and the cigars will be appearing in September’s Brian’s Box!
When I say Tony is all in, I mean it. He’s moved his entire family from Venezuela to Texas in order to be closer to the industry, and don’t be surprised to see him at your local shops because he’s personally doing as many shop visits throughout as many markets as possible. It’s really uplifting not just to see how Tony operates, but how the industry is taking notice. In a business where new and better isn’t always welcomed warmly, Tony is cultivating a stellar reputation without even trying. He’ll be sharing more exclusive updates with us soon and we’re looking forward to bringing them to you! Have you experienced Stallone cigars yet? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
***Also, check out this great interview that Founding Reviewer and frequent contributor Joe Kenney had with Tony late last year.