Whenever a new player enters the cigar market my interest is naturally piqued. When said new player also has something new to bring to the table, I am doubly piqued. When said new player has something new to offer and also has an appealing story to go along with his new blends, well now we have that perfect trifecta of interest!
The new player is Casa 1910, a company that made their PCA debut in 2021. What they bring with them is a pointed emphasis on Mexican grown tobaccos, with some of their first blends being Mexican puros. The story they have to tell: The Mexican Revolution, which began in 1910. Their cigars all tell of significant places, events and persons who played major roles in this often-overlooked event in history. The founder and blender, Manolo Santiago has made is his literal business to show the world not only what the Mexican revolution was all about, but also what his beloved homeland has to offer.
Casa 1910 began with just one blend, the Cuchillo Parado, a 5”x50 Mexcian puro utilizing a Mexican-grown Sumatra wrapper, with binder and fillers grown in San Andrés. Commemorating the first battle of the revolution and the Chihuahua town of the same name, the Cuchillo Parado stands as Casa 1910’s flagship cigar and is part of what Manolo labeled the “Revolutionary Edition”. The other blend from this series is named after one of the most significant victories for Poncho Villa’s forces over the federal army in the revolution, the Tierra Blanca. This one being a 6”x54 toro featuring all Mexican San Andrés tobaccos aged 5 years.
Santiago has since added two additional collections to his catalogue of blends. The “Calvary Edition”, a series of three blends commemorates the horses and riders who fought in the Mexican Revolution, and most recently we have the “Soldadera Edition”, which pays tribute to the many female soldiers who proudly joined the fight for Mexican independence. Each individual cigar in all of these three series focus on an individual character or event from this time in Mexican history, and all of them feature some amount of Mexican-grown tobacco in the blends. All of this being the passion project of a true son of Mexico.
Talking with Manolo is a smile inducing experience. He gives off an immediate air of charisma and character. His long, dark beard complete with curled moustache, a black fedora, black rimmed glasses, and leather jacket make for strong first impression. When asked about how he developed his idea for Casa 1910, his reply was straightforward and genuinely patriotic. “We as Mexicans want to share with the world what our great country can produce. Everybody knows about our tequila and mezcal, which of course is great. But we also grow so much excellent tobaccos, and to be able to pair Mexican cigars with tequila is something that I am very proud of.”
It is of course true that Mexican San Andrés tobacco has long been prized as a high-quality wrapper or even binder leaf in cigar making with many brands, but Manolo wanted to go further. “So many people think of Mexican tobacco as far as a great wrapper leaf, but not many people use Mexican tobaccos for the filler, for the main body of the cigar’s blend. I want people to know how great Mexican tobacco as a filler can be. I love and use all the growing regions from around the world, but all for different reasons. Mexican tobacco for me has a lot of toasty nuances, some minerality, and aromas of stables and campfires. It has something that the other countries do not.”
He also discussed why he wanted to tell the story of the Mexican Revolution with his cigars. “I want all the aficionados, all the people, to know more about what is Mexican culture. We aren’t like what you see in the movies with the yellow filters, the big hats and the cactus. We are producers of many luxury lifestyle items. We also have a rich heritage and history that much of the world does not know about enough. The story of the Mexican Revolution is a big part of who we are as a people.”
It was apparent that he was very pleased to be talking about his work and culture throughout our conversation, and spoke about how as a brand owner enjoys the interaction with the consumer. “I love going to the trade shows and attending events at shops because I get to see the smoker’s reaction in real time as they smoke a Casa 1910 cigar. For me nothing can replace that, it tells me so much more about what my cigars do for everyone. I need to be able to see that reaction in person to keep getting better and making better cigars”
While only a few years old, Casa 1910 as a brand now boasts 8 different blends in their lineup, each with recommended drink pairings courtesy of Manolo Santiago. It is worth noting that Manolo is also a wine and spirits expert with many years of experience in blending tequila in Mexico prior to his debut in cigars. Thus, he blended each of these cigars with a particular drink pairing in mind. This approach is one that masterfully checks many boxes for many cigar lovers: A premium cigar made from well-aged tobaccos, with a paring guide and a remarkable history lesson to boot. This is a story I could listen to forever. Viva Mexico!