Bringing it Back Home: Ryan Gonzalez of Tantin Cigars

Bringing it Back Home: Ryan Gonzalez of Tantin Cigars

In a world of ever-increasing big companies and corporate business models, it is always refreshing to see a small company demonstrating passion for a craft.  Ryan Gonzalez is doing just that with Tantin Cigars.  A Tampa native and a 3rd generation Cuban American, Ryan says he found his identity and purpose in the cigar world after coming out of a time of darkness and struggle.

“I was in a very self-destructive mode in my early life, and when I finally decided to go to rehab, get clean, and make an effort to make something of my life I found real direction in a local cigar lounge”.   Ryan found mentorship and community in this local haven and was given much education in the world of cigars from that lounge and its owner.   It was this experience that drove him to learn all that he could about the cigar industry and the craft of cigar making.  He eventually found himself working as a tobacconist in my hometown of Saint Louis, where I got to know him.  Fast forward a few years, he is now married, moving back to his roots in Tampa, and endeavoring to create a legacy cigar company.  

The Tantin Cigar Company has two initial blends in its repertoire, dubbed La Tormenta and La Torment de Oro.  Both feature Dominican Piloto and Pennsylvania Broadleaf in the filler blend and an Olor binder leaf. The difference between the 2 current cigars is the wrapper.  La Tormenta features a Habano Oscuro, while the Oro sports a somewhat darker Dominican Broadleaf.  Both come in two vitolas, a 6”x54 toro and a 5”x50 robusto.  They are made at the Casa Morabo factory in the Dominican Republic, under the supervision of blender, Joel Vasquez.  

The Tantin is a shortened version of a family name, Constantinó, which numerous members of Ryan’s family claim, going back to his great great grandfather. Keeping family as a primary focus is key, as Ryan explained, “I want to be near my family as a start this new chapter of my life.  Having their support is crucial, and I hope to have something here that is the beginning of a legacy brand for future generations.”  

The brand art also has special meaning to Ryan, with the image of the Sulphur Springs water tower, and the bolts of lightning paying homage to the lightning capital of the world.  “That water tower has been there all my life, was set for demolition, but was eventually saved from destruction and still stands in Tampa to this day.  It speaks to me of my own experience in my life.” 

As I smoked the Tantin La Tormenta toro with Ryan, the affection he has for this industry and craft was evident.  His excitement for this future, the energy for creativity, but also his gratitude for those who guided him along the way were all discernable.  “I have been very fortunate and blessed with the people in my life.  My mentors, my colleagues, and my wife are all enormous helps in getting me to this point, and I could do any of this without them”.  The cigar itself was also a real pleasure to enjoy, with an effortless draw, huge plumes of fluffy smoke, a medium strength and well-balanced flavor profile with notes of roasted nuts, cocoa, fragrant cedar, and mild spice, with a razor-sharp burn to boot!

Moving forward, Ryan is focused on introducing his newly founded brand to a wider market with plans to expand once he has a firm base to grow on.  As he put it, “I want to grow organically, and slowly.  Too many people in this business have burned out from too rapid a growth.  I am here for the long game, so everything must be perfect before we add another project to our brand.”  

Joe Kenney

I am a Certified Consumer Tobacconist, have enjoyed cigars for over 10 years, and I run the Jonose Cigars cigar review channel on YouTube. My primary goal is to spread cigar lifetsyle to as many as possible while discovering as much as possible about the craft of cigars along the way.