Debuting in 2021, Casa 1910 has been making quite a splash in the industry. They are a cigar brand with a focus on the Mexican Revolution. This focus can be seen in the naming of each cigar release. In fact, their initial release, Cuchillo Parado, is named after the city in which the Revolution began. Almost as courageous as those who began the revolution, the company launched with an all Mexican blend. An all Mexican high-end blend at that. The company followed up this initial release with yet another Mexican puro, the Tierra Blanca. Again named after a critical battle, this cigar was wrapped in a Maduro San Andres leaf and bound and filled with San Andres tobacco.
These two Mexican puros combined to make up their “Revolutionary Edition” cigars and commemorate the first battles of the revolution, an event that “changed the course of history and defined the nation’s character.” Casa 1910 takes great pride in their nation, its customs, and history, and this is why they launched their brand using only their land’s tobacco. What a fitting, yet bold move. In an industry full of single country blends, Mexican puros are not typically at the forefront, though they do exist. I personally approached Casa 1910 with extreme curiosity born from the presentation of the cigars and the oration of their story, yet that curiosity was met with some reluctance. However, I can tell you, though the profile of these cigars may not be for you, you cannot ignore the uniqueness of them and the way Casa 1910 expresses the versatility of Mexican tobacco.
If you find the Mexican puros are just a bit “off” for your palate, enter the “Calvary Edition” and “Soldadera Edition” line of cigars. Again, the cigars that make up these lines are fitting to their names. For instance, the “Calvary Edition” pays homage to the horses and their riders in the revolution. “Mexican horses are the result of a mixture of breeds, which is why in this new line we set out to blend tobacco of different origins..” The “Soldadera Edition” (expected to release in 2023) honors the brave women who fought in the revolution, a pivotal act in the emancipation of gender oppression. The blends were inspired by the Soldaderas they are named after.
Casa 1910’s vision, from their website, is to “Revolutionize the industry by creating a cigar that perfectly embodies two faces of Mexico; its deep traditions and its unrivaled dynamism.” I believe that Casa 1910 is achieving their goal. Their blends, their presentation, their stories, their “lifestyle” branding, the pairing recommendations and flavor notes - it's an ode to their traditions and heritage, but with modern flair and elegance. If you haven’t had the opportunity to try any of their cigars, hop over to the shop and give them a shot!
Now, Manolo and Jamie graciously took the time to answer some questions I had. I must thank them for their thoughtful and insightful responses:
What is your cigar story (first cigar memory, driving factor in your interest, etc)?
“My first approach was when I was studying Sommelier and suddenly I met the cigar, precisely a Cuban tobacco that a teacher of mine offered me and it blew my mind. It was then that I started the journey towards premium tobacco. Thanks to the guidance of many masters I have been able to do what I do today and there is never a day that I do not learn something new about tobacco. I smoked my first cigar, which I stole from my fathers' humidor, when I was 12 years old and spent the rest of my new year's feeling sick. I guess I have developed somewhat of a Stockholm syndrome by now running a cigar business.”
- Manolo Santiago
What is the story of Casa 1910?
“The idea for Casa 1910 was born slightly over 2 years ago when I invited Manolo Santiago to host a cigar tasting night for an organization that I have founded here in Mexico, called the Swiss Community Mexico. At the time, Manolo was a brand ambassador for Habanos in Mexico and still is the only master habanos sommelier in the country. Despite being the first time that Manolo and I had met, we got along very well and spent hours talking about Mexican tobacco and the potential for a new premium cigar brand to enter the market. It wasn't long before I reached out to Serge Bollag, co-founder of Casa 1910, which is when the journey started. Our joint love for Mexico, and its traditions, history and culture, combined with Manolo's unparalleled knowledge of tobacco blending, is expressed in our brand and all of our product releases.”
- Jamie Baer
What cigars, companies, or industry persons do you draw inspiration from or which cigars outside of your portfolio do you reach for?
“For me, the variety and the amount of flavors and aromas in the world of tobacco is a blessing. So every time I get to try something new, or something I usually smoke, from different origins or blends, it's a pleasure.
Without a doubt, there are several inspirations for me when I do my work, among the fields and the farmers who take care of the tobacco are special inspirations for me, the cigar rollers, and all the people involved in the production of each cigar are inspirations for me.
If I had to talk about people in the industry who are recognized as inspirations, without a doubt it is the palate of Henke Kelner, the mastery of Manuel Ynoa and José Blanco, the creativity of Ernesto Perez Carrillo, the love of Manolo Quesada for tobacco, the passion of Jochy Blanco, the temper of Alejandro Turrent, the dedication of Hirochi Robaina for his field, the commitment of Carlito Fuente and the adventurousness of Litto Gomez. To mention a few, I certainly could not mention here all the world that inspires me to do and carry out my love for tobacco.”
I know you are into spirits and provide pairings recommendations for your cigas. What do you look for in a pairing?
“In a pairing, I look for coherence and relationship between the cigar and the beverage. When I think of a pairing I have to be conscious not only of the flavors of the cigar, but also of the textures, sensations, notes and characteristics that the cigar leaves throughout the smoke and that this is compatible with the drink and vice versa.
In the same way, it is important to be aware of the complexity of both the cigar and the beverage so that one product never overshadows the other and there is harmony.
It is not necessary to get carried away by the "classic" aspects of a cigar and beverage pairing. The important thing is to find a balance and that when you take a puff of the cigar, it invites you to take a sip of the spirit you are enjoying, and again each sip of the distillate invites you to continue with the cigar, in endless harmony.”
What impact do you hope your brand makes on consumers?
“Undoubtedly, at Casa 1910 we want to make Mexico known as a great country, to share with the rest of the world the quality of tobacco and products we have. That with our cigars we can get the message across that Mexico is revolutionary and we have many talented people making great cigars. Always when making a new cigar, we try to improve day by day, to make a better cigar than the previous one and so on. So that tomorrow you will find not only perfection, but great taste, aroma and passion in every cigar.”