Founder Oscar Valladares Tobacco & Co
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See Oscar’s Cigar Lab in Action
Oscar Valladares is in communion with tobacco. The feel of the leaf. The aroma of the aging. The character of the grade. Raising tobacco is important to the founder of this eponymous Honduran brand, but what truly excites him is artisans working with the harvested product. You see, Oscar approaches tobacco blending like a biochemist. “I don’t have a factory, I have a lab,” Oscar said.
Cigar Stars Align
You never know when the universe is going to put the right person in your life at the right time. For Oscar Valladares, that person was cigar legend Rocky Patel. When Oscar worked for a travel agency, he met Rocky while he was touring Honduras. He was interested in organizing some cigar tours to Danlí through Oscar’s employer. Oscar raised his hand to run those tours. One of Oscar’s product placement ideas—to encourage cigar sales, he put RP-filled humidors at tour stops, like gift shops and restaurants. Rocky took note of Oscar’s ingenuity and asked him to join Rocky Patel Cigars, where he worked for nine years.
Recently Oscar said that if he were to collaborate on a cigar, it would be with the Cigar Aficionado Hall of Famer, Rocky. Sounds like a great blend!
Early in his cigar career, Oscar had the pleasure of meeting the now-late Godfather of Cuban Tobacco Alejandro Robaina. The cigar legend told him, “Oscar, tobacco is generous. You have to touch it, give it love, and if you do that, it gives you love back.”
From 2 Rollers to Millions of Cigars
Oscar’s cigar business started in an office with two people making cigars at one table. In 2012, the company rolled out just 27,000 cigars. As of 2020, Oscar said he employs close to 600 people, who made 3.5 million cigars this year.
In the beginning, tobacco shops were hesitant to risk valuable humidor space on Oscar’s unknown brand. So he recommended they try just one box. He told them, “I need you to put one box of my cigars in your store, and believe me, you can sell it. If the cigar isn’t selling, send it back to me.”
Today, Oscar Valladares cigars are sold at more than 1,000 tobacco shops across the United States, and in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.
“I like for every cigar to have its story.”
The first Oscar Valladares Tobacco & Co brand was the 2012. Named for the Ancient Maya, who were indigenous to Central America and “predicted” that the world would end on December 21, 2012. Oscar created a special end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it blend. To the box, he included a bonus cigar, which was wrapped in a tobacco leaf as an homage to rustic Mayan cigars. Cigar smokers were directed to save that twenty-first cigar to smoke on December 21, to ring in a new era. Doomsday averted. We lived to enjoy Oscar’s full-line of premium cigars.
What’s Oscar Valladares’s Favorite OV Cigar?
How do you pick a favorite cigar when you have a hand in creating each blend? He prefers a straight cut on a cigar; but choosing a preferred cigar is a challenge. Oscar admitted he loves the color and flavor of The Oscar Habano. A lot of cigar lovers and industry experts agree. Cigar Journal named Oscar’s namesake cigar the Best Honduran Brand in 2017.
BTW, the Oscar Habano is also a favorite of Rob Gagner, host of Boveda’s Box Press cigar podcast. In February 2020, Rob traveled to Honduras for a once-in-a-lifetime cigar trip to Oscar Valladares’s plantation. Rob’s shown here kicking back with an Oscar Habano.
With No Cellophane, How Does OV Protect the Flavor of Cigars?
It’s rare for cigar companies to box cigars without first sealing each individual stick in cellophane. But that’s how Oscar rolls.
“I don’t use cellophane on my cigars.” he explained. “So I need to protect my product when I ship it by boat from the factory in Honduras to my warehouse in Houston. It takes four to five days for a shipment to get to my warehouse. On the boat, the conditions change.”
Yet when you open a box of OVs, the sight is beautiful, the rows are tight, the aroma is arresting. Even without a cellophane overwrap, the cigars are as good as when they left Honduras. How does Oscar protect the quality of his cigars? He includes Boveda, 2-way humidity control in every box of Oscar Valladares Cigars.
Fluctuating humidity levels cause cigars to lose essential oils and sugars. By packaging cigars with Boveda, he preserves the flavors and aromas of the tobaccos for the lucky cigar smoker who will eventually light one up.
“I work with Boveda and my cigars are fine. Good at the warehouse. And good in the cigar store.”
For Your Humidor, Use Boveda
Hundreds of cigar makers, like Oscar include Boveda 2-way humidity control in with their premium cigars. Using Boveda, cigar companies can precisely control the environment in cigar boxes by automatically restoring and maintaining the humidity inside.
And Boveda isn’t just for cigar professionals. Cigar lovers use this maintenance-free method of cigar care in their own humidors. There’s a Boveda size for any type of cigar storage—desktop humidors, cabinet humidors, travel humidors, wineadors, coolerdors and tupperdors.