6 more boutique brands that made it. Recently we published two articles about boutique brands that were hot for a while. Some of those brands completely disappeared, others are still out there but far away from where they once were. We also published a list of 6 boutique brands that made it. And 5 boutique brands that are likely to succeed. But there are more, and after feedback from our readers, we created a second list of boutique brands that stood the test of time.
This list does not include brands that were already established before the boutique term became so overused. Even though brands such as Arturo Fuente, Padron, La Flor Dominicana, and Joya de Nicaragua still uphold themselves to the highest quality, we did not include them. These companies are very much tobacco centric though and pay more attention to quality than some of the so-called boutique brands.
Even though Skip Martin and Mike Rosales never used the word boutique to describe their brand, a lot of cigar aficionados do. The brand was founded in 2012. It evolved from earlier cooperation between the two. Rosales made cigars in Costa Rica, Martin was a retailer in Texas. After a hurricane destroyed his shop, he worked with Rosales to create cigars that he could mail to his loyal customers. The production moved to Nicaragua, where Esteban Disla entered the picture. The cigars caught on, a factory was created and RoMa Craft is now one of the strongest performing small brands in the market with a hardcore fanbase. And not just in the USA, RoMa Craft created a line especially for the international markets, Wunderlust. We reviewed the Petit Belicoso and the RoMa Craft Cromagnon Aquitaine Mode 5.
In a little over ten years, Kyle Gellis grew Warped from just a young kid with a dream to a well respected and highly regarded brand. And all without having a face to the brand. Warped started with just a single blend, made at El Titan de Bronze in Miami. And that’s where some of his creations still come from. But he also works with Eduardo Fernandez and his Tabacos Valle de Jalapa factory in Nicaragua. We recently reviewed the Warped Eagles Descent.
Robert Caldwell started a concierge service for hotels in Miami. With that company, he served bars and hotels with cigars. But he always knew he wanted more. At first, it looked like he would start a factory in Miami’s Wynwood district with Christian Eiroa, but that partnership never got off the ground. Instead, Caldwell went to the Dominican Republic to create Caldwell Cigars. And with success. Caldwell cigars are now distributed through several countries worldwide.
Another retailer turned brand owner. Just like Skip Martin from RoMa Craft. But Illusione owner Dion Giolitto didn’t need a force of nature to create cigars. He was just looking for a private label for his shop in Reno, Nevada. Yet Cigar Aficionado spotted the cigar and wrote about them. That got the brand a flying start and now Illusione is a strong name. While the brand started production at Raices Cubanas in Honduras, most of the production takes place at Tabacos Valle de Jalapa nowadays. And when it comes to sales figures, the brand is way passed the boutique phase, but when it comes to attention to details, Illusione is boutique as it can get. We reviewed the Illusione Rothchildes.
Omar de Frias started his Fratello Cigars even though he was successful in his career. He had a good position at NASA but followed his dream. He is still inspired by space and spacecraft though. Many of his creations are named after spacecrafts or other terms connected to space traveling. The Nicaraguan cigars from Fratello are made at Fabricas de Tabaco Joya de Nicaragua. Their Dominican cigars come from La Aurora. Both these factories are the oldest, still functioning, cigar factories in their country. We reviewed the Fratello Arlequin.
Matt Booth is the mastermind behind Room 101. He’s an artist and jewelry maker turned cigar manufacturer. But he manages to combine his art and jewelry, often inspired by Asian cultures, with his cigars. And with success. Booth was tied with Davidoff and their Honduran operation. But in 2017, Booth ended the contract and left the cigar industry. That news sent shockwaves throughout the cigar community. But it wasn’t long before Booth was back, with Room 101. But no longer under contract with Davidoff. His temporary departure from the cigar industry and the joy of cigar smokers that he made a comeback made one thing clear. Room 101 is no longer a boutique brand that is expendable. Room 101 is here to stay.