Cigar birthdays in June. Like every month we celebrate some of the people in the cigar industry. If we miss anybody on our calendar, please let us know and we will add him or her. Here are the birthdays for June.
June 3: Art Garcia. The California based music producer turned cigar manufacturer. Antiqua Esteli is his brand, and as the name suggests, the cigars hail from the fertile soil of Esteli, Nicaragua. A small-batch boutique brand, which scored a 92 on Ministry of Cigars.
June 7: Philip Zanghi. He started in the cigar industry during the cigar boom in the 1990s with no other than Rocky Patel as his business partner. After stepping out of the cigar industry for a while, Zanghi came back with Debonaire and Indian Motorcycles Cigars. Read our reviews on the Debonaire Habano, Debonaire Maduro, Indian Motorcycle Maduro Robusto, and Toro.
June 7: Sasja van Horssen. The owner of Cigaragua and importer of many quality brands into The Netherlands. But that’s not enough to make it on our calendar. Van Horssen has been working on a brand of his own for years, with the Garcia Family. Ministry of Cigars smoked test blends of the Ilja cigar, but the final product has not been released yet. Knowing the quality of the test blends, we can’t wait for the cigars to hit the market. Van Horssen also runs the Pronica charity, which funds education in Esteli.
June 12: Bradley Rubin. The Bradley in Alec Bradley, and the Bradley in Alec & Bradley. Son of Alan Rubin, the founder of Alec Bradley cigars. He joined his father in the industry and with his brother Alec he released the Blind Faith and The Gatekeeper. Bradley is also handling the international logistics for Alec Bradley.
June 17: Stephen Johnstone. Another retailer turned cigar brand owner. Johnstone is a cigar and whiskey nerd and when he had the opportunity to acquire the renowned Robert Graham 1874 store, he jumped to the opportunity. With the Scottish tobacco heritage and the history of Robert Graham 1874, Johnstone stepped to Joya de Nicaragua to create the brand Tobacco Lords. And with A.J. Fernandez he created a limited edition for the 145th anniversary of the shop. Read the review on the Tobacco Lords Maduro and Natural, and the review of the Robert Graham 145th.
June 19: Claudio Sgroi. An Italian master blender, brand owner, and chairman of the Nicaraguan cigar association. Sgroi is the master blender behind Mombacho, the cigar manufacturer from Granada. The factory is located in a villa, the former home of the architect responsible for the looks of the colonial city. Mombacho is named after a volcano and is proud to only use Nicaraguan tobaccos for its cigars.
June 22: Michael Grossklos. A name that will not ring a bell for most cigar aficionados, except for the German crowd maybe. Part of the team of Dalay Cigars, a retailer from Saarbrucken, Grossklos is responsible for blending the limited edition store exclusives. Ministry of Cigars reviewed the 2019 Limited Edition, and the Affentanz Dunkel and Hell.
June 30: Ryan Frank Rodriguez. The owner of the boutique brand Ohana, for which he works with the talented blender Noel Rojas. Rodriguez started slinging cigars as a cigar shop employee. He moved on to become a cigar sales representative before starting Ohana cigars with his wife and father.