Industry Legend Arsenio Ramos. Every industry has legends. Some unsung heroes, some famous names. A few names that will remain in everybody’s memories forever, most will fade away over time. Some that have left us, some still alive. These legends all played their part to make the cigar industry what it is today. And they deserve to be remembered, to be recognized for their achievements. That’s why Ministry of Cigars is creating a series of articles about those legendary figures in the cigar industry. Today’s article is all about Arsenio Ramos.

A true master

Out of all the articles Ministry of Cigars has written about cigar industry legends, Arsenio Ramos probably battles with Richard Meerapfel when it comes to who’s lesser known amongst the general public. And that is exactly the inspiration of the whole series. People like Arsenio Ramos and Richard Meerapfel have been, and are so influential. Just as much as the better-known names on our list. They deserve the recognition, even though in the case of Arsenio Ramos, it is posthumous. Ramos passed away on September 15th, 2018 at the age of 83. But he left a permanent mark on the cigar industry.

It’s safe to say that Ramos had tobacco running through his veins. He was born into a tobacco-growing family. His great grandfather started to family journey into tobacco. And both the son and daughter of Arsenio Ramos are working in the tobacco industry as well, as 5th generation. Back in those days, children had to help the family at an early age. So when Arsenio hit the age of 10, he was already working on the farm. Learning all about tobacco. And he was a good student, so good that later on in life he combined his knowledge and craftsmanship with his hobby of writing. He wrote the textbook that Cubatabaco is using to train people for careers in tobacco and cigar manufacturing. 

Ministry of Cigars - Industry Legend Arsenio Ramos
photo credit Condega cigars

Cubatabaco and Aganorsa

After the revolution, Ramos stayed in Cuba. He worked his way up within Cubatabaco, the state-owned tobacco company. Cubatabaco is the owner of all the factories and Cuban cigar brands up till today. They are 50% owners of Habanos. Due to his knowledge, Ramos became the head of processing for all tobacco from Pinar del Rio. His specialization was fermenting tobacco. And he did that until his retirement in 2004.

After his retirement, he met Eduardo Fernandez. Fernandez is the owner of Aganorsa Leaf. Back in those days, Aganorsa Leaf wasn’t as big as it is today. They sold most of their tobacco to Spanish tobacco brokers, and it was a Spanish mutual friend who introduced the two. Fernandez offered Ramos a job in Nicaragua. He became the right-hand man of Fernandez and the master blender for Tabacos Valle de Jalapa aka Tabsa. That is the factory where most Illusione cigars, Warped, and many other brands come from. It’s also where Aganorsa makes their cigars, including Casa Fernandez.

Ministry of Cigars - Industry Legend Arsenio Ramos
photo credit Condega Cigars

Cigars with his name

Ramos was loved by everybody in the cigar industry. His humor, knowledge, and kindness are things everybody mentions when talking about this legend. Ramos was responsible for the blends of Condega. Where Eduardo Fernandez owns the brand for the American market, the Spanish company Gesinta is responsible for Condega internationally. And they are building the brand, opening new markets at a record speed. After Ramos’s passing, the people at Gesinta paid respect. The personal blend from Arsenio Ramos is now known as the Condega Serie F Arsenio Edicion Especial.

But Condega isn’t the only brand paying respect to this industry legend. Casa Fernandez, one of the brands from Eduardo Fernandez does the same. The Casa Fernandez Arsenio pays tribute to the master blender in two different blends. This tribute isn’t just posthumous, the cigars stem from before his passing. After his passing, the Cigar Federation got a store exclusive Aganorsa Leaf Arsenio Ramos Tribute cigar. According to the Cigar Federation website, they would not have made it in the cigar industry if it wasn’t for Arsenio Ramos.

It is safe to say that Industry Legend Arsenio Ramos left a permanent mark on the cigar industry as a whole, and on everybody who worked with him. May his name not be forgotten.

previous articles from the Industry Legend’s series:

Don Pepin Garcia
Richard Meerapfel
Benji Menendez
Alejandro Robaina
Henke Kelner
Kiki Berger
Julio Eiroa

Photo credit header photo Ilse Orsel on Unsplash

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