More Costa Rican cigars in the Benelux. Gajane Benelux, one of the cigar distributors in The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg confirms that they are ready to start distributing two Costa Rican cigar brands. Or should we say Swiss brands? As both brands are Swiss-owned but made at the Vegas de Santiago Cigar Factory in Costa Rica.
Vegas de Santiago
Vegas de Santiago is the fruit of the labor of the Guzman family and the couple Rudy & Lani Niehaus from Switzerland. After retirement, Rudy & Lani moved to Costa Rica. But as an entrepreneur, Niehaus could not let the opportunity pass to turn his hobby into a business when he met Olman Leon Guzman. The Guzman family had been growing tobacco and making cigars for several years. Their collaboration, Vegas de Santiago, might now be the most famous brand coming from Costa Rica.
Nowadays it’s the son of Rudy & Lani who’s running the brand. He took over when his father passed away. And he’s slowly building the brand with more international distributors. Last March, Niehaus and Gajane Benelux came to an agreement. And now the first shipment of Vegas de Santiago is available in Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
The first Vegas de Santiago blend available is the D8. The wrapper and binder are from Ecuador. The filler comes from the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Costa Rica. The sizes available are the 4×50 Petit Robusto for €6,25 per cigar. The 5×50 Robusto comes in at €7,50. The 6×60 Emperador is €9,50. The last available size is the 5½x56 Wide Churchill for €8,75 per cigar.
The blending of the D8 took several years to reach it’s actual maturity. It is involving tobaccos from 4 different countries and the selection of the tobaccos is done with thorough care about how and how long the tobacco was fermented. The choice of the wrapper comes from a selection of own grown tobacco in Ecuador.
The second new Costa Rican cigar in the Benelux is Skull77. Skull77 is made by Vegas de Santiago for the Swiss entrepreneur Laurent Taha. Taha met Marc Niehaus from Vegas de Santiago in 2010 at a cigar tasting. They became close friends and Taha helped Niehaus at the annual Intertabac trade show. Then in 2013, after seeing two heavily tattooed bikers at the booth, Taha came up with a concept. Cigarre 77 was born. Big cigars with a bad-ass look that would appeal to customers like those bikers. The logo is an adaptation of the logo Taha made for his helmet for the Euro Festival Harley Davidson Grimaud bike festival. The red-eye is a wink to the terminator. And we all know that The Terminator, Arnold Schwartzenegger is an avid cigar smoker.
77 is something that keeps coming back to Taha and the cigars. Born on the first day of 1977. His wedding was on July 7th and the inaugural release of the Skull 77 line was on July 7th, 2014.
The sizes available in the Benelux are the 5½x58 Wide Churchill, 3¼x58 Rocket 58 Niño, and the 6×66 Diablo. All come in boxes of 15 for €190 for the Wide Churchill, €185 for the Rocket 58 Niño, and €268.50 for the Diablo.