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Shop Talk with Enrique Sanchez, I of Global Premium Cigars and 1502 Cigars
We had the pleasure of interviewing Enrique Sanchez I, CEO and Founder of Global Premium Cigars, LLC (www.globalpremiumcigars.com) and 1502 Cigars, and he gave us some insight into the company and the man behind the company.
OTL: When did you first start smoking cigars and can you give us some background or insight into your love of the leaf?
ES: That’s a very funny story. My first attempt to enjoy a cigar was in 1991, in Madrid, Spain. I was backpacking in Europe, and I was smoking cigarettes during that time, and I remember sitting down in the train station and seeing all the gentleman walking by with their cigars, and I sald to myself, “You know, I am in Europe, what not try a cigar?” I went to the tobacco place and I asked for the cheapest cigar in the house (with a high school budget, there is only so much you can do). He give me a cigar with no band, and once I payed, I went back to my seat at the train station. I tried to light that cigar for easily 20 - 30 minutes, and I could not draw it. It was terrible, so I decided that cigars were not for me, and I threw it away.
It was a year later and I was in my home and one of my uncles came to visit and he had a Romeo y Julieta Churchill (Habano), so I decided to give it a second chance. I remember my uncle asking me: “Do you know how to light it and cut it?” “How to what?” I ask surprised. It was at that moment that I understood that the cigar was not the problem back in Madrid, hahahahaha. We all make rookie mistakes, and that was mine. From that point on, I spent a lot of time learing about cigars. I had a lot of friends from Cuba living in Nicaragua at the time and they were the ones that introduced me to this wonderful industry. They showed me the passion for tobacco, and how to appreciate a great cigar, and how to tell a good one from a bad one and that is how everything got started.
OTL: How did you become involved with the cigar industry on a professional side and can you give our readers some background information on 1502 Cigars?
ES: I got involved in this wonderful industry many decades after that first experience. It was honestly by accident and it was Don Nestor Plasencia's fault. He was the one that pushed me into this, and for that I will always be grateful to him. I remember people telling me I could not smoke in my office before, and I had the passion for tobacco, so I start researching for a business idea related to tobacco. I met with Don Nestor and after 20 minutes of trying to get him onboard, he told me not to waste mine or his time because that business idea was not going anywhere. I was disappointed but it was at that moment my life changed for the best. There was something that he saw in me and it made him give me the push to start my own blends, my own brands, my own company. I remember him asking me for a chance, when it should have been me kneeling asking him for a chance. That is how Don Nestor is a very humble man with great vision.
We started learning about tobacco first and it was many months after when we start playing with blending. We were all blown away with what we created. Our first brands were 1502 Emerald, 1502 Ruby, and 1502 Black Gold, or as I like to call them, my breakfast, lunch, and dinner cigars. 1502 Nicaragua is the new member of the family, and it is the only 100% puro.
Now, our name 1502 comes from the year that my country Nicaragua was discover by Christopher Columbus. What better name to give our Proudly Nicaraguan Cigars, the year that everything got started in my country, 1502.
OTL: If you had to describe 1502 Cigars, what would you say?
ES: 1502 Nicaragua - It can’t get more Nicaraguan than this. It has tobacco from all four tobacco growing regions in my country: Jalapa, Esteli, Condega, and Ometepe, and it is produced in Nicaragua. 1502 Emerald - Fina Fuerte (fine strong) the perfect balace for your breakfast cigar. 1502 Ruby - Perfection. 1502 Black Gold - Elegance.
OTL: What are your favorite types of cigars and why?
ES: I enjoy all type of cigars. Variety is key in this industry and that is why I came out with three different brands from the beginning: each for a special occasion.
OTL: What is currently in your humidor?
ES: Beside 1502s and new blends that I am working on (currently more than 9 blends) I do enjoy others brands too. I like the boutique cigars, because there is passion behing every experience.
OTL: When enjoying your favorite cigar what do you prefer to pair it with?
ES: I typically prefer scotch, whiskey, rum, brandy or cognac with my cigars.
OTL: What was the biggest chance you ever took within the industry?
ES: Every day is a big chance for a boutique company. We don’t have room for mistakes which is why you find our cigars to be top quality.
OTL: Can you give some information on the blend of your cigars and the manufacturing process?
ES: When we work on our blends, we always work in toro size, this way we can move up or down in sizes. Once we find what we were looking for, we make them in all the sizes round and box pressed in order to choose the correct ones to release. It takes me about 18 months to perfect a blend, and sometimes you have to start over again and again. I like to take my time to make sure everything is made as it should be, and to experience each cigar blend first hand so I know how that cigar will taste three months, 10 months, or 24 months from now. Time is something that you can’t rush, at least not if you want to create something great.
OTL: Coming off of the heels of the IPCPR in New Orleans, do you have any major announcements or new releases that you can let our readers know about?
ES: We did a line extension in IPCPR, with the 1502 Nicaragua Churchill. Last year we only released our existing lines in a Robusto but now we have something else to offer to our clients. Also in October/November we will be releasing our 1502 XO, an 18 year aged tabaco, and let me say this, it is our master piece so far. There will be 1502 boxes of 10 counts, all with serial numbers, and each band has a serial number also. The bands were created by Vrijdag in Holland, and it is a big commitment for a boutique company to be swimming with the best of the world, but you know what? It is a fantastic cigar, and it needs the best. Our 1502 XO is not a limitada, it is a limited production; that means that every year there will be 1502 boxes coming out in different sizes, this year it will be Toro.
OTL: What's next for 1502?
ES: We are known for always raising the bar. Europe, Latin America, and other markets will experience what 1502Cigars has to offer very soon. We are enhancing our PoS, software, and products, but most importantly, investing in our team.
OTL: If you could only smoke one cigar what would it be?
ES: That would be unfair, but I would have to choose the 1502 XO.
OTL: As a cigar lover are there any tips or must have accessories you care to share?
ES: Having the right accessories is very important for sure. I alway recommend in the technique of lighting your cigar, light and then cut, not cut and then light like everyone else does it. Try it, and you will see the difference in your first draw, it is perfect.
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