The magazine ‘Placer.es‘ has published a beautiful interview with our master blender, Manuel Inoa. In it, he explains how he started out in the tobacco industry and stresses that the world of tobacco has taught him that there are really good people, a kind of brotherhood. “Cigars are the only product that brings people together without knowing each other, you start conversations and end up giving them tobacco as a gift” he celebrates.
He also details in the interview (pages 22 to 26) how he became a master blender without coming from a family related to the sector. “I am one of the few master blenders who does not come from a tobacco family,” Manuel Inoa tells the magazine.
For this reason, he says he feels truly blessed to have been trained by three masters, starting in the sector of process and cost reduction, making the leap to the field and ending up as a master blender. And so, he left behind the industrial engineering he had studied. “When you get involved in this beautiful world of tobacco, it gets into your blood and permeates your DNA, and you don’t want to give it up”, he tells ‘Placer.es’.
Of his long career, he recalls how he met Don Fernando León and how his personal cigar was created. “I wanted it to remind me of the time when I was travelling through New York’s Fifth Avenue and its coffee,” Don Fernando told him as an inspiration to make the blend of his cigar. And Manuel made four prototypes, keeping the Cameroon wrapper, but improving the filler.
“I strive to ensure that the quality of the cigar is comprehensive and pleasurable,” he says
Speaking of blends, Manuel Inoa points out that the ones he finds most difficult to make are those for anniversaries, because they tend to be 100% Dominican. He recalls how La Aurora 100 Años or La Aurora 120 Aniversario were conceived and brought to fruition. In his opinion, his work focuses on ensuring that the quality of the product is always integral and arouses pleasure.
Finally, our master blender explains his cigar smoking ritual: making the straight cut, lighting the cigar with wooden matches and drinking a chamomile tea.