Four Melody Makers Turned Cigar Crafters

If you’re into cigars, you know that not all cigar makers have a long history dating back generations. Some come from very diverse careers such as bankers, doctors, financiers, lawyers and even musicians. Of which, the latter career is the least likely you would expect to become a cigar crafter. Here are just four musicians who decided that the rolling of cigars was music to their ears.   
Avo Uvezian, Founder of AVO Cigars – Avo was born in Beirut, French Lebanon. His parents were musicians who imparted their love of music to Avo. Overtime, Avo became a jazz pianist and composer. As a young man, he joined a band and performed in Tehran, Iran. The Shah of Iran heard about them and contracted them to play at his palace. Eventually, he settled in the United States where he played at various venues and studied at the Julliard School of Music. As a jazz pianist at the Palmas del Mar resort in Puerto Rico, Avo developed an interest in cigars and decided he wanted to create his own brand. While searching for a suitable cigarmaker, he met Henrik Kelner, a master cigar blender known for crafting Davidoff cigars. In 1987, Avo released his first brand. His cigars are known for their exceptional construction, remarkable flavor, and musically themed names such as the Improvisation, Syncro Nicaragua, and the Syncro South America Ritmo.  

Ernesto Perez-Carrillo II, Co-Founder of E.P. Carrillo Cigar Company – From an early age, Ernesto Jr. was introduced to the family business. His father was a tobacco broker who eventually launched the famed El Credito cigar factory in Havana, Cuba. After fleeing Castro’s Cuba, Ernesto’s family settled in Miami, Florida. His father was able to re-establish the El Credito factory in Miami. However, young Ernesto wanted to be a jazz musician. At age 25, he travelled to New York to pursue a career as a drummer. After pouring his heart and soul into his dream, Ernesto realized the music world was not for him and returned to Miami. Under his father’s guidance, Ernesto learned all he could about tobacco and cigars. Eventually, he took over the business. His first major success was the La Gloria Cubana cigar. In 1999, Ernesto sold the business to General Cigar Co. Then in 2009, he teamed up with his son and daughter and founded the E.P. Carrillo Cigar Company. His cigars have received global recognition and accolades. In 2018, the E.P. Carrillo Encore Majestic was awarded Cigar of the Year from Cigar Aficionado. In 2020, the E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel received that top honor too.
Rafael Nodal, Head of Product Capability for Tabacalera USA and Co-owner of Boutique Blends Cigars (Aging Room Cigars) – Rafael had learned to play the violin when he was six years old and living in Cuba. Years later, when he and his family left Cuba during the Mariel boat lift, Nodal continued to play the violin throughout high school. He even participated in a youth orchestra. Although Nodal did not pursue a career in music, he did name his cigars after musical terms used by composers and musician such as the Aging Room Core Habano Mezzo, Aging Room Quattro Connecticut Espressivo,  and the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Concerto

Pete Johnson, Founder of Tatuaje Cigars – Long before he founded Tatuaje Cigars, a premium boutique cigar brand, Pete Johnson was a bass guitar player with aspirations to make it in the music business. In order to pursue his dreams, Johnson left his home in Maine at the age of 18 and settled in Los Angeles. He soon joined a band and they started to play at venues such as The Whisky a Go Go (aka The Whisky) and the Roxy. To earn money in between gigs, Pete started to work at various jobs. He eventually landed a job at a cigar shop from there he teamed up with Jose Don Pepin Garcia of My Father Cigars. In 2003, Pete launched Tatuaje Cigars, a premium boutique cigar brand with an eclectic line up of fantastic cigars such as the Tatuaje Monsters Series, Tatuaje Avion, and the Tatuaje T110
Cigar makers come from all walks of life. While some are born into the business, others had various career paths before finally finding a home in the cigar industry. Musicians such as Avo Uvezian, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo II, Rafael Nodal, and Pete Johnson have managed to find their own groove in the cigar business.  

Published on February 21, 2023
0 reviews
Your Rating
Send Review
Review sent successfully !
Be the first to rate this content!