Today I'm continuing the running series of 1 interview a week with a handful of people in the cigar industry who have been very supportive of me and my blog. These are in no particular order. Today brings us Clint Aaron of 262 Cigars and I'll be featuring the Paradigm.
DCB Question 1:
What was it that you made you decide you wanted to be a part of the cigar industry and how did you start?
CA: Let me start out by saying that we all remember our first cigar and our first kiss. My first cigar was an Ashton; I was 19, and it was the summer after my freshman year at college. My buddy and I went to a local cigar shop one day after work to pick up a cigar for the evening. We fired up the grill, threw on the steaks, and kicked back. We lit up after dinner, and I had no clue what I was doing. We began to smoke and began to solve the world's problems. The ensuing conversation is what drew me like a month to a flame. Fast-forward a few years... I was a staff accountant after college, and stuck in an office behind a computer and a 10-key all day. I knew that I missed my calling to be a rockstar, and I'm too tall to be a racecar driver, so I started a cigar company. I love the camaraderie and conversation that comes along with being a part of this industry. You can put 30 strangers in a room, give them a cigar, and watch the conversations and mingling begin. That is what I love.
262 is a boutique exclusive cigar brand. What is it about being a boutique exclusive that caused you to go that route versus internet and boutique?
CA: First let me say that I am a huge proponent of supporting small, local businesses. For me, cigar shops are notorious for people relaxing and enjoying conversation. This is what I love about the B&Ms. I love walking into a shop as a stranger and walking out with new friends. Cigar smokers are some of the friendliest people I know; the camaraderie is like none I've ever seen. I still love being able to walk into a humidor and have a tobacconist hand-sell me a cigar.
DCB Question 3:
Clint I've seen your tweets about the Lancero's you have coming out. What was it about the Lancero that caused you to want to introduce that particular vitola into your production?
CA: There is so much flavor in smaller ring gauge cigars. It seems crazy to release a lancero in the middle of the 6x60 trend, but our retailers were asking for them. They are a tricky cigar to roll, but when done correctly, they are a slice of Heaven.
DCB Question 4:
What is your favorite part of creating a cigar from scratch?
CA: I enjoy the process from start to finish. From selecting a name, designing artwork, the marketing campaign, the blending process, sampling our tasting panel to get their feedback, making necessary tweaks, and then receiving our shipment of finished product.
DCB Question 5:
What are you most excited about for 262 in 2012?
CA: I am most excited about the Manifesto launch this month. This was my way of giving back to the retailers that were there from the beginning that supported us as we were just getting into the industry. It's a limited run cigar that has been made available to 10 retailers that I have selected to carry it. It's coming out of Raices Cubanas and uses tobacco from Honduras, Indonesia, and Nicaragua. I'm also looking forward to our next release which should be here late fall 2012.
DCB: Thanks for your time and support of the blog Clint! It's been an honor to have this interview with you.
Today brings us the 262 Paradigm in a 4x52 Robusto vitola. 262 hasn't been around long but they have exploded onto the cigar scene with the great smokes they are putting out. They are a boutique only brand that honestly I can't keep my grubby fingers off of. The Paradigm is made in Honduras and features Nicaraguan and Colombian long fillers, a Honduran binder and sports a Brazilian wrapper. This med-full bodied cigar features notes of coffee, citrus, pepper and dark chocolate which provides a sweetness that finishes out the total balance that this well constructed cigar provides.