Welcome to the latest installment of Cigar Cafe Radio. Today we have a special guest with us, Patrick Vivalo owner of Vivalo Cigar Co. Lane, Sean and Harris are here with you this week as usual.
Lane and Harris are smoking the Vivalo Robusto during the the show.
- How did you get into the Cigar Business?
Patrick Vivalo: I started off working in a retail store in Naples many years ago. I’ve loved everything about it since then. I started with Rocky Patel Cigar Co. in 2002 and did everything there from in house sales to leading factory tours to a little blending. While leading factory tours in Honduras I came up with the Vivalo blend as something to smoke while on the trips. I’ve been smoking this blend for years. I’ve been smoking cigars overall for 18 + years. I am very excited, honored and humbled to get the chance to launch my own cigar company. I don’t want to have any regrets so I am going for it.
- What made you want to start your own cigar company?
Patrick Vivalo: It’s something I have always wanted to do. I love cigars and the industry. Its a great industry to be part of. I love blending flavors whether its cooking, with whiskey or cigars. Rocky and I are still on great terms its just something I have wanted to do and he was very supportive. The cigar industry is like a brotherhood.
- Tell us a little about Vivalo Cigars…What makes them special?
Patrick Vivalo: Each size was blended to taste a little different. I tweaked the filler ratio of each blend. Each cigar has a different profile. The band is very simple and elegant. I want the cigar to speak for itself. The band is made of wine stock paper giving it a unique look and feel.
- What else are you interested in other than cigars?
Patrick Vivalo: I love craft beer, cooking, bourbon etc. I have written whiskey reviews for cigar press for the last three years. I love pairing different wines and whiskeys with cigars. I love red wine with maduro wrapper cigars and a good whiskey with a habano or sumatra wrapper cigar. Also Coffee with a cigar in the morning.
- Do you have any plans to create an infused cigar?
Patrick Vivalo: Not at this time. I want to focus on what I think I can do well.
- What are your thoughts on the looming FDA regulations to be released possibly this summer?
Patrick Vivalo: Everyone should be well aware of what is coming. It is a big deal. It is very scary starting a new company just before the new regulations are released. Definitely takes balls. I think the regulation could go either way (good or bad). In July something will definitely happen.
- Do you think Cuba will open up soon? If so is that good or bad for the cigar industry
Patrick Vivalo: My first Cuban cigar was a Partagas serie D no.4 it was great. That was a long time ago. I think the Cuban Cigar industry is a shell of what it was. I think Cuba opening up will be good for the US based cigar companies. Probably creating another boom like we saw in the 90’s. People want what they can’t have. Cuban cigars are the forbidden fruit. I think once they are available people will definitely try them but quickly realize the $30-$40 price range is just to much for the Cohiba, Monte #2 etc then they will explore other brands. It will be great to get new people interested in cigars. Look at Cigar Journal based in Europe, most of their top rated brands are non cuban cigars. This is a big change from 10 years ago. People are branching out.
- What are some other cigars you really like other than your own?
Patrick Vivalo: Rocky Patel 15th, Erik Espinosa cigars, anything from Pete Johnson. I really love pairing the Liga Privada 9 with a bourbon or the Liga Privada T52 with a heavy scotch like Laphroaig.
- Vivalo “Serie Exclusivo” is a cigar made up of 100% “Grade A” tobacco from the Esteli and Jalapa regions in Nicaragua.
- Patrick Vivalo, one of the more well-known sales executives at Rocky Patel Premium Cigars and the creator of the Vivalo Serie Exclusivocigar line, has announced that he will be leaving the company on Feb. 27 and formally launching his own cigar brand, Vivalo Cigars, on March 1.
- Vivalo was most recently in charge of in-house sales for Rocky Patel. He joined the company in 2002.
- “I have always waited for the day to do my own thing and the day is finally here,”
- I just want to make great cigars for people to enjoy. After that, I don’t know much else to say except that I hope people enjoy my creations!”
- On the cigar side, it was a cigar that he had blended for himself at the company’s Honduran production facilities that caught the attention of two retailers, Tinder Box of Waldorf, Md. and Dan’s Cigar Lounge in Rosadale, Md. Vivalo often led factory tours and it was after trying it on a visit to the factory, the two shops contacted the company about carrying the cigar as an exclusive, and Nish Patel approached him about making it happen. The release was announced in April 2013, and
- while Rocky Patel Premium Cigars produced the Vivalo Serie Exclusivo, Vivalo retained the rights to his name.
- In September 2014, his eponymous cigar line went national and expanded to a total of five vitolas, as the original Vivalo Serie Exclusivo Lonsdale (6 x 44) was joined by a 5 1/2 x belicoso, 4 7/8 x 50 robusto, 6 x 60 gordo and 5 1/2 x 54 robusto grande, all of which are sold in boxes of 20.
- The cigars are a blend of a Jalapa Colorado shade wrapper from Nicaragua, binder from Estelí, Nicaragua, and Nicaraguan filler from Estelí and Jalapa.