Leaf by Oscar started out as the house blend for Leaf & Bean in Pittsburgh. Owner Island Jim (Jim Robinson) had the idea for the blend while traveling with his friend Oscar Valladares in Copan, Honduras. At the time Oscar was working for another cigar company but was thinking about starting his own cigar factory.
After hearing this Island Jim asked Oscar to make the first cigars for his cigar shop in Pittsburgh. The first shipment was 5000 cigars. What was supposed to be a year supply were sold within the first month. Soon retailers were contacting Island Jim wanting to order Leaf by Oscar wholesale. After turning many people down he finally decided to start selling the Leaf by Oscar to other retailers. This was the beginning of one of the hottest selling cigars in 2016.
Other blends by Island Jim include the Island Jim and the Big Johnny.
Leaf by Oscar cigars seems like a gimmick cigar at first glance. A regular cigar is wrapped in a tobacco leaf with a cigar band holding it together. The unique appearance is an incredible hook to draw people in to try it. Once people try it they keep coming back for more. If there is a cigar industry award for best packaging Leaf by Oscar definitely should win it.
All Leaf by Oscar cigars are handmade in Honduras, banded with organic bands, and wrapped in a tobacco leaf. They are available in Toro (6 x 50) and Double Toro/Gordo (6 x 60).
Jim explained the concept on his Facebook page
“Oscar, Noel, Esteban. Three of the most talented, passionate, energetic people that I know. They all own their own cigar factories. All three have one thing in common, they make a cigar for Leaf and Bean. My label has two lines, first line is LEAF & BEAN, second is “BY” this 2nd line is important it tells us what factory the cigar is coming from. This is a project that I undertook to bring great cigars on a personal level to my consumers with a local twist. I know these guys, have spent many hours in their homes, factories and watering holes. Anybody that knows me, knows that I spend as much time in Honduras and Nicaragua as I do at home.
I am trying something new, trying to share their talent of blending and bringing home a unique cigar. I want to give each of these blenders an outlet to share with us a cigar that compliments their brands. I love these guys, they are the future leaders of our industry. When I asked them to make a blend for Leaf and Bean I left all decisions to them, I want their best, they are artist at work. I am so honored that all these guys have agreed to help me with this, I am just a little cigar shop in the middle of no where. We have in common, a passion for great cigars. These guys were picked because I know they already make great cigars and I want to give them an outlet to expand, to do something outside the box. Also I am maybe a little selfish, I recognize the talent and skills that they have and I know I am on the ground floor, OSCAR, ESTEBAN, NOEL.. all names of the future cigar world.
“NOEL, ESTEBAN, OSCAR! Three guys who have done it the hard way, now own their own cigar factories, three guys making cigars for them selves and others, three guys that are going places. I am proud to be associated with them.
“NOEL and ESTEBAN each own factories in Esteli. OSCAR has a factory in Danli.”
In another Facebook post Robinson explains the bands he chose for the leaf series
“Leaf and Bean Label. Our label is made from the same plant that makes the Tequila that some of us like to drink, NOT ME! I like Rum. The label is a handmade paper product. Get it wet and pretty much its gone, so for you wet smokers. I dont see us using any other kind of label for the Leaf and Bean line of cigars. Paper is locally made in Honduras. The colors you see in label are the actual flowers in the plant (Agave). Paper is made in little shop, this little shop is the livelihood for many families in Danli, without it they would not be able to support their families. No, its not shiny, its not embossed, its made of love. This label represents a family being able to put food on table for their kids. I like it.”
Leaf by Oscar Connecticut
Wrapper: Honduran Connecticut Puro
Leaf by Oscar Sumatra
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Leaf by Oscar Corojo
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo Puro
Leaf by Oscar Maduro
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Jalapa
Strength: Medium – Full
Excerpts from reviews around the web
” Buy it again? You bet. I think the packaging and marketing around this cigar is awesome and I cannot believe that no one had thought of it sooner. The flavor profile of the Connecticut stick is great with full flavor but yet a mild strength making this a great first stick of the day for me.” – Keeping Your Man Card
” The Leaf by Oscar (Connecticut) has a different quality to it than other Connecticut wrapped cigars. The heavy dose of sweet and tart and creamy are unique to this wrapper. If my memory serves me well, Connecticut cigars have been only mild earthy flavored. Rarely complex. And rarely full of bold character. ” – The Kat Man
” At first look, the cigar looks like a gimmick and maybe it still is. However, it doesn’t smoke like a gimmick and it is a stick that is worthy of humidor space. Normally I do not like Honduran tobacco in comparison to some other places it is grown, but the Leaf by Oscar doesn’t smoke like a Honduras made smoke. Rich and flavorful with superb construction this cigar delivers.” – The Cigar Authority
“My first ash lasted beyond the halfway point of this cigar, and the ash never fell again until I ended the smoke. The ash was bright white and heavy…even after falling to the concrete floor it remained in one large chunk and I was able to easily pick it up with my fingers. Very well done!” Blind Man’s Puff