Over the last couple of days, the internet has been buzzing with the news that Sam Leccia and Oliva have parted ways. Some wondered if this was some sort of publicity stunt to promote Studio Tobac, some wondered if Studio Tobac was a quick replacement for Sam, and others were simply stunned by the news.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Dave Wagner, National Sales Manager at Oliva, on Friday to talk a bit about what has been going on. Dave was kind enough to answer my questions as well as provide additional information regarding Studio Tobac.
What is Studio Tobac
Studio Tobac is what is being described as “Oliva’s Alter-Ego“. The project is a means for Oliva to expand its product offerings in a fun and unique manner. I am told that some of the things that we will see are the cigars that some of the Oliva higher-ups have been known to carry around for personal consumption (Such as the Oliva Serie V Diadema that I love mooching off of Dave whenever I bump into him).
Is Studio Tobac a Replacement for Sam Leccia
When I asked Dave the obvious question, Is “Studio Tobac a replacement for Sam Leccia”, he explained that it was not. He went on to tell me that Studio Tobac has existed for some time without any official title. Meetings would be held over wine and food while new cigars were being discussed and sampled. Some made the cut, some did not. This, in a nutshell, was the Studio Tobac think-tank in action.
Over the weekend I was visiting my father when he pointed me towards an interview with Jose Oliva. The interview is in the latest Cigar.com catalog (November II 2010, Page 32). In that interview Jose talks about Studio Tobac, in which he states that the group is made up “Several Olivas, Bryan Scholle, Dave Wagner, and Sam Leccia.” The interview was conducted before Sam’s parting, but it shows that had things gone as planned, Sam would have been included in Studio Tobac.
Studio Tobac will have an executive board as well as a separate board of advisors. These advisors will consist of people outside of the company that will be called upon for their opinion. In addition to sampling test blends, their opinions will help craft what passes through the doors of Studio Tobac and enters your local cigar shop.
Will Nub and Cain be leaving with Sam?
While Sam was the man associated with both Nub and Cain, the cigars are owned by Oliva. As a result, both lines will remain with Oliva and continue to be produced. When asked what would happen with the Cain literature portraying Sam’s photograph and the Nub boxes donning Sam’s signature, Dave was unable to give me an answer. The situation came about rather quickly and as a result, all of the details have yet to be ironed out.
Despite the situation unfolding rather quickly, you can expect to meet Sam at the remaining Nub / Cain events in the current tour. The last event takes place in Northern California towards the end of November. I’m told that if you attend one of these events, it will be business as usual and you are sure to have a good time.
Will there be a Studio Tobac Tour?
There will be a Studio Tobac tour which is schedule to kick off in February. Much like the current Nub / Cain tour, consumers can expect to find a high energy atmosphere with lots of cigars to choose from. While I do not know what the cigars are, I’m told that a six cigar sampler will be available at the events. In addition, Dave lead me to believe that anyone that asked for something special at the Big Smoke in Las Vegas may receive a peek at what Studio Tobac has to offer.
In the beginning, there was the Nub Mini Cooper. Then there was the Cain Chopper. Now there is the Studio Tobac Corvette. I’m told that the car will not be trailered from event to event, it will instead be driven. Some of the specs on the car can be found below.
2011 Corvette Grand Sport Convertable with the Heritage Package
3.2 Liter V8 with 430 horsepower with 424lbs of torque
0-60 in just under 4 seconds
Cyber grey in color, red accent stripes, two tone black and red leather seats
Car will be touring the country and will be at every US Studio Tobac Tour event in 2011 and will be given away when the tour concludes. The winner will be able to pick the car up at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY and will receive the “Corvette Experience” which includes (taken from http://www.corvettemuseum.com/experience/index.shtml):
Corvette owners now have the opportunity to participate in the “NCM Xperience” – a new program that offers owners a unique experience with their Corvette at the National Corvette Museum. Corvette owners can schedule a special visit to the Museum, where their Corvette receives an exterior cleaning and is then displayed on the floor of the Museum delivery area, similar to the highly requested R8C Program.
Guests are given a VIP plant tour and Museum tour as part of the program, and are also given a one-year individual membership to the Museum, commemorative plaque, silver decal recognizing participation in the program, and an individual photograph in front of the Museum – weather permitting.
In addition to the Corvette, Studio Tobac has teamed up with Richard “HutcH” Hutchings to create a limited number of custom, hand made, cutters. The core of these cutters will be the Xikar Xi3 Body with carved handles featuring color artwork. One cutter will be given away at each of the events.