An Evening with Benji Menendez

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An Evening with Benji Menendez

Last week Benji Menendez was in town visiting both locations of W.Curtis Draper. Since I had to cancel my participation in the blogger trip with General Cigar down to the Dominican Republic I made plans with the folks at General to get time with Benji while he was visiting. I’ll be honest. I wasn’t sure what to say to this icon in the industry. Seriously, I’ve only been smoking since the end of the boom in the late 90’s. The man probably has underwear older than that. Luckily for me, the newest addition to the Draper family is George Brightman. George with his own history in the industry, Cigar Aficionado and Davidoff of Geneva to name a couple, decided to hold a conversation with Benji Menendez and allowed me to capture it to share. Its a fascinating discussion to hear Benji talk about his 60 years in the industry. From the Canary Islands to Brazil to Jamaica and finally to the Dominican Republic. Being from the boom generation of cigar smokers there was so much history that I was clueless about. I had no idea that Jamaica at one time was the gold standard for cigar production or that Montecruz has four decades of history behind it. I’m happy that I was able to document a little piece of history.


Part One is about 32 minutes with Part 2 at around 34 minutes. For your convenience, the full 64 minutes can be downloaded as an MP3 to be loaded on the device of your choice. Whichever format you choose, I hope you enjoy and learn a little bit of history from the vantage point of a industry icon. Thanks to Dan, Sharon, Benji, George and the Draper crew for allowing me and my camera to capture.

Part One

Part Two

Click Here for Full MP3 Version

Since today is my birthday and we are so close to Halloween I’ll share some of my treats with you. Want to try a pair (2) of the toro sized Partagas Master Series thats exclusive to W.Curtis Draper? Leave a comment and tell me something that you found interesting or informative from the discussion. I’ll pick a winner at random. To be eligible you must submit comment before 11:59pm (Eastern US) on Sunday, October 30th. You can also give W.Curtis Draper a call (800-572-2382) and see if they have any boxes (10 count) left. Tell em Stogie Review sent you. I believe the box runs around $120.


11 thoughts on “An Evening with Benji Menendez

  1. The interesting thing I thought was about growing the seed in different ”soils”, that would make the taste of the tobacco so different. That was a very informant video, thanks.

  2. Interesting discussion about the Romeo y Julieta cigar line as I just picked up some numero dos – the jury is still out on this cigar for me. I have to say – so far they are nowhere near the cuban version which I find to be very nice.

  3. Benji talking about the traits of Cuban Seed (vein structure, shape of the leaf, etc) was fascinating. Equally fascinating was his comments on aged tobacco.

    This was, hands down, some of the best cigar information that I’ve learned in a long time. I wish I could have been there and I really hope to see more video like this in the future.

    Well done guys

  4. Mr. Menendez talked about his successful in the cigar industry as a master blender. All of his cigars that he has blended. They’ve become the popular brand in the General Cigar Company. He have the golden touch. People in the Cigar Industry called him “Mr. Partagas” for the famous Partagas 150 Cigar as a second best cigar ever made in the world……

  5. This was extremely interesting, and I’m truly disappointed I couldn’t attend. Benji seems like a great, humble guy who, along with George, makes for a fascinating conversation.

    The history of Cameroon wrappers was very interesting. I didn’t realize how prevalent is used to be since now it’s considered “special”, more or less. The discussion about aging, blending, and growing tobacco was great, too. Thanks a lot for capturing this!

    – t

  6. Extremely interesting video, well done!

    For me what stood out most was the chronological change, in that a different region in the world seemed to dominate cigar (and tobacco) production, both in numbers, and more important to me, quality over the past two centuries. I did get a sense from what was said that there is a certain longing for the return to high quality rather than volume production (particularly in Cuba).

  7. First of all, Happy Birthday and once again, another great addition to the site with this video. I found it interesting that these two men had such an amazing wealth of knowledge about what goes into making a good smoke. I agree that it was most interesting learning how different soil, 50 miles one way or the other will drastically effect the quality and flavor of tobacco. Amazing video from an absolutely humble legend to the industry. Thanks Jerry.

  8. I’m going to have to say the part I found the lost interesting was the rise and decline of the Cameroon wrapper and just the description of how the same seeds in different soils change the flavor and taste. This was something I had know about but not this degree.

    Oh and BTW happy birthday

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