Hirochi Robaina is partnering with La Palina Cigars, according to an announcement made on the company’s Facebook page on Friday. His role has not yet been announced, nor has a cigar project for the immediate future. Bill Paley, founder of La Palina Cigars, tells halfwheel that Robaina is not an employee of the company, but rather the two will be working on new brands in the future.

“I’m thrilled…I think it’s going to be a great collaboration,” Paley said.

The move comes in advance of the IPCPR Convention and Trade Show, which kicks off July 17 in New Orleans, La. and just about a year since last year’s trade show, where Robaina made his U.S. debut with Cubanacan, who was producing the HR cigar. Robaina spent a good portion of the past year touring the U.S. in support of the release.

It remains to be seen what will happen with that cigar, but the trademark for HR 1845 is registered to Cuba Tianzhiyuan Robaina Cigars Co., Limited, with a listed correspondence address in Houston, Texas. Paley made it clear that the brand belongs to Robaina and its future is ultimately up to him.

Paley told halfwheel that Robaina will be operating out of The La Corona Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, which is owned by Omar González Alemán. It’s the same factory that produced Cubanacan’s brands, as well as the HR Habano. It will be there that new brands for La Palina will be developed. He noted that he has no plans to move any existing La Palina brands to La Corona.

Robaina will be attending the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show next week in New Orleans and will be part of the La Palina booth, but the HR line will not be for sale through La Palina. According to Paley, it will continue to exist, with retailers directed to contact Robaina directly.

Robaina is well known for being the grandson of Alejandro Robaina, the legendary Cuban tobacco farmer who grew some of the country’s best tobacco at his farm, Cuchillas de Barbacoa, in San Luis, Pinar del Río. Hirochi maintains a residence at the farm but also travels extensively in support of his cigars.

Requests for comment from Cubanacan were not immediately returned.

Davidoff is the official sponsor of halfwheel's coverage of the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.