Paul Palmer-Fernández, president of Casa Fernandez, recently sat down to talk about what’s new with the company as a whole, which includes the Danlí, Honduras-based Raíces Cubanas.

Casa Fernandez/Tabacalera Tropical will be unveiling a Maduro version of its JFR 770 cigar, most likely in April. It will use a San Andrés Maduro wrapper as opposed to the Habano Maduro used on the other vitolas due to the need for a larger leaf. When asked if he anticipates making a bigger vitola than the 7 x 70, he said he didn’t think so, but expects to see other companies coming out with 7 x 70 vitolas.

He also mentioned that sales of the 770 have been very strong – he made 1,000 30-count boxes for IPCPR 2011 and ended up selling 1,800. He said he expects to make around 2,000 boxes of the Maduro version.

Looking ahead towards IPCPR 2012 in August, he expects to release two more sizes in the Casa Fernandez Reserva Miami line, as well as a Maduro version of the Casa Fernandez Aganorsa Leaf that will be available in the same three sizes as the current line: Robusto, Toro and Torpedo.

Things at their Miami factory are going very well since opening last summer, with total production expected to be around 275,000 cigars for the year. The headlining cigar coming out of the factory is the Casa Fernandez Miami Toro, as well as a limited number of private label projects. The factory isn’t open to the public, though customers have been known to stop by on occasion. Palmer said there seems to be a mystique about cigars made in Miami among consumers, with a significant portion telling him that Miami-made cigars taste better than similar cigars made elsewhere.

The Miami factory hasn’t alleviated the workload at Fabrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. in Honduras. Palmer said that factory is operating at capacity and with the success of several lines made there, including Alec Bradley, Illusione, Viaje and others, they have plenty of work to keep them busy.

While he didn’t go into specifics, he did rave about some of the upcoming projects from Viaje, and spoke very highly of André Farkas’ design ability and aesthetic.

Finally, he confirmed that the Viaje Friends and Family cigars were made at Raíces Cubanas. This had been one of the many secrets of that line.

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 the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.