Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars has a new master blender, as today the company announced that Cristano “Santo” Cardenas has recently joined the company and will oversee the operations of the Nicatabaco S.A. factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

The company issued a press release Thursday morning, citing Cardenas’ 55 years of experience in the Cuban cigar industry, where he began his career in 1960 with the H. Upmann brand at the Montecristo Factory. He then became the head of production of the Rey del Mundo factory before moving on to the well-known Partagás factory. He also served as a global ambassador for Cuban cigars, visiting over 30 countries for promotion and demonstrations.

Cristano Santo Cardenas - Roberto Duran - 1

“Santo Cardenas was one of my many influences when I started my career in tobacco, when he took me under his wing at the Partagas Factory,” Roberto P. Duran said via a press release. “Santo is known the world over, and I am only honored to be working alongside one of my mentors. My goal with Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars was to create the type of cigar that I enjoyed in Cuba. Having Santo on the team only ensures that our product will go beyond even my standards.”

Santo Cardenas said: “After many years of working with tobacco, my craft is still my passion. I am happy to once again work alongside my old friend and student, Roberto. This new beginning with Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars, gives me the opportunity to share my passion with a wider audience.”

(Images courtesy of Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars)

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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, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.