The Continued Adventures of Colossus: An Exclusive Interview with Jeremy Nicholas Casdagli

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Εγγραφή: Σάβ Φεβ 03, 2018 10:43 am

The Continued Adventures of Colossus: An Exclusive Interview with Jeremy Nicholas Casdagli

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Dear cigar friends, both in Greece and worldwide,

Our journey through the lands of the blue smoke continues. Today we are honoured to host one of "our own people" who is behind a constantly rising brand name, that is slowly gaining recognition in the conscience of cigar aficionados around the world.

Here we have a special guest, even with a totally Greek name and family origins, Mr Jeremy Nicholas Casdagli, founder and co-owner of Casdagli Cigars, whom we thank deeply for accepting our invitation to offer us this exclusive interview.

Addressing the members and readers of Cigarsforum.gr, Mr Casdagli talks about his family's story, he describes his personal journey in the world of cigars since his first steps up until today and he shares his plans and dreams for the future with us.

He talks about the philosophy behind Casdagli Cigars and their presence in various markets, the consequences of the pandemic in the cigar industry, his favourite Cuban cigars and of course, his relationship with his ancestors' home. In the end, he even shares the happy news of the upcoming release of the Casdagli Cigars in Greece.

Dear Mr Casdagli, our friend Jeremy, thank you so much for affording us your time and the honour of interview you for our community.

- This interview is also published in the international section of the forum (English speaking)

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1. CF: Could you please tell us about your first steps in the cigar planet?

JNC: At the age of 13 at our boarding school end of winter term dinner. I think it was a short filler from Holland. They were passed around to all the boys ... ahhh those were the days ... I was a sick as a dog! But in the terms of the world of premium cigars this was when I journeyed to Havana, Cuba from Kingston, Jamaica in 1996. The Morgan Harbour Hotel in Kingston wished for me to bring back Cohiba Esplendidos from Cuba for the Hotel. The Journey started...

2. CF: Your portfolio has increased in size remarkably over the years. You have introduced new series of cigars with different blends. Has this step been taken to cover the demands of the modern market or is it much more a part of Casdagli Cigars vision?

JNC: Well, the answer is yes to both. New blends and lines are needed to keep your brand relevant in the marketplace. I cannot count the number of times each month when I am asked: „What new things have you got coming this year?”. The vision of the company is always to expand the range but without compromising the quality and uniqueness of the flavours that we push our partnered Master Blenders to achive.

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3. CF: If you had a way to describe all your cigars and your philosophy, what would that be?

JNC: Casdagli Cigars’ philosophy matches our tagline – to deliver luxury, elegance, and tradition. Our ambition is to (offer cigars that) enliven and feed the smoker’s imagination of the life’s glory, grandeur, and dignity. This we do by anchoring our brand to the rich Casdagli family trading history.

4. CF: How many different cigars series have you currently got it production and also how many people do you currently have under employment in your business?

JNC: We currently have 5 cigar lines in production and 1 extra line being launched this Summer. Currently we have 3 employees directly employed in Estonia and 2 more under a monthly retainer. Also, we are directly involved with our distributor in the USA, The Bespoke Company, which is dedicated solely to Casdagli Cigars.

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5. CF: What are 3 key things that go into making a new blend?

JNC: Inspiration, experience and a damn fine Master Blender.

6. CF: Are you satisfied with the current status of your cigars in the European market? What has been the response you've received so far in the USA and the rest of the markets?

JNC: So far, every market we have entered has been a success for us. It’ s understandable that certain markets have favourits over others. For instance, the Daughters of the Wind Line has already shown great success in the USA & the Middle East but it’ s perhaps too expensive for New Zealand, where the Rosetta shines. Our iconic Cotton Tail and Grand Café of our Traditional line have been a huge hit whichever market they enter. Our only regret is that currently we are poorly represented in the Southern European countries where we are yet to gain a distributor.

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7. CF: Based on the market’s current conditions, do you think a mediocre or basic cigar would succeed in selling big, especially when it’s backed up by a consistent and costly marketing strategy?

JNC: Well, I think you could find examples of that happening. But then you have to also look at the price point. One man’s mediocre cigar can be another mans go to cigar if it is priced within his budget. If you are talking about premium long filler cigars mediocracy can be very subjective.

8. CF: If you could pick three cigars from all your labels that are special to you, which would these three be? And why?

JNC: Very difficult question. All the cigars we produce have been personally selected by me with much consideration. All our cigars are successfully enjoyed in one market or another. So it’ s rather like asking me to choose which would be my favourite high performing child... you see I love them all. But if I had to choose then: the Grand Café of the Traditional Line - the first cigar blend put together for me by Hendrik Kelner Jr – definitely a EUREKA moment, the Cremello of the Daughters of the Wind Line and the Rosetta of the Cabinet Selection. You see, I love Lanceros, definitely my favourite vitola. So that explains the first 2 and the Rosetta as an always go to quick smoke being embraced by an 18 year old binder leaf - delicious.

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9. CF: What is the most guaranteed path that can lead a "small" Boutique Brand to success and the establishment of it within the global market?

JNC: Stick by your values and never sell out.

10. CF: Who you think is/are the most “inspired” tobacco blenders in the cigar industry today outside of Cuba?

JNC: Without doubt Hendrik Kelner Jr who creates most of our cigar lines. He worked with his father, the famous Hendrik Kelner “Henke“ of Davidoff fame, for 19 years and since starting his KBF factory in the Dominican Republic has accumulated a fascinating array of rare tobaccos. He would be embarrassed for me to call him the best as there are so many wonderful blenders to be found in our industry but I would not have my cigars made by him if I did not personally believe this to be the case. Also, we are soon to launch our 6th line of cigars and the Master Blender behind that line is Don Olman Guzman from Costa Rica. He has just recently stunned me with some of the samples he has put together for me so watch this space.

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11. CF: The original production of Casdagli Cigars in 1990s was produced in Cuba, 100% hand rolled by the master torcedor Carlos Valdez Mosquera, «based on the Hoyo de Monterrey blend», like we read in one of your interviews. Based on your experience, what do you consider as being different between Cuban and non-Cuban cigars (if there is any difference), with regards to the quality of the tobacco leaves but also with the level of production? Have you ever considered or been intrigued by the thought of making a cigar by blending together Cuban and non-Cuban tobacco? Do you think this would be of any real interest?

JNC: The main difference is that the shear amount of different tobaccos from differing terroirs that are available to non-Cuban producers necessarly leads to more complexity and varience of profiles than Cuban tobaccos which was primarily restricted to the Vuelta Abajo area. As for the quality of production I think most can agree that since the early 2000s Cuban levels of production and quality of construction of the premium cigars have regrettably reduced. As for the reasons for this? Well, one just has to look at the economics of socialism vs profit driven private enterprise to explain this. Cuban tobacco is of course wonderful and to be able to have the chance to blend it with the best Nicaraguan, Dominican, Peruvian, etc would be of great interest naturally. Hopefully one day soon this can happen.

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12. CF: We assume that you also like Cuban cigars, therefore could you share with us which are your favourite brands/vitolas that you really enjoy smoking?

JNC: Back in the mid 1990s my favourite used to be Hoyo De Monterrey Double Corona. A great cigar to start a day in Havana. Nice and gentle sweetness to start and slowly building up body and richness to lead you onto your next cigar of the day. I used to love the Hoyo De Monterrey Le Hoyo Du Gourmet but they are very difficult to find these days. Generally now I like the smaller format cuban cigars.

13. CF: What is that you usually pair your cigar with? Any special or favourite drink maybe?

JNC: My 3 favourite pairings: a beautiful coffee, Habana Club Añejo con hielo, Bourbon Old Fashioned.

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14. CF: How is the cigar industry being impacted by coronavirus pandemic? Your thoughts about the future of tobacco industry amidst of covid-19?

JNC: Demand seems to have gone up! I guess cigar lovers are finding more time to enjoy their favourite smokes. But the biggest negative impact has been the logistical nightmare caused by the lack of shipping possibilities. Cargo costs have risen by up to 300% primarily due to the closure of many airline routes. The immediaite future of the premium cigar business looks very positive. In fact, currently there is a cigar boom.

15. CF: What do you choose to spend your free time?

JNC: Well, I have two young children and a wonderful wife that I love to spend my time with of course. I don’t have too much time these days for the other great love of my life which is scuba diving. I am an avid reader of history books. I love painting toy soldiers for my young boy and am currently creating come chess sets where I link my love of history to a new line of cigars that will appear in 2022.

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16. CF: What are your plans and your dreams for the future?

JNC: To expand my cigar and accessory brands to new markets giving me a damn good excuse to see even more of the world and share my cigar passion with even more strangers in the strange lands. One day I would love to see my children become a part of the business if they were so interested.

17. CF: Are you close to Greece or do you keep in touch with people there, have you paid a visit recently? Would you perhaps like to add something especially for the Greek aficionados?

JNC: Of course, I feel close to the Greek people due to our family history. Our brand emblem, the Colossus of Rhodes, was registered by our Greek trading family in 1885. I have been in frequent communication with John Pappas of Smoke Cigars Emporium & Lounge Glyfada & Mykonos. Together we plan to launch Casdagli Cigars in Greece this year. I can’t wait to be back and have a smoke with the Greek BOTL & SOTL in a country where my family has so much history.

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These users thanked the author Τάκης for the post (total 9):
AssosTournesolsuleygiannisPetranVr Andreasnikos docSvenskalexandroslefteris c
papa was a rolling stone...
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suleygiannis
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Εγγραφή: Τρί Φεβ 06, 2018 7:28 pm

Re: The Continued Adventures of Colossus: An Exclusive Interview with Jeremy Nicholas Casdagli

Δημοσίευση από suleygiannis »

Great interview Mr Casdagli.
Thank you for your time
Ρε μαν ρε μπρο
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Petran
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Εγγραφή: Πέμ Φεβ 08, 2018 3:28 pm

Re: The Continued Adventures of Colossus: An Exclusive Interview with Jeremy Nicholas Casdagli

Δημοσίευση από Petran »

Many thanks to Mr Casdagli for the amazing interview!!! 8-)
Tο "πούρο" είναι κάτι πολύ (και πολλά) περισσότερο από ένα πούρο
Τάκης, Έλληνας Aficionado
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Εγγραφή: Σάβ Φεβ 03, 2018 10:43 am

Re: The Continued Adventures of Colossus: An Exclusive Interview with Jeremy Nicholas Casdagli

Δημοσίευση από Τάκης »

I'd like to express my thanks to Mr Jeremy Casdagli as well as to Ms. Triine Casdagli from here too
for the quick acceptance of the invitation and their willing help throughout all the stages of the interview.

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papa was a rolling stone...
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Greekos
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Εγγραφή: Πέμ Μάιος 31, 2018 11:03 am

Re: The Continued Adventures of Colossus: An Exclusive Interview with Jeremy Nicholas Casdagli

Δημοσίευση από Greekos »

Thank you to the Casdagli family for give my us such a great interview ! Great insight!

To all the team thanks for making it happen, we really appreciate your efforts!
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sigaras
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Εγγραφή: Δευ Νοέμ 26, 2018 9:30 am

Re: The Continued Adventures of Colossus: An Exclusive Interview with Jeremy Nicholas Casdagli

Δημοσίευση από sigaras »

What a wonderful interview!!!! Thanks a lot Jeremy. We hope to cu soon in Athens!!
" κι έγιναν τα πάθη μας καπνός..."
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Svensk
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Εγγραφή: Κυρ Φεβ 11, 2018 11:35 pm

Re: The Continued Adventures of Colossus: An Exclusive Interview with Jeremy Nicholas Casdagli

Δημοσίευση από Svensk »

Thank you mister Casdagli for this great interview.
Το πούρο είναι η θεραπεία μου
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alexandros
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Εγγραφή: Πέμ Φεβ 08, 2018 4:31 pm

Re: The Continued Adventures of Colossus: An Exclusive Interview with Jeremy Nicholas Casdagli

Δημοσίευση από alexandros »

Many thanks for your time Mr Casdagli
Great interview
οὔτε γὰρ ἄρχειν οὔτε ἄρχεσθαι ἐθέλω
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