That uniqueness extends to the blending process. Falto uses tobacco from Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Cameroon and, of course, the Dominican. He’s always on the hunt for rare tobaccos that “no one is using.” And he’s always working to challenge himself.
Take his newest cigar, for example. The Falto LJF Reserva de Fundador is Falto’s first box-pressed cigar and the first with his namesake. Using a Habana ’92 wrapper, an Ecuadorean Sumatra binder and a combination of Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, the Falto LJF took more than a year to develop.
“It’s a lot of trial and error when making all my cigars. Finding the right components and then the right wrapper and binder takes time. For the [Falto LJF], I went through 27 blends until I found the right one. It’s interesting; the 27th blend was a great cigar right off the roller’s table, but that 26th blend was a little stronger, so it wasn’t ready to smoke right away. I picked the 26th blend, knowing that after aging the flavors would marry together and mellow. It’s a great feeling when you get it right because you know you’ve put everything into it.”
And why box-pressed this time? “I don’t know. I wanted to do something different. It’s something to smoke myself that I hope others will enjoy. I just wanted something different.”
For more than two decades Falto has dedicated himself to something different: his unique ultraboutique philosophy. He laughs because when he started, people kept telling him he was crazy to limit himself to the one blend, one size idea.
“Now everyone is doing it,” he says. And even the threat of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations won’t deter his ultra-boutique approach. “I’m not too worried,” he says. “It’s going to affect everybody. I just have to comply. Right now I’m working on the placement of the warning on the boxes, but really everything is at a standstill because even the FDA doesn’t know what’s going on. Of course, I support the IPCPR, CAA [Cigar Association of America] and CRA’s [Cigar Rights of America] efforts. We’ll just need to wait and see what happens.”
Whatever happens, we can trust Falto will stay true to his brand. “Since the beginning, I am the only one that sells, distributes and represents my cigars,” he notes on his website. “Sometimes I say to myself that I smoke more than I sell. It remains a passion for me.”
This story first appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of Tobacconist magazine.
– Contributed by Greg Girard