French and Spanish state monopolies
In 1926, France concentrated its tobacco industry into a single state-run monopoly called Service d'Exploitation industrielle des tabacs (SEIT). The production of matches (alumettes) was added to the state monopoly's purview in 1935 and the company was renamed SEITA.
Following the end of World War II, Spain similarly established a state-owned tobacco monopoly called Tabacalera, Sociedad Anonima, Compañia Gestora del Monopolio de Tabacos y Servicios Anejos, commonly known as Tabacalera.
Throughout the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, national markets were gradually opened up to the importation of foreign tobacco brands and the national tobacco monopolies of both France and Spain were weakened and gradually privatized, with SEITA employees losing status as civil servants in 1962 and the company losing both its monopoly of tobacco cultivation and tobacco sales by 1971.
Altadis also purchased Consolidated Cigar Corporation in the United States. Consolidated Cigar was a large purveyor of cigars such as the Dominican made editions of Romeo y Julieta and Montecristo.
Altadis also sells a range of prestige Cuban cigar brands, thanks to its acquisition of a 50% interest in the Cuban state tobacco monopoly, Habanos SA, in 2000.
In 2003, Altadis acquired the internet seller 800-JR Cigar, Inc., one of the largest cigar retailers in the United States.
On 18 July 2007, the board of Altadis backed a €16.2 billion offer for the company by Imperial Tobacco. The acquisition was cleared by the Spanish stock market regulator on 7 November 2007, paving the way for the creation of the world's fourth largest tobacco company. The acquisition was completed on 25 February 2008 with the delisting of Altadis from the Bolsa de Madrid.
Western Europe’s third largest cigarette manufacturer, Altadis produces and sells blond, regular and dark cigarettes. Its major markets include the United States, Spain and France.
In 2004, Altadis Group economic sales rose 3.9% to euro 3.518 million with a staff of 27 500 people.
If you have ever enjoyed a premium cigar, there’s a good chance you’ve enjoyed a cigar crafted by Altadis U.S.A. Responsible for many of the world’s most renowned brands including Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann, and Trinidad, Altadis U.S.A. has been crafting great cigars since 1918.
Over the years, Altadis U.S.A. has grown into one of the largest cigar manufacturers in the world and has gained access to the finest tobacco leaves from growers worldwide. This allows them to fulfill their mission to provide the highest quality products at the fairest prices. Across all their brands connoisseurs have come to enjoy the consistency and well-made construction that signify Altadis U.S.A. cigars and make their cigars some of the finest time and time again.
Today, Altadis U.S.A. operates production facilities in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Florida, and Richmond, Virginia and has production affiliations in Mexico and Nicaragua. The company employs over 5,000 employees worldwide and strives to provide them with an outstanding working environment.
In addition to handcrafting premium cigars, Altadis U.S.A. established the Montecristo Relief Organization in 1999 to raise funds for charities to bring renewed hope to victims devastated by hurricanes and other natural disasters. To date, the millions of dollars raised by the Organization has helped build homes, schools, and medical facilities, and provided scholarships and economic opportunities to victims of natural disasters in the Caribbean and the United States.We understand you have many choices when you visit your local tobacconist. We thank you for choosing our cigars and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy making them.
Meet the Cigar Masters
Get to know the world-renowned cigar masters who have blended some of the most popular brands around today.
VICE PRESIDENT & GENERAL MANAGER – TABACALERA DE GARCÍA. In the world of premium cigars, there is no more important figure than Master Blender José Seijas. With nearly 35 years’ experience, Seijas is responsible for creating some of the finest handmade cigars. These include Montecristo, the industry’s most recognized brand, H. Upmann; Romeo y Julieta; and Trinidad.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Seijas grew up with a drive to succeed, shaped by a passionate pursuit of excellence. The son of a local politician, Seijas studied industrial engineering in college, learning English from his textbooks.
At age 24, he went to work at Tabacalera de García, the world’s largest handmade cigar factory, analyzing crops and applying his engineering skills to the factory’s cost productivity and quality improvement. Over the years, José has personally pioneered some of the most important quality control innovations in the industry, guiding Tabacalera de García to a world leadership position in premium cigar making. Today, with the world’s finest tobaccos at his disposal, Seijas turns out singular blends characterized by an absolute consistency of taste and draw cigar after cigar.
The breadth of Seijas’s achievements is evident in the portfolio of award-winning cigar brands he has created. In addition to the legendary brands mentioned above, there is the superlative Mi Dominicana, a Dominican puro which the master describes as “the perfect smoke,” and “a tribute to my country and its people”; Onyx Reserve, which received a remarkable 94 rating; the luxurious and elegant Playboy cigar; the exquisitely crafted Cabinet Selección, a luxurious blend of rare and exclusive tobaccos; and the incomparable and elite Edición Limitada…to name only a few.
But it is the José Seijas Signature Series which is considered the culmination of the Master Blender’s obsession with perfection. Over the years, this cigar has garnered numerous accolades including Best Cigar Made in the Dominican Republic, one of Cigar Aficionado’s 25 Best Cigars of the Year, and Robb Report’s Best of the Best.
Exactly what makes a Seijas cigar so exceptional, so memorable aside from its extraordinary blend and consistent quality? Smoothness is a defining characteristic across the board for every one of his creations. His objective is for smokers to be able to appreciate the great full-flavored cigars he makes without overt harshness. Then you know you’re smoking a tremendous cigar,” he says. ”You know you’re smoking what’s going to be a classic.“
From the Warlock to his signature Omar Ortez line, Omar has carved out his place among great cigar men....
PRESIDENT – NUEVA MATACAPAN DE TABACOS. Alejandro Turrent was born into the cigar business. He is the fifth generation of the industry’s oldest and most esteemed family of cigar makers and tobacco growers. In 1880, his great-great-grandfather, Alberto Turrent I, emigrated from Cuba to Mexico’s fertile San Andrés Valley with a pocketful of Cuban tobacco seeds and founded the business that has become a cigar dynasty.
Today, Alejandro is President and co-owner, along with his father Alberto Turrent IV, of Nueva Matacapan de Tabacos, Mexico’s largest cigar makers and growers of tobacco. Among the cigars for which the factory has become known are the legendary Te-Amo brands, the sought-after Te-Amo World Selection Series and the highly regarded A. Turrent and A. Turrent Six Generations brands. The tobaccos grown by the Turrents on the family’s 2,000 acres are among the most prized in the industry, and are found in such prestigious brands as Montecristo, Macanudo, and Padron, to name a few. The Turrent’s San Andrés Morrón maduro wrapper leaf is considered by aficionados to be one of the finest available.
Alejandro’s first job in the cigar industry was an informal one. While attending college in Monterrey, he was surprised by lack of cigar connoisseurship in that area. So he began visiting the local retailers, educating them as to the pleasures of fine cigars and selling in the factory’s products. Business began to thrive.
After graduation, Alejandro went to work in the factory where he became immersed in all aspects of the business from the nurturing of the seedlings to the care and curing of the tobaccos to the blending and rolling of the cigars.
Now, at age 38, Alejandro Turrent is one of this generation’s most respected young cigar makers. His hallmark is innovation, but with a healthy respect for tradition. His creativity is in evidence in several new cigars of his creation.
In 2010 IPCPR to exceptional reviews, the A. Turrent Triple Play Puro Maduro is truly unique. Handmade at the famed La Flor de Copan factory in Honduras, this “triple maduro” cigar features the renowned San Andrés Morrón maduro wrapper along with premium, hand-selected maduro binder and filler tobaccos. The smoke is rich and luxurious. This is the “dream cigar” for lovers of fuller-bodied maduros.
Also launched at the 2010 IPCPR, Dos Familias (Two Families) by Ortez y Turrent is the culmination of the artistry and experience of Alejandro Turrent and famed Nicaraguan cigar maker Omar Ortez. Crafted in Nicaragua, and featuring the Turrents’ sought-after San Andrés Criollo wrapper, Dos Familias is beautifully constructed and loaded with intense, richly satisfying flavor.
Over the years, Alejandro has made frequent personal appearances at retail tobacconists across the nation to discuss cigars and introduce his factory’s new products to the patrons. His tours are always well attended by cigar lovers.
Alejandro currently resides in Mexico City with his wife and two children. With the birth of his son, it has become safe to say there will be a sixth generation of Turrents in the cigar business.
Don’t be surprised if you have never heard of cigar master Melo Bueso. There is no cigar that bears his name and no ad with his face, yet he is responsible for crafting some of the world’s most renowned cigars.
Bueso, part of the famed La Flor de Copan Cigar Factory team in Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras, has skillfully blended cigars for well-known brands, including Romeo y Julieta, Trinidad, H. Upmann, Gispert and Saint Luis Rey. The exceptional cigars rolled in the La Flor de Copan factory tend to have the distinct flavor and aroma of tobaccos produced in the western area of Honduras (used specially in the filler) that give these very aromatic cigars their smooth, sweet taste and medium body.
Now with over 20 years of experience in the cigar industry, Bueso recalls the early days, when he went to the La Flor de Copan factory every morning to participate in the daily tasting (one of the most important aspects of quality control), perfecting his skills until he was considered “one of the team.” Because of his heart and unyielding dedication, he was one of the quickest to earn the title of “expert taster.”
Bueso was appointed to the Board of Directors and later was hired as Consultant to the General Manager. After all this time, he still loves the cigar industry as much as he did on day one. He still loves overseeing the blends, taking part in the daily tasting, making the important decisions and, of course, keeping up with the latest trends in the tobacco industry.
Bueso’s family has a long history in the cigar industry. His great-great grandfather’s father was one of the first tobacco growers in Santa Rosa de Copan – a passion that was followed by his great-grandfather and his brother and by Bueso’s own father. His grandmother had a small cigar factory for years, and his uncle Jorge Bueso Arias was the founder of La Flor de Copan and one of the major tobacco connoisseurs from seed to cigar in Latin America.
Unlike some cigar masters, you might not recognize Melo Bueso if you passed him on the street, but the excellent cigars he crafts are unmistakable.