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Interview with Sean Williams of Cohiba

Interview with Sean Williams of Cohiba

When you onboarded with General Cigar, how was their factory different from what you were used to?

Well I had worked with a number of different factories before and I’d learned to appreciate that every factory is different… from how they process and condition their tobacco to little nuances in their production methods. The big thing I was struck with at our facilities when I first visited was the scale at which we operated and still be able to work in these little subtle differences in the production approach to the different brands! 

The domestic Cohiba brand has seen increased appeal in the last few years.  What have you focused on with the brand to achieve this?

Well thanks for the kudos, but I certainly can’t take too much credit! LOL The brand has been a juggernaut for while… I’ve just been able to personalize for people a bit more.  I’ve also been able to talk about the blend profiles more with the consumer and also work with our factories to expand the blend profiles as well. 

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Making time with a Macassar #CohibaMacassar #CohibaCigars #TheCohibaDifference

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I’ve been a personal fan of the Spectre series, and it’s neat to see the changes each year.  What is the concept for annual Spectre releases?

Glad you dig it! The Spectre project is definitely one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve ever been able to work on.  With that said, it’s easily the most difficult.  When I first came on board with the company, there was a concept within the brand of what was literally referred to as a “ghost” cigar in that it was extremely limited with super rare tobaccos, and it was literally a secret project within the company.  I think it was (maybe) due to competition amongst the brands within the company that it was being kept a secret.  With that said, it was only a concept that was kicked around between the Senior Brand Manager and the VP of Marketing.   

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This never gets old.... #CohibaCigars #Esteli #Nicaragua

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That changed on my very first trip down to our facilities the DR when I saw this lone bale of tobacco wrapped in tercios with this crazy brown patina! It was a bale of Piloto Cubano from 1995 and I went bananas!  Once I got back to the factory that evening and teed it up with the guys there, we were off to the races… That was the foundation for the very first Spectre which led to a very specific production and aging process and a major undertaking in packaging design as well.

What’s a day in the life of Sean Williams like?

Well obviously, my days are quite different now as I would expect it is for many of us.  For the most part though, my days are pretty busy.  Much of it is spent on calls and video meetings with the brand team, sales reps, and our event coordinator.  We’ve been getting very creative with virtual events and engagements with retailers.  I typically have 3-4 of them a week and being there’s some admin stuff for them behind the scenes that I’m particularly hands on with.  

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Easing into the evening at @maxamar_ultimate_cigars MaxamarUltimateCigars #CohibaCali #CohibaCigars #MaxamarUltimateCigars #theoc

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I’ve also had plenty of time to burn through a number of test blends we’re working on for the Cohiba portfolio as well as some of the company’s other brands as well.  Aside from that it’s household and family stuff, which has taken on a different flavor now LOL! The work environment gets pretty interesting with everything going on.

The name Cohiba commands a certain respect in the cigar world.  What do you say to people that refuse to try a non-Cuban Cohiba?

If that person doesn’t smoke any non-Cubans, then they’re probably not a serious cigar lover so there’s not much to talk about.  If, however, they enjoy a variety of cigars then we can talk about the amazing variety of tobaccos that are in our cigars and the distinct blend profiles our lineup has to offer. If they truly dig cigars, then we have something that they’re going to want to light up.

The Cohiba Royale release is something we’ve been waiting on with bated breath for a while now.  How would you describe this cigar’s characteristics to someone that’s never smoked it?

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This is gonna be fun... #CohibaRoyale #TheMarkerHasBeenMoved #CohibaCigars #TheCohibaDifference

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The Royale is for the avid cigar lover.  It’s certainly balanced enough for a newbie but it’s a fuller body profile.  Its more in line with a heavy Nicaraguan blend – and that’s by design with the Broadleaf Jalapa wrapper and Fillers from Nicaragua and Honduras.

What are three things that most people don’t know about you? 

  • I coach my daughter’s basketball team
  • When I’m not on the road I’m a homebody
  • I grew up playing the Tuba and played Bass Guitar in church LOL

What can Cohiba fans expect over the next 12-18 months?

Heat! We’re bringing heat!


Interview with Cohiba Cigars' Sean Williams


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