Serino Cigars stormed the cigar market in 2016 with four cigars, sixteen facings, and an ambitious strategy: launch a brand with a cigar catered to every type of cigar smoker. From the mild to the full-bodied enthusiast, Serino set out to capture the hearts and minds of the American smoker.
Riding the wave of the much-anticipated Wayfarer release, we were lucky enough to be able to sit down with Carson Serino and discuss all things Serino Cigars. What follows is some Q&A with the man himself!
Your family has been in tobacco for a long time. What’s the history behind Serino Cigars?
It all started about 22 years ago when my father sold his video rental business because he fell in love with cigars and wanted to be involved with the cigar industry. After seeing a gap in the market for value priced boxes/bundles he decided this is where he would start. He then contracted different factories to create these brands as well as opened a couple of retail stores in South Florida. Some of my favorite and earliest cigar memories come from his retail stores. Helping check in all the new brands and learning about all the different cigar regions attached to those brands were some of my most memorable cigar moments.
As the business grew, we closed-down the retail stores and decided to focus solely on manufacturing. After stabilizing the manufacturing side of value priced brands and with me graduating college, my father and I decided we wanted to create a super-premium brand that walked the line of tradition and innovation. We decided that we would search until we found the absolute perfect person to partner with for what we were trying to accomplish, for they also had to be vertically integrated.
It took a couple years of touring many farms and factories until we met Omar Gonzalez-Aleman and his La Corona Factory, but the moment we stepped foot in La Corona we knew this is who we wanted to work with.
What’s it like working with someone like Omar Gonzalez-Aleman?
Working with Omar and La Corona is a dream come true for me. I truly see myself as a student of tobacco, and I always want to keep furthering my knowledge of the leaf and sharpening my craft.
Omar has just so much knowledge from previously running La Corona in Havana, Cuba – I learn new things from him every day. La Corona is family and I’m grateful to be working with such a talented team.
You just launched the Serino Wayfarer. Please share with us a little about this project:
I’ve learned that every great manufacturer brings something unique to the table. For Wayfarer, I wanted to blend off of an experience. I developed Wayfarer while backpacking through Iceland over the winter. In the few cigar shops of Iceland they mainly sell the Cuban staples, so I took 3 weeks and redeveloped my love for the Cuban profile. I found it to be enjoyable no matter what situation I was in whether it was after breakfast in the morning or at the end of a late-night hike to see the Northern Lights after dinner.
They were always enjoyable and approachable due to their medium body and complex profile. I came back stateside determined to blend something similar. I wanted a medium-bodied cigar I could enjoy anytime with changing nuances.
What I learned most from this project is blending a cigar with purpose. Having a clear vision of what I wanted from a blend and going after it. This was also the first time I’ve had full control of the presentation and design. I’ve always loved cigar bands and boxes so it was special to be able to brand a project that suited my style.
Let’s talk about the full array of Serino Cigars. What is the blender's intent, which fictional character would they be, and what would you suggest to pair them with?
Sweet. Let’s do it!
Serino Royale Connecticut:
Our intent was tradition - to create a flavorful Connie with the Connecticut shade’s pedigree in mind.
Royale Connecticut's fictional character: Marty McFly. A blast from the past taken to the modern age? Back to the future.
Pairing suggestion: I like pilsner’s and juicy IPA’s for this cigar.
Serino Royale Medio:
We wanted to create a complex medium to full habano that was a cedar, vanilla, and chocolate bomb.
Royale Medio's fictional character: Indiana Jones. An adventure filled with awesomeness.
Pairing suggestion: Pair it up with a cappuccino or a sweet rum.
Serino Royale Maduro:
The intent for this cigar was to create a larger Maduro for large gauge smokers that was specifically made for them. Less refined than our other lines, full of spice with a slight chocolate finish to balance it off.
Royale Maduro's Fictional character: The Incredible Hulk.
Pairing suggestion: Nitro stout or cold brew are delights with this cigar!
"I truly see myself as a student of tobacco, and I always want to keep furthering my knowledge of the leaf and sharpening my craft." -Carson Serino
Serino Royale Maduro XX:
For the Maduro XX, we created a refined and balanced Oscuro experience for the medium-full cigar smoker. Tons of flavor and complexities layered with refinement.
Royale Maduro XX's fictional character: James Bond. Sophisticated and classic.
Pairing suggestion: Pair this cigar elegantly with a sweet bourbon or casually with black coffee.
Wayfarer is blended in a laid back Cuban style - using its medium body to illuminate notes of toasted coconut, earth, oak, cream, cedar, nuts, caramel, and cinnamon.
Wayfarer's fictional character: The Dude abides.
Pairing suggestion: Grab a white russian or something creamy and enjoy.
What’s something that most people don’t know about Serino Cigars?
Personal: My father and I have the same birthday. Both of us are avid cigar collectors and usually gift each other some cool smokes.
Business: Wayfarer was originally going to be called ‘Auroras Borealis’ since that’s why I initially went to Iceland. I later realized this was a terrible name for a cigar, we then went with Wayfarer as it still covered the backpacking story yet was short and sweet. Also, the 109 molds used for the Wayfarer line were previously used at the La Corona Factory in Havana, Cuba.
What do you have in the works for Serino Cigars over the next three to five years?
We have a bunch of projects in the works right now. We’re always working on new blends and I’m always thinking of unique ways to brand cigars.
Super excited for what’s to come!
Thanks to everyone for reading! And a special thanks to the La Corona cigar family.