Cigars are built from the ground up and the process takes time. Jay-Z, the rapper and serial entrepreneur, and General Cigar, the Virginia-based cigar manufacturer, began collaborating on a stogie four years ago and it is just now showing up in stores under the Cohiba name. Despite being carefully packaged in branded dark-wood humidors, the cigars, dubbed Comador, are far from precious. General Cigar President Dan Carr says that's exactly the point.
"Jay is not a guy who is going to talk about notes of lavender or whatever, but he gets it and he knows what he wants," says Carr. "It's a very flavorful, very complex cigar that should appeal to both habitual smokers and people just trying it out."
Carr was particularly excited by the Comador because it gave him an excuse to deploy a new type of tobacco leaf farmed in Connecticut's Farmington River Valley, where floods create nutrient-rich soil. The cigar also includes Dominican, Honduran, and Mexican tobaccos, which gives it a rich flavor with – Jay-Z won't do it but we will – a mild sweetness and earthy finish. Though it will be sold largely off the celebrity of the ur-marketer and Cigar Aficionado cover boy, the Comador is a cigar worth smoking.
"We cured it even slower than the usual cigars and aged it for the last year in Dominican rum barrels," explains Carr. "It was an intense process."
But Dan says that it was worth it for him and Jay to spend the time and get it right. The cigar is a collaboration – and it likely won't be the last. [Comida Humidor (pictured) $999, Travel Humidor $350; comadorcigar.com]