“Two inspiring families, handcrafting inspiring cigars.”
At the forefront of the partnership between Al Micallef, president of Micallef Cigars, and the Gomez Sanchez family is this motto that encapsulates Micallef Cigars perfectly. Their motto is so ingrained in their company that it’s even printed on the backs of their cigar bands.
“Inspiring” is exactly the word we’d use to describe Micallef’s long and illustrious business past. To only name a few, he has owned 20 percent of a silicon rubber company as well as managing it; he once owned about 156,000 acres of ranchland; he owns a restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas; and in 2016 he entered a partnership with the Gomez Sanchez family to help produce and market premium cigars.
“I’ve been a cigar smoker my whole life,” Micallef says. “But I never thought I’d be involved in the manufacturing and selling of the product.”
Micallef recalls sitting in the Silver Leaf lounge in Fort Worth when his current business partners, Edel and Joel Gomez Sanchez, had their car break down in front of the store. While the two men were waiting to get their car worked on, they went inside and began rolling cigars. Micallef says he struck up a conversation and that they ended up staying three days because “Texas is very friendly, anyhow.”
“On the third day I finally said, ‘Can you roll me some cigars? My very own cigars?’ They said, “Absolutely,” so I began to tell them what kind of cigars I like, and they say, ‘Oh no. We’ve been watching you, and we know exactly what you like,’” Micallef says.
They ended up rolling a thousand cigars for him. Micallef loved them so much he started handing them out to friends and family.
“Many people said, ‘Hey Al, this is the best cigar I’ve ever smoked,’” Micallef says.
He very quickly decided he wanted to partner with the Gomez Sanchez family, and thus was born Micallef Cigars. With the Gomez Sanchez name comes an expectation of quality cigars, and with the Micallef name, an expectation of quality in customer service. Together, they have formed the perfect partnership.
“My background is marketing,” Micallef says. “There are so many manufacturers out there who only want the order from the customers or cigar shops, and their follow-up is awful, and their customer service falls off. I decided if I’m going to be in this business and I ask you to sell my product, then I gotta do whatever I can to support you.”
One of the coolest ways Micallef is supporting sellers and customers is by doing something called My Story. We at Cigars & Leisure saw this firsthand while visiting their booth at the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers trade show in Las Vegas this summer. Micallef had a film crew putting together a series of videos where they would ask people how they got into the cigar business, why they’re in it, and where their store or business is. In only a day and a half Micallef said the crew had filmed about 150 such stories.
“I’m all about giving something back to the retailer. That’s what my desire is. It’s all about doing something for them, and they’ll do something for us,” Micallef says.
But we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the Gomez Sanchez family, who have been making fine cigars since 1934 in Cuba, when Pedro Gomez started the business. Three generations later, the company remains within the family with the grandsons of Gomez, Edel and Joel Gomez Sanchez, continuing the business today.
Even Edel’s mother, Migdalia Sanchez, known worldwide for her contributions to the tobacco industry and the recipient of numerous awards, works in the family business. Now, after joining forces with Micallef, they hope to reach as many countries as possible. They are already in Europe, Spain, Central America, and South America.
Hopefully I got a good, solid 10 years to really build a good brand,” Micallef says. “I wish I would’ve gotten involved in this industry 20 years ago, but I’m having a really good time.”
Brian’s Review of the Experiencia La Crema
Micallef told me that every Micallef cigar is handcrafted with care and consists of only the ﬁnest leaves harvested at their peak. Sure, people can say that, but until I experience something on my own I have to reserve judgment. But that’s exactly what this cigar was: an experience, living up nicely to its name.
The first thing you notice about this cigar is the beautiful, colorful band and the triple cap. You can easily tell a lot of work and care went into its construction. Once it’s out of the wrapper, you immediately notice an earthy and nutty aroma. The cigar lights up quickly and easily with a very smooth and open draw. Within the first few puffs, I notice how lightly sweet and nutty it is; I’m specifically picking up notes of roasted peanut.
As I move into the 20-minute mark, I start to notice very clearly the taste of coffee making its way in with a cocoa aroma wafting off the foot. The burn is even, the ash light and gray. With both cigars I sampled, it took about 25 minutes for the ash to fall. I must note, too, the retrohale is positively wonderful, smooth and easy. It isn’t until about 90 minutes into it that I had to retouch the foot. I’m telling you, this cigar is a work of art. It’s a perfect balance of sweet and spicy, and the smoke is still thick and voluminous.
Each Experiencia cigar I sampled lasted a little over two hours, and what a relaxing and pleasurable two hours it was. Micallef has crafted a truly special cigar, one that I would happily smoke again and again.
Size: 52 x 7
Wrapper: 4-year-old San Andres Sumatra
Binder: 4-year-old Ecuadorean Habano
Filler: 4-year-old Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Panamanian
Micallef cigars are all amazing smokes, but here’s another particular favorite of ours:
1RA Generacion Leyenda No. 2
This cigar is a true Cuban classic originated by Pedro Gomez, perfectly handcrafted today by his grandsons, Edel and Joel, who have reinvented and remade the cigar without molds, by hand.
The blend is made with some of the ﬁnest leaves in the world, aged five years and rested for one year after manufacture. The cigar offers a delicious aroma of thick hardwoods and a smooth draw with a perfectly balanced ﬁnish. Get comfy and prepare yourself for an invigorating two hours of smoking pleasure—authentic Cuban style.
Strength: Medium to full
Size: 52 x 5 1/2
Wrapper: 5-year-old Ecuadorean Habano
Binder: 5-year-old Nicaraguan
Filler: 5-year-old Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Honduran
Check out some good cigar pairings, like this beer from Mad River Brewing.