SISTERS OF THE LEAF
THE UNTOLD STORY OF WOMEN
IN THE CIGAR INDUSTRY
NOT A BOYS CLUB
Often associated with male-centric celebrations and the domain of gentlemen’s clubs it would be easy to assume cigars are made by men for men.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Women are an integral part of the cigar industry and have been since it’s inception.
Micallef Cigars honors the matriarch of the Gomez-Sanchez family with the Migdalia blend.
The Gomez-Sanchez family are the master blenders behind Micallef Cigars' Legacy portfolio and responsible for all cigars from Micallef's factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.
The Migdalia cigar, blended by Migdalia Sanchez, is among the brand's most popular blends.
Migdalia Sanchez, the daughter-in-law of Mr. Pedro F. Gómez, was born in 1947 in Guantanamo, Cuba. At 16, she began her studies at the School of Tobacconists in Havana. At 17, Migdalia graduated as a tobacconist and began to work at the Partagas factory, where she quickly stood out as one of the best cigar rollers. There she also acquired knowledge of the industry in manufacturing and planting tobacco.
Migdalia rose to prominence as one of the best cigar rollers in the industry and began representing Cuba in international expositions.
Her travels took her worldwide to showcase her heritage and talents, including visits to Spain, Chile, Peru, and Sweden.
Migdalia spent more than 25 years working as an artisan in Cuba until she left in 1998 to join Pedro F. Gómez and her oldest son, Joel Gómez, in Mexico to work in the family cigar factory. Today, she splits her time between Miami, Florida, and Esteli, Nicaragua. She shares her vast knowledge and experience alongside sons Edel and Joel, crafting handmade cigars for Micallef in the style and flavors of traditional Cuban cigars.
On March 8, 2021, International Women's Day, Micallef Cigars released the Migdalia Special Edition in Celebration of Strong Women.
The cigar is to be enjoyed by both men and women while spotlighting women's essential contributions across all industries and walks of life.
WOMEN LED CIGAR SHOPS
WOMEN LED CIGAR SHOPS
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Winston Churchill quipped, “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,”... which pretty much summarized my initial perspective of cigars.
I never expected to write with enthusiasm about cigars. I didn’t imagine I would ever relish time spent smoking. Nor did I think there would be a day where many of my closest friends and favorite conversations would be with people in the cigar community.
"I came to appreciate the complexity and craftsmanship of making a premium handmade cigar, with 200 pairs of hands involved in creating every cigar!"
For twenty years, I lived in Los Angeles, making movies and building a digital marketing company. Then I decided to move home to Texas and join our family businesses. I lead our marketing efforts in long-standing companies. I am very familiar with them, but for a single exception, a three-year-old cigar company, Micallef Cigars.
Many friends call me a foodie. I drink wine and whiskey. I enjoy both a food truck taco and a Michelin star restaurant.
But Cigars? I wasn't so sure it was for me.
So many questions were bouncing around my mind…
Would I like how cigars tasted?
Would they make me cough or sick?
What would I talk about with other cigar smokers?
Are they going to engage me at all?
Is my hair going to smell like smoke?
Are all my clothes going to smell too?
How do I even light the damn thing?
Hell, what end do I light? Or cut?
I'll try most things once. I smoked a few cigars and learned how to cut and light (you cut the head and light the foot). It didn't feel natural. In fact, at first, it was downright awkward. To put it bluntly, I didn't understand what all the fuss was about.
And then something changed.
I was a few cigars into my cigar exploration. I didn't even notice at first. I was smoking and talking. About a third of the way through, my cigar hit me and was good, and I felt good. The conversation flowed, and the cigar no longer felt like an awkward thing in my hand.
I remember thinking, "Ohhhh, now I get it!"
Excited, I dove into learning all I could about these artisanal products. So many things surprised me in the best way.
I came to appreciate the complexity and craftsmanship of making a premium handmade cigar, with 200 pairs of hands involved in creating every cigar!
I learned many of the finest craftspeople are part of multi-generational dynasties who bring the same dedication to this art form as their grandparents or great-grandparents did.
And I was surprised to discover the important role women have played in the industry since its inception.
I want to share a little secret I learned with y'all. The cigar community is not the intimidating place we imagine. They are open, friendly, fun, and supportive. The one thing cigar smokers love more than cigar is helping and teaching new smokers in the community!
I longed for a concise primer; "Cigars 101" if you will. My friends and I created this journal, which contains the fundamentals you'll want to know as you explore the world of cigars.
Don't wait. Grab some friends and get started. Nobody lives life enjoying only the first food or spirit they consumed. And your first cigar may not be the one you love over the long run. Indulge yourself and taste different cigars.
Your cigar journey will be a rewarding combination of sensory experiences and fellowship.
May cigars serve as your constant companion in contemplation,
conversation, and celebration!
- Amanda Micallef, Micallef Cigars