Thank you Martina Kleinlagel (Kurt Kleinlagel Zigarrenfabrik) for the contact 🙂

→ German Version

Vasilij Ratej

Herausgeber, Zigarren.Zone

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Mr. Visitisen, is it true or legend that you put the Swarovskis on your cigars personally?

YES, I developed the concept, each cigar being a piece of art and the Swarovski are not placed accedentialy on the cigars but based on some clear design patterns. Its not as easy as it looks. I’m doing them all by hand and later this year will come a new version very very interesting.

How often did you loose a stone and you couldn’t find it?

The problem has been to find a way to attach the gold leaf to the cigar without affecting the flavor. And the Swarovski is always only on top of the gold and not on the leaf. I rarely loose a crystal, I work with some pincet, piece by piece like a jeweler.

Did the many lost stones increase the price of your cigars?

NO, not at all. Some stones were stolen from the white boxes. But never from the cigars.

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Your cigars are recognized as Royal Danish Cigars – or. Your cigars have a high recognition value. The Anillas are unusual. How did you get the idea?

Denmark has like Germany a very long tradition of cigar making until the end of the 60’ties. I simply went through our national archives and collected information and blends from old blend masters. Royal Danish was earlier registered in USA but the trademark was not renewed and I made a new ring design to the old name.

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How did you get the idea of cigar making at all?

I’m first of all a Cuban smoker, I smoke 5 cigars a day – for 30 years, close to 45,000 in total so it was too expensive. Sold my previous company and moved to Dominican Republic, then Panama, Cuba, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Many many years has gone into this. Now we are releasing the worlds first tobacco using microbiology like in the wine, cheese and chocolate industry. That’s the first innovation in the cigar industry for almost 200 years.

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At first, how did you commercialize your cigars?

As I come from the information technology industry and used social media from the first day and now I have the same amount of followers and likes on Instagram as many of the TOP 25 cigar brands.

What was the reaction of the first partners to your cigars?

Davidoff in Switzerland was the first big luxury company to take on my distribution in their home market. Scandinavian Tobacco Group said they would not help me give birth to my “baby” – but today STG distributes my cigars in Denmark and USA via Cigars International, Meier & Dutch and Cigar.com – I guess like in anything else in live you have to prove you deserve to be here.

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Where and how do you get the feedback of your customers to improve your cigars and to develope new lines/blends?

I work solely on this. The only market to where we made a special edition Extra Strong Double Ligero is USA. I deside blends and make design of cigar rings and packing, Everything with military precision.

Why didn’t you realise that some of your carton boxes remind on cheap cigarettes more than on high end premium cigars?

Well, Davidoff has been very successful with their white boxes and I see no reason to destroy nature if it can be avoided or recycled materials can be used as in our carton boxes and tubes. Now we are doing boxes of compressed recycled fibers and due to new warning laws we are focusing on a refilling system instead of shiping boxes. That will reduce CO2 from production and freight.

Sorry? You did not get that before?

YES; it has been a hurdle in some markets…..

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When will you change that?

We have changed that by offering a Historic Collection box which can be refilled from out carton boxes and tubes.

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A legend tells, that you put on the gold personally on the Queens. Is that true?

YES, the gold and swarovski is done by me personally it takes 25 minutes.

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Is there a funny or thrilling story you want to share with the readers of Zigarren.Zone?

I have seen everything and there are many serious producers, but unfortunately also some not so serious cutting corners like how fake dark maduro wrappers, and I usually explain that process during my events. In principal the are 3 types of fake maduro wrappers:

1- Cooked in black water from the tobacco stems and during the process the wrapper looses its

smell when you put it under your nose.

2 – Treated with a mix of mineral oil and vinegar and more dark expresso coffee or liquid, that type of dark maduro wrapper creates a heavy oily smoke when lit.

3 – this in the most used form, a special dark fruit vanilla liquid from San Salvador, when rubbing a wet finger on the cigar it will get brown and sometimes this liquid also is released on the lips of the smoker. Any of these treatments takes from 10 minutes to 36 hours, but real maduro wrappers takes months and hard work to do.

Is there a piece of advise you want to give our readers?

You don’t get more than you pay for. Cigars can be compared to wine 1:1. You will not find a 50 Euro wine for 10 Euro, and that’s the same about cigars. Aging cost money, unfortunately there is no control with cigars like with wine, but aficionados know when cigars are good and why they cost money. Don’t trust what you read, only your personal palate and wallet.

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