Media: Don Benigno Rolling

I will be the first person to admit that I never heard of Don Benigno before I moved to New Hampshire, and I suspect I many not be alone.

Don Benigno cigars was created 17 years ago in Costa Rica, but the story of Don Benigno and this family’s history in tobacco began generations ago.

Don Benigno Arronte was born in the 1950 in Pinar Del Rio which is right in the middle of the Vuelta Abajo region of Cuba. The area is known for its tobacco. Before the revolution there were hundreds of cigar factories in the country, one of which was Ceniza. Ceniza was owned by Benigno’s grandfather, and from a very young age he was introduced to the culture.

In these times, before Castro the most affluent and experienced cigar smokers did not smoke the name brands, instead they had their own person tabaquerro (cigar roller). They would roll cigars using the finest materials and strictest of quality control. Don Benigno’s uncle Jose was a very renown roller for prestigious clients from Spain. It was Jose who taught a young Benigno the art of rolling cigars.

After the Revolution, many factories including Ceniza was shut down as the large factories of Havana took precedent. Forced to pursue other professions Benigno studied education and became a professor of history but his love of cigars never ended. As a life long cigar smoker he rolled his own cigars in Cuba where the name brand cigars were too expensive for the average Cuban.

In 1997, Don Benigno immigrated to Costa Rica and pursued a career in his true calling, cigars. Don Benigno Cigars was born, first on his kitchen table with the most basic of tools. As Benigno gained notoriety in Costa’ Rica’s cigar community he opened his first shop in the historical district of San Jose.

After he built a solid clientele he chose to focus on the production of his brand. Benigno and his wife rolled cigars full-time in their home. Pleased with the success of his signature brand he developed a logo, cigar rings, and box design. These have remained true since the registration.

As the brand grew Benigno knew he could not keep up with the demand and he began to add rollers from Costa Rica, but they did not know how to roll the way he wanted his cigars to be done. Being an educator he had great success in teaching them

Today in Costa Rica Don Benigno has become the cigar guru in his adopted country, Costa Rica. He is frequently visited by dignitaries and clients as well as hundreds of tourists, whom he has introduced to his cigar. Cigars that are produced with the same tradition of excellence that he was tought by his grandfather and uncle.