While the Northeast corridor and Southern Florida have held court over the U.S. cigar community since the 1800’s in some cases, Houston based cigar makers are beginning to make their mark in the industry.
Whether its the infinite array of H-Town Lancero’s at Stogies of Houston, Masculino Cigars with their 6th Finger, J. London’s ultra-luxury cigars now enjoyed worldwide, Emperors Cut featured on NBC News or Sean William’s, Brand Ambassador for Cohiba; we’re now graduating from a primarily consumer driven market to a producer of excellent cigar brands.
Enter Spades Cigars
Spades Cigars is a Houston, TX based collaboration between husband and wife, Crystal and Cerrone who launched their brand in 2017.
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Their brand’s name was a result of a family game night when the name of the cigar they planned to create was still unclear. They were enjoying a game of Spades as a family and in that moment the sense of joy, leisure and togetherness sparked the ‘aha moment’ that is now Spades Cigars featuring the iconic spade as their logo.
Cerrone & Crystal wanted to encapsulate that feeling of togetherness in their new venture and from that moment of clarity they embarked on the journey to share their brand of Southern hospitality with the cigar community in Houston and beyond.
To be clear their effort wasn’t easy nor straightforward as the reception from the legacy cigar shops in Houston wasn’t immediately warm. Some wanted more of a mellow flavor, while others were reluctant to carry a boutique brand that had yet to build a following that wouldn’t generate the volume of sales needed to justify shelf space.
Fortunately the effort they invested during the blending process paid off as cigar enthusiasts from Houston to Atlanta embraced their cigar for its unique flavor profile, commitment to quality and sense of community around their brand.
Cerrone & Chyrstal visited with five factories in Nicaragua until settling on the one that fit their criteria. It was important they worked with a factory who was experienced in collaborating with boutique cigar makers and operated more as a partner in developing a great cigar than just taking an order and producing an average cigar.
During the first day of tasting to formulate the blend, Cerrone was smoking cigar after cigar while drinking coffee and had to tap out to give his senses a break before returning to settle on a flavor profile that fit the full-bodied experience he was looking for. In total, he smoked 27 cigars that day which resulted in about 5 cigars blends that he took back with him for further evaluation.
Setting up at the Alley Kat, a cigar friendly bar in Houston, he invited his friends over to try the different cigars blends he was considering. He went through the same exercise as he did in Nicaragua with them and ultimately settled on the flavor profile that would go on to become the Spades Cigars Black Label.
Spades Cigars Black Label:
- Strength: Full
- Shape: Double robusto
- Size: 5 1/4 x 54
- Color: Maduro
- Flavor: Dark chocolate, hickory, black pepper, and hints of leather
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
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While in their inaugural year, they focused on sharing their cigar with Houston cigar enthusiasts who became entrenched fans with each smoke. With first year goals not only met but exceeded; it was time to expand beyond Houston to the similarly passionate cigar community in Atlanta.
In 2019 they went to the Superbowl to see the Patriots vs Steelers and to meet and greet with the Atlanta cigar community. There they met Octavia “HERficianado” Tolliver, host of the well attended event called “She Smokes Too” at Atlanta Cigar Week; where she’s also one of the co-founders.
They immediately clicked and Crystal and Cerrone decided to sponsor Octavia’s headlining event later that year in September 2019. They traveled with a contingent of 50+ Houston cigar enthusiasts and introduced Spades Cigars to 500 – 700 attendees of She Smokes Too.
That event ended up trending on Twitter.
The focus on female cigar enthusiasts continues to be a passion for Spades Cigars driven by Crystal as they have launched new lines within their brand catering to the tastes of her SOTL’s.
In 2019, then Houston Councilman Dwight Boykins declared April 19th Spades Day in Houston, spawning Spades Fest in Houston which is an event that launched the new Queen of Spades flavored cigars within the Spades Cigars roster.
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Spades Fest is a swag day for fans of Spades Cigars which kicks off with a brunch and in 2019 was headlined by Grammy nominated R&B artist, Carl Thomas at their roof top party capping off the days festivities.
Spades Cigars also expanded their line up now including the Anniversary Cigar, Red Label, White Label and Red Lace cigars.
Each cigar caters to the different nuances of each cigar enthusiast’s palette, but together they form the brand which is rooted in community, quality and excellence.
Visit Spades Cigars by clicking here to learn more about their cigars.