When launching a business, one of the first questions to answer is, “How are we different?” For the proprietor of El Septimo, a relative newcomer in the cigar industry, the answer to this question has come through continuous innovation and product development—something he has no intent of slowing down anytime soon.
Originally founded in the early 2000s, and a well-known brand in Europe and the Middle East since 2005, El Septimo was acquired by Zaya Younan in March 2019. As a cigar lover and CEO of Younan Company, the private equity firm specializing in luxury products, properties and services, Younan thought this acquisition a perfect fit. His first goal after purchasing El Septimo was to bring his favorite cigars into the U.S. market.
Today the El Septimo brand encompasses more than 40 blends and sizes of cigars along with a complete line of premium accessories designed to complement their cigars and offer a fully developed luxury experience. In the U.S. alone, El Septimo cigars are now in more than 130 retail locations and are on the ambitious track to be in 1,000 retailers by spring of 2022. And while this growth rate is impressive, for El Septimo it’s less about quantity and more about quality. “We take our time to forge quality partnerships with our retailers, are very involved with each of them and keep a close eye on how our product is represented,” says Younan.
The company’s purposeful marketing and distribution dovetail with the precision that El Septimo has achieved throughout its entire production process, from seed to smoke. They pride themselves in an ability to offer an extensive range of cigars to “fit any smoker’s preference, without sacrificing quality.”
In doing this, El Septimo is primarily distinguished by a production process at their factory in Costa Rica, one that cuts no corners from start to finish. With expert blenders combining up to five different fillers, their cigars are fully packed with complex flavors and aromas. One El Septimo’s cigar contains up to 38 grams of tobacco, which means that for every individual tobacco plant used, they produce just two cigars. Then they age the cigars for up to 15 years, using special processes in oak and rum barrels, which imprint complexity and nuance on the flavors that one can experience in an El Septimo cigar.
It is also notable, and a source of great pride, that El Septimo cigars are completely organic, containing no preservatives or added chemicals. This is made possible by the company’s meticulous cultivation of the soil in a high-altitude enviroment. While it is a costly and time-consuming process, by pruning the leaves and using precision farming techniques, El Septimo relies upon selective removal of plant parts to allow for new growth, which subsequently protects the leaves from damage, discourages any natural pest or animal infestations and promotes the plant’s natural shape and healthy development.
“We use these advanced farming methods to create some of the world’s best wine and Cognac in our vineyards in France (in Bordeaux and Saint-Émilion), and we have mirrored these processes to produce the best tobacco leaves,” says Alexandra Younan, marketing director for El Septimo.
To put it simply, El Septimo believes precision farming is smart farming. It’s a method based on observing, measuring and responding to inter- and intra-field variability to produce the best crops. El Septimo utilizes this as a strategic way to guide them in crop rotation, optimal planting or harvesting times, and in soil management to help them improve crop quality while reducing negative impacts on the environment. While this type of farming is more expensive to employ, the results are better quality, yielding healthier tobacco plants and, they believe, ultimately finer cigars.
“It is a focus on creating the best crops, which will produce the best cigars in the world,” said Alex. “We use lots of innovation in farming and blending our cigars. Our CEO, Zaya Younan is a globally known high-tech industry veteran, and he is never short of innovation and doing things differently to achieve the best results.”
Precision farming is not the only way El Septimo is doing things differently. If you were at the PCA 2021 Trade Show this summer, then you got to see and sample the debut of their newest line, the Sacred Arts Collection, which features seven new cigars honoring some of the most well-known artists in history and named after the seven days of creation. Also on display was their Alexandra Collection, which initially launched in June 2019 and currently includes two lines of cigars designed and blended with tobacco aged for 10 years, and created specifically for women.
When El Septimo’s parent company, La Maison Younan, was developing its perfume line in Paris, they discovered that women have far more accurate and active tastebuds than men. In fact, it was determined that women possess in the olfactory centers of the brain 43 percent more cells and 50 percent more neurons than men. Using these findings, El Septimo set out to craft specific cigars for women smokers. The Alexandra Collection offers light to mild cigars, with flavors that evolve from woody with a distinct oaky and tea blend to a mild caramel sweetness. The reception of the cigars has been quite positive, and they have quickly become a favorite for women and men alike. And while nothing has been publicly announced as of yet, El Septimo is currently working on expanding this highly popular line in the near future.
From careful seed selection to use of precision farming techniques to the use of up to five fillers, and fueled by a continuous drive to produce the highest quality products, El Septimo may well be on the way to achieving their mission of creating the best cigars in the world.
And we are curious to see their future innovations, as we have heard that El Septimo may be displaying a new lighter at the next PCA show valued at $5 million. That would give the highest-end luxury brands a run for their money.
For more information on El Septimo’s cigars and farming methods, or to establish an account, contact Chip Goldeen, director of sales and business development, at email@example.com.