To celebrate 90 years of Horvath family cigar making in Canada, and to honor the loss of two important family members within their company, Toronto-based cigar manufacturer House of Horvath have released two special cigars to the Canadian marketplace.
A Quest For The Perfect Blend
For House of Horvath, the journey for a perfect new machine-made cigar began in 2018, in the city of Dortmund, Germany at Inter-Tabac – the world’s largest trade fair for tobacco products and smoking accessories.
The Messe Dortmund, home to Inter-Tabac
At the time, cigar prices around the world were rising fast. Unfortunately such elevated prices were not due to an increased quality of cigars, but rather to increased input costs and taxes. As a result, cigar lovers were actively looking for more affordable options.
While enjoying some German beer after a long day at the show, House of Horvath Marketing Manager Leslie Albert Jr. and VP Colm O’Shea found themselves discussing their company’s machine made cigars.
“Why don’t we make a super-premium machine-made cigar at an affordable price?” postulated Leslie to Colm over his Dab Pilsener beer.
Colm thought this was a fine idea and made it a commitment to bring this cigar to life.
Leslie Albert Jr., son of House of Horvath co-founder Leslie Albert Sr.
The Garcia Family Lend A Helping Hand
At that point in time, the Horvath family had already been involved in the tobacco industry for decades, and as a result, had forged friendships with some of the world’s best cigars makers – many of whom were in attendance at the Dortmund show.
The following morning, the two associates made it their primary mission to source the best tobacco available for the project.
They quickly made arrangements to meet with Janny and Jaimie Garcia of the acclaimed “My Father” Garcia family. The Garcias are known the world over for their famous My Father brand, as well as many cigars they produce for others such as Tatuaje, San Cristobal and La Aroma de Cuba – just to mention a few.
In those days, the Garcia family were unaware that House of Horvath manufactured cigars; they simply knew them as distributors who were successfully getting their brand into stores across the great Canadian expanse.
World-renown cigar blender, My Father CEO, and Garcia family patriarch, José “Pepin” Garcia decided to join in on the meeting as a last minute addition.
José ‘Pepin’ Garcia and son Jaimie
Through a series of Spanish translations via Janny to Pepin (who’s English is minimal), the Garcias agreed to provide House of Horvath of with a selection of their prized Nicaraguan tobacco.
With a handshake, the first step of the journey was sealed.
Finding the Right Blend
In early 2019, Cathy Horvath-O’Shea and husband Colm met with Pepin, this time at the family’s factory in sunny Miami to further discuss the project and determine the appropriate filler to sample.
Eventually, tobacco was successfully flown up to Canada. It arrived in Toronto in late 2019.
The filler samples, which were labeled in Spanish with no description or instruction, were tested with House of Horvath’s Ecuadorian Habano 2000 wrapper leaf.
To their dismay, the result was quickly deemed “unsmokeable”.
House of Horvath then proceeded to their send their cigar wrapper to Nicaragua for the Garcias to test, who immediately disagreed and stated that the wrapper and filler complimented each other well.
It had turned out that the filler which was initially sent required some blending on behalf of House Of Horvath (eg. 1 part + 2 parts + 3 parts), and that the samples had been smoked with an improper ratio within the filler.
At this point, the project had been given the name ‘HOH-90’.
The plan was to launch the cigars for the 90th anniversary of Horvath cigar making in Canada (long before the establishment of House of Horvath in 1977, Joseph Horvath Sr. was making tobacco products for the Canadian marketplace as early as 1932).
[Insert Covid-19 pandemic here]
The Pandemic And A Tragic Loss
As a result of Covid-19, project HOH-90 took a year and a half hiatus as the world systematically began to shut down.
Then, sadly in 2021 after an abrupt battle with cancer, Leslie Albert Jr. suddenly passed away.
As Horvath family patriarch Joe Horvath Jr. had also recently left this world in 2016, the sudden loss of Leslie Albert Jr. made HOH-90 a high priority for Colm, now poised to finish the job project to honour Joe and Leslie.
Joe Horvath Jr.