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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Determining A Winner
In the summer of 2022, Colm, alongside his son Ryan O’Shea, House of Horvath Brand Ambassador Kurt Bradley, and Toronto cigar aficionado Taylor Matthew, blind sampled 7 different variations over a series of days in an attempt to single out a final triumphant blend to be used for the release.
Of the 7 numerically labelled samples, blends 5 and 7 were unanimously deemed “outstanding” by the test group. The only problem was that no one could truly designate either stick as their clear winner.
As a result, House of Horvath decided to release of not one – but two – premium machine-made cigars to serve as fitting tributes of their late legends.
In honor of the late Leslie Albert Jr., House of Horvath will release the Casa Cubana Corona, which features a blend of Nicaraguan tobacco grown from Cuban seed.
In honor of company co-founder Joe Horvath Jr., House of Horvath have re-released (and re-formulated) Bances Corona – the very first brand that House Of Horvath produced after the company got established in 1977.
The rights to produce a cigar under the Bances name were purchased from Frank Llaneza, the legendary Cuban figure who held the rights following the Cuban embargo (he was also the rights holder for Hoyo de Monterrey, Belinda and more).
CIGAR PROFILE: Bances Corona Claro
Bances were the first cigar ever manufactured at House of Horvath in Toronto, Canada. The rights to manufacture a cigar under this historic Cuban name were first secured by Joe Horvath Jr. in the year 1976.
Today, they feature an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper with an HTL binder and short Nicaraguan fillers. They are a creamy, mild-medium bodied cigar that exhibit notes of coffee bean, graham cracker, hay, and a touch of hickory spice. A high quality machine-made cigar at an incredible value price.
Though they are well known as the Canadian distributor of some of the finest cigars in the world, House of Horvath have developed a reputation as manufacturers of fine machine-made cigars, a tradition that began under Joe Horvath Sr. as far back as the 1940s.
With the phenomenal assistance of the Garcia family and the My Father team, today they carry on this tradition with the release of two unique machine-made cigars to honor the two legendary figures who have helped elevate House of Horvath to become known as ‘Canada’s Cigar Company’.