Tabacalera Falto, Inc. and its brands La Garita Cigar Co. and Falto Cigars began its operations more than twenty one years ago (1995), while Luis J. Falto was studying at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. It all started when he bought and sold cigars to many different persons, including some restaurants and other establishments. All the while, he was and still is, an avid consumer and passionate of what true cigar smokers call: "The Leaf". During that time, Luis came to the conclusion that he had tasted so many different cigars that he could make one according to his own personal taste. With the access in Washington, DC, he visited the Embassy of the Dominican Republic and asked for a list of all major manufacturers of cigars established there. Also, with the help of some friends in the tobacco industry, he was able to arrange appointments and meetings with some of the most important manufacturers in the Mecca of Dominican cigars: Santiago de los Caballeros in the Cibao Valley of the Dominican Republic.
After visiting a number of factories, he met with Manuel J. Inoa, the Cigar Production Coordinator for La Aurora, S.A. (makers of La Aurora and León Jimenes cigars). During that meeting, the group from La Aurora, accepted his ideas with much enthusiasm and most importantly his views of what a cigar bearing his family name should been.. First of all, Luis wanted to choose the different tobacco blends for his cigars and decided that they should be made in very small quantities. Such small quantities would insure a strict quality control, of which La Aurora was already distinguished for.
Finally, he wanted to meet and know his torcedores at a personal level, the men that would be hand crafting his cigars. They accepted, and since then Falto makes all his cigars in La Aurora; the oldest cigar manufacturer in the Dominican Republic, founded in 1903. That is how the La Garita Cigar Company & Falto Cigars brands of ultra boutique premium hand made cigars began.
Luis got into the business at a very difficult time for the cigar industry. The infamous "Cigar Boom" was in full blast. There were shortages of tobacco and rollers, which were found working with some "businessmen" that wanted to earn some quick money, among other things. Even Guillermo León, the President of La Aurora, explained to him the situation, but with great passion and dedication he went forth. Nowadays, and since the first day, Falto personally know his rollers by first name and choose all his cigar blends.
The production size of Falto Cigars do not surpass one hundred sixty (160) boxes for the cigars that come in boxes of twenty (20), twenty five (25), and twenty six (26), meaning only around four thousand (4000) cigars per annual production. The cigars that come in boxes of ten (10), the production is two hundred fifty (250) boxes; meaning two thousand five hundred (2500) cigars per annual production. It is truly an Ultra Boutique Premium Handmade Cigar brand that is produced in extremely small quantities, something unheard of in the industry. Also, all Falto Cigars come in only one vitola or size, because Luis believes that that specific size and shape is the one that best expresses and represents the essence of the blend. So, every cigar is different and unique in size and blend.
On February 16, 1995, the first order of Falto Cigars arrived to the shores of Puerto Rico. With each anniversary, his friends in La Aurora say that he should be celebrating more years because of all the time that he spent in the Dominican Republic, learning all about the growing of tobacco, the different leaves and strains, processes and the manufacturing of cigars.
“Since the beginning, I am the only one that sells, distribute and represent my cigars. Sometimes, I say to myself, that I smoke more than what I sell. It remains a passion for me. Tabacalera Falto, Inc. and La Garita Cigar Company and Falto Cigars is a journey that I started more than twenty one years ago and it will hopefully continue for many more,” Luis explains.
In this business, you learn many new things along the way. The cigar world is unique, with rules to follow. For example, techniques as how to cut a cigar, how to hold it, how to light it, how to smoke it, how to taste it, among many other things. Luis says, “I have so many memories, stories and moments that I have experienced while smoking cigars, since nothing accompanies a cigar better than a good conversation with friends while having an excellent cup of coffee and/or a glass of good Puerto Rican rum. “