The Vamma del Sol cigar-makers are the last of a breed of tobacco growers in Northern Greece. Located at Krya Vrysi in Macedonia they make 25,000 100% Greek cigars per annum.
The manufacturers, Aris and Kostas Konstantinidis, exploit the climate of Greece and the family tradition of tobacco cultivation. Each cigar requires a three-year drying of tobacco leaves and maturation process.
The family business was struck by sudden changes to EU legislation that led to the fall of the Greek tobacco industry. “This pracitically meant that producers could continue to get funding without being required to produce tobacco,” say the brothers. “This change lead to the violent end of tobacco production and the disappearance of an industry that had been a basic pylon of national revenue for many decades.”
At one point, the Greek tobacco industry employed 245,000 people out of 4.5 million employment positions in Greece at the time. In other words, 6.1% of the working population were employed in the production of tobacco products.
What saved Vamma del Sol from disappearing like its other counterparts was the decision of the brothers to create long filler cigars after studying the European market and finding that these cigars, popular in America, weren’t produced in the EU. The family was eager to fill the void and after spending time at the Partagas factory in Cuba the family decided to take a risk and create these cigars in Greece.
The rest is history and the result are Greek cigars with a Mediterranean temperament and mild taste. “It may be odd for classical cigar smokers, however new smokers who seek tastes and aromas without added strength enjoy these cigars,” say the brothers. When the cigars first appeared on the market, the brothers met with jeers, however they are having the last laugh because not only did they survive, they also cover the majority of cigar consumption in Europe.
Vamma del Sol currently sells Corona (15.6 x 1.6), Petit Corona (15.6 x 1.2) that are sold in packs of five for 30 and 25 euros respectively, whereas next month they will introduce Robusto (12.6 x 2.2) to the market that will sell for 20 euros for a pack of three.