A Profile on Rudy Ruíz: Joya de Nicaragua’s Master Torcedor
The history of our factory is entirely tie to the story of Our People. They are the reason why we are still standing and growing, they are certainly the backbone of who we are. This time, we are proud to introduce you to Rudy Ruíz, Joya de Nicaragua’s Master Torcerdor.
Joya de Nicaragua’s Showman
Rudy is a young man: one of the new breed. You might find him and his rolling table at events around Nicaragua, live online or way across Europe. You will see him usually smiling, with a large, dark cigar plugged into his mouth.
“I go to exhibitions, tours, I sometimes roll at the Joya de Nicaragua shop at the airport at Managua”, he says. “But I love going abroad to do events and meet overseas cigar lovers. That’s a real eye-opener for me, seeing all those new places”
For a kid from Estelí, traveling across the globe is a real experience. Except that Rudy is not really a kid; he’s 34 and has a wife and two children.
Rudy’s Tobacco Education
“I first heard about Joya de Nicaragua because when I was little, my grandma worked here,” Rudy explains. “Then, my brother and I came along and we got work”.
He was keen if nothing else; his cigar education began. He loved it right from the start. All the tobacco, the cool rolling gallery.
“When I was ready, I spent about a week smoking different cigars” he laughs. “Trying to figure out what was what. And I remember when it hit me, the real ‘boom’ moment, the realization of why people love cigars- was with a Celebracion.
He describes it as an explosion of flavors. He even stopped working for about half an hour in his excitement. “I was in shock.” – he says.
The Face of Joya de Nicaragua on the Road
When he got the job offered, he was beyond excited – “I started going out around Nicaragua which was amazing. And then I had an international trip to El Salvador.” All his life he dreamed about going to Europe. The day when he was told he was going there too, he nearly passed out. “I have been blessed.” – he remarks.
Rudy’s traveled throughout Germany and beyond, finding time to satisfy his sweet tooth with lashings of mysterious desserts. And he was surprised and delighted by the passion that overseas cigar lovers had for their sticks.
“At first it was a shock,” he says. “They were so passionate, telling me what they like and don’t like, being very demanding about strength when I rolled cigars for them. I actually love that now – I love the fact they know their cigars and want them just how they like them.”
That current of electricity – the sheer joy a hand-rolled cigar can bring – has never left him. You can see it in his smile. Therefore, Rudy is the perfect man to preach the word of Joya de Nicaragua to the world. Young at heart, fanatical about his work, a traveling Rudy marvels at overseas architecture and welcomes the acclaim that his cigar rolling fame attracts.
But home is still where the heart is. The latest generation of Joya de Nicaragua cigar makers is happiest in the heart of his hometown factory; quick with a joke, a smoke – and a mischievous smile.
Have you ever got the chance to meet Rudy? Tell us, do you see yourself traveling and sharing your thoughts with cigar lovers from around the world? Let us know in the comments!
*This blog post is a based on an extract of our new book “Cinco Décadas: The Rise of the Nicaraguan Cigar”.