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Island Jim No. 2 by Oscar Valladares.

Island Jim Cigar by Oscar Valladares Cigar.


Travelling to Copan, Honduras with my long-time friend Oscar Valladares, we talked about everything, as people on the road together do. Oscar said he was at the point in his life where he wanted to make a change, from working for others to opening his own factory.

If you don’t know him, Oscar is a man of strong character, a good man. No, a great man. His commitment to work, his family, and his friends means he tackles life the right way—with passion and dedication.

“I want one of the first cigars made in your new factory to be for me” I told him. The “Leaf by Oscar” was born.

We discussed types of cigars, what I like, what I would like to see. We talked about flavor profiles and sizes. After several months and several more trips to the factory, we settled on three of our current blends—the “Leaf by Oscar” cigar.

During the process, I envisioned the Leaf by Oscar as the house cigar for my little retail shop in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. When Oscar, after months of working together, asked about my first order, I told him “5,000 for the year.” At the same time, I thought, Wow, that’s a big order. How am I possibly going to sell that many of one cigar in a year?

Oscar looked at me and I could practically see his thought, All this work for only 5,000 cigars?

With the first batch done, all 5,000 cigars made, I realized I had no idea how to get them to Pittsburgh.

I happened to have a group of ten in Honduras at the time. Each person could legally bring back 100 cigars. That made 1,000 cigars for my retail shop. That will last me a while, I figured. And give me enough time to get the other 4,000 to the US. I was pretty pleased.

One week after putting the 1,000 Leaf by Oscar cigars on my shop shelf, they were gone. All of them. Sold. In one week. I needed a crash course in importing. I needed a broker.

The remaining 4,000 cigars soon made their way to the Leaf and Bean and within one month, they were gone. All of them. Sold. In a month.

(Lesson learned during the process: Don’t hire a broker during a crash course. You may wind up with the most crooked broker in the business, like I did.)

For several months, the Leaf by Oscar sold only as a house cigar. Then other retailers started calling, wanting to sell the cigars in their own shops. I politely told the first ten callers I wasn’t interested, that the Leaf by Oscar was the house cigar. I didn’t tell them the real reason: I didn’t know anything about wholesaling.

With the 11th phone call, I figured I’d better learn.

And I did learn. You can now purchase the Leaf by Oscar, Island Jim, and soon Big Johnny cigars in over 300 retail locations across the US and in several other countries. Wahoo!

Appearance :
A smooth and marbleized wrapper with a crisp pre-light aroma at the foot. Solid as to the touch with the new band a picture of Island Jim himself and extra unwrapped tobacco at the foot. The feel reminds me of the Leaf by Oscar T

Journey Profile:

1st Third
Once lit instantly delivering some spices. An easy draw that provided a lot of smoke. Creamy mouth-feel with that spicy flavor on the finish and through the nose. Big flavor and body to start with a lot of cedar and tobacco notes on the palate.

2nd Third:
Plenty of spices through the nose with an earthy, full tobacco flavor and some cocoa notes. Light sweet brow sugar flavors and aroma through to the palate. Some cedar and toast notes with mild and smooth flavors on the palate.

Final 3rd:
Initial toast and spice aromas through the nose with a creamy mouth-feel and dominating tobacco and wood flavors. More creamy mouth feel with some cedar and a blend of earth. A mix of coffee and peppery spice texture that was underlying and seem to fall to the back.

Final Thoughts:
An underlying sweetness on the finish. Developed into a full-flavored, well-balanced cigar. Very good construction with thick clouds of smoke with a flaky looking gray ash. Medium-full bodied whole way through with a nice complexity to the flavors.

Myron Gooch Sr.

Wrapper: Nicaraguan.
Binder: Honduras.
Filler: Honduran.

Size: 61/2” x 52.
Rating: 90



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