FrontRunners: One Spicy Hand Roll

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When Heinrich Villiger wanted to mark the 125th anniversary of his Swiss cigar company, Villiger Söhne AG, he turned to the legendary hand-rolling talents of Nester Plasencia in Estelí, Nicaragua. The result is the Villiger 125 (www.villiger.ch), a medium-strength smoke that features an Ecuadoran seco Habano wrapper from the superb 2009 harvest and two binders from Jalapa for added spice. Three sizes are offered, priced from $8.50 to $10.50, with production limited to 30,000 cigars for release in North America. This run is minuscule for the company, which annually makes more than 1.5 billion cigars—but only a small fraction of them by hand.

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