At an FDA Seminar at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, a relatively unknown new brand had its debut cigar launched. That brand was Fratello Cigars, owned by Omar de Frias who worked for NASA. Following the Trade Show, Omar would take a grassroots approach to introduce his cigars to the market that he called “Fratello Road.” Fast forward to 2023, and this year Omar and Fratello are celebrating ten years in the cigar business. Our visit to the Fratello booth included a lot of reminiscing over Fratello’s decade in the cigar business. In addition, there were a couple of new releases. The first was Fratello – The Lunar, which is being released in conjunction with the upcoming Nova-C Lunar Landing project. In addition, the Fratello Sorella, a line that hasn’t had a full U.S. launch, will now see one.
Fratello The Lunar is being done in collaboration with Steve Altemus, the former NASA Deputy Center Director for Johnson Space Center and founder of Intuitive Machines. Altemus founded Intuitive Machines in 2013 and is a leading participant in NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, having been awarded contracts for three missions. Each mission requires Intuitive Machines to design, build, launch, and land the company’s Nova-C lunar lander. As a part of the collaboration, the Nova-C unit will have the Fratello logo on board.
There will be three releases under The Lunar umbrella. The first two are limited production releases – Fratello Lunar Connecticut and Fratello Lunar Cameroon. Both are produced out of the La Aurora factory in the Dominican Republic, and each will be packaged in 15-count packaging in a unit paying homage to the design of the Nova-C.
Fratello Lunar Connecticut features a Connecticut Shade wrapper, a Mexican binder, and Dominican, Nicaragua, and Cameroon filler. This cigar will be available in one size – a 5 x 50 Robusto. Pricing is set at $14.00 per cigar.
Meanwhile, the Fratello Cameroon features a Cameroon wrapper, Dominican binder, and Nicaragua and U.S. filler. This cigar will also be available in one size – a 5 x 50 Robusto. Pricing is set at $15.00 per cigar.
Both the Connecticut and Cameroon blends come in commemorative 15-count packaging to commemorate the upcoming Nova-C launch. Pricing is $14.00 for the Connecticut blend and $15.00 for the Cameroon blend. Production comes from the La Aurora factory in the Dominican Republic.
Finally, the Fratello Lunar Limited Edition is an all-Dominican puro coming from La Aurora in the form of a 6 x 52 Toro. While the Connecticut and Cameroon releases are “limited production,” the Lunar Limited Edition release is a genuine limited edition. It will be made available in special humidors representing the Nova-C unit. A total of 175 units have been made available. Pricing is set at $25.00 – making this Fratello’s most premium offering to date.
The entire Fratello – The Lunar project is scheduled to hit retailer shelves shortly.
Fratello Sorella and another blend, the Fratello Arlequin, were first seen in 2019 as part of a limited sampler known as the Fresh Space Pack. In 2020, the Arlequin was released in the U.S., while Sorella was released to the non-U.S. market. Now Sorella is heading to the U.S. Blendwise, Fratello Sorella features an Ecuadorian wrapper, an Indonesian binder, and a combination of Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. It is available in one size – a 6 x 50 Toro. It is presented in 20-count boxes. Production from the Joya de Nicaragua factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. The cigar is now on retail shelves. Pricing is set at $11.50 per cigar.
Interview with Omar de Frias, Fratello Cigars
Note: Due to age restrictions, you might have to click on “Watch on YouTube” below
In-Depth Interview: Omar de Frias (April 2023)
In April 2023, Omar de Frias was the featured guest on the Prime Time Show, where he went into more background on The Lunar project. Note: Due to age restrictions, you might have to click on “Watch on YouTube” below.
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted
Originally posted on August 15, 2023 @ 1:17 pm