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BEHIND THE LEAF – Man On A Mission

BEHIND THE LEAF – Man On A Mission

BRIAN DESIND OF PRIVADA CIGAR CLUB

BRIAN DESIND OF PRIVADA CIGAR CLUB

Brian Desind’s passion for cigars is evident from the minute he gets started in a conversation, and he’s not shy about diving deep into the preconceived notions about the industry. He’s taken up this cause because he’s fully immersed himself in the culture of premium cigars and has developed relationships with artisans throughout the world. He’s become somewhat of a guardian of the wonderful world of cigars. 

Brian developed the Privada Cigar Club in 2017. He’s the real deal when it comes to consumer tobacco education, and helping people know how they’re spending their hard-earned dollars for cigars. 

Brian Desind is a man on a mission, and the backstory that led Brian to create Privada Cigar Club is cool and unique.  

Cigar & Spirits Magazine: What was your background before creating Privada Cigar Club? 

Brian Desind: I was an aspiring singer songwriter from the age of 14. I worked on my first demo at the legendary Sigma Sound Recording Studios in Center City Philadelphia and learned the ropes of recording and songwriting from Scott Storch. Scott is one of the most successful producers of all time. I was young and in the studio with legendary people like Quest Love, Kurrupt, Foxy Brown, Gerald Levert and many more. For the next 17 years I was either in a record deal or being mentored by LL Cool J who signed me to a multi album record deal and groomed me for the business. I did this while working any and every job I could find in New York City. I worked finance to sales to retail to you name it. There was no job I could not interview my way into and lose within weeks to months. My last job working for others–I was 31 years old–fresh off tour, I decided to quit music and my vices. I moved to Miami and became a chauffeur where I had the realization that I made the world’s worst employee, so I decided to try my hand at running my own business. I started an auto transport brokerage and began to create success for myself as an entrepreneur.  

That’s some road tour. What was the inspiration behind creating Privada Cigar Club?  

The inspiration was that most of the American cigar market has no idea which cigars, manufacturers or tobaccos are special or not. I replaced a very expensive sneaker collection with a limited-edition cigar collection. I tried to get pricing for these amazing cigars, and the responses I got online in message boards, told me something was missing. The cigar culture had few people that knew good from bad and those who made the actual products. This industry has been commoditized from the beginning. Imagine, the world’s most time-consuming handmade product was treated like a commodity?  

Oh, hell no, I had to change that. This was the beginning of Privada Cigar Club. 

What’s the basic premise of Privada Cigar Club?  

PCC is the largest cigar subscription business in the world. It focuses solely on limited-edition, rare and aged cigars from the world’s best manufacturers. PCC’s goal is to shine light on the people who actually make these craft products while educating the consumer on who these people are, what makes them unique and what the different types of tobaccos do in a cigar blend. What has organically grown on its own accord is the strongest community the cigar culture has ever seen. PCC has over 18,000 subscribers, some had never even smoked cigars before Privada launched. Privada is the craft cigar movement. 

You’ve been a cigar enthusiast for a long time. Are there any iconic cigar industry figures you’ve met and what was that like? 

There are too many to list and I actually feel bad not being able to mention them all. AJ Fernandez, Eladio Diaz, Henke Kelner, Erik Espinosa and Isaias Santana of D’Crossier have had the biggest impact on me. AJ Fernandez is always the first person I mention. I studied tobacco and cigars intensely for almost 10 years by the time we met, and he changed the way I saw and understood tobacco in one week. I can sit in front of a true master and surprise them with a piece of information that almost no gringos have. When you love tobacco the way I do, all the studying and hard work are a source of joy. When what feels like work to most is joy to you, you can excel in that thing. For me it’s tobacco.  

Which collabs have been most rewarding? Do you have any others on the horizon? 

Privada Cigar Club puts out nothing but collaborations and we do it 36 times per year in the actual Private Club. Then we do it again 24 times per year in the Limited Cigar Association which is now taking over American retail as the most exciting thing to happen in cigars since the ‘90s. Our entire business is collaboration of limited edition and aged cigars. So, yes, we expect some collaborations. [laughs] 

What else would you like our audience to know about Privada Cigar Club? 

PCC is the best source if you’re curious about cigars and would like to know the inside scoop. Truly understanding cigars and tobacco–from experience–not just reading information that exists out there. It’s almost criminal that we sell the cigars for so little. [laughs] By far, we provide the best education while being fun. It’s also an open door into the largest community of positive and passionate cigar smokers as well as insight into the manufacturers. My passion is sharing all the information I receive with my people. 

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