Our Story

The La Sonrisa story can be traced back to the 1970s at a small college in Pueblo, Colorado. An ambitious young student, Tom,  meets a rugged political science professor, Wally,  who would become Tom’s life-long mentor, advisor, and business partner. Their 40+ year friendship is the foundation of La Sonrisa cigars.

Long after their college years ended, Tom and Wally’s friendship expanded as did their families, friends and travel experiences. In new ways, Wally mentored Tom and his late wife, Charlotte, as they raised their daughters, Amy and Ali. In addition to similar interests and political persuasions, Tom, Charlotte and Wally shared great pleasure in smoking fine cigars!  Wally enjoyed his cigars with single malt scotch, Charlotte with Crown Royal, and Tom with Tanqueray and tonic. Although Wally and his wife, Sharon, lived in Colorado and Tom and Charlotte lived in Arizona, the four gathered every year, somewhere around the world, and enjoyed fine cigars.

Sharon and Wally’s travels took them to Nicaragua in the 90s.  After several return trips, they bought “The Farm” –  Los Genizaros” named for the beautiful shade trees on the property. A 3rd-generation Colorado rancher, Wally grew up breaking broncos, driving cattle, and tilling soil. When a farm hand suggested planting tobacco, Wally enthusiastically dedicated a field to the effort.  Early on, it was clear that the soil of Grenada couldn’t beat the fertile Nicaraguan tobacco fields of Esteli, Jalapa and Condega. The Farm’s tobacco field was growing a different crop. Charlotte and Tom visited and smoked some really bad Farm cigars with Wally, fully aware that only 2-hours away some of the finest tobacco in the world grew.

Many great cigars were enjoyed during the next few years, then in 2014 life took an unexpected turn and Charlotte lost her life.  Wally, Sharon and Tom decided to create a cigar for women in Charlotte’s name. They looked no further than the fertile Nicaraguan fields of Esteli, Jalapa and Condega for their tobaccos. They looked no further than Granada for their Blend Master, Silvio Martinez.  Silvio created the mild Charlotte blend in petite corona, corona and robusto styles.  While creating Charlotte’s blend, Tom tapped into Silvio’s talents and asked for a mid-medium strength Wally blend in Churchill, toro, and torpedo styles.  The new family of exceptional Nicaraguan ciagars was aptly named La Sonrisa (The Smile), in memory of Charlotte’s radiant smile.