Dissident Cigar: A Smoking Disruptor

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Once seen as the exclusive realm of older men, cigar smoking has seen a resurgence across a wide spectrum of new aficionados. While some may see it as just a new hip trend, my experience has shown it to be a real expansion of the cigar world. The global cigar market size was valued at USD 11.61 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 7.2% from 2021 to 2028. Dissident Cigar stands poised to welcome many new faces into the cigar community that wouldn’t have normally fit into the older, more reserved crowd.

The Bold Style Of Dissident Cigar

 A rise in luxury hotel establishments now creating premium cigar lounges is expected to positively impact the market growth. In short, cigars have gained a new, younger, and essentially more hip following, and we all benefit from it.

One factor that has helped bring fresh blood into our beloved world of cigars is the presence of market disruptors. While it may have a negative connotation, these disruptors shake the industry and force new growth. The status quo is nudged to change, and the entire industry benefits once again. One such welcomed disruptor has been Dissident Cigars. Based in Nicaragua, Dissident is a premium cigar brand for the next generation of cigar smokers.

(Photo by Dissident Cigars)

New Beginnings

Dissident Cigars are not a brand-new name to those in the cigar world. Made in the Oveja Negra Cigar Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, the brand was initially launched in 2013. Its resurgence back into the hearts and minds of the cigar world has a unique story behind it. Enter Cynn and Joshua Coburn. The Coburns’ lives were built around helping people be better. 

Josh is well known as a motivational speaker, and Cynn spent several years running a facility for at-risk boys. She later worked with the elderly through a law firm and an elder-care facility. That took a turn, however, during a family vacation to Nicaragua. They made the trip to visit Oveja Negra, the cigar factory owned and operated by James and Angela Brown. The Coburns quickly fell in love with Estelí and San Juan del Sur, a town situated on Nicaragua’s southwest coast where the Browns live. 

The outbreak of COVID-19 forced a longer stay, which has now ultimately led to a complete relocation by the Coburns. A trip back to the States, soon the Coburns sold everything they had, including their cars and personal belongings, packed a suitcase and their pets, and made Nicaragua their new home. 

Into the Unknown

In 2021, the Browns asked the Coburns if they wanted to purchase the Dissident Cigar brand and make it their own. It took about a week of deliberations and discussions before the Coburns finally decided that becoming cigar brand owners was indeed something they wanted to do. The Coburns bought the brand knowing it would be a major time and monetary investment without a guaranteed return. 

While they had extensive experience launching successful businesses, the cigar world would be a new challenge. Ultimately, they realized they had a passion for cigars that would outweigh many reasons not to get involved in the cigar industry.

As the new owners of Dissident Cigars, they knew the brand had undergone several changes in ownership since its launch in 2013. As a whole, Dissident has earned a reputation for its alternative and edgy marketing. Contrary to traditional cigar marketing with standard colors and layouts, Dissident looks more like street art with attitude. 

Currently, Dissident has some great offerings in their Core line, including Soapbox, bLoC, Rave, Rant and Tirade.
(Photo by Dissident Cigars)

Distinctive Branding

The logo is a distressed font that looks more spray-painted than written, and instead of a family crest, there’s a big, bold lightning bolt that’s front and center in some of the company’s marketing collateral. It’s clear that Dissident is a brand for a new generation of cigar smokers, and that was part of the appeal for the Coburns when they were presented with the opportunity to become the brand’s newest owners. 

The Coburns knew they had an entirely different set of obstacles and challenges ahead of them. Retailers knew of Dissident, but the various changes in ownership over the years left some with questions and doubts that the Coburns had to address. With that, the Coburns utilized social media as a powerful branding and marketing tool for the renewed brand, and it worked like a charm. They continued with the edgy, nontraditional vibe of the brand in their marketing, and soon, Cynn became the brand’s face.

Bucking Tradition

Cynn is far from the standard man in a suit and tie we are accustomed to seeing in cigar advertising. She is bold, unapologetic, and a perfect example of how cigars are for everyone. I had the pleasure of visiting with Cynn, and she shared what can only be seen as a traumatic previous life. From being a domestic abuse survivor to experiencing tragedies, she is also the face of perseverance. She is also more than just the face of the brand. 

Cynn has blended every Dissident cigar. They have a strong line of cigars with a stick for about anyone’s palate. Cynn told me, “You can also go through traumatic life experiences and come out on the other end thriving. Everything we go through can be lessons and tools to succeed in life. We truly cannot be and do without failure.”

Cynn is also the face of a growing number of women who have discovered the pleasure of cigars. According to the CDC, more than 3.2 million women enjoy cigars, which is growing. 

Cynn Coburn is the proud female owner behind Dissident Cigars.
(Photo by Dissident Cigars)

Female Cigar Smokers

That is a significant increase from the 1980s when women accounted for only one-tenth of one percent of smokers in the USA. Women are also happily becoming members of cigar-smoking clubs. It’s not a new thing, with many women cigar-smoking clubs flourishing in Berlin and the U.S. during the 1920s. There is a cigars-smoking club saying that 60% to 70% of members of their club are women.

Although, to most, purchasing a cigar brand would be enough to fill your plate and keep you busy, the Coburns are always up to a bigger challenge. “When we bought Dissident,” Cynn said, “we immediately released a whiskey called Dissident. This was possible because our good friend owns a brewery and distillery in Detroit and Flint, Michigan. 

The whiskey is top shelf. Consumers can win the whiskey by attending Dissident events. Purchasing dissident cigars puts them in the drawing to win the whiskey. Due to the large number of whiskey bottles that we have, we are looking at other ways to get the whiskey out there without having to deal with distribution laws.”

To those in the cigar world. Dissident Cigars are not a brand-new name. Made in the Oveja Negra Cigar Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, the brand was originally launched in 2013.
(Photo by Dissident Cigars)

Next-Gen Brand

Currently, Dissident has some great offerings in their Core line, including Soapbox, bLoC, Rave, Rant, and Tirade. They have also announced that their annual limited-edition cigar will return in 2023. This will mark the fourth iteration of the Dissident HOME, including its inaugural launch in 2019. As with previous releases, the HOME 2023 will use an Ecuadorian Maduro & Corojo barber-pole wrapper, Ecuadorian binder, and all-Nicaraguan fillers and come in the same size, a 6×52 box-pressed Toro.

“Thanks to the previous brand owner, the HOME has always been a highly anticipated release for Dissident fans since 2019,” Cynn shared. “I’m excited to bring this beloved cigar back after a year’s hiatus! We made minor changes to the box artwork and big changes to the label artwork, which we are truly stoked about! If you feel like you don’t belong, it means you belong with us. Welcome HOME!”.

The Cigar Aficionado

To say that Dissident is a standout brand is an understatement. Their take on the brand is straightforward. “Being Dissident is about being uniquely you. Living your life to the fullest, no B.S. Standing up for what you believe in. Our freedoms. Adventure. Being strong in the face of adversity and pushing through life on the damn bull you rode in on. Dissident is for the misfits, the fun havers, the rule benders, the adventure seekers, the freedom lovers, the blue collars, the punks, and the war cry.”

Cynn is on a mission and will continue to drive the brand. “We’ve taken a more art-forward approach to upcoming cigar releases, where the cigar boxes and bands tell a story and really dig home that same top-shelf Dissident mindset. As one of the very few female cigar owners in the industry, and the only heavily tattooed, metalhead, Mohawk, freedom-loving, no-f*cks-given chick in a male-dominated industry, I’ll blaze that damn trail of fire for others,” said Cynn.

For more information, visit ovejanegracigars.com. 

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