The roots of the Perez-Carrillo family are in Cuba, where Ernesto Sr. was born in 1904. He began learning about tobacco and cigars early in his childhood from his father who rolled and sold penny cigars in the streets of Havana. After working as a tobacco buyer for many years, Ernesto Sr. launched the family cigar dynasty in 1948 when he purchased El Credito, a small cigar factory in Havana. The Perez-Carrillo family became well-respected in Cuba, and Ernesto Sr. was elected to the Senate in 1954 and 1958. But, as the Cuban Revolution took hold and Castro gained control of Cuba, the Perez-Carrillo family’s life changed forever. It wasn’t until his father contemplated selling El Credito in 1976 that young Ernesto realized that this was his calling in life. He convinced his father not to sell, and for the next four years, he shadowed his father to see how a master created a cigar. When his father passed away in 1980, a 29-year old Ernesto took over the reins of El Credito, but was not prepared for the financial difficulties that ensued. Bills piled up and demand for cigars cratered, but Ernesto’s friends in the Miami cigar trade carried him through these tough times, confident that this promising craftsman would eventually succeed. And succeed he would.