Tor Imports opened for business in 1992 under the stewardship of Mark and Sandra Acton, distributing a small range of dry Dutch cigars from a warehouse in Dawlish in Devon.
Through the cigar boom of the 90’s and into the noughties the Acton’s increased their offering to include some Global hand Made Cigar brands such as Fuente, Padron and Ashton from the New World and Saint Luis Rey from Cuba along with a small range of accessories. The Acton’s retired from the business in 2007 when the business transferred to JJ Fox where it remained under their ownership until August 2012 when the current owner, Scott Vines took over the reins.
Scott’s objective was to re-invent “New Tor” and introduce the Best of the Best rated cigar ranges from the New World and to offer first class service and the best quality of handmade cigars in the market. To achieve this, we relocated into new premises with carefully planned storage facilities and invested heavily in a 140 sq meter purpose built storage humidor that controls the temperature and humidity ensuring that every cigar that leaves our bond is in perfect condition. We also implemented a bespoke HMRC approved operating system that allows us to control our inventory with live-time sales, ensuring that we strive to have maximum availability of product at all times.
First of all though, we went through a massive optimisation and rationalisation of our ranges and walked away from many International Brands where we received little or no support, and replaced with new exciting cigar companies such as La Aurora, Oliva and Alec Bradley. In the last few years we have added many of the Best cigar makers in the world such as Joya de Nicaragua, Drew Estate, La Flor Dominicana and King Edwards as well as bestselling accessories such as Boveda.
We have a very careful supplier selection process to try and ensure that our family owned cigar partners are responsible for their own farming. This ensures that we always receive consistently high quality cigars. We also like to partner with suppliers who give something back to their local communities in terms of education and health care support, they have a fair pay and gender policy and that they take their environmental responsibilities seriously.
Through this selection process, we are proud that we represent 8 of the 14 of the No1 rated cigars since Cigar Aficionado started awarding this accolade in 2004.
Previous to Tor, Scott spent the majority of his working life employed in the cigarette industry, with Philip Morris, Rothmans and British American Tobacco, so the cultural change from Fast Moving Cigarettes to the slower paced Hand Made Cigars industry was initially a shock. What struck him on his first tour of cigar retailers was the retailer’s description of Cuban and Non-Cuban cigars. No-one talks about “French Wine and Non-French Wine” or “Scottish Whisky and Non-Scottish Whisky” when comparing the products from different countries around the world, so we promptly set about registering New World Cigars as our own Trademark and started on our adventure to change the language with the UK trade and consumers to New World Cigars.
The turnaround in Tor’s fortunes in the last few years has seen us rewarded with Association of Independent Tobacco Specialists Supplier of the Year twice, in 2016 and 2018, and Runner Up in 2014 and 2017. We are extremely proud of this recognition from the retail trade and it acts as motivation to us to continuously improve our range, service and support.