Cigars are among the few things I’ve loved longer than my wife, whom I first kissed at age 16. I have never much cared for cigarettes, pipes, or the Devil’s lettuce, but from the moment a family friend gave me my first cigar—a machine-made Cuban—I fell in love with the whole affair: the flavor, of course, but also the ritual and, most of all, the culture.

My mother did not discourage my enthusiasm. When we would shop for groceries in the Italian neighborhood of the Bronx, she would watch as the cigar rollers on Arthur Avenue gave me three or four sticks each week for free, as I was too young to purchase them myself. As far as vices go—if one could even call it that—teenage boys could get up to much worse. One of the last Christmas gifts she ever gave me before unexpectedly leaving for her eternal reward was a box of robustos, which I have saved to smoke on only the most special occasions since.

When I applied to college, my personal statement detailed my love of cigars. The admissions office, mirabile dictu, didn’t hold it against me. On campus, I started a club, the Society for Intellectual Growth and Reinvigoration—“SIGAR,” that is—as well as a cigar review column in the newspaper, both flimsy excuses to get the school to subsidize a hobby otherwise out of reach for a broke college kid. It was around that time that I first conceived of Mayflower Cigars.

My maternal ancestors came to the United States from Italy. My father’s side arrived somewhat earlier on the Mayflower. Four of my ancestors sailed on that voyage to found the country: Dr. Samuel Fuller, a Pilgrim; John Billington, the first man executed for murder in Plymouth; Francis Eaton, who nearly blew up the Mayflower by firing a gun near an open barrel of gunpowder; and Stephen Hopkins, a sailor whose earlier mutiny aboard the Sea Venture near the Isle of Devils inspired Shakespeare’s The Tempest. As Nathaniel Hawthorne observed, “Families are always rising and falling in America.”

Tobacco in many ways built America. Christopher Columbus discovered it on his first voyage to the New World in 1492. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew and sold tobacco both before and after the Revolution. My own career blossomed through tobacco when, in the early days of the Daily Wire, an unsolicited cigar review I had sent to Jeremy Boreing and Caleb Robinson convinced the co-CEOs to give me a show.

Cigars have formed an integral part of the Daily Wire’s culture from the beginning. Our most popular show, Backstage, is filmed through the haze of cigar smoke. A statue of Elizabeth Warren in a headdress adorns the set. A Reagan humidor takes up a full wall of the executive office, filled with goods carried back by hand from a certain island nation off the coast of Florida. We love cigars. Now, as the culmination of that love affair, we bring you Mayflower Cigars—produced, mirabile dictu, by the very same factory that made the box my mother gave me all those years ago.

—Michael Knowles