If you've lit a cigar, you've probably heard the name Xikar once or twice. It's a brand whose name has been drifting around the cigar world for almost 3 decades. But, do we know who they are? Do we know who started the infamous label and created a business where luxury products, high functionality, and affordable pricing coexist? It's time we sat down and got to know the history behind a brand that's become one of the elitists in the cigar industry.
High Function and Impeccable Design
When Northwoods Humidors asked their customers, "If you could have any cigar accessory, what would have?", three-quarters of our submissions included a Xikar product. The same desire for quality items began with Kurt Van Keppel and Scott Almsberger in 1994. When Keppel found the inexpensive models and the high-end models underperforming him and Almsberger set out to create products that matched good design (ergonomics and function) with the best styling and materials. The result was the Xi cutter, which they first assembled in their garages, and is now the market leader in cigar cutlery.
XIKAR originated from the word sikar, which is said to be the first Spanish spelling of the Taino word for cigar. The Tainos were the indigenous populations of Hispaniola and Cuba, where Columbus first landed when he discovered the "New World", and tobacco along with it. That's when Keppel and Almsberger decided to change the S to an X (representing 2 blades) and had the X cut the i, like a cutter clipping a cigar.
In 2000, Kurt and Scott decided to expand their product development into the pocket folder market. That year, they exhibited at the Blade Show, to "learn about the business," and they got good tips from custom knife makers like Tim Herman, and knife manufacturers like Paul Gillespie and A.G. Russel. The following year, XIKAR presented its first knife design, and in 2002 brought to market its full-scale production knives, the 118 Elan, 138 Excel and 158 Excursion. They expect to introduce two additional models for the knife nut at blade 2003.
The Xikar Timeline
Product Design completely by inventor Kurt Van Keppel and Designer Scott Almsberger in late 1996
Product design and development took 6 months
1997: 200 initial numbered prototypes were made by hand in a machine tool shop
All units were assembled and packaged in Kurt's garage
First mass produced units completed in May, 1998.
Official launch at the Retail Tobacconist Dealers Association Trade Show in August, 1998
350 Retailers carrying product by November 1, 1998
Patent approvals (design and utility) notices received November, December 1998
Obtained US Trademark Protection for the now-famous Xi cutter's teardrop shape on October 21, 2014. The shape of Xi cutters is protected from duplication indefinitely.
Coming Soon: Northwoods Humidors will soon be launching over 15 new products by Xikar!
Why Should You Buy From Northwoods Humidors?
Northwoods Humidors is the best source for high quality cigar humidors. This is a company that promises to supply you with exceptional service and always follows through. As Kurt Van Keppel and Scott Almsberger are to the Xikar brand, owner and customer consultant, Kevin is to Northwoods Humidors. Kevin is behind every inquiry and every purchase from start to finish. Growing up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, Kevin experienced a type of tranquility that he would later become nostalgic to when lighting his first cigar. The coniferous forest was a place to watch time pass, reflect, and regroup. The name was given to his beloved company as a way to channel this feeling again and bring his following to.
Northwoods Humidors is proud to be considered an expert in cigar humidors and accessories. Where most online platforms are flooded with ambiguous items, Northwoods Humidors is focused. Immediately following all inquiries you will find a detailed response that helps you to streamline your search and find something that works perfect for you or your loved one. No question is too big or too small. This company is eager to become your most dependable retailer for cigar humidors and accessories and if you've seen the reviews you've seen this company's evident dedication to their services.
"Northwood humidors is the perfect site for all your humidor shopping. Great customer service overall. My order was shipped internationally and I received it on time and in great shape. Will definitely recommend this site to anyone interested in purchasing a humidor or anything related to it." -- Shadi Z.