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Inside Cuban Cigars—A Talk With Cubatabaco Head Francisco Padron

Cigar Aficionado meets with Cubatabaco's top official, Francisco Padron, to discuss Cuba's cigar industry.
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Rush Limbaugh, Spring 94

(continued from page 7)

C.A.: So what you are saying is that if you take away the half million of the Siglo series, then the rest of the Cohiba range is about 1.5 million cigars?
Padron: Yes. More or less.

C.A.: That's terrible.
Padron: No. No more.

C.A.: Production has really gone down.
Padron: Cohiba should be at about 2.5 to 3 million cigars a year in the right situation. Remember this. Don't tie Cohiba to the rest of the crop because we select the tobacco from very few farms. Maybe there is a disaster in most places, but maybe in one of those small places the crop was wonderful. We take care of those special places.

C.A.: So when you have limited resources for the tobacco crop, you prioritize them to go to these top-quality farms first?
Padron: Yes. We try to maintain Cohiba first.

C.A.: What do you recommend that consumers buy now considering the difficulty in supply of such fine cigars as Cohiba Siglo, Hoyo de Mon-terrey Double Corona and others?
Padron: It depends what you like.

C.A.: That's not what I mean. For instance, we have given a great score to the Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona (99 points), but nobody seems to have it. Are you increasing the production of the Hoyo Double Corona?
Padron: For all the fifth- and sixth-category cigars [the highest level in craftsmanship in Havana cigars], there is a definite problem because we did not have a good crop of big wrapper leaves.

C.A.: Could you tell me the approximate production of the Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona?
Padron: I don't have the figure in my head. It was more or less the same production as last year.

C.A.: That one size: is it 50,000 or 20,0000? What is it?
Padron: Really, I don't have those figures in my head.

C.A.: Let's go to another subject. Davidoff.
Padron: That is history.

C.A.: I understand it's history, but the people at Davidoff have said to us in the past that if the situation changes they would like to come back to Cuba....
Padron: Forget about it. As long as I am in Cubatabaco, forget about it. That is history. We don't need Davidoff. Life has proved that we don't need that name. And that's the most important thing.

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