Q&A: The Silent Legend

An Interview with Alfons Mayer, the globe-travelling tobacco buyer for General Cigar Co.

(continued from page 2)
Q: Have you been to all these countries where tobacco is grown?
A: Every one of them.
Q: I'm going to throw out names of tobaccos, and I'd like your impression of each one, all right? Let's start with Jamaican.
A: Flavorful, little grassy, nothing to compare with. Medium quality. It was used mostly politically because of England.
Q: Piloto Cubano from the Dominican Republic.
A: In my time, the best tobacco out of Cuba when well handled.
Q: Nicaragua.
A: Extremely strong. Too much of it gives you very few clients.
Q: Honduras.
A: I got familiar with Honduran tobacco in the later years after we bought Villazon. It was suitable.
Q: Cameroon.
A: The best wrapper—but not enough of it.
Q: Mexican.
A: Second quality. Cuba No. 1, Mexico No. 2. Always has been famous. From the San Andreas Tuxla area only.
Q: Connecticut shade.
A: Tops, if well aged.
Q: Indonesian.
A: It all should go to Europe, for that is its climate condition.
Q: Candela.
A: It's good, you want one?
Q: You like candela?
A: It depends how old it is. [Leaves his chair, comes back shortly with two candela cigars with more than 20 years of age.]
Q: Thank you…let's continue. Ecuador?
A: A good replacer for people who need wrappers.
Q: Connecticut broadleaf.
A: Strong and too native. Raw, ordinary, very difficult to have a bundle of cigars made from the same broadleaf.
Q: Dominican olor.
A: Smells like rotten eggs—and I am being nice about it.
Q: Peru.
A: Tumbe doesn't burn so it has to be Terra Poto. Great for short-filler cigars and an insult to premium.
Q: Philippines.
A: Excellent for short-filler cigars.
Q: Panama.
A: It was a disaster.
Q: Costa Rica.
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