Subscribe to Cigar Aficionado and receive the digital edition of our Premier issue FREE!

Email this page Print this page
Share this page

Cuba's Cigar Legend, Alejandro Robaina

The dean of Cuban tobacco men and his grandson, Hiroshi, discuss the state of cigars in their homeland in a wide-ranging interview.
James Suckling
From the Print Edition:
Camilo Villegas, July/August 2006

(continued from page 3)

Hiroshi: Remember that now we have a new tapado system that doesn't let anything through! We planted 10,000 organic seedlings under this new tapado this year, and we had no problem.

Robaina: This tapado is new in Cuba but also worldwide. This system is totally new to everybody. It's a major step forward in the sense that there was no need to apply insecticides at all…our harvest was wonderful…the only problem was that the roof was dark-colored and we have to replace it.

CA: Doesn't the traditional Corojo leaf have more oil?

Robaina: Yes, traditional Corojo was the very best tobacco we had here in Cuba, and the old Criollo was the best of the sun-grown tobacco. I know Criollo seeds are still around. The government's Experimental Center has some left.

CA: Does the government have "Corojo tradicional" seeds as well?

Robaina: Yes, they have it. A few days ago I was asking about this because I am considering, for the next harvest, the idea of planting a bit of Criollo tradicional.

CA: Isn't the yield of Criollo tradicionalcomparatively lower to the new varieties?

Robaina: Yes, it did produce lower yields. But the quality was higher. That is why I disagree in using seeds that have high yield rates. This goes along with what I have told you before: a lot and good do not walk together. That seed that the scientist mentioned, the one that would yield 20, 30 or so leaves? I disagree with him because the important question is this: what will happen with all that tobacco when it gets cured? Around 25 years ago I planted one kind of seed throughout the entire plantation. I remember that we collected what was called el vizcaíno. I planted with a set price, whether it was a good or bad harvest. The yield was very high. But that wrapper was a disaster. The entire wrapper harvest was lost at the curing stage.

CA: Isn't the Criollo tradicional smaller in size?

Robaina: Yes. Its leaves are moderate in size.


< 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 >

Share |

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In If You're Already Registered At Cigar Aficionado Online

Forgot your password?

Not Registered Yet? Sign up–It's FREE.

FIND A RETAILER NEAR YOU

Search By:

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

    

Cigar Insider

Cigar Aficionado News Watch
A Free E-Mail Newsletter

Introducing a FREE newsletter from the editors of Cigar Aficionado!
Sign Up Today