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Manuel Quesada: The Gentleman of Cigars

Michael Frank
From the Print Edition:
George Burns, Winter 94/95

(continued from page 3)

But Quesada realizes that modern palates are more demanding--wanting more than simple consistency. "These people are not my generation. We were happy with 'I like it' or 'I don't like it.' These people want to know how it works, where it comes from. Who does it? Their spectrum is much wider than ours was. This creates a much better smoker."

Philosophizing on this next wave of cigar smokers, Quesada discounts the threat of outlawing smoking. "Our problem is what we exude when we smoke a cigar. On the one hand, everyone's trying to stop you from smoking. But today there are restaurants that will try to accommodate you if you smoke a cigar. And a number of people are looking for better quality. Drink less, but better. Smoke less, but better. If quality dies, then we die."

By 12:30 a.m., now early Saturday, the last of the Port dribbles into Quesada's glass and Wayne Suarez burns his fingertips on a now very short cigar. Quesada, Kelner and Fuente give him a round of ribbing, but not too hard. They're happy that Suarez doesn't light another cigar. It's one less that will have to be made in the morning--all of these men, including Manuel Quesada, will be in the office in less than eight hours. There's not much time left to socialize or pursue hobbies, but each man here knows that quality requires diligence. "We're not here for today," Quesada says. "I'm the fourth generation, and the fifth generation is already working. We want to leave something for the next generation."

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