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The Rolling Rooms

Six Factories That Manufacture Most of Cuba's Export-Quality Cigars Each Specialize in Certain Brands and Sizes

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Jimenez wouldn't go any further in explaining the characteristics or origins of this special seco leaf for the Hoyo D.C. As in any Cuban cigar, the seco is a one of three component tobaccos available for blending and traditionally is less powerful than the ligero but richer than the volado. "We use much more seco in the Hoyo Double Corona than the Punch," says Jimenez. "Generally, we find the Punch Double Corona much softer than the Hoyo, which has a stronger character."
Regardless of which you prefer, both are labels that are extremely difficult to find on the market at the moment. "If the production of the Hoyo Double Corona has dropped to about 30,000 cigars now, then it is a difficult moment indeed," laments Simon Chase, director of marketing for Hunters & Frankau, the key agent for Cuban cigars in the United Kingdom. "I could sell 30,000 of those cigars into the London trade with three phone calls." /--J.S.
The Mystery Cigar
Some people were surprised that even Cuban President Fidel Castro didn't known about the mysterious Trinidad cigar (see Cigar Aficionado Summer 1994). However, Avelino Lara, who heads the El Laguito factory where the exclusive cigar is made, wasn't surprised at Castro's revelation.
"President Castro just orders special cigars for presents and he never looks into the box," says Lara, who used to sleep with boxes of Castro's Cohibas to assure that they were not tampered with. "Maybe he doesn't remember exactly what it is, but we just sent the king of Spain a box of 100 Trinidads."
It is easy to mistake a Trinidad for the Cohiba Lancero, because it is exactly the same size: 7 1/2 inches by 38 ring gauge. The only apparent difference is its slightly darker wrapper and simple gold band with trinidad printed in black with two black lines above it. Lara also said that the blend is slightly different. "People say that the Trinidad is slightly more aromatic," he says.
Unfortunately most people will never get the chance to smoke one. Trinidads remain reserved for diplomatic gifts and personal presents from Castro. A few years ago government officials reportedly looked into commercializing the brand, but found that it couldn't be trademarked because it remains the name of a country as well as various cities--including one of the more historic towns in Cuba.
Last year, Lara said that his factory produced only about 80 boxes of Trinidads, a fourfold drop from 1992 production levels. "I don't know why the orders are less now," Lara says. "People certainly still like them. We recently sent King Juan Carlos [of Spain] a different cigar, and he sent them back. It was not Trinidad, and he didn't want anything else."/-- J.S.
1993 Production of Some of the Best Cigars from the Top Factories
` C.A. Rating
El Laguito (EL)
- Cohiba Corona Especial: 500,000/CA Rating: 87
- Cohiba Exquisito: 400,000/CA Rating: 90
- Cohiba Lanceros: 600,000/CA Rating: 83
Romeo y Julieta (BM)
- Romeo y Julieta Churchill: 70,000/CA Rating: 94
- Saint Luis Rey Churchilll: 15,000/CA Rating: 93
- Sancho Panza Belicoso: 50,000/CA Rating: n/a
Partagas (FPG)
- Partagas 8-9-8: 500,000/CA Rating: n/a
- Partagas Lusitania: 178,000/CA Rating: 88
- Cohiba Robusto: 200,000/CA Rating: 96
- Cohiba Esplendido: 125,000/CA Rating: 90
- Cohiba Siglo Range: 1,000,000/CA Rating: n/a
La Corona (FR)
- Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona: 46,000/CA Rating: 99
- Punch Double Corona: 104,000/CA Rating: 93
- Hoyo Epicure No. 1: 94,000/CA Rating: 92
H. Upmann (JM)
- Montecristo No. 2: 850,000/CA Rating: 90
- Montecristo A: 15,000/CA Rating: 95
- H. Upmann Winston Churchill: 30,000/CA Rating: n/a
- Cohiba Robusto: 300,000/CA Rating: 96
- Cohiba Esplendido: 55,000/CA Rating: 90
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