The Rolling Rooms
Six Factories That Manufacture Most of Cuba's Export-Quality Cigars Each Specialize in Certain Brands and Sizes
From the Print Edition:
Bill Cosby, Autumn 94
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Such bravado is shared by all the export factories' managers. All of them think they make the best cigars in world--which is perhaps why Havana remains a dream for getting great cigars.
The King of Cigars
The king-sized Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona is not only one of the hottest cigars on the market, it is also one of the rarest. Its production continues to diminish due to a drop in Cuba's harvest of large wrappers and quality seco leaves in recent years, according to Philip Jimenez Pares, manager of the La Corona factory in Havana, which specializes in the famous big smoke.
Jimenez expected this year's production of the Hoyo D.C. to reach a meager 27,000 after already declining to 46,000 in 1993. His factory's total production of double corona cigars--all 7 inches by 49 ring gauge--is only 150,000 cigars. Most of this is in the Punch Double Corona.
"We have big fights all the time in the factory over which cigar is best," he admits. "But we make much less of Hoyo Double Coronas than Punch because it is hard to get the right seco leaves that we use for the cigar."
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."
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