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Cuba's Cohiba

James Suckling
From the Print Edition:
Premier Issue, Autumn 92

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EXQUISITO: The perfect name for a wonderful cigar. This is truly exquisite to smoke with medium-bodied coffee, spice flavors and a mellow finish. Excellent small-sized cigar. 90

PANETELA: A great little morning cigar with full flavors and a light coffee finish. This is extremely well-made. 89

Trinidad: The Best Kept Secret in Cuba

Cohiba may be the El Laguito factory's best known cigar, but every month a tiny number of cigars under the name of Trinidad are produced exclusively for Fidel Castro. This cigar is so secret that few individuals (until publication of this article), including executives at the government-run Cubatabaco, are aware of its existence.

"In order to have something special and unique for Fidel Castro, we produced this special brand," said Avelino Lara, director of El Laguito. "Other Cuban diplomats and governmental officials give away Cohiba as gifts, but nobody can give Trinidad away except for Fidel Castro."

Castro has not smoked a cigar for nearly eight years now, but he still appreciates the value of a fine smoke. Lara was the only man he could trust to make such a special cigar since the tall, slender 71-year-old tobacco man once oversaw the production of cigars for Castro's personal consumption. "I literally slept with the cigars to assure that they had not been tampered with, and I had three rollers who made them for Fidel," Lara said, pointing to the place in his bedroom near the refrigerator where he kept the cigars.

Trinidad, the name of one of Cuba's most beautiful historical cities, is identical in shape and in size to the Cohiba Lanceros. It is long and thin measuring seven and one-half inches by a 38 ring gauge. The wrapper, or outside of the cigar, is slightly darker than the average Lancero, and it has a simple gold band with "Trinidad" printed in black in its center. Trinidad comes in a simple cedar box of 100 cigars, and the factory produces about 20 boxes a month.

"This is a very special cigar, the Trinidad," said Lara, holding one of them in his hand. "It is better than the Cohiba. It is the selection of the selection of the selection."


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