Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Fidel Castro, Summer 94
(continued from page 5)
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I would like to share a little buyer-beware education. As many of us know, La Gloria Cubana is a very difficult cigar to come by at your local tobacconist. Having read so much about this wonderful cigar in Cigar Aficionado, I was thrilled to learn that my business would take me to Miami. I immediately made plans to set aside some time to spend with one of my associates, Frank Alvarez (a native of Little Havana) to go to the La Gloria Cubana factory.
When I arrived in Miami, I checked the phone book and did not find El Credito Cigar Company listed. (I should have called information.) I then found under cigars/tobacconist only one outlet which looked close to the name "La Gloria Cubana"; this was called the La Gloria Cigar Company. Naturally, my first thought was that some sort of legal action might have been taken with respect to the Havana brand name since I last read about La Gloria Cubana in Vol. 1, No. 3, Spring 1993. So, we called this number and the proprietor assured us (in Spanish) that the La Gloria Cubana was made there.
Upon arrival, the place looked nothing like the one pictured in the Spring 1993 issue. I asked if Mr. Carillo was around and he said, "No, not today." Frank mentioned that we were looking for El Credito Cigar Co. where La Gloria Cubana cigars are made. His reply was that "I know of no such place, but we make the La Gloria Cigar here and have been for 40 years."
Well, I guess it was the rush from the smell of the walk-in humidor or the sight of the little old man in the back room carefully manufacturing a batch of double coronas. But whatever, I purchased a box of piramides from the humidor, which he assured me were ready to smoke. And, what the heck, even if they weren't the real McCoy, and he sure as heck wasn't going to tell us where the real factory was, maybe these would turn out to be a nice, local smoke.
We left with the booty, and proceeded to Frank's favorite coffee bar for an afternoon snack. As we sat and enjoyed the wonderful smells and flavors of the neighborhood, the architecture of the block and the coffee bar seemed familiar and reminded me of the pictures printed in your article. We finished and walked to the other end of the block, and lo and behold, there it was, El Credito Cigar Company.
We were greeted by Ernesto Carillo's daughter Lissette, who was very pleasant and knowledgeable. When we told her what had happened, she said, "that guy was a friend of my grandfather's and he knows exactly who and where we are." She also mentioned that they are listed in the phone book under cigar manufacturers, which is why in my excitement, I didn't find them listed in the first place. I purchased several sizes and also a box of Wavells and we were on our way.
Since then I have enjoyed several, genuine La Gloria Cubanas and they have measured up to everything Cigar Aficionado has rated them to be. As for the imposter? Well let's just my c.a. rating would be low--and 10 points lower for dishonesty.
Joseph B. Laudano
Nutley, New Jersey
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