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Cigar Kings

The Rolando Reyes family relies on time and traditional techniques to make Cuba Aliados cigars in Honduras.
From the Print Edition:
Tom Selleck, Winter 95/96

(continued from page 3)

It is Thursday night, approaching the end of a busy week at Cuba Aliados. Outside, another storm breaks over Danli, sending sheets of rain across the town. Inside, Nelson Acuna sits alone in the rolling room, finishing the last of the day's pyramids. In the old kitchen behind the rolling room, the elder Reyes hosts an informal dinner party. Guests include Nestor and Herminio Plasencia and Fidel Olivas of Fabrica Plasencia and Benny Gomez of the Miami-based Inter-American Cigar Co.--all seasoned cigar men. The talk is of tobacco, Fidel Castro, this magazine's cigar-rating system. The host has laid down a sumptuous Cuban-style feast, 90 percent of which has come from his own backyard. The dishes include a whole roasted pig, sliced avocados, a garden salad with boiled eggs, black beans and rice, steamed yucca in garlic and butter, and plates of fresh fruit. There is iced beer and fiery rum with lime. A plastic bag chock-full of Aliados coronas goes round, and people smoke as they eat and drink. Don Rolando, seeming at complete peace with the world, shrugs off his son's worries.

"Here we are concerned with quality, not quantity," he says. "Our goal is that every cigar we make be a perfect cigar in its appearance, the way it burns and in flavor--a true work of art." When the subject of retirement comes up again, the indefatigable Reyes gives another shrug. "I suppose one day I will have to stop working," the cigar master says with a note of sadness in his voice. "But for now, I have my responsibilities." He pauses for a moment. "Anyway, 10,000 cigars a day isn't so many. For me, this is like retirement."

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