Cigar Rolling Competition Concludes on Sunday


The finals of the fourth annual La Gloria Cubana Super Roll begin on Friday, and the winner will be decided on Sunday. The competition will be held at El Credito Cigars, the Miami cigar factory where some La Gloria Cubanas are rolled. (Most are now made in the Dominican Republic.)

Duking it out for the title of top torcedor are seven cigar smokers, each of whom won a similar contest at a 2005 Cigar Aficionado Big Smoke. The finalists are: Arthur Mayclin of Elk Grove, California, Veronica Castaneda of Chula Vista, California, Paul Benfer of Hazlet, New Jersey, Gerry Curry of Carlsbad, California, Carey Smolensky of Buffalo Grove, Illinios, Michael Reuveni of Paramus, New Jersey, and Bob Zarnetske of Norwich, Connecticut.

El Credito's Mike Giannini and La Gloria master Ernesto Perez-Carrillo will judge the contest. Giannini is the tricky one—at the first Super Roll Final in 2003, which I attended, he threw a true curveball to the participants, letting them know at the 11th hour that they would be bunching and rolling cigars, not just rolling as they did in the qualifying heats. (Bunching is the process of taking filler leaves and rolling a binder leaf around them. Rolling involves taking a wrapper leaf and rolling it around the bunch. Each is very different from the other.) The change made it much harder for the contestants, who did surprisingly well.

Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, president of El Credito Cigars
Perez-Carrillo is a legend in the cigar business, the man who made La Gloria Cubanas one of, if not the, hottest smokes in the United States in the mid-1990s. He's a tough judge.

On Friday, each contestant will get one-on-one training with one of El Credito's cigar rollers. On Saturday, after additional training, they will compete in the semifinal round, where three rollers will be eliminated. The remaining four return on Sunday for the final contest.

The winner will join El Credito's growing Hall of Fame and receive a number of prizes.

TO READ A FIRSTHAND ACCOUNT OF A SUPER ROLL FINAL, CLICK HERE.

TO ATTEND A BIG SMOKE AND COMPETE FOR THE NEXT SUPER ROLL, CLICK HERE.

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