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Cuba's Cohiba

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

(continued from page 2)

El Laguito is small when compared to other well-known cigar factories such as Partagas or H. Upmann in Havana. Although it has increased significantly in size over the last decade, El Laguito's total annual production exceeds three million cigars or about one-third to one-fifth the size of a major cigar factory. The entire Cohiba range is produced here, although thick cigars such as the short Robusto and long Esplendido are made only four to five months a year in El Laguito due to production limits at the factory. About 400,000 more of these two cigars are also produced in the Partagas factory, which receives pre-blended tobacco from El Laguito.

Although the production of Cohiba fluctuates each year according to the quality of the harvest, the average annual production by size is currently: 950,000 Lanceros, 700,000 Coronas Especial, 260,000 Exquisitos, 390,000 Panetelas, 440,000 Robustos and 660,000 Esplendidos. "In the end, we only produce what we have in the best quality tobacco," said Lara. "If we only have enough tobacco for one million cigars that is all we will make. We do not make exceptions, Cohiba is the selection of the selection."

Lara is a candid and charismatic individual. He is most at ease smoking a cigar in his simple office on the second floor of El Laguito and reflecting on cigars. He loves nothing better than to recall the days as a young child when he played in the tobacco fields of the Vuelta Abajo with his Spanish grandfather who may have told him about life in the tobacco factories so well depicted in Carmen. "I learned many things about tobacco from my grandfather," he said puffing away on his Lanceros and watching the gray smoke rise to the ceiling as he was deep in thought. "Tobacco is part of Cuban culture, and Cohiba is the best cigar made in Cuba."

The Six Cigars of Cohiba

Lanceros (Ring Gauge: 38 Length: 7.5")

Esplendido (47 x 7")

Coronas Especial (38 x 6")

Robusto (50 x 5")

Exquisito (36 x 5")

Panetela (26 x 4.5")


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