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Q&A: The Silent Legend

An Interview with Alfons Mayer, the globe-travelling tobacco buyer for General Cigar Co.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
Morgan Freeman, Mar/Apr 2005

(continued from page 3)

A: Too small quantities.

Q: Brazil.

A: A very interesting ingredient for premium cigars. It should be below 17 percent of the cigar.

Q: What about shade-grown Dominican wrapper?

A: We at General Cigar wasted a hell of a lot of time. And wish anybody else the best of luck.

Q: Cuba.

A: Still the best tobacco for premium cigars in the world, of Pinar del Río, certain areas in Remedios, in small proportion. Because not all Pinar del Río is OK, but we all know that it is still the best.

Q: Let's talk about the cigars we're smoking now, your Alfons Mayer cigars. It comes in a unique box, with all three cigars, breakfast, lunch and dinner, your three different blends. What made you want to come out with your own cigar?

A: When I decided to retire, they said to stay. Then when I turned 72 in 1999, my wife, Sara, passed away. Right here. I started to slow down, because somebody had to be here and be around. I retired in 2001. The Cullmans said, "We want to make a party." I said, "No, take me to the best restaurant in New York." We had dinner, wonderful.

Q: Where did you go?

A: Four Seasons. And they said, "Why don't you make an Alfons Mayer cigar?"

Q: It's made by General. Can we talk about their age?

A: They are fully aged. They age here at least another two years, and they already have three years on them.

Q: And you sell them from here in Warren, A. Mayer & Co.

A: Yes.

Q: Was it hard for you to retire?

A: Ah, no. I was glad. I was very happy to get out, to say I don't have to drive to New York anymore.

Q: What motivated you?

A: I loved the job. I loved the tobacco. Money was no object. In Cuba I think they paid me $100 a month, but I had food, living and a jeep. And that was really good.

Photos by Brennan Cavanaugh

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