Cigar Aficionado

A Return to El Laguito

September, 1991. The world was a very different place. The world was still in the midst of the Cold War as the Soviet Union was in its death throes, its member nations breaking off. Soviet troops, some 11,000, were to be withdrawn from Cuba, along with the Soviet aid that had kept that nation afloat.

It was far from an ideal time for a person to make their first trip to Cuba, but there I was, ready to spend a week touring Cuba's cigar factories and tobacco fields for a cover story for Wine Spectator.

Cigar Aficionado did not exist.

I write this only days after returning from my most recent trip to Cuba, a homecoming of sorts. It had been about ten years since my last visit, too long a time to spend away from the birthplace of the premium cigar industry. I most recently spent a few days on the island, smoking its wonderful cigars, speaking to its beautiful people, and returning to El Laguito, the mother factory for Cohiba cigars.

That visit to El Laguito, a majestic former school where cigars are made slowly, carefully, was emotional for me. For it brought back memories to that day nearly 20 years ago when I first stepped inside, smoking Cuba's most famous cigars. For it was on that visit, when I walked inside those tiny rooms where cigars are made, that I felt inspired to create a cigar magazine. To create Cigar Aficionado. That was the trip when I decided that before I died, I wanted to have a cigar magazine.

We shot a short video while we were there. You can watch it by clicking here.

Cuba, and in particular El Laguito, will always hold a special place in my heart. I can't tell you how glad I am that I returned, and I can guarantee you that it will not be ten years before I visit again.




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"Dear CA, I have received your new issue With Jeff Bridges. I am disappointed in the first two features I have looked at. I understand the name of the game is selling ads, but you have obliterated the cover feature with ads (10 pages) within article. Additionally, the left page ad after the opening spread is a disaster aesthetically speaking. The layout is clearly stretched to include advertisers and the reuse of studio image on interior is poor choice. You article on online poker misses a golden opportunity as well as ignores the elephant in the room. Why was various US companies strategically maneuvering with infrastructure and acquisitions to reenter the online game soon after it was made illegal. Interesting that US Casinos were left in the dust by off shore online gaming companies and the only way to get back that market share was to shut it down and then bring it back years later. Some powerful back room influences politically speaking to make that happen. You guys missed the boat on that! Pandering does not make good edit! --regards Bruce" —June 13, 2013 11:19 AM
"My wife and I rebranded SmokyJoesClothing.com, does CA ever run stories on the "good life", and clothes, History of a Chicago Store that started from a push cart, 40 years and the invention of the "Zoot Suit" and "Smoking Jackets"? www.smokyjoesclothing.com/our-story.html " —June 6, 2013 21:13 PM
"I earned and inspiring this blog history. I like the each moment to earn happiness." —April 21, 2013 06:25 AM
"i have been reading for this since several months. this is very wonderful post i like it to have the cigar with most important to be looked good." —April 21, 2013 06:24 AM
"Your story is great and refreshing. It really reminds me of the olden days when I used to smoke custom cigars on my porch. " —April 11, 2013 19:21 PM
"What a wonderful, inspiring story. A place where time stands still and people still live for each moment and in each moment. You've accomplished so much and have brought so much joy to the world of cigar enthusiast's. Thank you for your hard work-to 20 more years +. Kind regards," —March 2, 2013 07:27 AM
"Great story brings out history with it. I really enjoyed reading the article thank you for writing it." —October 21, 2012 07:56 AM
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"Marvin, as you might be aware by now-Bert Gottfried has passed. His impact to the industry and more specifically his contribution to the Oliva family are unmeasurable...I am hoping that there will be special recognition and an article outlining his life's achievements and contributions to the industry in you next print issue, and online...thank you." —September 24, 2011 09:28 AM
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"Marvin, Great to see you on the video and in Cuba again. I'm glad to see that you were able to take some time off from the golf courses and to get back to some real cigars. Amicalement, Guy" —March 26, 2011 07:48 AM
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"Mr Shanken It is good to see you in the blogs. I'm glad you made it back to the cigar motherland and most of all that you decided to make a cigar magazine. (and web site). George NY" —February 28, 2011 18:25 PM