practice came to France through its Ambassador to
Portugal Jean Nicot, from whose name derived the word
nicotine. In England the adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh
reserved rooms in the best clubs for smokers. A special
"Smoking Jacket was created for British nobles so as to
not contaminate their expensive clothes,
The trade in Tobacco greatly enriched Spain. For more
than100 years, all the tobacco coming into the European
markets passed through the Seville monopoly where it was
prepared and where the first cigars were packed for
shipment to the rest of the continent.
The best tobacco came from Cuba, the Dominican Republic,
Nicaragua, and Honduras. But the saga of the cigar is
linked inextricably to Cuba.
Fidel Castro and Ernesto Che Guevara were always
pictured with their favorites. Fidel was faithful to the
Cohiba, while Che preferred to smoke large sizes in
assorted brands, including Montecristo, H. Upmann, and
Partagas. For Ernesto "Che" Guevara, cigar smoking was
not a luxury but very much a part of the business of
revolution, a spiritual complement to lessen the
hardships of a life filled with difficulties.
Prior to the Revolution Cuba was a world capital of
luxury, gambling, and pleasure for the rich, Cuban
cigars became the clearest symbol of this sybaritic set.
Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, Ernest Hemingway, and Frank
Sinatra were living advertisements of Cuban Cigar
Winston Churchill's favorite cigar brands included Romeo
y Julieta cigars and (the no longer available) La Aroma
de Cuba. With cigar consumption from age 21 to 91 of
between 6 and 10 cigars a day, Sir Winston was estimated
to have smoked more than 150,000 cigars.
he was around 90, a journalist asked him: Sir, what is
the secret of your long life?
The memorable the answer was: first, no sport. Second,
cigars and whiskey, my dear.
JFK secured an ample lifetime supply of his favorite
“Puros” before signing the Cuban embargo. He did not
live long enough to enjoy his stash of 1200.
Former Presidents Ulysses Grant and Abraham Lincoln
never surrendered their "Puros" even when Grant suffered
from throat cancer he continued to smoke.
The Cuban cigar industry was nationalized in 1960. At
the time it was the islands second largest export
industry. Many top executives and cigar experts left
Cuba for nearby Santo Domingo, Miami, Honduras, and
Nicaragua. Numerous historical brands went out of
business and quality suffered. Facing a financial
disaster, Castro called the renowned expert Zino
Davidoff to revitalize this important sector of Cuban
industry. Today the market is flourishing with Cuban
Cigars exported all over the world except for United
States where because of the ongoing embargo they are
only available from smugglers and their co-conspirators
who charge an untaxed premium for the world’s premium