Photo Feature by Elio Delgado
HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 10 — Situated within a stunning mansion located along 146st Street in Havana’s Cubanacan community is the factory of the coveted Cohiba cigar.
Issuing from the special plantations in the western Pinar del Rio Province, these cigars —possessing no rings to indicate their brand— were first produced for the exclusive use by members of the Council of State (to smoke or to hand out as gifts). It was in 1982 that Celia Sanchez Manduley christened them their present name, which is what our indigenous ancestors called rolled tobacco.
In 1992, the first five “Siglos” lines began to be marketed as classics marking Christopher Columbus’s fifth centennial. After 2000 the “Siglo IV” line was created, and in 2006 —to be commemorate the 40th anniversary of the creation of the brand— 4,000 cigars called “Behikes” were manufactured and sold in boxes of 40, with each box selling for 375 euros.
In 2008, the “Cohiba Maduro 5” came out in three different selections; their outer layer is dark because they are aged for five years. In 2009 appeared the “Gran Reserva de Cohiba,” and in 2010 a new a type of Behike was prepared that was different from that of 2006; in it is incorporated a leaf called a “medio tiempo,” the same ingredient that was used more than 30 years ago in the making of cigars and which contributes to the line’s additional strength, greater flavor and finer aroma.
The Cohiba is the result of more than 90 processes that are performed with infinite care and devotion. This is why at the beginning there were only women working in the small factory, and even now —though some men also work there— women continue to constitute the majority. Among today’s workers is one of the company’s founding employees, Miriam Hodelin Hodelin.
Number one among the buyers is Spain, and first in that country is the King, for whom “Lanceros y Coronas especiales” are produced with a personalized ring.
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