Cuba's digital destination
Introduction by Amir Saarony
I’D LIKE TO START OFF BY TELLING YOU HOW this project came about. It was never intended to be an academic or all encompassing history of one of the icons of the cigar world. It is meant to be entertainment for those of us who share the passion for burning leaves.
This project evolved over time due to my obsession for the history of Cuban cigars and the culture surrounding them. I have had the pleasure of getting to know many fellow collectors and addicts in the past years and realized that much of the history of cigars has not been preserved or properly researched. In my personal quest for information I befriended Zoe Nocedo Primo, the tireless director of the Tobacco Museum in Havana.
It became obvious fairly quickly that the museum is drastically underfunded. This is an issue in our “western” world but in a country like Cuba, it is completely understandable. The government has many priorities, and as much as I believe a museum honouring an important part of patrimony is important, the government has to prioritize many, many issues before this. Through many years of collecting cigar antiques, ephemera and paraphernalia in Havana
I have come to realize that fellow collectors and I are rapidly stripping the country of many of the rarest and best pieces. This realization gave birth to this project. Profits from this venture will generate a donation to the museum to help them to continue to collect, preserve, research, exhibit and promote the fascinating history of the cultural icon we call the Cuban cigar.
As I started off by clearly stating that this is not meant to be an academic or comprehensive history. It never was. It was produced with the dual intention of informing and entertaining. It was not produced with tremendous resources of either time or funds but fueled by the immense devotion of those involved. Many people around the world gave of their time, energy and enthusiasm to help this project progress. To all of them I am extremely grateful.
This really has been a labour of love and passion. It has become an obsession for myself and I cannot express the pride with which I undertook the production of the book you hold in your hands.
Without the diminishing the contributions of others, you would not be reading this if it wasn’t for the extraordinary efforts of 3 specific collaborators. All of whom gave immense amounts of time and effort to move things forward and keep the momentum going. One has already been mentioned, Zoe.
With her enthusiasm and connections she opened doors and enabled this project to be evaluated by the Museum, under the Direction of Cultural Heritage of the Oficina del Historiador. de la Ciudad de La Habana whose director, Eusebio Leal Spengler, leads a huge rescue and conservation work of the material and spiritual heritage of the nation. Another without whom the endevour would have remained nothing but a dream is Orlando Amador Bertrán Vargas.
A true gentleman who tirelessly represented the project in Havana. I cannot say enough about the efforts he went through as the contact between myself and all them Cubans involved. He has been my friend and advisor in Havana for many years. I am closer to him than many that I am biologically related to and he and his family are part of mine. I am honoured to call him Tio, and do so with love. The final person I wish to mention here, well it is difficult to summarize her contribution. She has become the most involved person in this project outside of myself. With love and enthusiasm she embraced this project, helped collect information, interviewed people, scoured hundreds of references, translated, edited, did everything possible to continue momentum even at times of turmoil. As she read hundreds of unedited items and thousands of pieces of reference material before translation, I have no qualms in saying, the person who has learned the most about Partagás and related subjects during this project. She has requested anonymity and I will respect her request. She has more than my adoration but my respect and gratitude. I cannot overstate how much she has done for this and for me and will permanently have a special place in my heart. I hope she is as proud of the result as I am.
As I stated earlier, this has been fueled by love more than any other resource. I am sure there are many improvements that can be made, but if I fussed over this until I was pleased with everything down to the typesetting of every line, the project would last for years and never produce a finished product.
Any comments, suggestions, corrections or interesting items for inclusion into future reprints would be accepted with openness and gratitude. Please enjoy this homage to an icon. I am looking forward to your comments. Thank you for your support. Enjoy the book and may every cigar be a celebratory one.
An unparalleled look at the history of an icon, Partagás El Libro is a culmination of efforts from many of the world’s leading experts on the Cuban cigar and Cuban history.
Over 200 pages of information and never before published images from the National Archives of Cuba, the archives of Partagás, the Tobacco Museum in Havana and private and public collections around the world. A must have for anyone interested in cigars and Cuba of the past.
http://www.oldcubancigarstuff.com/ August 2012