What Are Custom Rolled Cigars
The Museo del Tobacco in Havana preserves the heritage of the Cuban tobacco branch and passes it on to the next generation. When you think about it, the whole of Cuba is actually a living museum. The colonial facades from the first half of last century characterise the cityscape of Havana; the American classic cars are tourist attractions. Even the Cuban cigar industry deliberately places emphasis on tradition.
Havanas are, generally speaking, still produced the way they were a hundred years ago. However the knowledge must be cultivated so that it isn’t forgotten over time. This is a task that the Museo del Tobacco, located in the old town of Havana, is dedicated to. The Museum is housed in a townhouse in the Calle Mercaderes, which is reachable by following the shopping street Calle Opispo almost to the end.
Many cigar lovers know the neighbouring Hotel Conde de Villanueva. The Havana is a symbol of the culture and identity of Cuba that we want to promote, explains the director Zoe Nocedo Primo about her mission. She wants to show me what the museum has to offer. But we didn’t start the tour the way I expected we might, going from exhibit to exhibit.
Instead we sit down and soon it becomes clear that there is a great deal to tell. The Tertulias de Habano are the first example of the kind of culture promotion that the tobacco museum operates. At these meetings, intellectuals, representatives from the industry and friends of the house honour an outstanding personality from the tobacco world – always alternating between a living and historical figure. One guest of honour at Tertulia was Heinrich Villager. Ernesto Che Guevara and Gaucho Marx have also been in the spotlight.
For the Lectores, the readers in the tobacco factories, the museum offers training courses. Says Zoe Nocedo Primo about the initiative: In these courses we teach the readers in the subjects of literature, journalism and communication. And with success. The museum also maintains a library for more than 200 readers. Through the library, the museum has developed into a veritable centre for readers from all over the country, says the director proudly.
Additionally, the museum also founded a club for the female Friends of the Habano. International writers and journalists meet and network within the group. Every two months a themed event takes place. There is music and a cigar tasting.
On international Women’s day, Museo del Tabacco organises a discussion group, and once each year an event is dedicated to women from a particular profession in the tobacco branch. Every two years, the Museo del tobacco organises the Symposio Habana- Habanos.
This meeting, which has the character of a scientific conference, aims at bringing together local and international experts on all subjects to do with Cuban cigar culture.
Recently, the symposium drew over 100 researchers, collectors and journalists.
“But the most popular is the Cursos Habanos Culture. At these courses, the participants increase their knowledge of Cuban cigars, in particular, in connection of rum with Habanos. The courses are popular with sommeliers, dealers and also private cigar lovers.
Alongside all these activities, which the visitor doesn’t see upon first glance, the Museo del tobacco is also a very normal museum, open to everyone.
The exhibition shows old smoking accessories and artworks, historical factory equipment, a complete set of Alejandro Robaina’s working clothes and an old plough from his Vega (farm)
The historical lithographies are also interesting. But the temporary location has been around for some years now. The museum was founded here in 1993 and is celebrating its twentieth anniversary in 2014. Recently there was renewed hope of a forthcoming move.
There’s an idea about making a museum out of the old Partagas factory.