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The La Corona and H. Upmann cigar factories put on their glad rags to welcome guests attending the 16th Habano Festival, who arrived there for a firsthand glimpse at the hand-rolling of a premium cigar, a handmade process that has remained unchanged over the past 200 years in Cuba.
Through a kindhearted exchange with employees, visitors learned the details of the production process, from the moment the tobacco bales are received to the outlaying of leaves. In the workshop –the heart of the factory- visitors were welcomed with the customary clanking sound of the jackknives used by the cigar rollers to make the different vitolas.
During their grand tour around the two factories, guests saw a number of simple tools, such as presses, molds and lots of skilled hands. They gazed at a number of workers who removes the central wick or nerve from the tobacco leaves before cutting them in halves and piling them up based on their colors, sizes and textures.
They also learned that habanos endure a strict quality control process in which, among other elements, experts try out their draw and burning properties. If everything’s alright, then habanos are bundled up with their finest clothes: the wrapper.
Once the making process is over, cigars are stashed in a huge cabinet –known locally as the treasure. They are put to rest in cedar-covered compartments that eventually remove the excess of humidity they acquired during the hand-rolling process.
The long road to the habano ends in the Quality Control Department, where technicians check their weight, length, width, firmness and outer looks before sliding the bands through them and shipping them to the hands of the excited smokers.
Video Rating: 5 / 5