Robaina's plantation

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña (Cigar Shop) Havana

                   I had the impression that this was a 'La Casa del Habano' but I was mistaken. Just going by my experience, this is probably one of the less visited of the Cigar Shops in Havana by Cigar Aficionados. Even though it contains the worlds longest cigar at 11meters (36-ft.) that's registered in the Guinness Book of World Records, it's still more of a tourist attraction because of the history behind the two fortresses on this side of the bay. The day I was here the store was filled with the typical tourists buying their usual mix of cigars to bring back home to friends....not an Aficionado in sight except for myself. I hadn't come to do any shopping or to see the man who rolled the famous cigar, Jose Castelar Cueto. I came to see the new director (not anymore, he's been here for close to 2 years now) of the shop, Rene Valdes Miller. I met him while he was director of the RyJ Cigar Shop in Centro Havana and haven't visited him while here at his new place of work.
                    I found Rene to be very relaxed while enjoying a sporting event playing out on the television in the other shop at the Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro a short walk from La Cabana. He's been organizing things over there so to increase sales. When I asked if he misses the action he said he's happy for the time off from all the stress. He's concentrating on getting the Morro Shop in better working order and has all the time in the world to do so, no stress.
                   I've been at a couple of events where Cueto was present but have never had the pleasure of meeting him. This was not going to be that time either, he wasn't there. Only a wax replica of Cueto would be present at the Cabana Shop next to his rolling table. Both my girlfriend and I thought that was a little creepy since he's still alive. However, it does look exactly like him.
                   For the Aficionados, as far as buying cigars here goes, my guess is that (from what I could see) it's geared more for the tourist market with all the big names as far as pedestrian cigars goes. I would think that the Aficionados would come here for Cueto's Custom Rolls. If you decide to visit here, make it a half a day affair and visit the two fortresses and maybe have a meal in one of the restaurants on this side of the bay. I wish I had more to tell, I hope you enjoy the pictures.

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