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28/02/2018

 From the onset, faces of world personalities dedicated to different activities have been linked to the creation of Habano brands, depending on the market they are meant to pry into, either in Europe, the U.S. or the rest of the Americas.

Every so often, the art of lithography is associated to tobacco. Perhaps few people know this linkage was born out of music as far back as 1822, when a Frenchman named Santiago Lessieur y Durand opened a workshop to reproduce music scores in a newspaper called “The Musical Journal”, a joint publishing effort with Spanish musician Enrique Gonzalez. Habanos were named after the port where they used to be shipped overseas: the port of Havana. They were packed depending on the vitolas, in boxes or cases made of cedar and with labels glued on the top containing the following information: brand name, a drawing of an image that sometimes stood for the name of the brand, the name of the factory and the owner, the factory address and, above all, the keyword: Havana, indicating the origin of the very best tobacco grown and manufactured in the whole world.

More labels popped up as time rolled on in a bid to stave off forgery and imitations around the globe against the major outputs coming out of the Cuban factories. Some major standouts back then were hierro, vista, bofeton, papeleta, tapaclavo, filetes and anillas (bands).

Bands have been precisely one of the best-known, most sought-after and collectable-prone labels throughout history, not only because of their function, but also due to its location around the cigars. One particular band is the one that carries the image of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Cuba’s patron saint. This one clearly illustrates the mixture of all those stories and realities that round out Cuban tobacco’s grandiloquence and autochthonous character. This is no doubt a combination of art and tradition, the identity of a nation whose history is incomplete without mentioning one of its most representative elements: The Habano.

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