Ace Atkins

New York Times Best Selling Author

Cigar Retraction

I would like to thank those who pointed out Dash Hammett could not have possibly been smoking a Cohiba cigar in that rare still I shared yesterday. The brand only came into existence in the late 1960s. Since I’ve been to Cuba, you’d think I would’ve known this.

The story goes that Cohiba came about when Fidel Castro’s bodyguard shared some of his private stash. Castro liked the cigars so much that he set up production for himself and a other top Communist leaders in Cuba. This was about 1968. And, of course, this is not the same Cohiba you can buy in the U.S.

According to Castro: “I used to see the man smoking a very aromatic, very nice cigar, and I asked him what brand he was smoking. He told me that it was a special blend, but that it came from a friend who makes cigars and he gave them to him. I said, let’s find this man. I tried the cigar, and I found it so good that we got in touch with him and asked him how he made it. Then we set up the house [the El Laguito factory], and he explained the blend of tobacco he used. He told which leaves he used from which tobacco plantations. He also told us about the wrappers he used and other things. We found a group of cigar makers. We gave them the material and that is how the factory was founded. Now Cohiba is known all over the world.”

So I’ll retract my guess and say it was probably a Romeo y Julieta. This is a pretty safe guess since that brand was founded in the late 1890s. I also think Dash and I have similar tastes. This was the brand I smuggled out of Havana a few years ago while researching White Shadow. An absolutely amazing cigar. Worth the risk of returning back to Havana.

By way of an apology, please enjoy the attached clip of Desi Arnez singing “Cuban Pete.”

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