Written by Gary J. Arzt

Sunday, 01 March 2009

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industry updates

Lon told me this morning that Free Masonry was introduced into Cuba during the brief English interregnum. For eleven (11) months from 1762 - 1763, the English occupied Havana, Cuba. They left when Spain agreed to turn over Florida to them and other territories.

Spain had occupied "La Florida" since 1513, when Ponce de Leon landed at what became St. Augustine, FL in 1565. They left in 1763, turning the colony - which stretched north to, what is now, Parris Island, South Carolina - over to the British.

They returned in 1783. Ponce de Leon was not a cigar smoker; Lon Schwartz is!

Lon tells me he has done further research and will pass it along to me.

Rich Perelman suggested that the Masonic marks on the boxes were, in all likelihood, the result of an order from the Masonic Temple in Havana, for private label cigars. Yes, the Cubans were doing private labels a long time ago. Romeo y Julietta has some 5,000 bands in their files!

So, part of the mystery has been solved, but, as the story still intrigues me, I'll keep chipping away at it and let you know what I find.

I lunched with Litto Gomez - do I need to identify his brand? - And we spent a couple of interesting hours together discussing all aspects of the industry, the market, the economy and SCHIP.

Litto can always be counted on for some very insightful comments, analysis and observations. This time he offered the blunt assessment that my intention to produce and market a cigar is a mistake!

When I suggested that he might be concerned about "...the competition," the maker with a fifteen (15) year string of superb, highly successful, well rated cigars, smiled slightly. Then...he burst out laughing!

As we walked back to his office, I puffed on one of LFD's exquisite new Ligero salomones and started to seriously consider his advice.


0 # Masonic Symbols in Cigar Art Eddie Garcia 2009-03-01 08:03
It is very interesting to get some history in all your writings. The Masonic topic, as it relates to cigars and the art on their boxes is of particular interest to me. I understand that sources on this subject are hard to come by, but I will try to gather some more information and forward it to you.

Always your friend,
Eddie Garcia

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