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Alejandro Robaina, Grower for Top Cuban Cigars, Dies at 91

Alejandro Robaina, Cuba’s most revered tobacco grower, whose leaves wrap the country’s finest Habano cigars, died Saturday at his home near San Luis. He was 91.
Jose Goitia/Associated Press

Alejandro Robaina, a Cuban tobacco grower, in 2002. Cigar lovers accorded him cult status. Habanos S.A., the state company that distributes and markets Cuban cigars, announced on its Web site, habanos.com, that he had died after a long illness.

Mr. Robaina (pronounced roe-BYE-nuh) began working on his family’s tobacco fields in western Cuba when he was 10, a year after he smoked his first cigar. He went on to achieve cult status among cigar smokers worldwide for the silken leaves that he produced on his 40-acre plantation, Finca la Piña in Cuchillas de Barbacoa. Their quality could be appreciated in top-of-the-line cigars like Cohiba Espléndidos and Hoyo de Monterrey Double Coronas, renowned for their smoothness and richness.

As his reputation grew, he became a roving ambassador for Cuban cigars, traveling around the world to represent Cuba’s most admired export. When old age made travel inconvenient, he stayed put and the world came to him. Cigar lovers by the hundreds beat a path to tour the plantation, hoping to catch a glimpse of the old man or, perhaps, have him autograph a box of Vegas Robaina cigars, a brand created in his honor.
Read the full cigar grower news here

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