Simon Chase recollects the high points of Ramón Allones and outlines the steady, sometimes precipitous, decline of the Cuban brand.
Aluminium cigar tubes are as much part of the Havana cigar scene as labelled boxes, cedar cabinets and elegant humidors. The traditional hand-crafted boxes have been around for centuries. But when did tubes first make an appearance and who thought of the idea?
Students of the origins of Havana cigar brands will know that Montecristo came in just five sizes named numerically and it has always been assumed that the initial athletic line-up formed Montecristo’s range from the very beginning in 1935. However, during his research into the history of Hunters & Frankau, Simon Chase found some documents that suggest a rather different story.
Finding cigars with high collection potential presents a challenge, even for Simon Chase. In this article he let us know what exactly makes vintage cigars real collectibles and talks about his expert knowledge on past cigar auctions.
It all began in 2000 when Habanos S.A. introduced the line Ediciónes Limitadas that represented one of the very first ideas for special, limited-production cigars. For the first five years, Limited Editions were only found in five brands: Cohiba, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, Partagás and Hoyo de Monterrey. By now, until 2014, there have been forty-eight Limited Editions in total.
There is one anniversary taking place this year that seems to have escaped notice in Cuba. True, it doesn’t relate to a brand, but nevertheless it goes right to the heart of what has given Habanos the global success they have enjoyed for well over a century: quality and authenticity.
After this year’s Festival del Habano had ended Simon Chase was still in Havana, so he went in search of an old friend, the torcedor Hamlet Jaime Paredes, who is best known as the cigar roller in residence at the Romeo y Julieta Casa del Habano.
On Friday after Christmas, Simon Chase found himself in St. James’s Street, where on the corner lies Davidoff of London. Usually he would have called in advance to see who was in, so imagine his delight when he found Edward Sahakian, the proprietor, and his son Eddie there to greet him. For the next hour and a half he enjoyed a discussion on the state of the cigar world, which he shall treasure for a long time.
Why would anyone be prepared to spend this much money on a cigar, particularly when it is over 50 years old? Is there any way that such extravagance could be justified? The venue was the outdoor cigar terrace at Boisdale’s Restaurant in London’s Belgravia district. The event was the third auction of aged and vintage cigars organised by C.Gars Ltd.
Simon Chase is not sure about it – for one reason or another it has fallen to him to conduct the auction of humidors at the Gala Dinner on the last night of the Festival del Habano in Havana for 13 out of the last 14 years. If all goes well, by the time you read this article it will be 14 out of the last 15 years.