28 Oct 2009
Legendary cigar maker Avelino Lara died yesterday due to complications from thyroid cancer. Once Fidel Castro’s personal roller, Lara was famous for his creations at the El Laguito Factory outside of Havana, where he crafted some of of the most famous Cuban cigars, including the Cohiba brand.
Born in Havana on March 20, 1921, Lara worked in the cigar business all his life. He trained and mastered the art of a torcedor at a young age. After decades of working in the Cuban cigar industry, including having a hand in some of the best-known blends ever created, Lara retired in 1996, in part because he was unhappy with government interference in cigar making.
Lara couldn’t keep away from cigars for long. He eventually moved to Nassau to roll cigars at Graycliff Restaurant. His cigars soon became a success, and Lara then teamed up with Enrico Garzaroli to create and distribute Graycliff Cigars.
“With Avelino we had the idea of creating a cigar to sell in the restaurant to fuel my passion of finding the perfect cigar to complement our 5-star dining experience,” said Enrico Garzaroli, chairman and founder of the Graycliff Cigar Company. “With him we created the award winning Graycliff Original blend, beating some of Avelino’s former Cuban cigar creations in blind tastings. He had a passion for his art that no one can replicate.”
Although Lara retired from Graycliff a few years ago and returned to his native Havana, he was still involved with the company product line, sampling new cigar blends and suggesting modifications.
“Avelino will be sorely missed. Even though he was no longer present in the rolling room each day, the torcedores continue to refer to his passion, knowledge, and his constant testing of their skills,” said Paolo Garzaroli, president and co-founder of Graycliff. “I will personally miss his dedication to our company, his drive for perfection, and his many wisdoms which he shared with me.” Lara’s son, Abel, continues to make cigars for Graycliff.
photo credit: Graycliff