Excellence in His Hands
AMONG THE MANY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE HABANO FESTIVAL'S PROGRAM, ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS THAT DRAWS PLENTIFUL ATTENTION IS THE CIGAR HAND-ROLLING CLASS THAT IN THIS 22ND EDITION WILL BE CONDUCTED BY SEASONED MASTER CIGAR-ROLLER MIGUEL BÁRZAGA
The act of pressing a cigar between your lips, caressing it, enjoying its essences and letting yourself get carried away with it, wrapped in exquisite billows, by the unsuspected scope of pleasure, is only the final season of a down-to-earth story.
Although each and every one of the processes that tobacco leaves go through, from the fields to the factories, must be taken care of with special heed and attention in order to reach the sublime moment of smoking, it is fundamental to roll them by hand. Talent, mastery, knowledge and willingness to learn far more are key elements to achieve perfection in this difficult task.
It is precisely the master class on this technique that constitutes one of the moments that draws plenty of attention during the intense days of the Habano Festival. In this 22nd edition, the opportunity to share and learn about this tradition will come by the hands of the master cigar roller Miguel Bárzaga, whose expectation lies in having the largest number of attendees and add as many new apprentices as he possibly can, let alone that the regulars, those who improve their Habanos in each class either to collect them or to puff on them, will not fail to attend, so that everyone will understand the dedication that this task entails.
Although he does not come from a family with tobacco traditions, tobacco runs in Miguel Bárzaga's veins. Escorted by his wooden board, the chaveta (jackknife), the casquillo (casing), the guillotine and the cepo (stock); and guarded by his deftiness, he has known how to put himself on the world map of Habanos as one of the most experienced men in the difficult art of turning a Habano into a perfect creation.
Bárzaga cut his teeth in the fascinating universe of the world's best tobacco back in 1994, as a cigar-roller apprentice at the H. Upmann Factory. He was enthralled by the conversations, and above all, by the Habanos smoked at the house of a friend who was a leaf wetter, and whose mother and brother worked as cigar hand-rollers. Little by little, each leaf revealed before his eyes the subtleties of a process that he defined as the strongest link or the one that must be kept stronger in the production chain.
What makes the Habano unique is tradition. For the master cigar hand roller, what caused the Habano to be impregnated in every part of his being was “working in a workshop together with seasoned cigar hand-rollers, which allowed me to nourish myself with their habits, anecdotes, discipline and good work. It is