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

Habanos - - Summary - BY / EX­CE­LEN­CIAS NEWSROOM PHO­TOS / FERVAL / JO­SÉ TI­TO MERIÑO

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

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