According to Historians, it was on or around November 5, 1492, in the Island of Cuba, that the glorious ritual of cigar smoking was first discovered by two Spanish sailors, Luis de Torres and Rodrigo de Xerez, Bota part of the first Columbus expedition. And in an ironic somewhat humorous twist to the story, it was Xerez who on his return to Spain was sentenced to 7 years in prison, when he rolled himself his own cigar with leaves he had brought back from Cuba and started smoking it in his own house, and his own wife turned him in to the authorities out of fear her husband had been possessed by some evil spirit because it was believed at that time that only the devil could give a man the power to exhale smoke from his mouth.
Another interesting fact related to cigar history and Cuba, is that the first cigar factory, the cigar as we know it today, was established in Havana in 1779, and it was called: Casa de la Beneficencia. And it was also in Cuba where the first five known cigar brands were first established:
Hijos de Cabanas y Carvajal - 1825
Por Larranaga - 1834
Punch - 1840
H. Upmann - 1844
Partaga - 1845
Of which the last four are still being produced to this day, and with these previous tidbits of cigar history we arrive at the Viva Cuba Libre Collection. We wanted to do honor to that proud tradition, and what a better place to start than by making the Phrygian Cap, which is the symbol that rests on top of the Cuban national emblem, the focal point of the collection.
The Phrygian Cap has symbolized liberty since antiquity, and even if liberty is absent today from that otherwise beautiful Island, it nevertheless is and always will be a symbol of hope for a better future.
The two Machetes crisscrossing each other on the shield depicting the Cuban flag symbolize the spirit of those Cuban patriot who fought valiantly against Spanish colonial rule during the war of Independence with this weapon of necessity and not necessarily of choice, because in many cases the machete was the only weapon they could afford.
A victory wreath wraps around the piece in field green and outlined in Burnished Gold.
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