El Presidente

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  • Location
    The Throne
  • Interests
    Slow horses, irrational women, fly fishing, wine, friends and family.

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  1. FOH Zoom Session 12 Local, 10PM NY, 7PM LA Grab a cigar and catch you on FOH Zoom for an hour or so
  2. Firefighters on Tuesday finally overcame what officials described as the worst fire in Cuba's history that over four days destroyed more than 40% of the nation’s main fuel storage facility and caused massive blackouts across the island. Reuters reported witnesses as saying the raging flames that destroyed four of the eight tanks of the Matanzas Supertanker port had died down and the towering plumes of thick black smoke streaming from the area were now mostly grey. As of Monday morning, three of the eight tanks had actually collapsed. The fire, initially caused by a lightning strike on Friday 5 August, killed one firefighter and injured more than 100 other people — five remain in a critical condition — while at least another 14 firefighters have been reported as missing. A second fire broke out on Saturday. On Tuesday, more helicopters joined the effort to put out the fire, along with two fireboats sent by Mexico along with heavy firefighting equipment. Mexico and Cuba’s political ally Venezuela were among those that had sent experts and specialist equipment and chemicals to help fight the massive blaze. "We have not yet been able to access the impact area due to the conditions. There is combustion and so we cannot risk our lives for now," firefighter Rafael Perez Garriga told Reuters around noon local time on Tuesday. Later in the day firefighters for the first time were entering the area and spraying foam and water on the still smouldering remains.
  3. Awful news. In the cigar solar system, Nino was his own planet. Such a personality who impacted all in the Cuba/Cuban cigar community. You can't replace people like Nino. You simply give thanks for the opportunity of sharing time with them, be it in person or print. Thank you Nino. Safe travels. Sincere condolences to his family.
  4. Drop them a few points in RH or dry box a few with no humidification for 3-4 days. Have been smoking through 20 and 21 seconds with no more than the occasional normal CC issues.
  5. EAR= Email Assistance Required. "Rob one of your members said that he gets "prunes" from the Vegas Famosos (Deep Dive thread). I love that flavor. It is one of my favorites. Can you let me know any other Cuban cigars where "prune" is a flavor that is regularly achieved?" Over to you good people
  6. If you are in the US and interested in acquiring some of this seed to grow, reach out to Mark through his website. https://www.shelterwoodforestfarm.com/blog/2020/5/2/the-life-death-and-rebirth-of-cubas-most-historic-tobacco The Life, Death, and Rebirth of Cuba’s Most Historic Tobacco MAX PASCHALLMAY 2, 2020 Cuban cigars have long been famous around the world for their quality. The Caribbean island’s combination of perfect growing conditions and unique tobacco genetics coalesce into a product that - at its best - can cost thousands of dollars for a single box. While having the right methods to properly dry, cure, and process tobacco into a world-class cigar is essential in creating this product, it all starts with having a superior plant to work with. And as it turns out, all modern Cuban tobacco varieties are descended from a single ancestor: an ancient landrace known as ‘Criollo.’ Across Latin America, the term criollo in reference to tobacco denotes ‘native’: varieties that were cultivated and held sacred by indigenous people for thousands of years, and which have survived into modern times. Each country or region has its own ‘Criollo’ tobacco variety. Cuba’s ‘Criollo’, however, is truly special. Not only is it an heirloom that was cultivated by the indigenous Taíno, but it has survived centuries of colonization and come to define the standard for quality in a multi-billion dollar industry. Tobacco fields in Viñales. Source. Prior to European contact, the Taíno in Cuba cultivated native tobacco called kohiba, which they utilized extensively for ceremonial purposes. For indigenous peoples, tobacco is perhaps the most widely revered ceremonial plant in the Americas. In Cuba, it was a centerpiece of many rituals - both in inducing visionary journeys, and as a sacred offering to spirits, deities, or ancestors. The Taíno have lived in the Greater Antilles for at least 2,000 years, and by the late 15th century had created a burgeoning civilization. Prior to contact, their population in the Caribbean likely numbered in the millions. But that was soon to change. On the first island where Columbus landed in 1492, the people he encountered brought him dried tobacco leaves as a gift. When they reached Cuba a few days later, the Spanish witnessed people smoking rolled tobacco cigars, and snuffing tobacco through Y-shaped instruments that they inserted into their noses. These snuff pipes, or possibly the cigars, were called tabako by the locals. A reconstructed Taíno village in Cuba. Source. Spanish colonization brought untold horrors to the indigenous population of Cuba: men were abducted and enslaved to work in gold mines and sugar cane fields. Women were treated as commodities to be traded and abused by conquistadors. Most died from smallpox and other novel diseases. By the mid-1500’s, Spanish officials claimed that the Taíno were extinct - a narrative which is still often repeated. But it was not true. A Native woman and child from Baracoa, Cuba. 1919. In the past few years, researchers have begun taking a deeper look at the hidden histories of indigenous people in the Greater Antilles. Source. Many Taíno fled to remote, mountainous regions. In those areas, many of which remained essentially ungoverned by the Spanish into modern history, they survived and later intermarried with African maroon communities and European settlers. These creole communities preserved many Taíno practices, traditions, and crops - even, in some cases, an indigenous identity. This story played out across the Greater Antilles. Recent genetic studies confirm this: today, over 33% of Cubans have Taíno DNA, and in Puerto Rico that number is as high as 61.1%. Many traditional indigenous crops similarly became essential parts of modern Caribbean cuisines and culture, like yuca, sweet potatoes, calabashes, maize, chillies, guava, etc. Tobacco was one of these. The landraces of tobacco that Cuba’s Taíno grew as sacred ceremonial plants survived the genocide and colonization of the island by the Spanish, and continued to be grown as a cash crop by small farmers - particularly in the more remote or mountainous areas. It was colloquially called tabaco criollo or tabaco negro cubano. The same rural communities who retained many aspects of indigenous Taíno culture also preserved this original variety of tobacco. Even the architecture in deeply rural areas of Cuba, such as this tobacco dying shed, is influenced by traditional Taíno materials and techniques. Source. After the Ten Years’ War (1868-1878), Cuba’s first major war against the Spanish for independence, the island was flooded with tobacco seed from the U.S. and Mexico. These foreign tobacco genetics proliferated, and the original 'Criollo' landrace was driven nearly to extinction. In 1907, Heinrich Hasselbring, a researcher at the University of Illinois, found and preserved the original 'Criollo' variety (described botanically as Nicotiana tabacum var. havanensis), knowing how vitally important this variety was. Indeed, many famous American tobacco cultivars (like ‘Connecticut Broadleaf’ and others) were themselves originally bred from native Cuban seeds. Thirty years later Cuba’s political climate had changed, and ‘Criollo’ was finally poised for a renaissance. New legislation enforced the destruction of all foreign tobacco varieties. At the same time, Cuban agronomist Juan Tomás Roig rediscovered and propagated the original ‘Criollo’ seed, which was then used to repopulate the island’s tobacco farms. As a result, ‘Criollo’ became the foundation of Cuba’s tobacco industry in the 20th century. The indigenous heirloom that had been cultivated for countless generations of Taíno in Cuba, preserved by campesinos in the mountains, and which narrowly escaped extinction, had become one of the most well-known tobacco varieties in the world. Tobacco production in Cuba still uses many of the same methods that have been utilized locally for centuries. Source. Initially, ‘Criollo’ was used for all parts of the cigar (filler, binder, wrapper) - an all-purpose cigar tobacco whose flavor and versatility made Cuba’s industry famous. By the late 1970’s, however, a number of tobacco diseases and molds appeared (which the Cuban government alleged was part of a CIA operation), devastating the traditional tobacco varieties on the island. Cuban agronomists worked quickly to fix the issue, breeding ‘Criollo’ and its traditional relatives (‘Corojo’, etc.), with disease-resistant wild tobaccos like Nicotiana debneyi. These new hybrids, with names like ‘Criollo 98’, ‘Corojo 99’, and ‘Havana 2000,’ were created in order to maintain the flavor and qualities of the original varieties, without any of the pesky disease issues. Tobacco farmers in Cuba immediately embraced these hybrids, and stopped growing the old disease-susceptible varieties. Today, new hybrids continue to be bred by Cuban agronomists, which allow farmers to grow the high-quality tobacco that finds its way into Cuban cigars. But ‘Criollo’ is not gone: its genetics survive as the dominant parent in modern hybrids grown by campesinos in Cuba and beyond. This spring, we planted out seeds of the original ‘Criollo’ landrace that we received from a USDA repository. We do not know if it is susceptible to disease here, or how it will fare in our wet and cold Northeastern climate. What we do know is that this variety has survived against all odds through over five centuries of colonization, genocide, globalization, war, and revolution. The Taíno were the first people in the New World to encounter Europeans, and as a result they were the first to experience the disease, violence, theft, and slavery that were brought by Columbus and his compatriots. The fact that one of their most prized sacred plants has survived the intentional and methodical destruction of their civilization sounds like a miracle, but it is no coincidence. Cuban ‘Criollo’ tobacco is far more than just a plant of interesting historic note: it is here because every year, for over 500 years, small farmers in Cuba valued the seeds and traditions of their ancestors. The Spanish declared the Taíno extinct in the 16th century, but this plant’s survival points to a very different story. The indigenous and creole campesinos who lovingly preserved it year after year were often ignored by the official record, but their existence illuminates the cracks in the totalitarian logic of colonialism and reveals a far more interesting history of Cuba. This plant is proof that ancestral crop landraces and heirlooms are not just curiosities: they often have qualities that can change an industry, a country’s economy, or even the way we see ourselves. That, we believe, is something that is worth preserving. We are honored to steward this precious seed, and to pass it along to other seedkeepers. Seed Rematriation: if you are Cuban or Taíno living in the United States and would like to grow this tobacco, please reach out to us and we will be happy to send you seeds free of charge next spring.
  7. David Tang and Simon Chase would be rolling over in their graves reading that The quality and flavour complexity or an RE out = the amount of effort/hardheadedness and love going into the project by the distributors. An average ho hum RE = average ho hum input.
  8. Longing for old time Criollo, I had a question from a member overnight asking why the original wasn't reintroduced at least in part. I will see if I can track down an interesting article on Cuban tobacco strains and post it up later this morning. However the answer to the above question is as follows: "An epidemic of blue mold of tobacco unexpectedly attacked crops in the United States and Canada in 1979, causing an estimated loss of almost a quarter billion dollars. The disease, caused by a fungus, apparently started in Cuba where half the crop was destroyed in 1979 and 90 percent in 1980. Control of blue mold is difficult and expensive. Resistant cultivars become susceptible within a few years. A therapeutic fungicide, metalaxyl, gives efficient control, but resistant strains of the fungus may soon appear. Blue mold is an international problem that will require the collaboration of scientists, governments, and Industries for an adequate solution."
  9. Fire spreads at Cuba oil storage facility as fourth tank erupts https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/09/cuba-matanzas-oil-depot-fire-energy-shortage
  10. 1954 FERRARI 375 AMERICA VIGNALE CABRIOLET Classic Ferraris are by definition rare — but few can claim the one-of-one status of this 1954 375 America. 10 cars started life as the 250 Europa, with two being converted by Ferrari to the 375 America specification, with this car being the only Vignale-bodied cabriolet. The car retains its numbers-matching engine, transmission, and factory hardtop, verified by its in-progress Ferrari Classiche certification. The car's ownership history includes Bianca Colizzi, daughter of Italian film director Giuseppe Colizzi, and Harry Chambers, future director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The car was extensively restored in the '80s, and its current owner had the car refreshed in black in the late '90s. The car comes a full Ferrari Classiche report to help the next owner finish the process.
  11. ...you just wanted to post a picture of your fish.... 🤣

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