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Cigar Stars Gather for Dinner

Seven of the biggest names in Dominican cigar making gathered at the Grand Havana Room in New York City last Monday night for an evening of fine food, drink and cigars. The event, the first in a planned series of dinners for the Dominican cigarmaking organization known as Pro Cigar, brought the people who create Dominican cigars closer to the aficionados who savor them.

Approximately 140 guests attended the $125 per person dinner, which was jointly hosted by Pro Cigar and New York City's De La Concha cigar shop. Guests were treated to an open bar cocktail hour, then moved into the main dining room at Grand Havana, where a sampler box filled with eight cigars awaited at every place setting, along with a double-guillotine cutter and matches. The room quickly filled with the fragrant aroma of fine cigars.

"This is a legendary lineup of cigarmakers," said George Brightman, special contributor to Cigar Aficionado Online, as he welcomed the guests to dinner. "If a bomb goes off tonight," he joked, "you guys are going to be smoking Tiparillos for a long time."

The cigarmakers attending were Hendrik Kelner, president of Pro Cigar and the maker of Davidoff and Avo; Manuel Quesada, vice president of the organization and the man behind Fonseca and Cubita; Josu Seijas, who oversees the Dominican production for Consolidated Cigar Corp.; Benjamin Menendez, the maker of Romeo y Julieta cigars; Alfons Mayer, the longtime tobacco guru from General Cigar, maker of Macanudo and Partagas; Guillermo Leyn from La Aurora S.A.; and Bent Ahm from U.S. Cigar Sales Inc.

The attendees dined on tuna and filet mignon while puffing away happily on the cigars, which included Macanudo, Davidoff, Fonseca, Habano Primero 365, Romeo Y Julieta, Leyn Jimenes, Montecristo and JuanClemente.

"Pro Cigar is totally committed to one word -- quality," said Menendez, who gave a speech during dinner. "We're here today, we'll be here tomorrow and we'll be here 100 years from now. That's the future of the cigar industry."

The organization plans to have a series of similar dinners across the country. Keep posted to Cigar Aficionado Online for the sites and dates for future dinners.

Monday, May 15, 2000

Source: Cigar Aficionado

Cigar Stars Gather for Dinner