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Close, but no giant Cuban cigar

Despite the best efforts of his team and nearly 42k of top-quality tobacco, Cuban Jose Castelar's world record attempt just ran out of puff.

The 64-year-old, who learned to make cigars at the age of five, rolled a giant stogie in Havana that he hoped could be called the world's longest cigar.

But his 30m attempt, while enormous, fell short of the previous world record of 41.2m, rolled by Puerto Rican cigar-maker Patricio Pena last year.

Castelar's instructions needed to be passed down the line by his four assistants as they rolled the progressively darker tobacco leaves together and wrapped the cigar in paper to protect it.

The stogie stretched across 14 tables end-to-end.

Castelar, a former world-record holder in 2001, 2003 and 2005, was not too crestfallen however, as competition between the cigar makers is certainly stiff but also friendly.

"I'm working to take it to the maximum," he said. "We'll be back in two years with a longer one."

The cigar, which is to be shown at an international tourism fair on Friday, is more than 2ins thick and can never actually be smoked.

Rolled for display at government-run cigar shops, it will be stored under glass, like others Castelar has made in previous years.

Hand-rolled cigars are a traditional Cuban souvenir, with the communist state selling $402m worth of them last year.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Close, but no giant Cuban cigar