FINE ART- Miltania Perez demonstrated how to roll a Cuban cigar at Gord’s Smoke Shop in Red Deer recently.

Cuban cigar roller demonstrates in City

Miltania Perez from Cuba was in Red Deer recently to demonstrate how Cuban cigars are made and the technique involved.

Gord’s Smoke Shop in Bower Mall hosted Perez for this demonstration and the owner, Andee Malyon, said she enjoys the presentations and finds they always offer something to the public.

“It’s a way for customers to see how cigars are made and formed. It’s an interesting art form, definitely not just something you quickly get into,” said Malyon.

Perez has been rolling cigars for 25 years and is now the quality control manager with the Romeo y Julieta Cigar Factory.

The cigars made at the demonstration were not for sale from Perez but Malyon said the shop did have intentions of buying fresh made cigars from Perez to sell to interested customers.

“There is so much work that goes into them. It’s interesting to see the steps to the process and what parts the roller thinks are no good for use in each cigar,” said Malyon.

While Perez rolls the cigars her hands are constantly moving, cutting the wrapper leaf, rolling the different leaves for the interior of the cigar and pulling the veins out of the leaves to create a smooth exterior for the cigar.

Malyon said this isn’t the first demonstration they have had and that people who had seen it in the past were asking when the next one would be.

“This would be the freshest smoke customers would have ever had. These never go to a warehouse and they’re not shipped anywhere.”

The thing people found most amazing about the demonstration is how quickly Perez is able to produce a single cigar.

Malyon said that Cuban cigars are not to everyone’s liking and that it ends up being a personal preference for customers.

Angela Giannoulis, Perez’s companion on the trip as well as interpreter, said the shows have been quite successful and that people are interested in the processes behind cigar making.

“In her lifetime we calculated it and figure she has made about 750,000 cigars to date,” said Giannoulis.

The blend for the cigars that Perez makes in her demonstrations is not a commercialized blend and each roller has their own unique blend.

The cigars are made using five different types of leaves including one for combustion, one for aroma, one for the strength of the flavour, then a binder leaf to hold it together and a wrapper leaf to make it look nice.

“Also, the glue that they use to hold the cigars together is a vegetable resin made from tree sap here in Canada and then shipped to Cuba.”

Giannoulis explained that the wrapper leaves are actually grown under cheesecloth to make them grow wide and thin with fewer veins for the aesthetic quality of the cigar.

“People need to realize that this is a handmade agricultural product and that there are always imperfections but the rollers do their best to make quality products. People should enjoy them for the art they are.”

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