Who really holds the record for the world's longest cigar?
Whether you disagree with their form of government, or the ceaseless Cuban embargo, the Cuban people are among the proudest in the world, especially when it comes to making premium cigars.
Yesterday on CigarAdvisor.com, I posted a story out of Havana about Jose "Cueto" Castelar, the 64 year-old Cuban cigar roller who was attempting to roll a 65 foot (20 meter) cigar to capture his fourth Guinness world record.
According to the article, "Castelar's previous record-setting cigars measured 11.04 meters (36.2 feet), in 2001, 14.86 meters (48.75 feet), in 2003, and 20.41 meters (66.9 feet), in 2005."
But it was no surprise to Gary Manelski at cigars.about.com that the writer (who is not credited) neglected to mention that the world's longest cigar was actually a Cuban cigar roller from Tampa, Florida.
In an effort to set the record straight (you'll pardon the expression), Gary sent me an email, some of which I'd like to share with you. He wrote:
"The world's longest cigar (101 feet) was rolled by Tampa's own Wally Reyes at the Cigar Heritage Festival back in November 2006. I know because I was there, and captured it on video."
Gary also pointed me to a November 2006 article he wrote titled, Longest Cigar in the World. In it he notes that the 2005 record was a 66-foot cigar rolled in Cuba. This would be the cigar credited to Señor Castelar. Then he goes on to report that the 2006 winner was Wally Reyes of Gonzalez Habano Cigar Company in Tampa who rolled a "smokable" 101 ft. long cigar.
By implying that Jose Castelar rolled the longest cigar, was the Havana article merely Cuban propaganda? Perhaps. Gary claims the information in the article was not true, and I'm sure he can back it up.
In the end, it was all for naught, since it was reported today in a Telegraph U.K. article titled Close But No Giant Cuban Cigar, that Jose Castelar didn't make the record book. Moreover, both he and Wally were surpassed by Puerto Rican cigar roller, Patricio Pena whose 2007 record still stands at 41.2m (135 feet).
Thanks Gary. And if anyone else wants to weigh-in on this, please do.
World Record Update! (5/16/2008)
Well, I'm sure most of you reading this have heard the news by now, but according to a Reuters article published on May 9, it looks like Jose "Cueto" Castelar did it afterall:
Cuban rolls cigar said to be world's longest
HAVANA (Reuters) - With music, dancing and rum, Cubans celebrated on Friday the likely return of a record they consider rightfully theirs -- the world's longest cigar.
At just over 148 feet 9 inches, the thick stogie stretched like a long brown snake through a room and out its front and back windows at El Morro, the old Spanish fort overlooking Havana Bay.
British diplomat Chris Stimpson made the official measurement, which he said would be sent to the Guinness World Records in London for confirmation.