World War II disrupted the Cuban tobacco trade as German U-boats prowled the Caribbean and as a result, English tobacco dealers were desperate for access to high quality cigars. The enterprising British turned to one of their colonies, Jamaica, and soon such landmark brands as Temple Hall, El Caribe, and Macanudo were born. In 1961 Edgar Cullman decided that the future lay in making cigars, not just selling tobacco, so he put together a group of investors and bought General Cigar Co. He was 43. At that time, General's main business was machine-made cigars, including White Owl, William Penn and Robert Burns. The company bought its first premium brand, Gold Label, in 1963, and the Temple Hall factory in Jamaica in 1969. The owners of Temple Hall owned Macanudo, but they weren't making it for the U.S. market at the time. Led by Cullman, General launched Macanudo in the 1971 and then acquired Partagas in 1974, and the two brands, coupled with Temple Hall, have anchored the company's premium cigar business ever since. The Temple Hall Estates cigars are named for the most famous tobacco fields on the island of Jamaica. In tribute to the richness of the soil that made the Temple Hall land so rare, the filler of each Temple Hall Estates cigar of today is a blend of the richest and mellowest tobaccos in the Caribbean. Each cigar is then bunched in a dark, supple Mexican binder leaf and wrapped in a costly Connecticut Shade. For more information on General Cigar, visit their web site at www.generalcigar.com/ or email them directly at [email protected]
We really enjoyed the only black sheep of the Temple Hall line. Look for a rustic, rich maduro wrapper in this well rolled robusto. Note a big full, rich, yet mellow taste, offering coffee tones and a hint of nuttiness. We found the draw to be slightly firm and the burn even. Look for lots of smoke. It is immensely satisfying, surprisingly smooth and mellow, yet full tasting and aromatic. If you've never tried a Temple Hall, you're in for a treat. And if you have, you know what to expect. Overall, a winner without question: a big full creamy flavor in a mild tasty smoke. We'd suggest pairing it with a robust roasted Porter or Stout.
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