Tuesday, September 24, 2013

History Series: Graycliff Cigars

Graycliff Cigars was founded in 1997, but the history surrounding this world famous brand is much older. You will have to turn the pages of history back to 1740. An infamous pirate by the name of Captain John Howard Graysmith built what is now part of the Graycliff Hotel and Cigar factory. From 1740 until the 1970's, Graycliff was home to several different owners and was the backdrop to countless Royal's parties, political leaders, and even mobsters.

In 1776, Nassua was captured by the American Navy and the Graycliff Hotel and Cigar Factory became the headquarters for them. Today, you can still see remnants of the Navy headquarters. Originally, the jail for the Navy (complete with metal bars over the windows) is now the wine cellar for the Grayciff Restaurant. In the mid 1800's, Graycliff was turned into an inn. By the time 1860 rolled around, Graycliff was commandeered by a West Indy Regiment fighting in the American Civil War. It served as an outpost for The South who would sell cotton to the British in exchange for weapons and ammo to fight The North.

Then came the period of Prohibition in the 1920's. By this time, Graycliff had opened its doors to the public again. It was owned by a close friend of the murderess Mobster, Al Capone. Mrs. Polly Leach was her name and Graycliff was the center once again of lavish parties accompanied by cigars and barrels of liquor.

Shortly after, Graycliff was sold again to a private Canadian couple who helped to renovate and added gardens and a pool area.  After their death in the mid 1960's, Graycliff was sold to Lord and Lady Dudley, Third Earl of Staffordshire. For the next seven years, Graycliff became the center of many elegant parties. The halls and rooms were filled with famous couples of Royalty including King Edward the VIII. Even visits by Sir Winston Churchill were not uncommon.

Then in 1973, Enrico and Anna Maria Garzaroli purchased the beloved Graycliff estate and turned it into a lavish hotel and restaurant. For the next twenty-five years, people traveled from all corners of the world to visit the beautiful island and stay at the Graycliff Hotel. In 1997, owner Enrico Garzaroli wanted to offer premium hand rolled cigars to his menu. This is where the modern day birth of Graycliff Cigars begins.

Starting out with one roller who sat in the hotel entrance, he hand rolled cigars for the patrons. Today,  a small factory of sixteen rollers produce half a million premium cigars each year. This was no small feat to accomplish; the fact that the Graycliff Cigar name has risen to the level that it has, is a true testament to the fact that Enrico didn’t cut any corners. First and foremost, is the fact that out of the gate Enrico hired the master blender, Avelino Lara. Avelino is the man responsible for the original Cohiba and once worked as the personal roller for Fidel Castro.

What is their recipe for success? For the Garzaroli family, it's simple. Hiring only the most experienced  Torcedores who roll only one specific cigar size that he or she has mastered. Then hiring a master at his craft with endless knowledge to oversee production. The third key is to use only the finest most exquisite tobacco that money can buy. All of the tobacco that Graycliff uses is hand selected and spans the countries of Nicaragua, The Dominican Republic, Honduras, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Brazil. Today, the Graycliff brand features dozens of premium cigar lines. Some are available here in the U.S and around the world, others are offered as house exclusive cigars that you will have to visit The Graycliff Hotel and Factory to experience them.

This year at the annual IPCPR trade show, Graycliff released its latest cigar line, The John Howard Graysmith which pays homage to the founder of the original Graycliff Estate. This bevy cigar is hand-rolled without the use of any cigar molds, this gives each cigar a slightly different unique shape.  In just a few short months, it has already received high accolades from those in the industry. This is another fine example of award winning cigars from the famed Graycliff Cigar Co. 

Graycliff Cigars

1 comment:

  1. Just one. I had an Graycliff Cigars explode on me the other day. Otherwise, nothing. Good work guys.

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