Alejandro Robaina

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Alejandro Robaina
Born(1919-03-20)March 20, 1919
DiedApril 17, 2010(2010-04-17) (aged 91)
Occupationtobacco grower

Alejandro Robaina (March 20, 1919 – April 17, 2010) was a Cuban tobacco grower.


Robaina was born in Alquízar in La Habana Province of Cuba but he grew up and lived most of his life in the renowned tobacco-growing Vuelta Abajo district of Pinar del Río Province where his family had been growing tobacco since 1845.[1][2] He became involved with his family's tobacco growing business at the age of ten, having smoked his first cigar just shortly before then.[1][2] He took over the operations of the plantation after the death of his father Maruto Robaina—also an acclaimed tobacco grower—in 1950[3] and remained an independent grower even after the 1959 Cuban Revolution when plantations were often absorbed into cooperative organizations.[4] In a 2006 interview with Cigar Aficionado magazine, Robaina stated that he spoke with Castro and that he "told Fidel I did not like cooperatives or state farms and that the best way to grow tobacco was through family production. He wanted me to join a cooperative and I told him no."[5]

The tobacco leaves from Robaina's plantations are often considered among the best in the world[4] and have been used by high quality cigars brands such as Cohiba and Hoyo de Monterrey.[1] Robaina himself has been dubbed the "Godfather of Cuban tobacco."[4][6]

During the 1990s, Robaina was recognized by the Cuban government as the country's best tobacco grower.[1] In 1997, Vegas Robaina cigar brand was created by the Cuban government-owned company Habanos S.A. to honour Robaina's accomplishments in the industry,[1][4] although cigar experts have had a hard time detecting Robaina's tobacco in the cigar and Robaina himself never provided a definitive answer.[1] Robaina is the only tobacco grower with a Cuban cigar named after himself and has spent several decades travelling the world as Cuba's unofficial tobacco and cigar ambassador.[7][8] His travelling subsided as he got older and he received visits at his home and plantation by thousands of cigar enthusiasts and tourists annually.[4][1]

Robaina was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and died in his home on his tobacco plantation near San Luis, Pinar del Río.[6][2] He handed over the majority of the day-to-day operations of the plantation to his grandson Hiroshi several years before his death.[6][5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Grimes, William. Alejandro Robaina, Grower for Top Cuban Cigars, Dies at 91, The New York Times, April 19, 2010. Accessed April 21, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Weissert, Will. Hundreds bid Cuban cigar legend Robaina farewell, Associated Press, April 19, 2010. Accessed April 21, 2010
  3. ^ Koay, Allan. Don Alejandro Robaina, master of cigars, The Star, May 26, 2005. Accessed April 21, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e Darlington, Shasta. 'Godfather' of Cuban tobacco dead at 91, CNN, April 17, 2010. Accessed April 21, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Suckling, James. Cigar Diary: Cuba's Cigar Legend Archived 2010-02-06 at the Wayback Machine, Cigar Aficionado, October 1, 2006. Accessed April 21, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Franks, Jeff. Cuban tobacco legend Alejandro Robaina dies at 91, Reuters, April 17, 2010. Accessed April 21, 2010.
  7. ^ Franks, Jeff. Ailing Cuba tobacco legend celebrates 91st birthday, Reuters, March 21, 2010. Accessed April 21, 2010.
  8. ^ Cuban cigar legend Alejandro Robaina dies aged 91, BBC News, April 18, 2010. Accessed April 21, 2010.

Further reading[edit]

  • Milán, J.L. (2004). Alejandro Robaina: tradición y grandeza de alma (in Spanish). Barcelona: Epicur. ISBN 978-84-930387-4-8.