Trinidad is the name of two brands of cigars, one made in Cuba for Habanos SA and the other made in the Dominican Republic for Altadis, a division of Imperial Tobacco. The cigar is named for the city of Trinidad, Cuba.
According to Adriano Martínez, a former executive of Habanos SA, in Min Ron Nee's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigars, the Trinidad brand was first produced in 1969 at the El Laguito factory in Havana.
In the early 90's, the cigar received much attention in Cigar Aficionado after an interview with Avelino Lara (formerly the manager of El Laguito, and a producer of cigars for the Graycliff Hotel in Nassau, Bahamas until his death on October 27, 2009). In the 1992 interview, Lara claimed that Trinidad was an ultra-exclusive brand that only Fidel Castro was authorized to hand out as diplomatic gifts. Lara also claimed Trinidads were of a higher quality than the much-lauded Cohibas that had formerly been diplomatic exclusives before their mass-market release in 1982.
Two sources have contradicted Lara's claims: President Fidel Castro himself and the afore-mentioned Mr. Martínez. In an interview with Cigar Aficionado, when asked about Trinidads, Castro stated that he only gave Cohibas away as diplomatic gifts, and in his autobiography; my life, he claims to know very little of the Trinidad brand. In the Illustrated Encyclopedia, Martínez stated that Trinidads were actually a lower-level diplomatic gift than Cohiba cigars, made with a tobacco blend similar to that used in the Cohiba vitolas, but without the third barrel fermentation that Cohibas receive.
In February 1998, the Trinidad brand was released for public consumption at an opening ceremony in the Habana Libre Hotel in Havana. The initial release was only in one size: the Fundador. Though Martínez and others maintain that the blend did not change in the transition from a diplomatic gift to a mass-marketed cigar, the size did. The diplomatic Trinidads only came in one size, that of a Laguito No. 1 (the same as the Cohiba Lancero). The Fundador instead comes in a new size with a factory name of Laguito Especial, the same length as a Laguito No. 1 but with a ring gauge of 40 instead of 38.
In November 2003 at a black tie dinner hosted by UK importer Hunters & Frankau at the Hilton Park Lane in London, England, three new sizes were debuted for the Trinidad line: the Coloniale, the Reyes, and the Robusto Extra.
Some have claimed the Trinidad brand was meant to appeal to American cigar smokers who obtained Cuban cigars from black market trade. [weasel words]
Vitolas in the Trinidad Line
The following list of vitolas de salida (commercial vitolas) within the Trinidad marque lists their size and ring gauge in Imperial (and Metric), their vitolas de galera (factory vitolas), and their common name in American cigar slang.
- Coloniales - 5¼" × 44 (133 × 17.46 mm), Colonial, a corona
- Fundadores - 7½" × 40 (191 × 15.88 mm), Laguito Especial, a lonsdale
- Reyes - 4⅜" × 40 (111 × 15.88 mm), Reyes, a petit corona
- Robusto Extra - 6⅛" × 50 (156 × 19.84 mm), Doble, a robusto extra
- Robusto T - 4⅞" × 50 (124 × 19.84 mm), Del Valle, a robusto
- Min Ron Nee, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigars. Hong Kong: Interpro Business Corp., 2003.