The history of Macanudo continues with the introduction of Alfons Mayer, a man Cigar Aficionado magazine dubbed a “silent legend” in the handmade cigar business.
Like Edgar M. Cullman, Alfons Mayer was born into a prominent tobacco family. While Edgar received an Ivy League education, Alfons’ story took a decidedly different turn. The German occupation of Amsterdam forced Alfons out of high school. He narrowly escaped the Nazis in Holland and spent his time during World War II teaching American soldiers to avoid emprisonment by the Germans.
Following the end of World War II in 1945, Alfons was sent by the Dutch prime minister (a friend of his family) to Argentina where Alfons’ father had been selling tobacco in Buenos Aires.
Alfons felt he wasn’t learning the business enough by selling tobacco. So in 1952, he set off for Cuba where he went to work for General Cigar, prior to the Cullman’s ownership of the company. While in Cuba, Alfons worked tirelessly to learn everything about making cigars, to the point of having bloodied his hands moving bales.
Alfons’ determination would pay off, as he rose through the ranks at General Cigar, working in fields and cigar factories all over the world, before becoming a tobacco buyer.
Alfons’ tobacco knowledge was peerless, and he was ultimately charged by Edgar to lead blend development for General Cigar, working out of the company’s Jamaican factory. Edgar wanted a cigar with an aged wrapper, something none of the other cigar makers were doing at that time.
With access to tobacco from all over the world, Alfons selected Dominican, Jamaican and Mexican tobacco for the Macanudo blend. He crowned it with a special Connecticut wrapper cultivated, harvested and processed by the company’s Culbro division. The wrapper was aged two-to-three years, had a sweet flavor and instantly appealed to American cigar smokers.
An icon was born…
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