Willy Alvero speaks at a cigar dinner in Korea.

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Willy Alvero speaks at a cigar dinner in Korea.

Sometime last week I was browsing the Club Stogie Forums, trying my best to keep up with it in the little time I have available. I came across a post in regards to a Youtube video on Cigar Anatomy. I checked out the video and began to get bored within the first minute or so and bookmarked it for later viewing.

A few days later I decided to check it out again and see what it was all about. A few minutes into the video I found myself completely immersed and wanting more. After the video finished up I immediately looked for another.

As it turns out, the video was shot during a cigar dinner in Korea in which the Seoul City Aficionado Society reported on. Especially for this dinner, Willy Alvero lectured to enhance the diners knowledge of cigars. Not being familiar with Willy, I looked him up on Google and was not surprised why I enjoyed the video as much as I did.

It turns out that Willy is considered to be the worlds utmost authority on Cuban cigars and does guest lectures on cigars in general. He is also the general representative for Russia of Habanos S.A. (official Cuban cigar exporter)

In the first video, Willy speaks about the anatomy of the cigar and breaks down what each level of the tobacco plant is used for. The second video covers his thoughts on the quality of Cuban cigars and how the market changed after Fidel Castro took control of the tobacco market.

I only wish that the entire lecture was available as I found it to be incredibly interesting. Some of the discussion gets a little technical but should be easily understood as he breaks things down. Both videos run under ten minutes and contain a wealth of knowledge.









enjoying cigars since 2005

9 thoughts on “Willy Alvero speaks at a cigar dinner in Korea.

  1. fantastic!

    What a great explanation of why Cuban cigars are the standard by which all others are compared! I have been very cynical when it comes to cuban cigars…thinking “how much better can they be? its just where they are made, how come Colombian isn’t the best…etc..”
    And this man’s reasoning made the most sense of any I have heard.

    I do like his idea that cigar makers (outside of Cuba) should stop trying to replicate cuban cigars and just create something unique to them and their region. Eventually the emargo will end, and they will be automatically knocked down to second rate just because they don’t use cuban tobacco. But if they create a cigar/brand that is unique to a region, that is spectacularly good, and blend/tobacco that Cuba cannot replicate… then they will be legends!

    GREAT FIND WALT!!!!

  2. Very interesting. Being new to the whole cigar thing, I appreciated his breakdown of the different parts of the tobacco plant. It was the best explanation of that that I have seen to date. Now I understand why LFD “Double Ligeros” give such a nicotine buzz.

    I find this whole Cuban vs non-Cuban debate interesting, but it seems like kind of a religious argument to me. I am sure that Cuba’s climate, soil, hydrology, etc., are great for growing tobacco, but it seems that each growing region imparts different qualities, flavors, and such to the leaf.

    I see it sort of like the competition between French wine and California wine. The French have been making wine for much longer, but really both regions produce some fantastic wines which are distinct in their own ways.

    I may be new to this, but I know enough to know that Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Dominican tobacco produce some outstanding cigars that I really enjoy.

  3. The California versus French wine analogy is spot on, the non-Cuban cigar industry just needs to study what the Californians did to succeed. The Californians banded up with the ag departments at their premier universities to study what factors impact grapes and ultimately the wine made from those grapes. It is sort of like tuning a rifle and only then sighting it in: you first have to be able to shoot a tight group before you can move the group to the bullseye. The California wineries were spotty before the growers became scientific, producing some great stuff and also some real crap, but very hard to know when or why (sounds sort of like Gurkha blends now, doesn’t it?). After years of study and science, the Californian wine industry’s top items are world class and additionally their cheap to moderate priced wines are consistently better than similarly priced wines from anywhere else (“consistent” is the key term here).

  4. These videos are great. I posted a comment on youtube and the OP (of the video) stated he *might* get the whole seminar up on viddler. We’ll have to wait and see.

  5. I’m the original poster of the video on YouTube. I’ve posted all of the videos I was able to record on my small point and shoot digital camera. I’m still hoping to get the full video online, but that means coordinating with the owner of the camera (he said he’s up for it, but logistically it’s been pretty difficult for us to get together on it).

    Anyway, I made a full write-up of the evening’s events on my blog here:

    http://seoulsteves.com/2008/02/18/an-evening-with-an-expert-cigar-magnate-willy-alvero-comes-to-seoul/

    Maska’s Cigars, based in Korea, is working to get him back to Seoul to run a week-long class.

    I’ve gotta say that getting a chance to sit down one-on-one for a smoke with Alvero was amazing. Not only knowledgeable about cigars, he’s a fascinating man all around.

  6. Correction, it was my business partner Steve that recorded the above videos, but he was having battery life issues so he couldn’t get the full seminar. I just remembered the details of it, sorry.

  7. We had a great time hosting Willy for the dinner. WIlly is an exceptionally talented cigar expert. We are looking forward to having him over for the full cigar course. Steve and I will work on getting the entire video posted online….one of these days. Thanks for all the great reviews of Willy’s performance. We’ve let Willy know about all the feedback.

  8. Vince & Steve,
    The video was very informative and I look forward to seeing the rest when it is available.

    And thank you for passing the post on to Willy, it is greatly appreciated.

    -Walt

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