Walking down 7th Avenue in the heart of Ybor City, a.k.a. The Cigar City! It's like you’re walking back in time, other than the modern cars passing you by you would think you’re in the turn of the century. Pretty Cuban senorita's walking pass with huge smiles, the constant wafting summer smells of a city so steeped in heritage and tradition to any other place in this country. I smelled Cuban coffee, pastries, and cigars! Oh wait that was me I'm smoking a Fuentes Opus X, just cause I'm here.
I read The Cigar Maker, written by Mark Carlos McGinty in the middle of Centennial Park as the locals would brush by me every so often to make sure I was not an outsider. To them I was an outsider, but the funny thing as a budding aficionado, and just armed with enough of Ybor City history to be dangerous, they seem to me to be the outsider. One man even came up to me as I smoked my local stogie and told me, "Those things will kill you." My reply, "Everything will kill you." I did meet two very interesting gentlemen... both meaning so much to the rich heritage of cigars and Ybor: Wallace Reyes, yes that name rings a bell you cigar geeks! He is the man who is legendary in Ybor; you may know him of his Guinness Book of World Records, longest cigar. The other kindly local was Wally's good friend and local born artist Arnold Martinez, you may know his name as the artist who uses such mediums as tobacco leaves, Cuban coffee, tea and acrylics.
What a day my friends, I would look for both of these men to be guest on the CigaRobbie Radio Program! I know tomorrow I will be smoking one of Wally's personally rolled cigars a Bazarte, with a rich deep maduro wrapper the size was recommended to me by another local working at the museum store: torpedo and I can't wait to light this treasure and tell you about it on the air. Really thinking of making this a regular trip, well you know for the history part of it!
Wallace Reyes, Grand Master Cigar Maker
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