I was browsing through the Daedalus Books catalog the other day and found a couple of titles that I’ve had my eye on for some time. (Daedalus is a purveyor of fine but commercially neglected books, also known as “remainders.”) In the catalog I also saw this venerable looking fellow with the stogie clamped in his craw and thought maybe, just maybe, this book would have some interesting cigar lore for me to ponder. It was only $4.98 so I threw it in the basket.
The copyright date is 2003 by Parkstone Books in New York. The author is Jean-Pierre Alaux, and though there is no biographical information about him I would guess he is French. The text has been translated into English by Arthur Borges, and the book is bound in Slovenia. This seems to be a truly international effort. Unfortunately the text suffers somewhat from an unwieldy translation, resulting in things like, ” For a firsthand experience of the sensitive gestures that go into the manufacture of a puro…” and “Before being commercialised, each cigar undergoes a combustibility test…” Pre-smoked stogie, anyone? They’ve been thoroughly tested, I can assure you.
The highlight of this thin volume is the photography. The first half of the book focuses on the Dominican cigar industry, and then it moves on to more general cultural topics. The cigar-related content here is pretty basic, centering on Tabacalera de Garcia and Altadis. A few words from Jose Seijas and short two-sentence profiles of four cigars — Don Diego Belicosos, Davidoff Double R, Santa Damiana “Rothschild Churchill” (??) and Pleiades Orion — completes the section on cigars.
The landscape photography is quite nice, and the detail in the pictures of the galeras is worth the bargain price. (My pictures of the pictures don’t really do them justice.) The book is quite short at only 96 pages. It’s really more of a novelty item than a serious look at the island or the cigars made there, but not a bad impulse buy for 5 simoleons.