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"Smoking History one cigar at a Time"
History lovers always say preserving history is very important and helps us remember our past and where we came from-This is exactly what Serafin de Cuba Cigar Company's owner Arnold Serafin has done. for the past 15 years, Arnold and his late Dad Ramon (Ramon passed away in late 2019) made it their mission to revive some of Tampa's legendary brands. The first historic brand they brought back was "Tarpon Sponger" back in 2007. As it turns out, the brand has a great significance for the Serafin's, since Tarpon Springs is their home base. This brand existed in the 1940s in Tampa and its original label showcases the brave Greek sponge divers who made a living harvesting sponges in this small gulf coast village. "Dad and I had a lot of fun bringing this brand back from the dead, locals and tourists love the history and name behind it, it's a local favorite" Serafin says
In addition to Tarpon Sponger, Serafin has been making his Serafin de Cuba line for years too, available mostly in bundles as an affordable everyday cigar. More recently, Serafin has put his energy and focus into making premium, boutique cigars such as his "Flor de Tampa" brand which honors the Tampa Bay region's rich cigar-making history. This brand dates back to the late 1800s when Tampa was the cigar capital of the world- specifically Ybor City and West Tampa. The brand showcases the beautiful original artwork from that period and Serafin made a premium, medium-bodied smoke to honor this historic brand, it has quickly become a fan favorite. among Cigar aficionados all over the country.
in 2021, Serafin also debuted a cigar to honor his late father called the "Don Ramon 1942 series" it was launched under the "Tabacos Serafin" brand that belonged to his Grandfather in Central Cuba before the Castro revolution. The cigar Arnold made is a super premium smoke. It is available in Ramon's favorite wrapper and size- CT wrapper, and double corona (7.5x50 ring). Serafin says making this cigar was a true labor of love, he did not care about the cost of making it and used only the finest tobaccos in making it. They are a limited edition cigar. "It was my way of grieving my Father, while at the same time, honoring him and his memory, and all he did for me and our family". Hundreds of folks still come into the shop asking about the Senior Serafin, who spent years at the Tarpon Springs location helping and greeting patrons from all over the country that come visit us and Tarpon Springs. Arnold also has plans to add another "Don Ramon" to the brand down the road- the Don Ramon 1917 to honor his grandfather Ramon Serafin Llanes who was the brand's founder in Cuba many years ago. the latter Don Ramon learned the art of cigar making alongside his Father Don Antonio Serafin in the 1930s in central Cuba's Las Villas province where they also cultivated and grew tobacco.
Needless to say, Arnold has big plans down the road, but his latest project might be his most iconic one yet, the launch of the "El Principe de Gales" brand. The brand has a huge significance to Cuba-Tampa history; It traces its history to Havana in 1853 when it was founded by Mr. Vicente Martinez Ybor, if this name sounds familiar, it should be, Mr.Ybor was the founder of Ybor City in Tampa where he came to in the late 1800s. Prior to founding Ybor City, Mr. Ybor made his Principe de Gales cigars in Cuba, and in 1869 during Cuba's 10 years war, he fled to Key West with his family in fear of being apprehended by the Spanish colonial government for aiding Cubans in their fight for freedom. Once he settled in Key West he quickly started making his Principe de gales brand again. He remained in Key West for 15 years, and then in hopes of being closer to the rest of the US mainland, moved his operations north to Tampa Florida where he founded the immigrant town of Ybor City. in Tampa, Mr. Ybor built a company town where thousands of Cubans, Spaniards, Italians, etc.. move to and worked in the cigar industry. Ybor City is a testament to those men and still exists today. During his time in Ybor City, Don Vicente Martinez Ybor invited Cuban patriot Jose Marti to come and speak to the cigar makers and became his close friend. Mr. Ybor's factory in Ybor City was the largest one in the world at that time and still stands today.
Bringing back Mr. Ybor's brand is a real honor for the Serafin family. Arnold says his Dad was always very passionate about Tampa and Cuba's history and admired Mr. Ybor just as he does and instilled that in him. The brand should be out by early to mid-2022, 100 years after it was last made, so stay tuned......Serafin says its not about the cigars, but "About preserving the history of cigar making in Tampa Bay, while at the same time making a quality product" He also says the brand's great-grandson Mr. Rafael Martinez Ybor has given him the blessing of bringing back his great Grandfather's brand, and that means a lot to him. The box designs will resemble the original ones from the 1800s.