Who is Gabriel?

Exactly who is “Gabriel” and what do the Havana shipyards have to do with custom-made cigar humidors? I’m going to assume that anyone visiting this site will ask this question.

I am a first generation American, born to a Cuban immigrant who came to the United States about a year-and-a-half after the Cuban Revolution that sparked the rise of Fidel Castro. A great-grandson of the founder of the Compañia de Fomento Marítimo de La Habana Cuba (The Maritime Development Company of Havana, Cuba), I seem to have inherited the same woodworking and carpentry genes that allowed him to transform what was once a small, sleepy shipyard, into the island’s largest ship repair operation. Incidentally, it was also home to the Palmer Line, a cargo service also within the family whose ships regularly traversed the Florida Straits between Havana and Pensacola, FL in the 1950s.

My great-grandfather, Gabriel.

Rebuilding a Bridge to Family
Despite the fact that I was born in the United States, I visit my family in Cuba regularly. If you’re Cuban-American, the idea of spending money to visit the island can be a source of great controversy. Understandably, those who experienced the violence of the revolution first-hand, and escaped it, often look at those of us who maintain such close family ties as pouring dollars into the revolutionary government through our travels there. And while I understand this point of view, I cannot forsake my family to make a political point. Blood is thicker than politics.

Materials with a Meaning
During one of my visits to Cuba, I came home with a small supply of Spanish cedar. Any cigar enthusiast knows this wood species imparts a wonderful aroma to fine cigars when used to line a quality humidor. I quickly set about designing and building humidors lined, in part, with Cuban-origin Spanish cedar. My goal is to incorporate as many materials of historical or national significance as I can in my humidors: handcrafted objects that incorporate “materials with meaning” make for items that become instant heirlooms. Back in the Cuba of the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s, my great-grandfather Gabriel was one of the most well-respected ship builders on the island—a man able to deliver an item of superb quality for not “one dime more or one dime less” than what was quoted. Today, some 50 years after his death, I hope to rekindle his pride through my works. As you browse my site, please understand that every item I produce is crafted by hand, one-at-a-time, with great purpose.

Y Punto.

Comments

  1. Evangelina Palmer says:

    I am proud to be part of one of Gabriel’s grandchildren and proud of the work you are doing. We all face the controversy within every Cuban family about whether to go to the island or not. I am ready to go as is my son. Good luck in your humidor endeavors. I know you will succeed in making one of the BEST humidors available in todays market.
    With Love

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