Gilbert De Montsalvat

Gilbert Bénédict Augustin de Montsalvat was born in 1920 in Bourgogne, the son of Hugo Comte de Montsalvat and Arlette Baronesse de Fontainville. He spent his high school years between 1932 and 1937 in Paris. Until 1943 he studied history, philosophy and English literature in Cambridge. In 1938 he met Sigmund Freud in London. In 1942 Montsalvat suffered a serious traffic accident and spent several weeks in a coma. After graduation, he worked until 1945 for the French government in exile in England and returned only in 1946 to France. Between 1946 and 1949 he worked in the paternal businesses, which he sold in 1950. Until 1955, he stayed in Cuba, where he experienced the coup of Batista against Prío Socarrás. In Cuba his love for tobacco and cigar awoke; Here he also started to create a comprehensive documentation on the topic. In Havana Montsalvat was even jokingly called "El Ministro de los Puros". After a year as a language teacher in Manila, he acquired in 1956 in Geneva an apartment, which should be in the following years, his stronghold for extensive travel. After a shorter stay in Honduras, he served 1958-1959 for a year as a cultural attaché of the French Republic in Mexico. In 1959 and 1960 he stayed again in Cuba, from where he also visited Santo Domingo and Nicaragua. Thanks to his excellent reputation as a cigar encyclopaedist, he soon made personal acquaintance with Ché Guevara and Fidel Castro. During this stay on the Antilles Island the "Cuban Sonnets" were created. From 1961 to 1965, he spent time in Geneva, Washington and Connecticut. where he hoped to find out the secret of the Connecticut Shade cover page. In 1962, he met on the occasion of a diplomatic ball John F. Kennedy, whom he advised cigarar in the episode. From 1966 to 1970 Montsalvat alternately spent in Geneva, Indonesia and the Philippines, where he could deepen his knowledge of the Far Eastern tobacco cultivation. Until 1974, stays in Geneva and Cuba followed, where the main parts of his great "cigar history" emerged. Between 1975 and 1977, Montsalvat devoted himself again to the South and Central American region. He did extensive fieldwork on the distribution of Nicotiana rustica in Brazil and Mexico. His book "Montsalvat's Art of Smoking" was published in 1978. Between 1978 and 1984, the cosmopolitan and writer lived in Indonesia, Cuba and the United States. In 1985, the so-called Paris year followed, in which Montsalvat designed the concept for his "Great Cigar Leader". In 1986, he definitely moved to Geneva, where he acquired a suitable villa in which he had his famous walk-in humidor installed. In 1987, he received the Great Socialist Medal of Honor from Cuba, honoring his achievements in tobacco culture and social commitment to tobacco workers in capitalist countries. In the Rhone city he finished work on his "Great Cigar Guide. The acquaintances of Gilbert de Montsalvats read like a who-is-who of the 20th century. He's met all the Presidents of the United States since Kennedy, with Thomas Mann, Winston Churchill, Orson Welles,
In 1995 Montsalvat allegedly died of cancer. In fact, after a successful Filipino tobacco leaf wrap therapy, he was simply submerged. Only in 1998 he gave from eastern Switzerland a sign of life. Today, Gilbert de Montsalvat enjoys the best of health, which the writer of this episode could convince himself. He lives incognito in a patrician house in the St. Gallen area and writes there on his memoirs.
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