Gilbert de Montsalvat was born in 1920 in Burgundy. In 1932, he left Burgundy and went to Paris. In 1937, G.de Montsalvat left France for London, shortly before the war broke out. He got acquainted with Freud, and both soon became friends. He studied history and English literature in London. He started working for the French state in England. He moved back to France to work in the family business for a few years.
He left France for Cuba in 1955, and started extensive tobacco related studies there and was dubbed Minister of Tobacco. He returned to Europe for a few years and settled in Geneva, that was to be the place where he stayed between travels to America. During one of his stays in Cuba, he established the great cigar encyclopedia, and thus got acquainted with the Che et someone by the name Fidel Castro. He left Cuba for the Connecticut, in the USA. There, he learn and developed the art of the reputed Connecticut Shade, the wrapper from the "Connecticut Shade River Valley", in which tobacco grows under cloth shelters.
From 1965 to 1974, Montsalvat "Kunst des Rauchens" traveled over Asia and South America. He developed his understanding of tobacco and its growing, and started writing his book on the art of smoking. After a short stay in Paris, he returned to Geneva in 1987 and had a magnificent villa built there. The villa was equipped with a huge humidor containing one of the most beautiful cigar collections. In 1987, he was awarded the Cuban solidarity price for his contribution to social development. He fell seriously ill in 1988 and moved to St Galle (Switzerland) where he resides incognito today and writes his memoirs.