Cuban Cigars

Discussion in 'The Connoisseur' started by Martinis at 8, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. Martinis at 8

    Martinis at 8 Practically Family

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    I don't know about the rest of you, and politics aside, I am anticipating the return of Cuban cigars to the US within the next few years.

    I am wondering how this is going to effect world prices, and how La Casa del Habano outlets will be set up in the US.
     
  2. indycop

    indycop I'll Lock Up

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    I think if the embargo is lifted you still won't see them because those makers that fled will be in court battles over their brands.
     
  3. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    Right. There are decades-old questions of trademark, brand ownership, etc. Not to mention old family claims on lands stolen by the Cuban government.

    I'm looking forward to it also, but I think the most likely scenario is that travel to Cuba will be green-lighted, and we can once again go to Havana as a vacation spot, and enjoy our Punch, R&J, Partagas, etc., in Cuba. But to buy a Cuban Partagas in Minneapolis will take quite a lot of time (probably).
     
  4. Martinis at 8

    Martinis at 8 Practically Family

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    I think the brand label will not be an issue. The Cohiba lawsuit may serve as a precedent, though it is slightly different.

    The land issue is a moot point. There is too much precedence in my opinion on the US continuing to do business with nations that have seized personal assets from not only its own citizens, but also from US citizens.

    Nevertheless, it will remain an emotional issue.
     
  5. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe One Too Many

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    Don't forget the rum either . . .

    :eek:fftopic: I recently met a fellow from Germany who is simply nuts about rum, he says Cuban rum is quite distinctive from Jamaican or Purto Rician rums and that folks in the US have been missing out.

    Back on point now:

    As I understand it, many of the cigar making families left Cuba and set up shop in places like the Dominican Republic and Honduras, and therefore, the mystique of Cuban cigars was really more about taboo than actual quality. Am I wrong? I've been happily smoking Dominican handrolls for years thinking I wasn't missing out . . .
     
  6. Martinis at 8

    Martinis at 8 Practically Family

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    Cuban rum is quite good!

    No there's no taboo mystery. Cuban cigars are definitely different. It's not forbidden fruit syndrome if that is what you are alluding to.
     
  7. Darhling

    Darhling Call Me a Cab

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    I might possibly be very wrong, but I am not sure the prices will change much, since the rest of the world has legal access to the cigars and the country..

    Venezuelan rum is also veeeery nice.
     
  8. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

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    Cuban cigars and rum have been available in Miami throughout the embargo.;)
     
  9. Kermez

    Kermez A-List Customer

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    Location:
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    I firmly and resolutely Disagree.

    In the last 14+ years, I have had more than my fair share of Cuban cigars. While it might just be a matter of taste, personally I find them on average to be no better than a high-quality cigars from other areas, specifically Dominicans. In several noteable instances, they were markedly worse.

    Now, of course, the possible reasons for this are many, including but not limited to: How did they get to me?, Who brought (smuggled, really - let's be honest here) them into the country? And how? How they were maintained until I got them? Were they substandard to begin with?

    Granted that the conditions in Cuba (soil, climate, etc.) are ideal and optimal (and quite possible perfect) for growing the world's absolute best tobacco, it is also true that as it is a Communist country/island, everything is under a Communist government control. When has a government ever produced anything well, especially a Communist one? (Answer: Never.)

    Dominican, Honduran, et al. cigar companies generally make better products because they are privately owned and operated, thus they have far more quality control and management - their businesses (and, therefore, their money) depends upon it! Family names, reputations, and honor (and Latino ones, at that!), as well as fortunes, are at stake here.

    Due to the environment in which they are made, Cuban cigars have the potential to be the world's greatest cigars. The truth of the matter, however, is that cigars from other places (especially Dominican, IMO), are generally better, because - even though they begin with a potentially inferior material (inferior, in this case, being even as much as 95%+ out of a possible perfect 100%), a greater effort is made into producing the final product, thus leading to overall superiority.

    Of course, I am speaking of conditions as they are right now. Pre-Communist Cuba, and were the Cuban cigar industry to become privatized, well then those are different matters entirely.

    In sum, those are my opinions and beliefs regarding Cuban cigars vis-à-vis cigars from other countries in the region, and why I am convinced that - southern Florida aside - the American facination with Cuban cigars is definitely one of a "forbidden fruit" syndrome.

    Rebuttal arguments? :D
     
  10. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

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    Cuban cigars and rum have been available in Miami throughout the embargo.;)

    I like the rum but the gars ain't all that.[huh]
     
  11. CigarMan

    CigarMan One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    I have to agree that the Cohiba case may be a precedent to all other brands. Most of the large non-Cuban Cuban names are owned by big tobacco companies now and chances are that things will go the same way as Cohiba. It is true that many of the Cuban cigar families moved to other places, like DR, Honduras, Nicaragua and many took Cuban seed with them.

    But what makes Cuban cigars, "Cuban cigars" is the soil. They truly do have their own unique flavor. Dominican Republic is right next door to Cuba, but if you taste a Cuban Montecristo and compare it to a DR Montecristo, you'll notice two totally different tastes.

    I also have to agree with Kermez that there are so many cigars out there from other countries that are fantastic. Some I'd even say better than Cuban. But again, it's all a matter of personal taste.

    I anticipate that we may not get quality Cuban cigars anytime soon either. I also anticipate that the quality of Cuban cigars may suffer a little if Cuba decides to rush production to accommodate the larger market. All we can do is hope and wait to see what happens. If nothing else, if the embargo is fully lifted (or at least on cigars), it would probably be safer to order them from an existing well known retailer in Europe or some other country. There's quite a few online and once lifted, it would be legal to order them.

    Happy Smoking Everyone!
     
  12. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

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    Well said CigarMan.


    If U.S. approved travel to Cuba is opened up, I wonder how long the classic local flavor will last?
     
  13. Martinis at 8

    Martinis at 8 Practically Family

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    CigarMan has an informed opinion. Kermez you may want to study the issue a bit more. BTW, I am a moderator on a cigar board. It is private cigar board that specializes in Cuban cigars.

    Here are some things I would have Kermez and others consider:

    1. There is a rich market of Cuban fakes out there. I see them all the time. Both in the US and especially overseas. Mexico being one of the largest markets for fakes. These are low quality cigars and often sold to touring Gringos as authentic Cuban cigars.

    2. If you are overseas and want to ensure that you are getting a real Cuban cigar the only way you can really ensure this is to purchase the cigars at an LCDH store. LCDH stands for La Casa del Habano. Here is a link to their website http://www.lacasadelhabano.cu/site/index.php. The link provides where you can find their stores around the world.

    3. If you can not find an LDCH store, there are a few LCDH authorized sellers. These too are listed on the website.

    4. Cuban cigars, unlike non-Cuban cigars, are not aged. The cigars are rolled and then sold so that the revenue can be passed to Cuba immediately. A connoisseur will notice this, as green flecks can be seen on the cigar. The cigars need to be aged. Like wine, the cigars become more complex as they age. I personally like to wait until my cigars have "bloomed" before I declare them smoke-worthy. Bloom is a crystal-like dust that appears on the cigars.

    5. There is nothing quite like a properly aged Cuban cigar. The difference is very noticeable, and as CigarMan said, it is due to the soil. Many of the families that left Cuba took seed with them, like the Padron family. However, there is no Cuban soil in Nicaragua, where the Padron family grows its tobacco.

    6. The Padron '64 Anniversario (in natural) is my go-to domestic cigar. It's a very good cigar. However, it pales in comparison to a Cuban Partagas Series D No. 4 that has blooomed.
     
  14. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

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    You mean the rampant poverty and crumbling infrastructure? ;) Cuba currently hosts 2 million tourists a year, by far their largest industry. It would be nice if that number were trebled, for the sake of the people.
     
  15. I miss Dominican cigars. Almost impossible to get here due to the copyright issues mentioned above. (Of course, the opposite reason as you have in the US. The Cuban copyrights are current here. The Dominican cigars bearing the Montecristo name, for example, can only really be sold in US territory). I'll be travelling to the States in the summer, so will smuggle back a bunch.

    I like both. I think, in general Cuban cigars are a better bet. At a given price point, the Cuban cigar is likely to be better, to my tastes. But everyones taste is different. I have most experience of Cuban vs non-Cuban Punch cigars. For this particular brand, there is no comparison. The non-Cubans are a respectable cigar, i guess. But compared to the real one there is no comparison.One of my labmates is Cuban, and brings me back a duty free pile each time she goes back home for a holiday. I certainly refuse to pay the ridiculous UK prices. What a joke.

    The best rum i've had was made in Honduras. Amazing stuff.

    bk
     
  16. Martinis at 8

    Martinis at 8 Practically Family

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    BK,

    I am also a fan of La Flor Dominicana. Litto Gomez runs a great business with his beautiful wife Ines. Very nice people and very well respected in the industry. I haven't been to DomRep since 1978, but recall Santiago de los Caballeros as a very nice looking colonial town. It is the cigar capital of DomRep.
     
  17. Spitfire

    Spitfire I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark.
    Baron - you only have to fly to Denmark to get Dominican cigars. Cuban too for that matter. Personaly I like a Cuban now and again - but I prefere the Dominican. Except some cigars I bought outside Vinales in Cuba.
    It was at a small restaurant, where they had tobacofields all around. The owner of the restaurant rolled them himself. It was the best tasting cigars I had over there. Bought two+ handfulls just to bring back. They are long gone now.
     
  18. CigarMan

    CigarMan One of the Regulars

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    Location:
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    If you ever make it to San Antonio, drop a line, you can come by the shop for a smoke.
     
  19. Martinis at 8

    Martinis at 8 Practically Family

    Messages:
    710
    Location:
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    Thanks for the invite. What's your shop? I may have been there already.
     
  20. CigarMan

    CigarMan One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Club Humidor - we have 5 locations, I'm at Huebner Oaks
     

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