One of the things I like in food and drink is to learn about products, recipes, ingredients I may never try, simply because it often is interesting. I like for this reason to read cookbooks even though I may never try a single recipe.

In the cigar area, I do not (or rather no longer) smoke, so the knowledge is academic only, but I find the area interesting in this way. The exotic names (Cohiba, etc.) are one reason, I guess, and the claimed affinity of cigars to whiskey is another.

I asked recently what is special, if anything, about Cuban cigars. I did not get a response, maybe because the question got lost in the Thanksgiving weekend hubub. I realise Cuban cigars are not sold in the U.S. but I assume some cigar experts may have sampled them on their travels (e.g. in Canada) or have knowledge gleaned through reading available international literature.

Anyway I'd like to rephrase my question as a group of questions, as follows:

(i) are there national characteristics in cigars as there are in whisky?;

(ii) if so, what are these and what are the main cigar-producing countries or areas?

(iii) is there a national taste profile to the Cuban product? Or is it something that breaks down more along quality lines?

Thanks for any opinions or thoughts.

Gary