Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
SlowEddy

Cuban Cigars

This topic has been inactive for at least 365 days, and is now closed. Please feel free to start a new thread on the subject! 

Recommended Posts

SlowEddy

I smoked cigars for many years before I bought a Cuban cigar while visiting Mexico. I bought a few good ones ranging in price from $8.00 to $25.00 each. I'm here to tell you they were good, but I could not tell the difference between the best Cuban cigar I had and the same size Punch cigar (President size). In my last post I mentioned the Parodi as a good cheap, all natural cigar. But a great higher end bourbon cigar is Punch--dark wrapper. GREAT with Wild Turkey Rare Breed. The best! No glass, no ice!!

Slooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwww Eddddddddddddddddyyyyyyyyy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tennessee Dave

You got to try the Gurkas. All are good but the Centurian XX is as good as any Cuban on the market. In fact it is made to resemble the 1959 Bolivar. Check it out at Cigar International at their website.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SlowEddy
You got to try the Gurkas. All are good but the Centurian XX is as good as any Cuban on the market. In fact it is made to resemble the 1959 Bolivar. Check it out at Cigar International at their website.

I'll give it a try.

thanks,

SE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
melting

I'd have to say that country of origin is certainly no indication of the product's quality. Cuba is no different than anywhere else. Some bad, some good and some outstanding. Actually the quality of the average Cuban cigar has diminished over the last few years I believe. They were running at full speed emphasizing quantity instead of quality.

I'm not positive, but I think they started really cutting back on the producting early last year to try to improve the quality again.

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MJL

My experiences with Cuban cigars indicates that they may be the singularly most over rated product in the tobacco world. Some are good, some are great; many are mediocre or even poor but all are way over priced for what they are. I think that inflated price is the price paid for the mystique of forbidden fruit but, after smoking dozens and hundreds of Cuban made cigars my experiences are that the tobaccos are usually excellent but the execution is often poor. I would reckon the best rollers have exited the island and are now plying their trade in Nicaragua, DR or Honduras. I have met enough of them in the Miami area to know that they do know their business but without the personal profit incentive of making a consistent, quality product it will not be made. Witness, for example the Miami and Nica made Don Peppin Garcia that are every bit the BETTER of the best Cuban cigar on the market today for less than HALF the inflated price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BourbonJoe

I also agree that cuban cigars are, for the most part, overrated and certainly overpriced. Give me a good Honduran or Nicaraguan any day.

Joe :bandit: :usflag:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gr8erdane

Shoot Joe, you'd settle for your Dad's Roi-Tan.....:slappin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cigarnv

I find comparing Cuban's to Nic's, DR's, Hon, etc.. is like comparing a wheater to a rye... neither is better, they are different and will appeal to people differently.

As for price Cuban cigar's are for the most no more costly than premium NC's if one avoids the tourist traps and fakes sold through out the Carribean. Most top quality Cuban cigars can be found for "reasonable" prices at LCdH's in country's with reasonable tax structures .... about equal to what I pay for a Padron 1964 or a Fuente Don Carlos .... and far less than a Padron 1926 or Opus X.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vange
My experiences with Cuban cigars indicates that they may be the singularly most over rated product in the tobacco world. Some are good, some are great; many are mediocre or even poor but all are way over priced for what they are. I think that inflated price is the price paid for the mystique of forbidden fruit but, after smoking dozens and hundreds of Cuban made cigars my experiences are that the tobaccos are usually excellent but the execution is often poor. I would reckon the best rollers have exited the island and are now plying their trade in Nicaragua, DR or Honduras. I have met enough of them in the Miami area to know that they do know their business but without the personal profit incentive of making a consistent, quality product it will not be made. Witness, for example the Miami and Nica made Don Peppin Garcia that are every bit the BETTER of the best Cuban cigar on the market today for less than HALF the inflated price.

Here is my story.

I got scammed into buying "cubans" from a friend. After I did EXTENSIVE research I found them to be fake and dedicated weeks to getting more info. More alarming is that I read that OVER 95% of "cubans" in the world ARE fake. Be VERY wary when on vacation in the Caribbean and in Mexico even at resorts! I guess we can't blame them they dont know what is real or fake. You would think they are real, but most are not. I have become pretty adept at spotting fakes now. The easiest way for me to tell is my looking at the sealed boxes. There are many dead giveaways. Looking at loose cubans can be trickier. The black light trick though is my favorite for identifying a fake box label.

An an example, here is a site DEDICATED to selling fake cuban labels, bands, etc. The link is below to illustrate how easy it is to counterfeit cubans.

www.justfakes.com

SO...when I finally did get a box of real cubans and smoked them the difference was apparent. The strength of the cigar, the methodical burn, and overall deeper tobacco flavor stood out. With that said, I still like my Padron 1926s better, but I could "see" the difference now. My fakes were not horrible, but doing a side by side smoke was very educational.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mythrenegade

I have had a few cuban cigars in my time. The first one I bought while on vacation in the carribean. I searched extensively, and when I found the store that sold the real deal, it was _very_ apparent. They had catalogs, they had marketing materials, they had much better looking cigars than everyone else etc. Just to be safe, I bought a "tubos" which is in a metal tube. Those are almost never copied because it's a lot more work...

I was hoping it would be good, but not much better than the DR Montecristos. Sadly, it was fantastic. I loved it, but it was bittersweet knowing that I couldn't get more.

I've had another that was given to me (indirectly) by a very famous movie star. It was also clearly genuine.

I've also had fakes. Generally they were just average. When I bought those I had my doubts (buying them sight unseen, price seemed too good to be true) and as soon as I lit it up I could tell the difference. Research proved me right.

For the most part I've moved on to a pipe, which I enjoy more than cigars, but I do still have a very nice looking Montecristo #2 (torpedo) that I'm saving (in the humidor) for a special occasion...

Joel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MJL

Agreed. The only place I feel totally confident in the authenticity of the product, when it comes to Cuban cigars, is from the La Case Del Habanos stores. These are the authorized sellers of Cuban tobacco and got to lengths to maintain quality of product and storage conditions. Entire industries of faked cigars abound wherever cruise ships dock. Some of those fakes are easy to spot with bad bands, poor construction, low quality tobacco. A rare few are hard to spot with high quality wrappers, double caps and excellent bands. You are correct that the boxes usually give a better indicator of authenticity but these too have been faked as well as the new box seals and holographs. Sadly, Cuban cigars are even faked in CUBA. I was in La Habana in 1994 and 1995. Both years I was offered unbanded cigars by people on the street outside the Partagas factory building. These were likely stolen or perhaps second quality cigars but regardless were being passed off as the real deal.

In the end, I just have to say that perhaps what has happened is that the quality of Cuban cigars has not declined but that Cuban exiles have elevated the cigar industries in Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Honduras to equal of better the product of their homeland. I never got the chance to smoke pre-Castro cigars in their day so I cannot judge what the shape of their industry was before The Beard got his thieving hands on it. I can only say as a consumer that much of the clamor around the current Cuban product is mystique that when smoked with a clear and open mind will not coming close to the hype that most make of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jwrussell

I have to disagree with you on that MJL. There is certainly a mystique driven quality to them for some, but on the whole Cigarnv has it right. There are plenty of top, TOP quality NCs out there today, but they are not better than any CC out there, just different. This is never an argument that goes anywhere so I'm not going to delve into it, but to my taste, I enjoy CCs more than I do their NC brethren. And yes, I can taste the difference blind. That doesn't make them better than NCs, just more to my taste.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bourbonguyjapan

Hey Y'all,

Here in Japan I guess I get the real deal. Cubans are expensive,

but there is a lot of quality in those stoggies.

Trinidad is a great one, as is Partagas, Hoyo De Montere and many

others my druken mind can't recall.

Many good cigars out there. Hell I'll even go for the Cohiba's too-

highly overrated but decent nonetheless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jsgorman

Unless you are smoking the Cuban machine made cigars, I cannot imagine how you could say that more cuban cigars are mediocre / poor than good or great. While there were some problems with consistency 7-10 years ago, the quality of the cuban smokes has been pretty steady for some time.

As far as pricing, cuban cigars are reflective of the tax rates on tobacco in a given country. Some countries have lower taxes (Spain) some very high (UK). I tend to pay between 12-25 per stick for cubans when I travel and given that I live in a high tax state (Minnesota), I pay much more for Opus, Tatuaje or Padron.

I think the US cigar industry has put out a lot of misinformation about cubans. I don't believe for a second that 95% of what people think are real cubans are fake. Most people that buy cuban cigars do so at stores that are licensed by the cuban government or a LCDH. Anybody that buys cigars on the street is a moron. Buying cigars at a gift shop is also a mistake. Cigars are more like wine than whiskey - in that storage and provenance are critical. Anyone that knows cuban cigars knows that.

I do enjoy the Pepin cigars, but nobody knows how well they will age (which cubans do magnificently) nor are they as nuanced as a Monte, Bolivar or Upmann.

My experiences with Cuban cigars indicates that they may be the singularly most over rated product in the tobacco world. Some are good, some are great; many are mediocre or even poor but all are way over priced for what they are. I think that inflated price is the price paid for the mystique of forbidden fruit but, after smoking dozens and hundreds of Cuban made cigars my experiences are that the tobaccos are usually excellent but the execution is often poor. I would reckon the best rollers have exited the island and are now plying their trade in Nicaragua, DR or Honduras. I have met enough of them in the Miami area to know that they do know their business but without the personal profit incentive of making a consistent, quality product it will not be made. Witness, for example the Miami and Nica made Don Peppin Garcia that are every bit the BETTER of the best Cuban cigar on the market today for less than HALF the inflated price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cubacroc
Unless you are smoking the Cuban machine made cigars, I cannot imagine how you could say that more cuban cigars are mediocre / poor than good or great. While there were some problems with consistency 7-10 years ago, the quality of the cuban smokes has been pretty steady for some time.

I think the US cigar industry has put out a lot of misinformation about cubans. I don't believe for a second that 95% of what people think are real cubans are fake. Most people that buy cuban cigars do so at stores that are licensed by the cuban government or a LCDH. Anybody that buys cigars on the street is a moron. Buying cigars at a gift shop is also a mistake. Cigars are more like wine than whiskey - in that storage and provenance are critical. Anyone that knows cuban cigars knows that.

The quality of individual boxes varies due to the different factories that may all produce the same frontmark.

The Montecristo brand has the highest production and the cigars are rolled at many different factories. The same size Montecristo cigar is frequently rolled at multiple factories. Factory codes were key to selecting a box in the past.

My co-workers visited under State Department Permit until 2004 and always brought back their $100 limit. I provided the cab fare from the National Zoo to the Partagas Factory and the dollars for the tour fee. The Staff always shop at the Casa located at the Partagas Factory and are accompanied by the Director of the Jardin Zoologico de La Habana. Cigars are purchased ONLY at that Casa shop. Over the years several boxes of fakes have been purchased from the Casa shop. The box, label, gov seal and outside appeared perfect. The paperwork inside the box was legit as were the bands. The cigars were rolled there but not in a factory. The bands had been re-glued, the cigars were not uniform in wrapper, color, texture and varied slightly in length. Most of these fakes were plugged but still enjoyable in a pipe.

I avoid the highly targeted cigars and try for more unusual versions of quality brands:

Montecristo A

Bolivar Belicoso Finos Cabinet

Bolivar Royal Corona

La Flor de Cano - Corona

Vegas Robainia - Don Alejendro

and a few others

Boxes of fakes make their way into the Casa shops as well as the shops in hotels and resorts around the island.

EVERY band and box is salvaged for reuse. Doctors earn $30 per month ( 2004 ) and a hotel worker can make a years wages or more on a single box of fakes. You can bet that everyone is big on recycling!

We used to use them as gifts for donors and special guest. I shifted to rare and unusual bourbon in 2004 when we were no longer allowed to visit.

I see fakes frequently and have seen less than a dozen genuine cigars during the past 12 years. Everyone has a story about a friend who knows workers that go home and return with cigars. There are as many variations of the story of how they got the "real thing" as there are variants of the Nigerian inheritance scam.

One of the large Internet Casa stores that ships to the US by courier was revealed to have sold five times more "genuine" cigars than they had actually purchased from Habanos.

I believe that the 95% number is probably fairly accurate.

Different ? YES!

Better? Personal opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jsgorman

Different countries / distributors have their own quality metrics for evaluating cuban cigar imports. Germany, Spain, UK and most especially Switzerland have very tight quality controls and open many boxes to inspect for fakes.

I have no experience buying cigars in Cuba, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was some funny business even at the government store. There is much incentive for fraud on the Island and it is well documented that the highest grade cigars are for export and government use.

I've also seen major improvements over the past few years regarding the variations between manufacturing. While Montecristo is the largest selling marque, it also utilizes the most experienced rollers - especially for the #2.

I find it interesting that cuban cigars are either overly praised or unfairly criticized, when the reality is that they are just cigars. I have a special place in my humidor for cubans because I find they age very well. There is a remarkable difference between a 'fresh' Monte #2 and a 5-10 year aged one.

The quality of individual boxes varies due to the different factories that may all produce the same frontmark.

The Montecristo brand has the highest production and the cigars are rolled at many different factories. The same size Montecristo cigar is frequently rolled at multiple factories. Factory codes were key to selecting a box in the past.

My co-workers visited under State Department Permit until 2004 and always brought back their $100 limit. I provided the cab fare from the National Zoo to the Partagas Factory and the dollars for the tour fee. The Staff always shop at the Casa located at the Partagas Factory and are accompanied by the Director of the Jardin Zoologico de La Habana. Cigars are purchased ONLY at that Casa shop. Over the years several boxes of fakes have been purchased from the Casa shop. The box, label, gov seal and outside appeared perfect. The paperwork inside the box was legit as were the bands. The cigars were rolled there but not in a factory. The bands had been re-glued, the cigars were not uniform in wrapper, color, texture and varied slightly in length. Most of these fakes were plugged but still enjoyable in a pipe.

I avoid the highly targeted cigars and try for more unusual versions of quality brands:

Montecristo A

Bolivar Belicoso Finos Cabinet

Bolivar Royal Corona

La Flor de Cano - Corona

Vegas Robainia - Don Alejendro

and a few others

Boxes of fakes make their way into the Casa shops as well as the shops in hotels and resorts around the island.

EVERY band and box is salvaged for reuse. Doctors earn $30 per month ( 2004 ) and a hotel worker can make a years wages or more on a single box of fakes. You can bet that everyone is big on recycling!

We used to use them as gifts for donors and special guest. I shifted to rare and unusual bourbon in 2004 when we were no longer allowed to visit.

I see fakes frequently and have seen less than a dozen genuine cigars during the past 12 years. Everyone has a story about a friend who knows workers that go home and return with cigars. There are as many variations of the story of how they got the "real thing" as there are variants of the Nigerian inheritance scam.

One of the large Internet Casa stores that ships to the US by courier was revealed to have sold five times more "genuine" cigars than they had actually purchased from Habanos.

I believe that the 95% number is probably fairly accurate.

Different ? YES!

Better? Personal opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MrAtomic

I'm in agreement with jsgorman.

The really great aspect of Cubans is their change over time. Given the chance to store a box of fairly bold cigars -- Bolivar Belicosos or Ramon Allones Specially Selected -- for years, the smells and flavors evolve. Something fairly one-dimensional when packaged can really transform into a blockbuster over one, three, or five years. On the other hand, more delicate cigars -- Cuaba Tradicionales or something similar -- might become even more mellow and cohesive over time.

Are these flavors "better" than cigars from DR or Honduras? Of course not, but they are very different. I can purchase a powerful cigar like a robusto-sized Camacho Corojo, but it isn't the same as a Bolivar Royal Corona -- at the time of purchase, or after years of aging. Personally, I don't lie awake at night fuming over the fact that Cuban cigars are still embargoed, but I firmly believe that they are different -- and sometimes more enjoyable -- than cigars from Honduras or DR.

Regarding the prevalence of fake Cubans: if you are buying cigars from one of first websites to turn up after googling "cuban cigar" or "mail-order cohiba," of course you are going to end up with junk. If you are lucky enough to be traveling, and able to purchase cigars in the UK or Switzerland (for consumption in that country), from approved stores that let you browse, handle many varieties, and inspect the contents of boxes before purchase, I imagine you're on pretty safe ground. These are cigars, not semiconductors -- do a lot of research, learn as much as possible about date/factory codes and packing materials, ask questions, and handle as many as possible. If something seems off, just walk away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
El Cazador

Over Memorial Day weekend, had the opportunity, courtesy of a good friend, to enjoy a real Cuban Cohiba (just right freshness) with a couple of glasses of Bulleit over ice up at a cabin in the mountain Sequoia forest in California -- I think I saw God's face.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MJL

I just got back in to the USA after spending June and much of July in Germany, Poland, Denmark, Ukraine and Latvia doing academic work. I made a point of smoking at least one, sometimes two or three cigars from Cuba a day while overseas. I tried to make a selecction of cigars and chose from a variaty of labels. All my cigars were purchased in Germany with most coming from tobacconists located in some of the larger train stations and a few from La Casa Del Habanos in Berlin and Hamburg. I took some notes that I will transfer into mini-reviews to be posted here soon, In short some of the cigars were extrodinary but most were way overpriced for what I got and some were downrite crap. I reckon we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. For 10-20 Euro a cigar I have expectations of a spectacular cigar and not the same or lesser quality/experience as a $10USD cigar I can pick up here in Miami. Wait for my mini-reviews and we can argue over them!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chilled

I have tried all three types, Cuban, Fakes and NC.

It all boils down to Flavor and what you like. Just like coffee, grapes for wine,depending on where you grow it and in which soil dictates the flavor that tabbacco will pick up. Next comes the recipe and the aging. Sure, cuban seed has made it out of Cuba and is now being used elsewhere but you will not get the same flavor profile in Nic as in Cuba. That being said, most of your Cuban Cigar Original makers, are now in DR,NIC,HON and even Miami and they are doing what they have always done, Like great chefs, they are tweaking ther recipes and getting better and better.

That being said, I like the following:

Por Laranega Pettit Corona, Trinadad Reyes, Monte #5

Don Pepin, Padron ( I am aging afew to see their development)

Tatuaje has some nice ones also.

Basicly, EXPERIMENT, you'll end up spending some dollars, but then you will also find what you like and narrow it down, took me 3 to 4 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
shoshani

I'll be 44 years old this Saturday, Oct. 31. I have never smoked a Cuban cigar, fake or otherwise. Hell, I smoke John Hay and Muniemaker because I really like Pennsylvania and Connecticut tobacco. So take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt, if you will.

I think in a large part the Mystique of the Cuban Cigar today is misguided. You are not going to smoke the Cubans that your grandfather smoked. You can't. The market has changed so drastically that they will probably never be made again.

Cuban cigars today are only made in Cuba (which forbids tobacco exports) and range in color from EMS to Maduro. While cigars from Cuba were imported into the USA before the embargo (and were pretty expensive at that), far and away what was known as a "Cuban" cigar was a cigar manufactured in the United States, using either Cuban filler with various binders and wrappers (some domestic, some not), or using all-Cuban tobacco for the filler, binder and wrapper, and usually retailing for a nickel or a dime.

The latter were known as "clear Havanas", and I've read that this term came from the larger cigar factories having bonded warehouses filled with Cuban tobacco that was cleared by a resident Customs agent after it had been properly aged, as it was being brought out for use on the rolling floor.

And far and away the most popular wrapper in the United States at that time was the light green Candela wrapper, which is virtually nonexistent today. That was the wrapper on the Petit Upmanns that President Kennedy dispached Pierre Salinger to buy before signing the embargo into law.

So are Cuban cigars worthy of their mystique? Perhaps. But, if the embargo drops tomorrow we will still never know the same exact "Havana" cigar that was ubiquitous in the USA until 40-odd years ago, and which are very different from (and cheaper than) the Cuban cigars that will be showing up on retailers' shelves. Kind of like Pappy-era Stitzel-Weller bourbon, or 1950s-1970s Yellowstone; those old-time US-rolled Havanas belong to the Ages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cigarnv

Few things remain the same... wine, bourbon, cigars and even pork are quite different than our grandparents enjoyed. I find it quite interesting that each generation looks back to how "good" things used to be.... in 25 years folks will look back at how good the bourbon and cigars were in the early 2000's.... ah little changes.

As for Havana cigars or any others they are different today but clearly quite good. I don't find much mystique with Havana's given their availability, even in the US, but I do enjoy the fact they are a great smoke. Are they better than Dominican's or Hondurans or what evers.... no, they are just different.... just as wheaters are different than ryes. I prefer Havana's, just as I prefer bourbon over scotch, given I find them more complex given the proper aging. They also tend to have a number of marcas which I find milder ( ERdM, HdM, LGC, etc) than most NC's.... which seem to be striving for maximum ligero these days.

My advice.... smoke what you like regardless of where it is from.... also reach out and try a few things new now and then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MoeCizlak
I'll be 44 years old this Saturday, Oct. 31. I have never smoked a Cuban cigar, fake or otherwise. Hell, I smoke John Hay and Muniemaker because I really like Pennsylvania and Connecticut tobacco. So take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt, if you will.

I think in a large part the Mystique of the Cuban Cigar today is misguided. You are not going to smoke the Cubans that your grandfather smoked. You can't. The market has changed so drastically that they will probably never be made again.

Cuban cigars today are only made in Cuba (which forbids tobacco exports) and range in color from EMS to Maduro. While cigars from Cuba were imported into the USA before the embargo (and were pretty expensive at that), far and away what was known as a "Cuban" cigar was a cigar manufactured in the United States, using either Cuban filler with various binders and wrappers (some domestic, some not), or using all-Cuban tobacco for the filler, binder and wrapper, and usually retailing for a nickel or a dime.

The latter were known as "clear Havanas", and I've read that this term came from the larger cigar factories having bonded warehouses filled with Cuban tobacco that was cleared by a resident Customs agent after it had been properly aged, as it was being brought out for use on the rolling floor.

And far and away the most popular wrapper in the United States at that time was the light green Candela wrapper, which is virtually nonexistent today. That was the wrapper on the Petit Upmanns that President Kennedy dispached Pierre Salinger to buy before signing the embargo into law.

So are Cuban cigars worthy of their mystique? Perhaps. But, if the embargo drops tomorrow we will still never know the same exact "Havana" cigar that was ubiquitous in the USA until 40-odd years ago, and which are very different from (and cheaper than) the Cuban cigars that will be showing up on retailers' shelves. Kind of like Pappy-era Stitzel-Weller bourbon, or 1950s-1970s Yellowstone; those old-time US-rolled Havanas belong to the Ages.

What do you mean by Cuba forbids tobacco exports?

Edit to add: I get it now, you mean raw tobacco exports, not the exports of finished cigars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
shoshani
What do you mean by Cuba forbids tobacco exports?

Edit to add: I get it now, you mean raw tobacco exports, not the exports of finished cigars.

Yeah, I should have been specific! LOL I did indeed mean leaf tobacco, not finished product...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TomH

Are you sure about the export restriction.....I'm familiar with a Bajun cigar company that claims to use cuban tobacco leafs in their handmade cigars.

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.