Edit Cuba2011 154 300x200 - Smoking Cigars in CubaBeing faced with constant smoking bans and limits on personal freedoms (see, for example, New York’s recent barrage of legislation), it was incredibly relieving to visit Cuba recently, where the people enjoy the freedom of smoking wherever and whatever they please.  Over our visit, we observed locals smoking Montecristos, less expensive Habanos brands (Belinda, for instance), and most often, custom-rolled cigars, usually rolled by a “neighbour” or “close friend” whose day job was in the cigar factories or tobacco fields.

A highlight of the trip was simply sitting in leather chairs while sipping a single malt and smoking a Punch Punch.   I had almost forgotten the feeling of smoking inside, where your cigar burns evenly and straight, without the slightest wind to throw it wayward.  Lighting with a small piece of spanish cedar is another forgotten tradition which I was happy to see still alive and well in Cuba.  The Cuban people, however, have also embraced the torch lighter for the miracle it is, using it for touch-ups on the very rare occasion they are required.

Buying cigars in Cuba isn’t always so relaxing however, with scam artists regularly harassing you on the beach to buy boxes of “Cohibas” for pennies on the dollar.  So long as you avoid these bundles of banana leaves and stick to the official La Casa Del Habano stores, the odds of walking away with the read deal improves greatly.  We had great success at several of the stores in Varadero (particularly the one on Calle 63), as well as at the Partagas factory and the Hotel Nacionales in Havana.  Interestingly, the largest selections seemed to be in Varadero, not in Havana itself.

Edit Cuba2011 168 300x199 - Smoking Cigars in CubaSo what did we smoke, or otherwise bring back?  Here’s a nearly complete list:

  • Bolivar Royal Corona
  • Cohiba Behike
  • Cohiba Robusto
  • Cohiba Siglo II
  • Cuaba Divinos
  • Cuaba Tradicionales
  • Diplomaticos #4
  • Hoyo de Monterrey Petite Robusto
  • Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #2
  • Montecristo Petit Edmundo
  • Montecristo #2
  • Montecristo #4
  • Partagas Culebra
  • Partagas Series P No. 4 2
  • Partagas Series D No. 2 4
  • Por Larranaga Montecarlo
  • Punch Punch
  • Ramon Allones Allones Superiores
  • Romeo y Julieta Churchill
  • Romeo y Julieta Mille Fleurs
  • San Cristobal de la Habana Officios
  • Trinidad Reyes
  • Vegas Robaina Famosos
  • Various custom rolls and one-offs

Until the next trip, happy smoking to all of the fine people we met, and hopefully those of you who haven’t been fortunate enough to visit Cuba yet will remedy that shortly!  Post a comment if you have any questions about the experience, and we’ll be sure to answer the best we can.

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