Habanos

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sisyphus
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Mon May 07, 2018 6:19 pm

I left the pipe for 4 years while I explored cigars. About 1 year in, I got my first Habanos. I was thinking to myself, this is going one of two ways: either there is no way that they can live up to the expectation and they'll be disappointing, or they will be so good they ruin the other stuff for me. For me it was the latter. I never bought another non-Cuban box after that.

Habanos are milder than Central American cigars, generally speaking. But the flavors. Oh man. Cedar, leather, citrus fruit, stone fruit, cocoa powder, and coffee bean, depending on the marca. Considering what a relatively small area all the premium leaf is grown, it's astounding there is such diversity in flavor, and that the many brands remain relatively consistent in flavor and quality from year to year. A disappointing Habano is generally equal to an above average non-Cuban. The only non-Cuban I kept buying after I made the switch was the Illusione Original, which is fantastic and utterly unique in the right vitola.

You have to be careful on vacation, as tourist areas in the countries south of us are lousy with fakes. If you run into a La Case del Habano, those are franchises authorized by the Cuban state tobacco industry. In Mexico, their version of Walmart, Chedraui, has genuine Habanos in the liquor section. There are other ways to get them, but this thread is not about that.

Another thing that Habanos taught me is that smaller cigars are better cigars, generally speaking. I love a petit corona. It's a 40 minute smoke so you don't have to commit an evening to it, and the flavors are better in small cigars because you're smoking more wrapper and less filler compared to fatter sticks. I will smoke a petit corona right down to where I can't hold it anymore, kind of like something else I used to smoke in high school. A box of good petit coronas is cheaper than I used to pay for a box of premium non-Cubans. It's a no brainer to me. These should be selling here by now but trade relations have taken a step back under the current administration. Maybe we're insisting they let us build hotels on their beaches and they aren't having it, I don't know.

Be wary of any you run into. There are more fakes than genuine out there. If you're in a position to know you're getting the real thing, there probably isn't a higher expression of tobacco than a good Habano. I prefer the meditative nature of the pipe, but 4-5 times a year I enjoy sitting on the porch with my oldest boy and smoking one. Some of my favorites:

Saint Luis Rey Regios - a short robusto ripe with green apple notes, fuller than most
Raphael Gonzales Petit Corona - cedar and a whiff of coffee bean, not the most exciting Habano but every box I've had has tasted identical
Montecristo Petit Edmundo - a fat petit robusto, when you get a good box they are full of cocoa and subtle milk coffee notes
H. Upmann Half Corona - lemon peel and leather
El Rey del Mundo Choix Supreme - a short robusto that is floral, herbaceous and complex
San Cristobal de la Habana El Principe - a minuto with heavy chocolate notes, seriously this is like smoking a chocolate bar
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Ruffinogold
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Mon May 07, 2018 8:44 pm

Yes , there are way more fakes than the real deal . Whn I hear a guy or gal say ... " I had a Cuban cigar and it was no big deal " ... I usually respond with ... Ya had a fake , man

There is magic mojo in Cuba ... the Cuban cigars are so good , not even Communism can screw them up completely , though they have tried to an extent . I was fortunate enough to own a smoke shop some years ago and customers would bring me goodies from all over . I never sold cubans in the shop , though I was visited by ATF a time or two [ That was a fun one way pissed off conversation on my part . I'll have to share that one day ] . Anyway , I got to smoke a number of them and I do love them very much

My drop dead favourite , theres actually two and they are in line with what Sisypus is saying about size , is the Bolivar #2 and #3 ... both are coronas and one is slightly bigger than the other though I forget which . But man , that cigar is the limit !!! Forget Cohiba or Montecristo #2 etc .... the two small Bolivars are freaking it for me . On a trip to England , I was able to buy them .... it as nice to walk in a shop and just buy one . Prior to that , I had then either from a customer or a friend brought them back from Italy . Theyre my favourite and I cant say enough good about them
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mrpipster
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Tue May 08, 2018 4:51 pm

I have never had one.
With all the mystique around them I would like to try one but, I dont know of any way I could ever get one.
Isnt it legal now to bring a certain amount back with you if went on vacation outside of the U.S.?
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sisyphus
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Tue May 08, 2018 5:33 pm

mrpipster wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 4:51 pm
I have never had one.
With all the mystique around them I would like to try one but, I dont know of any way I could ever get one.
Isnt it legal now to bring a certain amount back with you if went on vacation outside of the U.S.?
Yes I believe you are fine bringing less than $100 back into the US with you
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Whistlebritches
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Thu May 10, 2018 8:36 pm

I got turned onto Habanos by my XO in either 83 or 84.He smoked RyJ Churchills almost exclusively.He also took me to his favorite shop in Hong Kong.From that day forward every time I pulled into Hong Kong I stocked up.Somewhere around the early 2000's something changed........the tobacco wasn't as rich,those subtle nuances known as the "TWANG" were gone.By this time I had found ways to order them online.I found a couple reputable sources but the twang never returned.I soon found non cc brands like Fuente,La Flor Dominicana,Tatuaje so on and so forth.In my humble opinion the tobacco was better.......and still is.I still love anything Bolivar but they're nothing compared to the boli's of the 80's and 90's.My humidor went from 100% Cuban to maybe 15% Cuban today.I do still enjoy a Partagas Short or Petit Corona Especiale..........but I'd take a Fuente Sungrown,LFD 452 or Tat Miami over most any of the Habanos.
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sisyphus
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Thu May 10, 2018 8:43 pm

Whistlebritches wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 8:36 pm
Somewhere around the early 2000's something changed........the tobacco wasn't as rich,those subtle nuances known as the "TWANG" were gone.By this time I had found ways to order them online.I found a couple reputable sources but the twang never returned.
They went through a bad stretch for a few years at that time. I think if you revisit them you'll find they got their act together. They learned about aging tobacco and not shipping green stogies. Maybe the bad years were them starting to age and putting choice leaf back, I don't know.
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Whistlebritches
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Thu May 10, 2018 9:23 pm

sisyphus wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 8:43 pm
Whistlebritches wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 8:36 pm
Somewhere around the early 2000's something changed........the tobacco wasn't as rich,those subtle nuances known as the "TWANG" were gone.By this time I had found ways to order them online.I found a couple reputable sources but the twang never returned.
They went through a bad stretch for a few years at that time. I think if you revisit them you'll find they got their act together. They learned about aging tobacco and not shipping green stogies. Maybe the bad years were them starting to age and putting choice leaf back, I don't know.
I have stock from 01 thru 12...........I understand they do not ship as green as the old days but that special something just never returned.My personal assessment is they never rotated crops and have depleted the soil.........but what do I know?
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Whistlebritches
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Fri May 11, 2018 8:49 pm

To celebrate the end of a loooooooong week I poured a couple fingers Old Forester Statesman(95 proof) and lit up a Bolivar Corona Extra from an 08 dress box.A perfect pairing that words just cannot describe.The Bolivar marca is to me as close as you can get to the good old days.Ironically bourbon has improved over the same time frame...........as prices went thru the roof.
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Ruffinogold
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Fri May 11, 2018 10:48 pm

Whistlebritches wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 8:49 pm
To celebrate the end of a loooooooong week I poured a couple fingers Old Forester Statesman(95 proof) and lit up a Bolivar Corona Extra from an 08 dress box.A perfect pairing that words just cannot describe.The Bolivar marca is to me as close as you can get to the good old days.Ironically bourbon has improved over the same time frame...........as prices went thru the roof.
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Whistlebritches
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Sat May 12, 2018 2:54 pm

Ruffinogold wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 10:48 pm
Whistlebritches wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 8:49 pm
To celebrate the end of a loooooooong week I poured a couple fingers Old Forester Statesman(95 proof) and lit up a Bolivar Corona Extra from an 08 dress box.A perfect pairing that words just cannot describe.The Bolivar marca is to me as close as you can get to the good old days.Ironically bourbon has improved over the same time frame...........as prices went thru the roof.
This is the face of Envy ...
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LMMFAO.........if she only knew the pain,I'm sure she wouldn't care.
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