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The Elusive Cubans

Cuban cigars. It's what everyone wants and no one has. If you were to ask someone that doesn't smoke cigars very often they would say that, "Cuban's are the best of the best. Top tier cigars." However there is so much more to know about the elusive Cuban cigars...


Lets take a small trip back in time to get a basic understanding of how we got to this pointing time today.


The year is 1492 and Christopher Columbus sailed from Great Britain and landed in the country Cuba. At that time Cuba had been growing tobacco plants, letting them ferment, and smoking the finished product. In fact Cubans would call the tobacco plant Cohiba (hint hint, where the brand name came from.) Now Columbus would take those leaves back and show the rest of the world, those glorious cigars.


Fast forward and the Cuban government realized the money that could be made from exporting Cuban cigars to other countries throughout the world. They started monopolizing on the tobacco, and selling to other countries. Castro and the government quickly realized the money that could be made if all of Cuba's cigars were to be sold under one branch. Today that company is called Habanos, which is ran by the Cuban government.


On February 7th, 1962, President John. F. Kennedy signed the Cuban Embargo which banned Cuban exports to be brought into the US. This was due to the Cuban governments relationship with Communism and Dictator-state beliefs. Hoping to push Castro and other government leaders, they wanted them to make a change for their people. Not much changed.


For a short while during President Obama's administration you could bring 100 cigars, or $800 worth per person, per month. But as of todays date, you cannot bring any into the country or sell them within the United States.


Because of these restrictions, smoking, or let alone owning a Cuban cigar is a special feat of its own. Most cigar smokers are not old enough to know what it was like to be able to purchase Cuban cigars freely, or get to travel to Cuba to see them rolled yourself. This all leads to the famous question asked, "Are Cuban cigars better than cigars from other countries?"


First of all, we are in a sort of, "sweet spot" in cigar manufacturing. Never before have we seen this many types of cigars, brands, shapes, sizes, and countries manufacturing their own cigars. recently I took poll on a popular cigar social media website to see what others thought of the question, "Who produces the best cigar?" The answer I got was the exact one I thought I would receive.


Out of 60 people in a 30 minute time span here are the results I got:


Nicaragua 72%

Cuba 15%

Dominican Republic 10%

Mexico 1%

United States 1%


I think we have fallen into the, "I want because I cannot have." mentality. These cigars are difficult to obtain so they start to be placed upon a pedal stool. Everyone knows of their name because of their rich history in the cigar world. However, they don't have the same reputation with those that have smoked them.


Cuban cigar smokers will tell you that they can be inconsistent, filled with foreign objects, not rolle properly, or just not very tasty. Due to their demand, they are also one of the most common cigars that are sold as real Cubans, when are in fact fakes. You can read about those stories for days, when the inexperienced cigar smoker gets duped into paying a high premium for "rare Cubans" that end up being generic cheap cigars rolled in someones kitchen. I guess technically they are Cuban cigars, rolled in Cuba, by a Cuban, but you understand what I mean.


I haven't had tons of Cuban cigars, in fact I will admit I've less than I can count with two hands. But from what I have experienced so far, they aren't anything special. I love having them for a special occasion in my humidor, but at the end of the day I will chose a Nicaraguan cigar over the Cuban.


But hey, I'm not expert. And if you ask my cigar idol Arnold Schwarzenegger, he'll tell you that he only smokes Cubans so what do I really know?


All I know is that those elusive Cuban cigars are hard to get (in the US), talked about often, and rarely smoked.


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