Cuban Cigars Because You DESERVE Them !!!

A week ago I had lunch with a TV director from L.A. who told me that he believed that spending large amounts of money on Cuban cigars and expensive wine was pure madness..  We were having a nice chat and then he dropped that bomb on the conversation and I was taken aback for a moment or two.. I wasn’t sure how to defend the point that fine quality red wine, either from France or any part of the world was worth every penny you spend and I also wasn’t sure what to say about spending what I do on Cuban cigars.  I let this conversation sit with me for a few days.

Cuban cigars, in my humble opinion, are worth every penny because the quality of tobacco and care in production.  When I speak of the quality of tobacco I keep thinking about the different individuals who left Cuba after the revolution and the results they found after planting Cuban tobacco seed on different Islands and in different parts of the world.  Nothing has come close !! Now I agree that cigars from different countries have beauty and complexity but there is nothing like a Cuban cigar and around the world, on a daily basis, people will shell out more for what they believe is a superlative product.

This is where I get to my point about what I believe you deserve.  I don’t think that there is any need for fiscal responsibility when it comes to assessing the quality of our character, how much we are loved by others and by putting limitations on what we occasionally spend on ourselves.  I believe that our self image should be regarded ( by ourselves ) as the best in the world, top of the heap and all Olympic Gold Medal Winners!!  The moment I start telling myself that I don’t deserve the very best is the moment that I start sabotaging my happiness and potential.

I tend to smoke a lot of Cuban cigars.  The picture above is one of a 12 ” high beaker filled with the bands of Cubans that I well probably consume in a year.  Some years I smoke more but this is only September and it is full already.. This is what I believe I deserve, this is what you deserve and there is no reason why a passion like this should have any limitations.  I want as much as I can squeeze out of life, I want the best in the world and although I don’t have drawers full of Faberge Eggs, I have a foot high beaker that is filled with the proof that I have tasted the finest!

Cohiba Behike 52

This beautiful band is all that I have left of the Cohiba Behike 52 I smoked last night… No ashes…. No Butt, this is IT !!!!  I ended up at a good friend’s last night and we lit a few Cohibas and shot a few games of snooker in his rumpus room.  He has a room with a flat screen, wet bar, snooker table, leather chairs and lots and lots of ashtrays which made me think that there aren’t enough rooms like this left on our planet, but that’s another discussion altogether.

His humidors were stocked with a lot of different Cuban cigars of various ages and a few of the lads decided on Cohiba Lanceros , one guy brought a Cohiba Siglo VI and I revealed that it was time to try the Cohiba Behike 52.  Well here we go, this is exactly the kind of experiment I was waiting for, one that will let a few of us test and compare how the Behike stacks up against a few different Cohibas from different sides of the family.  Everyone there was quite thrilled that we would all be able to do this kind of a taste test.  The wet bar was getting a lot of attention and a lot of alcohol was consumed but for this little contest I decided on mineral water, no lemon and no ice!!

We all marveled at the Behike’s construction and what seemed to be perfect density and after my matches ignited a strip of Spanish cedar it was revealed that just the smallest amount of resistance was present in the draw of this cigar which told me that this was going to be a great time.  I was instantly struck at the mildness of the Behike but at the same time I noticed that there was a sweetness present that told me that the Medio Tiempo leaf was giving me something completely new and exciting that I could observe as this cigar evolved.  I was amazed that, for such a young cigar, I could taste a balance that revealed no harshness with not one flavor taking over and round full flavors of milk chocolate and slight hints of coffee….. But….. There was definitely something new in the Cohiba profile that I had a difficult time putting my finger on but when you think about it, this is what’s so exciting about discovering new high quality cigars form Cuba, comparing them with others from the same brand and trying to guess what a bit of age would do to the profile.

Cuban Piramides

Last night I smoked on of these beautiful H. Upmann No. 2’s and I wondered if I had ever enjoyed a cigar as much as I enjoy Piramides.  There is something about the size and shape and how it feels in your hand that makes smoking one of these cigars a very elegant experience.  If you’re looking for a torpedo shaped cigar 6.1 inches long and a 52 ring gauge, this is what you want.

Different brands coming out of Cuba make Piramides and some of my favorites have to be the Montecristo No. 2 , the Partagas Serie P No. 2 , Vegas Robaina Unicos and my favorite of favorites, the Cohiba Piramides Edicion Limitada 2001 and 2006. The cigars I just mentioned would ALL be great after a full meal but you need almost 2 hours to sit back and slowly enjoy some of Cuba’s finest creations.

Almost annually Cuba comes up with Piramides that are Regional Editions that get sent around the world and if you pay attention to these releases, have a good friend at a reputable cigar shop ( Trevor Wallace at The Vancouver Cigar Company…hint hint ) then you can stock up on some very consistently rolled cigars!  Through the last decade almost every brand out of Cuba have produced Piramides but some are harder to locate than others.. THIS is why you need friends in high places!!!! Thanks Trevor!!

A New Siglo II Behind The Old Barn

I’ve been on a bit of a Cohiba kick the last few weeks and have been enjoying new and old Cohibas in various locations and with a lot of different people.  This cigar in the picture above was enjoyed one day last week behind an old barn as a few friends were doing some work building some pens for cattle.  Now I’m not sure what year this Siglo II was hand rolled but I know for sure is was produced a few years ago while this barn was built many many years ago.

I’ve been enjoying a few Cohiba cigars from the Siglo series and although they were made and distributed to cigar stores world wide for people who want a slightly milder smoke, this little example had a bit of a lick to it that I wasn’t expecting.  Does that mean that I didn’t enjoy it??  Not at all, in fact just the opposite, this was a great little Mareva and deserves to be put on a very high pedestal by those who want great tobacco that can be consumed in a bit less time then it takes to smoke a Robusto or a Churchill.

A lot of people would describe the flavors this cigar has to offer to be woody, creamy and beany and I couldn’t agree more.  Woodiness and a bit of pepper is what you’ll probably experience upon first puff or two but an incredible evolution takes place into the second third and full on creamy honey takes over and colors the slightly dark chocolate notes till the end.  Aging this Mareva will only result in a smoother rich smoke, put a few away!!

Cohiba Behike 54

A few days back I felt the need to go for a drive in the rain.  This was an afternoon when not a lot was going on and I wanted to have a cigar in a warm, dry and windless environment so it seemed fitting that the car would be the best place to light up a cigar I had been wanting to smoke for a while now.  This years new addition to the Cohiba line, the Behike, is a much anticipated release which uses the Medio Tiempo leaves from the top of the tobacco plant.

I was struck with the realization that the usual Cohiba flavors were not present in this great cigar as I enjoyed the first third.  I’m a lover of the Cohiba Robusto, with it’s varied flavors and incredible rich performance but the Behike was quite a bit different.  I found the “54” to be a very easy cigar to smoke, considerably smoother and more complex then the Siglo series but please remember that every day a cigar can taste differently so don’t quote me on this.

The construction was impeccable and this cigar burned very evenly right down to the end.  I was trying to think of how I could best describe the flavors of this cigar and the dark chocolate kept coming through in the first and second thirds.  The dark chocolate mellowed a bit into the final third and got a bit creamier, which I found to be very pleasant.  Coffees were subtly present but seemed to come and go as the cigar burned and I found the whole experience to reveal a beautifully balanced Cohiba example.

These cigars can be difficult to obtain and so I’d recommend getting them whenever you find the chance.  Canadian cigar shops should probably have them in stock from time to time, look for them, pick up a few and smoke them while they’re young to see for yourself what the buzz is about and then save a few for a few years as well.

3 BIG Favorites

Anyone reading this blog and following it for the last few months will probably know of my passion for the 3 Cuban Cigars in the Picture.  I’ve written about them before and have described my love for these 3 and for all of the various reasons.

The first cigar on the left is the H. Upmann Magnum 48.  This limited edition cigar came out last year and I believe that by contacting Trevor at “The Vancouver Cigar Company”, you can still probably get a box of these at a reasonable price.  At 4.3 inches long and a ring gauge of 48, you’ll get a flavors of all of the beans, including vanilla, chocolate and loads of coffee.  This was a BIG seller last year and anyone lucky enough to get their hands on a few more of these will have treasure in their humidors as long as they can hold on to them without smoking them… But, hey, what’s the point?? We’re on earth to enjoy them, aren’t we?

The second heavy hitter is the Trinidad Robusto Extra.  The biggest cigar of the three comes in at a generous 6.1 inches and a 50 ring gauge and delivers all of the finest Trinidad flavor that has ever left the rolling rooms at El Laguito.  Remember, Trinidad cigars were handed out as diplomatic gifts, like their older cousins Cohiba.  A wonderful quality with perfect construction and even burn and well worth every penny you spend on them.

Also sitting in the picture with a 50 ring gauge and 4.8 inches of Cuban beauty is the Bolivar Royal Coronas.  This Robusto is one of the cigars that many older experienced Aficionados reach for when picking a cigar to compliment a heavy meal with earthy and complex flavors that are very very consistent from cigar to cigar.  These are very well priced for what you are getting and, for that very reason, many smokers ALWAYS have these on hand for either special occasions or a beautiful evening smoke.

Choosing either one of these great great cigars will remind you as to why we are so passionate about Cuban cigars in the first place.

The Decline Of The Panetela

I’ve recently noticed that this year we saw a decline in the popularity of the Panetela.  More than one Cuban brand, in 2010,  has deleted a few different cigars in this size, La Gloria Cubana, Partagas, Quai d’Orsay, Rey del Mundo and Vegueros.  Trying to guess as to why this little size is getting the axe is foolhardy, one would have to contact the powers that be in Havana and all would be revealed.

I’m wondering if this is a size of cigar that more women smoked and I’m guessing that there could possible be a decline in the number of female cigar smokers in the world.  There could also be the possibility that more and more people, who discover how wonderful the larger ring gauge cigars taste, are switching over to the more robust sizes.  I myself will smoke the odd number of small ring gauge cigars when time doesn’t allow for a big smoke but as I do, I pine for the moments when I get a rich mouthful of complex flavors that a Robusto will give me.

Oh, and for the ones who WERE paying attention, the cigar in the picture was INDEED a Purito and NOT a Panetela.. ( it was the longest slimmest cigar in my humidor )..  I guess we’re ALL to blame for the 2010 Cigar Deletions