If you’re from Europe, Asia, or South America and if you love cigars, you probably love Cuban made cigars. Hell, I love Cuban made cigars. Well, not all Cubans, in fact, a lot less than I actually thought. What the heck am I talking about? Well, let’s take a look at this interesting subject.
From the mid 1800’s to the very early 1960’s, cigars made from Cuban grown tobacco was all the rage and the best in the world. John F. Kennedy loved them so much that he had his press secretary, Pierre Salinger spend a day contacting Washington area shops and attaining 1,200 Petite Upmanns. The next morning when Salinger told Kennedy he had rounded up all of the smokes, the president pulled out a long sheet of paper from his desk which was the Cuban embargo, and he immediately signed it. It’s been that way since 1962.
So, what started happening is that cigars were now being grown and made in countries like the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In 1992, Cigar Aficionado magazine debuted and cigar smoking grew to a whole new level. A cigar boom started that lasted until around the year 2000. The crappy brands died off and only the strong survived. And today, despite the FDA, taxes, smoke hating Nazis and what have you, the market is better than it has ever been. And, I’m talking about the non-Cuban market here in the United States.
As of today, you still can’t legally buy or sell Cuban cigars here in the US. So, I’d have to say that most smokers in the US will tell you that Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Dominican smokes are better on the whole than Cubans. So, the question is, do I agree with that? And my answer is: 100% YEP.
Hey, as I stated early on in this article, I do love Cuban smokes. I love Montecristo Edmundos, Partagas Serie D, Cohiba Behike, Punch Punch and Hoyo de Monterrey Double Coronas. And they are different than cigars made anywhere else. And the good ones are sublime. But the problem is that some of them aren’t so good. You can have Monte #2’s pulled from different boxes side by side and they can look very different. They can be constructed differently, smoke differently, and taste differently. And yes, I’ve absolutely had this happen.
For the most part, people in Europe who get their Cubans from Switzerland think Americans are crazy believing that Nicaraguans are better than Cubans. But those Europeans don’t really smoke Nicaraguans so how would they know this? I’ve smoked both and in my most humble opinion, I think that Nicaraguans, Hondurans, and Dominicans are ultimately better made on the whole than Cuban cigars.
Just about every new Cuban box I come across is just not ready for immediate smoking and must be aged for at least 2 – 3 years because many aren’t aged long enough. They want to get them to market quickly. But that just isn’t the case for a box of Prensado, Highclere Castle, or a Don Pepin Garcia Blue. These cigars are ready for your smoking pleasure the moment you open the box, and hallelujah!
So, right now, you Cuban lovers are freaking out and calling me names popular in your country. And let it be said that I really don’t care. I truly believe as a whole that Cuban cigars are not the best. Yes, there are some wonderful Havana made cigars and I enjoy the hell out of them. But as a whole, not like I enjoy the fruits of Esteli, Danli, and Yaque Valley more. And, the plain facts are that they are less expensive and nowhere near as counterfeited as the Cubanos.
So, as I am getting booed and cussed at by the Cuban snob-a-roos, I am also being more than agreed with by the loyal fans of cigar goodness that makes it on a regular basis to America. Yeah, in my opinion, Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Dominican are the best made smokes. There, I said it.
That’s right, we’re giving away 3 awesome prizes to 3 different winners from the wonderful people at Alec Bradley. We’ve got a Megaburner lighter ($79.95 value), a Firkin barrel-shaped Humidor ($74.95 value), and a Badge Ashtray ($79.95 value). It’s running ‘til the end of the month and all you’ve got to do is put you email address in the form and you are officially in the running!