Throughout my cigar retailing career along with my travels visiting countless smoke shops, I’ve met so many people that have asked me the same question, “When are we going to be able to buy Cuban cigars in the US?” My answer is always the same, NEVER! Being somewhat diplomatic, I’ll say, don’t hold your breath at the very least.
With respect to what we’re talking about here, the short version is when Castro took over there were many families and companies operating cigar businesses for decades. Their property, brand trademarks, and facilities were confiscated by the State. After they fled for their freedom and their very lives, the government continued operating these entities, selling their cigars and solely profiting from this brutal, blatant theft.
You know the names. Bolivar, Partagas, Punch, H. Upmann, Monte Cristo, La Gloria Cubana, Sancho Panza, Romeo y Julieta, Hoyo de Monterrey, Saint Luis Rey, El Rey Del Mundo to name a few.
Unless you’ve met a Cuban American whose family went through this horrific ordeal in person, it’s hard to grasp. Even if you forget about the billions of dollars these families and companies are legitimately owed for the millions of cigars sold, just think about this.
Interestingly enough, when the Obama Administration made an effort to loosen up travel and trade restrictions with this Communist nation, the end result when it came to cigars was Cuba dictated that visitors could only take back $100 worth of sticks. Why wouldn’t the Cuban government allow Americans to take back as many cigars as they could carry?
Cuba turns out over 200 million cigars every year. Believe it or not, that’s not enough to satisfy demand. Let’s say the US for some now unimaginable reason opened the gate and allowed the import of Cuban cigars. I think it’s fair to say that between the millions of cigar smokers, thousands of retail dealers and hundreds of distributors, the first order would probably be a combination of around one million boxes. That’s 25 million cigars! Even if was half of that, Cuba couldn’t handle it. Remember something, these are not state of the art factories. There’s a reason why most of the cars driving around over there are antique junkers!
Over the last 40 years I’ve smoked ALOT of cigars from everywhere in the world. Yes, Cuban tobacco is special because of the earth its grown in. Just like Dominican, Nicaraguan, Honduran, Brazilian and Ecuadorian tobacco is unique for the same reason.The key to a great cigar is the guy who comes up with the blend inside the stick.
Ernesto Carrillo’s grandfather founded El Credito cigars in Cuba making La Gloria Cubana among other brands. When their family fled to Miami, Ernesto retained his rightful legacy and recreated La Gloria in the early nineties. The result of his efforts were spectacular. How could that be considering he had no Cuban tobacco to work with? Simple. He is a Master Blender who knows how to use the rest of the world’s finest leaves to produce an amazing cigar.
This scenario has been duplicated hundreds of times by countless others giving us many of the world’s greatest cigars at prices that all of us can totally enjoy and afford. Many of the cigars available on our site have received higher ratings than the Cuban cigars sampled in a given year!
Take my word for it, as good or great as many Cuban cigars are, we have more.
Within a month after writing the body of this submission I had the opportunity of being sent some honest to goodness Cuban Cohiba Siglo III cigars from a friend of mine in England. Needless to say, I was surprised and grateful for his generous gesture.
Oddly enough, since being purchased in Spain (before the lockdown) which has the world’s lowest Cuban cigar prices, my mate informed me they only set him back $10 a piece.
I settled on to my backyard patio with a pint of Boddingtons English Pub Ale and glanced at my newly acquired contraband. They were beautiful! Perfectly made in every way from cap to foot. As I carefully inserted a punch cutter to create access for the greatly anticipated plumes of forbidden smoke to pass through, I trembled just a bit.
After lighting and allowing about an inch to burn, I took a series of puffs. As I glanced down at the little nub after finishing, my honest conclusion was that it was ………….pretty good.Sorry to disappoint my cigar smoking comrades with such an average opinion. As I’ve often said, we are blessed to have easy access to some of the world’s greatest cigars with the click of a mouse right here at our terrific site. Adios’.