Archive through January 13, 2001

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Jan 2001:Cuban Cigars:Archive through January 13, 2001
By _blackjack_ on Saturday, January 13, 2001 - 07:00 am: Edit

There are certainly non-Cuban cigars that are as good or better than the run-of-he-mill Cuban, but for my money, the best Cubans still beat out anything. It's not just snobbery; Cuban tobacco has a creamyness and complexity to it that is unique. It may not be unquestionably "better," but it is different. Think of modern Habanos as being kinda like La Bleue. Even if they aren't the end-all-be-all, they are worthy of distinction. Now, pre-Castro smokes (I am told...never had the pleasure), they are like vintage E. Pernod. Too bad we can't get Ted and Don to reproduce them too...

I tend to smoke after eating, and I prefer my absinthe as an aferatif.

By Bob_chong on Saturday, January 13, 2001 - 03:06 am: Edit

Mea culpa, Artemis. I should have given a better title to my thread. The cat is out of the bag. No biggie.

I'm with you on cigars deadening the palette. If I am to smoke a cigar whilst drinking, I must be drinking something bad or something not particularly interesting nor expensive.


By Bob_chong on Saturday, January 13, 2001 - 03:04 am: Edit

Of course, there is enough nicotine in a cigar to "kill three people" if it were macerated that way (nicotine figures are according to my 8th grade Biology teacher, Mr. Hedges, except he didn't say absinthe but water).


By Artemis on Saturday, January 13, 2001 - 01:57 am: Edit

I don't see the point in smoking a cigar before/while eating or drinking anything. It deadens the palate. When I smoke a cigar, I smoke a cigar. When I drink absinthe, I drink absinthe.
If I wanted cigar flavored absinthe, I could macerate a La Gloria in a bottle of LaSala.
If I needed absinthe to appreciate a cigar, it couldn't have been much of a cigar in the first place.

By Marcellin on Saturday, January 13, 2001 - 01:38 am: Edit

So, in anyone, and everyone's opinion (because I know everyone on this forum has an opinion) - what is the best cigar to smoke with an absinthe? I like to smoke a Partagas when I drink single malts, usually a robusto or some similar gage, 48, 50 or such.

Don, I'm sure you'll suggest a nice Cuban, but as I live in the bad old U. S. of A. I'm unable to acquire Cubans easily. I was thinking that maybe a Candela might go well with an absinthe, since they are both "green".


By Artemis on Saturday, January 13, 2001 - 12:48 am: Edit

Bob Chong, I didn't see your post until after I made mine, probably because I thought it was just another "SC Rocks!" post. I admired the discretion shown in yours as soon as I read it, and tried to delete my own, but unfortunately, although we can delete text, we can't delete headlines, or at least I don't know how to (I posed that question a couple of weeks ago and got no response). So I had to let the chips fall where they may.

I smoke cigars from Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Nicaragua. I've always thought the favor shown to Cuban cigars was nothing *but* the snobbery noted somewhere in the thread. There's nothing "light" about a stout Honduran cigar - it will definitely kick your ass. Right now I'm smoking Cusano Hermanos and CAO.

Diamond Crown is a good super-premium non-Cuban if you simply MUST pay $20 per cigar. Arturo Fuente Opus X is in the same class, but stronger. All Arturo Fuentes are good. All La Gloria Cubana are good. I'll confess I've never had a Cuban cigar, and it's for the reason Don cited - no cigar on earth is worth the prices they command to me, just as no absinthe is worth $200. It just doesn't GET that good, sorry.

By _blackjack_ on Saturday, January 13, 2001 - 12:17 am: Edit

Andorra does have the lowest prices in Europe, but they only go so low. You couldn't have gotten hand-rolled Montes for less than about 1.50/stick(Joyitas or No. 5's) and, to my knowlege, there aren't any machine-made Monte's any more.

And there is at least one mail-order shop out or Andorra, ( but their prices are badly inflated...

By Don_walsh on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 11:39 pm: Edit

Yes, unless your cupboard is humidity controlled and temperature controlled, and even then you would be pushing things. HOWEVER at the stated price you probably have fakes, so it's no great loss except maybe to your ego. Sorry about that. The price is a fraction of the black market value in Cuba, so the conclusion is inescapable.

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 10:04 pm: Edit

If you've ever been in Andorra, you'll know how inexpensive Cuban cigars can be. I don't even like cigars but I ended up buying a couple of boxes of Montecristos. Still don't like cigars and most of them are still lying in a cupboard, but anyway I think I paid less than 1 per cigar, so I'm not too upset. I'm surprised the Andorans don't do a bit of mail order, they wouldn't give a stuff about other countries taxation laws anyway.

Don, are cigars ruined if they're left in their box in a cupboard for 3 years?


By Don_walsh on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 06:18 pm: Edit

The Thai tobacco duties are 100% on the CIF price (goods plus shipping cost) plus 7% on the total for VAT.

Reason: Tobacco is a Royal monopoly here so foreign products are soaked, or else smuggled (smuggling Marlboros is a major racket here.)

Thailand's Royal Tobacco Monopoly is an auctioned 3-year monopolistic concession and produces a variety of fairly awful cigarettes but no cigars or pipe tobacco. That does not keep the Customs from hitting cigars and pipe tobacco with same punitive tarrif as cigarettes.

The Thais are not big on Communists -- in the 60s and 70s they had to fend off an insurgency -- but other than that they have no quarrel with Cuba, it's a long way away. Cuban cigars are fashionable here just as wine is trendy.

Dominican and Jamaican and Honduran cigars are not much sought after here. In USA I was a chronic smoker of H.Upmann from Santo Domingo and Joya de Nicaragua pre-Sandinista. Now I just smoke best quality Habanos. But only when I can get them for $4-5 US each and by the box. I usually manage 5-10 boxes a year and I usually limit myself to 1 cigar a day. And yes I moisten the wrapper with absinthe from my fingers. Rather than cognac.

By _blackjack_ on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 06:01 pm: Edit

[snob]Jamaicans are the cigar equivalent of light beer.[/snob]

By Lowlight on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 03:30 pm: Edit

Well I've only had maybe 5 or so cigars in my life (I'm 21) and I haven't had the chance to smoke anything not rolled by hand, so I guess I can't relate.

I was surprized this past weekend though. I was in Las Vegas, and was forced to buy something non-Cuban. I picked up a hand rolled beauty from Jamaica, and it was great!

I think I understand though.

By _blackjack_ on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 03:24 pm: Edit

Well, Cuban cigars aren't really that much more expensive than cigars from most other countries. Cuban cigars include a huge range from machine-made short-filler cigars to the premium hand-made, long filler cigars that most people want. A box of premium cuban cigars goes for the equivalent of about $150-200, more or less depending on the size and quality. That is about the same amount as premium Dominican or Honduran cigars. There are some super-premium Dominican brands that go for a lot more than that. You can get hand-finished or machine-made cubans for a couple of bucks a stick or less.

Premium Cubans may be a little more expensive than some mainstream brands, but they are also better. You will notice that in most countries where Cubans are availible, few non-Cuban brands sell as well as Habanos.

Now, as far as Thailand goes, Don can tell you more than I could, but I think their taxes on cigars are really high.

By Lowlight on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 02:36 pm: Edit

Why would Cubans be any more expensive than say, Jamaican or Dominican cigars in Thailand? Please tell me that country doesn't have a similar 'tiff' with Cuba!

By Don_walsh on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 01:55 pm: Edit

My diplomatic connection for Cohiba Esplendidos reports these are now impossible in Havana on the black market, but has obtained several boxes of Montecristo A's for me, and also snagged another $30 bottle of La Bleue for me back in his home country. He didn't mention price for the A's but I assume they are $100-$125 like the Cohibas were. The straight up price in Cuba is $400 or so.

Cubans are easy to get in Thailand if you don't mind paying $40 each. I bloody well do mind. Even when I run out of my handcarried stash I refuse to pay that, I just suffer till the next shipment arrives "duty free". (The Thais charge 100% duty and 7% VAT on tobacco products.)

I know there are a lot of fake Cubans out there but I trust my friend, he's a canny charge d'affaires (deputy ambassador) and knows what he is doing. About half the Cohibas I got were in glass top boxes, which I know were discontinued a while back, and were a bit dry but still great, but the other hanf were in the current style boxes and were a lot fresher.

By _blackjack_ on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 10:57 am: Edit

Hmm...good question. Those A's are awfully cheap. There are a lot of fakes floating around Spain. I hope SC hasn't been cheated. I'm almost tempted to assume it's a misprint, since most of their prices are on the high end of normal for Spain.

By Bob_chong on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 09:50 am: Edit


How is it that they can offer Montecristo A's so "cheaply" yet lesser smokes are more expensive than other places? Is that the quality control factor?


By _blackjack_ on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 07:46 am: Edit

Money? What do you think motivated the embargo in the first place? It's no coincidence that Jesse Helms is from the US's major tobacco-producing state...

By Bob_chong on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 07:40 am: Edit

Gee, what a good idea for a new thread.

Lowlight is right about our laws. That is why I was trying to be coy in the "SC rules" thread. No point in waving a red flag at customs. I'd hate to see SC become a target, regardless of what we're ordering.


By Malhomme on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 07:40 am: Edit

I'm expecting to see the embargo lifted within the next two years.
Money has a strange way of reversing American principles.

By _blackjack_ on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 06:31 am: Edit

Hey, Spanish prices are about as low as you can get for Cubans. Thier quality-control is not as high as Enlgish Market Selection, however, so, to a certain extent, you get what you pay for.

Yes, they're more likely to get confiscated, but, no, it's still not very likely. One shop stoping for hedonism :)

By Fluid on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 06:04 am: Edit

"I'm talking about Jesse Helms, of course."


...only the second time I've laughed out loud after months of threads. TKU Pataphysician!

By Pataphysician on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 05:55 am: Edit

You're right, the Cuba embargo is ridiculous. But it won't end until that Cold War relic, that self-important gasbag of a dictator is dead. I'm talking about Jesse Helms, of course.

By Lowlight on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 05:33 am: Edit

I know you Americans don't have much trouble smuggling Absinthe into the country, but this is where your trouble will begin, I think.

I was on a trip to Las Vegas recently, and I wanted to find out if I could bring a few Cubans down for personal use. I could NOT believe how ANAL your laws are regarding the Cuban embargo! What nonsense!

By Artemis on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 05:24 am: Edit

Now being sold by SC:

Pretty good selection, too, but if you thought La Fee was high priced ....

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