Embargo raised on Cuban cigars, but are they all that?

Published 2:09 am Saturday, November 19, 2016

Cuban cigars have been a source of hype for decades – ever since the US embargo against Cuba was implemented.

imagejpegCigars have been found and seized by U.S. Customs agents for years inside bags of American travelers.

Two years ago, the rules changed to allow Americans to bring home $100 worth of Cuban cigars.

And last month, President Barack Obama issued a directive that allows Americans to engage in commerce which allows Americans to bring back an unlimited quantity of Cuban tobacco and alcohol.

Stipulations include bringing back the cigars in a carry-on luggage. The products must be for personal use.

Cigars may not be sold in the U.S.

Paul Brackins, owner of Stokies, Andalusia’s Cigar Shop, said that true, Cuban-made cigars are stronger and stout.

He said he has smoked some Montecristo cigars and they are some of the best selling in his store. Some of those cigars are made in Cuba and some are made in the Dominican Republic.

Brackins said he tried them in Cozumel and that the Dominican was better.

Overall, Paul said that the choice of cigars definitely depends on the preferences of cigar connoisseurs.

“The Cubans are going to be bolder,” he said. “And if they are too strong, they could make you sick.”

Brackins said there are good quality cigars in the United States already that you may purchase for a much better price.

At Stokies, he sells a good bit of Honduran, Nicaraguan and Dominican Republic-made cigars.

He said he can’t personally see retailers selling Cuban cigars in the future, for purely economic reasons.

“They will never sell for what they are asking,” he said. “A lot of people buy cigars because of the budget.”

At Stokies the best selling are the Rocky Patel and Montecristo.

Paul said that at his store, he has a small base of regular customers who know what they like.

“I love a good, quality cigar,” he said. “The are mild, medium and light cigars.”

He said that he often travels out of town to try cigars and bring back samples for his customers to try.

For those who are looking to try a Cuban, Cigar Aficionado, has a list of a few good ones:

  • Montecristo No. 2;
  • Bolivar Super Corona Edicion Limitada 2014;
  • Cohiba Esplendido;
  • Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial (Tubo);
  • Upmann Half Corona;
  • Patragas Lusitania