210 - February 19, 2009
07 January 2009
Cuban cigars – which to buy and smoke.
More interesting correspondence – this time from a part of the world where Cuban cigars are not readily available. It made me think that although we in South Africa are more fortunate in having access to a wide range of Cuban cigars, we still have to make the decision – which to buy and smoke.
Subject: Johannesburg Visit
I'm in SA for the next two weeks, and found you in CigarCyclopedia.com's Week In Review email. In fact,
you're the only SA cigar shop IN the list!
Anyway, I would love to try a Cuban cigar. I've never had one before, so not sure what to expect. Some say "strong", others say "creamy smooth", so looking forward to learning. Knowing my preference for mild to medium cigars, some friends of mind recommended the following, in order of mild to strong cigars, for my first Cuban cigar:
Montecristo #2; Partagas Series D #4; Partagas Lusitania; Bolivar Corona Extra; Bolivar Belicoso Fino.
I'd be interested in your thoughts.
I noticed your Tasting Form as well! What a great idea! I don't have access to a printer while traveling, but will be trying this out when I return home.
When a customer comes into my shop with this sort of request, my first question is “What do you normally smoke?”
More explicitly -
1. What size of cigar, do you vary the size according to the occasion?
2. Country of origin – Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua or European-type blends?
3. When (what time of day) – only after a meal, as an aperitif, after lunch?
4. How many a day – or maybe special occasions only?
This gives me a much better idea of what to recommend.
For example, if you don’t smoke large cigars very often I might suggest a Trinidad Reyes as a first-time Cuban cigar – a slightly longer “Half Corona” (4⅓ inches x Ring 40), very smooth yet with plenty of flavour. And it
won’t last too long, so that you won’t be finished before the cigar is.
Alternatively if your favourite is a Nicaraguan Churchill, I might point you towards a Cuban Robusto or Pyramid.
Please let me know.
Wonderful! A pleasure to connect with you directly, sir!
Ok, here's my answers.
1. I tend to smoke 5"x50 and 6"x48(?) cigars, but smoke larger for special occasions.
2. I am still relatively new to cigars (2-3 years), so still experimenting. I got started with Drew Estates' Kuba Kuba and Rocky Patel's Java. I do enjoy CAO, Graycliff (expensive but very nice), Gurkha, Nub, Onyx, Zino, and others. I tend to like mild to medium cigars, as darker cigars tend to be too strong and make me dizzy. That said, I do enjoy CAO Sopranos (my "treat" cigar), CAO Brazilia, and Onyx Reserve.
3. I generally smoke after dinner, but also with a drink on weekends. I tend to drink beer, but while here in SA I'm drinking alcohol - red wines mostly.
4. I generally have 1-2 per day, after dinner. But on special occasions I will smoke 2-3 cigars.
I hope this helps!!! I will give you a call when I am heading toward Jo'burg so we can try and coordinate our schedules.
Thank you for your helpful email. Since you prefer larger cigars I suggest you consider the following:
Trinidad Robusto Extra (6 1/8” x Ring 50); Montecristo Edmundo (5 1/3” x Ring 52); Cohiba Siglo Vl
(6” x Ring 52)
Robusto Size (approx.5” x Ring 50)
Cohiba; Hoyo Epicure No.2; Partagas Serie D No.4.
Piramides (6 1/8” x Ring 52)
Cuaba (Ltd Edition); Montecristo No.2
If the reply had been for the smaller sizes I’d have suggested the Petit Coronas (approx.5” x Ring 42) from Montecristo, Cohiba or Trinidad
But in any case I think a Trinidad should be amongst those that you try. My experience and feedback is that these cigars are so smooth that they give the impression of being light.
I look forward to your call, and visit.
Well, due to pressure of work he didn’t make the visit, but I’ve put together a 3-pack selection of medium-large Cuban cigars that he could have tried: from Budget to 5-Star.
Naturally a Trinidad Coloniales (132mm x Ring 44), a classic Bolivar Corona Extra
(143mm x Ring 44) and a Jose L Piedra Conservas (140mm x Ring 44) for the budget conscious.
What do you think of the selection – how do the cigars compare?
Is the Trinidad as good for you as it is reputed to be?
All three cigars have the same “Corona Extra” ringsize – does the length make such a difference?
Use the Tasting Form to record your impressions.
Which would you have suggested for a “first Cuban”?
If you prefer smaller cigars, do as I suggested above and test a Trinidad Reyes, Montecristo No.5
and a JLP Petit Cazadores (excellent value). All available in packs of 5.
No.210 February 19 – March 4, 2009
You can read previous
articles from "Across the Counter" in The