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"There's something about smoking a cigar that feels like a celebration. It's like a fine wine. There's a quality, a workmanship, a passion that goes into the smoking of a fine cigar."

Demi Moore
SPECIAL
20% off The Ultimate Cigar Book, 4th Edition
COLIN'S BLOG: ACROSS THE COUNTER
Cuban Blending – it starts with the seeds

In November 2015 we covered some of the life time work of Eumelio Espino Marrero, one of the world’s most renowned tobacco geneticists.
Work spent redefining the Cuban tobacco seed to preserve and protect the unique properties and qualities of the “Tobacco Negro” or Black Tobacco, the foundation for all Cuban cigars; in particular protection against the ravages of Blue Mold and other fungal and parasitic diseases.

But the right foundation is not enough, on its own, to produce consistency in the taste and qualities of each of the major export brands available to us.

Traditionally these major Cuban brands have distinct characteristics:
Hoyo de Monterrey is a medium -to-light blend with some herbal notes;
Montecristo has a core of coffee and spice;
H.Upmann is a lot like Montecristo (perhaps with less power but more finesse);
Romeo y Julieta produces a medium-bodied cigar, with cocoa-bean flavours in its benchmark Churchill;
Partagás (especially in the Serie D No. 4 and Lusitania sizes) presents power and spice with long, earthy finish. Other brands, such as Bolivar and Ramon Allones were often recognised as very powerful cigars.

This is where the continuing work of the “Tobacco Research Institute” of Habanos comes into play.
The Institute controls the authorisation of which seeds are allocated to which farms to produce the right tobacco for each major brand.
From their records, some of which go back to before the Revolution, they know the physical and chemical composition of the tobacco produced from every main farm in Cuba. And where each seed varietal grows best – the best yields, but more important the right flavour characteristics.

The institute is adamant that there is no intent to organise all the brands into one homogenous blend.
On the contrary, they insist that they always try to select the same tobaccos from the same traditional farms used for each individual brand.

A check point for this continuity is that samples from each factory, for each production run, are sent to the National Commission for tasting by a panel of 10-15 Tasters, comprised of the best, most experienced Tasters from the panels of each independent factory.
The panel meets each month and together they review a cross-section of cigars presented by each brand to see whether they are preserving their individuality.
A source close to the panel says:
“When you smoke these cigars side by side you will see that Habanos is still preserving the taste and quality of each blend.”

(Acknowledgment to Steve Harvey, Cigar Insider, March/April 2017)

You can put this comment to the test, while enjoying some of the best Piramides, Robustos or Petit Robustos, all offered by Habanos in selection cabinets.
Petit Robusto Selection 10 cigars  (90mm x Ring 50) - 5 Brands 52-SelPetRob5 R3968.00
Piramides Selection 6 cigars (156mm x Ring 52) - 6 Brands52-SelPyr R3109.50
Robusto Selection 6 cigars (124mm x Ring 50) - 6 Brands52-SelPyr R2818.50  (to arrive)

In our “Fine Cigars” selections, we offer 3-cigar packs of
Cuban Robusto Selection  52-SelRobCu R795.00
Cuban Value Selection  52-SelValue R330.00
Cuban Petit Corona Selection  52-SelPetCorCu R525.00

Should you wish to expand your education on Cuban and other cigars, there is no better starting place than Rick Hacker’s The Ultimate Cigar Book, 4th Edition.
The publisher’s introduction says it all:

“Forget 1492. This book starts out in B. C. (Before Columbus) and transports the cigar enthusiast on a fun and fact-filled adventure into virtually every realm of today’s popular and growing cigar smoking pastime. Written by one of the most knowledgeable and internationally-celebrated pipe and cigar authors of our time, Richard Carleton Hacker’s well-known wit and wisdom will keep the reader enthralled with every turn of the page, as he takes you on an information-packed would tour of cigars. Starting off with a history of cigar smoking, the author then shows us how cigars are made today (handmade, handrolled, and machine made), divulges the secrets of finding the “perfect” cigar, and discusses the ritual of smoking and how to properly care for and store our cigars. From there the book lists a number of innovative cigar accessories, suggests which beers, wines, whiskeys, brandies, and cognacs go with what cigars, enlightens us with a chapter on cigar smoking celebrities, and concludes with the world’s first International Compendium of virtually every cigar brand known today, complete with histories and observations on taste, according to the author’s HPH (Highly Prejudiced Hacker-Scale) ratings. If that was not enough, there is even a dictionary of CigarSpeak!”
(Skyhorse Publishing)

The Ultimate Cigar Book - Richard (Rick) Carleton Hacker

I’ve known and appreciated The Ultimate Cigar Book since its 1st Edition in 1993.
The cigar world is not static – as usual there’s something new in this edition.

     75-UltCigar4  R495.00

 

The Ultimate Cigar Book is an entertaining read and an ideal reference book.

From August 17 - 30, 2017 we offer
20% off The Ultimate Cigar Book, 4th Edition
Normal price only R495.00
Offer only from Wesley’s Shops and Online Store.

Take this opportunity to buy one for yourself.
Or for a well-appreciated gift for any cigar enthusiast - really worth having.

Colin Wesley
No.410 August 10-23, 2017

Note:
By law, no South African citizen, living in South Africa can buy a tobacco product via the internet or postal system.  In fact, you may not receive a tobacco product through the post.
In addition we may not receive payment through the internet for tobacco products.
We may only supply tobacco products within the trade – not to private individuals. The fine is substantial
Contact us for help in getting tobacco to your area.

You can read previous articles from “Across the Counter” in The Library.

PS If you can’t visit a Wesley’s Bricks and Mortar, remember that if you’re not completely happy with your mailsale choice, you can always return it for a full refund.

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Refund Policy (Website customers - you’ll like this!)
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New Tobacco Control Legislation
       Prohibitions in respect of tobacco products
(5) (a)  No person shall sell, offer to sell, supply, distribute or buy any tobacco product through the postal services, the internet or any other electronic media.
(b) The prohibition contained in paragraph (a) does not apply to any commercial communication between a tobacco manufacturer or importer and its trade partners, business partners, employees and shareholders.

ALL IMAGES AND CONTENT © Colin Wesley 2017