Despite the embargo, many legitimate Cuban cigars (and way too many counterfeits) find their way into the US. Maybe people believe the myth that Cuban cigars are rolled on the thighs of virgins and that is why they are so great. Sometimes I think buying Cuban cigars from overseas is cheaper than buying cigars from a local shop due to the insane tobacco taxes of some states.
In the 1800’s Cuban tobacco was used in the cigar factories of Key West and Ybor City. The cigars produced were called “Clear Havanas” since they were made entirely of Cuban tobacco. After the embargo, the cigar factories had to find alternative tobacco sources or go out of business.
If the factories had a stockpile of Cuban tobacco, they could still produce and sell “Pre-Embargo” Cuban cigars. In fact, these “Pre-Embargo” cigars are still legal and can be found at high priced auctions from time to time. If these cigars have been maintained properly, they would still be fine for smoking.
Although, I would be hard pressed to believe there are any bales of unrolled pre-embargo Cuban tobacco still in existence. No bales that could be used to roll cigars, anyway.
Even before the embargo, Castro’s regime had commandeered cigar factories and tobacco farms, forcing people to leave everything behind and start over in other countries. One of the few things these evicted farmers did bring with them was tobacco seeds from Cuba.
Tobacco crops in any country can be affected positively or negatively by many variables. Environmental variables such as rainfall, sunlight and soil conditions are big factors. How the tobacco is picked, fermented, stored and aged will also affect quality. While there is definitely some art and science involved in growing tobacco and rolling cigars, the farms are still at the mercy of unpredictable Mother Nature. No one country has the absolute perfect conditions to create a perfect cigar.
I’ve heard people declare that Cuban cigars are better or the “best” cigars in the world and all they smoke are Cuban cigars. I feel that the best Nicaraguan, Dominican or Honduran cigars can compare quite well with the best Cuban cigars. On the flip side, there is no doubt that there are sub-par Cuban cigars along with sub-par cigars from other countries.
To the people who smoke Cuban cigars exclusively, I say you are depriving yourself from some great smokes that could be bringing you enjoyment.Fact or Fiction: Cuban Cigars Are Better by Tom Ufer