Cuban vs. the world

Are Cubans still the best smoke in the world?

  • BY FAR! no others come close

    Votes: 52 45.6%
  • Some Cubans are good, but not as good as they used to be.

    Votes: 41 36.0%
  • Cubans have gone downhill. There are others that are better. It's all hype

    Votes: 21 18.4%

  • Total voters
    114

mtb996

Gorilla
I think we need another category: Cubans in general are better, but like anything else there are very good cuban and non-cuban smokes. I personally find about 7 of my top 10 to be cuban, but there are some really awesome NCs out there today.
 

smokinpoke

Pro Donkey
I find them not to be "strong" enough. I smoke almost exclusively maduros and find that the only CC that can compete is the H-Uppman. I have to say I like those.
 

sirxlaughs

Gorilla
I saw this on another post, but since it is applicable I will share it. I don't mean to plagiarize, so credit to who said this recently.

If it is all about the forbidden fruit, then why is the majority of the cigar product in embargo-less countries Cuban in origin? They have a choice (essentially) on what to carry, and yet NCs are scarce. Could be some hold over from when NCs weren't as good, I don't know.

For me it is a cost to benefit analysis. I get as much enjoyment from a $4 Party Short that I get from that same Padron Anny costing at least a few times that. For CC versus NC on the same price point, so far I haven't found it to be even close. I can smoke a Siglo series that blows away an Anny IMO for the same price.
Many people use the price of Cuban cigars as debate. I still wonder, though. In what country does a party short cost $4 retail?
 

wayner123

Country Gentleman
I'm sure this has been debated many times before, but I did not see this anywhere. I spend time at a few local cigar lounges and this debate always comes up.

Is it true that Cuba produces superior cigars in this day and age? IMO, yes
There is no question that up until maybe 15 years ago the answer was absolutely yes!
Nowadays, there is such good product coming from Nicaraugua, Dominican, Honduras, etc....can we still say that Cubans are the best? IMO, yes
How many Cubans are really better than say a Padron Anniversary? A ton of them, at much lower prices

Part of me feels that a lot of the desirability (in the States) is from the "people want what they can't have" addage.

What are your thoughts?
Now as to *my* thoughts on the matter, the above should clarify my opinion. But that is merely my opinion. To others, a NC might be a "better" cigar.

If you want to discuss the "why" of it, I could go on all day. But suffice to say simply because *I* think they are.

The best saying is "smoke what you like". :ss
 

sirxlaughs

Gorilla
I have been to Canada, Mexico and several islands where I have talked to the owners/employees of legit tobacco shops. They always say the same thing "The limited release NC stuff is sold almost exclusively to US Tobacco retailers."
Go to another country and see what is easier to find...Opus x, Padron 80th, or Cohiba.
This is true in Portual, also. Not to mention, that premium cigars are so expensive that only people who are "well off" can really enjoy them from time to time. Internet shopping is more difficult depending on how thorough your customs offices are.
 

DownUnder LLG

Woop Woop Root Rat
That was my point. They have the option to choose what to stock, Cuban or not, and yet they carry mainly Cubans. I do not know how difficult it is be for a tobacconist outside the US to obtain NC stock for their store, but if it isn't too difficult, then apparently the market dictates that Cubans are in fact better. I can't say with any certainty however. Therefore, my entire point may not be valid anyways. :tu
This is not totally correct. Tobacconists outside of the US do not necessarily have the option what to stock. Here in Australia you will not find NC cigars branded with the Cuban names like the NC Montecristo's, Punch's, Cohiba etc. Why, because it is illegal, they are a breach of copy right and branding laws. You only get them here if you do what I do and buy them off the net. It is illegal for retailers to sell them, not to have them.

If at some point in the future the embargo is lifted and Cuban cigars become legal in the US again, then these laws could be enforced their and you may find these NC cigars being forced to change name to continue to sell.

I am no lawyer so I don't know the full ins and outs of it, but that is the basic nuts and bolts. The fact that there is an embargo has enabled these manufacturers, despite efforts by Cuba in court, to get away with it.

We have other NC cigars available here (CAO, Gurkha, Arturo Fuente (won't find Anejo, too expensive and limited supply I guess), Ashton, Aurora, Puros Indios, Avo, Carlos Torano just to name a few) but yes they have found it hard to break into the market. Why? Because reputation is everything and Cuban cigars have the reputation that they are the best and that is a tough thing to break. Whether it is correct or not is irrelevant, I have had many NC cigars that to me are just as good as a Cuban cigar but then I am willing to branch out and try different things.

Bottom line is, a retailer will continue to carry plenty of stock of what sells and less of a choice of what is difficult to push.

So back to the question, what is better? Like I have said, I have enjoyed many NC and Cubans. And I have had some really sh!t NCs and Cubans. I have had many Cubans cigars of a particular line that are so inconsistent and foul that I would never buy them again, Monte #2 is an example and that's a big call since it is so popular with many people. It is up to the individual, the moment and the cigar.
 
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TU09

Lowland Gorilla
cuban cigars are very different. To say "better" is just a matter of personal taste. The tobacco is different in every country, due to soil, weather and probably many other factors. Comparing a CC to Nicarauguan, is like comparing a Honduran to Dominican etc... Different tabacoo = different taste. :2
:tpd:

Claiming one cigar to be better than another is difficult as we all have different preferences with regard to every aspect from shape to flavor to draw. Further complicating the question at hand (which I understand to be 'does one nation produce cigars superior to another') is the fact that all major cigar producing nations produce a wide range of cigars that differ widely amongst themselves. Having said that, one cigar is not inherently better than another so long as they are smokable. Personally, I enjoy cigars from a variety of nations and while several of the best cigars I've had do indeed have Cuban origins, I can't say that, according to my tastes, they produce the "best smokes in the world."

Addressing your poll a bit more directly, I don't have the background to judge whether Cuban cigars are improving or not in relation to non-Cuban cigars and any such judgment would be subject to my own tastes anyway so I don't know if I (or anyone else) could really offer pertinent information regardless. I think your best bet is to consult yourself! It might be something of a hardship ;) but I would suggest you sample a wide variety of cigars (Cuban and not) and you will likely find a more applicable answer than you could on the internet. You will likely find that there is a good bit of hype associated with various cigars and all to many preferences are based on exclusivity.
 

adsantos13

SilverBack
First of all the BEST cigar is the one YOU like to smoke. Doesnt matter where it is made, just how it hits your particular palette.

That being said, I always remember my first experiences smoking "real" cigars (meaning, not White Owls, Swishers, Garcia y Vega, etc) with my extended family in Portugal, years before I became serious about the cigars. Basically, as an occasional smoker (and mainly a cigarette smoker) I was surprised they were only smoking Cubans when they bought "premium" cigars for special occasions. When I mentioned that in the U.S. there was a mystique about Cuban cigars, their response was basically this: "countries other than Cuba produce premium cigars"? In other words, cigars not from Cuba, in their eyes, was what White Owls are to us here in the U.S. Of course, that is NOT to say that there isn't a bias there, and that their opinion is in any way valid or well researched. This was just the perception of my not super serious, semi casual cigar smoking family members.

Anyway, its easiest to make the analogy that Cuba has a very very long tradition of making great cigars, and saying they are overrated is like saying that Scotch from Scotland is overrated, or Prosciutto from Parma is overrated. Does this denigrate those who make high quality Proscuitto outside Italy (I've had some excellent domestic Prosciutto)? Or, does it mean that the single malt from Japan is "worse" than single malt from Scotland (Japanese single malt can be EXCELLENT and right up there with Scotch in some cases). No, it just indicates a storied tradition of making something world class.

Just some of the stuff I think about whenever this debate pops up...sorry for the ramble :)
 

Addiction

Gentleman Jim Stogie
Good topic.

Here's my take. I think that if you take 08 boxes on average NC will be better than CC. Some of that is simply because NC sticks have age on them when they get to your seller and because NC sticks go through better quality control processes. For example Rocky Patel draw tests every facing for release. And Carlos Toranos are on average 3 years old when they reach retailers.

Aged boxes, I dont know I dont have many aged boxes of NC (maybe 18?) and there are many many vendors with aged CCs. Aged CCs are hard to beat, which is why I'm moving that way currently. Aged cuban tobacco just seems to be the best tobacco, but my current personal opinion is that may be that way because NC sticks, the tobacco in those is worked over pretty extensively before the sticks are released so they may not have as much room to grow. And Cuban sticks are simply rolled and then boxed, in fact I've heard in some cases if you are there when the delivery comes in at an LCDH you may have sticks in there that are less than 120 days removed from being a living plant which would certainly explain why CCs can seem to have such a long sick period and have so much room to improve over time.

As far as why the world perfers Cubans I had separate conversations with Rocky Patel, Carlos Torano and Tommy Ozinger today and they each commented on how difficult it is for them to penetrate the world market. I mean Torano has existed as a brand for ten years, lots of the cubans have existed 100 years or more. The rest of the world is as brand conscious as we are, think how long it took for many of us not to laugh inside when one of our friends said they were buying a Hyundai years ago instead of a Toyota. Yet over time to most of us Hyundai has become a perfectly legitimate brand. I mean there probably are some shoes that were just created by some college kid in France that are probably every bit as good as Nikes, but are you going to b e among the first to buy them?

And lastly I can't deny the forbidden fruit aspect. I mean most of the CC's i purchase are things I've tried and liked, I wont buy just any Cuban without some research. But I do buy Cubans sight unseen having never tried one (if my trusted advisors recommend it to me) and I would never do that with an NC.
 

Addiction

Gentleman Jim Stogie
.....If at some point in the future the embargo is lifted and Cuban cigars become legal in the US again, then these laws could be enforced their and you may find these NC cigars being forced to change name to continue to sell.....
I'm also not a lawyer but those cases (say Cohiba vs General Cigar) have been going on for years and they owners of the American trademarks keep winning. I'd guess that it will be the Cuban versions that will have to rebrand or not sell here. And I'd suspect that while Cubans would be open to blended Cuban cigars they would sell little or no leaf to outside interests. I think companies selling cigars in the states and making big hay would be opposed to the lifting of the embargo until they could find a way to assure the playing field is regulated.
 

havana_lover

When is Tee time??
Depends to me on what exactly you mean by superior.

If we are talking about the tobacco itself - then I say yes.

If we are talking about construction - then I say no - not superior.


Ron
:tpd:

Ron hit this one on the head, I agree 100%..

I love the taste of cubans, but I tell you I hate when they drink too much rum the night before and it shows when there rolling cigars.. :hn
 

PUFFNMO

Lowland Gorilla
My take on this is that the flavor of Cubans has changed. I used to love the Monte 2's in the 70's, also the Davidoffs.

I had a friend in NYC in the 70's who used to give me an occasional Monte or two when he came back from Europe. Many of them were loosely rolled, carelessly made, some had wormholes. But they were so delicious that I would meticulously patch the holes and smoke them to the nub.

The CC's I have had in the past few years are a different smoke. It is as if the heart has gone out of them. They taste pretty generic to me. I think the Cuban soil may be depleted, or they are using chemical fertilizers - I really have no idea what the problem is.

I remember the 70's Cubans with fondness and nostalgia. I have never smoked anything recently that even came close to their warm and earthy aroma with a dollop of barnyard.

Anybody else remember these? Larry.
 

jsanc004

Temp Ban for Rules Violation
In my honest opinion... I am not the best authority in Cigars and I dont have the knowledge that other fellows in this forum have in the Cigar matter... But by personal experience... I have been in Habana, Cuba multiple times and I am born and race in Puerto Rico in between Sugar Cane, Pineapple, Banana, Coffe and Tabaco farmers... So saying this... I have smoke the real Cuban cigar, the one with no name the one that you buy in the streets of Habana and I did smoke the Cuban Cohibas and the Dominican Cohibas... And I smoke Cigars from Honduras, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Colombia, ect... my point is simple... is all personal taste... I found for my taste the the Cigars from Hoduras are better than Cubans... But each Cigar is different... And I dont care what people say... If you open a box of Cigars...The flavor maight be alike but each cigar is different... The same is with the Cubans...

Cuba does have a great quality cigar production but they are not the only great quality cigars in the market...
 

PUFFNMO

Lowland Gorilla
In my honest opinion... I am not the best authority in Cigars and I dont have the knowledge that other fellows in this forum have in the Cigar matter... But by personal experience... I have been in Habana, Cuba multiple times and I am born and race in Puerto Rico in between Sugar Cane, Pineapple, Banana, Coffe and Tabaco farmers... So saying this... I have smoke the real Cuban cigar, the one with no name the one that you buy in the streets of Habana and I did smoke the Cuban Cohibas and the Dominican Cohibas... And I smoke Cigars from Honduras, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Colombia, ect... my point is simple... is all personal taste... I found for my taste the the Cigars from Hoduras are better than Cubans... But each Cigar is different... And I dont care what people say... If you open a box of Cigars...The flavor maight be alike but each cigar is different... The same is with the Cubans...

Cuba does have a great quality cigar production but they are not the only great quality cigars in the market...
Jsan - Thanks for bringing in your wide perspective, and bringing it all back to what cigar smoking is about.

Good point about each cigar in a given box being a bit different - that's why this is such a great hobby.

The cigar I smoke today will be in honor of Camp Victory and all you guys over there. Here's to a safe return to the U.S. Cheers, Larry.:tu:tu:tu
 

icehog3

Admiral Douche Bag
I'm sure this has been debated many times before, but I did not see this anywhere.
I have seen this debate scores of times here, so I am not reading the thread. I just had to quote you here though, Brother, as I thought this was kinda funny. You must not be looking too hard. ;)
 

Addiction

Gentleman Jim Stogie
I have seen this debate scores of times here, so I am not reading the thread. I just had to quote you here though, Brother, as I thought this was kinda funny. You must not be looking too hard. ;)
To be fair tho this debate is timeless, whenever more than 4 smokers gather it always comes up in one form or another.
 

Mystophales

Heavy Metal Jesus
I have only been smoking cigars for about a year so I can't really say that the Cubans used to be better since I have no basis of comparison. I will say however that at first I thought it was all hype but over the last couple three months or so I invariably go for a CC when I open the humi. Bolivar PC, Trinidad Reyes, Partagas Shorts, Por Laranaga have really become my smoke of choice.
 

Addiction

Gentleman Jim Stogie
I have only been smoking cigars for about a year so I can't really say that the Cubans used to be better since I have no basis of comparison. I will say however that at first I thought it was all hype but over the last couple three months or so I invariably go for a CC when I open the humi. Bolivar PC, Trinidad Reyes, Partagas Shorts, Por Laranaga have really become my smoke of choice.
Ditto almost exactly. Over the last week I've had to force myself to light a non-cuban, even some of my favorites in past times like OWR or DCM. It has not become the kind of thing yet where they have lost their attraction yet (well not totally.......) but I'm pretty sure I'm overstocked on most smokes that are non-cuban.
 
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