Are Cuban Cigars Really the Best in the World?

News & VIP Corner

Are Cuban Cigars Really the Best in the World?

News & VIP Corner

Are Cuban Cigars Really the Best in the World?

News & VIP Corner

The Cuban cigar is known by many to be the best cigar – but there are many factors that contribute to preference of cigar choices!

Most experts agree that the 1962 embargo increased the popularity of Cuban cigars in the United States. Since Americans were unable to import any goods from Cuba, including cigars, the mystique surrounding them intensified.  To quote Richard Carleton Hacker, the author of The Ultimate Cigar Book, “…it’s only natural to want what we can’t have.”

However, the events leading up to the time of the embargo are even more interesting.

As early as 1960, there was civil unrest that drove many Cubans to leave their country, some of whom were the country’s cigar experts and respected tobacco growers.

They took their expertise with them and began growing tobacco in countries such as Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. However, since the first premium cigar tobacco was cultivated in Cuba, premium cigars coming out of any other country will always be compared to Cuba.

Any tobacco’s flavor is derived from both the soil it is grown in and the type of climate in that area, so if tobacco is grown in other countries that have similar conditions, it is likely that the quality of the cigars will not be compromised.  While equally rich, the flavor will be different, which brings the choice down to personal preference.

That being said, Cuban cigars remain highly coveted and sometimes quality can suffer due to demand.  For example, due to the rush to manufacture them and get them on the market, they sometimes have been rolled too tightly or are not properly aged.

In his Washington Post review, reporter Roberto Ferdman takes it a step further and states that the best kept secret about the Cuban cigar is that, “it’s often not that good.”

Cigar Aficionado, the leading magazine in the industry, publishes a list every year of the top 25 cigars in the world.

In 2013, a Cuban cigar was named number one, however, only two others from Cuba made the entire list. The majority of top-rated cigars came from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

In 2014, the number one cigar was from Nicaragua and only one Cuban cigar made the top ten, at fourth place.

These numbers show that while Cuba still makes some excellent cigars, they also make some poor ones, and not every cigar with a Cuban label is guaranteed to be the best.

While most cigar smokers tend to forgive the Cuban inconsistency in quality, that attitude may change as we move closer to better relations between the United States and Cuba. This may very well level the playing field for cigar makers from other countries, including the United States.

However, despite the occasional too-tightly rolled cigar, many people still believe that the Cuban cigar is the best in terms of quality and flavor.


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