We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I would never recommend purchasing Cuban cigars for use in the USA as it is, or used to be, against some dumb law. However, I did happen to notice that Top Cubans has some appealing Christmas and End of Year specials right now.
By the way, when are we going to take down that dumb cigar embargo? It just hurts the poor farmers - and us scrupulously law-abiding Americanos.
Photo is a Habanos Romeo y Julieta
BTW, where is the best cigar wrapper tobacco in the world grown? In my home state, Connecticut in the US of A. Also in Massachusetts in the Connecticut River Valley.
The impression I took away from numerous lectures by Cuban officials when I visited there about a year ago is that the Cuban government needs the embargo (or blockade as they call it). That's not what they said; that's the impression they left me with. If the US were to abandon the embargo the consequences would be devastating for the regime as the economy would re-orient towards the US, and people would abandon all other activities to work in tourism and export-related industries such as cigars.
You are allowed to bring up to $100 worth of cigars or rum or a combination thereof with you from Cuba. Though I have been told by people who have been there several times (I have been there once) that they are fairly lax on enforcement of that as long as you don't have a suitcase full. The prices are a fraction of those listed on Top Cubans.
An inveterate cigar smoker, I've been gifted many genuine Cubans in addition to many knockoffs with fake bands that tourists bought on Caribbean beaches for way too much money.
I'm currently deep into a box of real Cuban Cohibas, they're good smokes but I'd never pay the price I'm afraid was paid for them, not when there are so many other good and better cigars available for less.
Re: the pic. My current favorite free market Dominican Romeo y Julieta is the 1875, made of tobaccos from the DR, Brazil, and Java. A heckuva smoke and not too pricy when you can find an online deal.
A friend on a business tour of Cuba last year was shown around a cigar rolling plant but warned sternly not to talk to the workers or attempt to buy cigars. At the completion of the tour their ever present minder disappeared for a few minutes and the workers eagerly peddled handfuls of cigars. Obviously, a set up. All that I smoked were ok to good but nothing special, certainly not up to Cuba's fabled reputation. I suppose the commies have even screwed that up.
He said their bus drove thru many, many miles of former farm fields now growing weeds, brush and trees. When asked why it wasn't being farmed the minder said no money for fuel, seed or fertilizer.
Indeed. As with any communist enterprise, the Cubans have serious supply problems. Plus, paying the help twenty dollars a month to roll cigars only adds to the quality control issues of Cuban cigar makers. God bless the Dominican Republic.
I worked a tobacco farm in North Hadley, Mass for a season in the late 90s. They grew wrapper leaves (amongst much other local produce), which I couldn't judge for quality, but the scraps made a rough ciggie hand roll. Worked with imported Jamaicans, resettled Vietnamese, and the husband of a Smith professor. Hard work but a lot of fun.