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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Once a happy fan of Fuentes, CAOs, La Gloria (Dominicans) and other non-ISOMs, I became spoiled about five years ago by the generosity of friends, who turned me on to the glories of Habanos. Yet over the years I have wondered if there were perhaps some placebo effect in the magic words "Cuban cigars," an effect that made them taste better than they really were. These intrusive and heretical thoughts were particularly frequent when smoking a poorly rolled Habano. Was it worth it (as the Goose has asked ) when so many Cuban cigars were poorly constructed?

I found the answer last night. In my Tupperdor, along with several boxes of old Dominican and Honduran cigars that have been neglected, I found a large, Churchill-sized (can't remember the vitola name) Ashton VSG Sun Grown that I got from Holt's. As you may know, these are prized cigars that are supposedly "rare" and command pretty high prices. They are also known for their strength. This one was about a year and a half old. The perfect chance, I thought, to see if--after several years of smoking Habanos--I could get pleasure from a non-Cuban cigar of good reputation. Well, the Ashton was a complete dud. Even after some ageing, it was harsh, one-dimensional, and, frankly, just an unpleasant cigar. After 30 minutes I put it out and went for the backup: a 1995 RyJ Cazadore, from the very first box of Habanos I ever ordered.

There was absolutely no comparison. Despite the Cazadore's reputation as a cigar that peaks quickly, and is not complex, it was infinitely better than the Ashton (I have never, by the way, had a good VSG). It was a pleasure to the palate, had not lost any of its guts, and while not terribly complex, it was simply GOOD.

That's it for me. No more non-Habanos. I'll take my chances with the occasional poorly-rolled Cuban (hopefully a thing of the past). And I'll occasionally revisit one of my old non-Cuban favorites, like the Fuente Don Carlos robusto. But who say that the Cuban cigar mania just hype don't know what they're talking about. From now on, every box I order will be from the island.
 

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DymOnamic
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Spooky. I agree, no way can sotisoms (somewhere other than) compete with the growing climate, latitude, longitude and soil of the Habanos.

I often wonder if these beautiful cigars would suffer from an open market. If the mass production, leverage buyouts and crass marketing our current business graduates are ingrained with, would put quality in the back seat. Hopefully all will be influenced by the anti-smoking campaigns and steer clear of these vitolas, more for me. I'm convinced Cuba will be open-trade in my lifespan.

That said, I am still dipping in both lands, agree about the VSG, it gets interesting (to me) at 3/4 inch left. A lot of $$$ for 5 puffs! But the Brazilias, Camacho SLRs (Coronas), Padron Maduros and PAMs ..+ a handful of other sotisms still hold interest for me.

But I recently acquired a little Monte Joyita '91 that kicked ass on all the above! I see my days are numbered! Thanks to some very generous, well informed LLGs. :w
 

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I'm with you my friend. I struggled through a couple of CAO Extremes, a handful of VSG's but when the Opus X paled to a good RASS and then to top it all off was selling at $40 a stick...I had to pack my bags for the sacred isle.

The last time I was in a cigar shop they were selling the Padron 1926 for $30 a stick and felt as though insult had been added to injury. At that price I expect a Cohiba Reserva...not a Padron 1926!
 

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Price is a good point. We have the 150% tax on cigars here in Washington. For the price of a Macanudo (about $15) I can purchase a great Cuban cigar. The choice is obvious, not that there is anything wrong with a Macanudo. I just hate seeing so many tobacco stores go out of business.
 

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WACigar said:
I just hate seeing so many tobacco stores go out of business.
You have a good point, but I do see a few shifts in the future. E-commerce seems to be the trend for now, look at all the music stores closing down. With cigars it will be the same, but after a while people will miss being able to shop for cigars in front of their face, to smell and feel them. There is just something about standing in a nice walk-in that cigar smoker love.
There will always be the need for a local tobacconist. He provides the new smoker with the singles and the avid smoker with the cigar he can't wait to try.

I smoke 99% Havanas, but I will try anything. I do visit my tobacconist to sample the new, but rarely do I find anything worth a damm...:rolleyes:
 

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For whatever reason, I also smoked a VSG not too many weeks ago. I suppose maybe it was because someone gave it to me. Dunno really, just glad I didn't pay $12 for it. Those high dollar domestics just don't do it for me either. I gave a RAC to the Fuente fan that treated me to the VSG. He said WOW, this is better than a Don Carlos #2 (belicoso or whatever they are). I said, yea and less than half the price.!
 

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Forgot to add to the above post!

I had gone into my tobacconist and was looking around the humi, puffing away on a Havana of some sort. Three of the guys that work there came in and one said, we have just gotten some VSG's in, would you care to get a box or two. I just kinda snickered and said, no thanks! They asked how I could not like them, as they all just thought the world of them. I just said they're not for me...;)
 

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When I first started smoking, I used to buy VSGs like they were going out of style. Nowadays, I just try to smoke up all my domestics when commuting from work, working on the car, etc... so they don't go to waste. The last time I lit up a VSG (Spellbound, big DC), it was on the way back to the hotel from work. As much as I tried, I just could not enjoy the cigar. Even though I hated to do it, the cigar went flying into the Delaware River after a couple inches. LOL Now I'd rather have a mild and tasty Havana than smoke a pepper bomb. :w
 

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Considering this post, isn't it kind of humorous that most of the trade publications that are here in the US keep referring to the "cuban myth".

Our cigars are better than cubans and the only reason people want cubans is that they can't have them here, etc, etc.

What a crock of crap. I can smell the difference in a cigar as to where it was made and just by smell alone I think 90% of the cubans I've had were better than the Opus, VSG crowd. Granted I had a few very young MM when I first started out that were VERY young tasting, but hell even they were better than the sticks you can get for $3-4 in the US that are "comparable quality" according to the US distributors.

The "Cuban Myth" isn't myth, much like the thought at one time that the earth was flat. It was proved differently in the end now wasn't it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just an update on this old post. I found myself stuck in Cambridge Mass yesterday, desperately craving a cigar (I don't have a travel humidor and figured I could last a week--MISTAKE). I hied myself to Leavitt and Pearce in Harvard Square resigned to smoking a non-Habano, but hopeful that I could find something good--perhaps a CAO Brasilia Samba. Sadly, they had none, so I settled for what I thought would be acceptable:
a non-Cuban Punch Rare Corojo. It looked to be a Churchill, and was a gorgeous box-pressed cigar, with a mottled dark brown/black wrapper glistening with oil.
It lit and drew perfectly, and the ash was lovely. The problem: NO FLAVOR. Or rather, a weak flavor, and no complexity. It was thoroughly unsatisfying.

I used to smoke non-ISOM Punch all the time, especially the Rothchild maduros, and loved them. No longer. This experience just confirms

a. that I am spoiled
and
b. that no matter how many people attack Habanophiles as snobs, they are wrong: there is NO SUBSTITUTE for a good Habano.

The next task: to revisit my old unsmoked box of Fuente Don Carlos robustos, once my all-time favorite cigar, to see if they have anything left for me.
 

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yes I guess this could be concidered fallout of being exposed to truly great cigars that dont cost as much as mediocre ones.


I find my prefference is always a nice habano over anything else I may have collected.

Hb
 

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DymOnamic
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Dipteran,

A. (spoiled?) Perhaps, I like to think you have a informed palate.

B. (snobs)? Here is a review of name calling non-isom smokers,

I detect hints of inferiority intermingled with a smattering of jealousness. A noticeable greenness creeps in at midpoint, followed by a weak sour bitter finish. :r

You are definitely far from a snob! It's tough to be right. I sometimes (very rarely) use the old Bob Elliot comeback on these easy debates, " In my heart I know your right, but my perfectly functioning brain says your a horses ass! :w

Now I'm really frightened, for myself, I'm still happy puffing from both sides of the divide.....are my days numbered? :confused:
 

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Agreed. Pretty hard to beat a Havana puros when reaching for a smoke. Especially so if one only smokes a few cigars a week. Considering I usually never smoke during the week and only on weekends, I usually want a cigar I know I'll enjoy.

The thought "Hmmmmmm, do I smoke this Padron 3000 or this 1997 Ramon Allones 8-9-8?" usually never enters my mind.
(and I used to really enjoy the Padron 3000 maduros!)
 

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Come to think of it I have a large handful of OLD Padrons at the bottom of my humi.:) Never even consider them. I smoked one 3 months ago and it was as good as it could have been. Still not good enough when you have another option.

The NO FLAVOR comment was dead on. I hold on to a few 5-6 year old Bahia Golds because they are one of the few that stack up. Sadly they don't make them in Costa Rica anymore.
 

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i smoke domestics once in awhile... sometimes i like to smoke when i'm working and i don't want to concentrate fully on the cigar. for this reason, i always have a box of padron 3ks on hand. the only other domestic i have is a box of camacho diplomas- the 1st half of a diploma is great.
 

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Currently I have approx 50% cubans and 50% other.
I have greatly enjoyed both. Some cigars such at Partagas 150, Zino Platinum Crowns, OpusX etc are enjoyable, but I have been able to obtain Cubans for a cheaper price. If I had one day left to live and one last cigar to smoke it would be a Cuban Monte #2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Bruce5 said:
Currently I have approx 50% cubans and 50% other.
I have greatly enjoyed both. Some cigars such at Partagas 150, Zino Platinum Crowns, OpusX etc are enjoyable, but I have been able to obtain Cubans for a cheaper price. If I had one day left to live and one last cigar to smoke it would be a Cuban Monte #2.
What a great possibility for a thread: what would you smoke if you had only one day left to live and one cigar to choose? I guess under most circumstances this question would be the same as "What is the best cigar you ever smoked?" except one:
What if you're facing a firing squad?
In such a case there's only one choice:
the Monte A!
 
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