Read these 14 Cuban Cigars Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cigar tips and hundreds of other topics.
Unless you're actally buying your Cuban cigars in Cuba, it's tough to know if the Cuban cigars you are being sold are actually from Cuba. So how do you know if you've received real Cuban cigars and not counterfeits? Here are a couple of expert tips to use in your cigar purchase:
* On the box: Look for a seal from the Cuban government and a "Habanos" sticker on the cover with the black silhouette of a tobacco leaf.
* Inside the box: Look for a parchment paper with the Habanos notation in brown and an introduction in four languages
* The cigars: Uniform color and placement, exact confirmation to the size ordered.
Here are the top 5 Cuban cigar brands, in order, as ranked by Cigar Aficianado magazine:
* Ramone Allones
* Hoyo de Monterrey
You can't go wrong with any of these brands, but remember that many of these companies also have factories in other countries. So buying a Cohiba doesn't mean you are getting a Cuban Cohiba.
If somehow you've obtained some Cuban cigars, you've probably invested a lot of money in them. In that case, it's wise to spend a few more bucks for a decent humidor to store the cigars. The humidor should be maintained at 60-64°F and humidity levels should be kept anywhere between 65 to 70 percent. These levels are crucial to maintaining the perfect environment for your cigar. And since you've gone to a lot of trouble to get your Cuban cigars you want to make sure you get the best, longest use from them.
The easiest way to enjoy a real Cuban cigar is to buy one from a reputable Cuban cigar dealer or a good hotel while in a country that sells Cuban cigars legally. It's worth it to pay top dollar for a really great Cuban cigar, enjoy it, and then make it part of your vacation memory.
Despite popular belief, it is not acceptable to bring Cuban cigars into the US if purchased from Canada, England, or Mexico.
If you make a licensed visit to Cuba for charity purposes or a work-related event, you can bring back up to $100 worth of Cuban cigars to the United States for personal use. For information on travel restrictions, foreign purchases and custom requirements, talk to your local travel agent or visit the US Customs Service at www.customs.gov.
Where can you get the Best Cuban cigars? According to many experts, Miami's Little Havana is the place for great Cuban cigars. These are cigars made using traditional Cuban techniques by Cuban immigrants. Some cigar afficianados will argue that it's the Cuban-grown tobacco that makes the unique taste and smell of Cuban cigars. But others say that the Miami cigar-makers have captured the essence of Cuba in their American-made, hand-rolled cigars.
Cuban Cigars were recognized as the best in the world for many years. Due to the political and economic situation in Cuba, the cigars are no longer considered the best. They have been outranked by many cigars from other countries. Cigar aficionados throughout the world have been searching to replace the fine taste and qualities of pre-castro Cuban cigars with those of other tobacco growing countries. Cigars from Cuba still have that mystique and many in the U.S. would still like to smoke them. However, due to to the "Trading With the Enemy Act" issued by the United State government in July of 1963, the importation of Cuban Cigars is prohibited. It is also illegal to bring them into the United States from countries where they can be obtained legally. Only "licensed" visitors to Cuba can bring Cuban Cigars into the country legally, and the amount is very limited.
There are quite a few online stores that will readily ship Cuban made Cigars to the United States, some even guarantee shipment. Many of these cigar merchants offer authentic Habanos but quite a few sell counterfeits, so buyer beware. Also, please keep in mind that if you live in the United States, you are breaking the law by purchasing them and are subject to serious criminal fines, including imprisonment. With such good cigar smoking around, why risk it?
If it didn't come from Cuba, it's not a Cuban cigar. You should be wawry of advertisements touting discounted Cuban cigars or Cuban cigars for discounted prices if you buy in bulk. Expect to pay prime dollar for a box of Cuban cigars, which can cost as much as $500. Anything less or advertised as "discounted" may be fakes, and once you buy it's yours to keep.
Cuban cigars have their devotees, who claim that the combination of Cuban tobacco and centuries of cigar-making tradition make the sweetest, most aromatic cigars. But more and more serious smokers agree that many Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan brands are just as good as Cuban cigars. And these other brands are easier to find, cost less, and won't get you in trouble with the law.
Are Cuban cigars worth all the trouble? Depends on who you ask, but more and more experts are saying "no." This is because other Cigar-making countries, especially the Dominican Republic, are making very high-quality cigars. Because the Dominican and Nicaraguan cigars are legal to import to the US, they are much less expensive and don't come with the potential legal issues of real Cuban cigars.
If you're a Cuban cigar fan used to picking up your favorite smokes on trips to Europe, you might need to get used to some changes. Spain recently banned smoking in most public places January 1, 2006, and England recently voted to ban public smoking beginning in 2007. Orders for Cuban cigars from those countries have already plunged, worrying the Cuban cigar industry.
Remember that no matter how easy it might seem to obtain Cuban cigars online, it's illegal to import or possess Cuban cigars, or any Cuban imports.
There's been a federal ban on Cuban imports since 1963 under the "Trading with the Enemy" act. This act was originally enacted in 1917 to restrict trade with countries hostile to the U.S.
Think you can make it past customs with a box full of Cubans? Think again, and then open your wallet and hand over $55,000 to the US government, because that is how much you can be fined for smuggling Cuban cigars into the country. You can also be subject to jail time. According to US Customs and Border Protection, importation of cigars and tobacco products from Cuba is prohibited whether the goods are purchased by you or given to you as gift. It is also illegal for U.S. citizens to buy, sell or trade illegally-imported Cuban cigars.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|