Written by Cigar Guy Tim

Monday, 06 March 2006

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Hello - I am one of the Luckiest Guys on the Earth - well maybe!

Over the years I have been introduced to hundreds of cigars, more than a thousand if you count different sizes and shapes. Luckily I have been able to make direct comparisons between Cuban and all the other cigars made in the world. Now I can share my thoughts with each of you.

Cigar Guy TimBefore I pontificate on how great this cigar is or that cigar is, I believe you should know something about me. I have been an avid cigar indulger over thirty years now. My other vices besides my wife are good bourbons, great ports, yummy rum, single malt scotch and fine wines. Now for some of these I like to match my drink with a great cheese, for all of them I have a favourite cigar to indulge in.

While I share my thoughts on cigars with you, I am not a "CIGAR GOD" as some of the reviewers you read think they are. Hey, I am a guy who has worked hard and still does and enjoys the finer things in life when he can. My wife is one of my finer things in my life that surpasses a cigar. But back to my reviewing, I will tell you how the cigar tastes to me, if it has a great ash, how it feels, if it gets hot and most of all is it worth the effort and money to get one. Sometimes you will agree with me whole-heartedly and other times you will think I have been smoking cow manure. But that is the way cigars are, they are like fine wines – the taste and how you like it is up to you. Your tastes are your own, my tastes are mine and I am willing to share those with you. So if you disagree, please write to me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and share your ideas. You may have noticed something I did not.

Now about the upcoming articles I am planning to present to you. First I have been lucky to live in both the US and Australia. By living here in the Down Under, I have sold Cuban cigars and held tastings for numerous brands. I have compared the Cuban and "American" brands on a number of occasions. So the first set of articles I plan to do is a direct comparison between the Cuban and American named brands. This includes Cohiba, Punch, H Uppman, Romeo y Julieta and more. I will photograph the cigars side by side so you can see how they look. I will smoke each of them side by side and give you my thoughts on each and how they compare. 

If you have any favourites you want to compare, please let me know. I may even do some "horse trading" of Cubans for Americans (I cannot buy the American brands in Australia like you cannot buy the Cuban brands in the US) if you want to try the same comparisons. Just drop me an email and we can discuss a swap or two.

Other articles I will be putting pen to paper to, or at least to the computer and printer are:

  • Great Cigar Shapes – Have you ever smoked a cigar that looks like a pipe?
  • Great Cigar Art – Boxes and Bands that are truly works of art!
  • How to put on a Great Cigar Dinner!
  • Cigar Laws Around the World – Where can we smoke today?
  • What is better with Cigars – Bourbon, Scotch or Port?
  • Does a Cigar have to cost a lot to be a Great Cigar?
  • And of course the Great Cuban/American Comparisons

Let me know of anything you want to know more about on cigars. I will do my best to put an article together on your request to share with everyone.

Now the great people of have given me the green light to go ahead. I will not be tied down to one story a month, because I like to write and there are times I will be more prolific that other times. I hope to have three to five articles a month, so keep a close eye on the website.

I am also irreverent to a point. It is my hope that each article will not only inform you but also at least give you a smile. 

Preface to the Cuban/American Comparisons

Ever since the embargo of Cuba began July 8, 1963 – Cuban tobacco has been banned from the US and in essence the Connecticut outer leaf has been banned from Cuba. Since the fall of the USSR, officially on December 31, 1991 when all of the communist names, departments, and emblems ceased to exist, Cuba was thrust out on its own. Cuban Tobacco Field

Cuba depended on the old communist state for just about every essential item it could not produce for itself, which is mainly sugar and tobacco. Cuba could no longer count on the farm subsidy products it needed to keep its crops going. In today’s Cuba almost everything needed in the agriculture field is rationed, especially fertilizer. 

When you look at the Cuba of today as opposed to twenty and fifty years ago, you see a government state that has maintained a rigid grip on its people. The tobacco of twenty years ago is not as good as before the revolution many say. I know the tobacco of today is not as good as it was just five years ago. 

Look at the blends that were used in the past and you will see that most of those considered the great blends had Cuban long leaf with Connecticut outer leaf. Go back to the original "Cuban" cigars of Ybor City legend and the blends were Connecticut outer leaf with Cuban long leaf filler.

The embargo has had the effect of blocking the best outer leaf in the world from the greatest tobacco filler leaf in the world.

Throw in the decades of advances in agriculture that we have experienced in the "free world" against a society basically locked in time. You then see differences of other kinds that have changed the cigar world. Take blending as an example. Many now consider the blended wines to be the best wines in the world. In the same way, many of the blended tobacco cigars have achieved a status of greatness. With the famous "Cuban Seed" to start tobacco farms in Honduras, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, Ecuador, you see that tobacco has evolved and now presents us with opportunities that were not even thought of on the summer day of 1963.

As we begin our journey of comparing the cigars from Cuba and America with the same names, there is more history to the story than most people know of. The struggle many of the cigar families had in fleeing their homeland to start anew in the free world. Having to sell their family name to large corporations to survive. Governments that respect the Cuban names and do not allow the American cigars into their country, a kind of reverse embargo on American brands. While the Americans cannot own the Cuban brands and whose government does not recognize the ownership of the names by the Cuban government.

A question to be asked of the future is what will happen when the embargo ends? Who will own the names of Cohiba, Monte Cristo, Punch, H Uppman and others? Will the cigars of the future be a true blend of the great tobaccos from Cuba, the US and other countries? Can the land in Cuba be revitalized to the state it was before the embargo? All are great questions.

In the meantime, we have cigars with the same names, but totally different qualities. For the Cuban cigars, I believe the quality has steadily declined over the past decade and very noticeably over the past five years. At the same time, some of the other of the world’s tobaccos has steadily grown in quality.

So on with the fun. I will begin the comparison tests in my next article. I promise to be fair and give you the best insight I can into the cigars as I try them out. Hopefully you will enjoy the comparisons, have a smile, but most of all have a great cigar while you read my articles.

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