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Written by Staff

Friday, 25 April 2008

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cubanhabanos
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Ask cigar smokers around the world which country produces the best cigars and quite often the answer you’ll get will be ‘Cuba’. But is that really the case or is it just a myth?

There’s no doubt that Cuba certainly does produce some fine cigars and many people point to the cigars that use tobacco leaf from the Vuelta Abajo district in Pinar del Rio as the finest example of Cuban cigars. But using the quality of the tobacco leaf from one small area in a country as an indicator of quality for all cigars that come out of that country is quite a large leap of faith and one that may not be justified.




While the contents of a cigar are important, there are other factors that can affect the quality and even if the tobacco leaf used in the cigar is the finest available the binder and the wrapper may be quite inferior and they can have quite an effect on the overall quality of a cigar.

On top of that not every cigar produced by a certain country will contain the very best tobacco leaf. Not every tobacco-growing region in a country produces the same quality leaf and even in Cuba the product of some regions can be quite inferior when compared to what is produced in other countries.

And then we come to the production of cigars. In Cuba, the Government controls the production of cigars and sometimes the quality control can be lacking. The quality may be less depending on who rolls the cigars. Perhaps the roller had a bad day.

While the hype is that Cuban cigar rollers are the best in the world the reality is that there are just as many talented cigar rollers in other countries as there are in Cuba and not every Cuban cigar roller is as talented as the hype would have you believe.

The fact that Cuba is still thought of as being the home of the finest cigars is now more likely to come from clever and persistent marketing, or just old-fashioned thinking.

In fact, the overall level of quality can be the same regardless of the country that the cigar was produced in. Other Central American countries deserve to be considered if you’re looking for the best quality in cigars. Cigars produced in Honduras, Nicaragua and even the Dominican Republic all have a legitimate claim to producing cigars that are at least equal to those produced in Cuba. In this writer's opinion, the La Aurora 1495 (made in Dominican Republic), Padron 1964 Anniversary (made in Honduras and Nicaragua) and Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 (using 18 year old Honduran Broadleaf wrapper) are all just as good as some of the best Cuban Cigars.

Ultimately though, trying to decide which country produces the best cigars is a moot point. All the major cigar producing countries make some cigars that are excellent, some average, and some not so good. Another important difference to note is that Cuban cigars only use Cuban Tobacco. This is referred to as a "Puro" regardless of country of origin. Any cigar that uses tobacco from only one country is a puro. Puros can be great cigars. The Arturo Fuente OpusX is a Dominican Puro and it is considered by many to be one of the best cigars in the world. However, most cigars (except for Cuban) are blends of tobaccos from different regions. This affords the opportunity to broaden your taste horizons, which is another benefit of not limiting yourself to Cuban cigars.

It’s up to you to decide which cigars suit your tastes and which cigars you would personally recommend as being the best. Make no mistake. There are some Cuban cigars that are phenomenal. However, declaring that all Cuban cigars are the best is narrow, shallow-minded thinking, or just misinformation. However, if you would like to be thought of as a "Habano-Nazi", then go right ahead and proclaim Cuban's as being the best.

For some reason, perhaps a desire to be thought of as one of the "cool kids", or that they know something about cigars, many people still bring up "Cuban Cigars" in any conversation where the topic of cigars arises. They believe that Cubans are the best and nothing else is worthy. The reality is quite different. Don’t blindly follow this line of thinking. Try cigars produced in all the major cigar-producing countries with the expectation that they really could be better than the Cuban product because, the chances are, that they will be.

On the other hand, if you want everyone to know that you are a “newbie” or that you know nothing about cigars, say something like, “I only smoke Cuban cigars”, or walk into a shop in the US and ask for Cuban cigars. They are illegal here … still.

You can see a great post here describing cigar tobacco from several different countries.
 




Comments 

 
0 # mr.j.g.adams 2013-09-08 12:49
I'd have to say I've had several different Cubans and must are good but Honduras are by far my favorite. I find they are just a better over all cigar. Better taste, better burn, better smoke. In fact I'm smoking a Cuban right now and wishing it was a Honduras.

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