Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, cigar aficionados! This is my sixth "happy new year" post on CigarInspector.com and I'm really proud of what the site has become over the years, mostly thanks to you, dear readers. On behalf of all authors I would like to thank you for your feedback and trust. I am raising that glass of blanc de blancs to many more years enjoying our common passion(s).
This guest post is written by Daniel, a cigar aficionado from Quebec City, Canada. He started smoking cigars 4 years ago and, after many visits to Cuba, got a "Certified Customer Tobacconist" degree by the Tobacconist University in NJ, USA. He blogs (in French) at CigaresDR.com.
Tobacco and cigar context in Quebec
Planning a visit in Quebec City in the days, weeks and or months to come? Well, just come over when you are ready and Quebecers will welcome you with some of the best hotels, food, activities and hospitality in the world. Unfortunately, and in regards to cigars, Quebec is not the smokey heaven it used to be. Following the North American trend on smoking bans, tobacco sales restrictions of all kinds and tobacco tax raises, smoke shops are struggling not to say "choking" to keep what's left of a retail business that's not anymore what it used to be even five years ago or so. Which all leads to pretty high cigar prices in the end.
This is a fairly unusual post here, but it turns out that at the time you are reading these words I find myself in a place where Internet access is limited. More precisely, I am spending this week trekking in Uzbekistan and I didn't prepare a "normal" blog post for today. Instead, for your viewing pleasure you will find below a selection of excellent photographs of women you might recognize. Something tells me you might prefer this to reviews.
This article was submitted by Martin, a cigar aficionado from Rostock, Germany and owner of Rauchr.de.
Cigar aficionados will appreciate the vibrant cigar culture that Rostock, Germany has to offer. Rostock has an excellent tobacco shop, a variety of lounges for cigar smoking, and clubs that provide humidified lockers for storage.
Tabak Nitz, Rostok’s only local tobacconist, is located at the center of the city. It can be easily found at the Rostoker Hof shopping mall on Breite Strasse, near Universitatsplatz. A climate controlled room ensures the proper humidity levels for rare Cuban, Dominican, and Nicaraguan cigars are maintained at Tabak Nitz. The tobacconists provide a selection of cigar cutters, humidors, lighters, and other fine tobacco accessories for their clientele. Tabak Nitz also sells whisky and cognac, the perfect accompaniments for cigars.
Another place to enjoy the cigar culture in Rostok is the Rittmeister. The Landhotel Rittmeister, at 1 Biestower Damm, has one of the best cigar lounges in Northern Germany. The Rittmeister carries a selection of fine Cuban, Honduran, and Brazilian cigars. The lounge also provides humidified storage lockers. Cigars can be enjoyed in the stylish lounge with a liqueur or whisky from the Rittmeister’s own distillery.
Even though it was only founded in 2010, The Baltic Cigar Club has become the premiere club celebrating cigar culture in Rostok. The club is located at 7 Waldemarstrasse, only 2 kilometers from Universitatsplatz. The Baltic Cigar Club has a special monthly cigar selection, and the club matches it with the perfect distilled spirits. In addition to weekly meetings, The Baltic Cigar Club also has large monthly events that include music, food, and drinks.
A few kilometers out of Rostock in a small village named “Klein Kussewitz” you will find the warehouse of the online shop rauchr.de. Inside the 750 m2 big warehouse you'll find one of the biggest humidors in whole Eastern Germany. This is not a typical B&M store but customers are welcome anytime and they can directly buy from the big stock and smoke a cigar in the warehouse-lounge.
Barcelona was pretty high on my "cities to visit" list. In fact, it has occupied the #1 spot for over two years since I went to Venice. It was only recently that I managed to organize a 5-days week-end in Barça - and I wasn't disappointed. If you're still hesitating, stop. I didn't expect the city to be that big though, which means there are still plenty of things I haven't seen. A valid reason to come back!
Spain is one of the most cigar-consuming countries in Europe, so just like in Madrid I was expecting to be able to find some cigars there. Most of the tobacco shops (easily recognizable by a yellow "Tabacs" sign) carry a basic selection of Cubans (Cohiba, Montecristo, Partagas...), but of course I was on my quest to locate the best shops in order to share this valuable information with you. After some research, I selected two shops: Casa Fuster and Gimeno.
Casa Fuster is located at 29 Rambla de Catalunya (Google Maps >), one of the most splendid streets of Barcelona. A certified "Habanos Specialist", it doesn't have a walk-in humidor, but it carries an impressive selection of older releases. For example, I got some Romeo y Julieta 2005 Limitadas and a lot of Spanish regional editions, all available for purchase as singles. Of course, you'll be able to find some non-Cubans as well. By the way, cigar prices in Spain are regulated at the government level, so don't bother comparing prices at multiple outlets.
Gimeno (Google Maps >) is situated right in front of the Boqueria market (a major attraction in itself!). Because of its central and touristic location, the place is quite crowded and the employees are rather busy. The selection of singles is limited, but if you're into boxes there's an impressive cave downstairs, just ask a seller to have a look.
Have you visited these cigar shops in Barcelona? Feel free to share your favorite ones in the comments below.
The Cigar Inn
18 years ago, the Sakih brothers: Billy, Gus and Bass, decided that it was time for them to turn one of their life’s passions into something that everybody could enjoy. That passion of course being cigars. But they didn’t want to put up an ordinary, everyday brick and mortar retail outlet. They wanted to build an experience. The true New York Cigar Experience.
Cigar Inn (web), located at 1016 Second Avenue (between 53rd & 54th), New York, NY 10022 is the premiere hot spot for all cigar aficionados residing in the metro area, or just passing through. From their always fully stocked retail space to their lounge which is sponsored by none other than Cigar Aficionado Magazine, the atmosphere of this top shelf establishment is one of a first class operation.
Amsterdam... what a great city. One of the most beautiful in Europe, in my humble opinion - I love the architecture, the atmosphere, the people - the only thing missing is a national cuisine! :) By the way, if you're planning to visit Amsterdam, I suggest you rent a flat because there are very few hotels, and those are pretty expensive! We had a 100 m² two-bedroom flat for 110 € / night, whereas a friend of ours found himself a 11 m² hotel room for 80 € / night.
For those of you who still want to smoke cigars in Amsterdam (some people forget about their hobby in this city), I selected a couple of places where you can find everything you need. The first one is called P. G. C. Hajenius, it's a huge cigar shop with a long history, located in the heart of Amsterdam (Google Maps >). Even if you don't smoke cigars, it's an interesting place to visit because of its art deco interior that hasn't changed since 1915. The walk-in humidor is exceptional, sellers are professional, you can even visit a tobacco museum. There is also a lounge where you can smoke your cigar and pair it with a selection of drinks:
If you find yourself quite far from the city center and crave a cigar, you can also get one from the Davidoff shop (Google Maps >) and smoke it in the Vondelpark nearby - I believe it's the biggest park in Amsterdam. Again, a walk-in humidor and a wide array of Cuban and non-Cuban sticks.
Of course, do not hesitate to post your favorite cigar places in the comments below.
Update: you might also want to visit the La Casa del Habano Amsterdam, located in The Conservatorium hotel (Google Maps >). Thanks patrickledden for the tip.
Update #2: have a look at David's comment below for even more good places in Amsterdam.
Today, July 22nd, is the annual "Smoke a JJ for JJ day". As some of you might know, in 2007 our friend Jerry Cruz from StogieReview.com lost his child, JJ "The Little Robusto" to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). I am joining him this year in smoking a cigar in JJ's memory. I am lighting up a Ramon Allones Specially Selected, one of my all-time favorite cigars.
I am inviting all of you to spark up a Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ, a special edition Little Robusto or just your favorite cigar and think about the ones you love.