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.
But there are a few who fought, a few uncompromising "Gaulish" Cigar Shops and Cigar Lounge owners who resisted and won over the government in the way that they could stay open without having to hide their tobacco displays, counters and shelves as it is now common in regular cigarettes and convenience stores. Here's the list of those B&M retailers who stood up and to whom we have to be thankful for.
Retailers in Quebec city
First, let's say that the offer is mainly concentrated in the upper town, tourist area called Vieux-Québec or Old Quebec. There are two tobacconists and one Cigar Lounge (the only one in the whole city) located in this area as well and one more tobacconist outside the Old Quebec, a few kilometers from the central area but worth a visit if you happen to drive a car during your stay.
J.E Giguère. 61 Rue De Buade, Quebec, QC G1R 4A2 (418) 692-2296
Established in 1907, that makes it the oldest cigar shop in Quebec and maybe in the whole province. Located right across City Hall, it offers a good assortment of Cuban cigars: Cohiba, Romeo Y Julieta, Montecristo, Partagas, H. Upmann, Hoyo de Monterrey, Bolivar, Rafael Gonzales Marquez, Fonseca, Jose L.Piedra and Punch. Other brands from other countries feature: most of the CAO line, a few vitolas from Don Tomas, Quorum, Casa Magna, Macanudo, Te-Amo, Brickhouse and a few other lesser known brands. They do offer the widest choice in town in all other kinds of tobaccos, pipe models and accoutrements. Cigar prices range from $6.50 for a Rafael Gonzales Marquez Panatela extra to $50 for a Romeo Y Julieta Churchill Tubo. Quality product and service. Open 7 days from 8am to 11pm.
Tabac Tremblay. 955 rue Cartier, Quebec, QC G1R 2S2. (418) 529-3910
Located at a walking distance from Old-Quebec on Cartier st., a nice little street worth visiting for its restaurants and boutiques, Tabac Tremblay offers the widest variety of cigar brands in the city. Besides the main Cuban brands plus some Cuaba, San Cristobal De La Habana, Ramon Allones, Por Larranaga, El Rey del Mundo and Trinidad not sold anywhere else, you will also find a somewhat interesting choice of vitolas from Nicaragua, Dom. Republic, Honduras, Panama etc. Brands like La Flor Dominicana, Ashton, Arturo Fuente, Brickhouse, Davidoff, Flor de Copan and a few others. Just make sure you inspect every cigar you pick. Looks like some product rotation is not very well done or that some products have badly aged. New stock comes in regularly though. Best humidor stock in town.
Société Cigare. 575 Grande Allée Est Quebec City, QC G1R 2K5. (418) 647-2000 (www.voodoogrill.com/fr/societe-cigare)
The one and only Smoking Lounge in Quebec city. Part of the Maurice Night Club Complex located right by the Loew's Le Concorde hotel with its rotating restaurant on Grande Allée st. They offer comfortable environment, a wide selection of spirits to accompany the freshest Habanos in town as well as other brands mentioned before. Inventory tends to be on a higher end than other cigar shops but prices are also more expensive (25%) than shops. Atmosphere on week-ends is animated with small local Latino and/or 80's rock bands. Occasionally a torcedora from a Cuban manufacture like Romeo y Julieta will be there rolling just for you. Good cigar choice, smiling staff, walk-in humidor. The place is open seven days from 1pm to 3am with a nice terrasse where you can chill outside during the summer months.
Tout un Tabac. 4545 Boul. Henri-Bourassa Québec Qc. Tél.: (418) 622-7070
The only B&M cigar shop in Quebec City equipped with a walk-in humidor. Located outside the Old-Quebec quarter in the northern part of the city it is still pretty easy to find if you have a car to drive there. Choice is okay with a fair selection of Cuban and non-Cuban brands and vitolas. Walk-in is well taken care of but you have to know what you are looking for since the shop is operated by the cashiers hired at the grocery store that owns the shop and, unfortunately, some don't know much about cigars.
None of these stores keeps all formats from one brand and don't expect to find very high end products or hard to find vitolas due to the exorbitant prices these items would be tagged in any of these shops.
For example, no Cohiba Behike, neither Montecristo Special Reserva nor Edicion Limitadas or Regional Ediciones. Although you will easily find some of Montecristo's "Open" serie or some Siglo VI from Cohiba and a few Davidoff Millenium's or Robusto's. Competition between shops is fair and correct even though prices are high (taxes) for everybody. Everybody seems to manage his own niche in the way that everyone tends to keep a certain number of exclusive brands to themselves. This way everybody gets his fair share of the market which is good in my opinion.
If you happen to to visit Montreal as well, I will recommend two places:
- La Casa Del Habano located in the heart of the museum, Art Galleries, business and high end boutique sector. Best for Cuban Cigars, accessories, lounge and spirits. 1434 Sherbrooke West,Montreal, Quebec H3G 1K4, Canada t: 1 (514) 849-0037 f: 1 (514) 849-8788 (www.lacasadelhabano.ca)
- And Vasco Cigars for non-Cuban Cigars and accessories. 1327 Ste-Catherine West Montreal, Qc, Canada H3G 1P7 T: 514.284.0475
Hope you enjoy your stay and cigars while visiting us in Quebec city.