Cuban Cigars in the United States? Don’t hold your breath.

The Nic-Cuban hybrid…a dream or reality?

When President Obama announced he was opening talks with the Cuban government, cigar smokers across America rejoiced. After five decades of an embargo, there was finally hope that Cuban cigars would soon become available to consumers in the US. Would we finally be able to buy CCs without looking over our shoulders? Unfortunately, at this time, the terms of the negotiations indicate that legal Cuban cigars may be a long way off for Americans.

In order for full trade relations to happen, Cuba is demanding that:

  1. The US Naval base in Guantanamo Bay be returned to Cuba;
  2. The US stop broadcasting anti-Castro radio/TV into the island;
  3. The US pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for losses due to the embargo.

These demands illustrate that the Castro regime has no real interest in rapprochement with the US. Additionally, the Helms-Burton act of 1996 states the embargo can only be lifted by Congress. Under this act, Cuba must hold free elections, release political prisoners, guarantee worker’s rights, and allow freedom of the press. But the Castro brothers have as much revolutionary zeal as ever, and no interest in promoting democracy and privatization. Unless there is a regime change, the terms of Helms-Burton will never be met. And history has shown that only overt war can bring about such a change. No one wants that.

Click here to read the full article...

Monte by Montecristo Jacopo No. 2

Monte by Montecristo Jacopo No. 2

Origin : Dominican RepublicMontecristo
Format : Square-pressed Torpedo
Size : 6.1 x 54
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Habano
Filler : Dominican
Binder : Dominican Olor and Nicaraguan Corojo
Hand-Made
Price : ~$9
More info about purchasing Monte by Montecristo cigars...

Monte by Montecristo was released in 2013, billed as the strongest cigar in the Montecristo line. It is a fresh twist on an old concept. According to Altadis, “The Monte’s signature feature is the inclusion of two binders: a spicy Dominican Olor combined with a strong and aromatic Nicaraguan Corojo, which adds strength, firmness, and complexity.” There are three different vitolas available: the Conde, measuring 5.5 x 48, the Monte measuring 6 x 60, and the Jacopo No. 2, measuring 6.1 x 54. I smoked the Jacopo No. 2. You have probably noticed this is a unique name for a vitola. As a note of literary interest, the name “Jacopo” is taken from a character in The Count of Monte Cristo.

Read the full review of Monte by Montecristo Jacopo No. 2...

Fuente Fuente Opus X The Lost City

Fuente Fuente Opus X The Lost City 1

Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 1/4 x 50
Wrapper : Dominican Republic
Filler : Dominican Republic
Binder : Dominican Republic
Hand-Made
Price : ~$30 each
More info about purchasing Arturo Fuente Lost City cigars...

This week I really had some deep pockets. I typically do not spend over $15.00 on a cigar unless I know it to be eccentric, however I really wanted to try this Opus X blend, so I splurged. Let's find out if it was worth it.

In 2004 Hollywood actor/director Andy Garcia wanted to produce a film telling the story of a Cuban tobacco family’s struggles during the Castro revolution. In one of the movie’s scenes Garcia wanted to duplicate a Cuban tobacco farm. After being introduced to Carlito Fuente, owner of Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia, Garcia proposed the idea of shooting a scene with the tobacco plants in the background. Carlito was in favor of the idea however harvest was right around the corner making it impossible to film. Being the gentleman he is, Carlito offered to plant a field of tobacco after harvest and by June Garcia would have a field of three-foot plants to shoot in his scene. When asked what he would do with the tobacco Fuente replied “If it is good, I will use it.” That’s when Garcia suggested the idea of making a special blend bearing the logo from the movie, “The Lost City” which would later become the name on the cigars. The rest from there is history. The tobacco, seen in the movie, is the same used in The Lost City blend.

Read the full review of Fuente Fuente Opus X The Lost City...

Amazon Contest Winner

Amazon

The winner of the $35 Amazon gift certificate is Joseph (21:25 comment). Congrats! Please get in touch to claim your prize.

Long ashes everyone - and stay tuned for more contests in future!

PS If you would like to support CigarInspector.com, feel free to make your Amazon purchases through this link. Thank you!

Ramon Allones Specially Selected Robusto Corto (Regional)

Ramon Allones Specially Selected Robusto Corto (Regional Edition Netherlands)

Ramon AllonesOrigin : Cuba
Format : Petit Robusto
Size : 102 x 20 mm (4 x 50)
Ring : 50
Released in : 2013
Hand-Made
Price : ~9 EUR each
More info about purchasing Ramon Allones cigars...

Ramon Allones is a brand we see quite a lot when it comes to regional releases. On October 25th, 2013, the Netherlands was granted a Petit Robusto called the Specially Selected Robusto Corto. This was a limited edition with just 2,000 slide-lid cabinets produced, each containing 25 stogies. Price is quite reasonable; if you can get your hands on one of these, you’ll pay about 9 EUR per cigar.

I bought my sampler in Amsterdam quite some time ago, let's see what these 14 months in humi did to this smoke.

Read the full review of Ramon Allones Specially Selected Robusto Corto (Regional)...

Amazon $35 Gift Certificate Giveaway

Amazon

As I stated in my best cigar books post, proceeds from sale of books would be given back to one lucky reader in the form of a gift certificate. Here is another one. It is a gift card for $35 that can be redeemed on Amazon.com (doesn't work on .co.uk or .fr).

Just leave a comment on this post to be entered in the draw. The winner will be announced in one week, next Thursday.

17th Annual Habanos Festival Kicks off in Havana

17th Annual Habanos Festival Kicks off in Havana

The 17th Annual Habanos festival kicked off on February 23rd at the Palacio de Convenciones, and will run through the 27th of the month. Participants were welcomed to the event at the historic Almacén del Tabaco y la Madera at the port of Havana. Yesterday gave manufacturers, suppliers, and enthusiasts from around the world an opportunity to network.

Scheduled events for this year’s festival include pairings between Habanos and Chianti wines, lectures on Habanos, and master classes. There will also be contests, including the longest ash competition and the Habanosommelier International Contest. Participants will also be able to tour the plantations of Vuelta Abajo and the historic H. Upmann Habanos and La Corona factories on Tuesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, the 25th Anniversary of la Casa del Habano will be celebrated at the Salón de Protocolo de El Laguito. Finally, the event will conclude with the Gala Evening, when the Montecristo brand will launch its much anticipated 80th Anniversary vitola. Guests will have the opportunity to sample the special vitola during the gala dinner. Finally, awards will be given out and custom humidors will be auctioned off to benefit the Cuban Public Health System.

One of the highlights of this year’s festival is the Taste of Tuscany. This is the pairing event where participants can enjoy the nuanced flavors of Habanos and Chianti wines. Participating vineyards include Pieve De’Pitti, Castello del Trebbio, Azienda Agricola Pugliano, and Chianti Colli Fiorentini. The first two vineyards will provide wines to be tasted with the Montecristo Open Eagle, and the second two will provide wines to be tasted with Le Hoyo San Juan. Latin Grammy winner Descemer Bueno will perform his greatest hits at the tasting event, and renowned Belgian chef Anne Marie Lauwers will provide a delicious fusion of Asian, European, and Cuban cuisine for the guests.

Romeo y Julieta Gran Reserva Wide Churchill

Another key event during the Habanos Festival is the presentation of the new Romeo y Julieta Gran Reserva Wide Churchill vitola. This highly anticipated cigar uses filler, binder and wrapper leaves which have all been aged for five years, handpicked from the Vuelta Abajo region. The notes are mild, well-balanced, and subtly nuanced for delicious aromas and flavors. Only 5,000 numbered boxes are being produced.

With the festival already underway, this is a very exciting time for cigar enthusiasts in Havana and around the world! Are you able to attend the Habanos Festival this year? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!

Whisky Review: Tullibardine Sovereign

Tullibardine Sovereign

In 2013, the Perthshire distillery of Tullibardine announced a re-launch of their single malt whisky range. The re-launch affected both what’s inside the bottles and what’s on them, with a total re-branding and the new tagline, “A drop of pure Highland gold.” The new lines became available in May in the United States. Why the change? According to international sales manager James Robertson, the distillery was starting to feel like they were slipping behind the times.

The principle whisky line produced at the distillery before the re-branding was the Tullibardine Aged Oak, which didn’t include an age statement. Robertson explained the problem with the Aged Oak, which the Sovereign has now replaced: “The previous bottles that were available were good, but there seemed to be little continuity, consumers could not identify with the brand, and the vintage dates confused them … we feel that Sovereign has a more powerful image and one with a meaning.” With the re-branding, the distillery has also raised their prices, stating that they were previously selling their whiskies well below their market value. “I feel that these six new whiskies at last provide Tullibardine with a core range that has an identity,” said Robertson.

So how does this “drop of pure Highland gold” measure up? I decided to put the Tullibardine Sovereign to the test. In the bottle, it certainly looks like gold—the rich warmth of the color is beautiful, and a hopeful hint of what is inside.

Opening the bottle, I feel like someone has just handed me a fresh bouquet. There are some strong floral notes in here, interwoven with honey, peaches, toffee and vanilla. It’s hard to say for sure what the floral notes are, but they are not at all sharp, nicely mellowed out by the vanilla and toffee. On the palate, the Tullibardine Sovereign is very smooth and viscous, perhaps even more so than it appeared in the bottle. I taste some kind of vanilla pastry sweetness, which grows as I hold the liquid on my tongue. Then I pick up orange rind and peaches, together with the distinctive bite of fresh ginger. There seems to be a hint of chocolate in here as well. The finish is quite brief; this one definitely doesn’t linger. The ginger dominates the finish along with some other spices.

While the finish is a bit brief for my liking, the flavors are nice and rich, and the ginger does a nice job balancing out the other elements. I am surprised that the floral notes I detect with my nose don’t really seem to come out on the palate, but it is an enjoyable dram, and I was concerned they’d take over. I particularly enjoy the smooth, viscous texture of the dram; it is almost velvety. While it is not the most amazing scotch whisky I have tried at the price point (around $42), it is still quite good, and I would try it again. The Tullibardine re-branding appears to me to have been a success.

Summary: Tullibardine Sovereign

Colour: Bright gold.

Nose: Strongly floral, together with honey, vanilla, peaches and toffee.

Palate: Vanilla pastry, orange rind, peaches, ginger, chocolate, spices.

Page 4 of 235« First...23456...1020...Last »