Cuban cigars still hold a reputation, they were the first cigars to become popular. Cuba was the largest producer and many brands have a legacy that is not rivalled by any other cigar brand. But nowadays more cigars come from Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and even Honduras than from Cuba, and where the quality in Cuba dropped due to several reasons, the quality in other countries went up. The best Nicaraguan, Dominican and Honduran cigars are better than the best Cuban cigars nowadays, often for a fraction of the price you pay for Cubans after the price hikes of the last years.
Yet there are reasons to keep smoking Cuban cigars and we listed a few…
1 – Unique Flavours
Cigars are a product of nature, and a product where climate and soil play a large part in the flavour profile. It is just like wines or fruit. A Cabernet Sauvignon from France tastes different than a Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile. An orange from Florida tastes different than an orange from Spain, even if it’s the same variety. And that goes for tobacco as well. That typical flavour you get from Cuban tobacco cannot be replicated in other countries. Since Cubatabaco has the monopoly on Cuban tobacco, and cigar companies from other countries can’t get their hands on this, it is impossible to get that specific flavour in a non-Cuban cigar. Some blends come close, but it will never be exactly the same. If you are a fan of that Cuban flavour, you will always return to a Cuban cigar.
2 – Status
When you’re smoking a cigar, novice smokers or non-smokers will often come up to you and ask “is that a real Cuban?”. If you can say “yes, it is a real Cuban” it automatically gives the wow factor. Especially when it’s a Cohiba, a brand that even people that hate cigars know. Cubans still have a reputation and a status, like Scotch whisky is of a higher prestige than Irish whiskey, even though Ireland makes some amazing whiskies too.
3 – Nostalgia & Legacy
The whole cigar industry started with Cuban cigars, and some of the Cuban brands go back to the 1800s. Brands such as Por Larrañaga (est 1834), Punch (est 1840), H. Upmann (1844), Partagas (1845) and Romeo y Julieta (1875) each have over 150 years of legacy. There aren’t any non-Cuban brands, except of J.C. Newman, that have that that kind of legacy.
4 – If They Are On, They Are On
There are many problems with Cuban cigars, from a bad draw to under fermented tobacco. Or they are still to fresh and not yet out of their sick period (the period where the cigars sweat out the ammonia), but if you get a well-aged Cuban cigar with perfect draw where everything is perfect, then you’re in for a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, not all Cuban cigars are ‘on’, not even when they have a good construction, but when the stars align, there is nothing comparable.
5 – Supporting A Struggling Country
Now this might be a controversial reason, but with every Cuban cigar you buy, you are directly contributing to the Cuban economy. The cigar industry in Cuban is nationalized, which means that the government owns the cigar factories, the brands and most of the tobacco farms. There are independent farms, but they are only allowed to sell their crops to the Cuban government. Cuba is a very poor country, economically speaking, the culture is very rich though, but money-wise Cuba is struggling. Tobacco is one of the largest, or maybe even the largest, export product of Cuba and it funds a big part of the Cuban economy. It also provides employment to thousands and thousands of people, either on tobacco farms, in the tobacco cultivating and in the cigar factories itself. Without this stream of income, Cuba would suffer even more and that would directly impact a lot of Cuban families. More than in other cigar producing countries.