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Why Cuba lost the touch
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Picture of Ole
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quote:

maybe they can go back to using donkey manure as fertilizer for the tobacco fields. i'm sure that would get some spicy notes back into the cigars.


I posted these pictures with you in mind, orange walk!

http://www.barogcigar.no/archives/1503

I want to send you a donkey manure cigar!
Mail me your address. I guarantee you a far better cigar than Cohiba 1966.
Deal?
If it's the best cigar you smoked in your life, I will ask for a cigar in return.
The no. 1 rated Cigar by CA. Can't find them over here.
Deal?

2 weeks ago I went to this ecological farmer to inspect his soil, seeds, wrappers and to get confirmed the rumours of him planting beans for 4 months every year in his tobacco fields.

As a present I brought him a 5 year old rhum. Coming from Norway, in return I got 4 outstanding donkey manure cigars. I smoked one in Cuba and one in the bar yesterday. Phenomenal delicate spices outperforming the one Cohiba 1966 I smoked. So good I woke up this morning with some of the spices on my palate. I decided to give away the two remaining cigars!

One cigar is reserved for Pyramidsam if he comes to Oslo in 2013!
The last cigar I offer to you.
 
Posts: 461 | Location: Oslo | Registered: November 05, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Ole
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Did Davidoff leave Habanos because Cuba lost the touch?

From Wikipedia:
"Apparently after numerous disputes over quality and ownership rights over the brand, Zino Davidoff and Cubatabaco decided to end their relationship. Leading up to this, in August 1989 Zino had publicly burned over one hundred thousand of his cigars that he had deemed of low quality and unfit to sell."

Former Habanos (Cubatabaco) chief Francisco Padron, who left to pursue an academic career, has got another version of what happened back in the days. I believe in his version:

When Davidoff made the PR stunt burning all their cuban cigars, it was not a matter of quality at all. It was a commercial disagreement.

Padron was reshaping their international strategy. Cuba wanted to have 51% ownership in the national companies importing their cigars. Clever strategy.

At this time Davidoff successfully expanded their business into areas outside of cigar business. Cuba claimed the Davidoff success was mainly built on their cuban cigar image and wanted a piece of the action.

Padron and Zino never came to an agreement and decided to separate.

Fidel later replaced Padron with Fransisco Linares. James Suckling wrote back in 1995 that Linares knew his cigars.
http://www.cigaraficionado.com...eatures/show/id/6124

I am not so sure.
Linares was no cigar aficionado. He was a good communist and a union man.
James Suckling about Linares' plan to substantially increase the level of production:
"He (Linares) is determined that these increases will not mean a decline in quality."

We have an idea of what happened:
Soviet Union went down with no capacity to finance the failing communistic ideas. Fidel went to Linares requesting doubling exports of cigars. Linares was not in capacity to foresee the quality problems and diseases building up. As part of the repair strategies, the exciting Corojo plants were replaced by cigarette based Habanos 2000 seeds. Strong and resistant plants with much less flavour.


I have never seen a Habanos executive smoking his cigar all the way down. However, Padron is a cigar smoker. Padron speaks fluent english; very easy to communicate with. As opposed to many of the people of Habanos SA who are not able to contribute at all regarding why Cuba lost the touch. The Habanos people are cigarette smokers or non-smokers, very few are cigar aficionados.

I brought the most spicy cigar I know of; Rafael Gonzales Lonsdale of mid 90's to illustrate my point of view.

However, I never found a Habanos official worthy of sharing this cigar. I brought the cigar back to Norway. Some day it will be smoked by somebody else. May be it will go to one of the present generation of cigar aficionados who is limited to smoking cubans of today. To an aficionado who never had the opportunity to experience the most complex cigar (ever?)
 
Posts: 461 | Location: Oslo | Registered: November 05, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of pyramidsam
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The sad part is the cigars they replaced are overpriced and overrated.

quote:
Originally posted by Ole:
Did Davidoff leave Habanos because Cuba lost the touch?

From Wikipedia:
"Apparently after numerous disputes over quality and ownership rights over the brand, Zino Davidoff and Cubatabaco decided to end their relationship. Leading up to this, in August 1989 Zino had publicly burned over one hundred thousand of his cigars that he had deemed of low quality and unfit to sell."

Former Habanos (Cubatabaco) chief Francisco Padron, who left to pursue an academic career, has got another version of what happened back in the days. I believe in his version:

When Davidoff made the PR stunt burning all their cuban cigars, it was not a matter of quality at all. It was a commercial disagreement.

Padron was reshaping their international strategy. Cuba wanted to have 51% ownership in the national companies importing their cigars. Clever strategy.

At this time Davidoff successfully expanded their business into areas outside of cigar business. Cuba claimed the Davidoff success was mainly built on their cuban cigar image and wanted a piece of the action.

Padron and Zino never came to an agreement and decided to separate.

Fidel later replaced Padron with Fransisco Linares. James Suckling wrote back in 1995 that Linares knew his cigars.
http://www.cigaraficionado.com...eatures/show/id/6124

I am not so sure.
Linares was no cigar aficionado. He was a good communist and a union man.
James Suckling about Linares' plan to substantially increase the level of production:
"He (Linares) is determined that these increases will not mean a decline in quality."

We have an idea of what happened:
Soviet Union went down with no capacity to finance the failing communistic ideas. Fidel went to Linares requesting doubling exports of cigars. Linares was not in capacity to foresee the quality problems and diseases building up. As part of the repair strategies, the exciting Corojo plants were replaced by cigarette based Habanos 2000 seeds. Strong and resistant plants with much less flavour.


I have never seen a Habanos executive smoking his cigar all the way down. However, Padron is a cigar smoker. Padron speaks fluent english; very easy to communicate with. As opposed to many of the people of Habanos SA who are not able to contribute at all regarding why Cuba lost the touch. The Habanos people are cigarette smokers or non-smokers, very few are cigar aficionados.

I brought the most spicy cigar I know of; Rafael Gonzales Lonsdale of mid 90's to illustrate my point of view.

However, I never found a Habanos official worthy of sharing this cigar. I brought the cigar back to Norway. Some day it will be smoked by somebody else. May be it will go to one of the present generation of cigar aficionados who is limited to smoking cubans of today. To an aficionado who never had the opportunity to experience the most complex cigar (ever?)


To smoke or not to smoke, that's the question.
 
Posts: 1307 | Registered: June 16, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Ole:

I want to send you a donkey manure cigar!
Mail me your address. I guarantee you a far better cigar than Cohiba 1966.
Deal?
If it's the best cigar you smoked in your life, I will ask for a cigar in return.
The no. 1 rated Cigar by CA. Can't find them over here.
Deal?


just saw this. serious? lol.

i'll send you a pm
 
Posts: 725 | Location: farm country | Registered: February 27, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of AnRyan
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quote:
Originally posted by Ole:
When Davidoff made the PR stunt burning all their cuban cigars, it was not a matter of quality at all. It was a commercial disagreement


Obviously the most poorly documented or photographed PR stunt of all time. Not very 'Davidoff'.



"If it was raining soup, the Irish would go out with forks."
Brendan Behan
 
Posts: 2590 | Location: Dublin | Registered: November 29, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Ole
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Fransisco Linares should of course not have all the blame for the problems associated with doubling the cigar production in Cuba.
Fidel had no choice himself. When the Soviets were unable to finance his failing political system, Fidel had to do something in order to feed his people earning a dollar a day. Hard currency he could get from tourism, sugar, nickel and cigars. Cuba was not able to meet the demand for cigars in the mid 90's so why shouldn't they double the production?

Linares, a union man, was of course operating under extremely bad circumstances. No petrol, no money to buy fertilizer, a difficult situation.
http://www.barogcigar.no/wordp...ost=1520&action=edit
At least I have to thank Linares for his signature! On the 24 carat ash tray we got at the lengendary 30th anniversary of Cohiba. Linares was of course present. A fantastic night at Tropicana where we got the legendary Cohiba double robusto James Suckling gave 100 points. A night full of surprises. Some of us had heard rumours that Fidel himself would show up that night. And before midnight he did! A great moment for me and the americans at my table. Standing ovations of course for the big cigar smoker of the past. His speech in spanish we did not understand but still we were able enjoy our cigars and the rhum. And because of my nada spanish I actually got a personal signature from El Commandante!

Back to the topic; we will never experience the spices of that 100 point double robusto again.
Those leaves were coming from plants belonging to history. However, we do still have a potential ahead of us. That i.e. Behike 52 is proof of.

1. Like with wines and cognac, I want cuban cigars with known origin! Primarily I want to know specifically which vegas the cigars are coming from. This is not going to happen of course before they get rid of their political system. May be Cuba can inform us which town the leaves are coming from? Is it too much to ask in the normal world? Would we accept to be informed that "this cognac is 100% made in France"?
I want cigars from San Luis plantations!

2. I will pay more attention to the vintage in the future. The leaves the vegueros picked in 2011 are as good as they can get with the current types of seeds. Try the current El Credito, local cigars you can buy in Havana for 20 cents! A straight forward poorly rolled cigar for the local market. However, the taste is very good for these 2011 leaves! El Credito is a proof of a great year. I look forward to test that vintage coming out in the market later this year.
Don't buy a new car this year. Buy cigars.
 
Posts: 461 | Location: Oslo | Registered: November 05, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Very interesting thread! One of the better reads on here as of late! OP Thanks!


Due to recent budget cuts and the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil....... the Light at the End of the Tunnel has been turned off. We apologize for the inconvenience.
 
Posts: 1227 | Registered: February 27, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of JB-07
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I'm still pretty amazed on the consistency of marca blends. Each vitola varies enough to keep them interesting still, which I think is an accomplishment. The difference between a Bolivar and a Montecristo is as great as the difference between an Opus X and a Padron 1926. Very different cigars, except one comparison is between cigars of completely different locales, one isn't.

As far as strength, I'm not complaining. For example, the BBF and Monte 2 are plenty strong for me, while not numbing your tongue and turning your stomach. Something that can't be said for most "super premium" NC cigars. I get a faceful of spice from a BBF, while still being able to discern the fantastic flavors, and without having to put up with an acrid aftertaste for hours.

I'll keep going back for more, but one thing I will complain about is the box to box consistency. I'm never sure that the next box will equal a current good one. I never worry about that with Padron Annys. And I don't buy boxes of those, so even more of a variation of origin.

I'm not sure you can complain much about the construction of CCs today. I wouldn't say that they are as consistent as super premium NCs, but they are obviously good enough for many to prefer the former over the latter.

I however, have never experienced a pre-millenium CC. I have nothing to compare the current production to, but I am also pretty impressed with what is coming out of Cuba, vs elsewhere. Excuse the inexperience, but what other cigars can you reference that had the "spicy character" that you describe? Was it really that widespread, or was it only a few marcas or vitolas that had that character?


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Posts: 3475 | Registered: December 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Very well said, JB


Live your truth......
 
Posts: 131 | Location: United States | Registered: September 30, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:

I however, have never experienced a pre-millenium CC. I have nothing to compare the current production to, but I am also pretty impressed with what is coming out of Cuba, vs elsewhere. Excuse the inexperience, but what other cigars can you reference that had the "spicy character" that you describe? Was it really that widespread, or was it only a few marcas or vitolas that had that character?


Thank you.
I made a response with you in mind here:
http://forums.cigaraficionado....9426054/m/2897032932
Short version: The plants of the past are replaced with different tobacco plants in family with the cigarette tobacco called Bell 61-10.
This applies to all cuban brands; the old seeds are gone.
And yes, I agree the construction of cuban cigars of today are better than in the bad years. Still not very impressed; too many singles I bought in Cuba last month were poorly rolled.

Don't worry that some of us smoked the 90's cuban cigars. Myself I never got to smoke the cuban Davidoffs of the 80's. Irritating? No. Still I permit myself reflecting over why the previous cigars were more exciting. I even permit myself to bring some of these old cigars to Cuba to show and smoke together with the old rollers.

Enjoy your favourite cigars while being openminded. Myself I want to learn where the good tobacco of 2011 from the good regions will end up. I want to keep an eye on what brand will be rolled in the factory in the city of Pinar del Rio!
 
Posts: 461 | Location: Oslo | Registered: November 05, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of JB-07
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Short version: The plants of the past are replaced with different tobacco plants in family with the cigarette tobacco called Bell 61-10.
This applies to all cuban brands; the old seeds are gone.



I was asking about your personal experience.


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"The future is no place to place your better days"
 
Posts: 3475 | Registered: December 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Curious to know the extent of your experience with mid 90s cuban cigars.


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Posts: 3475 | Registered: December 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for your interest.
In total we are talking about several hundred boxes. Small cigars like Fonseca Cosacos, Monte 4, Hoyo coronation, Partagas Super, Ramon Allones, St Louis Rey, Bolivar, Rafael Gonzales and El Rey del Mundo petits; the small R&J I never fell in love with.

Mid size: Ramon Allones robusto, Rafael Gonzales Lonsdale which I concidered the most complex spiced cigar, El Rey del Mundo Grandes de Espana- that I concidered to be the dryest (seco) cuban cigar; these were two good examples of cigars from small brands with specific identity from cigar to cigar, from box to box, from year to year -until Habanos2000 killed the identity of cuban cigars.
The delicate Cohiba Corona Especial: I actually found some of the initial spices when I smoked a 2006 last month in Havana! In the Caracol shop next to Hotel Parque Central I was also happy to recognize the old taste of a cigar (2003, out of production?) with the best name ever: Partagas Partagas de Partagas no. 1!
Then, the big corona of Rafael Gonzales and Epicure no. 2 were excellent while Epicure no.1 never became "mine". Same with Partagas 898. These two cigars were never finger burners! Partagas D4, the best evidence of the downturn of the spicy cubans, was nicely balanced and sufficiently complex but too mild for the experienced (heavy..) smokers. Oh yea, Cohiba Robustos were great!
However, the popular Punch Punch never impressed me. I think it was popular among americans because it was quite mild? The Robaina torpedo was very impressive when it came out (1997ish) but became just another boring cigar. Like most of the rest. No wonder old Robaina soon became unhappy with the cigars carrying his name.

In general, I prefer some sizes to others. Panatelas are too thin, the lonsdales, corona gordas and torpedos are rarely fingerburners. Yes, remember lovely Monte 1's! Talking about esthetics; I rarely do, I like Laguito #1 (Lancero size, enjoyed Vegueros and Montecristo as well), torpedo and gigantes.

When it comes to big cigars: Monte A, Hoyo DC, a fantastic Bolivar Churchill in tubos, the same from R&J, Sir Winston of Upman. Sancho Panza I never picked. Cuaba: Smoked three in my life. Esplendido was an excellent cigar of course, but I always recommended my customers "a better cigar at a lower price". Like a dark oily Hoyo Churchill with wrappers definitely coming from the legendary El Corojo that was taken by disease. And I shouldn't forget the cabinet of 50 Lanceros I got from the ambassador after shipping two tons of old computers to a cuban ministry! R&J Prince of Wales churchills: Very harmonic but lacking some edge.
Oh my God, Partagas Lousitania...

Imagine, these cigars we could all do in blind tests! Did Cuba lose their touch or what.. They messed up big time.
 
Posts: 461 | Location: Oslo | Registered: November 05, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Imagine, these cigars we could all do in blind tests! Did Cuba lose their touch or what.. They messed up big time.


so Ole, i gather you no longer smoke Cuban cigars, and have shifted to Dominicans or Nicaraguan cigars?
 
Posts: 725 | Location: farm country | Registered: February 27, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hah!
You got me!
Thanks for your nice mail by the way!
 
Posts: 461 | Location: Oslo | Registered: November 05, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of JB-07
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Wow all doom and gloom.


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Posts: 3475 | Registered: December 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I had this Hoyo today
http://www.barogcigar.no/wordp...ds/2013/02/Epi-2.jpg
mind you, three days without a cigar! Which doesn't happen many times a year!
I decided to try the robusto which is the favourite of three of you in the "robustos-ready-to-go" thread.
Nice looking, nice draw, harmonic cigar.

However, this E#2 is nothing but leaves rolled together into a smoke. Tastes plain tobacco, half-way through there was not a hint of those spices I am looking for. The reason I smoke cuban cigars.
The complex delicate spices, may be hard to define but offer your palate that great experience.

Habanos people, may you please put a fraction of a tasty leaf into these expensive cigars? Letting us have a hint of the spices of the past? Are you able to? I am not so sure.
Epicure no.2. A legendary cigar. Today most of them is nothing but plain tobacco! In two of the 4 cigars I had last 6 months there were no spices at all. Another guy just finishing a box of these, he put it this way: No reason to buy Epicure #2 again!

Before jumping on me guys, I hope the three of you E#2 fans have been smoking better samples than I have. I realize there are variations. However, if you smoked my samples, I am sure you would conclude like me. I am also sure, if you smoked one of the old E#2's you would use stronger words than I do!


Let us do some hypothetical thinking.
Is Habanos producing half a million a year of this popular cigar? A Robaina size plantation produces 60.000 cigar plants a year. Further, let us assume the E#2 consists of leaves from 2009 and 2010 coming from 3 or 4 different plantations.
If only 25% of the current E2's taste according to my unacceptable tasteless smokes, ought the Habanos cigar designers pay attention to such a negative product development?

-"Every June, the head executives from Cuba's Habanos S.A. sit down with their distributors from around the world to create new cigars."
http://www.cigaraficionado.com...atures/show/id/15887

Habanos people reading this, you used to have 9 out of 10 cigars on the best-of lists. Now you have 50% or less. What about tomorrow, Nicaragua & Honduras develop cigars with taste. Will you pursue your risky less-taste road further or is it time to reconsider your strategy?
The drawing-machine and an-extra-band strategy?
By the way, why should you charge higher price for less taste? Because you finally got rid of plugged cigars?
 
Posts: 461 | Location: Oslo | Registered: November 05, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ole, your posts are very passionate and they almost make me sad. You sound like the Sushi Master chefs of Japan who pine after the old days when Blue Fin tuna were double the size and plentiful.

Have you considered trying something smaller, like a Partagas Short, Bolivar Petite Corona or a Trinidad Reyes? If you don't get spice off of those then I'm afraid you might need to dip your cigars in Sriacha before you smoke them.


"I am an artist,
Pain is my paint,
You are my canvas!"
 
Posts: 310 | Location: Edmonton, Alberta | Registered: January 10, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Shlomo
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Not everybody likes spice in a cigar. Maybe HSA has just catered to what the masses want?


Proud member of the International Brotherhood of people who contributed nothing but wasted their whole lifetime grumbling and criticizing on things they do not remotely understand.
 
Posts: 9078 | Location: Montreal, QC, Canada | Registered: February 18, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Not sure why you would pick a Hoyo de Monterrey and then try to compare it to "spicy" old cubans. There are reviews of mid 90's Hoyos.. similar mild profile.


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Posts: 3475 | Registered: December 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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