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At CigarFriendlyTM.com our first priority is satisfying you--the viewer. Not only do we strive to bring products, events, and establishments to market on this site, but we also want you to use CigarFriendly.com's magazine format as a resource for information. "Ask Dr. Smoke" is our first step towards accomplishing this objective and will feature a series of knowledgeable guest panelists who will respond to cigar related frequently asked questions. The theme of this section will be "everything you always wanted to know about cigars...and more!"
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Cigar Storage
What is the best and proper way to store a cigar?
Are there any alternatives to humidor storage?
How can I store a cigar properly when I travel?
Is there a problem when my cigars develop mold?
Can I tell if a cigar has been properly stored by looking at it or feeling it?

Cutting & Lighting
Is there a best, or proper, way to cut a cigar?
What types of cutting instruments are currently available on the market?
Any suggestions for lighting a cigar?
Do you favor matches over lighters?

Cuban Cigars
Could you please elaborate on what is meant by English Market Selection?
It is proper in Europe for smokers to remove the cigar bands?
Does the color of a cigar wrapper indicate the strength of a cigar?
Who can I contact in Cuba regarding the distribution and marketing of Cuban Cigars?
How can you tell the difference between a genuine Cuban Cigar and a counterfeit?
Is there really a difference?
Am I allowed to bring any Cuban cigars into the United States?
Where are the best countries, outside of Cuba, to purchase Cuban cigars?
What do the factory and date codes signify on the bottom of the Cuban Cigar boxes?
What do Cuban cigars cost in Cuba?
I have a friend going to Cuba. Where are the best places to purchase Cuban Cigars?
I am thinking of ordering cigars via Mail Order. What charges should I expect to pay?
What are the various sizes, history, and flavor characteristics for each Cuban Cigar brand?


Questions?
Our first "Ask Dr. Smoke" guest panelist is Rich Hsiung from Southern California. As background, Rich works as a sales representative for a major medical supply company, enjoys skiing, has been smoking cigars for nearly 8 years, and is a regular contributor to the Alt.Smokers.Cigars internet news group. Rich is also a wine connoisseur and boasts that "I've had the pleasure, or luck, of having tried just about every brand of cigar out there and am continuing to do so with the new emerging brands popping up everyday." With this in mind, let the questions begin:
Cigar Storage

What is the best and proper way to store a cigar?

Regardless of how inexpensive or expensive your cigar is, if you purchase more than a few of which can be smoked in a day or two, you will need to provide your cigars with a proper storage environment. Otherwise, your inexpensive or expensive investment of cigars will be worthless, dry, devoid of pleasure and most likely unsmokeable. The best way to store a cigar is by putting them in any container which is able to maintain a 70 degree temperature and 72% humidity level. The easiest way is of course to purchase a humidor, usually made of wood, which comes with a humidifier device. Most humidifying devices contain some sort of water retaining medium which allows distilled water and a chemical additive to regulate the humidity. A very common brand of humidifier on the market is known as the Credo. Now as to temperature, as long as you have the humidor inside, and not in the direct sun, you'll most likely be fine as most residences and offices are climate controlled. But, of course, the best temperature to keep your cigars at is 70 degrees.

Are there any alternatives to humidor storage?

There are definitely alternatives to actually purchasing an expensive humidor. Even though a well made humidor is the most attractive storage method, it doesn't mean a cigar can't be store in some other type of container, such as tupperware containers, coolers, or any other container that will provide a sealed environment. However, do remember that you will need to purchase or make a humidifying device that will keep your cigars at the right humidity.

How can I store a cigar properly when I travel?

When travelling, you can either use the travel humidors that many tobacco stores sell, or you can use one of the humidor alternatives that was previously discussed. Cigars are real sensitive to heat and loss of moisture, especially on long flights, so be sure they are placed in proper storage containers before travelling.

Is there a problem when my cigars develop mold?

Mold usually grows when there is a lack of air circulating in your humidor. You need to keep humidity at between 70-75% and still have some clean air circulating. As long as the mold is on the surface, your cigars should be fine. You should occasionally rotate your cigars if you are keeping them in the humidor to age.

Can I tell if a cigar has been properly stored by looking at it or feeling it?

A cigar will have a natural sheen and sometimes have a oily look when it's been stored properly. Sometimes a cigar that has been stored in proper conditions will also have a layer of what looks like fine white dust as well; this is also known as bloom. As to the feel of the cigar, a properly stored cigar should give a bit when you lightly squeeze it, and will NOT feel crunchy or dry. However, a cigar should also not be so moist that it feels soggy or is too soft. A cigar that is split, cracking, or sounds like dried leaves when you lightly squeeze it has mostly likely been neglected or not stored properly.

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Cutting & Lighting

Is there a best, or proper, way to cut a cigar?

There are many ways to cut a cigar. I've seen people use everything from a $500 cigar cutter to biting the end off. However, my two favorites are the guillotine cut or a punch made cut created with a bullet style cutter. Both provide clean cuts and both provide ample incisions to allow smoke to draw through the cigar easily. When cutting the cigar, the trick is to cut off enough of the cap without taking the whole thing off, thus keeping the cigar from unraveling. When using the bullet style cutter, you usually won't have this problem. Just remember, it doesn't really matter how your cigar is cut as long as it gets the job done to where you're able to fully enjoy your cigar.

What types of cutting instruments are currently available on the market?

There are currently several different styles of cutters on the market. The first and foremost is the guillotine cutter. These range from the cheap plastic single blade cutters to double blade guillotine cutters that are made in solid gold. Undoubtedly, one of the best performing on the market for the price is the Zino Davidoff guillotine cutter. There are, of course, many other brands, but the Zino cutter has performed splendidly under a variety of conditions. Another favorite of mine is the bullet cutter. It is basically a modified punch style cutter that creates a bullet sized hole at the end of your cigar. This is sometimes less messy than the guillotine cut. Other styles of cutters available are the V cutters which create a V incision at the end of your cigar as well as the traditional cigar scissors. Both work well in their own way but are not as popular today as the first two I mentioned.

Any suggestions for lighting a cigar?

The most important thing in lighting a cigar is that it is lit evenly. Many cigar smokers will debate for hours about the romantic ritual of lighting a cigar; flame not touching the cigar, flame touching the cigar, toasting versus no toasting. Basically, any method you prefer is probably fine provided your cigar gets lit "evenly". When you first start, you may want to toast your cigar a bit, whether it be with a match or lighter. This will sometimes make it easier for the filler on bigger ring gauge cigars to light more evenly. Next, gently puff on your cigar while you hold the flame to the end of the cigar. Be sure to rotate the cigar so the whole end gets lit properly. Next, look at the end. Is it lit all the way around? If not, hold the flame to the parts not lit and puff a few more times. In regards to the flame touching or not touching the cigar, it really is a personal preference. If you think it leaves more of a charred taste when the flame touches, then switch to the no-touch method. If the flame touching the cigar doesn't bother you and it doesn't seem to make much of a difference, stick with it. Just remember, the hottest part of any flame is right above where you can visually see the actual flame. And don't forget, the key to lighting a cigar properly is to make sure it's lit evenly!

Do you favor matches over lighters?

Personally, no. I know many traditional cigar connoisseurs will probably gasp at the notion that people do not only use cedar matches to light their cigars, but seriously speaking, the subtle differences won't make a bit of difference to 99% of the people who smoke cigars. Whether it be lighters, paper matches, or cedar matches, they all serve one purpose; to light your cigar. However, when using fueled lighters like Zippos, let the smell burn off for a couple of seconds before lighting your cigar or you'll be inhaling a mouthful of fumes. Overall, just stick to your personal preference and enjoy your cigar!

Cuban Cigars

Our second "Dr. Smoke" guest panelist is Paresh Patel, owner of Regal Cigars and Tobacco in the United Kingdom. Paresh just returned from Havana (February, 1998) where Cubatabaco just introduced the new line of Trinidad Cigars. Recognized as one of London's leading cigar merchants and an authority and mail order specialist in Cuban Cigars, Paresh hopes to return next year to Havana for the introduction of the Montecristo Robusto, Cohiba Pyramide, and Cuaba Distinguido. (At press time, a photograph of Paresh was not readily available, but he promises to send one shortly).

Could you please elaborate on what is meant by English Market Selection. How is it different from other cigars Cubatabaco ships??

For over a century the words English Market Selection (EMS) have been reserved for cigars of a particular distinction. Cigar boxes carrying this mark are considered to be of the best selection.

It is proper in Europe for smokers to remove the cigar bands? How did this come about and how long has this been in practice?

The cigar band was introduced by the Dutchman, Gustave Bock, during the mid 19th century, one of the first Europeans to get involved in the Cuban cigar industry. He felt the need to distinguish his brand of cigars from all he others. During this time cigar smoking was limited to the very wealthy in the UK. Smokers removed the bands because they did not need to "show off", it was considered to be "bad form". English etiquette also calls for the bands to be removed. However another reason was given by Zino Davidoff himself who felt that "the cigar is even more attractive in its nudity!!" Always remember it is better to remove the band once the cigar has been well lit.

Does the color of a cigar wrapper indicate the strength of a cigar?

There seems to be a misconception that a strength of a cigar is indicated by the color of its wrapper. A dark wrapper is no more an indication of a strong cigar than a pale wrapper is of a mild one. It is, however, the colour of the filler which truly reflects the strength of a cigar. The darker the tobacco, the more body and strength it will have when smoked. At the very most a dark wrapper will contribute to a slight spiciness in taste when the cigar is smoked.

Who can I contact in Cuba regarding the distribution and marketing of Cuban Cigars?

Worldwide Cuban Cigar distribution is handled at Habanos S.A. headquarters in Havana, Cuba. Ana Lopez is the Director of Marketing for Habanos S.A. and she may be reached by telephone at (537) 33 9509 or by fax at (537) 33 8946. In addition to controlling distribution, Habanos S.A. also sponsors a number of annual events, including next year's (1999) millennium event in which the new Montecristo Robusto, Cohiba Pyramide, and Cuaba Distinguido will be introduced and the Habano's Man of the Year Awards will be announced.

How can you tell the difference between a genuine Cuban Cigar and a counterfeit?

There are several ways of telling fake Cuban cigars from real ones, however, as the demand greatly exceeds the supply, the counterfeiters are getting better and better at duplicating the cigar bands, boxes, and labels. They have even gotten the art of creating the government seals and stamps down to a science. The best assurance you will have in obtaining genuine Cuban cigars is to purchase them from an authenticated source, either directly from the Cuban factories themselves or an authorized Habanos dealer such as one of the many Casa Del Habanos.

Is there really a difference? What gives Cuban cigars their unique flavor characteristics?

Yes, there is a difference between Cuban and non-Cuban cigars. Many people will tell you there isn't, but I can not tell a lie. Just as there are differences between Dominican and Honduran tobacco, there is a difference between Cuban tobacco and non-Cuban tobacco. The main difference between the flavors of Cuban cigars and non-Cubans is the richness, complexities, and power. Cigars produced in many of the other countries may have several of the highly sought after features, but usually will not have the whole package. Scientists, tobacco farmers, and cigar makers have all tried to figure out what makes Cuban tobacco different, and they have tried to duplicate the success elsewhere, only to find their results and crops to differ from actual Cuban tobacco. That is not to say that the tobacco from other countries is not good, it is just different. Many people would agree that it is most likely the rich red soil from the Vuelta Abajo which makes Cuban tobacco so unique.

Am I allowed to bring any Cuban cigars into the United States?

No, you are not allowed to bring back Cuban Cigars into the United States. Due to the United State's embargo against Cuba, no one, including visitors from foreign countries can bring Cuban cigars into the United States. Anyone caught with them is subject to a hefty fine as well as jail time. However, to my knowledge, the worst that will usually happen is confiscation of your precious cigars.

Where are the best countries, outside of Cuba, to purchase Cuban cigars?

Without question, Spain is the largest importer of Cuban cigars in the world. It is estimated that Spain imports nearly 65% of the total annual volume put out by Cuba each year. This is not surprising given the strong relationship between the two countries and the fact cigar smoking is embedded in the Spanish culture. In addition, Spain typically has the lowest prices of Cuban cigars, outside of Cuba. The only downside is that the Spanish market only supports certain brands. If you happen to be visiting Spain and are a Bolivar or Hoyo de Monterrey fan, you will probably be disappointed. After Spain, Switzerland and England are probably the next best places to purchase Cuban cigars. Whereas Switzerland has reasonable prices, you will definitely pay more for your Habanos in London due to tax impositions--the upside to this, however, is that London receives some of the finest cigars and brands Cuba produces since the populace is very sophisticated and well educated when it comes to cigar choices.

What do the factory and date codes signify on the bottom of the Cuban Cigar boxes?

On the bottom of the box you will find a Habanos heat stamp. Look closely to make sure it is a heat stamp and not a ink stamp. Below the heat stamp should be an ink stamp (in any color) that will tell you where the cigars were manufactured and when they left the factory. This stamp is referred to as the NIVEL ACUSO. Developed many years ago, this code is actually the Latin term for "you are accused." The following is a description of how the code is used: The ten letters correspond to ten numbers, one thru ten.

N I V E L A C U S O
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

The first two or three letters denote the factory which produced the cigars. Here is a list of the best known factories and the abbreviation used in the Nivel Acuso.

ABBREVIATIONFACTORY NAMEPOPULAR NAME
BMBRIONES MONTOTOROMEO Y JULIETA
HMHEROES DE MONCADANONE
ELEL LAGUITONONE
FRFERNANDEZ ROIGLA CORONA
VSCVILLA SANTA CLARANONE
JMJOSE MARTIH.UPMANN
SSSANCTI SPIRITUSNONE
LPLAZARO PENAEL REY DEL MUNDO
FPGFERNANDO PEREZ GERMANPARTAGAS

The remaining Nivel Acuso characters indicate the month and year the cigar left the factory.

Another useful aspect of the Nivel Acuso is that you can utilize the code to match the brand name to the appropriate factory. For example, if you have a box of H. Upmann Monarchs and the Nivel Acuso shows the box originating from any factory other than Jose Marti, you know you have a problem. Below is a list of the most popular brand names and the factories that typically produce them; this list is 90% accurate, unfortunately there is no definitive list available and there are occasional exceptions.

1997 has seen many changes in the Cuban cigar industry due to the increase in production. This list will be updated regularly.

BRAND NAMEFACTORY
BOLIVARFPG
COHIBAEL & FPG
DIPLOMATICOSJM & FPG
EL REY DEL MUNDOLP
FONSECALP
UPMANNJM
HOYO DE MONTERREYFR
JUAN LOPEZFR
LA FLOR DE CANOLP
LA GLORIA CUBANAFPG
MONTECRISTOHM, JM, SS & VSC
PARTAGASFPG & HM
POR LARRANAGAFR
PUNCHFR
RAFAEL GONZALEZFPG
RAMON ALLONESFPG
ROMEO & JULIETASS
SAN LUIS REYFR
SANCHO PANZAFPG

For additional information on Spotting Fake Cuban Cigars, please be sure to read the comprehensive article prepared by Michael Douglas.

What do Cuban cigars cost in Cuba?

Montecristo#1$85.00
#2$154.00
#4$66.00
#5$45.00
A$375.00
Especiales$105.00
Millennium Robusto $350.00
CohibaLanceros$365.00
Corona Especiales$205.00
Siglo V$365.00
Esplendidos$385.00
Millennium Pyramide$500.00
Romeo y JulietaChurchills$130.00
Churchills (Tubos)$135.00
Coronas$61.00
Cedros$100.00
H UpmannCoronas Major$58.25
Majestics$22.50
Sir Winston Churchills$218.00
PunchPetit Coronations$53.75
Coronas$61.00
Punch$78.00
Churchill$135.00
PartagasPetite Corona$60.00
Charlottes$50.85
Connaisseur #1$94.00
Connaisseur #2$65.00
8-9-8$128.00
Serie D # 4$115.00
La Gloria CubanaMedaille D'Oro #1$79.00
Medaille D'Oro #3$59.57
Medaille D'Oro #4$64.00
Bolivar#1 (Tubos)$98.00
Petit Coronas$60.10
Coronas Junior$41.50
Corona Gigantes$135.00
Hoyo de MonteryDouble Coronas$154.00
Churchills$135.00
CuabaExclusivos$98.00
Vegas RobainaDon Alejandro$180.00
Fonseca#1 $54.00
Rafael GonzalezLonsdales$78.00
TrinidadFundadores (24)$338.00
Ramon AllonesGigantes$154.00
Updated January 2001

I have a friend going to Cuba. Where are the best places to purchase Cuban Cigars?

Without question, you should only purchase Cuban Cigars from factory authorized stores, such as La Casa del Habano, or from gift shops at the reputable hotels. Never purchase cigars from people off the streets, no matter how good the deal sounds. There are two main reasons for this, (1) nine out of ten times the cigars will be counterfeit. The box and seal may look authentic, but the odds are the cigars will be filled with cigar scraps and/or banana leaves and you will be disappointed...trust me; and (2) upon your departure from Cuba, you might be requested by immigration officials to produce a receipt showing that you purchased your cigars from a factory authorized shop. If you cannot produce such a receipt then the cigars will be subject to confiscation. One other suggestion we have for our CigarFriendly.com readers....if your travels take you to or through Havana, please make it a point to visit the El Relicario Cigar Bar which is located on the second level of the Melia Cohiba Hotel. In addition to being a very comfortable and classy cigar bar, you will be able to sample individual cigars to determine which brand is best for you. Most traditional cigar shops in the country only sell full boxes; unless you know exactly what you want, the El Relicario can help you in your decision making process. Finally, when approached by people off the street selling cigars (and you will be), please be polite to them when turning them down. It is due to the United States embargo--not by their choice--that they have been forced to look towards alternative ways to make money.

I am thinking of ordering cigars via Mail Order. What charges should I expect to pay?

There are usually three charges.
  1. The cost of the cigars
  2. The shipping costs
  3. Local taxes and duty.

The first two are simple, the third needs a little explaining. Most countries in the world charge import duties on tobacco. When you order cigars over the internet you may have to pay the taxes and duties relavent to your country.
People who publish prices on the internet cannot incorporate these into their prices since the taxes and duty vary from country to country.

What are the various sizes, history, and flavor characteristics for each Cuban Cigar brand?

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

Montecristo - A Medium to Full Flavour
Introduced in 1935 by the H. Upmann factory, Montecristo appeared first in just five sizes described by numbers not names. The other sizes (for example the "A" and Especiales) were added in the early 1970's. Using a specially graded "ligero" leaf in the filler they created a nuance of flavour, which has delighted the palates of cigar smokers ever since. Sixty years later Montecristo has become the worlds most sought after Havana, a position it retains today.
Montecristo logo

Approximate Length

MONTECRISTO

Pkg.
 Ins
Mms
Ring
Gauge
'A' Polished Box 25's 9 � 235 47
Selection - SBN 50's - - -
Especial-SBN 25's 7 � 192 38
Especial No 2-SBN 25's 6 152 38
Joyitas-SBN 25's 4� 115 26
No. 1 25's 6� 165 42
No. 1 10's 6� 165 42
No. 2 25's 6 1/8 156 52
No. 3 25's 5� 142 42
No. 3 5's 5� 142 42
No. 4 25's 5 129 42
No. 4 5's 5 129 42
No. 5 25's 4 102 40
No. 5 10's 4 102 40
No. 5 5's 4 102 40
In Cedar lined tubes
Tubos 25's 6 155 42
Tubos 10's 6 155 42
Petit Tubos 25's 5 129 42
SBN = Semi Boite Nature

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

Romeo y Julieta - Medium Flavour
Founded by Alvarez y Garcia in 1875, Romeo y Julieta came into its own from 1903 when "Pepin" purchased it, Fernandez Rodriguez. "Pepin" transformed Romeo y Julieta into an international brand. He travelled widely, raced his horse Julieta all over Europe and produced the widest selection of personalised cigar brands for the celebrities of his day.. Romeo y Julieta is a medium flavoured cigar, famous for its consistency.

Romeo y Julieta logo Approximate Length

ROMEO Y JULIETA

Pkg.
 Ins.
Mms.
Ring
Gauge
Prince of Wales / Churchills 25's 7 178 47
Belicosos 25's 5� 142 52
Exhibition No 3 25's 5� 142 46
Coronas 25's 5� 142 42
Coronas 10's 5� 142 42
Coronas 5's 5� 142 42
Exhibition No 4 25's 5 129 48
Petit Coronas 25's 5 129 42
Petit Coronas 5's 5 129 42
Panatelas 25's 4 5/8 117 34
Tres Petit Coronas 25's 4� 114 40
Tres Petit Coronas 5's 4� 114 40
Petit Princes 25's 4 102 40
Petit Julietas 25's 4 102 30
Cabinet Selection
Exhibition No 4 SLB 50's 5 129 48
Cedar Wrapped Cigars
Cedros No. 1 25's 6� 165 42
Cedros No. 2 25's 5� 142 42
Cedros No. 3 25's 5 129 42
In Cedar Lined Tubes
Churchills 25's 7 178 47
Churchills 3's 7 178 47
No. 1 25's 5� 142 45
No. 2 25's 5 129 42
No. 2 5's 5 129 42
No. 3 25's 4� 114 40
SLB = Slide Lid Box

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

Bolivar � Full Flavour
A fine full flavoured Hand-Made Havana cigar available in a wide range of sizes, a cigar to savour when you have time to relax and enjoy the depth and variety of flavours only Havana tobacco can provide. Simon Bolivar, one of the great romantic figures of the 19th century, liberated much of South America from Spanish rule. In 1901, seventy-one years after his death, the Rocha Company in Havana commemorated him on their cigars.

Bolivar logo

Approximate Length

BOLIVAR

Pkg.
 Ins
Mms
Ring
Gauge
Coronas Gigantes 25's 7 178 47
Lonsdales 25's 6 5/8 170 43
Coronas Extra 25's 5 5/8 143 44
Belicosos Finos 25's 5� 140 52
Coronas 25's 5� 142 42
Petit Coronas 25's 5 129 42
Royal Coronas 25's 4 7/8 124 50
Bonitas 25's 4 7/8 126 40
Regentes 25's 4 7/8 125 34
Coronas Junior 25's 4� 110 42
Cabinet Section
Petit Coronas - SLB 50's 5 129 42
In Cedar Lined Tubes
Churchills 25's 7 178 47
Tubos No. 1 25's 5� 142 42
Tubos No. 2 25's 5 129 42
Tubos No. 3 25's 4 7/8 125 34
SLB = Slide Lid Box

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

Punch - Medium Flavour
Don Manuel Lopez of J. Valle & Co. founded Punch in 1840 with the British market in mind where the humorous magazine of the same name was very much in vogue. A contented Mr. Punch, cigar in hand, remains a feature on the labels of each box of these long-appreciated medium strength cigars.

Punch logo Approximate Length

PUNCH

Pkg.
 Ins.
Mms.
Ring
Gauge
Double Coronas 25's 7 5/8 194 49
Churchill - Untubed 25's 7 178 47
Punch - Punch 25's 5 5/8 143 46
Coronas 25's 5� 142 42
Petit Coronas 25's 5 129 42
Margaritas 25's 4� 121 26
Petit Punch 25's 4 102 40
In Cedar Lined Tubes
Churchills 25's 7 178 47
Coronations 25's 5 129 42
Petit Coronations 25's 4� 116 40
Coronets 25's 4� 117 34

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

H. Upmann - Light Flavour
Founded in 1844 by Herman Upmann, a European banker, who fell in love with Havana cigars so deeply that he moved to Cuba and set up as both banker and cigar maker. His bank soon closed but his cigars, each box of which still bears his signature, remain a fine example of an elegant light flavoured Havana.

H Upmann logo Approximate Length

H UPMANN

Pkg.
 Ins.
Mms.
Ring
Gauge
Grand Coronas 25's 5� 146 40
Grand Coronas 5's 5� 146 40
Coronas 25's 5� 142 42
Petit Coronas 25's 5 129 42
Petit Upmann 25's 4� 114 36
Petit Upmann 5's 4� 114 36
Cabinet Selection
Magnum - SLB 25's 5� 143 46
Connoisseurs No.1 - SLB 25's 5 127 48
In Cedar Lined Tubes
Monarchs 25's 7 178 47
Coronas Majors 25's 5 129 42
Coronas Minors 25's 4 5/8 117 40
Coronas Juniors 25's 4� 114 36
Coronas Juniors 3's 4� 114 36
SLB = Slide Lid Box

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

Partagas � Full Flavour
In 1845 Don Jaime Partagas opened his famous factory at Industria 520, in Havana for the first time. His cigars have been made there ever since, except for the period from 1987 to 1990 when it was closed for restoration. His much-respected brand retains its rich blend of tobaccos. The famous Series �D� is probably the most powerful, full-bodied Cuban cigar in the world.

Partagas logo Approximate Length

PARTAGAS

Pkg.
 Ins.
Mms.
Ring
Gauge
Lusitanias 25's 7 5/8 194 49
8-9-8 (Varnished) 25's 6 5/8 170 43
8-9-8 (Unvarnished) 25's 6 155 42
Coronas 25's 5� 142 42
Petit Coronas 25's 5 129 42
Series D No.4 - SBN 25's 4 7/8 124 50
Shorts 25's 4� 110 42
SBN = Semi Boite Nature

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

Ramon Allones - A Full Flavour
Ramon Allones emigrated from Galicia to Cuba and founded his brand in 1837. His blend, which has survived for more than 150 years, includes a predominance of ligero leaf in the filler, which gives a full flavour. He set his mark on the Havana trade by originating the use of colourful lithographs to decorate his boxes, an innovation soon copied by his competitors. Over a century and a half later the robust blend of tobacco preferred by its founder is faithfully maintained.

Ramon Allones logo Approximate Length

RAMON ALLONES

Pkg.
 Ins.
Mms.
Ring
Gauge
Petit Coronas 25's 5 129 42
Allones Specially Selected 25's 4 7/8 124 50
Ramononitas 25's 4 7/8 124 26
Small Club Coronas 25's 4 3/8 111 42

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

Quintero - Flavour: Light.
In the mid - 1920s Augustin Quintero opened a small factory in Cienfuegos near the Remedios tobacco region. The reputation of his cigars enabled him to found in 1940 the Quintero y Hno company in La Habana together with his eldest brother. Its delicate blend of Vuelta Abajo tobaccos makes it the ideal brand for those who wish to enter the world of Havanas.

Quintero logo Approximate Length

QUINTERO

(hand finished)

Pkg.
 Ins.
Mms.
Ring
Gauge
Tubulares - TR 10's 5 127 36
TR = Transit Pack

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

Hoyo De Monterrey � Medium to Full Flavour
A premium quality Hand-Made Havana cigar with a fragrant aroma and a delightful taste. In the Vuelta Abajo village of San Juan y Martinez there stands a plantation gate inscribed "Hoyo de Monterrey. Jose Gener. 1860", which reveals that Sr. Gener grew tobacco before founding his brand in 1865. The "Le Hoyo" series was introduced in the 1970's in response to Swiss demands for a richer tasting cabinet range.

Hoyo de Monterrey logo Approximate Length

HOYO DE MONTERREY

Pkg. Ins. Mms. Ring
Gauge
Double Coronas 25's 7 5/8 194 49
Churchills 25's 7 178 47
Coronas 25's 5� 142 42
Short Coronas 25's 5 129 42
Margaritas 25's 4� 121 26
CABINET SELECTION
Epicures No. 1 - SLB 25's 5 5/8 143 46
Epicures No. 1 - SLB 50's 5 5/8 143 46
Epicures No. 2 - SLB 25's 4 7/8 124 50
Epicures No. 2 - SLB 50's 4 7/8 124 50
LE HOYO SERIES
Du Gourmet - SLB 25's 6 5/8 170 33
Du Dieux - SLB 25's 6 152 42
Du Dauphin - SLB 25's 6 152 38
Du Roi - SLB 25's 5� 142 42
Du Prince- SLB 25's 5 130 40
Du Depute - SLB 25's 4� 110 38
Du Maire - SLB 25's 3 7/8 100 30
SLB = Slide Lid Box

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

El Rey del Mundo - Light to Medium Flavour
"The King of the World". In 1882 the Antonio Allones factory launched a new brand of premium quality and price. With great confidence but little modesty they named it "The King of the World". It succeeded and soon the company was renamed The El Rey del Mundo Cigar Co. A lighter tobacco blend remains its hallmark.

El Rey del Mundo Logo Approximate Length

EL REY DEL MUNDO

Pkg.
 Ins.
Mms.
Ring
Gauge
Elegantes 25's 6 7/8 175 28
Lonsdales 25's 6 3/8 165 42
Choix Supreme 25's 5 127 48
Petit Coronas 25's 5 129 42
Tres Petit Coronas 25's 4� 116 40
Demi-Tasse 25's 3 7/8 100 30

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

Rafael Gonzalez - Light to Medium Flavour
It is said that the advice inscribed on each Rafael Gonzalez box that the cigars "should be smoked within one month of shipment or should be carefully matured for about one year" was written in his own hand by an English importer of the 1930's. Certainly the brand's delicate flavour is ideally suited to the discerning palate.

rafael.jpg (9872 bytes) Approximate Length

RAFAEL GONZALEZ

Pkg.
 Ins.
Mms.
Ring
Gauge
Lonsdales
(Vitola "B")
25's 6 3/8 165 42
Petit Coronas
(Vitola "C")
25's 5 129 42
Tres Petit Lonsdales
(Vitola "H")
25's 4� 116 40
Coronas Extra 25's 5 5/8 143 46

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

Cuaba � Medium to Full Flavour
The Habanos Corporation introduced the Cuaba brand to the world in 1996. What's unique about Cuaba is that it's the only Havana brand made entirely in the figurado shape today. Gradually, this century, the "parajo" or straight-sided cigars became more fashionable so that by the 1930's the "figurados" had all but disappeared. Pointed at both ends and bulbous in the middle, figurados were the cigars that first earned Havanas their worldwide renown at the end of the 19th Century.

cuaba logo Approximate Length

CUABA

Pkg.
 Ins.
Mms.
Ring
Gauge
Exclusivos 25's 5 5/8 145 46
Generosos 25's 5 1/8 132 41
Tradicionales 25's 4 3/4 120 41
Divinos 25's 4 101 42

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

Sancho Panza - Light Flavour
Sancho Panza, the Havana brand named after Don Quixote's faithful manservant in Cervantes' famous novel, is now back on the list of brands imported to the UK. Sancho Panza, offers both an abundance of flavour and an elegant style.

sancho.gif (11483 bytes) Approximate Length

SANCHO PANZA

Pkg.
 Ins.
Mms.
Ring
Gauge
Sanchos 10's 9� 235 47
Coronas Gigantes 10's 7 178 47
Molinos 25's 6� 165 42
Belicosos 25's 5 140 52
Non Plus 25's 5 129 42

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

Vegas Robaina � Medium to Full Flavour
This brand was introduced to Spain in 1997 and is now available here in the UK.

robaina.gif (11850 bytes)

Approximate Length

VEGAS ROBAINA

Pkg.
 Ins.
Mms.
Ring
Gauge
Don Alejandros 25's 7 5/8 194 49
Classicos 25's 6 1/2 165 42
Unicos 25's 6 1/8 156 52
Familiares 25's 5 1/2 142 42
Famosos 25's 5 129 48

 Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

Jose L. Piedra � Medium Flavour
The Habanos Corporation introduced the Jose L. Piedra brand to the UK. in 1998. They are rolled in the country towns of Cuba from tobacco's grown in the province of Pinar del Rio. They have been local favourites for generations. They are fresh, green and a little rough looking. All the cigars are banded and packaged in cellophane bundles.

  Approximate Length

JOSE L. PIEDRA

Pkg.
 Ins.
Mms.
Ring
Gauge
Cazadores 25's 6 152 43
Conservas 25's 5 1/2 142 44
Nacionales 25's 5 1/4 134 42

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

San Luis Rey � Medium Flavour
The San Luis Rey is the only Cuban cigar not imported by Hunter & Frankau of London therefore the brand does not carry the EMS label. If you do aquire a box of these fine cigars from another suplier which has the EMS label it will be a fake!

san.gif (16337 bytes) Approximate Length

SAN LUIS REY

Pkg.
 Ins.
Mms.
Ring
Gauge
Churchill 25's 7 178 47
Churchill 50's 7 178 47
Lonsdales 25's 6 1/2 158 42
Lonsdales 50's 6 1/2 158 42
Regios 25's 4 7/8 124 48
Regios 50's 4 7/8 124 48
Serie 'A' 25's 5 5/8 143 46
Serie 'A' 50's 5 5/8 143 46
Corona 25's 5 1/2 142 42
Petit Corona 25's 5 129 42
Petit Corona 50's 5 129 42

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba

Cohiba � Full Flavour
Cohiba was created in 1968 as Havana's premier cigar for diplomatic use only. A unique blend, its distribution is tightly controlled to this day. From 1982 it was offered to the public in three sizes: Lanceros, Coronas Especiales and Panatelas. Three more sizes Esplendidos, Robustos and Exquisitos were added in 1989 to complete La Linea Classica. Then in 1992 the five sizes of La Linea 1492 were announced: Siglo I, II, III, IV and V.

Approximate Length

COHIBA

Pkg.
 Ins.
Mms.
Ring
Gauge
LA LINEA CLASICA
Esplendidos - Varnished SBN 25's 7 178 47
Lanceros - Varnished Box 25's 7� 192 38
Lanceros 5 7� 192 38
Coronas Especiales - Varnished Box 25's 6 152 38
Coronas Especiales 5's 6 152 38
Panetelas - Varnished Box 25's 4� 115 26
Panetelas 5's 4� 115 26
Robustos - Varnished SLB 25's 4 7/8 124 50
Exquisitos - Varnished SBN 25's 5 125 36
LA LINEA 1492
Siglo I Varnished SLB 25's 4 102 40
Siglo II Varnished SLB 25's 5 129 42
Siglo III Varnished SLB 25's 6 1/8 155 42
Siglo IV Varnished SLB 25's 5 5/8 143 46
Siglo V Varnished SLB 25's 6 5/8 170 43
SLB = Slide Lid Box
SBN = Semi Boite Nature

Montecristo Romeo y Julieta Bolivar Punch H Upmann Partagas Ramon Allones Quintero Hoyo de Monterrey
El Rey del Mundo Rafael Gonzalez Cuaba Sancho Panza Vegas Robaina Jose L. Piedra San Luis Rey& Cohiba




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