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James Suckling archive

February 2009

Reserved Cigars

Posted: Feb 27, 2009 1:34pm ET

I had the chance to unofficially smoke the Cohiba Gran Reserva last night during a private dinner at La Guarida restaurant in Centro Havana, and I almost fell out of my chair. I was really blown away by the richness and power of the smoke.

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My or Your Habano?

Posted: Feb 26, 2009 3:53pm ET

I might have found my new cigar for this year: Trinidad Robusto T. What an awesome smoke. I love the rich and spicy character with a fresh, clean and floral undertone. It has all the Trinidad style that I like and more.

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Young Is Beautiful

Posted: Feb 25, 2009 4:51pm ET

I am not sure what people learned yesterday in a cigar tasting of new production 8-9-8 Partagas versus 8-9-8 Partagas from 1998. The 10-year-old cigar was smoked first during the tasting in a back room of the Partagas Factory in downtown Havana, across from the capital building that is a twin to our own in Washington D.

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Montecristo Open and Habanos Surrealism

Posted: Feb 24, 2009 11:47am ET

It was sort of surreal last night sitting in the Karl Marx Theater in Havana and watching a presentation for the line extension of Montecristo –Open– during the XI Festival Habano. Images of pristine golf courses, sleek yachts and powerful motor racing machines were mixed with polo tournaments, tennis matches, international regattas, and Grand Prix races to the background music of Coldplay and a number of other popular rock bands.

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Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

Posted: Feb 23, 2009 4:56pm ET

I just finished lunch at El Aljibe restaurant in Havana, and I noticed a table of a dozen or so dudes wearing various U.S. baseball uniforms, from the Dodgers to the White Sox. They looked like they were having a great time.

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Let the Festivities Begin

Posted: Feb 22, 2009 6:32pm ET

I went over to the Nacional Hotel this morning to pick up my registration for the XI Festival del Habano. José Antonio Candida from Habanos S.A., the organizer of the event and the global distribution and marketing company for Cuban cigars, had my package in hand with a Bolivar Royal Corona in tubo.

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Conference Calls and Regional Cigars

Posted: Feb 20, 2009 2:23pm ET

A friend just about had a heart attack this morning. He had what he called a “global conference call” connected to “eight countries” for a “huge business deal,” but, unfortunately, his mobile phone from Cubacell ran out of credit halfway through the conversation.

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Thoughts on Cuba

Posted: Feb 19, 2009 1:00pm ET

I was in Aljibe, the famous chicken, rice and bean joint in Havana last night, and ran into a couple of Americans who were on a fact-finding mission. I am not sure what they were looking for, but it was a little of the ugly American and it wasn’t pretty.

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Cuban Trips

Posted: Feb 18, 2009 2:02pm ET

My back is still in pain. If I move the wrong way, I have a sharp pain spike through my lower back. Maybe I should try some Santiago 11-year-old rum? The Bolivar Belicoso did not remedy the situation, but it sure was a lovely smoke.

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The Cigar Brotherhood

Posted: Feb 17, 2009 4:22pm ET

I have been hanging tight in my friend’s apartment in La Habana thanks to a pinched nerve in my lower back. It happened on Sunday night. I will not go into the details. But it hurts “ como un desesperante.

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Cigars, Cigars Everywhere

Posted: Feb 17, 2009 9:17am ET

A lot of important people are talking about changes in travel restrictions between the United States and Cuba. I have even heard that some representatives from the states were here in Havana last week discussing the ramifications of Americans legally visiting the island with the Cuban government.

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Chucho and La Bomba

Posted: Feb 13, 2009 4:09pm ET

I went to a Chucho Valdez concert last night with my son Jack, who is taking lessons with a jazz pianist who plays for Buena Vista Social Club. Jack is really enjoying it and digging on the whole music scene here in Cuba.

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El Futuro

Posted: Feb 12, 2009 9:09am ET

I ran into a fan in the Iberostar Hotel lobby as I was waiting to get picked up by a friend to go out for the day in a boat around Varadero. I think he was Canadian, if I properly picked up his accent.

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Vamos a Varadero

Posted: Feb 11, 2009 9:03am ET

I just got back from Varadero yesterday afternoon after spending a couple of nights there with my 14-year-old son Jack. We drove to the beach in my friend’s old Toyota, and despite the bad road from Havana, we made it there and back.

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Cigar Centro

Posted: Feb 9, 2009 9:23am ET

I went to a wine dinner on Saturday night at Club Havana for the introduction of wines from Tuscany’s Castello Banfi to the Cuban market. The multi-course meal was full of Havana’s sommeliers as well as diplomats, actors and other celebrities from the island.

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Cuba and Our New President

Posted: Feb 6, 2009 12:28pm ET

President Obama seems to be one of the most popular subjects of the conversations I’m having in Cuba. The general impression is very, very positive with the average man and woman on the street, from taxi driver to politician, and all of them have high hopes for our new president.

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Happiness Is A Dark Wrapper Called Edición Limitada

Posted: Feb 5, 2009 4:22pm ET

I have been smoking a number of Edición Limitadas since arriving in Cuba more than a week ago. I am a big fan of the cigars. I can’t say that I have collected, or bought, every edition, but I have most likely smoked them all one time or another in my career.

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The Montecristo Generation

Posted: Feb 4, 2009 12:08pm ET

Habanos S.A., the global distribution and marketing company for Cuban cigars, has been trying to keep a large number of new cigar releases under wraps for this month’s Habanos Festival, including a line extension for the Montecristo brand and a new size for Trinidad.

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Tobacco Road Trip

Posted: Feb 3, 2009 2:52pm ET

I drove out to Pinar del Río yesterday with a couple of Cuban friends, including the great ballet dancer Carlos Acosta. We drove an old and battered Kia four-wheel drive down the main autopista from Havana to the town of Pinar del Río and then to near the village of San Luis.

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America’s Insatiable Taste for Cuban Cigars

Posted: Feb 2, 2009 9:55am ET

We smoke a lot more Cuban cigars than you think we do. For years, I have been telling people – including CNN and other news organizations in interviews– that Americans illegally buy about 8 million to 10 million Cuban sticks a year.

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