The soft, magical lighting bathed the circular entrance to Club Habana, a former yacht club in the Miramar section of Havana. The guests entered through a phalanx of costumed dancers with headdresses, receiving elegant black packages of the two cigars spotlighted on the evening: the Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo de San Juan and the Partagás Serie D No. 6. There were bars serving Cuban rum and Spanish Cava, and canapés were passed through the crowd. It was the gala opening dinner for the 16th annual Festival del Habanos, Cuba's yearly extravaganza celebrating one of the country's principal products: cigars.
Dr. Alejandro Martinez Cuenca pointed up at the pock-marked brick facade of the Joya de Nicaragua factory, outlined with mustard-yellow pillars up to the peak of the roof. When they removed layers of paint, the bricks revealed the damage done by mortar fire, and probably .50 caliber machine gun fire, during the Sandinista uprising in Estelí in 1978. Dr. Martinez Cuenca, himself a former Sandinista presidential candidate and the owner of Joya de Nicaragua today, said they had decided to leave the evidence of war as a reminder to everyone how far the country had come.
Jorge Padrón stood in the damp furrow between rows of tobacco planted just five weeks before. He fondled the velvety leaves, already nearly waist high, between his fingers, and said, "Isn't this beautiful?" It was; a field of luminescent-green tobacco stretched several football fields away, with the leaves moving seductively in the light morning breeze under the brilliant tropical sunshine.
If you were born as part of the post-World War II baby boom, you remember where you were on November 22, 1963. This year, the events of 50 years ago—maybe more so than ever before—strike me as so surreal that they should be part of a fantasy, or a bad nightmare.
The best moment came as my wife and I drove down the Taconic State Parkway on a fall Sunday afternoon. We came up over the crest of a hill with a lookout that has a panoramic view of the Hudson Valley west to the Catskill Mountains. I glimpsed a row of vintage Corvettes with their drivers standing next to the cars, chatting. I honked, and as I drove by it was like a ZZ Top video—the entire line-up of six drivers turned in unison and waved.
Dress code: Black tie. The room: Wood paneled with high ceilings. The food: shellfish stations and filet mignon for dinner. The drink: open bar and bottomless wine glasses at the meal. Sound like the good old days? It was. Maybe even better than the good old days. It's happening regularly at the Union League in Philadelphia, and the bow to the past was on full display there the last week of September.
There are more than a few perks of being a magazine editor in New York. For the most part, I write about the cool cars I get to drive, the golf clubs I get to test and, sometimes, the weird things sent to me to try out. I also used to attend wine tastings, but I have not done that much in recent years. However, when the invite for a lunch at Krug House arrived in my email, I couldn't say no. If you love fine things, tasting the current releases of Krug Champagne is like playing Augusta or dining at Per Se or getting fitted for a Savile Row suit.
I grabbed a Cigar Aficionado baseball hat from the closet on Saturday as I set out to forage for dinner in the local farmer's market. Early September harvests are bountiful this year in the Hudson Valley, so it was great to pick through the heirloom tomatoes, the last of the sweet corn crop and fresh peaches. The stalls were packed with people on a sunny morning.
Awesome is the first descriptive word that comes to mind after a weekend in the new Jaguar F-type sports car. What does that mean? I guess it is just a more succinct way of saying spine-tingling, jaw-dropping, neck-snapping, eye-popping and just outrageously fun.
The late afternoon sun had bathed the 18th green at the Squires Golf Club in soft yellow light, and the intense heat of summer's first heat wave on the East Coast had dissipated just enough to make the outdoor seating comfortable. Around the table were good friends of my buddy, Dr. Matthew Stern, who had been asking me to join him for years at one of Squires' Thursday afternoon get-togethers. It's a simple idea: a tee-time around 1:30 or 2, a round with a group of friends, and then a 19th hole libation followed by a sumptuous dinner.
Search our database of more than 17,000 cigar tasting notes by score, brand, country, size, price range, year, wrapper and more, plus add your favorites to your Personal Humidor.