James Suckling

James Suckling
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The End of a Great Event

Posted: Mar 1, 2010 6:00pm ET
The president of Habanos S.A., the global distribution and marketing company in Cuba for cigars, came up to me during last Friday’s gala dinner and asked me how I liked the Cohiba Behikes that were being debuted to the world that night.

The Mysteries of Cuban Cigars

Posted: Feb 26, 2010 2:27pm ET
I unraveled more of the mystery of the great new Cohiba Behikes that will be launched tonight at the gala dinner in Havana during the 12th Festival Habano. The attendees of the dinner will receive all three cigars. I can’t wait to try one of the smaller ones.

The Renaissance of the Blockbuster Cuban Cigar

Posted: Feb 25, 2010 1:24pm ET
I finally got my lips around a Behike. And it almost blew my head off. A couple of bad-boy-chocolately BHK 56 cigars (6 1/2 inches by 56 ring gauge) came my way, and I tried one following a heavy lunch at one of my favorite restaurants in La Havana, the awesome chicken shop El Aljibe. Usually a powerful smoke is just the right thing after a mega-dose of juicy roasted chicken, black beans and rice. Maybe I should have had more black beans before? Or next time I will order a whole juice-dripping chicken for myself?

The Cuban Cigar Scene

Posted: Feb 24, 2010 10:01am ET
Most of the participants of the 12th Festival Habano went to the Pinar del Río to see tobacco plantations yesterday, but I stayed in Havana to write a blog and check out the cigar scene. Plenty of good boxes in shops. And loads of people were hanging out and smoking.

Good Start in La Habana

Posted: Feb 23, 2010 1:24pm ET
Piano jazz legend Chucho Valdés blew me away at the opening night of the 12th Festival Habano at the Gran Teatro de la Habana. The only bad news was that we couldn’t smoke anything. There are limits for smokers even in Havana!

The big man from Havana is a maestro on the piano and is able to master anything from classic to fusion jazz. I loved his piece “Basema Mucho” with Portuguese singer Mariza. He also played a number of songs with Brazilian composer Ivan Lins, who admitted to the crowd of about 800 that “he was a big consumer of Cuban cigars.”

Going to The Habanos Festival

Posted: Feb 22, 2010 3:48pm ET
I am arriving in La Habana this afternoon in time for the opening event of the 12th Festival Habano. Not only will I get my first glimpse of the new line-extension of Cohiba—the three Cohiba Behike cigars—but also the piano jazz legend Chucho Valdés will be providing the entertainment at the Gran Teatro de la Habana. Chucho is an awesome jazzman.

The Last Bottle?

Posted: Feb 11, 2010 9:53am ET
What do you smoke with the last bottle of wine on Earth? I am not talking about the last bottle—it is not Armageddon yet. Nor do I think it will come any time soon, despite all the predictions from the freaks out there.

But I was in London a few weeks ago and some great friends of mine decided to organize a mega-blowout guys dinner. The key wines for the dinner were a small range of extraordinary 1989 Bordeaux, including the legendary oh-my-God-100-pointers Petrus and Haut-Brion as well as Lafite and Montrose. The Dom Perignon 1996 (one of the best ever DPs) as well as a mag of 2002 Jean-Noël Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets were going to be incredible.  So, the line up suggested a very special night to remember.

Back in the Land of the Free

Posted: Jan 12, 2010 9:41am ET
Getting caught with two Cuban cigars crossing the border between California and Mexico can really upset officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection—among other things. I found out the hard way last weekend on a road trip to Baja California with some friends.

A Sad Day for Dining

Posted: Jan 8, 2010 2:19pm ET
What was one of the last great cigar-gastronomic experiences in the world is over. La Guarida, arguably the best restaurant in Havana, closed its door for good in December. Its owner cited the difficulty of the current economic climate as the main reason.

Christmas Past

Posted: Dec 30, 2009 3:10pm ET
You might think that I am slightly old fashioned at times but I think that a photo is worth a thousand words in some cases. Please check out my photo of my Christmas Eve smoke while staying at my father¹s house in North County San Diego. Granted, it was not as cold as it was in Europe (about 25 Fahrenheit at my house in Tuscany), but it was cold enough to be wearing a thick coat while smoking my Padrón Anniversary 1964 outside on his terrace.

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