James Suckling

James Suckling
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A Christmas Tale

Posted: Dec 23, 2009 11:25am ET
I am ready for Christmas. I thought that I should leave a nice Cuban smoke for Father Christmas when he comes down the chimney on the 25th in San Diego instead of the normal milk and cookies, which my dear parents taught me to do at a very early age. I admit that the milk and cookies were changed to a good glass of vintage Port about two decades ago while living in London. But the idea is essentially the same.

Big Smokes: See You There

Posted: Nov 11, 2009 2:10pm ET
Is there any sense in bringing cigars to The Big Smoke? I asked myself this question again and again as I packed my bags to fly to Los Angeles and then Las Vegas from my house in Italy. The event is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are going to be so many cigars, and many awesome ones at that.

Breaking through Customs in Havana

Posted: Oct 22, 2009 10:56am ET
Cuban customs really gets to me. It’s not that the agents at Jose Martí Airport in La Habana are particularly unpleasant, or even aggressive, but they make me nervous. I begin getting edgy a few days before I have to leave the island, and by the time I get to the airport, my right eye is already twitching. My palms get sweaty. And I am not even doing anything illegal, or dicey.

Spice of Life in Cuban Cigars

Posted: Oct 16, 2009 12:03pm ET
Sometimes I get the idea that people think Cubans are not very savvy with their marketing and product development and that they spend most of their time just sitting around, reading the national newspaper, Gramma, and contemplating life. They think that the Cuban cigar industry is in some sort of time warp.

The Fact of the Matter

Posted: Oct 14, 2009 9:40am ET
People in the Cuban cigar industry were not pleased with recent reports in the foreign press on the reduction of this year’s tobacco plantings. Among others, Reuters reported that the plantings of tobacco on the island was being cut by 30 percent, which would mean a 16 percent reduction in the tobacco harvest. The drop was attributed to falling sales of Cuban cigars in the global market.

Back in the Smoke in Cuba

Posted: Oct 12, 2009 8:23pm ET
It’s good to be back in Havana. It’s been too long. I haven’t been back since early March, but I am right back into the smoke.

I had an interesting meeting with the new head of marketing for Habanos S.A., the global distribution and marketing organization for Cuban cigars. Ana Lopez, just returned from a number of years in London working with the U.K. agent for Cuban cigars, Hunters & Frankau. Ana is a very switched on lady. Gonzalo Fernández de Navarrete and Jose Antonio Candia, the dynamic marketing duo from Habanos, were also there. We covered a lot of ground.

The Legend Lives

Posted: Sep 28, 2009 10:13am ET
I smoked one of the greatest cigars ever produced on earth last night: the Dunhill Cabinetta. The robusto was produced in 1989 and was one of the last Dunhills to be made on the island before the Cubans dumped the British company and Davidoff.

The Killer Cigar

Posted: Sep 22, 2009 9:20am ET
I have a drippy sinus this morning and my head doesn't fell all that well. I am a bit clammy and I can't breathe perfectly well. If I was passing through the airport, a health official might stop me. They might think it is swine flu, or some strange respiratory bug.

Takin' Care of Business

Posted: Jun 25, 2009 1:28pm ET
I came across a couple of Montecristo Petit Edmundos a few weeks ago in one of my spare rooms at home. I am not sure where they came from but they were in a Ziplock bag. The three cigars were dry and needed to be rehumidified. So I stuck them in my Dunhill humidor at about 68 percent humidity and let them soften a little. (I used Humidipaks.)

Sometimes They Get it Right

Posted: May 22, 2009 9:44am ET
I hung out with a cigar buddy of mine in Chicago last week when I was in the Windy City for Wine Spectator¹s Grand Tour, a super wine tasting event with more than 240 excellent wines on pour.

So I sneaked in a smoke after lunch on the day of the evening tasting. And my friend brought a number of amazing Cuban smokes. ­ I have no idea how he got them—and I would not tell you even if I did!

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