James Suckling

James Suckling
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Last Night's Real Cigar Convention in Vegas

Posted: Jul 16, 2008 7:04pm ET
The day was long and smoky yesterday during the cigar show in Vegas. My eyes felt like someone threw sand in them by the end of the day. But it’s been worth it. I have smoked numerous excellent cigars and had some great conversations with dozens of cigarmakers.

Playboy Bunnies and Ballsy Smokes

Posted: Jul 15, 2008 12:18pm ET
A lot of the action during the cigar show in Las Vegas happens after the convention hall is locked shut. Most of the top cigar companies host dinners and parties for the attendees each night. Plus, there is the added attraction of Vegas ­ with all of its obvious diversions and pleasures.

Great Start To Whatever It Is

Posted: Jul 14, 2008 12:11pm ET
We had a warm up dinner for the cigar show in Las Vegas at Bouchon Restaurant in the Venetian. There were about two dozen cigar producers standing out on the terrace of the restaurant. Obviously, we couldn¹t smoke in the restaurant. So thank God it was not boiling hot. We sat down to a three-course dinner and smoked, drank and talked.

Toys for Boys

Posted: Jul 11, 2008 2:20pm ET
I was in Switzerland last week for a few days visiting various watch factories including Vacheron Constantin, Piaget, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, and International Watch Company. All are part of the Richemont Group. My friend Alain Li, regional chief executive for Richemont Asia Pacific Limited in Hong Kong, organized the trip.

The Danger of Smoking Cigars

Posted: Jun 25, 2008 10:20am ET
I had a nasty run-in with a Juan Lopez Selección No. 1 the other night! It was after a serious wine tasting dinner at my house with Bibi Gratez, the hipster winemaker/owner of one of my favorite wines in Tuscany, Testamatta.

I had already smoked the most of the corona gorda (46 ring gauge by 5 5/8 inches) when it slipped out of my hand and bounced onto the inside of my left elbow--ash down.

A Saturday Morning Tradition in Havana

Posted: Jun 16, 2008 10:43am ET
I passed through Havana over the weekend on the way back to Europe, and I thought I was looking pretty rough after a few days in Hollywood with friends and family. What better way to freshen up, I thought to myself, than with a traditional shave in Old Havana on Saturday morning?

Another Flight from Havana

Posted: Jun 11, 2008 10:10am ET
Leaving Havana can be the worst experience at times. Sometimes you can take away things that you can’t smoke nor bargained for. I flew to Los Angeles over the weekend from the island and I found that I brought back something that I didn’t count on. It took effect on my Mexicana flight from Cancun to Los Angeles. And I spent the better part of the five-hour flight in the can — all in the day and the life of a smoker/drinker/foreign correspondent.

A Special Factory for Special Cigars in Havana

Posted: Jun 9, 2008 5:19pm ET
I thought I was going to the Partagas Factory on Friday but I was told it was closed. So I ended up hanging with some friends and smoking some cigars (as usual) in La Habana.

It made me think about the new specialty factory that the Cubans are developing at the moment. It will be located in the old El Rey del Mundo factory, next door to the Romeo y Julieta factory. I went there years ago when it was still primarily making machine-made smokes. The machines, most that were brought into Cuba in the 1930s, put together the bunches and then rollers added the wrappers. The machines are long gone now from El Rey del Mundo.

A Message for America

Posted: Jun 6, 2008 2:52pm ET
Manuel Garcia, the commercial director for Habanos SA., the global marketing and distribution organization for Cuban cigars, probably knows more about the Cuban cigar business than anyone on earth. He has been selling Cuban cigars for Habanos (and what it was called earlier, Cubatabaco) around the world since 1989, and he has seen amazing changes in the industry, both in production and distribution and marketing.

Cigar Morning Meeting in Havana

Posted: Jun 5, 2008 5:02pm ET
It’s hot today in Havana. They say it’s in the high 80s but it fees like the 90s. And it’s super humid too. What a change from Europe, which has been cold, wet and miserable over most of the last few weeks.

But that’s the magic of Havana, and Cuba at large. I was smoking in Plaza de San Francisco in Old Havana near the cruise ship docks and Customs House. I love to hang there and watch people go by. Check out my short video. Wish you were here!

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