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Gordon Mott

Cigar Magnet

Posted: Mar 2, 2012 12:00pm ET

I feel like some super-conductor magnet, attracting just about every loose cigar in a country overflowing with a lot of cigars. When I arrived, there was the question in my mind about where I would find my first Cuban smoke, and what it would be. My friend, Max Gutmann from Mexico, answered that worry with an Edmundo Dantes Conde 54, a beautiful cigar made especially for the Mexican market. Quite a way to kick off the week.

Then, I passed through the Casa del Habano in the Meliá Cohiba, and figured I had better buy some smokes so I didn’t run out over the next couple of days. I bought two Montecristo No. 2s and two Romeo y Julieta Churchill Tubos to keep me stocked up.

After those purchases, it seems everyone is worried about me having enough cigars. First, there were two special house cigars given to me by Osmany Rios and Carlos Robaina at the Quinta Avenida store. Haven’t smoked those yet. Then, when I got back to my room, there was a gift box of 10 Cohiba Magico Maduros. I’ve had those in my pocket for the last 24 hours, but something keeps getting in the way.

At the 520th Anniversary dinner where Jim Belushi sang the blues, I decided to tackle the Cuaba Bariay, a huge diadema size double figurado. It turned out to be one of the best Cuban cigars I have smoked. Then, I moved on towards the end of the evening to light up the Montecristo Edición Limitada 2012, a big 55 ring gauge that is just at the beginning of its life—it will be much better after a couple years of box age.

Thursday starting slowly, but as we hit the Casa del Habano owned by Enrique Mons, I was starting to hanker after a smoke. After all, it was almost 10:30 in the morning. Out came a Monsdale, a pigtail head cigar that is made there at the shop. That lasted until lunch with Ajay Patel, the owner of London’s only Casa del Habano. We got through lunch, and then out came a 1992 Partagás Lusitania—read my tasting notes in last year’s May-June issue of Cigar Aficionado’s Connoisseur’s Corner. He also handed an old 1992 Cohiba and a Partagás Serie C No. 1, neither of which I’ve smoked yet, because … I kept running into other cigars.

On my way to dinner at La Guarida, I stopped at a private get-together at the Hotel Nacional where I was handed a Partagás cigar made especially for the festival. It is a delicious, well-balanced smoke that I kept going through a glass of Pol Roger Champagne and all the way to dinner with Jim Belushi and a group of cigar folks from Germany to Mexico to the United States. Between courses (well, when you get rolling, there’s no stopping), I finally lit up the Cohiba Magico Maduro, which turned out to be nicely balanced smoke with a bit of sweetness on the finish.

It took a minute while I was writing this blog to remember my last smoke of the night—so many cigars, so little time. It was a Cohiba 1966 Edición Limitada 2011, another smoke that needs some time to settle down. It’s a powerhouse of flavors but with a youthful overlay of spice that needs to balance out a little bit.

Finally, Dave Savona and I ended up at the bar at the Meliá Cohiba, sipping on Selección de Maestro, a special-aged bottling from Havana Club. I was holding an unlit Romeo y Julieta Churchill, one of my favorite cigars, as well as the remainder of the 1966. I asked Dave if he wanted something to smoke. He looked at me like I was from another planet and said, “No, I’m done today. I’m smoked out.”

I looked at my watch. It was past midnight. I said, “You know, you’re right.” So, I lit the remaining stub of the 1966 and sipped away on the aged rum.

And there’s still 24 hours to go.

Comments   8 comment(s)

Paul Bell March 2, 2012 1:56pm ET

Should I be worried if I buy a box of green cigars? Will box age save them?


Aj Wedrychowicz March 2, 2012 6:28pm ET

I started smoking the Edumdo Dantes Conde #54 following your review in October. To say the least, it is the best cigar I have ever smoked. I have been buying the cigars LCDH in Polanco(DF).
A couple of weeks ago I went to the shop to get a few more and a gentleman inside the walk in humidor saw my selection and casually asked me if I know the story behind the smoke. I asked him if he is familiar with CA and he said of course. At this point I told him about your review and that I thoroughly enjoy them. Then he countered with "Im Max, nice to meet you" I said the same and walked out of the humidor to the cash register where the cashier informs me that the gentleman inside is Max Gutmann. For an odd reason that name sounded familiar.
It wasn't until the other day when I saw your blog noting him as the Cigar King of Mexico when I put 2 and 2 together. At that point I found a write up of the 109s and his work with Habanos in a 2008 issue of CA that had somehow slipped passed me.

Its nice to meet someone with passion for cigars let alone the creator of my favorite .


Aj Wedrychowicz March 2, 2012 6:45pm ET

I started smoking the Edmundo Dantes Conde 54 following your review in an October blog. For my tastes, this is the best cigar I have ever smoked.
I was in Polanco (DF) where I have been procuring my smokes and a gentleman overheard me ask specifically for this cigar. He seemed interested and asked if I've ever had them. I asked him if he was familiar with CA and he said of course. I told him about your review and he basically took the words out of my mouth sounding as though he had some intimate relation with the smoke. At that point he introduced himself as Max and I hurried out to the cashier to pay as I had guests waiting for me. The cashier informed me that the gentleman in the humidor was Max Gutmann. Oddly, that name sounded familiar.
It wasn't until the other day when I was reading your blog from Cuba (where you cited Max as the King of Cigars in Mexico) that I put 2 and 2 together. Afterward I read an article from the 2008 archives explaining his work with Habanos and the 109s.

It's great to meet some with passion for cigars. Its even better to meet the creator of your favorite. Perhaps in the future I will be able to have a longer conversation with him


Gordon Mott — New York, n.y., usa,  —  March 4, 2012 11:15am ET

The Cigar Magnet update.

Friday was my last full day in Havana. I started out with a Partagas Series C, no. 1, then went onto a 1992 Cohiba Corona Especial with lunch; the Cohiba was a delightful combo of elegant aged cigar with a nice undertone of cocoa bean sweetness...burned my knuckles on that one as I took Belushi on a pilgrimage to Bodeguita del Medio for a mojito...i told him it was like a trip to Eiffel Tower in Paris--it IS touristy, but you have to do it at least once and then, you want to keep going back for the experience. After that it was back to the hotel to start getting ready for the gala dinner. Standing in line at the banquet hall, I fired up a Behike 52, Cigar Aficionado's Cigar of the Year in 2011--it was as fantastic as ever and lasted just long enough to sit down at the table after a glass of Champagne. It was a long drawn out dinner but with great music (see blog to come tomorrow), and I went from the Behike to the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Cosecha 2008, which was the dinner's signature cigar. Fantastic young cigar that will age beautifully. Then, I switched to a 1997 Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona, which turned out to be one of the cigars of the week. It was perfectly balanced with a lot of flavor and a long, light earthy finish.

Finally, over a glass of rum with Belushi and his buddies, i couldn't resist...after all, it had been nearly an hour since the Hoyo Double had gone out. I knew departure was imminent, so i lit up a Romeo y Julieta No. 3 to go with that last glass of Havana Club Seleccion del Maestro, the premium bottling of Cuba's best rum...another product I couldn't bring back home.

Whew, sitting at home today. Glad I can let the palate rest for a few hours.


Gordon Mott — New York, n.y., usa,  —  March 5, 2012 8:52am ET

Oops...it was published in 2011...but the Behike was our COTY in 2010. Hey, I'm not perfect:)


Kyle Schrage — Nashville, TN, USA,  —  March 5, 2012 10:00am ET

Gordon,
Sounds like you are having a rough time in Cuba these days. Too many cigars....Hmmmm must be horrible to be to you! LOL


angelo Puckett — Grayson, GA, United States,  —  April 5, 2012 8:29am ET

Having cigars is now a status symbol. But it is really dangerous, It may lead to addiction or any other diseases.
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angelo Puckett — Grayson, GA, United States,  —  April 13, 2012 7:56am ET


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