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James Suckling

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!

He pulled out a double corona that looked like pure chocolate out of a Humidipak pouch. He said it was a cigar that was made for him in 2003 at the Casa del Habano at the Club Habana in Havana. A roller at the cigar shop rolled the smoke, which was made from three-year-old filler that the shop head, Enrique Mons, had selected from one of the Havana factories. I am not sure how legal that was, but the tobacco Mons had at the time smelled like coffee and chocolate when I saw it in a cupboard in his shop. He made me a bundle of coronas, his favorite size, and they still smoke like a dream.

Just to give you an idea of how good the smokes are, here is the smoking note for my bud¹s double corona: Smoking this is like eating chocolate pudding. It¹s so soft and flavorful yet balanced and fresh. It keeps the palate moist and clean. The flavors of tobacco and milk chocolate go on for minutes. 96 points, unblind.

I know lots of guys that get their cigars made in various shops in Havana. Some also get them from "chinchalles," ­ slang for small cigar makers who work from home ­ to make their smokes. They go on how the cigar makers make "the Cohiba blend" or the "Partagas Serie D 4" or even the "Behike." But that is a complete joke. First, those rollers don¹t get the best tobacco, and, second, the rollers don¹t know the blends. Of course, they can roll the size, or vitola, of a specific cigar, but they can¹t replicate the great Habanos we love.

But, now and again, they come up with a great smoke in itself, like the double corona my buddy, Captain Jack, gave me.

Comments   2 comment(s)

John Hunter — Texas —  June 4, 2009 5:27pm ET

James,I will be in Rome this august. Any idea if the Cohiba siglo VI gran reserva will be available at all that early and if there is any chance of finding it in Italy? I don't get enough chances abroad to sate my lust for Cubans


John Hunter — Texas —  June 4, 2009 7:03pm ET

James,I will be in Rome this august. Any idea if the Cohiba siglo VI gran reserva will be available at all that early and if there is any chance of finding it in Italy? I don't get enough chances abroad to sate my lust for Cubans



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