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James Suckling

Que Rico To Smoke in the José Martí Airport

Posted: Jun 4, 2008 4:41pm ET
I sat in the VIP lounge at Havana's José Martí Airport for about an hour waiting for my bags. Everyone was super friendly, super chilled. I made some jokes in my bad Spanish and just hung and smoked my Trinidad Fundadore. Is it just me or does this awesome cigar taste better now that I am in Cuba? I think it likes being back home and it will stay here in the form of ash.

It’s spicy and very cedary with a bitter chocolate and tobacco aftertaste. It smells of white pepper and dried flowers. It draws perfectly. I think it was a big plus making the Fundadore a 40 ring gauge instead of 38 like the Cohiba Lanceros or Davidoff No. 1 or Montecristo Especiale. The slightly thicker ring gauge gives you a smoother and fresher draw. I give this 93 points, non blind. Love this cigar.

The weather is a humid 86F today. My driver said that it rains every afternoon. Oh well. I just came from London and it was raining. It was so cold I thought it might start snowing last night when I was at the Lanesborough with a buddy from Mexico smoking a cigar before dinner. The Lanesborough is one of the few public places you can smoke, but it’s in a small heated outdoor terrace. I was dressed for Cuba, so I froze.

So I am still unthawing in Havana today. Tomorrow I have an interview with Manuel Garcia, who is the commercial director of Habanos S.A., the global marketing and distribution company for Cuban cigars. I am excited to discuss how Cuban cigars have evolved from just being a smoke to becoming a symbol and a product for a luxury lifestyle. It’s not just smoke anymore. We all know that a fine cigar enhances your life. It calms you and enables you to be reflective about life. Plus, it brings you closer to family and friends when you all have the chance to hang out and have a nice smoke.

That’s something Cubans certainly understand. When I entered the VIP lounge, I told the receptionist that I was going to the large smoking room, and he just smiled.

“What are you smoking?” he said.

I showed him my Trinidad and he smiled.

“It’s got 10 years too,” I said enthusiastically.

Rico,” he said.

I told him that it was so cool that you could smoke in José Martí Airport. “It must be one of the last airports on earth where you can smoke a cigar,” I said.

“If you can’t smoke in Cuba, then where can you smoke?” he said with pride and a good amount of humor. “Enjoy your cigar.”

That says it all.

Comments   2 comment(s)

Ron Robertson Jr — Santa Barbara, USA —  June 5, 2008 2:33pm ET

Why is it that Cuban cigars have two to three different flavor zones and non Cuban have only one??Cuban cigars get stronger and better the longer it is smoked and the non Cuban are good for the first half and then get weak towards the end.

James Suckling June 5, 2008 4:16pm ET

Ron. I think you have an interesting observation but you can't generalize, at least with non-Cubans. But it all comes down to Cuban tobacco. It's the best in the world and the most complex where different areas in Vuelta Abajo make different styles of tobaccos and the blends of cigars are fantastic because of that.

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