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James Suckling

The Cigar Brotherhood

Posted: Feb 17, 2009 4:22pm ET
I have been hanging tight in my friend’s apartment in La Habana thanks to a pinched nerve in my lower back. It happened on Sunday night. I will not go into the details. But it hurts “como un desesperante.” I am pretty desperate with the pain but it seems to be getting better.

Luckily, I know a good physiotherapist and I brought some aspirin laced with codeine from Italy. But the drugs are running out.  There are common painkillers around—aspirin and the rest—so I should be able to get what I need. My therapist gave me a shot of B complex in my rear this morning, saying it would quicken my recovery. They say that it is good to repair damaged nerves. But now it hurts to sit as I write this blog!

I will survive. Don’t worry. You haven’t gotten rid of me yet.

I did smoke an amazing young cigar Sunday night before my back went out. It was the Bolivar Belicoso from 2006. This was UFB – that’s my shortened description for something fabuloso. It stands for “un f…. believable.” It was how I remembered the Boli Belis in the mid-1990s. It was rich and powerful delivering plenty of coffee, tobacco and cedar character. It was long and flavor with lovely flowers and tea on the finish. And the draw was like kissing the love of my life. (I haven’t done that for a while.) I’d score it 91 points, unblind.

In fact, I just smoked one a minute ago with a well-known cigar producer from outside Cuba who wishes to remain nameless. I think it’s cool that he comes to Cuba once in a while and hangs with cigarmakers and tobacco growers and shares the wealth.

I remember when non-Cuban cigar manufacturers were much more aggressive and competitive with their Cuban counterparts. But it all seems to be changing. That was a waste of energy. Cigarmakers are cigar brothers. It’s a big world out there. And it’s great to share. That’s what cigars are all about – joy, pleasure and camaraderie.


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