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Smoking in the U.S.A.

Our man in Havana finds out how tough it can be to find a place to smoke in America
From the Print Edition:
Phil Ivey, March/April 2010

(continued from page 1)

But I started to think what I would smoke if I had the chance that night outside in cold York-not New but old York. If I had to choose a cigar to smoke outside, it would be something rich and powerful enough to withstand all the extraneous stimulation outside. It's sort of like going to a striptease in the forest. It would be nice but not the same as the indoor version. I've never attended a forestial strip show, by the way.

What this is all leading to is that we all need to pay more attention to what we are smoking when we venture into the wild. It is not the time to be smoking delicate, elegant smokes. Nor is it time to smoke small or thin cigars that will lose their glow in the elements. Go for full-flavored smokes with enough girth to stay lit. Go for manly cigars!

The obvious smoke is the Romeo & Julieta Cazadores. This is close to a Churchill size with a traditionally dark wrapper. It's a buzz saw of a smoke that can look more like beef jerky than a cigar, but it delivers lots of flavor. My British friends have told me for years that the Cazadores were designed for the discerning hunter who would take his smoke for a morning shoot in the brisk English countryside.

After that, I would opt for the Partagas Serie D No. 4, which always packs loads of flavor and burns like a dream. In fact, I think that any large sized Partagas smoke would go well outside because of the funky, earthy character of the range.

Third, I would go for a Cohiba Siglo VI. I have smoked these in a tropical gale in Havana and the powerful, rich and racy smoke has always given me loads of pleasure. It's still my favorite Cuban.

The Edición Limitadas are also good choices. As you probably already know, they are the annual limited release Habanos that use slightly aged, upper priming wrappers that are stronger and darker colored than most normal releases. And the extra punch in the stomach of flavor keeps your taste buds perky in the great outdoors.

Finally, just to show that I am not Cuban centric, I would go for any of the La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero smokes. Cigar maker Litto Gomez of the Dominican Republic makes ass-kicker smokes under the Double Ligero moniker that really come into their own on a poach in the middle of his tobacco plantation, or just in your own backyard with your friends.

I asked my colleague, Senior Editor David Savona, to add a few of his favorites to my list of serious outdoor smokes and he came up with five. Great minds think alike considering he went for a La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero as well.

The Padrón Serie 1926 No. 35 was the top of his list and he noted that the little Nicaraguan smoke is only four inches long, but packs big flavor. It's the perfect cigar for a long walk with the dog, or a short trip in the car. Apparently, it was named 35 for the number of minutes it takes company president Jorge Padrón to smoke one.

He also likes the La Gloria Cubana Reserva Figurados Selectos de Lujos, which is a gorgeous Dominican perfecto with a rich, creamy and elegant style. Dave says that it is perfect for enjoying on the golf course between holes. He adds that it takes the sting off of bad shots. The latter is obviously less believable!

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