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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
The Brains Behind Homeland, May/June 2012

Dear Marvin,

I’m the owner of a private restaurant in Havana, Cuba, and I received your magazine from the hands of an American tourist who lives in Key Biscayne, Florida. I’m not subscribed to your magazine but I will be soon. As of now, I make my friends send it to me from Miami because I like it a lot and want to have it in my place. My restaurant is located in Old Havana and we have had private restaurants for more than 15 years. In fact, we just opened a new one recently!! I’ll send you some pictures of it.

Congratulations for having such an excellent magazine and for having Cuba and the Cubans in all of your issues!!

Best regards,
Idian Leon
Havana, Cuba

Dear Marvin,

In the last issue of the magazine, you wrote an article showing how recently produced Cuban cigars have been outperforming their non-Cuban counterparts and the Cuban cigars of 10 years ago.  I recently sampled a Romeo Churchill from January 2011 that rated 91 points by your tasting panel, but was disappointed. The cigar was fantastic, certainly meriting a 91.

However, it didn’t taste like a Romeo Churchill (nor did the reviews really describe the flavors of a Romeo Churchill), but more like a generic Cuban cigar blended to emulate a Romeo y Julieta cigar. As a consumer of cigars, I don’t smoke them blind.  To the contrary, if I buy Romeo, I’m looking for it to taste like Romeo (and to be great of course). Yet my own palate tells me that Habanos has made enormous strides in making great cigars, but has in large part abandoned the distinctiveness of the blends that were personal expressions of the individuals who created these brands 100 years ago. It would be interesting to learn if in any of the editors’ recent trips to Cuba, you have been able to learn what attention is paid to preserving the blend for cigars.

Edward Wipper
New York, New York

Editor’s Note: Even the Cubans acknowledge that they are sometimes using different tobacco strains than in the past. They are working hard to create the old blends and flavors, but they will never be the same—just different.

Dear Marvin:

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