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2013 Big Smoke Saturday Seminars—Cuba Update

Gregory Mottola
Posted: November 13, 2013

Is it cruel to give a presentation on legally forbidden cigars to a crowd of cigar-hungry enthusiasts? Maybe a little. But the attendees of the Big Smoke seminars are as hungry for information as they are for tobacco. Seeing how they were already puffing on a variety of great cigars, the crowd was good and ready for an educational update on Cuba's new releases, even if the update was for a portfolio of products that are verboten to much of the audience. The debriefing was given by Cigar Aficionado's executive editor Gordon Mott and senior editor David Savona, who both regularly travel to Cuba under official journalistic license authorized by the government.

"We do not go to Cuba illegally," assured Mott "and we do not recommend that anyone ever do so."

Information on Cuban cigars can often be inconsistent and scarce, especially when it comes to new and upcoming releases. Rumors abound on sizes and brands, and global distributor Habanos S.A. tends to release official details very cautiously. However, both Mott and Savona have been fastidious in gathering information on what's to come from Cuba and shed some light on the most recent Cuban cigars to hit the market.


Click Image to Enlarge


Cigar Aficionado's Gordon Mott and David Savona spoke about the current state of Cuban cigars, and fielded questions from the audience.

Photos by David Becker/Getty Images


Executive editor Gordon Mott spoke about the changes at Habanos S.A., Cuba's distributor of Havana cigars.


David Savona described the expansion of Cuba's Montecristo line, the quality swing of Edición Limitadas, and the relaunch of the Vegueros brand.


Cigar lover Frank Lanzillo puffed away during the presentation.

"It takes a lot of convincing to get [Habanos S.A.] to open up to us," Mott said. "We try to let them know that we are all part of the same struggle."

After Mott informed the crowd that the legendary Partagás factory in Havana has been closed and repurposed as a museum, Savona began a slideshow of new cigars.

"All the cigars we're going to see today are either in the marketplace right now or will be soon," said Savona. "They were first previewed at the Habanos Festival in February."

The image of a grand-looking Montecristo suddenly appeared on the two screens that flanked the stage. It was the oversized projection of the new Montecristo Petit No. 2—a shortened version of the iconic No. 2—that measures 4 3/4 inches by 52 ring. Then came the new Double Edmundo, which scored 92 points in Cigar Insider and measures 6 1/8 by 50.

"Notice the gold on the new band," said Savona of the band's newly gilded embossments. "Habanos is constantly changing bands making them more elaborate and difficult to counterfeit."

Savona moved on to show the trio of Edición Limitadas for 2013. These are limited-edition smokes in unique sizes that are made with darker-than-usual-wrappers. The program began in 2001.

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Comments   2 comment(s)

Christian November 14, 2013 1:38pm ET

"Information on Cuban cigars can often be inconsistent and scarce, especially when it comes to new and upcoming releases" Sounds like when I read every bloggers site. Fortunately you guys are around to provide accurate information to the public.

David Savona November 14, 2013 5:19pm ET

Thank you Christian, getting out information that is accurate is our foremost goal.

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