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Entering and Leaving Cigar Heaven

Robustos and large cigars are still dominating the rolling rooms in Cuba's factories
From the Print Edition:
The Blues Brothers, Jan/Feb 2008

(continued from page 2)

The Cubans seem a bit surprised that we gave such a high accolade to the smoke. "When people think of our best robusto, they normally think of Cohiba or Partagas or even Ramon Allones," said one official.

"El Bolivar Royal Corona es la bomba," I told her. She didn't look that convinced. Maybe it was my bad Spanish again. Lost in the translation as usual.

I visited the color sorting room with quality control expert Deborah Garcia. She has been at the Partagas factory for almost as long as I can remember. And she knows her stuff.

"How do you like the Bolivar?" she asked.

"It's rich and powerful, but flavorful," I said. "It's not strong, though. It delivers masses of flavor."

She said that the humidity in the air during my visit to the city made it a little hard to smoke cigars. "There's too much humidity in Havana at the moment, so the cigars don't draw perfectly," she said.

It's cool to think that Havana is like one big humidor, and you don't have to worry about keeping the water level right in the damned thing. I just wish it were a little easier to get to and from the magical island.

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