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Out of the Humidor

The Editors
From the Print Edition:
John F. Kennedy, Nov/Dec 98

(continued from page 8)

On the other hand, I have recently had an opportunity to sample a wide variety of non-Cuban smokes during a two-week visit to New York. I deliberately made the more prestigious and higher rated brands my focus for the sampling. I was surprised and disappointed to discover that, to my taste, only the Fuente Fuente OpusX Robusto approached the Havana standard; the others were barely mediocre.

I can truly appreciate the dilemma you Americans face in that you demand only the very best, which unfortunately happens to be largely inaccessible to you. But instead of dealing with the situation practically, namely, by pressuring your obtuse government to put an end to its ridiculous embargo on Cuban goods, you have chosen to badmouth Cuban cigars while making a virtual cult out of smoking certain "prestigious" non-Cubans (I refer to the outrageous and unjustifiable prices asked for these truly undistinguished smokes).

However, if you want truly solid evidence of the cigar fantasy you are creating, you need look no further than the October 1997 issue of Cigar Aficionado. In the Online feature, nearly 50 percent of your Internet readers claimed that Cuban cigars were overrated, yet almost 70 percent claimed that they would smoke Havanas "if price and availability were no issue."

Never have I seen a more blatant example of the sour grapes syndrome! Americans, to use your own words: get real.

Reuven Zasler
Karmiel, Israel

* * *

Dear Marvin,

For the past 15 years, I have been enjoying Havana's finest (especially Romeo y Julieta Churchill Tubos) in spite of the pesky embargo problem. Midway through a recent Churchill, I began to contemplate the impact of the inevitable end of the embargo and decided that I, and all other U.S. Habanos aficionados, would be adversely affected by the opening of the market to imported Cuban cigars.

It is a simple matter of supply and demand. Premium Cubans are already in the $30 to $40 range. With demands for production at an all-time high, quality standards are being strained and occasionally compromised to unacceptable limits. How could costs and quality possibly be maintained if the market was suddenly opened to the largest cigar-consuming nation on earth?

I can tolerate the inconvenience of buying my beloved Romeo y Julietas across the border. I do not look forward to the day when I am asked to pay $60 for that same cigar, rated 81 by Cigar Aficionado, at my local tobacconist.


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