First Day in Cuba

I started out with a Bolivar Belicoso Fino. Marvin had a Paratagas Serie D No. 4. David Savona had a Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill. We all had an icy cold Bucanero beer. They were our first cigars in Havana today.

We arrived shortly before noon, and by 1 p.m. everyone was starting to crave that first smoke. The first time you light up in Havana, it always seems the cigars are better, and then, the world seems right. You are in Havana, smoking a great cigar. We sat around a small table at the Melia Habana Casa del Habano, talking about where we wanted to visit and what we wanted to do during our visit to the Habanos Festival.

Lunch was lobsters and shrimp at a great little restaurant in Miramar called Vista Mar. We had a table looking out at the Atlantic Ocean, watching the waves roll in and the windsurfers zipping across the water. The water was so blue it melded into the sky on the horizon.

We left and touched down briefly at several cigar shops, the fabulous establishment run by Carlos Robaina at 5th Ave. and 16th St. Then, we dashed off to the Club Habana run by Enrique Mons, one of our oldest friends in the cigar shop world.

We checked out the shelves, which by midweek here at the festival had been stripped pretty clean by cigar lovers from all over the world. Robaina, in fact, showed us boxes of cigars that had arrived in his shop today to replace the inventory that he had sold.

Finally, it was time for a rest. We retired to a terrace and lit up Montecristo No. 2s, from November 2009. They are still quite young and could use a little time resting before reaching peak smoking performance. But with a glass of Havana Club 7 year old and the soft, late afternoon breeze, the cigar still tasted great.

Just another day in Havana. And, the night is young.

"Gordon, I am trying to find an old cigar from the 90's and early 2000's. the cigar is called a Signet. It was originally produced in Dominican and then Nicaragua, when I think the company was sold. I recently found a box of the Dominican batch and ordered a box of the Nicaraguan batch and was really disappointed. Do you know where I might find this cigar? Lorenzo" —February 24, 2011 22:15 PM
"Gordon, The Mar Vista is close to my family's old house in Miramar. I visited during my last trip to Cuba. Could you run by there and see if I have any mail? Thanks, AB" —February 24, 2011 11:35 AM