Cigar Aficionado

Havana Corner: The Big Flavor of the Petit Edmumdo

I arrived in Havana at José Martí Airport from Cancún and headed directly to the cigar shop at Quinta y 16 La Casa del Habano (Fifth Avenue). I got some Montecristo Petit Edmundos and grabbed some Bolivar Belicoso Finos from 2000 that had been on hold for me there.

Well. The Petit Edmundos are the bombshell. They are powerful and rich smokes with a creamy texture and lots of cappuccino and spice character. They are long and rich. These are cigars that will be even better in a year or two, but they already deliver loads of flavor and character. And the draw was perfect. I scored it 93 points in a non-blind tasting.

Wish I could say the same for the seven-year-old Belicoso Finos. The first one that I smoked didn't draw. The second one had a slightly musty character, almost sour on the finish. I was pissed off. I left these cigars at Quinta and they just weren't worth it. The proverbial land mine must have gone off!

This is the problem with cigars from that period: many were poorly constructed and didn't deliver the flavor. And they aren't getting better with age! What a bummer. At the time, the Cubans wanted to produce loads of cigars to boost their economy, but in so doing, they made the cigars in a hurry.

The good news is that the new-production cigars, such as the Petit Edmundo, are so, so much better in quality. They are made with so much better care.

The price for the Petit Edmundo in Havana is about $130 for a box of 25 cigars. I wonder if Quinta will take a trade-in on those Belicosos?

Check back this week for more updates. And leave your comments on my blog in the Cuba section of the forums of the Web site.

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