Cigar Aficionado

When Passion Blinds

I appreciate the intense passion or enthusiasm some people have for cigars, particularly Cuban. But I think some times it gets carried away and it leads people to say ridiculous things.

For example, I have heard people say, and have seen them write, that Cigar Aficionado rates fake cigars because the descriptors and quality criteria we use are not the same as the ones they use, or not up to their standards. Or if there is a typo in an article I write, or some other mistake, then I am intentionally trying to slander Cuban cigars and all 11 million inhabitants of the island.

Chill hermano. Fuma. Calma.

I am sorry to disappoint them, but Cuba has made some bad cigars and will continue to, just like every other cigar producing country. Premium cigars,for the most part, are artisan products and quality can’t be completely controlled, especially when it’s hand made.

I was sitting in Havana a few months back and smoking a cigar with Ricardo Alarcon, who is president of Cuba’s National Assembly, and he agreed that quality in the late 1990s and the first few years of 2000 were not up to scratch. Why can’t others simply agree with the facts? Or at least try to understand them…

"When I explain my passion for cigars I include the analogy that cigars are like the wines of the world. I happen to love French wine, but that doesn't mean every bottle produced is perfection. In addition, many countries produce excellent varieties that I enjoy as well. Same with cigars; I do love a good Cuban cigar, but I also smoke other premium cigars. Just because a cigar is from Cuba doesn't mean it is perfection. Some folks can't handle the facts." —May 21, 2007 20:47 PM
"Jose is correct. smokers are looking for quality, not necessarily origin. Competition will bring quality.Cheers!" —May 19, 2007 15:23 PM
"James, Thanks for your response to your other post. Cubans bring out interesting reponses from all of us. It's a classic case of the "Forbidden Fruit". Since most of us can't freely have them, we are more critical of them when we do have the opportunity to smoke them (I believe). As a result, we should all be a little bit more tolerant and thankful of those persons like yourself who do share their valuable experiences. I wish I was in your shoes. I don't know if you remember me, but I met you at the Las Vegas Big Smoke and I told you that your reviews make my mouth water every time I read them. Keep it going. Thanks." —May 19, 2007 14:53 PM
"James that is so true, there is not a country that has not been on the spot on those issues, I think that the case is that all the countries are making better cigars, and to be able to talk about cigars it takes time." —May 16, 2007 17:07 PM