Cuban Vs. Non-Cuban Cigars

Среда, 09 Июня 2010

In all of my trips outside the United States, the number one question that I am asked is:

What cigars are better Cuban or None-Cuban?


In some of my other blog entries, I have described what makes a good cigar, and I have also said, that the best cigar is the one that you like. In other words, it is a matter of personal preference. But this question does not really have an answer as simple as a matter of personal choice. Of course, if you like a cigar, it is the best cigar for you, although it may not be the cigar that was made with the best tobacco or with the best aging time.


Cuba has long been known for its tobacco and famous cigars, however, after the revolution in 1959, many of the people that made the industry famous, were forced to leave their country after the government took away their farms and stole their cigar factories. Many of these famous cigar families emigrated to the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica and the USA.


Slowly, the cigar industry outside Cuba started to grow in the early 1960’s and today more premium cigars are produced outside of Cuba. The cigar makers and tobacco growers that left Cuba, introduced their knowledge of how to grow tobacco and how to make cigars, but they also introduced the Cuban tobacco seeds to other Latin American countries.


As a result, today the type of tobacco that is grown outside Cuba, is of excellent quality, and in many cases surpasses the quality of Cuban tobacco. Of course, the Cuban production has suffered during the long communist era, due to the lack of resources to treat the soil and the plants, as well as a general slow down of productivity, as is the case with all communist countries due to the inefficiencies of the centralized government.


In summary, if you have a tobacco plant that grows in a soil that was not properly prepared, and during the developmental time of the plant, it was not properly treated with the necessary nutrients and germicides, and if later the tobacco leaves are not properly stored and the curing process is cut short, and if after the cigars are made they are not kept the necessary length of time aging in the humidor, and if the rollers making these cigars are trying to steal tobacco leaves in order to make cigars in their houses as the only way to make money to buy bread and other basic foods, if all of this happens, how can you have a good Cuban Cigar?


It is true that Cuba has the best marketing campaign. It is true that the Cuban brands are recognized worldwide. It is also true that Cuba produces (if done correctly) some of the best tobacco leaves in the world. It is true that Cuba has some of the world best soil to grow tobacco (if maintained well). It is also true that the cigar business runs through our Cuban blood. But what is better, a Cuban cigar or a cigar made by Cubans with tobacco grown outside Cuba, from Cuban seeds, in well maintained farms, with the soil treated correctly, with the tobacco fermented correctly and in a competitive environment that makes you work harder and better? Well I think the answer is obvious, but it is a decision that each one of us has to make. After all, I left Cuba to be able to make my own decisions and to respect the decision of others, even if I do not agree with them.