Tag Archives: Partagas

Trump Hits Reset on Obama’s Cuba Policy…

Is anyone surprised at this really?  As much as it does suck for fellow cigar fans and Cuba buffs out of the U.S., I think that most of us felt this was inevitable…

Trump hits reset on Obama’s Cuba policy, challenges Castro

Most notable bits, in my opinion:

  • “Announcing the rollback of President Barack Obama’s diplomatic opening during a speech in Miami, Trump said Cuba had secured far too many concessions from the U.S. in the “misguided” deal but “now those days are over.””  [Really?!?!  The U.S. gave up too many concessions?  From a brutal policy that they enacted almost 60 years ago?!?!  LOL.]
  • “More details about the changes are expected to be released Friday, when the new policy is set to take effect. But none of the changes will become effective until the Treasury Department issues new regulations, which could take months. That means that any U.S. traveler currently booked on a flight to Cuba in the next few weeks, or even months, could go ahead and make the trip.”  [Dear gawd, I hope that travelers don’t get screwed over this.  As we’ve all seen with the Trump White House’s implementation of the Muslim travel ban, one minute things are one way and the next minute it’s different.  I hope that travelers that are currently booked for something, already “approved”, don’t end up showing up to an airport and getting stuck in limbo.]
  • “But individual “people-to-people” trips by Americans to Cuba, allowed by Obama for the first time in decades, will again be prohibited. And the U.S. government will police other such trips to ensure there’s a tour group representative along making sure travelers are pursuing a “full-time schedule of educational exchange activities.””  [Wait, what?!?!  So, you’re cancelling out some aspects of the détente, because you don’t like the undemocratic military-state, but you’re adding layers of bureaucratic policing?  Pot, meet kettle.]

It’s just unfortunately another shitty situation for the Cuban people.  The Castro regime(s) definitely aren’t a piece-of-cake for the citizens there, and changes need to be made.  But on the surface, this appears like it may hurt those local-people more, than any government entity.  (Not that the détente has overly assisted those same people either, but something’s better than nothing.)

And frankly, as a longtime Canadian traveler to Cuba…

I must be honest and say that a part of me is happy for this too, for purely selfish reasons, I may add.

Many of my fellow American cigar compatriots know how to get to Cuba, one way or another, before/during/after this détente bullshit.  Whether the U.S. government “allows” them to travel is of moot difference really.  However, since the Obama-Raul détente, the sheer number of American travelers (not necessarily those brethren cigar aficionados either) have overwhelmed damn near everyone.  Cuba is building additional hotel rooms in shudderingly terrifying numbers (especially if one is aware of construction “norms” in Cuba).  Availability still continues to drop disproportionately, and prices have been skyrocketing.

Fuck, I remember when we did one of the first bigger Canuck group-trips to Havana for the Friends Of Partagas festival in November 2012.  Airfare from Toronto, transfers, taxes all-in, and double-occupancy room bookings at the Hotel Nacional in Havana was just under $1200 CAD then.  We’re just looking in the past month for a few different options for this November’s Encuentros again (probably doing the same casas again as last year’s big FOH / AmiCigar group trip, which were AWESOME).  Anywho, looking at doing the same thing as we did in Nov. 2012, Toronto airfare, Nacional hotel, all-in, and the current pricing is just over $5600 CAD per person now!

So, frankly, once the “standard American tourist” is banned from the island, I can’t say I’ll honestly be upset from my own personal perspective.  That said, I definitely doubt that hotel prices will ever drop to what they were for us before (but shit, if they drop into the $2k range, it’d almost be a steal again.)

But I still hope for the best for some Cuban friends – some have put some hard work into the current small-business atmosphere.  I hope these changes don’t see worsening conditions for them.  It scares me what some foreign government’s can do to another’s country, just with the swipe of a pen.  Without an appreciation for the people on the ground, who are these people to make those choices?

Cheers all.

 

Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Cigars Smoked (Part 2 of 2)…

For some of the previous posts on this trip to the Iberostar Grand Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica, please use the following hyperlinks:

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: A Beautiful Escape in Montego Bay…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Fun In The Sun…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Food Fit For a King…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Pirate Beach Party and Local Flair…”

And so, continuing on from my previous post about cigars from this trip

6.  Trinidad Fundadores.  Dic 2009 “OUS”.  Now this one was a bit of an experience to be had!  Had a loosely-packed foot, dark ligero-loaded head upon cutting, and some soft spots throughout that became more pronounced as the cigar progressed, due in part to the format interacting with the conditions that day (29 C and 79% RH, 19 kph wind, and right poolside).  Heavy residual salty taste and feeling in my mouth and nose at the start of this cigar, from snorkelling with Erin in the Caribbean Sea earlier.

But a perfect draw on this cigar.  It had a wonky burn to start, but with a slightly firm ash (1-1/2″ groups).  Not much smoke off the foot “at idle”, but loads of smoke when drawn on.  Heavy tones of leather and dark tea, saddled onto toasted tobacco.  Hits of shortbread cookies and honeydew melon – that’s right, folks, honeydew melon in there too!  LOL.

It held up very well in the heat and the humidity overall – the wrapper had some slight unravelling near the end of the experience.  No harshness or sour tinges, right to the stubby end.  A solid 93; would have perhaps been slightly higher if not for the slight construction and burn issues.

An elegant and classy smoke to start that particular day for me.  And to lead me into an ass-kicking afternoon of drinking triple-tequila margaritas.  Had a dinner reservation that night for 8:30 pm, but instead, went up to the room at 6:15 to have a nap prior to, and instead slept right through until 6:30 am – aside from having Erin shove my ass over in bed at 11 pm after she spent the evening reading.  LOL.

7.  RA Gigantes.  Nov 2013 “MUL” – from a gorgeous box found during my Feb-Mar 2015 trip to Havana, Cuba.  Enjoyed this with “Wata” and local Blue Mountain coffee.  And nope, that’s not a typo – it’s “Wata” down there, with an “a”.  Not “water”.  “Wata”.  As I was told, “It’s spelt as it’s said”.  LOL.  Awesome.

As for the cigar itself, it had flavours of cherry-red coffee beans, nougat, cooked red apples (a slight deviation from the atypical “RA flavours” of “stewed fruit”), and with strong molasses and wet leather tones.  Lots of relights.  Could have been much better if not for burn issues – 87 points.

Other notables…

RA Extra 2011 EL.  Ago 2011 “RUE”.  Okay, I guess.  Not the best one I had, but lots of tones of burnt brown sugar and leather, with some molasses.

Partagas Lusitania.  Dic 2009 “STA”, Czar’s PSP stick.  Awesome.  Just awesome.

Diplomaticos No. 2.  Jun 2008 “EMA”.  A perfect match for Grey Goose screwdrivers.

Trinidad Robustos T.  Jun 2009 “OUS”.  Kinda uninspiring that day, but my palate was zapped from spicy and strong foods, coffee and drinks from that morning and the previous day.  Still pissed that these were discontinued so early into their release by Habanos S.A. though.

And lastly…

The resort itself had a nice little cigar lounge there, Hemingway’s.  While I didn’t actually bother to visit it for a smoking experience, I did know it was there and wanted to check it out; it appeared to almost always be staffed during normal hours, and had a pleasant-enough looking selection (which did mostly appear to be legitimate stock, rather than some of the fake cigars being peddled by some of the shops in the resort’s plaza area).  The staff seemed attentive too, but it was just too nice of weather outside and such a gorgeously-designed resort for me to sit inside and smoke.

Perhaps on a future trip I’ll check it out more.

Cheers all.

Havana Trip, Nov 2015: Cigars Smoked…

Yup.  Cigars were smoked, ashtrays were filled, villages were pillaged and plundered.  As per the norm, some cigars were good, bad, or great.  Here’s some brief rundowns, particulars, and photos where available…

1.  SCDLH La Fuerza.  Feb 2009 “OPM” coded.  A stick I brought from home, my first of this particular trip.  After only getting checked into the Habana Libre at 12:30 am, and with the girls being zonked from the travel that afternoon, John and I went to smoke on the back terrace at the Hotel Nacional at 1:30 am our first night there, with mojitos and Cubano sandwiches.  So simple, and nothing special, yet such a decadent start in the overall experience.

2.  LGC MdO No. 2.  Unknown code, a 2012 stick gifted from Tom back home.  With cappuccinos for “breakfast” at the Nacional – another great Havana treat to experience.  You just can’t beat the satisfaction of smoking a “La Gloria Cubana” while in Havana, Cuba!

3.  RA Club Allones EL 2015.  My box code – Aug 2015 “RAE” coded; John’s box – Jul 2015 “OPG” coded, all priced at $8.30 CUC per stick (at Habana Libre LCDH).  John and I found a number of boxes at the LCDH at the Habana Libre, and decided to sample from two stellar looking boxes from two various codes (there were 3 different codes, spanning a 3 month production window, with 8 or 10 boxes there).  Which was a GREAT idea – the RAE code from Aug 2015 were ABSOLUTELY stellar, and a 92-93 smoke right from the start, buy, buy, BUY! – but then our plan went to shit a day later when we went back there to buy up the rest, and some Asian fellows were walking out with what was left.  We did, however, hit gold later on in the week when we found 6 more boxes at the Hotel Saratoga – all of which had the same Aug 2015 “RAE” code, and were as dark, oily, and aromatic as the first boxes.  Home run cigars, as much as they can be with the recent cost increases in these new releases.  Even the “lesser” sticks that we had over the course of the week were 89-90’s.  Buy, buy, buy!

4.  Montecristo 80th Anniversario.  I was gifted one of these at the start of the week.  While I did enjoy it’s creamy, golden nougat and cafe creme flavours, mixed with some hay and leather, it also was a fair bit damp and had some harsh tones and needed LOTS of relights.  I didn’t stumble across a box during that week, but it’s something that did pique my attention.  Hard to say – need to try a couple more sticks, and seemed to get good thoughts from most down there.  Night and day from the Montecristo Anejado sticks.

5.  Cohiba Piramides Extra.  I was given a few of these, unbanded, from during the Habana Libre LCDH’s welcoming cocktail night.  Though unbanded, they were told to me by a couple of people that they were “actual current production” CPE’s, and not just customs rolled in that style / impersonation.  Well – they smoked like relative crap.  Completely “ugh” cigar – tons of relight attempts, no flavour, pitched two different ones barely a third into each.  So, to me, they had nothing special in them, did NOT smoke like a Cohiba at all, and definitely just seemed like a custom roller’s impression of them, while not using any proper Cohiba-intended tobacco.  That said, I have no way to 100% know.  I’m 90% sure they were unbanded custom imitations, but if they were actual current CPE sticks (even “seconds” that they didn’t waste the bands on), then I would steer clear, folks.

Then again – it was the Habana Libre LCDH.  Slight of hand wouldn’t be surprising!  LOL.

6.  Custom cigars.  Fuck yeah.

Be it Jorgito’s Monsdales or robusto largos (@ Club Habana LCDH), Yolanda’s piramides (@ Melia Habana LCDH), Reynaldo’s various goodies (@ Conde de Villanueva), or the plethora of other custom rollers that are still around at the various LCDH shops (Alex @ Commodoro, Juanita @ Melia Cohiba, etc.), or other random custom Salamones or unbanded Seleccion Privadas, THESE are the experience to enjoy, cigar-wise, when in Havana.  Fresh off the rollers’ tables, I can never have enough of them while down there.  They just hit the spot.

Every.  Damn.  Time.

The irony – went through the better part of about a half bundle each of Monsdales and robusto largos, as well as a bunch of random other customs singles.  And how many pictures did I take of those?  LOL – none.  Just the one picture, from before “the slaughter”, LOL.  Shows how great the company, the food, drinks, and times were, that I didn’t take any “action” shots while smoking these customs, huh?

IMG_5254

 

Cheers all.

Travelling Again to the “Island-South-Of-Miami”…

So, I’m off once again to Havana, Cuba, for the Encuentros Partagas.  No doubt, I’ll have lots of pictures and updates to come here upon my return, and some nice new reviews and tastings too hopefully.

Fingers crossed – let’s keep my jail-free streak going!!!!

Nov 2015 Encuentros Partagas poster

Cheers all.

 

Back again from Havana, missing it already…

So, my voyage La Havana has come to a close again.  Got back yesterday, relatively trouble free.  This trip was overall quite wonderful – no stomach issues, the ability to put more faces to names, and many more good times shared with other BOTL’s/SOTL’s from around the globe.  As always, some interesting news tidbits and a very few nice finds (though the latter is definitely getting to be less and less prevalent).

More posts will come in the following days detailing some of the below, but here are some of my highlights…

  • As is the current trend in Cuban cigar shops, tons of availability of the “big stuff” for tourists especially (Montecristo, especially the Open line, Partagas, tons of RyJ, HdM, fair amount of Trinidad, LOADS of Cohiba Maduro 5 line-up, etc.)
  • Almost nothing found of outside-of-the-norm or vintage stuff, aside from a few special boxes.
  • No evidence of recent tobacco beetle infestations continuing.  Looks like it’s calmed down a bit, and/or being taken better care of.  Did notice especially that at the Melia Habana LCDH walk-in humidor, they had a very prevalent tobacco-beetle capture “pest-strip” sitting out in the open.
  • A fair amount of newer LE’s were to be found.  Lots of availability and push for the Partagas Seleccion Privada EL’s.  A couple spots had the Cohiba Robusto Supremos available in mild quantity.  Fair amount of LCDH specialty releases to be found also.
  • Big push with the Anejados releases, RyJ Piramides and the Montecristo Churchills.  A number of conversations were had about these – opinions vary, but most are fairly negative, and nearly all tastings were blunt: they’re un-brand-related shit.
  • Tobacco availabilty to custom rollers appears to be levelling off, and perhaps improving a bit.  Jorge at Club Habana and Yolanda at Melia Habana both had their hands full with multiple large orders.  Other rollers (Alex at Commodoro, Reynaldo at Conde de Villanueva, Juanita at Melia Cohiba, etc., etc.) all had a decent availability and selection of their custom rolls available.
  • Loads of rum to be found everywhere – lots of Legendario Elixir to be found this time, and even a new elixir rum coming from Santiago I think it was (I’ll have to check over my pictures and report later)
  • Cubita coffee and Cafe Serrano were found here and there, but only in the vaccuum-packed pre-ground variants, and none of the big bags of whole beans were seen anywhere.
  • Another wonderful visit to see Graciela and others at the Sociedad Lung Kong there in Havana, with more gift items brought to them from Canada and as well from Hong Kong.
  • Prototype jars from San Ramon Producciones as announced here previously were not available for either the Baire or the La Patrona jars.  Arrangements were made to get pictures once they’re ready, so that they can be shared here.  Nearly all of the La Patrona jars are pre-sold already (at about 100 of the 120 jars spoken for).
  • Yolanda, the custom roller at the LCDH at the Melia Habana hotel, has her own “custom jar” soon to be released.  She went over the details with me, and more on that will be coming here soon.
  • I finally had the chance to meet a few international friends in person, rather than simply electronically through e-mail or the forums (Andy Ryan and Gino / Mr Japan are perfect examples of this).  Great relationships were formed or solidified.  The overall Fox clan is becoming more and more cursed by allowing me into their fold.  Glad to still claim being able to out-drink the Irish so far.
  • Was invited to a relatively new “after-hours” bar that’s apparently only available to the waitstaff, bartenders, and security staff that work at other bars/restaurants in the city – only OPENS at 4 am, and runs to 9 am.  Very cool place with a giant tree growing right up through the center of the palatial mansion that houses it.  Wild to be walking out of there at 7:30 am, blinded by the sun, and seeing everyone else get on buses to go to school or work.  There was nary enough Tylenol in my luggage for that day.
  • Exchanged money at many places this trip – Varadero airport, Hotel Nacional front desk and cambio/money-exchange, money exchange at the business center near the Melia Habana, and even at the cadeca exchange in the Melia Cohiba.  Not even a single attempt at the money exchange scam was observed or heard to be attempted during this timeline.
  • Great times shared again as always with Simon, Nino, Yannick, Amir, Yiorgos, as well as some other Euro and American travellers that have passed each others paths on FOH or other cigar forums, or met somehow through the industry.  I was again able to share some great times with Punch Joe, La China, and other H S.A. and industry personnel, such as Luka and Michel.
  • Yet again, everyone’s favourite “one-eyed cat” jazz club, otherwise known as the “Irish Embassy”, continued to be made into the “Commonwealth Consulate”.  Great times were had – drunken limbo, ghostly photo-bombing, etc.
  • While down in Havana, I heard on Wed/Thurs that Obama had announced that the U.S. Special Interests building would be getting re-commissioned / re-opened next week as the formal U.S. Embassy.  On the Mon/Tues, we did see work being done to either install a new one, or repair the current foundation, for the flag pole in the northwest facing corner of the building’s grounds, adjacent to the Malecon.  So, while I haven’t seen any media reports on this continuing movement, there was noted activity there.

So, more will be forthcoming later on over the next week or so about some of the above.

Obviously also, there’s the news of Hamlet’s departure / defection to the U.S., with him now in Naples, Florida, working for Rocky Patel.  Needless to say, many there in Havana were shocked and saddened by the occurrence of this, but many also understanding and wishing nothing but the best for him and his family.  We all only found out about it on the Thursday night / Friday during the tail-end of the festival itself (with it being the talk of the town prior to the gala dinner), after his resignation letter was brought in to the Partagas shop by a third party after his departure.  Something that had been in the works for quite a time apparently, and some of his best friends and childhood amigos there in Havana not even aware of it prior to (understood, but heartbreakingly so).

My own thoughts are very conflicted on it, but I can only hope for great things in the future for him.

And, by the above attached photos, I did find enough to fill my luggage again, LOL.  Going through Customs on this end was fine, with no additional taxes levied surprisingly.  A selection of some of the goods found during this trip:

  • Some more Hotel Nacional ashtrays for myself and some friends
  • Some Cafe Serrano packets of the pre-ground coffee
  • Three wonderfully dark, oily and rich boxes of Ramon Allones Superiores LCDH releases (Dic 2014 ULA codes) as well as one box of Ramon Allones Gigantes (Nov 2013 MUL) that was one of three boxes of these wonderful goodies that I found hiding out at two different locations
  • A fairly nice-smelling box of the new Trinidad Vigias, as well as a really nice box of the new Por Larranaga Picadores also
  • Two bundles each of Jorgito’s Monsdales and his new robusto largos (both with closed foot and a pigtail cap), which everyone was gleefully indulging in all week.  Should have got much more, but even he was saying he’s 3 to 4 weeks behind in his orders.  The wrappers also looked much better than what was available to the rollers back in November – some of the wrappers were gloriously dark and oily.  If the wrapper quality is there, I’ll likely go for 2 more bundles of the robusto largos in November, and 3 or 4 for the Monsdales – simply one of the best customs coming out of Havana in the last number of years
  • A bundle of Yolanda’s piramides
  • Some of Juanita’s coronas and Churchills
  • Couple bottles of Legendario Anejo rum for friends
  • Couple of the classic Cuban licence plates
  • A couple of other choice customs from other miscellaneous rollers as gifts and trades
  • Various cigars smoked from current / new release stuff, EL’s and Anejado’s included.  All pretty much meh, except for the Partagas Seleccion Privada – had a few of those, and they were quite nice, and packaged well in 10-boxes too
  • Two custom jars picked up for some buddies

My liver is aching, my lungs are tired, and my throat is sore.  Gonna be on a greens and fruit diet for the next little bit (my new joke – the only thing that makes Caesar salad shitty is those green leafy things they include with all the cheese, bacon and chicken sometimes, LOL).

But, it was another wonderful visit to the island and crazy little city.  Definitely better for me relaxing and getting “into the vibe” compared to November, when I was “herding cats with a ladder” as some like to say.

Glad to be back home (need family time again), even though the weather’s crap here still (going from plus 30 C to -20 C always sucks).  Miss the island a bit already, and will definitely be looking forward to the next trip again!

Cheers all.

Cigar Review – Partagas Piramides EL 2000, Nov 2000 “RAR” box code; Final Score – 88

Got another review here today.  This is a traded stick from a great BOTL, and a fellow CF member to boot.

He and I have done a number of trades now, and these were included a couple times before.  These Partagas Piramides were the first of H S.A.’s Edicion Limitada program, and as was the standard at the time, were cigars that were not in the normal portfolio of the brands chosen (the top 5 Habanos brands), and were made using wrapper leaves aged at least 2 years (which is longer than normal, and in later years of the program, this changed to being all leaves being used aged to this minimum).

Past their prime though?  Let’s see…

Reviewed Cigar:  Partagas Piramides LE 2000

Box Date:  Nov 2000

Factory / Manufacture Code:  RAR

Packaging:  25-box, standard dress box

Price per cigar:  N/A (trade; from Bahrain Ritz-Carlton)

Length:  6 1/8″, or 156 mm

Ring Gauge:  52

Format:  Piramides

Weight:  14 grams / 0.5 oz

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  These are a slightly rustic, mangy looking cigar.  They have that circa-early-2000’s Partagas wrapper – leathery, wrinkled, bark-like in appearance, but with a lovely toasted tobacco aroma.  These early EL’s don’t seem to have quite the level of wrapper that’s been used in more recent years.  That said, the wrapper on this one wasn’t too bad – it was slightly dull and matte-looking, but this piramide was nicely symetrical and had some beautiful bunching to it.  There were some slighly veiny spots, but no soft or hard spots – the weight and construction of it felt quite nice.

After clipping the head, the draw on this was slightly more resistive than I wished for.  At cold, there were hints of old wood, all-spice, and a tinge of anise root / black licorice.  Hmmmm – interesting…

Opening Impressions:  After a lighting up and initial draws, the draw was actually quite nice when lit.  There wasn’t a ton of smoke with this, and it wasn’t overly viscous on the palate.  Slightly citric-acidity there on the taste profile.  Smell of fine and overly-dried herbs burning.

First Third:  Into the first third, this showed some hints of pepper on the couple of retrohales I gave this cigar, but it was extremely finite.  This cigar was very minimal on the powerhouse presence of pepper that my last one of these had (to the best of my recollection – my Cigar Dossier is packed up somewhere).

Frankly, I was already a bit disappointed with this cigar at this point.  I was hoping for a bit more.  It seemed to be looking at me, longing to be smoked, leaving me eagerly anticipating that which would come to pass.  But…meh.  There was a dark, old wood tone in there – almost like an old chunk of walnut wood was slowly being burned.  A fragrant-ness that was there, but not of the blowing-your-socks-off-kind.  And, since that wasn’t there, that aged refinement that some cigars get, gloriously aged LGC, QdO, old-school Monte or HdM, this cigar just simply didn’t have that there either.  Almost like the seco leaf, which imbibes that in a cigar that’s aged for a decade or longer, almost like it was forgot to be put in this cigar.  There was none of that perfumey, tea-like, aromatic class to this cigar.  And, being a Partagas, I was really hoping for one or the other.

Second Third:  Into the second third, things somewhat continued.  I began to notice that the burn was not impeccable.  I had to do a number of relights, and if I left the cigar alone for more than a minute, it easy petered out.  Got me thinking it was kinda like a hot date gone wrong – and if I left her alone for more than a moment, she’d wither away and die on me.  Got to be that feeling that it was almost a chore to keep her entertained.  Gawd, I hate that!

But then…

Some improvement!

About mid-way through the cigar, started to get a tinge of candied orange peel.  That citrus, sour, orange rind tone, being smacked back and forth on my palate by some wet, aged, old leather.  The smoke’s lack of viscousness continued.  Beautiful, rich, white ash.  Minimal smoke between puffs, but a decent amount with each pull.

And suddenly…

White pepper.  Ahhhhhh!  Just a few hints of it, fading in and out, but it was there.  Not the dense pepper that I was hoping to get, but it was showing up for the event finally.

Final Third:  Into the final third, it just kept growing and carrying on from the middle of the cigar.  White pepper, sour preserved orange rind, dark walnut wood smoldering in the fireplace, some wet leather drying over the hearth.

Damn, this was starting to get better and better.  Then…it was done.

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  I wish the whole cigar was like the 2nd half.  This was almost a night and day cigar; like two cigars wrapped in the same wrapper.  I was thinking in the first half about how 14 years might have been too much for this blend, how it’s Partagas essence might be all but evaporated into the hands of time.  But then, the 2nd half of the cigar made me a believer again.  If it was all like that, man, with the aged refinement hopefully coming into play more, it could have been wonderful.

Alas, it was just what it was.

Final Score:  88

Total Smoking Time:  1 hr and 35 minutes

Date & Time Smoked:  November 9th, 2014; lit up at 3:50 pm, done at 5:25 pm

Paired Beverage:  Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos and Coke

Last Meal:  Meat & cheese cracker plate lunch, w/ elk meat summer sausage, 12:20 pm

Smoking Conditions:  Climate-controlled garage, 21 degrees Celsius, 72% RH

Thanks for reading my review.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.

It’s coming – the Partagas Encuentros…

So, after missing it last year unfortunately due to a work-related scheduling issue, I’m super psyched to be going back again for this year’s Partagas Encuentros festival (held the third week of every November).

And yay – the event schedule with pricing is now released finally.  Sounds great to have the opening dinner (the only main event that some choose to attend) at the “Plaza de Armas”, a gorgeous location for something like this…

To me, this event is the ying for the yang that is the main Habanos Festival (held every February), which has seemed to have gotten too commercial, too busy, too full of facades and not “real faces”, real hearts and minds there solely for the love of Cuban cigars and the friendships that are gained through and with them.  Granted, the Partagas Encuentros, and it’s related events can still be somewhat contrived and commercial – but cigars are a big business after all, and part of this event is catering to the gathering of business people that are part of bringing fine Habanos cigars to all of us.  The icing on the cake is this – this event simply helps to bring us all together; cigar distributors and merchants, collectors, smokers, cigar newcomers, torcedors, industry insiders, Cubans, Canadians, Brits and Das Germans, other various Euros, Yanks, and even unfortunately those crazy Aussies!!!

It’s a great time.  If you’ve even been on the fence about going to Cuba, and deciding on when to take the leap, these are the types of events to break the ice with.

I’m going yet again with a great core group of Canadian travel companions, and will no doubt be part of hijinks with the rest.

Let’s just hope I can get home in one piece afterwards!!!!

Cheers all.