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Richard's Diary

October 2009

Cohiba Gran Reserva

By Richard on October, 30th 2009 - 1:59 pm

Now Available on!!!!

The Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva

Factory size (Vitola de Galera): Cañonazo, ring 52 x 150mm
Comercial Name (Vitola de Salida): Cohiba SigloVI Gran Reserva 2003
Presentation: 5000 numbered boxes containing 15 cigars, double banded Cohiba and Gran Reserva

'Habanos S.A is pleased to present the "Gran Reserva", launched for the first time ever in "Cohiba", the most prestigious premium cigar brand in the world. It is the first ever Habanos Gran Reserva elaborated with the best Cuban tobacco leaves from San Juan y Martínez and San Luis harvested in 2003, and carefully aged for five years before reaching the cigar rollers hands. The eagerly awaited Cohiba Gran Reserva reaches finally the most select markets in the World. This first ever Habanos Gran Reserva enhances the unique character of Habanos as a “Denominacion de Origen Protegida” (protected Denomination of origin). The Gran Reserva concept means the best of what Habanos has ever made. The best Cuban tobacco leaves harvested in 2003 have been selected, fermented and inspected for a long period of five years. All the leaves used to make up a Habano -the wrapper, the filler and the binder have undergone this meticulous 5 year process. Those precious leaves, after five years of care, are then laid in the skillful hands of Cohiba´s expert Cuban cigar-rollers at "El Laguito" factory in order to create this exquisite Habano for the most distinguished smokers. Furthermore, the emblematic vitola "Siglo VI" (girth 52 x 150mm length) has been chosen for the production of this first Habanos Gran Reserva. Every part of the process respects the criteria that one would demand of such a unique product. From the careful process of fermentation using the best tobacco from San Juan, Martinez and San Luis, to the exquisite blend selection process supervised by 50 testers, all elements are checked to combine so as to respect the unique character of Cohiba.'

You can see:
Habanos S.A.
C.A.'s James Suckling rates the Cohiba Gran Reserva 100/100

2009 Game Recipe

By Richard on October, 23rd 2009 - 12:43 pm

The 2009 Game Season is now in full swing, which means that it is time for the traditional Game Recipe – This year, Rick and I will prepare Daube de Sanglier (Slow Cooked Wild Boar). Please find below the full recipe for this dish and above the photos from our hunting trip during which we got our Boar. Try it and give us your feedback -


1.5kg/3lb 5oz boneless shoulder of wild boar
For the marinade
2 bay leaves
4 large thyme sprigs
3 x 18cm/7in rosemary sprigs
1 fat celery stick, roughly chopped
300ml/10½fl oz gusty red wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or the Corsican Niellucciu
8 cloves
2 medium onions, sliced
6 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
12 black peppercorns
1 tbsp juniper berries, lightly crushed

For the stew

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200g/7oz small chorizo sausage or figatellu sausage, cut into 4-5mm/¼in-thick slices
2 tsp tomato purée
2 tsp plain flour
100ml/3½fl oz red vermouth, such as the local Cap Corse
450ml/15¾fl oz beef stock
50g/1¾oz dried porcini mushrooms
50g/2oz chestnuts, cooked and peeled and vacuum-packed
1 tbsp butter
200g/7oz mixed wild mushrooms, including some chanterelles, wiped clean and sliced if large
salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful parsley, chopped, to garnish


1. Cut the wild boar into 5cm/2in chunks and put the pieces of meat into a large bowl. Add all the ingredients for the marinade, mix together well, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours, stirring it occasionally.
2. The next day, set a colander over another clean bowl and tip in the marinated meat. Drain well and reserve the wine collected in the bowl.
3. Separate the meat from the rest of the marinade ingredients and set aside. Heat half the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and fry the meat in batches until it is browned all over. Season as you go and add a little more oil if needed.
4. Return all the meat to the casserole dish with a little more oil if necessary. Add the chorizo or figatellu and fry for a minute or two until lightly golden. Add the remaining marinade ingredients reserved in the colander and fry until soft and richly browned.
5. Stir in the tomato purée and fry for another minute. Stir in the flour followed by the red vermouth, the reserved wine from the marinade, beef stock, porcini mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and ten turns of the black pepper mill. Bring to the boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid and leave to simmer gently for 1-1½ hours.
6. Add the chestnuts to the casserole, replace the cover and cook for another 20-30 minutes or until the meat is very tender.
7. Shortly before the stew is ready, heat the butter in a large frying pan, add the wild mushrooms and some salt and freshly ground black pepper and fry briskly over a high heat for 1-2 minutes. Stir them into the casserole, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Power vs Strength

By Richard on October, 03rd 2009 - 3:59 pm

Naturally, any strength definition of a cigar will be subjective and depends entirely on the smoker’s personal impressions. The terms used and accepted general guideline definitions are there to assist the smoker with his choices. Strength is a measure of the nicotine content of a cigar. A very strong cigar will deliver a forceful amount of nicotine giving a heavy impression in the smoke. Examples of this type of cigar would be the Bolivar Belicosos Finos or the Partagas Lusitanias. Most smokers, even the experienced ones, will get a nicotine ‘rush’ from smoking this type of cigar. The effect of the strength on the smoker will vary depending on a number of environmental factors; regularity of smoking, physical size of the smoker, smoking on an empty stomach or not, etc.. These very strong cigars can produce either very pleasant feelings or very unpleasant ones, like feeling dizzy or nausea. Aside from its heady kick in the smoke, nicotine can frequently be noted as a peppery or warming tingle on the lips and tongue and this even before the cigar is lit. To enhance your smoking experience, try tasting your cigar right before you light it up. Simply let your lips and tongue moisten the freshly clipped foot of your cigar. It's a quick way to judge the strength of the smoke to come. It's also worth noting that young or "green" cigars (less than 3 months old) are at their peak nicotine concentrations (or strength) and will smoke in an almost harsh manner.

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