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Richard's Diary

February 2008

New leader for Cuba - new direction for Habanos?

By Richard on February, 27th 2008 - 3:26 pm

The end of last week saw the transition of power in Cuba from one Castro to another. With the ailing Revolutionary Leader, Fidel Castro, stepping down, no longer in a position to run the country, Cuba's Parliament elected brother Raul on Sunday as Cuba's new President. The news was received with mixed emotions by Cubans all over the globe. Some, those who praise the Leader of the Revolution, saw him as the Father of a Nation, establishing the first Marxist-Leninist state in the Western hemisphere following the revolution of 1959 and standing up to it's larger neighbor, the US and bringing universal free healthcare and a much-admired education system, morned his passage. An equal number rejoiced at the news, seeing this as the moment when Cuban was finally rid of it's dictator, hoping for an immediate democratization of the country with an opening of markets to help revive an archaic economy, riddled by corruption. How this will effect Habanos S.A. and their world wide distribution of tobacco, it is to early to say, but changes no doubt there will be. Give us your thoughts on what effect this political change will have on Cuban cigars.

You can see:
Official Cuban Government web site
Cuban set for small-scale changes

// smokeguy // March, 13th 2008 // 10:04 am

So when are we going to get Cubans in the US ?

How much should you pay for a Cuban cigar?

By Richard on February, 20th 2008 - 11:38 am

A huge number of questions coming in at the moment about why prices are so high, can we price match, etc, etc.... We seem to slowly be forgetting the fact that smoking Cuban hand rolled, long filler cigars is a luxurious and expensive hobby. There is no way getting round this. One would not barter and question the prices of a Bordeaux Grand Cru Red wine, who would buy Kobe beef on the cheap? Would you pay half price for a brand new Ferrari? I understand the problems in getting an idea of the true price/value for a Cuban cigar (believe me, information distribution is not the strong point of Habanos S.A.), as these vary so much from country to country (remember, taxes do vary from country to country, making a big difference on prices) and from merchant to merchant (take the time to check out if the merchant is credible, are they located in the country they say they are, are they supplied by the Official Habanos S.A. Importer for their region, check with other smokers and cigar forums, etc...). Simple steps to be taken, check each merchant with the regional Habanos S.A. Importer, they will always be listed. Run miles away from any merchants who sell cigars 50% cheaper then anyone else (they will be fake!!!), run miles away from merchants who sell rare and out of production cigars at discount prices (they will be fake!!), use the recognized figure head's in the business to get an idea price (Gerard et Fils, Cigar Aficionado, Paresh Patel, etc...), if you travel abroad, visit cigar merchants in different countries, always check out the tax-free shops in airports. By doing all this you will get an idea of how much you should be paying and what you should definitely not be wasting your time buying.

Share your views and experiences with us...

// Rich // March, 05th 2008 // 10:02 pm

A comment on your statement that quality cigars are an expensive hobby.....in fact, I think it is one of the lowest cost forms of entertainment in the marketplace. When you compare cost of other common hobbies such as golf, the final tally is MUCH higher. The average round of golf costs way more than a couple of good cigars....and that is in your local cow pasture....not Pebble Beach or a Scottish Link. And don't even THINK about boating or travel in the same category. And what other hobby is not dependent on the weather....can be enjoyed alone or with friends...and can be achieved with predictable amounts of time. Want two hours? Try a Bolivar Lusitania. Not much time? Monte #4. In conclusion, what other hobbies allow you to enjoy the VERY BEST of an activity for such a reasonable price.

Valentines - spend it with a smoke you love

By Richard on February, 14th 2008 - 11:05 am

The dream date for Valentines day; bottle of Champagne, Scottish smoked salmon served on a hillside spot overlooking the Alps. Just you, your food and a Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill. Bliss.

Smoking Ban

By Richard on February, 06th 2008 - 10:45 am

Ireland, Britain, Italy, France and now they are talking about it here in Switzerland, banning the possibility of smoking in restaurants and bars. The right and pleasure of the individual, squashed at the expense of the greater good. At what point do we, as individuals, need to stand up say, 'enough is enough, I can decide for myself'. Sure, if people want to eat and be merry without doing it in a cloud of smoke, then let them do it in restaurants and bars that are defined as non smoking establishments (no one disagrees with this), but to flat out take away the right to have bars and restaurants that clearly advertise that they are smoker friendly and thus leave it up to the choice of the of the individual to decide whether he/she wants to go in, I say no! The Structure is slowing and eating away at the rights of choice of the individual and in turn, we are falling into the comfort of displacing any personal responsibility onto the Other. This is a dangerous slide to be going down. Time for us to stand up for what we want and take the responsibility for the results. I am Richard, hear me roar!

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