Friday, May 9, 2008

Would you like some Cuban tobacco in your cigar?

A recent posting titled Why Not Cuban Tobaccco on Cigracyclopedia.com got me thinking about a subject that's been on my mind as well. Let's assume the Cuban embargo is lifted in the not-too-distant future. Will manufacturers in The Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua begin buying Cuban leaf and add it to cigars sold in the U.S.?

I suggest you read the whole posting, but it begins with a question from a reader who refers to an article that stated there will be a bigger demand for Cuban tobacco than Cuban cigars if the embargo is ended.

Manufacturers in South America are not affected by the embargo, so they could use Cuban tobacco in their blends, but they aren't, which raised the following question: "Can't they use it for cigars sold in the European and Asian markets?" CigarCyclopedia offers following cogent reply:

In fact, the major producers of cigars in the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua do not use Cuban leaf in their blends today, even though they could for sales in countries other than the U.S. There are good reasons for this. If such producers used Cuban leaf in cigars sold in Great Britain, what would the position of U.S. Customs be for cigars shipped to the U.S. from England? And if such cigars were made under the same brand name as cigars made for the U.S., would there be trouble with American customs to allow any of these cigars into the U.S.? Would U.S. Customs force the manufacturer to prove that Cuban leaf wasn’t in their cigars? It’s too much trouble to bother with.
So as long as the embargo remains in place, major cigar manufacturers outside of Cuba will continue making cigars without Cuban leaf. And judging by the quality of the cigars now being made in The DR, Honduras and Nicaragua, it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference. Of course, that's not to say that blenders wouldn't mind being able to use prime Cuban leaf to create even more interesting blends.

So consider the following, because maybe we'll get the chance to smoke such a cigar in our lifetime.

...wouldn’t you be interested in trying a new cigar from Macanudo or Arturo Fuente or Camacho that was made with Cuban leaf? That’s what cigar makers are thinking about now as they monitor the changes in the Cuban regime under Raul Castro and what might happen under a new American President in 2009. We have been told, repeatedly, that those meetings are ongoing...and getting more intense.
Finally, in case you didn’t know, before the embargo U.S. Connecticut tobacco was a staple of Cuban cigars. True!

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