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About Ryan

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  • Birthday 10/19/1969

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  1. Yes, though cigar stores will usually have some. Partagas, Habana Libre and El Aljibe. You can get a torch lighter with a mini-bottle of gas for 6-10 cucs depending on the lighter. The $6 plastic one is better value than the metal lighter. Or, bring cheap empty torch lighters with you then buy the gas/lighter set in one of those cigar stores. Most agents let empty lighters through don't they? Give away the lighters before you leave the island and have matches for the last part of your trip. Bartenders, waiters and waitresses really like getting lighters.
  2. Ryan

    In the future ....

    I suppose look at the example of horses. Horses used to be all the rage. There are no laws against owning them, though they are now mainly used for "track days", in most countries. There are countries where horses are allowed on motorways/highways, but those are generally the same countries that also allow bicycles on their highways. I don't think any other country will vote anytime soon to allow horses or bicycles on their highways, as it's obviously dangerous. The same will be said soon for cars driven by humans. Putting cars with drivers off the roads will probably be started by insurance companies.
  3. They've been doing that in Jose Martí for a few years now. Taking every lighter they can find. Next time you go to Cuba, bring a box(es) of matches with you, cigar matches if you like and keep them in your carry-on/jacket on the way out. They've never taken those from me.
  4. Very sorry to hear this, wishing you the best. As Prez says, stay in touch. There's a lot of life experience on this forum.
  5. I know, not all of it makes sense. Pancho Cuba, as far as I know, has 9 acres, I do know he lost a couple of acres that year to fungus. But that was the calculation he had done, and he had done it to work out how much he thought he would earn for his tobacco. I don't think he had any reason to make that up for us. We weren't on an official tour. As for the 16h, 14h and 12h. My guess is the "h" stands for "Hojas", leaves. So leaves per plant. Regarding Hector's increased acreage. Here's Brooks from Halfwheel reporting that Hector told him he grew 6 hectares (about 15 acres) of tobacco in 2017, a bad year for growing, says Hector. https://halfwheel.com/portraits-hector-luis-prieto Greg Mottola says the same the year before. Actually, that article is interesting, the last few paragraphs, talking about another plot of land Hector has for growing tobacco "used for Cohiba's Selección de selecciónes". Another bad year for growing, says Hector. https://www.cigaraficionado.com/article/out-of-the-brick-red-soil-a-visit-to-the-prieto-farm-18643 Punch Joe will have his own thoughts on this, I'd love to hear them. He certainly knows more about this than most people. Have a great time in Cuba and please give him my regards! That picture of him is inspecting the damage I had done after trying to steer that ox in the background.
  6. It's safe to say that not all Cubans are happy with the current regime. I don't know the numbers, nobody does, but it's equally safe to say that the vast majority of Cubans are very proud of their independence. Support for any government (whether good, bad, inefficient or corrupt) increases when there is any evidence of attempted regime change from abroad. Especially in a country where citizens value their independence. There is a saying (said quietly) in Cuba, "The best ally Castro ever had was the embargo".
  7. That is a bunch of heavy-hitters at that top table. Mohammed Zeidan, Walid Saleh, Hector Luis, Cueto, Inocente Nuñez, Leopoldo Cintra etc.. Something new out of this report is the statement "The leaves will come from the Hector Luis farm". Whether or not that is 100% true, it is the first time, to my knowledge, that a "single-estate" Cuban cigar has been announced since the revolution. That is, all tobacco from a single farm, with the farmer being named. Recognising individual merit is hardly the most "Communist" of ideas. I could be wrong but I don't think even Alejandro Robaina got that. The new "Le Hoyo" series came close but tobacco for those cigars comes (apparently) from named sorting regions (San Juan, Rio Seco) not farms. I know Habanos have said all kinds of things in the past and there have been some great efforts here at estimating Hector's output but you never know. I really like the maths you've done, but the real number of plants per acre is conservatively 10 times that. Rows of plants are 24 - 30 inches apart and plants within a row are about 18 inches apart. That works out to at least 10,000 plants per acre, and I think I'm being very conservative as I'll show you. I can remember being shocked at how many cigars an acre of tobacco can produce. Recent reports have said that Hector has expanded his planting, once source says 6 hectares (15 acres) another said 16 acres. So 15-16 acres is near enough, those sources have interviewed Hector himself. To give an idea about how much tobacco can be produced per acre. I have visited Francisco Milían (Pancho Cuba) a few times over the years. He farms about 9 acres. When we visited in 2013 he had lost a few of his 9 acres to Black Shank. He has a habit of planting his own seeds, taking a gamble, rather than the seeds recommended in a given year by the Tobacco Research Institute. He says the gamble normally pays off. You can see it in the picture below. A field of rotting tobacco. Given that a football field is just over an acre, you can see there's at least a couple of acres there. That same trip as the picture above, he produced a notebook showing us the tobacco he harvested that year from his remaining acres. The bottom of the page showed what he gets paid for shade and sun grown tobacco, I "redacted" that part, as these things can have a habit of getting out. Anyway, his notebook shows 1.26 million leaves of "Tapado" (shade grown) and 2.2 million leaves of Sol (sun-grown). You can see, he estimates 988,000 cigars (tabacos) from that amount of leaves. Some might say that that's a very rough estimate but I'd imagine Pancho Cuba knows more about these things than most of us do. Plus, I don't think he had any reason to lie to us. So that's 988,000 cigars from a 9 acre farm, in a year where at least a couple of his acres of plants had rotted in the field. So, getting back to Hector, 450,000 cigars from 15-16 acres is possible, with lots left over. It's possibly only 25% of his crop, or less. Whether the story is true or not, as you say. Well that's a different matter. It's one of those things about Cuba that transcends tobacco, people will tell you what they think you want to hear. That's not always a bad thing, very often they mean well. Equally hard to believe, I know, is the statement that all the cigars will be "rolled by the best cigar rollers at the Partagás Factory under the supervision of José Castelar, a.k.a Cueto" Having said that, the Partagas factory apparently puts out 4 - 5 million hand-rolled cigars per year. So 450,000 cigars would be about 10% of annual output. Potentially doable. This last picture is Punch Joe standing between 2 rows of tobacco, this is in a field of Hector's neighbour. You can see the distance between the rows.
  8. I was listening to an interview with British author Ian McEwan on the radio at work this morning. He was saying how he found it heartening that even the most anti-EU of the British tabloids and media had pictures of this on their front pages this morning, empathizing with the French and basically stating how we have all lost something in this fire. If something good was to come out of this, it's the realization that there are times when we can all agree on some things.
  9. It depends what "Golden age" of cigars means.Production? Crops? Growing Conditions? Retail? Online retail (as Prez mentioned)? Availabilty? Quality? Places where they can be smoked? For me, some of the best and consistent cigars I've ever seen and smoked have been from the late 60s to late 70s. The wrappers are extraordinary, smooth, thin, oily and beautiful. A particular box of Por Larranaga Magnums was like stroking a pony's nose. But there are lots of examples.
  10. They keep it in the back as it's bought by the pharmacist for their own use in the shop. It's used to clean equipment, make up solutions etc. Though many will sell it if asked. I can't remember ever being asked by a pharmacist what I need it for but it's not beyond the realms of possibility that a pharmacist may have qualms in helping a customer enhance their smoking experience.
  11. It's right at the back, not very obvious. Kuwait was fine, just a long weekend, a nice time actually, very nice people. I didn't actually miss the booze. It was the option of having it I missed. There is a great new cigar lounge there. La Hoja cigar lounge. The owner Hussain is a very nice guy.
  12. Don't use a cabbage leaf, or an apple core, they go moldy very quickly. Distilled water is distilled, as in , boiled off and re-condensed, producing very pure water. De-ionised water is pushed through various types of filters. Both will remove dissolved impurities, salts and metals. de-ionised water can have organic impurities left behind, viruses, bacteria, but these generally won't affect humidifiers or cigars. Fungii will So distilled water is generally purer, they are similar but not the same. Go to a local chemist shop/pharmacy if you have one, not a chain like Boots, and ask for distilled water. Most chemist shops sell it but not openly, you have to ask for it. If they happen to ask what it's for and you think they may have an issue with you smoking, tell them it's for a humidifier for a guitar/musical instrument case. There's no point buying too much (like 5 litres). 500 mls/1 litre will do, as each time you open it, there will be mold spores landing in it, eventually making it unusable anyway.
  13. I passed through in January. I visited that "Exquisite" shop. I wasn't looking for whiskey or wine so I can't comment. I was on my way to Kuwait so I couldn't buy any anyway. There is a big whisky/cognac selection though. There is a smallish (maybe 6 X 10 feet) walk-in humidor at the back, up some steps. Good selection of Cohibas, they had Robustos. Most of the 1492 line except Siglo VI. Prices not brilliant but OK, I can't remember specifics. I didn't see any Dutch regionals and that's what I was looking for. There was still construction going on but they have fixed up the business lounges, there's a nice "Sky-Bar" there now, with a view of the taxi-ing areas. That aroma table is becoming a thing. They have one for whisky in the basement of Harrods.
  14. Picture 3: Siglo VI Picture 4: 2018 El Rey Del Mundo La Reina (UK) Picture 6: Behike 52 Picture 7: 2017 Cohiba Talisman Picture 8: Siglo II in hand (possibly 2014 ). 2016 Majestuosos in box in background.
  15. A little box of 5 Fonseca Petit Coronas from the 50s are the oldest I can think of. The only Fonseca I've seen without the tissue. It hasn't moved from the same storage keep in 60 years. I have a few "Clear Havanas" from the 1920s.

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