tak8426

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  1. What is interesting however is that they wouldn't include the box with any of their other cigars, not trinidad topes, not behike 54, not piramides extra, sir winstons, hoyo double coronas, esplendidos, dantes, capuletos. If they had extra boxes in the humidor they would sell those which as you can see I did get sir winstons and hoyo double coronas and received factura for those. I understand that behike and cohiba products are the most faked cigars but I'm not sure they are trying to fake trinidad topes, hoyo double coronas, and sir winstons even though those can be tough to find as well. There clearly is corruption throughout cuba and even in casa del habanos, hotel melia habana has a curtain that they hide premium products back and when pressed they tell you that those are not for sale. Last time behind the curtain they had montecristo A's, 80 anniversario, dantes, and full boxes of cohiba lanceros. I pointed at the boxes and was told I was not supposed to be looking in there. Habana libre had a full box of behike 56 reserved in the bottom of the walk in humidor. Anyways long story short, I also suspect that they are required to display the product they receive and as long as they have a box out they can pull a few behikes out and display them while still saving boxes for private clients or saving boxes that they sell out the back door.
  2. I checked two bags with about 150 cigars in each bag, carried on another 100 cigars and my facturas, and also carried on the humidors in a pretty large duffle bag. I definitely had more luggage than most when I arrived back home but customs was so busy with other international flights I had no issues at all.
  3. I don't know exactly what they were. My spanish understanding is very average and I'm not sure he stated who made them. They smell fantastic and I'm sure he has some pretty good connections in town. Can't wait to try them soon!
  4. Casa del Habanos humidors in Havana were full of some very good selections last week, carried home as much as I could. Check out my trip report for some other photos. http://www.friendsofhabanos.com/forum/topic/132199-august-trip-report-picture-heavy/
  5. Extremely easy to acquire your visa at your departure gate. You just have to pay the fee that your airline charges and they basically do the rest for you. I wasn't asked on my last trip why I was going to Cuba but "support for Cuban people" seems to work every time. I had no problems in Cuba or U.S. customs. If you bring back less than 100 cigars you are golden. It helps to have receipts for things your purchase in Cuba like artwork, sculptures, etc. Hope this helps!
  6. I arrived on Saturday around noon and went directly to Hotel Nacional. Upon check in I went to the far side of the lobby and purchased the last remaining marble ashtrays they had for sale. I asked if they had any more or if they would be getting some soon. I was told that the marble is in short supply and/or the demand is so high that there would not be any of the large ones for quite a while. After checking in to my room, I went down to the Casa del Habano in Hotel Nacional. The supply was very good and the lady behind the counter told me it had improved over the last few months. She told me there had been less tourists in lately and that they were able to keep their inventory better stocked. The two employees on this day were very helpful and would go in to the humidor and bring out anything that I pointed to and asked for. I don't know if I got better service or not because I was making such a large purchase. The most exciting thing I saw was the emergence of the Cohiba Medio Siglo line. It appears that there has been a strong emphasis on ramping up production on these cigars and they look and smell amazing. I was happy to pick up a beautiful cherry wood humidor limited edition 13/20 new in a box from the storage closet. Throughout the trip it always seemed like there was more premium items than met the eye but depending on the employee you may not have access to the "good stuff." I left Hotel Nacional and picked up some cases of mojito glasses at the Havana Club museum, and then our driver who had tons of local knowledge helped us track down Humidores Havana, owned by Jose Ernesto Aguilera. He is the expert craftsman of the very expensive humidors that are auctioned off during the Festival Habano held every February. Meeting him and seeing some of his famous humidors was by far the highlight of the trip. The shop was very hard to find and the address listed gets you close but not exactly there. Once inside his team met with me, including Jose Ernesto himself, and showed me all of the humidors in his showroom. I picked out three of the humidors that I thought were unique and interesting and Ernesto even threw in a signed travel case and some custom rolled cigars. He really loves his craft and was eager to talk with me and answer any questions I had. I left his shop in the late evening and headed to Hotel Melia Cohiba to visit the Casa del Habano before returning to my room for the night. I found the humidor there to well stocked with many regular production cigars, found a few boxes of Casa del habanos exclusives and a few esplendidos. All in all it was a good stop and I was able to find enough cigars there to obtain a factura, something that I wanted to make a priority due to some of the threads I read about Cuban customs agents. Day 2: I started the morning out by walking about 0.5 mile to Hotel Havana Libre. This was probably the best stocked Casa del Habano during my time in Cuba. It was here that I found Behike 52 and Behike 54, not complete boxes however. I bought the remaining 8 Behike 52 cigars and begged for the box/case but was adamantly told "No." I also was able to acquire cabinets of Upmann Sir Winston and Hoyo Double Coronas here. The store has all lines of 2016 edition limitadas (incomplete boxes), almost the entire Cohiba line, full 25 cigar cabinets of montecristo #2 cigars, and Behike 56 full box reserved for another client. The staff was somewhat helpful and somewhat combative all at the same time. Either way I made a large purchase of difficult to find cigars and got out. My driver drove me to Club Habana, Hotel Palco, and Avenida 5th and 16th to find out they were all closed this Sunday. I don't know if this is a usual thing or if things were different due to Havana Carnival going on this weekend. My last stop was at Hotel Conde Villanueva. I really just went to check it out hoping I may find something really rare. I was starting to run out of cash around this point if you can imagine that. I was very upset at myself because this store was stuffed with boxes of Cohiba Pyramides extra and even had full boxes or Esplendidos and Coronas Especiales. I had to make a decision to pass on these expensive items and returned to my room to pack all of my spoils. After a few hours of moving things around and finally finding the right arrangement to make all of this fit, I've found time to write this narrative and I'm off to smoke and drink until my flight leaves tomorrow. I managed to snap a lot of pictures here in my room while packing and hope this sheds some light for those who enjoy this as much as I do. I went big with all the uncertainty surrounding Cuba and I hope it stays open for years to come, but at least I have myself a nice stash of cuban cigars and accessories if it doesn't.
  7. Nice post Flint, Did you stay at Hotel Nacional, it sure looks like you scored a lot of stuff from them! I really love those Hotel Nacional ashtrays, it looks like you hit the jackpot. I saw one on eBay that looks a lot like one of them in your picture. Before I place my bid I wanted to check to see if it was yours so I would know it is authentic. Check out the link below and let me know and hopefully I can get one of those for my collection. Cool post! http://www.ebay.com/itm/112448807775?_trksid=p2380057.m570.l6027&_trkparms=gh1g%3DI112448807775.N35.S1

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