Puro1876

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  1. I worked for the U.S. government and have two friends I met when I was working on Fidel Castro’s detail back in 1995. I’ve maintained a good relationship with them over the years and they even helped me during a big counterfeit Cuban cigar investigation I worked back in 1998. Back in 1998 the US Attorney General for the southern district of Florida contacted our office and asked us to initiate an investigation into the countless counterfeit Cuban cigars floating around the Miami area. I have always found it rather comical that the reason the Attorney General wanted this investigation initiated was because every time he purchased a Cuban cigar in Miami it was counterfeit. He didn’t have a problem that the cigars were illegal to buy or possess, but that they were counterfeit. My friends in the Cuban government sent me a dozen boxes of genuine cigars to use as comparatives in my investigation. They have always been extremely kind to me and have shared a wealth of knowledge about Cuban cigars with me over the years. I can comfortably say they are also the reason why I got into Cuban cigar smoking and collecting. Anyway, the story behind these cigars is that I was gifted them from a family in Spain who had ties to big Cuban business. My friends father worked in Cuba in the 40’s and was gifted the box and other cigars over the years in Cuba. The box has no warranty export seal nor a Spanish import seal. This wasn’t common to see, as virtually all boxes have the Cuban warranty seal. However this box has no warranty seal and was filled with unbanded montecristo cigars. From what my Cuban government friends told me, in the 40’s it wasn’t uncommon for some cigars to come unbanded due to shortages associated with WWII. I have smoked other pre-Castro Montecristo and other cigars in Cuba that were unbanded. They came directly out of boxes owned by my government friend. If you look at the branding on the bottom of the box I believe you might be able to see that the Menendez Garcia brand is an older version than the same brand from the 1950’s. My friends also explained that before the industry was nationalized by Castro, owners would grab a box and fill it up with cigars to gift to friends. (I suppose the same could be done today, but I never asked that question). Because these boxes were not intended for sale (inside or outside of Cuba) they didn’t have to put warranty seals or even bands on the cigars if they chose not to. I suppose for me the biggest way to determine a cigars authenticity is to smoke one. I have had pre-embargo montecristo cigars before and I feel comfortable saying these are the genuine article. As you are aware, the cap on many pre-embargo cigars was finished differently, without the triple cap so well known today. These cigars have the same look, and smell of pre-embargo montecristo cigars I have tried before. The smell of old pre-embargo cigars is certainly unique and once you smell it I feel you won’t mistake cigars with that kind of age on them for something younger. They still have good strength and a myriad of complex spice, flowers and earth notes. These cigars were not box pressed but still maintain their round appearance. They could originally have had somewhat of a box press to them, but several cigars were smoked by the owner over the years. This fact has allowed the cigars more room to breathe and maintain their rounded shape. I’m certainly not a pre-embargo expert and always welcome the input of fellow aficionados. Many Thanks, Patrick
  2. Hello Guys, My name is Patrick. I’ve been a subscriber for a while now but never submitted a post. I have been a wine and Cuban cigar aficionado for over 25 years now and have always enjoyed reading the FOH posts. I thought you might enjoy seeing a box of Pre-Embargo Montecristo #4 I recently acquired. They were owned by the same family since they were new. The cigars are in very good condition. A few had some foot damage so I cut the damaged areas off to clean those particular cigars up a little. I was told, and tend to agree, that these cigars date from the 1940’s. If my memory serves me correctly, during this time frame it was not uncommon for some cigars to come unbanded. I put these cigars into cellophane sleeves to protect them. I tend to put my rarest cigars into cellophane. I have found that by doing this my cigars are not only protected from any handling, but age gracefully. In addition, the cellophane maintains each cigars humidity and aroma to a much greater degree than the same cigar removed from cellophane.
  3. I read your post and it was extremely well written and informative. I wanted to bring a few points to your attention that might have been overlooked. The first “commercial” plantings of Habana 92 and Havana 2000 were harvested in 1995. (Not all farmers planted these hybrids that year). The finished tobacco from these new hybrids would not have been used to roll cigars until roughly 1998. This was due to the time required for the harvested tobacco to age properly. Discussions I had in the late 90’s with friends I have in the Cuban government indicated to me that cigars which were boxed in 1995-1997 were still made with the original Corojo and Criollo tobaccos. However, because of general shortages with Ligero in particular, some of the brands began to experience a slight blend change beginning in 1995-1997. This was done to conserve the remaining original Corojo and Criollo tobacco until the new hybrids were properly aged and ready for use. I think people tend to forget that Cuban cigars are made up of a blend of aged tobacco. For example, a premier brand, boxed in 1996 would typically contain the following: Wrapper from 1993/1994 Secco from 1992/1993 Ligero from 1991/1992 By 1998 the new hybrid tobacco began to be used in full force, which is why many people notice a major change in flavor beginning in that year. I just wanted to add these comments to your reply as I thought it pertinent to the topic.

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