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About bundwallah

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    Toronto Canada
  • Interests
    Cigars, wine and other fine spirits. Cycling. Volleyball. Art.

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  1. Introducing ReFOHrence. An FOH quick reference sub for key Cuban cigar info. Greetings Fellow FOH members. We mods have been discussing adding something new to the site these past few weeks that seeks to make some information quicker to access. While we will always encourage people to use the search function, we felt that we should find a way to "promote" some content that would act as a "quick reference" for key Cuban cigar related info. We call it: ReFOHrence We've already flagged some posts by several members that we felt could serve as definitive posts on certain subjects. For instance, historical box codes. Locations of Cuban travel tips, etc. Some "rules" for the ReFOHrence sub. The new sub is for reference only. No follow up posts to threads will be allowed. Though we will include a link back to the original thread should some of you wish to continue the discussion. No new posts can be created by anyone but mods. Posts will not be "new" in general. If anything they will be copies of key posts that meet criteria. Credit for the content will of course go to the original poster(OP). We will however, rely heavily on the FOH community to send us any posts they feel would make for a great quick reference. We ask that you nominate any post that you feel would serve as an excellent quick reference for the rest of the community. Feel free to PM any mod with a link to the post you'd like to see in this new sub and a brief description as to why. We will then review the suggestions and decide how to proceed. Feel free to nominate your own or others' posts. We invite the original poster of the reference posts to work with us to keep that content up to date; where relevant (ie Historical factory and box codes). In cases where the OP is no longer active, the mod team will curate the content. The OP will still get the credit. For posts that deal with ongoing Cuban cigar content. Such as Factory and box codes, we invite the FOH community to provide current data. We reserve the right to change the look of the original post and edit the content where needed. Each ReFOHrence post will carry a link back to the original post as well. To get the ball rolling, the mod team has nominated several posts already. Head on over to the new sub to check them out. The new sub is HERE **Please note. The sub might still be hidden at this time (7:30EST) and will be unlocked later in the day, so please check back now and then. We hope you find this new sub useful and enjoyable. The FOH mod team.
  2. bundwallah

    Visting Cuba - Travel Tips

    OP. CanuckSARTech Link to original thread. Notes: Couldn't find Keith's original post via search but I did find Rob's repost of it. This has been edited a bit to be more generic. Anyone that has updates, please PM me or any other mod and we'll apply them. There is Canadian specific contact info at the bottom, if you'd like to see your country's details, please PM them to a mod and we'll include it. There is also some possibly outdated material as the original post dates back to 2011. Buying Cigars: The best place to buy authentic cigars in Varadero is at the "La Casa del Habano" facing the Cuatros Palmas hotel in Varadero [between the Palma Real and the beach]. (In Havana, it's at La Casa del Habano 520, entre Dragones Barcelona, Habana Vieja, La Habana. It's at the Partagas factory behind the Capitole – tours are $10 for about an hour, and tours in English are at about 10am and 2pm). For pricing, it's not possible to give you all of the prices. You'll find some ratings for common cigars so you can extrapolate for the others. Prices may vary from one boutique to another and also depend on availability but the variation is never more than 20 USD: With cigar stores in Havana, a much better known cigar store is the La Casa Del Habano at Fifth and 16 . One of the managers is Carlos Robaina (son of the late Alejandro Robaina) and you can puff away in this clubby, elegant shop. It's a smaller store with dark woods, stained glass decorations with the names of Cuba's greatest cigar brands, a bar, a small room for private dining and plenty of cigars. They serve Cubita coffee, which 5 y 16 serves unlike any other place – with a tobacco leaf under the cup. Nice touch. ince 2004, when you buy a box of cigars in Cuba (more than 23 cigars in a box), you HAVE TO GET AN OFFICIAL HABANOS RECEIPT!!! The cashier will fill it out with your passport # and serial number of the cigar box. When you are leaving at the airport and you pass through Cuban Customs, they will ask you for your receipts and pass them under a UV light to make sure they are REAL receipts too! If you don't have a real receipt also, they will take your cigars away! So make sure you get a receipt when you buy your box! PS: You don't need an official receipt if you are buying a few single cigars or 5 packs, but why not ask for a plain cashiers receipt just to be safe. For vintage hunters, look for 2005 or 2006 box codes. Also, 2003 was an excellent year, and 2008 is turning out to be even better. The LCDH at the Melia Cohiba hotel in Havana has the new Cohiba Behikes BHK's. Many people wonder what these sell for in Havana, and these wonderful smokes (Cigar Aficionado rated the Cohiba BHK 52 cigar 94 points, and gave a score of 93 points to the BHK 54) sell for as much as $1,100 per box in Canada, but here in Cuba they are 180 CUC ($216), 238 CUC ($285) and 259 CUC ($310) per box of 10. It's a steal, and it shows why you can't find them in most other Cuban cigar shops. Pick up a bottle of Matusalem Gran Reserva rum, as well as the Ron Varadero Anejo 15 Anos Gran Reserva, and a bottle of the Legendario (Elixir de Cuba). Miscellaneous "must-see/must-do" cigar-related items in Havana: Malecon at night. Drink, smoke and party with the locals. Good times. Hotel Nacional - Stop in for a drink or 10 and a few cigars! Hotel Sevilla - Nice lobby to just relax and have a few mojitos with a few cigars. Also, a nice LCDH in the "mall" area of the hotel. Conde de Villenueva - Very historic hotel. One of the best LCDH's in town. See Reynaldo and ask about the custom rolled cigars. They are in the lockers in the back of shop. LCDH 5y16 - IMO, the best cigar lounge in town! Partagas Factory - My morning stop. Have a coffee with a cigar and do a tour of the factory. Also, ask for La China and her customs. Good cigars. NH Park Central - If you can get past the security (a good tip will do!), go to the rooftop lounge/pool area to rest your feet, have a drink and smoke a cigar! Great view! RyJ Factory - Factory is closed, but hear rumors it is re-opening, since renos are complete. Nice LCDH to relax in. See Hamlet for customs! General Travel info: $25 CUC departure tax, in cash, is due at the airport when leaving. Ensure you set this aside from your spending money, and set aside with your passports for leaving Cuba. (This is no longer an issue as of 2016/17. At least for Canadian travellers as travel providers build that into the price and relay it themselves.) *Warning: bring a copy of your passport if you are not comfortable leaving it with the front desk staff temporarily. Most resorts will take your passport and hang onto them for the initial 24-hours when you arrive – they need to copy down your passport information for their records when you check-in. It's a very good traveller's idea anyways to have a photocopy of your passport's photo/specifics page, so that you have a duplicate if your passport is lost. You can take this photocopy to a Canadian consulate if needed, and this will speed up the replacement process. A "Cuba Libre" is a basic rum and coke. Pack wet naps and tissue paper to take along with you when you venture away from the hotel in case you need to use a public washroom and also have small change (like 25 or 50 cents in pesos), because the washroom attendants expect to be tipped. Be sure to bring some lexan Nalgene bottles along with your Timmy's mugs – the Tim's mugs are great for drinks at your resorts, while the Nalgene bottles are nice for bringing some cold water with you on a day-excursion or a trip into Havana. Generally, Paladares (which are small, privately-/family-ran restaurants, primarily found in Havana and Varadero) are limited by the government to only 12 seats, with few exceptions. They are small and unassuming, but wonderful. To make international calls, use ETECSA card phones. Calling from your hotel room means exorbitant fees. Do not bring USD, as it is virtually worthless in Cuba – due to the embargo, the USD, and only in the few places that will accept it, in Cuba has an almost 20% of devaluation against the Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). All monies need to be exchanged at the "Cadeca's" (banks), from Canadian/Euros, into CUC's. The "Cuban Convertible Pesos" (CUC) is the "tourist peso", the dollar form that generally all prices are listed in. Now, there are actually two pesos at use in Cuba – the CUC, and then the citizens' peso. While they look similar, they are vastly different in value. The CUC is basically the exact equivalent of worth as a US dollar – whatever your current money's value on the world market compared to the USD (think CAD to USD), then that is the value that you will get for your money in CUC's. (Think, Disney money – this is that while you can only use CUC's in Cuba as a tourist, you cannot use it in any other country in the world, nor can you exchange it back for your normal cash at the banks in any other country than those in Cuba. It's a currency only used on this island.) For the citizens' peso, its about 25-to-1 or so when compared to the CUC. All of the various U.S.-related banking items are not useable in Cuba, due to the embargo. MasterCard MBNA, American Express, and Visa Citibank – for each of these, the credit cards as well as the traveller's cheques, are not accepted in Cuba. Instead, from CAA or other travel agents, pick up Thomas Cook traveller's cheques if needed (explain you need non-AmEx traveller's cheques, for travel to Cuba). TD Visa, ScotiaBank Visa, and Royal Bank Visa are all accepted. There are no automatic teller machines in Cuba – you will need to go and be waited on at one of the Cuban banks, Cadeca. It is forbidden to bring any receiver-transmitters into Cuba (walkie-talkies, cell phones, satellite phones, PDAs, GPS units, etc.) When buying anything, at the resorts or otherwise, be sure to get the right change back, and specifically, ensure you are receiving actual CUC's in return. For example, if you give a $20 CUC bill for a $10 CUC item, ensure that you get a $10 CUC back, and not a $10 citizens' peso bill back (which really only then has a value of about 40 cents of a CUC dollar) Good rum to buy – Havana Club "Cuban Barrel Proof" (excellent aged dark rum); and/or Anejo 7 Anos (very hard to find, but considered one of the world's finest rums). Viazul buses, are one of the better ways to get from area to area, covering most destinations of interest to travelers, in deluxe, air-conditioned coatches. Tickets for Viazul services are sold inmediately prior to the departure, and are usually quite a bit cheaper than resort-arranged tours. You can get full schedules on the website or at Infortur (Obispo Street, Old Havana, you can also buy the tickets here). Train travel is also very safe, and enjoyable, but avoid the bathrooms. If you want a unique experience, try taking "taxi particulares". These cabs usually have a small sign in corner of windshield, and there is no meter, so ask about prices first. No seatbelts either, and the roads in Havana are horrendous, so hang on tight, you're in for a bumpy ride. Cubans are fanatical about Baseball! Baseball is not simply a sport to them. It goes back to the late 1860's when it was probably first introduced by American sailors. Because it was banned by the Colonial Spanish government however, the Cubans embraced the sport as a sign of rebellion. (Spain wanted the Cubans to adopt bullfighting as was done in Mexico and other states they ran). That long history of the sport being MORE than just a game is evident at any game you go to. The atmosphere is party like and the fans very knowledgeable. The game is played at a very high level of proficiency and is well worth taking in a game or two while visiting, preferably with a Cuban group so the feeling of joy they have at the game is expressed. Especially in state restaurants and bars some employees like to gain some extra money by tricking you. E.g the total on the handwritten check is higher than the addition of the various items or there is only one number as total written on the bill. Always double check the bill and if necessary ask the waiter for the receipt of the registration machine, because there the waiters cannot cheat. NOTE – this is a very rare occurrence, as the vast majority of Cubans are honest, welcoming people, and Canadian tourists are gold/rock-stars to them, so the odds are more against it than in other countries. However, still be aware of this chance. Since 2004, when you buy a box of cigars in Cuba (more than 23 cigars in a box), you HAVE TO GET AN OFFICIAL HABANOS RECEIPT!!! The cashier will fill it out with your passport # and serial number of the cigar box. When you are leaving at the airport and you pass through Cuban Customs, they will ask you for your receipts and pass them under a UV light to make sure they are REAL receipts too! If you don't have a real receipt also, they will take your cigars away! So make sure you get a receipt when you buy your box! PS: You don't need an official receipt if you are buying a few single cigars or 5 packs, but why not ask for a plain cashiers receipt just to be safe. Some guidelines for tipping: Porter at the airport/hotel: 1 CUC Waiter in a restaurant: 1 CUC or 5-10% Musicians in a restaurant/bar: 1 CUC Music CD of bands in a restaurant/bar: 10 CUC Room maid: 1 CUC (for 3 days) The woman in front of the toilettes: coins (10-25 cents) Cleaning the rental car: 0.5 - 1 CUC Security at parking lot: 0.5 - 1 CUC Many families and their relatives are living off of the tips earned by family members in tourism, and therefore tipping is recommended. On the other hand, you don't have to tip if the service was not good. Havana specific: If you want to take a trip to Havana, go to the "mall" and they have regulated taxi prices there. It is much better to travel by taxi stopping where you want to than to pay twice as much and take a bus tour. Old Havana is the better place to see, many are ho-hum about New Havana. Do go inside St.Peter's church, they also call it the sea church – amazing built in 1562 entirely out of sea rocks. In Havana, take a taxi, don't take the bus – taxis are cheap they are also regulated and the good ones will call into the dispatch to get a price for you. The Edificio Bacardi (the Bacardi Building) in Havana is definitely worth a look. Lonely Planet describes it as "a splendid art-deco relic of pre-revolution decadence, despite years of neglect". In Havana, go to The Malecon (waterfront barrier wall, with monuments), one of the most famous and picturesque sea walls in the world. In Havana, the Artisans Market is located on Cuba Tacon street, near the canal into the bay (open only on Sundays??). Tour of the Havana Club Rum factory - $5 (9am to 5pm, bar/restaurant open from 10am to 12pm). Located south on the canal into the bay, on Avenue de Paula San Perdo. One of the best "night clubs" in Havana is the Club Ipanema at the Copacabana hotel in Havana (night club with $8 entry fee w/ open bar Sunday to Thursday, Friday/Saturday its $10 with one drink). You must eat at the "El Aljibe" while in Havana, the must-see Cuban restaurant (paladar) specializing in savory roast chicken, black beans and rice. Located at Ave. 7ma entre 24 y 26, in Miramar, Playa. The house specialty is the roasted chicken served in a flavourful meat sauce (made from fermented orange juice and drippings from the roast chicken). After dinner, you can enjoy either Havana Club rum, or the rarer Matusalem Anejo Superior in a snifter, and with a cigar. There is also… § La Guardia Calle Concordia No. 418 e/Gervasio y Escobar Centro Habana Phone: 624940 This is an inexpensive Paladar, and one of the coolest places to eat in Havana. Located on the third floor of an eighteenth-century townhouse in central Havana, the three-room restaurant is in a converted apartment that features a balcony and beautifully carved cornices with wooden shutters. It's like a small, funky-yet-hip restaurant in New York's Soho or the Latin Quarter in Paris. Don't worry about the dilapidated entrance and stairway that lead to the restaurant; it's just part of the experience. (The 1995 Oscar-nominated Cuban film, Fresa y Chocolate, was filmed there.) The food is thoughtfully prepared with a delicate touch. On a given night you might encounter a tangy and savoury gaspacho soup or succulent fillets of snapper and grouper served with a buerre blanc sauce that shows just the right amount of lively acidity. Owner Enrique Nunez keeps a small but interesting selection of wines, mostly Spanish. A keen cigar smoker, he was one of the creators of the Cuaba brand. Carlos Rodriguez rolls cigars for the restaurant. The two are worth the trip alone. Varadero specific: Don't be afraid to eat off the resorts – Cuba has safe food and water. For shopping in Varadero, take the double-decker bus downtown to the markets. These markets, while some may refer to their "touristy junk" that they sell, do actually have great values and lots to choose from. Go to Josone Park, and have the lobster dinner and the pina coladas. The cave is a cool visit also. It is also a good idea to pack a large thermal cup (like a Tim Horton travel mug for example) to use when getting drinks or water at the hotel bars, that way you don't have to make frequent trips back and forth. Use a Timmy's mug, or another non-steel/metal mug, as it's less of a "security" issue when your bags are being checked in at the airport. Bring a waterproof disposable camera, if you wish to do some amazing underwater shots while snorkeling, or on the catamaran excursions from Varadero to Cayo Blanco. At the Breezes Bella Costa, Thursday night is "lobster night", get there right at the opening at 6:30pm or you'll be stuck in a long line. IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, CANADIAN GOVERNMENT CONTACTS: You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information at the following addresses: Cuba - HAVANA, Embassy of Canada Address: Calle 30, No. 518 esquina a 7ma, Miramar, Havana Tel.: (53-7) 204-2516 Fax: (53-7) 204-2044 E-Mail: havan-cs@international.gc.ca Internet: http://havana.gc.ca Cuba - GUARDALAVACA, Consulate of Canada Address: Hotel Atlantico, Suite 1, Guardalavaca, Holguín Tel.: (53-24) 430-320 Fax: (53-24) 430-321 E-Mail: honcongvaca@canada.com Cuba - VARADERO, Consulate of Canada Address: Calle 13 e/Avenida Primera y Camino del Mar, Varadero, Matanzas Tel.: 53 (45) 61-2078 Fax: 53 (45) 66-7395 E-Mail: honconvdero@canada.com For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Havana and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Operations Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885 or e-mail sos@international.gc.ca. To call collect from Cuba, dial 012 to reach a local operator. When you place the collect call, be sure to advise the Operator that there will be a recorded message which will indicate that collect calls are accepted.
  3. I'm surprised no one referenced this thread from 2008. CoRo to Cohiba Maduro 5 wrapper exchange.
  4. bundwallah

    Historical Factory Codes List

    OP:FatherOfPugs Link to Original Thread A somewhat "live" thread of historical Factory name to Factory code list. Have an addition or correction to make? Please visit the original thread and ping a mod once there is a change and we can update this quick ReFOHrence.
  5. Easy! I start grinning ear to ear with every passing year.
  6. bundwallah

    FOH'ers Daily Smoke

    Getting in a Don Jose While the weather is good.
  7. QdO Coronas for me as well. Mine are 2011's. I've had great success with PL Panatellas too.
  8. bundwallah

    PSD 4/5/6

    They are definitely different blends to my palate. I've had many 4's and they are on the full bodied/strong side. The 5 & 6 are on the medium bodied side but no less tasty. I just don't have many of them. Within each marca, there are some trademark traits within their lineup. You see that with RA a lot,HdM , Cohiba and Partagas. There is a core set of flavour(s) and then deviations within each cigar.
  9. bundwallah

    Biggest QdO ever?

    Have they been MIA? Didn't know that. I somewhat suspect the tobacco for the RE's is never truly indicative of each marca's flavour profile. With one exception. The RA Regionals. Those are amped up compared to the regular line. I wish the reverse were true.
  10. bundwallah

    Biggest QdO ever?

    I like the Sublime vitola and QdO in general. This is an interesting release. The pricing doesn't seem too horrible given the size of the cigar. And while I'm not a huge fan of the increasing RG trend, the Sublime has been around for a while and there's been some excellent cigars as a result.
  11. This might be doable for me. I might be in town from Nov 8/9 to the 12th. So I most likely will only be able to do the Sunday event.
  12. Here's my first take using single pricing from the CUNTINT store RyJ Cazadores $12 HUHC $6 BBF $14 RASCC $7 QdO Coronas $11 Here's an even "poorer" pick. Cuaba Divinos $9 HUHC $6 PLPC $8 Party Short $8 Punch Petit Coronations $8 HDM Petit Robusto $11 Not Currently listed but I'd assume < $5 PL Panatelas RG Panatelas Fonseca Delicias

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