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Everything posted by DarkSky

  1. For a first-time visit, I'd go with Varadero. Only 3.5hr flight from Toronto, and about a 1.5hr drive to Havana. And there's 3 or 4 good LCDHs right in Varadero. And the one thing you'll have in Varadero that you won't in Havana: LONG BEACHES. The beach going along the top of the Varadero penninsula there is gorgeous. I'd stay at a resort in Varadero, do day trips into town, check out the market, LCDHs, etc... then rent a cab driver (that speaks English) that does tours for a full day and go into Havana. Or take the bus to Havana to a hotel, check in, stay the night, and get the hotel to get you a reputable tour guide (with cigar factories and LCDHs on the list of things to do of course!) For a first time trip to Cuba, going straight into Havana and staying there may be a bit overwhelming. It's a gorgeous city, but is very large and is very urban. But if you can spend 4-5 days in Varadero then 4-5 in Havana, and maybe do a day trip down to Pinar del Rio while you're in Havana, that would be great too. Post your photos when you get back!
  2. I paid $190 for a box of Monte #2s in Cuba. That's $7.60 per cigar. Here in Canada (ontario) they're going for $27-30 per cigar. So trust me, people in CANADA at least, are NOT switching to cigars because they're "cheaper". For the price of 3 good stogies I could buy a CARTON of cigarettes. And I have no idea what they're talking about with this "7 cents per small cigar" stuff. I've never seen them before now. Sound kind of interesting actually.
  3. I completely substitute. Before I got into cigars, I'd enjoy a smoke (cigarette) while driving on long trips. I recently did a 13hr drive with my gf, which before I took up cigars, I'd probably have smoked 10 cigarettes. Instead, I had about 2 cigarettes. One when we first started, one later in the day. And I had a nice Perdomo Lot 23 cigar, and an Alec Bradley churchill later in the day on the drive. The drive to our cottage is 2.5 hrs. I'd probably have 4-5 cigarettes on the trip. Now I MIGHT have 1, but the trip has turned into a perfect time for a cigar. And as to your point that rising cigarette prices are causing people to turn to cigars, that's utter nonsense (no offense meant). Even at current cigarette prices you can get a WHOLE PACK of cigarettes for the price of a half decent cigar. A cigar that will last you an hour, a pack of cigarettes that will last a day or two. So they're still *WAY* cheaper than cigars. Trust me: nobody's switching because of the price. Myself, even though cigar smoking is far more expensive than cigarette smoking, I use it as a relaxing alternative and try to fit in a cigar or pipe instead of a cigarette, whenever I can.
  4. Oops.. yah you're right. I was thinking of the one I went to in Havana. The two on the 'strip' in Varadero are these ones:
  5. Hehe, well here in Canada we're only allowed 50 cigars tax/duty free so she'll be limited to 2 boxes on that list. I asked her to work her way top>down with only 1 box of each, as I'm always trying to expand the variety of my treasure chest. Her husband (who is a Cuban) is also going down, but he's going to visit family and will be in a different part of Cuba. I'm tempted to ask him, although I don't know him as well. But he IS going to the Varadero area. Either Varadero or Matanzas... but either way, Varadero has at least 4 LCDHs that I know of.
  6. Yah I've been to Cuba myself (Varadero and Havana) and obviously both have many LCDHs. The Varadero airport had cigars that were more well-known to non-cigar enthusiasts (Cohiba, Monte, R&J, (cough cough) Guantanamera) so I might have to choose from the big names. The list I made up for her to look for that I wanted was: Diplimatico No.2 ($155 per box of 25) Bolivar Royal Coronas ($130 box 25) Trinidad Coloniales ($144 box of 24) Hoyo Monterrey EPICURE NO.1 ($153.75 box 25) H.Upmann Magnum 46 ($151.25 box 25) Cohiba siglo IV ($243.75 box 25) Romeo Y Julieta Exhibicion No.3 ($153.75 box 25) Montecristo Edmundo (167.50 box of 25) Cuaba Salomones ($96 box of 10) But if there's no LCDH's around, I may have to go with some Cohiba robustos/siglos, maybe some Monte Edmundos if I'm lucky, or an R&J short churchill box wouldn't be bad. I love Cohiba but just can't afford an (on average) $100 extra per box. But if the airport cigar stores are trustworthy, I'll add some more to my list from those brands (Cohiba/Monte/R&J). Who knows, maybe a nice box of Bolivar Royal Coronas might be found in an airport store.
  7. I have a friend going down to Manzanillo, Cuba in a couple weeks and want to ask her to bring me back a couple boxes (as a Canadian we're allowed 50 cigars tax/duty free) but I'm not sure if there are any reputable places down there. I know some good LCDH's in Varadero and Havana, but Manzanillo isn't exactly a cigar place. Are there any LCDHs there? She's going by herself so actually, I doubt she'll leave the resort. She's only going to use up a vacation credit she got last year when she had to cancel one. The only place she'll be going through that sells cigars MIGHT be the airport. Are they trustworthy or should I just tell her to avoid getting them altogether?
  8. The Olympics are just a corporate-controlled cash grab. McDonalds is the 'official' restaurant of the Olympics!!! I don't think many athletes in the games came to be where they are by eating McDonalds!! Maybe before a heat - how else can you put 2000 calories into your system in 5mins. But I know the Olympics are absolutely NAZIS when it comes to anything to do with them. Any video posted on YouTube containing any sort of Olympic material will result in a DCMA Copyright Infringement notice/thread and immediate deletion of material. Whatever happened to Fair Use/Fair Dealings in using copyrighted material for the purpose of non-commercial discussion and critique? Nazis man... they're taking over the world again. Just under different names.
  9. They're pros at what they do. If they want more money, first they have to create a problem, then create a temporary tax for that problem. Then be sure the problem exists for a length of time that will let people get used to the tax as a part of everyday life. After that, it's easy to keep it. Ok, 'bit off topic here.
  10. More here: http://www.rev.gov.on.ca/en/bulletins/tt/tob1_2001.html Although the more I read the more confused I tend to become. I'm going to just flat out ask someone (gov. official) to tell me what the formula is so I can plug in my own numbers each time. I swear they've got someone blindfolded in a room throwing darts at a wall to determine half this crap.
  11. * Taxable price of a cigar defined: i. taxable price = the price for which the cigar was purchased by its retail dealer + a prescribed percentage (currently 22%) of that amount; or ii. taxable price = the price paid for the cigar by the consumer where a consumer purchases the cigar directly from the manufacturer or importer of the cigar. ---- We would all fall into part (i). So if the cigar(s) were purchased for say $20, the tax would be the price for which the cigar was purchased ($20) + 22% of that amount. ($20 + $4.40 = $24.40) .. although I think I messed something up in my original post because I thought the federal tax algorithm I was using was from what I read on a fed. gov site. I'm looking now at the Ontario (provincial) gov site and I think that's what I was initially reading from. It's very hard to determine since upon import, the consumer is taxed at both the federal and provincial level, and the provincial tax seems to be based on what the federal tax on the product would be.
  12. Actually it's HST now. GST was originally a 'temporary' tax, Canada-wide, that was implemented to pay down the debt. Of course they never got rid of it. For years we had GST (fed tax) + GST (provincial tax) on our purchases. GST was around for such a long time without the fed govt getting rid of it they finally said "Screw it - we're combining the 2 taxes into 1 tax to save money on the system". hence, HST was born. So to all of you non-Canadians out there: any time one of your governments says they're going to implement a 'temporary tax' to help pay for something or other, call them out on their BS and give Canada's HST as a prime example. Hehe, yes but your govt has been busy since 9/11 passing bill after bill making them legally able to just look up anything and everything about any citizen. Although I'm sure Canada will soon be in the same boat. They're already in the process of passing a bill similar to what's already in place in the US that will allow them to monitor people's internet activities without warrant. I still love the quote: "The people used to watch over the people. Now they're watching the people."
  13. Ok, according to the Canadian federal site, I had previously thought that the tax was the price of cigars + 22% (which would be 122%). Here is how tax is calculated in ONTARIO. (I had forgot that it's different for each province and that both federal AND provincial taxes had to be calculated). I asked how much tax I would have to pay on $100 worth of cigars. Here's the reply I received: So... I'm still unsure. I was hoping to have a DOLLAR AMOUNT given to me. But I never knew that even SHIPPING WAS TAXED. (holy crap I knew our taxes were brutal but even *I* didn't know they were THAT brutal!) So on a $100 order that cost say $30 for mailing, according to the FEDERAL site that would be $100 * 122% in FEDERAL tax = $122 in federal tax. Then the provincial tax of 56.6 would be on the $100 product + $30 shipping + $122 federal tax = $252 * 56.6% = $142.63 in provincial tax. Grand total of taxes paid = federal tax + provincial tax = $122 + $142.63 = $264.63 Grand total of buying a $100 box of cigars outside Canada that cost $30 to ship? : $100 + $30 + $122 fed tax + $142.63 Ontario tax = $394.63 'gotta love that tax-on-tax BS.
  14. Havana is absolutely beautiful. I went last April. The one good thing about communism is that it keeps away outside influence. You'll notice a much stronger culture/heritage in Cuba then other spanish countries of that area. But the architecture of Old Havana is just stunning. Beautiful city. ... aside from the huge concrete Soviet embassy which is about 5 times the height of any other building in that part of the city... (more here)
  15. So they can go to all that trouble, get into the LCDHs, counterfeit the seal, counterfit the box code, the box, the cigar, etc, etc, etc... ... BUT THEY CAN'T SPELL THE DATE RIGHT!? And my codes WERE coming up as invalid on the site, but now the site says they ARE valid. And my codes haven't changed. So if they were copied codes they'd come up as valid at the beginning. Doesn't matter - I've smoked one and they're Monte 2's. Flavor is the best (and sometimes the only) way to measure a cigars authenticity
  16. GET THIS! : I just went back onto the Habanos S.A. genuinity of cigar checker thingy - and both boxes are NOW VALID. !!! So just goes to show you, for all of those people demanding people post box codes on their sell/trade posts - THEY DON'T MEAN SQUAT!! A few weeks ago their site was saying my 2 boxes of Monte #2's were invalid. Now it says this: Still has a weird date stamp, but the code is right, and the actual CIGAR tastes dead-on to my other Monte 2's. So I'm going to classify them in my head a genuine Montecristo No.2
  17. Ok I smoked one last Friday and if there's anything fake about these, it's not in the tobacco that's for SURE. Tasted spot-on to my other Monte No.2's that I bought in the spring in Cuba (from an LCDH of course, and on THAT box the code DID come up as valid on Habanos SA). Very very good smoke it was. BUT... I still have 2 boxes of them and only want to keep one. I'll have to post an official trade thread with photos, and link to this thread about all the hoo-haw surrounding them. 'Really really want to trade for a box of Bolivar or Trinidads, as I've never tasted either.
  18. Thank you CanuckSARTech! .. as for the stickers. I have two boxes here (verified on Habanos SA) that I bought in Havana, and the price stickers say "TABACO MONTE" on the bottom of my Monte Petit Edmundos, and "TABACO: PA" on the bottom of the sticker of my Partagas D4's. I think the price sticker varies from LCDH to LCDH. Some of my price stickers have the price of the individual cigar on them, others have the price of the box.
  19. My biggest problem is no time/place to smoke. And living in Canada doesn't help - there's nowhere left to smoke anymore. The only time I have is from 3:15PM until 4PM when I start work each day, and that's not enough time for one of these. (and I work another job from noon until the time I leave) (and no, I don't smoke in the house). I'm HOPING for this upcoming Friday. Our local hockey team is starting its season and I can get there early for the pre-party in the parking lot and should be able to fit one in from the time I get in the truck to leave until the time the game starts Simply put, from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep, I'm basically working. Need less work to fit in more smoke time
  20. Haha. You have obviously never been to Canada. Our tobacco taxes are THROUGH THE ROOF here. I'd have to first buy it, then pretty much TRIPLE the price in import tax. 'Might be fine for a wealthy person, but for a poor man like me, it's not a possibility. We pay $8 or $9 for a pack of cigarettes here. Those Monte #2's got for ** $30 A PIECE ** here. Trust me, I'd like nothing more than to buy from the Czar, or the cigar store down the road right here. But at $600 a box, I can't afford it. That's more than a weeks wages for me.
  21. Thank you *SO* much Rob!! I dont' have much money and need to save up and take advantage of opportunities when someone goes down to Cuba. It was a real heartbreak to learn these 2 boxes I spent $400 on could be fake. Please let me know if it's possible that the factory could have used the full word for the date instead of the 3 letter abbreviation. I'm really clinging to hope that these might be genuine. Hoping for the best but expecting the worst.
  22. Hehe. That actually explains a LOT of things. That's all that matters. Although, I didn't really WANT 2 boxes of Monte 2's. I was hoping to have one box, and another box of something else. I just had a legit Monte 2 not long ago, so if I can fit in time this week to try out one from the new batch, I'll be in good position to tell if they're fake or not. If I don't notice much differences in the strength/flavor/burn, I'll be happy. Although I'd still like to trade a box for something else. But I know most people are like "well it's not for sure 100% legit so it must be crap!" I'll probably be stuck with them. 'Still waiting to hear back from Habanos SA, as well as my friend (it's actually my girlfriend's sister, who married a Cuban down there in the spring). Once I hear from what LCDH she got them at, and I hear back from Habanos SA, I'll go from there. Of course if the conclusion is that they ARE fake, I'll never trust ANYONE selling Cuba cigars again. If you can't trust a government-run LCDH in Cuba, the only way to know they're legit is to watch them being rolled in the factory, boxed up, and sold on the spot. Heck even then they might be rolled using contraband leaves of a lesser quality snuck in from somewhere else. I guess I need to farm my own tobacco and start from there. It's actually turned out to be quite an interesting bit of detective work, this.
  23. I agree - but isn't it VERY strange that they can get the box in perfect condition, the government sticker with flash hologram type end, the burnt-in logo on the bottom, etc... they go all to that trouble to fake it but don't bother spelling the date stamp right?

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