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Found 21 results

  1. After 18 months away from Havana I was again able to go for a few days with a small group of the cigar gang here in Toronto. This seems like a good opportunity to provide a quick update and also include a few photos from the trip. The photos are mix of phone and DSLR, so the quality will be different. The colour/lighting/exposure are based on my preferences so that may not appeal to some. Considering the weather we've been having in Toronto it was an excellent reason to get away. Here's what I was leaving behind on the day of the flight to Varadero from the back of the cab: I thought for sure that the flight would be delayed quite a bit but as luck would have it we only took off 2 hours past the scheduled time. Of course leaving on an afternoon flight to Varadero with a two hour bus ride to Havana meant we would not make it to the hotel until late Wednesday/early Thursday. But, that's no matter when the thought of Havana beckoned. We got into the hotel around 12:30-1:00am. Check in, drop off bags and head straight to the back of the Nacional for a quick night cap. The next day i got up early, had a quick breakfast and again headed out to the back for the first morning smoke of the day - can never get enough of this place: First smoke all done, the rest of the gang started to stumble out into the 30 degree (celsius) heat (sorry all, that's up to the attendees to post their own photos). We had to figure out what our day was going to shape up to be like, cigars then shopping, shopping then cigars or shopping cigars and food or some other combination. We decided to have a couple of more cigars at the back then head out to the old city to visit Conde de Villanueva. That is a Reynaldo custom sublime - great cigar. That done we decided to walk around a bit and head over to the Partagas store. It's sometimes nice to get there when there's no festival going on to get the fill of the place, and that we did. We almost had the back room to ourselves. A nice small cigar (sorry no photos, and I can't remember what I smoked) and an espresso rested us well from the heavy workout we had with walking over from the Conde to Partagas. Quick update; neither Conde nor Partagas had anything other than regular production cigars. This was true of most everywhere we went. After the walking trip around the old city what could we do but head back to the Nacional for more smoking before dinner. Again, not many photos of this as I was too busy blissing out on the cigars and cocktails. When dinner time came we headed out to La Guarida: (sorry about the cutoff fidel quote, I was too busy trying to get the flag into the frame and missed) And of course, after dinner back to the Nacional for more, you guessed it, cigars (and some music): (like the cut off head?) Onto Friday. The big day. Rent a car and go cigar shop hopping. First up Melia Cohiba for a quick look at the humidor, all regular production. We then went to Club Habana to pick up some customs there (and I found the first stack of 50 cab Punch DCs. Of course I had to get one). Then onto El Aljibe for some chicken. Too busy eating to take photos (mainly). Popped into the shop there, not much to see. After lunch we headed over to 5y16, again mainly regular production but there we a couple of boxes of Libertadors there. After that onto Comodoro for some puntillas and talk to Alex for a few minutes. Then onto Melia Habana for some coffee - a few more Punch DC 50 cabs here too. Then back at the Nacional for a quick drop off the cigars/coffee, and of course another cigar. Then off to Terazza for an early dinner and then back to the Nacional for a cigar and some more music (are you noticing a pattern here?). The next day was a bit lighter with most of our time spent at the Nacional, but we did make a jaunt out to Parc Centrale for lunch as well as a quick stop off at the Cohiba Atmosphere lounge to check out the stock there. The Cohiba Atmosphere was the only place we saw the Monte Maltes and Dumas together, as well as the only place that had an open box of Cohiba Esplendidos @ 50% markup though (32 CUC). Which reminds me, for the first time in a long time there were many more Cohibas in Havana than the last few trips I made in 2016/17 - Robustos, I, II, III, IV, V and VI could be found in most places. There was one shop that had three pack Esplendidos but I forget which one. As for the Monte 1935 line, there were some Dumas at a few spots. Nacional had four boxes of the Maltes, but they were gone within a day. No Leyenda in any shops in Havana. The last bit of the trip was pretty uneventful. Just lounged around the Nacional mainly. Monday (March 4) was the end of the trip so we headed back to Varadero for the flight back to Toronto. What could the trip be without walking around the airport to check the cigar wares there? There were a few boxes each of the Monte 1935s - Dumas, Maltes and Leyenda. There was a lone box of Cohiba Talisman at one of the counters. And, there were boxes and boxes and boxes of the Punch 2017 - Regios de Punch - LE in the main humidor at the airport. Here are the final batch of random photos from the trip as well as the haul I brought back (the same as the one posted in the Cuban Haul thread).
  2. I couldn’t find much info online about the Guatemala City LCDH so I figured I’d do a little report on it here. The LCDH was located in a nice shopping mall in a fancy looking part of town about 12 minutes away from the airport so I made a quick stop there. They had a great selection of pretty hard to find stuff... QDO 54, 50, Cohiba Lanceros, Talisman, Trinidad La Trova, old EL’s (Partagas 2012, Bolivar 2014). I picked up a nice assortment of stuff I can’t find in other places. The prices were a bit on the high side (prices on the list below are in Quetzales - divide by 7.7 for USD) but overall I would highly recommend visiting this LCDH if you’re looking for hard to find Habanos and are in the area.
  3. Just back after a three night trip to Havana with my wife...first time in Cuba, and as I said in the introductions forum, this board was an amazing resource to plan the trip, and some cigar shopping. Below, a few notes on particular favorite meals and drinks, and some shopping reports, and one thing I learned about dealing with customs. Eating/Drinking: Had a couple of awesome meals -- O'Reilly 304 was a particular favorite, especially due to some of the truly insane drinks they are serving there. I write about food and bars, and they're doing some of the weirdest stuff I've ever seen there, but it works somehow. They have a drink they call the Habana Londres, which is a gin and tonic topped with a blue frozen daiquiri. I know this sounds insane, but it somehow completely works. I will be replicating this at home, but without the intricate garnishes. Also had great meals at Cafe Laurent, and El Cocinero. We loved the Fabrica del Arte Cubano next door to El Cocinero as well -- a cool cultural experience. Probably our favorite spot ended up being El Chanchullero for the tapas, the mojitos (the best we had in our stay), and the cool vibe that felt like it could be plunked down in a hipster neighborhood in Brooklyn. Cigar Shopping: My wife had no interest in dealing with me and cigar shopping, but I was able to convince her. First stop was Club Havana, where I was able to have her go sit on the beach while I went to the store. Bought 25 Monsdales, and smoked one in the store with a coffee. From there, went to visit Alex at the Commodoro. It turns out it was his day off, but he happened to be in the store after playing tennis. We had talked over Facebook before the trip, and he was a gracious host -- gave me one of his coronas to smoke as we chatted, and then we pawed through boxes together to pick out things for myself and friends as gifts. Got a beautiful box of H.Uppman Petit Coronas from Dec 16, and a box of HdM Epi 2s from Oct 17. Also bought 25 of his coronas, which I loved. Marital harmony kept me from doing much more shopping, but was so much fun getting to meet Alex and talk about his life and work. Random observations: No marble ashtrays at the Nacional, either on the patio itself, or for sale. In a conversation with the concierge, he said they "were waiting" for them, and despite my best efforts wasn't able to persuade him to find one in the back. Mentioned above that I'm a cocktail nerd, and I bought a case of various rums to bring back. I actually brought a special shipping box with me with cardboard inserts to protect the booze -- that was a very smart thing to do, as everything got home perfectly. The non-smart thing I did was write FRAGILE on the side of the box. That caused every customs agent to ask what was in the box, including the agent on our return to Newark. I told him it was 12 bottles of rum and that I was happy to pay the duty, and after being pulled aside in the customs area and having a short conversation with another agent, we were waved through without a duty being charged. Note to self -- next time, don't write FRAGILE on the box. Again, thanks to all here for all the ideas, help and suggestions that we took advantage of. Happy to answer any questions, obviously.
  4. Hey there fellow FOH friends, Mr Beaver and I are on our annual corporate adventure which rewards his company’s top North American sales performers. I am one of 4 CEO wives that hosts the large group. I hold a herf with Cuban cigars each night for anyone interested to thank them for the trip. This is the fifth year. Lots of people participate and love it! Here are some interesting pictures of Budapest for you to enjoy.
  5. So I left Cuba in June of 1980 via Mariel Harbor. I was a month shy of my 4th birthday. I haven't been back since. The wife and I were looking into taking the 3 kids on a three city tour of Spain as a graduation present this summer, but that's a little pricier than we initially thought. I immediately pounced on the opportunity... "WHAT ABOUT CUBA?". I still have aunts and uncles in Pinar del Río. Cousins I've never met. I'm thinking about doing 5 nights total. I'm sure at least a day and a half if not two days will be full on with family. We're definitely going to stay in Habana. If I'm going to be traveling to PdR, should I look to book a room there for the time I'm there? What kind of tours are available in PdR to go to the fields? Are there any factory tours available in Habana? I see people's favorite paladares or hotels in the travel thread, but I'm not sure I've seen details on how to book tours or anything to the effect. Are these available to book before you get there? Once you arrive via maitre d'? One or many thoughts on any of the above are greatly appreciated. Thank you guys! Here's to hoping my plans materialize! Cheers all, Javi
  6. I'll be traveling to Esbjerg Denmark next month and wanted to know if anyone has any recommendations on shops/stores, lounges, and/or attractions I should check out. Many thanks in advance!
  7. upnflames

    Cuba Nov 20-27th

    I will be traveling again to Havana, Cuba on November 20-27th with a few friends. If any members will be in Havana same dates shoot me a message. Thanks Robert Rogers
  8. Hi all - I'm heading to Australia for the first time in about a month. We'll be landing in Brisbane and will have about a week to kill with my wife without the kids. Good times! We like wine & going out to nice restaurants. We are also up for some tours. Wondering if we should do the great barrier reef? Also heard the outback can be fun... Anyone have suggestions out there? Would love to hear them. Cheers!
  9. Yep, Starting to plan our late summer trip to Japan, centered on Tokyo and surrounding regions as our base. I'd love to hear what the travel pros and frequent visitors have as advice for things to see and places to stay. Tips for hidden gems from native denizens would also be greatly appreciated! Wilkey
  10. Tricky, as it is unconfirmed and it's The Daily Caller, but not entirely unexpected... My apologies if this has been posted elsewhere: I only looked here. http://dailycaller.com/2017/05/29/exclusive-trump-set-to-roll-back-obamas-cuba-policies/
  11. I'll be celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary with my beautiful soulmate on our first epic vacation without our kids since we married. We'll be spending 5 or 6 days in all three cities; Beijing, China will be our first stop, then off to Chiang Mai, Thailand, followed by Bangkok, Thailand, and then a couple of days back in Beijing before we return. Eating and site seeing will be aplenty, and I have many sites already picked out, though I welcome suggestions. Can anyone recommend any cigar friendly places to enjoy a cigar and cocktail in any of these places? Are any of these places even tolerant of cigar smoking? Will I be shunned or arrested if I spark up in public? I may take a look in a cigar shop or two while I'm over there, but I've read there are few that are worth chasing down unless you happen to be in the area. What are your thoughts on this? Can you recommend any? Thanks.
  12. Corylax18

    Cuban Sports

    Cuba has for decades been a David amongst Goliaths in the International Baseball and Boxing communities. The last few years have seen some decline here, especially in the area of baseball players defecting. However there is still quite a bit of respect due for what they have been able to accomplish. I was unable to catch a baseball game during my last trip for a number of reasons, but it is at the top of the list for my next trip. I will post the photos I was able to get of Latino Americano Stadium later. I have been unable to find anything, at all, regarding boxing within the country itself. I am assume that all boxers on the island are "Amateur" which would preclude any inter island leagues or matches like we see for baseball. I know that Horse Racing and Cock fighting both have long histories on the island. But facilities for both were systematically removed during the revolution. Some have tried to push Cricket, others Soccer/football but without much success. I know there has been scattered post regarding some of these items in the past, I will locate what I can and copy links here for what already been posted, but if anybody has new info, drop it here!
  13. My name is Paul Vato and I am an actor and owner of Vato Cigars, located inside Binion's Casino in classic downtown Las Vegas on Fremont St. I was doing some research on going back to Cuba and one of your members directed me to this site. My wife, fellow actor and business partner, Sarah Vato, and I will be in La Habana February 27 - March 9, 2017, that's right, in two days! I'm looking forward to meeting any of you that might be around for El Festival del Habano. I've been in the cigar business in one way or another since 1993 so if you ever have any questions please feel free to ask. If you plan on visiting Las Vegas and need any information I am available to answer any of your questions about our casinos, restaurants and where to smoke, etc. The same goes for L.A. / Hollywood, my wife, like me, is from Chicago but she grew up in L.A. We currently split our time between Vegas and L.A. Please feel free to IMDB us to see our acting body work, http://bit.ly/PaulVato and http://bit.ly/SarahVato. Here is a funny video of me that you may already be familiar with, http://bit.ly/PaulVatoCopier. Most recently I had a very small part in the movie The Trust starring Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood. Well, that's about it for me, I look forward to contributing to this wonderful forum and hope to one day get to meet you all!
  14. HI there, I may be moving from Brazil to Panama next summer and was wondering what any of you has done in the past to move internationally with a large cigar collection (600-700 sticks). Putting them into a container with the move is not really an option since the container may be on hold at customs on either side for God knows how long (this is Latin America....). I was thinking of packing them up nicely with bovedas, ziploc bags and bubble wrap into two separate carry on suitcases and take them with me and one of the kids as carry on. Taking Cuban and non-Cubans with me. Cubans mostly in boxes, others are loose or boxes. Air on planes is super dry. Any other ideas? Gracias
  15. Mr Beaver and I just returned for Ireland and Scotland where we enjoyed the trip of a lifetime! This included at the trip's climax a visit to Jame's Fox in Dublin. The afternoon in the dungeon with none other that Yiorgos Manesis (I am sure this is not his real name... it is probably Paddy O'Lantern or something like that) explored boxes and boxes of the world's rarest cigars, including the oldest Monte No 2 known to Man. I know different by the way. My father's name is Monte and he is 85. Later that evening we met at McGrattan's, next door to where VP Joe Biden was staying. Two policeman said they would be glad to take him a Cuban cigar, but it might be a good bit shorter by the time it got to him! Anyway... on with photos!
  16. A few times a year we hit the road and we often hook up with forum members for a smoke! This time it is Scotland and Ireland my friends. The first week is a corporate trip with Matthew's company. Three days Scotland, 4 days Ireland, June 11-June 18. I do not have the flexibility to just hook up with anyone because they have a set schedule. But the 3 days after that Matthew and I are driving around Ireland and have the freedom to do as we please. We hope to visit JJ Fox on June 18 and June 21. Anyone around?? Lisa and Matthew
  17. Not sure if this has already been posted. This appeared in the local (Canadian news) - so don't know if applies to other Nationalities... http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/cuba-visitors-face-new-medical-insurance-rule-1.910444
  18. We all like to rest our newly received cigars in the humidor for at least a month or so; well at least the disciplined among us do. But when we travel (and by this I mean long distance air travel), and bring stogies, are there cigars that hold up better than others? Has anyone cracked the code on this? I keep a stock in the U.S., and another collection in my second office in Saigon, and both of these collections of resident cigars consistently taste better than any of the sticks that travel with me. However it seems to me that not all traveling stogies suffer equally. For instance I've noticed: 1. H. Upmann Petite Coronas don't travel well (at least on this route), but they're better after a couple of months resting (and still best of all in San Francisco rather than the heat and humidity of Saigon). 2. Punch Punch really suffer. 3. Sancho Panza Bellicose ('12) actually do quite well, they lose much of the sweetness, but otherwise smoke fine and never get harsh in the heat and humidity. 4. PSD4's travel better than Epi 2's. Go figure. The 2's get pretty sharp and nippy, doesn't matter if it's an '09, '12, '14 or '15 but they are just lovely at home in SF. 5. HdM Churchills really struggle with the travel. 6. Monte 4's have been great and not so great. Hard to spot a consistent trend here. 7. Punch DC ('12) do just fine from SF to NYC. Haven't exposed them to transpacific travel yet. I just haven't found consistent, durable winners. Best luck has been with the SP, R&J Churchill (only a 50% success rate though) and PSD4's. I keep trying though. What do you guys take on the road? And are there any secrets to minimize a cigar's suffering in route? Are there any types of cigar (full flavored, medium, aged, current, etc.) or Marcas that do better?
  19. Dropped in to DPCigars in Chelsea yesterday and got to smoke one of their locally rolled coronas. A blend of Nicaraguan, Dominican leaves, oily and tons of smoke. A real treat considering the day before I left a whole $23 Davidoff in the ashtray because it was awful ( fortunately a gift from the sales guy). The DP hand rolled cigar? Wait for it... $3.50 Some store info; https://foursquare.com/v/dp-cigars/4c7d5ffb9221236a710d7f3d
  20. I really liked my casa this time in Havana. I’m done with hotels now in Cuba. Great view of the Malecon, loads of space. Last year I was staying on the 12th floor of a building on the Malecon. First night there, there was a power cut at 3 in the morning with me in the lift. 2 hours of shouting “Necesito ayuda” and banging out “SOS” on the wall of the lift with my fist brought a very helpful chap with a crowbar. Texts from Rob Fox who was in a board meeting in Dublin at the time didn’t help much at all. Having said all that, if I had it over again I’d rather take that one-off experience than the time spent waiting on lifts to and from the 20th floor of the Habana Libre hotel.. This year, I was on the 8th floor of another building, much nicer casa. The lift breaks again, this time without me in it. I asked the landlord what the deal was as I wasn’t too into the idea of walking up and down 8 floors every time I wanted to go out. He tells me, oh that lift sometimes breaks but we have another one. Enter the building, walk up to the first floor, walk across to the other building, there’s a lift there, get that up to the 7th floor, get out, walk across to this building and up the stairs to your floor, no problem. Leaving that evening, I follow his instructions in reverse, walk down to the 7th floor and across to the other building to get the other lift. This is interesting, this lift door can open without the lift being there, just shaft. There is a big hole in the door where, in the time of the previous government, there would have been safety glass, now there’s a hole big enough to put your head through and see if the lift is coming, never a good idea..when the lift comes it could be used as a cigar guillotine. Getting into it, much of the floor was rusted out, shaft below visible. Standing at the edge of the lift was the way to go, remembering to keep to knees bent so the femurs don’t enter the abdomen in case the cable snaps.. I saw my landlord the next day, I told him about the lift and how I thought it was maybe a litle dangerous. “Oh, it’s much more dangerous! But it always works!” (except, of course, during power cuts as I found out the following night..) I’ve booked the casa again for next year.
  21. Fellow FOH travel gurus, Matthew and I, and another couple, want to plan a trip to Scotland and perhaps Ireland too in Sept/Oct 2013. We are looking at up to 2 weeks. A boat trip around Scotland with stops in ports for visits, sleeping on the boat; inland scotch touring with golfing for them and cigar smoking and scenery for me. Anyone have suggestions/itinerary they can e-mail or share? Seems I have heard some talk about this here. With thanks! Lisa
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