Recommended Posts

Every year, Cuba produces as many, or more, cigars for domestic consumption

as they do "Habanos" for world-wide distribution.

These cigars are hand-rolled, without molds, and are manufactured in an extensive network of factories called "Empresas de Tabacos Torcidos", scattered across the island.

Each factory, or regional grouping, has its own brand name and distinctive band.

Villaamil is produced in the city of Havana. Other brands include Reloba, Bauza, and El Credito.

These names are all from pre-revolutionary cigar brands, and many are still copied today

by non-Cuban producers, as they do with the premium brands.

post-5777-1267936061.jpg

post-5777-1267936276.jpg

The cigars are distributed in paper-wrapped bundles of 25, printed with the brand name,

the producing factory, and the government health warning.

Sometimes, there is a further hand-stamp, indicating the vitola, i.e. "Brevas".

They are distributed in neighbourhood "bodegas", which are general stores that sell whatever

happens to be available at the moment, for the local market, and in the national currency.

The price per cigar, and they are generally sold as singles, is one Peso.

The exchange rate, which varies, is approximately 28 Cuban Pesos (CUP) for one Convertible Peso (CUC). Traditionally, though this may have changed recently,

or be due to change soon, these cigars have also been included

with the monthly rations of basic necessities,

for those in a certain age group.

These photos show the bundle when opened.

Rough and rude in appearance, with considerable variation both in gague and length.

This bundle was relatively carefully made; only one band is on upside-down!

post-5777-1267936462.jpg

post-5777-1267937088.jpg

post-5777-1267940948.jpg

The photo below shows the particular construction of these cigars.

From left to right : the wrapper, a heavier under-wrapper, a binder, still another full leaf,

and then a core of mixed short and medium filler.

post-5777-1267936832.jpg

And now, I will light one up.

This bundle was purchased in September '07, so the cigar has been aged for about 2 1/2 years.

Picked at random, this one doesn't look so bad. It has good weight,

and feels even without hard or soft spots. Clipped, the draw is very good.

The cigar burns straight and even throughout, and never needs adjustment.

post-5777-1267937231.jpg

post-5777-1267937402.jpg

What about the taste?

Well, it starts off pretty decently. Reminiscent of a JLP, it is simple and pleasant in the first third,

tasting of toasty Cuban tobacco, and little else. Perhaps some wood, a hint of nuts.

Body is medium, strength is mild-medium. As it progresses, though, it begins to get raunchy.

By the halfway mark, the cigar is progressively turning more acrid and bitter.

There is no good reason to take it past two thirds.

My wife has just yelled out "That thing F***ing stinks! I don't think you

should be smoking those in the house!" Her point is well taken.

Still, as outdoor walking-about smokes, these cigars do have a place in my universe.

Taking a quick break from work, in good weather, they are handy,

and there is no regret in dumping one even barely smoked.

The real shame, though, is that these are the best that the Cuban people ever get to smoke.

post-5777-1267937884.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi there MontrealRon,

Nice photos and post :) Yes, unfortunately we don't often hear about these Peso cigars

But they are good cigars to smoke when walking the streets of Havana.

You can't get better at that price or else you don't smoke at all :devil2:

At about 1 Euro a bundle, who cares about looks, LOL

On a side note, sometimes, when production demands are high, these cigars

can also be made in the big export factories. In 2004 when we visited the

H. Upmann factory in Havana, in one of the rooms there, young rollers were

finishing off a small batch production of Villaamil to help out production while

at the same time giving the new rollers some practical experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find this quite interesting and I thank you for posting. Have never tried one of these cigars. Although I am content with the current choices made possible, I do agree that it is unfortunate that ones have to smoke such cheap cigars (not that I care about price but in terms of quality). It seems they are better than no smoking though :devil2:

I guess seeing these cigars make a nice cuban such as a BBF or CoRo even more enjoyably special.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing...love the pics. Have always been interested in trying a peso cigar, but they aren't easy to come by...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Ron for the great post on these smokes. I was waiting for your insight into these and will post my thoughts

after smoking another with a clear head while on holiday this coming week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the opportunity presented itself, I wouldnt mind picking up a bundle, especially at that price!! They may not be very good, but I would give them a shot, Im sure they are still better than the machine made drugstore smokes like Swishers, lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ron, I could've sworn that the cigars the Cubans smoke on a day-to-day basis had a blue band...?

Hi, Kanga -

The blue-banded cigars are the Reloba.

They are produced not far from Havana, towards the east,

possibly in Matanzas.

They are usually seen in and around Varadero.

It is kind of ironic that the local market brands are the last to be

(mostly, as per Guy's experience) factory-specific.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They look fantastic to me - the rustic appearance seems very appealing - although the smoke itself doesn't sound great

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They look like the JLPs in my collection to me. I would give them a try...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They look like the JLPs in my collection to me. I would give them a try...

Interesting observation, Bolivr.

As I recall, the JLPs were originally peso cigars.

They were first marketed in Britain, as "Cuban country cigars" in 1996,

sizes were standardized, and they were sold in bundles or jars.

Their success in the British market, where cigars are so expensive

-only Canada is worse!- :angry:

led to their world-wide distribution.

Supposedly, they were machine-made from 1996-2002,

then hand-made TC, but I have my doubts if they were ever machine-made,

or if they were rolled in the same manner as the peso cigars are today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Other than heading over to Cuba, where else can one purchase these peso cigars?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great thread Ron, I'm truly enjoying it <_<

love these little buggers, here are some others that I recieved

a month ago from friends back from Cuba.

As to the question, where else can one get some peso cigars

elsewhere then in Cuba, ..................... NOWHERE :D

OH, and BTW, the cigars DO NOT come in Cabs :loser:

I put them in old cabs so as to lay them down in my box Humidor :)

post-3705-1278333815.jpg

post-3705-1278333870.jpg

post-3705-1278333934.jpg

post-3705-1278335858.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I find this quite interesting and I thank you for posting. Have never tried one of these cigars. Although I am content with the current choices made possible, I do agree that it is unfortunate that ones have to smoke such cheap cigars (not that I care about price but in terms of quality). It seems they are better than no smoking though ;)

Never had a peso cigar either. But, consider the US market equivalent. Would you rather have a White Owl?

From what I'm hearing, I count the Cuban locals very lucky to have access to real cigars on the cheap. I also have the feeling they can find ways to get something better if so inclined.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Great thread Ron, I'm truly enjoying it :D

love these little buggers, here are some others that I recieved

a month ago from friends back from Cuba.

As to the question, where else can one get some peso cigars

elsewhere then in Cuba, ..................... NOWHERE B)

OH, and BTW, the cigars DO NOT come in Cabs :P

I put them in old cabs so as to lay them down in my box Humidor :lol:

post-3705-1278333815.jpg

post-3705-1278333870.jpg

post-3705-1278333934.jpg

post-3705-1278335858.jpg

Salut, Guy -

Those smokes look great, especially in their cabs. ;)

I would suggest freezing them, however, before putting them in a humidor with other cigars,

as neither the raw tobacco, nor the finished cigars, receive any protective treatment against

tobacco beetles.

Are you going to age some of them?

Maybe the cedar wood might do them good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would suggest freezing them, however, before putting them in a humidor with other cigars,

as neither the raw tobacco, nor the finished cigars, receive any protective treatment against

tobacco beetles.

ALWAYS, mon ami, ALWAYS ;)

That is a basic rule for these cigars :lol:

As for aging them, no I don't think so but you're right about the cedar :D

Anyway, peso cigars are great when you need a good kick, Oouffff B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But, consider the US market equivalent. Would you rather have a White Owl?

Well, let me put it this way Jacksfull, for me, they are even better then some big names

in NC's, if not in looks, at least taste wise. B)

BTW, Is "White Owl" still considered a cigar in the USA ? Wowww ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BTW, Is "White Owl" still considered a cigar in the USA ? Wowww

That is a touchy subject for me, Guy. Right now there is a bastardization of the word "cigar" going on in some places in the US and it is because of recent bans on flavored cigarettes. Thompson Cigar Inc is now selling "cigars" that are filtered, that are about the same size as a cigarette, comes in cigarette-like packs of twenty, and comes in cigarette-like cartons. Also, because they are now "cigars" that means they are tax as such and they are cheaper.

You cannot legally sell cloved cigarettes in Nebraska anymore. Djarum is now in the cloved "cigar" business now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BTW, Is "White Owl" still considered a cigar in the USA ? Wowww :D

LOL

I was thinking a little more "old school" when White Owl was just one of a dozen or more generic brands of cheap machine mades with reconstituted wrappers. I guess nowadays they're better known for their flavored line, though that's not something that's generally on my radar screen. Apparently they can be smoked, though I cannot imagine why one would want to.

post-5972-1278429240.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

Community Software by Invision Power Services, Inc.