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I got back from Havana last night and figured I would share some pics. I have been to Havana several times in past years but this was the first trip that I took without Mrs. Tarks! Our last trip last Jan was her last and that put a smile on my face!

I met up with 4 other Canadian botl's for a guys week of cigars, rum and great food. Oh, and cute Cuban ladies! :whip: We stayed at a Casa (Evora) on the 9th floor penthouse at Prado 20. A great location with an great patio and view.

Smoked lots of great cigars and a few disappointments. Two that were blah were the LGC Inmensos and the RA Superiores. I do hold hope for the LGC but the RA's are a waste IMO. No potential. Some of the cigars that stood out were BHK 52, 54, 56, RyJ Dukes, Monte Grand Edmundos, Dip 3 (01), RA 898v (99), Enrique Mons BHK 56, La China Robusto just to name a few.

I'm also disappointed that I didn't bring back any bundles of customs this year. It is a sad, sad story out in Havana these days. All of the custom rollers (Reynaldo, La China, Hamlet, Enrique Mons) that I talked to are taking the "donkey cock" route. So sad. Nothing to be found in the 42 RG size. :huh: Reynaldo has gone crazy! His smallest RG cigar is the prominentes. He even has a 64 RG cigar now. Craziness I say.

One of the highlights of the trip was El Laguito. A tour of the Cohiba factory. Pics to follow.

FYI, it is official. Well not really but according to Hamlet and Abel, HSA is no longer making the Boli Gold Medals so buy them up now while you can. Such a shame. Another 42 RG cigar gone. ;)

I found some hidden treasures. My haul included:

1 box Monte C

1 box BBF (03)

1 box Boli Inmensas (03)

3 boxes of Monte Sublimes

2 boxes Boli Gold Medals

1 LGC Jar

8 RA 898 Singles

Various custom singles

And a few pics...

Casa

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La China and myself

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The gang having a cigar with Carlos Robaina at 5y16.

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Carlos Robaina's rings. The one on the right is his late fathers, Alejandro's ring.

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Enrique Mons and myself.

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Colin Ganley (senior editor ECCJ) and myself.

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Hamlet and myself

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that looks and sounds like it was a GREAT trip. As far as the customs, I wouldn't let size alone keep me away from trying them. Although a 1 inch diameter can't possibly be a comfortable smoke. But based on the rollers you mentioned, I'd bet those customs would have been darn good!

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WOW looks like you had a great time Tarks :huh:

All those Cohibas I am soooo Drooooooling atm :whip:

Well done I am envious...

Sharks

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Awesome update, pictures, and post, Tarks. Thanks so much for sharing. Reminds me that I still need to do a post/thread about my trip during the last week of January, but I'm delaying until I get the film processed and digitized (I have a film-body SLR camera).

Sad to hear about the Boli GM's, I might have to start stocking up on those then. And, that run of Cohiba's at El Laguito looks like some beautifully coloured wrappers they're using right now.

Curious, how'd you get into El Laguito, and allowed to take pictures? I haven't bothered to venture over there, as I thought access is restricted most of the year, and photos are a no-no without special permissions in place.

Your casa particulare that you stayed at looks like an amazing location - right in the middle of it all. I told the Mrs. this last trip that while she wants to do other places too (Barbados, D.R., Jamaica, etc.), and not do Cuba every year or every other year, that if that's the case I may organize a guys' trip without her then. To which, she surprisingly said okay, as long as she got her trip too. But I definitely know that next time I go, I need/want for it to specifically be just for a stay within Havana, so I don't have to deal with the whole transportation thing, and not just have to do side-trips from the resorts in Varadero.

Your trip looks like an amazingly fun time with buds. Well done.

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Awesome update, pictures, and post, Tarks. Thanks so much for sharing. Reminds me that I still need to do a post/thread about my trip during the last week of January, but I'm delaying until I get the film processed and digitized (I have a film-body SLR camera).

Sad to hear about the Boli GM's, I might have to start stocking up on those then. And, that run of Cohiba's at El Laguito looks like some beautifully coloured wrappers they're using right now.

Curious, how'd you get into El Laguito, and allowed to take pictures? I haven't bothered to venture over there, as I thought access is restricted most of the year, and photos are a no-no without special permissions in place.

Your casa particulare that you stayed at looks like an amazing location - right in the middle of it all. I told the Mrs. this last trip that while she wants to do other places too (Barbados, D.R., Jamaica, etc.), and not do Cuba every year or every other year, that if that's the case I may organize a guys' trip without her then. To which, she surprisingly said okay, as long as she got her trip too. But I definitely know that next time I go, I need/want for it to specifically be just for a stay within Havana, so I don't have to deal with the whole transportation thing, and not just have to do side-trips from the resorts in Varadero.

Your trip looks like an amazingly fun time with buds. Well done.

I was told that El Laguito is restricted to dignitaries and close friends. We are fortunate to have close friends in Havana who "made a call" for us. :whip:

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I was told that El Laguito is restricted to dignitaries and close friends. We are fortunate to have close friends in Havana who "made a call" for us. :huh:

Very cool. I just may have to ask you to "make a call" for me in the future. Or, if the timing is right, I'll be able to make a trip when the timing is right for other BOTLs on here in the future.... *wink, wink* :whip:

I also have some video of inside the factory. Hoping to edit and post soon.

Very cool. Looking forward to that.

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How much did your accommodation cost per night?

I'm interested in making a trip too... still trying to figure out where to stay.

35 cuc per night, included breakfast. She has 3 rooms. We rented the whole place.

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***Looking at those rough bales of cigar tobacco on the grounds makes me think of the process of a baby being formed in the womb: while it is forming it may look like "E-e-e-u-u-u!" during...but when birthed and fully formed...what a be-e-a-a-u-u-t-i-f-u-l, lovely, wonderful sight! :love: Thank you, Tarks, for a thrilling inside view of the factory that produces our beloved product! :2thumbs:

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Amazing pictures! Where did you get the RA 898's? On my trip I found some in the Club Havana Humidor, but sadly most of them had bug holes in them and some were a little moldy :2thumbs: Managed to pick out two nice ones that we smoked on the balcony over there.

You're an incredibly lucky man getting into the Cohiba factory! We also took a shot, but were rejected at the door :love: They to told us we had to have an invitation to get in, sadly we didn't have the hook-up :no:

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