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4 hours ago, Monocle said:

Got back on Tuesday from my first trip to Havana. What an incredible place! My customs and singles are in the freezer so here’s the full boxes I picked up—focused on what generally isn’t available through 24:24 or commands a premium. I’ll supplement this post once they’re out of the freezer. Without our driver, Arturo, many of these boxes would have never been offered to me. The most unexpected and interesting is definitely the Open Juniors from 2010. The manager at the revamped store next to the new H Upmann factory grabbed it from a hiding spot and insisted I needed it. Who am I to second guess?!? Can’t wait to go back next year.

 

 

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Wow I went 6 months ago and every LCDH insisted that the Soberanos were kaput! Nice pickups overall, ya probably did better than me

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Not a bad haul from Cuba. 2 Cabs of HDM DC were my most sought after. Plus Sir Winstons, Monty 80th (almost a box via singles) 2 bundles from Alex (Siglo VI and Puntilla) , 2 Leyandas, 2 La Trovas, Pu

Just unpacked. Will write a full report on the trip but here's what we picked up. Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk

3 hours ago, Derboesekoenig said:

Wow I went 6 months ago and every LCDH insisted that the Soberanos were kaput! Nice pickups overall, ya probably did better than me

Melia Habana had a mostly full box of singles out. I bought the five best from that box not expecting to be later offered a box at another LCDH from hidden stock thanks to our driver/guide knowing the manager. Melia Habana also was the only location I saw any CoLas. Again a mostly full box of singles. I took 10 of the best from that box.

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6 hours ago, DSegal said:

We can all hear the first-time excitement in your exclamation point. It is such a cool place. I found a box of those 2010 Open Juniors in two shops in 2018 and bought one. It is long gone now but was a high quality little ind if slightly one-dimensional.

I enjoyed my first one this afternoon. Perfect length for a short walk with the dog. Construction and burn were impeccable but definitely lacking complexity—figure that is about the best you can reasonable hope for in the size. 

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The quality is there, the draw and burn are great on those, yes the size is handy and the flavor is good, but flavor is where I felt they were a little boring. Still a 10 year old regular production cigar off the shelves, I think is always a must-buy. Especially for $89.00 (same price as I paid 2 years ago). Mine were BAP NOV 10. But I don't think the size is the reason for the lack of complexity or depth of flavor, it's just that Open series from Monte. They seem to have been made a little like a light beer. A good light beer, but still a light beer. Maybe akin to an Amstel Light.

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6 hours ago, n0s4atu said:

I love revisting this thread.  I definitely need to make my way back soon.  Nice to see some Cohibas, when I went I was told they don't last long.   

Depends which. Every store had a plentiful supply of the smaller vitolas in 5 packs and full boxes. 

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I have a box of those Prado and the first one I smoked is excellent. Can't say the same about the ubiquitous Punch La Isla RE Cuba. I have tried a few from a few boxes and all have been bland and underwhelming. Yes they may need time but they don't suggest a lot of promise.

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1 hour ago, DSegal said:

I have a box of those Prado and the first one I smoked is excellent. Can't say the same about the ubiquitous Punch La Isla RE Cuba. I have tried a few from a few boxes and all have been bland and underwhelming. Yes they may need time but they don't suggest a lot of promise.

I felt the same about the Isla. I have only had one thou. But I was not impressed. probably smoke another one soon to give it another chance

 

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12 hours ago, DSegal said:

I have a box of those Prado and the first one I smoked is excellent. Can't say the same about the ubiquitous Punch La Isla RE Cuba. I have tried a few from a few boxes and all have been bland and underwhelming. Yes they may need time but they don't suggest a lot of promise.

I smoked through a box + of the La Isla during my trip in November. I don't think age will help these much. They're just very subtle, light cigars. I enjoyed the ones I smoked more than it appears you did though. I'm happy I have a couple more boxes tucked away, but I'll probably smoke through them in the next two years or so. Then forget about the release. 

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Agreed that age probably won't help them much. I was hoping for some of that peanut butter Punch flavor...It raises an interesting question. Yes, some cigars are disappointing and then they turn into gems with time, but a cigar that smokes great without having to rest is a winning attribute. I know I can enjoy my 5 year old cigars now, but it's so nice when something smokes well right away. I do find most cigars smoke nicely in Havana--the warmth and humidity tend to bring out the aromas and allow the smoke to linger around you in most cases. As opposed to when I smoke at 25 degrees with a light upstate NY breeze, sitting in my hot tub. The smoke doesn't exactly do the same thing there...

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On 2/25/2020 at 3:59 PM, Viva Vegas said:

Some of what a brought back from Cuba. Took a charter from Fort Myers Florida 40 min flight, will do it again and again and again lol. I hope it's ok to show rum in a pic I don't want to get suspended again. 

 

Why would you think showing rum would get you suspended?

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Are the primary benefits of buying from the Island that you can peruse boxes, check dates, and have access to harder to find releases, or are they also typically much, much cheaper? Considering the risks with customs growing by the day (not to mention virus travel shutdowns), I'm trying to get a better feel for the benefits of traveling to Cuba for cigar purchases. I totally get it's a vacation too, but having never been and interested in the notion, I wonder if cigar pricing is way better, or it's about lots of other stuff coming together to make it a great trip. 

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5 hours ago, SmokyFontaine said:

Are the primary benefits of buying from the Island that you can peruse boxes, check dates, and have access to harder to find releases, or are they also typically much, much cheaper? Considering the risks with customs growing by the day (not to mention virus travel shutdowns), I'm trying to get a better feel for the benefits of traveling to Cuba for cigar purchases. I totally get it's a vacation too, but having never been and interested in the notion, I wonder if cigar pricing is way better, or it's about lots of other stuff coming together to make it a great trip. 

Been there many times, it is just about pricing, as least cigar related.   Availability is really hit and miss.  Hard to find releases won't be found.  Older dates used to be a thing, but lately, most things on the shelves are just months old.  To get what you want, you have to travel to all of the LCDH's.  It is a pain in the ass.   

I don't get your statement "risks with customs growing by the day".  Nothing has changed there.

Awesome place to visit.  Great people, great food, unique experience.

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For me, the trip is so much more than just cigars.

 

It's about clearing my head and replenishing my batteries at the beach,

 

At night it's about Havana, eating, drinking and smoking. Hanging out with global friends.

 

And then there's the part about getting a souvenir or two from the local LCdH's.

 

 

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On 3/25/2020 at 2:40 PM, SmokyFontaine said:

Are the primary benefits of buying from the Island that you can peruse boxes, check dates, and have access to harder to find releases, or are they also typically much, much cheaper? Considering the risks with customs growing by the day (not to mention virus travel shutdowns), I'm trying to get a better feel for the benefits of traveling to Cuba for cigar purchases. I totally get it's a vacation too, but having never been and interested in the notion, I wonder if cigar pricing is way better, or it's about lots of other stuff coming together to make it a great trip. 

Being able to go shop by shop, sip good rum, smoke CC's and turn over seemingly hundreds of boxes of cigars to find those several you want, is simply amazing and sensual all in its own right.  It's a lot of fun and the people you meet along the way will create memories to last the rest of your life. This is the real reason we keep going back and have developed so many great relationships in Havana.  With that being said, the cigar prices are cheapest you'll find them anywhere in the world.  For us as Americans its the best possible scenario since we cant purchase them in our country and have had limited access to theirs.  It is a vacation unlike any other and if you are a true cigar lover, go once and you'll be hooked. 

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