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Like a number of members of this forum, I got hooked on cigars and then there was that one habano that blew my mind and got me to join the cult.

For me, a former lover of medium-full to full bodied NCs, such as CAO Lx2, and a number of AJ blends, it was the last half of my first Monte 2 in Germany.  I had an Epi 2 the night before and thought it was good, but nothing special.  My friend's Connie A that I took a few puffs of was a great smoke, but I wasn't ready for something that nuanced.  I walked out of a certain shop at marienplatz with 10 different sticks and decided that I should start with a legendary stick.  First half I thought it was good, but nothing I couldn't find in some of the higher end (and far cheaper) NCs I had grown accustomed to.  Then I hit the second half.  The cream, the coaca, the coffee, the bbq, the earthiness, the funk, and the vegetal notes all came together and hit me over the head with their depth and complexity.  Even though it was lighter than I was used to, I went back the day before we returned to this Mighty State that is so wonderful and so great and purchased a box of the Bolivar Belicoso Fionos, a smattering of other singles.  I still enjoy NCs and smoke them 90% of the time due to cost and availability, but the ones that can hold a candle are few and far between, and they are typically those that exceed a body that Habanos don't reach.

So I ask you, friends of the habano leaf, what was yours?

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There are stil NCs that I enjoy but getting less and less.  Padron Family, a few TAts and Epernay.  Dollar for dollar, CCs kill it.  It seems the NCs I enjoy cost more

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I smoke maduros when it comes to NCs and smoke CCs for their complexity and natural sweetness.  Bolivar Royal Corona opened the door into the CC world for me.  

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My first H Upmann #2 was the nail in the coffin. I am as guilty as anyone of complaining about Cuban consistency in construction, but I got burnt out on NCs because of the lack of consistency in the blend. So many NC guys will roll a good cigar, get good reviews and then completely change the cigar the next year, either because they can't get the same tobacco or it becomes too expensive. Fuente and Padron being the exceptions with their large top down operations. I am often surprised by how much I like a random NC, but I've grown tired of the hunt. If I buy a CC, I can be pretty sure that I will like it, and failing that, I can be pretty sure that I can trade it for something I do like on the secondary market.

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My first CCs were a box of Punch Punch 20 years ago.  I smoked a couple ROTT, a few more several months later, at six months, at a year...and gave the rest of the box to my brother.  I was disappointed.   There was no question re: authenticity.  I'm not sure if that was a bad year for them or not, but I've been hesitant to try them again despite hearing how excellent they are currently (i.e., I'll be buying them again).  And then I was introduced to Partagas- a petit corona-ish sized cigar- I don't think I ever knew which vitola it was specifically- but thought it was the best cigar I ever smoked.  Then I went to graduate and medical school and my cigar and other hobbies were all put on hiatus.  When I started smoking cigars again it was mostly NCs- Tatuaje, Padrons, Liga Privada... all these highly acclaimed smokes.  Some were really good and I still keep a stash of them.  Others I found to be overrated wind tunnels.  The only that really came remotely close to a Cuban cigar were some Davidoffs.  And I concluded that at that price point I might as well smoke the real thing.  I really enjoy a wide range of Cubans currently, from cheap and cheerfuls, to pricey sticks.  Short, long, skinny, fat.  When I have the opportunity to smoke, I think about how much time I can afford and pick a cigar that fits the time I have and the time of day.  Needless to say, with a 16 month old vying for control of the house, I haven't smoked a Partagas Lusitania in a while despite it being on of my favorites.

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The first cc that I tried was a Monte # 4 in 2009, it blew my mind. Didn’t know about internet ordering back then, so I continued to stockpile mid range nc sticks. 

Started stockpiling cc’s in 2011 but still smoke my aged nc sticks that I have in the stash. I’ve bought exactly 50 nc sticks in the last 4 years, all of them opus x and AF añejos for aging purposes.  Most nc’s in the sub $7 range seem to focus on pepper, cedar, and that’s about it as far as flavor goes, of course there are some exceptions. 

For the money I feel that most cc’s offer a lot more value. I can’t think of a single $7 nc that can offer the same level of flavor as a lot of sub $7 cc’s.

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4 hours ago, Scotch&Stogie said:

Like a number of members of this forum, I got hooked on cigars and then there was that one habano that blew my mind and got me to join the cult.

For me, a former lover of medium-full to full bodied NCs, such as CAO Lx2, and a number of AJ blends, it was the last half of my first Monte 2 in Germany.  I had an Epi 2 the night before and thought it was good, but nothing special.  My friend's Connie A that I took a few puffs of was a great smoke, but I wasn't ready for something that nuanced.  I walked out of a certain shop at marienplatz with 10 different sticks and decided that I should start with a legendary stick.  First half I thought it was good, but nothing I couldn't find in some of the higher end (and far cheaper) NCs I had grown accustomed to.  Then I hit the second half.  The cream, the coaca, the coffee, the bbq, the earthiness, the funk, and the vegetal notes all came together and hit me over the head with their depth and complexity...

Have you ever had another Monte 2 (or any CC) since then that reached that same level of bliss?

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Admittedly my first venture into cc's came up disappointing. They were definitely authentic but all young for sure. I tried a 3 pack of each mag 46, hdmdc, monte 2 and coro. I wasn't impressed across the board. It wasn't until I got a box of rass and smoked one after a year in the humidor that I was blown away at the price to quality and complexity ratio that is hard to come by in nc's. I now realize there were a number of factors in my disappointment of the original cc experiment. Back then I stored my cigars at 70% humidity so I experienced tight draws and muted flavors. I was a mouth smoker and missed the glorious retrohale flavors. I bought from a different vendor than our host and grossly overpaid. I'm currently trying to build up stock so I still smoke a lot of nc's mostly Illusione which I enjoy Epernay, miserere, cruzado and Haut 10 as much as cc's. My humidor goal is to be well stocked in cc's and still have boxes of illusione for a change of pace.😁

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I had another way: I started Smoking cheap NC, because I decided that first it is necessary to improve the technique of Smoking, and only then smoke good cigars. As for the cheapness of NC, I'm ready to argue about it: if we compare not the format, but the amount of tobacco (leaf area, not its weight). Cuban tobacco is in most cases thin and delicate, and the twisting is dense, so cigars of the same format NC and CC often have different amounts of tobacco. As for the organoleptic properties of Cuban cigars, they are out of competition. I also smoke a NC, but rarely, only a few Vitolas, it's the Oliva Serie V/Nub/G Maduro and Melanio, Fuente's, s Padron's, but the CC there is no alternative.
Among NC it is very difficult to look for good cigars, CA ratings do not meet my expectations. My first good cigar is H.Upmann half Coronas-very suitable for beginners  Cubanoids

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5 hours ago, Notsocleaver said:

My first H Upmann #2 was the nail in the coffin. I am as guilty as anyone of complaining about Cuban consistency in construction, but I got burnt out on NCs because of the lack of consistency in the blend. So many NC guys will roll a good cigar, get good reviews and then completely change the cigar the next year, either because they can't get the same tobacco or it becomes too expensive. Fuente and Padron being the exceptions with their large top down operations. I am often surprised by how much I like a random NC, but I've grown tired of the hunt. If I buy a CC, I can be pretty sure that I will like it, and failing that, I can be pretty sure that I can trade it for something I do like on the secondary market.

That was my cigar also! H. Upmann #2, I almost always judge my cigars on that one cigar! I’ve never found a NC that comes close!

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Never really distinguished between the two in all honesty. Grew up smoking both so have never had a preference on something so varied (thankfully).

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The first cigar I ever had was a Partagas D4 back in 2004 at a work event.  From there I was hooked.  I started smoking both NC and CCs.  I enjoyed both.  There was a certain period of time where I probably smoked 3 NCs for every 1 CC. This would have been from about 2008 till 2012. I loved Padron 26s and Tatuajes. At some point I just stopped buying and smoking NCs. Now I dont even bother with NCs 99.9% of the time. I did buy a single Tatuaje Bride last night for the novelty of smoking it on Halloween night...so we will see how that goes.

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6 hours ago, slowsmoke said:

Have you ever had another Monte 2 (or any CC) since then that reached that same level of bliss?

Not a monte 2. Bolivar BF comes close, and the Partagas Aristocrat was astounding for the price point though. 

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6 hours ago, nKostyan said:

Among NC it is very difficult to look for good cigars, CA ratings do not meet my expectations.

There is just too many of them! Especially when starting out. 

And then number of fly by night operations with 7 digit marketing budget makes it that much harder.

I started smoking cigars at the tail end of the 90s cigar boom. Let me tell you, reviews in trade magazines where worse than useless.. even more than they are now. ;)

Of course with a good guide, an experienced person guiding you it would have been much easier.

But where I live, CCs are readily available, and both CCs and NCs are equally unaffordable...so...

 

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I made the switch for a number of reasons.
Rising cost of Nc's $10-18 for a very good to outstanding stick is a lil much for me. Plus some of those $15 Nc's can't touch a $5 -10- CC's. Have always loved Cuban tobacco. Instead of buying $25-30 Nc's 5 packs I held off for a month or 2 and just bought a box of CC's and am much happier for it. I may buy a Nc's stick here and there but presently my stock is ratio is atleast 4:1 Cuban. You don't need to smoke $15 to 25 Cubans to be happy. Look into some cheap and cheerful Cubans HUHC box of 25 for under $115 is way better than a $10 Nc in my book any day.

Sent from my SM-N910P using Tapatalk

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I started off in 1998 smoking AF curlyheads and short story's. Then went to Opus X's. Then I smoked a Partagas Presidente. Blown away. Didn't know how to get more as it was gifted to me. So back to the RP's, Joya's, Villagier's. This lasted for twelve years. Then in 2010, I found the internet. Yeah, kinda slow here. I bought a box of 2008 TEB BBF's from a Spanish cigar store (no longer in business, sadly).  And was blown away again. That box lasted one month it was so good. Even the neighbors liked the smell of them. So, I ordered Bolivar's, MC's, HDM's and Cohibas (they were A LOT cheaper back then). And had to buy a wineador. Which I still have today. Found FOH and it's been wonderful ever since. Met a lot more BOTL's, even overseas through the Forum. And Dec. 23, I hope to meet up with John S.

Anyway, my nc's are limited to Warped mostly. The Gran Reserva 1988 and the Colmeina with a few La Haciendas. They, to my pallet, have the best flavor. Citrus and cocoa. Kind of like JL2's.     

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I have mainly smoked cuban cigars for 10 years. After graduaiting medical school I fell in love with CC:s. First was Cohiba siglo 2. It was so good I started this wonderful hobby.

I have mainly smoked cuban cigars ( I lve in Europe). I come to USA for holiday in december. I would like to have some advice what NC:s to buy. Warped maybe?

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9 minutes ago, Homer said:

I have mainly smoked cuban cigars for 10 years. After graduaiting medical school I fell in love with CC:s. First was Cohiba siglo 2. It was so good I started this wonderful hobby.

I have mainly smoked cuban cigars ( I lve in Europe). I come to USA for holiday in december. I would like to have some advice what NC:s to buy. Warped maybe?

Any Padron would be a good choice, as would any Oliva V Melanio.  Wouldn't you be able to bring your own stash of CCs though?

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Really this year has been my big transition from NC's to CC's. NC's were lovely for awhile, but the more and more I smoked them the more I found myself reaching for 'cubanesque' NC's. Then later last year I met a friend who has a crazy stash of CC's who opened my eyes to a whole new world. What really does it for me, is CC's have SO much flavor compared to NC's. It's like someone turned the flavor and richness dial to full! Nc's now just taste rather lifeless to me. There's just no comparison in the quality of the leaf. I still truly believe high end NC manufacturers are far superior blenders, and would LOVE to see what the Fuentes, Padrons, Dion Giolito, Pete Johnson, and some of the other master blenders could do with Cuban Tobacco. 

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RASS

I never knew such depth was possible in a cigar

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Not any particular cigar that did it for me, but rather, when I went from having a few beers a night on most nights to having maybe a few beers in a week (if any at all) my tastes changed.  Nicaraguan ligero leaf is fine when I'm drinking, but not nearly so much when I'm not

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On 10/26/2018 at 8:04 PM, MD Puffer said:

Any Padron would be a good choice, as would any Oliva V Melanio.  Wouldn't you be able to bring your own stash of CCs though?

I could bring my CC:s with me. I am more interested of some NC cigars that are hard to find in Europe.

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I'm not sure what's readily available in Europe, but these have been good non-Cuban cigars:

- Oliva V Melanio figurado and torpedo (regular Series V are very good smokes as well, especially the torpedo and bellicoso)

- Davidoff Nicaragua diadema

- Paron 1926 (but honestly they're regular production offerings are good too)

There are  many others, these are just some from my experiences that are packed appropriately, flavorful, and consistent.

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For me it was a combination of 3-4 cigars. I began with RASCC. All of the original CC I smoked were received through the generosity of BOTL from another forum around 10 years ago or so. I am a casual smoker still to this day and started off smoking NC with buddies who enjoyed them. That first RA was good and got me interested. Then I had a BPC which I found strong and surprisingly complex for a smoke most had told me would be fairly straightforward.

Then I participated in a rookie review thread where seasoned members sent you cigars and had you post to compare notes with them. It was during this exercise I smoked a Juan Lopez #1 with about 4 years of age and was so surprised with the complex undertones of what I considered a mild to medium cigar. Not in your face at all just a very pleasant smoke. A few weeks later I had my first MC#2 and I knew I had been converted.

IMO the CC world is much easier to navigate. There are nice NC but as others habe stated once you find something you like there is always that risk the blend & tobacco quality will change but they keep the name simply because it's a moneymaker. There are only 3 NC that I will spend my hard earned dollars on. Tatuaje Petit Reserva, standard production Patron Maduro PC, and some panatelas from a small independent producer who once in a blue moon will make the Cigar I like. The endless blends and editions are too much to bother with. I'm also turned off by the gimmicky packaging and pushing that many brands go with these days. I may sound like a dated old man but it's just not my thing.

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