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The United States' lifting of trade and travel restrictions with Cuba, which took effect Friday, does not mean that coveted Cuban cigars will be sold in stateside smoke shops.
Despite the new regulations, Americans who travel to Cuba may still bring back up to $100 worth of alcohol and tobacco, but a broader trade embargo still prohibits the importation of cigars and other products from Cuba.
Some smoke shop owners don't mind, because Cuban cigars aren't all they're mythologized to be. Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Honduras have been producing excellent cigars for years, they said. siglo 3 has a similar climate and soil to Cuba, which is why many former Cuban rollers and growers now live there.
There are very good Cuban cigars out there, but today, other factories make just as good or even better cigars than what we used to get from Cuba, said Mame Kendall, owner of Smoke Shop & Lounge.
"There are amazing rollers and tobacco factories in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras available to us."
Jim Titus, owner of Continental Smoke Shop, agreed: "You find cigars produced for the U.S. are equally as smooth. The big myth about Cuban cigars is because people can't get them."
cuban cigars cohiba on the Cigar World website said Cuban cigars have a mystique mainly because the half-century trade embargo has made them forbidden fruit. " cigars of cuba com 's only natural to want what we can't have," the article said.
Interestingly, President John F. Kennedy, who enjoyed Cuban cigars, made sure he got what he wanted before banning them for everyone else.
Hours before widening a Cuban trade embargo in 1962, he ordered press secretary Pierre Salinger to obtain as many as he could.
After Salinger delivered 1,200 to Kennedy, the president signed the order banning all of Cuba's state products from U.S. shores, Salinger revealed in Cigar Aficionado magazine in 1992.
Kennedy's action created five decades of pent-up demand. cohiba piramides extra review said that when the relaxed travel and trade restrictions were announced last month, many of her customers didn't listen to the details of the story and mistakenly thought Cuban cigars would now be imported.
"During that first week, everyone kept saying, 'So when are you going to get Cuban cigars on the shelf?' They didn't listen to the whole story. montecristo cigar sizes said 'If one more person asks me about Cuban cigars (I won't be able to take it),'" she said with a laugh.
Even if Congress removes import restrictions, those desiring Cuban cigars might be disappointed, she added.
"If we were able to buy Cuban cigars for resale in stores, consumers would think that would be great but it would mean that production (in Cuba) would have to go up, quality would go down and prices would go up."
It's not known how many cigars can be purchased with $100, but Cuban cigars sell for $17 a piece in Mexico.
In her estimation, Cuban cigars would sell for between $25 and $50 apiece in the United States if they were permitted to be sold. A "very good cigar" from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Honduras sells in her shop for $5 to $6.
Additionally, those planning to buy cigars in Cuba may also be shocked by the prices. The Cubans "will be able to predict their arrival. They'll be able to pick them out of the crowd, and will be able to charge very high prices for (Cuban cigars), I'm sure."
Titus said he has smoked and enjoyed Cuban cigars but not as much as those from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, or Honduras.
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