Among those most eager for the repeal of the Cuban embargo, it would appear, are millions of Americans wanting to savor “the forbidden fruit” of a Cuban cigar. For the millions of Americans for whom a smoke is an act of civil disobedience—and who are willing to spend a lot of hard-earned cash (sometimes as much as $300 for a box of cigars) buying illegally, the topic of the lifting of the embargo is all about the cigars. Bloomberg news explores the issue in a lengthy article that moves from the history of the cigars to the question of who is going to control the market once the embargo is lifted, as everyone expects it will be during the first Obama administration. If cigars are your thing, you can access the article on the link below. If a puff will suffice, here are some excerpts:
Cuban cigars, hand-rolled from the tobacco of the Vuelta Abajo growing region, hold a cachet in popular culture that dates back to the island’s days as a playground for gamblers, novelists and mobsters. The day before Kennedy imposed the embargo, he dispatched Press Secretary Pierre Salinger to buy 1,000 Cuban-made Petit Upmanns, according to an account Salinger wrote in 2002.
“A Cuban embodies so much more than smoke,” said James Suckling, who has written articles on Cuba for Cigar Aficionado magazine. He estimates Americans consume about 20 million Cuban cigars a year, enjoying them while traveling to Mexico or the Caribbean or stowing them in luggage on the way home.
The forbidden fruit carries a premium: A box of 25 Cohiba Robustos costs $304 on the Hong Kong-based Cigars of Habanos Web site, where shoppers are offered the option of shipping to the U.S. without regard to the government’s ban. A Dominican-made version sold online by Holt’s Cigar Co. of Philadelphia sells for $175.
Because of the low acidity in the soil and a temperate climate, Cuban cigars have an earthy aroma and a “full taste” that make the best of them the finest cigars in the world, said Benjamin Menendez, a Cuban who fled the country in 1960 after Castro confiscated his family’s cigar company, Menendez y Garcia.
For the complete story go to http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601088&sid=ae9up7eu4TpI