See the Havana Journal's exclusive analysis and side by side photo comparison of genuine vs. fake Cohiba Esplendido Cuban cigars.
We also compared fake vs. real Cohiba Esplendido Cuban cigar boxes.
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Everything You Need To Know About Selecting Cuban Cigars
Cuban Cigar Ring Sizes
Cuban Cigar sizes are presented in inches for the length followed by a number which is the ring number. This means that a cigar is ring 44, the cigar thick is 44/64 of an inch.
You can find from smaller cigars with a ring size of 26 to the larger ones produced today over an inch with a ring size of 66.
Cuban Cigar Shapes
Cigars can be divided on two categories: those with straight sides - parejos - and those with irregular shapes - figurados.
Parejos are the most common cigars, those that the majority of smokers is most familiar. In this category you can find most of Cigar Sizes usual on the market - Coronas, Churchills, Robustos, Double Coronas, Panatelas, Londsdales.
Figurados, the ones with irregular shapes, can be recognized by the following types:
Pyramid have a pointed closed end and widens to an open foot. Torpedo also with a pointed head, has a more closed foot. Perfecto has both heads closed. Culebra has three panatelas twisted together. Diademas is a big cigar with eight inches, with one or both heads closed like perfecto.
Cuban Cigar Color
Cigar colors are determined by the outside leaf - the wrapper - and are generally divided on six different categories.
Maduro Dark brown, like black coffee. Traditional Havana color, with a rich flavor, sweet taste.
Colorado maduro Dark brown, aromatic, with a rich flavor, used on the best Honduran cigars.
Colorado Reddish dark brown, aromatic, used by Cameroon wrappers on well matured cigars.
Colorado Claro Medium Brown, used on some Dominican Republic brands.
Claro Pale brown, also called natural, neutral flavor, used on Connecticut shade wrappers.
Double claro Greenish brown , called candela and AMS - American Market Standard, with wrappers that haven't achieved maturity. Very mild, bland.
Cuban Cigar Storage and Humidors
To keep your cigars in perfect conditions, they must be in very similar conditions of the semi-tropical environment, this means that you should keep them at around 18∫C (65∫F), and with a humidity level near 70%.
Cigar storage is very important to avoid that cigars will lose their properties, losing aroma and becoming dry.
If you are a regular smoker, a humidor will keep your cigars in perfect conditions. Humidors are fitted with a hygrometer to control humidity and keep your cigars under recommended humidity conditions.
Before smoking the hand made cigars need to be cut at the closed end.
This operation can be done with a cigar cutter guillotine or a cigar scissor. Some use also a knife, but to achieve a good cut is very important that the cutter chosen is sharp.
The cut must take off about two millimeters of the cap, at the top of the curve of the cigar closed end. This way you will not damage the wrapper.
To light a cigar is recommended that you choose a butane lighter or matches. There are some big and slow burning matches, but generally cigar smokers make a small bundle of two to four matches and let the sulfur burn. Gas lighters are not recommended because the odor that can be smelled, or felt, on first puffs.
Some smokers start lightning the cigar at 45 degrees angle, dancing with flame on is foot, and at he same time rotating the cigar to be sure that will have it light all around.
You can also help this procedure by blowing through the cigar. This will also prevents you from having a puff with lighter gases, or sulfur from the matches.
By the other end, others prefer first to hold them horizontally in contact with flame waiting until the end is equally burned and then putting the cigar on the lips.
With the first puffs and rotating the cigar you will have control of lightning and at the same time, regulate the burn to be equal on all the foot.
To not overheat the cigar, and spoil its flavor, do not puff it frequently. If it goes out, tap the cigar to remove the ash and relight it. With the lighter put the wrapper similar on all is perimeter and then, light it again like you had a new one in hand.
Great Cuban Cigar Brands
Arturo Fuente Hemmingway
Ashton by Arturo Fuente
AyC Private Reserve
Flor De Copan
Hoyo De Moneterrey
Joya De Nicaragua
La Gloria Cubana
Macanudo Vintage Cabinet Selection
Montecristo Cigare des Artes
Montesino by Arturo Fuente
Playboy by Don Diego
Primo Del Rey
Romeo y Julieta Vintage
Saint Luis Rey
Villa De Havana
In 1901, the Rocha Cuban Cigar Company began producing this outstanding brand ñ the Bolivar. Named after the infamous General, the Bolivar cigar is often compared to the character of the great General himself ñ strong, powerful and robust in every way. Today, Bolivar cigars are thought to be amongst the strongest, most full-bodied cigars produced in Havana. The Bolivar cigar is not for the beginner; itís distinctively strong flavor and robust nature draw mostly seasoned Havana aficionados. Oddly, at one time the Rocha Bolivar was famous for offering the world's smallest Cuban cigar, the Delgado, measuring only 1 7/8ths inches by 20 ring gauge. It is said that the royal nursery at Windsor Castle once housed a spectacular dollhouse complete with a miniature box of Bolivar Delgado cigars in residence.
In 1492, during Columbus' first voyage to the "new world", he visited the island of Havana. His sailors were introduced to "Cohiba" by the island natives, a bunch of dried leaves that were smoked in a pipe called a "Tobacco". In 1982, three types of Cohiba Cuban cigars were introduced to non-diplomats: the Lanceros, the Coronas Especiales and the Panatelas. Three more vitoles were added to the brand in 1989: the EsplÈndidos, the Robustos and the Exquisitos, completing what is known as "La LÌnea Clasica". Five more vitoles were added in 1992 creating the "Linea 1492": the Siglo I, II, III, IV and V. Cohiba remains the ìKing of the Cubansî. Only the finest tobacco leaves are used to create the various types of Cohiba cigars.
First introduced in London in 1996, the Cuaba brand was the first new Cuban cigar brand to be introduced into commercial production since 1968. Historicaly, Cuaba is the Taino Indian word for the special cuban bush used to light the ìCohibaî or ìTobaccoî on the Island. All four of the Cuaba vitoles are in the figurado (perfecto) shape: the Exclusivos, the Generosos, the Tradicionales and the Divinos. This shape was popular until the beginning of the 20th century. Habanos S.A. decided to revive the British tradition of smoking figurados; hence the fitting unveiling of the brand in London, England. Habanos, S.A. has since reintroduced other historic brands and shapes.
Introduced in 1966, the Diplomaticos Cuban cigar brand is often compared to the popular Montecristo vitoles; the brand was originally introduced as a ìless expensiveî Montecristo. However, the Diplomaticos brand of Cuban cigar soon broke away from this limiting comparison due to itís special blending fine tobacco. Cigar connoisseurs worldwide savor it's unique, rich and flavorful taste and now covet this fine brand. The Diplomaticos brand is another of the great Cuban brands introduced during the 1960ís.
EL REY DEL MUNDO
Introduced in 1842 by the Antonio Allones factory, the El Rey del Mundo brand was launched under the name "The King of the World". An extremely high quality cigar, ìThe King of the Worldî cigar enjoyed great success during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Soon, the company and the brand were renamed ìEl Rey del Mundoî. One of the classic Cuban cigars, El Rey cigars boast a mixture of fine tobaccos and a rich aroma. In the mid 20th century, the El Rey brand was one of the most expensive Havana cigars on the market. The brandís medium-bodied flavor (true even in the larger sizes) and a distictively exquisite aroma make this a great cigar for smokers of all levels of experience, and for any time day or night.
When one examines the Flor de Rafael Gonzalez box, the following statement can still be found: "These cigars have been manufactured from a secret blend of pure Vuelta Abajo tobaccos selected by the Marquez Rafael Gonzalez, Grande of Spain.î This ìsecret blendî has been pleasing cigar smokers worldwide for over 20
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