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Cuban cigars for Buffalo cigar smokers

Romeo y Julieta Cuban "Short Churchill" cigar
Romeo y Julieta Cuban "Short Churchill" cigar
Photo by Bill Abbott

The epitome of cigar excellence is the Cuban cigar. The premier labels such as Romeo y Julietta and Cohiba employ the world's finest rollers and the tobacco blends are legendary. It is believed the unique volcanic soil provides the myriad of complex flavors savored by cigar aficionados. Many of the neighboring countries with similar climates and soil conditions have produced excellent premium cigars but many believe they have uniformly failed to replicate precisely Cuba's exquisite brands.

Due to the ban on all Cuban products and nearly all travel to the island nation by U.S. citizens, cuban cigars are exceedingly difficult to find for the American cigar smokers. Neighboring countries such as Canada have continued normal diplomatic relations with Cuba and enjoy their products openly. In fact, Cuba is a popular Caribbean vacation spot for many Canadians seaking the warmth of the tropical sun. This open relationship, and Buffalo's close proximity to Canada affords cigars smokers the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of the Cuban cigar, minutes from any neighborhood in Buffalo.

It must be added that purchasing, consuming, or entering the U.S. border by American citizens with any product made in Cuba, most notably cigars, is still illegal. Since 1962, when President Kennedy enacted an embargo and cut diplomatic relations with Cuba, cigar smokers have had to make other choices. While it is believed by many that we are getting closer to re-opening relations with Cuba, thereby making Cuban cigars legal in the U.S., and ending nearly fifty years of antagonistic relations, U.S. citizens are still prohibited from enjoying Cuban products. The ban includes Americans abroad, where any purchase of a Cuban product, including cigars, is considered indirect support of the current regime.

Should a citizen of Buffalo find himself across the Canadian border and wishes to look at a Cuban cigar to admire the art of its construction and view the richness of color in its tobacco wrapper, there are a number of excellent tobacconists, such as Smokers Haven in nearby Kingston, Ontario. It is not necessary to purchase and smoke a Cuban cigar to appreciate its quality. There is value in observing, smelling the rich aroma, and feeling the texture of the tobacco in you fingers, all of which can be done without violating current U.S. law.

Until the anachronistic embargo is lifted, American cigar aficionados in Buffalo are left to salivate over the Cuban cigar without the opportunity to fully assess its excellence.