Cuban Cigars – What’s the Big Deal?

What makes Cuban cigars so good? First, the cigars aren’t blended with multiple variations of tobacco. It is purely Cuban tobacco grown in the plantations nestled in the Caribbean. The combination of tropical weather and humidity levels makes Cuba perfect for growing and drying tobacco leaves. This results in cigars that are full-bodied while also smooth, emitting a rich aroma from the dark brown-colored Cohibas cigars. There are ways to purchase pre-embargo Cuban cigars, but the cost for one of these can cost you hundreds of dollars. It would be much more cost effective to buy a quality American-made cigar if you crave an excellent smoke.

There’s something sexy about illegal commodities in the United States. Cuban cigars are one of these products. “Cubans,” as the cigars are often called, are banned as a result of the trade embargo originally issued via executive order in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy. Funny thing though, Kennedy ordered in 1,200 Petit H. Upmann cigars (his favorite brand) right before the embargo went into effect. The act was reinforced in 1992 with the Torricelli Act and in 1996 with the Helms-Burton Act. 

Torricelli Act (Cuban Democracy Act of 1992) 

Named after the man who initiated the act, then-member of the U.S. House of Representatives Robert Torricelli, the Torricelli act prevents American companies from engaging in any trade with Cuba. The overall goal of the act was to cripple the Cuban economy because of the United States’ willingness to purchase food and medicine prior to the passage of the act. 

Helms-Burton Act (Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996) 

Initiated as a response to the shooting down two Brothers to the Rescue planes, the Helms-Burton act was passed to further tighten the noose around Cuba’s proverbial neck and to weaken its economy even further. As the act was passed in 1996, a few years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba had no primary trade partner to turn to. It wasn’t necessarily an anti-Cuban policy as much as it was anti-Castro policy. The goal was to indirectly remove Fidel Castro from the leadership of Cuba by creating a turbulent and unlivable economic situation in Cuba. Castro’s socialist ideology and communist government in place diametrically opposed the U.S. standard of a capitalist democracy. While Fidel and Raul Castro are no longer in power, Cuba continues to be a communist state. 

According to most cigar experts, many of the Cuban cigars available in the U.S. are not real Cuban cigars; they are fakes. Cuban cigars are difficult to replicate and most Cuban cigar manufacturers provide security measures to ensure Cuban cigars are impossible to replicate by a third-party maker claiming to make Cuban cigars. Any person you talk to who has ever tried a Cuban cigar before will tell you the same thing: they live up to the hype.

Today, U.S. citizens are still currently unable to purchase Cuban cigars in the United States due to the embargo still has not been lifted by the U.S. Congress. In 2016, President Obama lifted restrictions to allow persons who travel to Cuba may bring back cigars for personal consumption (but not resale) into the US. However, as of September 24, 2020, people traveling to Cuba and returning to the United States are no longer allowed to bring back tobacco and/or alcohol products that they acquired in Cuba for personal use. This includes acquiring tobacco and/or alcohol products of Cuban origin in a third country and bringing them back to the United States.

Updated on 11/15/2021

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04/17/2021byW.Eight NQuality control in Cuba is really hell. I think it's fortunate that I met Neptune and NC.
02/15/2019byGreg BNeeds to b updated as president trump has now allowed citizens to bring in up to 200 of their own personal cigars per person while visiting cuba declaring to b there as a friend in support of cuban people you can also bri g back cuban rum for personal use as well. A close friend just did it
12/21/2018byDAVID Lgood summary about the political context, but to much detail of why they are so good and so difficult to imitate.
10/01/2016AnonymousAs always Luzzie does an excellent review
04/28/2016byShawn PI found this article very informative and simple to understand.