I smoked my first habano a few years ago, and it was really a very special gift. As incredible as it may looks, despite I was born in a place where smoking puros is something usual, my first one came from a foreigner: James Suckling.
James Suckling, currently European editor for Cigar Aficionado, and a conspicuous Cuban enthusiast, is a person who has dedicated time and efforts to get to know our country from the inside. His articles about Cuban reality are read by thousands of people when coming to Cuba, and once here, they follow recommendations made by James. He’s visited the Island several times to write about Cuban restaurants, and more than once, he’s recommended La Casa restaurant. Every time we dine together the conversation has the habano air, and that’s something you can’t deny when talking with a complete connoisseur of wines and tobaccos.
That’s how I put myself in this extraordinary world, but learning how to enjoy a cigar is something that comes with time. To recognize the subtleties of tastes, the aroma, or the blending of a Cuban cigar, is a unique experience. As I talk about this topic, always remember Fernando Ortiz, the Cuban writer and historian, who said that smoking a cigar is an act of pure sovereignty.
The preference for one or another, will be just the result of personal experience. Since long ago, I have decided for the Cohiba Robustos, to be smoked accompanied by an aged Havana Club, or a good Ron Santiago. However, when I’m in the mood for a loaded cup of Cuban coffee, there’s nothing like the Robustos T from the Trinidad brand (truly a jewel with more than a decade in the international market).
There are several secrets that will allow the cigar smoker to get a complete profit and pleasure from his habano… among all them, I recommend patience. From the very moment we taste a cigar, we notice this is an act of peacefulness: it’s good to burn it little by little, with the flame not too close. After that, we’ll be able to realize the different flavors of the habano, from the slightest ones (at the beginning) to the strongest (the last third of the cigar). My personal advice: let yourself admire the shape of the ashes in the cigar, so you could learn more things about the blend of that particular habano.
To never forget: there are no bad beginnings in the habanos world, because each one of them keeps a unique experience, and that could only be discovered with the first smoke.