5 Best Cigar Lounges In Europe

People who enjoy smoking cigars and want to spend time in a special retreat where like-minded folks gather to enjoy the very best tobacco products available head to their favorite cigar lounge. These special places have been a staple of world culture for more than a century but are now exploding in popularity due to worldwide restrictions on smoking.

Thousands of such hideaways exist, but Europe is said to have the very best of the best when it comes to luxurious, elegant, relaxing cigar lounges. The listing below features my top five cigar lounges in Europe, their locations, and why they made my list.

Le Cubana Café, Paris

Cubana Cafe Paris Michael W Asimos

The owners of this unique cigar lounge went the extra mile to create the look and atmosphere of Old Havana. That ambiance adds to the welcoming attitude patrons feel as soon as they walk into Le Cubana Café. The interior design is amazing in the way it seems to send patrons back in time to the old days in Cuba when cigars were the most important things in the world.

The Wellesley Cigar Terrace, London

The Wellesley Cigar Patio Michael W Asimos

One of the most famous cigar lounges in Europe, the Wellesley is a cool combination of bar, outdoor patio, and cigar lounge. The patio is heated and semi-enclosed, offers a vast menu of drink selections, and more cigars than patrons can smoke in a lifetime. The Wellesley also allows customers to bring in their own cigars, which is an unusual feature of such establishments.

La Casa Del Habano, Stuttgart

La Casa Del Habano Michael W Asimos

This famous European cigar lounge boasts what might be the longest list of cigar choices for smoking connoisseurs. Located smack dab in the middle of Old Europe, and exuding regional charm, La Casa Del Habano is never short of seating, and its ultra-comfortable comfortable chairs and sofas are works of art in and of themselves. The full bar has a seemingly endless list of fine liquors for every taste.

Tynska Bar and Books, Prague

Tynska Cigar Lounge Michael W Asimos

Yes, Tynska is an extension of the famed New York City Bar and Books, but has developed its own character and built a reputation as one of the most inviting cigar lounges in Europe. Tynska has perhaps the most European ambiance of any cigar bar. Its furniture is beautifully styled, exceptionally comfortable, and great for sore backs and feet.

The Tynska’s bar is locally known for its imaginative bartenders who whip up some of the most incredible, unique cocktails on earth. The cigar selection is not as extensive as some other lounges, but the smokers’ menu consists of at least two dozen of the world’s best cigars.

The Churchill Bar, London


This cigar lounge is located in Hyatt Regency-London. The Churchill Bar is most known for its use of their very own Sacred Churchill Craft Gin; however, it is an excellent option for London local cigar connoisseurs and visiting cigar connoisseurs alike.

The interior features luxe art deco decor and actual love letters written between Sir Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine. The Churchill Bar also features an eclectic heated terrace which features a life-size bronze statue of young Churchill, as well as, bespoke blankets. The terrace is themed seasonally, so it is always changing, providing you a unique experience every time you visit.

As for the cigars, the Churchill Bar features over a dozen of some of the finest cigars that can be smoked on the terrace. This bar is certainly one to leave a lasting impression on visitors and provide you with a true London feel.


Cigars 101: A Guide for the Smoking Novice

Cigars are a universe unto themselves. And even though a quick stop at the cigar store might seem endlessly confusing for a beginner, there is a lot to look forward to when one begins studying cigars. Every experienced cigar enthusiast was once a beginner, so there’s no reason to fret when you begin your journey into the exciting, ancient, wonderful world of cigars.

Anyone who wants to learn about cigars should begin by understanding the basic concepts of color, size, shape and how to choose from among the hundreds of choices typically on display at the tobacconist’s shop. Indeed, this basic knowledge is often called “Cigars 101,” because it’s the initial learning a person has to take in before purchasing their first cigar.

For a beginner, it helps to learn about the four “core” concepts of cigars: color, shape/size, how to select a cigar, and how to choose the right accessories.


There are six basic colors of cigar wrappings (which are leaves). The color gives some indication of taste. Here are the six essential colors and their related taste profiles:

Double Claro: Sometimes called Candela, this yellow and/or light green wrapper undergoes heat drying during processing. The double claro usually carries a mildly sweet taste.Cigars come in various colors to help you assess quality

Claro: These cigars typically arrive in a light brown or tan wrapper and are quite mild due to the fact that the wrapper’s leaves are grown in the shade and picked before maturity.

Natural: Brown or light brown naturals are traditionally grown in the sunlight and offer a full-bodied taste.

Colorado: These dark brown, medium brown and reddish selections are also grown in the shade, as is the claro, but have a robust flavor.

Maduro: Nearly black, or sometimes dark-reddish brown, the maduro’s have been cooked in a special chamber. This very sweet wrapper has a powerful flavor.

Oscuro: This nearly black wrapper’s leaves have been fermented because they remained on the plant for a long time. They offer a full-bodied flavor and often originate in Brazil, Mexico or Nicaragua.


There are dozens of cigar shapes, but the following six are the most common:

Pyramid: The pyramid has a pointed and closed head (the end that goes into your mouth), and gradually gets wider toward the foot (the part you light).

Belicoso: This rounded-head cigar also features a pyramid shape.Cigars come in a lot of varied shapes and sizes.

Torpedo: Like a real torpedo, this cigar has a closed foot, a middle bulge, and a pointed head.

Perfecto: Both ends are closed and round, but the middle features a bulge.

Culebras: These unusual-looking cigars consist of three panatelas (very thing cigars about 5 inches long) braided together.

Diademas: A very large cigar that is about 8 inches in length and has either an open or closed foot.

Selecting Your First Cigar

Don’t choose your first cigar without help from an experienced tobacconist. Explain what types of flavors interest you, what you are willing to spend, and whether you’ve ever smoked any kind of cigar.

Finding the Right Accessories

Beginners in the Cigars 101 stage should not worry about having to purchase many accessories until they develop a feel for the type of cigars they will be most attracted to. However, it is usually a good idea to acquire a clipper and learn how to use it properly.

Cigar smoking is one life’s most tasteful pleasures and has been around for hundreds of years. Those who are just starting to learn about this historically rich form of human activity are about to encounter a rewarding pleasure that has no equal.

Check Out These Top Destinations for Some Late Summer Traveling

Wouldn’t you just love to find someplace cool to spend those last few hot summer days? There still is some time left to get in a nice vacation with family, your sweetheart, or with some of your friends. You can stay close to home for a day trip or overnight, or venture a bit farther from your town if it suits you to do so. Consider the following summer travel spots for your next trip.

Toronto, Canada

The Kelso Conservation Area is a perfectly short driving distance from downtown Toronto, at about 45 minutes away. Enjoy having a lounge on Kelso Beach for about $7, as well as a nice picnic and hiking along the lakeside trails. Bring along your canoe, body board, and portable grill to spend a day at this amazing location. If you live in the US, this is a great way to go international without spending a lot of money. You also may like to visit historical landmarks, of which there are a large number in Toronto. Keep in mind that there’s a lot you might not know about Toronto and it could really surprise you.

Detroit, MichiganDetroit has come a long way and has a lot to offer travelers.

You may not realize it, but Detroit truly has begun to bounce back when it comes to the entertainment level and economy. It is among the list of summer travel spots that you will not want to miss. Enjoy going to a sporting event, including a Lions game. There almost always is some sort of game going on, so it is ideal for someone who is a big fan of sports. If you’d like to spend some time outdoors biking and seeing the sights, Riverwalk and the Dequindre Cut are your best bets. There’s so many things to do in Detroit that you might not have ever realized.

Denver, Colorado

There is a reason why nearly everyone loves Denver. It is the go-to place during the summer, since the climate is great all year. Take a trip to a brewery to have a craft beer tasting, see a concert at the Red Rocks outdoor venue, and get some lunch from the wonderful food trucks at Civic Center EATS during the mid-week. Denver also is an amazing place to go for eating and having a drink on the balconies that overlook the natural splendor for which Colorado is well known. There’s plenty to learn about the city so get started!

London, England

Though London is known for being smoggy and rainy through most of the year, you will love the climate during the late summer. You will be able to walk around and see landmarks of historical interest, including Big Ben, the Thames River, and the Tower of London. Best of all, travel costs are down considerably this year, one of many reasons to visit London.London is a prime travel destination, especially in the summer.

Visit the London Aquarium, which is in County Hall near the Parliament. This Neo-Baroque building once was the headquarters for the Greater London Council, until 1986. Today, the first floor houses the Aquarium, where you can swim with the sharks. There are three dives each day, every day of the week. You don’t need to have any diving experience, but you must book the dive a few weeks in advance.

No matter where you go for your late summer vacation, consider what the best summer travel spots will be for you and your partner or family. If you aren’t traveling with family, take along some friends for an adventure and some memories that you’ll have for a lifetime. Do your research and book your travel plans today so you can begin preparing for an exciting time.

Three of My Favorite Cigar Bars

There’s just something exciting about being in a cigar bar. You’re surrounded by other people who enjoy a good cigar and the smoky haze almost transports you and makes you feel like you’re in another place. Plus, having the perfect drink with a cocktail makes it all the more better.

I’ve been to a good number of cigar bars over the years and here are some of my all-time favorites.

Havana Garage – Omaha, NEHavana is a great cigar bar in the Heartland.

A lot of people tend not to give Omaha the credit it deserves. It has some amazing restaurants and bars, and the Old Market is one of the most charming downtown areas I’ve ever visited. Havana Garage, located in the heart of the Old Market, truly lives up to its namesake.

The word “garage” isn’t a joke either as the entrance is punctuated by a large garage door. Fans spin lazily inside and you can always hear laughter throughout the bar area. Their selection of cigars in their downstairs humidor is ample and you’re bound to find one that you’re interested in.

Biggs Cigar Mansion – Chicago, IL

If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a complete class act while enjoying a choice cigar, Biggs Mansion might be for you. It truly lives up to the word mansion and is one of the most pleasurable cigar lounges I’ve had the privilege of stepping into. The aesthetic is that of leather and wood, showcasing a feeling of strength and sturdiness.

There’s an outdoor patio that has charm to spare as well. While there is a traditional member fee, non-members can also access the lounge for an incredibly reasonable price which also comes with some cigars as well. The level of value as well as the intense feeling of class helps Biggs stand out from the rest of the lounges in the Chicago area. If you’re in the windy city, consider the day pass so you can visit for yourself. I promise that it’s more than worth it.

The Vertigo Club – Seattle, WA

The Vertigo Club is a definite standout on this list as it aims to provide total feelings of The Vertigo Club is truly a luxury spot.exclusivity and luxury. Out of the bars on this list, The Vertigo Club is the hardest to gain access to as it’s by invitation only. You can request an invite but they limit their membership at a certain cap at any given time so it can be incredibly difficult to visit.

However, if you’re ever able to, you should take them up on it as they truly promote the sense of luxury they discuss. They have special events from time to time which are elegant affairs that cannot be beat. Seattle residents should take note and visitors should attempt to receive a tour if only to see what a luxury club truly looks like.

The Bottom Line

Though these are three of my favorite cigar bars, there are so many more across the country that are waiting to be discovered. Don’t be afraid of stepping outside the box and finding one for yourself that you’re excited about. The cigar lounge is a rare breed and if you find one you like, make sure you spread the word to your fellow cigar aficionados so they can enjoy it as well. And if you see one you think I should visit, give me shout so I can check it out and maybe feature it in an upcoming post!

Enjoying the Summer with a Great Cigar

The arrival of summer heralds in warm weather, long days and relaxing evenings. Whether you are lounging on the back patio or enjoying an evening around the fire, a great cigar can really add to your enjoyment of the season. This year, try a few of the truly great summer cigars.

Punch Signature

The Punch Signature is an affordable cigar that lends itself to the warm days of summer. It has a touch of peppery spiciness, but is still a pleasant, sweet cigar. As an added bonus, the Punch Signature is as enjoyable to hold as it is to smoke. It has a nice, weighty feel, and looks great with its dark brown wrapper. You will experience a medley of pleasant flavor notes with this cigar, including coffee and almonds.

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure EspecialHoya del Monterrey's Epicure Especial is one of my favorite summertime cigars.

If you enjoy cigars with a rich flavor, try relaxing with a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial. This cigar is earthy, with hints of cocoa and coffee. Many people consider this cigar to be the pinnacle of smoking perfection, making it a great choice to relax with. It is also a great looking cigar, featuring a seductive dark brown wrapper. This cigar is a good value, and will add a lot of enjoyment to your summer days and evenings.

Joya Red

Hot and sultry summer days are perfect for cigars that are flavorful, but not overly heady. If you enjoy a medium body smoke, try a Joya Red. It is a nicely sized cigar, not too big and not too small. The Joya Red starts off with an earthy, toasty flavor. The price of this cigar is good, so you will be able to keep a good stock of them on hand to enjoy all summer long.

My FatherMy Father is a spicy, complex cigar.

At the end of a hot summer day, it is so pleasant when the sun goes down and a cool breeze kicks up. Nights such as this are perfect for sitting around a fire, enjoying a great cigar. If you enjoy higher end cigars with a heady, full body kick to them, My Father might be just your style. The flavor is complex, with notes of spice. A My Father is also a great choice when you want to experience a cigar that gives you a nice nicotine kick.

San Lotano Connecticut

For those who enjoy a milder, less heady cigar, the San Lotano Connecticut has a lot to offer. The lighter flavor of a mild cigar is a great accompaniment to hot summer days. This cigar is also a great choice for those who are new to cigars, due to the milder flavor. If you are looking for a great morning cigar, the San Lotano Connecticut is a great choice. You will experience the pleasure of a superior burn, combined with obvious high-quality construction. As an added bonus, these great cigars are priced just right.

AVO Classic RobustoThe Avo Classic Robusto is an excellent cigar for summertime.

If you enjoy full-flavored cigars, try an AVO Classic Robusto. This cigar will provide you with a smooth, creamy smoke, reminding you why it is such a classic. Featuring a Connecticut wrapper, this cigar is consistently good. The relaxed evenings of summer are the perfect time to just sit back and enjoy a great smoke. The flavor is nuanced and refined — the perfect cigar to just sit back with and relax.

Whichever cigars you choose, they are sure to add a lot of relaxing enjoyment to your summer months. Summer only comes around once a year, and before you know it, the crisper days of autumn will be back. While summer is here, be sure to enjoy one or more of these great cigars.

Pairing Cigars & Wine: A Beginner’s Guide

Few things are more relaxing than enjoying a cigar and wine combination that is well-paired. As wine drinking seems to be on the rise among young professionals, it is only natural to want to increase that enjoyment by pairing it with a tasty smoke. From red wine to white, champagne to sherry, these sophisticated beverages can compliment and bring out the intoxicating flavors present in tobacco leaves. The ritualistic nature of experiencing a fine wine is akin to the process of unwrapping and enjoying a fine cigar, so enjoy these cigar pairings for a memorable taste experience.

Cigar Pairing with Red WineRed wine pairs well with numerous cigars

When it comes to the ideal cigar pairings with red wines, a cigar with a strong flavor presence must be able to stand up to a full-bodied red. As bold reds tend to contain higher alcohol and tannin levels, a potent cigar like a San Cristobal can help balance out the pairing. The intense cigar flavor combination of black cherries, spice, leather and chocolate are perfectly paired with a hearty Bordeaux, Cabernet, or Merlot. As reds are characterized by fruity flavors like black currant with a spicy black licorice note, one can see the commonalities between a full-bodied red and a robust San Cristobal.

Cigar Pairing with White Wine

To accompany a sweet white wine, a cigar with dessert notes like vanilla and clove is ideal. With the less tannic tones of white wine, a milder cigar flavor will not overpower the delicate nature of white wine. An Ashton Classic 898 is deliciously pleasing when paired with a tasty Chardonnay. The subtle woody tones of the Chardonnay and Ashton Classic 898 work in unison to provide the perfect smoke-wine combination.

Cigar Pairing with ChampagneChampagne can vary from dry to sweet.

When it comes to finding that perfect cigar-champagne pairing, it can be a little trickier as champagne can be both dry and sweet. When searching out the right cigar to accompany a glass of bubbly, remember that moderation is ideal as too much carbonation can actually aggravate the tongue when paired with cigar smoking. With the many champagnes available, the pairing combinations are endless, but one suggested combination that is sure to please is the California Scharffenberger Sparkling Brut and the Macanudo Gold Label Ascot. The pairing of this sumptuous bubbly with a Macanudo will produce as smooth and mellow a taste experience as the cigar itself.

Cigar Pairing with Sherry

Many a wine aficionado like to end their day with a fine cream sherry. As sherry wines from Spain have given the sumptuous liquid an increase in popularity, sherry offers much to the cigar-smoke experience. As sherry is generally on the drier side, it makes it an ideal beverage for cigar pairings as its versatility can compliment most cigar flavors. For a luxurious pairing, a Lustau East India Solera and Montecristo Espada Guard will meld together in palatable perfection. As the versatility of sherry makes it the perfect mate of a cigar, it is worth mentioning another sherry-cigar pairing. For those with more basic tastes, there are few things more gratifying than pairing the traditional Harvey’s Bristol Cream with a Rocky Patel T4 Torpedo. The dryness and creaminess of this pair work sumptuously well together as the ideal cigar pairing for a relaxing end to a long day.


Whether your tastes lean to red or white wines, champagne or sherry, the perfect cigar pairing is just waiting to be discovered. The ideal cigar to pair with red wine is one that is full-bodied and flavorful, like its counterpart. When it comes to white wines, a cigar sporting a sweet and fruity flavor will accentuate the fruity notes of the wine. As champagne can either be sweet or dry, putting a little thought into your cigar pairings is well worth it. The champagne’s bubbly texture can be a refreshing contrast to the smoky presence of the cigar. Sherry proves ideal for cigar pairings as its dryness blends well with numerous cigar varieties. When it comes to finding the perfect cigar pairings, it all comes down to experimentation, and let’s be honest, there are worse jobs, right?

Top 5 Petit Corona Cigars

Small cigars are ideal when you do not have much time on your hands to revel in some premium hand-rolled tobacco goodness. In addition, a small cigar is typically the preference of new cigar smokers who want to test the waters and are not yet ready to move on to a larger stick. A number of the very best brands are carried by multiple cigar shops and you are sure to find the petit corona cigars you love. These cigars with the more compact sizes include the petit corona, corona, short panatela, Cuban corona, petite belicoso and the small panatela. I’m Michael W. Asimos and these are my top 5 Petit Corona Cigars.

1. Padron Corticos

The Padron Family supplies only premium handmade cigars and the flavor heartily pays homage to the Cuban cigar tradition. You will find that Padron Corticos deliver a familiar taste for which the Padron family of cigars is known and that many have come to know and love. They are filled exclusively with sun-grown tobacco that has been thoroughly aged; exceptional quality will undoubtedly be experienced. Rolled in Nicaragua, these cigars have a perfectly-balanced, medium body, which makes them an ideal choice for both newbies and seasoned cigar aficionados. Individuals looking to enjoy that one-of-a-kind Padron flavor, aroma and quality in a smaller size will certainly be thrilled with this sensational smoke package, which has a total of 36 cigars.

2. CAO MX2 Dagger

These cigars are designed with the cigar smoking enthusiast in mind. CAO Mx2 Dagger premium cigars make use of two aged Maduro wrappers. It has a complex, rich and seductively smooth composite that blends the finest tobaccos from 6 different countries. The well-fermented dark outer wrapper is the Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro and the binder (the inner wrapper) is made out of a zesty Brazilian Maduro leaf. They serve as a sweet and spicy surround for the mix of exquisite tobaccos from countries like Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Peru. The first third starts off with a dense, medium body Maduro flavor with coffee and earthy tones. They also pair incredibly well with a good whiskey. CAO MX2 Daggers are among the best the brand has to offer.

3. Ashton Symmetry Belicoso

The Ashton Symmetry Belicoso contains quantities of Nicaraguan tobacco, which is a first for this brand of cigars. This particular blend is encased in a pristine Ecuadoran wrapper that perfectly brings together the Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco contained in Symmetry. This provides a magnificent smoking experience that is rich in coffee bean, spicy cinnamon and black cherry notes and that is only on the first few puffs. Notes of toast, vanilla and almond continue to unfold in remarkable symmetry. It is clear that a massive amount of care and thought were put into the production and release of the Ashton Symmetry Belicoso.

4. Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark

The Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark cigar has a stimulating story, state-of-the-art shape and fascinating blend, while maintaining the usual standards of excellence. The blend pays homage to the original Don Carlos cigar; however, this particular release has been altered a bit. The wrapper originates in Cameroon and the tobaccos inside are grown and aged exceptionally in the Dominican Republic; this is the basic recipe for the majority of Don Carlos cigars. Instead of sticking to a strict formula, this cigar is blended instinctively. From just a single puff of this cigar you will know, for sure, that you are smoking a superior blend, which fans of the brand already know.

5. Tatuaje Cabinet Noellas

The Tatuaje line is a relative new entry into the cigar industry but it is already being touted as a leading brand of premium cigars. Tatuaje Cabinet Noellas are designed in the conventional triple-cap Cuban style and it is essentially a medium to full bodied puro from Nicaragua. From start to finish, this cigar is a pleasing smoking experience. If properly aged, the Tatuaje Cabinet Noellas will provide quite a spicy beginning and a full-flavored taste with heavy leathery and earthy notes that are reduced by creamy chocolate flavors. Without a doubt, this is a high-quality cigar and those who have a preference for a full-bodied smoking experience will definitely enjoy it.

Top 5 Best Cigar Lounges In Miami

Cigar smoking is a lifestyle that has to be done right, and that means finding the best cigars, investing in quality cigar kits and most importantly, finding the right place to enjoy them. Miami is has a thriving cigar aficionado community fueled mostly by the large Cuban population in the region. The popularity of cigars in Miami has made the city one of the top spots for connoisseurs. Cigar lounges in Miami cater to the versatile needs of cigar users from the lone smoker to the social one, and they vary in styles from member-only establishments to sports lounges.

Casa De Montecristo, Prime Cigar and Whiskey Bar

For a cigar lover looking for laidback cigar lounges in Miami, this one qualifies. The ambiance is reserved, and the place is well ventilated, so patrons do not have to worry about too much smoke. Its walk-in humidor offers a diverse range of cigars. If suggestions are necessary, the manager is extremely helpful. The whiskey collection is impressive, and cocktail lovers will like the choice as well. Casa de Montecristo is on 1106 S Miami Drive.

Little Havana Cigar Factory

Located at 1501 SW Eighth St, Little Havana is a comfortable place to shop for cigars. It is laid out like a parlor with leather armchairs where connoisseurs can sit. The shop offers some of the biggest brands like Davidoffs from the Dominican Republic and Padrón from Nicaragua. Cigars are arranged by blender then by label, and the staff is very efficient when it comes to helping buyers find what they need. The wine and beer selection is not bad either. For someone who fancies coffee with his/her cigar, the place has delicious Cuban coffee. Little Havana Cigar Factory is located at 1501 SW 8th St.

Guantanamera Cigars

For the complete Little Havana experience — Cuban coffee, a freshly rolled cigar, and live Cuban music — this is one of the top cigar lounges in Miami to try out. Cuban culture inspires the interior décor with a lively stage and well-stocked humidor. Patrons can get in-house cigars, hand-rolled like the Duo Churchill. The staff is very knowledgeable about cigars, which makes it easier even for a first-timer to shop. Located at 1465 SW 8th St, Guantanamera Cigars stays open until late.

Española Cigar Bar and Lounge

Española is perfect for the cigar aficionado who likes to socialize while smoking. The area is a favorite for tourists is it is a great place to mingle with the locals. If one wants to get a bite and a few sangrias before relaxing for smokes, Española Cigar Bar on 409 Española Way does not disappoint. It has reasonable cigar prices, and the outdoor seating area is excellent for people watching.

Havana Humidor

From Liga Privada to God of Fire to Padron, Havana Humidor stocks cigars from all the right regions and brands. Whether one is a seasoned cigar smoker or a beginner, the humidor has something suitable. The great ventilation makes this one of the most comfortable cigar lounges in Miami. It has an elegant and reserved ambiance without being too posh. There are large screens for patrons wanting to watch a game or two, but for those who prefer open air, there is an outside area. Havana Humidor is at 8353 Bird Rd.

5 Things Cigar Lovers Should Know When Traveling To Cuba

As it concerns cigar production, Cuba is the mecca. From planting to harvesting, cutting, rolling and packaging, all is done in Cuba. Therefore, traveling to Cuba and not purchasing cigars could be likened to going the moon and not bringing back a rock. It is a must for those who enjoy a good cigar and those looking to get into the hobby. Below are 5 things cigar lovers should know when traveling to Cuba:

1. Cuban Cigars are Less Costly in Cuba

As you may have expected, Cuban cigars are more inexpensive to purchase in Cuba in comparison to buying them online or elsewhere in the world. You can purchase top-quality single cigars in stores for between 7 and 25 CUC (US$7 to $25), while packages of 25 cost upwards of 120 CUC. You could spend as much as five times these costs online.

2. Cuban Cigars May No Longer be the Best

There are studies that have found that Cuba no longer makes the best cigars. Surveys were conducted and cigar enthusiasts have expressed that cigars manufactured in Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic are more superior. This is not necessarily due to deterioration in the quality of Cuban cigars, it is more that the making of cigars in the previously mentioned countries and elsewhere around the globe have improved significantly.

3. Don’t Be Fooled by Fake Cuban Cigars

Cuba is arguably the safest country in Latin America for travelers. However, there are unscrupulous characters who will attempt to scam you out of your money with fake cigars. If you fall for the scam, you could find yourself with obviously stolen or fake Cuban cigars boxes with phony products after spending $250 to $300 USD. Buy from the stores to avoid the possibility of this happening.

4. Money Matters

For many, travel to Cuba may seem like a journey back in time. You should take cash to change into CUCs, which are convertible pesos used by visitors. There is another Cuban currency used by locals known as CUPs or Cuban pesos. It is important to budget carefully as there are only a few ATMs in Havana and currently bank cards issued in the United States are not accepted.

On paper, one CUC is worth one U.S. dollar; however, the government of Cuba takes a fee of 13 percent, leaving you with 87 cents for the dollar. Cubans may privately offer you 90 cents or more but it is important to be cautious about who you trust.

5. The Locals are Remarkable

You should explore beyond your desires for great cigars and interact with the natives. With its colorful culture, lush landscapes and beautiful beaches, Cuba is a spectacular destination. Best of all, its citizens are friendly, happy and downright remarkable.

The streets are full of music and there is much to see. These include vintage cars and massive mansions that are evidence of better times. Even those who do not like to smoke have attested to the seduction of the smells of these world-class cigars.

My Top 5 Cigar And Whiskey Pairings For 2018

The power of pairing is a very real thing in many walks of life. From wines and foods to Sonny and Cher, complementary pairs accentuate one another’s qualities while playing off each other’s differences. Cigars and whiskey pairings are no exception as the taste buds enjoy the titillating union of flavor and texture. As few things evoke feelings of relaxation more than enjoying a wee dram and a puff, enjoy a little guidance on the ultimate in cigar and whiskey pairings to inspire your taste buds through the upcoming year.

1) Angel’s Envy Bourbon and Dram Cask #3 Toro Cigar PairingAngels Envy Michael W. Asimos Cigar and Whiskey Pairings

As both Angel’s Envy and Dram Cask #3 are spicy, they make a perfectly hot couple. The bourbon, finished in port wine barrels, cuts the spics of the cigar as they bring out each other’s more subtle vanilla, nutty, fruity and sweet notes. While both are bold flavors on their own, their union yields a relaxing and flavorful smoke.

2) Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve and My Father Le BIJOU 1922 Torpedo PairingPappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Michael W. Asimos Cigar and Whiskey Pairings

This pairing joins the #1-rated cigar with an equally decadent whiskey. My Father Le BIJOU 1922 Torpedo has a wide array of flavor notes including chocolate, coffee, woodiness, and leather. When joined with the Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve, a shared creamy-coffee layer with earthy and nutty components come to the forefront. For a truly luxurious smoke, this pairing will not disappoint.

3) Bushmills 21 year Single Malt Irish Whiskey and Perdomo Craft Series Amber Epicure Sun Grown PairingBushmills 21 Year Single Malt Michael W. Asimos Cigar and Whiskey Pairings

Recently introduced by third-generation cigar maker, Nick Perdomo, the Perdomo Craft Series Amber Epicure Sun Grown is specifically blended with a heavy malt-flavor combination in mind. The Bushmills 21 year single malt Irish whiskey’s heavy and sweet malt tones match up perfectly with the cigar’s fruity notes. The sweetness of the whiskey and dry fruitiness of the cigar compliment each other in a way that will keep tasters engaged until the very last drop and puff.

4) Jack Daniel’s and Black Belt Buckle Corona GordaJack Daniels Michael W. Asimos Cigar and Whiskey Pairing

The classic humble flavoring of the Jack Daniels’ woody and sweet whiskey is the perfect match for the Black Belt Buckle Corona Gorda’s bursting flavor punch. Together, these two produce an earthy rugged smoke to rival the great culinary pairings of the world.

5) Knappogue Castle 12-year-old Single Malt Irish Whiskey and Camacho American Barrel-Aged Robusto PairingKnappogue Castle 12 Year Old Single Malt Michael W. Asimos Cigar and Whiskey Pairings

This pairing is an accessible option in terms of price, while still delivering a unique taste sensation. The Knappogue whiskey, 12 years aged in bourbon casks, has found its brother in the Camacho American, also aged in bourbon casks. Thus similar flavors have infused both the whiskey and the cigar. The whiskey’s malty sweetness enhances the toasty flavors of the cigar, while their flavor commonalities meld into perfection for the smoothest of smokes.

As you move into 2018, think of relaxation, rejuvenation, and seizing those moments of luxurious decadence when and where you can. Let the ultimate in cigars and whiskey pairings wash over you, enjoying their flavor gifts and the slower pace they encourage.