The Chronicles Of Cuba: Final Thoughts By Steve Nathan
So, here I am back at the office ready to share my final thoughts on the Cuba experience — the hardest part is where to begin. I must say it was a life-changing experience and perhaps the fulfillment of a lifelong dream! Cuba is a beautiful country, both in its stunning geography and the warm, friendly people I met during my stay. Attending XVIII Festival Habano*, the tour of the famous El Laguito cigar factory and the Pinar del Rio growing region were special privileges that not many American adult cigar smokers have the opportunity to experience. For that, I feel humbled that my company sent me as an ambassador.
Here in the U.S., when we set out to purchase our premium cigars, there are literally thousands of choices from top tobacco-growing countries like the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In Cuba, there are only about 30 or 40 brands from which to choose. Are they the best? Well, that will always be a hotly debated topic, now more than ever as many of the cigars we can purchase in the U.S. arguably rival those great Habanos in both quality and construction. However, I must say that just about every cigar I smoked in Cuba (and I sure sampled plenty of them), in my humble opinion, ranged from very good to delicious.
After each day’s events were complete, my evenings were spent relaxing in the comfort of the Casa del Habano cigar shop on the ground floor of the beautiful five-star Melia Habana Hotel. There, I not only smoked the best sticks Cuba has to offer, but I also sipped the warm and smoky Havana Club rum and chatted for hours with the store’s international clientele and welcoming staff.
Much to my surprise, there is a restaurant at the hotel that serves pizza that is as delicious as any savory slice found in New York City or Chicago. This came as quite a shock to me and was one of the many pleasant surprises I encountered on my trip.
As this experience comes to a close, I know I will never forget the beautiful Caribbean weather, the top-quality smokes, the great people, those crazy old classic American cars, and the proud culture of Cuba. Every time I look at one of the 400 pictures I brought home, I will long to experience this same trip at least once again in my lifetime.
*Habanos S.A. is the Cuban company that has exclusive rights to market and sell Habanos cigars and worldwide.