I'm in Recife, Brazil for work for a couple of weeks and I'm looking to bring back some decently cheap Cubans. Anyone got any good advice/stories related to getting cuban cigars back into the US?
alternate headline: man does job
I honestly thought it would be a jhackney post.
Posts like this is the reason I love MGoBlog.
Posts like this ARE the reason I love MGoBlog.
I miss his atomic bombs
Umm.... Common myth: Cigars are not better just because they're cubans. In fact, the price on cubans is inflated because there are so many people who have this perception that they'll pay the higher price thinking "Oh! It's Cuban!" and automatically thinking it's somehow better.
These people are n00bz.
If you *really* want a cuban, get a good one like a Cohiba (make sure it's a cuban Cohiba not the other kind)
If you don't wnat to shell out for a good one, then save your money. For the price of a "cheap" cuban you could get a very good cigar from DR or elsewhere which will be just as good if not better than a cheap cuban. A Fuente Opus X will be way better than a cheap Cuban. So will an aurora Cien Anos or a Graycliffe.
(Diclaimer: It's been awhile since I smoked cigars but I used to smoke a cigar 2-3 times per month).
This. Go Dominican.
Does embedding youtube not work anymore from the plain text editor???
Ah well, this is what I was trying to do: http://www.youtube.com/embed/NqQIm-AtsXs
Cosmo Kramer disagrees.
MANDELBAUM! MANDELBAUM! MANDELBAUM!
I don't have experience with smuggling anything into the US from a foreign country - let alone cuban cigars - but my suspicion is if you're not bringing in a ton (like a whole box) then you should be fine.
But here's one thing I do know about transporting cigars - you need to be careful. You don't want to stuff them in your luggage with your socks. They need to be stored at a specific humidity (70%) and temperature (70 degrees) and are delicate. So if you invest in cigars and want to take them back, also invest in a travel humidor.
If you don't do this your cigars will likely be ruined by the time you get back home to the US. You might just be better off smoking it there, then you don't have to worry about a humidor or customs.
Not to mention you would be supporting a brutal Communist dictatorship who has suppressed any sort of free press, imprisons those who speak out, and was a friend of the Soviet Union for decades. Buy American.
Corrects history professor in class
Herm LITERALLY remembers the Maine.
Currently reading Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" and just finished up the chapter on the Spanish-American war. All too coincidental
DON'T EVER LEAVE US HERM! Will you be my Grandpa?
This is my favorite post ever, I haven't laughed this hard in a while.
Because Bautista was a saint right? Or did you forget the part where Cuba aligned with the SU after we shot them down?
"I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country's policies during the Batista regime. I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear."-JFK
Wait, so JFK went on an "apology tour?" .....and voiced support for communist revolutionaries? I think we're going to need to see a birth certificate.
A couple weeks in the humidor will bring most dried out cigars back to life however you just have to willing to wait it out and not expect them to come back to life in 2 days.
I live in Tampa and they make some pretty damn good cigars here... In America!
Are we talking about people
I heard all kinds of horror stories about customs, but when I came back from italy with some the agent didn't even check...
Yeah I've gotten agricultural products back from Europe and Asia and haven't gotten asked about anything. I think the key is in having the right look (clean), and not talking too much. I saw the dogs for the first time this past fall and that made me worry a bit but I had no problems. I think their training is pretty focused.
edit: Just realized this sounds like weed. Not weed.
Also, try to be white while going through customs. It helps a lot.
Well played, compadre!
I travel quite a bit and I am white. Ever since 9/11 when ever I go through airport security I get checked. I don't know if it is because I keep my head shaved bald or that I always keep a little stubble on my face, but I always get checked coming and going. I have no idea what it is, but something about my look give security the creeps I guess. I have asked them to explain why I always get checked and they say it's totally random but I have to call BS on that.
Anyway, I know you were joking but I just wanted to let people know even soome white people get hassled by security.
i have buckets of fun at the airport
In your butt.
Seems like a no-brainer.
...and you might find yourself with no brain...
"Also, try to be white while going through customs. It helps a lot." and then immediately posted, "In your butt". Which sounds like you are advising the smuggler to be white in his butt, because it helps a lot when getting through customs.
Am I the only one who noticed this and laughed out loud?
That is funny, although just a coincidence since the posts were made in reverse order.
Who smuggled an insulin pen in his butt so he could self-inject, purposefully cause hypoglycemia, and stay in the hospital longer to get pain meds. They seem like similar dimensions as a cigar. I believe in you.
Be careful who you're smuggling for. Although the Hutts have the most money, it's just not worth the risk anymore.
Just remember that Jabba has no use for smugglers who drop their shipments at the first sign of an Imperial cruiser.
Yeah, but what if he gets boarded? Do you think he'd have a choice?
You can tell that to Jabba. At best, he may only take your ship.
Over my dead body.
You'd have more luck explaining to the rancor than Jabba. Anyone drops his shipment for any reason gets the carbonite!
It also helps if you have access to a ship that can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.....
What maizenbluedevil said about the quality is completely true. Primarily due to the trade embargo with the United States the cigar industry in Cuba is not what it once was. That being said if you go with quality like a Cuban Cohiba you will not be disappointed. They were what I was going to recommend prior to reading everyone elses comments. Now for the tricky part with customs. The last time I was in South America was 2005 so my experience might be a little dated but when entering the United States the biggest concern with bringing in cigars is if they are banded or not. If you don't want a hastle from customs ensure you take all the bands off the cigars prior to packaging them for travel. When packaging for travel if you don't already have a travel humidor and are not otherwise in the market for one don't waste your money. You can have an equal amount of success with a ziploc freezer bag. The temperature difference you will experience while traveling will not be for a long enough time to make it matter and as long as you drop in an adequate amount of either humidification sticks or pillows which you should be able to purchase anywhere you purchase cigars you will be fine. I hope this helps and if anybody has more current customs information than me please speak up.
I'd rather go Bill Clinton with my cigars, but that's just me.
You should be fine just keeping them in your carry-on, I've done it several times without issue. As someone said above, get a travel humidor. If you're bringing a whole box back, I'd pack them in something else and remove the bands.
Remove anything that identifies them as Cuban - ditch the box and the bands. At that point there is nothing to distinguish a Cuban from any other cigar. Also, agree with several others - they are not good just because they are Cuban, many of the finest smokes out there are from elsewhere. However, a legit quality Cuban (such as the real deal Cohibas noted above) can be very tasty, although also expensive.
You might want to check a cigar website to verify legit bands/boxes from counterfeits.
Well done. This may end up on a TV show in the near future.
If the price of the cigar seems too good to be true, it (of course) is. It's not at all un-common for people/stores to put fake bands on cigars and Cuban in order to prey on American tourists. If you do decide to buy them find a reputable business to purchase them from, avoid anything too touristy. If you're not willing to pay a decent amount, there's no reason to get Cubans because you'll just be paying a premium for the country of origin.
Now, if you're looking to get some Cubans just for the novelty of it, go for it. If you're expecting them to be miles ahead of what you can get in the US, don't waste your time. Yeah, a good Cuban Cohiba or Montecristo will probably be great, but it's going to cost the same or (more likely) more than an equally good, if not better cigar from Nicaragua or the Dominican Republic.
As to sneaking them back into the US I have no suggestions. I know people who have had no problems at all, and I know people who have had them confiscated, more often than not people seemt to bring them back without too much trouble. Putting them in a checked bag seems to be the easiest way. However, you should know that maintaining good humidity and temperature is crucial to keeping the cigars in good quality (70 farenheit at 70% humidity is a good rule of thumb) and maintaining this in the cargo hold of an airplane is quite difficult.
My advice? Buy a good Montecristo or Cohiba in Brazil and smoke them with a great cup of coffee. Then come back to the US and buy an Opus X or a good Padron (like the 1964 or 80th anniversario). Even better, find your local tobacconist and talk to him about what's good that he has in stock. [Time for a shameless plug->] If you're in Ann Arbor, come to Maison-Edwards and we'll get you situated.
I had a British Lit professor when I went to Toledo who put me on to Padron. He just so happened to run track at Michigan while a student there. Obviously a great guy.
Here in the Great White North we can get Cuban cigars legally and with ease. To be honest, as a cigar regular (and frequent Cuban cigar user) I have to say you're not going to be overwhelmed versus much of the more high end Dominican product. When I'm in the US I adjust my purchases accordingly and am rarely disappointed.
Get a couple Cohiba and some single malt on your verandah there and go to town.
So what you're saying, is if you want Cuban cigars, drive to Windsor after you get back from Brazil, and buy some.
This is an option.orbit they screw you on Cubans in Windsor based on price vs London or Toronto...
Instead, just stay home and get a couple Padron, Davidoff, Macanudo, Upmann etc.
It's not like the wheels fall off b/c they aren't Cuban.
All Cubans are not created equal. Just do some research and you can make your own decision.
And taking the bands off is solid advice.
I was actually just looking on Thompson Cigars website to figure out how I would like to spend my $60 voucher. Does anybody have any experience with smaller cigars/ cigarillo types? I want something handmade(no Smoker's Best, Dutch Masters, etc.)...and probably flavored as this is just for more of a casual smoke.
Any advice? Or if nothing on small cigars, what is something you would recommend?
My advice would be to buy swisher sweets, slice it down the middle, take out the tobacco and replace it with weed. Sprinkle a little angel dust on there if you're feeling ambitious, and then roll it back up. Beats the hell out of a cohiba.
Reading this I know for a fact you have done this before minus the Angel dust ( maybe)
What kind of weed would you recommend then? And what about Molly?
Well, in my opinon, weed is kinda like pizza and blow jobs - even when it's bad it's still a pretty good time. But if you can get the California medical grade stuff, you're in for a fun night.
how do you seal it back up after you roll it?
I used to love blunts but now I think I just prefer wraps. Less work and more flavor options.
I know you specifically mentioned hand rolled, but I'm going to completely ignore that and suggest http://international.villiger-cigars.de/en/round-and-pressed.html . Specifically the box pressed, maduro variety.
I have very little experince with cigarillos or flavored cigars, but those little Villigers cheap and a really excellent short smoke.
IMO its not a cigar if its flavored.
If your just looking for a casual smoke then get one of many smaller style of cigars so your not puffing away for an hour.
Personally, I like Toro's as the size and gauge is perfect for a smoke on the golf course. Its also a perfect size for me when enjoying a drink on the patio at night as its about a 1/1 ratio.
As far as brands I'm not a big brand stickler as I like to just try things that catch my eye, I just picked up a box of Jose ???? from the clearance section for $30 bucks which were handmade and long filler for my golf trip and everyone loved them. Plus you cant really go wrong with Thompson Cigar, I ordered a new lighter from them, it was broke when I got it but then I broke it even more trying to fix it and they still accepted my return even though I told them what I did.
A couple months ago with several Cubans in stow. Declared them to customs, who then proceeded to welcome me home. Maybe being in uniform helped, maybe not. Either way they now live in Texas.
Thanks for your service and the sacrifices you made during your deployment. Know that you are appreciated!
I thought you were allowed to bring back Cuban cigars as long as there was 10 or less (or some amount where they would be clearly for personal use only and not for resale). Of course don't take my word on this, but I thought I remember hearing this somewhere...
+1 for the title.
my suggestoin: rectal insertion.
fits on roughly 72% of the threads currently on the front page.
don't post on MGoBlog because of the MGoAuthorities.
Long time lurker here that finally felt compelled to join because of this thread. Be aware that Cuban cigars are very heavily counterfeited. There is only one licensed dealer that I am aware of, and that is Habanos SA, which sells at stores called La Case De Habana. If you dont buy from there, your chances of getting a real one are very slim. I don't know if there is one in Brazil, but google Habanos SA and there is a location locater there. If you buy anywhere else, caveat emptor. And I say this to you having been a smoker for five years and actively involved in forums with those far more experienced than me.
I will also agree with other posters that they aren't the be all, end all. I'd prefer a padron most days, but Cubans do hit the spot for me from time to time. I disagree that you need to buy a montecristo or cohiba to make it worth your while. Bolivar, h. Upmann, Ramon allones and others are good smokes that are not outrageous. You'll pay 30 a stick for the larger sized cohibas and montecristos.
I've been collecting/smoking cigars for many years and have run across far too many buddies saying they bought some cigars on a vacation. Every "Cuban" I've seen was fake. La Casa is the only place to buy them and have any real possibility of them being real.
You're going to shoot first?
On the topic, I'm no cigar expert but I really like Acid Blondies and every Macanudo I've tried. My cousin gave me a Brickhouse the other day too and I liked it.
Must east it before you leave. The North it's famous for having the best. Eu gostou muito! Abracos! Tchau
Not sure I can adduce any swell smuggling advice. I came back from my honeymoon in Jamaica with my lungs chock full of Cohiba and weed, liver swollen of scotch and rum. Seemed the right thing to do. No regrets.
Don't just remove the bands. Replace them with bands from another cigar to ensure that they will not get confiscated anyway since this does happen if you meet the wrong CBP officer. They know the little tricks. Chances are that you will be fine and your luggage won't be checked but if your gonna go Han Solo then don't give the Jabba's and Fett's of the world any reason to doubt your sincerity, and definately don't dump your cargo at the first sign of an Imperial Starship.
Cool story, Bro alert:
I was once a young naive traveller and bought some "Cubans" overseas. I brought them back and within a month tobacco beetles had ruined my entire humidor. Gotta be careful with fakes.
But yeah, a Cuban Cohiba or Montecristo #2 are worth paying for and smoking once. Dominican cigars are often better and improving by the year.
Bringing back Cubans, if you must, is a risk but like others said, it is possible. If you take the wrappers off, there is no way to know they are Cuban and can't be taken from you. I've brought back some before and told customs I had them and not gotten a second look, of course once was the time they were fake and maybe the customs people assume that more often than not that they are fake.
and ask for a non-Cuban box to put the cigars into. If you are really paranoid, put fake labels on them. Of course, nobody here will believe they are Cubans, but you shouldn't have any problems.
I would just put the cigars in my carry-on as US customs will likely not search you.
I think you should be okay buying a few cigars and enjoying a good smoke.
First off Dominicans are actually better now for the most part. Due to the ban on Cubans, the Dominican farmers bought a lot of the top Cuban plants, grow it in the Dominican Republic and produce higher quality cigars.
However if you want one my advice is to purchase some Cubans and some cheap Dominicans or Hondurans that come in cigar tubes. Remove the cheap cigars, smoke them, remove the bands from the Cubans and insert them into the tubes. If you are truly paranoid, swap the cheap cigars bands onto the Cubans.
Coming in from Canada you can carry the tubes on your person (cargo pants are your friend). It's hard for Customs to build a case to search your person than your vehicle typically. However given you are engaging in air travel and facing metal detectors, that might not be the way to go. So maybe the carryon.
Although in reality, my advice is smoke one nice quality Cuban in Brazil and then smoke a nice Dominican. You'll likely end up thinking "The quality difference is not worth the potential headache of Customs catching me with a Cuban."
Also, I high recommend trying some Lancaster wrapper cigars. Lancaster County produces some amazing broadleaf so if you want to splurge hunt some of that down and buy American in the process.