Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bringing Cuban Cigars Back To the US

DISCLAIMER FOR US CITIZENS: The information contained in this post is for entertainment purposes only. Any use of this information in violation of any US federal, state or local law is prohibited.

I received this message a few days ago:

From: Jim in Tampa

Subject: great blog sir!

I want to congratulate you on your excellent cigar blog. Particularly useful to me was your recommendations on reliable shops in San Jose to purchase cuban cigars as I plan to visit next month for the first time.

This may be a dumb question, but I'm sure you have other readers who may be curious about this as well;

Is the matter of bringing back cuban cigars from CR to the US as simple as taking the labels off of them? Is it better to bring them on carry on or checked in luggage? Please let me know your opinion on bringing back a few cuban cigars to the US in the safest and most discreet way.

keep up the excellent blogging!


Jim in Tampa


Thank you for your kind words about the blog. I will try to expand the Costa Rica Cigar Hunting information in the future. I have often thought about adding a section specifically dealing with all of the cigar stores and dealers in San Jose- but I do not want to make too many enemies in the city where I am living... Good to hear that you are coming to Costa Rica for a visit, it is a great travel destination.

On the subject of bringing Cuban Cigars back the the Unites States; no- not a dumb question at all. I have not touched on this information before, and, although I have never looked for it before online, I have not read about it online much either.

Indeed, you initial assumption is correct, it can be as simple as just taking off the rings, but there can be a little more to it. I have seen many people bring Cuban Cigars back to the US from Costa Rica, and other locations, and I have some tips to make the most of the process.

First of all, you will need a travel humidor, or an empty cigar box(es). This of course will depend on how many cigars you would like to bring back. However, if you are going to make the investment in trueHabano cigars, I recommend that you take care of them in the proper conditions. This is something that people do not often plan for, and I have heard some horror stories of cigars drying out, wrappers cracking, or worse.

Now that you have the proper conditions to stow your cigars, you need to think about what you will be buying. I stress this part, because depending on where you go you will have a great variety to choose from. For cigars that you plan to travel with, go for the gold- spend more than you normally would and pick up some super-stars (Like aCohiba Siglo IV or Sublime for example). In addition, most locations will let you inspect and smell the cigars before you buy them- do not be shy. Make sure that the cigars smell fresh, and are not overly dry.

After you have purchased the cigars, you will have to remove the rings. Some shops will help you do this, but it would be at your own risk no matter what they say. Depending on your manual dexterity you might want to do this yourself. However you choose to do it if, make sure you make a map so that you know what is what. You might be surprised how similar two different robustos might look.

It is not necessary to throw the rings away. If you take them off with the right amount of care, they can be put back on, but if it is a matter of damaging the rings or the cigar wrapper, you know what to do. Before you leave home take a decent quality envelope with you. By decent quality I mean one that is not easy to see through. You could also use a "tri-folded" piece of paper inside the envelope. While in Costa Rica, you can send the envelope back home for less than a dollar. Any hotel will help you get the appropriate stamps and post your letter. It may take a couple weeks to arrive.

You can put the rings back on using white glueor a glue stick. Use another cigar from your collection to get the proper location set, and be very conservative with the glue. Put a 'dab' in the same spot where the dry glue is and paste the cigar ring to itself.

Traveling into the United States with "un-ringed" cigars from Costa Rica should not be an issue, as several of the local factories sell "un-ringed bundles." Be sure to declare you "Costa Rican Cigars" on your customs declaration form, as you are required to declare all tobacco.

Enjoy your trip to Costa Rica, and be careful when you go cigar hunting.



DISCLAIMER FOR US CITIZENS: The information contained in this post is for entertainment purposes only. Any use of this information in violation of any US federal, state or local law is prohibited.

I am not a sell-out, but I am an Amazon Affiliate.

I have been a loyal Amazon customer for some time. I love their site, I love their selection, and the one time I had a problem the sorted it out like the pros that they are.

I have not only books and DVDs from them, but plenty of other items (I have a jump box in Miami, and the items make here to Costa Rica without incident). I will recommend some of the books and items that I have purchased that have served me well. Although I can not stand by every product they offer, based on my experience I can stand by the company.

I will eventually add an Amazon search like you see above on the left. In addition, you will notice that the recommendations, plus some other related items, will have links- all of these links are affiliate links. If my blog encourages a purchase, and Amazon offers what you need at the best price, please buy it through the link provided.

My next post will be the first like this.



Saturday, May 19, 2007

Djeep Lighters - Disposable Lighters For Cigar Smokers

Have you ever heard of Djeep Lighters?

Until recently I had never heard of Djeep, then several months ago when we were entertaining at my house a lighter "stayed" after everyone else had left. It caught my eye. It was unique. Although disposable, the lighter have a nice look and feel. More importantly, it was very very reliable. Long story short, I was in love.

I was looking for a place to buy another Djeep lighter- and immediately arrived at the their website. Djeep is a French company that focuses only on disposable lighters. They offered much more than the simple black one that I found- they have a large variety of colors and designs... kind of like "Zippo meets Bic."

The website is very interactive, including a "build your own lighter" feature (very cool). Distributors, however, are not listed. I contacted them via the website, and was impressed with the timeliness of the response, but, let down by the news; they do not have a distributor in Costa Rica.

Further searching revealed that they seem to have solid US distribution (which doesn't help me right now). So for those of you in the US, get out and pick one up.

My further searching did reveal an interesting endorsement; WikiHow's "How to Properly Light a Cigar." I have never been one on the whole "25 step ritual" of cutting and lighting a cigar, so this 3 step process seems accurate to me. Nevertheless, it was the opening paragraph that talks about Djeep lighters:

Djeep lighter is probably the best of the disposable lighters, as it has an adjustable flame, and the flame is very steady, and does not flicker or smell bad like some of the cheaper lighters, which use foul smelling gas in their lighters.
Source: WikiHow
Although the photo looks like a fake Cohiba Cigar, the writer nailed it with this Djeep comment. This lighter is by far the best disposable lighter I have ever used, and I highly recommend it to cigar smokers.

In today's world, there are certain disadvantages to carrying nice/expensive lighters- for me Djeep is the answer.


For more information see: Djeep

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

US Funds To Buy Cuban Cigars

These was some obvious sarcasm in my rant Habanos, the dictator's choice! from a couple years back, but his appreciation for a fine cigar has come up in the news again and this time it is way more serious.

Some of the things that the colonel is accused of sound pretty bad, but "US Funds to buy Cuban cigars..." I will let you decide.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Chicago-land's 8 to 8 Cigar Shop Rocks!

If you are in the Chicagoland area and want to check out a hell of a cigar shop swing by 8 to 8 Cigar shop in Villa Park. Although the guy running the show didn't appear to be serious cigar smokers, they provided all of the conditions to please us die-hard smokers.

I was absolutely impressed with 8 to 8 Cigar Shop. This was a very large square foot free standing store with a HUGE variety of cigars. In addition, they had a small coffee area, and much to my liking, a good selection of hookah shisha. I picked up 3 - 50 gram boxes on a nice 3 for 2 special. The shop was laid out well, and it looked good with wood cabinets, tile, and pub like green walls. If I was to have one complaint, it would be a ventilation issue, but I am sure the place was not designed for a 40 person crew all smoking cigars.

Prices seemed reasonable and fair, but i must again harp on the selection- it was great. From good to bad, from humidors to shisha, they had a little bit of everything.

I arrived at the cigar shop just by chance on my recent trip back to the US. My uncle heard of a cigar night/poker event held there, and we were to meet up with some friends of his that are looking at opening a Cigar Lounge and Shop. Very sharp groups of guy, I will be keeping my ears open about the project.

The event was sponsored by Camacho and had specials, free food, and a poker tournament that "prized" the top 3. The nice people at Camacho put on a nice event. I will be doing a review of a Camacho cigar soon. Probably a 65ish cigar on my scale.

Again, anyone in the area should give this cigar shop a spin.


For more information:
8 to 8 Cigars
302 E. St. Charles Road
Villa Park, Illinois 60181
Phone: (630) 993-1234