Pages: 1 29 replies
Based on highly-prized intelligence derived at the TC opening of Tiki Bob's, and inspired by Fidel Castro & Ricky Ricardo, I brought over very illegal contraband from Mexico: Cuban Cigars and Rum.
I was going to sell a few to my friends, but now that I understand I will face a $50,000 fine for selling, I suppose I'll give a couple away and watch the rest of my profits go up in smoke.
This from the US Customs website:
Prohibitions on Cuban Cigars
The revival of interest in cigars and cigar smoking underscores the need to remind the public of the prohibitions that have been in place for many years with respect to cigars of Cuban origin. The number of attempted importations of Cuban cigars into the United States is rising and because dealing in such cigars may lead to Treasury enforcement actions, the public should be aware of — and make every effort to observe — the prohibitions which are in effect.
There is a total ban on the importation into the United States of Cuban-origin cigars and other Cuban-origin tobacco products. This prohibition extends to such products . . . acquired in third countries by any U.S. Traveler, including purchases at duty-free shops. Contrary to what many people may believe, it is illegal for travelers to bring into the United States Cuban cigars acquired in third countries, such as Canada, England, or Mexico.
It is also illegal for U.S. persons to buy, sell, trade, or otherwise engage in transactions involving illegally-imported Cuban cigars. The penalties for doing so include, in addition to confiscation of the cigars, civil fines of up to $55,000 per violation . . .
Bringing in the rum was illegal, too.
Holy smokes, aren't you a lawyer? You're admitting you brought it over?
christiki~ selling is prohibited but what about a trade? a bottle for a bottle? mug for bottle? pm me if you interested!
...liquor in the front, poker in the rear...
[ Edited by: the drunken hat on 2005-01-06 22:55 ]
I ahem know quite a bit about cuban cigars in the USA. Ever go to Canada? Most of Canada's mail order cigar business is aimed at the U.S. market. (Did you know that Cuba is Canada's number one tourist destination?). A couple of cigar stores owners I spoke with the last time I was in Victoria B.C. said that maybe one or two shipments per year are seized by U.S. Customs. More likely the cigars are refused entry into the U.S. through the postal system, and will be sent back to the shipper in Canada. When the cigars are sent back, which happens about a dozen or so times per year, the store simply re-ships them at no extra cost to the buyer.
If U.S. Customs seizes and destroys the shipment, they will send a letter to the store stating what happened to the shipment. The store will then send out another shipment at no extra cost to the buyer.
Not only is there a ban of importing Cuban goods into the U.S., and distributing those goods, the legislation has been expanded recently in the past few years to make it punishable for any American to purchase or consume ANY Cuban goods, whether in the U.S., or anywhere abroad!!! This is a voilation of the "Trading With The Enemies" act, I believe. The only way for an American to legally buy any Cuban goods is if they get a State approved travel visa (mainly for politicians and members of the press). Those in posession of that visa that allows them to go to legally visit Cuba can bring back so many dollars worth of Cuban goods, something like $125 worth of cigars if memory serves right.
Interestingly enough, "pre-embargo" Cuban cigars are still legal to this day, but are extremely rare, and very expensive, although still obtainable.
Unless you buy your Cuban cigars from a reputable cigar store, the chances of them being counterfeit is extremely high. A good friend of mine actually went to Cuba a few years ago, before the U.S. started cracking down hard on this stuff. He visisted a couple of the cigar factories, but instead of buying a box there from their gift shop (which were fairly cheap at well under $100 a box), he decided to buy a box from a connection at his hotel, at around $25 for a box. These were seized by customs when he arrived back in Miami, although he tried passing them off as Dominican cigars, customs didn't buy it. They destroyed the box in front of him, and as they snapped a couple of the cigars, the tobacco was green and unaged inside, and totally unsmokable. Many cigar rollers in Cuba will roll cigars on the side at home, and although they will look good on the outside, they will not have quality tobacco inside. So caveat emptor - even in Cuba, if you don't buy from the factory or a very reputable store, you will get counterfeit cigars.
Although it is illegal for Americans to consume Cuban cigars overseas, the likelyhood of having the Trading With The Enemies Act enforced upon you is very very remote. Unless you do something like ramble on about it on a thread in Tiki Central. :)
shhhhhhh, they're watching us.
Well I know how to bring Absinth into the US! Put it in a scope bottle!
As far as the cigars go, Mai Tai I live in Victoria BC! Right next door to me(where I work) happens to be a Cuban Cigar shop. I'd be glad to stop by and ask if they ship to the US.
If purchased in Mexico, could be Cuban, could not be. It's a fact that fake Cuban cigars are plenty there.
Thank you very much, TikiWanine! I sent you a p.m.
Yes, this is very very true. Unless you purchase them from some extremely reputable cigar store in some place like Puerto Vallarta or Alcapulco, the chances of them being counterfeit are very high. And buying real Cuban cigars in Tijuana? Fahgetaboutit!
If anyone's desperate for absinthe, cuban cigars, etc in the "land of the cough free", then let me know as we wing 'em from over here, no problem. In fact, they are available from the local supermarket. I must stress that as with anything vaguely forbidden, the reality is less impressive than the imagination.
Still, I'm happy to conceal absinthe in Listerine bottles should anyone feel the urge...
I can’t believe it. I’ll being violating federal law as soon as I light up. Also, what gall to prevent to me from mimiking Ricky Ricardo on foreign soil!
They’ re coming to get me. I can hear the footsteps now.
The primary law used to enforce the Cuban embargo is Public Law 65-91, the Trading With the Enemy Act (TWEA). Passed by Congress in 1917, TWEA gives the president power to regulate, during time of war, all financial transactions involving any “individual, partnership, or body of individuals residing within any nation with which the U.S. is at war.”
Are we at war with Cuba?
However, in the Plummer case, the Eleventh Circuit US Court of Appeals reinstated an indictment under the Trading With the Enemy Act of a defendant who was seized 40 miles off the Florida coast in international waters, claiming he could be prosecuted for attempting to smuggle 121 boxes of Cuban cigars into the United States.
It is also illegal for U.S. persons to buy, sell, trade, or otherwise engage in transactions involving illegally-imported Cuban cigars. The penalties for doing so include, in addition to confiscation of the cigars, civil fines of up to $55,000 per violation and in appropriate cases, criminal prosecution which may result in higher fines and/or imprisonment.
i will be at the sf crawl this year so i hope you don't get real "rebellious" and decide to smoke all your stogies in front of a government building or something. however if you do i wouldn't be offended at all. enjoy the contraban christiki aka the embargonator!
My own opinion is to void this archaic law and open up trade with Cuba. Breaking down the trade barrier would help promote business connections, free enterprise, etc. I think it would be the worst thing we could do to Castro. The will of the people, all people everywhere can only be subverted for so long. This law hasn't changed the communist system in Cuba. Let's try something new. GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT!!!! Isn't that an old Kink's song? LONG LIVE ROCK AND ROLL, oh shit....sorry.
I don't know about Castro, but I'd love it. I want to drive one of those 1950s American cars!
Better get in now; Castro's years in power, and years in general, are limited.
[ Edited by: christiki295 on 2005-01-07 21:07 ]
right on, and when I speak of giving the people what they want, I wasn't speaking of my American friends. We already have all we need and much of what we want. I'm speakin' for all people, and the Cuban people. Cut loose the reins and let 'em go baby.
I must say however, that a certain TC member, whose name rhymes with 'Tiki Hiablo' kicked me down a genuine Cubano at the fist..er, ... first International Tiki Day at Baxdong's, er... Baxdog's place.
It was sweet...
(I even ate the roach)
This past summer, in my privileged capacity as a stagehand, while tearing down a show by everyone's fave, Fitty Cent, I came across two very large Cohibas, individually wrapped, which had been thrown onstage during the concert. They were excellent, and I do thank the mis-guided youth that think that anyone other than Road and Local crews actually keep anything tossed on stage in tribute. It was a nice change from panties and bras...usually none of them fit...
Ah the time of my life!
Dumb nonsmoker question:
What is it exactly about Cuban cigars that makes them so much better than the rest?
Just because they are cuban doesn't make them automatically good. I have had cubans cigars that are really bad.
Real fine cuban cigars usually taste better, are a more smooth smoke, provide a better ash, and tend to not leave a harsh or bitter after taste. They usually just give you a stronger buzz.
Bolivar makes a cuban cigar that will put you on your butt in a hurry. Romeo and Julietta makes a nice mild cuban. Last time I was in Mexico I bought a real nice cuban..It was a Robaina It was nice.
I smoke usually 1 or 2 cigars a week. When summer hits it's becomes darn near one a day. Myself, my father and Franco get together and sit in my backyard by the Tiki Hut or in Francos tiki room and smoke.
We order alot out of Cigars International in PA. They have the cheapest prices I have found, far less than Thompsons. I smoke alot of CuAvanas (by Manuel Quesada) and My Ways (by Felipe Gregorio).
I wish this rain would stop so I can go outside and have one.
[ Edited by: ErichTroudt 2014-12-18 09:55 ]
Yeah, there can be lousy Cuban cigars, just like there can be any lousy product in a niche market. I personally feel that there are a couple factors that make a very good quality Cuban cigar better than others is the quality of tobacco from Cuba and the quality that goes into rolling the cigar.
As an analogy, think of a tobacco leaf like a long narrow wild lettuce leaf. When you eat the leaf, the long soft rounded end part would taste milder, and the taste and bitterness would increase in intensity as you get closer to the stem end, until you got to the stem itself which would be pretty bitter. Well, the tobacco leaves in all good quality cigars are laid out in the same fashion - the rounded end part of the tobacco leaf (the milder part) is at the part of the cigar that you light, and the stem end is at the mouth part. This is an oversimplification, because they often use complicated blends of tobacco in cigars, but that is basically how the inside tobacco part is laid out. As you smoke any cigar, they tend to get more and more bitter as you work your way down to the stem end, partly because you are working your way down closer to the bitter stem part, and partly because tars and stuff are accumulating at the mouthpart as well. This is especially true of the last 1/4 of the cigar - a lot of cigars become unsmokeable at that point. I experience this a lot in Dominican cigars (not to knock Dominican cigars - there are some awesome Dominican smokes out there!).
The quality of the cuban cigar tobacco and construction comes into play here. There is something about the quality of the tobacco they grow - it doesn't seem to be bitter even when you get down to the stem end of the cigar, whether that's due to the climate, type of soil, growing technique, or whatever. A good Cuban cigar known for it's smoothness, like a MonteCristo #2 torpedo, will stay smooth all the way until the very end, and you need to break out the roach clip to finish that bad boy off, because you will be burning your fingers and lips off of the hot ash. No bitterness at all. I've noticed this from all of the good quality Cuban smokes, like Romeo Y Julietta, Cohiba, MonteCristo, etc. Although different brands and different sizes each have different blends for their own distinctive tastes from mild to spicy (like Erich mentions above, some can be REALLY strong, and knock you on your butt!) the Cubans will tend to keep their intended consistency throughout the entire smoke, and not become overpowered by bitterness at the end.
Here's where the quality of construction comes into play. Virtually every time my friends and I have run across a non-Cuban cigar that is totally unsmokeable when it hits the 2/3 mark, (whether it's Dominican, Honduran, whatever), we usually filet it open, and check out the insides (because we would just be throwing it away at this point anyways). And every time there is a big fat stem in there, that is thick like a twig or stick! I've never run across that in a Cuban cigar - they take the time during construction to remove all of their stems, at least in the ones I've smoked.
Just like there are good rums, whiskeys, and scotches out there that come from different manufacturers in different countries, there are good quality cigars from different manufacturers in different countries as well. Everyone has different tastes, so hey, smoke a Cuban cigar if you can get ahold of one, but more importantly, smoke what you like, regardless of where it's from!
Thus endeth my primer on cigar construction for today. Mahaloz for listening.
A major reason they're better is because they are proscribed in these here Untied States...
Not a big fan of cigars, but I did enjoy the Cuban Rum last month in Mexico. I was too chicken to bring some back with me, so I'm glad the info helped. Come on up the Rincon Room, Christiki295, we would love to share pix (and Rum).
Bong, I thought you would have appreciated a roller who takes the time to remove the stems (and seeds). :D
Hey Mai Tai, thanks for all that neat info! I'm not a smoker of anything, but it's always cool to increase yer brain smarts.
This is GREAT news, although it will take the exciting danger out of my border crossing.
What The Ending Of The Cuban Embargo Means For Rum Drinking
Hopefully it means we'll be drinking a little more Cuban rum :>)
Even more exciting are the prospects of visiting the island and some of the hundreds of small distilleries.
Looks like the $100 limit on bringing Cuban cigars and rum has been lifted. If there's no restrictions on bringing these Cuban products to the US does that mean distribution of Havanista (or whatever the government Havana Club is gonna be called in our market) is soon to follow?
FYI: This doesn't just mean you can bring back rum and cigars from Cuba. It mean you can bring back Cuban Rum and cigars from Mexico and Canada and anywhere else you find it. That was technically illegal before.
I've read several stories on it now and some say this means you could bring it back legally from other places like Mexico and Canada like you said, but the story I linked and others have stated you can bring it back directly from Cuba:
"The Obama administration announced Friday it is eliminating a $100 limit on the value of Cuban rum and cigars that American travelers can bring back from the island."
Pages: 1 29 replies