CUBAN CIGARS FOR BUFFALO CIGAR SMOKERS
The epitome of cigar excellence is the Cuban cigar. The premier labels such as Romeo y Julietta and Cohiba employ the world’s finest rollers and the tobacco blends are legendary. It is believed the unique volcanic soil provides the myriad of complex flavors savored by cigar aficionados. Many of the neighboring countries with similar climates and soil conditions have produced excellent premium cigars but many believe they have uniformly failed to replicate precisely Cuba’s exquisite brands.
Due to the ban on all Cuban products and nearly all travel to the island nation by U.S. citizens, cuban cigars are exceedingly difficult to find for the American cigar smokers. Neighboring countries such as Canada have continued normal diplomatic relations with Cuba and enjoy their products openly. In fact, Cuba is a popular Caribbean vacation spot for many Canadians seaking the warmth of the tropical sun. This open relationship, and Buffalo’s close proximity to Canada affords cigars smokers the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of the Cuban cigar, minutes from any neighborhood in Buffalo.
It must be added that purchasing, consuming, or entering the U.S. border by American citizens with any product made in Cuba, most notably cigars, is still illegal. Since 1962, when President Kennedy enacted an embargo and cut diplomatic relations with Cuba, cigar smokers have had to make other choices. While it is believed by many that we are getting closer to re-opening relations with Cuba, thereby making Cuban cigars legal in the U.S., and ending nearly fifty years of antagonistic relations, U.S. citizens are still prohibited from enjoying Cuban products. The ban includes Americans abroad, where any purchase of a Cuban product, including cigars, is considered indirect support of the current regime.
Should a citizen of Buffalo find himself across the Canadian border and wishes to look at a Cuban cigar to admire the art of its construction and view the richness of color in its tobacco wrapper, there are a number of excellent tobacconists, such as Smokers Haven in nearby Kingston, Ontario. It is not necessary to purchase and smoke a Cuban cigar to appreciate its quality. There is value in observing, smelling the rich aroma, and feeling the texture of the tobacco in you fingers, all of which can be done without violating current U.S. law.
Until the anachronistic embargo is lifted, American cigar aficionados in Buffalo are left to salivate over the Cuban cigar without the opportunity to fully assess its excellence.
PREPARING A NEW HUMIDOR FOR STORING CIGARS IN BUFFALO
The winters in Buffalo can be severe in terms of cold and precipitation. Buffalo has endured snow falls that measured seven feet deep by the time the last flake fell. With the inclement weather comes exceedingly dry air, which can have an adverse effect on cigars, and storage nethods must be active and well thought out.
A new humidor typically has had no humidification preparations made to the wood interior. Most quality humidors are lined with the pleasantly aromatic Spanish cedar, which influences the flavor of the cigars contained within. The wood will be dry and often powdery sawdust will remain from the manufacturing process. With the humidity in the interior of the humidor when first purchased in the fifty percent range, the cigars will dry out quickly and be too fragile and unpleasant to smoke.
New humidors will most often come equipped with a hygrometery and a humidification device which is a simple encased sponge arrangement. Because of the intensely dry air during the winter months, a new humidor will need to have its interior wiped down with a clean cloth and distilled water. The humidor should be left overnight and the process repeated. Measures should be taken to avoid making the interior too wet as the wood could warp and seams open. While the inexpensive plastic hygrometers are not entirely accurate, a reading of seventy to seventy-two percent is optimal. Once the humidity level is set, check the humidor once every two or three days and keep the sponge device moist. Care must be taken to prevent over-humidification as the cigars can become moldy. Temperature must also be taken in account, with the optimal interior humidor temperature approximately seventy degrees.
Simple measures will kepp your humidor functioning as intended and your cigars fresh. While Buffalo will present unique challenges to preserving the well-being of your cigars, a little forethought will ensure a pleasant smoke and excellent conditions for the maintenance of an expensive collection.
WHAT CIGAR IS THE PERFECT FINISH FOR BUFFALO’S FAMOUS CHICKEN WINGS?
Buffalo is famous for its robust, delicious and uniquely western New York foods. Probably most famous of all is its aptly named Buffalo chicken wings, consumed in great quantities at sporting events, friendly get-togethers, and for any reason Buffalonians can think of. Some are served with hot sauce to rival molten lava, while others are served milder.
First created by downtown Buffalo’s Anchor Bar in 1964, chicken wings have spread in popularity across the nation and beyond. Today, some 66 percent of casual dining eateries list within their menus Buffalo-style chicken wings. They have reached iconic status in American gastronomic culture.
The general concensus of cigar aficionados is that cigars, like fine wine, should be matched to the food it is to be consumed with or to follow. For instance, as a complex cabernet or claret, both full bodied and complex wines of French origin, compliments a hearty steak, so too should something as spicy and flavorful as Buffalo’s famous chicken wings be accompanied or finished with a cigar that will stand up to and provide an excellent partner. A milder cigar might be entirely overshadowed with the intense spices of the Buffalo wings.
A maduro, a cigar with a chocolaty, sometimes oiled leather appearance, is among the more full flavored cigars. Cigar producers ferment the maduro wrappers longer, achieving the earthier flavors coveted by cigar aficionados. Paired with the take-your-breath-away abundance of spices in Buffalo wings, and the maduro will stand up nicely. Add to that a belicoso, or churchill-sized maduro, and the cigar can be enjoyed through the meal and still have enough remaining to provide a relaxing finish.