South Korea is undoubtedly one of the smoker-friendliest countries on earth. With one of the highest smoking rates in the world, the prevalence of attractive smoking advertisements, and cigarettes available nearly everywhere, it’s an easy city to light up in. According to the Ministry of Health, 25% of South Korean adults and 10% of teens are smokers- and an astounding 44% of adult men smoke. [Read more…]
Since the year 1958, Cuba has been the subject of an arms embargo due to an armed conflict between the Batista regime and rebels.Â Cubaâ€™s revolutionary government however caught the ire of the US government when it seized US properties.Â US retaliated by reducing Cubaâ€™s brown sugar import quota.Â Cuba found its ally in the then Soviet Union when it agreed to buy the sugar rejected by the US.
The alignment of Cuba with the Soviet Union resulted to further restrictions as decided upon by then President John F. Kennedy through an Executive Order.Â Kennedy however was completely taken in by the Petit H. Upmann cigar which was a product of Cuba.Â Stories have it that Kennedy asked his press secretary to buy every available Petit H. Upmann cigar before making the extended trade embargo effective.Â His Press Secretary Pierre Salinger managed to round up about 1,201 pieces of Kennedyâ€™s preferred cigars which guaranteed his enjoyment of it in spite of the restrictions.
This just goes to show how especially appealing Cuban cigars are, that a personal desire for it has to be accommodated first before allowing a law to take effect.Â This is probably in anticipation of the length of time that such an embargo will take effect.Â Cuban cigars continue to be illegal in the United States at this time.
Americans who violate this prohibition of buying or bringing Cuban cigars into the country can be penalized through fines and other means depending on specific circumstances surrounding the case.Â Those who wish to avoid the reach of this law can do so while traveling in other countries since there is no practical way of enforcing such laws beyond US borders.Â Americans who wish to abide by it wherever they are can opt for quality cigars made in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, or Honduras
When we see labeling such as â€œMade in Cuba, Completely By Handâ€ in cigars, the makerâ€™s pride is unmistakable.Â It easily calls to mind a scene where each and every cigar is painstakingly rolled to ensure the satisfaction of its future user.Â There is almost immediate association with quality when a cigar passes through human hands instead of a machine.Â
Quality cigars are still being hand-made at present.Â Make no mistake however since hundreds of excellently rolled cigars can be produced by a seasoned cigar-roller at any given day.Â Probably a long way from the high numbers produced through machines but it has to be considered that hand-made cigars will only find their way to a select few since quality ultimately comes with a price.Â
A quality hand-made cigar goes through a careful process of curing, fermentation, sorting according to where leaves are deemed to be of best use, aging, inspection, and repeated inspection until such time that the leaves have attained the desired maturity.Â Rollers then make the cigar with the use of a specialty knife to facilitate accurate forming of leaves used as fillers and wrappers.Â Uniformity in size is attained by cutting the uncapped ends.Â
Like good wines, quality cigars will have to be aged in the appropriate environment and temperature.Â Even when the cigars have reached the hands of end users, they will have to be properly stored to maintain its optimum condition and ensure a pleasant experience.Â A good quality cigar box known as humidor will be required for this purpose.Â
Since there is great pride involved in making quality cigars, it is no surprise that manufacturers who were able to establish their names in the industry are comprised of family operations passed on from generation to generation.Â The art and skill of excellent cigar- making after all, does require experience.