The Cuban controversy. Last Wednesday at the Light Em Up lounge this was the subject. A panel of four cigar enthusiasts was discussing the state of Cuban cigars versus New World cigars. Barry Beliveau & David Garofalo from the cigar authority, Ferdinand Piet from Ministry of Cigars, and Laurence Davis from the London Sautter Cigars were the panel members.

Ministry of Cigars - The Cuban controversy

Lively discussion

Under the moderation of Reinhard Pohorec, the founder of Light ‘Em Up Lounge, the panel discussed if the reputation of Cuban cigars is justified. Laurence Davis thinks it is, while the other panel members point at the construction issues. And the lack of aging, both of raw tobacco and finished products. José Blanco joins the conversation and says that all tobacco at Arturo Fuente is much older than Cuban tobacco and therefore ready to smoke, unlike Cuban cigars.

The Cuban draw is another point of discussion. It was said that Europeans are used to the tighter draw but that American cigar enthusiasts would probably complain. Ferdinand Piet disagrees. He was a sales representative in the cigar industry in The Netherlands and says that Dutch smokers have the same issues with the tight draw. 


The topic of sales came up. In the past, Ministry of Cigars did a breakdown of global cigar sales. But due to the weird year, we are living in, it is unlikely we can do that this year. Production numbers are not revealed, and with the disruption of the supply chain, a breakdown would not be representative. What is known is that in several European countries, the sales of New World cigars is surpassing the sales of Cuban cigars. For example in The Netherlands and Germany, and that’s including the Cuban cigar sales that are shipped to China by retailers and consumers. Another well-read publication was ‘the current state of Cuban cigars.’

Barry was wondering if there was a trend in the age of the smokers of Cubans and New World cigars. And in The Netherlands, Malaysia, and Singapore there is. The younger smokers have an open mind towards New World cigars where older smokers are generally more hesitant to smoke anything but a Cuban cigar.

 The end of a discussion?

The Deputy Ambassador at the Embassy of Nicaragua in London, Ricardo Carioni, says that he would love the whole “Cuba vs New World” discussion to be a thing of the past. To celebrate the cigar for what it is. And we think it is heading in that direction. Compare it to the wine industry where the debate was “French wines or New World wines”. A debate that is a thing from the past, people now discuss all kinds of wine. That is about to happen in the cigar industry too.

 As a final word, all panel members hope to see Cuba free. That would be good for the Cuban people and good for the cigar industry. With knowledge and foreign investments, competition, and higher quality control, Cuban cigars will be better than they currently are. Over two hours of discussion on this topic wasn’t enough, so there will be a part 2 soon …..

Watch the whole show here

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