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Issue 18 - Smoke less, smoke better

Whisky Magazine Issue 18
September 2001


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Smoke less, smoke better

James Leavey avoids the anti-smoking lobby and cigar flavoured coffee in order to update Whisky Magazine readers on what's been happening to the world's favourite cigars – Havanas

Fancy a cup of Cohiba-flavoured cappuccino or a mug of Montecristo mocha? Yes? Well, these could soon be on the menu in coffee shops if ‘liquid nicotine', the latest “anti-smoking wonder cure” from America set to make quitting smoking as easy as sipping a cup of java, goes on sale in about two years time.

They recommend adding it to your favourite drink whenever you feel the urge to light up. As it's said to taste similar to washing down the contents of an ashtray, most smokers will probably stick to their usual spoonful of sugar instead.
That's just part of what looks to be an horrendously politically correct future, if the anti-smoking puritans get their way. So you may as well make the most of the present by firing up your favourite stogie, while I fill you in on what's been happening to the world's favourite cigars – Havanas.

The good news is that exports of Cuban cigars grew rapidly from 68 million sticks during the second half of the 1990s and stabilised in 2000 at 120 million. The bad news is that the Cubans' drive to increase production up to 1999 exhausted their reserves of aged tobaccos and resulted in the closure of many Cuban cigar factories during the early months of 2000.

Production recovered later in the year when the leaves from the next years' harvests (the product of three separate year's harvests are needed for the blends in each Havana) were released. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to prevent the annual production of Havana cigars falling to a ...

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