La Rosa Cubana Cigars and the Cuban Poll

One of the things about getting older is that while you may feel a lot younger, your body has this awful tendency to not feel so much so. I spent the better part of yesterday visiting various doctors’ offices, getting poked, prodded and queried. Once they were done with me, they sent me on my merry way into the gloomy grey of misty Big Apple. It wasn’t too cold but it wasn’t warm. It was rather damp and miserable to put it honestly. I had originally thought I’d be able to head home first before going into the city for evening plans but the doctors had kept me so long that it wasn’t really a viable option. So I decided to search for a cigar bar or something to find something to amuse me (since I hadn’t brought any with me). I opened up my Blackberry and fired up Google Maps. A quick search and I found La Rosa Cubana Handmade Cigars.

After making a few too many wrong turns, I finally ended up at the corner of 30th and 6th (Avenue of the Americas). Dodging other pedestrians, flying yellow cabs and construction I trudged, with my sweat shirt hood pulled up over my ears. I checked the numbers and then saw the handmade sign that pointed to the 2nd level of the building where La Rosa Cubana is located. I walked up a single flight of dingy narrow stairs to the glass door at the top. Walking in I listened to the spanish discussion going on in the back, none of which I understand (being French Canadian, I haven’t spent a lot of time yet learning spanish). I could see the two men in the back making the cigars as they smoked their own in the small cramped former office space. The place was sparse for decorations and contained a single showcase of cigars already made.

A faint sweet smell of cigar mixed with sweat and laughter filled the place. I eyed the glass display and the various sizes. I decided to get a fiver of Robustos ($14USD, all taxes included and just made!) as those would be just big enough to smoke while I walked to my evening dinner plans (which was still two hours later). The filler is Dominican with a Connecticut wrapper. I tucked the cigars into my backpack, taking one out. When I got outside, I found a small alcolve to cut and light it. It cut easily. I examined the cigar before fighting the rain and wind to toast the foot. I could see the shaping from the traditional Cuban rolling method they use to make the cigar and one vein throughout. Otherwise, it was well made. I eventually won out against the elements and got to enjoy a wonderful 90 min sensation of mocha, almonds and “buttery” tastes (I kept craving buttered toast today as I smoked another one without the elements challenging me). By the end of the cigar, a nice creamy leather taste emerged.

The cigar occasionally tugboated its burn but that was more of a weather thing than the cigar. The aroma from the cigar was a pleasant sweet spicy tingle of the nose. The flavour remained consistent and complex enough to make me ponder flavours but not too complex as to take away the enjoyment of this mild-medium cigar. But I have to admit that this is the kind of store I’ve been looking for where they make the cigars themselves and are unique in who they are. The cigar gets a 8.5/10 from me and the shop, while not fancy by any stretch of the imagination, should be a must visit for anyone going to Manhattan. I’ll definitely be adding them to my regular visits.

As I enjoyed a 2nd one today with the warmth of the sun beating down on the balcony, I could hear Buena Vista Social Club floating over the air. It made me smile to think that summer is just around the corner. It turned a long day into a wonderful day, weather be damned. And since I’m talking about that fleeting feeling of Cuba and the cigars that might come from there, March’s poll just closed. And it seems overwhelming that the Embargo should be lifted. 87% of you said, toss it! Perhaps they should consider that as part of an overall economic recovery package.

For April, now that the weather is getting better many of us will be able to enjoy more cigars with friends and families and such. So the question is, besides the people in life, what do you enjoy your cigar the most with?

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