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Thursday, May 7, 2015


 With the thawing of our relationship with Cuba, I expect Cuban cigars will soon be available throughout the States.  I’m sure it will be a big deal for a while, but I suspect the main allure of a Cuban cigar has been the fact that they have been illegal in the US for many years. 
I enjoy a good cigar, although I don’t smoke more than once or twice a month.  I am certainly not a cigar connoisseur but neither are most smokers.  If you tell someone that nothing can compare to a Cuban cigar, most people will not admit they cannot tell the difference.
I will admit I cannot tell the difference between a Cuban cigar and a good cigar from the Dominican Republic.
Oh yes, I have smoked a Cuban cigar.  I was once a Cuban cigar smuggler.  I learned two things from smuggling Cuban cigars into the US.  First I learned that Cuban cigars are not really any better than any other good cigar.  Second I learned that I was the worst smuggler ever.
My smuggling took place from Bermuda to the US.  I was on a four day vacation.  Two friends had asked if I could buy a few Cuban cigars and bring them home from Bermuda.  I purchased six cigars, two for each friend and two or myself.
Returning home with the cigars neatly tucked away in my suitcase, I began to get a little nervous as we moved up the customs line.  My wife told me to relax; no one could care about a few cigars.
In line I was not relaxed. To make it even worse; I was wearing a hat which we had purchased in Bermuda.  It was a wide brimmed Bermuda hat, perfect for golf on a hot summer day, but also looking exactly like the hat you might find on the cover of Cigar Aficionado Magazine. 

I started to sweat more than the temperature would have deemed appropriate.
When my turn came, the agent checking for illegal contraband was a six foot four 260 pound refrigerator shaped man with a voice reminiscent of Darth Vader.
“Good afternoon sir, anything to declare?”
Darth Vader bent over close to my face “Are you sure?”
“I think.”
Darth leaned in even closer “Any cigars? Any CUBAN cigars?”
“Crap” I thought, "he knows."  But I had already gone this far.
“I don’t think so.”
Darth was now so close he could smell the sweat dripping off my nose “You don’t think so? Are you sure?”
“No…I mean yes, I’m pretty sure”
“Ok then, if you are sure…move on and have a good day.”
Darth knew I was lying, but I guess he realized I was not a bootlegging king pin and he just enjoyed fucking with me.
I enjoyed those cigars, even though they somehow reminded me of the slight scent of pee, but I didn’t enjoy them enough to risk being caught with contraband again.
We just returned from five beautiful days in Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean.  Mrs. Cranky suggested before we left that I could probably buy Cuban cigars in the islands.  I decided against it. I preferred to travel home with dry shorts.


  1. If they're no better than any other cigar, they're certainly not worth getting your shorts all sweaty.

  2. I suspect that the lure of Cuban cigars WAS their illegality--besides that, all cigars stink!!

  3. Well, at least you got a good story out of it!
    Reminds me of the time I went on holiday to Bali and "smuggled" back home a batik picture in a wooden frame, where you're not allowed to bring back wood from Bali to Australia because of wood worms. So my crime was actually MUCH worse because I risked our native forests, for a frankly tacky batik picture. And like you I was a nervous wreck coming through customs. It probably is a bit of fun for the customs officers as I'm sure we are all completely obvious!

  4. Sweetie and i bought a Cuban cigar in London on our honeymoon, and smoked it together (yes, back then we would share one, get through about hafl of it, and that was enough; we both gave it up when i was having children) on the cruise ship coming home. That way no need to try to smuggle it in.

  5. I used to smoke cigars on the deck, with my son in law. We gave it up. Expensive.

  6. Sounds like a great little getaway you had! My brother and his wife went to Cuba a few years ago on a mission from their church; can't remember what their work was down there, but he did manage to bring home a little bit of Cuba with him, it might or might not have been cigars, but I do remember perhaps hubby did get one (or maybe not) as a Christmas gift that year.


  7. If I'm ever going to prison, it's going to be for something more than a bunch of rolled up dried leaves. Diamonds, maybe, but not cigars. But come to think of it, cigars might be a nice "Hi, I'm your new cell mate" gift. :)


  8. Like you, I've only smoked a few cigars, including Cubans when out of the country. I couldn't tell the difference and see no reason to become a cigar aficionado. Same with wine. I like the cheap stuff.

    1. Well cheap wine will give you a nasty hangover, so I draw the line there, but I do agree with your point.

  9. Bwahahahahahaha. You're not a crook so you sweated this big time. Great read.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  10. Ha ha, "I don't think so." You previously admitted being a poor liar. This fun story kind of seals it but the cool thing is that you pulled it off.

  11. Good thing it wasn't a Panama hat. That agent might have grabbed it by the brim, and pulled down so hard that your head would have gone right through the top.

    A Cuban has never crossed my lips, so I don't feel qualified to discuss them.

  12. Funny story! My oldest son was in Cuba about 10 years ago and asked if I wanted a Cuban cigar that he would smuggle back for me. I said I just wanted the cigar box.


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