Every cigar enthusiast has heard of the legendary status of Cuban cigars and thus asked the question “How do I buy Cuban cigars?”  After a quick bit of research this seemingly simple question becomes complicated and we all find that it is difficult to buy Cuban cigars, at least for an American.

Cuban Embargo History

Somes Habanos Cigar - Cuban Cigars Français : ...

Somes Habanos Cigar - Cuban Cigars Français : Quelques cigares cubains (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the 1960s, after Fidel Castro and his communist regime took power in Cuba, it became illegal to buy Cuban cigars in America.  Because of some shady policies and shadier alliances, the Cuban government fell out of favor with the American government.

As a result, the American government decided to place economic sanctions on Cuba.  The biggest factor in this was the American embargo on Cuban goods.  This made it illegal for an American citizen to buy, sell, or possess Cuban goods.

This of course precluded Americans from trying to buy Cuban cigars.  Although the policies have fluctuated, it is currently illegal for an American citizen to buy Cuban cigars.

Acquiring Cuban Cigars

Obviously this makes it more difficult to acquire a Cuban cigar in America.  Some people find that the allure to buy Cuban cigars is so strong that they will actually leave the country in order to buy Cuban cigars.  While this is harder for the American government to regulate, it is still illegal for an American citizen to buy Cuban cigars.

Some people also try to buy Cuban cigars in other countries where it is not illegal to sell them, and then try to bring them back into the country. This is also illegal and customs officials often confiscate the cigars.

Others try to buy Cuban cigars from the black market.  This is sometimes in the form of an “I know a guy” situation or just some backroom connection.  There are three issues with this type of arrangement.  The obvious point is that it is still illegal.  But if you are comfortable with the legal implications you still have to deal with the cost and the uncertainty.

Difficulties buying Cuban Cigars

Ramon Allones 898 cigars (OSU MAR 02) from Cuba

Ramon Allones 898 cigars (OSU MAR 02) from Cuba (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, in order to buy Cuban cigars you have to pay a steep premium.  Illegal suppliers of Cuban cigars know the scarcity of the product so they can require you pay extra to buy Cuban cigars.  They also know that they are taking on a lot of risk to allow you to buy Cuban cigars so they have to charge you to cover their costs.

The other issue is that unless you have a very discerning palate, it is not likely you will be able to tell the difference if you buy Cuban cigars that are not the genuine article.  A good Dominican can pass very easily as a Cuban, and the kind of seller who will skirt the law to give you the chance to buy Cuban cigars, cannot really be said to be trustworthy can he?

All in all, it is illegal for an American to buy Cuban cigars, so it is not recommended here that you try.

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