Sam: To me, it’s a myth. What people can’t get their hands on, they always say is better. I’ve had Cubans. They’re all right. I can smoke them.

Michael: One thing that makes Cubans unique is that they’re 100 percent Cuban tobacco. The available spectrum of flavor is limited by this. Cuba perfected the idea of premium cigars, blending, thinking about harvest years and seed varieties. Then they marketed it appropriately, so it became the benchmark. But if you go outside of the U.S., the U.K. for example, they’re buying up Dominican, Nicaraguan—just like the average American buys up Cubans when they’re abroad.

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