Little Havana Cigar Company -  cigars, tobacco, pipes, humidors, tobacco accessories

Little Havana Cigar Company - cigars, tobacco, pipes, humidors, tobacco accessories

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The Tantalizing Aromas of High-Quality Tobaccos

In one form or another, cigars date back for centuries. But, today, a “good” cigar has come to represent something other than just a finely made tobacco product. Indeed, peering out from the front covers of such magazines as “Cigar Aficionado”, more than one celebrity has attempted to convey his or her pacesetter image by displaying an expensive cigar in his or her hand.

To be sure, expensive cigars have come to represent a particular kind of status, becoming an outward testimonial to the profile of the upwardly mobile man or woman. And yet, when all is said and done, a cigar aficionado will say, as Sigmund Freud is quoted as saying, "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, or as Rudyard Kipling once penned, “… A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.”

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For men, cigar smoking has long been associated with a rite of passage. In the 19th century, for instance, men would retire to the den (smoking room) after dinner to commune (usually commiserate) with each other about the issues of the day. If you were a serious man hoping to mingle with serious people, you joined them. Today, the tradition lives on, with a man’s interpretation of success being based upon a better house, a better car, a better income, and, naturally, a better cigar. (each, of course, being considered the perfect complement to a successful lifestyle.)

For the true cigar aficionados though, as with those who love fine wine, art or antiques, it is not the issue of  perception that drives them to seek out fine cigars… it is the cigar itself; the blend of tobacco; the taste; the texture; the wrap and the “even” burn. Although one could mention well-known celebrities such as, Roger Moore, or Arnold Schwarzenegger as cigar aficionados, a lesser known celebrity, but a cigar aficionado, nonetheless, is Jim Leiter, of Chandler, Arizona, commonly referred to as the “Cigar King”.

In April, 2008, Jim’s passion for fine tobacco products, led him to open his own cigar store, the “Little Havana Cigar Company” located at 6125 – 7, West Chandler Blvd. His natural gift for innovative business ideas, and his intuitive business sense has paid off with “Little Havana Cigar Company” boasting, not only the best prices and widest selection in the area, but an enviable customer base as well.

In the early days of his business, Jim’s intuitive business sense prompted him to consider the tobacco business from the cigar smoker’s point of view. In other words, he understood that, if his shop was to be successful, his customers would need to appreciate the shop's sense of authenticity and its dedication to quality maintenance of the tobacco products displayed for sale.

Indeed, a cigar lover expects the cigars to have been maintained well; they cannot be brittle, dry or abused. It is an unspoken contract, between the trusting customer and the honest proprietor, that every effort has been made to pass along a tobacco product that has been properly cared-for.

To insure that such a contract would not be breached, Jim decided to go the extra mile, by creating a system that allows his entire store to be properly humidified

The inspiration for the shop’s name was, of course, Havana, Cuba. Although many people might conjure up visions of a romantic Caribbean island with infectious energy, salsa, mambo and Havana Club Rum, the first thing that came to Jim’s mind, when thinking of Cuba, was cigars, especially Cohiba (Cuban) cigars.

For over a hundred years, Cuban cigars were thought to be made from the finest grown tobacco in existence, and, the Cuban cigar rollers or "torcedores," were touted, by cigar experts, to be the most skilled in the world.

And so, in conjunction with Jim’s efforts to provide an authentic place for his customers, he decided to amplify his vision by using a moniker that would pay homage to the Cuban historical element. Hence, the name “Little Havana Cigar Company”. To be sure, the classical pianist and composer Franz Liszt would have approved. It was Liszt who once said "A good Cuban cigar closes the door to the vulgarities of the world."

As a matter of fact, Cuban Cigars were so well thought of, that on February 6, 1962, as President John F. Kennedy was preparing a trade embargo on Cuba to sanction Fidel Castro's communist government, he ordered Pierre Salinger, then Kennedy's press secretary, to first obtain 1,200 H. Upmann brand petit corona Cuban cigars. The following morning, after Salinger's returned with the cigars, Kennedy went ahead and put the embargo into effect, signing the executive order the morning of February 7. Richard Goodwin, a White House assistant to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, revealed in a 2000 New York Times article that JFK had told him, "We tried to exempt cigars, but the cigar manufacturers in Tampa objected."

It was around this same time, the mid-1960s, that a bodyguard of Fidel Castro happened to offer Fidel a cigar. That cigar came from the bodyguard’s private selection and was made by a local artisan named Eduardo Ribera. Castro was so pleased with the cigar, that a special production of the blend was produced under tight security, specifically for Castro and other top government officials. Finally released for sale to the public in 1982, it developed a "cult" following. This cigar would come to be known as a Cohiba.

The appreciation of any art form starts with some understanding of that art. And so, I asked Jim to give me a beginner’s education regarding the general nature of cigars. He offered some basic information saying, “People interested in cigars should be acquainted with a number of issues. First, they should become familiar with some of the more popular cigars. There is a reason these cigars are popular. Next they should come to understand how to identify them, judge them and maintain them. And, most importantly, for people interested in buying and keeping fine cigars, they should understand the importance of owning a humidor.

The purpose behind a humidor is that dry cigars become fragile and burn faster, while damp cigars burn unevenly and take on a heavy acidic flavor. But, if cigars are kept at the ideal rate of humidity, of approximately 68-74%, it will promote an even burning of the tobacco. Humidors are, therefore, important because the level of humidity in which the cigars are kept will have a significant effect on their taste.

Flavor, or taste, is also enhanced by the “wrapper,” which is the outermost leaf of the cigar. The wrapper determines much of the cigar's character and flavor, and as such, its color is often used to determine what to expect from a cigar.

There are over a hundred different shades of wrappers, but the seven most common classifications from lightest to darkest are as follows. (First): “Double Claro”, which is very light, slightly greenish or Jade. The color comes from the retained green chlorophyll and is achieved by picking leaves before maturity and drying them quickly. (Second): “Claro” which is very light tan or yellowish. This color is indicative of shade-grown tobacco. (Third): “Colorado Claro” which is medium Brown.

(Fourth): “Colorado” which is reddish brown. (Fifth): “Colorado Maduro”, which is a darker brown. These wrappers are either an African wrapper from Cameroon, or a Honduran or Nicaraguan wrapper grown from Cuban seeds. (Sixth): “Maduro” which is very dark brown or black. This leaf is primarily grown in either Connecticut, Mexico, Nicaragua or Brazil. (Seventh): “Oscuro” (also called Double Maduro) which is very black. This leaf is mainly grown in Connecticut, Mexico, Nicaragua, Brazil, and Cuba.

Cigars are also categorized by the size and shape of the cigar. The size of a cigar is measured by two dimensions: the Length: its length in inches and the Ring Gauge: its diameter in sixty-fourths of an inch.

The most common shape is the "Corona", which has traditionally been the benchmark against which all other cigar formats are measured. An example of Coronas designated by size: Length in inches; width in sixty fourth of an inch.
Name                      Length                  Ring Gauge
Rothschild                4 ½                              48
Robusto                    5                                  50
Churchhill                 7                               47-50 
Presidente                8                                  50
Gran Corona            9 ¼                               47

Lastly, in regards to choosing cigar brands, one must remember there are many opportunities to experience a fine cigar, but for the novice or beginner, along with the Cohiba or the Davidoff cigar selections, I would suggest the following:

Patron: The rarest cigar made by Padron is the Anniversary 1926, made with specially aged (5 years) and selected tobaccos from Nicaragua. It was introduced to commemorate the 75th birthday of Jose O. Padron. It is rolled at the Padron factory, with scarce distribution and an enormous demand by aficionados worldwide. The blend is full-bodied and has a spicy flavor.

Ashton: The Ashton cigar has quickly become one of the most popular high-end brands on the market today, and is one of the finest cigars rolled at Chateau Fuente. The “Ashton” was the brain-child of Robert Levin after inheriting his father’s tobacco store. To make his cigar a success, Robert partnered with Carlos Fuente in the Dominican Republic. With Fuente’s expertise in tobacco production and Levin’s keen business sense, the two became partners and have made cigar history.

Arturo Fuente: Speaking of the Fuente family, it was in 1912, that a 24-year old Cuban émigré named Arturo Fuente launched the Arturo Fuente cigar business in West Tampa, Florida. Arturo had come to the United States in 1902, leaving his hometown of Güines, Cuba, in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. In 1958, ownership was transferred to Arturo's younger son, Carlos Fuente. Following the US embargo of Cuba, the Fuente brand slowly emerged as one of the most critically acclaimed makers of hand-rolled premium cigars outside of Cuba.

Asking Jim to sum up what the “Little Havana Cigar Company” is all about, he paused for a moment then said, “I suppose the point that I’m trying to  make to the cigar smoking world, is that the quality cigars I have to offer, and the shelving or method in which the cigars are being stored, is carefully managed; that I want my customers to be able to experience a cigar, and a cigar store the way it ought to be; and, that I want my customers to be greeted in an atmosphere of not only tantalizing aromas of high-quality tobaccos, but also to be surrounded by a variety of tobacco products and accessories in the tradition of what a cigar store once was, including, I might add, by the presence of “Kaw-Liga” the iconic wooden Indian standing watch over it all.

In addition, I want them to know that I’m offering well over one hundred brands of cigars, including a wide assortment of beautiful humidors for home or office, as well as lighters and ashtrays and an array of other tobacco accessories. Also, for that “particular” pipe smoker in the family, that I have many pipes in all price ranges including a selection of flavored pipe tobaccos.

In the end, I guess, my point is to capture the essence of an old-timey, high quality, the way it used to be, kind of cigar store where people are welcome to drop by, relax a little in our smoking lounge, and indulge in their passion for fine cigars while engaging in the social atmosphere that has always been created by just such an age old tradition. To answer your question, I guess this is what the “Little Havana Cigar Company” is all about.” 

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6125-7 W. Chandler Blvd,
Chandler, Arizona 85226
United States

Phone: (480) 489-2435

Hours
Monday 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wednesday 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am - 6:00 pm


Little Havana Cigar Company -  cigars, tobacco, pipes, humidors, tobacco accessories

Images


Cigars can be sexy

Shades of wrappers

Tobacco Plantation -Nicaragua

The Elegant Davidoff Logo

Davidoff

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Davidoff.

Ashton- Double Maduro, Churchill

Ashton- Specialty; Estate Sun Grown (ESG)

Ashton- Connecticut Poro

Ashton Maduro, Churchill

Arturo Fuente- Flor Fina 8-5-8

Roger Moore- Arturo Fuento

Cohiba Authentic

Assorted Cohibas

Patrons-1926

The perfect couple



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 Tobacco Shops / Cigars



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