There may not be much American access to Cuban cigars any longer (see story below), but we can still wear enthusiasm on our sleeve with this terrific cufflink and stud set from men’s accessories maker JJ Weston (all its products made in the U.S.). The links are a hearty seven eighths of an inch in length and made of gold tone plated base metal with brown and red transparent enamel. Cufflinks have bullet back closure, while studs have a fixed back closure. $165, cufflinks.com
THE PLANET, IN PUFFS
One of our favorite lifestyle journalists and fellow cigar lover, Nick Hammond, has just finished a book this staff has been waiting more than a year to comb through. After more than a quarter century of travels to Cuba, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, various African nations, and numerous additional destinations while writing for titles like Country Life, The Daily Telegraph, and Cigar Journal, Hammond has amassed a treasure of experiences. Around the World in 80 Cigars: The Travels of an Epicure (Red Door Publishing) takes readers from the bamboo forests of Japan to peat burns in the Scottish Hebrides, from the rainforest of Borneo to African savannahs to sailing in a hot air balloon over Cognac each moment taletethered to a fi ne cigar. The hardcover memoir is on pre order for $39.95. amazon.com
Cuban travel No Mas
Our Cuban honeymoon, during which travel restrictions to the island nation were briefly relaxed, is decidedly over. In April, the Trump administration announced sweeping new sanctions, threatened a full embargo, and once again severely restricted the ability of Americans to travel there. It is also facilitating lawsuits against companies doing business with Cuba, and even ended an accord between Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation that permitted scouts to recruit Cuban players. National Security Advisor John Bolton, at a press conference, explained that, with the intent of “steering Americans dollars away from the Cuban regime… the Department of the Treasury will also implement further regulatory changes to restrict non family travel to Cuba, or in other words, ‘veiled tourism.’” This term is likely to encompass cultural tours, cruise ship stops, and attendance at events like the Habanos Cigar Festival.
After extended and arduous research, we’ve voted the HVC Cerro Maduro one of the best new releases of the year so far. Part of the mission of HVC Cigars, founded in 2011 by Reinier Lorenzo, was to pay homage to Havana City (where he lived for most of his life) and keep its Cuban tradition of handmade cigars alive. Such dedication is on fi ne display in this just released blend (after a minimum three years of aging) of a Nicaraguan wrapper and filler and Habano/Mexican San Andres binder. Made in Estelí, Nicaragua, in that country’s north central highlands, the Maduro is oily and earthy, with aromas of sweet cedar and a peppery, spicy, and slightly citrus tang. Smooth and easy summer perfect. $141 for a box of 20, famous smoke.com
LEAVES & BINDERS
Traditionalists may thrill to the leather furniture and dark lit glories of The Carnegie Club or Club Macanudo, but a slightly less fussy alternative is one we’ve treasured since Hudson Bar And Books opened in 1990 in Greenwich Village “the first truly dedicated cigar bar to debut on the New York scene,” as its mission statement reads. Décor is continental, with touches of Brit wit like monkey sconces and leopard print cushions that deftly compliment the book stuffed shelves, wood paneling, copper bar, and tin ceiling. You’ll see celebs reliably in just about all its now four locations (another on the Upper East Side, two more in the Czech Republic [seen here] and Poland), drawn by a huge selection of scotch and other whiskies (when was the last time you had a Glen farclas 40 Year Old a bargain at $40 a dram), light bites, and a smoke friendly atmosphere. barandbooks.cz/Hudson