A note to Cigar Connoisseurs

It is with great pleasure that we offer the HUMATIC® JOURNAL™ to all cigar lovers worldwide.

We have witnessed the rebirth of cigar enjoyment in the last few years. Thousands of individuals discovered the many rewards of an enhanced life style.

During this period we saw the birth of Cigar Aficionado and Smoke magazines. Along the way dozens of regional and pseudo-national publications have come and gone. Hundreds of wanna-be’s got into the cigar business. Most products introduced proved to be of dubious worth. While a few others produced items that are truly note worthy.

One of the best items that came out of the cigar renaissance is the HUMATIC® 50 and 125. These highly functional low cost items allowed thousands of people to enter the cigar hobby and maintain and condition their cigars for maximum enjoyment, without spending a great deal of money on costly humidors.

As the cigar industry evolved the HUMATIC® HD™ (disc), HS™ (square) and HR™ (rectangle) were made available along with the sensational HUMATIC® Scientific Solution. These items allowed thousand of more cigar lovers to step up to full blown humidor humidification control, at popular prices.

Four things are for sure:

  • Cigar smoking is here to stay.
  • The cigar and accessory business has stabilized.
  • Offering information in major magazines is costly.
  • HUMATIC® JOURNAL™ offers valuable and timely information that could not otherwise be offered in established trade publications at no cost.

For the casual cigar lover to the seasoned connoisseur, HUMATIC® JOURNAL™ has something for you.

HUMATIC® JOURNAL™ guides you to: Choosing a cigar and lighting up. How to properly store, maintain and condition cigars so your investment actually improves. Creating a successful cigar lunch or dinner. Selecting suitable spirits to complement your chosen smoke and ambiance. Exhibiting proper cigar etiquette.

HUMATIC® JOURNAL™ visits the worlds undisputed premiere tobacco growing regions in Cuba. Witness each step of producing the worlds finest cigars inside the legendary factories of Havana.

HUMATIC® JOURNAL™ frequents the finest cigar divans in Europe, S.E. Asia and the US. Learn from international experts what makes a great cigar and how to enjoy it. Relish an unencumbered life to the fullest.

HUMATIC® JOURNAL™ is created and produced by Mr. Michael Del Prete. He is recognized as one of the worlds leading authorities on cigars. Share his international travels and insight in the world of cigars. Experience the life style that captivates many of the worlds most interesting people. Mr. Del Prete is a true patron of the eighth art. The art of living.

Vintage Automobiles in Cuba

Vintage automobiles in Cuba. Part 1

1953 Oldsmobile.
License plates that read particular indicates this is a privately owned vehicle.

There are hundreds of ‘vintage’ automobiles in Cuba. The majority are 1950 – 1959. By US standards, they are considered American Classics. These cars are kept operating by the most ingenious Cuban people. Parts for these cars have not been made in the US for decades. This combined with the current trade embargo between the US and Cuba makes exact replacement parts virtually impossible to obtain.

Parts are made as they are needed by local machine shops. In other instances parts are transferred from cars of different makes and years. This 1953 Oldsmobile uses a generator from a Sovia Lada. The transmission is 1956 Olds. The differential is 1954 Buick. An oversized battery is located in the trunk. It is from a boat.

Inside Cigar Factories Part 2

This is where the rough leaves turn into beautiful cigars and the magic takes place.

Enjoying your work. Havana style.
It was 10:30 AM at the La Corona factory in Old Havana. This lady has moistened seasoned premium tobacco leaves that were grown in the Pinar del Rio region of Cuba.

She, as well as dozens of other women carefully remove the center vein of each tobacco leaf.

This woman is smoking a cigar produced in another part of the factory. Her morning cigar choice is a double corona.

In Cuban cigar factories the workers are allowed to smoke as many cigars as they want during work hours.

Part #2

Bundles of tobacco leaves are stored for several months to several years. This is done in a warehouse area of the cigar factory. After the leaves are separated and graded according to size, color and quality, they are individually hung in a movable frame with racks. The leaves go through their first fumigation process. This kills beetle larvae that can hatch at temperatures over 82ºF/28ºC and make holes in the finished cigar.

Tobacco leaves are laid on a clean cloth that is on the floor. The leaves are graded according to quality. Leaves that are torn, ripped or have holes are set aside and later used in the fabrication of machine made cigars.

Leaves are then separated according to size and characteristics. Damaged or odd sized leaves are used for machine made cigars.

The dry flat leaves are now brought to tables where they are separated according to color.

The center vein must be carefully removed from each leaf prior to making cigars. This is illustrated in the photo on this page.

Different areas on each floor of the cigar factory are utilized for specific steps of manufacturing premium cigars.

Dozens of women sit at round tubs and painstakingly remove the center vein from each leaf of tobacco.

Click here to see the photos from Inside Cigar Factories Part 1

Clipping Cigars

You get one chance only. Use the proper equipment.

After selecting your favorite conditioned cigar, it is time to enjoy your smoke. Cut or trim the cap or end of the cigar only. This is done so the cigar will draw easily. Care must be taken so do not cut too deeply into the body of the cigar. If you cut too deeply, the cigar could unravel.

The scissors come in two sizes. These offer the most control for cutting. Scissors can cut the cap of cigars from 24 to 60 ring gauge. The larger size is ideal for table top use. The smaller size is ideal for hand or pocket carrying. The larger size shown is stainless steel. The smaller size is brass plated.

Cigar scissors have been long time favorites of cigar connoisseurs. High quality cigar scissors can be found in premiere smoking lounges worldwide. They offer the greatest control for precision cutting.

Care should be exercised when using or purchasing cigar scissors. Avoid low cost copies that are poorly made. Cheap cutters and scissors can make rough cuts and can ruin a treasured cigar.

Shown are high quality Solingen scissors from Germany. The large size retails in the US and S.E. Asia for about $75.00-$100.00. Other desirable scissors are offered by Davidoff of Geneva. In the next issue of HUMATIC® JOURNAL™ we will show pocket sized, single and double edged cutters.

Vintage Cigars

Vintage and limited production cigars are collector items.

Dunhill Churchill Tubos

With every great cigar there is a great story. I was visiting Mr. Teddy Lam at the Cohiba Cigar Divan in HK in Sept. 1998. We were discussing the HUMATIC® JOURNAL™. I wanted to show our cigar audience as many things as possible.

Teddy went into his ‘private’ selection of exotic smokes. He produced a pearl white tube. He asked me if I ever saw a Cuban made Dunhill cigar? I could not take my eyes off of the tube. As he took a dark, oily Churchill size cigar out of the tube, I said… “not yet.”

He used all his senses and spiritually approved this 30+ year old masterpiece cigar.

I asked the price. I was told HK $3,850.00 – I calculated that was USD $500.00, per stick! He clipped the cigar and handed it to me. I was surprised. I was more surprised in the immediate rich flavor and soon to follow somatic rapture this elegant bit of history offered.

A rare breed.

It could be stamps, coins, wines, radios, automobiles, even cigars. It is recognized that young age collectors display an exceptional appreciation for unusual things.

Collectibles play an important part of our civilization and culture. Quality items from yesterday support the foundation of tomorrow.

Cohiba 30th Anniversary
Cohiba, originally produced as a gift for visiting dignitaries. Cohiba, later offered to the world became an instant success. In 1996 Cohiba celebrated its 30th Anniversary by offering this ONE TIME cigar made with hand selected vintage leaves and identified by a special band.

Today, one jar (25 sticks) of these magnificent cigars sells in Europe or S.E. Asia for USD $4,500.00

Sizes & Shapes of Cigars

Cigars are usually tubular in shape.
Shown are: The Pyramid, the Torpedo and the Culebra

Torpedo or perfecto shaped cigars. Torpedo or perfecto shaped cigars are rolled in a form that is smaller at each end, or fatter in the middle. About one inch into the torpedo subtle flavors surface. Half way into the torpedo powerful flavors develop. The torpedo cigar reaches its most potent stage during the last 1/3 of its life.

A variety of shapes and sizes of cigars.
The shape and size depends on what the smoker desires. The length of the cigar determines the amount of time the cigar can be smoked. If the smoker wants a brief smoke, they select a short cigar. If the smoker has enough time to enjoy a 90-160 smoking experience, they will select a longer cigar. The diameter of the cigar usually determines the amount of taste or flavor and the draw the cigar can offer. If the smoker wants a light or mild smoke, they usually select a thin cigar. Conversely, if the smoker wants a richer or full bodied smoke, they choose a thicker cigar.

Different leaves give the cigar its power.
Leaves come from different parts of the tobacco plant. The leaves near the top of the plant are called ligero. The ligero leaf has the strongest flavor and effect. It is exposed to the most sun light and is the oldest. The ligero leaf is the thickest among the leaves of the plant. Because of the thickness of the top or ligero leaf, it is usually rolled into large diameter or ring gauge cigars. Thinner cigars have very little or no ligero leaf in their construction. Thus, thicker cigars usually offer a stronger effect Vs. thinner cigars with little or no top leaf that produce mild to medium cigars.

Cuban made pyramid or figurado shaped cigars. From left to right: Vegas Robina, Montecristo #2, H. Upmann #2, Romeo Y Julieta Belicosos Fino, Cohiba pyramid, Bolivar Belicosos Fino


Shape determines cigar taste and strength.

Pyramid or figurado shaped cigars.
Pyramid shaped cigars are rolled into a cone shape and are thus smaller at one end. The pyramid cigar builds in flavor, intensity and complexity as it is smoked. The pyramid is the strongest during the last 1/3 of its life. The newest Cuban pyramid is the Vegas Robina. It was introduced in 1997. The Montecristo #2 is considered the benchmark of pyramids. The H. Upmann #2 is produced at the Jose Marti factory. The Romeo Y Julieta Belicosos Fino is an earthy tasting gem. The Cohiba pyramid is ultra rare. A box of 10 Cohiba pyramids sells for USD $2,500-$4,000. The Bolivar Belicosos Fino is the strongest of the lot.

The Culebra. This is the most imaginative shaped cigar shown on this page. The Culebra cigar is actually three identical sized cigars, rolled into a braid.

Each cigar is about 40 ring x 5″. When the Culebra is made, it is moistened and formed into this extraordinary shape. After braiding the cigars together, they are tied with hemp at each end to maintain this remarkable shape. Shown is the Cuban Partagas Culebra. Each cigar is smoked separately.

No End to Unusual Shapes and Sized of Cigars. Expert cigar rollers can produce a variety of unusual shapes and sized of cigars. In future issues of HUMATIC&® JOURNAL™ we will show cigars that were rolled into the exact shape of a pipe!

In 1995, Gerard of Geneva auctioned cigars that were over 40″ in length. They sold for USD $1,500.00 each.

Hand-made Cigars

Hand made cigars are a most rewarding pleasure.
They are also the most labor intensive of all tobacco products.

Veteran roller producing the world famous MONTECRISTO A.
This cigar is 47 ring x 9 1/4″

It is the hand made cigar which has driven the rebirth of the cigar industry. The hand made cigar is made from the same three components as the machine made cigar, with one major exception.

The filler is the main part of the cigar. This is made from three different whole leaves.

Each of the leaves utilized come from a different growing region, sometimes different countries (with the exception of Cuba.) These leaves are taken from different parts of the tobacco plant. Leaves from different parts of the tobacco plant will have different strengths and taste. It is this mixture that gives the cigar its distinctive flavor and individual taste.


The binder in hand made cigars is always an entire leaf that simply holds the filler in place. The binder leaf is a rough looking leaf and gives little or no taste to the finished cigar. Some Cuban cigars use two binder leaves.


The wrapper is the final leaf. The wrapper gives the cigar its appearance and should be the highest quality. Wrapper leaves are thin, delicate and fairly vein free. Wrapper leaves come in a variety of colors, from light green, to tan, to maduro or black. Maduro does not come from Cuba.

Secret Cuban Cigar Box Codes

Starting January 1999

Havana Factories
Ciudad de La Habana – Havana

Carlos Balino, formerly El Rey del Mundo, CB EGD
Briones Montoto, formerly Romeo Y Julieta, BM EDC
Ela Laguito, formerly, EL EUN
Fernandeo Perez German, formerly Partagas, FPG EAT
Miguel Fernandez Roig, formerly La Corona, FR EOG
Jose Marti, formerly H. Upmann, JM ECA
Juan Cano Sainz, formerly Por Larranaga, PL EEO
Heros de Moncads, HM ENI

Month Number Codes Year Number Codes
January UN 1 N
February UE 2 E
March UT 3 T
April UA 4 A
May UG 5 G
June UI 6 I
July UD 7 D
August UO 8 O
September UC 9 C
October NU 0 U
November NN
December NE

The Cuban Government places secret codes on the bottom of each box of cigars. As of January 1999 this code has just been changed. Above is the new code. Example: A box marked ECA UDCC, indicates manufactured at the Jose Marti factory in July of 1999.

Smoking Cigars in Bangkok, Thailand

Welcome to La Casa del Habano
The Oriental Hotel in Bangkok Thailand
48 Oriental Avenue, Bangkok 10500
Phone: (662) 267-1596 Fax: (662) 267-1597

Mr. Veerawat Mingkwan is the shop manager. Ms. Nisita Piengprasitporn is the PCC Executive Assistant and Ms. Varaporn Lekachinabutr, is a retail sales executive. This highly qualified sales team offers a full selection of Cuban Cigars. La Casa del Habano also presents executive level humidors and a variety of cigar cutters, leather cases and other accessories. Visitors feel most welcome.

The magnificent Oriental Hotel is located adjacent to the city river. When greeted at the lobby door, one is immediately offered hospitality found no where else in the world. The lobby is brimming with the embodiment of Royal Thai Culture.

La Casa del Habano is located just outside the lobby and adjacent to the pool area and international cuisine restaurants. La Casa del Habano is the personification of a true Havana smoking divan. It is a most unexpected but very welcome sanctuary for cigar aficionados visiting Bangkok.


Guests for Europe, Asia, North and South America enjoy Bangkok, The Oriental and Cigars at La Casa.

Executive Assistant Ms. Nisita Piengprasitporn enjoys a vintage Cohiba lancero, while offering guests a full selection of Cuban rums and classic cognacs. Nisita prefers panatela size and petite corona size cigars.