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Diplomatic Changes Mean Cuban Cigars Will Go Out of Style Eventually, Louisville Shop Owner Says

Alix Mattingly

More people will soon be able to travel to Cuba, purchase $100 worth of the country's once-banned cigars and bring them back home.

Under new policies introduced by President Obama last week that seek to normalize relations with the communist country, the mystique of Cuban cigars may soon taper off. That's the take from one Louisville cigar seller.

“It’s something you haven’t been able to get for so long, that you want it," said Gayle Sallee, owner of Kremer’s Smoke Shoppe on Brownsboro Road. "But once you try it, I think you’ll realize that it’s not it’s not much better."

WFPL spoke with Sallee, who has been in the cigar business for decades, about what this change in policy could mean for the world-famous Cuban cigars.
Do Cuban cigars still have an allure among cigar aficionados?
“They used to be the most elite cigar back in the day and now there are so many other companies, say for instance Fuente [cigars]—their dad came from Cuba. Their factory and everything is Dominican Republic ... and they basically make the same quality of cigars that Cubans used to be.”
Do you Obama's new policies to impact the way people perceive Cuban cigars?
“I think a lot of people will want to try it because they've heard about it from their grandfather, their father or they maybe tried it. So, it will become a very good selling cigar starting out. But there’s so many good quality cigars of other companies.”

Sallee believes if they are eventually sold in the U.S. they may cost as much as $25, which is around what they cost in Cuba, according to NPR.

Is it hard to get Cuban cigars illegally?
"You have to go to Canada, you have to go to South America, buy it and then sneak it in, so it would be pretty hard now. Some customers have told me that they have figured ways to get them. They’ll order them from Canada, a friend of theirs will go up, bring it across the border and then ship it to them or something.”
Have you tried a Cuban cigar?
“I have in the past. I thought it was good but it wasn’t great.”


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