RUSH: Rob in Lansing, Michigan, great to have you, sir. Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush, for taking my call. I appreciate all that you do.
RUSH: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate that.
CALLER: I have an Open Line Friday question for you about cigars, if that’s all right.
RUSH: Sure. Fire away.
CALLER: I’m not a big cigar smoker, but I’ve had the opportunity to try several different Cuban cigars, and there was one in particular, I don’t know if you’re familiar with it but it’s called a Partagas, P-a-r-t-a-g-a-s.
RUSH: Oh yeah, Partagas. What kind of Partagas was it?
CALLER: Oh, well, Corona Senior.
RUSH: Ah, Partagas Corona Senior, yes.
CALLER: And, out of all the ones I tried, I just liked the consistency —
RUSH: I’m sure you got that from an illegal immigrant who brought it with him, right?
CALLER: No. No. Let’s just say I went to Canada, yeah, that’s it.
RUSH: Ah. Okay, you got it from an illegal immigrant in Canada. Okay. Okay.
CALLER: There you go. Well, what can I get in the United States that is legal that I don’t have to go to an illegal immigrant to get it from? Something fairly similar, something close to —
RUSH: Okay, now you’re putting me in a tough position here because for every type of cigar I give you I’m gonna make angry other manufacturers or hurt their feelings or what have you.
CALLER: Well, this is an opportunity for you, Rush, because it’s my job to make you look good.
RUSH: Yeah, you’re exactly right. So you want a cigar that will remind you of the Cuban that you smoked, and I’m gonna tell you something. The place in Cuba where the premium cigars come from is a place called the Vuelta Abajo, and it’s near a little town called Pinar Del Rio. , just like Bordeaux in France, it happens to be the one place on earth that God made perfect for growing all three elements of the cigar: the binder, the filler, and the wrapper tobacco. It’s the only place in the world where all three types are grown in the same place. Now, the Fuente family has managed to do that in the Dominican Republic, and that is the Opus X. If you can get hold of any size of Fuente Fuente Opus X.
CALLER: Opus X.
CALLER: Writing it down.
RUSH: Opus X, it’s got a beautiful band. It’s a strong cigar, as Cubans are. But it’s tough. You say, “Can you name for me a Cabernet Sauvignon from California that will taste like a Chateau Petrus from France?” No, that’s why Cabernet Sauvignon is what it is or Chateau Petrus is what it is. But the Dominican cigars and the domestic cigars are good in and of themselves for different ways. The Cuban cigars are unique, and they’re not as good they used to be, by the way, because the Cubans lost their subsidy from the Soviets, which was $5 billion a year.
The cigar fad hit back in the nineties, and the Cubans started mass producing to keep up with demand around the world. They stopped the aging process. They hired young kids to be rollers that weren’t as good. For a long time people who bought Cubans said that they were too tight to draw, you’d get a hernia trying to smoke one because they were too tightly packed. They’ve gone back and forth on the quality control. So it depends on what year you get a Cuban from what I’m told. But let me give you two other. One of my favorite cigars is the La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel.
CALLER: La Flor Dominicana.
RUSH: La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel. That means the Ligero portion of the tobacco plant is the richest.
CALLER: A-ha. Didn’t know that.
RUSH: And it is kick butt.
RUSH: This cigar. It’s a short, it’s about six inches, bigger than a Robusto. The Fuentes also make a great cigar called a Don Carlos.
CALLER: I think I’ve had that, actually.
RUSH: In various shapes. The Ashton people make good mild cigars, too. And there is a Partagas, domestic brand, made, too, the Partagas number 10 or something, I forget what it is, but there’s a domestic Partagas that’s very good as well.
CALLER: I see.
RUSH: The band looks identical to the Cuban band. But, man, I’ll tell you, domestic cigars have gotten so good. Some of them are really, really good. And some of them, people tell me now, they prefer to Cubans. In some cases they’re made better, quality is better. But the Opus X is a unique cigar because the Fuentes found a way to grow all three tobacco types in one plantation.
CALLER: I see. Well, it’s a nice education. I appreciate your time and —
RUSH: Well, give those a shot. But let’s see, what else? I don’t know. This is the problem. I don’t mean to be forgetting or disrespecting any of the others ’cause my gosh, the Davidoff, the Davidoff Double R, the Double Corona if you like a big, long cigar, is good.
RUSH: Now, the Padrons, those are Nicaraguan cigars. Now, you talk about unique, you’re not gonna find a cigar that tastes anything like a Padron.
RUSH: They’re out of Nicaragua, and in Marvin Shanken’s magazine, Cigar Aficionado, for years they were finishing number one in every category.
RUSH: So you’ve got a lot to choose from there.
CALLER: Right, right.
RUSH: What do you drink when you have a cigar?
CALLER: Well, several different things. I guess the basic is — can I say, it’s an adult beverage, it’s all right?
CALLER: I like scotch or a cognac, and when I lived abroad I used to drink Vecchia Romagna, which is a kind of Italian brandy.
RUSH: Yeah, that’s great, that’s good.
CALLER: Almost like butterscotch.
RUSH: Oh. Sounds good.
CALLER: Yeah, so hard liquor with a cigar, of course.
RUSH: And at what time of the day do you have your first cigar?
CALLER: Well, I’m not a huge smoker, you know, maybe I do five or six a year.
RUSH: Oh, well, for crying out loud, five or six a year?
CALLER: (laughing) But I’m interested in them, so that’s why I thought I would ask. You talked about ’em last week on Friday, and that’s what made me think about them.
RUSH: Well, always, as you get into this, there’s a theory that I think is wrong. And that is you start the day mild and you build and build until after dinner at night, that’s when you smoke the strongest cigar. And that’s a crock. What you should do is smoke your favorite cigar all the time. And the first cigar of the day can oftentimes be the best one because that’s when the palate is the most receptive to the unique flavors of the cigar.
CALLER: I see. Well, when I do smoke, I smoke ’em in the evening, hopefully after my daughter goes to bed, you know, I don’t want to smoke around — my wife doesn’t really like it in the house, but she lets me get away with it once in a while. Maybe that’s why I have a limit of, you know, five or six a year.
RUSH: Well, when you really get into this —
RUSH: — you live in Lansing, so this time of year, going outside to smoke a cigar, the thing is gonna fall apart on you because it’s cold and there’s no humidity.
CALLER: And there’s snow on the ground now.
RUSH: Well, yeah. So you need to be able to smoke inside. Therefore, you need an HVA system called thermal — blah, blah, blah, blah, blah — oh, I forget the name of it. It’ll come to me in a moment. But what it does, it floods the bottom of your room with cold air, and it rises, as the air warms, takes the smoke with it out of the room. It doesn’t re-circulate through filters and it takes the smoke out of the room so that the next day nobody knows you were smoking a cigar in there.
CALLER: Wow, that’s fantastic.
RUSH: Yeah. A guy named George Dunham designed this system, and back in the days when you could smoke in restaurants, some of them had it.
CALLER: I see.
RUSH: It was thermal… I’m having a mental block on this. It’s one other word and I’m having a mental block. I’ll think of it before the program ends. You either consult my website or keep the radio on and I’ll have the name for you.
CALLER: Well, I’ll be listening all afternoon, as I do every day.
RUSH: Okay, cool. Thanks for the call.
RUSH: Thermal displacement is the ventilation system I have in my home that vacates cigar smoke and the aroma out of the room. Thermal displacement. I couldn’t remember the name. But I just did.