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BIG CIGARS, TINY COUNTRY

My driver informs me that the La Casa del Habano store is accross the street at No. 22 B avenue de la Porte-Neuve. I make haste to this lovely and well-equipped new shop, whereupon I meet its proprietor, a propitious and happy gent named Jean-Claude Reichling. Well stocked with Bolivar, Punch and Partagas, Jean-Claude loads me up with Bolivar Royal Coronas (the darkest wrappers I’ve seen in 10 years) and Partagas Lusitanias (a year of age-not quite of diapers, but smokable nonetheless).

I make frequent stops at his “magasin” (that’s “store” for you non-francophiles) during my stay. On one visit Jean-Claude gives a gift of 10 triple coronas (ring size of a double robusto, length between a double corona and an “A”) rolled by the old maestro from the Partagas factory in Havana, Alfredo Perez-Brito. The cigar is surprisingly light, the perfect morning “biggie”, smooth and graceful. One day, the director of “Falling Through” decides it’s a good idea for me to smoke in a scene. Thus, the prop man goes to Jean-Claude and returns with 10 Partagas Serie D. No. 4 robustos, all of which I smoke in the eight days of filming.

When young, the Serie D. can be very airy. When mature, it is the best of robustos, and these D’s were superb. I smoke the last one to the nub after fellow cast member (and friend from “Naked Lunch”) Roy Scheider and I dine. To Luxembourg, “I shall return.” Did Patton-who became a sort of patron saint of Luxembourg after he kicked the Nazis out near the end of World War 2-say that?

No I believe it was General Doug Mac, referring to his million-acre tobacco plantation in Manila. In any case, I’ll be back.

Posted: Monday, November 08, 1999 on Cigar Aficionado by Peter Weller