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Reported on:
Fri, 2018-06-08 19:00
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Cigar fans in Lebanon

A luxury item for some, a work of art for others, the cigar occupies a very special place in Lebanon. The country even ranks among the most important cigar importers in the world. Why?

Over the years, Lebanon has shown its passion for cigars. The Duty Free at Beirut’s airport contains a chive “ Casa del Habano”, a world-famous cigar shop that also opened in Achrafieh near Sassine Place. Other signs are present in the Lebanese territory such as “Akiki’s cigars” in Downtown Beirut as well as many “Cigar lounge” present in the Lebanese capital. Unfortunately, there aren’t any official rates of the exact number of signs in Lebanon. One of the signs’ representatives who wished to remain anonymous said that Lebanon could become a cigar platform in the Near East, nothing less. Rivalry among the different signs could be provoked.

According to an official source, cigars of Cuban origin could represent over 90% of the Lebanese importation. The reputation of the Cuban cigars explains this overwhelming majority. From the famous Cohiba of Fidel Castro to Romeo y Julieta and other Monte Cristo and Partagas, these Cuban products are the most appreciated in Lebanon. Proof of quality but also wealth. Like an Yves Saint-Laurent suit or a Chanel n°5 suit, the Cuban cigar is first and foremost a ceremonial sign. But not only for Anthony Rizk. “French people appreciate vintage wine such as a good Bordeaux or a Burgundy, Lebanese also appreciate quality”, he explains with gusto. The 10% remaining come from Central American countries such as Nicaragua and Santo Domingo. Some are of a Venezuelan origin but either official information can confirm this rumor.

There is a cigar manufacture in South Lebanon, a local Cuban cigar manufacture managed by a few passionate Lebanese. Several traders from Beirut say that those cigars are "deformed" and have nothing to do with the imported cigars.

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