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La Casa del Habano

Bars
By Anatol Steven. 05.12.2013

La Casa del Habano

Save to foursquare Jeruzalemes 10
(entrance opposite Dzirnavu 41)
, Riga
Phone: 6733 8787
Email: lcdh@havanas.lv
Web: www.havanas.lv
Working hours: Mon-Sat 11.00 - 01.00, Sun 12.00 - 22.00,

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It’s great to get the chance to smoke a cigar while on a business trip rather than run the risk of damaging its flavor and burn by freezing it in the luggage on a long plane journey home. In Riga there’s only one place that specializes exclusively in smoky pleasures by both selling cigars and offering a comfortable lounge to puff them in.

La Casa del Habano is a Cuba-based franchise business with stores all over the world. The Indian businessman who opened the art-adorned, leather-sofa lounge in Riga – and another in Tallinn – sometimes makes an appearance and holds degustation events once a month or so. But the overriding aim is not to publicize the place, keeping it as chic and cliquey as possible. From the outside it looks like a regular little cigar store with the appropriate humidifier, the lounge area being hidden away at the back.

The English-speaking waitresses are super-knowledgeable and ready to assist and advise anyone, from expert to beginner. Cigars on offer reflect the range produced in Cuba and new deliveries are coming in all the time.

Montecristo Gran Reserva (€66.63 for one) is a rare cigar with only 5,000 boxes of 15 produced in 2011 from a 2005 tobacco harvest. We’ve seen prices range from C$127 (€88) in Toronto to €57 in Germany, so Riga is about average.

Additionally aged for at least five years prior to rolling and thereby pushing up the price, Gran Reserva is a version of the popular Montecristo No.2. Aficionados will be keen to get their hands on these cigars.

Another recent arrival is H Upmann Magnum 46 (€12.36), whose rich earthy flavors come out fully toward the middle. The mouthwatering taste is simultaneously refined, creamy and sweet with some noticeable hints of coffee.

Another outstanding smoke new at Casa is Cuaba Exclusivos (€11.14) from the famed Romeo y Julieta factory. Altogether milder, its mellow woodiness is not as strong but still packed full of flavor, earthy and spicy, though it tends to get slightly bitter towards the end.

Other brands on sale include Coniba, Romeo y Julieta, Partagas, Noyo de Monterrey and Trinidad. Edición Regional Báltico (€16.75) by El Rey del Mundo was produced in 1,200 boxes only and is an intriguing smoke, while the aromatic Vegas Robaina line of cigars were on special offer when we called in at Casa for less than €10 a cigar.

Premium rums, whiskies and other drinks are available to deepen the experience. You can get discounts of 20% if you take a full bottle, which can be kept under lock and key for your next visit. Ron Zacapa, aged 23 years, (€8.25 for 4cl, €144.42 a bottle) is a fantastic rum with a dense and memorable taste. Matusalem (€5.26, €115.54) is much lighter, accompanying a cigar exceptionally well.

Alternatively, relax in front of the flickering fireplace with a glass of smoky 12- or 18-year-old Macallan, Chivas Regal or Dalmore. Teas are on offer too. And if you think Casa is only for men, we’re told that the female clientele are at least as well-informed about cigars as the men.

As mentioned earlier, La Casa del Habano is the only location in Riga to combine cigar store and lounge bar alone, but other spots allowing a cigar to be smoked in a comfortable public area include the Grand Palace Hotel, the Hotel Garden Palace, the Betty Page Cocktail Bar and, in Jurmala, the Baltic Beach Hotel.




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