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Best Stogies (1979) Los Angeles 2010 

Leon Cigar

There are plenty of cigar shops around L.A., some very good, but not many like Leon Cigar. It’s old-school, unpretentious bordering on rustic, and does only a few things very well. Founded in a narrow Koreatown storefront in 1979 by Gilberto Leon, who rolled cigars for a total of 73 years in Cuba and the U.S., Leon Cigar features a handful of select smokes on its menu, each one hand-rolled in the store and made from specially selected leaves grown in the Dominican Republic from Cuban seed. Cigar aficionados come from all over L.A. to get their stogies and inhale the authentic ambience. The walls are decorated by many pictures of Leon, as well as a few of the obligatory signed celebrity shots. According to Marie Cabrera — Leon’s great-niece, who now runs the place — what sets Leon’s smokes apart are their freshness, their taste and their easy draw. Considering Gilberto was born in Pinar del Rio, a town known for the best tobacco in Cuba, it’s easy to see why great cigars run in the family’s blood. 3956 1/2 W. 6th St., Koreatown. (213) 385-3375. —Adam Gropman

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