`If you`re interested in cigars, we`re already friends,` says James Suckling, Cigar Aficionado Magazine`s man in Havana. He`s an American based in Italy who has been coming to Cuba since 1992 and agreed to dispense some advice on a recent visit. We`re sitting in leather easy chairs in the Conde de Villaneuva cigar shop in Old Havana, where the air hangs sweet and sticky with the essence of past cigars. The cheapest handmade variety here is Romeo y Julieta's short Corona, in individual metal tubes for about $3 (about Rs 80) apiece. Top of the line is Cohiba`s Esplendido, at $20 ( about Rs 800) each. Suckling and I are smoking Hoyo de Monterrey`s Hoyo Corona, a smooth, sweet-smelling cigar perfect for beginners. He`s getting a cedar or a nutty flavour from his. I`ve been inhaling too much and my throat burns.