Cigar Tip: Six Basic Go-To Cigar Accessories

21 Feb 2019

You could spend almost as much time learning about cigar accessories as the cigars themselves. There’s a long history of cigar gadgets, with many of them being mostly useless.

That said, you do need some accessories for a cigar; after all, you won’t get far without a way to cut and light your cigar. To that end, here are five simple, inexpensive accessories worth using.

Djeep Lighter

A lighter is as simple as it gets, and the Djeep is pretty simple. It’s also dependable, has a large capacity, and it’s cheap, especially when you buy in bulk .

Jetlight Torch

Soft flame lighters are great for indoors (or when you’re traveling on a plane), but sometimes, especially outdoors, a butane torch works best. I’ve had a ton of torches over the years, including some very expensive ones, many of which have worked flawlessly. But when it comes to dependability (the key to a good torch), none other than the Ronson JetLite do so much for so less. You can find one for less than $5.

Palio Cutter

There’s nothing worse than a dull cutter that rips a cigar rather than cleanly slicing it. Many fulfill that purpose, though lately I’ve been really enjoying a Palio cutter I managed to pick up for just $10. Not only do the double blades effortlessly and effectively cut my cigar, but the concave design makes it an excellent resting place for a cigar.

Leather Cigar Case

I’ve had this particular case forever. Honestly, I have no idea where I got it. What I like about it is the versatile size (you can fit three coronas just as easily as three Churchills) and the low profile (it fits neatly in the inside pocket of a suit coat). Here’s a similar case on sale for $22.

Travel Case

When it comes to protecting cigars while traveling, nothing works better than a hard plastic case (like one from Xikar or Cigar Caddy). I’m especially a fan of the five-cigar size, which easily slips into a work or golf bag and holds enough cigars to get anyone through a day.

Boveda

Boveda packs aren’t the cheapest way to keep your cigars properly humidified, but they are the easiest. As long as you change them out when they dry out, they will work flawlessly.

Any other accessories you can’t live without?

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Arturo Fuente Rosado Sungrown Magnum R 54

19 Feb 2019

When Fuente introduced this line almost a decade ago it went with one trend and against another.

Cigars at that time were starting to get bigger, and Magnum R included four vitolas with ring gauges above 50, including a then-monstrous cigar (6 x 60).

Many cigar makers were also gravitating toward more powerful blends, seemingly competing to see who could get farthest up the Scoville scale. Not Fuente, at least not with Rosado Sungrown Magnum.

The blend of a thin sun-grown Ecuadorian wrapper and Dominican binder and filler was designed to be a flavorful smoke with medium strength. For my taste, they got it just right.

From the wrapper’s pre-light floral aroma to some light pepper in the final third, Rosado Sungrown Magnum is a most enjoyable smoke. The first note I registered was a sweetness at the start. Within a short time, leather and nuts began to intermingle with the sweetness.

As with many Fuente cigars, flavors in the Rosado Sungrown Magnum are nicely balanced.

Rosado Sungrown Magnum is not a highly complex cigar, and changes along the 6.25-inch frame were fairly subtle. Frankly, though, I wasn’t eager for the profile to morph too much because I found the overall experience so pleasant.

For this review, I smoked four Magnum R 54s. (The number denotes the ring gauge for all but the 44, which is named for the number of smokes per box; it has a 47 ring gauge.) Each burned slowly and evenly. Smoke production was excellent, with a light finish. The draw was near perfect.

At a retail price of around $8.50, I consider it a bargain. For those of you who favor Fuente’s more high-profile cigars such as the various Opus iterations or the elusive Shark, give the Rosado Sungrown Magnum line a try. I think you’ll be pleased.

I rate it four stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: El Güegüense Corona Gorda

17 Feb 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

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I was very impressed with El Güegüense when I first smoked the debut from Nick Melillo’s Foundation Cigar Co. in the Robusto format, but for my money the Corona Gorda size is the best in the line. Woodsy with roast nut notes, black pepper, and sweet earthiness. Well-constructed with medium- to full-bodied flavors.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Connoisseur

15 Feb 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

This week I had the opportunity to visit the cigar shop and headquarters of PG Cigars in McLean, Virginia. (If you’re in the area, I’d highly recommend a visit; I’d venture to guess the small, somewhat cramped stripmall storefront has more cigars for sale that have been aged 20 years or more than anywhere else in the country.) Among other items, I picked up a 25th Anniversary Connoisseur (6 x 52), a gorgeous, delicious smoke that was released in 2015 to commemorate—you guessed it—the company’s 25th anniversary. Like most PG offerings, the Connoisseur is not an inexpensive specimen. It costs about $20. But you get an amazing, well-constructed, harmonious experience. Raisin bread, oak, cedar, mushroom, and salt all combine to yield an elegant, unique flavor. When I reviewed this cigar nearly three years ago, I awarded it our highest rating. I don’t feel any differently today.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Tip: Smoke Two Cigars at Once

13 Feb 2019

[Many cigar enthusiasts eventually come to a point where they go from being someone who enjoys cigars without thinking about it too much, to someone who enjoys cigars and wants to know why they enjoy one cigar or another. For that person, I recommend a suggestion we first made eight years ago: “Develop Your Palate by Smoking Two Cigars at Once” (which is as true today as when we first published it).]

Developing your palate for tasting cigars comes down mostly to one thing: smoking lots of cigars and paying close attention to the flavors you notice. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to accelerate the learning curve.

For one, you can make sure your palate is clean. Sure, a neat scotch or a good rum on the rocks may be my preferred drink pairings, but there is no substitute for for some sparkling water when I want to make sure I’m picking up the full spectrum of flavors in a cigar.

An excellent, but less traditional, way to improve your ability to pick up nuances in cigar flavors is to light up two at the same time. By that I obviously don’t mean drawing on two cigars at once, but rather lighting up two and alternating tastes to pick up differences and similarities. The concept is standard in wine, where multiple similar wines are sampled either vertically (the same wine in different vintages) or horizontally (where multiple wines of the same vintage and type are sampled). The results can be striking. By tasting similar wines, it becomes easier to focus on the nuances and subtle differences.

The same holds true for cigars. The best way to taste multiple cigars is by smoking similar cigars. (Like tasting a champagne against a full bordeaux, you’re not likely to learn much by tasting a mild Connecticut-wrapped cigar against a full-bodied Nicaraguan puro.)

Light up a full-bodied Nicaraguan cigar and you’re likely to pick up the same general flavors: earth, spice, maybe leather or cedar. However, light up two different full-bodied Nicaraguans (as I recently did in the photo above) and you’ll notice more specifics, such as the type of spice (sweeter cinnamon versus black pepper). Secondary flavors, like cocoa, coffee, and clove will also begin to stand out.

As long as you continue to keep your palate clean, you’ll be amazed at what flavors you can “discover” in a cigar when searching for differences between two cigars that smoked alone would be described in very similar terms. Plus, alternating between two cigars forces you to smoke each slowly, which will also help you notice the distinct qualities of each (smoking too quickly will overheat the tobacco and taint the flavor).

You certainly wouldn’t want to smoke most of your cigars this way, because the fun of cigars is relaxing and reflecting, not having to worry about keeping multiple cigars lit or concentrating on the small details of the flavors. Still, if every so often you smoke two (or more) at once to exercise your palate, I think you’ll find it easier to enjoy all the depth and complexity that fine cigars have to offer.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Epicure

11 Feb 2019

When I started smoking cigars, the Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur was my first real go-to smoke. I went through lots of them. I was captivated by the smooth, creamy texture and strength that seemed ideally suitable for my palate. Some years later, in 2006, I reviewed the Excalibur Epicure and gave it four stogies.

In that review, I remarked that I could remember the first one I smoked. I still do. It was at Signature Cigars in Rockville, Maryland. Although I’d had other cigars, this was the one that really made an impression and let me know smoking cigars could be something special.

I think it was recently enjoying the Tatuaje Verocú that got me to thinking about other cigars I hadn’t had in a while. So I bought a five-pack of Epicures, a robusto (5.25 x 50). They retail these days for a little under $8, but I picked them up online for under $3 each. Quite a bargain.

At first glance, Excalibur looked exactly as I remembered with a smooth, golden brown Connecticut shade wrapper. When I lit one up, I felt I could have been back in that Maryland cigar lounge.

The tasty blend of Dominican, Honduran, and Nicaraguan filler inside a Connecticut Broadleaf binder hit the spot. It started with a bit of pepper mixed with sweetness. For a few more puffs, the pepper increased then faded as I tasted some wood and coffee.

There weren’t a lot of changes, but that was by no means a negative, as the Excalibur was satisfying from beginning to end. Each of those I’ve smoked burned evenly, produced lots of smoke, and had an excellent draw.

When Excalibur was introduced in the early 1990s, it was designed to be a bit less powerful than the regular Hoyo do Monterrey line. It was a hit during the cigar boom and continues to sell.

These days there are 18 vitolas, including Natural and Maduro. They range in size from a 3-inch miniature to the 7.25-inch No. 1.

I recommended them before. I recommend them again. Excalibur is a fine cigar still worthy of four stogies.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Alonso Menendez Connecticut Corona

10 Feb 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

I smoked my first Alonso Menendez in Brazil in 2003. It would be a few years before I saw the brand again, when Alonso Menendez (and Dona Flor) were brought to the U.S. market. Legal issues and other challenges meant Alonso Menendez was pulled from the market for a time before being introduced again around 2012. This Alonso Menendez blend features plenty of Mata Fina tobacco (for which Brazil is known) and a Connecticut wrapper (though the origin of that wrapper is unclear). The result is a well-constructed, medium-bodied cigar with notes of coffee, toasted walnuts, cream, and light spice.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys