Archive | May, 2006

Stogie News: Thin Bars of Gold

31 May 2006

Leave it to politicians and bureaucrats to exploit every loophole in a shameless effort squeeze as many hard-earned tax dollars out of Americans’ pockets as possible.

My home state – the Land of Lincoln – is only the latest addition to a group of 38 other states who are petitioning the federal government to reclassify little cigars as cigarettes. Why? Because, under current law, cigars can’t be taxed and regulated as heavily as cigarettes can.

As a consequence of the 1998 tobacco lawsuit, cigarette producers agreed to pay health care costs associated with cigarettes to state governments. But, with sales doubling in the last decade, state lawmakers see little cigars as thin bars of gold – a potential landmine in additional tax revenue.

As we all know, a little cigar is certainly not a cigarette. Not only is the tobacco completely different, but cigarettes are rolled with paper, not tobacco leaves.

Plus, the tobacco business as a whole is already one of the most taxed industries in the country. And regressive tax structures such as these hurt low-income individuals the most.

If taxation is slavery, then smokers are probably the most enslaved citizens in the United States.

I should mention that I can’t recommend these machine-made mini stogies, but individuals who enjoy them certainly shouldn’t be punished for their preference. With trumped up excise taxes on cigarettes nationwide, it’s no wonder many people are crossing over to little cigars as an alternative. It’s my hope, however, that these disenfranchised, overtaxed smokers make the jump to the full-blown, handmade stogies so many of us have grown to love.

While it’s anything but clear what Big Brother will do about little cigars at this point, the obvious option is to not force little cigar producers – and, in turn, little cigar smokers – to bear the burden of additional taxes on already outrageously-taxed goods.

If you ask me, the government has enough fingers in smokers’ pies as it is.

-Patrick A


Stogie Commentary: Senseless Fascism

30 May 2006

In an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, Calabasas, California city officials are lauding their draconian law which prohibits all smoking outdoors, except in city-approved designated “smoking areas.” In effect, the city government has laid claim to and commandeered the air, preventing adults from exercising their individual rights to free choice.

Most reasonable people observing the Calabasas calamity from the outside agree that outdoor smoking bans go way too far. No scientific or medical data have ever even suggested that banning smoking outdoors reduces exposure to second-hand smoke.

Which brings us to the unfortunate heart of this controversial issue: If Calabasas officials aren’t trying to “protect” nonsmokers, they must be trying to “protect” smokers, the very people who are consciously choosing to smoke. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, the aim of every smoking ban – whether outdoors or inside private buildings – is for the government to control the actions of consenting adults.

But what about the waitresses and bartenders who work in smoking facilities? What about all the nonsmokers who frequent these businesses? Aren’t smoking bans intended to protect these people from second-hand smoke?

First of all, the notion of second-hand smoke as an epidemic is totally overblown. While the AFL-CIO claims in a press release that “second-hand smoke is estimated to cause 65,000 deaths per year in the U.S.,” that number is just plain wrong. It’s 20 times the estimate of the Center for Disease Control, and even the CDC estimate was roundly rejected by a federal court.

Second, since public health isn’t really a factor, most nonsmokers who support smoking bans in private businesses do so because they don’t like the smell – not because they’re concerned for their health. “It gets in my hair,” they whine. Well, guess what? This is America. No one – I mean no one – has the right to ban the actions of others simply because they’re annoyed. That’s certainly not a principle America’s founding generation fought and died for.

What these aggravating gripers do have is the right to take their business elsewhere. As in any case in public policy, free markets – not government bans and regulations on private businesses – work perfectly. If there is a demand for smoke-free facilities, smart entrepreneurs will rise to the occasion. In fact, here’s a list of literally hundreds of nonsmoking facilities in my hometown provided by Smoke Free DC, the idiot group that squelched individual free choice in – of all places – our nation’s capital.

Finally, any waitress, bartender, or busboy who works in a smoking facility knew well in advance of his or her first day that customers’ smoke would come with the territory. If they’re so bothered by second-hand smoke, there’s plenty of other jobs out there to consider.

The bottom line is that consenting adults have rights to do with their bodies what they so please, and private business owners have rights to offer the accommodations they so choose. Whatever the perceived social ill, government regulation and intervention is almost certainly a “cure” worse than the disease.

-Patrick A


Announcing the Grand Opening of the Stogie Guys Store!

26 May 2006

The Stogie Guys proudly announce the launch of the Official Stogie Guys Store
…with plenty of time to get your order in before Fathers Day!

We’ve teamed up with CafePress to create a sharp line of Stogie Guys merchandise.

Think about it: Imagine how thrilled your dad would be to get a Stogie Guys golf shirt on June 18.

These hot items also make great gifts for bosses, colleagues, friends, and family.

Plus, when you buy official Stogie Guys merchandise, you can rest assured the small profit we make on your item will be spent exclusively on cigars to be reviewed right here at!

A mousepad is also currently available, and we have plans to add more items soon.

Feel free to leave us a comment with suggestions on what products you would like to see in the future.

Accept no substitutes or imitations; buy your official Stogie Guys gear now!

-The Stogie Guys


Stogie Exclusive: The DC Cigar Event of the Season

25 May 2006

Yes, that’s Patrick and I smoking a cigar with New York Times best-selling humorist P.J. O’Rourke.

We had the good fortune of attending the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s annual dinner gala on Tuesday night at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. At $250 a plate, it was worth every penny (especially since our employer footed the bill).

The evening began with an open bar reception (I couldn’t stop eating the coconut chicken hors d’oeuvres…or drinking the free booze, for that matter). What followed was an elaborate lamb and crab cake dinner complemented by noteworthy addresses from Mr. O’Rourke and famed libertarian journalist John Stossel.

Mr. O’Rourke, the most quoted author in The Penguin Dictionary of Humorous Quotations and – according to the Wall Street Journal – “the funniest writer in America,” is a stubborn, cigar-smoking critic of government, politicians, and whiny do-gooders. His keynote speech was routinely interrupted with well-deserved laughs and applause from a sell-out audience.

As great as the dinner and speeches were, however, the evening’s pinnacle was hands down the after-party in the “Liberty Lounge,” a smoky, open bar affair with – get this – loads of free stogies from our friends at JR Cigar!

Needless to say, having a cigar with the man who is credited as saying, “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys,” was not an experience I shall soon forget.

-Patrick A


Stogie Reviews: La Rosa Cubana Robusto

24 May 2006

Last week I told you about my visit to La Rosa Cubana, where handmade cigars are being produced right in the heart of midtown Manhattan.

I noted the joy of seeing a cigar made, but that left one very important question unanswered: How is the cigar? I lit up a La Rosa Cubana Robusto to find out.

This Robusto had a veiny Connecticut shade claro wrapper that reminded me of a Jamaican Macanudo (La Rosa Cubana also produces cigars with a Dominican Maduro wrapper) . The cigar itself was well constructed (it wasn’t too firm or too soft) and it had classic Robusto proportions: 5 inches x 50 ring gauge.

I found the stogie to have a sweet leathery smell when lit. The burn was perfectly even to the end, and the ash held firm at well beyond an inch.

The flavor of the cigar was influenced by the leathery smell, but a peppery taste was the most intense flavor that this mild to medium cigar provided. Ultimately, this cigar lacked the complexity of bigger-name cigars (which is to be expected given the small size of the operation). After all, there is no way that La Rosa Cubana can compete with massive companies for tobacco, and it doesn’t have the facilities for extended aging of tobacco.

And yet I thoroughly enjoyed this stogie. While lacking the sophistication expected of an after-dinner cigar, this stogie would work well as a late-afternoon smoke while one is enjoying the outdoors… say on a golf course or over a barbecue.

All you Stogie Guys in New York would be well advised to head over to La Rosa Cubana’s midtown factory/store, watch an experienced master roll you a cigar, and then light one up… taking pleasure in telling people that you’re not smoking a Cuban or a Dominican, but an authentic New York stogie.

All told, I give this cigar a solid three out of five stogies, and I particularly recommend it to those who enjoy a more mild cigar.

-Patrick S


Stogie Commentary: Everyone Deserves a Good Smoke

23 May 2006

Chances are you probably didn’t catch this article in Sunday’s Contra Costa Times about an Oakley, California man who hated his first cigar, but grew up to own two stogie stores (including his own brand).

But as a fastidious reader of every piece of news concerning the world of cigars, I wasn’t about to let this one fall through the cracks. “Why,” you’re probably asking, “is this esoteric tale worth relaying to all of us Stogie Guys?” Well, as it turns out, it provides the perfect opportunity for me to make two very important points.

First – and most obviously – if you don’t like your first cigar that certainly doesn’t mean you will never like any cigars. You owe it to yourself to at least try another. As in many cases in life, persistence pays off.

Now on to my second point: The man in the article, Tony Hemenes, was quoted as saying that “you are not going to find lower income people who like cigars.” Bullshit.

Regardless of the fallacy society developed that cigars are only for the rich and elite, stogies are for Jane Doe and John Everyman just as much as they are for Fidel Castro and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Many wonderful cigars cost less than the price of a Miller Lite at your local pub, and they’re sure to last much longer. Case in point: has already provided you with reviews of two very respectable cigars (see here and here) that cost less than $3 a smoke – and there are many more to come.

While I have a lot of respect for Mr. Hemenes as a successful entrepreneur in a commendable industry, I can’t agree with his assertion that stogies do not transcend class structures. A good smoke is for anyone – rich or poor, man or woman – who deserves a bit of flavorful relaxation.

-Patrick A


About Our Ratings System

22 May 2006 has designed and implemented a simple and effective ratings system whereby cigars receive anywhere from one to five stogies. Each review explains, in easy to understand terms, why we chose that particular rating for a given cigar. Our ratings system is described as follows:

One out of five stogies. These are cigars you would smoke if you had absolutely no choice. Say, if someone put a gun to your head.

Two out of five stogies. Decent at best, these cigars make tolerable companions while you mow the lawn. They’re not going to be terribly good, so it doesn’t matter if you can’t pay attention to them.

Three out of five stogies. These cigars leave something to be desired but are pretty respectable. We recommend taking them on the golf course.

Four out of five stogies. Now we’re getting somewhere. Enjoy these fine cigars after a delicious meal or with your favorite cocktail.

Five out of five stogies. These tasty, complex cigars are truly an occasion. We recommend you give these babies your full and undivided attention.

One final note: In our ongoing effort to make an open forum for all cigar enthusiasts, we welcome comments on our ratings from all readers. Submitted comments, however vulgar and inappropriate, are directly published without censorship.

The Stogie Guys