Archive | September, 2006

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler XII

29 Sep 2006

In our ongoing effort to make as entertaining and reader-friendly as possible, each Friday we’ll post a sampler of quick cigar news and stogie-related snippets to tide you over for the weekend. We call ‘em Friday Samplers. Enjoy.

1) Will another major U.S. city bite the dust? Fascists in Houston certainly hope so. A smoking ban has already been in effect in the Space City for most workplaces since last year – including restaurants – but now a “public safety committee” is pushing to expand the hypocrisy to stand-alone bars. According to the Houston Chronicle, the entire Lone Star State may be patiently waiting to follow Houston’s lead with a statewide ban.

2) Here’s a cigar deal we’d be all over, if only we had enough humidor space. JR’s weekly special is 40 Maria Mancini De Gaulles in a wooden box – which, for some reason, looks like a birdhouse – for $60. Notwithstanding the box’s odd shape, the deal includes eight Maria Mancini Magic Mountains (we gave the Magic Mountain four out of five stogies back in May). You may want to hurry though; at last check the Maduros were already sold out.

3) CAO announced that Vice President Tim Ozgener will now be president of the company. Founder, former president, and Tim’s father – Cano Ozgener – will remain the company’s chairman. Of particular interest to Stogie Guys is Tim’s blog on the CAO website. Hopefully he won’t be too busy to update it as president.

4) Tomorrow is Cigar Artisans 2006 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. If you’re anything like us and can’t make the trip to Tampa this weekend, be sure to keep it here at – our special correspondent, George Edmonson, will have an exclusive report next week.

The Stogie Guys


Stogie Reviews: La Tradicion Perdomo Cameroon “F”

28 Sep 2006

One week in July I was meeting friends for dinner in Georgetown and dropped into one of my favorite cigar shops, Georgetown Tobacco. I was told that I had just missed a Perdomo event, but a friendly employee (aren’t all cigar shop employees friendly?) gave me this La Tradicion Perdomo Reserve Cameroon anyway.

The unique shape is the first thing that stands out about this cigar. The small “F”-size figuardo is only four and ¾ inches long, but it goes from a 44 ring gauge at the head to 56 in the middle, before narrowing to 52 at the foot. With its large silver wrapper over its deep brown Cameroon wrapper, it is an attractive – though odd – cigar.

Pre-light, the cigar had a spicy aroma typical of a high-grade African Cameroon wrapper. The stogie lit easily and its figuardo shape funneled an easy draw of white smoke into my mouth.

Right off the bat this one had a kick. The spicy flavor of the wrapper combined with the heavy earthy flavors of the Nicaraguan Cuban seed filler to produce a complex, full-flavored smoke.

The cigar gradually mellowed a little as some of the spice faded and cream and chocolate notes came through. Slight nutty flavors were also apparent.

One disappointment was, soon after lighting up, this cigar began to burn unevenly, and eventually a match was needed to even it out again. But that’s a small negative in an otherwise solid performance, earning this cigar a rating of three and ½ out of five stogies.

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

Patrick S


Stogie News: Counterfeit Cubans Seized in France

27 Sep 2006

Since they are illegal, reliable estimates demonstrate about 90 percent of Cuban cigars found in the United States are counterfeit. But the problem of fake Cuban cigars also extends to countries without embargos on products manufactured under the communist regime.

The latest mass seizure of Cuban counterfeits occurred in Paris, where customs agents seized over 35,000 fake Cubans valued at approximately $464,000. The shipment originated in Panama and was due for Hong Kong.

A Custom Service statement said the counterfeits were “difficult to detect” and were included with many authentic items. For more on detecting counterfeit cigars, read our guide to spotting fake Cubans.

Reports of counterfeit Cuban cigars are not new, but according to the Customs Service, the Paris seizure is part of a new trend in France. speculates, however, that it is more likely that the smuggling of counterfeits is not a new phenomenon in France, but rather that officials have only just become aware of the problem.

Since May 2006, French customs agents have intercepted four shipments of fake Cubans in France. Prior to May 2, no counterfeit cigars had ever been seized in the country.

(Compiled with Deutsche Press Reports.)

Patrick S


Stogie Commentary: Sorry, I’m No Good with Names

26 Sep 2006

How many times have you purchased a sampling of random cigars at your local tobacconist, brought them home, and then realized – aside from the company name on each band – you have no idea what the exact names are of the assorted sticks you just bought? If you’re anything like me, this is a weekly experience.

Since each cigar manufacturer has various lines, shapes, sizes, and wrappers, and since the exact name of each individual stogie is rarely printed on its label, knowing what you’re smoking can be very difficult. For example, without its close cousin side by side for comparison, it’s hard to tell a Punch Chateau L Maduro from a Punch Chateau L Oscuro – even for a seasoned cigar veteran.

And, as far as size is concerned, who can tell a 4 and ½ inches by 48 ring gauge cigar from a 5 inches by 50 ring gauge cigar without a ruler? It’s true that one manufacturer’s Robusto and Torpedo is another’s Bully and Pyramid, but these inconsistencies make the process of discovering what you’re smoking even more trying.

That’s why I’m calling on cigar producers to start printing the exact and complete name of each cigar they manufacture on each band. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not advocating an industry-wide regulatory board. And you know I’d never ask for evil government intervention (I’ve had it up to here with their idiotic smoking bans). I’m simply asking private companies to make the decision to print cigar names on their labels so, when I find something I like (as I often do), I know exactly what box to buy.

Why care precisely which make and model you’re sucking down, you ask? For one, there are just so many cigars out there. Also, despite the fact that most manufacturers use the same types of tobaccos for the various sizes of one line, different stogie shapes produce different flavors due to the varying proportions of each leaf used. With fat ring-gauged cigars, the filler has a greater influence over taste than the wrapper, for instance.

Variety is the spice of life, and I’m the first person to appreciate free and diverse choice. As it says in my bio, I count myself lucky that cigars come in a plethora of shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. And I love the fact that different producers keep coming out with new and creative names for their models. I just wish I could more easily identify individual sticks without Google and a ruler.

Patrick A


Stogie News: Dona Flor Hits the Mid-Atlantic

25 Sep 2006

Because there is no such thing as too many choices when it comes to selecting hand-rolled cigars, Stogie Guys is pleased to report that Brazil Cigars and Tobacco will be increasing its presence in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The company distributes the Dona Flor, Alonso-Menendez, and Aquarius cigar lines – all made with Brazilian Mata Fina tobacco. The owners of Brazil Cigars, Dana and Dennis Sheldon, received the U.S. distributorship from Menendez-Amerino less than two years ago, and are just now entering the U.S. Mid-Atlantic.

Their push into the region is being headed up by Mid-Atlantic Representative Paul Arneson, who recently ended 30-year career in the Air Force while smoking an estimated 20,000 cigars! “Brazil cigars thought that qualified me to sell theirs,” Arneson told the Stogie Guys.

Arneson will be covering DC, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. According to the manufacturer’s website, only six stores in the entire region currently carry Brazil Cigars (four in Virginia, one in Maryland, and one in Delaware). Arneson will look to expand that list. One way he is planning on doing that is through events “featuring, among other attractions, young ladies.” Good idea. A past event featured Brazil Cigars owner Dana Sheldon donating 500 cigars to American soldiers at Guantanamo Bay, accompanied by a young lady dressed in Brazilian decor (see photo).

The Stogie Guys have not yet tried Brazil Cigars’ flagship line, Dona Flor, but during a visit to Brazil I did try a few from their Alonso-Menendez line. That was a few years back and my memory might be a bit fuzzy from the caiprinhas I was enjoying at the time. I can say, however, that they were pleasant enough that I went back for more.

For more on Brazil Cigars, look for reviews in future Stogie Guys articles.

Patrick S


Stogie Guys Friday Sampler XI

22 Sep 2006

In our ongoing effort to make as entertaining and reader-friendly as possible, each Friday we’ll post a sampler of quick cigar news and stogie-related snippets to tide you over for the weekend. We call ‘em Friday Samplers. Enjoy.

1) With Philadelphia being the latest metropolis to fall to a freedom-squashing smoking ban, we thought it would be a good time to hear expert Radley Balko explain to the DC city council why banning alcohol is actually more reasonable than banning smoking. Just don’t get us (or Radley) wrong… we like booze and cigars, and will vigorously defend people’s rights from those who would try to ban either! We’re just saying that non-smokers should remember that arguments for smoking bans can just as easily be used to ban drinking.

2) As if we needed another reason to link to hot ladies with cigars, Playboy by Don Diego hosts “The Ultimate Fantasy Party” featuring not one, but two Playboy beauties.

3) Westminster, Maryland is a bit far for us to travel, but if we were closer we’d drop in on their Midnight Stogie Guys HoodieMadness Cigar Rolling event from 6pm to midnight featuring Cuban food and drink celebrating the start of the college basketball season. Of course those Maryland Terps fans might not be so happy if us Arizona and Illinois fans stopped by.

4) Since this weekend it officially becomes Fall, we thought it would be great time to add a hooded sweatshirt to our official Stogie Guys line. Get yours today!

The Stogie Guys


Stogie Reviews: Ashton Cabinet Selection Pyramid

21 Sep 2006

After all the wonderful cigars I have smoked in my short lifetime, I couldn’t believe it when I recently realized I had never lit up an Ashton Cabinet Selection. With this sudden and random insight in mind, I dropped everything and headed to the nearest tobacconist to pick up an Aston Aged Cabinet Pyramid.

This six inches by 52 ring gauge stogie is dressed to impress. The cigar’s smooth and creamy Connecticut Shade wrapper, interesting shape (there’s something sharp about a good torpedo), and decorative black and gold band provided an appropriate preview of the remarkable experience that was to come.

Upon initial lighting, I found the flavors to be much spicier than I expected. Deep toasted clove notes were most prevalent, and the taste was mainly a pleasant interaction between the salty and bitter locales of my palate. I should point out, however, the Dominican Republic binder and filler would have been more balanced and harmonious if it wielded some sweet flavors as well.

One of the many favorable and unique characteristics of this cigar is that its does not get overwhelmingly spicy towards the end of the smoke. As our readers will recall, stogies often become very hot and harsh as the foot of the cigar creeps closer and closer to your mouth. But this Ashton’s taste remained cool and smooth until the final puff.

As far as construction is concerned, I have no complaints. The burn was nice and even and the draw was easy and sure throughout the smoke. And – even though I was outside on a fairly windy afternoon – the cigar lit perfectly with one stroke of a wooden match.

At about $7.50 apiece it’s certainly not cheap, but this cigar is worth every penny. I give the Ashton Aged Cabinet Pyramid an enthusiastic four and ½ out of five stogies.

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

Patrick A