Archive | November, 2006

Stogie News: Got Wood? You’re Busted!

30 Nov 2006

First the anti-smoking zealots stripped business owners of their right to offer smoke-friendly accommodations, and now they’re attacking our harmless wooden decorations. Tobacconists and Stogie Guys beware because cigar store Indians are now officially under fire.

Sure, the following frightening tale comes from our socialist neighbors to the north (Windsor, to be more precise), but given the ferocious speed with which anti-smoking fascists were able to strip us of our basic freedoms in the U.S., how long is it before cigar store Indians are criminalized in America?

Soubhi Assi said he’s put up with a lot over the last few months, but when the health unit started messing with his Indian, he drew the line.

Assi, who owns the Downtown Smoke Shop, said health unit inspectors were in his store last week and told him the life-sized carved wooden Indian near the front door is illegal because it promotes tobacco use.

Assi said he’s obeyed the provincial smoking ban, which outlaws signs promoting tobacco or accessories, by taking down advertisements, removing prices from cigarettes, and replacing a neon “Cigar” sign with a “Coffee” sign, even though he doesn’t sell coffee.

He also covered the overhead sign with his store’s name on it, although it was replaced with another sign that sarcastically declared, “Don’t look at this sign. It may cause cancer.”

As I give well-deserved props to Assi for having a good sense of humor while the paternalistic government breathes down his neck and threatens his way of life, I hope you find this ridiculous scenario as sad as I do. If I ever find myself in Windsor, I’m stopping by the Downtown Smoke Shop to shake Assi’s hand and make a very large purchase.

For now, though, let’s hope this absurdity stays where it belongs – up north.

Patrick A


Stogie Reviews: Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Epicure

29 Nov 2006

Last week, as I read Patrick A’s review of the Cusano 18, his description of “heavy chemical and nicotine flavors” brought back a rush of memories. Unpleasant memories of when I’d suffered through similar tastes in bad cigars. Fortunately, my mind soon wandered to some of the first cigars that made wonderful and lasting impressions.

So, later that day when I found myself in a local B&M with a little time on my hands, I picked up a Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Epicure. I clearly recall the first Excalibur I had and how impressed I was with the smoothness and taste. I haven’t smoked all of the many Excalibur variations since, but I’ve burned through quite a few. Every one has been good. This one was no exception.

The Epicure is 5.25 inches long with a 50 ring gauge. General lists the single MSRP at $5. (If you’re a bargain hunter, Epicures can be purchased on the Internet for under $65 for a box of 20 – to me an incredible price for a cigar of this caliber.)

The Epicure Natural has a beautiful light brown Connecticut shade wrapper that contrasted sharply with the dark blend of Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Dominican filler when I clipped the end.

As you might expect, spice was the initial sensation from the thick, creamy smoke. That taste faded as the white ash grew. A warm, smoky flavor developed about a quarter of the way through, and the finish got drier. Near the halfway point, I got hints of what seemed to be coffee and caramel, while the spice came and went several times.

I’m not trying to wax poetic, and I can’t pretend to remember exactly what the Excaliburs I smoked in the past tasted like. But I do know that I enjoyed this cigar every bit as much as I remember enjoying that first one.

The draw was excellent, and the cigar burned evenly and slowly. I removed the label and smoked past that point without getting the least bit of heat or bitterness.

I spent the last few minutes smoking outside, and when I finished I decided to dissect the stub for curiosity. The results were impressive. That wrapper is so thin it must take a master’s touch not to rip it, and the filler was folded with what looked like mathematical precision.

Taking into account all that this cigar has to offer – value, consistency, taste – I’d give it four out of five stogies.

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

George E


Stogie Tip: Giving the Gift of Cigars

28 Nov 2006

With Thanksgiving officially in the rear-view mirror, you probably know what season it is…shopping season.

And Stogie Guys know this season means giving the gift of cigars to our fellow BOTL’s (Brothers of the Leaf). But that task isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

Smokers’ tastes in cigars vary widely. Some are averse to specific brands based on bad past experiences, some only like very mild or very strong cigars, some are maduro smokers and Cuban snobs, and some are people (like us) that will try any handmade cigar once.

You see, unlike buying cigars for yourself, buying cigars for friends, relatives, acquaintances, and co-workers is an entirely different animal. So to help you out, here are three tips for good cigar gift-giving.

1. Avoid buying the box

Some people are easy to buy for because they have a specific favorite cigar and you know that buying them a box of those means they will be thoroughly enjoyed. Unfortunately, most people aren’t that easy. That’s why we don’t suggest buying a whole box.

We always recommend trying few sticks before jumping in for an entire box, and that’s even more true for gifts. Tastes are quirky and even if you really think that the recipient will enjoy it, there’s a chance for reasons completely beyond your control that they won’t.

2. Samplers are the way to go

Samplers make great gifts and here’s why: Variety is the spice of life. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Sure they are tired old clichés, but they are also true. When you give a sampler of ten different cigars, it is like giving ten different gifts. They might not love all ten, but chances are they will really enjoy at least a few, and you might even be responsible for turning someone on to their new favorite smoke.

3. Get something special

Finally, we suggest getting someone something they wouldn’t buy themselves. Gifts are meant to be special, so buy some super premiums for that person who refuses to spend more than three bucks per stick for himself.

If gifts are meant to be special, then what is more special than giving that guy who smokes only value cigars a premium cigar that he would never purchase for himself?

[Note: This list of holiday shopping tips is far from exhaustive. Please add your own gift buying suggestions in the comments section of this post.]

Patrick S


Stogie Commentary: Discover Hometown Treasures

27 Nov 2006

Since almost everyone who inhabits DC is from someplace else, the nation’s capital is a virtual ghost town over the holidays. And like most Washingtonians, I packed up and headed home for Thanksgiving this weekend.

My trip to Chicago not only provided me with opportunities to catch up with friends and loved ones. It also gave me a chance to visit a hometown treasure: Oakbrook Tobacco.

With so many legendary cigar stores in Chicago – like Iwan Ries & Company, Up Down Tobacco, and Rubovits Cigars, just to name a few – it’s easy to overlook a great stogie shop like Oakbrook Tobacco, a suburban B&M with a unique house blend any large premium cigar manufacturer would love to call its own.

The sticks aren’t pretty, but with a delicious, yet mild, flavor and a pleasing aftertaste, who cares about looks? In fact, I’d highly recommend purchasing a few of Oakbrook Tobacco’s F-1s or F-2s.

The shop was established in 1976 under the guidance of Meyer Patur, a late cigar legend whose knowledge of the leaf and blending are rarely equaled. At 85 years old, the Russian-Jewish immigrant rolled 100 cigars each day on site.

His craftsmanship, attention to detail, and customer appreciation – three characteristics not lost on Oakbrook’s current staff – did not go unnoticed. Over the years, Patur established an impressive clientele, including George Burns, Tip O’Neil, Milton Berle, and James Smithson (founder of the Smithsonian Institute).

Today, Oakbrook Tobacco has a new location with a large walk-in humidor and an impressive members only smoking lounge. “Club Fumare,” as it is called, will serve as a refuge from nagging wives, holiday shopping, and pesky smoking bans when it opens in the near future.

But if your travels don’t take you to Chicago, worry not. You can purchase cigars from Oakbrook Tobacco, including their renowned house blends, online.

Also, if there’s an uncovered cigar treasure in your hometown, be sure to contact us. is always on the lookout for new smokes to buy and new places to visit.

Patrick A


Stogie Guys Friday Sampler XX

24 Nov 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) Despite the efforts of anti-smoking activists, there’s really a lot to be thankful for this year. Inspired by Thanksgiving, Richard Perelman gives us ten things all Stogie Guys should give thanks for. Here’s 10-6 and 5-1.

2) On Tuesday, we dispelled the myth that anti-smoking activists are all “liberals.” In fact, many so-called “conservative” politicians and organizations are the very enemies of free tobacco choice. But one conservative that won’t discriminate against cigar smokers is radio host Dennis Prager. We know this because he wrote a column titled “Why I Smoke (Cigars).”

3) A Davidoff was only one of two cigars to receive the impressive score of five out of five stogies. That’s why were so excited that Davidoff is releasing a special edition 100th Anniversary Robusto marking 100 years since the birth of Davidoff’s late founder, Zino Davidoff.

4.) Always on the lookout for great deals, we had to pass along this weekly special from JR: Five Peruvian Montecristos and a stylish Montecristo ashtray for just $19.99.

5.) And if you’re looking to travel with some stogies, check out this deal from Thompson Cigar. For just 30 bucks, you get a hard plastic case plus 12 premium cigars that are worth well over $30 alone. Click here: Cigar Case & 12 Cigar Sampler.

The Stogie Guys


Happy Thanksgiving!

23 Nov 2006

From all of us here at, here’s wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving!

We have a lot to be thankful for this year, so we’re taking the day off to spend some time with our families.

We recommend you eat your weight in turkey, watch some football, and meet us back here tomorrow for another Friday Sampler.

The Stogie Guys


Stogie Reviews: Cusano 18 Double Connecticut Robusto

22 Nov 2006

Disappointment comes in many forms. On Friday, for me, it came in the form of a Cusano 18 Double Connecticut Robusto.

I had high expectations for this five inches by fifty ring gauge cigar. First of all, the filler is 18-year-old Dominican Oro. That tobacco found its way into the Cusano 18 line after attempts to produce a Dominican wrapper leaf longer than four inches failed.

Secondly, this stick boasts an impressive appearance. While the wrapper had a few noticeable veins, it was also very attractive with an oily, creamy brown shine.

And finally, Cigar Insider gave this stogie a whopping 91.

But my expectations were shattered when – after snipping the cap with my v-cutter, taking note of the easy draw, and noticing a pre-light aroma of vanilla – I began smoking. You see, along with a sweet and creamy caramel taste, this cigar produced heavy chemical and nicotine flavors.

I don’t know whether it was the aged filler, the Connecticut Shade wrapper and binder, or the combination of the three, but it was bad. The stick tasted more like it was engineered in a beaker than grown from soil.

While the flavor was pretty balanced and the sweet caramel notes were enjoyable, the menacing chemical aftertaste – which unhappily persisted for the duration of the smoke – could not be ignored.

To its credit, this cigar has excellent construction: even burn, easy draw, no wrapper tears, and no incidents with the band.

But even at around $3 apiece retail, I would recommend staying away from this one. For a searing aftertaste that reminded me of freshly fertilized grass, I give the Cusano 18 Double Connecticut Robusto a disappointing two out of five stogies.

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

Patrick A