Archive | December, 2006

StogieGuys.com Gets a Makeover

18 Dec 2006

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the new and improved StogieGuys.com. As you can undoubtedly see, we (well, actually, Semmens) were hard at work this weekend renovating your go-to website for daily cigar news, reviews, and commentary on the average guys’ search for the next great smoke.

screenshotThe most noticeable of the changes is the new look. While we decided to keep many features from the old design, I think you’ll agree that the new style is sharper, more up-to-date, and – hopefully – more user friendly.

You’ll also notice we added a “Categories” section to our sidebar that allows readers to browse past articles by topic. So if you’re in the mood for some cigar tips, Friday Samplers, stogie reviews, news, or our off-the-beaten-path commentary, this feature should make your life a lot easier.

Bear in mind, however, that the process of switching over from Blogger software to WordPress is not yet 100 percent complete. Every single post we’ve published since establishing StogieGuys.com in May 2006 needs to be individually re-formatted for the new website. So some things – like pictures and category tags – will require extra work. Please excuse these technical inevitabilities; we hope to have each and every one corrected by the end of the week.

That said, I think you’ll find many of the old features that you’ve come to know and love in their old places. For instance, you can still access our Archived Reviews Page, browse our “Hot Topics,” and visit our ever-important “Recommended Retailers” (who made this website renovation possible) from the sidebar.

Most importantly, I hope you will keep in mind that we made these improvements for you, our readers. If there’s anything we can do to make your stay at StogieGuys.com more enjoyable, please let us know.

Patrick A

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Stogie Guys Friday Sampler XXIII

15 Dec 2006

In our ongoing effort to make StogieGuys.com 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) Cigar Aficionado recently announced the 2007 dates for its popular Big Smoke events, including stops in Las Vegas, Chicago, and New York. Also, after the success of the inaugural Cigar Artisans event, we have been told that it will also be back for another run in 2007. Stay tuned to StogieGuys.com for dates. (For our coverage of the 2006 Cigar Artisans event, click here.)

2) This tip probably seems obvious to most readers, but for those new to the world of cigars, and possibly others, it may not be. Take a few minutes to sign up for email offers with Internet retailers. Lately, more of them seem to be featuring daily, as well as weekly, specials and you might save quite a bit on your favorite smoke. And don’t stick to just the big sellers. Sometimes small online shops will have big bargains. If you haven’t yet become acquainted with Internet cigar sellers, you can find a massive list at this site.

3) Our article on the Taliban smoking ban prompted a post over at Reason Magazine where one reader quipped: “Joke all you want, but studies have shown that smoking is the second leading cause of death among suicide bombers.” He was (we hope) joking, but just the same, it isn’t hard to imagine the very same words coming out of a anti-smoking zealot’s mouth.

4) We’re always on the lookout for great deals for you, our loyal readers, and we’re pretty excited about what we found this week. For under $30 you can get 12 handmade cigars, including premium brands like Partagas, La Gloria Cubana, Romeo y Julieta, Macanudo, Onyx, Hoyo de Monterrey, La Perla Habana, Punch, Torano, and C.A.O. (say that five times fast). And to top it off an aluminum travel case and a hat are included. Order quickly and you can have it in time for Christmas! (To get this offer click the image above or click here.)

The Stogie Guys

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Stogie Reviews: Perdomo Reserve Golf Limited Edition Robusto

14 Dec 2006

Loyal readers may recall a September post in which we reported Tabacalera Perdomo released a new blend called La Tradicion Perdomo Reserve Limited Golf Edition (that’s a mouthful, isn’t it?). The line – which is offered in eight sizes ranging from “Putter” to “Double Eagle” to “Hole in One” – is a creative marketing strategy aimed at taking advantage of the perfect, age-old pairing of cigars and golf.

Last night I finally had the opportunity to try the “Iron,” a five inches by 54 ring gauge Robusto with a suggested retail price of $6.55 apiece.

This stick has a creamy, five-year-old Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper that sports few imperfections and an attractive, yet relatively large, green and gold band. I had been admiring it in my humidor over the past few months.

Before lighting, I noticed sweet aromas of honey and tea. After slicing the cap with my double guillotine cutter, which unfortunately produced a less-than-clean cut, I took note of the easy draw through the Nicaraguan filler.

Once lit, the sweet flavors I previously detected had all but disappeared, leaving dry, earthy notes on the palate. The sensation might best be described as tasting a clove-flavored saltlick.

Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t a bad tasting stogie. A stranger in the pub actually asked me what I was smoking because it smelled “terrific.” I just think it’s a bit too dry for my liking.

Which brings me to an important point: For a line of cigars that’s supposed to be paired with an athletic activity in which drinks aren’t always readily available, it’s way too salty. I’d save it for the clubhouse. (For more StogieGuys.com tips on cigars and golf, please click here.)

With a firm white ash that holds strong, an easy draw, and a fairly even burn (that did require a few touch-ups with my lighter), my “Iron” tested fine on construction.

Overall, I don’t think you’ll be utterly disappointed by the La Tradicion Perdomo Reserve Limited Golf Edition Robusto, but – then again – you won’t be too impressed either. I give it three and ½ out of five stogies.

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

Patrick A

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Stogie News: A Good Five Cent Cuban?

13 Dec 2006

Cuban cigars are famous all around the world. The best known brands such as Montecristo and Cohiba (which received a rare 5 stogie rating for the Siglo V) are also some of the most expensive cigars sold, and they cost even more in the United States where the embargo on Cuba makes them contraband (and a high percentage of “Cuban” cigars are fake).

So that’s why we were fascinated by a story on Cuban cigars from the opposite end of the market. Long before the embargo, President Woodrow Wilson’s V.P. Thomas R. Marshall once remarked, “What this country needs is a good five cent cigar.”

Now according to this article, Cuba has answered the call with a local cigar that costs just one Cuban Peso (or approximately four cents). But that begs the question, are these deeply discounted Cubans any good?

Writer John O’Doherty enlisted two experienced two cigar merchants (Edward Sahakian of Davidoff and Paul Bielby of JJ Fox & Robert Lewis) to find out:

Reloba was by far the most prevalent of the brands available in the peso shops. They cost one Cuban peso each, about 2p. As with all hand-rolled cigars, one end has been sealed with tobacco leaf. Sahakian snips off this end with a small cigar-cutter, lights it and takes a slow, deliberate puff. “It’s not that bad,” he says, pleasantly surprised after I tell him the price. “But it’s a bit harsh.”

Bielby is more enthusiastic about the Reloba but is concerned with the way the cigar was rolled. A poorly packed cigar creates an uneven burn. Sure enough, as Sahakian and Bielby smoke their Relobas, the embers on one side race up the cigar, leaving the other side almost unburnt.

Both agree that the cigar was recently rolled and with fresh tobacco, and consequently not as mellow as a cigar that has been laid down for a few years. “There are many similarities between champagne and cigars,” says Sahakian. “They both need time to mature. From about seven to 15 years old, after they have mellowed, they will be at their best.”

For more on cheap Cuban cigars, read the rest of this Financial Times article.

Patrick S

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Stogie News: Taliban vs. Smoking

12 Dec 2006

In the past we’ve noted the similarities between the anti-smoking policies of Hitler and the Nazis and today’s anti-smoking zealots.

Now we read reports that another of America’s mortal enemies, the Taliban that supported Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist attacks, is also a distinctly fascist when it comes to smoking.

This report from The Scotsman notes that a ban on smoking is rule 18 of the 30 rules recently handed down by the Taliban’s “highest leader”:

18. Mujahideen should refrain from smoking cigarettes.

And while cigarette smoking is a no-no, killing a teacher isn’t a problem – provided that the proper warnings are given:

25. Anyone who works as a teacher for the current puppet regime must receive a warning. If he nevertheless refuses to give up his job, he must be beaten. If the teacher still continues to instruct contrary to the principles of Islam, the district commander or a group leader must kill him.

Just so we’re clear: Killing a teacher – mandatory (after warning and beating). Smoking cigarettes – absolutely forbidden!

Now obviously we know that the smoke-hating terrorists are maniacal (that’s why they’re terrorists), but their anti-tobacco policy does raise one question: If terrorists want to ban smoking, does that mean that when we ban smoking the terrorists win?

Patrick S

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Stogie Reviews: Padrón Serie 1926 No. 6

11 Dec 2006

I found myself at Shelly’s Back Room again this Friday and – with great company and cause for celebration – I decided to finally break out a special treat from my humidor that I somehow managed to keep my hands off of since June.

The Padrón Serie 1926 No. 6 is a beautiful Nicaraguan puro with an individually-numbered double band. The dark maduro wrapper on this four and ¾ inches by 50 ring gauge cigar had a few prominent veins, but no real defects. Most remarkably, the box-pressed stogie is packed extremely tight and rock hard to the touch, yet the pre-light draw was easy and true.

After snipping the cap with my double guillotine cutter, I noticed an earthy aroma of rich roasted coffee. Once lit, those flavors were balanced by another taste that reminded me of moist chocolate cake and, towards the end of the smoke, the flavor profile intensified with some spicy notes that were neither too subtle nor too harsh. This is truly a complex cigar.

And why shouldn’t it be? The 1926 line – which hit retailers in 2002 – is a celebration of Jose O. Padrón’s birth year, a praiseworthy cigar that lives up to its founder’s reputation.

Aside from taste, this stogie also earns high marks for its physical characteristics. Despite a firmness that would rival a lead pipe, the draw was extremely easy and each puff produced a ton of smoke. The burn was fairly even, but admittedly required a few minor touch-ups with my torch. And the gray ash held strong off the foot.

At about $12 apiece retail, this is not an everyday cigar. But special occasions call for special stogies, and this terrific smoke certainly qualifies for any celebration. For a complex taste that renders it worth every penny, I give the Padrón Serie 1926 No. 6 a rare five out of five stogies.

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

Patrick A

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Stogie Guys Friday Sampler XXII

9 Dec 2006

In our ongoing effort to make StogieGuys.com 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) If there’s one universal feeling among cigar smokers, it’s anger at butane torch lighters that are too often expensive, unreliable, or quickly broken. Well, here’s the solution: the Ronson JetLite for under $3 at Wal-Mat. George E has had his for several months and it’s working just fine. Most Wal-Mart stores stock them at the register that displays goodies like cigars, cigarettes, and – you guessed it – lighters.

2) Yesterday’s item on the possibility of a smoking ban in Baltimore sparked some nasty words about the city once called “a nest of pirates.” But it also prompted Jerry from the Stogie Review to alert us to this fantastic commentary from the Baltimore Sun: “Smoking bans are dangerous to a free society’s health.” We couldn’t agree more!

3) We thought long and hard about keeping this to ourselves, but we just couldn’t leave our readers in the dark. Thompson Cigar has teamed up with International Wine Cellars to bring you a contest where you can win $2,500 worth of cigars and $2,500 worth of wine! Click here to enter, and, if you win, just remember who told you. Our finders fee is a modest 10 percent.

4) Finally, if our tips on giving the gift of cigars didn’t help you complete your holiday shopping, here’s a few more ideas (and shameless plugs): We’ve got some great items in our Stogie Guys Store, and Stogie Guys Gear never goes out of style. Also, please consider selecting an item from one of our affiliates. They’ve got wine, coffee, and – naturally – cigars. Best of all, a portion of each sale allows us to improve StogieGuys.com.

[Editors Note: Apologies for the tardiness of this Friday Sampler. We’ve been having problems with our web publishing software, but they have now been resolved.]

The Stogie Guys

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