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Stogie Commentary: Who’s Your Boutique?

21 May 2007

boxes.jpgI imagine most of you are familiar with a number of boutique cigar makers, such as Bucanero and Pepin Garcia’s El Rey de los Habanos. But if you’re like me, there are many small operations whose names and cigars come as a complete surprise.

This is an effort to change that. I’ll start by listing three manufacturers whose names and/or cigars I’ve been introduced to. I hope you’ll contribute as well. I think it’s a great way to discover new sticks and to play at least a small, direct role in supporting the art of cigar making.

  • Vegas de Santiago. This Costa Rican operation uses locally grown tobacco and imported leaf, producing four lines. They sell directly and offer a six stick sampler of three of their lines for a modest $14.95, including postage. I’ve enjoyed several of their cigars, particularly the Chaman.
  • Tabacos de la Cordillera. Another Costa Rican operation, this one uses only tobacco grown on its own farm. It also sells direct and offers several samplers. I have yet to try these, but they’re on my list.
  • El Original. A U.S.-made cigar, these beauties are produced by the Island Smoke Shop in Key West. They utilize tobacco from six countries and offer four cigar samplers in natural or maduro for $24.95, shipping included. This is another fine cigar I can recommend. Island also makes two other lines I haven’t yet tried: the Santiago Cabana and the budget Coral Reef line.

Now it’s your turn. What gems can you surprise us with?

George E


17 Responses to “Stogie Commentary: Who’s Your Boutique?”

  1. Cigar Jack Monday, May 21, 2007 at 6:08 am #

    After listening to a DogWatch I got turned onto La Tradicion Cubana run by Luis Sanchez out of Florida.

  2. Patrick A Monday, May 21, 2007 at 8:12 am #

    Excellent article, George. In my experience, boutique cigar retailers offer excellent product for very affordable prices. There's so many out there, and we should do a better job of introducing readers to them.

    In the past, we've talked a lot about Tinderbox, TNT, and especially Cuban Crafters. We should make a point to publish more Quick Smokes and full reviews of other boutique cigars.

  3. Matt Monday, May 21, 2007 at 8:14 am #

    I know I'm in Cusano-hating country here, but I have to say they are my favorite boutique. I've had boxes of the 18 natural, and have yet to experience the "chemical" taste mentioned here. The paired maduro is supposed to be even better, and I'm looking forward to trying it.

  4. George E Monday, May 21, 2007 at 8:43 am #

    Jack –

    I just checked La Tradicion Cubana's Web site and it looks really interesting. But I didn'tt see anything on there about prices or sales, so I'm assuming they don't sell direct. But I also didn't see any list of dealers, and I don't think I've ever seen them in a shop.

  5. Cigar Jack Monday, May 21, 2007 at 8:51 am #

    They don't sell direct, two of my sponsors on my site sell their cigars. After one of them hooked me up with the La Tradicion Cubana the other hooked me up with their new cigar the JML 1902. Both great cigars and you can get a bundle/box for under $80. I'm not sure how you feel about people posting vendor links in your comments so I'll refrain from that at the moment.

  6. The Stogie Guys Monday, May 21, 2007 at 12:26 pm #

    Cigar Jack: Post away. We're all for helping our readers find new cigars.

  7. kevink868 Monday, May 21, 2007 at 4:49 pm #

    I know of two places that have LTCs on hand — Fuller's Pullers out of Wisconsin and in FL. I can't vouch for the latter, but I've purchased regularly from Joe Fuller. LTC also manufactures Fuller's house brand, the FP Habano 98, which is pretty good and quite affordable.

  8. kevink868 Monday, May 21, 2007 at 4:56 pm #

    More boutique smokes… Flor de Gonzales in Hialeah, FL. Most of their lines are made in Nic., but the FdG Gold Reserva is manufactured exclusively in FL. They're beautifully made, with an ECCT wrapper on a tasty, medium-bodied blend.

  9. timothy fitzgerald Monday, May 21, 2007 at 5:14 pm #

    i like the moore and bode brand from miami for a good mild to med. cigar. havana dreams from ybor city is a good one to try if you in the area. the don leoncio cigar in the tampa area is also a good one to try if visiting.

  10. kevink868 Monday, May 21, 2007 at 5:33 pm #

    Two more local favorites… El Sol of Tampa, FL (Ybor City, to be exact). Their blends are manufactured all over the place, but the my new pet maduro is their Nicaraguan Primero. CTB wrapper, med-full. Great construction. About $3/stick.

    Finally, La Herencia, also of Tampa. An old-school storefront factory which appears to employ three or four rollers. Their "White Label" is trememndous. Full-bodied and earthy. Pricey at $7/stick, but well worth a try.

  11. Cigar Jack Tuesday, May 22, 2007 at 4:11 am # and both carry LTC products.

    I've had great luck working with both of them. I know CaminoViejo is selling 5-Packs of the LTC's at the moment because of the review I wrote on them sparked some interest.

  12. kevink868 Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 7:11 pm #

    One more: "Old Powder Keg" by Connecticut Valley Tobacconist in Enfield, CT. A full-bodied corojo along the lines of the Gran Habano #5, but smoother and more complex. Used to be rolled right in their shop, but increasing demand caused them to move production to (if I remember correctly) the D.R. Highly recommended.

  13. Gary Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    try the cpnnecticut wrapper churchill from crown jewel cigars/m. Misti'i cigar company. excellent construction and taste.

  14. terry silver Monday, August 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    good info.

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