Archive | June, 2007

Quick Smoke: Pirates Gold Rothschild Maduro

30 Jun 2007

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief take on a single cigar.

Available at around $1 per stick, Pirates Gold is a cheap cigar that has the potential to be a fantastic bargain. A light (for a maduro) veiny wrapper surrounds this Honduran robusto that’s made by veteran cigar man Rolando Reyes. After lighting up I noticed distinct acidic notes that reminded me of orange peel in this spongy, medium-bodied smoke. The burn was even and draw was manageable and firm. But the bitter and acidic flavors mean that I can’t enthusiastically recommend this Pirates Gold, even at its rock-bottom price.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

Tags: cigars

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler L

29 Jun 2007

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

1. We wholeheartedly encourage private property owners to find ways around government-imposed smoking bans, and this has got to be the most creative way yet. A bar in England is transforming itself into an official embassy for a tiny Caribbean island, rendering it immune to many intrusive U.K. laws – including a nationwide smoking ban. But that’s not even the best part. The pub will also be exempt from England’s high taxes on alcoholic beverages, and therefore able to sell drinks at rock-bottom prices.

2. Think Disney World is just for kids? Think again. While the young ones play with Mickey, Goofy, and Donald Duck, now you can enjoy a fine cigar and a cocktail at Sosa Cigars – right in the heart of the park. Now that’s what we call the Magic Kingdom!

3. Around the Blogs: Keepers of the Flame has a Sabor Cubano Petite Torpedo. Stogie Review reviews the Troya X-TRA No. 54. Cigar Jack fires up an Oliva Serie G Maduro Torpedo. Stogie Fresh lights up an Avalon Honeyboy Edwards. The Smoking Lounge smokes a Partagas Lonsdale. Cigar Beat goes with the Cu-Avana Maduro Robusto.

4. Deal of the Week: We’re not gonna say that today’s deal is the best bargain we’ve ever come across (for some of those, check out these samplers), but you’ll have trouble finding a better group of cigars. In fact, some of the smokes in this Padrón sampler are nearly impossible to find at all. With three of the five stogie-rated Serie 1926s, three 1964 Anniversary Series cigars, and two plain Padróns, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed. Click here to get yours in Natural or Maduro.

The Stogie Guys

Tags: cigars

Stogie Commentary: What it Means to Smoke in New Orleans

28 Jun 2007

If you’re looking for proof that smoking restrictions and cigars can coexist, check out New Orleans. Yes, regulations imposed this year killed the opportunity to light up after a fine meal at a nice restaurant, but you’ll still find lots of places to purchase cigars and smoke them.

On a recent visit, I was struck repeatedly by the cigar-friendly nature of the city. The restrictions appear to be much like those in Florida where indoor smoking is generally allowed only in bars and cigar shops. And there are many of both. Smoking is greatly curbed (the photo below is a fading reminder of New Orleans’ storied cigar past), but not outlawed.

Take Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar, which combines the two, for example. It has a nice selection of cigars, soft chairs in which to enjoy them inside, patio seating for those who prefer the open air, a wide variety of alcohol, and some great music. Catch Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots for a rocking mix of blues, boogie-woogie, zydeco, and rock.

In the highly traveled tourist areas like the French Quarter and the Garden District, cigar shops abound. Check out the Crescent City Crawfish Cigar Crawl for descriptions of several shops as well as a great article on New Orleans’ cigar history.

I spent a little time at the Mayan Import Co. on a funky stretch of Magazine Street. The large walk-in humidor has a considerable selection, the lounge is cool, and the workers are friendly. (There’s also quite a bit of pipe tobacco.)

And if you’re interested in adding to your stock of high-end cigars, New Orleans could be just the place to visit. At Emeril’s Restaurant, nearly hidden back by the restrooms, there’s a standalone humidor – no longer much needed since smoking isn’t allowed there.

But what a humidor. Boxes of Fuente Fuente OpusX, Don Carlos, Hemingway, and other super-premiums abound. These days, said our waiter (a cigar smoker himself), the restaurant has them on display just to get rid of its inventory.

George E


Stogie News: A Smelly Cure Worse than the Disease

27 Jun 2007

Here at, we make no secret of our distaste for fascist smoking bans.

We see the issue as one of personal freedom and responsibility, where private property owners should be free – but never compelled – to enforce bans. What’s more, the flimsy “science” used to justify such laws is flawed at best.

But for all the writing we’ve done on the negative consequences of forced smoking bans, there’s one that has been completely overlooked: smoke makes bars smell better.

At least that’s what one English company is banking on. Ambius, which is in the business of providing ambiance for workplaces, is now selling Glade-like devices that smell like apples, crisp cotton, and roses to bars across the U.K.

Why now? As an Ambius executive explains, once the countrywide ban on indoor smoking goes into effect on July 1, the smoke that once covered up smells like stale beer and filthy patrons in centuries-old pubs will be gone, leaving bars smelling like…well, bars.

“Most people think with all this smoke going away everything is going to be fine and dandy,” Jeff Mariola, managing director of Ambius, told Reuters. “The reality is, when you remove the odor, you are left with what you couldn’t smell…it’s going to hit everyone right in the face.”

A bit ironic, don’t you think? One of the main reasons paternalistic do-gooders support government-imposed smoking bans is because “smoke stinks.”

Apparently not as bad as the customers themselves – at least in England, anyways.

Patrick A

Tags: cigars

Stogie Reviews: Montecristo Platinum Habana No. 2

26 Jun 2007

Montecristo is easily the most storied name in all of cigars. From the Cuban original to the ever-expanding list of Montecristo lines produced by Altadis in the Dominican Republic, just about every time you turn around another “Monte” is available.

Montecristo Platinum Habana No. 2Back in 2002, Altadis introduced the Montecristo Platinum as a fuller-flavored alternative to the standard Dominican version. Since then the band of the Platinum has changed – it now resembles the other Montecristo bands, only with a shiny silver color that doesn’t photograph well – but the Mexican wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and Dominican/Nicaraguan/Peruvian filler has remained the same.

The Mexican Cubano wrapper on this six and 1/8 inch by 52 ring gauge belicoso is oily, veinless, and milk chocolate in color (with the exception of one prominent vein). The cigar is silky although a bit soft to the touch, and pre-light it has a fantastically rich bouquet of flavor.

After clipping the head and lighting up, I immediately noticed that the draw is unfortunately on the tight side. However, as the cigar progressed, I found the rest of the construction to be good – with a solid ash and a burn that started out slightly uneven but quickly straightened out.

When it comes to flavor, there is no mistaking the fact that chocolate is the overwhelming flavor in this cigar. In addition, there is a subtle yet constant spice note along with a bit of leather and nuts.
That medium- to full-bodied palate of flavors held consistent until the final third when the spice increased and hints of berry and licorice joined the flavor adventure.

Overall I was pleased with the Montecristo Platinum. Until only recently, it was the Montecristo line I was least familiar with, but a handful of smokes over a few months has made for a pleasant getting-to-know-you period.

At $8 or more each, these aren’t everyday cigars. But with rich, complex flavors, solid construction, and good looks, the Montecristo Platinum Habana No. 2 earns a strong four out of five stogies.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here. To purchase this cigar from a Stogie Guys affiliate, click here.]

Patrick S

Tags: Cigars

Stogie Reviews: H. Upmann Signature Monarca

25 Jun 2007

Coming to a local cigar shop near you is the new Signature line from H. Upmann. Make sure to pick a few up because they’re a real treat.

Created by master blender Jesus Piñeda Henríquez and made at the Flor de Copán factory, these are the very first Upmanns to be produced in Honduras and are billed as a new and unique twist on the famed brand.

The first thing that strikes me about the Monarca, a seven inch by 54 ring gauge vitola that retails for $7.50, is that it’s simply huge. My picture – which showcases the cigar’s seamless, russet-colored wrapper – just doesn’t do this stogie’s massive size justice. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s big.

After toasting the foot with a wooden match and drawing a few start-up puffs, the Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Peruvian filler tobaccos mingled with the Connecticut Shade wrapper to create a mouth-watering creamy almond and butter taste. Despite the slightest traces of spice, the stogie maintained this mild flavor for what seemed like ages.

Even though I relished this easygoing aroma, I kept anticipating the spice to kick in and the true colors of the cigar to shine through. It finally got to the point where I thought that would never happen.

Then, at the halfway mark (which is a full 60 minutes into the smoke), I began to see why the cigar is advertised as “medium bodied.” A distinctive black licorice spice entered the equation that mixed with the creamy flavors to produce a wonderfully balanced taste. Good things come to those who wait.

This is what I was hoping for all along. And, in retrospect, I’m glad the blender chose to ease the flavor in over a long period of time instead of throwing it all out there from the get-go. It makes the smoker fully appreciate the complete taste once it arrives.

Aside from an unstable ash that prematurely falls off the foot at will, the Monarca’s construction is also admirable. Expect a razor-sharp burn and a smooth draw.

Overall, this is a memorable journey from mild to flavorful that does not disappoint. Just make sure you have the time and attention this cigar deserves.

Since I’m enthusiastically looking forward to my next H. Upmann Signature Monarca, I give this expertly crafted gem four and ½ out of five stogies.

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

Patrick A


Quick Smoke: Hoyo de Monterrey Churchill EMS

24 Jun 2007

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief take on a single cigar.

Sometimes, two cigars with everything in common except their size can smoke completely different. Looking back on my review of the Hoyo de Monterrey Governor after my recent experience with a Churchill, I can safely say that’s not true for these two. Like the Governor, this cigar is high on sweet honey, spicy graham, and earthy clove tastes. With an even burn, a solid ash, and a clear draw, you can’t miss.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

Tags: cigars