Archive | July, 2007

Stogie News: Keep the New Cigars Coming

31 Jul 2007

You’d think the world’s cigar manufacturers would be weary to introduce new products in the wake of the Senate’s proposed 20,000 percent tax hike. Thankfully, you’d be wrong.

Last week there were three – count ‘em, three – major announcements of new stogies that will be hitting a local B&M near you soon. What follows is a quick wrap-up of that news.

Rocky Patel Sumatra Edge

Despite carrying a laughable warning cautioning buyers to “smoke while sitting down,” Rocky Patel landed another hit with his newest line, The Edge. The once naked cigars have sold well with both corojo and maduro wrappers. Aparently, Rocky wants the line to live up to its warning, so he’s now making them available in Sumatra wrappers. These promise to be the most full-bodied of the three.

Cabaiguan Guapo

Not unlike Rocky, it seems as though everything Jose “Pepin” Garcia touches these days turns to gold. That bodes well for a new limited edition cigar called the Cabaiguan Guapo. Garcia teamed with Pete Johnson of Tatuaje to create this five and 5/8 inch by 54 ring gauge Nicaraguan that retails for $11. If you want one, I’d start looking now; they only made 50,000, and they won’t be rolling more.

Aurora Corojo Oscuro Barrel Aged

If you’re into rum, you’ll probably want to give Aurora S.A.’s newest offering a try. As Cigar Aficionado reports, the company’s new Corojo Oscuro Barrel Aged stogies are composed of tobacco that was aged in old rum barrels. They debut at the RTDA Trade Show in early August (along with many other new cigars) and will cost $6 to $9 apiece.

Patrick A

Tags: cigars

Stogie Reviews: Ashton Aged Maduro No. 10

30 Jul 2007

Ashton Aged Maduro no. 10The Ashton Aged Maduro No. 10 is a five inch by 50 ring gauge robusto from the only Ashton line of maduro cigars. Featuring a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper and a Dominican binder, these dark maduros, like all Ashtons, are handmade under the watchful eyes of the Fuentes in the Dominican Republic.

According to the manufacturer’s website, the line is aged in sherry finished oak barrels. Taking in the flavors prior to lighting, I found a sweet aroma with some floral notes.

This robusto’s maduro wrapper is dark, rustic, and oily with many prominent veins. Despite all the oils, the its taste prior to lighting is almost flavorless.

After clipping the cigar and carefully lighting it, I was greeted with a bitter-sweet chocolate flavor and a dry finish. Additionally there are some nutty notes in this medium- to full-bodied smoke.

The construction is good, with a firm (but not at all difficult) draw, and a fairly even burn. The light gray ash was solid and held for over an inch before it required a light tap and gently fell off.

As I continued smoking, the flavor remained consistent until the two-thirds point when the cigar suddenly upped the amount of smoke it produced. At the same time, some woody cedar notes revealed themselves.

Overall, the No. 10 is an exceptionally well-balanced cigar that retails for around $8 – not an outstanding value, but a reasonable price for special occasions.

For its impressive balance and great flavor, the Ashton Aged Maduro No. 10 earns a rating of four out of five stogies.

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

Patrick S

Tags: cigars

Quick Smoke: La Aroma de Cuba Churchill

29 Jul 2007

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

According to Ashton’s website, this blend of Cuban-seed Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos was one of Winston Churchill’s favorites. The six and ¾ inch by 48 ring gauge cigar has many redeemable qualities, including a rich aroma, a beautiful band, and tastes of leather and chocolate. But I can’t fully recommend the La Aroma de Cuba Churchill because of the stogie’s uneven burn, bitter aftertaste, and propensity to go out at will.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick A

Tags: cigars

Quick Smoke: Punch Prensada No. 4 Maduro

28 Jul 2007

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

Punch Prensada Maduro

The Punch Prensada Maduro No. 4 is a six and 1/2 inch by 43 ring gauge box-pressed “toro” that sits heavy in your hand. With a full-bodied chocolate flavor, it lacks the spice characteristic of most Punch cigars, but it’s still balanced and tasty. The cigar produced abundant smoke from an easy draw, and I can easily recommend it.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

Tags: cigars

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler LIV

27 Jul 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) If you’re planning to take a cruise, be sure to ask in advance about smoking restrictions. Among the latest to extend no smoking rules is Royal Caribbean International. According to Fodor’s Travel Wire, in January 2008 the line will no longer allow smoking in guest quarters in 18 of its 21 ships. Smoking will continue to be OK in designated areas of some bars, on balconies, and starboard outer decks.

Royal Caribbean International2) News surfaced on Wednesday that the House is considering its own version of the Senate’s proposed 20,000 percent cigar tax hike. Instead of charging up to $10 per cigar in federal taxes, the new bill would put the cap at $1 and does not include a tax on inventory. I guess that’s good news. Sort of.

3) Well, the anti-smoking zealots have already gotten to Churchill and Tom and Jerry; it was only a matter of time before Mickey went smoke-free too. Disney’s chief executive announced this week that the company would be eliminating smoking from its films, as well as discouraging the act under its two other labels: Touchstone and Miramax. Is the best way to deal with an issue to censor it?

4) Around the Blogs: Keepers of the Flame lights up an FP Habano 98. Stogie Fresh smokes a Camacho Triple Maduro. Stogie Review fires up a Cuba Aliados. Cigar Jack tries a “JFR” Coronoa Gorda. Velvet Cigar smokes a Toraño Reserva Selecta. Cigar Beat reviews an Oliva Serie V. Cigar Monkey goes with the Ashton VSG.

5) Deal of the Week: If you’re looking to add a small humidor to your collection (maybe for the office?) or looking for a good starter humidor, this deal is for you. For just $40, you get a Mahogany humidor, humidor solution, cigar cutter, a Camacho hat, and 25 cigars. And with sticks by Perdomo, Oliva, and Camacho, the cigars alone are worth the price. Pick yours up here.

The Stogie Guys

Tags: cigars

Stogie Reviews: H. Upmann Super Fuerte Robusto

26 Jul 2007

Finding myself blessed with several days of unseasonably pleasant evenings, I’ve been smoking more cigars on the deck than usual this time of year. More often, the heat forces me to visit a cigar shop if I want to smoke. Being able to smoke at home has allowed me to try some I’ve accumulated over the past few months.

H. Upmann Super Fuerte RobustoThis H. Upmann Super Fuerte Robusto was one of a seven-stick special I bought in May from JR for $19.75, including shipping. The Super Fuerte line – which was created in 2005 – is the result of JR head Lew Rothman working with Tabacalera de Garcia cigar factory manager Jose Seijas to create a stronger Upmann. Boxes of 20 can be purchased for $95 from JR, but a few other online retailers seem to carry it for less.

The maduro wrapper, a Connecticut broadleaf, is nearly as dark as coffee and oily to the eye and to the touch. Pre-light, the aroma from a blend of Nicaraguan, Peruvian, and Dominican fillers is warm and earthy at the foot. The binder is Ecuadorian Sumatra.

All in all, a beautiful five inch by 55 ring gauge cigar.

Lately, I have been taking more time lighting, working to get an even, full glow without having to puff while holding the foot above the flame. It was easy with this cigar. And as the ash grew, it showed the waving pattern of the filler leaves. Not that all that has much to do with the taste, but, as reader Mac and Nudo reminded us recently, aesthetics are important.

The Super Fuerte, to my taste, was not nearly as strong as its name implies. I found it more in the mild to medium range. It is also not an overly complex cigar. Though I picked up a little spice, a little cocoa, and some woody notes along the way, the predominant taste was warm, pleasant tobacco.

This cigar seems like a natural to accompany an afternoon cup of coffee or following a light meal. For that it earns a rating of three and 1/2 out of five stogies.

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

George E


Stogie Commentary: Some Oft-Overlooked Ammunition

25 Jul 2007

Raise your hand if you’re sick of reading about Congress’ proposed legislation that would increase federal taxes on cigars 20,000 percent. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Cigar Tax MoneyEver since news broke last week of anti-tobacco extremists’ most egregious and vile scheme since the adaptation of the smoking ban, the cigar world has turned upside down. It’s impossible to read anything stogie-related these days without some mention of the possible tax hike from five cents to up to $10 per stick.

But maybe that’s a good thing. Cigar manufacturers, retailers, and enthusiasts are more united now than ever before. This newfound camaraderie is largely a result of the media – television, newspapers, radio, and the Internet – and their willingness and ability to get the word out. After all, if we don’t band together and take some action, the smoking police will trample our collective rights faster than you can say “Connecticut Broadleaf.”

With that spirit in mind, I’ve thrown together a few interesting articles with oft-overlooked points that will add fuel to your fire and give you more ammunition when you call your senators.

For the Children?

This Human Events article points out that “the proposed tax will supposedly go to funding health care programs, but recent history should cause us to beware of such claims. Remember the big tobacco settlement that came about in the late 1990s? The funds from the settlement were supposed to go to healthcare, but as this article notes, much of it went instead to highway repairs and school construction. Who really thinks that the allocation of funds from a $10 cigar tax will be any different?”

A New Black Market

Aside from highlighting several retailers who predict they will be out of business if the bill passes, this Arkansas News Bureau article quotes a tobacco store owner who suggests “the black market, which supplies many Americans with illegal Cuban-made cigars, would be expanded to include the non-Cuban varieties” once the price of legal cigars is driven up by the tax.

Tobacco as the Enemy

Like many concerned aficionados, Sarah Soza, owner of a small, family-operated B&M in California, wonders why cigars are targeted over other, more dangerous goods. The Fresno Bee reports that “she doesn’t understand why the cigar industry is included in the health insurance funding bill, while other industries such as soft drink and candy makers are not…‘I believe in providing health insurance for children, but why are we the only ones paying for it?’”

Patrick A

Tags: cigars