Archive | April, 2008

Stogie Tips: The Mighty “Fridgeador”

30 Apr 2008

If you’re a serious cigar collector, there will come a time when your desktop humidor – no matter how large, how elegant, or how treasured – no longer fits the bill. Maybe you’ve run out of space and you’re tired of buying small humidors (or impressing Tupperware containers into service) to supplement your main unit. Or maybe, like me, you live in a region where spring and summer temperatures can easily crack the triple digits. In such cases, heat regulation inside a desktop box is a lost cause.

Create you own FridgeadorWhen you’re ready to make the leap to larger storage space and manageable temperatures, you have several options. The first, and perhaps the “best” choice, is to go with a temperature-controlled cabinet from a reputable company like Avallo or Staebell. These companies produce furniture-quality humidor-cabinets, with prices reflective of their luxury. If you’re rich enough to buy one, go for it. But if you’re not – and most of us probably fall into this latter category – you’ll need a more innovative solution: the “Fridgeador.”

A fridgeador is a wine refrigerator slightly modified to store cigars. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t refrigerating cigars a bad idea? Under normal circumstances, absolutely; a conventional fridge will suck the moisture right out of your stogies. But most wine fridges use thermoelectric cooling, a process that will avoid such harmful side effects. If you’re buying a wine fridge for cigar-storage purposes, make sure to buy a thermoelectrically cooled model. Many enthusiasts swear by the cheap and reliable Vinotemp 28-Bottle Wine Refrigerator, which can be had over the internet for roughly $150 to $200.

Having ordered your wine fridge, next you’ll want to invest in some Spanish cedar planks for use as shelves. Depending on where you live, you might be able to find these at your local hardware outlet; otherwise, you can order some on sites like If you plan to use wood glue to fashion the planks into shelves, make sure to use a nontoxic, relatively odor-free variety. Remember: you don’t want to put any chemicals in your fridge that you wouldn’t feel comfortable smoking later on.

For humidification, you can go with active (Cigar Oasis, Hydra, etc.) or passive (beads, floral foam) methods. Personally speaking, I recommend several pounds of humidity beads from a company like Heartfelt. The beads are easy to use, low maintenance, and good at what they do: maintaining RH levels at anywhere from 65-70%, depending on your preference. Next, if you’re the micromanaging type, you can buy one or two small, battery-powered fans to help circulate the air inside the fridge. Oust-brand fans seem to be popular for this task, as they run on cycles and are not constantly operating.

Finally, you’ll want to plug the condensation drain at the bottom of your fridge; doing so well help prevent moisture loss when the cooler is in operation. Some condensation may develop along the back interior wall of the fridge. Be sure to place a small container of beads or foam at the bottom of the fridge to collect any water droplets that may form.

Assuming you go with a Vinotemp 28-bottle fridge, your finished fridgeador (including wood and beads) will run you about $300, give or take $100. That’s a mere fraction of the $2,500+ you’d spend on a fancy cabinet, and about the same price you’d pay for a large desktop humidor. If you ask me, it’s a steal.

Jon N

photo credit: Vinotemp

Stogie Reviews: Partagas Petit Corona Especial (Cuban)

29 Apr 2008

If you ask me, smoking a machine-made Cuban is sort of like ordering a filet mignon well done. Maybe that’s not the best analogy, but you know where I’m going with this: Why muck up potentially wonderful tobacco by having it assembled by the less-than-precise hands of automation?

That’s the question I asked myself before diving into a Partagas Petit Corona Especial. I was surprised to learn Habanos SA makes ten machine-made, hand-finished Partagas vitolas, perhaps an attempt to bring the premium brand to a more economical segment of the cigar market.

Still, Petit Corona Especiales aren’t cheap. Singles cost $5.60-7 apiece, and boxes of 25 sell for $104-113.

I expect a better-looking stick for that price. With a blotchy wrapper, some large veins, and unrefined seams, this five and ¼ inch by 44 ring gauge Cuban puro has a rough look. It’s neater than Guantanamera – the other machine-made Cuban I reviewed last July – but that isn’t much of a standard. Unlike the modern-looking handmade Serie D, it sports the classic Partagas band.

As always, I read some “reviews” (I guess they were more like sales pitches) before lighting up. The Internet consensus is this is a small but powerful stick that beginners should stay away from due to its “Havana harshness.”

I don’t think the Petit Corona Especial is full-bodied, strong, or harsh. The flavor is of cinnamon, toast, and leather, and it becomes more creamy and mellow as it progresses. The ash is quite unstable, the draw is surprisingly tight, and the burn is straight. Although some spicy clove notes creep in towards the end, the overall experience is actually fairly mild.

Still, judged on its own merits, I’m not terribly pleased. The smoke tasted fine and the construction is better than most machine-mades, but you won’t get much bang for your buck. You can do much, much better at the same price level by sticking with a non-Cuban handmade. That’s why I give the Partagas Petit Corona Especial only two and ½ out of five stogies.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Reviews: Tatuaje Havana VI Verocu No. 1 (Exclusivo Lado Occidental)

28 Apr 2008

Tatuaje Havana VI Verocu No 1As I was smoking my first Verocu No. 1, I recalled a great line quoted by Bill Schmidt 20 years ago in the New York Times. Schmidt was writing about Alabama’s storied Dreamland Drive-Inn Bar-B-Cue and noted that one of the women dining with him said, “These ribs make your tongue want to slap your brains out.” Substitute “cigars” for “ribs” and it’s a perfect description of how I felt.

I recently wrote about how much I enjoyed the Verocu No. 2 — the eastern version of this limited edition Havana VI — and was excited when I got a chance to pick up a few of the longer and slimmer western variety.

My advice is not to pass up a chance to smoke either one. Or, preferably, both. These Nicaraguan puros, produced by Pepin Garcia for Pete Johnson’s Tatuaje line, may not have the prettiest wrappers and you may not find a razor-sharp burn, but you will get a complex, tasty, medium-bodied cigar that produces smoke worthy of a five-alarm fire. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to smoke and choose a setting that permits you the opportunity to concentrate on the cigar to fully appreciate the abundant and changing flavors.

I’d be hard pressed to pick one over the other. The western may get the edge for me, though, just because I prefer its slightly smaller ring gauge: six and 1/4 inches with a 52 ring gauge compared to five and 1/2 inches and a 54 ring gauge.

Don’t, however, wait too long. I’m told that what’s available now is all that there will be. You shouldn’t miss it. Like the eastern Verocu No. 2, I give the No. 1 a perfect five out of five stogies.

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

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys in the Media

27 Apr 2008 will be featured on the Livin’ Large with Geoff Pinkus radio show on WIND 560 AM in Chicago today. The show runs from 5-7 pm Central (6-8 Eastern) and Patrick S is scheduled to be on around at 6 pm Central (7 Eastern).

Geoff’s show is about “cigars, cars, spirits, wine, beer, restaurants, music, sports, hot chicks, jets, Harleys, guns, bikes, and fishing.” You can even call in at 877-560-WIND to ask a question on the air. If you’re not in the Chicago area, you can listen live here (and if you miss it, a podcast will be available here). You can listen to last week’s appearance here.

The Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 1

27 Apr 2008

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

Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 1

I enjoyed this Churchill-sized vitola considerably more than the torpedo-shaped No. 9. At seven inches with a 49 ring gauge, it provides several hours of sweet, earthy flavors with few sour or stale notes. The combination of an Ecuadorian Sumatra-seed sungrown wrapper and Dominican binder and filler tobaccos yields a straight burn and a firm white ash. Expect to pay around $6-7 apiece, and expect a long and pleasant smoke.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Petrus Reposado No. 7000

26 Apr 2008

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


The name Petrus carries a lot of weight in the world of fine wines, and while I realized Petrus cigars (by Felipe Gregorio) bore no connection to the French chateau, my expectations were high. Calling a cigar Petrus is like calling a boat Ferrari; intellectually, you know there’s no real connection or guarantee of quality, but, emotionally, you make that connection anyway. Unfortunately, I should have listened to my brain on this one. The burn here is horrendously uneven, the packing is loose, and the flavor is bitter and unbalanced. Very disappointing.

Verdict = Sell.

Jon N

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler XCIII

25 Apr 2008

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’ll be on the radio again this Sunday talking cigars on the Livin’ Large with Geoff Pinkus radio show on WIND 560 AM in Chicago. The show runs from 5-7pm Central, and we’ll be talking stogies about halfway through the first hour. If you’re not in the Chicago area, you can listen live here.

Livin Large with Geoff Pinkus2) According to Sports Illustrated, Atlanta Braves manager and cigar enthusiast Bobby Cox thinks the Mets’ smoke-free policy at Shea Stadium is “a great idea.” Under the policy, smokers can light up only in designated areas outside the ballpark. Cox, who always enjoys a post-game cigar and visits the in-division Mets many times each year, declared “the clubhouse doesn’t count.”

3) Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Cubs, and other properties, announced this week it has killed its $100-a-month penalty for smoking employees enrolled in the company’s health plan. About 600 of approximately 16,000 staffers confessed they smoked after the fee went into effect on January 1.

4) Inside the Industry: Don Pepin is partnering with Ashton again to introduce a mixed-filler cigar called the Benchmade that will retail for around $2. Rocky Patel will be producing a limited edition Lancero sampler with five of his popular lines.

5) Around the Blogs: Cigar Jack checks out the Perdomo Habano Maduro. Cigar Beat trys out a car cigar ashtray. Velvet Cigar smokes a Cohiba Maduro No. 5. Stogie Review smokes the Padilla Signature 1932.

6) Deal of the Week: With a dozen cigars for under $30, this Tax Rebate Sampler is a must for Punch fans. You get an assortment of eight Punches, plus four other quality smokes. Get yours here. (Also, check out free shipping on all Tatuajes.)

The Stogie Guys

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