Archive | October, 2010

Quick Smoke: Tatuaje Seleccion de Cazador 7th

31 Oct 2010

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Around this year’s industry trade show, Pete Johnson announced multiple new sizes for his Tatuaje lines, including this “7th” size, which is the first full-size Seleccion de Cazador to be made in Don Pepin’s Nicaraguan factory instead of in Miami. The well-constructed vitola (5.6 x 46)  features classic Pepin woody spice along with toasty and meaty notes. For those of you worried that not being crafted in Miami may mean this is a lesser Tatuaje, rest assured. This new size is every bit as good as the original six cigars in the blend.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: La Tradicion Cubana Corona Gorda

30 Oct 2010

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Made under the direction of Luis Sanchez, this Corona Gorda (6 x 50) comes dressed in a Spanish cedar sleeve with a clean Ecuadorian wrapper, a Honduran binder, and a two-country filler blend from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. The cigar has a light profile of vanilla, cream, almond, and woodsy spice. With absolutely flawless combustion qualities, this is an excellent offering from La Tradicion Cubana—especially considering its $4 price tag.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler CCXIII

29 Oct 2010

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post a mixed bag of quick cigar news and other items of interest. We call ‘em Friday Samplers. Enjoy.

1) Cigar Rights of America announced that General Cigar President Dan Carr and cigar enthusiast Mark Brownlee have joined the organization’s Board of Directors. Brownlee, who lives in Illinois, was among the first to be appointed as a CRA Ambassador. “CRA was created to serve the cigar enthusiasts across the United States…to counter the oppressive legislation confronting those that simply want to enjoy a great cigar,” said Jeff Borysiewicz, a CRA board member. “Naming a cigar consumer to the board was the next logical step in the organization’s evolution.”

2) Smoking Ban Alerts: South Dakota voters will decide on Tuesday whether or not to expand the state’s smoking ban to bars and casinos. All four candidates vying for the Kansas governorship say their state’s smoking ban is too restrictive. Meanwhile, a court ruling found that Kansas City health department workers, while not law enforcement officials, have the legal authority to issue smoking citations.

3) Inside the Industry: Rocky Patel is opening a high-end cigar lounge in Naples, Florida, called “Burn.” Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s six-size Core Blend is now arriving at tobacconists nationwide.

4) Around the Blogs: Smoking Stogie smokes a Fuente Sand Shark. Stogie Review reviews a Nestor Miranda Art Deco. Cigar Inspector inspects a Liga Privada No. 9. Cigar Fan fires up a Puros Huerfanos. Tiki Bar kicks back with a La Flor Dominicana Cameroon Cabinet Chisel.

5) Deal of the Week: There are some scary good deals in this unpublicized Halloween sale. Our favorite features bundles of the Cuban Crafters Cameroon blend in the Torpedo and Robusto varieties for $65 and $50 respectively.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: CRA

Stogie Commentary: Support Tobacconists Who Support Us

28 Oct 2010

Last week I wrote about how cigar smokers can protect their rights on Election Day. Between now and then cigar smokers should focus on identifying and supporting local politicians who will vote against tobacco taxes and smoking bans.

Going forward, the bigger challenge is creating a stronger alliance in our fight for cigar rights. Reaching out to other smokers is one way to do that, but an often neglected way to create a stronger pro-cigar coalition is making sure that those who should be on our side are fighting the anti-tobacco lobby.

No one is more impacted by anti-cigar legislation than tobacconists who sell cigars to make a living. And yet some cigar shop owners are content to let others fight legislation while they stand on the sidelines hoping for the best.

Tobacconists, along with cigar makers, should be leading the charge for cigar rights. Not only is this battle in their self-interest, but they owe it to their customers whose rights are on the line. Fortunately, as cigar smokers and customers, we have the power to insist that those who get our hard-earned dollars use a small portion of those funds to protect our rights.

So the next time you visit your favorite local tobacconist, ask him one simple question: What are you doing to protect cigar smokers’ rights?

While there’s no single right answer to that question, simply having an answer is important. Maybe it’s being active in local politics, supporting the IPCPR in their campaigns to fight smoking bans and tobacco taxes, or educating shop visitors in the importance of supporting CRA.

Some shop owners contribute to the IPCPR’s Political Action Committee, which supports federal candidates who take pro-cigar positions. I was pleased to see some names I recognize—including Gary Pesh of the Old Virginia Tobacco Company, Mike Copperman of Bethesda Tobacco, and Jeff Borysiewicz of the Corona Cigar Company—on the list of recent IPCPR PAC contributors.

Ultimately, though, how they are fighting for cigar rights is less important than if they are taking action. Remember: We must be vigilant to beat back anti-tobacco zealots who won’t be happy until cigar shops are out of business and most  smoking is prohibited by law. If cigar shop owners won’t fully enlist in the battle for our rights, then we have no chance of winning.

And if your local tobacconist still refuses to take action to protect our rights, then it’s probably time to find a new place to spend your hard-earned money on cigars.

Patrick S

photo credit: Cigar Label Blog

Stogie Reviews: Reinado Torpedo

27 Oct 2010

Among the new brands that debuted at this summer’s IPCPR Trade Show in New Orleans is Reinado. It’s not crafted like your typical Nicaraguan puro.

Created by Antonio Lam, Reinado is a blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos aged up to five years. “What makes this cigar very special is the fact that it’s got a unique fermentation process being employed, making the flavors extremely rich and smooth for a Nicaraguan puro yet letting a nice spice run right through it,” says Lam.

Reinado, Spanish for “reign,” is still a young company, but Lam is happy with his brand’s reception. “We’re in the early stages and the initial response has been excellent, from online reviewers to in-store customers at events.”

As you might imagine, Lam is hard at work expanding the number of Reinado retailers and trying to achieve more widespread recognition of his cigars. His attractive, easy-to-navigate website and solid grasp of social networking media will help. He’s also counting on the online cigar community.

Eager to try Reinado for myself, I smoked a handful of Torpedos (6.1 x 52) for this review. This vitola, one of three in the Reinado portfolio, features an oily Habano rosado wrapper with few veins and virtually invisible seams. The pre-light aroma is bold and woody.

After establishing an even burn, a full-bodied profile of leather, espresso, and cherry quickly emerges. Rarely do cigars smoke with such strength right out of the gate. The Torpedo, however, sports an unapologetically intrepid flavor from the get-go, one that’s more refined than harsh. Its balance includes a sweet aftertaste and a floral-smelling resting smoke.

Consistent from light to nub, the cigar neither mellows nor intensifies. All the while the construction is outstanding. Expect a straight burn, a clear draw, and a solid ash.

Would I smoke the Reinado Torpedo every day? No. After the occasional heavy meal, though, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better selection if you’re craving something bold and brawny. That’s why this $9 cigar earns four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Reviews: La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Robusto

26 Oct 2010

With little fanfare, Ashton cigars released La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor at this year’s industry trade show in August. The five-vitola line is the third La Aroma de Cuba blend in Ashton’s portfolio.

La Aroma has undergone quite the transformation in the past few years when Ashton handed the brand over to Don Pepin Garcia. The original Honduran recipe (which was made by Altadis) was re-incarnated as a Nicaraguan blend with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, and a new Edición Especial was added, featuring an Ecuadorian wrapper.

The new Mi Amor uses a dark Mexican San Andreas wrapper along with Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The box-pressed line sells for $150-$180 per box of 25, or $6-8 as a single. The  Robusto (5 x 50) costs a reasonable $5.

To introduce the new Mi Amor blend, Ashton is conducting a series of tastings at cigar shops. These events feature almonds, coconut, dark chocolate, and Zaya rum, which are tasted in progression to bring out the flavors of the cigar. I was fortunate enough to participate in such a tasting at a local shop and would definitely recommend the event as an excellent way to sample the Mi Amor while developing your palate.

Not surprisingly, many of the flavors featured in the tasting are found in the cigar. Most prominent are coffee and roasted earth. But there’s a also bit of dry bittersweet chocolate and a hint of nuttiness.

The Robusto creates plenty of dense smoke that leaves the cigar’s profile lingering on your palate. There’s not much variation in taste as the cigar progresses, although the roasted flavors seem to pick up towards the end.

The Mi Amor is solidly medium- to full-bodied throughout. Construction is excellent, with the box-pressed smoke burning evenly while producing a solid, stable ash.

Over a year ago, I remember hearing that Don Pepin Garcia was very excited about the wrappers being grown in the San Andreas region of Mexico. This new La Aroma is proof that that his excitement was well-founded. The resulting blend earns the La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Robusto four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Tips: Have a Happy Cigar Halloween

25 Oct 2010

This weekend is Halloween, that fabled holiday of trick-or-treating, pumpkins, and ghost stories. That leaves only six short days to pick the perfect costume.

We’re here to help all of you overgrown kids who aren’t above costume parties. After all, depending on your party’s locale, you may want to incorporate a cigar into your disguise—especially if you aim to enjoy some premium tobacco on this spooky occasion. One obvious example is the so-called “Cigar Guy,” that stogie-wielding golf fan who became an internet sensation after he was featured in a widely circulated photo taken at this year’s Ryder Cup. There are countless other possibilities. Here are our top 20 favorites:

1. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Whether you’re going as The Governator or one of his gun-toting movie characters, a big cigar won’t look out of place.

2. Michael Jordan. Now in retirement, the greatest basketball player always hits the links with a smoke.

3. Groucho Marx. Sure, it’s a little dated, but this American icon loved his stogies.

4. Ulysses S. Grant. Some say the super-sized prez smoked around 20 cigars a day.

5. Mark Twain. America’s cigar-smoking author.

6. Kramer. Just don’t use any racial slurs.

7. Scarface. Say hello to my little friend.

8. Bill Clinton. The former president got into trouble with his cigars.

9. Mike Ditka. Da coach.

10. Sigmund Freud. Do you think the cigar-smoking neurologist was into cigars because he was envious of his father’s you-know-what?

11. Jesse Ventura. I’d recommend going as his Blain character from Predator.

12. Hot cigar girl. Enough said.

13. Winston Churchill. Leading (and smoking) England through World War II, this prime minister is by far the manliest British dude ever. By far.

14. Clint Eastwood. Step one: Grab a six-shooter, a cowboy hat, and a Backwoods cigar. Step two: Go kill some Indians.

15. A cigar store Indian. Watch out for Clint Eastwoods.

16. A cigar-chomping communist dictator. Any Pinko Commie like Fidel Castro, Kim Jong Il, or Che Guevara will do.

17. The Babe. Maybe the greatest slugger in baseball history, Babe Ruth was known for his love of food, drink, and cigars.

18. Tony Soprano. We may never know what happened after “Don’t Stop Believing” stopped playing, but we do know that this mafia boss smoked a cigar in almost every episode of The Sopranos.

19. Al Capone. If we’re talking mafia bosses, why not be the original? Capone was known for his enjoyment of cigars, booze, and women. Just don’t get syphilis.

20. A Cigar. Sure, smoking a cigar while being dressed as a cigar may seem weirdly cannibalistic, but what better way to show your love for stogies?

Got a few costume ideas that we missed? Let us know in the comments.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Daily Mail