Archive | May, 2012

Videos from Cigar Safari in Nicaragua (Part 2)

31 May 2012

Today we are sharing the second and third installments in our series of videos from our recent trip to Estelí, Nicaragua, with Drew Estate’s Cigar Safari.

In the first video, Mario Perez of Joya de Nicaragua shows us how seco, ligero, and viso filler tobaccos are bunched together in a binder leaf. This is, according to Perez, one of those “very special moments” in the creation of a cigar. We also see how a criollo Nicaraguan wrapper is applied to a cigar and why it is important to stretch the leaf during this process. Finally, Perez gives us a tour of the Joya’s aging room and shipping preparation room.

Wrapping up our Joya de Nicaragua coverage, this video shows the blending seminar we attended, which was hosted by Mario Perez and José Blanco. Of note are the haphazardly rolled “cigars” Patrick A and Patrick S bunched together to taste their respective blends. Let’s just say we’re thankful we didn’t actually have to roll the blends ourselves.

We’ll resume the video coverage of our Nicaraguan adventure on Monday. Meanwhile, you can check out our previously published coverage of the trip here and here.

The Stogie Guys

video credit: Stogie Guys

Videos from Cigar Safari in Nicaragua (Part 1)

30 May 2012

In yesterday’s post, we explained that we had plenty of highly informative video content to share with you from our recent trip to Estelí with Drew Estate’s Cigar Safari.

Today we are proud to share the first in a series of videos that highlight the best and most interesting parts of our Nicaraguan adventure. In today’s segment, Mario Perez of Joya de Nicaragua gives us a tour of the Joya factory in Estelí. Included is a discussion of why Joya only ferments a select few wrapper leaves after receiving them, an illustration of wrapper preparation, info on why certain leaves need to be sprayed with water, and a demonstration of tobacco de-veining and classification.

Tomorrow we’ll provide the second half of Mario’s Joya de Nicaragua tour, including bunching, rolling, and video of the cigars being readied for shipping.

The Stogie Guys

video credit: Stogie Guys

Postcards from Cigar Safari in Nicaragua

29 May 2012

As you’ve no doubt seen if you’ve been following us on Facebook or Twitter over the past week, Patrick A and Patrick S participated in Drew Estate’s Cigar Safari in Estelí, Nicaragua.

First and foremost, we’d like to thank all the fine folks at Drew Estate and Joya de Nicaragua for showing us an amazing time on the incredible trip, especially Jonathan Drew, Steve Saka, Jose Blanco, Mario Perez, Pedro Gomez, and Johnny Brooke. We learned a ton and our passion for fine cigars was reinforced four-fold—as was our understanding that we have so much more to learn about tobacco. But that’s a learning process we embrace.

We know you embrace learning about premium cigars as well, and in that spirit we have a plethora of photos, videos, and other content to share with you from our recently concluded adventure. The video content is forthcoming shortly. In the meantime, we thought we’d share some of our favorite photos from the trip.

We had a tremendous group of guys for this trip, pictured here. Included are such notables as Jonathan Drew (red shirt and cap), Steve Saka (lower right), Doc Stogie (black CroMagnon shirt), and Brian Berman and Mark Brownlee of CRA.

The Drew Estate factory has a sense of style all its own, including this beautiful mural painted along the back of the factory and near the entrance to Subculture Studios, the nerve center of the company’s artistic creations.

As you might imagine, there were plenty of smokes available to us during the trip, and we weren’t shy about taking advantage of this awesome luxury. From Liga Privada No. 9 and Undercrown to Liga Privada T52 and Unico Serie, Cigar Safari was a great way to sample (and re-sample) all of the finest offerings from Drew Estate. The MUWAT Bait Fish, for example, was a favorite of ours as a potent post-lunch smoke with some dark coffee.


Quick Smoke: Pinar del Rio Small Batch Reserve Maduro Robusto

27 May 2012

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.”

When my colleague awarded this cigar a 4.5-stogie rating in a full review about a month ago, I knew I had to try it soon, especially since I’m a big fan of Pinar del Rio. I was not disappointed. For $7, the Small Batch Reserve Maduro Robusto gets you dark, rich flavors of chocolate, coffee, and creamy nuts and outstanding construction. Fans of Brazilian-wrapped smokes should be especially sure not to pass up this cigar.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Casa Fernandez Arsenio Robusto Grande

26 May 2012

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.”

This cigar is another entry in the lower price Nicaraguan puro sweepstakes. Called a Robusto Grande with a 54 ring gauge and measuring a shade over 5 inches in length, it runs about $5 per stick. The cigar has some strength and isn’t particularly complex, with predominantly woody flavors and lots of smoke. The name, if you’re curious, honors master blender Arsenio Ramos. Worth a try, but I’d be surprised if it makes a lasting impression.

Verdict = Hold.

George E

photo credit: N/A

The Stogie Guys Head to Nicaragua

23 May 2012 is taking the rest of the week off as Patrick A and Patrick S travel from Chicago and Washington, respectively, to visit the fine folks at Drew Estate in Estelí, Nicaragua. We’ll return to our daily coverage of the world of cigars on Saturday, May 26. In the meantime, feel free to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we participate in Drew Estate’s Cigar Safari. And be sure to come back to next week as we share exciting content from our smoke-filled adventure.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Drew Estate Blog

Cigar Review: Paul Garmirian Petit Bouquet ’91

22 May 2012

Buying cigars with serious age can be difficult. Fortunately for me, I live near the McLean Cigars PG Boutique, home base of Paul Garmirian Cigars, a company that takes seriously their commitment never to rush cigars to market.

And while all of their cigars are aged for years before they are sold, at their shop they have an even more special collection of cigars that have been aged for well over a decade, including many from the first years of PG Cigars, which was founded in 1991.

On my last trip to McLean, I selected a four-pack of Petit Bouquet-sized PG’s from the original PG release in 1991. The four -pack slide box ran me $44, or $11 each, a lot for a short cigar (4.5 x 38) were it not for the over two decades of age on these Connecticut-wrapped Dominicans.

To get some details on the cigar, I emailed Kevork Garmirian of PG and also asked him for more details about PG’s aging process and philosophy “So many wonderful things can happen to cigars as they rest,” he told me. “It’s good to know when a particular filler or wrapper was grown, but what’s even more interesting is the balance with other tobaccos, their age, and how long it has been since the cigar was rolled.”

“We get a lot of compliments on our PGs and I think that has a lot to do with our ‘staggered’ ordering and aging process,” he continued. “We order cigars about 3 years in advance. With the exception of our Limited Edition that we’ll release in a few months, the cigars that I receive in 2012 will age in our U.S. warehouse for a 2015 release.”

Despite over 20 years of age (Kevork tells me the tobacco is from the late 80s) the little Petit Bouquet shows some rich flavors. Cedar is dominant, but there’s also hints of honey, hay, oak, cereal, and clove-like spice. It’s perfectly balanced and mild- to medium-bodied.

One word of advice: Be careful removing the cellophane, as years of oils have nearly fused the cigar to the protective plastic wrapper on some of the samples I smoked. So long as I successfully removed the cigar from its wrapper, I found construction to be flawless.

Ultimately, the Petit Bouquet isn’t my favorite PG cigar (my preferred profile is more full-bodied, like the 15th Anniversary), or even my favorite aged PG (the larger Belicoso Fino, also from 1991, has more depth) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an enjoyable smoke and a great experience. I’d even say that for providing almost a full hour of enjoyment, the cigar is a good value at $11. Depth of flavor, value, flawless construction, and a unique experience earn this 21-year-old Paul Garmirian Petit Bouquet a rating of four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys