Archive | November, 2013

Quick Smoke: Camacho Blackout 2013 Limited Edition Toro

30 Nov 2013

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.”

I found it interesting that Camacho included a limited edition (100,000 cigars in 5 sizes) as part of its revamp of the line. The Toro is a 50-ring gauge, 6-inch cigar with an international mix of tobacco: Honduran wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and filler from Nicaragua, Honduras, and Brazil. Costing about $10, it’s a bit expensive, and for me the strength came too close to overpowering the flavor.

Verdict = Hold.

George E

photo credit: N/A

Cigar Tip: Have a Happy Thanksgiving… with Cigars

27 Nov 2013

With football on the TV, turkey in your stomach, and family gathered, Thanksgiving is a great day to enjoy a fine cigar (or several). So, as we have for the previous six years, today the team tells you what cigars we’ll be firing up after our big meals.

Patrick A: In year’s past, my Thanksgiving selection has often been a cigar that came out in the same year—and 2013 is no exception. Tomorrow, my plan is to fire up a Leccia Tobacco White 650 and a cup of black coffee after the big meal. Hopefully that combination will rescue me from what’s sure to be an epic food coma. The toro (6 x 50) should cap off the afternoon nicely with a plethora of medium-bodied holiday flavors, including coffee, nuts, milk chocolate, and cream.

Patrick S: Like my colleague, I’m a fan of the new Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco. Created to celebrate 45 years of Joya Cigars, the large box-pressed toro is a hearty, full-flavored cigar, which is just what I’ll want after a large Thanksgiving meal. It has plenty of flavorful ligero, but also a balanced, rounded profile with sweetness and complexity. It will go great with a strong cup of coffee.

George E: I’ve smoked several more Eiroa Toros since I first tried the blend in October, and thoroughly enjoyed each one. A full-bodied, beautiful smoke, this Honduran puro is guaranteed to cut through the most extravagant Thanksgiving meal. At about $10, the 6-inch, 54-ring gauge stick might seem a little pricey, but it’s worth every penny, especially for a holiday treat.

Previous cigars the team designated as Thanksgiving smokes include:

Not a bad list, eh? If you’re so inclined, feel free to let us know what you’ll be smoking tomorrow in the comments below. And be sure to have a safe and joyous Thanksgiving.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: N/A

News: Over a Year and a Half Later, White House Still Silent on FDA Cigar Petition

26 Nov 2013

Why does the Obama White House refuse to answer a petition regarding the forthcoming Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of cigars, when it has answered numerous other petitions that were filed more recently and had fewer signers?

wtpIn 2011, the Obama White House announced We The People. The concept was simple. “Individuals will be able to create and sign petitions seeking action from the federal government on a range of issues. If a petition gathers enough signatures, White House staff will review it, ensure it is sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.”

Originally the threshold for an official response was 5,000 signatures within 30 days, but later it was raised to 25,000 signers, and more recently to 100,000. For the most part it worked as intended. According to, which tracks the 235 petitions that have reached the required threshold, 209 (88%) have received the promised response, with an average wait time of just 69 days.

But not all petitions have been answered in a timely fashion, including one about cigars. On April 11, 2012, Jeff Borysiewicz, owner of Corona Cigar Co. in Orlando, filed the petition asking the President to order the FDA to not use its discretion to regulate handmade cigars:

Dear Mr. President:

The FDA is considering the creation of regulations for the premium cigar industry. These regulations will jeopardize over 85,000 American jobs, destroy America’s “mom and pop” premium cigar retailers and manufacturers, and risk over 250,000 jobs in Latin America that produce cigars, impacting the economic/political stability in the region.

We hope you will stand up for small businesses that dot Main Street America and recognize that premium cigars are enjoyed by adults, are not addictive, and therefore do not conform to the Congressional intent of the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act.

Tell the FDA to leave our premium cigars alone. With this nation’s more pressing issues, harming my simple ability to enjoy a cigar should not be a priority of the government.

Cigar consumers, grassroots activists, websites, cigar sellers, and manufacturers soon banded together to promote the petition. By April 25, it reached the 25,000 signatures needed to qualify for an official response from the administration. Before the 30-day deadline ended, the petition collected nearly 39,000 signatures.

While the average response has taken just over two months, 19 months have passed and the Administration has not yet issued any answer to the 39,000 people who signed in favor of protecting cigars. Only one other petition has been pending longer.

Patrick S

photo credit: White House

Cigar Review: Juan Lopez Selección No. 2

25 Nov 2013

Altadis has been re-creating and re-branding some of its most popular brands, including Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta (check out my reviews of Monte and Romeo).

Juan Lopez No 2One development that received less attention was Altadis’ re-introduction of the once-discontinued Juan Lopez brand. Making its official debut at this year’s IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas, the new Juan Lopez recipe includes all Nicaraguan tobacco. “The Juan Lopez cigar perfectly captures the renowned boldness and richness of Nicaraguan tobacco,” reads the Altadis website. “Great care was taken to incorporate tobacco from each of Nicaragua’s three growing regions to create a complex blend that is sure to impress.”

Three vitolas are available: Selección No. 1 (5 x 54), Selección No. 2 (6 x 54), and Selección No. 3 (6 x 60). Boxes of 20 retail in the affordable $80-90 range, and singles run $5-6 apiece. This positions Juan Lopez towards the value end of the premium cigar market—which would make it a great deal if it lives up to its high Cigar Aficionado ratings.

The Selección No. 2 has a dark, slightly reddish Nicaraguan Habano wrapper that has minimal veins and very noticeable seams. The surface is characterized by tooth and lots of oils. At the foot you can see a cross-section of tightly packed filler tobaccos and smell musty, earthy pre-light notes. The double-cap clips to reveal a moderate draw.

Once lit, I find a thick, leathery texture with flavors of black pepper spice, damp earth, sweet cream, meat, and roasted nuts. Typically, I’m not a fan of the meaty flavor that can sometimes show up in cigars—whether it’s a chewy meat or a charred steak element. But here it’s balanced nicely by the creamy and nutty notes, and I find the overall impact quite pleasing. The resting smoke is very sweet and aromatic.

Throughout the slow-burning Selección No. 2, which takes me over 90 minutes to smoke, the flavors don’t change much at all, save for some increase in spice in the final third. All the while the physical properties are solid. The gray ash holds firmly off the foot. The smoke production is ample. And the burn line stays true. My preference would be for a somewhat easier draw, though.

I doubt Juan Lopez is the kind of blend that will wow many cigar enthusiasts, and I don’t anticipate it will make many best-of lists. But it’s a smooth, nicely balanced stick that will keep you company for a long time. And best of all, it won’t break the bank. You can’t argue with that. All this adds up to a nice rating of three stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Viaje 5th Anniversary Perfecto

24 Nov 2013

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.”


Last year was Viaje’s fifth anniversary, and I’ve kept this lightly box-pressed perfecto, created to celebrate that occasion, in my humidor since. The Nicaraguan puro is made at the Raices Cubanas factory just over the Nicaraguan border in Honduras. Many of Viaje’s special releases tend to be flavor-bombs, at the expense of the cigars’ balance. But this smoke is more refined. It’s medium-bodied, with woodiness, hints of pepper, and a slight syrupy sweetness. Construction is good, although you’ll need to clip a decent amount off the head to get a good draw. This cigar has been sold out for a year, but if you happen to come across one, pick it up.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: La Aurora Broadway Series Sumo Toro

23 Nov 2013

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.”

Broadway Series

When it came out December 2010, I really liked the Broadway Series blend, which La Aurora launched as an exclusive smoke for New York tobacconists to help them combat the onset of onerous cigar taxes. So I was excited to find a Sumo Toro (5.75 x 54) in one of my humidors, which I likely received as a sample sometime in January 2011. The cigar is absolutely wonderful today with the Ecuadorian Sumatran, Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Peruvian tobaccos combining to produce a bready texture accented by notes of almond, white pepper, and a creamy sweetness. If you live in New York, or whenever your travels bring you to the Big Apple, definitely pick up a few Sumo Toros if you come across them. The price of $12.25 (taxes included) is high yet completely justifiable.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 359

22 Nov 2013

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post a mixed bag of quick cigar news and other items of interest. Below is our latest Friday Sampler.

Smoke Inn1) Our friends at Smoke Inn Cigars are hosting a toy drive to benefit the Kids Cancer Foundation, a Florida-based charity that provides a wide variety of support services for children diagnosed with cancer, and their families. All of us at encourage you to mail a new, unwrapped toy to the following address before Saturday, December 7: Smoke Inn Casa de Montecristo, Attn. Lady M., 1030 Gateway Blvd., Boynton Beach, Florida 33426. All those who do will receive one raffle ticket per gift donated, and have a chance to win one of six amazing prizes: a 48-count box of Liga Privada Parejos, a box of 2012 Tatuaje Little Monsters, a box of Room 101 Big Delicious, a box of Oktoberfest Dunkel, a 5-pack of Tatuaje Anarchy from 2010, and a Prometheus Ashtray. The grand prize is a 10-pack of 1999 Padrón Millenniums in a special box (value of $1,500). You do not have to be physically present to participate or claim your prize. Thank you for considering a donation to this important cause; your help can brighten this holiday season for a child in need of support.

2) While some cruise companies have become less friendly to smokers, others are emphasizing cigars with fancy cigar lounges and plenty of premium cigars available. USA Today lists the cigar smoking options on eight of the largest cruise companies. More than one company calls their cigar lounges “Churchills.”

3) Inside the Industry: The Oliva Tobacco Company, a grower that produces tobacco for some of the best-known cigar brands, has established a new farm in Ecuador to meet increasing demand for Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The 325-acre operation is currently focused on Havana 2000 and Corojo plants. Oliva Tobacco is unrelated to the Oliva Cigar Company.

4) Around the Blogs: Cigar Inspector inspects the Hoyo de Monterrey Grand Epicure 2013 LE. Cigar Fan fires up a Cult Classic. Stogie Fresh smokes the San Lotano Oval Maduro. Stogie Review reviews the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2. Tiki Bar kicks back with a Havana Sunrise Reserve.

5) Deal of the Week: Let’s not kid ourselves. The Gobble Gobble Sampler is a bit of a crap-shoot, but odds look good you’re getting a good deal. Only $80 gets you 40 cigars (just $2 per stick). And while the specific cigars aren’t specified, the brands represented are all reputable: La Aurora, Alec Bradley, Camacho, Rocky Patel, Toraño, Padilla, Quesada, Cubao, Martin Cigar, Xikar HC, CAO, El Tiante, and Onyx.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Smoke Inn