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Tip: Eighteen Things Every Cigar Smoker Should Do In Their Lifetime

5 Nov 2019

[We’ve updated an article from a few years ago that was titled: “Sixteen Things Every Cigar Smoker Should Do In Their Lifetime.”]

Cigar smokers can live a long time. Just ask Richard Overton, a WWII veteran who lived to be 112 and smoked dozens of cigars a day. That gives you plenty of time to do lots of amazing things.

To help out, we brainstormed a list of eighteen cigar-related activities every cigar smoker should accomplish in their lifetime:

1. Smoke a cigar in a rental car. (There may be a cleaning fee involved.)

2. Make your own cigar blend, then smoke it. (Be prepared for it not to be very good, but that isn’t the point.)

3. Smoke a pre-embargo Cuban. (No, cigars made with a portion of pre-embargo Cuban tobacco don’t count.)

4. Visit a cigar factory abroad. (And a tobacco field while you are there.)

5. Smoke two cigars at once. (It’s actually a good way to develop your palate.)

6. Visit Cuba. (It’s easier than you think.)

7. Give someone their first cigar. (Maybe on their 18th birthday?)

8. Enjoy a cigar and drink at Casa Fuente in Las Vegas. (Try the Don Carlos Caipirinha.)

9. Buy the cigar you’ve always wanted to smoke, no matter the price. (Spend $30, $50, $100, or more.)

10. Light up a cigar someplace you shouldn’t. (Act shocked when you are told you can’t enjoy your cigar there.)

11. Pair Pappy Van Winkle bourbon with your favorite cigar. (Bourbon that costs $100 an ounce must be amazing, right?)

12. Smoke a cigar on the beach. Either early morning after an AM surf or camping out on the beach late at night, it’s the perfect place.

13. Buy a friend “It’s a boy/girl” cigars to celebrate a birth. (Remind the new dad, he should give them out, not smoke them all.)

14. Visit Calle Ocho in Little Havana. (It’s kinda like Cuba, but still in America.)

15. Wake up early to read the newspaper with a cigar and coffee. (Your local paper, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Enquirer… it doesn’t matter.)

16. Smoke cigars with friends around a bonfire you made. (Bonus points if you chopped the wood for the bonfire yourself.)

17. Light up a celebratory cigar when your favorite team wins the championship. (Hopefully you aren’t a Browns fan.)

18. Smoke with your dad or son. There’s nothing quite like generational bonding over a premium cigar.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Seinfeld

Commentary: Gold Star Smokes (Part IX)

3 Jun 2019

It has been over five years (!) since the StogieGuys.com team published a new list of Gold Star Smokes. As you might recall, this special designation celebrates cigars we feel are worthy of extra-strong recommendations. They don’t necessarily have to be five stogie-rated—just commendable smokes we find ourselves turning to time and again.

Co-Founder & Editor in Chief Patrick A

My newest addition to the Gold Star Smokes designation is also new to the market. Since reviewing it in April, I’ve been enamored with Diesel Hair of the Dog. It’s a lightly pressed, toro-sized (6 x 54) smoke with a smooth, golden brown Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper around an Ecuadorian Habano binder and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos. Sweet hay dominates the pre-light notes. It begins with a Pepin-esque blast of pepper and then settles into a complex profile complete with creamy cashew, white pepper, toast, a bit of cinnamon and, in the final third, a little licorice. It’s an absolute gem from famed cigar maker A.J. Fernandez and well worth the $10 asking price.

Cigar Review: Diesel Hair of the Dog

Co-Founder & Publisher Patrick S

In the past few years the single vitola I’ve purchased, given away, and smoked most frequently is Illusione’s Rothchildes CT. There’s no question that the price (under $200 for a box of 50, if you shop around) is part of the reason. But it takes more than value to be a Gold Star Smoke. Irrespective of price, it is a thoroughly enjoyable, medium-bodied smoke, with creamy, toasty notes, coffee, oak, and hints of pepper. It’s well-balanced and well-constructed. Add in a price tag under a Lincoln, and it’s easy to see why this is a cigar worth seeking out.

Cigar Review: Illusione Rothchildes CT

Tampa Bureau Chief George E

I’d be hard-pressed to guess how many Gurkha Class Regent Torpedoes I’ve smoked since reviewing one over 12 years ago. It is not a complex cigar, but one that is pleasant and consistent. Perhaps the most notable characteristic is the thick, abundant smoke. Like many Gurkhas, the list price, which for this one is, I believe, $11, isn’t what you pay. In fact, it’s the bargain-basement cost that helps make the Class Regent Torpedo so attractive. I’ve paid under $3 each, including shipping, and you can routinely find them for about $3.50. If you’re looking for a companion to a round of golf, a fishing outing, or simply relaxing when you don’t want to concentrate on your cigar, this is one to try.

Stogie Reviews: Gurkha Class Regent Torpedo

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: La Flor Dominicana “Event Only 2018”

12 May 2019

A couple times each week 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 purchased this cigar, labeled “Event Only 2018,” for $9 at a local shop. Details about this highly limited offering are not known, though I expect there’s lots of Dominican filler from LFD’s La Canela farm. The thick toro, with a nipple-shaped head, is a full-bodied, balanced cigar. It opens up with dried fruit notes followed by spice, leather, and brown bread, and finishes with oak and red pepper spice. Well-constructed, flavorful, balanced… it checks all the boxes for a favorable recommendation.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas!

24 Dec 2018

christmas-2014

From all of us at StogieGuys.com, we want to wish you and yours a joyous, safe, and cigar-filled Christmas. We’re taking today and tomorrow off to spend time with our families, but we’ll be right back here on Wednesday with more reviews, news, interviews, commentaries, and tips from the world of cigars.

Until then, you can follow us on our official Twitter feed, on Instagram, and on Facebook, or you can sign up for our free email newsletter.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Cigar Tip: Have a Happy Thanksgiving… with Cigars (2018)

21 Nov 2018

 

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

Patrick A: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (with its fireworks, barbecues, baseball, and beer, the Fourth of July is a close second). That’s why, despite being smoked in a way-too-cold Chicago garage, my post-dinner smoke on Thanksgiving is probably my favorite cigar experience of the year. So there’s a lot riding on picking a consistent smoke that’s well-suited to the situation. This year I’m going with the Mi Querida Fino Largo (6 x 48, about $9). Crafted at the NACSA factory for Steve Saka’s Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, Mi Querida sports a blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos surrounded by a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. Full-bodied flavors of espresso, cinnamon, nougat sweetness, damp wood, and leather will provide the combination of power and harmony I’ll be craving after a huge dinner—and (hopefully) a Bears victory.

Patrick S: I’m visiting family in New York, where the high on Thanksgiving is expected to be below freezing and where any cigar will have to be enjoyed outdoors. So while I’m still looking forward to a post-turkey cigar, brevity is very much appreciated. This year I’m going to be lighting up a Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Short Robusto. The small (4.5 x 52) cigar packs all the complexity and flavor of the larger Connoisseur size. Think full-bodied flavors of rich oak, toast, black coffee, spice, salt, and pepper. I’ll probably pair it up with a peaty single malt (Lagavulin or Arbeg), which should be ideal for the harsh conditions.

George E: The weather down here in Florida nearly always makes for a terrific Thanksgiving, unquestionably one of the best holidays. This year is no exception, with the forecast calling for a couple degrees below the average high (77°) and little chance of rain until late in the night. So, I’m almost certain to end the day outside with a large cup of coffee (Starbucks Italian Roast) and a cigar. Looking back through some of my previous Thanksgiving selections, it seems I’ve often opted for high-powered cigars. For 2018, that’s not really changing. I’ve decided to light up one of the few My Father Limited Edition 2011 sticks (6.5 x 52, $20) remaining from the box I bought at an event when they were released. It’s been more than a year since I last had one, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Previous cigars the StogieGuys.com 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: Flickr

Cigar Tip: Twelve Cigar-Friendly Halloween Costumes

29 Oct 2018

Looking to pull together a last-minute Halloween costume? We’re here to help. In an effort to make trick-or-treating a lot more tolerable, here are a dozen costume ideas, each that will let you smoke a cigar as part of the costume:

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

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

4. Scarface. Say hello to my little friend.

5 Bill Clinton. The president who got into trouble with cigars.

6. Mike Ditka. See photo of Patrick A from (more than) a few years ago.

7. Ernest Hemingway. The famous author loved his cigars.

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

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

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

11. 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.

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

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Commentary: The FDA Should Not Be in the Business of Regulating Premium Cigars

25 Jul 2018

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The deadline for comments to the Food and Drug Administration about whether or not it should regulate handmade cigars are due today at midnight. You should submit your comments here.

If you are wondering what to tell the FDA, we gave some succinct suggestions here. Our comments the FDA were a little more in depth. We reprint them here in their entirety:

As Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, respectively, of the cigar news and review site StogieGuys.com, and as cigar consumers, we strongly urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to completely rescind—or, at the very least, significantly curtail—all FDA regulations that apply to handmade cigars.

We have been reporting and writing about the premium cigar industry for over a decade (since StogieGuys.com’s founding in May 2006) That level of experience is not required to understand that, because of their natural and handmade production process, premium cigars will always be an inferior product, compared to other tobacco products, when it comes to effective nicotine delivery. That, combined with their high price point, makes premium handmade cigars particularly unattractive to underage tobacco users. In sum, the interests of public health and harm reduction are not served by regulating premium handmade cigars.

Our comments today reincorporate our comments to the FDA from August 27, 2014 in opposition to any regulations of handmade cigars. Our comments then made five key points, each of which continues to be a compelling reason to not regulate handmade cigars, especially when compared to existing efforts to enforce pre-2016 regulations on cigarettes and other tobacco products:

1. Cigars are fundamentally different from cigarettes and most other types of tobacco.

2. The FDA should not extend authority at all, and certainly not to handmade cigars, because it lacks the ability to do so [given current and future budget constraints].

3. If the FDA erroneously chooses to [continue to] regulate cigars, it should adopt a premium handmade cigar exemption that doesn’t rely on an arbitrary price, or flavor distinctions.

4. FDA regulations on premium cigars will cost jobs, both domestically and abroad. (Avoiding unemployment is almost universally considered good for your health. For example, experts have found (https://bit.ly/2A1X1lZ) that “people who are unemployed: have poorer physical and mental health overall, consult their [primary physician] more, are more likely to be admitted to hospital, [and] have higher death rates.”)

5. The FDA should focus on existing regulations, not expanding new regulations to handmade cigars.

Subjects one, two, four, and five demonstrate why the FDA’s mission of public health, with a special focus on the prevention of tobacco use by minors, should exempt handmade cigars so the focus can be on cigarettes and other tobacco products that fulfill the FDA’s above-stated goals.

We further emphasize the third key point made in our 2016 comments regarding a potential definition used for premium or handmade cigars: If the FDA decides to exempt “premium” cigars, it should do so based on the artisanal techniques used to produce handmade cigars. If, however, the FDA insists on using product cost to draw such a line, it should rely on the only line drawn by Congress which limited SCHIP tax rates to the first 40.26 cents of the wholesale price per cigar (i.e., cigars with a wholesale price above 40.26 cents should be exempt and classified as premium cigars).

Regulation of Handmade Cigars Won’t Advance the FDA’s Stated Goals

If the FDA is devoted to deploying its resources to pursue an agenda of harm reduction, this militates against regulating handmade cigars. The undeniable truth is virtually every human activity—including choices about diet, exercise, healthcare, social relationships, etc.—comes with some health risk. The FDA has recently moved towards a focus on risk-reduction, whereby regulatory activity is judged by its net effects, taking into account that regulation can and will steer individuals towards other, more or less risky, activities. Decreased regulation of handmade cigars logically follows from these stated goals.

Those who have read the National Institute of Health’s “Monograph 9: Cigars: Health Effects and Trends” and overviews of the health impacts of cigarette use will conclude that if the average cigarette smoker were suddenly transformed into the average handmade cigar smoker, public health would be far better off. Cigar smokers tend to smoke far less frequently and are therefore are far more capable of quitting, should they decide to.

The Regulation of Handmade Cigars Will Be Unwieldy

While handmade cigars are made in what is called a “cigar factory,” ultimately compared to most modern standardized manufacturing practices, the very nature of handmade cigars is far less precise than other more mass-market tobacco products. In fact, it is fair to say that the basic cigar manufacturing process has evolved little in decades, or perhaps even centuries.

Cigars are made with very broad specifications, which leaves significant discretion to each cigar roller to produce a final cigar that bares the key characteristics of the blend but is ultimately tweaked slightly to produce a cigar that will still combust and taste as expected by the consumer. The fact is, each cigar leaf is not identical in size, nor can each tobacco be produced uniformly because each frequently comes from a different farm (and part of that farm), a different growing season, and had been hand-processed by a different person.

In other words, no two handmade cigars are ever identical. This makes any attempt to regulate cigars through an FDA pre-approval process inherently unwieldy and unworkable.

The FDA’s Limited Resources Should Be Focused On More Consequential Tasks

Perhaps most critically, the FDA should exempt handmade cigars. Given existing fiscal realities, FDA regulation of handmade cigars would mean less regulatory resources elsewhere. If the FDA had infinite resources to regulate all tobacco products, the correct question to ask would be: Can regulation of handmade cigars create any net health benefit? But even if it could, that is not the reality the FDA faces today, or will ever face.

In a world of growing deficits, increasing financial obligations from entitlement spending, and little appetite for large tax increases, the FDA must accept it is increasingly being asked to do more with less, or at the very least more with the same resources, especially considering its existing large portfolio of non-tobacco regulatory mandates. In that light, the real question the FDA should ask as it considers whether to undertake the regulation of handmade cigars is: Will regulation of handmade cigars, to the detriment of other FDA regulatory activities, create a net gain in public health or risk reduction?

When judged against the potential impact of deploying FDA resources elsewhere, the considerable resources that would need to be devoted to any regulation of handmade cigars (which overwhelmingly produced in jurisdictions outside the United States) cannot be justified. Studies do not show that handmade cigars are used in any meaningful amounts by minors, and in fact even the previous FDA-cited justifications conflated handmade cigar use with use of non-handmade cigars, and also repeatedly conflated tobacco use by adults as old as 25 or even 29 with those of minors (see: https://bit.ly/2dIDpan), almost certainly because of the lack of evidence that studies show that actual minors are using handmade cigars. Whether the FDA chooses to focus on public health overall or tobacco use by minors, regulation of handmade cigars does not serve that goal when compared to using the same taxpayer dollars elsewhere.

Finally, while we believe current overwhelming evidence should cause the FDA to leave handmade cigars out of its tobacco regulation regime, such a decision would not preclude the FDA from, should new evidence be produced or documented use patterns change, revisiting the issue at later date. Barring an act of Congress specifically exempting handmade cigars (there has been, and continues to be, wide bipartisan support for such an exemption), the FDA will still retain such regulatory powers to be deployed later under the Tobacco Control Act.

When it comes to the many tasks given to the FDA by Congress, whether for tobacco regulations or other public health goals, regulating the small percentage of tobacco products that constitute handmade cigars at this time cannot advance the FDA’s larger goals of risk reduction and overall public health compared to deploying the FDA’s limited resources elsewhere. Therefore, we ask the FDA to eliminate its current regulations of handmade cigars.

Patrick A & Patrick S

photo credits: Stogie Guys