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Quick Smoke: La Flor Dominicana LG Diez Dominicano 2013

10 Apr 2016

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.”

LG-Diez-2013-Dominicano

Not long ago, I was browsing a store that I don’t often go into and came across some well-aged La Flor Dominicana products, including this 2013 LG Diez Dominicano. The Churchill  (6.9 x 50) features a pale sun-grown Dominican Habano wrapper that surrounds Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. The well-constructed cigar is full-bodied, woody, and creamy with lots of red and black pepper spice. With a little leather on the finish, it’s a fine example of the complexity and body a Dominican puro can deliver.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 474

8 Apr 2016

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.

Combined

1) La Aurora, the Dominican Republic’s oldest cigar manufacturer, this week announced the 1962 Corojo and 1987 Connecticut are now in stores. “The La Aurora 1962 features a Corojo wrapper, from the Cibao Valley in the Dominican Republic, wrapped over an Ecuadorian binder, and fillers from the Cibao Valley and Nicaragua,” reads a press release. “The La Aurora 1987 sports a Connecticut shade-grown wrapper, over a Dominican binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. La Aurora offers both cigars in four sizes in 20-count boxes: Robusto (5 x 50), Churchill (7 x 50), Toro (5.5 x 54), and Gran Toro (6 x 58). The low MSRP of $5.50 to $6.00 is to pay tribute to the consumers who have supported La Aurora for 113 years.”

2) Black Label Trading Co. (BLTC) has announced the third release of its Morphine brand, which debuted in 2014 and got a sequel in 2015. The cigars are made at BLTC’s Estelí factory, Fabrica Oveja Negra, using a Mexican San Andrés Maduro wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. Three sizes will be available: Corona Gorda (5.5 x 48, $10.50), Lancero (7.25 x 42, $11), and a box-pressed Torpedo (5 x 54, $10.50). “Morphine has quickly become a favorite of our customers. I think we can now say it’s our signature blend,” said BLTC founder James Brown. “The 2016 Morphine will not disappoint with its big, bold flavors and unique character. The blend is the same but we have changed the vitolas to highlight different characteristics of the cigar. This production also includes our first torpedo cigar in any of the BLTC lines.”

3) To celebrate his 50th birthday, Fred Rewey of the Nomad Cigar Co. is giving away 50 cigars from his personal humidor. “These will (of course) be Nomads but a few others as well,” he said in an email blast. “Test blends [and] limited cigars (yes, even the Lot 1386) [are] going to one winner. I’m also throwing in a Nomad cutter and a few other surprises.” (The Nomad Lot 1386 was a very limited release in 2013 that received some critical acclaim; only 307 12-count boxes were produced.) You can enter the giveaway here.

4) From the Archives: There are many options when it comes to keeping your cigars properly humidified, but the gold-standard is a temperature-controlled humidor, which you can either build or buy. In this tip from 2010, you can read the step-by-step process for converting a wine refrigerator into a temperature-controlled humidor.

5) Deal of the Week: StogieGuys.com recommends Bespoke Post, a monthly collection of awesome items delivered to your door for just $45. Past boxes include barbecue accessories, shaving kits, coffee, and exclusive cigars from E.P. Carrillo. You can skip or purchase every month. This month’s options include a serious upgrade to your cocktail accessories, a kit for making barrel-aged cocktails, kits that include everything you need (but the booze) for an authentic Moscow mule or mint julep, and others. Click here to sign up today.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: La Aurora

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 473

1 Apr 2016

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.

DE Lounge BBT

1) The BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida—home to the Florida Panthers of the NHL—is now host to the first Drew Estate Lounge in a professional sports arena. The invitation-only grand opening is being held today (an off-day for the Panthers). Smoking will be restricted to a well-appointed outdoor area equipped with TVs and drink service. “This new lounge brings the Rebirth of Cigars to a broad new audience of hockey fans at the BB&T Center,” said Michael Cellucci, president of Drew Estate. “On a personal level, I am a huge fan of the Florida Panthers. I became a season ticket holder this year and have been so impressed with the ownership, their management of the team, and the family environment that is reminiscent of Drew Estate’s culture, so this is especially exciting for me.” Year of the Rat (5.5 x 46, $14), a new cigar commemorating the 20th anniversary of the franchise’s Stanley Cup victory in 1996, will be exclusive to the lounge. It will include a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper around a Brazilian binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and Honduras.

2) In our last “Question of the Month,” we asked readers to cite how many Cuban cigars they smoke, as a percentage of their cigar consumption. Just over 47% said less than 10% of their cigar consumption is Cuban, 30% said less than 50%, and 3% said they only smoke Cubans. Be sure to weigh in on this month’s question by casting your vote. And feel free to contact us if you’ve got a suggestion for a future poll.

3) Inside the Industry: Cuban Stock Cigar Co. just opened its new factory in the tax-free zone in Tamboril, Dominican Republic. President and company founder Yaniv Levy states, “After twenty years in our two previous factories, and with the pressures to increase output as our reputation grows, it was time for this new facility. Before this move, our total production space was less than 10,000 square feet… We now have 20,000 square feet, enough to carry us well into the future.” Cuban Stock Cigar Co. has already hired forty new workers, with plans to expand to 100 soon. With its new factory, the company can increase its annual production capacity from 1.8 million cigars to potentially 10 million cigars.

4) From the Archives: Aging cigars is always a topic of interest among serious smokers. StogieGuys.com has written extensively about the whys and hows of putting sticks away. Here, we passed along advice from some experts, and another post features an interview with Doc Stogie, whose Stogie Fresh site reviews cigars over time to assess the impact of aging.

5) Deal of the Week: A good cigar sampler can be a great way to revisit some old favorites, or discover new ones. This ten-count sampler from Smoke Inn has a solid mix of high-end classics (Davidoff Nicaragua, My Father Le Bijou, Padrón 1964 Maduro), new hits (El Güegüense, New World Connecticut, Camacho American Barrel Aged), under-appreciated standbys (San Lotano Oval, Alec Bradley Prensado, La Aroma de Cuba), and even a store-exclusive limited edition (Drew Estate Pope of Greenwich Village).

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Drew Estate

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 472

25 Mar 2016

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.

Mary Landrieu1) Mary L. Landrieu, former Democratic member of the U.S. Senate and current consultant to Cigar Rights of America and the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association, authored a piece in the Washington Times on Wednesday about the Obama Administration, forthcoming FDA regulations, and the Cuban cigar industry. “The notion of an American bureaucracy intruding into an industry that poses no threat to the American general public, is purely for discerning adults, and serves as a source of invaluable jobs from the Pinar del Río region of Cuba to the Jamastran Valley of Honduras should not be acceptable,” she writes. Landrieu’s comments come at the heels of President Obama’s just-concluded trip to Cuba, the first time a sitting president had visited the communist isle since 1928. “First, there should be a commitment to advance political reform and civil liberties for the Cuban people before we pursue economic and trade relations,” she argues. “Congress should thoroughly review issues of human rights and personal freedom in Cuba before advancing any of more than a dozen pieces of filed legislation intended to normalize relations.” You can read the entire piece here.

2) “Nanny-staters in Australia have [stripped] brands and logos away from not just cigarettes, but cigars, which are not addictive and not inhaled,” reports the Washington Free Beacon. “As a result, the plain packaging law the country passed five years ago is having devastating consequences for an economy a world a way that depends on tobacco: the Dominican Republic, and the men and women who make that nation’s premium handmade cigars… Plain packaging laws rest on the belief that consumers are so weak-minded that a shiny label will get them hooked on smoking… Cigars were not the stated target of Australia’s plain packaging law, but nevertheless got wrapped into the legislation. Stripping trademarks and brands from the handmade cigars produced in the Dominican Republic—the largest exporter in the world—not only affects their economy; it offends their heritage.” Read more here.

3) Inside the Industry: Cornelius & Anthony Premium Cigars announced the addition of a second line, Daddy Mac (the name is a tribute to owner Steven Bailey’s father, Mac Bailey). The line is being produced at Eric Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Nicaragua and is set to be released in four sizes (Gordo (6 x 60), Toro (6 x 50), Robusto (5 x 50), and Corona Gorda (5.5 x 46)), each presented in boxes of 20. The blend features a Brazilian wrapper, Ecuadorian binder, and Nicaraguan filler.

4) Contest Update: Please join StogieGuys.com in congratulating Steve C. of Waynesville, North Carolina, and James S. of Parma, Michigan, as the two winners of our Búho giveaway. Both will receive sampler packs from Búho, as detailed in our February review of the Búho Primero Connecticut Shade Robusto.

5) Deal of the Week: The best deal is free cigars. To celebrate the annual release of Punch Rare Corojo, Punch is running a sweepstakes to give some away. Sign up here.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Wikipedia

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 471

18 Mar 2016

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.

Hoyo

1) General Cigar Co. this week announced a new version of Hoyo de Monterrey. Called simply Hoyo, the brand extension will be for brick and mortar retailers only, with four sizes ranging in price from $5.49 to $6.99 shipping on April 1. “We’re taking the legendary brand Hoyo de Monterrey and moving it into the future,” says Alan Willner, General’s vice president of marketing. “The new Hoyo is about keeping the brand’s rich history of Honduran craftsmanship and infusing it with new ideas, new tobacco, and new packaging.” Hoyo will consist of a proprietary wrapper called Estelí Habano Shade, which is a thick, shade-grown, Cuban-seed leaf grown by the Plascencias and fermented for two years. The Ecuadoran Sumatra binder will envelop a filler combination of tobaccos from Nicaragua and Pennsylvania. One has to wonder if Hoyo is General’s answer to Romeo, launched by competitor Altadis USA in 2012. Like Hoyo, Romeo is an updated take on a classic brand with modernized packaging and a shortened name. According to General, though, the inspiration for Hoyo came from within. “Hoyo was inspired by Hoyo Edición de Cumpleaños 150, a successful, limited edition cigar released last year. [That cigar] took the first step toward breaking the conventions of the brand by featuring a new variety of Nicaraguan tobacco, a shade-grown wrapper never used before in any other cigar. With sleek new packaging and a contemporary logo, Hoyo Edición de Cumpleaños 150 represented a new wave of the brand.”

2) New rules announced by the Obama Administration on Tuesday have decriminalized the acts of purchasing and consuming Cuban goods, including cigars and rum, while Americans are abroad. Previously, it was technically illegal for Americans to purchase Cuban goods while beyond American borders. Now, in changes that took effect Wednesday, it is completely legal for Americans to smoke Cuban cigars and drink Cuban rum as they travel internationally. This decriminalization is the latest step the administration has taken in an effort to improve relations between Washington and Havana; diplomatic ties have already been re-established, embassies have been re-opened, and Americans legally traveling to Cuba may bring back $100 worth of Cuban goods, including cigars. An outright end to the longstanding embargo requires an act of Congress.

3) Chicago lawmakers continued their march towards complete tobacco ridiculousness this week, raising the smoking age to 21 and enacting a new $6 million tax on cigars, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. Chicago also becomes “the fourth city to ban smokeless tobacco at sports venues, joining San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston in attempting to reduce its use in athletics,” reports ESPN, which also noted Cubs manager Joe Maddon isn’t a fan of the new law. “I’m into personal freedoms,” he said, adding, “I’m not into over-legislating the human race.”

4) Contest Update: Please join us in congratulating Andy K. of Terre Haute, Indiana, as the winner of our latest giveaway: a full 20-count box of CAO Pilón Coronas. Plus, since Andy is a member of Cigar Rights of America, we’ll include a five-pack of select smokes from our personal humidor, plus some cool cigar swag.

5) Deal of the Week: Crowned Heads fans may want to jump on this special from Smoke Inn. For a limited time, buy any box of twelve Crowned Heads blends and get a free five-cigar travel case. Plus, use the coupon code “Stogie10” to knock ten percent off your order.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: General Cigar Co.

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 470

11 Mar 2016

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.

Steve Daines1) As the FDA’s proposed final rule awaits approval at the Office of Management and Budget, StogieGuys.com would like to join Cigar Rights of America (CRA) in applauding the federal legislators who are cosponsoring efforts in the Senate and House to exempt cigars from the forthcoming devastating regulations. There are currently 161 cosponsors of the “Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act” in the House—the newest additions are Tom Marino (R-PA), Rick Allen (R-GA), Scott Rigell (R-VA), and Rodney Davis (R-IL)—and 21 cosponsors in the Senate, the latest of which is Steve Daines (R-MT). “With Daines’ support, S. 441 now has five states—Florida, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Montana—where both United States Senators are co-sponsors,” according to a CRA email. “Of those five states, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Montana have bi-partisan delegations, and their support demonstrates that protecting the small business premium cigar industry, the rights of consumers, and the jobs provided by the industry is not a partisan issue, but one that draws from both sides of the aisle.”

2) Avo is adding to its Improvisation Series with the new 90th Classic Covers Volume 3. “Avo XO, a blend that stands as a true mark of quality, has been ‘covered’ with tobaccos from Ecuador and Mexico,” according to an Avo press release. “Presented in an elegant Toro (6 x 54) format, the 90th Classic Covers blend utilizes 6 different tobaccos spanning across 3 different countries, all working in harmony to deliver a remarkably unique and richly complex flavor profile. The filler is composed from rare Dominican tobaccos aged for 10 and 11 years, cradled by the Mexican Negro San Andrés binder leaf and elegantly finished with a Habano 2000 Claro wrapper from Ecuador.” Only 3,500 boxes of 18 cigars will be made with singles retailing for $16.90.

3) Inside the Industry: The Cuban cigar festival wrapped up last week. An announcement by Habanos S.A., the Cuban national cigar company and distributor, gave a glimpse into the size and scope of the Cuban cigar industry. Habanos announced annual revenues for 2015 reached $428 million, a slight increase from the previous year. About 55% of sales were to Europe and the rest were equally split between the Americas (including Cuba), the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific.

4) From the Archives: With warm weather coming up, even for those of us still suffering through the last vestiges of winter, it’s time to start getting ready for summertime smoking. Back in 2013, we put together a guide to help you with what you need to know, from refreshing your humidor for hot weather to picking out the right chilled beverage to accompany a cigar by the pool.

5) Deal of the Week: One of the harder cigars to find, the Liga Privada Dirty Rat is currently in stock at Famous Smoke. Order a box today and land a free sampler of seven full-bodied Nicaraguan cigars.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: SteveDaines.com

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 469

4 Mar 2016

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.

TAA Herrera

1) Drew Estate is adding to its popular Herrera Estelí line by launching the Herrera Estelí TAA Exclusive, which will begin shipping to Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) members in April. The single-vitola (6 x 52) release will be sold in 12-count boxes for $144, or $12 per cigar. Whereas the original Herrera Estelí features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around a Honduran binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua, the TAA Exclusive—also blended by Willy Herrera—will sport a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Brazilian Mata Fina binder, and Nicaraguan fillers. “This is my first blend since joining Drew Estate that utilizes Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco,” said Herrera in a press release. “Drew Estate fans know that we’re famous for our use of Connecticut Broadleaf tobaccos, especially in our Liga Privada No. 9 and Nica Rustica lines. I’ve been experimenting with blends that incorporate this incredible wrapper since coming on board and finally have a blend I’m really excited about.”

2) Davidoff has announced the Golf Scorecard Edition 2016, a Gran Toro (5.9 x 55) with a Habano Ecuador wrapper, Dominican Piloto binder, and Dominican filler tobaccos. The cigars, which will be available this month, will be sold in five-packs with an MSRP of $24 per cigar. One of the cigars will have a gold secondary band (the other four will have white secondary bands) intended for the winner of the round. “The majestic Gran Toro format of this Davidoff Golf Scorecard Edition 2016 allows the aficionado to enjoy the cigar’s intensive but balanced and nuanced taste over its entire length,” reads a Davidoff press release. “The front nine delivers oaky, coffee notes, whilst the back nine brings it home with sweet honey tones.”

3) Inside the Industry: Foundry Tobacco Company, a subsidiary of General Cigar, is expanding its staff by adding two dedicated sales brokers along with Justin Andrews, formerly of Lou Rodriguez Cigars, who will take the position of creative director for Foundry. In events this weekend at W. Curtis Draper Tobacconist in Washington, L’Atelier is debuting Côte d’Or La Tâche, a follow-up to last year’s Côte d’Or release, which sports an Ecuadorian Sancti Spiritus wrapper.

4) From the Archives: After taking advantage of a nearly too-good-to-be-true deal on ten Don Pepin Original Generosos for about $4 each, George E looked to see what we’d written about them in the past. Nearly nine years ago, we reviewed the original line, praising its complex blend and awarding four and a half stogies for the “rich, complex, Cuban-like flavor.” The current iteration remains a knockout.

5) Deal of the Week: Quesada fans should check out this Big Bang Sampler, which includes one each of the Cubita Imported, Quesada 40th Anniversary, Oktoberfest, and Cubano Limitado Fonseca, plus a special unbanded Quesada blend. Use our special discount code “Stogie10” at checkout and land the five-pack for under $27.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Drew Estate