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Cigar Review: Punch Rare Corojo Rare Salomones

24 Mar

There are two ways to get your hands on this new limited edition smoke. You can either buy one for the suggested retail price of $7.99, or you can enter to win one of 13 boxes General Cigar is giving away between now and May 31.

Rare SalomonesEither way, if you want to try the new Rare Salomones vitola (7.25 x 57), you’ll need to act pretty quickly. While the Rare Corojo line is released every March—and has been since 2001, the year it was reintroduced after a wrapper shortage caused a hiatus—Rare Salomones is a 2014-only size. Once the figurado is gone, it’s gone.

While supplies last, Rare Salomones is joining the portfolio of seven other Rare Corojo vitolas, all of which are made in Honduras: Champion (4.5 x 60), Double Corona (6.75 x 48), El Doble (6 x 60), Magnum (5.25 x 54), Pita (6.1 x 50), Rothschild (4.5 x 50), and Elite (5.25 x 55).

Unlike its predecessors, which have the familiar double bands of bright red and gold, the Rare Salomones has cream-colored bands that impart a subtler, more exclusive look. Beneath are Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Dominican tobaccos, bound with a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, and wrapped in a reddish Sumatra leaf from Ecuador.

Truthfully, the Rare Salomones is one of the more beautiful cigars on the entire General Cigar roster. The difficult-to-roll shape is executed very well, and the wrapper has an oily sheen with minimal veins. Notes of earth and black cherry are apparent off the foot. The sharply pointed cap clips easily to reveal a smooth draw.

Even before the figurado gets to its widest point, the smoke production is solid and the flavor is well-developed. The profile includes dried fruit, hay, cocoa, and a little cedar spice. The texture is leathery, and it isn’t uncommon for the aftertaste to linger on the palate for a noticeably long time between puffs.

Towards the midway point, a black coffee flavor emerges. This can be misconstrued as a bitter component by those who smoke too quickly; but I find slowing the pace of my puffs (as I so often recommend) results in a much better experience.

With outstanding construction—this wouldn’t be a bad choice for a long ash competition, considering the fortitude of the ash and the remarkably straight burn—the Punch Rare Corojo Rare Salomones is a good value at $8. I fired up four for this review. If I get my hands on more, I’ll be saving them for the warmer months to accompany me to the golf course. Overall, this limited, medium-bodied smoke is worth seeking out and worthy of a solid rating of three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Commentary: The Last Acceptable Intolerance

21 Jan

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day, a good time to reflect on discrimination and tolerance. Since MLK died in 1968, the country has made great strides to eliminate racial discrimination against minorities.

MLKjrEven today there continue to be many social movements that rally behind the slogans of ending discrimination and promoting tolerance. And yet, there’s at least one exception to this trend: the anti-smoking movement.

First, let me state that I’m not morally equating discrimination against smokers with racial discrimination. But in a time where anti-discrimination and tolerance are considered fundamental societal values, you’d be hard-pressed to find any group of law abiding citizens besides tobacco smokers against whom discrimination is not only accepted but promoted.

Legal discrimination against smokers has become the norm. A majority of states have passed laws prohibiting people from smoking in privately owned venues like bars and restaurants, and some even extend these laws to cars, apartments, and private cigar clubs. The same goes for many outdoor areas like public parks, sidewalks, beaches, and golf courses.

We’re told private choices should be respected, but our laws say otherwise. And while we’re told that the science of second-hand smoke justifies this discrimination, outdoor smoking bans prove the anti-smoking movement has other motivations. (Plus, recent studies show the science of second-hand smoke doesn’t justify the claims made to support indoor bans.) It’s gone so far that we’re at the point where public policies that make it more difficult or expensive to use tobacco are de facto considered a good thing.

Maybe even more troubling is the promotion of social intolerance. Children have been propagandized into believing that the slightest whiff of distant tobacco smoke could do serious damage. If you’ve ever sat outside in a public area you’ll see people waving their hands in front of their faces or holding their noses, and the younger they are the more likely they are to react with such ignorance. Children are taught to respect differences, except when it comes to smoking.

We’re told and taught we should tolerate the choices other people make, and that judging people as groups and not as individuals is wrong. But the fact is large parts of society either don’t really believe that intolerance and discrimination are wrong, or they are willing to be hypocritical when it comes to their fellow citizens who choose to smoke tobacco.

Patrick S

photo credit: Library of Congress

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 350

20 Sep

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.

Walnut Creek1) Officials in Walnut Creek—a California town of 65,000 located just east of Oakland—passed an ultra-strict smoking ban that might be one of the toughest in the U.S. The regulation criminalizes “smoking in all multi-unit residences, all of downtown, all recreational areas and all commercially zoned properties where there are outdoor dining areas or outdoor service areas, anyplace within 25 feet of entryways and operable windows, and in all public places,” according to the San Jose Mercury News. Golf courses are exempt from the law, which also doesn’t cover medicinal marijuana use. Violators will face fines ranging from $100 to $500. Officials are only providing 90 days before the ordinance becomes law.

2) Cigar Oasis has updated its portfolio of electronic humidifiers. New features include temperature reading, alarms for low battery and low water, and the ability to connect the devices to mobile phones and tablets. The latter will “allow the user to check the current humidity and temperature reading as well as see a historical record of past readings,” according to a Cigar Oasis press release. “The user will also be able to set alerts for out of bounds humidity and temperature, and change the settings remotely.”

3) Inside the Industry: According to IPCPR, this year’s Trade Show in Las Vegas featured 351 exhibitors, of which just under 100 were new. Over 880 different cigar retailers were represented and total attendance was 5,848.

4) Around the Blogs: Stogie Review reviews a Gold Medal. Nice Tight Ash checks out a Villiger Export Brasil. Cigar Inspector inspects the H. Upmann Robusto LE. Stogie Fresh rates the Don Cirilo Habano. Cigar Fan fires up the A. Flores 1975 Gran Reserva.

5) Deal of the Week: As noted in yesterday’s article, Tampa Fuego is offering readers 20% off through the end of October by using the code “STOGIE” at checkout. You can view their range of American-made exotic cigar, cutter, and lighter cases here.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Google Maps

News: Cigar Makers Roll Out Individually Sealed, Humidified Cigars

25 Jul

The battle for a space in a cigar shop’s humidor may be more competitive than most people realize. At a certain point, it’s simply impossible to add another blend or an additional size without removing another.

Partagas, Hoyo, Punch solo packThat battle for humidor space is what the annual cigar convention is all about. Cigar makers trying to convince retailers to add more of their products. Retailers trying to decide what will sell best.

Breaking out beyond the humidor is difficult for makers of premium cigars. Proper humidor care is a skill, and it’s not uncommon to see a humidor at a gas station full of dried-out cigars.

To address this, premium cigar makers have begun rolling out new, self-contained, humidified, single cigars. This is a growing trend that culminated at the recent International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) Trade Show. If it’s successful, expect to see more.

General Cigar, Altadis, and Drew Estate have all rolled out sealed, single-cigar packs. And while most of the sort of cigar smokers who read this site will likely continue purchasing their cigars from cigar specialists, this is all about expanding the locations where premium cigars are sold. The packs claim to keep proper humidity for up to three years.

The idea is this: There are plenty of outlets (gas stations, convenience stores, etc.) where the occasional cigar smoker might pick up a cigar, but won’t because they don’t know if the cigar has been properly humidified. With a completely sealed and humidified bag, that person might pick up a few cigars for the golf course or his friend’s barbeque that he otherwise wouldn’t. Easy access and confidence in the cigar’s care could turn the once- or twice-a-year cigar smoker into someone who lights up more regularly.

Additionally, it can be a point of sale item for cigar shops. Humidor space is valuable and limited, but this way stores can carry additional cigars without having to remove any thing else from the humidor. Further, the cigar maker has a highly visible product that can serve as an advertisement for the entire brand.

General Cigar has rolled these out for their Macanudo, Punch, Partagas and Excalibur lines. Altadis has introduced Romeo y Julieta 1875, H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon, and Saint Luis Rey in “fresh-loc” sealed packaging (usually in a box). Drew Estate has its Acid infused line in “G-Fresh” packs, and discussed putting Undercrown in similar single-serve packs, but has decided against that for now.

Patrick S

photo credit: Cigar World

Commentary: 26 Questions for the 2013 IPCPR Cigar Trade Show Answered

17 Jul

Before the IPCPR Trade Show show I asked 26 questions. Here are the answers:

Will the biggest ring gauge offered for sale be 70, 80, or larger?

RoMaCraft’s “Femur” is 500 ring gauge but, in the physically smoke-able category, I saw plenty of 70 ring gauge sticks, including the new My Uzi (7 x 70) and Gurkha Pure Evil Goliath.

What percentage of new exhibitors from last year is still around?

Hard to say. I didn’t notice any specifically. If I don’t realize they’re gone then that’s probably symptomatic of why they aren’t back.

Will anyone actually be kicked out under IPCPR’s “crackdown” on retailers bringing consumers?

Didn’t see any. Does that mean it’s a success?

Which booth will have the best food?

None. Very poor food selection this year, so we’ll give a nod to Miami Cigar which, while food-less, did have some La Aurora Rum, which is delicious.

Will Mike Ditka be there?

Yes, briefly before he left to play golf in another state.

Who will have the most outrageous booth?

Fantasia Tobacco Hookah Company, the perennial favorites, brought a two-story booth with more neon lights and leggy models than the rest of the show combined.

Will the bad guy from Judge Dread be there to promote his new cigar?

Spotted in the hallway… I think.

Eleven new lines from General Cigar: over or under?

Over. In fact Foundry seemed to have this covered all by itself.

Will Altadis USA’s new strategy of creating modern spinoffs of classic brands work?

It certainly seems to be working better than whatever they were doing before.

Who will be the most under-dressed attendee at Davidoff’s black tie dinner?

The guy in the jeans and Tommy Bahama shirt. A tuxedo T-shirt would have been better.

Will Wayne Newton be there again?


Which booth will be completely empty and abandoned?

American Express… complete no-show.

What crazy artwork will Drew Estate feature in their booth this year?

Hard hats.

How many respected cigar blogs aren’t coming because IPCPR makes them pay to attend?

Two that I know of.

Will the Cigar Press party run out of beer?

Didn’t seem to but I left early to play craps.

Biggest booth: General Cigar, Davidoff, Altadis, or Drew Estate?

Close call. General Cigar wins the tiebreaker with a golf simulator and a Lamborghini.

2.5 cars on the show floor: over or under?


More bikini-clad ladies: cigar companies or hookah companies?

Hookahs by a mile.

Which C-list celebrity will unexpectedly appear?

Rob Weiss, member of the “Board of the Bold” maybe? Although his appearance wasn’t all that unexpected.

Does winning a “best booth” award actually impact sales?

Like a lot of people, I left before the winners were announced, which suggests it doesn’t.

Will there be any other cigars that use fire-cured tobacco besides Drew Estate’s MUWAT KFC and Leccia Black?

Not yet, but I’d expect some in the next 12 months.

How many online media members of the IPCPR are there anyway?

Don’t know, but some were given exhibitor badges, some “media” badges, and some “online media” badges.

Will the giant hookah (~40 feet high) be back?

Yes, but it looked smaller since the booth is now two stories high.

How many people will tell me how much better Las Vegas is for IPCPR than Orlando?

A lot. Everyday. Some people more than once.

Which trademarks from our trademark quiz will actually be put to use?

Rocky Patel, Oliva, and Altadis certainly did. Miami Cigar’s “Kilo” is only weeks away but it wasn’t shown at the show.

24 cigars that I’ll smoke while in Las Vegas for 73 hours: over or under?

Surprise of the show: Under by quite a bit. It’s hard to take notes, photos, and update Instagram all while smoking a cigar.

Patrick S

photo credit: N/A

Cigar Tip: The Stogie Guys Guide to Summer

17 Jun

Summer officially starts this Friday, so now is the time to prepare for the hot season of cigar smoking. With that in mind, here’s a  guide to summer:

Summer-proofing your cigars

summerHeat and humidity put your cigar collection at risk and, depending where you live, you’re likely to face one or both this summer. If you don’t adequately address these threats, you might end up with a beetle infestation.

To avoid that, here are some tips for keeping your cigars cool during the hot months. If you want to take things further, check out these tips for prepping your cigars, including freezing cigars to prevent cigar beetles. You can also transform a wine fridge into a large humidor. But no matter what, you’d be well-advised to perform the simple salt calibration test to ensure your hygrometers are accurate.

Summer leisure activities

Now that your cigars are protected, let’s get out and have some fun. (It’s better than freezing in the cold, right?)

Thinking about some camping on the beach? Here are a few tips to make it a good trip if you want to enjoy a few cigars.

Here at we’re also big believers that baseball and cigars go together well. (If the Mets ever win another pennant they could even celebrate like this again.)

Another natural summer pairing is golf and cigars. Here are a few ideas for selecting a golf course smoke, including making sure you bring enough if you get stuck behind a particularly slow group. Finally, we’ve explored the surprisingly wide range of gadgets designed just to hold your cigar on the course, which can be fun but certainly aren’t necessary.

Summer beverages

Chilled beverages are good for summer and good for cigars. Here are five summer beers you can pair up with a cigar.

You can’t go wrong with a properly made margarita, but rum is one of the best spirits for summer. Here are five classic rum drinks, including the Dark n’ Stormy and Mount Gay Tonic. If you prefer something straight-up or on the rocks, we highly recommend El Dorado 15, Cruzan Single Barrel, Ron Zacapa 23, or Zaya 12.

Patrick S

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 336

31 May

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.

Anniversary Giveaway1) It’s the last day of May, and that means we’re set to reveal the the winners of the seven fantastic prizes we’re giving away to celebrate the seventh anniversary of In case you missed the announcements, the prizes are epic, and they come courtesy of some of our favorite cigar makers, including CAO, Dante, Drew Estate, La Palina, Paul Garmirian, Prometheus, and Tesa. If you’re one of the 2,400+ who registered for this contest, keep an eye on your email in the coming days. We’ll be using our free email newsletter to announce the seven randomly chosen winners in short order. Best of luck to you all.

2) In our most recent sidebar survey, we found 42% of readers resolved to try more new cigars, 26% resolved to smoke better cigars, 26% resolved to smoke more cigars, and 6% resolved to smoke fewer cigars. To participate in our current survey, please do so in the sidebar to the right. And if you have an idea for a future survey, please contact us.

3) In honor of Memorial Day, Fox News ran a story about the oldest living U.S. veteran: Richard Arvine Overton, a Texan who served in World War II and is 107 years young. His secret to longevity? Up to 12 cigars per day and whiskey in his morning coffee.

4) Inside the Industry: Gurkha Cigars announced the release of The Rogue, the third release in its East India Trading Company line, made with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Ecuadorian binder, and filler from Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican. Davidoff is releasing the new golf-inspired Davidoff Masters Edition Club House Toro, a limited release of just 7,000 boxes of 10 with individual cigars selling for $22 each.

5) Around the Blogs: Stogie Review reviews the Tatuaje TAA 2012. Robby Ras reviews the CyB Lancero. Stogie Fresh rates La Flor Dominicana Cameroon Cabinet Chisel. Cigar Inspector inspects a Davidoff Puro d’Oro.

6) Deal of the Week: This “Around the World Sampler” features five cigars for $5 a stick. It includes such popular cigars as the Oliva Master Blend 3, Four Kicks, Alec Bradley Family Blend, and CAO Brazilia Lambada.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys