Archive for August, 2011

News: Jose Blanco Named Senior Vice President of Joya de Nicaragua

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On August 29, 2011, Joya de Nicaragua, S.A. (JDN) appointed Jose Blanco, formerly a director of La Aurora Cigars, as Senior Vice President. Blanco is bringing his 29 years of marketing, public relations, and tobacco blending experience to this legendary Nicaraguan cigar company. He will be responsible for overall brand and blend development and will be reporting directly to its owner, Dr. Alejandro Martinez Cuenca, and the company’s Board of Directors. Working closely with Drew Estate, their US Distributor, and their worldwide partners, Blanco will also be responsible for interacting with the public. He will be relocating from the Dominican Republic to Nicaragua in order to fulfill his duties.

Crush & Roll West: Central California Coast’s Premiere Cigar and Wine Event

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For the third straight year, premium cigars AND wine will be featured in the county’s premiere cigar and wine event: Crush & Roll West. Hundreds are expected to turn out September 16 and 17 at the Paso Robles Fairgrounds to taste the best premium wines and cigars in the world. Cigar and wine tasting and cigar rolling demonstrations will entertain and delight, as cigar manufacturers from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica will be on hand to provide their hand crafted cigars.

For even more fun, we will feature an exciting inaugural poker tourney with great prizes. There will also be entertainment, raffles of cigars, wines and accessories, and educational seminars.

Cost for the 2-day event…

Contest: I Survived Hurricane Irene Sponsored by Graycliff Cigars

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Before Hurricane Irene set it’s site on the east coast of the Unites States it brought its wrath to the home of Graycliff Cigars. The Bahamas felts the strength of Irene with excessive winds, a surging tide, and excessive amounts of rain. But like the resiliency of many, it survived. As the Hurricane set it’s sites on New York they reached out to me to wish me luck, and to run a contest.

This contest is different, as you can accumulate entries in the following manner:

Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition 2011 – Cigar Review

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Today’s smoke is the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition. According to Uptown Cigar Company,

With a total of only 3,700 boxes made, this is the first limited edition cigar made solely by Master Blender Jaime Garcia. A Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper from a lower priming, a Nicaraguan Pelo de Oro binder, and 2 Cuban-seed Nicaraguan leaves for the filler, this full bodied smoke has a similar taste to the original Jaime Garcia, except the cigar is MUCH richer and more refined in depth and flavor.

The cigars come 16 in a box, with a twist. The Broadleaf wrapper is on 15 of the sticks, while 1 features a Connecticut share which might be the wrapper used in 2012.

Weekend Smokes Vol. 4

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As I write this Hurricane Irene is working its way up the coast after making landfall in North Carolina. Many of my friends who have gone through a Hurricane before have been worrying about me and many here on the east coast. Personally, I think it won’t be as bad as expected. Sure there will be some flooding in lower Manhattan and a lot of beach erosion, but the last 24 hours saw the storm go from a strong catagory 2 to a weakening category 1. Having lived through many Nor’easters that brought a massive amount of snow, I am not worried. 15 Hours of rain, a lot of wind and it will all be over. It could of been a lot worse.

Last week we reviewed…

Featured Lounge: Club Perdomo Cigar Lounge in Thailand

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Even for long-time Cuban cigar smokers, smoking cigars from outside Cuba can have pretty big impacts. For Hillman Lentz, an entrepreneur who (for a while) only smoked Cuban cigars, smoking a Perdomo cigar (made inNicaragua) has changed his life.

Hillman says,

“It was much better constructed, better tobacco, longer draw; it was an entirely different experience.”

La Palina El Diario – Cigar Review

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I first found out about the resurrection of the La Palina brand from Gary Arzt and I was intrigued giving the history of the brand. We attended the launch event, loved the Pasha and were looking forward to the release of the El Diario. That time is here, and I had the chance to meet up with Bill Paley, owner of La Palina about 2 months ago at Cigar Inn in New York City. At the time we talked about the process of creating another cigar to the line that would hold true to the historical tradition of the brand.

According to La Palina website, Rolled at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras for La Palina Cigar, the El Diario is a perfect complement to our acclaimed original line, the Family Series. The La Palina El Diario is a richly flavored medium bodied cigar.

Graycliff Original – Cigar Review

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With Hurricane Irene battering the Bahamas what better cigar to review then a Graycliff. According to the website, “The red label is the original Graycliff Cigar created by Master Torcedore Avelino Lara. This blend offers a medium strength full-bodied cigar, with a spicy finish. This is a true cigar for everyone from novice to aficionado. Blended from Nicaraguan, Honduran, Brazilian, Ecuadorian and Sumatra Wrapper) tobacco, these cigars are available in thirteen different sizes.

Cigar: Graycliff Original (Red Label)
Size: 7 x 48 (Presidente/Shaggy Foot)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra

Cigar News: Habanos S.A has a new Partagas Vitola

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I’ve had only a handful of cuban cigars in the past. Some were better than others. I’ve noticed that although cuban cigars have been plagued with consistency issues, the newer releases seem to be less prone to those problems. I know it’s tough to get a hold of these smokes, but if you do, I’d love to hear what you think of these new smokes from Habanos S.A. Here’s the press release:

Nat Sherman Flagship Store

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Nestled between the high-rises of midtown Manhattan on the avenue you I’m taking you to, 42nd street, stands a lone townhouse. The townhouse is home to the self-proclaimed tobacconist to the world, Nat Sherman. The company which was born during the great depression in the 1930s has managed to stay in business for over 80 years. It has, in a sense become an icon in the world of tobacco.

I lit up my first cigar 13 years ago and I will be the first I am still a little wet behind the ears. Perhaps it is because I have not ventured out and broadened my horizons. During these 13 years I have been to Nat Sherman a total of 4 times, including yesterday, despite living within 10 miles of the store.

FDA Involvement Must Be Stopped!

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The possibility of dark days for the tobacco industry is closer to a reality then ever before, but as retailers, consumers, and manufacturers the future is also bright if we get involved.

In 2009, President Barack Obama passed the Family Smoking & Prevention Act which left a loophole for the FDA involvement in the premium cigar industry. The law gave the FDA regulatory authority over all tobacco products, but to branch beyond cigarettes and smokeless, the agency must seek expanded authority. That is what they are doing with cigars, and why they must be stopped. If the FDA gets involved the way we enjoy our right to smoke will be changed forever. Prohibition 2.0 will become a step closer to reality.

Weekend Smokes Vol. 3

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I can’t believe the summer is almost over, where did it go? It seems as if the older you get the faster time moves and that makes me reflect on words spoken by Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, it may pass you by“. Which in turn makes me think about Mia Sara who played Ferris’ girlfriend in the movie. She was pretty hot and a decent actress but she seemed to disappear into obscurity.

In other news we landed a job…

illusione ultra MK – Cigar Review

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I don’t recall when I had my first illusione but I remember it was the ’68 Bombone’ that someone sent to me in a Cigar Bomb. Since then I have been a big fan of the illusione line. Perhaps I have been brainwashed, or there is something in these cigars that pull me back to them, or the countless other conspiracy theories I can come up with to poke some good-natured ribbing at the creator Dion Giolito. In the end though it is the quality that pulls me back to the brand made at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras.

The Ultra was first released a few years back but in a very small batch. Since then the cigar has undergone some changes so it fits in better with the original lineup. I picked up a 5-pack on-line as I was eager to try them. Right now you can only find them in a 5 1/8 x 42 format but more sizes are expected in the near future.

An Open Message To Congress – Save America’s Historic Premium Cigar Industry From The FDA

The following is from Corona Cigar Company: Save thousands of “mom and pop” cigar shops, premium cigar manufacturers and their employees from being regulated out of business by the FDA. Support S.1461 & HR 1639 – The Traditional Cigar Manufacturing & Small Business Jobs Preservation Act. Omissions & Corrections – Annual Cigarette Unit Sales 500 [...]

Quesada Oktoberfest – Cigar Review & Contest

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I think one of the things I miss the most is the ability to light up at a bar drinking an ice cold beer from the tap. Thankfully there are a few places here in Gotham where you can do this although it has become increasingly more difficult.

Earlier this year Matasa in Santiago, Dominican Repuiblic announced they would release a cigar meant specifically to smoke while drinking beer, an Oktoberfest style beer. At first I was skeptical because unless you have a man cave or a friendly neighborhood B&M that allows you to BYOB the chances to properly enjoy such a cigar might be rare. The cigars are available in two sizes, Bavarian (5.5 x 52) and Über (6 x 65). The MSRP of the Quesada Oktoberfest $7.95 and $8.95 respectively.

The cigars are due out later this month.

Cigars and Celebrities in the News

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In this article, we take a look at celebrities who enjoy cigars and have appeared recently in the news. Today, we feature Rihanna, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Michael Jordan.

It’s refreshing to see that some celebrities enjoy cigars simply because they enjoy cigars – regardless of what other people think of them. The following are some great examples.

La Aurora Cameroon – Cigar Review

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Since the spring of 2010 I was lucky enough to develop an ongoing relationship with the distributor of La Aurora in the United States, Miami Cigar & Company. It was through that relationship I became close to Guillermo Leon as well. Our friendship goes beyond that of a blogger/manufacturer and we often spend time together when he is in New York City. In my eyes there is no one more down to earth and refined with a sense of humour, dignity and class then Senor Leon. Perhaps it is because of these relationships that I have become a fan of La Aurora. However, when it comes to reviewing cigars they know I can be brutally honest.I share this little story with you, to offer full disclosure.

Earlier this year I helped out at the La Aurora booth at Cigar Fest, and I will be doing the same at Cigar Carnival so say hello. At Cigar Fest the cigar we gave out were the La Aurora Cameroon and I smoked my fair share that day . Today I smoke the re-blended version of the cigar that has been slightly tweaked to make it a more full bodied cigar.The cigar was introduced at IPCPR and you can tell the difference by the new band that adorns the smoke.

Weekend Smokes Volume 2

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Last week the first edition of the Weekend smokes got some positive feedback so we figured we would make it a regular thing. As more and more cigars start appearing from the IPCPR convention our humidor is stocking up with samples and things to review. If there is something you want to see reviewed let me know and we will bump it to the top of the list.

In the music world, Jani Lane the lead singer of Warrant passed away while in a hotel room. After many years of alcoholism he was found with a bottle of liquor and prescription medication. While no cause of death has been listed as of yet you can be sure his alcohol abuse problem played into the mix. Addiction is a disease that has touched many people and it is safe to assume you know someone or a family that has had to deal with it. In memory of Jani Lane the music for this montage is Uncle Toms Cabin by Warrant.

Video after the jump…

San Cristobal Elegancia – Cigar Review

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I was talking to a friend who owns a retail establishment and he believes the days of the ultra strong cigar are behind us. Now, while I can appreciate a full strength cigar this would be music to my ears. Lately, the cigar companies have released one nicotine bomb after the other and the body of the cigar has suffered tremendously. I know many will disagree with me, but it feels like the art of cigar making is becoming a lost art.

Made in Nicaragua by My Father Cigars for Ashton Distributors, the San Cristobal has begun to ship to stores after it’s debut at IPCPR in Las Vegas last month. The cigar comes in 5 sizes and will retail for under $7.00 before local taxes. The cigar is being released as a Churchill (7 x 50 / $6.85); Corona (5.5 x 46 / $5.95; Imperial (6 x 52 / $6.75); Pyramid (6.25 x 52 / $6.90) and Robust (5 x 50 / $6.40).

Read More to see our review…

Casa Miranda – Cigar Review

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One of the latest cigars from Miami Cigar & Company deviates from the norm which is a big risk. The company which is run by Nestor Miranda is known for his relationship with My Father Cigars. The collection which bares Nestor’s signature has long been a favorite of mine especially in the coffee break and lancero sizes. Other cigars include the Art Deco, Dominicano, and the soon to be released Limited Reserve. The latest release, Casa Miranda comes from the famed El Titan de Bronze factory in Litte Havana, Miami, Florida. With the help of Willy Herrera while he was still part of the Titan team Miami Cigar & Company set out to make a cigar that was made in Miami including the boxes.

Does the risk pay off?

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