There is a lounge in North Haven, Connecticut called North of Havana which recently celebrated it’s First Anniversary with a Pig Roast and La Flor Dominicana Event. Since North Haven isn’t too far from where I live, and pork, cigars, and beer sounds like a great night, I decided that it would be a good [...]
Archive for the ‘Trip Review’ Category
One of my great passions, other than cigars, is premium spirits. For quite a while I tended towards gin and craft beers, but recently I’ve discovered the joy of whiskey. The past several months for me have been spent sampling out different bourbons and scotches to see which ones I liked best. In my exploration [...]
Recently I was invited to attend an event at the Nat Sherman Townhouse to celebrate the success of the Timeless line (Which was just named the number 10 cigar of the year by Cigar Aficionado in the January 2013 issue). Before the event, which was open to the public, media members with members of both [...]
Thursday November 30, 2012 was the 2012 Cigar Aficionado Magazine’s New York City Big Smoke. This was my first Big Smoke, but one of many for Kevin. I have to say I enjoyed it quite a bit. The experience is one that every brother of the leaf would enjoy. It was basically 3½ hours of [...]
A Time For Wine II is Atlantic City’s newest boutique for premium spirits, wine, beers, cigars, and various luxury accessories. It is located in one of the cities most iconic and prestigious casino & resorts, Caesars AC. We were invited to tour the shop and spend some time at the resort. A Time For Wine [...]
It is no secret that a fair portion of cigars are smoked on the course. One lounge nestled in the heart of Connecticut has decided to switch things up, by bringing the course to the cigars. Mickey Blake’s @MickeyBlakes is a new lounge in Southington, Connecticut which offers a lot to it’s members and guests. [...]
When you mention General Cigars many people have a difference of opinion. Some smoke them exclusively, and some feel the tobacco is inferior. In the online community General doesn’t get much play and it is obvious that they are looking to change that. In touring the factory you notice the workers from the janitor to management, all have a great pride about them and the work they do. They all feel they are producing a product that is the best, regardless of what you and I may think.
Each day we were given cigars to smoke, and the most popular among the group was the Macanudo Cru Royale, Partagas Red, Partagas Black and the new La Gloria Cubana Retro Esepciale.
Writing about the trip went as fast as the trip, and as we hit our last full day on the ground a sense of sadness came over me. While the trip was different then my trips of the past it was great to spend time with my fellow bloggers and build some new friendships within the community. The last day started like all others, breakfast, and the deck to enjoy a cigar. At 8:30 we all boarded the bus to head to the General Cigar factory where we would be put to work.
For this gringo, it would be like working in a sweatshop…
With the night before ending at 4am for some people, the day got off to a bit of a sluggish start for some as the 8am meet time was earlier then the day before. This led to some confusion when it came time to leave, and to protect the parties involved we will leave it at that. We headed out to Licey al Medio which is like a suburb of Santiago. As we left the city and neared out destination you can tell we entered a province of poverty. The factory which we were visiting and the farm we would visit later was once owned by Copata before being acquired by General Cigars.
As I sit back and write these little recaps I realize that there was a massive amount of information. The amount of work and the number of people that go into making a cigar is amazing. After one tour of the factory it is amazing that we don’t pay 5 times the amount for a cigar then we currently do. While I am not advocating a price hike, I am not sure how companies turn a profit even with the low wages some of these employees get in comparison to jobs here in the states even with the lower cost of living.
Day 2 began with …
A while back I was contacted by Victoria McKee who is the Director of Public Relations for General Cigar. She asked if I would be interested in taking part in a Blogger Trip to the Dominican Republic. When it came down to making a decisions I weighed the options and the thought of cigars, rum, blogger madness (I didn’t get married this time) and the amazing people of the Dominican Republic the choice was rather easy. When I accepted I discussed some flight options that had me originally leaving mid-afternoon. However, I wanted to get there early and plans were put in place.
What was scheduled to be a short day in the Dominican Republic became a bit of a journey for those of us on the 12:20pm flight back home. I was joined by Jerry Cruz, David “Doc” Diaz, and Mario Takeyama for our final breakfast the morning of our journey. For one of us that would not end until the following evening due to flight delays and long lines at customs.
The final full day began like any other, with an early wake up call to enjoy the view of Santiago. As a person who has lived in the City of New York for 42 years, having one of these rare moments to enjoy the some quiet need to be taken advantage of. I took the time to explore the grounds of the hotel with my camera and enjoy a cigar. As I did a sense of sadness came over me, that I was soon going to leave and that the time spent with friends was coming to a close. With split departure times, the first one being at 6am this was the last full day together.
As was with my last trip to Santiago in the Dominican Republic I made sure to get up early each morning and be the first one on the deck. The views were just so incredibly scenic, that it was easy to get lost in the moment and bask in the serenity of the mountaintop resort that we would call home for the next couple of days. I sipped my coffee and looked out into the valley before me, for I feel at home in the Dominican Republic.Despite various levels of wealth and poverty everyone has a smile on their face and it is contagious.
A funny thing happened in the Dominican Republic, you see I may of or may not of gotten married. But more of that on day 3. For now some back story. In 2010, I was lucky enough to be invited with a group of bloggers to visit the La Aurora Cigar factory in the Dominican Republic. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship on both a personal and professional level with some really amazing people. When I was approached by Miami Cigar & Company for some input on the 2011 trip, never did I imagine I would be lucky enough to go back again.
In a new weekly feature, staff writer Ed Chin takes a look around the globe to let us know about various news articles, celebrity cigar sights, other reviews, and more.
This week features events in Cuba, more New York City craziness in the tobacco world, a possible sale of the brand Royal Jamaica, Cuban sales in China, a shoplifting story and Chad Ochocinco, or is it Chad Johnson again?
As well as pictures!
Hey, did you get your tickets yet? Looks like the Cuban cigar event of the year is happening soon, from February 21–25, in Havana Cuba. With travel to Cuba now being easier than ever, hey, it’s possible to attend legally this year.
It’s likely that the event is going to be filled with lots of fine Cuban tobacco. Lucky participants will probably be able to sample the next greatest Cohibas. It was the Behike last year – I wonder what it will be this year.
So far, the President of the organizing committee, Oscar Basulto, said that more than 1000 cigar lovers have already confirmed their attendance.
As you can tell from my recaps of day 1, day 2 and day 3 the time spent with La Aurora was a chance of a lifetime that left an impression on me that I will not soon forget. It has taught me that learning about tobacco is a never ending process and while you may all trust my reviews of cigars I still have a lot to learn. I will be taking what I learned to help make this a better website for you to visit. There are certain aspects of the trip that really caught my eye that did not make it into the previous postings so I will leave you with my final thoughts and tomorrow I shall return with a review.
Day 3 started pretty much the same as the day before but thankfully with a later start. Despite a 10:30 meeting point some of us woke up early to take advantage of the breathtaking views at Camp David. I said it before but I shall say it again, the breath taking views and cool morning air were the ideal smoking conditions.
Our plans for the day changed slightly as our original plans of smoking at the beach and ogling the beautiful women of the Dominican Republic had to be altered. With heavy rains predicted Guillermo Leon open up one of his farms to us.
The day started for me at 7am despite the late night before. With cigars and breakfast calling it was hard to sleep in with breathtaking views of the Dominican Republic and the cool morning air inviting you to awake from your slumber. As the crew slowly arrived we smoked some cigars and continued some of [...]