Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Some Cigar Humor...

America, Russia and Japan are sending up a two year shuttle mission with one astronaut from each country. Since it's going to be two years up there, each may take any form of entertainment weighing 150 pounds or less.

The American approaches the NASA board and asks to take his 125 lb wife. They approve.

The Japanese astronaut says, "I've always wanted to learn Greek. I want 150 lbs of books to learn Greek with." The NASA board approves.

The Russian astronaut thinks for a second and says, "It's gonna be two years up there. I want 150 pounds of the best Cuban cigars ever made." Again, NASA Okays it.

Two years later, the shuttle lands and everyone is gathered outside the shuttle to see what each astronaut got out of his personal entertainment.

Well, it's obvious what the American's been up to, He and his wife are each holding an infant. The crowd cheers.

The Japanese astronaut steps out and makes a 10 minute speech in absolutely perfect Greek. The crowd doesn't understand a word of it, but they're impressed and they cheer.

The Russian astronaut stomps out, clenches the podium until his knuckles turn white, glares at the first row waving a chewed up cigar at them and says:

"Anybody got a match?"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Padron 46th Anniversary Review

Padrón Family Reserve 46 Years

Wrapper: Nicaraguan-Sun Grown Piloto Cubano

Binder: Nicaraguan-Sun Grown Piloto Cubano

Filler: Nicaraguan-Sun Grown Piloto Cubano

Strength: Medium to Full

Age: All Tobacco Aged for 10 years

Tasting Notes: Right from the start the cigar draws you into its own world. The wrapper is seamless and smooth with an oily sheen. Even the filler was crafted by an artisan, deep pockets of black tobacco organized to allow a full draw with little resistance.

The first puff can be best explained as sensory overload. Dense smoke filled with decadent flavors of roasted coffee and cocoa with undertones of earth. The retrohale floods your sinuses with layers of spice. Not only that, the room note is sultry and adds to the ambiance of the experience.

The Padron peaks in complexity and strength twice: once at the first quarter of the cigar and finally at the last quarter. At these crescendos, I picked up on some other flavors like licorice and blackberry. It’s hard to believe that Padron cigars are Nicaraguan puros, yet blends like the 40th,80th, and 46th overshadow the 1926 Serie and 1964 Anniversary.

I talked Jorge Padron while I was smoking the Padron 46th and we talked about the blend and all the hard work that went into perfecting the blend for the 46th. We also talked about how the public has responded to the 46th and the level of quality we’ve come to expect from Padrón, that Padrón can’t make a bad cigar. Each year till 2014, we will be seeing a limited edition Padrón cigar culminating to the 50 year anniversary for Padrón. Let’s just say every year is going to be exciting culminating to the 50 year anniversary.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Retro-haling: The Only Way to Get the Most from a Cigar Smoking Experience

Retro-haling is the act of moving smoke from the back of the mouth, up through the nasal cavity, and exhaling through the nose. In order to retro-hale, the mouth and nasal cavity can be connected by simply closing a smoke filled mouth and exhaling through the nose. Retro-haling creates a powerful synergy of taste and olfaction (aroma/smell) where the spices, body, flavor, and strength of the cigar will be pronounced simultaneously. This method is quite easy in theory but takes some practice getting the action down. Once perfected the enjoyment of cigars will increase to an unbelievable level.

When retro-haling, I recommend starting slow. A smoker can control the amount of smoke he or she retro-hales, so start off by only retro-haling a fraction of the smoke. The following is a step by step break down of the method I use to get the most flavor and enjoyment out of my cigar.

1. Take 2-3 puffs from the cigar. First take a short pull and then on the second or third puff take a long, full pull to generate lots of smoke.

2. Close your mouth around the smoke. I like to think of this as smoke control. At this point in time you can choose whether you wish to blow all the smoke out of the mouth or retro-hale a portion of the smoke if not all of it. Practice smoke control before trying retro-haling by opening your mouth at this stage and ever so slowly let the smoke drift out of your mouth. This seemingly endless cloud of smoke floating from the mouth is a really easy smoke “trick” that I get people asking me to do again and again.

3. After closing the mouth around the smoke push air from the lungs out of the nose while dropping the front of the tongue. This will pull the smoke from the mouth around over the palate, through the sinuses, and out of the nose.

4. Important step: Very rarely can retro-haling move all the smoke out of the mouth so finish a retro-hale by opening the mouth and exhaling the rest of the smoke.

The most important advantage to retro-haling is that it increases the flavor of the cigar, and if flavor is increased so is the enjoyment. Smoking a cigar uses all the senses, but the main senses used when smoking are taste and smell. These senses work in conjunction. Food just doesn’t taste as good when suffering from a head cold. It is the same with cigars. By not retro-haling a smoker mutes a large portion of the cigar’s flavor and nuances.

Retro-haling not only increases flavor but it also increases the intensity of the cigar as well. When first beginning to retro-hale a smoker may need to return to milder body cigars and work back up to the fuller-bodied smokes. Retro-haling will open up a whole new world; there is no way to describe the increase in taste. It must be experienced.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cigar Tasting: 31 Flavors and Counting

Ever read cigar reviews and the cigar is described as chocolaty, earthy, or leathery and spicy, or creamy and nutty? And those are just a few of the major descriptors. Sometimes when I read those reviews while smoking that same cigar, I taste something dissimilar from what the reviewer has written. How valid are the use of these flavor descriptors when reviewing a cigar? Tobacco tastes like tobacco, right? In my opinion I think these reviews are valid, but not completely.

There are three major aspects that affect a cigar’s flavor profile; the type of tobacco seed, the region that the seed is grown, and the cigar’s blend. There are many types of tobacco seeds used in the industry. Some of the most well know being Cuban, Habano, Connecticut, Criollo, Corojo, and Cameroon. And there are new hybrid seeds being created all the time through cross pollination. All these seeds will produce a different type of tobacco leaf with differing flavor profiles.

The region a seed is grown in will also greatly affect the flavor. This is due to differences in soil, whether it is sandy, marshy, volcanic, rocky, and so on. The regions cloud cover and annual rainfall will also greatly affect the tobacco. A Connecticut seed grown in Connecticut will taste different from a Connecticut seed grown in Honduras. Even within the same country, differing soils and weather patterns exist. The same seed grown in two different fields will yield slightly and sometimes greatly varying flavor profiles.

The cigar’s blend will also affect the flavor profile of a cigar. The various types of tobaccos that make up a cigar work together to give the cigar its unique profile. The cigar’s filler is made up of Seco, Volado, and Ligero, all of which may come from the same plant or from various plants from different regions. A cigar’s flavors can be drastically changed just by changing the type of wrapper leaf.

A cigar’s flavor comes from the seed, the region, and the blend. So, how do we decide a cigar tastes creamy with overtones of coffee bean and a subtle hint of cinnamon? Taste is subjective and cigars have these extreme differences in flavors, and we can’t make up words to describe these tastes, so we fall back on what is termed “sense memory.” Sense memory is the brain’s catalog of all the smells and tastes you have experienced, so when you are smoking a cigar and a certain flavor is tasted, the brain tries to interpret that flavor against its sense memory. Whatever that flavor reminds you of is the flavor of that cigar. I have smoked a cigar that reminded me of steak. Not well done, but a rich slightly sweet medium-rare steak. Others have told me that that same cigar reminds them of dry roasted coffee. So who is right? We both are. The cigar ratings and tastings, even though they are sometimes overboard in their descriptions, are legitimate. But they are also opinion. Have fun using your sense memory when picking out the various flavors of the cigar. You can’t be wrong; it’s your cigar.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What's the Deal with Cellophane?

Tobacco is both resilient and fragile. Cigars can last for 50, 60 or even 100 years if properly kept. A cigar can also be easily damaged just from being handled. Manufactures began using cellophane to protect the cigar from minor cosmetic damage to major construction altering damage that could render a cigar un-smokable. The only reason for cellophane is protection.

A great debate among cigar enthusiasts is whether to remove the cellophane or leave it on when storing cigars in a humidor. The cellophane used to protect cigars is made by using cellulose from wood. This cellophane is air permeable and allows moisture to reach the cigar which is what you want when storing cigars. This makes it unnecessary to remove the cellophane when keeping cigars in a humidor.

There is one very minor issue with cellophane. This issue keeps the cellophane off or on debate alive. Cellophane on a cigar will slightly retard the aging process. If a smoker's intention with his cigars is to age them for a lengthy period of time (more than a year or two), I would recommend taking the cellophane off, however, you would not want cigars of differing strength or flavor profiles to age for long periods of time in direct contact with each other. This will cause the cigars to marry changing flavor and strength outside of the aging process. To prevent this most cigar smokers who age cigars purchase humidors large enough to store cigars in their original cedar boxes.

When storing cigars in order to keep them at optimal smoking condition, store them as you purchased them, whether that be with cellophane or without. When storing cigars with the intention of aging them it is recommended to remove the cellophane, however, it is not necessary. The reduction in aging process is minimal and the cellophane protects the cigar from damage. There is one other benefit to leaving the cellophane on even when aging cigars. The cellophane on an aged cigar often turns a beautiful golden hue, a by-product of the cellophane absorbing some of the oils and nicotine of the cigar and also a very visible sign of a well aged cigar. There is nothing quite like showing your buddies an aged cigar by holding the cellophane up to a white shirt or piece of paper and saying, "Check out the age on this."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Have a drink...

Finding the right drink compliment for cigars is as much a daunting task as selecting the perfect cigar. Your choice in beverage can greatly enhance your cigar smoking experience and guide you into relaxation. Your beverage choice isn’t limited to the alcoholic varietal; coffee, soda and tea are equally wonderful compliments to cigars. I’ll briefly touch on beverages that could greatly enhance your cigar experience.

Port wine is a wonderful spirit that melds with entire cigar spectrum. Port is produced from grapes grown and processed in the demarcated Douro region of Portugal. Port begins as wine, it is then fortified by adding aguardente, a neutral grape spirit, to halt the fermentation process; it leaves behind residual sugars and boosts the alcohol content. Some of my favorite port wines are Sandeman and Smith Woodhouse, both offer sweet, yet spicy flavor profiles.

Rum, whisky, and cognac pair very well with cigars. Each spirit delves into different flavor profiles that might bring out flavors you might not normally experience. A good rule of thumb to follow with these spirits is to pair with opposing flavors. For example, if you’re smoking a bold, spicy cigar it would pair well with a straight rum or fine cognac. If you’re smoking a mild cigar, pair it up with a spiced rum or whisky.

Drink choices are not limited to the alcoholic variety, coffee, tea, sodas and water pair surprisingly well with cigars. Our Corona Cigar Co. coffee is a low caffeine Nicaraguan blend that is mild and flavorful. Teas are refreshing cold drink alternatives and have many varieties that you can easily find one that will pair well with your cigar. Cola based sodas are more suited for cigars, but don’t count out there’s a cigar for even the fruit based varietal. Much can be said for water paired with cigars, but try some sparkling water with your cigar; it’s a pleasant combo that marries well with cigars.

I’ve only touched base on some of the possible pairings with cigars. Don’t be hesitant; variety is the spice of life. Share your pairings in the comments and let us know about your experiences.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The first review after IPCPR

The first cigar of the day was enjoyed by the pool. The Tobacos Baez Series H Famosos Made by Pepin Garcia. The Series H I smoked was a Robusto shape. Using a Nicaraguan cuban seed Connecticut wrapper, this blend features a lush habano wrapper leaf offering a medium - bodied smoke without the spice. I found it somewhat lacking. However all other attributes were on par. The draw was excellent and the roll was perfect. The ash was firm and the burn was perfect. The ash was nice and light almost white. I picked up a nice nutty note throughout the cigar. This cigar was a bit too mild for me. For people that like a good mild cigar it wasn’t bad.

I Highly recommend the second cigar of the day. The Viaje Torpedo. The Viaje is a Nicaraguan Puro.The Viaje had a gorgeous color, with dark brown over a reddish brown oily background. The cigar felt smooth and was evenly packed throughout. The cigar gave off a cedary aroma at the foot with a strong sweet aroma of tobacco. The taste was earthy right off the bat. The resulting draw was nice and open throughout. There were hints of dark coffee and cinnamon that was slightly sweet along with a distinctive Nicaraguan puro taste. The finish was long and smooth with no sight of bitterness. The ash was nice and light and held on very well. This smoke reminded me of the Padron 45. If you come across this cigar at your local retailer I highly recommend this cigar. It had big taste for a much more reasonable price. I hope you enjoy both of these smokes and happy smoking.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

La Aurora 107 Corona

Hello All it's been a while. I want to thank all of my great friends at Miami Cigars. They have provided me the opportunity of smoking the La Aurora 107 Aniversario Corona. This cigar hasn't hit the market yet. For those of you that read my blog I'm sorry if I may repeat myself but I've reviewed this cigar before but in a much different size and due to the smaller ring gauge the cigar handles and smokes completely different.

The La Aurora 107 is released to honor their 107 years in business. La Aurora is the oldest cigar maker in the Dominican. The La Aurora Serie Aniversario 107 is made using Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Ecuadorian tobaccos.

I shared this amazing cigar with some of my dearest friends and they liked it as much as I did. In fact I heard this is my favorite size more then I can say. I agree completely. Due to the size and the smaller ring gauge you can taste more of the binder and wrapper. It makes the cigar sweeter and a little more bold. I can't explain my excitement when I lit up this cigar. I'm usually not a fan of smaller ring gauges but this is the exception.

My first impression of the 107 was the cigar was well constructed with a veiny medium brown wrapper. The veins were neatly lined up all the way down the cigar. The band was beautifully made with the La Aurora trademark lion head prominently printed on the band with La Aurora Serie Aniversario 107. The wrapper had a very sweet smell with hints of honey. The foot of the cigar gave off a hint of spice. The cap cut very cleanly with my Monte Blanc scissor cutter.

At first light, I picked up a hint of pepper, cinnamon, honey and pine. The draw of the La Aurora 107 was clean and open, effortless and produced a perfect amount of rich white smoke. The smoke produced a sweet smell of wood and tobacco. The burn was perfectly even leaving behind a tight light grey, almost white ash.

At about the halfway mark the La Aurora is getting even more enjoyable. The cigar started to pickup notes of cedar, honey and sweet tobacco. The burn was still perfect with the tight light grey ash still attached. At this point the cigar has stabilized with less pepper.

At the finish I was a little concerned because I smoke cigars quickly that it would build up to a harsh end. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The final half of the La Aurora 107 finished incredibly smooth and flavorful. The cedar and cinnamon notes were still very prevalent with slight hints of sweet tobacco and honey notes that I loved. This beautiful cigar burned perfectly all the way through. In case you were wondering, the ash fell off about half way through. There were no real signs of nicotine in this stick. Mild to medium, very smooth and immensely enjoyable. I would recommend this cigar to anyone that enjoys a well priced (form what I read between $5 and $7) and well constructed cigar. I hope you all enjoy this cigar as much as I did and happy smoking.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


On August 4th, 2009 the Orange County Commissioners voted to require that all county employees sign a Tobacco Usage Affidavit stating that they are tobacco free or else they will be charged a $25 per pay period ($650 per year) tobacco use surcharge. However, employees are allowed to smoke up to 4 celebratory cigars per year and not be fined.

The reason for this, according to Commissioners, was that the cost of health insurance for county employees that use tobacco is higher than non-tobacco users. While I believe this is to be true for cigarette smokers, there was no evidence that this is true for cigar-only smokers. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute's Monograph 9, a 1-2 cigar per day smoker has the same overall mortality ratio as a non-smoker.

What makes Orange County's Tobacco Free policy even more bothersome is that it dictates what an employee can and can't do outside of work. If on his time off, an Orange County Sheriff, firefighter, maintenance worker, librarian, inspector, prison guard, park ranger or administration worker happens to stop by his local cigar shop or enjoy a cigar with his buddies more than four times a year, he can be fined and even reprimanded.

Now, many people have asked "How is the government going to know if some one smokes more than four cigars a year?" The answer - they can't. But do we really want to live in a society where one fears that "Big Brother" may be watching or have to look out for an angry, anti-tobacco co-worker spying and ratting out fellow employees who enjoy an occasional cigar?

I will say that of the three county commissioners that I have spoken with so far about this issue (Scott Boyd, Bill Segal & Linda Stewart), it seems that this "Tobacco Use" fine is purely about trying to plug a budget gap with Orange County's health insurance program.

Now for the second and much bigger issue...In addition to fining employees who smoke cigars, Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty took this one step further and issued an Executive Order that bans the USE of tobacco products including but not limited to cigars, pipes, cigarettes, chew, dip, snuff, herbal tobacco products and other smoking materials on ALL county owned and leased property.

The Mayor's office went as far as displaying posters that state that tobacco products are not even allowed on county owned property. This includes county owned parks, streets, sidewalks, boat ramps, fishing docks, parking garages, water treatment facilities, maintenance facilities, county buildings and the Orange County Convention Center. After contacting Mayor Crotty's office and asking how he could ban the possession of a legal tobacco product on county property, his Chief of Staff George Rodon stated "The poster was in error and has been removed. Possession of tobacco products is permitted. It is the USE that is prohibited."

Unfortunately, not all these posters have been removed as several cigar smokers that live in Orange County have stated that they have seen these posters still on display at county parks and water treatment facilities as well as "Tobacco & Smoke Free Campus" signs at the Orange County Convention Center. I hardly think these posters were printed in error. Someone gave the directive to create, proof, print and hang these posters. I think the Mayor's Chief of Staff got his hand caught in our "freedom" cookie jar.

When I asked the Mayor if his tobacco use ban on county property was just for employees or if this included the public as well? The Mayor's Chief of Staff replied "TO ALL".

Florida already has a state wide indoor smoking ban and there is no scientific evidence that proves smoking or using tobacco products outdoors causes any harm to non-tobacco users. So why did Mayor Crotty go overboard and ban ALL tobacco use indoors and OUTDOORS on county property? I have yet to find out as the Mayor's office has refused to grant me a meeting or even discuss this issue over the phone. However it seems pretty fishy that shortly after the tobacco ban went into effect, the Orange County Health Department received a $6.6 million in federal "Stimulus Money" that will be used to make Orange County a national model for tobacco prevention & control, make public parks smoke free and to change product placement in local stores. And of course, this was all done without any public comment or input.

So it sounds like Mayor Crotty, who is supposed to be a conservative Republican, sold out our freedom to enjoy a cigar (or any other form of tobacco) in the great outdoors for a special-interest stimulus check, compliments of the U.S. taxpayer.

Just writing this makes me want to puke!

But there is something YOU can do. If you don't agree with Mayor Crotty's draconian ban on tobacco, please send him an email. Remember, the city of Orlando and it's tourist attractions are all located in Orange County and input from tourists and business travelers is VERY important.

Mayor Rich Crotty Mayor@ocfl.net 407.836.7370

We have also posted a Cigar Rights of America Action Alert that has the contact info for the Orange County Commissioners. Please encourage them to over-rule Mayor Crotty's Executive Order on tobacco.

Remember...FREEDOM ISN'T FREE! So take the time and stand up for your right to enjoy a cigar!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Orange County, Florida:
Mayor Crotty Bans Use of Tobacco Products

Effective January 1, 2010, the use of tobacco products (including: cigars, pipes, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, snus, and hookahs) on all county owned and leased land was outlawed through an order signed by Orange County's Mayor Richard T. Crotty as he and a coalition of anti-tobacco supporters work to make the entire county tobacco-free.

This OUTDOOR ban comes on the heels of Florida's statewide existing indoor smoking ban which is already in affect.

Several major cities, including Orlando, reside in Orange County and the local economy heavily relies on tourism.

The ordinance now outlaws the use of any tobacco product in areas such as outdoors at the Orange County Convention Center, County parks, fishing docks, boat ramps, outdoor trails, county owned parking lots, streets and sidewalks.

Additionally, in order to maintain employment, County employees are required to sign an affidavit which states that any employee who enjoys more than four cigars per year they will be fined $650 each year they violate the tobacco policy.

On March 19, 2010, Mayor Crotty's anti-tobacco campaign received a boost when he allocated $6.6 million in federal stimulus funds (supposed to be used to create jobs) to the Orange County Health Department to prevent tobacco usage.

View The Ordinance (PDF)

Please Contact These Orange County Lawmakers:

CRA is urging members in Florida and across the country to take action by contacting Mayor Richard T. Crotty and the county commissioners to express your opposition to this tobacco policy and your support of seeing the ordinance reversed.

Remember to tell these lawmakers that "enjoying a cigar is not a crime!"

Email: Mayor Crotty
Telephone: 407-836-7370 | Fax: 407-836-7360
Postal Address:
County Mayor Richard Crotty 201 S. Rosalind Ave., 5th Floor Orlando, FL 32801
Email: Commissioner Boyd
Telephone:407-836-7350 | Fax: 407-836-5879
Postal Address:
Commissioner S. Scott Boyd 201 S. Rosalind Ave., 5th Floor Orlando, FL  32801
Email: Comm. Brummer
Telephone:  407-836-7350 | Fax: 407-836-5879
Postal Address:
Commissioner Fred Brummer 201 S. Rosalind Ave., 5th Floor Orlando, FL  32801
Email:Commissioner Stewart
Telephone:  407-836-7350 | Fax: 407-836-5935
Postal Address:
Commissioner Linda Stewart 201 S. Rosalind Ave., 5th Floor Orlando, FL  32801
Email: Commissioner Segal

Telephone: 407-836-7350 | Fax: 407-836-5879
Postal Address:
Commissioner Bill Segal 201 S. Rosalind Ave., 5th Floor Orlando, FL  32801
Email: Comm. Moore Russell
Telephone: 407-836-7350 |  Fax: 407-836-5879
Postal Address:
Comm. Tiffany Moore Russell 201 S. Rosalind Ave., 5th Floor Orlando, FL  32801
CRA Needs Your Help!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Smoke For The Times

The other day I arrived home to find a box in my mail box from my good friends at Miami Cigar and Company. I opened the box to find 6 Nestor Miranda 1989 Oscuro Torpedos. The Nestor Miranda 1989 is manufactured by My Father Cigar Corp. I think Rene Castaneda described this cigar wonderfully, “ A satisfying blend of rich, aromatic and flavor filled Nicaraguan tobaccos, from the Esteli and Jalapa Filler.”

The Nestor Miranda 1989 comes in three sizes Robusto 5 x 50, Toro 6 x 50 and Torpedo 6 1/8 x 52. It is also comes with two different wrappers Oscuro a medium bodied smoke or Rosado which is more medium to full bodied. These cigars are great not just for price(between $5 and $5.50 per stick) but also for enjoyability.

I smoked the Nestor Miranda 1989 Torpedo with the Oscuro Wrapper. The cigar was consistent all the way through with hint of cocoa and nutmeg. The smoke set off a sweet tobacco aroma into the air. The smoke was pleasant to be around, at least that is what I was told. This cigar was a little mild for my palate but was amazingly enjoyable to smoke. I didn’t have to touch up the cigar once. It stayed lit while I carried on conversations with my fellow friends of the ash. I would highly recommend this cigar to anyone that wants a great smoke at a reasonable price.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

An Anniversary Well Celebrated

I want to start out by saying thank you to my wonderful friend Jeff Borysiewicz (JB) and the entire Corona Staff at the Downtown Orlando location. To my new friends Guillermo Leon, Jose Victoria, Rene Castaneda, and Mario Guzman thank you so much for a wonderful time.

Let me paint the picture for you of this amazing night. The Downtown Orlando Corona, nicely decorated in La Aurora banners and Presidente beer banners from the doors to the bar. The center of the bar near the fountain had an amazing spread of catered food. The band was playing the finest Spanish music. There were photographers to document this exceptional affair. The atmosphere was electric. There were boxes of La Aurora cigars being sold and Presidente beer being enjoy by the wonderful patrons. I was honored to be at this event and yet I’ve never been more comfortable. Our hosts for the evening couldn’t have been more generous and amazingly informative. They were answering questions and sharing information about all of their products. The highlight of my night was sitting down with Guillermo, his friend Arturo and Arturo’s wife sharing stories of the Dominican cigar festival and enjoying the finest La Aurora cigars and drinking a cold Presidente beer.

Now, the reason for this momentous event, the La Aurora Serie Aniversario 107. The La Aurora 107 is released to honor their 107 years in business. La Aurora is the oldest cigar maker in the Dominican. The La Aurora Serie Aniversario 107 is made using Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Ecuadorian tobaccos.

My first impression of the 107 was the cigar was well constructed with a veiny medium brown wrapper. The veins were neatly lined up all the way down the cigar. The band was beautifully made with the La Aurora trademark lion head prominently printed on the band with La Aurora Serie Aniversario 107. The wrapper had a very sweet smell with hints of honey. The foot of the cigar gave off a hint of spice. The cap cut very cleanly with my Monte Blanc scissor cutter.

At first light, I picked up a hint of pepper, cinnamon and pine. The draw of the La Aurora 107 was clean and open, effortless and produced a perfect amount of rich white smoke. The smoke produced a sweet smell of wood and tobacco. The burn was perfectly even leaving behind a tight light grey, almost white ash.

At about the halfway mark the La Aurora is getting epic. The cigar started to pickup notes of cedar, honey and sweet tobacco. The burn was still perfect with the tight light grey ash still attached. At this point the cigar has stabilized with less pepper.

At the finish I was a little concerned because I smoke cigars quickly that it would build up to a harsh end. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The final half of the La Aurora 107 finished incredibly smooth and flavorful. The cedar and cinnamon notes were still very prevalent with slight hints of sweet tobacco and honey notes that I loved. This beautiful cigar burned perfectly all the way through. In case you were wondering, the ash fell off about half way through. There were no real signs of nicotine in this stick. Mild to medium, very smooth and immensely enjoyable. I would recommend this cigar to anyone that enjoys a well priced (between $6 to $8) and well constructed cigar. I hope you all enjoy this cigar as much as I did and happy smoking.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Cielo Cigar Review

Cielo Cigar Review:

Wrapper/Filler/Binder are from Nicaragua.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Cielo Hercules Sungrown 7x52. For me, it's a Medium-strength cigar with Cedar, Cocoa flavors, and a hint of sweetness in the end. If you are looking for a drink pairing, it's an excellent smoke to enjoy with a single malt scotch, a single barrel bourbon, or nice glass of cognac to enhance the experience.

The next time you are thinking about buying a box of expensive cigars, take my advise, save some cash, and buy a box of Cielo cigars instead!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Have you ever . . ?

Have you ever smoked a cigar you love and it tasted "off" or bad? Sometimes it's not the cigar, it's the palate.

PH is a measure of acidity and alkalinity on a scale where 7 is neutral. The scale runs 0-14; anything below seven is considered acidic and anything above 7 is alkaline. The mouth's natural pH level is 7. However, a few factors throughout the day can change the pH balance of your palate. The three major influences on the pH level of your mouth are the environment you are in, the food you eat, and the liquid you drink. The pH level of your mouth will affect the way a cigar tastes and how its nuances are perceived.

A cigar falls into the alkaline section of the pH scale, so when a cigar isn't tasting right, or it is a multiple cigar night, you can reset your palate by drinking water, milk, or eating a piece of bread. The palate can be restored to neutrality fairly quickly, but it sometimes needs a stronger push. This can be accomplished by eating or drinking something acidic, (a lime or coffee), and then drinking water or eating bread. This will push the palate into an acidic state and then return it to neutral.

The next time a cigar isn't tasting quite right, try a palate cleanse and see if that restores the cigar to its full potential.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Special Offer for Travelers Affected by European Air Service Disruptions

Corona Cigar will give any stranded European Union and United Kingdom passengers a free Corona Cigar and a Presidente beer to help them pass the time while they are stranded in the U.S.

Located in Plaza Venezia, Dr. Phillips
7792 W. Sand Lake Rd.
Orlando, FL 32819

As proof of being affected, please bring your return flight ticket from Wednesday, April 14, 2010, through Wednesday, April 21, 2010, or until normal flight schedules resume

Monday, April 19, 2010

This blog has moved

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Stalk Cutting and Stalk Curing

One of my new favorite cigars is the Liga Privada T52 by Drew Estate. This cigar may just revolutionize the cigar industry.

Most tobacco plants are primed, a method where the tobacco leaves are harvested by hand from the bottom of the plant to the top at various times throughout the growth process. The leaves are then tied in pairs and hung in drying barns. A leaf takes roughly 50 days to cure in the drying barns before it is ready to be fermented in Pilones.

With the T52 the tobacco plants are Stalk Cut and then Stalk Cured. Stalk Cutting allows the plant to grow until maturation and then the harvester cuts the plant at the base. After the plant is Stalk Cut, the whole plant is air cured. This process is called Stalk Curing and takes much longer to dry than primed tobacco leaves because the leaves cure while still attached to the stalk and continue to receive nutrients while drying. But this extra time and nutrients give the leaves a much richer flavor.

With the recent success of the T52, I'm hoping more companies are willing to invest the extra time and extra cost in producing lines that use Stalk Cut and Stalk Cured tobaccos.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tobacco Taxes for States

I've attached a link to a USA TODAY article on today's front page.

How ironic that the states, in a time when many representatives are trying to KILL smoker's rights, are now looking to INCREASE TAX REVENUES from tobacco to fund their state budget shortfalls.

The message is clear here. Reach out to your state representatives and let them know that as a taxpayer, you have rights as well - rights that are helping in these economic times.

It seems like a never-ending cycle. We need the states to leave tobacco taxes alone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Avo LE10

Each year Avo Uvezian blends and releases an exclusive cigar made in celebration of his birthday. And every year I anticipate the newest blend of the Avo Limited Editions.

This year I am extremely excited about the Avo LE10. It is reminiscent of the Avo LE05, my favorite of all the LE's.

It takes me back to the night I first smoked the Avo LE05. I was lucky enough to attend the special birthday dinner held each year at Corona. After an amazing meal, great fellowship and conversation, I lit up the Avo LE05 with the guys I was standing with and after a few minutes of smoking in silence we all looked to each other with the same awed looks and said, "Wow." It's those cigar memories that stick with me. That's what cigars can do; give you an anchor point for memorable evenings.

I see this year's dinner being the same. March 20th. Mark it down if you are interested in having one of the best cigar nights to be had. Bring a friend or loved one and celebrate with one of the most remarkable men in the cigar industry.

Visit http://www.coronacigar.com/products/avo-uvezians-birthday-cigar-dinner.html for more info.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Imports to Cuba from U.S. Drop by One-Fourth

Cuba’s economy is hurting badly, so much so that they are cutting back on food and agriculture imports from the U.S. “Crippling economic malaise” is how the Associated Press describes the situation down south.

Even though the U.S. is still the largest seller of food to Cuba, the communist nation is now turning to counties like Vietnam for cheaper, albeit “lower-quality” food imports and who also offer longer payment terms, according to the AP.

Food and agriculture goods have been exempt from the Cuban embargo since 1960.

A report from the non-partisan U.S.-Cuba Economic Trade Council details the slide in imports from the U.S. to Cuba, revealing a 26 percent drop in imports from 2008 to 2009, from $710 million to $528 million respectively. The AP says imports to Cuba from Venezuela, China, and Spain are down as well.

Also of note: sales of Cuban cigars are also falling, off eight percent in 2009 says Habanos S.A.

“The U.S. market, the largest in the world with 230 to 250 million cigars smoked annually, is off limits to Habanos due to the U.S. trade embargo imposed against Cuba since 1962,” a Reuters article reminds us.

First Columbia, now Lexington, SC

Early this year, Columbia, South Carolina’s City Council considered the idea of changing its smoking ban law so that cigar bars are exempt (retail tobacco stores ARE currently exempt, but not cigar bars that serve alcohol). Now, Lexington, it’s neighboring town 20 minutes to the west, is thinking about allowing bar and restaurant patrons to smoke outside on decks and patios.

“It’s something Mayor Randy Halfacre wants the council to consider for fairness sake. At restaurants elsewhere in the county, diners can light up outside,” reports WIS-TV. Lexington is a town in Lexington County, South Carolina.

Some are hoping the law stays just like it is though, and object to the smoke that can waft over from one smoking table to a non-smoking table outside.

The Lexington Town Council may hold a hearing on the issue this month, according to The Greeneville News.

CRA Call-To-Action: KANSAS and INDIANA

Let's help our friends in Kansas and Indiana!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Do you know....

....the FACTS about the Florida Cigar Industry??? As listed at the 2010 Florida Cigar Summit, here are a few FACTS about the Cigar Industry in Florida:
  • Cigars have been made in Florida since 1831
  • Today, 70% of the cigars sold in the U.S. are either made or imported through Florida
  • There are over 250 Small Business "Mom-and-Pop" cigar shops in Florida
  • There are over 60 Family-Owned, Small Business Cigar Manufacturers, Leaf Dealers, Importers and Cigar Company Headquarters in Florida
  • Cigars are enjoyed as a SOCIAL hobby, not as an addictive habit
  • Cigars are an ADULT product that are very price sensitive - demand is greatly affected by increasing taxes, especially taxes related to total weight
  • Cigar taxes are JOB KILLERS!
  • Cigar taxes increased 700% last year at a Federal Level, one of the highest tax increases on any product in recorded history!
  • Last year's cigar tax increase in Florida led to the closing of the 105-year old Hav-a-Tampa factory in August of 2009, putting 500 people out-of-work in the middle of a recession.
  • Over 5,500 people are still today directly or indirectly employed in the Florida Cigar Industry; any additional tax on the state level would put most of them out of work.

2010 Florida Cigar Summit

The First Annual Florida Cigar Summit Luncheon with Florida's Republican Leadership was held at the Historic J.C. Newman Cigar Factory in Tampa's Ybor City on Friday, February 26, 2010, where cigar manufacturers, cigar leaf growers, cigar brokers, premium cigar retailers, and consumers had the chance to discuss the issues facing Florida's Cigar Industry.

The Florida Cigar Summit was planned in conjunction with the Cigar Association of America, the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association, and the Cigar Rights of America. It included a tour JC Newman's Cigar Museum and a tour of Tampa's only cigar factory that is currently rolling cigars.

Invited Republican Leadership guests included Attorney General Bill McCollum (Florida Gubernatorial Candidate), President Jeff Atwater (FL Senate), President Designate Mike Haridopolos (FL Senate), Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla (FL Senate), Representative Will Weatherford (FL House of Representatives). Additional invitees included the following Florida Senators: Thad Altman, Mike Bennett, Victor Crist, Don Gaetz, Rudy Garcia, Andy Gardiner, and John Thrasher. Invitees from the Florida House of Representatives included the following: Steve Crisafulli, Chris Dorworth, Scott Plakon, and Steve Precourt.

Chair Committee Members included Corona Cigar Company, J.C. Newman Cigar Company, Rocky Patel Cigars, Tabacalera Perdomo, and Thompson Cigars. VIP Host Committee Sponsors included Arturo Fuente Cigars, Camacho Cigars, CAO International, Drew Estate, Nestor Placenica, and Oliva Tobacco (Tampa). Manufacturer Sponsors included Action Label, Alec Bradley Cigars, Ashton Cigars, Casa Fernandez/AGANORSA, EP Carillo Cigars, Felipe Gregario Cigars, Flor de Gonzalez Cigars, House of Oxford, Graycliff Cigars, Gurkha Cigars, IPCPR, La Flor Dominicana Cigars, Mederos Cigars, Miami Cigar, Mike's Cigars Distributors, Oliva Cigar (Miami), Padron Cigars, Puros Indios Cigars, Torano Cigars, and Xikar.

The event was a huge success and we look forward to the next FL Cigar Summit!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

La Flor Dominica Air Bender

One of the best smokes I've had this year - try one soon! Here is the Corona Cigar Review:

"Intense, Sophisticated, and Powerful—La Flor Dominicana Air Bender roundhouse kicks intense flavor and strength to your palate. Litto Gomez took his love for super-powered Kung Fu movies and married it into naming this cigar.
“I think when we smoke we’re bending the air, that’s what I think when I’m smoking.” said Litto Gomez in an interview with Cigar Aficionado. Sissies need not apply. La Flor Dominicana already produces several full-bodied cigars, but like a ninja, the Air Bender’s strength sneaks up on you to deliver its coup de grace.
The Air Bender features a binder and filler from Litto’s own farm in the Dominican Republic, and a toothy, Ecuadorian Habano-seed wrapper. The Air Bender delivers ample amounts of smoke to bend air at your will; brimming with bold flavors of cedar and leather with generous amounts of black pepper to go around."


Congrats to Alex Diaz, CRT @CoronaCigarCo for a perfect 105% on his final Tobacconist University CRT Exam! Make sure to congratulate him in-person at Corona Cigar Company's Sand Lake location!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ashton VSG Eclipse Tubos

I've been waiting for the Ashton VSG Eclipse Tubos for a very long time. As soon as I found it at Corona Cigars on Sand Lake Rd I knew I had to pick one up. That cigar didn't let me down. I smoked it for my victory cigar when The New Orleans Saints won the Superbowl.

The Ashton VSG Eclipse Tubos is a 6 x 52 sized toro cigar in a black tube. The VSG line is one of the most amazing cigars to be made by Arturo Fuente's Dominican factory. All of the tobacco in this cigar is at least four years old and has more ligero than most Fuente blends. The medium to full body on the Ashton VSG is apparent from the pre - light aroma and the wrapper is very oily. The Ecuadorian sun grown wrapper is grown by the Oliva family and surrounds the otherwise Dominican cigar. This stick is well constructed and draws very well. The Ashton VSG Eclipse is surprisingly consistent and has a nutty and woody start that builds up to spice and cream like flavor.

I would recommend this cigar. It's a must buy if you come across it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

CRA Ambassador Interview with Nestor Miranda of Miami Cigar Co.

Good interview from my fellow CRA Ambassador Mark Brownlee!

CRA Ambassador Updates

Just some quick notes from the February CRA Ambassador meeting:
  • CRA Membership is +85% vs. Jan 2009
  • CRA Ambassadors have increased from 75 to 81 since Jan 2009
  • Key Legistlation facing Cigar Enthusiasts: MASS
    (see attached link for details on how you can help)
  • Southern CRA Alliance is driving membership, but key gains have been made in Northern, Mid-American, and Westen Alliances.
  • There will soon be a way to contact your local CRA Ambassador via email. Check CRA website for details.
  • You can download the CRA Toolbar at the CRA Website Home Page. Every download raises money for the CRA - it's easy and adds a nice touch to your internet access! ;)
  • Check the CRA Website for upcoming events in your area...new events to drive membership, awareness, and action coming soon!
Best and Long Ashes to all!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

CRA Call-To-Action: MASS

Here we go again...yet another state that is trying to raise Cigar Taxes to help fund their budget and agenda. Write your representatives and let's put our on "VETO" on this one before it goes to vote!!

Partagas Benji Menendez Master Blend Cigars

General Cigar’s Master blender Benji Menendez, one of the last living links to Cuba from pre-Castro days, is the driving force behind this blend. It is medium-to-full in body and has a spicy aroma, with a mild sweetness from it's Cameroon leaf and a spicy follow-up from the "Cuban" Connecticut binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos inside. If you enjoy spicy cigars, this is a cigar for you! The aroma and easy draw make this an enjoyable cigar and the price (about $10) is nice to boot! Best and long ashes!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Drew Estate's Nicaraguan Cigar Safari Recap by Guest Blogger Dean Zarbaugh II

When I first heard Corona Cigar Company was sponsoring a cigar safari to Nicaragua I was intrigued. I'm 23 years old and the only time I've ever travelled outside of the country was to Mexico, but we didn't do too much exploring around the country.

At the airport I met a lot of people going on this cigar safari with me. I had never met any of them before in my life. We were all strangers, but we left the trip friends. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to share this experience with.

Going into the trip I honestly didn't know what to expect. I'd heard people talk about going to Nicaragua before, but I didn't have clear picture on what it was like there. We landed on Sunday and as the bus was pulling away from the airport I got my first real look of Nicaragua. I can't say that it lived up to my expectations because I didn't have any. Our first stop was for lunch at a restaurant that overlooked a beautiful valley. The view was absolutely breathtaking. The food was delicious; unlike anything I'd eaten before. After lunch we rode to the Masaya Volcano. I stood mere feet from the edge and peered down into the smoking hole. I was blown away. I felt alive. The rolling hills and mountains were beautiful. A photographer's dream. Needless to say I snapped as many pictures as I could.

The next day we took off from the hotel and toured Granada a bit. We went on a great boat ride to check out islands in Lake Nicaragua. The homes on these islands were expensive and lavish. They really made me wish I owned one. We also got to see some monkey's up close and personal which was cool for me because I was witnessing them in their natural habitat, not a zoo. After the boat tour we took off for the close to three hour drive to Esteli. On the way there we saw more rolling hills, valleys, and mountains. I'd never seen anything like it before in my life. It was all so beautiful. I knew then that I didn't want to leave the country for a while. There was so much to see and so much to do. Four days just wasn't enough!

Throughout the rest of our trip we toured two factories. The Joya De Nicaragua and Drew Estate factories. I'd never seen any factories up close before and again didn't know what to expect, but I was amazed at the time and effort it took into making cigars. All of the people were very friendly, and hard workers. We met one lady at the Joya factory that had been there for 40 years. The rollers really enjoy what they do and it shows.

A highlight of the trip was being able to blend my own cigar. It gave me a hands on approach to see what goes into blending a good cigar. Now, I don't know the first thing about blending and my blend probably reflects that. Being said, blending is something I'd like to try to do. Being able to pick the best tobacco that goes well is an art form to say the least.

Jonathan Drew, from Drew Estate was a fabulous host. He is very friendly, personable, and very easy to talk to and get along with. He runs a great company and truly knows what he's doing. He's hired a fantastic crew including, Steve Saka, President of Drew Estate, Nicolas who oversees the factory and everyone else involved in the company. While on the trip we were not without cigars. Jonathan made sure of that. Before this trip my usual cigar consumption was 2 or 3 a week tops. On the trip I was smoking 4-5 a day! It took a little getting used to, but I got there.

I'd like to thank Jeff Borysiewicz, President and Founder of Corona Cigar Company for sponsoring the trip. Jeff is a great person and a great businessman. He knows what he's doing and he does it very well. Corona Cigar Company is easily my favorite hangout spot in Orlando. Each of the three stores makes you feel welcome and is very relaxing.

For me though, the best part of this trip was not touring the factories, meeting a bunch of great people. No. For me the best part was getting to spend the trip with my father. He is the reason I'm where I'm at today. If he wasn't a part of my life I don't know where I'd be today. He's the reason I got into smoking cigars. When I turned 18, he gave me a cigar that was rolled by a good friend of ours. I enjoyed it a lot. From then on I was smoking very mild cigars until my palette changed to a more stronger, peppery smoke. Now I only smoke full bodied cigars, with the occasional medium one to mix things up.

Lastly, if you're ever given the chance to go on a cigar safari, take it. You will not be let down.

Dean R. Zarbaugh II

P.S. Dean has some great photos of the trip that you can view on Corona Cigar's facebook page.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help the people of Haiti

I know a lot of us would like to help the people of Haiti by making a financial contribution to a reputable charity. Gary Ellis, the people of Altadis Cigars and the Montecristo Relief Organization have stepped up to the plate by making a $25,000 donation to the Food for the Poor, a group already providing immediate assistance to the people in Haiti. In addition, Altadis will match your contribution dollar for dollar and have pledged up to an additional $125,000.

This an excellent opportunity to make your donation work twice as hard helping people that desperately need your help. Any amount will make a difference...$25, $50 or whatever you can afford.

Please join us and contribute.


Jeff Borysiewicz

President & Founder


Click here to read Altadis' press release pledging to meet up to $125,000 in donations

If you would like to contribute and have your donation matched by the Montecristo Relief Organization, please send checks made payable to Food For the Poor:

Montecristo Relief Organization., Haiti Earthquake Relief
c/o Altadis U.S.A.
PO Box 407179
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33340-7166

Food For the Poor is a 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation and your donation can be tax deductible.
Our help is needed now, so time is of the essence. Altadis will be matching funds donated by February 15th.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The cigar of the year goes to The Padron 45th Anniversary Maduro

And the cigar of the year goes to The Padron 45th anniversary Maduro. Actually I'm going to be reviewing both the Padron 45th Maduro and the 44th Natural. Let me start by giving a fond hello to one of my great friends scrappy, " Padron the finest Dominican cigar ever made!" I'm just kidding Padron's are the finest Nicaraguan cigars ever made. Now to the reviews the Padron 44th and 45th are limited family reserve cigars that were made to celebrate the anniversary of the Padron cigar company being in business for 44 and 45 years respectfully.

Let me start with the Padron 44th. This was a great way to start 2010 for it was my New Years cigar. I sat on the back porch at my wonderful in-laws home in New Orleans, LA smoking this amazing cigar. The construction and presentation of this cigar was spectacular as usual. For those of you who know me know that I love Padron cigar almost as much as I enjoy breathing.

The pre-draw on this cigar was very open and the there was a spicy tingle on my tongue.

At first light the burn was perfect and the notes that were released were a sweet spice and a little nutty. The ash was perfectly white. The aroma had hint of a cocoa smell to it. The cigar burned great all the way through. About half way down the cigar started to mellow out and there were a few more notes present such as cocoa and vanilla. I smoked this cigar until there was practically nothing left. I didn't want to put it out. When I was done smoking it I placed it in the ash tray and still enjoyed the aroma that was emitted into the air as the cigar went out.

I recommend purchasing this cigar if you are able to find it. This cigar I've seen from $30 to $50 and it's worth every penny.

Now the Padron 45th family reserve maduro. For those of you who know me know that I said this was going to be the cigar of the year about two months before the list was released. What a well deserved reward for this stunning cigar. My beautiful wife and I both enjoyed this cigar on my birthday. I waited for this cigar to be released for months and when it came out I went to pick up my box while on my way I called everyone to ask them which box I should buy. I came to the conclusion that I should buy the natural because I was afraid my wife wouldn't enjoy the Maduro wow I was wrong. When I arrived at my local establishment I had the Maduro waiting for me I walked through the door as the owner lit my cigar for me without even asking me if I wanted to smoke. Well he knows me very well of course I wanted to smoke that awesome cigar. As I'm checking out he tells me to call my wife and tell he how much I love her. As I did he slid the Maduro box into my bag. Wow was a surprise that was that my wonderful wife bought me a box of the Maduros because she knew I really wanted them both but I would only get one. That was such a thoughtful gift thank you H. Now to the review.

This cigar has a dark oily wrapper with a double band on it. The presentation is phenomenal on all Padrons but on this one they hit it out of the park. The pre-light draw was amazingly open and tasted a bit leathery.

At first light the cigar burnt perfectly. The taste started out with an earthy cocoa flavor. Within the first third, I got notes of cocoa, earth, wood, and sweet spice. Around the middle, the cigar got stronger and there was a more solid earthiness and chocolate. The final third of the cigar got a bit stronger not much stronger, but just enough to balance this wonderful stick.

I highly recommend purchasing this cigar. The price for this cigar can range from $25 to $40.

I hope you enjoy either or both of the rare treats.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cigar Bars in Airports?

Great video from Fox Business News.

My personal feeling is that this may be a new trend for the next decade..."Cigar Bars" or "Cigar Lounges" that require minimum purchase and/or membership to enjoy. Think of it as a Delta Sky Club that specializes in fine cigars, coffees, etc.

I had the opportunity to visit the Graycliff Cigar Bar in the Nashville, TN late last year! I was really impressed!!

Best of luck to Graycliff on their expansion of these venues and if you're in Nashville, TN or Nassau, Bahamas, stop in and enjoy a nice cigar!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cigar Aficionado Top Cigars of 2009

Well, Cigar Aficionado's Top 10 list of cigars is now complete. I will have to say that in my opinion, this is one of the best (and most expensive) Top 10 lists in quite some time. I actually had a chance to sample the "My Father" cigar yesterday...all I can say is WOW - What a GREAT CIGAR! I have been lucky enough to enjoy all cigars on the list but the Cubans and the #1 Cigar. Due to the price of the #1 rated cigar, I have not had a chance to sample it yet. I'm hoping to enjoy one of those on a special occasion soon!

All-in-all, I am impressed with more of the new cigars that have come out this year with smaller productions. Hopefully, my favorites will make it on the remainder of the Top 25, which is due out tomorrow.

Best and Long Ashes to all!!


NY Lawmakers Have LOST It!

Not only is this a tactic to scare consumers, but it's absolutely ridiculous!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cigar Aficionado Top Cigars of 2009

The time has come! The Cigar Aficionado Top 10 Cigars of 2009 has begun it's countdown! Today - #10, 9, and 8! The remaining Top 25 Cigars will be listed later this week. How many are on your list??

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Best Cigars of 2009

There has been a lot of talk about the "Best Cigars of 2009". My question is best what? Best rated, best selling, best new cigar, most requested, most talked about????

Instead of strictly going by ratings by magazines such as Cigar Aficionado, I've compiled a list eleven cigars that stood out above the rest for a variety of reasons.  So here's my informal list of some of 2009's "Best Cigars":

Padron Family Reserve No.44 & No.45 - Both of these cigars fall into the categories of Best New Cigars, most requested, most talked about and highly rated. About the only category these don't fall into is "Best Selling", because very few of these cigars were made available for sale.

The Padron Family Reserve No.44 is the rarest of the two and is a torpedo shaped cigar that is available to only a handful of cigar retailers. If you can find them, they are available in boxes of 10 and 50. Each box is signed by the entire Padron Family.

The Padron Family Reserve No.45 is a toro sized cigar and was sold to a few hundred retailers, but each retailer received only a few boxes. (Plus the were boxes of 10, so 5 boxes equaled only 50 sticks.)

Fuente Fuente Opus X "Lost City" - Another cigar that created a lot of buzz but is very limited. Each year Keith Park from Prometheus and God of Fire cigars teams up with Carlito Fuente to create a special edition Opus X gift set and humidor collection. These limited edition cigars are a great way to support the Cigar Family Charity Foundation, as a portion of the proceeds goes to supporting this special charity foundation in the Dominican Republic.

Tatuaje Boris & Drac cigars - These two cigars from Pete Johnson definitely created the most "buzz" in 2009. When Pete Johnson posted a list online of where to buy these cigars, our phone system lit up like a Christmas tree. We could have sold out of these in about 10 minutes, but instead we did our best to spread the wealth and limited sales to just one cigar per person. The frenzy caused by these cigars reminded me of the cigar boom in the 90's when people practically got in fist fights over boxes of Opus X. Again, the Boris and Drac were red hot cigars but on the bottom of our list of best sellers because we had less than a few hundred of these cigars to sell.

E.P. Carillo Edicion Inaugural - Ernesto Perez Carillo is back to being an entrepreneurial cigar maker now that he has been left the corporate world and said good-by to the sinking ship of Swedish Match and General Cigar. (Ernesto was the man behind the famous La Gloria Cubana brand of cigars.) His new E.P. Carillo has been a huge hit with our sales staff and our hard core cigar guys. It is great to see Ernesto's first new product launch turn out to be a great success!

Liga Privada T52 - Drew Estate's Liga Privada is one of our best selling cigars in our retail stores and their new T-52 Stalk Cut and Flying Pig has been a huge hit. There has been a lot of buzz about Liga Privada cigars and people that have smoked them keep buying more and more. Supply on these is still spotty but most of the time they are available.

Diamond Crown Grid Iron Greats - One of my favorite new cigars for 2009. There was not as much buzz about this cigar as I expected but everyone who has smoked this cigar absolutely loves it. Diamond Crown Grid Iron Greats is available only at Diamond Crown Lounges and this cigar is worth seeking out. Part of the proceeds from the sale of these cigars goes to the Grid Iron Great charity.

Casa Fernandez Arsenio - Casa Fernandez cigars have been steadily gaining popularity (especially the Lancero size). In 2009 Paul Palmer of Casa Fernandez cigars released a special robusto size that was named after Arsenio Ramos who is Casa Fernandez/Aganorsa Tobacco's master cigar blender and tobacco agronomist. Arseno is a legend in his native Cuba and is quickly gaining the respect of the cigar public in the U.S.

Avo Companero - One of the early hits for 2009, the Avo Companero has been a great seller and has put a smile on the face of many cigar smokers! The Avo Companero was released as a special edition cigar to celebrate Avo's 84th birthday. Avo is hands down the "Top Cigar Ambassador" of the past decade.

Corona Nicaraguan 10th Anniversary - This cigar made our list because it has been such a huge hit since we first released this cigar. In fact, it is our overall best selling cigar for 2009. This is another great cigar made by the team of Paul Palmer, Arsenio Ramos and Aganorsa Tobacco. At less than $3 a stick, this is definitely one of the best cigar values of the year.

Don Pepin My Father Le Bijou - Don Pepin and his son Jamie have been hot for the past few years. But I have to admit, I wasn't sure about the Le Bijou cigar being a hit. I thought the name was too difficult for folks to pronounce and thought there may have been too many Don Pepin cigars on the retailer's shelves. Turns out I was wrong and people love this cigars. Sales have been strong enough for it to make our Top Ten 2009 cigar list.

There have been quite a few "Honorable Mentions" for 2009 including Room 101 by Camacho, La Traviata from CAO, Cain from Oliva, El Baton & Brick House from J.C. Newman, Davidoff Colorado Claro, Tatuaje Tubos, Acid Kuba Kuba Maduro, Alec Bradley Prensado, the Flip video recorder (I had to throw that in there just because I like it so much!)

I'm sure there is going to be some grumbling from some cigar makers because they weren't included as a "Best of Cigar of 2009". All I got to say is "At least it didn't cost you $20 grand a page in advertising and not make my list!"

Happy New Year!

Jeff Borysiewicz

Friday, January 1, 2010

Cigars Dropped For New Year's

Reposted from Rich Pereleman

Los Angeles, December 30, 2009- The apple will fall in New York City to mark the start of the new year on Thursday evening, but cigars will be dropping in two Pennsylvania towns to bring in 2010.

In Red Lion, the traditional cigar raising will take place in the downtown area, culminating a celebration that will begin at 5 p.m. The giant cigar commemorates the history of the area, which has a rich cigar-making tradition; the ceremony includes a giant lion (with a red mane, of course) holding a 100-pound, 8-foot, 3-inch long cigar in his hands, which is raised to the top of City Hall . . . which used to be a cigar factory!

In Richland, a giant cigar will mark the midnight hour and the start of 2010 at the Richland fairgrounds. The local American Legion Post has teamed up with John Hay Cigars to sponsor the drop, with the cigar itself fabricated by H.W. Brown Signs.

The Lebanon (Pa.) Daily News reported that the Richland area was also a cigar-making hotbed about a century ago. Area historian Earl Ibach will be on hand with copies of his new book on the area's cigar history, Tulpehocken Cigarama, detailing the cigar industry that once employed thousands in Richland and nearby Newmanstown, Myerstown, Stouchsburg, Womelsdorf, Robesonia and Strausstown.

New Year's Cigar Celebrations

There is no better way to ring in the New Year than with a cigar, a cocktail and people you enjoy being around.  Last night many people did just that, including me! 

My first cigar of choice were a Diamond Crown Maximus Perfecto that was a special cigar given to me by Eric and Bobby Newman.  They created this shape in honor of their grandfather and they were sold in special Diamond Crown 110th Anniversary humidors that were available a few years ago.  (We still have a few of these cigars available at our downtown Diamond Crown Lounge.)  The cigar was outstanding, packed with flavor and medium in strength.

My second cigar of choice was the new Fuente Fuente Opus X Lost City perfecto.  This cigar is not only rare because Carlito Fuente didn't make many, but extra rare because it was given to me by Keith Park, the owner of Prometheus and God of Fire cigars.  Trying to get a free cigar out of Keith is like trying to get candy from the Grinch.

I must say that the Lost City Opus X was a big surprise because it was not too strong for me.  I loved it!  (By the way, I paired both the Opus and the Maximus cigars with Corona Cigar's famous hand crafted Flor de Cana Mojito...mmmmm)

I ended the night with a desert cigar - a Tabak Especial from Drew Estate.  Go ahead and laugh, but I like the occasional flavored cigar!

I hope you had a happy new year!


Jeff Borysiewicz