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 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.