Monday, July 22, 2013

Jeff Borysiewicz Wins 2013 European Cigar Journal Ambassador Award

Las Vegas, NV  - July 19, 2013 - Jeff Borysiewicz, President of Corona Cigar Company, was awarded the 2013 European Cigar Journal Ambassador Award at this year's International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association annual convention.

The award was presented to Borysiewicz for his extensive political advocacy and volunteer work in protecting premium cigar consumers, retailers and manufacturers from FDA regulation, draconian cigar taxes and cigar smoking bans.

Borysiewicz is also the Co-Founder and Chairman of Cigar Rights of America, a non-profit consumer organization dedicated to protecting an individuals freedom to enjoy a cigar.  Borysiewicz attributes the win to a team approach on state and federal issues, particularly on the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Preservation Act of 2013 (H.R. 792 and S.772), as well as the organization’s grassroots outreach.

“It is an honor and wonderful surprise to be awarded the 2013 European Cigar Journal Ambassador Award. We have been working tirelessly on gaining support for these two bills, and want to thank all of our CRA members, past Ambassador Award winner IPCPR and 108 House and 11 Senate members for their support” said Borysiewicz.  “Without this team, none of this would have been possible,” Borysiewicz added.

The award was presented this week at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas during an evening reception. The Cigar Journal’s website describes the award as “the greatest accolade in the business” and the award is shaped as a crystal clear chaveta, the traditional torcedore’s knife used to help craft handmade cigars.

The award was given during the IPCPR’s 81st Annual International Convention & Trade Show, which was held in Las Vegas. For more information visit  Jeff Borysiewicz can be reached at

L'Atelier Cigars

Today, we are going to look at the L’Atelier line of cigars.  In fact, Corona Cigar Co. just started to carry the All New L’Atelier Maduro, available in three different sizes!  Darker and richer than L’Atelier Sancti Spiritus, they are the newest creation by Pete Johnson in the famed My Father Cigars factory located in Nicaragua. Let's take a look and see what we find.
L'Atelier  Sancti Spiritus
I'm smoking the 6.5x56 ring gauge for this review. The cigar appears to have almost a matte finish on the wrapper. It's virtually seamless and only shows the slightest signs of veining. With the flame to the foot of the cigar, I instantaneously began to experience a flavorful bout of spices and pepper. Not overpowering, but strong.

I've smoked my way in and now have a nice one inch ash on the foot. It's a nice white color with slender lines of black peeking out every so often. The draw has been superb and fragrant clouds of smoke are plentiful. The pepper has subsided at the moment and the spice tones have picked up. I've also caught a glimpse of mesquite BBQ like notes that lasted for several seconds before morphing into the background.

The cigar picks up slightly at the midway point. A full medium-bodied tone has taken over; I’m getting lots of cedar, spices, and earth. The cigar is remarkably rich with flavorful Nicaraguan tobaccos. It is very smooth, yet complex and bold, letting off vast amounts of flavor and smoke. At about the three inch or so point, the ash finally fell off.

On the final half of the cigar, things pick up further and the L’Atelier borders on going full-bodied. The pepper notes mentioned earlier have returned and leave a slight bite on the end of my tongue. It's a nice change. As I near the nub, loads of earthy, spice, and black pepper are front and center. The L’Atelier is a fantastic medium to full-bodied smoke that will be a treat for anyone who enjoys a stronger cigar. Rich, complex, and smooth from start to finish, the L’Atelier Sancti Spiritus  will get many recommendations from me.

L’Atelier Maduro  - New in Stock!
A dark rich Connecticut broadleaf wrapper encases a hardy blend of Nicaraguan fillers. The cigar has a finely aged aroma of earth and wood. The wrapper is dark chocolate in color and has the appearance of being a very strong and flavor driven cigar. Made in the traditional Cuban fashion, the L’Atelier Maduro has a triple cap and is firm to the touch. After lighting the foot of the cigar, I'm greeted with a strong earthy tone.

A little farther in, I tasted a citrus flavor on my palette. It's light, but relevant. The earthy tones have continued on through the first several inches of the cigar. Like the L’Atelier Habano, the Maduro is very smooth to smoke. The construction is perfection times two, while the draw is light, airy, and pleasant.

Smoking my way through the first half and into the second half, the cigar moves into a nice full-bodied smoke. Dark rich tobacco tones are found along with cedar, hints of cocoa, and leather. For the true cigar connoisseur who loves a good Madura cigar, the L’Atelier maduro will be right up your alley. Complex and brimming with full-bodied flavors, this would make an excellent after dinner cigar. Serve this alongside your favorite glass of port and an excellent evening will be in store for anyone lucky enough to get their hands on a few sticks.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Gran Habano Corojo #5

If you're looking for a cigar this summer, The Gran Habano Corojo #5 just might be what you're looking for. Available at an amazing value, the Gran Habano Corojo #5 is sure to please. The cigar has been around for a while, so I'm sure many of you have had the chance to smoke it. For those of you who have not, let's take a look and see what we find.

The appearance is that of a much more expensive cigar. The wrapper is a dark Nicaraguan Corojo with some veining and a virtually undetectable seam. The binder is Costa Rican. The filler is made up of a blend from  Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The whole cigar is capped off with a triple cap and the unmistakable Gran Habano cigar band. The secondary band is much simpler with a red and gold theme noting the cigar line, Corojo #5.

Taking a sip of water to clear my palette, I dove right in. You will get a strong cedar tone right off the bat. It's clear and precise, but not overpowering with flavor. I notice faint hints of black pepper in the background, but nothing that really materializes at this point. I have about an inch of ash on the cigar now and I'm left with a bit of dryness in the mouth.

Up to this point, the cigar has been producing large plumes of smoke. The ash is white and flaky, but still holding on at the two inch point. Notes of a nutty nature start emerging reminding me of pine nuts. I'm also picking up a sweetness that I can't quite place. At the halfway point, the cigar has remained remarkably smooth and consistent, then starts to offer some creamy undertones adding to the experience.

Entering the back half, spices start appearing. They are medium bodied in nature, pleasant and it's a nice change up to the cigar. The cigar picks up with a more medium-full bodied profile on the second half, but never becomes overly strong. You will find cinnamon, toasted almonds, and nutmeg on the last several inches. The draw has been excellent and above average.

Overall, this is a great cigar for the price. I would definitely consider this cigar for any of your outdoor outings, whether it's golf, a BBQ, or just relaxing by the pool with family and friends. You'll be glad you picked up this one.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Diamond Crown Cigars Then and Now

In an industry riddled with fly-by night cigar companies, it's exceptional to find a cigar company that not only has been around for an extended period of time, but has risen to the top. Diamond Crown Cigars has done exactly that and is a premier luxury cigar brand. Originally, created back in the 1940's Diamond Crown Cigars was started in Cleveland, Ohio and then eventually moved to Tampa, Florida. At that time, the brand was using Cuban tobaccos and creating exceptional cigars. Although, sometime in the 1960's the brand had died out, mostly due to the Cuban embargo put in place by then President John F. Kennedy.

 In the early 1990's, Standford Newman of J.C. Newman Cigar Co. approached Carlos Fuente Sr. about creating a super premium cigar to commemorate the upcoming Newman Cigar Companies 100th Anniversary. Diamond Crown Cigars was reborn! Standford Newman took his entire fifty years of cigar knowledge and put it into the Diamond Crown brand. His goal was to create a masterful, smooth full-bodied cigar. Cost was not a factor and his end goal was a rich, smooth, and the most consistent luxury cigar on the market. To accomplish this, Sandford knew he would need to create a cigar that was a larger ring gauge.  His vision was to blend six or more tobacco leafs to create the maximum amount of flavor that he desired, while keeping with a smooth cigar profile. In addition, he wanted to use a super premium wrapper to encase his special blends of tobacco used in the binder and filler. The result was a lovely one of a kind Rosado leaf wrapper that is double fermented for five years.

 Fast forward to today, the Diamond Crown cigar brand is considered one of the top premier luxury cigar brands on the market. While keeping with its roots, Diamond Crown has expanded far beyond its cigar lines and into the cigar lifestyle realm. Not only do they have a plethora of cigar lines, but they offer luxury world class Diamond Crown cigar lounges. One of the nicest is the Corona Cigar Co. Diamond Crown Lounge located at 127 South Orange Avenue Orlando, FL. In addition, they have full lines of ashtrays, luxurious cigar humidors, humidification devices, hygrometers, and a premium collection of leather cigar cases. What started out as a vision twenty plus years ago to re-launch the Diamond Crown Cigar brand has turned into a luxury lifestyle cigar brand. With Diamond Crown lounges all across the U.S and a brand recognizable by all cigar lovers of every level, the Diamond Crown brand is truly at the top of the premium cigar world.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Corona Cigar Co. Dominican 10th Anniversary Series

Today, we are looking at the Dominican 10th Anniversary cigar line, from Corona Cigar Co. These cigars are all handmade and use only premium long filler tobaccos. Let’s explore and see what we find.
Corona Cigar Co. 10th Anniversary Wedge Connecticut
The first one up is the Wedge Connecticut. I'm smoking the 6x54, for the review. The price is exceptional at $5.50 for a single, it won't break the bank and you can afford to smoke this cigar everyday, all day. Now, let's take a more detailed look.

On my inspection of the cigar itself, I found a grassy hay aroma. The aroma is that of sweetness, akin to wet dew and grass. The Connecticut wrapper is premium without a single blemish on it. As a side note, if you have never smoked a wedge style cigar, if nothing else,  pick up a few of these sticks just to try it out. I have found it to be very enjoyable and a nice change from your standard round cigars.

Toasting the foot of the cigar, I found cream and toasty notes. The cigar lit very well and the draw seems to be exactly how I like it. Semi-loose, but with enough tightness to make you work a little. I'm picking up ever so slight hints of  spices and cracked pepper. Those tones pick up at about the halfway point and carry throughout the rest of the cigar.
While it's not overly complex, expect lots of cream and toasty notes with hints of nuts and light spices. I was able to get a two inch ash on the cigar and the burn remained consistent. The cigar is well worth picking up and giving it a try. It would make a perfect everyday smoke.

Corona Cigar Co. 10th Anniversary Phatso Tres Capas
The Corona Cigar Companies, Phatso Tres Capas, is a magnificent smoke. A perfectly balanced cigar made up of a golden brown Connecticut, Maduro, and Candela wrappers that are expertly rolled together. The makeup of the cigar is Dominican fillers and a Nicaraguan binder. Also known as a barber pole style, this particular cigar type takes about twice as long to roll given the complexity of having to roll three different wrappers. I'm smoking the 5.5x60 and you can buy a box of 20 for $69.95.

Given the large ring gauge, sometimes it takes some work to get a cigar of this size lit. Not this cigar - I was able to light it up with relative ease. The ash is white and gray and somewhat flaky. Expect toasty notes with hints of citrus for the first three quarters of an inch. After that, I began picking up some fruity notes in the background.

Now a full third of the way in, I'm getting baking spices and cedar. Entering the two thirds point, I'm picking up an interesting tone of pine nuts, wood, and spices. The flavors are amazing, so far. The cigar is well balanced in its overall complexity. At this point, it is a medium bodied smoke that is performing at an exceptional rate.

The final third is marked with flavors ranging from spices, hints of  leather, cedar, and some light floral tones. The Phatso Tres Capas is a quality smoke that is sure to please. The expansive flavor profile will meet even the most discriminative palette and has something to offer everyone. I have absolutely no complaints with this cigar, other then I wish that I would have bought an extra box of these beauties to have in the humidor.

Corona Cigar Co. 10th Anniversary Wedge Candela
Like its Nicaraguan brother from CCC, The Dominican Candela wedge is a throwback cigar, originally popular back in the late fifties up to the mid seventies. It recently has seen a comeback and is being smoked more lately here in America. It was so popular, at one point, the Candela was known as the American Market Select.  The CCC's 10th Anniversary Wedge Candela is appropriately priced at $5.50 per stick for the 6x54, that I'm smoking.

A sweet aroma drips from this particular style cigar. It's very unique to the Candela.  If you've never smoked one, it's a pleasurable experience. My first several puffs were greeted with a woodsy flavor. They were quickly followed by a very unique flavor that I can't quite place. It is subtle and pleasant. Also, I'm getting a sweet cashew flavor on my palette with elusive tones of rum woven in.

While I'm not getting as strong of a sweetness as I did when I reviewed the CCC Nicaraguan Candela, sweetness is found in a more mild nature on this cigar. A two inch ash has formed now and the cigar is meeting my expectations. The profile is smooth and cool leaving a crisp burn. As you progress through the smoke, you will begin noticing a dry nutty aftertaste on your palette. There is a gentle creamy sweetness as well and it remains all the way to the nub.

The flavor profile is consistent with rich creamy and toasted notes. Interwoven are sweetness, dry cedar, hay, and cinnamon spice like components. I haven’t talked much about the wrapper, but it's smooth with a satin like finish. As you progress through the final stages of the cigar, the profile picks up a bit. A stronger medium bodied profile emerges, leaving notes of chard greens and several earthy tones.

The Corona Cigar Co. 10th Anniversary Wedge Candela is another winner for the company. If you have never treated yourself to this particular style of cigar, I would highly recommend doing so. It offers a nice change from your typical Dominican or Nicaraguan cigar and it has been my experience that it will leave you wanting to come back for more.

Corona Cigar Co. Dominican 10th Anniversary Wedge Maduro
This is the final cigar we will look at in the, CCC 10th Anniversary series. The Wedge Maduro has a beautiful Dominican dark Maduro wrapper. I'm anticipating rich earthy flavors and I'm ready to delve right into this beauty. Let’s investigate further....

I'm initially met with a coffee and cinnamon flavor that is strong, yet subtle. This cigar has a smooth characteristic. The draw is slightly tight, but in the range of still being enjoyable. Rich vegetal notes are in the background offering a unique smoking experience. Also, expect lots of cedar tones throughout the cigar.

The coffee tone remains consistent from start to finish and notes of chocolate are found mingling throughout. At the halfway point, the flavor profile picks up and a strong spice tone starts to tingle on the palette. Then it is closely followed up with red bell peppers, wood, and earthy tones. The ash is a full three inches plus and growing.

Rounding out this full bodied beauty, you will notice that the cedar notes get stronger. The dark chocolate is rich and enticing nearing the nub. Hints of sweet floral will transform into a smoking experience that will leave you wanting more.

All these cigars are exceptional and available at very reasonable prices. When you get the chance I would definitely recommend checking them out for yourself and see what you think. I would love to hear your feedback. Let me know your thoughts on twitter at @RealJoeBaker. 

Also, for one week only recive FREE Shipping on all Corona Cigar Co. Dominican 10th Anniversary Boxes.  Offer expires July 15th, 2013.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

CAO Escaparate Cigars

Today, we are going to take a look at a couple of Escaparate cigars by CAO; the Ecuador and the Costa Rica. The term “escaparate” is Spanish for the cooling cabinets in which cigars are kept at the factory for a certain amount of time after they have been rolled. This aging process helps each cigar to develop its own distinctive flavor profile. Let’s take a look at the flavor profiles of each.

CAO Escaparate Ecuador Cigars

First up, we have the CAO Escaparate Ecuador. It comes in six different sizes and is wrapped with a flawless Ecuadorian wrapper. Golden brown in color, the Escaparate wrapper comes from Connecticut seed which makes this a unique cigar in itself. The binder comes from the mountains of Nicaragua and the filler is a special blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos.

I'm reviewing the 5x50 robusto. It retails for $8 a stick. After cleansing my palette, I remove the cap which it does so smoothly, and I begin toasting the foot. A sweet creamy aroma arouses my senses and is followed by a nutty spice mixture that is a delight. A white ash has begun to form on the foot and I've started getting notes of leather. I'm about a third of the way in and I've been quite surprised at the amount of flavors it has offered, so far.

The cigar is smooth to smoke matching the clean smooth and crisp look of the wrapper. Entering the second third of the smoke, I'm getting lots of nutty and toasty tones. The Escaparate is leaving a slight fruity and floral aftertaste. Both are light and subtle. I'm quite pleased with the cigar at this point. It's performing very nicely and for a natural, it's offering a few surprises.

Leaving the second third behind and entering the final third, you will begin noticing the nutty tones similar to walnuts that pick up slightly. Hints of a cream and honey intertwine in the background of the cigar and finish with a subtle tone of grass and light cedar tones. This is a great cigar and one I would smoke on a regular basis. But don't take my word for it. Pick one up and try it out. If you love a good natural cigar, this just might be your new favorite.

CAO Escaparate Costa Rica Cigars

The second of two cigars that we are looking at today is the Escaparate Costa Rica cigar from CAO. It is unlike its milder brother the Escaparate Costa Rica. This one is a rich blend of Nicaraguan fillers grown in Esteli, Jalapa and Condega. The Binder is Ecuadorian and it's all wrapped together with a rich chocolate brown Costa Rican wrapper that is naturally fermented. A medium bodied smoke that is flawless in appearance.

The cigar has a triple cap that cuts clean and crisp. My palette is immediately treated to a dark earthy tone, as I put the match to the foot of the cigar. Its strong, but not overpowering, and it leaves a wood like flavor on my palette. After the first inch, I'm quickly whisked into a red pepper overtone that remains around till entering the second third of the cigar. All the flavors noted up to this point are rich and strong; it gives off the appearance of being a full bodied cigar.

I have a two inch ash on the cigar, at this point. It's black with glimpses of white peeking through. At about the three inch marker, the cigar mellows out to more of a medium bodied flavor. Notes of black coffee, earth, and tree bark make for a nice flavor compilation. The draw is light and airy while the smoke offers a chard cedar aroma.

The final third is complex with a range of flavors, including those mentioned beforehand. Hints of mesquite BBQ are offered for a few seconds then disappear into the background. The bulk of flavors range in the wood and earth profile with glimpses of mushrooms. The cigar is more of a medium bodied smoke that borders on full bodied. A great maduro that should be on everyone's must smoke list.

Like most cigars in general, these two offered a different smoking experience. CAO did well in capturing the tobaccos essence and aging processes for the regions they represent. This is what makes the CAO Escaparates a huge hit with most cigar enthusiasts.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Corona Cigar Co. Nicaraguan Selection Cigars

Today I’m reviewing an entire line of one of Corona Cigar Co.’s brands, the CCC Nicaraguan Selection. It can be found in both regular blend and a 10th Anniversary Special Edition. A premium line of cigars that are hand made and use all long filler tobaccos. Let’s take a look together and see what we find!

Corona Cigar Co. Nicaraguan Candela 10th Anniversary

A nice looking cigar that is attractive yet simple. This cigar was specifically made by Corona Cigar Co. to commemorate its tenth anniversary from 1998-2008. The cigar band has a bright array of colors with the CCC name and 10th Anniversary written across the top. It's a retro looking cigar band that adds a nice touch given the history of the Candela cigar. It has a triple cap and the construction appears to be solid.

As I light up this green beauty, I can't help but feel like I've stepped back into time to 1958 and the hay day for Candela cigars. The retro looking cigar band lends a hand in helping me feel this way. While some may mistake the wrapper for being young, given its green color, you actually would be mistaken. Candela cigars are a special type of cigar and have gone through a special curing process that preserves the chlorophyll which gives it the green color. Back in the late 50's to early 70's, this was the most popular type of cigar on the American market. It died out and has recently seen a resurgence in America.

One of the first things you will notice is the sweetness. It will leave a pleasant taste on your lips. Don’t be mistaken, this cigar has not been infused with any kind of substance. It is due to the Candela itself. Another nice touch to this particular cigar is that a large portion of Candela cigars today are machine rolled. Not this one! It is hand made with long filler tobaccos.

The cigar has a combination of sweetness and creamy notes. Throughout the cigar I picked up slight pepper tones that were a nice surprise. At about the halfway point, I began noticing spicy notes that are quite unusual. The burn and draw are top notch. The smoke is dense and plentiful and leaves a hefty long ash in its absence. Overall, this cigar is a winner in my book. If you're considering trying a new type of cigar, definitely consider giving the Corona Cigar Co. Candela 10th Anniversary edition a try.

Corona Cigar Co. Nicaraguan 10th Anniversary Natural

As part of the Corona Cigar Co. 10th Anniversary commemoration, the natural is another gem of a cigar. Made in Nicaragua, the natural is a superb smoke. The wrapper is quite nice with a matte look to it. Like the CCC 10th Candela, it sports a triple cap and is well constructed. The cigar uses all long fillers and no soft spots can be found in the cigar.

The start of the cigar offers creamy and spicy tones. I'm about an inch in and the cigar is smooth, giving a nice draw and burn equal to any other of the top cigars on the market.  Tones of nutmeg emerge while the spices remain in the background. I was able to get a two inch ash on the cigar before it fell off. The cigar has remained remarkably consistent heading into the halfway point.

At the second third point of the cigar, the spices pick up and are pleasant in nature. The cigar is offering a fuller bodied profile then I expected with it being a natural. Nothing is overpowering, but it keeps things interesting. So far, I have been very pleased with the performance of the smoke. The profile begins to add some nutty tones, but the core of the cigar remains with the spices and cream before mentioned.

In the last several inches, toasty overtones start to rear its head and the smoke coming off the cigar is plentiful. Overall, I have had no issues with this cigar. Draw, burn, and construction are great and the flavor profile keeps you interested from start to finish. If I had to give it a rating, I would give it eight out of ten stars. For all you twitter fans out there, I would tag it with a #mustbuy stick.

Corona Cigar Co. Nicaraguan Natural

In our journey looking at some of the Corona Cigar Co. house cigars, it leads us to the CCC Nicaraguan Natural. A dark Nicaraguan natural wrapper that is near flawless. Minimal veining and a seam that is about as none existent as you can get. A blue, white, and gold cigar band wraps this beauty with the traditional Corona crown and lettering. I'm smoking the 6x52 ring gauge, which is my preferred choice, but it's also available in a number of other sizes.

The cigar smells of sweet grass and you will even get a slight sweet aftertaste on your palette, once you begin the smoking experience. My first few puffs reveal a wood tone that is dry in nature. You will find some light earthy notes followed up with a toasty cream profile. The burn is cool and crisp leaving a dead even round burn mark. The ash is white and flaky with some dark mascara lines woven in.

So far, looking at all the CCC Nicaraguan cigars, I found a few things to be very consistent with them. The quality for one is very good. Second, you can't beat the price. The 6x52 that I'm smoking sells for $4 for a single! At that price these make for excellent everyday cigars.

Heading into the mid-point of the cigar, I pick up a fruitiness that is closely followed with roasted chestnut tones. For a few moments, I’m taken back to my youth, but I'm quickly brought back with a delectable tone of rum and spices. The final half, is compilation of the first half flavors with a mixture of several new tones. You can add cedar and some light tones of leather and bark to the revolving wheel of flavors found throughout this very fine cigar. This is another excellent cigar that’s worth every penny and more.

Corona Cigar Co. Nicaraguan Maduro

Switching things up a bit for all of you Maduro lovers out there, we are going to take a look at the CCC Maduro. Again, I'm smoking a 6x52 size for the review. The wrapper is the same quality as the previous cigars reviewed and is quite possibly in the near flawless category. This dark Nicaraguan gem beckons you to light it up and not mess around. So, I did. Let's find out what surprises await us in this smoke.

Heavy earthy flavors are meaty and forefront on the start of the cigar. The draw is airy and leaves a slight chalky aftertaste. The smoke is rich and flavorful that leaves a white pepper tone on the palette. The cigar is everything you would like to find in a Maduro, thus far. The ash forming is stark white looking almost like snow.

A bevy profile of wood, earth, leather, dark chocolate and pepper complete the first half flavor profile. The cigar is full bodied and gives off a wheel house of complex flavors. The back half profile offers hints of black coffee, green pepper, mushrooms, and burnt cedar. If you're looking for a no-nonsense full bodied smoke, look no farther then the Corona Cigar Nicaraguan Maduro. It will go great with your grilled steak and potato dinner. Pair it up with your favorite rum and you have the making for a great night!