Roberto P. Duran and Azan, La Flor Dominicana and Quesada Oktoberfest Cigars and News

RobertoPDuran_Cacique GuamaIt’s October, hard to believe it’s autumn already and summer is gone. I’ve been all over the place in my cigar selections this week, only one minor theme this week, and that was sampling some of the new cigars from Roberto P. Duran. Last year I smoked a couple of the Azan line last year and was enthralled with the White, very high quality and unique flavor. I was excited when Gabriel Piñeres of Creativas, who is the PR firm for Azan/Roberto P Duran, sent me the new Roberto P. Duran cigars, along with the Azan Maduro Natural.  The cigar I smoked was the Cacique Guama (6×60), which has a beautiful light brown Ecuador Criollo 99 wrapper, with Nicaraguan and Central American fillers. Cacique Guama was a Tainos Chief from Baracoa and great fighter against the Spanish occupation of their land, the line pays homage to Roberto Duran’s family and his family’s city of origin in Cuba.  This cigar smoked very well, although some humidor time will benefit the samples I received.  It’s apparent that quality materials were used, it’s a very smooth and flavorful smoke with a hint of strength.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, this company is making some very nice cigars.

 

LFD_AirBender_TorpedoMonday I selected a cigar that came from the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival that I haven’t smoked before, but has been on the market for a while. The La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Torpedo appears to be a Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) exclusive shape, as I don’t see this shape listed in the regular production. This is listed as a strong cigar, as many in the LFD lines are, but I found it to be reasonably mild for some reason.  It had a really nice flavor, and burned perfectly. I’m a reasonably recent convert to the LFDs, and I’ll be interested in trying other sizes in the Air Bender line, as I enjoyed the flavor, but maybe this size, ot this particular example, just wasn’t ideal for me. I generally like shaped cigars (actually, I don’t really discriminate), perhaps the chisel shape or a robusto will be a better fit for me.

 

Axan_Maduro Natural_CampanaTuesday I took my evening walk with the Azan Maduro Natural Campaña.  The Campaña size is a traditional Cuban vitola, the Bolivar Belicoso Fino, the Romeo y Julieta and Sancho Panza Belicosos fall onto this category. It’s 5½ x 52 with a tapered head. The Azan line began in Cuba in the 1920s by a Chinese immigrant,Kwan Ben Sen, who adopted the Cuban name Domingo Azan.  Roberto Duran is descended from this family.  As I said before, I loved the Azan White, and given my affinity for maduros I was excited to try this cigar.
The wrapper is a high priming Corojo grown in Ecuador, with Nicaraguan binder and fillers from Esteli, Jalapa and selected tobaccos from other Latin American regions.  This cigar was a treat. It was solidly medium bodied and had very nice flavors of cocoa, coffee and earth.  It burned well and should age well. This cigar exceeded my expectations.

 

Quesada_Oktoberfest_KroneTonight, since it’s October first, I thought I’d smoke the Quesada Oktoberfest Krone, a 5″ x 43 corona. Now, I know I haven’t been a beer drinker for the better part of 25 years, but I do know that Oktoberfest is in September, but it still seemed appropriate.  This cigar is blended to pair with Marzen style beers, I chose a root beer as usual.  This is a strong Dominican cigar that’s loaded with flavor. The only other Quesada Oktoberfest cigar I’ve smoked was the Smoke Inn Microblend Dunkel, which was excellent. This corona was equallly excellent. It had bold flavors, burned perfectly, and my only complaint was that it was too small, I would have liked to have smoked it longer. Still, it was good for an hour or more, and look forward to smoking this line again.

 

I’m running out of videos from the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival. Here’s on with Terence Reilly of Quesada Cigars:

 

 

News

 

Travis Lord, formerly of Famous Smoke Shop, Best Cigar Prices and PipesandCigars.com launched a new website called www.Cigar.Careers which is a Monster.com, if you will, for the cigar industry.  You can submit a resume and look at available job postings.

 

In other news, Facebook has been abuzz with rumors of a major announcement today.  Jonathan Drew posted his press release on his Facebook timeline tonight: “HERE IS MY PRESS RELEASE: “I’m back on Weight Watchers” – JD” Good luck to JD on his future endeavors.

 

That’s it for now, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

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Busy Cigar Weekend: Lunch with Herrera and The Smokin Goose Festival

I took a much needed vacation day on Friday to go hang out with Willie Herrera and Chris Stone of Drew Estate Cigars.  Cigar Mojo was the scene of the event, as Chris and Willie were making stops throughout the area. In True Mojo style, Trae provided pizza, and offered a Buy 5 and one is free special on Drew Estate and Joya de Nicaragua cigars. Sadly, they had sold out of the new Norteño, which was the whole reason I took the day off!  Trae was kind enough to find a Norteño in the Coronita size, which is a nice little pressed 4″ x 46. This is right up my alley with the San Andrès wrapper.  It was full of dark, rich flavors, this is a winner and I can’t wait to get some more of these and sample the range of sizes.  Hopefully Cigar Mojo gets them back in again soon! It’s always fun hanging out at Mojo especially with Willie and Chris.  There’s a reason this new shop placed highly in the recent “Philly Hot List” poll.

 

 

The Smokin Goose is a multi-vendor event put on by Goose’s Tobacco Outlet and Cafe in Limerick, PA.  This was their first event of this kind and was held at the historic Sunnybrook Ballroom in Pottstown, PA.  The event featured twenty or so premium cigar brands, including a couple reasonably local small brands.  It was held in a pavilion outside of the ballroom building, which, of course, is smoke free and the weather was a beautiful 80 degree day. Late September can be hit or miss in this part of the world, it can be cold and windy, or a great day like yesterday was.  Attendees received a goodie bag with a bunch of cigars, a Xikar travel humidor and assorted swag. There was food available all day in the pavilion, and the admission price included a meal at the restaurant too. I didn’t see people leaving the event to eat at the restaurant, which was across the parking lot, but as we were leaving it occurred to me that people were waiting until the event wrapped up (with the raffle prize announcements, as usual) and went to eat after.  Makes sense so people didn’t miss any of the festivities.  For an inaugural event, it seemed to go well. The 75 or so attendees seemed to have smiles on their faces.  Operation: Cigars for Warriors was there and was the beneficiary of the proceeds of the raffles.  I am going to have to pay a visit to Goose’s shop sometime in the near future, because I think I won one of the silent auctions.  It was a good event, John and Joanne Giese and their team did a nice job putting all together, I’m sure it was worth all the stress and anxiety that goes into putting something like this together. All the vendors and manufacturers who were there are to be commended as well. I’ll be interested to see next year’s version of The Smokin Goose!  I enjoyed making some new friends and catching up with some old ones. I appreciate being included.

 

 

Some of the brands represented there were La Sirena, Villiger, My Father, Altadis, Alec Bradley, Blanco Cigars, Gurkha, CLE/Asylum, Dominican Big Leager, Jenneff and Evil Genius Cigars from the Lehigh Vallley area in PA, Jason Alexander, John Hay, and Al Capone, as well as The Cigartist, Eric Whitfield. Also, thanks to Joe K for introducing himself!  Once again, it was a great way to spend an afternoon, and I’m certain all the attendees got more than their money’s worth.

 

That’s it for now, I’ve got some catching up to do after goofing off for the last couple days!  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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Smoking Some Assorted Foundry and Michael Giannini Cigars

CE&M_Titanium_TorpedoAfter hearing the news last week of Sam Leccia joining General Cigar Co., and his lines being absorbed into the Foundry Tobacco division, and having spent some time with Michael Giannini at the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival, I decided  to spend the first part of the week, at least, smoking some cigars from the Foundry line. I started out Sunday afternoon with a Compounds, Elements and Musings Titanium Torpedo that I bought a few months back on clearance at a local shop.  I’m kicking myself for not buying more of them, as I found it to be a really enjoyable cigar. The blend is listed simply as Nicaraguan and “Smoke it”, so there’s not a lot of information about this cigar. I can almost guarantee that the wrapper is a Connecticut shade wrapper of some sort, my guess is Ecuadoran.  This was a nice, smooth cigar, on the mild side, but loaded with creamy flavors. The construction was perfect, and it really was a nice, mellow, Sunday afternoon smoke. I don’t know how many of these are still in circulation, but these are not to be avoided!

 

Foundry_WormHole_1964I followed the Titanium with the first of a new Foundry series, The Worm Hole 1964 Blend.  In the video below Michael tells us about the concept behind the cigars. The 1964, like the rest of the line, is a mystery as far as the blend goes. General Cigar Co. had an enormous library of tobacco, and Michael finds unique and rare tobaccos and makes the Foundry cigars. This was another milder cigar, but with a ton of flavor.  Initially, I thought the size was the same as the Partagas Robusto, 5 ½ x 49, and I even measured with an aluminum ring gauge checker I have, but they list these at 5½ x 50.  It’s still a great size, regardless oif the ring gauge.  This was a nice smoke.

 

Re+United_EPC_MPGMonday I took a break from the Foundry line to smoke the joint venture between Michael Giannini and his mentor, Ernesto Perez Carillo, the Re+United. This was a limited edition made at EPC’s Tabacalera La Alianza S.A., around the corner from General Cigar’s factory in Santiago, DR.  The wrapper is a high priming Ecuador Havana leaf from General’s library, the binder a Connecticut broadleaf from EPCs inventory, and a mix of fillers from both companies. This is a large cigar, 6½ x 54, and was difficult to find. I bought two from Serious Cigars in Texas last week.  This was a stronger cigar, very different from the Foundry and Compounds, Elements and Musings cigars I smoked this week. I found it very interesting and satisfying, and look forward to smoking the other one I have after a nice long rest.

 

Foundry_WormHole_2014Tuesday I chose the present in the Worm Hole series, the 2014.  You know me well enough by now to know that unless there’s a maduro in a series, I have to smoke them in order. It’s a CDO thing (which of course is OCD, in alphabetical order like it should be).  This was another beautiful cigar, in the 5½ x 50 format, that burned perfectly. I like the copper colored band on this one, with out the band it would be very hard to differentiate between the three cigars. The wrapper is smooth and without blemish, and, once again ,the burn was very good. It may have had a bit more strength than the 1964, but was still on the milder side with a nice, clean flavor.

 

Foundry_WormHole_2064Tonight I went with the 2064.  This is meant to represent the future, and is reported to contain Martian tobacco.  Of course, this would involve time travel, which reminds me of a recent conversation I overheard and chimed in on. We were at the Fest for Beatles Fans back on August and while eating breakfast a couple next to us was speculating about going back in time and writing all of the Beatles’ songs and selling them to the Beatles and I suggested that maybe Paul McCartney had actually done that, I mean, if anyone could afford a time machine, it would be Sir Paul!  Anyway, this cigar really smoked well. I also have some of these in the larger 6 x 52 size that I can’t wait to smoke. There is a common thread among the three of these cigars, they are all on the milder side, but are all packed with flavor and made with quality ingredients. Like the previous Foundry lines, the original line with the gears on the band and the War Of Currents line, this line has unique and interesting flavors that are different from other cigars in the marketplace. I look forward to smoking more and really concentrating on the flavors.  My La Gloria Cubana humidor is now more than half filled with Foundry cigars!

 

Here’s the video with Michael Giannini, one of the most creative guys in the cigar industry.

 

That’s it for now, until the next time,

CigarCraig

You may also like http://www.cigarcraig.com/on-the-water-with-compounds-elements-and-musings-h2o-cigars/

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Epic Cigars: Maduro Reserva, Corojo Reserva and Habano

When we were out in Colorado last month for the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival, we went to an event the night before at Havana Manor in Longmont, CO. with Pete Johnson and Janny Garcia.  It turned out to be a cigar industry who’s who, and we ran into a bunch of friends. While there my buddy Storm Boen (Op: Cigars for Warriors) introduced us to Dean Parsons of Epic Cigars. Dean is a hockey player from Newfoundland (the Canadian province where they make the enormous dogs) who relocated to the Caribbean and got into the cigar business. Sounds like a logical progression, right?  I decided to sample his wares this week, so I could slip in this video from the festival.

 

 

Epic_MaduroReserva6x60As if you’d expect anything else, I started out with the Epic Maduro Reserva 60×6. Brazillian Arapiraca wrappper with a Cameroon binder. Just now reading that I know why I was totally blown away by this cigar. I love that combination of wrapper and binder, you don’t see it every day. It had a very unique (and delicious) meaty flavor, like smoking a perfectly cooked steak.  Just enough fat, pink in the middle, mouth watering!  This is a flavor bomb of epic proportions, and certainly aptly named.   This is a cigar I’ll be looking for as it really performed well in all departments, it was a hat trick, great flavor, burn and draw. It was a beautiful looking cigar too!

 

Epic_CorojoReserva6x54Friday I selected the Corojo Reserva 54×6. I appreciate the clever names Dean has given each vitola!  This cigar has Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers like the Maduro, with a Corojo Ecuador wrapper over a Dominican Piloto Cubano binder.  This was another great burning cigar with excellent flavor. It didn’t have the uniqueness I was hoping for, but it certainly was a solid, satisfying cigar in the medium to full flavors range.  An interesting side note, Dean was telling us that he sent Altadis a cease and desist letter over the Montecristo Epic when it came out, and instead of the giant company crushing the little guy with litigation, they signed a coexistence agreement!

 

 Epic_Habano5x52Yesterday I smoked the third cigar in the Epic line, the Habano.  This was released at this years IPCPR show, and it has a n Ecuador Habano wrapper, a Cameroon binder and the Dominican/Nicaraguan fillers like the rest of the line. Once again, the construction on these was perfect. The burn never needed correction, and the draw, while a little snug, was acceptable. I thought it has a nice spicy and earthy flavor. Perhaps if I had smoked the maduro last, I would have enjoyed this and the Corojo more, but the Maduro set the bar high and similar flavors I was looking for in the Habano and Corojo weren’t there. I think the Epic lineup plays a full three periods, for sure.

 

I may smoke some goodies from Michael Giannini’s Foundry line this week, then next Saturday I’m going to attend The Smokin’ Goose, a multi-vender festival hosted by Goose’s Tobacco Outlet and Cafe.  This is being held at the historic Sunny Brook Ballroom & Convention Center in Pottstown, PA.  It’s only a few miles up the road and I’m looking forward to seeing this inaugural event succeed so close to home. So, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Asylum and CLE Cigars, a Leccia Luchador and News

Asylum_Premium_ToroThis week  I decided to smoke a couple cigars from Fabricas Unidas, Christian Eiroa’s company, mostly because I wanted to slip the video I shot with Christian at the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival, but the cigars are good too. Christian was one of the guys I became acquainted with through the old alt.smokers.cigars Usenet group back in the ’90s.  That being said, I’ve purchased just about every cigar that he’s been associated with that I’ve smoked.  No mooching off this guy! Anyway, I had an Asylum Premium Toro that I purchased the end of last year (literally, it was December 31 of last year when I went to a local shop to meet a friend for a smoke). I’ve really enjoyed the Asylum line, it’s Nicaraguan and hits my palate just right. I’m glad they made the Asylum 13 Ogre line in more reasonable sizes than the 7″ x 70, although that was a tasty smoke too. The Asylum Premium Toro is a tasty, medium bodied smoke with perfect construction.  This is a perfect after dinner cigar that was quite satisfying.  I think there was a short Torpedo in the goodie bag from the Rocky Mountain Festival that I’m looking forward to smoking.  Tom Lazuka and Christian have a hit with the Asylum line.

 

CLE_Corojo_coronaLast night I dug out a CLE Corojo Corona that I had purchased at Corona Cigar‘s Sand Lake location back in 2012 when the IPCPR show was in Orlando. At the time I found both the Corojo and the Cuarenta had a mineral taste that was quite off-putting to me. Apparently two years in the humidor has alleviated that problem. The Corojo is a Honduran puro and their corona is 5¾” x 46, which is just about the perfect size, actually a corona gorda in traditional terms.  I thought this was a smooth, flavorful smoke with a good draw and burn. I used a V-cut which worked very well. I can’t find a thing wrong with this cigar now, and I may have to pick some more up and smoke one “fresh” to see if I get that flinty taste and these just need humidor time.

 

Here’s the short video.  Christian had apparently stepped on some glass somehow the night before and was limping around. I think there were some spirits involved. I believe Rafael Nodal knows the story…

 

 

News

Leccia_Luchador_ElHombreOnce again we have big news, General Cigar Co. has brought Sam Leccia on. Barry Stein broke the news this morning on TheCigarAuthority.com. From the press release: ” General Cigar Company is excited to announce today they have hired Sam Leccia as “Cigar and Blend Specialist.” General Cigar has also acquired the Leccia Tobacco Company cigar brands, as part of the Foundry Tobacco Company, and will market and distribute the Black, White and Luchador lines, effective today.” I’m actually less surprised by this than I was with the Toraño acquisition, but I am a little surprised that Sam relinquished his independence.  In honor of this occasion, I selected a Luchador El Hombre robusto for this evening’s walk. I maintain that the Luchador is one of my favorite new cigars this year. It’s like jalepeño dark chocolate with it’s spice and semi-sweet chocolate flavor. For me, it’s the ideal combination of flavor and performance, and always makes me with it was longer. I smoked this one until my fingers burned. Best wishes and congratulations to Sam in this new chapter in his story, I hope it works out well for everyone involved!

That’s it for now! Until the next time,

CigarCraig

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