Black Abyss, Dominican Big Leaguer and 601 La Bomba Cigars and an AshStay

It’s gotten cold here in PA, but fortunately no snow like in some areas of the country. I’m sure in February temps in the 30s will feel balmy, but in November it’s too cold, too soon.  Looks like I’ll be dipping into the supply of smaller cigars for a while!  In other news, I came across an ashtray via a Twitter follow called “AshStay”  This is a covered ashtray that actually looks pretty nifty. The one problem I have with the video they have on their site is that the woman in the video complains that her husband and his friends love cigars and she has to clean up after them.  Gentlemen, there’s no reason we can’t clean up after ourselves!  I get having a nice, covered ashtray like this to keep the wind from blowing ash all over, but I think we are all capable of emptying our ashtrays and not burdening our significant others with cleaning up our messes.  Of course, if your wife joins you for a smoke, she can pitch in with the clean up, but I would bet that making your spouse clean up after you will not endear you to her!  Just a public service announcement (and a little unsolicited plug for a pretty cool product!).


BlackAbyss_HydraMonday, before it got awfully cold, I selected a cigar that’s an exclusive to JR Cigars, the Black Abyss Hydra, a 6″ x 52 Torpedo. This line has a San Andrés maduro wrapper, and is made by Jochi Blanco at Tabacalera Palma.  Of course, this is a hot factory with some great cigars in their portfolio.  I enjoy this reasonably priced line, it’s got a fairly typical Mexican Maduro profile that I love, and burns very well.  It’s medium bodied and had a nice sweetness and coffee flavors. This is a tough cigar to pass up in the under $4 price range.


DominicanBigLeaguer_Maduro_La MaquinaTuesday the cold set in, so I picked a short cigar. I met Francisco Almonte, the owner of Dominican Big Leaguer Cigars, at The Smokin’ Goose a couple months ago. I was first introduced to this line by my local tobacconist, Jeff, at JM Cigars who was really taken with the brand.  I chose the 4″x60 DBL Maduro La Maquina, another San Andrés wrapped cigar. This is one of those cigars that I’ll be interested in trying again under better conditions as I’m not willing to judge a cigar smoked on a cold and windy night.  The burn was uneven, but it had a very nice flavor. On the milder side with the earthy, espresso flavor one might expect.  This hard to find line is a bit of a surprise, they are making some nice cigars.


601_La Bomba_AtomTonight I chose one of my last 601 La Bomba Atoms.  I’ve had a craving for one of these all week, and this corona gorda size was perfect for a cold evening. This cigar is from the original My Father production, as I’ve had these in my humidor for quite some time. The current production is made in Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory, so I’m sure the newer ones are on a par with the old, although I haven’t had a new one yet.  This is a powerhouse, plenty of flavor to gut through the wintry temps, but smooth and balanced too. The burn was perfect, as was the draw. I know I have one or two of these left, and I look forward to trying the new production one of these days.  I can’t think of a cigar from La Zona that I didn’t like.   The La Bomba impressed me from the first time I smoked one with Eddie Ortega when this was a part of the EO Brands stable and they continue to be a favorite.


I continue to be grateful and impressed by the goodies that are coming in for next month’s 12 Days of Spectacular Cigar Giveaways!  At the risk of jinxing myself, this might be the most stress free series of contests yet. I could just about run the contest now with the great contest presents I’ve already received, and there’s more to come. I may have to turn sponsors away (but I doubt I’d do something so silly)!  Stay tuned, this will be the best year yet for the 12DoSCG! If you need a contest to enter in the mean time, check out that awesome Norteño ashtray stand and humidor from Drew Estate.


That’s all I have for today, until the next time,





Filed under Editorial, Review

A Hand Rolled Cigar, a Chillin Moose, and a La Antigudad

First a couple housekeeping items!  I sent Tim his prize from  the ScrewPop contest yesterday, but I haven’t heard from Jeff Ketcham yet!  Jeff was a prize winner in the 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways in 2011 and 2012, so I probably have an address someplace, but I hate to ship without verifying addresses.  I suppose I’ll drop him a note if I don’t hear from him soon. I sure hate having to chase people :-).  Speaking of the 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways, it’s on pace to commence on December 12, and if I had to start today I could pull off a 8 Crazy Days of Cigar Giveaways (don’t think it hasn’t crossed my mind, 12 days is a long stretch at an already busy time of year!) thanks to the generosity and expedience of several of this year’s sponsors!  The prize coolerdor is filling up and it’s likely to be another exciting couple of weeks!  If you aren’t already, subscribe to the e-mail list (on the left sidebar) so you get a reminder when I update, which in the case of the 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways will be daily!  So get ready to join in the fun, I already have some great cigars lined up.


HandRolledCigars_2GuysThursday evening called for a short smoke.  Last year when we went up to New Hampshire for a weekend we paid a visit to 2 Guys Smokeshop in Nashua to spend some time with David and Mr. Jonathan and I picked up a couple of David’s Hand Rolled Cigars that he had for Halloween.  As you can see in the picture, this is about a 4″ x 50ish cigar wrapped in a paper wrapper similar to a Tootsie Roll candy wrapper made at the Camacho factory.  I cant find any information on this cigar as it was a limited release, but  remember them coming in jars. I think it’s a risky play packaging cigars to look like candy in this day and age, but I understand that it’s Dave’s bit of a middle finger to the nannies.  Anyway, the cigar was pretty good, nothing really memorable or outstanding, just a nice, solid half hour smoke that behaved itself and was satisfying. I’m still stuck on using the Screwpop punch, which worked very well on this cigar (and the rest of the cigars I smoked this week, so I don’t have to repeat myself!)  I have one left from last year, but I kinda wished I had bought more, as I can see that it would be fun to have a pocket full of these to share, perhaps on Halloween night while the dad’s are walking around with their kids. I’m sure that’s politically incorrect, but the heck with it!


ChillinMoose_CoronaFriday evening I wanted another shorter smoke, so I went with a Chillin’ Moose Corona from Foundry Tobacco.  This is a budget cigar, comes in under $3.00 here in PA and is from the mind of Michael Giannini. I like the size of this corona, 5 ½” x 45, and features a  blend of Nicaraguan, Dominican, US Broadleaf, and Mexican San Andres tobacco with an Ecuador Sumatra binder and a Connecticut Habano Rosado wrapper.  That’s an impressive list of tobacco for a very inexpensive cigar.  It is a very good cigar for the money, but, once again, it’s not particularly interesting, but it served its propose in being a good companion on my evening walk and giving me some entertainment. I’m a moose fan from way back so the packaging appeals to me, it’s a Chillin’ Moose! I also am a fan of the Foundry line in general, I enjoy the innovation and know I’m in for something unique and different when I light up a Foundry cigar.


LaAntiquidad_ToroSaturday after a nice steak dinner out with my wife, I came home to a La Antiqudad from My Father Cigars. This one was the Toro size, which is 5.6″ x 55, which is very close to the  size of the Robusto in that line, which is 5.2″ x 52.  This is a box pressed cigar with an Ecuador Habano Rosado wrapper surrounding a double binder of Nicaraguan Criollo and Corojo and Nicaraguan fillers from Esteli, Condega and Jalapa.  I really enjoyed the rich,  thick flavors that this cigar started out with. It had the “Pepin” spice to start out that seems to be a hallmark, and mellowed out about half way though. The burn was perfect, with one exception. At one point I noticed it flattened out in the flavor department, and the wrapper had stopped burning. I relit it and the flavor came right back, which tell you how much the wrapper contributes to the flavor. Good cigar, I’m glad I have a robusto in the humidor for another time. One other thing about this cigar is the band, which is absolutely beautiful and classic.


That’s it for today. Off to the new house to cut down some more shrubbery to make way for a fence that’s going in on Wednesday.  Good fences make good neighbors and Macha need a safe place to run around when we aren’t taking our walks!  So until the next time,





Filed under Contest, Editorial, Review

Gurkha, Rocky Patel, Blanco’s Primos, Straight Jacket and Contest Winners!

First a little rant, then we;ll get on to some cigars and contest winners.  This week it was reported that the city of Philadelphia proposed a tax on cigars and “other tobacco products” to help fund the schools. They apparently already levied a tax on cigarettes recently for the same reason and now they are going after the rest. What they don’t understand is that this tax will either close, or drive out many cigar shops (Holts has a large presence in Philadelphia), taking business and payroll taxes out of the city, and even if there are cigar stores left, people will make a short trip to the surrounding suburbs to shop. The city will not only fail to collect the taxes they want for the schools, but they will lose the other taxes. Once again, short sighted government actions hurt many and benefit nobody. This was reported on The Cigar Authority where you can read the full text of the proposal.


Gurkha_Xtreme_XOSunday, after breaking my back once again doing yard work at the new house, I took a nice, long walk with a Gurkha Xtreme XO, the 6″ x 60 size.  Obviously this is a new cigar in Gurkha’s core line, as there is no blend information on their website. I saw Bianca,  Gurkha’s Marketing Manager, three times over the last few months, and she gave me this cigar on one of those occasions. I actually can’t recall which.  It had been in my humidor for a few months so I figured it was time to dig it out. As with all the cigars I smoked this week, I used the Screwpop punch which gave me an acceptable draw. I expected a powerhouse cigar, based on the name. The cold draw and aroma off the wrapper was like freshly tanned leather. It wasn’t anywhere near as strong as I expected, it was solidly medium and had a consistent leathery flavor all the way through. It was a really nice cigar, but I had hoped it was a bit stronger.


RockyPatel_Platinum_RobustoMonday I grabbed a Rocky Patel Platinum which I got back at Cigar  Mojo‘s Anniversary/Halloween event. This box pressed robusto was a very nice cigar. This had a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper with a San Andrés binder and fillers from Esteli and Condega.  I knew there was some reason I liked this cigar!  The combination of Broadleaf and San Andrés gave it a nice, sweet and earthy flavor. I was quite happy with this cigar, and it burned very nice. I have to keep an eye out for more of these, it was the free cigar with a purchase of four RP cigars, so I have no concept of what the Platimum costs. I will say that it was well worth what I paid for it!


Primos_Rosado_ToroTuesday evening I had my mind set on smoking something strong, dark and familiar, but at the last minute I came across a cigar that David Blanco gave me when I saw him at The Smokin’ Goose festival in September. The Primos Estate Selection Habano Criollo Rosado in the toro size, 6″ x 52, has a ruddy Habano Rosado wrapper grown in Nicaragua, with fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras and Peru.  I tend to enjoy cigar with Peruvian tobacco in the blend, and I  enjoyed this cigar. It’s getting to be the time of year where I gravitate toward bolder cigars, and this one had some more delicate, subtle flavors that were nearly lost on me, but they were there and I enjoyed the sweetness and medium bodied tobacco flavor.  I think this would be a great morning or early afternoon smoke.


Asylum_StraightJacket_RobustoTonight I finally broke into the Asylum Straight Jacket box that I won in the silent auction benefiting Operation: Cigars for Warriors at the Smokin’ Goose fest.  I took a run out to Goose’s Tobacco a  couple weeks ago and settled up, between the new house and the car/deer mergence a few weeks back, it was hard to get out there.  These are a limited edition cigar made in Honduras at the Fabrica Unidas’ El Aladino factory with Nicaraguan tobacco. These are supposed to be the strongest Asylum cigar yet, and I’d tend to agree.  This is exactly what I’ve been craving. It’s smoke is dense and full of heavy, creamy flavor. I have enjoyed everything I’ve smoked from Tom Lazuka’s crazy Asylum line, but this one is the pick of the litter for sure!  Even the burn was perfect with that nice, flat burn that I love.




screwpop2.0We had a pretty good turnout for the two Screwpop 2.0 Cigar Punches (and whatever cigars fall into the box…you’ll have to trust me).  This will be the last contest for a month, at which time I’ll launch into the forth annual 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways.  I’ve already gotten some spectacular prizes in the pipeline, soon I’ll have to put the temporary prize coolerdor into service again as the goodies roll in.  Get ready, it’s going to be pretty darned cool.  Anyway, we had 37 entries and chose number 12 and 35, so the winners are Jeff Ketcham and Tim! Please e-mail me your addresses so I can get these cool new tools out to you.  Thanks to everyone and stay tuned for the big show in a few weeks!


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







Filed under Contest, Editorial, Review

An Arandoza, a CAO Flathead and a new Sindicato Cigar, and a CONTEST!

OK, lots going on today, so let’s get some cigars out of the way!  My palate’s a little flat still, I blame the change in weather. It’s gotten cold all the sudden, and I tend to gravitate to heavier maduros this time of year anyway, and I’ve been slow in following my own advice. One reason is it’ll be boring writing about the same couple cigars twice a week, and it’ll be equally boring smoking the same couple cigars!  I’ll adjust, it’s like that first day it drops in the 40s and you bundle up with gloves, and by January you’re in a t-shirt when it gets that warm. So I smoked some cigars, came across a neat cigar related item or two, and there’s a contest too!


Arandoza_White_RobustoThursday I decided to dig in to the box of Arandoza White Label Robustos that I apparently won in the most recent Cigar Federation Project Mañana Raffle.  I really like the cigars from Arandoza, which are made at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona Factory. This is a nice, refined Nicaraguan cigar with good balance and flavor. I really look forward to smoking more of these, there is just about nothing I don’t enjoy about this cigar, from the smoking to the presentation, it’s first class all the way.  I suppose it’s possible one of these falls into the contest box when it mails out. Stranger things have happened.  Thank you to Arandoza Cigars and Cigar Federation for supporting a worthy cause.


CAO_Flathead_CamshaftTo give my palate a proper test, I decided my Friday evening smoke should be a favorite cigar that I’ve smoked a bunch of over the past year or so. I really like the CAO Flathead line, with the only possible gripe I have being that the only real neat and tidy way to cut these is with a punch, which actually works out nicely for today’s post.  I used the first edition of the Screwpop Punch on the Flathead (if you don’t know, the head is flat, so it’s really hard to use anything but a punch on these).  I smoked the 556 Camshaft size of the Flathead, with is basically a toro, but I can recommend any size (including the 770) to anyone who enjoys bold, heavy bodied maduro cigars. These are about the perfect autumn cigar for me.  Another benefit is that they don’t roll off the table when you set them down!  Good stuff from Ricky Rodriguez and his team at CAO.


Yesterday, after spending time at the new house clearing brush and ancient overgrown hedges for a fence to contain Macha (and keep the 16 year old Cocker Spaniel from wandering off), I came home to a cool package in the mail. This package contained the redesigned Screwpop 2.0 Cigar Punch. When I tried the original punch almost two years ago, I made some suggestions to Brett at the company on some ways I thought it could be improved. One suggestion was to reverse the design so that the punch came off of the clip/opener end so that it could remain clipped to something, and the other was to make it self clearing, as the original version tended to keep the cap cuts in the body of the unit.  It seems my suggestions were taken to heart, and here we have the new version of the punch.  Of course, I had to try it out.  I Sindicato_Maduro_Magnumreceived some samples of the new Sindicato maduro last week, and these looked really good.  The samples were all of a larger size, so I went up the middle with the 6×60 Magnum size. This wasn’t the best test for the Screwpop 2.0 becuase the folks at Casa Fernandez, who make this cigar, use a bit of a pigtail cap. Not to be deterred, I gave it a punch. The 2.0 is a slightly larger bore than the 1.0, which is good, since it doesn’t render my old trusty punch obsolete. The cigar has my favorite San Andres Morrón wrapper, and has a nice, rich cocoa flavor. The 60 ring gauge was very comfortable given the box press, so it felt a bit smaller.  It burned very well and I can’t wait to smoke the Churchill and Toro sizes.  It smoked very well and was a fine way to wrap up a tiring, but productive day.


And now for something completely different

I received a note from one of my readers, Josh, in Salt Lake City, pointing me to his Etsy store.  He’s been making some really cool lamps from cigar boxes.  These have a really nice kind of steampunk feel to them and are very high end.  Take a look at his site when you get a chance!



screwpop2.0Since Brett at Screwpop Tool, LLC was kind enough to send me more than one Cigar Punch 2.0, I figured it only made sense to have a contest and give one away!  Strike that, I’ll give TWO away!  Be aware, I can’t just send out a punch without including something to try it out on, so, invariably, some cigars will fall into the shipping boxes when they go out. I can’t help it, it just always seems to happen.  So to recap, the Screwpop 2.0 Cigar Punch no only bores a nice hole in your cigar and  cleans itself out, but you can also use it to take the cap off your favorite bottled beverage.  It’s got a handy and fashionable gated clip so you can wear it with pride or clip it to your key ring.  These are black anodized aluminum and look really sharp.  Leave a comment to enter and I’ll select two winners at random on Wednesday.  If you’ve won in the last six months you aren’t eligible, sorry.


That’s it for now, time to head over to the new house an clean up the mess we made yesterday!  Until the next time,





Filed under Contest, News, Review

A Don Pepin Garcia, Alan Price, Eiroa Maduro and a Matilde Cigar

As we’ve been working on the new house, we figured since we have a great enclosed cigar porch, we should have an annual cigar party.  We just need to figure out when to have this party, so we’ll take suggestions. Whoever comes up with the best date to have this event will get free admission (airfare, lodging not included).  We kind of thought Columbus Day would be a good time. It gives us plenty of time to prepare, and the only really important thing Columbus did was to introduce tobacco to the west.  Getting lost and stumbling upon some islands isn’t really a great accomplishment.  Give us your thoughts!


DonPepinGarcia_SeriesJJ_RobustoSunday I pulled out a Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ Robusto from a Five Pack I bought at JR Cigars in Whippany, NJ back in June of 2012.  These have been hit or miss with me, and I only have one left so I must have smoked a couple over the years, or gifted one her or there. This one, like the first one I smoked, was a little tighter on the draw than I’d like.  It had a nice flavor, medium to mild with a little sweetness and maybe a little earthy and woody.  I just wish that it had produced more of that tasty smoke, it’s production was a bit thin. Was this cigar really rolled in Miami? I was actually surprised to find this five pack in JRs, I wouldn’t be surprised now, but I was surprised then. Many who have followed others in the blogosphere will understand why I chose that particular cigar.


AlanPrice_ToroMonday I chose a cigar I bought last week at Cigar Mojo. A few months ago Alan Price, part time tobacconist at Mojo, Cigar Rights Ambassador and all around good guy, went to the Rocky Patel factory in Honduras.  He ended up taking delivery (earlier that day) of one hundred cigars that he had blended on that trip.  This cigar had a Sumatra Oscuro wrapper, Viso Honduras binder and fillers of Ligero Jamastran, Viso Jalapa & Ligero Jalapa. I admit that I rushed to smoke this, as it really needed some humidor time after it’s long journey.  The blend certainly has a lot of potential, and I’m glad I bought two so I will have one to smoke in a few weeks or so after it’s had time to acclimate.  It was a beautiful cigar with a rich and oily wrapper.  It’s always fun for me to smoke a cigar that a friend blended, one gets a glimpse into the other person’s tastes.  The cigar was very smooth and tasty, but it’ll really shine in a few weeks I hope.  Alan says there’s only about eight left, so this is a rare cigar, I guess.


Eiroa_Maduro_RobustoTuesday I smoked the Eiroa Maduro in the robusto size.  A few weeks ago I was in one of my local shops, JM Cigars, and Jeff, the proprietor had a CLE event earlier in the day (I had stopped in earlier too, before the event, and missed it). He gave me one of the leftover giveaway cigars.  I suppose, for want of a better comparison, this is Christian Eiroa’s incarnation of the Camacho Triple Maduro, as all of the tobacco used is cured maduro.  The cigar was rich and loaded with cocoa/espresso and burned reasonably well.  I  liked it well enough, but the $10 price tag will probably prevent me from smoking too many of these.  I appreciate Jeff giving me the opportunity to try this cigar though, it’s much appreciated.


Matilde_Renacer_RobustoTonight I decided to retry a cigar I bought a pair of back in July when I was at the Casa de Montecristo store in the Chicago area. I bought a few Matilde Renacer robustos and smoked one on the drive home from Chicago and it was a big problem, it burned poorly and was really not a great experience while driving. There was a leaf in the blend that wouldn’t burn, and it left a core in the middle. Like I said, not a good driving cigar.  This one burned much better after a few months in the humidor and was a nice, medium bodied smoke. I found it on the mild side, with a nice, yet rather unremarkable flavor.  Maybe I’m still a little off from the cold I had a couple weeks ago, or I’m just making choices that don’t align with my palate.  I’ll keep trying though!



I received an e-mail today from George Rodriguez of Rodrigo Cigars with a contest I thought I’d pass on. What stood out to me was that I met Eric Whitfield, the CIGARtist, a few weeks ago and his work is amazing. We actually talked about buying one of his pieces for our new house.  Anyway, check out George’s contest and take a shot at winning this unique and functional work of art (and some great cigars)


To celebrate the release of the long awaited Corona Project my buddy Eric Whitfield, aka the CIGARtist painted this beautiful one of kind travel humidor.

I’m giving it away to one lucky ”Amigo” and I’m gonna fill it with a selection of savory Rodrigo Cigars, including the new Corona Project! 


And make sure you visit our buddy Eric aka the CIGARtist and check out his beautiful cigar themed art!

Your amigo…-George

PS Just think how cool you’re gonna feel when you roll up to your next herf with this bad boy ;)



That reminds me, I need to start working on the 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways. It’s not as easy as it looks mooching all the great cigar and stuff for the giveaways!


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





Filed under Contest, Review