A Sobremesa Event, Tabequeros by Hamlet and a BG Meyer Cigar

EsperanzaI smoked a bunch of nice cigars this week, starting off with my traditional Father’s Day Esperanza para los Niños which smoked very well for a 17-year-old cigar, and still had a nice, rich flavor. I followed that with an Aging Room Maduro, another great smoke with a great flavor. Both were up my alley, and hit the spot.  There was also another La Gran Llave torpedo from Michael Argenti’s newest venture, which was also a great smoke. Yet another wonderful cigar out o f the AJ Fernandez Factory. On anpther note, my wife ordered me a box of Sam Leccia‘s new cigar, Desnudo, which I’m excited to try (and she wants the box!). I have mixed feelings about the upcoming trade show. Everyone is going to be releasing new cigars to meet the August 8th FDA deadline. Considering that cigars in the last 10 years have been the best that they’ve ever been, how many of the hundreds of new cigars that are going to be released aren’t going to be ready? Another aspect in my mind is how are retailers going to be expected to buy all these new brands with shelves that are already full? It’s all deeply troubling and depressing. Anyway, on to more positive things…

 

Sobremesa_TorpedoThursday night I had the privilege to be invited to a lounge event at The Wooden Indian cigar shop. My old buddy Steve Saka of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust was there to talk for a solid three hours on everything tobacco. He covered 10,000 years of tobacco history, how cigars are made, the economics of cigars and how our government is going to goof if up. Always a great story-teller too. I took my old friend Scott along with me, and his mind was sufficiently blown I think, and I learned a great deal from the talk. I also bought a bunch more Sobremesas, Sakasmoked a Torpedo Tiempo and an El Americano over the course of the evening, and even got my hands on the new Short Churchill size (4¾”x48). Of course, the cigars were perfect, the Torpedo, despite Steve saying it was his least favorite size, had an interesting sweetness that I haven’t found in the other sizes. I can’t wait to try the new Mi Querida, with a broadleaf wrapper. I could have gotten one if I had bought a box of Sobremesa, and Dave, the proprietor of the Wooden Indian, smoked one and seemed to be quite impressed (judging by the tiny saka97nub he begrudgingly dropped in the ashtray. It’s always a treat to see Steve, and I had a great time hanging out with Scott and smoking some great cigars.  Just for fun, I scrounged up a picture of Steve from a cigar event in 1997. Pardon the quality, but back then you had to scan printed pictures to get them on to the web, it wasn’t as easy as whipping out your phone.

 

Tabaquero_ToroFriday I wrapped up another week with a cigar I had been anticipating for quite a while. I purchased a Tabaquro toro at a visit to Jacoub’s Cigar & Tobacco Outlet in Ridley Park, PA a few months ago. I had been wanting to try the cigar, blended by Hamlet Paredes, a rather well-known Cuban cigar maker, who made this cigar with Rocky Patel. I think this is my new favorite cigar from the Rocky Patel stable, following the Super Ligero line. This cigar features a San Andrés wrapper, a double binder of Brazilian and Mexican leaf, and Nicaraguan fillers. It’s rumored that Hamlet never touched anything but Cuban tobacco before working with Rocky, but he really came up with a great cigar. It’s got a bit of kick to it, a pleasing mix of sweet and savory, and provided a satisfying smoking experience  from start to finish. All I can say is “yum”. I liked the Tabaquero a lot.

 

BG Meyer_Gigantes_56x6Yesterday after enjoying a Leccia Luchador El Hombre (one of my favorite cigars) at Delaware Park while watching the horses (we came out ahead!), I came home to enjoy a BG Meyer Gigantes 56×6 on the porch. It was a beautiful day, watched the ponies with our grand-daughters, saw the Budweiser Clydesdales, managed to get some things done around the house, and kicked back with this cigar. I would have sworn this was a 6×60, it had a large feel to it, but maybe just the name “Gigantes” influenced my judgement. This one was 6″ x 56, with a Habano wrapper, Brazilian binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican filers. As seems to be the case with Davidoff’s Honduran brands, it’s hard to find a website with all the info. I did find some info on the Davidoff of Geneva retail page, and was surprised to see typos in the product description.  I can’t understand why they don’t have BGMeyerCigars.com, or something, and have the same gripe when I go looking for Room 101 info (and probably Cusano if I looked, which I haven’t). Anyway, the cigar is good. It’s got some pepper, some coffee/cocoa and sweetness, very much in my wheelhouse. I dug it.

 

There’s probably something I’m forgetting, but I’ll wrap this up now. I have an article to write for Prime Living Magazine that I have to smoke some great cigars for, so I better get busy with that!  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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Entrada Cigars Corona

Many months ago I received an e-mail about the Entrada cigar line, and I about forgot about it until a couple of weeks ago when a package arrived with a few Entrada Coronas, a T-shirt, some stickers and a flash drive in a cigar box. I had to go back through my e-mails (I’m an e-mail packrat), and remind myself about this brand. The presentation of the package was really well done, I appreciated the care and detail that went into it, I would have been thrilled with a couple of cigars. I have plenty of T-shirts, and I would have held another contest, but this shirt was red, and I have so few colored T’s…I’m hanging on to this one!  Entrada Cigars founder Chaz Kline owns two cigar shops in Omaha, Nebraska, and released his own brand in 2013. The band is interesting, like a postage or tax stamp, but that’s not the best part of this brand!

 

Entrada_CoronaThe Entrada cigars are made at Casa Fernandez in Esteli, under the watchful eye of Arsenio Ramos, and the cigar is Nicaraguan with a San Andrés wrapper. I was quite excited to try this cigar, it sounded right up my alley. Tonight I smoked the corona, which is 5½” x 44, they also have a 6×60 Gordo, a 6×54 Toro, a 5×52 Robusto and a Lancero. I suppose this is another company I’ll have to seek out at the IPCPR show. While I’m thinking about it, there’s only a couple says left to enter the IPCPR’s contest to win trip to the show in Las Vegas.  Go to http://www.ipcprlegislative.org/insidethebox/ to enter, I’d love to meet one of you at the show! Back to the Entrada Corona. I need to get my hands on the other sizes, because this corona was spectacular, and I wanted it to last longer. The burn was perfect, the draw was right, and it burned dead even for the entire hour I smoked it. It had some pepper, some cocoa, some sweetness, all kinds of great flavors. It’s made at Casa Fernandez, so no doubt there’s Aganorsa in there, it’s reminiscent of Casa Fernandez cigars I’ve smoked and enjoyed quite a bit.

 

The Entrada Corona is a great smoke, thanks to Chaz and his team for sharing it with me. I will be hunting for some of the other sizes (I know my friends at Cigar Federation have them in their store), and they have a map on the Entradacigar.com site…Delaware Cigars has them, I’ll have to take a ride down to Newark one of these days.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

 

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A La Aroma de Cuba, Serino Cigars and Cornelius & Anthony’s Daddy Mac

Happy Father’s Day! I have a special cigar lined up for later, it’s been a tradition since esperanza2000 that I  smoke an Esperanza para los Niños every year. I’ve written about this cigar before, long story short, it was made by Christian Eiroa in 1998 to benefit the children orphaned by Hurricane Mitch, and was pretty much blended by and for members of the Usenet group alt.smokers.cigars. I still have a few left, one from a box I bought and some from the generosity of my friend Mike. Of course, this week I started a new job, which has occupied my thoughts, but I was able to enjoy some great cigars.

 

LaAromaDe Cuba_NoblesseTuesday I posted the great contest sponsored by Holt’s, and I went looking for a La Aroma de Cuba and the only one  found was a Noblesse which was a birthday gift from Will Cooper a few years ago.  He shouldn’t have, but he did and I quite enjoyed this cigar. The Noblesse is the top of the line La Aroma de Cuba, it’s got a Habano rosado wrapper, a double binder consisting of Habano and Criollo, and an aged selection of filler tobaccos from the Garcia family’s farms in the growing regions of Estelí, Jalapa and Namanji (which is about a 45 minute drive east of Esteli). It comes in a 6½” x  toro and they only made 3000 x 24 count boxes in total. I found this to be an exceptional smoke, perfect construction and subtle and refined flavors from the well aged tobaccos, it had some sweetness and some spice, a really nice cigar.

 

SerinoRoyale_Maduro_BelicosoWednesday I dug into a sampler from Serino Cigars. The Serino Royale line is available in four blends, three of which I will talk about today (I didn’t get to the Medio blend, which is a Ecuador Habano Claro wrapped cigar). The cigars are made by Omar Gonzalez Alemán, who was the master blender at Cuba’s Partagas and La Corona Factories before starting the La Corona factory in Esteli (which may sound familiar as the factory that works which Hirochi Robaina, from what I recall). I started with the cigar that probably would have been the second cigar I chose, but the interesting size swayed me and fit the circumstance better. The Serino Royale Maduro in the Belicoso size is a 5½” x 60 figurado with a dark and oily Ecuador Habano Oscuro wrapper.  This was a great smoke with some of the dark chocolate and coffee flavors I like. I’d smoke this again.

 

SerinoRoyale_Connecticut_TorpedoThursday I went with the Connecticut Torpedo in the Serino Royale line. This is a classic 6 1/8″ x 52 torpedo with a Ecuador shade grown Connecticut wrapper. This medium bodied smoke was, once again, perfectly constructed and had fairly typical nutty, mellow flavors, but there was a lot of flavor so it was a very satisfying and enjoyable smoke. The entire range in the Serino Royale line has Jalapa binders and five years aged fillers from Omar Gonzalez Alemán’s own farms, and have been aging in La Corona’s aging rooms since 2014, and the age is apparent in the combustion and flavor of the cigars. These all seem to run in the $12-$13 area, so they are no cheap date, but worthy cigars none the less.

 

CorneliusandAnthony_DaddyMac_ToroFriday I took a break from the Serino line to enjoy a Cornelius & Anthony Daddy Mac Gordo. I’ve smoked a couple of these in the toro and gordo sizes and these appear to be another great cigar out of the La Zona factory. Actually, last Sunday I enjoyed a Cornelius & Anthony Cornelius toro again, but you can refer back to my past post about that great cigar. the Daddy Mac line has a Brazilian wrapper, Ecuador  binder and Nicaraguan fillers. As with all cigars from La Zona, the construction was right, the burn was right and it was a great smoke. I thought it was fairly chocolaty with some sweetness like a dried fruit and a little twinge of pepper. I have a couple of the smaller sizes in this line yet to smoke, but the 6″ x 60 Gordo was a very nice smoke. I look forward to catching up with the Cornelius & Anthony folks at the IPCPR show. I gotta say, I love the colors in the bands on these cigars.

 

SerinoRoyale_MaduroXX_SublimeWrapping up the smokes for the week was the Serino Royale I would have led off with under normal circumstances, the Maduro XX Sublime (6¼”x54). Once again, this is wrapped in a Habano 2000 Oscuro from Ecuador and is a fuller bodied blend of the Maduro from earlier in the week. After spending the day painting ceilings (vaulted, no less), this was a great way to end the day. The Serino Royale Maduro XX is a strong cigar with great flavors of espresso and cocoa. While it was strong, it was fairy well-balanced, which is a good thing. This is a cigar I’ll be looking for more of. Carson Serino, the VP of Serino Cigars sent me a nice letter and pricelist along with the sampler, which was presented very nicely in a classy cardboard box, which was very helpful, considering they don’t seem to have a website to refer to. I can make the same complaint about Cornelius & Anthony, but at least they have a “coming soon” page. I also will have to find Serino Cigars at the show and ask them to explain the “20th Anniversary” on the packaging, there’s nothing I could find explaining that. These are very good smokes, although a bit pricy, but we better get used to that.

 

Contest Winner

Thanks again to the folks at Holt’s for providing the great La Aroma/San Cristobal ’92-95′ Rated Assortment for this week’s contest! If you get to Philly stop in to their shop and hang out for a bit. They have a nice lounge in the back (and Ashton Cigar Bar is upstairs). Whenever I get in there I am overwhelmed with the selection, and generally walk out with way more cigars than I need. I think they always run a “buy 5, get one free” thing, so that gets me in trouble. Thanks to Lexi there for putting this together. I’ve selected a winner at random and will need Allinton /wattley to send me an address to pass on to Holt’s.  Thanks to all who entered and stay tuned for the next contest (probably won’t be quite as close together as the last two).

 

That’s all for today. Yesterday was the ceiling, today is the floor, followed by the Esparanza and we’ll see what else! Also, check out the special Bobalu Cigars is offering our readers for a limited time!  Until the next time,

 

Cigar Craig

 

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Father’s Day Cigar Contest Courtesy of Holt’s Cigar Company

OK, I still haven’t delivered the last contest winnings to Tim, who ended up being local to me. I’m a slug, I need to plan to meet up with him, I might have to put it in the mail to get it to him so he doesn’t think I’m a bad blogger! This week’s contest solves that problem as Holt’s Cigar Company will ship the present to the lucky winner.  For Father’s day, they have been featuring a whole bunch of specials (here), so even if you aren’t the winner, you can be by visiting and picking something nice up for your dad, or for yourself! They have lots of great samplers and gifts for every budget and palate, and I’ve always enjoyed excellent service from them, going back nearly two decades both mail order and in their Philadelphia store.
Holt’s has generously offered their La Aroma/San Cristobal ’92-95′ Rated Assortment. This sampler includes 1 – La Aroma de Cuba Robusto (5.25 X 54), 1 – La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Belicoso (5.5 X 54), 1 – La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Reserva Maximo (5.5 X 54), 1 – San Cristobal Monumento (7.25 X 49) and 1 – San Cristobal Revelation Legend (6.25 X 52)  I happen to enjoy these lines myself quite a bit, they are made in Esteli, Nicaragua by legendary cigar-maker Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia. What a great assortment!  Thanks to Lexi at Holt’s for providing this wonderful prize!

 

Rules are the same as always, if you’ve won recently, give everyone else a chance, and you must be of legal age to purchase tobacco in your jurisdiction. Leave a comment to enter, one per person, and only comments on this blog post count. I’ll select a winner at random on Sunday, June 19, 2016, which happens to be Father’s Day. The winner will need to send me their information so I can pass it on to the folks at Holt’s.  Good Luck!

 

Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Talamanca Cigars from Costa Rica

A couple of months ago I received a package from Costa Rica containing a nicely presented sampler from a cigar maker called Talamanca Cigars. I don’t have a lot of information on their webpage, which is a shame, as it looks like they tried to make a modern and visually appealing website, but it really has no substance. I like to see the blend talamanca samplerinformation on each cigar, not just a picture and price. Many of the embedded links don’t seem to work either. It looks like they sell direct to consumer, however with little more than a size and strength listed, I’d be hesitant to buy without more details. The sampler they sent contained a representation of their offerings, with two of a couple of the styles, in a nicely labeled box. The one problem I found is that four of the cigars are the same size, and once a cigar is removed, the rest shift around, no longer lining up with the labels. With a little help from Attila, the guy who contacted me and sent the cigars, I think I got them lined up right, as the wrapper shades are very close. It was short-sighted of me to not take a photo of the sampler before I started smoking the cigars, but the two I smoked when I took this picture were distinctive, a 6.1″ x 52 torpedo and a 4″ x 50 petite robusto.

 

talamanca torpedoThe torpedo was a nice smoke.  It burned well, although faster than I would have liked, and had a nice sweetness along with a pretty straight forward tobacco flavor. The construction was very good, it burned evenly and had a firm, but adequate draw.  The website lists this as “strong”, although I found it to be solidly medium. I thought it was a nice cigar that I would smoke again. I wonder if this is the same blend as what they call “Original”? I’ll get to the “Original” Robusto later.

 

talamanca seisSince the Torpedo shorted me in smoking time, I followed it up with the 4″ x 50 pigtailed Seis. The website lists this one as “medium”, but I found it to be much stronger than the torpedo, which was listed as “strong”. This was a little powerhouse, and you could see the dark ligero in the foot. It almost was a logical progression from the torpedo, if the torpedo burned longer and built in strength. It has some of the tobacco sweetness too, and I thought it was a pretty good little smoke.

 

Talamanca_SpecialFriday’s smoke was the Talamanca Special, which is 5″ x 54.  This was on the stronger side too, and had a nice, even burn. There’s not much more I can say about it, as I believe it to be the same blend as the Seis, just a little large format.  Same holds true with the Gigante, which is more of a Churchill at 7″ x 48, although the Gigante was a bit mellower than the smaller vitolas. Where I failed this week was not smoking the two that I assume are a different talamanca giganteblend.  There’s a Café Café and a Machista, and they have what appears to be different wrappers, at least. I’ve got an e-mail in with questions, but as of publication, I haven’t received the answers yet.  Maybe I’ll get to them today and update this post.  I really don;t have any complaints about the cigars, they were all perfectly good cigars except for the fast burning torpedo (the upside being getting a second cigar in!). The website needs a lot more information about both the cigars and the company. Whether these ever see the light of day thanks to the FDA remains to be seen, Google searches don’t give much information either. The only thing I can tell you about the name is that Talamanca is one of six cantons that make up the province of Limón in Costa Rica. It is the largest of Costa Rica’s 81 cantons.

 

I’d like to thank Attila for sending these from Costa Rica, it was kind of exciting going to the post office to pick up a package from abroad, not really knowing what it was. Kudos to them for the nice presentation of the sampler.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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