San Cristobal Revelation, Dubnium and Bernie Parent’s Vezina Cigar

To touch once again on the issue of Cuban cigars I brought up last time, or to expand upon it, I suppose, the issue of fakes was brought up.  I was saving that for a separate discussion, so here it is.  There will be no shortage of criminal behavior in this regard. How many people unfamiliar with cigars would be able to spot the difference between a Partagas Serie D No. 4 and a Rosa Cuba robusto without bands?  It may look like a worthwhile investment to have some bands made and but a bunch of cheap bundles and reband them. I hope I’m not giving anyone any ideas, but I would hope that anyone stupid enough to not have thought of this is scenario isn’t smart enough to run a business anyway.  So unsuspecting newbs wanting to try their fist Cuban cigar and willing to shell out a $20 to do it will get as much of a crappy experience as they might get smoking the real deal right off the truck! How many of us have seen everyone posting pictures of the Cohibas in the box with the sliding plastic lid that they got at a resort in Mexico? Fakes are already a big problem one that will get much worse when the embargo is lifted, and may already considering people misunderstand the recent relaxation of rules about what you can bring back from a licensed trip to the island. As always, I deeply appreciate the comments and discussion!


SanCristobal_Revelation_OdysseyOddly, I’ve been on a bit of a large cigar kick, at the time of year I should be smoking little cigars.  Thursday I reached for a San Cristobal Revelation Odyssey, an interestingly sized 5¾” x 60. This cigar was a Christmas gift from one of my vendors at work. This gentleman owns a steel company in Oxnard, CA and shops at Olde Oaks Cigar Co. in Thousand Oaks, CA. This is a really neat shop with a really good and well priced (for CA) selection of cigars, and what appears to this non-drinker to be an incredible booze selection. The lounge is nice as well. Anyway, this San Cristobal Revelation is one of his current favorites and he wanted to share it with me. I can see why he likes the cigar, the man may not smoke cigars more than once a week or so, but he has good taste, and this one is loaded with flavor. I found it to be medium bodied, smooth with a hint of savory sweetness. It started off with a hint of pepper, a signature of the manufacturer, the My Father factory. This size is round, but several other sizes have a box press, and it has an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper and a really beautiful band.  This is a winner in my book and I would reach for this cigar without hesitation.


CE&M_DubniumFriday evening I thought it would be a good time to smoke the Foundry Compunds, Elements and Musings Dubnium: the Cheshire Cat.  As we all know, Dubnium is a chemical element with symbol Db and atomic number 105. It is named after the town of Dubna in Russia, where it was first produced. It is a synthetic element (an element that can be created in a laboratory but is not found in nature) and radioactive; the most stable known isotope, dubnium-268, has a half-life of approximately 28 hours (thank you Wikipedia), and a Cheshire Cat is a fictional cat popularized by Lewis Carroll in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, not sure what one has to do with the other except that neither occurs naturally in nature, or has a damned thing to do with cigars. Knowing the beautiful mind of Michael Giannini as I do, one quickly learns not to question these things, the just are, reason and logic play no part, and that’s OK as the Foundry cigars, despite the gimmick and novelty, deliver in quality for me.  This was a cigar on the milder side, but heavy on the creamy soft flavors that I deeply appreciate on occasion. It had a sweetness and perfect burn and I found interesting and unique flavors as I frequently do in this line. That’s probably what keeps me sampling the Foundry line every chance I get, besides the fact that the Compounds, Elements and Musings series is generally wallet friendly, this 6″ x 60 box press cost me under $7 locally, and many are priced lower than that.  Innovative packaging, unique tobaccos (although, to be fair, it could be just about anything considering they rarely specify the tobaccos used), and a neat story and the trust I have in Michael makes me a fan.


BSBNo1 40th_VezinaYesterday, after a heavy, wet snow over night which was (thankfully) only a few inches, I opted for the second of three cigars from the Rocky Patel Bernie Parent BSB No.1 40th Anniversary set, the Vezina. It’s All Star weekend in the NHL, so I figured it would be appropriate, and I wanted to smoke it anyway, so there!  The Vezina is the trophy awarded each year to the goaltender “adjudged to be the best at this position”, and Bernie Parent won it in 1974 and 1975.  The cigar has a cedar sleeve, covering a beautiful Ecuador Habano wrapper, and is 6½” x 52. My friends at Halfwheel have a nice write up on this series of cigars, however they have spelt Vezina “Venzia” on two occasions, making it darned near impossible to find in a search, which isn’t pertinent to this story, just fun to point out.  I enjoyed the cigar, although it wasn’t as distinctively good as the Conn Smythe with the broadleaf wrapper. Not to say it wasn’t a wonderful smoke, but those aren’t hard to find these days, and I certainly won’t avoid it. Burned great, tasted great and evokes great memories of both a childhood watching the Broad Street Bullies win the Stanley Cup twice in a row, and times hanging out, smoking cigars with the legendary goaltender and wickedly funny story teller and friendly guy, Bernie.  Now I’m looking forward the the third in the series, the box pressed, Ecuador Sumartra wrapped Lord Stanley. Should I wait until June to smoke that? I’m not sure I can wait.


imageMy boss called me into his office yesterday morning, and instead of firing me, he gave me this interesting ashtray made from a well cap by a guy who works for a local well drilling company.  I’m more of a fan of having the business end of a cigar suspended over the ashtray, but this is an interesting design and will have a place in the smoking porch. It’s a much appreciated gift, much better than a pink slip!  That wraps up today’s episode, tune in Wednesday for more literary regurgitation as I meander through the wonders of the cigar world!  Until the next time,







Filed under Review

Ezra Zion, East India Trading Co. Classic Cigar and an Orchant Seleccion by Oliva

With all the talk of the lifting of Cuban Embargo, and all the speculation that goes along with it, it got me thinking about what happens when the embargo is actually lifted and Cuban cigars make their way to US retailers shelves. Of course, there will be a huge number of people who want to try what was the forbidden fruit, and the Cuban cigar industry will be struggling to meet the demand.  It seems to me that opening the US market will effectively double that demand. One point I never hear discussed is that Cuba struggles now to meet the global demand, and Cuban cigars, as they are now, need to rest for a good couple of years before they reach their potential.  I can see the initial deliveries of cigars being fresh, and potentially turning off the new smokers out to try that which hasn’t been available for the last 50 plus years, due to the cigars not being ready. This theory of mine also supposes that Cuban cigars will come in at the same quality that they are at now, not that they will be rushing poorly grown and processed leaf to the factories to crank out an additional several million cigars to meet the demand.  If the embargo is a few years from being lifted, the cigars will be another few years until they are really ready to be smoked!  Just a few thoughts that roll around my head as I’m listening to speculation being bandied about!


EzraZion_FHK_TruthSo Monday, after struggling mightily with a migraine on Sunday, I reached for an Ezra Zion FHK in the Truth size. This is a 7″ x 44 cigar, a long lonsdale, or fat lancero, I’m not sure which.  This cigar is in their Honor series, and the FHK stands for Fathers of Hoover and Kelly, a tribute to the forefathers of the founders of Ezra Zion cigars (who, incidentally, also founded The Cigar Federation website, Kyle and Chris, not their forefathers).  It’s a beautiful box pressed cigar with a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, Indonesian binder and fillers from Nicaragua and Brazil, made at the Placencia factory in Esteli.  This was a very enjoyable cigar, smooth with a nice espresso flavor, lacking the rough edges I generally associate with the Mexican leaf. I’m  sure the Brazilian leaf helps to temper that some, and while I’m not a fan of Indonesian tobacco, it’s pretty neutral and doesn’t detract from the blend. It’s a very nice smoke, like most of the cigars I’ve smoked from the Ezra Zion line.


EastIndia_The Classic Cigar - Havana BlendRobustoTuesday I found myself in one of my “I don’t know what I want to smoke” moods, so, after some rummaging around I decided to choose an East Indie Trading Company Classic Cigar Habano Blend Robusto from a box which was a recent gift from the folks at Gurkha (many thanks!). I’ve smoked a few of this cigar in the toro size, and it was a good smoke, but this one surprised me with a minty quality. It was quite refreshing and unusual. It’s another box pressed cigar, measuring 5½ x 52, and my main complaint was that it smoked a bit too fast for my liking. I suppose that was a good thing, since I wanted to watch the Flyers play the Penguins, which was a very entertaining game. So I had a full evening of entertainment, first with a cigar that was very refreshing, then with a great fight, where a hockey game broke out!  I’m very interested to see if that cool, refreshing mintyness is present in more of these. If you’ve smoked this vitola, please let me know in the comments if you got the same sensation.


MitchellOrchant_OrchantSeleccionOliva_ChubbyTonight I knew exactly what I wanted to smoke, it was just a matter of choosing a size.  Last week, Mitchell Orchant, of CGars Ltd. in the UK, released his Orchant Seleccion by Oliva in three sizes, Skinny (5 x 43), Short (5 x 50) and Chubby (4 x 60,).  in boxes of 10 and limited to 500 boxes per size. Mitchell is the UK distributor for Oliva Cigars, and this series will only be available in the UK. I chose Chubby, it being a very American thing to do, I think, as I don’t imagine the 60 ring as as popular in jolly ole England as it is here.  Word on the street is that this is based on the Serie V blend, although the wrapper is lighter in color and rather flawless in appearance. The wrapper is Ecuador Sumatra, like the Serie V Melanio, with Nicaraguan filler. It smoked very smooth and flavorful, really a delicious smoke that I feel bad about telling you about since it’s damn near impossible to get on this side of the pond. The construction was perfect, the draw was open as a non-plugged Havana cigar generally should be, and it was a very enjoyable smoke.  I look forward to Mitch releasing his Inka line of Peruvian puros here in the US, but in the mean time, I will certainly enjoy smoking this exclusive Orchant Seleccion Oliva cigar, as I’m certain it will be a hit in the UK, especially at the modest price points comparatively (the most expensive in the line being around $15 USD, in the land of very expensive cigars).  Thanks to Mitchell for sharing these fab smokes! Blimey, it was the dogs bollocks!


Please join me in welcoming Stogies World Class Cigars to the family!  For as long as it appears on their ad on the left sidebar, there’s a 10% off coupon code,  Craig10, you can use, and they also offer free shipping!  They love lanceros there and have several shop exclusives, and will soon have the Fratello lancero to add to their portfolio.


That’s it for today’s installment! Until the next time,





Filed under Editorial, Review

Finishing Up the La Aurora Preferido Coronas and Bernie Parent at Goose’s

imageThursday evening I smoked the Ecuador (Sumatra) La Aurora Preferidos corona.  While this was an exceptional cigar, it had a hint of bitterness that put it in fourth place flavor-wise among the ones I’ve smoked thus far in comparison.  That’s not to say it wasn’t better than many cigars out there, it just didn’t hit my palate as favorably as the others. The construction was perfect and no oozing tar! I’ve got the Maduro (Brazil) and the Broadleaf coming up, I hope I didn’t set the bar too high and set myself up for disappointment.


Friday night I took a break from the La Aurora’s to visit Goose’s Tobacco Outlet and Cafe in Limerick, PA. Goose was hosting an event in his Montecristo Lounge featuring Bernie Parent and his BSB No.1 Cigars by Rocky Patel.  You may recall I had the good fortune to have been present at the launch of this line back in photo 1December of 2012 (here, and RIP Luca who hosted that event) and have had the pleasure of smoking cigars with Bernie on numerous occasions.  I’m not saying we’re buddies or anything, but he pretends to know me when we meet.  Rocky Patel account exec Mark Weisenberger was also on hand, taking grief from Bernie for being a Rangers fan.  One of the coolest things about this event was that the great Bernie Parent, with his ’74 and ’75 Flyers Stanley Cup rings, the goalie who “Only the Lord Saves More” than, was hanging out, smoking cigars, answering questions and telling stories.  I picked up one each of the three 40th Anniversary cigars, which come in a numbered box with an autographed puck, and four each of the Broadleaf wrapped Conn Smythe, the Habano wrapped Vezina, and the box pressed, Sumatra Lord Stanley, all in the toro size, and all named after trophies Bernie has won (all three back to back, which has never been repeated, not even by Wayne Gretzky).  I smoked the Conn Smythe as I was in the mood for a nice, sweet broadleaf and the cigar was exceptional. Sweet, cocoa and black coffee flavors and it burned well, although perhaps a bit on the moist side. I ended up buying the box at my wife’s suggestion, which allowed me to enter to win special luxury box tickets to the Flyers/Rangers game with Bernie and Mark. I fully intend to win this, by the way! Goose’s put on a great event, I came home with a ton of great cigars and a lighter wallet, and some great memories. Photos from the event below.


LaAuroraPreferidos_Corona_MaduroYesterday I wrapped up the La Aurora Preferidos Corona project, smoking the Maduro in the afternoon, then the Broadleaf later in the evening.  The Maduro is a Brazilian wrapper which corresponds to the Ruby in the Preferidos line. I found this to be a nice, smooth cocoa maduro with no rough edges. I did get the bit of tar build up that I got with the Corojo, but I clipped it off and everything was dandy after that.  I did have a couple occasions where I had to relight it, but that wasn’t the fault of the cigar, I had a couple distractions while smoking that led me to ignore it long enough for it to go out.  Like it’s brethren, another great corona.


LaAuroraPreferidos_Corona_BroadleafAfter dinner, and before the Flyers game, I tackled the final, and most anticipated, La Aurora Preferidos corona, the Broadleaf, or Diamond. I find it curious that they chose to name these differently from the line of perfectos. Instead of putting Diamond, Ruby, et cetera, on the bands, they used the actual wrapper name.  Nothing that bothers me too much, and perhaps they wanted to distinguish the coronas from perfectos.  I kinda like it from a cigar nerd stand point. The broadleaf was very different from any of the rest of the examples in the line. The wrapper gave this cigar a very pungent, almost cloying flavor, and I was torn between loving it and being annoyed by it. I ended up loving it.  It was also very different from the BSB Broadleaf from the night before. It had a palate coating quality much like licorice, not the flavor, but the texture. Very interesting and entertaining cigar to smoke, and I enjoyed the heck out of it.


imageSumming up the experience of smoking the six La Aurora Preferidos Coronas, and thanks to Jason Wood and Gabriel Piñeres for getting these to me, if I were asked to put these in order of preference, I’d have to go, from top to bottom, Broadleaf, Connecticut, Cameroon, Maduro, Corojo and Ecuador, and that doesn’t mean the ones on the bottom of the list aren’t great, it’s just a combination of how they hit my palate and based solely on one sample of each. The experience was great, the size, 5½ x 42, was very nice, especially in the colder weather (which, no doubt, lead to the couple of tar issues I had). I believe these can be purchased via mail order, in addition to in the northeast region, I’ve seen that at Atlantic Cigars, with whom I have no affiliation, for around $43. Not a bad deal.


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





Filed under Review

Another Marcus Daniel Kiev and Some La Aurora Preferidos

MarcusDanielKiev_CG_Gran ParejoSunday afternoon I decided to tackle the Connecticut Shade version of the Marcus Daniel Kiev Gran Parejo, which is a large 6½ x 57 shade wrapped cigar. The cigar is pretty, and it smoked very nicely. It was very mild for the first half, almost to the point of being off-putting, making me wish I had selected something else. It eventually picked up to near medium with a smooth, mellow flavor profile. This is a cigar that needs to be paid attention to, the flavors are there, but they aren’t jumping all over the palate.  Based on the pricing on the website, $1032.75 for a box of 25, I’d definitely take a pass, there’s no way these are $45 cigars, but I’m happy for the opportunity to have sampled them, and it’s my fervent hope that my recently retired friend who brought these back was given them by the store owner and didn’t pay that ridiculous amount for them. I’m admittedly frugal, and there are very few cigars that would get me to open my wallet that far, if any.  If you find yourself in Olde Naples, FL, stop in and check out the store, it sounds like a nice place to have a smoke, and he seems to have a good selection of other boutique cigars and realistic prices.


LaAuroraPreferidos_Corona_ConnecticutI decided this would be a good week to dig into some samples of the La Aurora Preferidos Coronas that are making their ways to shelves in the NorthEast part of the US.  There are six varieties, representing the six wrappers used on the regular Preferidos line.  I wrestled with what order to smoke them, should I do what I usually do and start with the darkest first and go from there? My wife pointed out that that may set me up for disappointment, given my proclivity for the maduro leaf. Then I wondered if I should go alphabetically. I decided to go with the opposite of what I’d normally do and go light to dark. I started with the Connecticut. I’ll preface this by saying these are all 5½” x 42 coronas, a very elegant size as far as I’m concerned. They also all have the wrapper designated on the band, which is handy.  The Connecticut was a terrific example of a smooth and creamy cigar.  It burned perfectly for the better part of and hour and a half, building nicely in strength and flavor.


LaAuroraPreferidos_Corona_CorojoI like a Connecticut shade wrapper, Ecuador or US, but it’s not on my go-to wrapper list, basically above Indonesian and  Criollo in preference, so things are looking very good for me enjoying the rest of the Preferido Corona offerings. Next in line was the Corojo.  Naturally, the Corojo should be a little stronger, and it certainly had a stronger flavor, which was unique and interesting.  Again, the construction was perfect, however I had to wipe some oozing tar of the head at the halfway point as I began to get an off taste. Once the goo was gone, it was back to tasting pretty darned great.  Another winner, although I’ll switch from the punch to a straight cut for the rest of the series.


LaAuroraPreferidos_Corona_CameroonTonight I went with the Cameroon corona.  Cameroon is an interesting wrapper with a distinctive flavor, nutty maybe?  The first La Auroras I bought, a box of Bristol Especiales back in 1995, had Cameroon wrappers and I recall they ended up not being great, almost vegetal and they had some construction issues. Granted, I didn’t have the storage experience that I have now, and probably had no business buying a box of anything at that point in my cigar journey. The box was about $40 and my daughter (who’s name is Aurora) may still have the box, that certainly figured into my purchase.  That being said, this Preferidos Cameroon was spectacular. Well balanced and loaded with Camerooniness!  Three for three!  So far the Preferidos Coronas have all been wonderful. Many thanks to Jason Wood of Miami Cigar and Co. and Gabriel Piñeres of Creativas for sending samples as well as sponsoring Day 14 of the 12SDoCG.


I’ll continue working through the last three, the Ecuador (Sumatra), Maduro (Brazil) and Broadleaf (Connecticut), taking a break on Friday to head out to Goose’s in Limerick, PA to attend an event featuring the great Bernie Parent and his line of Rocky Patel cigars. Bernie is a legend in Philadelphia sports, he’ll be there with his Stanley Cup rings from ’74 and ’75. He’s a hoot, I’ve been fortunate to enjoy several cigars with him over the last couple years.  With that, I’ll wrap this up and get to watching the Flyers game.


Until the next time,





Filed under Review

Gran Habano STK Baracuda and a Marcus Daniel Cigars Kiev and a Video

GranHabanoSTK_Baracuda_MaduroIt’s been a slow smoking week for me, the bitter cold here having some bearing on that.  So I figured it would be a good time so smoke some new, interesting and unusual cigars.  Friday I decided to spark up the Baracuda Maduro that the the folks at Gran Habano had sent me a few months ago. This was presented at last summer’s IPCPR show, and features a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper, not something you typically see!  The wrapper was a few shades lighter than a typical maduro, and it had a totally different flavor than I have come to expect from a cigar labeled “maduro”.  That being said, the flavor was exceptional! Very different and unique, with frequent flavor changes that made it very interesting. One moment there would be some coffee flavors, the next some earth and pepper. This was a very entertaining cigar to smoke and I’ll be on the look out for a couple more to see if the experience repeats.


MarcusDanielKiev_LR_Gran ParejoA couple months ago a recent;y retired former co-worker returned from a wedding in Florida where he met a cigar roller who was demonstrating his skill at the wedding.  Knowing I  am a cigar fan, this gentlemen managed to procure some samples after chatting up the gentleman rolling, who was, apparently, Marcus Daniel Morine, the proprietor of Marcus Daniel Tobacconist in Olde Naples, Florida.  The three cigars I was given were all on the larger side, and I wanted to give them some humidor time before smoking them, as I had no idea how long they had been out of the humidor and wanted to give them the best opportunity to present themselves as the blender intended.  There were two of the Dominican made Kiev line of cigars, a “Cloud Grown” Ecuador Connecticut, and a Habano Limited Reserve, and a Miami made Marcus Daniel® Habano.  I chose the darker of the three last night for my evening walk and cigar, the Kiev LR Gran Parejo. This is a substantial cigar, 6½” x 57, well made, with an easy draw.  My example had a bit of damage on the foot, which I never noticed at all when smoking.  It burned perfectly and had pleasant flavors on the medium bodied side.  As I’m writing this and doing a little research, I came across the price list for these on their website and I don’t think I would buy this cigar in the $45 price bracket. I was a bit stunned at that pricing. For me, it was a good, $8 or$9 cigar, nothing so special to warrant that kind of pricing (really, what cigar does?), but it was a nice, satisfying smoke.


Since I’m a little light on content this time, I thought I’d share a neat video that I was asked to watch and share.  Frank Correnti Cigars in Toronto, Canada, has been making what were called “Clear Havanas” in the ’50s. They hand make cigars from Havana leaf, and claim to be the only factory doing that in Canada.  I’ve never smoked their cigars, but I’ve heard of them over the years, and the folks at Notion Boulevard did a really nice job with this video.  Thanks to Zack there for passing this along.



That’s if for today. Not sure what’s on my schedule, but I may try another one of the cigars from Marcus Daniel, or I may rummage around for something else that strikes me as interesting, I rarely know until I dive into the humidors what I’m going to smoke at any given time.  So, until the next time,





Filed under Review, Video