Midweek Special: La Sirena Cigars Contest!

Got all the coolers emptied. Now it's just a matter of organization...I wanted to respond to Craig from CA’s question in the comments of the last post about how the new cabinet humidor is working, and I figured I’d throw another contest out too. I know everyone like a contest!  Anyway, the LeMans Cabinet humidor (Prestige) from First Class Cigar Humidors (http://www.cigarhumidors-online.com/) has been maintaining 65% RH, more or less, like a champ, with the twelve old fashioned green foam humidifiers and a little Cigar Oasis XL. The trouble is that the Cigar Oasis XL is too small for this application, so I bought the Cigar Oasis Magna, which was delivered yesterday.  I suppose that will do the job just fine without the need to augment it with any other devices. The large Magna even has remote fans and I’ll be able to use the WiFi module to monitor and adjust it. If I had a complaint with the humidor, it would be that the shelves are not adjustable, the top three shelves are angled, so I can either place one of the six trays on the angled shelf with maybe a hundred cigars per tray, or put boxes on it. I have several of the trays stacked on one of the bottom flat shelves, as well as some boxes I like to look at on the angled shelves. I like it so far.  More on the humidor, as well as the CigarOasis Magna, as things progress.

 

Contest!

 

I have another pack of goodies from the folks at La Sirena Cigars!  The prize is a sampler of cigars from the La Sirena portfolio: there’s a couple of the new Oceano, a Stixx, a Jaxx, a Jaxx LT, a Merlion, a new La Sirena Trident, and I’ll probably include an old La Sirena Trident (made at My Father) so you can compare the old with the new (the new being made at La Zona, and very good as well). There’s a cutter and a box of matches too. These are all exceptional cigars, there’s something in this lineup to satisfy every palate.

 

LaSirena Contest

 

 

Same rules as usual, leave a comment for an entry. I’ll pick a winner midweek next week, at which time the contest will be closed.  Let’s just say it ends on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. I’m going to go smoke a La Sirena right now while I take a walk with the pup!

 

Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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A Cuenca 5, A Nording 50, My Father Event at Cigar Cigars and a Fuente Don Carlos

Cuenca_5AnniversaryIt seems my palate is back in order, I’m no longer getting that metallic taste from every cigar any more. I’m glad that’s over. The last time I had a similar experience was after I had a flu shot, subsequently I’ve never gotten another flu shot! So to celebrate I smoked some great cigars this week.  In all honesty, I like smoking great cigars much more than I like smoking crappy cigars. I have a few in the que that I’ve been putting off smoking because I haven’t been in the mood to “take one for the team” lately. Maybe I’ll smoke one today as I’m feeding branches into the wood chipper.  The first cigar on my list today is the Cuenca 5 Anniversary box pressed torpedo. This cigar commemorates the fifth anniversary of the Cuenca Cigars store in Hollywood, FL, and came in three sizes, Robusto, Toro and this 7″ x 54 torpedo. These were released in 2013, so this one had 2 years of age, and looking at the CuencaCigars.com website, they appear to be sold out of all vitolas. Made by at the AJ Fernandez factory, this cigar had a great burn and draw and was full of flavor and was really enjoyable. The high priming Jalapa wrapper leaf gave it a nice sweetness that went along with a nice little spice. I really look forward to seeing what the folks at Cuenca come up with in a couple years when they turn ten!

 

Nording_50th_ToroNext up I came across a Nording 50th Anniversary Toro from Rocky Patel. Somehow I ended up with quite a selection of various Rocky Patel cigars, mostly toros, and I can’t for the life of me recall where they came from. I suppose my only recourse is to smoke them. So this cigar had a beautiful Ecuador Habano wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and fillers. It was a very pleasant, well balanced cigar that I enjoyed quite a bit. I may have had something else from the Nording line in the past, and I think I remember enjoying it. I’m certainly not a pipe  guy, way too much work in that hobby, but I know that this line is named for Erik Nording, a famed pipe maker and tobacco blender, and this cigar was for his 50th year in the tobacco business. It’s a fitting tribute as it was a very good cigar.

 

imageFriday evening we stopped in at our local Cigar Cigars shop, about 2 miles down the road. They were having a My Father event, and Tom, our local rep, was there. Cigar Cigars is a South Eastern PA chain of cigar stores that has been buying up cigar stores in the area for the last few years and I think they are up to ten or eleven stores now, from Freehold, NJ to Lancaster, PA. Before we moved I could have driven 7 miles in three different directions and be at a Cigar Cigars shop. I’m now a little farther from two of those shops, but could easily be at either one in fifteen minutes. Anyway, we stopped in and grabbed some of the El Centurion and Flor de Las Antillas cigars and lit up an El imageCenturion Toro. This line was originally issues as a Limited Edition in 2007, which I never had the pleasure of smoking, so I can make no comparison. What I can say is that the current El Centurion (which has a band with a great big “C” on it which must stand for CigarCraig, right?) was a very well behaved cigar. Solidly medium bodied with a nice little spice one would expect from this manufacturer. I enjoyed the crap out of the cigar while my wife and I relaxed in the lounge and took in the ambiance of the store. It was great seeing Tom again, and Steve, Barry and Tia made us feel very welcome and comfortable in the shop.

 

Fuente_DonCarlos_PresidenteYesterday, after toiling in the yard on a beautiful spring Saturday with temps in the 70s, I picked out an Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Presidente for my evening walk.  This came from a business associate who sent me some great Fuente cigars a few months ago.  I think the last time I smoked one of these was shortly after they expanded the line back in the late 90s. It seems to me they added the Presidente, Double Robusto and the No.4 to the Robusto, No. 3 and No 2 sizes to round out the line.  I have fond memories of smoking the robustos in Vegas in ’97, but I think it was a dinner at the old Sam Adams Brewpub in Philadelphia where I smoked this particular size while meeting a friend for dinner, then running into some other friends and smoking the evening away with them.  Impressively, this Don Carlos tasted just the same as I remember. It’s amazing that they can maintain consistency like that over a fifteen year period. The burn was absolutely perfect, it had a nice flat coal like I enjoy and the draw was perfect as well. I love the unique sweetness that that Cameroon wrapper gives this cigar, and it had Camerooniness like crazy. This is a classic cigar, one that every humidor should have for just that moment when you want something you know is going to deliver. That is, assuming the flavor profile of the Fuente Don Carlos is up your alley, if you don’t like it, then it doesn’t need to be in your humidor! Point is, I like it, it tastes great and brings back a lot of memories.

 

That’s it for today, I need to get out to the yard and finish cleaning some stuff up. My back doesn’t want to, but it needs to get done. I may have to get the lawn mower out this week! I may post a contest this week too, so stay tuned. Thank you all, once again for reading along, enjoy your day. Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

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Orchant Seleccion, My Father Cigars and a Cain F Lancero

Oliva_Orchant Seleccion_ShortyFor the first time in several years I went through the week without worrying about a mid-week post.  Do you know what I did? I worried about it…this is going to take some getting used to!  So Wednesday, instead of writing a post, I smoked a Orchant Seleccion by Oliva Shorty, a 5″ x 50 robusto which is only available in the UK through C.Gars Ltd., and is alleged to be based on the Oliva Serie V blend.  I have now smoked all three vitolas in this line, and I think my favorite is the 4″ x 60 Chubby. I think this is ironic, in that it’s probably the least “British” size , but for me it was the most flavorful of the bunch.  Now, one caveat: I’ve had something going on where I’m getting a bit of an odd metallic flavor no matter what cigar I seem to pick up, and It may well have something to do with trying a new toothpaste (it should be called “teethpaste”, shouldn’t it? there’s a joke in there somewhere, but I don’t want to offend my readers in West Virgina). This might have caused the problem, and I’ve had similar things happen before. Fortunately, I understand that the problem is with me, and not the cigars. Back to the Orchant Seleccion by Oliva, these are tasty, and if you’re in the UK and can get to one of Mitchell Orchant’s retail locations (I hear they deliver in London too), give these a try. These are a great “new world” option for those looking for a change of pace from the typical UK diet of Havana cigars.  Thanks to Mitchell for sharing these tasty buggers with me.

 

11046704_1829390583739701_3906437041710664562_nThursday evening my wife and I went to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia to take in one of the last Flyers games of the season.  We got some great lower level seats for a good price, and watched another loss against a team that was also out of the play off race. Hoe a team can dominate teams that are above them in the standings, and suck against teams below is a mystery I suppose we will never have an answer to.  Anyway, as you’ve read here before, the Wells Fargo Center has a cigar bar where we watched the last 5 minutes of the game in a nice leather chair and a My Father Le Bijou 1922 Petite Robusto. On these occasions, I like to select a cigar that is just about long enough for the traffic to exit the parking lot, but not so long as to run into the traffic exiting the Phillies game traffic from the adjoining venue. This was just such a cigar, my first of this line, and I look forward to smoking it again. The Habano Oscuro wrapper was dark and oily and quite tasty. The cigar started with the signature Pepin Garcia spice and smoothed out into a rich, yet full strength smoke.  Of course, as always, I stopped on the way out to say hello to the great Bernie Parent, a fixture in the cigar bar there during home games. He was smoking his BSB by Rocky Patel, of course, and was joking around with fans like he normally does. Great cigar, nice time in the lounge, kind of a lack-luster game, but lots of fun.

 

imageSaturday we had the memorial service for my father, which was held at the church where he had been the choir director for 33 years. He had also been a high school vocal music director and adviser for 30 years, so he had a significant impact on the community. It was humbling to hear the outpouring of appreciation for his efforts. I can only hope to accomplish a fraction of what he accomplished in his lifetime during mine.  It was nice to see family that I haven’t seen in many years, it’s a shame that it takes occasions such as these to bring people together. When I got home, Macha and I took a nice long walk with a favorite cigar of mine, the Cain F Tubed Lancero. Frequently ligero is left out of the lancero vitola, it’s a thicker leaf, it burns slower than other primings, and causes more problems in that narrow format. In the Cain F case, the cigar is mostly ligero, and for some reason it’s  just about the smoothest, most well-balanced Cain cigar I’ve come across. the burn was perfect, the draw was perfect, and it is very flavorful, and switching teethpaste helped considerably as the flavors were what I expected with only a little of the metallic twinge that I was dealing with all week. These are hard to find, but generally well priced at between $6 and $7 each, and are well worth it. One small gripe about the Oliva website, they seem to ignore the Can and Nub lines on the main site, not even linking to the Studio Tobac site where the Cain and Nub info resides. Again, companies make it hard to find info, where they could very easily make it simple. I happen to really like the Cain line-up, but this Lancero is the best of the bunch.

 

Please take a moment to visit some of our new (and not so new) site supporters by clicking on their graphics on the right and left sides of the page. Our latest additions are GetTheSmokeOut.com, GlobalCornerCafe.com, ItalianSmokes.com and ThompsonCigar.com.  Of course I’d like to thank these latest supporters, as well as the rest of my loyal and long-time supporters. All of these companies help me do what I do, and I appreciate their confidence and assistance. I make it  point of only advertising for companies I like and respect, so they all have my stamp of approval for whatever that’s worth!

 

It’s a beautiful day, finally, so I need to go try to get some things done in the yard that I’ve been unable to do due to the weather, so I’ll keep an eye out for something interesting to fill the mid-week void. Feel free to follow me on Instagram, Twitter of Facebook to catch my daily smoking ritual.  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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A Room 101 Daruma, Bernie Parent’s Birthday and an Aged La Gloria Cubana Cigar

I’m going to try out a different posting schedule starting this week. I’m cutting my regular posts back to Sundays only, which will be the usual recap of notable (to me) cigars I smoked that week. I’ll post here and there during the week as something comes up, an event, an interesting cigar, or a news item, or not, however I feel. I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to keep the Sunday/Wednesday schedule going, and I have to admit, posting from my dying father’s hospital room put things into perspective for me. It may result in more posts that are focused on one thing, or I may take a week off, we’ll see how it goes. I’m also happy to post “Honorary Craig for a Day” posts if they come my way. I mainly want to avoid burning out, especially as the site continues to gain popularity. This plan should be better for everyone all the way around.

 

Room101_Daruma_LanceroLast July I was in Chicago herfing around town for a few days, and I was given a Room 101 Daruna Mutante Lancero. I managed to stumble into a herf at Tesa Cigars, there were folks there from the BOTL and Saints and Sinners groups, and they welcomed me into their event. I gave someone a cigar that they mentioned they hadn’t tried, it might have been a Leccia Luchador, and they reciprocated with this lancero, employing the time honored excuse of having to make room in the traveldor. It was not necessary, but much appreciated. This one had managed to migrate to the top of the lancero shelf in the humidor, so it caught my eye I needed to be smoked. The cigar is a beautiful classic pigtailed lancero measuring 7″ x 38, and smoked very well. The Screwpop 2.0 punch is about 10mm in diameter which made a perfect hole in the cap, no burn or draw issues were experienced.  It had a nice little kick with a hint of sweetness from the Brazilian Mata Fina used as the binder. It was an elegant smoke, both in shape and flavor. I’m reminded that I haven’t smoked this cigar’s cousins, Camacho, in quite a while and will have to scare one up.  Thank you to the gentleman who gave me this fine cigar.

 

BSB 40th_StanleyFriday happened to me Bernie Parent’s 70th birthday, In his honor I smoked the Lord Stanley from the BSB 40th Anniversary by Bernie Parent sampler. Of course, Bernie Parent is the legendary goalie who led the Philadelphia Flyers to back to back Stanley Cup wins in 1974 and 1975, winning the Vezina and Conn Smyth trophies in the same years. The sampler commemorates the never before and never since winning of all three trophies in back to back years.  Bernie is a great story teller and truly loves cigars, so much so that Rocky Patel created this line. I decided to smoke the Lord Stanley, the box pressed Sumatra wrapped cigar that’s about 6½” x 50 (I could grab another out of the box to measure, but the humidor is all the way across the house. Sadly nobody mentions the sizes of these online, more on that later). The cigar was good, very pleasant flavors, but nothing so spectacular as to warrant the $12 price tag in my opinion. I don’t regret the purchase though, I bought a imagesingle of each and the box containing four each of the three cigars and an autographed puck, and I had Bernie sign the box in front of me (and I got to spend a great evening listening to his stories), so it was worth it. I just have to decide if I will regret smoking through the box one day or if I should keep it intact. Not being a collector, I’m inclined to smoke them, maybe the Flyers will win another Cup in my lifetime, at which time I’ll have a great box of cigars to break out!

 

I often link back to the manufacturers websites in my posts as a reference to myself and so my readers can get more information if they desire.  I get frustrated by companies not having information on their sites about the cigars, as is the case with Room 101 and the BSB (I really searched through Rocky’s site, saw the HR500 listed, but no BSB, and there are a lot of lines to sift through!). It takes so little effort and expense to include information about the cigars, I don’t understand why in 2015 companies cant get the most up to day information on their sites in an easy to find manner. For this reason, I link to a sponsor’s retail website, or reputable information and review sites such as Halfwheel or Cigar-Coop, to fill in the blanks.

 

LaGloria_RetroCubanoYesterday I took a nice long walk with a La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale Cubano. I was given a box of these back in 2011 when I had the great pleasure of visiting General Cigar’s operations in Santiago, DR, and am down to the last few from that box. It’s a big cigar at 6½” x 58. The cellophane is now a nice amber color, and, all  things considered, these have aged nicely. The concept behind this line originally was to downplay the contribution of the wrapper to the flavor of the cigar and let the filler blend shine.  I can’t really comment on this without trying it with other wrappers, but the wrapper is a hybrid Connecticut seed grown in Honduras, so I can understand where it would theoretically be a very mild flavored wrapper.  I’ve smoked a bunch of these over the years and have always enjoyed the balance and medium bodied strength and flavor this cigar has. It’s right up there with my favorite LGCs, and I’ve been smoking La Glorias for almost 20 years. It’s a cigar that can be smoked at any time of the say and enjoyed, and they hold up over time, while it hasn’t gotten markedly better, it hasn’t lost anything either.

 

Happy Easter and Passover everyone! I’m off to load up yet another rental truck with furniture to move from the old house to the new one…one step closer to getting that job done!

 

Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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Padron, Fuente, Recluse, CAO and Assorted Cigars

Obviously I’ve been off my game for the last week or two, and I’m having trouble getting my head together tonight.  So I’ll just recap some of the high points of the cigars I smoked over the last week. I was grabbing good cigars with little concern for writing about them, just for the pure enjoyment.  I chose great cigars that would allow me the time to contemplate the events of the last week.  I started with a Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro Exclusivo, which was delicious. It was exactly what one would expect, cocoa with a hint of dark berry and a perfect burn. This is a special cigar, one to be smoked slow and savored. I didn’t even take a good picture, and I’m too lazy to go get one now, you know what they look like!

 

Fuente_Anejo_SharkWhatever day followed that I smoked an Arturo Fuente Añejo Shark. This is a torpedo that is box pressed up to the taper to the head, which is round. It’s a really unique shape and was a pleasure to smoke. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to try this line, which is basically an Opus X binder and filler with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper.  Of course, I love Connecticut broadleaf, it’s sweet and is a nice counterpoint to the savoriness of the filler tobaccos. I have no idea how old or new this cigar was, it was a gift from a business associate, but I will smoke more of these as the occasion arises. I’m not one to chase rare cigars, but I will not hesitate to pick one or two of these up when I see them.  Very good smoke.

 

Recluse_Amadeus_ToroI also smoked a Recluse Amadeus in a 6½” x 50 Toro size.  This was a pre-release sample from last year sometime, so it didn’t have bands. Otherwise, it was a beautiful box pressed cigar with a Connecticut shade wrapper.  This cigar I chose because my dad was a career musician, and I’ve been wanting to smoke it anyway.  Once again, this was a perfect burning and drawing cigar that has the mellow, nutty grassy flavor of the Connecticut wrapper with a hearty medium bodied tobacco core, not unlike the My Father Connecticut, which i also smoked this week. I wasn’t even thinking when I grabbed it, but it did have some significance to me. Both cigars are excellent medium cigars that are mellowed by the wrapper.

 

CAO_ColumbiaLast night I snuck in a CAO Columbia Vallenato (my dad had a masters from Columbia University) that is another cigar with a similarity to the aforementioned Connecticut cigars. I love it when a cigar burns straight and even and has a great ash. This is a chunky robusto at 5″ x 56.  It was an enjoyable smoke, and this is the first Columbia I’ve smoked since December when I smoked one while driving to Bethlehem to deliver a 12DOSCG present. Dare I say “creamy” describes the cool, mellow smoke? To be honest, I had my hand on a Concert, but the Columbia called out to me, and I’m glad it did. I like the CAO Concert line, but this Columbia is a far more interesting smoke in my eyes.

 

As I said, the last week or so has been a blur, and I’m regretting not holding back either Jeff or Anthony’s guest reviews for tonight, but I have to get back in the swing of things. Thanks again to those fine gentlemen for helping me out in a pinch. Fortunately the new cabinet humidor has been behaving, naturally the humidity is reading a little bit lower at the top than the bottom, and I need to either get a larger Cigar Oasis unit, or add another one.  It’s happily sitting in the mid 60% range, and cigars are smoking well out of it, so I’m happy.  Kudos to the folks at 1st Class Cigar Humidors, it was worth the wait.

 

For anyone interested, my father’s obituary is here. I thank you all for your kindness at what has been a very difficult time.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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