I got into a little pattern last week while working on my last article, and decided I needed some diversity. I’ve been working my way around the cigar making countries this week, so here’s a look at some of the cigars I’ve smoked and the circumstances surrounding them.
Sunday was my youngest son’s 18th birthday, and for months he’s been telling me that we were going to smoke a cigar together to mark the occasion. Since his older brother’s first cigar at 18 was a Romeo y Julieta Coronitas, I figured that would be the fairest choice. I had purchased a box of these almost 5 years ago to smoke and share at my daughter’s wedding, and they went over very well. It’s not a large cigar, and it’s interesting enough to satisfy the newbie and experienced smoker alike. I hadn’t smoked one in a very long time so I joined my son on the back deck for his first cigar. We had originally planned to go to the Cozy Hookah and Cigar Lounge in nearby West Chester to have a relaxing smoke indoors, but when we got there it wasn’t open. Fortunately it wasn’t bitterly cold so we took the heater out and fired up. It went well. Christian enjoyed the cigar, and didn’t turn plaid like his brother had years before. 🙂
The next night, eager to try out all of the little things that come with turning 18, my son wanted to buy a lottery ticket. He had stopped in to the local cigar shop, JMs Cigars, and purchased a little Arturo Fuente, it looked like a maduro Exquisito to me. I grabbed a Brun del Re Colonial Robusto from the IPCPR show and the three of us (oldest son, Corey, included) took the walk to the convenience store. I was hesitant, yet currious about the Brun del Re, my first experience with the Don Corazza line was less than fulfilling. I needed to mix things up a little, so I figured what the heck. The cigar has a nice dark Costa Rican maduro wrapper and a mix of Costa Rican and Nicaraguan fillers. I think the Indonesian binder takes a little away from an otherwise nice cigar, but that’s just me and my bias against Indonesian tobacco. All in all it was an enjoyable smoke. Enough different flavors to be interesting and very well made. I still have a couple of thier other lines to smoke, I’m looking forward to sampling them.
Today we had one of those rare February days where temps approach the 60s, so I’m typing this while enjoying a Humo Jaguar Gigante that was a gift from my friend Barry Stein, formerly of ACigarSmoker.com, presently of Miami Cigar and Co. This line came out of the cigar festival of the same name which was held last February in Honduras. The word on the street is that all of the Honduran cigar makers submitted blends in a sort of Miss Honduran Cigar contest, and this was the winner. It seems to me there is some disagreement over who actually won, but this is the cigar with the Humo Jaguar name, and it’s the one I’m smoking now, so I don’t care. This is a 6″ x 60 monster with a nice, dark Honduran Oscuro wrapper. I don’t know what I was expecting, but what I’m getting is a really nice cigar! Rich flavor, perfect draw and burn, and some subtle little flavors that make me raise the occasional eyebrow and say “hmmmm….nice!” I’m only half way though, but I feel confident in recommending this cigar, and deeply appreciate the opportunity to try it. I’ll be picking some more of these up in the future.
It’s a bit of good news/bad news for those of us in the Philadelphia area. As reported in last Thursday’s Philadelphia Inquirer:
Center City cigar lounge Mahogany on Walnut (1524 Walnut) will be closing its doors Feb. 29.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, who came in while governor of California, is among the many famous faces who have enjoyed a smoke at the old-fashioned lounge.
Piazza says he hopes to soon open a new location “Within a four block radius.”
“I have some of the most unbelievably loyal patrons,” Piazza said. “I feel horrible for those people. They’re apologizing to me, but I feel bad for them, that I let them down,” said Piazza, noting that the bar survived two smoking bans and two recessions.
Holt’s declined comment on not renewing the lease or its plans for the space.
UPDATED Feb. 18:
Holt’s President Robert Levin got back to me Saturday to say that after Mahogany closes, the space will “Be totally renovated and rebuilt,” and re-open in 5 to 6 months as The Ashton Cigar Bar named after the popular cigar brand Holt’s owns. Levin says the bar will have an updated HVAC system and walk-in humidor
So the bad news is that Mahogany over top of Holt’s is closing, a place many of us have stopped in to enjoy a smoke or two with friends over the years. The good news, I suppose, is that downtown Philly will soon have two cigar bars! It will be very interesting to see what Holt’s does with the existing space on Walnut Street, and where Tom Piazza will open his new place.
That’s all I have for tonight, now I’m going to get back to this tasty Humo Jaguar! Until the next time,