I’m sitting here watching the first Flyers game of the season, trying to write. Hockey is the only sport I have any interest in, so it’s nice that it’s back! Anyway, I stuck with some classic brands this week, starting off with a Montecristo which was given to me by Tom, our local Altadis rep a few weeks back at The Smokin Goose Festival. Goose’s Tobacco is a Montecristo Lounge, so they have the exclusive (and aptly named) Casa de Montecristo Exclusivo. Obviously, this cigar is only available at Montecristo lounges. This is a 6″ x 60 with an enormous band in addition to a black and silver Montecristo band. The wrapper is Ecuador Sumatra, with Nicaraguan binder and fillers. The cigar burned very nicely, and it had a reasonably sweet tobacco flavor. I enjoyed this cigar, I suspect I would smoke this again if I found myself in a Montecristo lounge and had $12 burning a hole in my pocket.
Tuesday I heard the news that Carlos Llaca Toraño is now the Director of Operations at Gurkha Cigars. He was previously the Operations Director at Toraño Family cigars until their recent acquisition by General Cigar Co. This prompted me to select the newest offering from Gurkha’s East India Trading Co., The Classic Cigar – Havana Blend in the XO size. The square press on this 6″ x 60 makes it feel smaller than it is. This is another nice smoking cigar which I found to have a pleasing flavor on the light side. Once I realized that this wasn’t a powerful cigar I really enjoyed the delicate flavor. At right around $8 each, this is a nice smoke. I only had to touch it up once or twice, otherwise it burned quite well. This would probably be a nice morning cigar with a cup of coffee.
Tonight I went with the new Cohiba Nicaragua in the N50 robusto size. The samples I received from General Cigar Co. are cellophaned 5″ x 50, which only appear to be available in glass tubes commercially. This is the first Cohiba to be blended and handcrafted in Nicaragua. The fillers are from Esteli and Jalapa and the wrapper is listed as Colorado Oscuro, no mention of country of origin. Obviously the Cohiba name comes with some expectations, whether positive or not, so I was interested to see what this new Nicaraguan blend brought to the table. It started out very sweet, and developed very nicely. It burned like a super premium cigar should, a nice flat and even burn with a perfect draw through a V-cut. I suspect these will age nicely, but they are smoking well now.
As I was getting a lighter out the other day I realized that I have a few of them laying around. One thing that stands out to me is that the lighters I have range from a couple dollars to around $60, and with the proper care, the cheaper ones generally work as well as the expensive ones. In this picture you’ll notice that none of the three Blazer torches I’ve had over the last 17 years or so have survived. The Zippo with the z-Plus insert has been the most impressive, as well as the Ronson. The newest addition is the Jetline triple torch (at about 9 oclock) which came from the Rocky Mountain Festival goodie bag. This is a very nice lighter. The yellow one will be recognized by some of my blogger bretheren, it actually has what is basically a Cricket lighter inside of it and I have had good luck taking it apart and spreading it out through my luggage when I travel. Only the white La Gloria lighter is a soft flame, hence it gets very little use. I have some other ones here and there, I hate not having a lighter handy!
The first big news relates to my mention of Carlos Llaca Toraño joining Gurkha, his cousin Jack Toraño, who was also displaced in the acquisition, has joined Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars. Look for a press release in the coming days announcing this. Anyone who knows Jack knows what a great guy he is, and I’m very glad to hear he’s re-joining the workforce after a reasonably short hiatus.
In other news, The Charlotte Observer reports that the JR Statesville store will be closing at the end of the year. There are three stores in North Carolina, and they are all large outlet stores with all kinds of merchandise from Jeans and toys, to cigarettes and premium cigars. If you ever drove down I-95 through North Carolina you can’t miss the entertaining billboards. Apparently the owner of the property isn’t renewing their lease and has plans to re-develop the entire shopping center that is aging. Seventy-seven jobs will be lost, however JRs says they will open a cigar only store nearby in the future. The full story is here. This is the only North Carolina location I haven’t visited, I’ve stopped at the Selma store on the few trips I’ve made down I-95, and I had a tour of the massive distribution center in Burlington many years ago.
That’s it for now, until the next time,