A Visit to SMoKE Manayunk and Various Lanceros and another Fratello Cigar

SMoKELast Sunday my wife and I went into Philly for Afternoon Tea at a downtown hotel.  While not a particularly manly pursuit, it was very nice, with good little sandwiches, scones and pastries to nibble on and a nice tea selection. Afterwards we stopped at SMoKE Manayunk, one of the newer lounges in the area which I’ve been hearing a lot about. It’s the place everyone goes after SMoKE2the other cigar stores close since they are open late. The building is located right next to the fire station, which is always a good idea, and has a rustic, industrial decor. SMoKE3The ceiling is open to the rafters with the galvanized spiral pipe ventilation system. There’s seating in the front of the store, a large bar (it’s BYO, but they have soft drinks) and the walk in humidor in the middle, and more lounge area in the back. It’s a spacious place, and we found it very comfortable.  Kosta is the owner, and is a very gracious host, who is a lancero fan, and has a SMoKE4nice selection. Of course, I had to pick up a couple of his store exclusive cigars, the Zeus, named after the mascot of the place, a large, simian/yeti sort of painting in the front of the space. Of course, I got the lancero, and was impressed with the way it smoked, and I ZeusLancerowould go so far as to say that if you find yourself in the Philadelphia area, put SMoKE on your list of destinations and try this cigar. It was my favorite kind of cigar, dark flavors, rich espresso and cocao, and it burned smooth and perfectly.  The cigar is 7″ x 38 with a nice pigtail cap, and I seem to remember Kosta saying it was made at Placencia, but he mentioned a Perdomo tour in the same conversation. I’m afraid I didn’t take very good notes on the blend either, I’ll try to update when I get the details, unless they show up in the comments.  It was the outcome of a blending seminar on a factory tour. Great smoke!


Fratello_Bianco_IIIBesides lanceros, I managed to fit another Fratello Bianco in early in the week, this time the  5″ x 56 Bianco III.  I can’t wait to have easy access to this cigar, it’s got a little of everything I like in a cigar, the San Andrés maduro wrapper and fillers from Peru and Pennsylvania. Still an early favorite for one of my favorite new cigars this year. Omar is one of many people I’m really looking forward to seeing at the IPCPR show next week, he’s got a personality that goes along with his physical stature. For what it’s worth, I would smoke the crap out of the Bianco blend in the lancero format…just a little food for thought for Omar!


AlecBradley_Nica Puro_H-townBack to the lanceros!  I had enjoyed the Fratello Lancero that is one of Stogies World Class Cigars H-Town series, and decided to explore some other or the lanceros in the line. I love the Alec Bradley Nica Puro line in general, so I was excited about the lancero.  Obviously, it’s a Nicaraguan puro, and the sweet and savory flavors I get have always satisfied my palate. It’s one of those go-to cigars you always keep around and default to when you can’t decide what to smoke. You can always count on them to deliver good flavor and a great over-all experience.  The H-Town is no different, although the flavor is a little more sharply focused due to the small ring gauge. Smooth, full of flavor, and certainly a compliment to the already great line.  I’ve been wanting to try the Diamond Rough-Cut in this line, but haven’t picked any up, is it much different from the regular line? I’ll have to keep an eye out for one.  The H-Town lancero is recommended if you enjoy this line.


Quesada_Espana_H-townThursday I went with another from the H-Town series, the Quesada España Lancero.  This is the first I’ve smoked of the España line, and it was a very tasty smoke. It used to be that lanceros were prone to having a plugged draw, or other construction problems, but I can’t recall when I’ve had a poorly made lancero in the past few years. It takes a pretty specific hand shape to bunch these, long, thin fingers seem to be key.  Anyway, this España was pretty terrific, loads of tasty smoke and perfect performance, I smoked this to a very small nub. It may be the only member of the H-town family with three bands.  So far the H-Town series of lanceros are all winners for me.  I smoked the Room 101 Namakubi Ecuador in the lancero format a few weeks ago and it was equally as enjoyable as it’s larger brethren, but with the little extra punch from the smaller ring. I’ll have to get to Houston one of these days to visit the store, it seems like quite the place!


RockyPatel_SuperLigero_LanceroFriday I sat down with a Rocky Patel Super Ligero in the Lancero size. I had picked this up when I visited SMoKE as I had been eager to try the lancero size in this blend. I’ve been enjoying the toro shape, and really like the lancero. Once again, it’s got a little more punch in the flavor department, sharper, more direct.  As with the others I smoked this week, the burn and draw were spot on, and I nubbed the sucker.  Great dark roast coffee flavors which are right in my wheelhouse. SO far I’ve smoked this blend in both the Toro and Lancero formats and really enjoyed the experience.  I’ll pick up a some more in the Robusto and Sixty sizes when I see them.  This isn’t a ridiculously strong cigar, the “Super” in Super Ligero is actually the name of the leaf, not a characterization of the power or even the priming, as I understand it. It’s generally a bit odd to have Ligero in a lancero as it doesn’t burn great and lanceros need to burn right. There’s a lot of Rocky Patel cigars (I could end the sentence right here) that I can take or leave, but this one is a winner for me.


Yesterday we rented a truck one last time and finished moving all the big stuff out of my wife’s parents house and into our garage. I was exhausted last night, so after a shower I sat down with a nice Inca Imperio and caught up on some podcast listening.  Great smoke to unwind after a long day of sweating and swearing (I don’t think I swore as much as other times…).  Now to start preparing for our trip to New Orleans this week for the IPCPR show, I’ve made some appointments, I have a list of folks I want to see and have been plotting my course on the floor plan. I’m sure once I get on the floor that will go out the window due to the overwhelming nature of the event! So, the next time you hear from me should be from the show, whether it’s short video updates or something else, we’ll see what happens.  Have a great week, until the next time,







Filed under Review, Stores

7 Responses to A Visit to SMoKE Manayunk and Various Lanceros and another Fratello Cigar

  1. foozer6976

    nice reads……have a safe trip and enjoy yourself brother!!!

  2. jjo

    I’m going to have to get a few of those H-Town lanceros. The Quesada España especially, intrigues me. Coincidentally, I smoked my last Inca Imperio last night, and enjoyed it quite a bit more than the previous one, but I still lean toward the Tambo. I’ll need to pick a few more of the toros, ans can’t wait to see how the yet to be released coronas will be.

    I want to see you throw out a curveball at IPCPR and ask everyone you interview the old Father Guido Sarducci question. 😉 I hope the muckety-mucks there give the blogging community the respect and access they rightfully deserve this time around.

  3. Dan Colley

    This is my favorite time of the year: when all of the new cigars are being introduced or readied for the upcoming IPCPR confab. ALWAYS some new and tasty treats coming out of that event. Like you, I tend to favor some of the smaller RG cigars like lanceros. It seems that those types of cigars are making a “comback” in the marketplace.

  4. John Hateley

    I just recently started trying different lanceros. I had always avoided them for some reason, but I really enjoy the concentrated flavors you get from them.

  5. Patrick

    Big lancero fan here and I agree Craig that they are much more reliable now then back in the day. Wish you success at the show, and return home safe.
    Life is good

  6. czerbe

    Kosta is the man and I have been to his shop a bunch. I love the fact that he has a solid selection, tons of space and its BYOB, I just wish it wasn’t over an hour away from my house. Great review Craig.

  7. SMoKE looks like a nice lounge. Thanks for sharing your reviews. Enjoy the IPCPR show!

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