This weekend I’ve been in Secaucus, New Jersey hanging out with my wife while she helps some of her clients out at the New York Metro Fest For Beatles Fans. This festival takes over the entire Empire9 Meadowlands Hotel, and let me tell you, it’s an interesting group of folks. I’ve been Tweeting short videos via Keek here and there. I love the Beatles, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a reason one of my wife’s sites is Beatles-Freaks.com! There’s no shortage of loonies here. I’ve been poking fun via Keek and Twitter, but it’s probably not that much different than a herf or cigar festival is to the outside observer (OK, maybe there aren’t too many people dressed as their favorite cigar maker at cigar fests..). It’s certainly something to be experienced. Fortunately, while my wife was busy with her duties at the show, I was able to visit a few cigar shops and smoke some cigars.
Friday evening I ventured north to Englewood, NJ to seek out Casa Hispaniola. This is the retail/lounge arm of Hispaniola Cigars. Through a series of Tweets I had the great pleasure of meeting with Hugo Melo, one of the owners of the company. This is a nice little shop and lounge in what appears to be an upscale suburb of New York City. The shop has cabinet humidors lining two walls, plenty of comfy seating and quite a relaxing atmosphere. The selection was reasonable and certainly included the Hispaniola line of cigars, of which I smoked a Tres Carabelas, a name which refers to the three ships that Columbus sailed to explore the new world. This 5″ x 50 rubusto was smooth and tasty, and I found it to be fairly strong, on the high side of medium to me. It’s a Dominican puro, wrapped with a ruddy wrapper which is described as a “Havano Oscuro Vuelta Arriba”. Hugo mentioned that it contained several leaves of ligero, which was evident in the burn, it required some touch ups, but nethier the draw or flavor seemed to be compromised. In short, it was a tasty treat. Prior to Hugo’s arrival at the shop I enjoyed a La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor robusto, and, as I stated in my previous article’s comments, I can be reasonably certain that this is the same as the UK/Europe market’s La Aroma del Caribe Mi Amor. It was a stellar smoke, spice at the start and nice cocoa/coffee flavors throughout. It was a great way to spend and evening and reinforces the theory that a cigar shop is a safe haven for any traveler, one feels at home and a stranger can sit down and join in on the conversation and feel at home.
Saturday, after a very surreal late Friday night, seeing everything from people with Beatles t-shirts, to a Jake Blues impersonator (?), and after a decent continental breakfast at the hotel, I managed to make my way a few miles to Cigar Emporium in Lyndhurst, NJ. I had put out some correspondence to some of the locals, and Alex Martinez (Stogiecop.com), Matt Ross (@MattSRoss81) and Antonio Lam (Reinado Cigars) were kind enough to take time out of their Saturday and bring some friends along as well to smoke a few cigars with an out-of-towner. The shop is very nice. The walk-in humidor is expansive and I like the fact that it’s down a few steps from the lounge area. I don’t know why I liked that, but it was different and sets it apart from other shops. The selection was quite good, and the prices were typical New Jersey prices. I selected an EP Carillo Core Maduro Club 52 to get started. This was a very nice cigar, not strong at all, but very well balanced and flavorful. I followed that with an enormous San Lotano Oval Gordo, a 6½” x 60. The “oval” presentation makes this easier to handle, and it’s a tremendous smoke. This lasted me close to two hours. I was there for about 5 hours, and it went by in a flash. I appreciate these guys coming out, it was great to see Antonio again and actually get to talk to him as opposed to interviewing him at the IPCPR show, and I look forward to smoking his Grand Empire Reserve again (stay tuned). I was also quite happy to finally meet Alex and Matt after having corresponded with them both over the years. Thanks for a great afternoon, and thanks to the staff of Cigar Emporium for their hospitality.
I have a few hours to kill this afternoon, maybe I’ll head back to Cigar Emporium since it was so close and so good. It’s been a great weekend. Don’t forget to go back to Wednesday’s post and enter the contest to win some excellent Recluse Kanu No. 1 cigars. I’ll select a winner in next Sunday’s post, so leave a comment answering the question: “What do you know about Recluse Cigars?”
Also, don’t forget the promo codes that are currently available for your use:
You can use the code “MPCGRS10” on CigarFromBrazil.com to get %10 off any purchase on the site. The Monte Pascoal cigars are very nice.
ItalianSmokes.com has a special offer code for you, it’s CIGCRAIG10 and will get you 10% off your purchase of their selection of Toscano style cigars.
Until the next time,