An Arandoza, a CAO Flathead and a new Sindicato Cigar, and a CONTEST!

OK, lots going on today, so let’s get some cigars out of the way!  My palate’s a little flat still, I blame the change in weather. It’s gotten cold all the sudden, and I tend to gravitate to heavier maduros this time of year anyway, and I’ve been slow in following my own advice. One reason is it’ll be boring writing about the same couple cigars twice a week, and it’ll be equally boring smoking the same couple cigars!  I’ll adjust, it’s like that first day it drops in the 40s and you bundle up with gloves, and by January you’re in a t-shirt when it gets that warm. So I smoked some cigars, came across a neat cigar related item or two, and there’s a contest too!


Arandoza_White_RobustoThursday I decided to dig in to the box of Arandoza White Label Robustos that I apparently won in the most recent Cigar Federation Project Mañana Raffle.  I really like the cigars from Arandoza, which are made at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona Factory. This is a nice, refined Nicaraguan cigar with good balance and flavor. I really look forward to smoking more of these, there is just about nothing I don’t enjoy about this cigar, from the smoking to the presentation, it’s first class all the way.  I suppose it’s possible one of these falls into the contest box when it mails out. Stranger things have happened.  Thank you to Arandoza Cigars and Cigar Federation for supporting a worthy cause.


CAO_Flathead_CamshaftTo give my palate a proper test, I decided my Friday evening smoke should be a favorite cigar that I’ve smoked a bunch of over the past year or so. I really like the CAO Flathead line, with the only possible gripe I have being that the only real neat and tidy way to cut these is with a punch, which actually works out nicely for today’s post.  I used the first edition of the Screwpop Punch on the Flathead (if you don’t know, the head is flat, so it’s really hard to use anything but a punch on these).  I smoked the 556 Camshaft size of the Flathead, with is basically a toro, but I can recommend any size (including the 770) to anyone who enjoys bold, heavy bodied maduro cigars. These are about the perfect autumn cigar for me.  Another benefit is that they don’t roll off the table when you set them down!  Good stuff from Ricky Rodriguez and his team at CAO.


Yesterday, after spending time at the new house clearing brush and ancient overgrown hedges for a fence to contain Macha (and keep the 16 year old Cocker Spaniel from wandering off), I came home to a cool package in the mail. This package contained the redesigned Screwpop 2.0 Cigar Punch. When I tried the original punch almost two years ago, I made some suggestions to Brett at the company on some ways I thought it could be improved. One suggestion was to reverse the design so that the punch came off of the clip/opener end so that it could remain clipped to something, and the other was to make it self clearing, as the original version tended to keep the cap cuts in the body of the unit.  It seems my suggestions were taken to heart, and here we have the new version of the punch.  Of course, I had to try it out.  I Sindicato_Maduro_Magnumreceived some samples of the new Sindicato maduro last week, and these looked really good.  The samples were all of a larger size, so I went up the middle with the 6×60 Magnum size. This wasn’t the best test for the Screwpop 2.0 becuase the folks at Casa Fernandez, who make this cigar, use a bit of a pigtail cap. Not to be deterred, I gave it a punch. The 2.0 is a slightly larger bore than the 1.0, which is good, since it doesn’t render my old trusty punch obsolete. The cigar has my favorite San Andres Morrón wrapper, and has a nice, rich cocoa flavor. The 60 ring gauge was very comfortable given the box press, so it felt a bit smaller.  It burned very well and I can’t wait to smoke the Churchill and Toro sizes.  It smoked very well and was a fine way to wrap up a tiring, but productive day.


And now for something completely different

I received a note from one of my readers, Josh, in Salt Lake City, pointing me to his Etsy store.  He’s been making some really cool lamps from cigar boxes.  These have a really nice kind of steampunk feel to them and are very high end.  Take a look at his site when you get a chance!



screwpop2.0Since Brett at Screwpop Tool, LLC was kind enough to send me more than one Cigar Punch 2.0, I figured it only made sense to have a contest and give one away!  Strike that, I’ll give TWO away!  Be aware, I can’t just send out a punch without including something to try it out on, so, invariably, some cigars will fall into the shipping boxes when they go out. I can’t help it, it just always seems to happen.  So to recap, the Screwpop 2.0 Cigar Punch no only bores a nice hole in your cigar and  cleans itself out, but you can also use it to take the cap off your favorite bottled beverage.  It’s got a handy and fashionable gated clip so you can wear it with pride or clip it to your key ring.  These are black anodized aluminum and look really sharp.  Leave a comment to enter and I’ll select two winners at random on Wednesday.  If you’ve won in the last six months you aren’t eligible, sorry.


That’s it for now, time to head over to the new house an clean up the mess we made yesterday!  Until the next time,





Filed under Contest, News, Review

37 Responses to An Arandoza, a CAO Flathead and a new Sindicato Cigar, and a CONTEST!

  1. James Brewington

    Nice review. The punch looks fantastic.

  2. Vernon E. Warner Jr

    Very nice, I really like to use a punch, I carry one everyday, some of the ones I have, do have the same problem they get clogged up by the cap cuts so you have to take a toothpick or something to clean them out. It would be nice to try out a new one.

  3. Mike McCain

    a punch that opens beverages would be incredibly handy as i often indulge in a beverage as i smoke

  4. Thanks for the great reviews, be nice to try the punch.

  5. texican8

    Thanks for the reviews and contest!

  6. Charlie H.

    Hey Craig!
    Thanks for the contest we all appreciate it so much, I have been punching my cigars for quite some time now but I always seem to buy those cheap $3 ones that only last a few months. These look like high quality cutters, thanks again, good luck everyone. PS, I love your review style, short-to-the-point and more than one cigar per post.

  7. Kevin Shahan

    I will have to check out the CAO Flathead at my local Tobacco
    Locker tomorrow, it sounds great. I have only used a punch for a while so I will be prepared.

  8. Jake Payne

    Pretty sure I mentioned it on fb but, I really was surprised by how much I liked the CAO Flathead line. I wasn’t expecting much from them once they went to General but. as I said, I was surprised.

  9. Jesus C

    Thanks for the contest, that punch looks great to keep in my car so I don’t make a mess cutting cigars

  10. Swede214

    An other good review as always, thanks for the ”give-a ways”.

  11. Jeff Ketcham

    Thanks for another great contest!

  12. Rashied Patel

    Hi Craig I have a Flathead laid naked in my humidor,if you send a cigar punch I could try it out

  13. John Hateley

    Cool idea combining the punch and bottle opener.

  14. Thanks for the review. I love the CAO Flathead, its a great cigar. Excellent contest.

  15. Chris Matt

    I just hope I dont accidentally punch a bottle Coke. And now, something completely different.

  16. Jerry

    Count me in. Thanks Craig

  17. Patrick

    Arandoza is fast becoming one of my favorites. The red is amazing. Thanks for another contest.

  18. Matt Ross

    Great contest, Craig. I had one of the original screwpops, but I lost the cap and it killed the ‘sharpness’ of the tool, but still found it useful as I could keep it on my keyring and never be without a cutter.

  19. Always great reading and contests Craig! Those CAO Flathead’s are on my favorites list too. They have a great flavor profile and seem very easy to keep in the mouth. I may have to get me some more of them for the winter and do something I’ve not done in ages, take it for a walk! Thanks for all that you do!

  20. David Nichols

    Congrats on winning. I just received my prize from the Project Manana raffle on Saturday!

  21. Joe K

    I haven’t used that Punjh before. Count me in to try to win one.

  22. JScott

    It’s ironic you’re reviewing the Flathead as I plan on lighting one up the next chance I get outside. It sounds like it’s right in my “wheelhouse”! Thx for running the contest as well!

  23. Dan Colley

    Wow !!! A cigar punch that will accommodate the drunken cigar smoker !!! What a great idea !!! I really like those lamps. A lot of imagination went into the creation of those things.

  24. Jay Reiniger

    You had me at punch!

  25. Donald Santos

    That’s a awesome punch just what I need seeing my old punch is dull

  26. Duane Holmes

    I don’t normally use a punch but I’ll give it a shot.

  27. I have rarely used a punch on a cigar for the same reason you mentioned. The cap seems to get stuck in the tool. This one looks to have solved the problem. I always dig a good contest, so count me in. Thank you!

  28. That Arandoza sounds like one to try… Will seek them out along with the Flathead (I seem to enjoy most CAO brands).

  29. That’s a great looking punch! like the cap ejection system they have going.

  30. Steve

    I enjoy the blog!

    Plus you have a cocker spaniel! I’ve got three of them. All mine are upland hunting dogs. Fun stuff!

  31. Brian Impson

    That’s a clever idea for a punch combo tool. Glad they decided to implement your suggestions for improvement. I lost my punch cutter years ago and refuse to buy a new one. I’m still determined to find the old one – or maybe just refuse to admit defeat.

  32. smoke770

    nice contest!!

  33. jjo

    Man, you are the most frequent accidental contest winner I’ve ever seen! LOL Been wanting to try the Arandozas, but it appears that they still haven’t reached my area.

    I’m guessing that whoever wins your drawing will be getting a Flathead – there isn’t a cigar out there that needs a punch more than that one.

  34. Tim

    Smoking 10 yrs never used a punch…. Hmm

  35. David Crowson

    cool punch and awesome of you to share the love!!!

  36. Craig

    Awesome cigars. I too dif the CAO flathead. That 770 is a beast but tasty nine the less.