Avo Syncro, RoMaCraft Cigars at SMoKE Manayunk and a Tatuaje

Avo_SyncroNicaraguan_RobustoThere are so many cigars out there, it’s really hard to smoke them all, yet I keep trying!  I’ve smoked the Avo Syncro Nicaraguan in the Short Robusto and Toro size and, like many Avo cigars, I found them enjoyable, but isn’t really get what the hype was. Perfectly good cigars, but nothing particularly special to me (I really liked the XO though). A couple of weeks ago my friends at Famous Smoke Shop send me some of the Avo Syncro Nicaraguan and I was excited as I really want to like these and appreciate the opportunity to try them in another size. The robusto is a box pressed 5″x 50, with a milk chocolate-brown wrapper, which is actually Ecuador Connecticut,  and it has some Nicaraguan Ometepe, Dominican and Peruvian fillers. It’s a solid smoke, medium bodied with some balanced and interesting flavors. So far, this might be my favorite in the bunch, it’s got a little sweet, and a little spice, quite entertaining. I may try to sneak another one of these in today, the Short Robusto might fit my walk today from the Philadelphia Art Museum to the Kimmel Center for the Philly Pops concert. Thanks, once again, to Cory at Famous Smoke Shop for sharing the Avo Syncro Robusto with me.


Friday evening we went down to SMoKE Manayunk to visit with Skip and Mike of RoMaCraft Tobac as they have been on a tour of Philadelphia cheesesteak purveyors and have been taking breaks to have cigar events. First, a little about SMoKE and Manayunk. Manayunk is a very hip main street area in Philadelphia, with loads of bars and restaurants, so there were a ton of younger 20-SMoKE Manayunksomething folks around, and it was pretty impressive how many came in to hang out and smoke cigars. SMoKE is BYOB, so many people brought in their own beer, wine or liquor and they have refrigerators behind the bar. Kosta is the owner, and has a very good staff headed up by Spencer McGuire, who recently left his post as brand manager of Emilio Cigars.  The staff is attentive, constantly emptying ashtrays and seeing to the customer’s needs, as well as helping people in the large and well stocked humidor. The lounge is 3000 square feet, has a very industrial, distressed feel to the decor, and is welcoming and comfortable. The only downside is the parking. I found out the hard way that on street parking can cost $26 if you exceed the 1 hour limit, which I guess I was supposed to know without signing close by (oddly, the “Parking Enforcement” vehicle was parked a car ahead of me and was there longer than I was…I hate double standards!). So the $10 lot nearby would have been a better deal it turns out. It was starting to get crowded when we left, which is pretty cool for a cigar lounge.


FomarianSo I perused the selection of RoMaCraft cigars they had, and settled on a couple of the Candela Fomorians (I spelled that wrong elswhere), a Neanderthal  Shallow Gene Pool, and a couple of CroMagnon Atlatl lanceros, since I like lanceros and Kosta has probably the best selection of that vitola in the area, so when in Rome…anyway, I lit up a Fomorian (along with Mike and Skip) and proceeded to hang out. I’ve known these guys since 2011, which is about when they launched the CroMagnon line, and they make some outstanding cigars. The Fomorian is the CroMagnon blend of Cameroon binder and Nicaraguan fillers, with the Broadleaf wrapper replaced with a fragile Candela wrapper in the 5″ x 56 EMH size.  The combination is really quite amazing, there’s the sweetness of the Cameroon, the depth of the Nicaraguan, with that refreshing flavor of the Candela. Along with the long ago discontinued Camacho Candela, this is the best representation of a Candela cigar I’ve had the SGPpleasure of tasting. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed a few, but this one has some giddyup to it, great cigar.  I followed that with a little Neanderthal Shallow Gene Pool, the smaller (4½ x 52) sibling of the Neanderthal HN, which I absolutely loved. This cigar has a San Andrés wrapper and a Pennsylvania Double Ligero, which is unusually high in nicotine. You wouldn’t know it, the cigar is very smooth with a great flavor.  If these weren’t in the $11+ range, I would smoke these all the time, so good. Interesting to note, lots of nicotine before bedtime makes for a restless night with crazy dreams, at least that was my experience. It could be that, as Skip pointed out, I’m the oldest young guy he knows, which I took as a compliment since I’m pretty old…anyway, it was a great night, smoking great cigars and hanging out at a great place with great folks.


Tatuaje_Reserva_J21Yesterday was a beautiful spring day, and after getting some things done around the yard, I relaxed on the porch with a Tatuaje Reserva J21. These are made in Miami with a Habano Ecuador wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filer. This is a 5″ x 50 robusto and is quite an attractive cigar, listed as a full strength offering. This was exactly what I needed after working in the yard and running errands. It started out with some spice and moved to espresso, which we all know I like. It was refined and elegant, and I really liked it. I smoke fewer Tatuajes than I really should, because whenever I smoke one it’s a treat. For some reason, in my mind, it’s a cigar that’s special, in much the same way an Opus or Padron Anniversary is. I don’t why I feel that way, but it’s in my head for some reason, and I don’t end up picking them up as often as I should. I’ll work on changing that.


That’s it for today, until the next time,





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8 Responses to Avo Syncro, RoMaCraft Cigars at SMoKE Manayunk and a Tatuaje

  1. I don’t smoke many full strength cigars, but that J21 is always a special cigar when I choose to go strong. The AVO Synco is a fine cigar but I usually grab a Classic or a Heritage.

  2. Steve W.

    Nice lineup this week. I’ve never had the candela Roma, but the other two are good to great sticks.

  3. Miguel Rocha

    Looks like some treat sticks were smoked! Good stuff!

  4. Patrick

    I so much want to meet Mike and Skip for I am a huge Roma Craft fanboy. Like you the price keeps me away from purchasing them all the time but they are must have sticks in my humidors. Seems like I’m going have to increase my 8$ average to 10$, a prospect that saddens me to say the least. But it’s the way the wind is blowing and I don’t want to miss out on the next best blend…

  5. Dan Colley

    Craig, I sprung for a half-box of the Tatuaje 2015 TAA this year. One review said that it was as close as any of Pete’s cigars came to the “Beefsteak” which that reviewer called Pete’s best effort. I don’t know about all of that because I never had a Tatuaje Beefsteak. I do know that the TAA was an outstanding smoke. Smelled like a barnyard when I opened the cabinet. Rich variety of flavors. For me a treat, so I know what you mean when you speak of Tatuaje Reservas.

    I’ve also become a fan of the AVO maduro. I’m not as fond of the others in their line, but the Maduro is also quite rich in flavor and variety. I suppose I need to give the Nica a try !!!

    Thanks as always for a good column.

  6. SMoKE sounds like a cool place, though I imagine that in such a trendy part of town it’d get pretty crowded and crazy in there sometimes. Usually I prefer something more laid-back.

  7. I have been to Kosta’s place a #of times and loved it each and every time, he is a solid dude who knows and loves the business, I just wish I was down in that area more these days.

  8. TriMarkC

    I’ve been looking for a good candella cigar to try. I’ve only tried one so far, a $2 green cigar my son bought that I had to smoke cuz it was a Father’s Day gift… you know what I mean. So I’m really still looking for my first real candella, and this CroMagnon Fomarian sounds like a very good option!

    Re Tatuajes, I’m look you. I feel I need a special occasion to smoke them, as well as my Padrons (I’ve only 1 or 2 Opus ever so they definitely would fall into that same category!). I think it has to do partly with their cost.

    Always look forward to reading about your smokes, Craig!

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