While at the IPCPR show last month I managed to end up with samples of the Azan line of cigars from Roberto Duran. The booth was busy the times I came across it, but a friend gave me some samples, and I think there was someone around the booth handing them out. These were highly recommended and I was looking forward to smoking them, but I really didn’t know much about them. It turns out that Azan is an old Cuban trademark that has been out of production for so long nobody remembers it! Interestingly, the brand was created in Cuba by Chinese immigrants back in the 1920s. So, after hearing from Gabriel Piñeres of Creativas, the PR firm that handles Azan, as well as Toraño Family cigars, I figured it would be prudent to smoke some of these up.
I started with the White Premium Line Campana. This is a traditional belicoso size at 5½ x 52 with a tapered head. It was a very nice looking cigar, the Corojo wrapper was flawless and was smooth and symmetrical. It’s burn was perfect, just the way I like it with a straight, flat burn. It was a very enjoyable cigar to smoke both in the aesthetics as well as the flavor. The flavor was clean, smooth, with a nice spice and great, rich body. I really enjoyed smoking this cigar and will be on the lookout for more. I have a robusto remaining which may not last long. This was a hidden gem and thanks to my friend Joe and whoever else handed me samples!
I figured the logical thing to do the following evening was to smoke the Azan Burgundy line robusto. This cigar is a little more rustic in appearance than the White line. According to the website they use a lower grade of Corojo wrapper on this, and the appearance is a little lumpier. The flavor was nice. It shared a certain sweetness I came across in it’s classier sibling, and the burn and draw were just as good. This is certainly a nice alternative to the White, which I can assume carries a higher price tag. Laziness on my part leads to this assumption as I haven’t yet had the chance to shop these yet. I can conclude that Roberto Duran is doing things right. He’s reviving a historic brand with quality cigars that are smoking well. I look forward to smoking more of both of these.
Saturday brought yet another trip up to Hamburg, PA to the Cigars International store. My friend Bacon Jams Bruce and I went up for the Drew Estate Event. We smoked some fine cigars, including my favorites, the Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta #13 Lancero and an Undercrown Corona Viva. I used some gift cards I received for my birthday to pick up the Xikar MTX multi tool/cigar scissors. Thanks guys, you know who you are. This tool will requite some practice, but I’ve hear and seen really good things about it. My concern is that it’s too small and I’m worried about losing it. Perhaps I’ll put it on a lanyard and wear it around my neck! Anyway, the Drew Estate event was well attended, but it didn’t look like the silent auction items were getting a lot of bid action. There was another custom carved humidor but Jessi Flores, the director of Subculture Studios that was a work of art. The auction was again supporting TECHO. This isn’t a criticism, but an observation, but I really think a store like CI is a place people go looking for bargains, not necessarily the well heeled clientele that you find at some upscale shops. I hope they raised a lot of money for this worthwhile charity. Also there were the Operation: Cigars for Warriors folks, and the local Drew Estate Rep, Chris Stone, donated 10″ of his hair to Locks Of Love. Well done, once again, to the generous cigar community. I admit, my reason for going in the first place was to see the Drew Estate crew, and say hello to Jonathan Drew, who hobbled in around 6:30. We had a nice little visit on my way out the door. My apologies to the line of guys waiting to meet him. He’s a good friend and a heck of a nice guy. There were also the usual Drew Estate ambassadors and fans present, always nice to see that cast of characters.
That’s it for now, until the next time,