Category Archives: News

News: Best Cigar Prices Cigar Lounge, Store and Blog

Best Cigar Prices announced this week that it is opening a lounge and retail store at their Drums, PA location (looks like I’ll have to take a drive north one of these days!).  Best Cigar Prices has been around a long time, I can remember getting their e-mail specials in plain text in the late 90s, under the name New Global Marketing. They’ve come a long way.  CigarCraig.com is proud to advertise for Best Cigar Prices, and you can get 20% off orders of $125 or more with the code CraigDeal20.  Here is the press release:

DRUMS, PA. (PRWEB) JANUARY 24, 2018

Established in 1997, Best Cigar Prices has come a long way from its starting point of operating out of the trunk of a car in upstate New York. Now based in Drums, PA at its 25,000 sq. ft. headquarters since 2011, the company has made leaps and bounds in becoming the premier cigar source on the web, and the retail space is the next logical step for this fast-growing business.

However, they’re not looking to be “just another cigar shop.” Far from it, according to BCP Director of Merchandising Jeff Brown. “Our vision is to deliver a state-of-the-art cigar lounge experience unlike any in the area,” said Brown. “We want our customers to feel like their every need has been taken into consideration when they step foot into our store, and so far I think we’ve hit that mark.”

In addition to the typical cigar store amenities such as a Spanish Cedar-lined walk-in humidor, large cocktail bar, and comfortable, smoke-friendly indoor and outdoor lounge spaces for patrons to enjoy, Best Cigar Prices’ retail operation will have quite a few accommodations that will set it apart from the pack.

Aside from the business’s high-tech approach to the traditional lounge environment with touch-screen browsing stations, monitors giving shoppers a direct view of orders being processed inside the humidor, and ample wireless charging stations throughout, perhaps the most obvious advantage is the fact that the store is directly connected to the company’s massive humidor warehouse. Customers at the store will have direct access to one of the largest cigar and accessory inventories in the country, with over 7,000 unique items from more than 600 top brands including flavored cigars, cigar humidors, lighters, and cutters from Padron, Rocky Patel, Montecristo, and many more.

Cigar and beverage Pairing Menus will be made available to visitors of the lounge and updated regularly to recommend specific cigars with particular brands or styles of whiskeys, craft beers, and other spirits that complement their unique tasting profiles. “Everyone knows that Romeo y Julieta 1875 is a great, classic cigar, but what is the best drink to go with it?” Brown remarked.

Plans to have a conveyor running from the warehouse to the store will guarantee that cigar-lovers in search of items that are not stocked on store shelves will have their order in under five minutes, complete with a countdown timer that will display real-time order progress.

The store will be fully staffed by educated cigar professionals who specialize in the often-difficult task of making cigar gift recommendations, but will also offer self-serve kiosks for those that know what they want and don’t need help from an associate. Alternately, customers will be able to place orders remotely via phone or online and then pick it up at a designated time, similar to a food “to go” order.

The Best Cigar Prices retail store had its official “soft” opening yesterday, with the official Grand Opening scheduled for September of this year. In the words of company CEO Greg Fox, “Our customers have a deep appreciation for the artisan nature of the products we carry and often form lasting bonds with each other that might not be possible without the unifying factor of a fine cigar. We’re beyond excited to bring this new level of comfort, convenience, and camaraderie to them,” adding, “it’s their support that has allowed us to thrive and this is the least we can do to say ‘thank you’.”

Fox also alluded to other “surprises” that Best Cigar Prices customers can look forward to, including the possibility of a large-scale cigar event held at the new store at some point in the near future.

Also this week on the Best Cigar Prices blog, they published their “Why Do You Smoke Cigars?”article, featuring myself and 10 of my fellow blogger types.

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

CigarCraig

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A Monster for Halloween, a Case Study and Ventura News

Last night was Halloween, the night I enjoy sitting on the front porch with a cigar handing out candy. I used to enjoy walking around the neighborhood taking my kids trick-or-treating, but those days are long gone. Last night I chose the Tatuaje Monster Series cigar from last year, the Krueger, a 7¼” x 48 box pressed torpedo with a KruegerMexican San Andrés wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and fillers. This was a lovely cigar, and it was hard leaving it sit in the humidor for a year. I’ve only smoked a few of the Monsters, so far I think this was the one I enjoyed the most. I started it out in my usual way, taking Macha for a quick walk before all the kids started roaming the streets. I like to keep cigars like this in my New Air humidor, all my humidors work well, and I smoke out of all of them regularly I just like the peace of mind of the temperature control feature for cigars I’m not going to see very often. I also go in that one less than the others. Anyway, the cigar was great, rich, medium bodied and a little dirty, which I like. It’s not without some sweetness, starting with a little pepper, and building in strength, although never getting too much past medium. Good smoke, I don’t normally seek these out, but I’ll pick one up if I have the chance. I’ll have to see if I can get a hold of the latest version (the Michael?  I could look it up, but the Flyers are on and I want to finish this up!). The Krueger met my expectations, it was a great two-plus hour smoke great for handing out candy on Halloween.

 

Today I awoke to the news that Michael Giannini is now the Creative Director and brand ambassador for Ventura Cigars. I’ve known Michael for a long time, he’s one of my favorite people in the cigar business. I was sad when it was announced last year that he was no longer with General Cigars. I loved a lot of the Foundry cigars he worked on, and my affinity for La Gloria Cubana cigars is fairly well-known. As a matter of fact, I asked Ernesto Carillo about Michael when I saw him a couple of weeks ago, as they worked closely together after General purchased La Gloria.  Ironically, I’ve been a fan of the Ventura offerings since smoking a Psyko Seven when I was a guest on The Cigar Authority show back in 2013. I have a good deal of Ventura and Psyko Seven swag, including a humidor. I consider myself a fan, even more so now that Michael is involved.  I’m very excited to see what he does with the company. Ventura is owned by Kretek International, a very large company, which Michael is used to. Good luck, my friend!

 

CaseStudy_CS05_54In honor of today’s news, I selected a cigar from Ventura for my evening walk.  At the IPCPR show they were showing their Case Study series. This is a series of 26 small batch and limited editions, made by what they term as famous cigar makers. This reminds me of what folks like Robert Caldwell and Tony Bellato did with their Lost and Found line, finding batches of cigars sitting in major manufacturers aging rooms and selling them as one time releases. Whether this is actually the case or not, I don’t know, it’s just the way I see it. Anyway, the one I chose was a 5¾”x54 labeled CS/05 with the black band signifying it’s a limited edition. The only blend info listed is that it has an Oscuro Nicaraguan Habano wrapper. I recommend trying this cigar if you like cigars that I like! This was a winner for me, dark, rich flavor, a perfect burn and draw and a cigar I smoked down to the tiniest of nubs. I would pick up this cigar again, and would love to get some in the 6¾”x52 size in hopes of getting more of a good thing. Really a yummy cigar. I’ve felt like I wanted to smoke from a relatively small selection of cigars lately, probably the time of year, but this one might have gotten me out of my funk a little.

 

That’s enough for now, time to watch some hockey. Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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A Special Havana Cigar, a Kristoff Event and Invaluable Auctions

Back in 2007 I had very little idea what a blog was, nor would I have imagined I’d be writing one, but I was still a little over ten years into my cigar obsession (no relation). I was known in my circle of friends as the go to cigar guy. So when my only daughter announced her wedding plans, I went to work myself and quickly procured a box of Romeo y Julieta Coronitas en Cedro to share on the special day. Mitchell Orchant of C-Gars Ltd in the UK had recently partnered in the Casa del Habanos in Hamburg, Germany, I only would buy Havanas from a trusted source, and Germany had a much better pricing structure than the UK. So the Romeo y Julieta Coronitas en Cedro is a Petit Cetros in Cubas Vitolas de Galera, or a Petite Corona measuring a shade over 5″ and 40 ring gauge. I selected this cigar for a couple of reasons: small format to not spend too much time away from the reception, the presentation is nice with the cedar sleeves, it’s a mild and flavorful cigar that can be appreciated by occasional smokers and seasoned RyJ CeCveterans alike, and while not the best story of long-term romantic commitment, it’s the most romantic of the Cuban marcas. I passed out the majority of the box, be held on to four of them. Two were smoked when my youngest son turned 18 (he’s 23 now), since his older brother had smoked his first cigar at 18 at his sister’s wedding, it was a tradition. I smoked one Friday evening on my daughter and her husband’s tenth anniversary and the cigar was fantastic. It was smooth and refined, with some floral notes and a hint of the Cuban “twang”. Ten year’s rest didn’t hurt this cigar at all. If I was smart I’d buy a box to bury in the humidor for 10 years. I’m saving the last one for their 20th anniversary!

 

GlenCase

Photo by Robyn Parsons

Later in the evening I took a drive down the street to Old Havana Cigar Company where they were having a Kristoff event. Glen Case was there with the local rep, Robyn, so I figured it was the excuse I needed to pick up some Kristoff cigars I haven’t tried. I’ve been woefully negligent of this line. No real excuse, I love the Epic line which is made at the same factory (Charles Fairmon cigar factory in Santiago de los Caballeros). I’ve been hearing a bunch about the Pistoff Kristoff for the last year, and had just picked up a couple of the Corona Gordas in the last couple weeks. I lit up a 6 x 60 there at the shop.  I Kristoff_PistoffKristoff_CoronaGordamet Glen Case at the IPCPR briefly a couple of years ago, but never really got to talk to him, then last summer we were in line together at the hotel check-in and he greeted me like he knew who I was. I don’t expect to be remembered by these cigar company owners who meet hundreds of people, so it always surprises me. It was a fairly quiet event, well attended as there were no open chairs in Old Havana’s rather large lounge. I hung out in the front for a while and talked with Robyn, Tony, the owner, Glen, and another customer. I had a migraine coming on, so I wasn’t at my best, and the Pisstoff, was pissing me off a little as it wasn’t really working right (something I could have mentioned to Glen, but I had another one, and some at home and it wasn’t that bad, just didn’t get a ton of smoke from it). I was into the flavor though, it has a natural fermented San Andrés wrapper (where most are fermented to a maduro), and had a nuts and caramel kind of flavor. I rarely smoke the same cigar twice in a row, but I lit up a Corona Gorda last night while watching the Flyers game on the porch (being able to sit in the screened in porch in October and smoke and watch hockey is a great thing…in shorts, at 10:00pm!). The Corona Gorda is 5½ x 48 and has the Natural San Andrés wrapper, Indonesian binder and Nicaraguan fillers, the 6×60 is…6″ x 60. I’ve been lead to believe that this was a really powerful smoke, but I found it to be on the high side of medium.  If it was “deceivingly strong” like the marketing materials state, it deceived me, although I’ll go along with the Full Flavored line, as it was (on the example that burned right…). I also got a Kristoff Cameroon and a couple of Kristoff San Andrés to try. I like the closed foot and pigtail cap that are trademark features across the line.

 

My wife has been following this auction site called Invaluable, and watches for cigar related items. She pointed Lot 457 JFK's Personal H. Upmann Cigarsout some interesting items to me this week, some from JFK’s humidor. I tend to be skeptical about auctions of cigars claiming to be from JFK, although I’m sure it’s possible, and I guess reputable auction houses would verify such things. My wife got me a really cool little cast iron boxer and moldcigar mold that she won in an auction here, and if you search “cigar” there are all kinds of neat items that come up. A few weeks ago there was a cool 7-20-4 sign on auction that happened to be not far from here. I tipped off Kurt Kendall, who owns the name now, but he missed the auction. I watched it live, but was afraid to bid in case I was bidding against Kurt! Anyway, if you are into auctions and collectibles, this is a site to check out.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

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Umbagog and Tatuaje Pudgy Monsters Cigars and Fratello News

UmbagogLast week I bought some of the Fratello Fire Crackers from 2 Guys Cigars when they went on sale, and while I was at it, I added a few of Steve Saka’s Umbagog Corona Gordas to my order as I was itching to try them out. The Umbagog is almost the same blend as the Mi Querida, utilizing Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers that  weren’t as pretty (in Steve’e estimation, who else could tell?) as the wrappers on the Mi Querida. I love the Mi Querida, so chances were good that this was a safe buy. The advantage is that the Umbagog is a little less expensive, although I would be hard pressed to tell the difference in a blind tasting. Like the Mi Querida, the Umbagog is made in the NACSA factory in Nicaragua. I mistakenly thought I got the Toro Toro, but upon reflection, I had the Corona Gorda, I thought it looked thinner than the Ancho Larga in its sister line. The Corona Gorda is 6″ x 48, which ten years ago would have been a toro for the most part. It had one of the better burns I’ve had in a non-Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust cigar, they all seem to burn perfectly, which goes along with Steve’s Puros sin Compomiso mantra. It was loaded with sweet espresso and cocoa flavors that I enjoy, and, with the exception of its plain band and odd name, was as great a cigar as I’ve smoked. I’m waiting for the right time (and company) to smoke the Muestra de Saka I have, and continue to gravitate toward a cigar from this company when I want a sure thing.  The Umbagog is a winner, pick them up when you can as they are limited to the “reject” wrappers!

 

Tatuaje_PudgyWolfTonight I grabbed one of the Tatuaje Pudgy Monsters that was in the Oh F*ck I’m Lost pack I got at an event a while back. I had the Drac and the Wolf to choose from and went with the Wolf. I’ve smoked the Wolfman, the 7½” x 54 big old torpedo with the shaggy foot that I want to say was the fourth release in the Monster series back in 2011?  The Pudgy Monsters version is a 5½” x 52 belicoso with the same shaggy foot, that is the wrapper is cut back a half-inch from the end. It’s fun the be able to taste when the wrapper flavor kicks in and understand how much that thin leaf adds to the flavor. This one has an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, and the rest is Nicaraguan. I remember really enjoying the larger format (TY to Will Cooper, I think it was in a sampler he sent for my 50th birthday, which was a handful of years ago now!). This one had a smooth, nutty, grain flavor with some mellow coffee in the second half and was a really flavorful and pleasing cigar. Burn was flawless. Dammit, now I’m going to have to keep an eye out for more of these, I suspect the samplers are still around, but I’d certainly buy a few of these if they were available singly, which I don’t guess they are. I’m doing pretty good this week, two spectacular cigars!

 

I mentioned the Fratello Firecracker earlier, this is a 3″x 50 format with a long pigtail “fuse” that is a 2 Guys exclusive, and every year it’s made by someone else, Don Pepin Garcia, La Flor Dominicana, RoMaCraft…this year’s is made by Fratello. These usually are a strong blend, I’ve smoked the LFD and Cromagnon versions and look forward to trying Omar’s version, I’m sure it’ll be great. But Omar de Frias has a new Fratello cigar debuting at the IPCPR show that sounds interesting. This one is called the Fratello Naveta, which is Italian for “shuttle” and is a nod to his years at NASA (where he makes a space shuttle look small).

“Blending Fratello Naveta was special as I wanted to translate the ultimate celebration our men and women of the space program felt after a successful mission”. “After being part of over 21 missions nothing beats the feeling of getting our astronauts home safe to their families” said de Frias.

“Colleagues of mine would get together and smoke a very special cigar to commemorate the occasion. This very special blend carries the ultimate feeling of innovation, duty, honor and success” said de Frias.

Fratello_NavettaBlended with an Ecuador oscuro wrapper the blend will be featured in 4 vitolas.

– Robusto Discovery (5 x 50) 10.50

– Toro Endeavor (6 ¼ x 54) 11.25

– Gordo Enterprise (6 x 60) 12.00

– The Boxer Atlantis (6 ¼ x 52) 12.50

Fratello Navetta will be manufactured at Joya de Nicaragua and will be available for shipment in September. Omar de Frias worked at NASA for 12 years prior to leaving to focus full-time on Fratello.

 

I’m looking forward to trying this one!  The presentation looks great!  I’ll get to the Firecrackers in the coming weeks.

 

That’s all for me for tonight, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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A Mi Querida and a Philly Cigar Festival Contest Announcement

Mi Querida Ancho Corta - @stevesakaIt’s a short one tonight! Got a late start due to stopping to give blood on the way home, something I do because I can, it’s the very least I can do to help someone, and my father was a long time donor and hes not here to do it anymore. Of course, they say no smoking for an hour, so I came home and had some dinner and did some yard work before sparking up a Mi Querida Ancho Corta, the robusto in the line. This 5″ x 52 robusto smokes a long time for a smallish vitola, by the time I got done game 7 of the Penguins/Capitals series was well underway. I hate rooting for either team, but I can’t stand the Penguins, so I have to go with the Caps…fingers crossed. Anyway, the Mi Querida is a fantastic Broadleaf wrapped cigar that is a great  bang for the buck in that it’s not inexpensive, but it is well worth it for the flavor and smoking time.  I had said that I was going to stick to familiar cigars this week as I had some dental work done Monday, which went well, thank you for the comments. I smoked a RoMEo 505 and a Perdomo Habano Maduro also this week which I enjoyed a lot, although in the case of the Perdomo, I like the 20th Anniversary Maduro more. It’s been a pretty good week so far, all things considered.

 

Contest!

In Sunday’s post I said I was going to pick a winner tonight, but I lied…er…changed my mind.  I’m going to let the contest run until Sunday.  Head back to the last post (here’s a link to make it easy), and enter for a chance to win a ticket to the Philly Cigar Festival on June 3rd. I’m sad I won’t be able to attend, but someone should go in my place and have a great time!

 

Finally, if you live in Pennsylvania, our lovely legislators are trying again to ban smoking in cigar stores, cigar bars, etc. so get on your state rep and senator to oppose this infringement on our rights and the rights of small businesses (and some large ones) to make a living. I pointed out that it’s anti small business, and just wrong. Seriously, how is a cigar bar supposed to stay open if one can’t smoke? Here is the state’s Find Your Legislator page to help you to find your guys and let them know what you think (in a respectful and logical manner).

 

That’s enough for tonight, gotta watch the end of game 7….until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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