Category Archives: Review

Drew Estate Charity Pig Roast at The Wooden Indian Cigar Shop

PigRoast1For about the 7th year I stopped by the Wooden Indian in Havertown, PA for their annual pig roast and fundraising event for Drew Estate Charities. This year the weather was spectacular, they had tents on the front lawn and along side of the building. Dave and his staff at the Wooden Indian, in addition to running the best cigar store and lounge in the area, put on a fantastic event. The cigar specials featuring Drew Estate products this year was ridiculous. They were offering a box of Dirty Rats with a two box purchase (plus 14 cigars, and all kinds of other goodies). I PigRoast2suppose if I had the room (in humidors and on credit cards) I would have jumped at that. They had the new Undercrown Sungrown and Florida Sun Grown on hand for sale as well as just about anything you might want from Drew Estate. Representing Drew Estate was Pedro PigRoast3Gomez, Chris Stone and Alex Mayer, and Broc Jackson of Kensington Jewelers (the guy who makes all the cool Drew Estate jewelry) was on hand as well. There were also other store owners and reps from other cigar companies there supporting the cause. The BOTL PA Chapter and Cigar Cartel Facebook Groups were represented as well as other local cigar groups. This event is a big deal.

 

PigRoast4The whole point of this event is to raise money for the Drew Estate Charities. There was a whole bunch of very special Drew Estate goodies the centerpiece being an original canvas by Jessi Flores of Subculture Studios. While I didn’t stay for the raffle drawing/auction, I do know that they raised $9000 for Drew Estate Charities! This PigRoast5amount of money can actually build 5 houses for families in Nicaragua! A job well done by everyone at the Wooden Indian and the generosity of the attendees. While I can rarely stay for the whole event, it’s always a great time when I’m there. I smoked one of the new Undercrown Sungrown in the belicoso size while I was there and it was spectacular. When I got home I took a walk with a KFC Swamp Thang robusto, which was also tasty.

 

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

 

Cigar Craig

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AJ-Booth-Caldwell, Hamlet and Todos Las Dias Cigars

AJF-Booth-Caldwell_ToroI smoked three cigars from the IPCPR show this week so far, and I’m not entirely sure any of them are on tobacconist’s shelves yet. I started with one of the cigars Matt Booth had at the show. Let me express my disappointment that the video I did with Matt had no audio, and what fun is that?  Not that Matt might or might not have visual aids, but his booth was a collection of arcade games and nothing else, and interviews with Mr. Booth are always informative and hilarious. Sad that the audio wasn’t there, I wish I had known.  Anyway, one of the cigars he had at the show was a collaborative effort with AJ Fernandez, Matt and Robert Caldwell, which was supposed to be called “Truth”, but a late trademark issue got in the way, and the samples he was handing out had the simple band pictured. I’m just going to call it ABC in the interest of brevity. So this is a nice box pressed 6″ x 52 toro and is a Nicaraguan puro, with a dark maduro wrapper. Upon lighting the cigar I quickly realized that if I Booth Swagwere to blend a cigar, it  would taste very much like this one. Regular readers will know that I love a cigar with loads of rich cocoa and coffee with a bit of spice. This one had some strength also, which was a perfect complement to the flavors. I loved it, I can’t wait to see what this evolves into. It’s a shame they had to abandon the name and packaging, but Matt is a creative guy, he’ll come up with something fantastic, like this cigar was.

 

Hamlet_25thYearLast night I tried the Hamlet 25th Year robusto from Rocky Patel. I liked the 5½” x 50 robusto, the slightly longer length appeals to me. This is totally different from the Tabaqueros that Hamlet produced a year or so ago for Rocky Patel, that cigar was Hamlet’s first foray into blending a cigar that wasn’t all Cuban tobacco, for those who don’t know, Hamlet Paredes was an ambassador for Habanos S.A. and traveled the world ding rolling events. I guess it’s accurate to say he defected from Cuba and found a home working with Rocky Patel. I loved the Tabaquero, and this new offering is very different, but very tasty. It has an Ecuador Habano wrapper, Pennsylvania Broadleaf binder and fillers from Honduras and Nicaragua. I thought it was, dare I say, Cubanesque in that it was on the milder side, but had a lot of good flavors, some vanilla creaminess, light fruit and chocolate. This is yet another cigar I look forward to trying again.

 

TodosLasDias_RobustoTonight I got an unexpected phone call from (I’m going to name drop here), Jose Blanco, who was in the  general area, but I wasn’t able to met up with him. In our conversation about cigars from the IPCPR show he mentioned Todos las Dias from Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust and how he thought it was the best cigar Steve Saka had made so far. I’ve had a single robusto from the show that Steve gave me as he was testing the internal humidity (see the video here), and I assumed it was from the “passed” pile. I figured tonight was the night to smoke it, it had been in my humidor since the show in July, the same humidor all the IPCPR samples were in and have been smoking well. The Todos las Dias is Saka’s first Nicaraguan Puro, with a Sun Grown wrapper and fillers from Jalapa and Esteli, rolled at the Joya de Nicaragua factory. I noted a couple ironies. First, the Dunbarton website lacks detailed information on this cigar, the Sobremesa and Mi Querida are detailed quite nicely, with only a passing mention of this and his other lines. This is very un-Saka. The second and more important irony was that this cigar smoked like it was over-moist. The humidor this has been in is at 68%, and I saw first had that the internal humidity of the cigar when it came into my possession was under 12%. Steve wasn’t handing out cigars that weren’t going to smoke perfectly. My only thought is that the heavy tobaccos in this cigar sucked up the ambient humidity when I took it out. It had rained here and was very humid outside. Flavor-wise, I see where this is a great cigar when it burns like it should, and as son as I see some in the wild I’ll grab some and try them under the right conditions. I’m particularly interested in trying the Double Wide Belicoso, which appears to use the same molds as Joya de Nicaraguas Gran Consul (I have some Rosalones in the same size too). Flavor was full, lush and yummy. I have to defer to Jose on this one for now, a Sobremesa El Americano I smoked Sunday was perfect.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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Gurkha, La Palina, Avo and a Quick Draw Cigar

 

I took the easy way out on Wednesday with the La Sirena video, so I have a bunch of cigars to talk about this week. Not unexpectedly, the video is now in the number three spot in views on my YouTube channel, behind a La Sirena interview from the 2012 IPCPR. That shows something, I have to figure out what that is…Anyway, I started the week with a teeth cleaning followed by a Gurkha Founders Reserve in the Rothschild 6×58 size.  That’s what the box (of 10) that they gave me at the IPCPR show says, Gurkha_FoundersReserve_RothschildI initially thought it was the XO size, 6″ x 60, like there’s a huge difference between 58 and 60…and usually reliable sources list the sizes as   Robusto (5 x 50), Rothschild (6 x 55) and XO (6 x 60), yet it says 6 x 58 right there on the box, and I measured one and it was close enough to the 60 hole to make me think it was a 60 (my ring gauge checker is old, it jumps from 56 to 60 and doesn’t go any larger). Gurkha fails to list the sizes on the website too, which is frustrating. I’ve bitched about it before, but the manufacturer’s website should be the last word in specifics on a cigar, not blogs of retailers. I’m worked up now, maybe I need to smoke another of the Gurkha Founders Reserve  whatever size it is, because it was a really tasty Connecticut shade wrapped cigar. I really enjoyed the crap pout of the cigar, it was a really tasty medium bodied cigar with a great burn and draw. I suspect this is a brick and mortar exclusive, like the cellar reserve line, and is in the $10 price range, but it very enjoyable. Here’s a few pictures I took a the Gurkha booth at the show.

 

 

LaPalina_Nicaragua_OscuroMy eye was drawn to the La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro robusto next. La Palina’s website gives the sizes and nothing else. This is a 5″ x 52 Robusto, made at the AJ Fernandez factory in Nicaragua, and wrapped with a Ecuador Oscuro wrapper with Nicaraguan fillers. I’m not sure what “Ecuador Oscuro” exactly means, and the rest of the make-up is vague. Again, it hardly matters as it’s a tasty smoke. It’s up my alley with the rich, coffee/cocoa flavors I like, with a hint of spice. It burned well, had a good draw and was a very nice experience. I smoked a prototype of this a few years ago I think. On a side note, I’ve been obsessed with the Adorini Double Punch cutter, and have been using it all the time. It features two punches, 9mm and a huge 13mm. I find myself using the 13mm (which is about a half an inch, or 32 ring gauge) almost all the time, it opens up the cigar almost as much as when I use a guillotine cutter. It’s sharp and has a strong magnet that keeps the three pieces together. It’s a quality piece and I’m using it a lot. The La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro is a good smoke, I look forward to smoking the Nicaragua Connecticut.

 

Avo_SouthAmericaRitmo_SpecialToroNext up was a new offering from Davidoff’s Avo line, the Ritmo in the Syncro line. I’ve smoked a few Avo cigars, most aren’t in my wheelhouse, frankly, I don’t “get” a lot of them. Some people love them, everyone has different tastes, most of the Avos don’t do it for me. This one, on the other hand, was delicious. This cigar boasts a seven country blend, Ecuador wrapper, Mexican binder and fillers from Peru, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Brazil and Honduras. Yep, that’s seven, I counted. I really enjoyed this cigar, it was very good. Did I mention the size? It was the 6″ x 60 Special Toro, and the box press was very comfortable. It was creamy, with some wood and citrus notes, as well as some spice and bitter chocolate. This was definitely my favorite Avo ever. It’s sad that Avo isn’t with us any longer, and I hope Davidoff continues to pay homage to him by creating great cigars in his name.

 

SouthernDraw_QuckDrawPennsylvaniaFinally, I got home late last night and took a quick dog-walk with a Quick Draw Pennsylvania Petite Corona from Southern Draw. This is a 4½” x 44 cigar with a pigtail cap and a covered foot. This was perfect for my late walk. The Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper really has some oomph! It’s grown about 20 miles from where I live, so I’m drawn to cigars with Pennsylvania tobacco in the blend. Since this one had the pigtail cap, I skipped the punch and lopped off the cap with a Palio, and took torch to foot without toasting to get that blast of the PA Broadleaf that the covered foot offers. This was an hour of bliss, it had a nice kick, certainly satisfying and really quite a cigar. This is another cigar from Tabacalera AJ Fernandez. I don’t think I’ve had a Southern Draw Cigar that I didn’t like a lot. I’m sad that I missed Robert Holt on his recent swing through PA, I need to hurry up and become independently wealthy so I’m not stuck at work when all the fun stuff is happening!  This little cigar has a big flavor and had an impressive burn time, I think I spent about an hour with it!

 

That’s all for now. Thoughts continue to be with our friends in the Houston area, as well as the many friends we have in Florida,  which is being pummeled by mother nature as I write this. I hope everyone get through safely and with minimal destruction. Give what you can for the relief efforts, people need help.

 

Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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A Partagas, an Alec Bradley and a Big Papi Cigar Contest Winner!

It was a rough week for me, as the last week of August always is. Not to complain or anything, but growing up having an end of summer birthday sucks almost as much as a Christmas birthday, at least for me. It signals the end of summer, and as the years progress time passes faster and faster, so summer went by in the blink of an eye. I guess if you don’t like summer, it’s not a big deal, but I love summer. On top of all that, I was plagued by migraines for some reason. So it wasn’t a great week, no reason to dwell any further on that, it’s time to move on. I managed to smoke a couple great cigars this week, and I need to pick a couple Partagas_SeriePNo2winners of the Big Papi by David Ortiz cigar prizes.  So, for my birthday I was conflicted, should I smoke a known favorite cigar or smoke a “special” cigar and risk disappointment? I took the risk and went with a Partagas Serie P No. 2 Havana that probably came home with me from a wedding we attended in London in 2006 (this very weekend, actually, (Happy Anniversary Karyn and Mitchell!). The Hunters and Frankau rep was  handing these out, and the grooms father stuffed a few in my jacket pocket. So this Havana cigar had been in my humidor for 11 years, should have been plenty of time to recover from its journeys! I was quite surprised by the floral qualities this cigar had, it was really delicious and entertaining to smoke as it was never boring with the interesting flavors that it presented. It burned perfectly too, with a great draw, which is a plus. It turned out to be a great choice and a very good smoke, quite different from my regular fare as well as being different from what I remembered and expected.

 

 

AlecBradley_BlackMarketEsteli_RobustoYesterday I was migraine free for the first time all week, so I dug into the IPCPR samples and found the new Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli, their newest edition to the Black Market line. This cigar comes in  Churchill, Gordo, Robusto, Toro, Torpedo sizes, of which I smoked the 5″ x 52 Robusto. It has a Nicaraguan wrapper, a double binder of Nicaraguan and Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers. I need to further explore this line, but this just might replace the Nica Puro as my favorite Alec AlecBradley_BlackMarketEsteliBradley cigar. It was very rich and satisfying, the burn and ash were simply beautiful, and it had unique and interesting flavors that appealed to me. There was a sweet spice that I rarely taste in a cigar and it makes me smile when I do. I smoked a few other cigars this week, a little CLE corojo from 2014 that wasn’t appealing, and a Mombacho Liga Maestro that was very leathery, too much so for my taste, I’m afraid. These are both lines that I feel like I should explore further, on the CLE side, even though I’ve known Christian for 20 years, the cigars I’ve smoked from CLE haven’t tripped my trigger, the Asylum line I like, but I guess I just haven’t smoked enough of the CLEs. I’m late to the party with Mombacho and need to smoke more of their cigars. As far as the Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli, that’s a winner for me! See below for some pictures from IPCPR of their latest offerings.

 

Alec Bradley has added some nice accessories this year too, as well as some small format cigars. I’m looking forward to checking out the new Prensado Lost Art as well.

 

Contest!

Big PapiOK, it’s time to wrap up the series of contests featuring cigars from El Artista Cigars, we had a huge Exactus Super Colosus, the Pulita 60 Aniversario and finally, the Big Papi by David Ortiz, which I’ am about to announce the winners! Thanks to Carolyn and Keith for making all this possible! We will have two winners, one gets a five-pack of Big Papi cigars and a lighter, and the grand prize is a box of 20 Big Papi cigars! The runner-up is Matt Hopper! The grand prize winner is (drumroll please)… Randall Simon! I’ll need both of you to send me your addresses so we can get these out to you!  Thanks to all who followed and congrats to the winners! Stay tuned for more contests coming up! 

 

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

 

CigarCraig

 

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IPCPR 2017 – Fratello Cigars

Fratello_Bianco_TheBoxerI’m down to my last couple videos to post from the IPCPR show, and realized that I hadn’t posted the video with one of my biggest best friends from the cigar industry, Fratello Cigar‘s Omar de Frias. So tonight I grabbed a Fratello Bianco the Boxer for my evening walk. You may recall this cigar was one of my favorite cigar from 2016,  and it remains so, it’s a great smoke, it has a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, Dominican binder and fillers from the USA, Nicaragua and Peru made at the Joya de Nicaragua factory. It’s rich and chocolaty with some spice and I really like it. The rest of the line is great, as are all of the Fratello cigars. I especially look forward to trying the Oro in The Boxer shape, as well as the new cigar Omar showed at the IPCPR show, the Navetta, which he tells us about in the video. Navetta is “shuttle” in Italian, and it pays homage to Omar’s career with NASA and all the shuttle missions of which he was a part. If you ever have a chance to meet Omar at an event near you, run, don’t walk, to the event and spend a few minutes talking to this super-cool dude.

 

Navetta

this was the display, not the retail packaging….sadly…

 

Speaking of Big….don’t forget to go back to Friday’s contest post and leave a comment for a chance to win some Big Papi cigars from the folks at El Artista! Contest ends Friday!

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

 

CigarCraig

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