Category Archives: Stores

The Cigar Authority’s 400th Show Quick Trip

TCA 400I’ve been listening to The Cigar Authority podcast for several years now, actually, I had been listening for a few years since being a guest on the show in October of 2013. Since it was a holiday weekend and nobody travels on Thanksgiving weekend, so my wife and Macha and I decided to take a little road trip to Salem, New Hampshire to crash she show. The show is recorded and webcast live from the new Studio 21 Podcast Cafe in 2 Guys Smokeshop. This was my first visit to this shop, I’d visited the Nashua store before. The shop is huge, with a nice downstairs lounge, an upstairs lounge, and the cafe. The walls of the shop are lined with humidors for singles, and, like the Nashua store only smaller in scale, there’s a large humidor stacked with Contendersunopened boxes. The selection is excellent, as is the staff. I picked up a couple Todos las Dias and The Wise Man Maduro and lit up a Wise Man while watching the show. I also picked up the 2 Guys Cigar of the Year Contenders pack, consisting of the eight cigars that are in the running for that honor. I plan to smoke them and cast my vote. Check it out on their site, it’s a hell of a deal and I have only smoke one of the cigars of the eight (actually two after today, that Wise Man Maduro was excellent). I’m looking forward to taking a week and smoking through the set.

 

CookiesWe brought some special cookies for the guys from our friends at Farmhouse Bakery in PA. We know what these guys like. Beautiful and delicious cookies and gluten free! Thanks to my wife, Jenn, for making that happen!

 

Sean, the barista makes impressive coffee creations, I kinda wish I’d tried the nitro, but the Cuban coffee was amazing. Some highlights of the visit personally was getting to catch up with Ed Sullivan, who I hadn’t seen since 1999, as well as Dave Garofalo, Mr. Jonathan and Barry Stein. Also met Dave from Cigar Hacks, another podcast that’s coming out. Macha was well Wisemanbehaved, you can hear here bark a couple of times if you listen to the show. I was surprised and honored to have been invited to join the show for the last segment, although I pretty much froze up on a couple of questions. If I’d have been smart I would have mentioned the CigarCraig’s Secret Santa. There’s still plenty of time to get in on it, by the way, email me your name and address if you want to join the fun. I smoked the Garofalo Maduro also which was very good, made by Perdomo, although time constraints and distractions left me unable to really concentrate on it. It was a good time, and I heartily recommend paying 2 Guys a visit if you find yourself in southern New Hampshire.

 

TurkeyI hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Sorry I skipped my usual Wednesday post, I spent the week smoking some of my favorite cigars, a Mi Querida, an Undercrown Sungrown, a Davidoff Winston Churchill The Late Hour, and following my Thursday feast with a Cornelius and Anthony Cornelius toro. All great cigars, I just had a hankering for some favs last week! Next week I’ll get adventurous again. So that’s all for now, until the next time,

CigarCraig

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Cornelius and Anthony Cigars Event at Wooden Indian

Still trying to shake this cold, nothing tastes right which is the worst!  However, when one of one’s favorite cigar brands is doing and event at one’s favorite cigar shop, one has to bite the bullet and man up.  I’ve gushed about The Wooden Indian often. I have about a dozen cigar stores within a 15 mile radius of my house, and I visit them all periodically, but the one that’s the furthest, Wooden Indian, is the one where I feel like I’m welcomed as part of the family. I know the people at all the other shops, I like them and all, and they all have their forte, but I find myself at Wooden Indian most often. I suppose it helps that my daughter and her family live about a mile from the place and I can stop in and say hello, but it’s the staff and events that make me stop in the shop. It should be made clear that I’m not the consumer who stops in the shop for a daily smoke, I’m happier smoking from my own humidors on my walks or on the porch, so I generally only go to shops for events or to meet up with someone. I value my friendship with Dave and his staff at Wooden Indian, there are many great shops in the greater Philadelphia area, but this one stands out.

 

I got a message from Jose Galvez, who’s our area rep for Cornelius and Anthony Cigars, as well as other La Zona partner brands, to stop in to the Wooden Indian as they were having an event. Of course, when I received this message I was already on my way.  In addition to my frequent gushing about the shop, I’ve also heaped praise on the Cornelius and Anthony brand, as they are probably my favorite overall brand of the last two years.  The Miami CandA_WImade Cornelius line I put right there with Davidoff, Sobremesa, and whatever other high-end, medium and complex and delicious cigars you can think of. Their other lines, the Daddy Mac, Venganza, Meridian, and the new Aerial and Señor Esugars are all excellent cigars made at La Zona.  In addition to really liking the cigars, I find the aesthetic part of the experience very pleasing, the bands are classy and appealing to me, and the box art is very cool. I bought a handful of cigars and lit up a Señor Esugars Corona Gorda which I could actually taste. I won’t say it tasted like it should because of my cold, but it didn’t taste terrible and I nursed about two hours out of it. It’s always nice to see Todd Vance, Cornelius and Anthony’s Director of Sales, and we were entertained by his playlist, which featured both kinds of music, county and western, although I found the country rendition of Purple Rain slightly disturbing. I can’t wait for this funk to lift from my head so I can just spend a week smoking through the Cornelius an Anthony line, which is highly recommended by me, for whatever that’s worth.

 

You can read my thoughts on the IPCPR booth and releases, along with an interview with Stephan Bailey HERE.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

 

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Villiger, General Cigar, and Drew Estate Cigars

Since I posted the contest Wednesday (go enter if you haven’t already!), I have a fee more cigars than normal to post about. Bear with me, it was a pretty good week!  We’ll start off with Villiger‘s newest release, the La Flor de Ynclan. A couple of months ago a package arrived at my door that weighed about 12 pounds and I thought “what the heck is in here?” It turned out to be a little box with three La Flor de Ynclan cigars in Churchill, torpedo and robusto sizes, and a bottle of Zaffra Rum, a very generous gift, many thank to the folks at Villiger and Creativas! Most of my loyal readers know that I don’t drink, so one of these days (and I should have done it while the weather was warmer!), I’ll have to have some people over and have them sample this rum and put out a spread of Villiger cigars. From the Villiger website:

 

The La Flor De Ynclan is a special cigar, diligently crafted by Heinrich Villiger and master blender Jose Matias Maragoto of ABAM Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic.

Heinrich Villiger, chairman of the board of Villiger Soehne AG, came across a young ambitious Cuban native 22 years ago in the Dominican Republic. That Cuban, Jose Matias Maragoto was an unknown cigar maker, who was beginning a new life in a new country. Fast forward two decades, the once untested Matias Maragoto is the overseer of all Villiger made product made in the DR. The Flor de Ynclan cigar, is the fruition of a bond between two different men from different backgrounds, over the love of tobacco.

The La Flor De Ynclan is a cigar that presents a distinct full-flavor experience, due to the extended aging of the tobacco. Choice Nicaraguan and Dominican filler tobacco, along with a true Indonesian binder, wrapped in a beautiful Ecuadorian wrapper make the La Flor De Ynclan a cigar that has been worth the wait.

FlordeYnclan

 

I started with the Churchill, a beautiful 7″ x 48 (close enough), with the above-mentioned components. I thought this was a terrific cigar. It was solid medium, and had a quality that I though would suite the European market well. It was complex with some citrus sweetness and a twinge of spice. There have been some Villiger cigars that I really liked, some were so-so, but this one stands apart, I think. It was very tasty, worth a try. I am disappointed that they discontinued the Trill line (made at Tabacalera Palma), although the name is kinda dumb, the cigar is good. I bought a box while I had the chance.

 

BolivarMoving on, I found myself at The Wooden Indian Tobacconist once again where Sean Williams, the Cohiba Brand Ambassador, was appearing for a meet and greet with the lounge membership. I first met Sean at the 2011 IPCPR show, in his El Primer Mundo booth. Ironically, Willie Herrera was hanging out in the booth with him at the same time, so it was also when I met Willie. I got there early and bought some General Cigar Co. cigars that I hadn’t smoked before, as well as a couple of the newer Sean_CohibaBolivars that I’ve enjoyed in the past. The only Cohibas that they had in stock were the Macasar, and I had a couple of those in the humidor already (and they are really pricey!). I was in the mood for Broadleaf, so the Bolivar 652 Toro was the smoke of choice. I know, I know, the Bolivar has a Connecticut Habano Maduro wrapper, not Broadleaf, but it was as close as I was going to get, OK?  This was released at the 2015 IPCPR show, and was Michael Giannini’s project re-imagining the Bolivar (and Ramon Allones). I like the box design, but I can’t say I love the band, it could have been classier, not Rami_Generalthat my opinion counts. I wonder what Mr. Giannini is up to? The Bolivar cigar is great, to my palate. I dig the closed foot and pigtail cap on these and they are very well priced. Anyway, it was a great evening at the Wooden Indian. Dave and his staff are top-notch and it was nice catching up with Sean ( and Rami, the area sales rep, another cool dude).  One last thing about this cigar. It’s neither on the Cigarworld.com or the Foundry websites, the only info I have is from the General Cigar Co. press info from the show.

 

LigaPrivadaSerieUnico_AI slipped back and forth between General Cigar Co. and Drew Estate this week, but I was probably heavier on the DE. I had to smoke another of the Florida Sun Grown toros since I bought a few more at the Wooden Indian charity event, and it was pretty darned tasty. Friday I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to smoke, and decided to go big and smoke a Liga Privada Serie Unico “A” that came from the Connecticut Barn Smoker. I probably should have swapped it for one from the 2014 two count box, but I was too lazy.  An “A” is a traditional Cuban size, it’s 9″ x 47, two notable examples being the Cuban Montecristo and the Sancho Panza Sancho. I took a walk with this cigar and when I got home an hour later I was just hitting the 6″ mark.  It was delicious, but due to its length, was on the milder side for a Liga Privada. It’s a good cigar, no doubt, and actually burned faster than I would have thought, I was finished in a little over two hours. From what I can tell, this is more of a T52 blend as it has the Connecticut stalk cut Habano wrapper, so I guess I’m still looking to satisfy my Broadleaf desire. I’ll find something today. These are only available at events, and are probably considered something of a unicorn in the Liga Privada world. I loved it, I thought it was delicious, but if I had ponied up a bunch of $ on the secondary market I’d have felt a little let down.

 

AcidKubaCandelaSince the current contest features a Drew Estate Acid KubaKuba Candela, I was kinda challenged to smoke one. Fortunately, I had one, as well as a couple of the little Blondie Candelas. I could have wimped out and went with the Blondie and gotten it over with, but why not just go for the gusto?  The regular KubaKuba is just distasteful to me, can’t even stand the smell.  I smoked a Kuba Maduro once in Nicaragua after about eight cigars and it was enjoyable. I entered this with as open a mind as I could muster, and, to lend credence to that, I didn’t take a spare cigar on my walk. I was committed (or should be). Happy to report that I enjoyed the cigar. The Candela wrapper has some bitterness that counters the sweet floweryness of the infusion. If one doesn’t like Candela cigars, I don’t imagine this one is going to change that opinion, because the grassy candellaness (my made up word for the day) is apparent. But, like it’s siblings in the Acid line, it’s well made with quality tobaccos. If you like the Acid line, try this, it’s probably going to be interesting. If you like Candela wrapped cigars, try this. If you don’t like either Candela or infused, I don’t know what to tell you…maybe this one would be a good change of pace, open your mind!

 

I was going to add one more cigar in here, but it’s getting long, I’ll circle back to that cigar. It was good and came highly recommended, I want to smoke another one and pay a little more attention to it before writing about it. Also, I bought a ticket to a Meet and Greet with Ernesto Carillo at the CigarCigars King of Prussia Mall store (smoke while your wife shops!) on Wednesday, October 11 which seems like a good deal, $25 for three cigars, booze and hors d’oeuvres and the chance to talk to a legend in the cigar business. Interestingly, this is a General Cigar event, featuring the new La Gloria Cubana Colleccion Reserva.

 

That’s all for now, until the next time, when we’ll select a contest winner,

 

CigarCraig

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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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A Visit to A Little Taste of Cuba in New Hope PA to Meet the Cigar Prop Man!

I’ve made mention of the Cigar Prop, and it features prominently in many of my Instagram  photos and occasionally here. The Cigar Prop is a machined aluminum cigar stand that I use quite frequently, and the creator of this item is a long time reader, Kevin Shahan. Kevin resides in Florida and in addition to being the Cigar Prop guy, is also quite well-known in the bearding community (is that a thing? apparently it is!) as the creator of Irish Beard Balm. Kevin dropped me a note a few weeks back saying he was going to be in New Little Taste of Cuba - Photo by JessicaJersey this weekend so we made plans to meet. The little riverside village of New Hope, PA seemed to be just about in the middle of where he and his girlfriend, Jessica, were staying and where I live, and it just so happened there’s a cigar store there! So we made plans to meet up yesterday. over the last twenty years of interacting electronically with people I’ve gotten used to meeting folks in the flesh that I’ve only exchanged text with, and nine times out of ten it works out, like meeting an old friend you never met before. Such was the case with Kevin. I spotted him on the street, we met, and made our way to the cigar shop.

 

lfdA Little Taste of Cuba is one of two stores (the other in Princeton, NJ) owned by Jorge Armenteros, who is the guy behind Tobacconist University, which is a course that teaches about everything cigar, pipe and tobacco. The shop is right on Main Street in New Hope, ironically in close proximity to a bar called Mojito and a restaurant called Havana. The shop is cozy, there’s a small walk in humidor that features mostly top shelf cigars, Padron Anniversary, Liga Privada, Sobremesa, et cetera. The staff was very friendly and helpful, as one would expect in an establishment who trains other tobacconists. Certainly the focus was on quality over quantity here. I selected a La Flor Dominicana Reserva Especial El Jocko Maduro that has the white Reserva Especial Little Taste of Cuba - Photo by Jessicabands that I’m not used to seeing on this cigar. It’s been forever since I had this cigar, and it was delicious. Perhaps a bit much for noon, before lunch, but I was sitting on a comfy leather couch, talking cigars and stuff with Kevin while the girls checked out some of the surrounding shops. We eventually finished up and went to an Irish pub for lunch. Many thinks to Kevin and Jessica for taking the time to meet with us! Vegas, next time, eh?

 

I can’t tell you how cool it is to meet up with a relative stranger, and it’s like you’re long-lost brothers. I have had the great pleasure of meeting several of my readers, and, so far, none of them have been homicidal lunatics that I could tell. Dave W. is reasonably local and won the last contest, and I would like to meet him for a smoke one of these days (I shipped his goodies as I don’t know when we will be able to meet up), and I’d be pleased to meet any one of you who wastes their valuable time reading my nonsense!. I’ve made great friends through simply loving rolled up leaves, and it’s great any time I get to meet someone I’ve interacted with on-line. By the way, go buy a Cigar Prop or two, I use mine all the time!

 

That’s all for now! I’ve got a Prime Living article to finish writing, and the cigars aren’t going to smoke themselves! Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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