Category Archives: Take a Cigar For a Walk

Dignity, Alec Bradley Nica Puro, Ezra Zion and Foundry CE&M Carbon Cigars

Thanks for all of the positive feedback on my last post. It just frustrated the heck out of me when states want to do stupid things like declaring that you can’t smoke in a cigar store (or private anything…don’t get me started!) when there are so many other more productive things they could be worrying about! Anyway, despite the frigid weather, I managed to smoke some cigars this week.

 

Dignity White Gold Reserve_ChurchillI made the mistake of taking this Churchill sized Dignity White Gold Reserve cigar for my Saturday afternoon walk. First off, this cigar is 7” x 52 with a slight box press. Don Juan Gross, the man behind Dignity Cigars, and a very cool guy, gave this to me at the IPCPR show last year. Here’s the blurb from the website:

 

“A rich medium body, spicy aroma and a sweet tangy pop of caramelized flavor nicely accented with a light note of spice perfect for a summer evening. This unique cigar is composed of tobacco all from the same plant and aged over 3-years.”

 

Here’s why I say I made a mistake selecting this cigar: the part above about it being perfect for a summer evening sounds about right. The delicate flavors of this cigar got lost in the cold, winter air. I do have to ask Don Juan about the “tobacco all from the same plant” line, as that just seems like a logistical nightmare that would make the cigar’s cost out of reach of your everyday Saudi prince. I can’t imagine being able to track 4 or 5 leaves from one plant for 3 years through the curing, fermenting and aging process. Perhaps I’m reading too much into that verbiage, but it just sounds like an outlandish claim. I am glad I have one more example of this cigar that I can save for a summer evening, and that can’t come soon enough!

 

Alec Bradley_Nica Puro RobustoSunday evening I went to a cigar that’s one if the cigars on my go-to list, the Alec Bradley Nica Puro Robusto. There are a handful of cigars that I can count on to satisfy me, cigars I smoke when I want to enjoy a cigar without having to think too hard about it. We had a busy afternoon with our daughter and granddaughters, and the dog needed walking so I grabbed one of these and hit the road. It’s a well made, great tasting cigar that’s on the stronger side of medium. It’s a cigar that I put up there with the Nica Rustica, Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 and Dark Corojo and the 601 La Bomba in terms of personal satisfaction and enjoyment. Not to say it’s the same as any of those, and none of them are the same as the others, but they are all cigars that consistently float my boat and are ones I reach for when I just want to enjoy a cigar without thinking.

 

Ezra_Zion_InceptionMonday evening I selected a Ezra Zion Inception robusto which I had purchased last summer when I went to hang out with Kyle, Chris and The Don, the guys behind Ezra Zion Cigars and Cigar Federation, at a local shop (The Wooden Indian). These are now called Jamais Vu instead of Inception, and I think that’s because JSR Cigar Distributors in Texas also has a brand called Inception and the Ezra Zion guys, being the nice guys that they are, backed off of the name to avoid a trademark issue. I always appreciate when I hear about folks in the cigar industry resolving their differences in a civil, gentlemanly manner. Inception or Jamais Vu, it’s a tasty smoke, although again the cold weather may have been a detriment to this cigar. I gave it a V cut, and when I got back from my walk and into some light I noticed some really gross tar bubbling from the cut. I’m quite please that oozenone of that nastiness came in contact with my tongue or lips, or it would have been all over! I cut the end off (twice) and the cigar finished off fine. These are really nice cigars, reasonably powerful, dark flavors and good strength, it would have been perfect if it wasn’t for the goo. Second lesson learned, no V cuts when the ambient temperature is below about 25 degrees Fahrenheit (the first was not to smoke mild cigars in the cold). One piece of advice, if you ever have the misfortune of encountering the oozing tar and cut it off, make sure you give that cutter a good cleaning afterwards.

 

CE&M_CarbonTuesday evening I grabbed a Foundry Compounds, Elements and Musings Carbon which I had picked up last week when I visited Goose’s Tobacco Lounge. This cigar is listed at 5 ½” x 60, but doesn’t really feel like a 60 ring gauge, not sure why. It’s also listed as being made with Nicaraguan and “lower 48” tobacco, which I guess means that there’s absolutely no tobacco from Hawaii or Alaska. there is also something refered to as “Smoke It”, which could either be a mystery tobacco, or simple instructions. Honestly, I don’t care where the tobacco in this cigar came from because it’s delicious.  This is a $5.00 cigar here in Pennsylvania, and worth every dime.  My only complaint was that the cap had almost nothing holding it on and really wanted to unravel on me after I gave it a full cut (not taking chances!). It worked out OK, though, some salivary juices stuck everything back where they belonged and I was treated to a really nice cigar.  It was a little bold in a smooth way, like smoking a Hershey’s Special Dark candy bar. The flavor cut through the cold air nicely and I hated to put this cigar down. The Foundry site has very little information, but according to the information at Cigar-Coop.com, this is a regular production cigar and that’s a good thing. I can see picking up some more of these, although I don’t think a box is in my future as these come in cvboxes of 75.  The Carbon is a solid smoke for the money, if you come across some, give them a try. I think they are yummy, and when I put it next to the Compounds, Elements and Musings Vanadium I get my initials!

 

Remember, the Famous Smoke Shop Coupon Codes expire Friday. Get over there and use them or we may not see coupon codes from them again! I used one myself, so I know they work.

Discount codes:

CAPULET5 – Free 5-pack of Romeo y Julieta House of Capulet with any $75+ purchase

MONTAGUE5 – Free 5-pack of Romeo y Julieta House of Montague with any $75+ purchase

CAPULET20 – $20 off any $100+ purchase of Romeo y Julieta House of Capulet

MONTAGUE20 – $20 off any $100+ purchase of Romeo y Julieta House of Montague

 

Another coupon code you can use is from our newest sponsor, BuyDiscountCigars.com. You can get $5 off your order if you use the code “CigarCraig”.  Welcome aboard! They seem to get some good stuff over there, give them a look.

 

This video is always on the left sidebar, but please check it out again.  We shot this back in August of 2012 and it’s as relevant today as it was then.  Please have a look again and join Cigar Rights of America if you haven’t already.

 

That’s all I got, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Aging Room, Alec Bradley, Debonaire, Viaje Cigars and an Upcoming Trip

We’ve had some nice weather here in southeast PA, so it’s been a pleasure taking my evening walks.  I’ve managed to get some nice cigars in (so whats new?)

Aging Room Small Batch M356

Sunday evening I  grabbed an Aging Room Small Batch M-356 toro that Rafael Nodal gave me at the Cigarnival last June.  This is a cigar that is new to me, sure I’ve heard about them over the years, but never had a chance to try one.  This is a Dominican cigar with a Habano wrapper which I approached with anticipation.  I found it to be enjoyable, but I had a heck of a time keeping it burning right.  I had to really pay a lot of attention to it or it would go out.  I smoked this while walking with the dog and my oldest son, who enjoyed a Diesel Unholy Cocktail.  I would love to smoke another one to see if the burn characteristics were an anomaly. It had a really nice, sweet flavor that I enjoyed.

 

AlecBradley Tempus Maduro RobustoMonday night I grabbed an AlecBradley Tempus Maduro Robusto. I believe this cigar came from the pack that they handed out at the party Alec Bradly Cigars threw at the Palms Hotel pool at the IPCPR show in Vegas.  They had three or four cigars packaged like a Wonka bar (almost appropriate since Tuesday was International Willy Wonka Day!), of which I smoked the Nica Puro while there. The Tempus Maduro has my favorite San Andrés wrapper, so I figured I was in for a treat.  It was a treat, although different from what I generally expect from this wrapper.  This cigar had a pretty aggressive flavor reminiscent of the Mexican tobacco of the 90s. It burned well and had a nice, long finish. This is a cigar that after you’ve smoked it, you know you smoked a cigar. I’m getting old, I prefer a smoother, creamier maduro these days, but this was an enjoyable smoke. There are so many great smokes in the Alec Bradley range.

 

Debonaire RobustoTuesday I, once again, dug into the IPCPR samples and pulled out a Debonaire Robusto.  This is a Dominican cigar that is made by Phil Zanghi, who is the guy who originally made the Indian Tabak line in the 90s and sold it to Rocky Patel.  There’s not a lot of information out there about this cigar, and I failed to make it back to the Debonaire booth at the IPCPR show to talk to Phil. In doing  a little quick research, it looks like this is a pricey smoke, running in the $13 range.  It was a good smoke, perfectly rolled and pleasing.  Honestly, this is just me, but If I were faced with the choice of this cigar or a Liga Privada of just about any variety in the same price range, the Ligas suit my palate much more.  Certainly a cigar to try.

 

Viaje_Friends and Family Le JoueurTonight I took my nightly walk with a recent gift I received from Will Cooper of Cigar-Coop.com.  This is the first Viaje cigar I’ve smoked, and I’ve stayed away from the line largely because the selection is dizzying, there are so many small batch lines that I can’t keep them straight.  This cigar was the 5″x52 Friends and Family Le Joueur, and there’s no information about this cigar on the Viaje website (there’s no information about any of the cigars on the website).  Since Will gave me this cigar, see what he had to say at Cigar-Coop.com. I have to say that it was a very enjoyable smoke. The burn meandered a bit for me, but it drew perfectly with a V-cut and ended up straightening out in the last half.  I thought it was pretty savory and satisfying, and I wan to thank my friend Will for sharing this with me and giving me my first glimpse into the world of Viaje.  I can’t say I haven’t been curious about the line, and after smoking one, I may have to sample some more at some point.

 

This weekend we are driving up to New Hampshire and plan to pay a visit to the 2 Guys Smoke Shop in Nashua.  While there I hope to weasel my way into their Cigar Authority radio show, so if you are bored, tune into the Cigar Authority website to watch the live video feed, or listen to it via podcast.  I’ve long been a fan of the show and am looking forward to the visit. In other news, this in from my friend Barry Stein at Miami Cigar and Company:

Come celebrate National 107 Day, by smoking a La Aurora 107 on 10/7. Share with us your images on social media with the hashtag #LaAurora107 and you could win an all inclusive trip to the La Aurora Cigar factory.

 

That’s it for now.  Sunday’s post may be a little late, or early and short, I’m not sure which yet.  Either way, it’ll be the usual nonsense you’ve come to expect.

 

Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

 

 

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IPCPR 2013 – Acid Shorty, Natural Shorty, San Bajito Robusto and Shorty Rossi

IMG_0701The IPCPR show always seems to have it’s share of celebrities, Arnold Schwarzenegger was spotted at the show on the first day (not by me!) as well as Mike Ditka, and previous years have seen the likes of Ron White and Dennis Rodman walking the floor.  Shorty Rossi, the star of Animal Planet’s Pit Boss, has also been a fixture at the show for a few years. I met up with him this time and he took a few minutes to tell me about some of his new cigar offerings being distributed through Meier and Dutch, which is the wholesale arm of Cigars International.  I had the opportunity to smoke a couple of them this week, here’s what I thought:

 

DE Acid_ShortyThe Acid line isn’t one I gravitate to, I can usually smell them a mile away, and except for a late night Kuba Kuba Maduro in Nicaragua a few years ago, I haven’t really had too much to say about the line.  I’ve been to the factory, I’m confident that they use the finest materials, and I know they are rolled very well. So I was a little hesitant to choose the Acid Shorty Friday evening for my walk, after a long week I usually select a “sure thing” from the humidor.  This is a IMG_0819[1]4″x 60 cigar with a very sweet cap, candy sweet, diabetic coma inducing sweet.  It also had an herbal aroma off the foot.  It turned out that this was a very nice cigar.  It didn’t have the cloying incense, aroma-therapy kind of flavor I expected.  It was medium bodied with a nice, sweet tobacco flavor.  I enjoyed this cigar once the sweet cap was gone.  I’d smoke this again.

 

DE Natural_ShortyAlso from the Drew Estate factory is the Natural Shorty. This is a 4″x 50, a little more manageable than the 60 ring, and the perfect size for a rainy Saturday afternoon walk.  Again, the sweet gum on the head was overwhelming.  This is “short and sweet” taken to the extreme.  I’ve smoke a few of the Naturals, but none recently, and I remember them using some fairly unique tobaccos, Turkish, maybe some Perique or something from Louisiana or something. This is one that I wished was longer, because it was a nice smoke, again, once the sweet cap was gone.  Unique, for certain. Again, I’d smoke this again, but I’d probably try to wipe some of the sugar off first…it’s just too much for me.

 

San Bajito_RobustoShorty Rossi made his first entry into the cigar world with Cigar International‘s Diesel Shorty.  I didn’t have any of those, although I like the Diesel line in general.  He does have a line called San Bajito, and Niko of Meier and Dutch (and also a regular on the Over a Cigar show on Blogtalk Radio) was kind enough to provide me with a 4½” x 60 robusto.  I enjoyed this cigar after dinner on the patio.  This cigar is made in Nicaragua, and was a really nice, smooth, flavorful smoke.  I got a nice sweet tobacco flavor at one point, no sweet cap on this one, just nice, sweet tobacco.  I want to smoke more of these, especially after a few months time-out in the humidor.  Shorty did a nice job blending this cigar.

 

 

Have a look at the video, Shorty give us some insight into how he ended up in the cigar industry as well how he got into the dog rescue business.

 

One of the things I appreciate about all Shorty’s cigars is that a portion of the proceeds go toward his Pit Bull rescue. The dog pictured above, the one I walk every night, is actually my youngest son’s dog.  She is a Pit Bull/LAb mix that we got from our local SPCA.  She’s a sweet dog whose enthusiasm can be mis-interpreted as aggression, but she really just loves everyone. We think she may have been given up because, we were to find out, she has seizures, and is now on medication to control them.  So I believe in Shorty’s Pit Bull mission, and wish him continued success.  His dog, Hercules, was there throughout the show and provided some comic relief at one point when he cleared the booth with a gaseous emission. I wish I had the video recording for that!

 

Until the next time,

CigarCraig

 

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Leaving New Jersey, an Illusione, a Reinado, a Liga UF-13 and a Recluse Cigar

Sunday was my last day in New Jersey, so I decided to seek out one more cigar shop to check out, one in Nutley NJ.  I arrived at 12:15 to a closed store with signs all over the glass saying they were open at noon every day.  I waited around until 12:30 when I decided that there was a perfectly good shop five minutes away that I knew would be open.  I made my way back to Cigar Emporium, the scene of Saturday’s terrific herf.  I once again perused the generously stocked humidor and decided it was about time I tried my first Illusione cigar, and, having heard good things about the Epernay, I opened my wallet and picked one out.  I should mention that at the time I was suffering from another migraine, and  took an Imitrex upon arrival.  These things whack me out pretty good, so I want to be someplace comfortable when I take one.  The Epernay was a nice cigar, it burned pretty well considering it came right out of the store walk-in.  It was quite tasty and smoked for nearly two hours.  If you find yourself in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, hunt this place down. It’s a friendly and well appointed store and lounge.  The clientele and staff were friendly and accomodating and  I had as nice a time there Sunday as I did the day before.

 

ReinadoGER_ToroMonday evening I selected a cigar that Antonio Lam stuck in my hand, a prototype of a Reinado Grand Empire Reserve box pressed toro.  This is a new line extension to the Grand Empire Reserve line which had only come in a 5×55 Robusto.  This cigar has the same Habano Maduro wrapper, and is a beauty.  We are getting warmer weather here and it was a nice cigar for a long walk in the neighborhood.  The toro size just provides more of a good thing, since the Grand Empire Reserve is a spectacular cigar.  Rich and loaded with flavor, Antonio has another winner on his hands, and I look forward to seeing this size appear on the shelves.  I belive he also had a 6″x 60 he was waving around.  Good stuff from the Empire of Reinado!

 

LigaPrivada_Serie Unico_UF13Tuesday brought another nice evening for an after dinner walk, so I grabbed the Liga Privada Serie Unico UF-13 Dark that the folks at Drew Estate sent my way a few weeks ago.  I’m sure you’ve read other reviews by now, and the few I’ve read have been positive.  I loved the cigar, even if it was a bit strong out of the gate.  It mellowed out some and gave me a very satisfying smoking experience.  You have to love the care and attention to detail that goes into these, although the nice little flagged pigtail on this example broke off in transit.  Still, one does not smoke that part, and the part I did smoke was pretty stellar.  It will be very interesting to see what they have up their sleeves in a few weeks when I, once again, visit the promised land which is  Esteli and the Drew Estate Compound.  Have I had a Liga Privada I didn’t like?  I doubt it.

 

Recluse_ToroAs I started writing this post I was sitting on the back deck enjoying the heck out of a Recluse Toro, the last one I had in my humidor.  I still have a double corona, and a couple of the cool Kanu No. 1 perfectos, but this Toro is a thing of beauty.  It’s another maduro cigar, and is smooth as silk and tasty as all get out.  It’s burned perfectly, besides the Entubar method of construction it’s been resting in my humidor since last August.  Anyway, a storm rolled in and I had to pack up the PC and move into the garage so I could finish this great smoke and this post.  Come to think of it, we’re in the final days of a week and a half long contest here where someone is going to win a box of the Recluse Kanu No.1!  Get on back to the contest post and leave a comment for a chance to win.  Many thinks to Scott and the gang at Iconic Leaf Cigar Co. for sponsoring this contest.  This prize is on a par with anything I’ve given away, trust me.  Once again I will be jealous of the winner!! Tune in Sunday to see if you won.

 

That’s it for now.  I have to wait for this storm to pass so I can go try to get my son’s car to the shop since it died while he was going to work. It’ll be an adventure, I’m sure.  Good thing I’m having a nice, relaxing smoke to settle my nerves!  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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A Room101, an Alec Bradley, a Mucialago, a Nestor Miranda and More Cigar Events

As a follow up to last week’s mention of some of the great cigar events coming up in the next few months, I left out a couple of good ones.  The Western Pennsylvania Cigar Crawl is in May and by this writing is likely sold out.  This is an old fashioned bus crawl run by Rob Heming of the Blowin’ Smoke Podcast. I’ve been on this crawl once in it’s 11 or so years of operation and it’s quite a bit of fun, if you think hanging out with a bunch of guys smoking cigars while you visit cigar shop after cigar shop and eat a lot of great food is fun, which it is.  Another upcoming event is the 1st Annual CATS Cigar Festival. C.A.T.S. is the Cigar Aficionados Trades and Sales Facebook group, which is a very active group of cigar lovers that is closely affiliated with the Op:Cigars for Warriors group that puts cigars in the hands of out active duty soldiers. It’s a weekend long event starting Friday evening, May 24 and ending Sunday, May 26 in San Antonio, TX.  Check their Facebook page for more information.  More great events with great folks.

 

Wednesday evening I got off to a late start so I was looking for something on the smaller side.  I had picked up a Room 101 OSOK Filero a few months back when Gary Griffith opened his Total Tobacco store in nearby Newtown Square, PA.  It was pricey, but I knew it was a cigar I wanted to try.  Under the paper wrapper, and beneath the tissue wrap was a beautiful little perfecto, measuring 4½ x 52.  What a great little smoke. The smoke was thick and loaded with heavy flavors and really was what the doctor ordered to releive the stress of the day.  I absolutely loved this cigar and it’s my second favorite Room 101 cigar now, after the San Andreas (anyone surprised?)  Great smoke, get them while you can.

 

Thursday my wife and I went to the Flyers game and we stopped in the cigar bar again where I smoked a little Punch London Club maduro while we waited for everyone to get out of the parking lot.  The little Punch is a go-to winder smoke for me along with it’s Hoyo de Monterrey sibling, the Sabroso.  Friday I grabbed an Alec Bradley Family Blend VR1, a 5½ x 50 parejo with a fancy pigtail cap.  This is a cigar that probably came from either the trade show or an Alec Bradley event where I bought some cigars. I enjoy quite a few of the Alec Bradley cigars, and this one was very good.  I wish it had burned a little better for me, but cold weather smoking has it’s pitfalls, and one of those is that cigars don’t always burn like they should.  Let’s face it, cigars are tropical critters, and they want to be smoked in warmer weather!  Still a solid smoke with pleasing flavors.

 

Murcielago_Toro_GrandeSaturday evening my wife and I went out to the Parx Casino at Philadelphia Park for an evening of slot machines, and I whipped out a nice Murcialago Churchill.  This is a favorite of mine, and this was the last one of a handful I bought at the 2011 Delaware Cigar Festival.  Rich, meaty, loaded with the nice, dark flavors I love in cigar bearing my favorite wrapper leaf, all together now: San Andreas Maduro!  I haven’t had one of these since they changed production yet, but I’m confident that Eric Espinosa will continue making these with the same flavor and consistency that I love, as other cigars from his La Zona factory in Esteli have been very nice.  I’ll have to re-stock and see!  We had a great time at the casino and didn’t leave broke, so it was a winning night.

 

Finally, this afternoon I took a nice walk with a Nestor Miranda Special Selection Connecticut robusto. This was a pretty 5½ x 54 cigar that while milder than I like, had some nice sweetness that kept me smoking it to a finger burning little nub.  It burned perfectly and had a snug draw, but was perfectly relaxing and a fine way to end the weekend. Of course, Nestor is celebrating his 70th birthday this week, so if you see him, wish him a Happy Birthday!

 

Over the last week, and coming weeks, I have been transitioning CigarCraig.com to a new hosting provider, so there’s a possibility that there may be a few bumps in the road.  I’ve been trying my hardest to make this as seamless as possible, but it’s hard to say what might happen with the domain gets transferred. I currently have CigarCraig.net up and running on the new host, and hope that there aren’t any interruptions.  Please bear with me if there are, I’ll be driving myself crazy to get things restored to some kind of normalcy ASAP.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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