Happy New Year everyone, I hope everyone had a safe New Years Eve! I admit to falling asleep on the couch watching hockey! I’m old and boring…anyway, best wishes for a prosperous 2014 without too much drama! By the way, I couldn’t think of anything clever or amusing for a top ten list this year, but I would like to recognize the top 5 active commentors for 2013! I appreciate everyone’s comments and thank everyone for reading along twice a week! They are:
- 1 czerbe 49 COMMENTS
- 2 Agent 86 34 COMMENTS
- 3 Craig (Not me, another Craig!) 33 COMMENTS
- 4 jjo 33 COMMENTS
- 5 George Satterfield 29 COMMENTS
Great job! I’d send prizes, but most of you have already won something and my postal budget is shot after last week! How about this, cigars are on me the next time we get together (not all that far fetched!). Now you know the numbers to beat for 2014!
Enough nonsense. Since I’ve been on vacation I’ve smoked a bunch of cigars over the last week. I started out digging into some La Jugada Samples which were sent to me by the folks at Moya Ruiz Cigars. I started off with the maduro offering the line, Prieto in a toro size. This cigar has a nice, dark San Andrés maduro wrapper, and the rest of the cigar is Nicaraguan. I was struck by a distinct and different flavor in this cigar, not at all what I was expecting. The closest I can come to describing this flavor is burning Mesquite wood. It was a very smokey flavor which was a surprise, and took a while to wrap my mind around. You know how you grab a glass thinking it’s iced tea and it’s really Coke? Your mind expects one flavor, when that other flavor, even though it’s a good flavor, hits your palate it just doesn’t seem right, know what I mean? Anyway, it was a really tasty smoke, and I have a second sample that I may smoke in the very near future just to validate that flavor.
I also smoked the La Jugada Habano in the 6 1/8″ x 52 Belicoso size. This cigar, along with the Prieto, are made in Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Esteli. There are some nice smokes coming out of that factory, in addition to Erik’s own lines, there’s also the Arandoza line, which I’ve enjoyed (see here). This beauty has a Habano wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. This tasted much more like I expected a cigar of this pedigree to taste. It was smooth and full flavored. I’m glad that it didn’t share that smokey Mesquite flavor that the Prieto had, because I think that set the Prieto apart and made it distinctive. To have that same characteristic across the lines would take away from the uniqueness. The Habano was very, very good. Both cigars were perfectly constructed too, no complaints there. Thank you to the folks at Moya Ruiz Cigars for sending these along and for adding more cigars to my “to buy” list! There’s not enough money or humidors for all the great cigars out there!
Monday (I think, they all run together over the holidays…I am lamenting having to go back to work tomorrow…) I smoked a Valentia Lucido, which is a 6″ x 56 cigar from the IPCPR show. I was impressed with the mission of this company. They funnel the proceeds of their sales to providing equipment for law enforcement. They do it in such a way that promotes the brick and mortar tobacconist, with donations made in the name of the local shop for every order, as opposed to hogging all the glory for themselves :-). This is a nice way to show local cigar stores in a positive light, and a double benefit as far as I can tell. Another benefit is that the cigar was darned tasty. I will smoke the regular line in the coming weeks, but this Lucido is supposed to be more full bodied than the core line, which gives me the impression that the core line will be quite mild. I really liked the color of the band too, but I’m weird like that. I found the Lucido to be medium at best, but it had really nice, clean flavors that occasionally raised an eyebrow. It was unfortunate that the band was attached with a little too much pectin, as it tore the wrapper up and made the last third of the cigar a bit of an adventure, but overall I’d gladly smoke this again. Kudos to the guys at Valentia Cigars for giving back to the community in more ways than one.
Tuesday I went to my local shop, JM Cigars in Exton, PA to meet an old friend and enjoy a cigar or two without risking frostbite for a change. Jeff, the proprietor, when asked what was smoking well in the humidor, emphatically recommended a cigar called Dominican Big Leaguer. I had recently heard of this cigar in conversation in another shop, so I had to try it. I smoked the Corona size and it was, indeed, darned tasty. These are reasonably priced in the $5-6 range and I’m told they fly off the shelves (along with the Asylum 13 in the 70 and 80 rings gauges, but that’s not a surprise) I picked up a robusto as well. It was a well behaved, good tasting smoke in the medium bodied range. It was a perfect first cigar of the day right after lunch. It’s a good idea to ask your local shop for recommendations, it can tell you a lot about the way the business it run. Jeff could easily have told me that the Padrón ’64s were smoking well, but he recommended a reasonably priced cigar. Good thing too, I spent way too much on cigars yesterday (more on that another time).
After finishing the DBL, I moved on to an Asylum Premuim Toro. I’ve had a few of the Asylum 13 and enjoyed them for the most part (and I still have an Ogre in my humidor, it jumps out and scares me once in a while), so I figured I’d better try one of these while I’m parked in a big, comfy chair for the afternoon. I liked this cigar much more than the 13. I found it to be very refined and smooth, with good flavor. This is made by Christian Eiroa with all Nicaraguan tobaccos, and it was probably the best cigar I can recall smoking from Christian since his split from Davidoff. The oily, dark wrapper was really pretty and it burned perfectly with a nice, flat coal. Not badly priced, probably a cigar to try if you like good cigars! It was nice to meet up with a guy who I haven’t seen in 30 years and relax and catch up over some fine cigars!
After I got home, the dog needed a walk so I reached for a Raices Cubanas Robusto from Alec Bradley. I was told when I bought this a few months ago to give it some time, as it had just arrived. It’s a nice cigar, but probably better suited to the lounge than the 20° wintery evening. There were tasty flavors that I could tell would be more pronounced in a more hospitable environment. I’ll hang on the other single I have for a nice, summer day, I hope that day comes soon! Don’t get me wrong, it was a well made and enjoyable smoke, but there was the potential for much more enjoyment lingering on the periphery. I don’t regret it as the last cigar of the year one bit.
That’s it, I’ve rambled on long enough. Still trying to get back to some normalcy after December’s craziness! I’m sure things will calm down. If you aren’t doing anything Saturday around 11:30 am EST, tune in to Kiss My Ash Radio, or listen to the podcast. there might be someone familiar in their blogger segment!
Don’t forget the discount codes for Famous Smoke Shop!
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
Once again, Happy New Year!