For some reason I’m a sucker for cigar events (go figure!). I happened to notice that Sam Leccia was travelling with Jack Toraño, the marketing director for Toraño Family Cigar Co. who is distributing Leccia Tobacco’s new offerings. So Thursday evening they were doing an event at the CigarCigars stores in Colmar, PA. They couldn’t have the event at the store that’s 10 minutes from home in Phoenixville, noooo…..it had to be 50 minutes away. I normally wouldn’t gripe about driving an hour to have a smoke, I do it all the time, but weeknights are tough. Anyway, I got there about 7 and the OverACigar internet radio show/podcast guys were just starting their show live in the shop. I’ve been listening to their show for a while (I’m a podcast junkie, what can I say) and it was interesting to see the process. Jack and Sam were both featured prominently in the 2 hour show. For those who aren’t aware, the show is live on blogtalkradio.com on Thursdays generally, and available on iTunes and their site. It’s just a bunch of guys talking as if they were in a cigar lounge, with cigar talk and industry guests thrown in here and there. They turned out to be a really nice bunch of guys, despite what you hear on the show :-).
I bought some of Sam’s new cigars, the Black and the White, all in the robusto size. I started with the Black, which features the Kentucky “Darkfire” fire cured tobacco. It’s certainly a unique flavor. When I was in Nicaragua I smoked a prototype of the My Uzi Weighs a Ton Kentucky Fire Cured and the aroma off the foot was unmistakable “campfire”. The Leccia Black is more subtle. The smokiness is there, and the hand of leaves Sam had with him had the same pungent aroma, but it’s not overwhelming in the cigar. At one point Sam added a strip of the darkfire tobacco to the wrapper of the cigar I was smoking. The wet leaf didn’t burn particularly well, but you could taste the additional smokiness. When Sam set out to make a distinctive cigar, he achieved his goal with this one!
Moving on to the White, this is also something a little different. It’s made in an undisclosed factory in Nicaragua, and has some Pennsylvania broadleaf in the filler blend of Nicaraguan fillers and an African Sun Grown Wrapper (I forgot to ask if this was Cameroon, I suspect it is. It had a familiar sweetness I get from Cameroon wrappers). I’m going to have to smoke one on a fresh palate because, let’s face it, firing this up 15 minutes after finishing the Black is no fair way to assess a cigar. I will say that I really enjoyed the cigar and the flavor was, once again, distinctive (and good!). As I said, I’ll give one a try again in the very near future and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.
On my way out the door, Sam insisted on rolling me a custom cigar. This one is the White blend wrapped in Ecuador Connecticut Shade, and accented with some of the Darkfire, actually the foot is totally enclosed in this beautiful, dark leaf. So Friday evening I sparked it up after dinner and a swim. The closed foot was amusing. I’m used to testing the draw after cutting and forgot about the foot and thought it was plugged. Once I remembered what was going on, I hit it with a triple flame torch and was off to the races. The first half inch was loaded with the smokey flavor that that fire cured tobacco brings to the table. It’s subtle, not overpowering, but certainly noticeable. The shade wrapper added a completely different component to the experience. Where the White blend is usually wrapped in African Sungrown, this shade wrapper really mellowed it out a little. It was a shame to burn up soch a beautiful creation, and I still have a couple cigar Sam wrapped for me years ago that are just too pretty to set fire to, but I’m glad I experienced the various flavor changes that the two wrapper modifications make. As Sam was rolling this, I asked him not to get too fancy with it so I wouldn’t feel bad smoking it. He still created a stunning masterpiece, and despite having been wrapped twenty-four hours earlier it burned remarkably well. Thank you to Sam, Jack, Scott of CigarCigars and Bobby Hershman for putting on such a great event which I would have been disappointed to have missed.
That’s it for cigars here, we are recovering from the Ticked Off Music Fest, which went off without a hitch (but nobody came to me to mooch a cigar, I had plenty to share!) It was a busy day, a late night, but satisfying to help spread the word about Lyme Disease. Today is Father’s Day, so at some point I’ll be setting fire to one of my last traditional Father’s Day cigars, the Esperanza para los Niños, which was made by Christian Eiroa back in 1998 to benefit children orphaned by Hurricane Mitch. It’s always interesting to see what yet another year of age has done to these. In two years I’ll have to start a new tradition as I will have exhausted my supply of those maduro beauties. To the father’s out there, have a great day!
Until the next time,