Sunday I found myself in New York City with a few hours to kill and made my way to The Cigar Inn on 2nd Avenue around 54th street. This place came highly recommended and I hadn’t been there before, so it seemed like the right choice. I arrived at about 9:30 which was about an hour and a half early, so I wandered to a nearby McDonalds and had breakfast and sat down to fix Sunday’s post that I goofed up! That’s what happens when I deviate from my schedule and pre-write a post. I got it fixed for the most part, apologies to those who had to suffer through the less than optimally formatted post. Anyway, I headed back to The Cigar Inn right on time for their 11:00 opening time. If I have one complaint about this shop it was that it was late opening. It’s kind of a pet peeve of mine, if your sign says you open at a certain time, you should be open! I understand stuff happens, and the weather lately has not been exactly cooperating. I sucked it up and was happy to come in out of the cold when one of the owners arrived to open shop. As I had some time to look at the storefront while I waited, I noted that there was a small cigar store Indian, some shaving equipment, and some hats and shirts, no real evidence of cigars present, except for the name on the awning. Is this how the future may be?
Once inside, the store is really beautiful, lots of dark wood and leather. There’s a generously stocked walk in humidor to the left, and the counter on the right. Just past the humidor there is a fully appointed barbershop with two antique barber chairs and sinks. Just beyond that there’s a shoeshine stand on a raised platform. From there back there is a large bank of humidor lockers with tables and stools in front of them. The Cigar Aficionado branded lounge takes up the back of the store with comfy leather seating and several TVs. The back of the store has an atrium kind of feel with floor to ceiling windows looking out on a garden sort of area. Classical music is quietly playing in the background lending even more class to the place.
I bought my day’s supply of cigar from Bacz (I believe that was his name), who recommended their house brand and offered me the Brooklyn size to try. This is a 6″x60 with Nicaraguan fillers, a Honduran binder and a wrapper from Peru. This is a very nice smoke. It had a unique flavor, not your typical house blend, I think that the Peruvian wrapper really adds a flavor that sets it apart. It reminded me a little of the C-Gars Ltd. Inka Secret Blend from the UK. It was obviously my first cigar of the day and it wasn’t too heavy, but it wasn’t mild either. Loads of pleasant flavors, smokes very well with perfect construction and burn (I gave it a V-cut). I ended up going back and buying another Brooklyn and the 5″ x 60 Bronx. They were out of the smaller ring gauge sizes. At $9 in NYC, you have to try it if you find yourself in a Cigar Inn Shop.
I smoked a La Aroma de Cuba Monarch next, followed by the new Camacho Corojo Maduro toro, both I found to be pretty reasonable by NYC standards at around $8 each. Oddly, and I have to wonder if the first cigar may have had something to do with this, but both cigars had an “ashy” taste to them. I will need to revisit both of these because neither were very enjoyable, and they should have been. It’s a Winston cigarette kind of taste, which certainly may not be something everyone can relate to, but that’s how it struck me. I get the same sensation from Cuban Cuaba and Victor Sinclair cigars. I will say that it didn’t detract from the ambiance of the lounge, and I smoked the Camacho in the company of Matthias Clock, who writes the FineTobaccoNYC site. I had corresponded with him in the past and dropped him a note that I’d be in town. He was gracious enough to take some time to meet up with me and hang out for an hour or so. I always enjoy meeting peers in this endeavor of cigar smoking. Matthias organizes cigar events in New York City, so if you’re in the area check his site for the latest goings on. All in all, I had a nice, relaxing day in the big city, just hanging out and smoking cigars. If it hadn’t been so frigidly cold I might have been tempted to break some laws and have a cigar in Times Square or Central Park!
On a related note, last night I smoked an Inferno Flashpoint, a Famous Smoke Shop exclusive made for them by Oliva. From the website:
Inferno Flashpoint cigars are the sister act to the original Inferno by Oliva. The core blend consists of perfectly fermented, estate-grown Nicaraguan ligero longfillers balanced by a healthy dose of sweeter Jalapa-grown leaves, deftly wrapped in an exquisite Sumatra leaf. Expect a medium start that blooms into a creamy, complex, full-bodied flavor bomb. Order a box now, or test drive a 5-pack and discover this affordably-priced selection that will spread like wildfire among cigar lovers.
This cigar is a winner. The flavor was very clean, that’s what kept coming to mind. I really enjoyed the creamy flavor and smoked it until I could no longer tolerate the juxtaposition of freezing/burning fingers. As it says above, it’s smooth and creamy, but loaded with flavor. The burn was perfect and I never had to touch flame to it after the initial lighting. From the name you might think this would be a knock your head off spice bomb, but it’s not. It’s a rich, satisfying experience. Thanks to Travis at Famous for allowing me to experience these!
That’s plenty for now. Heading out to NYC again tonight to attend “The Official Memorial Tribute To Sid Bernstein – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of “The Beatles’ Historic First Concerts at Carnegie Hall” Presented by The Bernstein Family and Sid Bernstein Presents…” at The Cutting Room. Won’t be a cigar journey this time, but will be pretty incredible anyway. Hopefully the impending snow storm tomorrow doesn’t get in the way! Until the next time,