It’s Labor Day weekend where we ironically get an extra day of work off, and that means the guy remodeling my bathroom also took today and tomorrow off. We had a frustrating day with plumbing yesterday, but more on that later. I hope everyone is enjoying this last weekend of summer, a milestone which passes every year and just depresses the hell out of me. I like summer, sue me. Soon we’ll be back to bundling up, turning the heaters on, and not just being able to walk out to get the paper in your bathrobe (or, the winter bathrobe comes out if you’re a robe fan). Autumn sucks, Winter sucks and Spring is OK because it means it’ll be summer soon. That’s enough of my bitching, I manage to enjoy cigars year round despite the weather, and I certainly did that some more this week.
I received two samples of the Duran Cigars Neya F8 cigars from Miguel at the IPCPR show, and I selected the Yankee which is a 6″ x 60. My alternative was the “Big Jack” at 7″ x 70, aptly named after Jack Toraño, Duran Cigar’s Marketing/Sales manager. 7″ x 70 is a time commitment. I did smoke the Yankee, and it was a great tasting smoke. This cigar is made in Nicaragua, has a Ecuador Habano wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and filler and is priced in the $7 range. It wasn’t particularly powerful or “in your face”, but it had nice, smooth subtle flavors. It almost made me wish I had smoked the larger cigar, as it would have been that much more enjoyment. I know my local shop carries some Duran cigars, and I’m going to have to see if they have the Neya, because it’s one I want to smoke again.
Two years ago Villiger celebrated their 125th anniversary, and the cigar they released in the U.S. to commemorate the occasion was a really nice smoke. It turns out they had an even better version that they released in Europe, the Celebration 125th Anniversary, and this is starting to be distributed in selected shops here now. The sample I received was a 6″ x 50 toro, and was packed in a reusable black gloss tube, the kind that “pops” when you open it quickly. I have a collection of tubes and I like having these around for the odd occasion I carry a single cigar around, or have one un-cello’d that I want to protect (assuming it fits!). The blend is top-secret, it’s been rumored to contain some Cuban tobacco, although I’ve had European Villiger execs infer that the machine-made Export has some Cuban tobacco in it too. I suspect it wouldn’t be hard to get away with that, but I remain skeptical (not to say the little Villiger Export isn’t a tasty smoke). The tube is probably a good idea for this cigar because the wrapper color is just plain weird. It’s got an olive tinge to it, somewhere in the shadows between the beige of Connecticut Shade and Candela. To my eye it was unappealing, and I would pass over it on a tobacconist shelf based just on the color of the wrapper. However, this is a great tasting and performing cigar, and it should be as it commands a hefty price. It burned perfectly, was subtle with some sweetness, and nothing I would guess as Cuban, although there are those who get the flavors of Havana cigar. Despite what I consider an ugly colored wrapper (although it was smooth and uniform, just not the color I look for) this was another great cigar.
I’ve been questioned as to whether I love every cigar I smoke, and the answer in “of course not”, but I just choose to feature cigars I rather enjoy here, and I value my cigar time such that I shy away from smoking cigars I don’t like! Another cigar I do like quite a bit was the Kings Cigars King of Kings Broadleaf. I got to try this cigar at the IPCPR show when we caught up with the very fun group from Kings: Anwar, Pete and Greg. We met these guys when they debuted King’s at the 2013 IPCPR show and developed a raport. Unfortunately I never see Kings Cigars on my local shelves, so I had been missing out on this Pennsylvania Broadleaf monster. The King of Kings vitola is a 6″ x 64 box press, and, looking at the website, it appears that they also have this in Brazilian Arapiraca as well as the original Habano. Damn, there’s another cigar I have to try to find! This cigar is a heavy, dark chocolate flavor bomb, a perfect desert cigar, sweet, but also savory, quite a nice smoke. I savored this one until my fingers nearly burned. I had, on a whim, double punched this one, giving me a bit of a figure 8 hole, and that worked perfectly, I never had the need to open it up. I was impressed, as I have been with the Kings line. These guys make some good cigars.
Yesterday I installed a pedestal sink in our powder room, which took much profanities, irritation and trips to the hardware store. I also had to fix the screen on the front door twice, as Macha the three-legged pitbull realized that it took little to no effort to go through it. I still have a little swearing to do at the plumbing work today, but I got to a stopping point yesterday and headed down the The Wooden Indian Tobacconist in Havertown, PA to stop by their annual charity event with Drew Estate benefiting TECHO, who builds housed for the underprivileged in Nicaragua (of which there are many). There is generally a huge auction of Drew Estate stuff as well as some Original art by Jessi Flores and his Subculture Studios. The turnout was impressive, and I only hung around for a Liga Privada No.9 Parejo, a little over an hour. After the frustrations of the day I felt I deserved to treat myself to a LP. Of course the Liga was excellent, and after a short conversation with Pedro Gomez, the DE Factory spokesmodel and Cigar Safari master of ceremonies, I decided that Ligas are great, but if I can get two Nica Rustica’s for the price of one Liga I can be very happy. When I got home, I set about testing this theory, which may be considered heresy by many. I got one sample of the Nica Rustica in Robusto at the IPCPR show, and picked up a handful at the event, so I took to the porch and lit up the show sample. I’m right, of course. I find the Nica Rustica to be as pleasing to me, if not more, than the Liga No.9. I found it to have a similar dark cocoa espresso flavor and just as rich. I make sure I always have these on hand, it’s one of my go-to cigars. I like them so much I over paid for a bundle of the Bellys when we went to the release party in Louisville in July (that worked out pretty well because I won a MUWAT ashtray too). I won’t turn down a Liga Privada and they remain special occasion cigars, but the Nica Rustica is an awesome smoke.
That’s it for me, off to spend Labor Day weekend trying not to labor too much. whatever you do to celebrate, be safe, and enjoy a fine cigar, I know I will be! Don’t forget to go back to my last post and enter to win some cool Ventura Cigars and Psyko Seven stuff! Contest ends Wednesday. Until the next time,