IPCPR 2017 – Fratello Cigars

Fratello_Bianco_TheBoxerI’m down to my last couple videos to post from the IPCPR show, and realized that I hadn’t posted the video with one of my biggest best friends from the cigar industry, Fratello Cigar‘s Omar de Frias. So tonight I grabbed a Fratello Bianco the Boxer for my evening walk. You may recall this cigar was one of my favorite cigar from 2016,  and it remains so, it’s a great smoke, it has a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, Dominican binder and fillers from the USA, Nicaragua and Peru made at the Joya de Nicaragua factory. It’s rich and chocolaty with some spice and I really like it. The rest of the line is great, as are all of the Fratello cigars. I especially look forward to trying the Oro in The Boxer shape, as well as the new cigar Omar showed at the IPCPR show, the Navetta, which he tells us about in the video. Navetta is “shuttle” in Italian, and it pays homage to Omar’s career with NASA and all the shuttle missions of which he was a part. If you ever have a chance to meet Omar at an event near you, run, don’t walk, to the event and spend a few minutes talking to this super-cool dude.

 

Navetta

this was the display, not the retail packaging….sadly…

 

Speaking of Big….don’t forget to go back to Friday’s contest post and leave a comment for a chance to win some Big Papi cigars from the folks at El Artista! Contest ends Friday!

That’s all for today, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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La Palina La Palina El Año 1896 and La Palina Illumination

La Palina has been a supporter of CigarCraig.com for a long time, I think they were one of my first advertisers, and I’ve enjoyed a great relationship with them. I’ve recommended them as gifts for people in the communications industry who didn’t have a clue about La Palina_ElAño1896Oscuro_Robustocigars, written about them in my Prime Living column, and enjoyed their cigars over the years. Their booth at the trade show was enormous the last couple years, and this year they had a dizzying array of offerings. I’ve only just started smoking some of the samples that Patrick Vivalo was kind enough to provide me with, and I started with the one that popped out at me from a packaging standpoint, the El Año 1896 Oscuro in the robusto size. This was a 5″ x 52 cigar, it also comes in a toro and belicoso, and has a tissue sleeve with the traditional image of Bill Paley’s Grandmother Goldie, which is usually on the band. the wrapper is San Andrés and is classified as Oscuro in the name, although it was a shade lighter than what I consider oscuro. It also has Dominican fillers and binder and  It has a slight box press, and a very interesting flavor. I’m going back a week in my recollections (I really need to start taking notes), but it had some earthiness and dark espresso, with a little spice and some cocoa. It was a cigar I very much enjoyed, and will seek out again. The construction was very good and it had an effortless draw. These are made at Abe Flores’ PDR factory in the DR.

 

La Palina_Illumination_BelicosoYesterday I went with another new-to-me La Palina, the La Palina Illumination. This one was in the Belicoso size, they offer it in a short robusto, corona and lancero also. This cigar is made in the El Titan de Bronze factory in Miami with wrapper and binder from Ecuador and fillers from the Dominican Republic. I guess both this cigar and the El Año debuted at last year’s IPCPR show, but have somehow eluded my notice up until this year. This was a fan-freaking-tastic smoke! This is basically the same blend as the Goldie except for the media tiempo being replaced by a ligero. This brings the price down and maybe gives it a little more oomph? I haven’t smoked a lot of Goldies, as they are priced beyond my comfort zone, but if it’s better than the Illumination I’d be very surprised. I could find nothing wrong with this smoke, it was smooth, with nice warm bread notes and a great construction. I nubbed this belicoso, it was very, very good.

LaPalina1LaPalina2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all for today, don’t forget to enter the contest to win some Big Papi cigars!  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Pulita 60 Anniversario Winner and One More Contest! Big Papi by David Ortiz!

We have three winners to select from last week’s contest and another contest! 

Pulita 2paul1954 is the winner of the two pack of Pulita 60 Anniversario and an El Artista Torch Lighter!

Pulita 4smoke770 is the winner of the four pack of Pulita 60 Anniversario and a lighter

Pulita 10And Bob Borgeson  is the winner of the ten count box of the Pulita 60 Anniversario,  El Artista ceramic ashtray & lighter!

Congrats to you all!  Please send me your addresses so I can get these out to you!

Contest!

Big PapiThe Big Papi by David Ortiz was released last year, and David Ortiz’ appearance at the IPCPR show drew a big crowd from all accounts, I had a conflicting appointment so I missed it. You can read my thoughts on this cigar, and others in the El Artista family here. The Big Papi by David Ortiz is a 6″ x 54 toro with a Ecuador Habano wrapper, Criollo 98 binder and fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. We’ll have two winners this time, the runner up will get a five pack of Big Papi by David Ortiz and the grand prize is a box of Big Papi by David Ortiz! My friends at El Artista have been very generous with this series of contests, so make sure you check them out, they make some very nice cigars. So that’s it! Leave a comment on this post to enter! I’ll announce the winner next Friday, September (ugh!) 1st, 2017.

Here are a couple pictures of the limited edition Big Papi Humidor from the El Artista IPCPR booth.

Big Papi humidor closedBig Papi humidor open

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

CigarCraig

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IPCPR 2017 – 1502 Cigars with Enrique Sanchez

1502_BlueSapphire_ToroAny time I have the chance to visit with my friend Enrique Sanchez from Global Premium/1502 Cigars is a good time, and I had to stop by and hang out with him at his booth at the IPCPR show. Don’t let anyone tell you stories about where the name 1502 came from, it’s because 1501 was taken, not the year that Columbus “discovered” Nicaragua. Enrique had a small booth adjacent to Island Jim’s booth, as he recently changed his distribution to the group handling the Leaf by Oscar, Island Jim, Oscar by Oscar and others. I managed to mooch a 1502 Blue Sapphire from Enrique at the show, which I smoked last night. One thing I noticed about this cigar that was difference from his Ruby, Emerald and Black Gold was the lack of his patented “flavor-lock” foot, where there is a fold of the wrapper covering the edges of the foot, it’s not a closed foot, but the wrapper leaf is somehow cut about an eighth of an inch longer and carefully folded around the foot. I’ll have to find some of these locally to see if the production cigars have this or not, and, after smoking the Blue Sapphire, I will be looking for more to have on hand. This is a 6″x 52 toro, which he calls Toro Gordo, but most Toros seem to be 6″ x 52 any more. It’s a Nicaraguan puro, and is a very tasty cigar. It’s similar to the others in the line in that it burns perfectly, but the flavor is quite different. It has some woody flavors, some cocoa and earthiness and is quite a nice smoke that builds in intensity. The other major difference is that this cigar is round, not box pressed like the rest of the line. Perhaps this explains the lack of the extended wrapper? I really enjoyed this, and will be picking up some more as soon as possible. If you ever get the chance to meet Enrique, do it, he’s cooler than the other side of the pillow, and he, with the help of his friends at Placencia, makes some great cigars.  Check out my short video with Enrique from the IPCPR show below, and “Relax and Enjoy” a 1502 cigar!

 

 

Don’t forget to go enter the contest to win some great Pulita 60 Anniversario cigars and goodies! I’ll announce the winners on Friday.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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Diner en Blanc, Veritas 412 and Camacho Nicaraguan Barrel Aged Cigars

DEB1While not a cigar event, Dîner en Blanc is an annual event held in 70 cities around the world. People wear all white, pack a picnic dinner, and go to a secret location which isn’t revealed until you arrive en masse at the place. This year the Philadelphia version was the largest ever, with 5300 people meeting at various places around the city in groups, toting tables, chairs and coolers, again, all wearing white. I wasn’t able to accompany my wife last year, so this was my first time experiencing this sort of thing. We met at the Convention Center and walked to Franklin Square, one of Philadelphia’s five original squares, which became a park in 1838. It has a fountain, merry-go-round, miniature golf course and a playground. 5300 people lined up their tables, many with elaborate place DEBCigarssettings, and shared a meal, then partook in dancing and general fun. I’m told security was heightened, but it wasn’t overly apparent, and I suppose it was helpful that the park is in the shadow of the Philadelphia Police headquarters   It was pretty darned cool. All these different people, just hanging out having a good time. Of course, I took event appropriate cigars along and the Traveling Tobacconist was there with his 30 foot Airstream “CigaRV” mobile cigar lounge. I smoked a Montecristo White Series robusto and a Fratello Bianco, while my wife had a Leccia White. The Fratello Bianco was the corona, sadly my last one, I think this was a special event only size, and it was exceptional. There were a surprising number of people hanging out smoking cigars, many of whom you could tell were first timers. It was a great party, and I was happy to have been a part of it.

 

Veritas_The412_ToroFriday I was looking for something new and exciting to end a busy week, so I rummaged through the IPCPR samples and came upon a cigar from a reasonably local company that I hadn’t had a chance to catch up with until the show. Veritas Cigar Co. is based in Newark, DE, not far from me, and I wanna say I encountered this brand in 2011 at the Delaware Cigar Festival, but they’ve changed some things since then.  I selected The 412 in a toro size. This is a unique and powerful blend! It has a Pennsylvania wrapper, Mexican binder and fillers including more Pennsylvania and ligeros from Condega & Esteli. It had a lot of pepper and cocoa and was very enjoyable, although quite heavy. This was one of the few cigars I had to put down with a bit under two inches to go. I have a couple more samples, and I think I have a large Connecticut shade wrapped Solomon from them going back to 2011 someplace. I am looking forward to sampling more and catching up with them at a local event.

 

Camacho_NicaraguanBarrelAged_GordoYesterday I went with a new Camacho cigar, the Nicaraguan Barrel Aged in the Gordo size. I chose the gordo size because we were taking a long walk to get Powerball tickets (I wonder if we won?) and I wanted a longer smoke. The NBA follows the American Barrel Aged, which has tobacco aged in bourbon barrels, this one has tobaccos aged in rum barrels (and some outlets clam that even the rum barrels are aged, “aged in some of the world’s oldest Nicaraguan rum barrels” was one quote i found. Again, spirits are not my forté, so I have no way of knowing if the nice sweetness in this cigar is from the rum or inherent in the tobaccos, but it was a very good, smooth, enjoyable cigar. I’m looking forward to trying other sizes in this line. I’ve liked Camacho cigars since smoking my first one in 1996, and have seen quite an evolution in the brand, obviously watching as they transitioned from Christian Eiroa to Davidoff, and while they are doing a lot of different things now than they were then, the quality and interestingness (making up words here) is there.

 

That’s all I have for today. Don’t forget the contest running from Friday to Friday this week, and stay tuned for more (hey KRUK….patience!).  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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