A while ago I had included a cigar quiz courtesy of Bobalu Cigars in Austin, Texas which was pretty educational, so I wanted to smoke some of the cigar they roll right in Austin to see what they were all about. These guys have been around for a long time, kind of flying under the radar, at least mine. I remember hearing about them a long time ago, but they fell off my radar, I guess I assumed I would have heard more about a factory making cigars in the US. Anyway, I smoked a few of their cigars this week, the Texas Select Torpedo, and the Red Label Sun Grown Toro Grande. I would suspect the Texas Select is their flagship line. It’s got a Sumatra wrapper with Dominican fillers and all the tobaccos are aged five years. I had a pretty good experience with this cigar, it burned right, smoked right and had a little nutty flavor with a subtle milk chocolate. Not a bad smoke.
I followed that with the Red Label Sun Grown Toro Grande, which is a huge 7″ x 54 parejo. While I generally smoke the first half of my evening cigar while taking a walk, it was raining, so I skipped the walk and settled in on the back porch to enjoy this rather large cigar. This line was to commemorate the company’s 15 year anniversary, and If I knew how long the cigar has been on the market, I could deduce how long they have been around. If it just came out, they’ve been on the scene since 2001, which isn’t too shabby anyway, but one can assume this cigar has been around a few years longer than that, as my feeble memory seems to remember hearing about them in the later part of the 1990s. This cigar is a Nicaraguan puro, it’s woody and nutty, and well made, requiring only a few touch-ups. I’d be interested in visiting the factory one day if I ever find myself in Austin, but in the mean time they have live Roller Cams (that they seem to have had since the invention of live cams) here if you want to watch them work. While neither of these cigars were in my particular wheelhouse, they have a large range of offerings listed on their site, many of which I’d be interested in trying.
Of course, we’ve all read about the FDA issuing the worst possible option for regulating cigars, the dreaded Option 1, which would basically do away with all cigars that came out since 2007, effectively ban any kind of cigar event (including the IPCPR show) and make things like me having contests giving away cigars impossible. I’m hoping that our elected officials can squash this nonsense through legislation and prevent the FDA (who, by the way, are defying Congress and the Office of Management and Budget, who’ve both said that Premium Cigars should not be included in regulation) from putting thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Latin Americans out of work. If you aren’t a CRA member, now’s the time to join, tell them I sent you, and shame on you for waiting this long.
Yesterday it rained again in the morning, but finally started clearing up later in the day. I tried another Bobalu offering, but it didn’t work as well as I would like and I’ll revisit that line some other time. For my evening walk I selected a Camacho Shellback, which I picked up a few weeks back when I was visiting a few shops in Delaware. While cigar taxes are higher in Delaware, they have no sales tax like we have in PA, so the cigar prices are just a little bit higher there than in PA, but not a big difference like other states. I think I paid $12 for this cigar because I wanted to try one, and it was there in front of me. I was a bit upset when I removed the foot band to find some chips in the wrapper, to me, a $12 cigar should be perfect buck naked, not using the band to hide damage. This was a limited edition released in 2015, and Shellback relates to a US Navy term for a sailor who has crossed the equator. It’s got Nicaraguan guts with a Ecuador Habano wrapper. I enjoyed the cigar, although it had a drying effect on my mouth, an almost tannic quality. This is another cigar that’s not up my alley, really, but it was well made (except for the foot chips), and milder than I expected (or desired). There was some spice, there was some sweetness. The best cigars of the week were the Sobremesa and Nica Rusticas I shared Wednesday night with a great friend from high-school, those two are tough to follow, and there’s nothing better than sharing cigars and catching up with an old friend.
Hopefully this isn’t the last contest here, heck, I’ll keep giving stuff away until the black helicopters catch up with me! To recap, Today’s lucky winner will receive an AJ Fernandez cap, a really nice metal ashtray, and a five pack of the new cigar from AJ Fernandez, the Last Call, loveley and tasty little petite robustos (I guess). I’ve consulted with the random number generator at Random.org, and was given the number 30. By my count, Howard Glaeser is the winner, please send me your address so I can ship these goodies out to you! Thanks to all who entered, and thanks to Javier Carranza at AJ Fernandez Cigars for sending these goodies (even though his e-mail address comes back undeliverable, anyone have a contact at AJF?).
That’s it for now. It’s Mother’s Day in the US, so do something nice for your mother if you want, take care of your children’s mother (or mothers, I’m not judging) or be a mother, listen to The Mothers, whatever…until the next time,