Tag Archives: Arturo Fuente

Davidoff of Geneva, Partagas and Arturo Fuente Cigars

Thursday I had the privilege of attending a media event at the Davidoff of Geneva Brookfield Place shop in New York City for a meet and greet with Davidoff’s Global CEO,  Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard. We were instantly greeted by the attentive staff as well as Laura Peet, whose company handles the media relations for Davidoff. The shop is gorgeous, of course, only being about a year old, and Davidoff of Geneva NYClocated in a mall in the financial district with views of One World Trade Center from the comfortable lounge. I spoke with Hans-Kristian for a bit, but was unable to pry any secrets out of him. I asked about future Davidoff Lounge locations in the US and he was tight-lipped. When he spoke to the assembled crowd he said that they had just opened their 78th lounge, with seven of those in the US. The cigar of the evening was the incredible Chef’s Edition, which is a 6″ x 54 toro with a Habano 2000 wrapper, Ecuador Connecticut binder and a filler blend of San Vicente Mejorado Seco, San Vicente Mejorado Viso, Piloto Viso, and San Vicente Viso.  This cigar is a  collaboration between Davidoff of Geneva’s master blenders and six of the world’s most renowned chefs,  Peter Knogl, Cheval Blanc of Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois (Basel, Switzerland),  Renato Wüst of Bad Ragaz Grand Resort (Switzerland),  Ali Güngörmüs, of Le Canard HH Pageou (Münich, Germany),  Léa Linster of Restaurant Léa Linster (Frisange,Luxembourg),  Michel Trama of Relais & Chateau (Puymirol, France) and  Maria Marte of Club Allard (Madrid, Spain),with  nine Michelin stars among them. Amazingly, only four of the six chefs are cigar smokers. Here’s what Davidoff has to say about the cigar:

The Davidoff Chefs Edition is Davidoff’s version of a culinary masterpiece. Just like the perfect meal, it begins gently with complex layers of subtle flavors and builds up to a sublime and unforgettable crescendo. The wrapper is oily and smooth and everything about it, from its flawless composition to its elegant color, whets the appetite for the cigar’s initial aromas, both nutty and sweet. The flavors become richer and more uplifting in the second third, with hints of citrus, bloomy fruit, sweet corn and a refined aftertaste that is both oily and creamy. In the last third, the cigar’s beauty and vitality erupt into an intense, peppery yet meltingly sweet and gratifying Grand Finale, just as a gastronomic experience is crowned by a superb dessert.

Davidoff_Chefs EditionI smoked the cigar at the event and it was spectacular, and they had a spread of chocolates and hors d’oeuvres there that did compliment the cigar nicely. Some of the chocolate treats were amazing on their own. I missed the corn component in the cigar, granted a cigar event isn’t exactly best place to pick up subtleties, but I was talking with Greg Mattola of Cigar Aficionado who explained to me that to him it was more of a corn flavor one would get in a bourbon, something I have no frame of reference for. They were also sampling some Camus Cognacs, which I passed on, but they also had some very good coffee on hand. I am looking forward to smoking the Chef’s Edition again when I can really sit down and concentrate on it. Hans-Kristian did say that the next limited edition Chef’s Edition would feature input from American and Asian chefs. Davidoff has some very interesting thematic cigar lines. Rudy and his staff at the lounge were very attentive and this is a must visit if you find yourself in lower Manhattan. Prices were high, but it is New York, and it is Davidoff. It was a quick trip to the city for my wife and I, but we met a bunch of great folks including Ted Hoyt from Smoke Magazine and John Nubian of YRB Magazine,  and had a very nice time. My wife even enjoyed a Davidoff 2000 while there.



I could probably stop here and nobody would complain, but I did have a couple of cigars yesterday worth noting.  Yesterday I watched the second period of the Flyers game on the back porch with the new Partagas Heritage Rothschild, a 4½ x 50 cigar with the rosado colored OSA wrapper from Honduras, a Connecticut Broadleaf binder and a filler blend of Honduran Jamastran, Dominican Piloto Cubano and Mexican San Andres. This is is a cigar that is going to age well, not that it isn’t ready to go now. It has a spicy, tannin flavor that really wakes up the palate. The burn and draw are excellent, and the rounded head, a signature of cigars made by General Cigar, allows for pinpoint control of the cut, allowing a punch-like cut with a guillotine or scissors. I liked it, it was different from every other Partagas cigar I’ve had. The band could be better, a simple, red band with Partagas Heritage on it, from a distance it might look like the Partagas Serie D No.4 Habano, which is probably the point. Recommended, along with the Partagas Ramon y Ramon.


Fuente_HemingwayClassic_MaduroLast night I grabbed a lonely Arturo Fuente Hemingway Classic Maduro from the humidor. I was going to smoke a regular old Hemingway Classic Cameroon, but this Maduro had a couple of cracks that were concerning, so it had to go. I got a few of these on a visit to Holt’s in Philly last fall some time, and it traveled home with me on the train in a baggie and might have gotten dinged up a little. To the Fuente’s credit, these cracks, the most concerning of which ran from the band to the cap, caused absolutely no problems. I feared and explosion, and the only explosion I got was that great Hemingway flavor with the sweet broadleaf wrapper on top of it. It’s amazing that a cigar can taste the same year after year, which is why I feel compelled to pick up a few Hemingway maduros when I see them at Holt’s, which seems to be every time, and for the $6 or 7 that they cost it’s a no-brainer.  What put the Fuente bug in me yesterday was reading about the theft of a 40′ container of Fuente cigars, which really takes some planning, I would think, how does a whole container get stolen? Fuente’s are going to be in short supply for a while, I think, but the company has faced adversity before, and will overcome.


That’s enough out of me for today. Looking forward to another nice spring day, so we’ll see what gets smoked today!  Don’t forget you can follow @cigarcraig on Instagram and Twitter to see what I’m smoking, not that anyone should really care…Until the next time,





Filed under Events, Review, Stores

Fratello Cigars, a Room 101, A Vega Fina Do-over, and a Fuente at Holts

Fratello_H-TownWelcome to another week of cigar stories!  I started off the week with a couple cigars from Fratello Cigars, a Robusto and the H-Town Lancero. The Lancero came first. This cigar is exclusive to Stogies World Class Cigars in Houston (check the ad in the left sidebar for a discount code!). Stogies has a series of store exclusive lanceros from several notable manufacturers and the Fratello joined the ranks earlier this year. I followed the Lancero with the robusto to get a sense of what might have been different. They both share a woody spice, probably due to the Peruvian leaf. The Lancero is a bit milder because of the lack of Ligero in the blend. Both cigars are loaded with flavor and burn perfectly. Omar is a terrific guy, very passionate and charismatic. If you get the chance to hang out with him and smoke his cigars, jump on it. Stay tuned for more on the H-town series as I will be probably working through the line up this week.

Room101_NamakubiEcuador_RanflaMidweek I selected a Room 101 Namakubi Ecuador Ranfla from the humidor. I bought this cigar a couple of years ago at an event at a local shop with Matt Booth in attendance. I still hesitate to spend $10 on a single cigar, but I apparently did it due to the price sticker on the paper sleeve. I suppose when Matt tells you should buy that cigar, you listen. Every time I smoke a Room 101 cigar I have to bitch about the same thing: finding information on a website. Davidoff has made such a huge push in the last couple years you’d think it would be easier to find solid info. What is mystifying to me is that there is conflicting information on retail websites as well as reputable blog sites. I measured the cigar at 6½ inches and many sources list the Ranfla at 5½. Seems odd that a well oiled machine like Davidoff wouldn’t provide the right information to retailers (an easy to find website would help!) I wasted too much time searching for info on this cigar, and bitch about it! It was a very tasty cigar, the salamone shape is cool and the cigar worked as it was supposed to.

VegaFinaNicaragua_Gran ToroI picked up another of the Vega Fina Nicaragua Gran Toro for one of my evening walks. A couple of weeks ago I put one of these down about two inches in because it pissed me off. This one burned great, I’m thinking over humidification was the problem.  Now that I’ve had a chance to smoke the cigar properly I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s on the milder side for a Nicaraguan, or maybe “smooth” is a better description.  It was a good cigar, not great, or really distinctive, but solid in flavor and balance.  While there wasn’t really anything that grabbed me by the collar and shook me around, it would make a good cigar to keep on hand for newbies, or the occasional smoker. I don’t think it was priced unreasonably (or I wouldn’t have picked some up I’m pretty sure!), so you could certainly do worse. There are other cigars in the Altadis portfolio that I would reach for before this one, but it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye.


HoltsYesterday was a pretty good day for my wife and I.  My wife had received a very generous gift from a friend for a Beatles themed massage at a salon in Center City Philadelphia (she has a Beatles blog at Beatles-Freak.com), which just happened to be directly across the street from Holt’s Cigars.  So I was forced to sit around a cigar shop while waiting for her to get her hour-and-a-half massage. Tough, I know. I picked up a few cigars at Holt’s, although they didn’t have the couple specific cigars I was looking for, much to my surprise. I grabbed some Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signatures in maduro, just because I like them, and you don’t see them everywhere, especially priced at $7.65 each. I also grabbed a few RoMaCraft Cromagnon Mode 5, since I’ve heard good things about them. I sat down in the empty lounge in the rear of the hemingwayshop and lit up one of the Hemingway maduros. I love that gnarly broadleaf wrapper on that cigar. Don’t get me wrong, the Cameroon wrapper on the regular line is great, as I said, you don’t see the maduros all the time and I’ve got a soft spot for the maduros!! I had a great time conversing with a travelling gentleman (Vince? I’m terrible with names!) who was visiting from South Carolina, once again proving that you can always find a friend at a cigar shop, whether you are there for the first time or a regular.  That Signature was great down to a half-inch nub, and went real well with the espresso we were offered by a staff member.  After both my wife and I were done with our “treatments”, we walked a block away to Alma de Cuba for dinner. No smoking at this “modern Latin cuisine” restaurant.  One of the highlights was an appetizer of dates, wrapped in bacon with an almond and blue cheese, which was an orgiastic ashtonfeast of the senses. The service was spectacular, the Cafe Cubano was pretty good, and the food was a flavor explosion, almost overwhelming.  Quite the spot if you find yourself in Philly, but you’ll have to head to Ashton Cigar Bar for after dinner smokes (which we did not do). I should have poked my head in the door while I was there, but I didn’t, something for another time. It’s directly above Holt’s.  So it was a great night out, we each got to do “our” things, and then had a nice dinner.


That about does it for today, time to get some things done around the house so I can relax with a fine cigar later! Until the next time,





Filed under Review

A Cuenca 5, A Nording 50, My Father Event at Cigar Cigars and a Fuente Don Carlos

Cuenca_5AnniversaryIt seems my palate is back in order, I’m no longer getting that metallic taste from every cigar any more. I’m glad that’s over. The last time I had a similar experience was after I had a flu shot, subsequently I’ve never gotten another flu shot! So to celebrate I smoked some great cigars this week.  In all honesty, I like smoking great cigars much more than I like smoking crappy cigars. I have a few in the que that I’ve been putting off smoking because I haven’t been in the mood to “take one for the team” lately. Maybe I’ll smoke one today as I’m feeding branches into the wood chipper.  The first cigar on my list today is the Cuenca 5 Anniversary box pressed torpedo. This cigar commemorates the fifth anniversary of the Cuenca Cigars store in Hollywood, FL, and came in three sizes, Robusto, Toro and this 7″ x 54 torpedo. These were released in 2013, so this one had 2 years of age, and looking at the CuencaCigars.com website, they appear to be sold out of all vitolas. Made by at the AJ Fernandez factory, this cigar had a great burn and draw and was full of flavor and was really enjoyable. The high priming Jalapa wrapper leaf gave it a nice sweetness that went along with a nice little spice. I really look forward to seeing what the folks at Cuenca come up with in a couple years when they turn ten!


Nording_50th_ToroNext up I came across a Nording 50th Anniversary Toro from Rocky Patel. Somehow I ended up with quite a selection of various Rocky Patel cigars, mostly toros, and I can’t for the life of me recall where they came from. I suppose my only recourse is to smoke them. So this cigar had a beautiful Ecuador Habano wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and fillers. It was a very pleasant, well balanced cigar that I enjoyed quite a bit. I may have had something else from the Nording line in the past, and I think I remember enjoying it. I’m certainly not a pipe  guy, way too much work in that hobby, but I know that this line is named for Erik Nording, a famed pipe maker and tobacco blender, and this cigar was for his 50th year in the tobacco business. It’s a fitting tribute as it was a very good cigar.


imageFriday evening we stopped in at our local Cigar Cigars shop, about 2 miles down the road. They were having a My Father event, and Tom, our local rep, was there. Cigar Cigars is a South Eastern PA chain of cigar stores that has been buying up cigar stores in the area for the last few years and I think they are up to ten or eleven stores now, from Freehold, NJ to Lancaster, PA. Before we moved I could have driven 7 miles in three different directions and be at a Cigar Cigars shop. I’m now a little farther from two of those shops, but could easily be at either one in fifteen minutes. Anyway, we stopped in and grabbed some of the El Centurion and Flor de Las Antillas cigars and lit up an El imageCenturion Toro. This line was originally issues as a Limited Edition in 2007, which I never had the pleasure of smoking, so I can make no comparison. What I can say is that the current El Centurion (which has a band with a great big “C” on it which must stand for CigarCraig, right?) was a very well behaved cigar. Solidly medium bodied with a nice little spice one would expect from this manufacturer. I enjoyed the crap out of the cigar while my wife and I relaxed in the lounge and took in the ambiance of the store. It was great seeing Tom again, and Steve, Barry and Tia made us feel very welcome and comfortable in the shop.


Fuente_DonCarlos_PresidenteYesterday, after toiling in the yard on a beautiful spring Saturday with temps in the 70s, I picked out an Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Presidente for my evening walk.  This came from a business associate who sent me some great Fuente cigars a few months ago.  I think the last time I smoked one of these was shortly after they expanded the line back in the late 90s. It seems to me they added the Presidente, Double Robusto and the No.4 to the Robusto, No. 3 and No 2 sizes to round out the line.  I have fond memories of smoking the robustos in Vegas in ’97, but I think it was a dinner at the old Sam Adams Brewpub in Philadelphia where I smoked this particular size while meeting a friend for dinner, then running into some other friends and smoking the evening away with them.  Impressively, this Don Carlos tasted just the same as I remember. It’s amazing that they can maintain consistency like that over a fifteen year period. The burn was absolutely perfect, it had a nice flat coal like I enjoy and the draw was perfect as well. I love the unique sweetness that that Cameroon wrapper gives this cigar, and it had Camerooniness like crazy. This is a classic cigar, one that every humidor should have for just that moment when you want something you know is going to deliver. That is, assuming the flavor profile of the Fuente Don Carlos is up your alley, if you don’t like it, then it doesn’t need to be in your humidor! Point is, I like it, it tastes great and brings back a lot of memories.


That’s it for today, I need to get out to the yard and finish cleaning some stuff up. My back doesn’t want to, but it needs to get done. I may have to get the lawn mower out this week! I may post a contest this week too, so stay tuned. Thank you all, once again for reading along, enjoy your day. Until the next time,








Filed under Events, Review

Padron, Fuente, Recluse, CAO and Assorted Cigars

Obviously I’ve been off my game for the last week or two, and I’m having trouble getting my head together tonight.  So I’ll just recap some of the high points of the cigars I smoked over the last week. I was grabbing good cigars with little concern for writing about them, just for the pure enjoyment.  I chose great cigars that would allow me the time to contemplate the events of the last week.  I started with a Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro Exclusivo, which was delicious. It was exactly what one would expect, cocoa with a hint of dark berry and a perfect burn. This is a special cigar, one to be smoked slow and savored. I didn’t even take a good picture, and I’m too lazy to go get one now, you know what they look like!


Fuente_Anejo_SharkWhatever day followed that I smoked an Arturo Fuente Añejo Shark. This is a torpedo that is box pressed up to the taper to the head, which is round. It’s a really unique shape and was a pleasure to smoke. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to try this line, which is basically an Opus X binder and filler with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper.  Of course, I love Connecticut broadleaf, it’s sweet and is a nice counterpoint to the savoriness of the filler tobaccos. I have no idea how old or new this cigar was, it was a gift from a business associate, but I will smoke more of these as the occasion arises. I’m not one to chase rare cigars, but I will not hesitate to pick one or two of these up when I see them.  Very good smoke.


Recluse_Amadeus_ToroI also smoked a Recluse Amadeus in a 6½” x 50 Toro size.  This was a pre-release sample from last year sometime, so it didn’t have bands. Otherwise, it was a beautiful box pressed cigar with a Connecticut shade wrapper.  This cigar I chose because my dad was a career musician, and I’ve been wanting to smoke it anyway.  Once again, this was a perfect burning and drawing cigar that has the mellow, nutty grassy flavor of the Connecticut wrapper with a hearty medium bodied tobacco core, not unlike the My Father Connecticut, which i also smoked this week. I wasn’t even thinking when I grabbed it, but it did have some significance to me. Both cigars are excellent medium cigars that are mellowed by the wrapper.


CAO_ColumbiaLast night I snuck in a CAO Columbia Vallenato (my dad had a masters from Columbia University) that is another cigar with a similarity to the aforementioned Connecticut cigars. I love it when a cigar burns straight and even and has a great ash. This is a chunky robusto at 5″ x 56.  It was an enjoyable smoke, and this is the first Columbia I’ve smoked since December when I smoked one while driving to Bethlehem to deliver a 12DOSCG present. Dare I say “creamy” describes the cool, mellow smoke? To be honest, I had my hand on a Concert, but the Columbia called out to me, and I’m glad it did. I like the CAO Concert line, but this Columbia is a far more interesting smoke in my eyes.


As I said, the last week or so has been a blur, and I’m regretting not holding back either Jeff or Anthony’s guest reviews for tonight, but I have to get back in the swing of things. Thanks again to those fine gentlemen for helping me out in a pinch. Fortunately the new cabinet humidor has been behaving, naturally the humidity is reading a little bit lower at the top than the bottom, and I need to either get a larger Cigar Oasis unit, or add another one.  It’s happily sitting in the mid 60% range, and cigars are smoking well out of it, so I’m happy.  Kudos to the folks at 1st Class Cigar Humidors, it was worth the wait.


For anyone interested, my father’s obituary is here. I thank you all for your kindness at what has been a very difficult time.


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





Filed under Review

An Ortega Mini Cigar, a Nestor Miranda and a Short Story

Ortega_Mini_MaduroIt’s been Maduro week so far!  Monday turned out to be very cold and windy, and after taking Macha on a car ride (she loves the car) to PetSmart for a little outing in lieu of out evening walk, I hit the back patio with an Ortega Mini Cigar in maduro.  Oddly, I was about to grab a little A. Flores Gran Reserva half corona when I came across the Ortega Mini Maduro from the 2013 IPCPR show. These are both made in the PDR factory in the Dominican Republic, which didn’t occur to me until I lit up the Ortega. I enjoy everything that I’ve smoked from Eddie Ortega, especially the Serie D maduros, and these little 4″ x 38 cigars are perfect for a half hour or so in my protected, but unheated patio.  It smokes like a much larger cigar, with all the richness and flavor. It’s kinda like the last half of a lancero without the time commitment.


Nestor Miranda Collection_Maduro_RobustoTuesday was a little better, although still pretty cold, so I went with a Nestor Miranda Collection Maduro in the 4½ x 50 Robusto size.  I’ve had the good fortune of smoking a few of these and it’s a really tasty cigar. It’s made in Don Pepin Garcia’s My Father factory, so it’s got a bit of the signature spice that one would expect, but is loaded with smooth, cocoa flavors and burns and draws exceptionally well. The new bands on these are very cool, the maduro having the red accents with black and silver foil, which makes it tricky for an amateur like me to photograph, but is quite striking otherwise.  This is a tasty smoke, as is it’s Habano wrapped sibling. I am looking forward to sampling the Ecuador Connecticut one of these days when the weather is better. I find that lighter cigars get lost in the cold weather, and the risk of the fragile wrapper splitting is greater.  Jason Wood at Miami Cigar an Co. did a really nice job on this line.

Tonight I got off to a late start after replacing the guts in one of the toilets. I’m hesitant to replace these commodes with modern ones, I never realized how much I missed the flushing power of the old three gallon flush johns.  Somehow it seems more efficient to use three gallons once, as opposed to 1.6 gallons twice or more.  Another case of shortsighted Fuente_ShortStory_Maduroover regulation I suppose.  Along those lines, I re-upped my CRA membership today, something everyone should do. Anyway, I just came in from enjoying the heck out of an Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story Maduro that I had bought 2 years ago.  A business associate just sent me a bag of Fuente cigars, and there was a Short Story Maduro in there, so I figured it was as good a time as any to burn the one I had been holding on to.  Because of the way the head of these is finished, I recommend a straight cut as opposed to the punch. There was a fold that the punch didn’t get and I wasn’t getting a good draw, even after burning through the perfecto tip.  A quick snip and it was free flowing broadleaf goodness all the way down to a tiny nub.  The Short Story has been a special treat for me for nearly twenty years, but the maduro is a relatively new version for me. I loved it, but there’s nothing quite like the Cameroon wrapped SS. Either way this is a cigar that should be experienced, if it seems pricey for such a little cigar, and I can get thing in the $6 range here in PA, I think it’s a classic, and a great value as it gives an excellent smoking experience.


That’s all I have for now. I have a cigar I need to smoke this week for an upcoming Prime Living Magazine article I’m in the midst of writing, you can check out my prior articles in the Gentleman’s Room area of their website.  This month features Arielle of La Sirena‘s Oceano, a very tasty smoke.


Until the next time,





Filed under Review