Tag Archives: Bianco

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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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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CigarCraig’s Top Five Memorable Cigars of 2016 and A Contest Winner!

Happy New Year to everyone and thanks for another great year at CigarCraig.com. If you all keep reading, I’ll keep writing! Heck, I’d probably be writing this if nobody was reading.  I’m posting on a Saturday instead of Sunday for a couple reasons, mostly because I don’t feel like getting up early tomorrow to post something when nobody will be around to read it, and I slacked off and missed my Wednesday post, it happens. So I figured I wrap up the year with some of the cigars that were memorable to me this year,  and my criteria was simple, the cigar, no matter how many I smoked, made a positive impression on me to the point where I really want to smoke more of the cigar. These are presented in no particular order, and I know this keeps me off of Halfwheel’s annual conglomerate list, but so be it, why break the streak?

 

Maya Selva Flor Mayade Selva Grand Pressé Box Pressed Toro. This really shouldn’t be included as it was an IPCPR sample smoked on the show floor, and I typically think this is a bad place to properly evaluate a cigar. However, my approach was that I only smoked one cigar on the show floor all day, and I practically did smoke this all day. I would let the cigar go out while talking to someone, and relight it and it was still amazing. This was a brand that I had heard of but not tried, and was very impressed. Sadly, I don’t see these around the stores here, but I have to hunt some down. I know this is only based on one example, but it was memorable and fits my criteria!

 

RoMa_Neanderthal_HNRoMa Craft Neanderthal HN. Technically I smoked this cigar at the end of last year, but since I smoked it’s little brother, the Shallow Gene Pool, later in the year I’m going to mark it down as Memorable. I really did love the candela wrapped  Fomarian ,  and smoked more of those this year than the Neanderthal, the Neanderthal stuck out in my mind as memorable. It had some strength, but most of all the flavor was exceptional and left a definite impression. The pricetag keeps it out of this cheap bastid’s rotation, but it competes favorably with other cigars at similar prices, such as a Padron 94 Exclusivo or similar. Bottom line is, there aren’t a whole lot of cigars I’d pay $12 for, but the Neanderthal is one of them.

 

Mi Querida_GorditoIt should be fairly common knowledge by now that Steve Saka and I go way back and I consider Steve a friend. Actually, in March it will be 20 years since Steve and I met face to face. So if that puts a bias on my inclusion of the Mi Querida Gordito (as well as the rest of the sizes) in this list, so be it. It could be argued that knowing Steve shaped my palate and preferences, and if that’s the case than I’m pretty lucky. I first smoke the Mi Querida Ancho Larga (toro) at the IPCPR show at the insistence of Stace Berkland, who was working in the Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust booth, and my initial impression was good, but that age would benefit the cigar, which might have been construed as saying I didn’t like it, which wasn’t the case at all. I’ve smoked several sizes in the line now, the Ancho Corto (robusto), the Muy Gordo Grande and the Gordito, which I am listing here as the most memorable. Hey, I love them all, they are exactly my style of cigar, I like the mellowness of the Muy Gordo Grande, but the punch that the little 4″ x 48 Gordito has really made an impression. I was going to include the Sobremesa Elegentes en Cedros in my list, as I found it to be an awesome cigar, with a slight edge on the also awesome Short Churchill, but I didn’t want to appear totally biased! Unfortunately the Mi Querida Gordito size might be hard to find as I think it’s fairly limited.

 

CorneliusandAnthony_Cornelius_ToroI’ve developed an affinity for milder, more complex and sophisticated cigars lately, and one new one that I find myself going to frequently is from Cornelius and Anthony, and is the Cornelius. This is a cigar that’s made at the El Titan de Bronze factory in Miami, and is just a really tasty cigar with a lot of subtlety and class. I’ve smoked several of the sizes and think the toro suits me best, although the corona gorda certainly has a lot going for it if you want a little bit of an edge to the flavor. The Cornelius and Anthony  Daddy Mac is a great smoke as well, but not nearly as memorable as the Cornelius. It’s another cigar in the over $10 range that I think is worthwhile. I put it in the same category as the Sobremesa, Davidoff, or some of the Havanas, it’s “clean” and delicious. There are some times that I chose to smoke this cigar that I remember fondly.

 

Fratello_Bianco_TheBoxerFinally, the cigar that was most memorable for me this year.  I was tempted to number this list because I knew this was number one, but really couldn’t assign numbers to two through five. At the time I said about this cigar “This was the best cigar I’ve smoked in recent memory” and I stand by that. Of course, the cigar Im referring to was the Fratello Bianco The Boxer. This is a box pressed torpedo, with  San Andrés Negro wrapper, binder from the Dominican Republic, and the fillers are Nicaraguan, Pennsylvanian and Peruvian. I dig the Bianco blend, and this tweaked version was just off the charts in flavor, and again, hit my particular flavor preference on the nose. Friggin yummy. Omar de Frias made news this year by quitting his day job at NASA to concentrate on the Fratello brand, a bold move given the whole FDA nonsense. What an amazing cigar.

 

That’s five, right?  There were a lot of runners up, the Hoyo La Amistad, the Foundation Tabernacle, the Foundry Time Flies, Leccia Des Nudos (it should have been in the top five…so close).  There were a lot to choose from but these were the most memorable.

 

Contest Winner!

 

GCCThe last contest of the year was some great stuff from General Cigar Company. We had a Flathead sign, a nice Macanudo Colibri cutter, some La Gloria Cubana scissors and a Punch bobble head. Maybe I should have included a cigar from each brand from my humidors in the contest, because that’s what I intend to include. Many people who have won my contests before can tell you that things often fall into the box when I’m packing it up (has anyone seen my keys?). The FDA says that manufacturers cant give away cigars for free, but they don’t have any say over my personal collection and what I do with it! The winner of the last contest of 2016 is Timmc71. Please send me your info so I can get these goodies out to you!  

 

That’s all for today!  Happy New Year again, and here’s to a successful 2017!

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

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Fratello Bianco The Boxer Cigar

One of the great treats at the IPCPR is seeing my friend Omar de Frias, who charged on to the cigar scene in 2013. Here was this larger than life unknown guy at his first trade show, making a big splash with his line of cigar made at the Joya de Nicaragua factory, although that was hush hush for quite a while. Omar is one of the nicest guys you will want to meet, and one of the hardest working as well. He holds down a day job at NASA, travels tirelessly promoting Fratello cigars, meets with legislators on Capital Hill fighting for our freedom, and has a family too. If you ever have the opportunity to meet Omar, jump at the chance and do whatever you have to do to get to one of his events.

 

Fratello_Bianco_TheBoxerThis year at the IPCPR Omar presented his new line extension in the Fratello Bianco series, the Fratello Bianco The Boxer. The Bianco series is the San Andrés maduro cigar in the line, it’s got a beautiful dark wrapper, quite the opposite of the name Bianco, which is Italian for white. So We have a guy who was born in Puerto Rico, raised in the Dominican Republic, living in the US and making cigars in Nicaragua with an Italian name! The Boxer is his box pressed torpedo, it’s a classic 6¼” x 52, with a crisp square press.  The wrapper is the afor mentioned San Andrés Negro, the binder is Dominican, and the fillers are Nicaraguan, Pennsylvanian and Peruvian, blended in a slightly different proportion than the rest of the Bianco line. This was the best cigar I’ve smoked in recent memory. It was rich, loaded with those dark chocolate and espresso flavors I love, with some interesting spices from the Pennsylvania and Peruvian fillers. The shape was fun and comfortable in the mouth and hand, and it smoked perfectly, the draw had just the right resistance, and the burn was even. I lit it with a new lighter, the Xikar Xidris, a new addition to their lighter line, which you’ll hear more about in the near future, but out of the box it worked well and has a great feel and look.  I’ll certainly be on the look out for the Fratello Bianco The Boxer as this is an amazing cigar.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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