Tag Archives: broadleaf

Enclave Broadleaf by AJ Fernandez

AJ Fernandez Enclave BroadleafFirst off, I updated my last post on the Dominion Cigars Black Lotus, it turns out that it was the natural wrapper version, and not maduro. I suck, let’s move past it!  It was a good smoke, whatever it was!  Anyway, Tonight I smoked a cigar I picked up a week or so ago at one of my local Cigar Cigars stores (there are no less than 6 within a 10 mile radius of my house), one I had been anxious to try. I smoked one there the day I hung out for a while and loved it, and very much enjoyed the one I smoked tonight. The cigar, as the title of the posts suggests, is the Enclave Broadleaf by AJ Fernandez.  I picked up a couple of the toro size, a hefty 6½” x 54, with a dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler. This is a fantastic broadleaf cigar with some weight to the smoke, it’s dark, has some sweetness and strength. It burned well, although tonight’s example required one minor touch up as one side burned a little faster than the other. This will be yet another cigar I’ll keep in the humidor, it’s right up my alley and fairly priced in the $8 range.  I remember a time not long ago when I’d bristle at spending that much for a cigar, but it seems like the norm now.


If Podcasts are your thing, check out Cigar-Coop’s Prime Time Episode 37 with Jack and Charlie Toraño. It’s an enlightening interview, Will and Aaron get to the bottom of the sale of Toraño Family cigars. I’ll be making an appearance on Aaron’s Developing Palates show next week as they do their 2017 recap.  Should be a lot of fun, although this time of year I think I’ll be doing it from in the house sans cigar, much to my dismay.


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





Filed under Review

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,





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Cape May, a NUb and a La Gloria Cubana Cigar, and Some News

Last weekend my wife and I took a little trip to Cape May, NJ to just relax and recharge. Fortunately the superstorm from last week wasn’t as mean to the little town on the southern tip of the state and we had a nice visit.  We happened across a nice little cigar shop in the Washington Street Mall, which is a three block long pedestrian mall a couple blocks off the beach.  The store is called “Up In Smoke” and has a pretty good sized walk in humidor.  The gentleman working there, Buddy, seemed to be knowledgeable and helpful, however the combination of New Jersey’s cigar tax, resort prices, and the absence of a place to smoke kept me from making my usual courtesy buy (and I tried to buy an issue of CigarPress magazine, but Buddy hooked me up).  The Opus X Lancero priced at $100 wasn’t even tempting!  I’m, admittedly, spoiled living in Pennsylvania and not having a cigar tax like most of the other states, but seeing cigars that retail around $4 at home priced at $10 scares me off.  However, I had no problem paying $10 each for some beautiful, hand blown glass Christmas ornaments for our tree this year (as un-macho as that sounds!).  These two ornaments spoke to me and I had to have them!  I didn’t have a cigar on the trip, but it was still a really nice weekend away with my wife, we were able to relax and unwind.


Monday evening called for a walk and a smoke.  I decided to give one of the NUb 464Ts that I got from the aforementioned Thompson’s auction to see how they were.  I picked a maduro.  I hadn’t had a NUb maduro, and it looked really good.  I snipped a bit off the end and the draw was really easy, a good sign.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that cold weather really increases my desire for maduros, I think because they have such a strong flavor.  Not that maduros are strong nicotine-wise, it’s just that a lighter, more delicate flavored cigar will get lost in the cold air. This NUb had a pretty potent dose of power right off the bat, but it mellowed out as it got warmed up and was a very entertaining smoke.  One must take care smoking this shape as one wrong move and the cigar can shoot out of your mouth like a torpedo.  I always thought is was called a torpedo due to the shape!  Anyway, I think these need some more humidor time, but that probably won’t keep me from trying the other wrappers.  These will be good on the other side of winter.


Tuesday evening I opted for a rare treat of a cigar that I like a great deal, which is a shame because I may not get to smoke many of these in the future.  The regular production La Gloria Cubana Artesanos de Tabaqueros have a Connecticut shade wrapper on the first couple inches of the cigar, followed by and Ecuador Sumatra wrapper.  These are excellent cigars, but for special events they made some cigars that start out with the Sumatra wrapper and morph into a rich, dark Connecticut broadleaf wrapper that is just amazing.  I came across a lonely little robusto version of this that I picked up at an event last December and fired it up.  I have to say that I had endured a day of frustration, always happens when one dares take time off work.  It was a day of catching up and putting out fires, and I needed the respite of a great smoke.  It was also freezing cold!  It had been the first “bike-worthy” day in nearly 2 weeks and I had to take the scooter to work. I found out the following: 23 degrees is too darned cold to spend 30 minutes outside driving to work.  I wish the bike had a heater.  Anyway, I digress.  This cigar was awesome.  Rich, earthy and full flavors that gave me a nice hour to settle down and return to normal.  If you ever get to attend a La Gloria event, don’t just do it to get one of these awesome smokes, if you can hang out with Michael Giannini you will be doubly rewarded, because he’s a really cool guy who know his stuff.




I’m pleased to be able to say that the 12 Days of Spectacular Giveaways is coming along nicely. I’ve already got five of the days just about completed, with confirmations for another 6 of the days.  If you thought last year’s contest series was spectacular, just wait until you see what’s in store this year! I don’t want to rush things, time goes by fast enough as it is, but I’m getting really excited about this!   Mark December 12-24th on your calendars.


In other news, Smoke Inn announced today the release of the latest cigar in their “microblend” series, the  Tatuaje Apocalypse.  I got a press release, other’s have posted it, so just head over to http://www.tatuajeanarchy.com/ to see what it’s all about!


That’s all I got, until the next time,





Filed under News, Review, Stores, Trip Report

Weekend Cigars: An Undercrown, an Arandoza and a CroMagnon

As I was rummaging through the humidor Thursday evening I came across a Drew Estate Undercrown Robusto that I didn’t realize I had. Finding cigars is a special treat, and this event must be celebrated by smoking the new-found treasure, and an Undercrown is  a treasure. If you don’t know the story behind cigar yet, it was basically blended by the Liga Privada rollers to replace the No. 9 cigars they were not allowed to smoke due to the scarcity of the wrapper leaf. The replaced the components with similar, but less used leaf and replaced the wrapper with a rich and oily San Andreas capa.  Quick tangent: it cracks me up a hen I read descriptions on websites that specifically identify a (insert varietal here) capote binder. Of course, this is redundant, as “capote” is the Spanish term for binder. It would be like saying this cigar had a San Andreas Capa wrapper.  Back to the Undercrown. The robusto is a 5″ x 54 cigar that’s stunning in appearance  it burns perfectly and is loaded with the deep, rich flavors I love. Those dark chocolate and black coffee flavors.  While this still isn’t an inexpensive cigar, it’s more affordable than it’s Liga Privada siblings and a worthy substitute.


I don’t normally try new things on Fridays but the Arandoza samples I received a few weeks ago from Robert Arango intrigued me, so I had to smoke one.   I hadn’t heard of this company, so Robert gave me a little information:

We are a new company, family owned and operated, established in April 2011. I’ve been an avid cigar smoker all of my adult life. Everyone at my house smokes cigars, from my two sons, to my beautiful daughter all the way up to my wife. We enjoy sitting outside after a long day, just chatting and smoking…seems to be a great bonding factor in my family. I always dreamt of starting my own line and I decided to do it last year. My children have become very involved and knowledgeable in the business. I am very proud and extremely happy that I decided to begin my own line. It has brought my family even closer than it already was and we believe that tradition begins with family so this has become a tradition that my family wants to share.

Our blue label is our newest creation consisting of a Nicaraguan binder and filler with a Habano Nicaraguan wrapper. This cigar is hand crafted in Esteli Nicaragua at “La Zona” factory, owned by Erik Espinosa, the owner of “601” and “La Bomba”. The cigar is a medium to full bodied smoke and is available in four sizes – Robusto 52 x 5, Toro 52 x 6, Torpedo 52 x 6 and a 60 x 6.

Price point for the Blue Label is between $6.00 – $7.00 for each of the four sizes.


This cigar performed admirably, the construction was top notch. I don’t know that I’ve smoked anything from Eric Espinosa’s factory yet, unless the Smoke Inn exclusive E-Doble was made there, which is an excellent smoke.  I found this to be a well balanced cigar with the flavors I would expect to find in a Habano wrapped cigar. If you can pick up a couple of these to sample I think you will be pleased. It’s a nice, satisfying smoke.  I appreciate the opportunity to try this new cigar from Arandoza Cigars!


Saturday evening I felt a cold coming on so I made a selection that I thought would power through the symptoms. The CroMagnon EMH from RoMaCraft Tabac is a beauty. The broadleaf wrapper is dark and oily.  I picked this up at Total Tobacco a few weeks ago at their grand opening (I still believe this is the only place in my area that carry this line), just so you know I didn’t weasel this cigar from Skip Martin :-).  First, I love broadleaf wrappers, almost as much as I love the San Andreas wrapers.  This one was such a treat to smoke, it burned perfectly, and I really wish I had smoked this in daylight so I could appreciate the aesthetics of the cigar while it burned.  One of my great joys is watching a cigar burn, one of the many reasons I hate Autumn in the northeast, the days get too short too fast!  Anyway, great, solid smoke, satisfying in every way, and I’ll buy more of them the next time I get out to Newtown Square, PA.

On the subject of the CroMagnon and RoMaCraft Tabac, here is a video from the IPCPR show where Skip Martin draws parallels between the boutique cigar and craft beer beer businesses.


That’s about it for now, I just returned from a nice lunch out with my wife, where I had steak and shrimp and am thinking about taking a fist full of cold meds and picking out a nice cigar…or not, I might just take a nap!


Until the next time,







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Filed under IPCPR, Review, Video

A New Cigar: Ezra Zion Inception and Hoyo de Monterrey Contest No. 4

This week I was presented with a unique opportunity, to try a new cigar from the guys at Cigar Federation, the Ezra Zion.  Kudos to them for dreaming of producing a cigar line and doing it, it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds!  There isn’t a lot of information on their site, and the promotional info they sent doesn’t say anything about the blend either, but these are apparently made at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras TABSA factory in Esteli Nicaragua (note: I jumped to the conclusion that they were made in the Raices Cubana factory because I was told it was made in the factory that made Illusione, Viaje, Casa Magna and I ASSumed that these were made in Honduras.Mea Culpa) .   The cigar was a  6.125″ x 50(?) box pressed toro. It could have been 52 ring gauge, but the box press prevented me from checking, and I was too lazy to get a string out and measure it that way.  I honestly don’t believe it really matters!  The band was large, black and silver, with some angels flanking an “EZ” in the center.  It’s nice looking and, most importantly, comes off cleanly and easily.  The foot band, simply says “Inception” and “Primera Edicion” and was also easily removed, a good thing because foot bands make a cigar taste funny when you first light it up (that’s a joke there, I usually take them off before lighting).  The bands and the box press looked good.  The wrapper was a dark Colorado with maybe a tinge of a reddish hue, slightly veiny, almost rustic in appearance.  So it looks good, looks like a cigar I’d like.


My usual routine is to grab a cigar, light it and smoke it.  When someone offers me the chance to try their baby before just about anyone else, I take a little more care in my routine.  I smelled this cigar pre-light.  It smelled of rich, properly processed tobacco.  I lit it up, careful to get it properly lit.  The draw was perfect, loads of smoke on the easy draw.  So far I enjoy the flavor, I get a little Honduran vibe along with the richness of Nicaraguan tobacco.  There’s a bite that could be attributed to it’s relative youth.  I’m not saying that it isn’t ready to go, just that a few months or a year in a humidor might smooth this part out a little.  I’ll have to try to get my hands on a few more at some point and test this theory.  The sacrifices I make for science…sheesh.  Anyway, the cigar burned perfectly and continued to smoke well.  Strength-wise I put it on the fuller end of medium.  As I got down to the last inch, I began to feel some of the effects of the nicotine, and decided it was time to let it go, at least an hour and a half after lighting it up.   The flavor was savory and rich and it was a satisfying smoke, things I look for in a cigar.  It certainly compares favorably with many of my favorites, a Cain F or an Emilio AF2, for example.  Not that it tastes like them, particularly, but the experience was equally satisfying.  When I can smoke a cigar and think “hey, I look forward to smoking another one of those”  it works for me.  So many cigars underwhelm me, but this one certainly did not.  It was tasty, relaxing and trouble free!

So, bottom line, unless this is a $10+ cigar, and it certainly could be, I’ll try to get my hands on more of these. Keep an eye on Chris, Kyle and the Don from Cigar Federation, I look forward to what else they come up with.  With any luck I’ll run into them at the IPCPR show, I’d love to meet these guys.


On a related note, I smoked another Emilio AF Suave corona this week.  I found that one of the ones I had picked up last weekend has a crack at the head, probably from me sticking the bag in my pocket and being careless.  I can’t abide cracked sticks in my humidor, they aren’t going to heal or anything, so they must be smoked ASAP.  Stellar smoke.  Helpful factoid: wrapper cracks only effect the draw if the binder is cracked too.  They my cause some burn problems, but this one didn’t, it just looked crappy.  Of course, looks are important too, so I tried to stay out of the public eye while I smoked this one!  Also, I had picked up a few of the Tatuaje La Casita Criolla Short Churchills a couple weeks ago and smoked one of those. Another terrific smoke, loaded with Broadleaf goodness!


Also, a card fell out of my CI catalog advertising a 5 pack of Alec Bradley Tempus for $20 with proceeds going to Cigar Rights of America.  This is another good way to put some nice smokes in your humidor and throw a couple bucks toward preserving out ability to smoke premium cigars!  Just a public service announcement from me.



It’s time for the fourth installment of the Hoyo de Monterrey Reposado en Cedros giveaway. Hoyo de Monterrey is giving away a box every day on their site, and, once again, I have a pair of three-packs which will be awarded to a randomly selected reader who leaves a comment on this post.  Wednesday I asked what you wanted to know from the IPCPR show, so feel free to continue to give suggestions. I’ll select a winner again on Wednesday.  Once again, my thanks to the folks at General Cigar for providing the prizes in this series of contests!


That’s about it for now, until Wednesday,








Filed under Contest, Review