Tag Archives: Camacho

A Camacho Criollo and a Reader Question Answered

Sunday I mentioned that I had a cold coming on, and I was right, it put me out of commission Sunday, then Monday I left work early, something I never do. Obviously I took a break from cigars, my tongue felt like it had been walked on with muddy boots and my sinuses and bronchial passages were not cooperating at all. It was fairly fast moving, fortunately, so tonight I thought I’d try taking a walk with a cigar. Of course, since we messed Camacho_Criollo_Churchillwith the clocks over the weekend, it’s dark by 5pm which thrills me very little.  I was in a quandary as to which cigar to smoke. It has to be something reasonably familiar, to properly gauge the recovery of my taste buds, and it has to be something I have multiples of. I recently received a four pack of Camacho Criollo Churchills, a traditionally good smoke that’s on the medium bodied side. The fools  good folks at Cigars.com inexplicably offered this four-pack for $1 delivered, so I figured what the heck, I’ve spent a dollar much more foolishly. I honestly don’t know why they do this, it costs them much more than a buck to box and ship the cigars. So I figured blowing a quarter on tonight’s smoke wasn’t too much of a loss. Sad to say, my tasters are still impaired, but the cigar worked right, and didn’t taste awful. I’ll smoke another one (or three) when I’m back to what passes for normal and see if the cigars are worth what I paid for them.  What really surprise me was that when I ordered the cigars they were backordered, I wouldn’t have been surprised or upset if they had canceled the order.


I often get questions in the comments that I forget to answer, so I figured I’d answer one here since I don’t have a lot else to talk about. Last week Dan asked about AJ Fernandez:

“I must be behind in my “Cigar Current Events” class, too. It seems that A.J. Fernandez’s name is appearing on more and more different brands. What did I miss? I don’t remember seeing anyone else doing this “nomad” routine. I do see some but just not quite like A.J. Any information about that? Is he a hired gun?”

Here’s my take on the question: AJ Fernandez is one of the hot factories out there, they’ve  really come on strong in the last couple years. I want to say Abdel really made his mark producing cigars for Cigar International maybe 10 years ago, has a ton of great blends under his own name and makes a lot of cigars for a lot of people. He’s giving Placencia (ironically, I believe Abdel’s father had a long career with Placencia) a run for their money. They made the Deisel and Man O War for CI, and, not surprising since CI is owned by the same parent company, made Hoyos and Foundrys for General. Before that there was the Emilio AF1 ad AF2 lines that were all the rage five years ago. There have been cigars made there for Nick Melillo’s  Foundation Cigar Co. and Robert Holt’s Southern Draw as well as some in the Nomad line. It got interesting (to me, at least) when Altadis started having line extensions in the Montecristo, H.Upmann, Gispert and RoMEo lines made there. I was surprised because of the companies strong ties to Scandanavian Tobacco Group, Altadis being their largest competitor. They’ve also opened another factory in Nicaragua and are making some of Espinoza’s cigars. So I think Abdel and the AJ Fernandez factory is firing on all cylinders, and, to my palate, making great cigars. I’m sure I’ve missed some brands. Funny thing is that there are some brands that I don’t really care for, except those cigars made at Tabacalera Fernandez! Hope that is an answer. I’ll try to be more timely, and less verbose, in answering questions.


That’s enough out of me, hopefully cigars taste better tomorrow!





Filed under Editorial, Review

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,





Filed under Events, Review

Some Bobalu Cigars, Camacho Shellback and the Contest Winner

Bobalu_TexasSelect_TorpedoA 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.


Bobalu_RedLabelSunGrown_Toro GrandeI 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.


Camacho_ShellbackYesterday 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.


Contest Winner

AJFPrizeHopefully 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,









Filed under Contest, Review, Stores

La Gloria, Marrero, Camacho, Joya de Nicaragua and Alec Bradley Cigars

LaGloriaCubana_SerieREsteli_64It’s October, ant the weather is crappy and everything’s starting to change. I finally got fed up enough with my 6-year-old laptop
Sunday after wasting a whole day waiting for webpages to load and writing my posts, that I ran out and bought a new one. So now I’m working on getting all my files copied off the old one and trying to get used to this Windows 10 nonsense as well as the new keyboard. I’m happy with it so far, I just have to find the graphics program I’m used to and install it and how it works, and generally get used to it. To celebrate, I grabbed a favorite cigar in a size I’ve never had. This 64 ring gauge La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli was a gift from Mark last week when we met up in Maryland.  I love the flavor of this cigar, and while I probably wouldn’t have chosen this size, it was a spectacular smoke and it was just what the doctor ordered after a hectic day.  I find the Brick & Mortar only Esteli a richer and more flavorful cigar when compared to the Serie R Black that came out at the same time and is only found in the mail order sites (and their B&Ms if you’re lucky enough to visit one). The 6¼” x 64 Serie R Esteli smoked very well for a god 2 hours.  I’m a LGC fan in general, but this line is my favorite of the bunch.


Marrero_TesoroMio_6x60Monday I learned a valuable lesson, don’t select a mild cigar to smoke after eating Cajun food. OK, this is something I already knew, and one of the pitfalls of smoking trade show samples that are unfamiliar. The Marrero Tesoro Mio 6×60  is an Ecuador Connecticut wrapped cigar with an Indonesian binder and Costa Rican/”Proprietary” fillers. The second half seemed to cut through the damage done by the Cajun spices a bit better, either due to the cigar picking up strength or the spices from the food wearing off, but it turned out to be a very tasty mild cigar.  Marrero was a new brand to me this year, I never heard of them before, but there have been so many really great cigars being made in Costa Rica lately I wanted to give them a try. I’m impressed so far, I say give them a try if you come across them.


Camacho_AmericanBarrelAged_ToroSince I already smoked one cigar out of the sampler I got from Davidoff, I figured there’s no reason not to start smoking my way through it. The next cigar in there that sparked my curiosity was the new American Barrel Aged Toro from Camacho. This one got a lot of hype at the show, they had a large flaming display at the booth, I suppose having to do with aging the tobacco in charred bourbon barrels.  It took me a bit to make that connection, since I don’t drink and really don’t have the knowledge base in that area anymore. On a side note, did you know there was alcoholic ginger beer? We went out to eat yesterday at a local pub, the Flying Pig Saloon, which has hundreds of beers on the menu, but also has pretty great sandwiches.  I ordered a ginger beer since I knew they had it, and was brought an alcoholic  ginger beer which I, not knowing any better, poured and took a sip of before looking at the bottle.  Had I known, I would have been specific, but I suppose it being a bar and all I shouldn’t have been surprised the waitress jumped to the conclusion she did. They probably only keep the non-alcoholic ginger beer for mixers, and I’m probably one of the few who orders it as is.  Anyway, I had a great sandwich with all the food groups: chicken, beef and bacon.  Where was I?  The Camacho American Barrel Aged Toro.  This is a unique cigar in that it uses a  bunch of USA grown leaf, a Broadleaf wrapper and binder (noted as “American” in the literature, but one can assume Connecticut), more American Broadleaf in the filer, as well as Pennsylvania Maduro (probably more broadleaf) and the Corojo that they age in the bourbon barrels. I really enjoyed the cigar, it would have been a better choice to follow the spicy Cajun dinner, it was a bold, full flavored cigar. I don’t have the frame of reference to pick out any bourbon flavor as it’s probably been 30 years since I had a sip of whisky (or whiskey, I know there’s a difference, I just don’t know what it is), and then it was something like Old Granddad.  I enjoyed it, I’d smoke it again, and I’d certainly keep some on hand, it was quite enjoyable and a bit different from what I expect from a Camacho. A cigar that lives up to the hype.


JoyadeNicaragua_CuatroCibco_ReservaEspecialThursday I grabbed the new Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial.  It’s no longer the company’s 45 anniversary, and the Cuatro Cinco that they came out with last year (or the year before? I lost track), was spectacular. I went into this year Reserva Especial with expectations of a better version of the original, as unreasonable as that seemed.  This is another cigar that employs barrel aging, and the major difference between this cigar and the original seems to be that they used a Dominican binder where as the original release was a Nicaraguan Puro.  One geek note here, I find it interesting that they refer to the binder as “a carefully selected volado Dominican binder”. The term “volado” sticks out to me. In Nicaragua, the primings are generally referred to as Seco, Viso and Ligero, going from the bottom of the plant to the top. In the DR, they use the terms Volado, Seco and Ligero, which really goofed me up the time I took part in a blending session in the DR.  So to translate from DR to Nicaragua, Volado=Seco, Seco=Viso and Ligero=Ligero. I guess my point is that a lower priming Dominican binder technically shouldn’t have a lot of flavor, and maybe that what I found missing from this cigar, at least in comparison to the original Cuatro Cinco.  If the Cuatro Cinco was a more refined version of the Antaño Dark Corojo (which is my impression), then this Reserva Especial is a more refined version of the Cuatro Cinco.  It was smooth, elegant with a rich, but never overpowering flavor. I enjoyed it once I got past my preconceived notion of what I thought it would be.


AlecBradleySanctumI wrapped up the week with a visit to a newer local shop, Cigar Brothers in Berwyn, PA.  Jon Lipson from Alec Bradley was there doing an event, so I dropped in for a smoke. It was too rainy and crappy for a walk anyway.  I picked up a couple of the new Sanctum in Toro and Gordo which I had yet to try. I was looking for Coyol, which I’ve heard good things about, but they didn’t have any.  The Sanctum has a Costa Rican binder and fillers from Columbia as well as Honduras and Nicaragua, which give it a little different flavor.  It’s got a nice looking Honduran Corojo wrapper as well.  Both Cigar Brothers were there, Craig and Chuck, and I enjoyed a pleasant evening smoking a tasty cigar and chatting with these fine gentlemen.  It would have been nice to have seen more people there, and as much as I like the set up of this store, with a large, fully humidified sales floor downstairs, and small, intimate lounge areas upstairs, it doesn’t lend itself to events too much. If the weather is nice and they put up a tent in the parking lot it’s great, and if you want to meet s couple people for a quiet smoke and conversation, this place is  great. The selection is very good too. I enjoyed the heck out of the Sanctum, as I do many of the Alec Bradley offerings. I missed visiting the booth at the show, they were busy whenever I walked by, but I came home with a couple of the new offerings too which I look forward to trying.


The Monte Pascoal brand from Brazil is once again being distributed in the US by Multiverse Commerce in the Boston Area. I have a couple Double Coronas on deck that you will hear about soon, and they will be announcing some specials that will allow my readers to get some great discounts and specials in the near future. I’ve wondered what became of this line, as I have been a fan for several years now, but I think the Double Corona is about the only size I never smoked so there won’t be any comparisons. Monte Pascoal was rather known for blending each size a little differently too, with the larger vitolas being a good bit milder than the smaller. I’m looking forward to revisiting this old favorite anyway, so stay tuned for more info and some discount codes.  Also, The Smoking’ Goose multi-vendor event which was supposed to have been yesterday in Limerick, PA was postponed until Saturday, October 17, so there’s still time to get tickets at TheSmokinGoose.com.


That’s about it for now, until the next time,






Filed under Review

Room 101 Johnny Tobacconaut Ranflactic Cigar Review

I smoked some good cigars this week, but the week started off on a really positive note when I sat down with a selection from a sampler of Davidoff sampler from the IPCPR show. Funny story about the sampler. On our way out of the hotel on out last night at the show we ran into our local Davidoff rep who doesn’t like to be mentioned on the internet, so in deference to his wishes I’ll refer to him as “Tom Smith”. “Tom” said he’d leave me a sampler at the front desk at the hotel that night, and when we got back late I asked at the desk and concierge, and there was nothing there. No big deal, maybe he hadn’t gotten back yet. I checked at 5am when we left and it JohnnyTobacconautwasn’t there either. When I got back home I dropped “Tom” a note telling him it wasn’t there, just so he knows I’m not the guy that takes samples and you never hear about them again.  “Tom” was pissed because he did leave the samples, and some lowlife hotel employee probably took home some great cigars.  I arranged to meet “Tom” at a local shop that he happened to be passing on his way home the next weekend, missed him by about 5 minutes and had forgotten my phone, so I had to go back the next day and pick it up.  It was very kind of “Tom” to go out of his way, I should have hunted him down at the Davidoff booth at the show, but they were always busy. I didn’t even get to include Matt Booth in my secret video…a disappointment. What wasn’t a disappointment was the fist cigar I picked, which was the Room 101 Johnny Tobacconaut Ranflactic.


Room101_JohnnyTobacconaut_RanflacticAs I find with Room 101 cigars often, there’s little to no information on the Room101Brand website, nor the Camacho website, nor even the Davidoff website. This continues to confound me, so I turned to a reliable source, my buddy Will at Cigar-Coop.com. If you want the poop, go to Coop. There are three sizes of this Nicaraguan Puro, the three perfecto shapes he’s used in his other lines, with a spacey twist to the names. The Filero has become the Fileroid, the Ranfla is the Ranflactic and the enormous Chingon is the Chingonova.  Interesting to nobody but me probably, is that the Ranflactic I smoked is marked Ranfla in the sampler box. The Ranfla (and Ranflactic) is incorrectly listed many places as 5½” x 50 (and tapers at each end). I can assure you without a doubt this is a 6½” cigar. Retailers have it wrong, the media has it wrong (Even Coop), and I can only assume this was a typo in the product literature from Davidoff.  I have it right, that’s all you need to know :-). I am very happy that they decided to put two of these in the sampler, because it was a stellar cigar, and I’d say that even if it didn’t have a space theme.  This was probably the best cigar I’ve smoked this year, and those who know me know that I don’t gush about many cigars.  The cigar was buttery smooth, creamy, but with rich, savory flavors. For me, it lacked any of the “pop” one generally associates with a Nicaraguan puro, but had the deep, smoothness of well aged tobacco.  This is easily the best I’ve smoked from Room 101, or any of its sibling brands. While I haven’t smoked may Davidoff cigars, it’s better than any I have smoked as well. I enjoyed this cigar so much, I think I’d spend the $12 each on more. Holy crap this was a great smoke.


I enjoyed this cigar so much, I’m going to give it its own post today. I should have done this mid-week, but I didn’t get around to it.  I’ll be back a little later with my usual recap, and there were some other great smokes I had this week that deserve mention, but this cigar deserves the spotlight.  In keeping with the theme, it was “out of this world” good, and, as I said, I don’t usually get this excited about a cigar.  Great job Matt Booth and his team, it’s a wonderful cigar. Thanks again to “Tom Smith” for going out of his way to get me the sampler, I’m looking forward to smoking the others, especially the new Avo Syncro and Camacho American Barrel Aged.


Until a little later,






Filed under IPCPR, Review