Tag Archives: Cigar Mojo

La Aurora, a Cornelius and Anthony Event, Avo and a CAO Cigar

Don’t forget to go back to Wednesday’s post and enter to win a ticket to the Philly Cigar Festival being held on June 3, 2017! I will select a winner on Wednesday, so if you think you can make the trip to south-eastern Pennsylvania, put your name in the hat! This promises to be a very cool event!

 

So, I smoked a few cigars this week, I’ll mention a few of them, there were some I won’t mention either because I’ve talked about them before, or there was something strange going on…for instance, one cigar I really enjoyed in the past had a very strange and awful flavor about mid way through akin to burning plastic. My guess is that a piece of the plastic string they use to tie the hands of tobacco together in the fermenting process may have gotten mixed in the bunch somehow, at least that’s what I want to believe. It’s easier to wrap my mind around that explanation than think of what other foreign objects might have made their way in there. Stuff happens and it’s just unfortunate that it was my last example of this particular cigar. Fortunately, there are plenty of other great cigars to choose from! Mi Queridas seem to be smoking very well, and a 2015 LG Diez Lusitano from La Flor Dominicana was a real treat this week.  Another treat was a La Aurora 1903 Cameron robusto, the third new cigar from La Aurora’s Time Capsule series, following the LaAurora_1903Cameroon_Robusto 1987 Connecticut and the 1962 Corojo. This has a Cameroon wrapper, Ecuador Sumatra binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. I have a special affinity for the La Aurora line, it’s special to me personally, but that’s not to say I enjoy a great many of their cigars. I half expected this one to remind me of the first box of cigars I bought back on 1996, the La Aurora Bristol Especiale (I think it was around $40 for the box). I never really took to those, they seemed to have a vegetal flavor that I didn’t care for. I didn’t find that to be the case at all with the 1903 Cameron, it had that unique Cameroon sweetness (Camerooniness, I call it), and was a very pleasant cigar. I know I’ve enjoyed the Connecticut in the past, but that’s coming up in the rotation real soon, I think, as I somehow failed to make mention of smoking it in the past. Good stuff from La Aurora and thank you to Jason at Miami Cigar and Co. for keeping me up to date on these.

 

stevenbaileyFriday evening I finally made it back to Cigar Mojo in King of Prussia, PA for a Cornelius and Anthony event where I finally met Steven Bailey, the owner of the company.  I’ve been pretty high on this newer brand for the better part of a year now, with the Cornelius toro making an appearance on my end of year memorable cigars list, and will be the subject of my Cigar Notes feature in the May/June issue of Prime Living Magazine (due on Texas newstands in May). I learned a few things about Steven, who has a successful cigarette CorneliusandAnthony_Meridian_torocompany which basically bankrolls the premium cigar start-up. Steven has experience with the FDA, having one of two cigarette brands that has been approved by the FDA, out of something like 12,000 applications. He has the experience (and the financial wherewithal) to keep his four excellent lines on the market. Of the four lines, I like the Cornelius the best, with the Meridian a close second, with the Daddy Mac close behind.  I haven’t smoked enough of the Venganza to make a good judgement yet. The Cornelius is made at El Titan de Bronze in Miami with the other three coming from Eric Espinosa’s La CorneliusandAnthonyTableZona factory in Esteli. As I sat chatting with Steven, Todd Vance and Jose Galvez (Steven’s faithful minions), I smoked a Meridian toro, which I liked better than the robusto, and I liked the robusto a lot. In the toro I think the strength was tempered a little, and there was an interesting cinnamon note midway through. I think buying a box of these is in my future. It was a great time at Mojo, great cigars, and very happy to meet Steven and his crew. Cornelius and Anthony is a brand to watch, and is high on my list.

 

AvoSyncroYesterday I smoked a little Avo Syncro  robusto since Avo Uvezian passed away on Friday at the age of 91. I never had the pleasure of meting Avo, but many people I know knew him and spoke highly of him. The Avo line (not unlike many of the La Aurora cigars) doesn’t line up with my particular tastes all the time, but he’s certainly left a legacy with many fans of his cigars. I do like the Syncro, perhaps the Nicaraguan component works better for my palate than the Dominican. Not only did Avo lend his name to cigars, but he also wrote “Strangers in the Night” for Sinatra and was obviously an accomplished musician. I never shook the man’s hand, but he was beloved by many, another cigar industry icon has left us (at an advanced age if that says anything).

 

CAO_AmazonBasinLast night I finally got around to smoking a CAO Amazon Basin. I recently picked up the last one in a box at a local shop, and this is from the second generation of the line I would think. These got rave reviews, it’s certainly unique in its presentation, with a band made from what I guess to be twisted tobacco coiled around the cigar. CAO is another brand that I really love a couple of their lines and other’s are just “eh”, sadly this one fell into the second category. Give me any Flathead over this any day of the week. Not that it was a bad cigar, although it took a bit of coaxing with the lighter to get lit right, then tunneled a little on my at the midpoint. I didn’t find it to be spectacular, although the last third was getting there and by the time I peeled off the band it was pretty hard to put down. Not sure if  I got a flukey one or it need more time in the humidor or what. I am an optimist when it comes to cigars, and it takes a lot for me to give up on a cigar, usually seeing it through to the end, with worked in this case, because the cigar redeemed itself, but it’s sometimes tough to poser through when a cigar starts out questionably. CAO’s Rick Rodriguez was in the area Friday night at another of my favorite shops, sadly I missed him this time around.

 

That’s all for today, don’t forget to enter the contest! Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Perdomo Event at Cigar Mojo, Perdomo Habano Maduro and Sungrown Cigars

Last night I paid a visit to Cigar Mojo in King of Prussia, PA where they were having a Perdomo event. When I pulled into the parking lot, which is reasonably large, I was lucky to find one vacant space, and lucky I have a small car!  The place was packed, I think the crowd was larger  for this event than any I’ve been to at this particular shop.  In attendance for the event were Nick Perdomo and his PerdomoHabanoMadurowife, Janine, Arthur Kemper and Joe Winder. This time of year in this part of Pennsylvania there are a lot of cigar people around due to this weekend’s Cigars International Cigarfest. I never had any interest in Cigarfest, 3000 people per day, lined up for a glimpse at their favorite cigar maker isn’t for me.  I’m sure it’s fun, just not my kind of fun.  I bought some Perdomo cigars upon arrival, I opted for some of the Habano series as opposed to the usual 20th Anniversary Maduros that I enjoy so much. I lit up a Perdomo Habano Maduro  Epicure (6″ x 54) and spent the next two hours hanging out, talking to the Perdomo folks and some of the attendees. The Habano series features wrappers that are aged in bourbon barrels, and the Maduro was a nice, medium bodied cigar with subtle flavors of cocoa and espresso, right up my alley. At one point, Nick told us some stories of event attendees going to great lengths to get his autograph or a picture with him, including sliding a magazine under a stall door.  Nick is very appreciative of his customers, and goes out of his way to greet everyone and thank them. It was quite an event, loads of great people and great cigars.

 

Perdomo_HabanoSungrown_RobustoTonight I selected a Perdomo Habano Sungrown Robusto (5″ x 54) that came in a sampler of the three versions (Maduro, Sungrown and Connecticut) from last year’s IPCPR show.  This was a really nice cigar, sharing the seco from  Condega,  viso from Jalapa and ligero from Esteli as the Maduro (and Connecticut), with a bit of a spice and an earthy flavor. It’s amazing the difference the wrapper makes. The Robusto burned perfectly, where the Maduro last night had a little bit of an uneven burn which required some touch-ups. I’m going to credit nine months in the humidor for the perfect burn and draw of the robusto, although another thing Nick mentioned last night was that they can draw test something like eighteen cigars per minute in the factory, and they draw test every cigar.  While the 20th Anniversary Maduro is on my “goto” list, these Habanos were very enjoyable, and the bands are really classy too (and they come off easily!). Nick showed me some pictures of the Pearl drums that are being made for him, and each shell features the Perdomo logo. They will be quite beautiful, right up there with my own 1966 Ludwig Holiday kit in Black Diamond Pearl :-).

 

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

 

Cigar Craig

 

 

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Contest Wrap-up, a Meet-up at JM Cigars, an Event at Mojo and a RoMaCraft Neanderthal

CC_Logo_xmas_sOK, a regular, non-contest post. How do I do this again?  It’s been a crazy couple weeks, hasn’t it?  Besides the 234 cigars, three ashtrays, two cutters, a lighter, and various other items, including one of a kind art and jewelry, there were some major holidays in there too. Time spent with family is the best part of the holiday for me, but doing this 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways is a load of fun too.  My unending thanks to the following companies and individuals who made all this possible, in no particular order: Eric Whitfield, Broc Jackson, Jack at Duran Premium Cigars, David and his crew at 2 Guys Smokeshop, Victoria at General Cigar Co., Fred at Nomad Cigar Co., Victor at Tortuga Cigars, Jason at Best Cigar Prices, Abe and his gang at Smoke Inn, Mel and Ron at MBombay Cigars, Bianca at Gurkha and the folks at Joya de Nicaragua and Drew Estate! As I say every year, I could do this on my own, but it would cost me a fortune! Thanks to all of them and all of you for coming back every day and entering! Next year I have some different plans, but it should still be fun, that is, unless the FDA ruins everything!   We’ll remain positive, keep calling your elected officials and letting them know that premium cigars should be exempt from regulation, and keep up your CRA memberships!

 

One of the things I did last week in, an effort to save on shipping and meet some new friends, was to hand deliver winnings from Days five and six. It turned out that Mike and Andrew were reasonably close by so we met up at JM Cigar in Exton, PA for a smoke.  Of course, I spent easily twice what I would have spent on shipping on cigars, but that’s way more productive. While shopping I came ERHacross a lone El Rico Habano Maduro Gran Habanaro (double corona) in a box and it look so lonely I had to add it to my cart, so to speak. I haven’t smoked an El Rico in ages, I can remember back in the ’90s when this was one of the strongest cigars on the market, a real powerhouse. It was Ernesto Perez Carillo’s brand that took a back seat to La Gloria Cubana, and I smoked a bunch of them.  It’s a minor brand now with General Cigar Co., only available in three sizes and maduro, where the original version was a natural wrapper. I thought the 7½ x 54 size would be a good size for sitting in the lounge, getting to know new friends, kinda cigar. It was good, but not as good as I remember my last one being, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I didn’t want a cigar that would distract me from conversation. As it always seems to be, meeting up to deliver a prize beats USPS every time, I felt like I have a few more friends now, and look forward to meeting up with Mike and Andrew again soon.  Thank you to them for adding to the spirit of the season!

 

Perdomo20thThursday I ran down to Cigar Mojo in King of Prussia, PA as they were having a Perdomo event and raffling off a tremendous Perdomo 20th Anniversary humidor. I like the Perdomo 20th a lot, especially in maduro, so I bought a hand full (as if I needed more cigars!) and got one chance in the drawing. The winner was a guy who bought a bunch of boxes of the 20th Anniversarys, so it’s hard to begrudge him the win. It was a beautiful box, but I don’t know where I would have put it, so it worked Perdomo20thHumidorout in the end. I thoroughly enjoyed a 20th Maduro Churchill while hanging out and talking to our local Perdomo rep, Joe Winder (who is probably the very first cigar company rep I ever met many years ago at a cigar event in Pittsburgh), CRA Ambassador and all-around good guy, Alan Price, who was working at the shop, owners Wade and Trae and various other customers.  I didn’t win the humidor, but I did put some great cigars in my humidor and had a relaxing afternoon.

 

Padron64AFHemingwayAs it was a special occasion, I selected some other great cigars that are worth mentioning. For the second year in a row, I took my Christmas Eve walk with a Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro Exclusivo, obviously a classic Nicaraguan maduro that’s like desert in cigar form. Absolutely delicious. Christmas day, after the kids and grandkids left, I sparked up a Fuente Hemingway Signature Maduro, again, a spectacular cigar that’s not unreasonably priced.  It was rich, burned perfectly and hit the spot. Yesterday Macha and I took a four mile walk with a favorite Nica Rustica Belly, maybe I’m on a bit of a Maduro kick?  I must be, because last night I lit up a cigar that caught my eye and I bought while at Mojo, a RoMa Craft Neanderthal HN, with a San Andrés wrapper. Of all the great cigars I’ve RoMa_Neanderthal_HNsmoked over the last couple weeks, this might have been my favorite. This cigar has a couple of distinctions, first, it has a flat head, and a slight taper at the foot, which I didn’t really notice until I looked at the photo, and it still looks like a robusto, as the size is listed at 5″ x 52/58. Now that I look at it, it may taper from head to foot. It could have been shaped like a pretzel for all I care, it tasted fantastic. Not only does it have a beautiful dark and oily San Andrés wrapper, but it has a Connecticut broadleaf binder, and fillers from Pennsylvania, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. About half way in to the cigar I got a really interesting and delicious spice, which really intrigued me. This was a $12 cigar and honestly, I don’t think I realized the price point when I bought them, I might not have taken the plunge. I’m glad I did. I’ve heard from people That this was a super strong cigar, and it didn’t hit me that way at all, it was full-bodied and loaded with flavor, but I didn’t feel the nicotine at all. Stellar cigar from Skip and Mike at RoMa! I used a punch in the flat head of the cigar if anyone was curious.

 

Cigartist1You probably want to know who won the final bonus day contest, the great painting “Wind” by Eric “The Cigartist” Whitfield. It looked like only those who really wanted and appreciated this item entered (or everyone is sick to death of my contests), so I consulted Random.org and got the number 37, which corresponds to KRUK, who I know will give this a good home, despite the relative creepiness of his comment :-).  Bryan, please send me your address so I can forward it on to Eric.  Thank you all, and don’t despair, there could well be a Happy New Year contest!

 

That’s plenty from me, until the next time,

 

Cigar Craig

 

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Cigar Brothers, Wooden Indian, Cigar Mojo and the Fratello Bianco Toro

I had a pretty busy week this week, visiting cigar store and hanging out with some great folks, smoking great cigars!  I was actually planning to stop in to Smoke Cigar Lounge in Manyunk, PA, just outside Philadelphia, but traffic was backed up, and it sounded like they were having a street festival on the main street there, so we gave up on that idea and stopped at a new shop only a few miles from home called Cigar Brothers in Berwyn, PA. This shop is an old house, and the downstairs part is the store, all humidified with the cigars out on  shelves. The selection was very good,lots of boutiques as well as old standards. I grabbed a few CAO Flathead Sparkplugs CAOFlatheadSparkplugand some Rocky Patel Super Ligeros and chatted with the properly named co-owner, Craig. The lounge is upstairs, basically two rooms and a hall with a bathroom. It’s not a great space for an event, as there’s no one large gathering area, but it’s nice for just hanging out with a few people. It’s bright and comfortable and well ventilated. I smoked the CAO Sparkplug there, as we had spent the afternoon in traffic and Craig was closing in an hour. I love the Flathead line, and really like this little cigar.  It’s rich, full-bodied and burns right.  We had a great afternoon talking to Craig and hanging out in this new shop that I think will do well.

 

Nica Rustica_El BrujitoThis weekend was Famous Smoke Shop’s Cigarnival event, which I’ve attended in the past, so there have been a bunch of “cigarlebrities” in the general vicinity.  Wednesday my oldest son and I went down to the Wooden Indian in Havertown, PA where they were having a Drew Estate event with Chris Stone and Pedro Gomez.  Pedro runs the Cigar Safari and tours the US doing events in the off-season.  My son hadn’t seen him since we were in Nicaragua in 2011, so it was a nice reunion and it was nice to go out and have a cigar with the kid for a change. I went with another favorite, the Nica Rustica. It looks like it’s a Maduro week!  Great cigar, great friends, and a great shop. I even won an Acid Fat Tips t-shirt, who remembers those? I never smoked one, but it was supposed to be a mass market Acid with a plastic tip, but it never really caught on.  Anyway, if you haven’t met Pedro, don’t miss the chance, and if you have, well, you know why I’m recommending you meet him! I didn’t take one darned picture the whole evening dammit.

 

Mojo1Thursday found me at Cigar Mojo for a packed house. Earlier in the day they had visits from Nick Perdomo and Jesus Fuego, but the evening event featured Aging Room Cigars and Rafael Nodal, along with his sons Carlos and Rafael Jr.  I continued the maduro theme with an Aging Mojo2Room Maduro that was the free cigar with purchase, Rafael said the bundle came from his personal humidor and they were from the initial release. Once again, this was a nice smoke, very rich with a nice sweet mocha vibe, fortunately I picked up a few more, as well as some Mojo3Havao. I generally run into someone I know there and caught up with some old acquaintances from another shop I’ve been to. I had a nice time conversing with Rafael and his sons, Rafael is one of the nicest guys around.

 

Fratello_Bianco_IIFriday evening I was back in my routine of taking Macha for a walk and enjoying a cigar, and I selected a Fratello Bianco II Toro to celebrate the end of another week. Omar made this cigar with me specifically in mind! (I have an e-mail from him saying that, but I don’t really buy it…). The San Andreas wrapper is a beautiful dark brown with a sheen of oil, it’s dark, even though the cigar is named “White”. It has a Dominican binder and fillers from Nicaragua, Peru and Pennsylvania, my home state (maybe Omar wasn’t blowing smoke up my skirt after all! **now there’s a mental image for you!**).  If I knew nothing more than the composition of this cigar I’d figure it was a really good chance I’d love it, but I also know where it’s made and the guy behind it, there would have to be something monumentally wrong for me not to like this cigar.  As it turns out, all my preconceptions did not lead to disappointment.  The Fratello Bianco is a brilliant cigar. It has the similarity to strong, bitter black coffee that I like, as well as a solid core of savory flavor and perhaps a hint of sweetness. This is an after dinner espresso (double, it was a 6″x 50 toro after all).  I dig it, I can’t wait to smoke the 5″ x 56 III and the corona that Omar so generously sent to me, and buy some of these when they hit the stores. I may even put the mooch on Omar at the trade show in a few weeks (naw, I’ll leave the samples for the retailers…). This is a winner, hands down.  Molto buon sigaro!

 

So ends another week. It did nothing but rain yesterday, so I got nothing done save for smoking a nice Inca Secret Blend Imperio after dinner on the back porch, breaking my maduro binge.  If you happen to find yourself in Easton, PA today (Sunday June 28), Rafael Nodal is going to be playing piano at Leaf, the great restaurant at Famous Smokeshop.  Going to events at shops is a great way to increase your appreciation for cigars, as well as add some new stock to your humidors. Support your local retailers, and Cigar Rights of America while you’re at it!

 

Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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In the Cigar Mojo Humidor with Fred Rewey of Nomad Cigars and a Contest Winner!

imageSunday we spent the afternoon at Cigar Mojo In King of Prussia, PA with Fred Rewey of Nomad Cigar Co. and Alex Mayer, our local House of Emilio rep hanging out, shooting the bull and smoking cigars. I was lucky enough to smoke Fred’s newest offering, the Nomad Lot 8613 in a robusto size, thanks to Alex. I would have bought some of these, but they weren’t in the shop yet, so I bought some S-307s, one of which I enjoyed this evening.  The Lot 8613, as Fred explains in the video below, is the sustainable version of his limited edition Lot 1386 (I have one of those in one of the humidors someplace), and was a very good smoke. It was just right for the early afternoon, after breakfast, but before lunch time that we were there. It’s always fun visiting with Fred, he told us about the “Hacking the Blend” seminars he’s doing breaking imagedown a cigar with puros of each component.  While I haven’t caught Fred’s rendition of this sort of event, I have done it before and it’s a great way to appreciate how a cigar is put together by tasting each individual leaf that goes into a blend. It’s no easy task finding tobaccos that work well together, that’s for sure. Anyway, check out the Nomad line when you get a chance, there’s something in the line for everyone.

 

Here’s my latest installment of “In the Cigar Mojo Humidor” for your entertainment.

 

Contest!

Last week  I posted a giveaway for a nice prize pack of cigars courtesy of La Sirena Cigars. Arielle and her team have been great friends of the site, and many thanks to them for providing this weeks gifts!  Some lucky reader will receive a sampler of delicious La Sirena, Oceano, Merlion Jaxx and Stixx cigars, a cutter and matches, everything you need to smoke these beauties!  The winner, as chosen by the random number generator at Random.org is lonniemarci1991!  I’ll chase you down if I don’t hear from you in a couple days with your mailing address.  Thanks again to La Sirena Cigars, and to everyone for playing along!

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

CigarCraig

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