Tag Archives: cigar store

A Visit to A Little Taste of Cuba in New Hope PA to Meet the Cigar Prop Man!

I’ve made mention of the Cigar Prop, and it features prominently in many of my Instagram  photos and occasionally here. The Cigar Prop is a machined aluminum cigar stand that I use quite frequently, and the creator of this item is a long time reader, Kevin Shahan. Kevin resides in Florida and in addition to being the Cigar Prop guy, is also quite well-known in the bearding community (is that a thing? apparently it is!) as the creator of Irish Beard Balm. Kevin dropped me a note a few weeks back saying he was going to be in New Little Taste of Cuba - Photo by JessicaJersey this weekend so we made plans to meet. The little riverside village of New Hope, PA seemed to be just about in the middle of where he and his girlfriend, Jessica, were staying and where I live, and it just so happened there’s a cigar store there! So we made plans to meet up yesterday. over the last twenty years of interacting electronically with people I’ve gotten used to meeting folks in the flesh that I’ve only exchanged text with, and nine times out of ten it works out, like meeting an old friend you never met before. Such was the case with Kevin. I spotted him on the street, we met, and made our way to the cigar shop.

 

lfdA Little Taste of Cuba is one of two stores (the other in Princeton, NJ) owned by Jorge Armenteros, who is the guy behind Tobacconist University, which is a course that teaches about everything cigar, pipe and tobacco. The shop is right on Main Street in New Hope, ironically in close proximity to a bar called Mojito and a restaurant called Havana. The shop is cozy, there’s a small walk in humidor that features mostly top shelf cigars, Padron Anniversary, Liga Privada, Sobremesa, et cetera. The staff was very friendly and helpful, as one would expect in an establishment who trains other tobacconists. Certainly the focus was on quality over quantity here. I selected a La Flor Dominicana Reserva Especial El Jocko Maduro that has the white Reserva Especial Little Taste of Cuba - Photo by Jessicabands that I’m not used to seeing on this cigar. It’s been forever since I had this cigar, and it was delicious. Perhaps a bit much for noon, before lunch, but I was sitting on a comfy leather couch, talking cigars and stuff with Kevin while the girls checked out some of the surrounding shops. We eventually finished up and went to an Irish pub for lunch. Many thinks to Kevin and Jessica for taking the time to meet with us! Vegas, next time, eh?

 

I can’t tell you how cool it is to meet up with a relative stranger, and it’s like you’re long-lost brothers. I have had the great pleasure of meeting several of my readers, and, so far, none of them have been homicidal lunatics that I could tell. Dave W. is reasonably local and won the last contest, and I would like to meet him for a smoke one of these days (I shipped his goodies as I don’t know when we will be able to meet up), and I’d be pleased to meet any one of you who wastes their valuable time reading my nonsense!. I’ve made great friends through simply loving rolled up leaves, and it’s great any time I get to meet someone I’ve interacted with on-line. By the way, go buy a Cigar Prop or two, I use mine all the time!

 

That’s all for now! I’ve got a Prime Living article to finish writing, and the cigars aren’t going to smoke themselves! Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Epic Cigars with Dean and Mick at the Wooden Indian

EpicMaduroGordoFriday evening I went down to the Wooden Indian Tobacco Shop in Havertown, PA to smoke some Epic cigars with brand owner Deans Parsons and his national sales manager, Mick, and of course, Dave and Dan at the shop. I first was introduced to Dean at a cigar shop in Colorado the night before the 2014 Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival, by Eric from Cigar Dojo. Dean is one of those cigar manufacturers that I make a point to visit and support whenever he makes an appearance close by, he and Mick are just really likable guys, and the Epic cigar line is very, very good. As is my custom, I bought a handful of Epic cigars to add to my inventory at home, and lit up an Epic Maduro in the 6″ x 60 Gordo size. As always, this is a great smoke with sweet coffee/cocoa notes that’s well made. this line, to my memory, used be called the Maduro Reserve but that’s been simplified over the years to just Maduro. The Combination of Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper, a Cameroon binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers are rolled in the Charles Fairmorn factory in the Dominican Republic as is all of the cigars bearing the Epic name. The largest output of this factory is the Kristoff line. I love all of the cigars in the Epic line, but I always default to the Maduro for some reason (OK, I know the reason, 90% of the time I default to maduro!) I continued my Epic cigar run through Saturday.

 

Epic_SmokingShieldsExclusiveOne of the special projects Dean recently worked on was a cigar for the Smoking Shields Cigar Club, a fraternal organization of cigar smoking law enforcement officers out of New York. I had the opportunity to purchase one of these special cigars at the event, so I jumped on it. After lightning up the Epic Smoking Shields Exclusive yesterday, I want more! Holy crap is this a great cigar for my palate! It’s a 6″ x 54 Toro, with the Brazilian maduro wrapper again, this time with a Dominican Olor binder and Dominican fillers (translated from a German e-tail site that carries the marque, Atlantic Cigars has them too). It’s a beautiful cigar, bearing the Smoking Shields band primarily, with the Epic band in the secondary position. It starts out straight espresso, that great, rich, a little bitter, but delicious flavor that makes a shot of espresso special!  Right about the time the Epic band needs to be removed, it shifts from medium to full in strength, something that Dan at the Wooden Indian mentioned and turns out to be true (I’ve found that Dan has an excellent palate). Some of my favorite cigars recently are the Mi Querida, the Tabernacle, Nica Rustica (all broadleaf, by the way) , but this is a cigar that fits into the same category, and it burned as perfectly as a cigar could burn, effortless draw, straight as an arrow and all the tobaccos burned at the same rate leaving a nice, flat ember when ashed. the folks at Smoking Shields are lucky to have such a great cigar to represent them!  Great job on this one Dean!

 

EpicLaRubiaSGAlmost a year ago I smoked a pre-release sample of the Epic La Rubia, the Connecticut shade offering in the Epic range. Since then I’ve had a few of the 4½” x 60 Short Gordos in the humidor waiting for the right time to smoke. Oddly, I love this size. It’s a little bigger than the Nub line, shorter than a 6″ x 60, just right for me if I have to smoke a 60 ring cigar (not that I don’t smoke my share of 6″ x 60s). Not a commercial, but my friends at Best Cigar Prices like this size too, they have a whole bunch of exclusives in what they call the Robolo, many of which I’ve sampled and enjoyed.  I guess that was a bit of a commercial. Anyway, Dean told me long ago that his Canadian customers requested this size, which is curious and unexpected in my mind. So after dinner and before a movie was the perfect time to bust one Epic_LaRubia_ShortGordoif these out and light it up. As with all of the other Epic cigars in my experience, it burned well. Like the pre-release sample I smoked last June, this was a solid medium bodied cigar, with a hint of the Ecuador Connecticut twang and a good core flavor. This has a San Andrés binder that gives it a little extra sweetness to offset the grassyness of the wrapper, and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. Another winner from Epic, it’s a great anytime cigar that is neither boring nor overwhelming. I’m happy I have more of these on hand!

 

That’s all for me today, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Joya de Nicaragua, La Sirena and Tatuaje Cigars and a Contest Winner

MiQuerida_AnchoCortaI continued this week’s cigar version of comfort food, smoking cigars I know I love and won’t disappoint. I just haven’t felt adventurous lately. I have some cigars I need to get around to smoking, I just felt like going with great cigars. I sat down and started writing this forgetting I had written about the Mi Querida from Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust on Wednesday. Since I didn’t want to abandon what I wrote, here it is:  Mi Querida is named after Gomez Addam’s often used pet name for his wife, Morticia in the ’60s sitcom The Addams Family…no, that’s not right, it’s actually an idiom for “my mistress”, side-chick or as they say in South Philly, “Goomad” (Saka couldn’t use “Goomad” because Antony Renzulli of Twin Smoke Shoppe named the Churchill in his La Zona made Renzulli line that). By now you’ve read everywhere that the Mi Querida is Saka’s broadleaf cigar, and it’s made at the NACSA factory in Esteli. This factory is better known for making inexpensive bundle cigars like Manteqilla, La Primadora, Villar y Villar, and part of them making Mi Querida, a true premium cigar, was Steve offering his manufacturing expertise to help that factory up their game, so to speak. Anyway, it’s a terrific smoke, and after smoking several sizes in the line, I think this robusto up there among my favorites, although I wouldn’t say no to any of the sizes. Sobremesa was the sophisticated, nuanced offering, Mi Querida is the straight-forward, sweet broadleaf maduro, full bodied flavor bomb. Yummy, well made and a staple in my humidor. I really need to get my hands on some Umbagogs!

 

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo El Martillo - @joyacigarsAnyway, on with the current smokes of the week. Another all time favorite of mine is the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo. I had a couple in the 5½” x 54 El Martillo size that Willie Herrera stuffed in my hand at the 2014 Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival. I distinctly remember the occasion, because he was smoking a Villiger Trill, which was relatively new at the time, commented that it was good,  and I was able to educate him on the origin of the cigar. Anyway, I dig the Antaño Dark Corojo a little more than I dig the regular Antaño 1970 line, which I dig a lot. It overwhelms the palate with strong, sweet, spicy and savory flavors and never fails to satisfy my palate. I’ve visited the factory twice and I love the place, along with most of the cigars they produce! There are very few Joya’s I don’t enjoy (the newer Red may be my least favorite), Rosalones, Sobremesa, Fratello…all great smokes from the oldest factory in Nicaragua.

 

LaSirena_DubloonFriday evening I went big. The Salamon is traditionally a 7¼” x 54 figurado, in the Diadamas family, a sizable cigar. The La Sirena Dubloon is exactly this size, is a Nicaraguan puro that was made at the My Father Factory. It has a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper over dual binders of Nicaraguan Habano and Corojo, and Nicaraguan Criollo and Corojo fillers. These were very limited and came in a box of eight, which I am half way through. This box came into my possession four years ago or so, and has been resting comfortably. This is a glorious size for a cigar, given you have the time to smoke one, and given that it’s properly made. With most cigars that are perfecto shaped, where they taper to a nipple at the foot, they are often a bit tight on the draw for the first puff or two. This particular one had a great draw out of the gate, and just kept getting better! It was meaty, savory and exactly what I was yearning for at the end of the week. Beautiful cigar, both in appearance and performance. I doubt there are many of these left in the wild, but if you can find some, grab them. I’ve smoked plenty of both the My Father and La Zona production La Sirenas and love them,  I think the blend ages very well.

 

Tatuaje_Black_CRA ToroYesterday it rained all day. It was cold, wet and nasty. After a trip to a local mall, where I stopped in to check out International Tobacco and see how their transition to new owners has come along (very well stocked, including the new 60 ring Davidoff’s which I passed on due to the $20+ prices. Not that the price was out of line, I just wasn’t feeling it). It’s great to have an oasis in the mall to get away from the hustle and bustle and and relax with a cigar occasionally. I came home and retired to the porch with a cigar that came from the “Oh F*ck I’m Lost” Tatuaje event pack that I had picked up last month. I’m a big fan of the Tatuaje brand, although I’m not a geek about chasing the rare cigars, or memorizing all the details, I wish I was, but there’s too much going on there for my grey matter to process. I asked Pete Johnson what was in the pack, and there were some Pudgy Monsters, something Tatuaje CRA Torocalled a Cheesesteak, and this Black Label CRA toro. I’m guessing this was from the batch that the CRA gives out with a membership or sells in the ten pack. I have a handful of CRA cigars that I’ve amassed over the 8 years I’ve been a member, but never got a Tatuaje. This cigar was incredible. Rarely am I this impressed with a cigar, it was perfection. The flavor was smooth as silk, but there was plenty of it. It had a unique spice flavor that grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go.  Holy crap this was a good smoke. I’ll have to check out some of the larger vitolas in  the Black line as I don’t remember this flavor, perhaps it’s unique to this special edition. It was worthy of the Poke and Smoke tool.

 

Contest!

To recap, the Philly Cigar Festival is only a couple weeks away, and since I can’t go, John, one of the organizers, graciously offered to allow me to give away my ticket. There are no strings attached to this, but I would be happy to post any pictures and /or feedback from the winners here on my site after the event. In this case, I want to live vicariously!  So I sorted through the entries, and consulted the random number generator, and came up with the number 6, which corresponds to Andrew Tomkovich. Please send me your contact info so I can get you your ticket.  Thanks again to the folks at the Philly Cigar Festival, I’m truly sorry I can’t make it.

 

That’s it for now, don’t forget it’s Mother’s Day! Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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An New H. Upmann, Some News, a Discount and Another Philly Cigar Festival Contest!

HUpmannAJFernandez_RobustoI’ve been a little behind on my cigar consumption this week, I did manage to smoke a really nice Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta No. 60, a cool 6″x 60 perfecto that was really good. this afternoon after getting some things done around the house and yard, I sat down with a new offering from H. Upmann, a robusto made by AJ Fernandez and it’s called H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez. What a crazy name!  It’s made in Nicaragua, has an Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper with a Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 binder and fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. This cigar was very firm to the touch, which gave me some concern, but it had an effortless draw and burned perfectly.  It had what I consider as dark flavors, which I like, as well as a unique spice that I can’t name. It was an intriguing cigar, finally an H.Upmann I like! This is an interesting personal trend, I’ve been underwhelmed by many Altadis products, with some exceptions, but the newer lines especially the ones made in Nicaragua, have been up my alley. The new RoMEo 505 (Placencia) and the Gispert Intenso (AJ Fernandez) have impressed me.

 

My friends at 2 Guys Smoke Shop have revamped their website this week, I’ve included the press release verbatim here, largely out of laziness. Dave Garofalo was one of the first retailers with an online presence back in the ’90s when the internet was a wild and untamed place. It looks a lot better now!

2GuysCigars.com Launches Re-Designed Online Cigar Shopping Website

2guys

2GuysCigars.com operates a long-running online mail order business distributing premium cigars all over the country. The company recently launched an updated version of the eCommerce website to provide online cigar shoppers with an improved cigar buying experience.

 

The new and improved website features a clean and modern design, with vibrant images and easy-to-use navigation. The mobile browsing experience was especially improved, the new fully responsive design provides cigar lovers with the ability to take full advantage of all site features from any mobile device. Cigar lovers will quickly be able to browse sections that feature the site’s massive premium cigar selection as well as finding sections dedicated to cigar sampler packs, cigar accessories, budget cigars, and the newest items in the company’s inventory. The site also highlights the large number of premium cigar brands that are exclusively available from 2GuysCigars.com, allowing them to easily identify and purchase cigars that are unavailable anywhere else.

 

“Even after over 30 years in the cigar business, I’m always looking for ways to improve” said 2GuysCigars.com Owner David Garofalo. “Innovation has always been a big part of the cigar industry, and anyone who isn’t moving forward is falling behind. Our customers loved our old website, but we’ve kept the stuff that made that site awesome while making improvements we think they’re going to like even more. Additionally, with so much of our web traffic coming from mobile devices, we decided to incorporate what I think is the best mobile cigar shopping experience available online today. This new site is something I’m proud to share with our loyal customers, and I want them all to know that in addition to our new site we have many more exciting things in store for them in 2017 and beyond!”

 

The company recently exited the testing phase of the new website and since the switch to the new and improved 2GuysCigars.com, they are reporting significant improvements in a number of key visitor statistics that indicate visitors are already enjoying the new design. In addition to the new site launch, 2GuysCigars.com has added of a number of new premium cigars to their extensive inventory, most recently Tatuaje Monsters, The Angel’s Anvil by Crowned Heads, Serino Royale and Eiroa 20 Year Colorado.

 

To check out the one of the best online retailers visit www.2guyscigars.com or call 888-224-4272.

 

 

I have to find my Stage V Clinger and put it in my pocket tomorrow as I might need it when I’m out and about, but the folks there e-mailed me this week to let me know that me talking about their cigar holder has produced some buzz for them! That’s nice to hear, because I want all the cigars and accessories I talk about here to succeed, because I generally believe in the items I feature here, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t write about them or use them! So, as a thank you, they are offering a special Father’s Day promo code “StageVdad” for $5 off a 4-pack. The special offer can be redeemed right on the Stage V website from May 11-June 11. So if you golf, or just need an extra hand now and then, this is a good product to have!

 

Contest!

The Philly Cigar Festival is fast approaching on  June 3, 2017 and being held in Pottstown, Pennsylvania from 11:00am to 4:30pm at The Norco Fairgrounds. Unfortunately, a scheduling conflict is preventing me from attending this, much to my disappointment. My loss is one of your gains though, as the organizers have authorized me to have another contest and give away my ticket! Of course, the winners are under no obligation to do this, but I’d be more than happy to publish a guest post from one of them (or anyone who attends for that matter), after the event. Again, just putting it out there, no pressure! This is a multi-vendor event, with cigars, beer, food and drink and representatives from thirty cigar companies, . Ticket prices run $150 and $200 and covers a bunch of cigars (the FDA no longer allows cigars to be given away). There are a couple of rules, first is you must be 21, and the other is that this giveaway covers the ticket only, you are responsible for getting there. I understand that this will exclude some of you. Cigars for Warriors will be represented and will be benefiting from the event. So leave a comment to enter and since the event coming up soon, this will be a quick contest, I’ll announce a winner on Sunday, May 14, 2017 (yeah, it’s Mother’s Day…) and I’ll need the winner to contact me so I can send your info to the organizers.  Thanks again to the Philly Cigar Festival, I wish I could make it!

 

That’s all for now. Having some dental work done tomorrow, so it may be a slow week cigar-wise. It’ll probably be old favorites if it’s anything, not sure how I’ll feel this time around.  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Romeo 505, Gispert Intenso and a Foundation Cigar Event

I went to a couple of events this week, although both visits were brief.  Thursday I stopped in to my local CigarCigars shop, which is on my way home and just about 2 miles from my house. Since it was before dinner, and while it takes five minutes to get home from this particular shop at five o’clock on a weekday, it takes practically a half an hour to get there since all of the rush hour traffic is headed west bound. This is one of the main reasons I chose the location of my new job last year, the commute is awesome.  Anyway, they were having a RoMEo 505 event at the shop with the local Altadis rep, and when I saw this displayed at the IPCPR show last year I was RoMEo_505_Piramidesintrigued and disappointed that there weren’t samples! Astute observers of my smoking habits will note that I don’t feature a great many Altadis cigars here, mostly it’s because there aren’t many that I like, quite honestly. I really wanted to like the RoMEo Añejo, but every one I smoked had a terrible draw, and I haven’t found an H. Upmann that I really liked in 20 years. I love the Henry Clay Tattoo and Stalk Cut and a couple of Montecristos, but I haven’t had good experiences with the new Yarguera (technically an Upmann, I guess. Anyway, I keep trying, and I picked up a few sizes of the new RoMEo 505, another Añejo, a new Gispert and Steve, the manager at the shop shared a new Upmann made by A.J. Fernandez that is on the schedule for this week (I’m not entirely sure it’s on the market). I immediately went home, grabbed some dinner and hit the streets with a RoMEo 505  Piramides, a 6 ½” x 54 figurado. 505 is the area code of Nicaragua, I can think of at least two other cigar lines that have used telephone area codes in the naming of cigars, but, heck, cigar names are tough to come up with. This is a Nicaraguan puro made at the Placencia Factory in Esteli, with Habano wrapper, binder and filler from Jalapa, with additional Habano in the filler blend from Condega and Esteli. The choice to wait until I ate was a good one, as this was a pretty heavy-duty cigar! it was aggressive with a load of sweet spice and earthiness. This was a cigar that is up my alley!  I enjoyed the crap out of this cigar, and look forward to smoking it again. This isn’t probably going to appeal to the typical Romeo y Julieta smoker, but it certainly will appeal to someone who loves strong, bold cigars. My gut instinct last July was right, this is a cigar that captures my interest.

 

Gispert_Intenso_BelicosoFriday I had to try the Gispert Intenso Belicoso with its dark and oily broadleaf wrapper calling to me. This is another collaboration with A.J.Fernandez, who seems to be making great cigars for just about everyone! Gispert is a very old Cuban brand name going back before the revolution, but was phased out over the years. The Altadis Gispert line was a milder cigar in my recollection, but this Intenso version is not. I found another Altadis cigar that’s very much to my liking. It has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. This actually reminded me a lot of the previous RoMEo 505 in its boldness, and sweet spice. I loved this, it burned my fingers, and  for a cigar in the under $7 range, it’s a big winner in my book. Whattaya know, I’m two  for two with Altadis cigars! Last time that happened was when I smoked the Henry Clay Tattoo and Stalk cut back to back to see what the difference was (I think the Tattoo is richer due to the higher primings used, otherwise they both use the same tobacco varietals and are fairly close, I like them both). So the Gispert Intenso weems to be another winner…it’s got a nice box press too.

 

TabernacleYesterday we happened to be attending an Earthday event right near the Wooden Indian Cigar shop in Havertown, PA, where Nick Melillo was visiting with his Foundation Cigar Co. brands. I bought a few Tabernacles and El Güegüense, and sat down with a Tabernacle Torpedo for a bit. I picked up some El Güegüense in lancero and short lancero, the latter of which was a BOTL.org exlusive. The Tabernacle is another A.J. Fernandez collaboration. featuring Connecticut Broadleaf which Nick is famous for using in his days at Drew Estate where he created the Liga Privada series for Steve Saka. The little 4½” x 52 torpedo is a heater! Rich, sweet broadleaf goodness with some power behind it. It’s unfair to make comparisons, but one can’t help putting the Tabernacle and Steve Saka’s Mi Querida on the same playing field, and they are both terrific. I’m quite happy to have a handful of Tabernacles in my humidor now, yet another cigar that is everything I want in a cigar, great construction, beautiful presentation, great taste and overall experience. It was fun catching up with Nick at the event, I think I’ve known him for about fiver years, and he’s a terrific cigar maker and a fun dude. Twin Engine Coffee was also represented and paired well with the Tabernacle. Another high quality event by my friends Dave and Dan at the Wooden Indian!

 

Don’t forget to circle back to my last post and enter the contest to win some cool General Cigar Co. Goodies!  Also, please keep one of our readers, Patrick, in your thoughts as he goes through some medical stuff over the next few days. He always signs his comments with the tag line “Life is Good”, and we want that to remain true for him!  That’s all for today, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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