Tag Archives: cigars

Deadwood Tobacco’s Fat Bottom Betty by Drew Estate

Fat Bottom BettyAs I’m getting my palate back after this cold, I wanted to smoke something with tons of flavor and was fairly new and interesting.  I recently heard Fabian Ziegler, also known as Dirty Fabian, on a podcast or two talking about the line of cigars Drew Estate made for Deadwood Tobacco in South Dakota, and recently took national to their Drew Diplomat accounts. He described it as a variation on the Natural line, which I enjoy now and then because it uses interesting tobaccos like Perique and Syrian tobaccos more often used in pipe tobacco. I want to say that the difference is the maduro wrapper on the Fat Bottom Betty, which I smoked tonight, the line also has the Crazy Alice and the Sweet Jane, three crazy bitches, as Drew Estate describes them.  I even like the sweet cap on these. The Fat Bottom Betty is a 5″ x 54 with an unfinished foot. It starts out very sweet, with the interesting spices from the exotic tobaccos making for a very entertaining smoke. There was a point near the end where I got a hint of a spiced candy that I can’t quite place, but I recognized, whether it was those spiced gumdrops, or some hard candy your grandmother might have had in her candy dish at the holidays, I’m not sure.  It smoked perfectly, as one would expect from a Drew Estate offering.

I admit that I don’t gravitate toward the non-traditional cigar lines, nor fat bottoms,  but this cigar is one I’d smoke again in a heartbeat. This holds true for the Natural (soon to be called the Larutan to avoid trouble, but seriously, cigars are natural, why not be allowed to call them that?) as well, as I’ve really enjoyed the NDB in the past, and owe the rest of the line a try. While I’m thinking about Dirty Fabian, give his podcast a listen, it’s DE4Live, available on iTunes until Apple decides that cigar podcasts go against their terms like Cigar Aficionado’s Where to Smoke App (story at the link if you haven’t heard)…or whatever other podcast app you might use. It’s a fun show.

That’s enough out of me for tonight, until the next time,

CigarCraig

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Cornelius and Anthony Cigars Event at Wooden Indian

Still trying to shake this cold, nothing tastes right which is the worst!  However, when one of one’s favorite cigar brands is doing and event at one’s favorite cigar shop, one has to bite the bullet and man up.  I’ve gushed about The Wooden Indian often. I have about a dozen cigar stores within a 15 mile radius of my house, and I visit them all periodically, but the one that’s the furthest, Wooden Indian, is the one where I feel like I’m welcomed as part of the family. I know the people at all the other shops, I like them and all, and they all have their forte, but I find myself at Wooden Indian most often. I suppose it helps that my daughter and her family live about a mile from the place and I can stop in and say hello, but it’s the staff and events that make me stop in the shop. It should be made clear that I’m not the consumer who stops in the shop for a daily smoke, I’m happier smoking from my own humidors on my walks or on the porch, so I generally only go to shops for events or to meet up with someone. I value my friendship with Dave and his staff at Wooden Indian, there are many great shops in the greater Philadelphia area, but this one stands out.

 

I got a message from Jose Galvez, who’s our area rep for Cornelius and Anthony Cigars, as well as other La Zona partner brands, to stop in to the Wooden Indian as they were having an event. Of course, when I received this message I was already on my way.  In addition to my frequent gushing about the shop, I’ve also heaped praise on the Cornelius and Anthony brand, as they are probably my favorite overall brand of the last two years.  The Miami CandA_WImade Cornelius line I put right there with Davidoff, Sobremesa, and whatever other high-end, medium and complex and delicious cigars you can think of. Their other lines, the Daddy Mac, Venganza, Meridian, and the new Aerial and Señor Esugars are all excellent cigars made at La Zona.  In addition to really liking the cigars, I find the aesthetic part of the experience very pleasing, the bands are classy and appealing to me, and the box art is very cool. I bought a handful of cigars and lit up a Señor Esugars Corona Gorda which I could actually taste. I won’t say it tasted like it should because of my cold, but it didn’t taste terrible and I nursed about two hours out of it. It’s always nice to see Todd Vance, Cornelius and Anthony’s Director of Sales, and we were entertained by his playlist, which featured both kinds of music, county and western, although I found the country rendition of Purple Rain slightly disturbing. I can’t wait for this funk to lift from my head so I can just spend a week smoking through the Cornelius an Anthony line, which is highly recommended by me, for whatever that’s worth.

 

You can read my thoughts on the IPCPR booth and releases, along with an interview with Stephan Bailey HERE.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

 

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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!

 

CigarCraig

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Cigar Jukebox, Fuente Hemingway, Tortuga and Debonaire

CigarJukeboxDo you want to hear me make a fool of myself on an international podcast?  Sure you do!  Head over to Cigar Jukebox and give the episode where I was guest DJ a listen.  I talked about recording the episode a couple of weeks ago, but failed to post the link when it dropped (as they say in the business). I guess it isn’t all that bad, the cigars were great, I have a soft spot for Candela and the Swamp Thang and Cromagnon Formorian are excellent smokes. It really was hard picking songs though, but it was fun, and it was nice talking to Dave. Give a listen and feel free to critique in the comments. What songs would you pair with those two cigars?

 

Fuente_HemingwayClassic_MaduroI had a bit of a throwback Thursday thing going on Thursday, I reached for a classic, a Fuente Hemingway Classic, to be exact. There are a few classic cigars I like to always have on hand, and I’m fortunate to have a selection of Fuente Hemingways around.  They aren’t all that expensive, all things considered, and they can always be counted upon to be excellent cigars. The regular Hemingway line has a Cameroon wrapper and are all perfectos, ranging from the little Short Story to the ginormous (in 1990s terms, not so much today) 9” x 52 Masterpiece.  The classic is just that, a classic, a 7”x48 perfecto that is smooth, creamy and nutty. I’m always amazed that these taste pretty much the same as I remember 20 years ago, which is why I’ll always have a box in the humidor of one size or another. Other cigars I consider classic that I make sure I have are the Padron 1964 and Ashton Virgin Sun Grown. Every now and then you see various Hemingway sizes available in Maduro (Broadleaf) and Sungrown (Ecuador).

 

TortugaCedroBeliI wrapped Friday up with a Tortuga Cedros Belicoso from Victor Vitale, who I haven’t heard from in a while. We’re thinking about taking a little trip up to New Hampshire, maybe we’ll run into him. I need to start thinking about hunting some more of these down, as I really enjoy them. They are a Nicaraguan puro rolled in Honduras and suit me just fine. The Belicoso is 6″x 54 and the Cedro series is round as opposed to the Reserva series that’s box pressed. I don’t really have a favorite in the line, I like them all and need to resupply soon.

 

Debonaire_Maduro_BelicosoYesterday, before a nasty cold came on seemingly out of nowhere, I took a walk and lamented the fact that it was the last day of Daylight Savings Time. I really wish they’d knock this crap off and leave it at DST.  With me on my walk was Macha, of course, and a Debonaire Maduro Belicoso. I guess I was on a figurado kick the later part of the week. Actually, five of the last six cigars I’ve smoked fall into that category. I’m glad I got that cigar in before succumbing to the funk of a head-cold that quickly moved south. I can’t even conceive of smoking a cigar with the way my mouth tastes…I’m not a happy camper today.  Anyway, this belicoso is also 6″ x 54 and had a sweet Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper around Dominican and Nicaraguan binder and filler, made in the DR. What a treat this was, and I’m quite sure it didn’t give me this cold. This is a pricey line, but awfully tasty and smoked right.  Phil Zanghi is a dynamic guy, if you ever get a chance to meet him or listen to an interview don’t miss it.

 

I gotta get a cup of tea and crash on the couch, if I’m out of commission too long I’ll have to have a contest Wednesday or some other BS cheating post…I hate do have to do that! Enjoy your early darkness for the next few months!

 

Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Monster for Halloween, a Case Study and Ventura News

Last night was Halloween, the night I enjoy sitting on the front porch with a cigar handing out candy. I used to enjoy walking around the neighborhood taking my kids trick-or-treating, but those days are long gone. Last night I chose the Tatuaje Monster Series cigar from last year, the Krueger, a 7¼” x 48 box pressed torpedo with a KruegerMexican San Andrés wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and fillers. This was a lovely cigar, and it was hard leaving it sit in the humidor for a year. I’ve only smoked a few of the Monsters, so far I think this was the one I enjoyed the most. I started it out in my usual way, taking Macha for a quick walk before all the kids started roaming the streets. I like to keep cigars like this in my New Air humidor, all my humidors work well, and I smoke out of all of them regularly I just like the peace of mind of the temperature control feature for cigars I’m not going to see very often. I also go in that one less than the others. Anyway, the cigar was great, rich, medium bodied and a little dirty, which I like. It’s not without some sweetness, starting with a little pepper, and building in strength, although never getting too much past medium. Good smoke, I don’t normally seek these out, but I’ll pick one up if I have the chance. I’ll have to see if I can get a hold of the latest version (the Michael?  I could look it up, but the Flyers are on and I want to finish this up!). The Krueger met my expectations, it was a great two-plus hour smoke great for handing out candy on Halloween.

 

Today I awoke to the news that Michael Giannini is now the Creative Director and brand ambassador for Ventura Cigars. I’ve known Michael for a long time, he’s one of my favorite people in the cigar business. I was sad when it was announced last year that he was no longer with General Cigars. I loved a lot of the Foundry cigars he worked on, and my affinity for La Gloria Cubana cigars is fairly well-known. As a matter of fact, I asked Ernesto Carillo about Michael when I saw him a couple of weeks ago, as they worked closely together after General purchased La Gloria.  Ironically, I’ve been a fan of the Ventura offerings since smoking a Psyko Seven when I was a guest on The Cigar Authority show back in 2013. I have a good deal of Ventura and Psyko Seven swag, including a humidor. I consider myself a fan, even more so now that Michael is involved.  I’m very excited to see what he does with the company. Ventura is owned by Kretek International, a very large company, which Michael is used to. Good luck, my friend!

 

CaseStudy_CS05_54In honor of today’s news, I selected a cigar from Ventura for my evening walk.  At the IPCPR show they were showing their Case Study series. This is a series of 26 small batch and limited editions, made by what they term as famous cigar makers. This reminds me of what folks like Robert Caldwell and Tony Bellato did with their Lost and Found line, finding batches of cigars sitting in major manufacturers aging rooms and selling them as one time releases. Whether this is actually the case or not, I don’t know, it’s just the way I see it. Anyway, the one I chose was a 5¾”x54 labeled CS/05 with the black band signifying it’s a limited edition. The only blend info listed is that it has an Oscuro Nicaraguan Habano wrapper. I recommend trying this cigar if you like cigars that I like! This was a winner for me, dark, rich flavor, a perfect burn and draw and a cigar I smoked down to the tiniest of nubs. I would pick up this cigar again, and would love to get some in the 6¾”x52 size in hopes of getting more of a good thing. Really a yummy cigar. I’ve felt like I wanted to smoke from a relatively small selection of cigars lately, probably the time of year, but this one might have gotten me out of my funk a little.

 

That’s enough for now, time to watch some hockey. Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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