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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,

 

CigarCraig

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Exactus Super Coloso Winner and Another Contest: Pulita Cigars

Special Friday post!  We have a winner in the El Artista Exactus Super Coloso and Ashtray contest!  The winner is Jared Berel! Please send me your address so wed can get this out to you!  Thanks to everyone for entering and reading along, but there’s another chance to win some goodies!

 

The folks at El Artista have provided yet another great prize this week, actually, there are three prizes, a first, second and third prize!

PULITA 60 ANIVERSARIO Commemorates the 60th anniversary of the factory and honors our founder with a master blend of six exceptional tobaccos including tobacco grown and aged by our own skilled craftsmen. We wrapped Pulita 60 Aniversario in perfectly aged Negrito tobacco that gives the cigar the look of velvety smooth swiss chocolate. Dominican Criollo 98 binder ads body to the medium smoke. The filler is composed of tobaccos from Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Pennsylvania that add remarkable complexity as the cigar transitions.

You can read my thoughts on this cigar in my post from the end of November last year.  Great cigars! The third place winner will receive a two pack of Pulita 60 Anniversario and an El Artista Torch Lighter! The second place winner will get a four pack and a lighter, and the first place winner will win a ten count box of the Pulita 60 Anniversario,  El Artista ceramic ashtray & lighter!  Usual rules apply, leave a comment here for a chance to win, and remember, there will be three winners! Everyone is eligible except for Jared! Thanks again to the folks at El Artista for sponsoring these contests!

 

Pulita Prizes

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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Contest! El Artista Exactus Super Coloso and Ashtray!

It’s been a while since I had a proper contest, and my friends at El Artista Cigars have offered to sponsor a series of them! Tabacalera El Artista has roots going back to 1955, and has been making cigars in the Dominican Republic ever since. Some of their brands are Pulita, Puros Ambar, Big Papi (David Ortiz, the Major League Baseball star, whose appearance at the 2017 IPCPR show drew big crowds), and the Exactus.  Today’s contest features the Exactus Super Coloso, a huge 11″ x 90 cigar, with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, Dominican Wine Fermented Criollo 98 binder and Dominican Criollo 98 filler. this is a lot of cigar, chances are you’re going to want someplace to rest it when you smoke it, so also included is a beautiful Exactus Ashtray. While I haven’t personally smoked the Super Coloso, I’ve enjoyed the Robusto quite a few times, good stuff.

 

Exactus Supercoloso + Ashtray 2Exactus Supercoloso + Ashtray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Normal CigarCraig.com contest rules apply, leave a comment on this post to enter, and I’ll select and announce the winner next Wednesday, August 16, 2017. One entry per person, and you must be of legal smoking age in your jurisdiction to win. this contest is open to all whether you’ve won recently or not. Thanks to the folks at El Artista for providing this cool prize!

 

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

CigarCraig

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San Lotano Bull, Aging Room Havao, A Flores AFR-75 Cigars and the Contest Winner

SanLotano_Bull_ToroI’ve been poking around the humidor lately looking for some interesting cigars and came across a San Lotano Bull Toro Friday. AJ Fernandez has been getting a ton of attention lately for his work with other companies, notably General Cigars and Altadis. I figured it would be good to spotlight the San Lotano as the companies own brands seem to be flying under the radar a little. Sure the New World and Bellas Artes get a little attention, but I really enjoyed the San Lotano line, specially the full-bodied The Bull. I find it funny that they called the 6″ x 54 the Toro, seems redundant to me, but what else would you call it?  This cigar has a dark Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, with binder and filler AJ Fernandez’ proprietary tobacco grown on their farms. There aren’t many AJF cigars I don’t like, the Bull is one I really like. It’s got the coffee and spice I want with a hint of wood from the cedar sleeve and a year or so in the humidor. Perfect draw and burn made this a great cigar to end the week.  Abdel Fernandez is a tobacco and cigar genius, his factories make great cigars.

 

AgingRom_HavaoSaturday I had a chance to enjoy an early cigar and I chose an Aging Room Havao Treble, the 6″ x 50 toro. Funny how 50 ring seems small these days, 6″ x 50 used to be the common toro size, now it’s 52 or 54. This is an elegant cigar in size, appearance and flavor. It’s got an Ecuador Connecticut Shade wrapper and Habano Criollo in the filler and binder. I generally stay away from Criollo wrappers, but this cigar works very well with it in the filler. It’s a terrific smoke, it’s loaded with flavor, lots of depth with the creaminess from the shade wrapper. This was an absolutely wonderful cigar for the time, and it was very well-behaved with a perfectly straight burn line. Now that Altadis is distributing the Aging Room line, and Rafael Nodal is working for them, it’ll be interesting to see where this brand goes. I would choose this over a Connecticut wrapped Monte any day of the week, personally, so I hope the competition isn’t bad for the Aging Room brand.

 

AFlores_AFR-75_SanAndres_CatadorI was hunting for a short smoke before going out to see a friend’s band play, and came across a cigar from PDR Cigars that I forgot I had. Maybe I thought it was a L’Atelier maduro as it was face down in the tray, or it just got buried. I actually can’t even recall where this cigar came from. As the size was what I was looking for, I looked closer and was delighted to find that it was an A. Flores AFR-75 Catador, a cool little 4″ x 54 pigtailed robusto. This cigar has a San Andrés wrapper, Criollo 98 Nicaragua binder and Habano D.R., Connecticut Broadleaf & Criollo 98 Nicaragua fillers. Again with the Criollo, interesting. If you haven’t tried this cigar, it’s worth seeking out and dropping a few bucks on, because they are on the high side, this little guy coming in just north of $12. this price point tells me that someone must have given this to me or it was a sample, as I probably wouldn’t have shelled out that kind of coin for such a small cigar. It is a brilliant smoke though, dark espresso and a surprisingly long burn of around an hour. It’s a super premium cigar, but it’s super good, so worth it in my opinion.

 

Contest

 

ContestLast week I threw out a contest for a whole bunch of cool odds and ends that have been accumulating around here and I’ll never use. It seems right to share them with someone who will appreciate them. I’m sure some cigars will be included to keep stuff from rattling around in the box!  I see there were 26 entries, less one for Olie who won the last time. The Random Number Generator at Random.org spit out the number 12 out of 25, which corresponds to Dave Wisniewski, who commented that this would make a nice Father’s Day present. I think Dave is fairly local to me, so either he gets his address to me in a hurry and I can get it out this week, or week work out a meet-up which is always fun.  Dave, you know how to reach me!  Thanks to all of you who took the time to enter, I’ll scrounge more goodies up for a future contest! 

 

That’s all for today, I’ve got a deck that needs power-washing, which isn’t a good activity to enjoy a cigar, so it’ll wait until after!  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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A Fratello Cigars Event, a La Aurora, a L’Atelier and a Contest!

FrFriday evening we took a family trip over to the Wooden Indian cigar shop in Havertown, PA to have a visit with Omar de Frias and his amazing Fratello cigars. When I say family, my wife sometimes joins me on these trips, but this time my son Corey came along, and, at the invitation of the shop owner, Dave, Macha joined us too. Macha loves these outings as she gets a lot of attention and loves everybody. She was well-behaved, most of the time just laying down and relaxing, something I wish she’d do at home when we get back from a long walk and I just want to finish my cigar and she wants to play in the yard! Anyway, she had a great time, and I smoked one of my favorite cigars from last year, the Fratello Bianco Boxer. This is a box pressed torpedo wrapped in a beautiful San Andrés wrapper,  Dominican binder and fillers from Pennsylvania, Nicaragua and Peru. What distinguishes the Boxer from the regular Bianco line, and this holds true with the regular and Oro Boxers as well, is that they use a little extra ligero in the blend. Not only does the cigar smoke perfectly and taste amazing, it’s got a little extra kick! I picked up a few more for the humidor, along with some other goodies, and enjoyed a great evening at the Wooden Indian with my buddy Omar. It was the fist time I’ve seem Omar without his goatee, is that the breaking news here? Omar Shaves Goatee!…only at CigarCraig.com, Sorry Halfwheel and Cigar-Coop, I was first with this bombshell!

 

LaAurora DE ParkYesterday was a beautiful Saturday to go to the track, and my daughter decided to have our grand-daughters joint birthday party in the picnic grove at Delaware Park. We got there early to secure a spot, and while we were waiting for everyone I smoked a La Aurora Preferido Corona in the Diamond or Broadleaf wrapper. Since I smoked this the first time over two years ago the pungency and cloying flavor I got then has settled down and it’s more like what I would expect from an aged Connecticut Broadleaf. It was a little over the top the last time I smoked it, but it was slightly underwhelming to me yesterday. Honestly, I forgot that I didn’t really like this cigar the first time around, but was looking forward to a tasty Broadleaf cigar. I usually don’t choose my granddaughters events to enjoy a cigar, but when it’s reasonably appropriate, like at the track 45 minutes before they arrive, I go for it, and it’s usually something from La Aurora because Aurora is also my daughter’s name and how could she get mad at me, right? It works in my head. Anyway, I didn’t lose all my money, had a nice day playing the ponies and hanging with the family.

 

L'Atelier_LAT38SpecialLast night I rummaged through the Lancero tray and came up with a L’Atelier LAT 38 Special. This 7½” x 38 Lancero was a beauty, with a dark, Sancti Spíritus Ecuador wrapper, binder and filler from Nicaragua rolled at the My Father Factory in Nicaragua. I wanted to smoke something from the Johnson family of cigars, but I was only finding rubustos, and I craved more than that. I have a ton of rubustos in the humidor and should probably just go on a rubusto bender and work them down. There was a time when that was my vitola of choice, but I’ve either gotten more patient or have more time because I want a toro or larger more times than not. I digress, theLAT 38 was a beauty, and the flavor was outstanding. It had the savory and sweet flavor I’d expect more from the Broadleaf than the Sancti Spiritus that the L’Atelier line is known for. I can’t remember when I got this, it may have been at an event at a shop in Colorado I was at back in 2014, but it was good. I haven’t found many cigar in any of Pete Johnson’s portfolio that don’t satisfy my palate. My only complaint with this cigar was that it suffered from Nomex Wrapper Syndrome (Nomex is the stuff that electrical wiring is wrapped with so it doesn’t burn) it required a lot of attention with the lighter, and I was being careful not to overheat the cigar since Lanceros can easily be ruined by smoking too aggressively.  The humidor these are in stays in the mid to low  60s so it wasn’t wet.

Contest!

June PrizeSince we got to the track early yesterday they were giving out hats, and since I’m not a huge hat wearing guy, I figured it might be a good time to have another giveaway. I’ve assembled some odds and ends that have been collecting for a while to go with the Delaware Park hat. There are a couple of bottle openers including one for your key chain from Nomad Cigars, a torch lighter from El Artista, a couple cutters, a highly collectible Matt Booth Room 101 punch cutter, a Ninety Degree magnetic cigar holder and a nice Balmoral flask. As always, a few cigars might fall into the box as I’m packing it up, it happens, I can’t help it! So the usual rules apply, must be of legal smoking age in your municipality, one entry by way of leaving a comment on this post, and have fun! I’ll pick a winner next Sunday, June 11, 2017. 

 

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

 

CigarCraig

 

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