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Toraño, CAO, Punch and Hoyo Cigars and a Contest!

Torano ExodusI kind of got stuck in the General Cigar tray of the humidor this week and revisited a few cigars that I may not have really liked the first time around (or subsequent times as it turns out). I started out with the Toraño Exodus on Sunday, not even thinking that it might have been the only cigar in my humidor that was seasonally appropriate. Someone brought this to my attention and I quipped that I had passed it over several times over the past few months since I didn’t really like it the first time I smoked it last summer. Age has benefited this cigar, that was an IPCPR show sample in the 5″ x 54 robusto size. This latest version of the Exodus, the first since General Cigar bought the brand, has a Honduran San Augustin wrapper, Connecticut Broadleaf binder and Dominican, Honduran and Mexican fillers. I didn’t care for this the fist time I smoked it, but this one six months later was pretty darned tasty, it still started off a little sour, but it was greatly improved.

 

CAO_ConsigliereI followed that later in the day with a CAO Consigliere Associate, the robusto in the line that is basically the return of the Sopranos line, without the licensing fees that went along with the original. This is a 5″ x 52 robusto, and the first time I smoked this was in Las Vegas the night before the trade show opened when I ran into Rick Rodriguez and Ed McKenna of CAO at the Circle Bar in the Venetian Hotel. I had not previous experience with the Sopranos line, and I was told that this used the same blend as the original, Brazilian wrapper, Honduran binder and Colombian, Dominican, Nicaraguan fillers. I like sweetness in a cigar, and this cigar doesn’t have much sweetness, but it’s a god smoke if you like cigars on the savory end of the spectrum, which will come up again.  Monday I went with one of my favorites from CAO, the Flathead in the v660 Carb size, the one that placed high in Cigar Aficionado’s list a couple of years ago, I really like the Flathead line, although the 770 is a bit unwieldy.  I still liked the Consigliere, it was a nice cigar.

 

Punch_Signature_PitaLast night I went back to the Punch Signature Pita. I’ve liked a lot of Punch cigars, I should like this one too, but it’s another one that doesn’t hit my palate right, I’m afraid. It’s a classic 6″ x 50 toro, with a Ecuador Corojo wrapper, Connecticut Habano binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, what’s not to like?  I’ve smoked this in this size and the Robusto size, neither of which tripped my trigger unfortunately. It was lacking any sweetness and was very leathery to me. Certainly there are people who like this profile, it doesn’t thrill me. I can’t tell you how many Punch Rothchilds I smoked in the 90s!

 

Hoyo_RobustoTonight I picked out a year old Hoyo Robusto, the first couple I smoked last year I had draw problems with, I’ve also enjoyed a great many Hoyo de Monterrey cigars over the years, and the newest Hoyo La Amistad General Cigar made with AJ Fernandez last year is a really good smoke. This Hoyo has a Habano shade grown wrapper from Esteli, an Ecuador Sumatra binder, and Esteli, Ometepe and Pennsylvania fillers. I enjoyed this cigar a lot more now that it draws right, although it’s another cigar on the savory side, but it smoked well and I enjoyed it.  I think I would still lean toward the La Amistad when making a choice, but the Hoyo exceeded expectations.

 

Contest!

ContestSince I smoked a bunch of General Cigar products this week, and I have some goodies still hanging around, it’s a great time for me to have another giveaway! This is the last of the goodies I received a few months ago, we have a cool CAO Flathead Steel Horse metal sign, a Punch bobblehead, a Macanudo Colibri cutter (similar to the CAO cutter I used all week which worked great!) and a pair of La Gloria Cubana Cigar Scissors. As sometimes happens around here, I get sloppy when I’m packing the box and cigars fall in, previous winners can attest to this.  Usual rules apply, leave a comment on this blog post to enter, I’ll select a winner next Wednesday, April , 26, 2017.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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A Tatuaje and L’Atelier Event and the Philly Cigar Festival Contest Winner

Tat1Monday evening I found myself again at Cigar Mojo in King of Prussia, PA at the Tatuaje/L’Ateliar “Oh F*ck I’m Lost” bus tour stop. This was a huge event, as you might imagine. Pete Johnson, Casper Johnson and Dan Welsh were on hand for the event, they’ve been travelling around in a beautiful tour bus and visiting stores along the tat2way. Cigar Mojo had tons of stock on hand, and appear to have had a good sales day!  I picked up a couple singles and the tour special pack with five cool cigars that I haven’t yet taken the time to identify. If someone would fill me in, I’d be grateful (what can I say, I’m lazy). I lit up a Tatuaje Reserva K222 and went about schmoozing with friends old and new. On hand was a vintage travel trailer fitted as a bar mixing drinks and a BarBQue tat3trailer serving food. They had boxes of Pork Chops, bundles of Pork Tenderloins and  Le Vignoble available with the purchase of another box of qualifying cigars, all of which sold out. I chose the K222  since I’d smoked it before and would be distracted. It was and is a great cigar, Ecuador Habano wrapper and made in Miami. It was a great event, lots of great folks and I enjoyed the evening. tat4

Tatuaje_Cojonu2006

Last night I smoked the Tatuaje Reserva Miami Cojono 2006, a 5½ x 52 belicoso. Another great smoke, rich, complex flavors of espresso and earth. It, like the K222, had a great burn and draw, and I very much enjoyed it. Tatuaje cigars have always been special occasion cigars for me, so the last couple days were pretty special. I look forward to smoking my way through the  “Oh F*ck I’m Lost” sampler. Pete and his crew are a great bunch, it’s always a treat to spend a little time with them, and I’m glad I finally got to meet Casper and Dan and was sorry KC wasn’t there.  Cigar Mojo did a good job considering there were easily a hundred people there at a time, and while the shop is a good size, that’s a large crowd.

 

It’s time to choose the winner of the ticket to the Philly Cigar Festival, happening June 3, 2017 in Pottstown, PA. I’m looking forward to hanging out with the winner at the event!  Out of the 21 entries (adjusted for those who commented that they wouldn’t be able to attend), the random number generator at Random.org spit out the number 19, which corresponds to Michael shore. Please send me your full name and contact information so I can pass it on to the event organizers to get your ticket processed.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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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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Philly Cigar Festival Ticket Giveaway!

Image courtesy of the Philly Cigar Festival

Image courtesy of the Philly Cigar Festival

I mentioned this in my last post, and I feel like it’s contest time again!  June 3, 2017 is the date for the upcoming Philly Cigar Festival being held in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. The organizers have offered me a ticket to give away. This will be a multi-vendor event, with cigars, beer, food and drink and representatives from thirty cigar companies, from 11:00am to 4:30pm at The Norco Fairgrounds. 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. I will be there, and I hope to get a chance to hang around and have cigars with the winner (and those of you who go!). Cigars for Warriors will be represented and will be benefiting from the event.

 

So that’s it! Leave a comment for a chance to win a ticket, I’ll select a winner one week from today on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. There’s also a raffle on the Philly Cigar Festival Facebook page for two tickets also, so head over there and enter too!

 

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

 

CigarCraig

Must be 21 to win and transportation and lodging are not included in the prize. The prize is one ticket provided my the Phily Cigar Festival.

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La Palina, Macanudo and Foundry Cigars, and the Contest Winner

LaPalina_Black Label_Petite LanceroI had a hankering for a La Palina cigar this week and chose a 6″ x 40 La Palina Black Label Petite Lancero that I bought last year at an event at a local shop. I’ve been a fan of the line for about five years or so, and tend to like the darker cigars in the line, although I fail to find fault with many of the cigars. The Black Label is made in the Dominican Republic at the PDR factory, with a Brazilian wrapper, Dominican and Nicaraguan binders and  Dominican and Nicaraguan ligero fillers. It’s a nice, stronger cigar with some great sweet and dirty flavors, very much to my liking. The 40 ring gauge format gives it some bite, burning a little hotter than the larger rings. This is one of my favorites in the range. Thanks to the folks at La Palina for their support over the last five yeas or so.

 

If you get a minute, take a look at the beautiful Saladini cigar cutters at Italian Pottery by Merchant of Prato.  Click the link here or click the graphic at the top of the right sidebar.  The Coltelleria Saladini knifemakers date back to the mid-19th century and make some beautiful items. Cool stuff!

 

Macanudo_Mao_RobustoIn honor of our contest this week I dug into the IPCPR samples of the new Macanudo Mao robustos. The Mao uses tobacco grown from seeds from the ’60s, from a varietal used in the original Macanudo, actually cross breeding it and growing in the Mao region of the Dominican Republic. I had the good fortune to have visited this beautiful farm back in 2011. This cigar had the typical excellent construction of a Macanudo, and was not mild, I put it right at medium, with a load of interesting flavors. It had a citrus-like acidity and some hayish earthiness. Yeah, I make up words sometimes. This was a limited release, and comes packaged in individual coffins, like several of the limited Macanudo Estate Reserve releases of the last few years, stunning packaging.  Worth a try, if nothing more than to see what magic can be worked with fifty year old seeds.

 

Foundry_Time Flies_550Tonight I gave blood voluntarily this time (regular readers will remember my last post where a stumble left me bloodied and sore), and after getting home and carbing up, I grabbed another General Cigar newbie, the Foundry Time Flies in a rubusto size.  This is another cigar that was made at AJ Fernandez’ factory in Esteli, it has a Habano 2000 Ecuador wrapper, and the binder and filler are Nicaraguan tobacco cultivated by AJ and his collective of Nicaraguan farmers. I’m already a fan of the vast majority of the output of General’s Foundry division, and this is no different, as a matter of fact, it may be the most widely accessible blend so far. It’s another medium bodied cigar, it has a nice spice and a smooth, rich flavors. The burn was perfect, like a cigar that would cost much more than whatever this cigar costs, wait, I have to go look….OK, I see these for $6.38 for a single at one outlet. I want to find other sizes of these to try, although my La Gloria Cubana/Foundry humidor is a little full right now, I need to do something about that. This and the AJ Fernandez made Hoya were definite highlights of last year’s IPCPR show for me.

 

Contest!  

OK, I need to select a winner for the goodies from General Cigar Co., a Punch Bobblehead, La Gloria Cubana scissors and a col Macanudo cutter. I have several cutters like this and really like using them, they seem to hold up well.  I plugged the numbers into the random number generator at Random.org and came up with the number 3. By my figuring, the third comment was from John Budka! Please send me your address so I can send you goodies, be warned, I am sloppy when I pack boxes, sometimes cigars fall in. Thanks again to Victoria and everyone at General Cigar Co.!

 

One last note: tune in to Kiss My Ash Radio Saturday because Kevin Shahan will be on talking about his CigarProp, a beautifully machined cigar stand that I’m proud to use, and you heard about it here first! Kevin has been a long time reader and friend, I hope Abe isn’t too rough on him! I kid. That’s all for now,  until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

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