Tag Archives: Cornelius and Anthony

Sweet Jane, Cornelius and Anthony and Partagas Cigars

Sweet JaneIt’s still cold here in Pennsylvania, so instead of taking my cigar for a walk, I’ve been walking Macha first, then relaxing on the porch in the glow of the propane heater. Monday I felt like I was in the mood for something unique, so I selected a Sweet Jane from Drew Estate and Deadwood Tobacco. The Deadwood “Yummy Bitches” line is basically a variation on the Natural (or soon ” Larutan”). This line, along with the Natural, uses tobaccos from Syria, Turkey and Louisiana, wrapped in a Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper. I don’t recall the Sweet Jane having as much of the saccharine sweetness on the cap that the Natural ( I should get used to calling it Larutan, I’ll blame dyslexia), which for me is a plus. The Cigar has tons of interesting flavor with exotic spices and richness. Like Drew Estate’s Swamp Thangs, I like the variety and change of pace.

 

CorneliusandAnthony_Aerial_ToroLast night I did take a cigar as it wasn’t bitter cold. I chose a Cornelius and Anthony Aerial Toro, it seems that I like the Toros across the Cornelius and Anthony line the best. One might think that an Ecuador Connecticut Shade wrapper would crack in the cold, but I had no such problem. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the brand in general, my least favorite in the line i like more than maybe 80% of cigars out there. As far as shade wrapper cigars go, the Aerial is up there with my favorites. It has loads of flavor and a great burn. Later in the evening I was honored to take part in Developing Palates Cigar Media 2017 Recap show, with Aaron and Jiunn, Charlie from Halfweel.com, Will from Cigar-Coop.com and Eric from CigaDojo.com. Obviously my style is quite different from the rest of the panelists, but I’ve known all these guys for several years. I hope I had some positive contributions. If you missed it live, check it out on Developing Palates or their YouTube channel, or listen to the podcast version (like I will). There was a lot of interesting discussion.

 

Partagas_Heritage_RothschildTonight I returned to my walk first, smoke later plan, fingers get cold trying to smoke even with gloves on. I gotta get some electric gloves or something. The upside of doing it his way is I get to smoke some of the robusto and Rothschild size cigars that used to be my go to size, but more recently I’ve had more time to enjoy larger vitolas. I’ve been wanting to revisit the Partagas Heritage Rothschild, so tonight presented a perfect opportunity. What’s interesting to me about the blend is the Olancho San Augustin wrapper ( CAO OSA Sol, Cohiba Blue) over a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, with fillers from Dominican Republic, Honduras and Mexico. This another tasty little bugger, rich, chocolaty with some spice. It has a fairly long finish, which I’m still enjoying as I type. The Honduran wrapper is fairly neutral in my opinion, but the rest of the blend is where the flavor is.

 

That’s all for now, I can’t think of anything else to drone on about. Until the next time,

CigarCraig

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CigarCraig’s Top Five Memorable Cigars of 2017

This is a little early but Sunday’s post just might be another contest and I don’t want to confuse things! I was trying to get this posted Wednesday, but things weren’t working out the way I wanted them to! Just like last year, my criteria is simple, a cigar that I consider “Memorable” is one I smoked, made a positive impression on me to the point where I really want to smoke more of that cigar.  I noted last year that this format, in no particular order, would keep me off Halfwheel’s Consensus list, but I just recently came to find out that my 2016 was included on their 2016 Awards: The Consensus Top 25 Cigars which included at least three of my five most memorable. So, without further ado, here’s my list of memorable cigars of last year.

 

LaGloriaCubana_Colección Reserva_PresidenteI’ve been a fan of La Gloria Cubana cigars since the mid-nineties when I started really getting into the premium cigars. Back then they were made by Ernesto Perez Carillo in Miami and later the Dominican Republic and were excellent. Time has passed, along with ownership of the company, and Ernesto has gone on to do his own thing, but he came back to partner with General to make the Coleccion Reserva. one a side note, the current contest running now until Sunday includes ten of these great cigars, and let me tel you it’s going to be hard to let go of them! I kid, I’m happy to share such great cigars. These are manufactured at Ernesto’s  Tabacalera La Alianza in the Dominican Republic using materials from both companies. I like them so much I bought a box of the Presidente size for full retail! This cigar exemplifies the cooperative nature of the cigar industries where competing companies work together. It doesn’t always work, but in the case of the La Gloria Cubana Coleccion Reserva is does. Smoking one with Ernesto at a local event puts it at the top of my most memorable list ( I know, I said it was in no particular order!).

 

CorneliusandAnthony_SenorEsugars_RobustoCornelius and Anthony makes an appearance again this year, I still go to the Cornelius Toro as my “go to” special occasion cigar, but there aren’t a lot of cigars in their portfolio that I don’t like. OK, I don’t think there are any that I don’t like. OK, OK, there aren’t any I don’t like! This year they released two new lines, the Aerial with a Ecuador Connecticut Shade wrapper,  and the Señor Esugars with a San Andrés wrapper, which is my second selection on my memorable list. These are made at the La Zona factory in Esteli. I really dig this cigar, which, like the Aerial, has a super secret US grown binder. they are tight-lipped about the origin of the leaf they use, but considering the Bailey family has been growing tobacco in Virginia for 150 years, one cant help but think it’s grown in Virginia. It certainly adds a unique component to the cigars, and the Señor Esugars hits my palate just right. There’s a super cool dog on the box too. Full disclosure: Cornelius and Anthony is an advertiser on CigarCraig.com, but the only effect that has on my opinion is in that bearing contacted by them to advertise put them on my radar, and meeting Steven Bailey and his team adds to the memorability.

 

SouthernDraw_Jacob'sLadder_GordoSouthern Draw Cigars has been on my radar for a while, but at this year’s IPCPR I finally got to meet Robert Holt, his wife, Sharon, and their family. Upon meeting, Robert did a convincing job of knowing who I was and was generous with his time.  Robert is a gentleman, a veteran, a spiritual man and is behind some of the best cigars coming out of Tabacalera AJ Fernandez.  New to me this year was the Jacobs Ladder, his Pennsylvania Broadleaf flavor bomb. The name hints at his commitment to family and faith, and the cigar is awesome. I’m currently on the hunt for more, because it’s one I want to smoke more of, and it’s an especially good choice for the cold weather we’ve been having as the weight of the flavor cuts through the crisp air.  The Rose of Sharon is also a stellar offering in the Ecuador Connecticut wrapper (there should be little doubt by now that a maduro is almost always winning out over a shade wrapper with me!), it’s among the best out there (the above mentioned Aerial and the Fratello Oro get honorable mentions).  So that makes the Southern Draw Jacobs Ladder my third memorable smoke of 2017.

 

OscarHabano_SixtyNext up is another cigar I really enjoyed this year, the Oscar Habano. Funny think about this one is that I had bought some of the Toro  and Gordo sizes an really enjoyed them, but it wasn’t until  I had the Robusto that was part of 2 Guys Smokeshop‘s Contenders pack that I really saw the beauty of this cigar. Listen to The Cigar Authority tomorrow (Saturday 12/30) to see if they get it right and select this cigar as the Cigar of the Year. As I think about it, I may dig out the one toro I still have and smoke it today. Oscar makes some great cigars, the Leaf by Oscar line is very good (there’s another Ecuador Connecticut cigar that’s really good!), it’s nice that he made something exceptional to put his name on (wait…his name is on the Leaf by Oscar isn’t it?) Great smoke, I hope 2 Guys Smokeshop makes the right call on this one.

 

FSG ToroFinally, I really can’t get enough of the Florida Sungrown from Drew Estate. This uses tobacco that’s grown on Jeff Borysiewicz’s (Corona Cigar Co.) Farm where he’s growing Corojo tobacco, the first time Cigar tobaco has been grown in Florida for something like 40 years. Willie Hererra blended the cigar using Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos with the Florida leaf adding that little something different in the flavor.  I have to admit, it was a toss-up between the FSG and the Undercrown Sungrown, both are exceptional and I really dig them, but the FSG has a great story and inches out the Undercrown by a hair. Drew Estate continues to bring new and interesting cigars to the market, I have to admit that I rather liked the new Acid Kuba Candela too. While I’m more of a traditional cigar smoker, this one was a treat, the bitterness of the candela wrapper offset the sweetness of the infusion. Good stuff.

 

That’s it for my five most memorable cigars of the past year. There were probably others that I thought were excellent but didn’t have the little extra to make them stand out. The La Palina El Año 1816 was on my list too, I just need to smoke a few more before I can make a strong recommendation (the La Palina Classic Maduro I smoked last night was really quite tasty too!).  Hopefully 2018 brings some new and interesting cigars. Once again, thanks to all the readers and sponsors, without whom I’d be typing for my own entertainment!

 

That’s all for now, don’t forget the contest! 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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IPCPR 1017 – Cornelius and Anthony Cigars

C&ABoothOf course, one of the primary destinations for me at this IPCPR was the Cornelius and Anthony booth, where I was welcomed by Steven Bailey, Courtney Smith and Todd Vance.  The first video I shot with Steven I was to find out, much to my dismay, had no audio, a problem that would rear it’s ugly head again (the great video I did with Matt Booth was sans audio, which didn’t come to light until I was home, nobody commented that it was silent, and a video interview with anyone with no audio sucks, especially with someone as CorneliusandAnthony_Cornelius_Lonsdaleentertaining as Mr. Booth). Steven was gracious enough to grant me a do-over, which is presented below.  Naturally, as my luck would have it, YouTube Live wasn’t cooperating that day either, but I usually have options.  As is apparent to the casual CigarCraig reader, I’m a big fan of the Cornelius and Anthony line, and was anxious to sample the newest offerings. Debuting at the show were two new lines and a new size in the Cornelius line, which is made at Al Titan de Bronze in Miami. This new size is a Lonsdale, a 6½” x 42 cigar with the same Ecuador wrapper and binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. I couldn’t help but smoke one this week.  I’ll make no bones about the fact that the Toro is my favorite in the Cornelius line, but I think the Lonsdale, due to it’s narrow ring gauge, has a little more bite, and might be perceived as stronger than the smooth and creamy Toro. It still smokes very well, like a high-end cigar should, and has the same rich, complex flavors that the larger rings have. Smaller ring cigars burn hotter and seem stronger because the flavors are sharper, so I smoked this slowly like I would a lancero. I very much enjoyed this cigar.

 

CorneliusandAnthony_Aerial_RobustoThe new offerings are the Aerial and Señor Esugars, adding a Ecuador Connecticut and Mexican San Andres to the line. The Aerial is an Ecuador Connecticut wrapped cigar with a USA binder and Nicaraguan fillers. Not a mild cigar at all, solidly medium to my palate, but an absolutely beautiful cigar. I smoked the Robusto, and it comes in Gordo, Toro and Corona Gorda, which are consistent sizes across the brand. I like the fact that they stick to the four classic sizes. The USA binder intrigues me as I know that the Bailey family has been growing tobacco for 150 years, one can’t help but wonder if this is something grown on their farms in Virginia or a PA or Connecticut leaf. Whatever it is, it works, as the smooth, velvety smoke has a sweetness and a hint of spice that is very pleasurable. The Aerial is a great addition to the Cornelius and Anthony line.

 

CorneliusandAnthony_SenorEsugars_RobustoThe Señor Esugars has the dark Mexican wrapper, with the USA binder (same as the Aerial?) and Nicaraguan fillers. This, along with the Aerial (Daddy Mac, Venganza and Meridian) is made in the La Zona factory in Esteli. The box has a great likeness of Steven Bailey’s dog Oscar, who Steven calls Mr. Sugars, sporting a derby, very cool imagery, another consistent theme. I just want to scratch that dog’s big, fluffy ears! Besides the cigars being great, the color and design of the bands and boxes appeal to me. Sorry, I don’t care how great a cigar is, if it has a crappy looking band it’s going to color my perception. Back to the Señor Esugars. Trade show samples and the fact that I’ve only let them rest for a couple weeks besides the point, this is destined to be a fantastic cigar. I would have like it to be a little drier, my fault, but it had some strength, and some rich, sweet flavors that are on the dark side that I enjoy. I want to smoke this with a Cuban coffee, I just rarely get the chance to make it. It’s another great addition to the line. I really have a hard time picking a favorite of the La Zona blends, Mr. Bailey and co. are really making some great cigars, they have the right people on board to present them and sell them. Super stuff, I’m glad they are on the shelves of some of the stores in my area, and I recommend them highly.

 

 

 

 

 

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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