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La Sirena, Davidoff and a Room 101 Cigar an News from Veritas Cigar Co.

 

 

La Sirena Trident SidebySideHappy Easter Sunday to all who celebrate! Every year I think I should let a cigar dry out for a while then re-humidify it and report on the process, but that seems like it could be sacrilegious to some, so I don’t do it. The first reason I don’t do it is because I don’t want to commit a sin against cigars, and then there’s the whole resurrection comparison that wouldn’t float with some people. So completely unrelated to that, Friday I found myself in the mood for something from  my friends at La Sirena Cigars, and I went deep into the dwindling supply of the original La Sirena Tridents, the ones made at the My Father factory. Now days they are made at La Zona, and are still excellent, and here’s how to tell them apart if you come across them in the wild: the new one’s have the second, thin band that’s under the enormous band centered on the primary band, and on the old ones you can see the thin band before you remove the large one. I strongly recommend buying all you can carry of the old ones if you come across them, they have aged spectacularly.  This four-plus year old cigar burned perfectly, had great savory flavors with a bit of a spice in the beginning and hints of sweet tobacco throughout. If I could go back in time I would, at a minimum, leave this box alone for four years, and, ideally, stock my humidor with boxes upon boxes of La Sirenas. That’s not to say that the current production of La Sirenas aren’t great too, and I’ll be interested in seeing if I’ll be kicking myself for smoking most of the box of Devines before the four or five-year mark. I wonder how the five-year old Dubloons I have in the humidor are faring?

 

Davidoff_Chefs EditionYesterday I smoked another of the Davidoff Chefs Edition cigars as I will be featuring that in an upcoming Prime Living Magazine article. If you feel so inclined, you can see  my articles in the Gentlemen’s Room section of the Prime Living Website.  I wrote put a lot of information about this cigar in last week’s post about the event at Davidoff of Geneva in NYC, so I won’t reiterate it here, except to say that some additional research has turned up that the wrapper is Ecuador Habano. There are some places you might find it listed as Dominican Habano, but that would be incorrect based on credible sources. Anyway, after smoking this cigar in a crowded social situation, and relaxing in private, I maintain that it is an wonderful cigar, not without some strength, loaded with flavor and I can see where it would pair well with food. I was going to snap a picture of me smoking the cigar with one of our chickens on my lap and say it paired well with chicken, but I was too busy enjoying the cigar. Every cigar should smoke this well, of course, every cigar doesn’t have a $30 price tag.  Good smoke for a special occasion, which for me was a nice Saturday afternoon.

 

Room 101 Big Payback HuesoLast night I took a walk with the Davidoff’s cousin, a Room 101 Big Payback Hueso, the 6″ x 60 Nicaraguan Puro. This cigar is a bit of a polar opposite of the Chefs Edition, it’s one sixth the price at around $5, it comes in boxes of 50 for less than the price of a box of ten of the Davidoff. It lacks the finesse, sophistication and nuance of it’s fancier relative, but it’s still a pretty darned tasty cigar!  My example had a burn that was very good, I had to re-light it a couple of times because I wasn’t paying enough attention to it, but that’s on me. In this particular instance I would have been better served with the Robusto size version of this, the Hueso smoked for about 2 hours, not that I didn’t have the two hours to spend, I guess maybe, as the second cigar of the day, I was just ready to do something else after about an hour and a half. Davidoff is selling down the Room 101 lines, and they will no longer be in production, which is a shame, as there are several blends I’ll miss, and this reasonably priced line is one of them. I only have a handful in the humidor, I guess I should grab some more before they are gone.

 

Finally, I constantly receive press releases with the request to pass them on, and you know that I m not the guy who posts a press release the minute I receive it. Plenty of people do, nothing wrong with this, if it fits with your style, go for it. I don’t feel the need to repeat what other people do if I can help it.  That being said, I did receive this from the folks at Veritas Cigars and something makes me think they are based in my general vicinity someplace, I remember running into them at the Delaware Cigar Festival back in 2011 or 2012. Now t’s my mission to go out and find some of their cigars.

 

Veritas Cigars proudly announces that Chris Weber has become the Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Veritas Cigars. “Like anything worth doing, this has been a labor of love for all those who have brought the brand to its current state of excellence, and I stand behind this cigar line, made great by the challenges I’ve faced, and I am poised to bring the brand to new heights,” stated Mr. Weber. To facilitate the continued evolution of the company, Veritas is moving Nicaraguan production to the fabled Black Label Trading Company’s factory, Oveja Negra, and the innovative expert cigar master James Brown. “In working with James I came to love his passion for blending and am excited to be working together to bring Veritas Cigars to the next level,” stated Chris. When asked about the new addition to his factory James Brown stated, “this is a tough industry for small companies. It’s hard to get the attention you need to create a premium product. Our goal is to help support other boutique brands and grow the premium-cigar market.” The transition will take time to complete with new product being scheduled to hit retailers at the end of July of this year.

 

Oddly, I have not smoked many cigars from the Black Label Trading Company lines, which is something else I’ll have to work on. That’s all for now, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Davidoff of Geneva, Partagas and Arturo Fuente Cigars

Thursday I had the privilege of attending a media event at the Davidoff of Geneva Brookfield Place shop in New York City for a meet and greet with Davidoff’s Global CEO,  Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard. We were instantly greeted by the attentive staff as well as Laura Peet, whose company handles the media relations for Davidoff. The shop is gorgeous, of course, only being about a year old, and Davidoff of Geneva NYClocated in a mall in the financial district with views of One World Trade Center from the comfortable lounge. I spoke with Hans-Kristian for a bit, but was unable to pry any secrets out of him. I asked about future Davidoff Lounge locations in the US and he was tight-lipped. When he spoke to the assembled crowd he said that they had just opened their 78th lounge, with seven of those in the US. The cigar of the evening was the incredible Chef’s Edition, which is a 6″ x 54 toro with a Habano 2000 wrapper, Ecuador Connecticut binder and a filler blend of San Vicente Mejorado Seco, San Vicente Mejorado Viso, Piloto Viso, and San Vicente Viso.  This cigar is a  collaboration between Davidoff of Geneva’s master blenders and six of the world’s most renowned chefs,  Peter Knogl, Cheval Blanc of Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois (Basel, Switzerland),  Renato Wüst of Bad Ragaz Grand Resort (Switzerland),  Ali Güngörmüs, of Le Canard HH Pageou (Münich, Germany),  Léa Linster of Restaurant Léa Linster (Frisange,Luxembourg),  Michel Trama of Relais & Chateau (Puymirol, France) and  Maria Marte of Club Allard (Madrid, Spain),with  nine Michelin stars among them. Amazingly, only four of the six chefs are cigar smokers. Here’s what Davidoff has to say about the cigar:

The Davidoff Chefs Edition is Davidoff’s version of a culinary masterpiece. Just like the perfect meal, it begins gently with complex layers of subtle flavors and builds up to a sublime and unforgettable crescendo. The wrapper is oily and smooth and everything about it, from its flawless composition to its elegant color, whets the appetite for the cigar’s initial aromas, both nutty and sweet. The flavors become richer and more uplifting in the second third, with hints of citrus, bloomy fruit, sweet corn and a refined aftertaste that is both oily and creamy. In the last third, the cigar’s beauty and vitality erupt into an intense, peppery yet meltingly sweet and gratifying Grand Finale, just as a gastronomic experience is crowned by a superb dessert.

Davidoff_Chefs EditionI smoked the cigar at the event and it was spectacular, and they had a spread of chocolates and hors d’oeuvres there that did compliment the cigar nicely. Some of the chocolate treats were amazing on their own. I missed the corn component in the cigar, granted a cigar event isn’t exactly best place to pick up subtleties, but I was talking with Greg Mattola of Cigar Aficionado who explained to me that to him it was more of a corn flavor one would get in a bourbon, something I have no frame of reference for. They were also sampling some Camus Cognacs, which I passed on, but they also had some very good coffee on hand. I am looking forward to smoking the Chef’s Edition again when I can really sit down and concentrate on it. Hans-Kristian did say that the next limited edition Chef’s Edition would feature input from American and Asian chefs. Davidoff has some very interesting thematic cigar lines. Rudy and his staff at the lounge were very attentive and this is a must visit if you find yourself in lower Manhattan. Prices were high, but it is New York, and it is Davidoff. It was a quick trip to the city for my wife and I, but we met a bunch of great folks including Ted Hoyt from Smoke Magazine and John Nubian of YRB Magazine,  and had a very nice time. My wife even enjoyed a Davidoff 2000 while there.

Partagas_Heritage_Rothschild

 

I could probably stop here and nobody would complain, but I did have a couple of cigars yesterday worth noting.  Yesterday I watched the second period of the Flyers game on the back porch with the new Partagas Heritage Rothschild, a 4½ x 50 cigar with the rosado colored OSA wrapper from Honduras, a Connecticut Broadleaf binder and a filler blend of Honduran Jamastran, Dominican Piloto Cubano and Mexican San Andres. This is is a cigar that is going to age well, not that it isn’t ready to go now. It has a spicy, tannin flavor that really wakes up the palate. The burn and draw are excellent, and the rounded head, a signature of cigars made by General Cigar, allows for pinpoint control of the cut, allowing a punch-like cut with a guillotine or scissors. I liked it, it was different from every other Partagas cigar I’ve had. The band could be better, a simple, red band with Partagas Heritage on it, from a distance it might look like the Partagas Serie D No.4 Habano, which is probably the point. Recommended, along with the Partagas Ramon y Ramon.

 

Fuente_HemingwayClassic_MaduroLast night I grabbed a lonely Arturo Fuente Hemingway Classic Maduro from the humidor. I was going to smoke a regular old Hemingway Classic Cameroon, but this Maduro had a couple of cracks that were concerning, so it had to go. I got a few of these on a visit to Holt’s in Philly last fall some time, and it traveled home with me on the train in a baggie and might have gotten dinged up a little. To the Fuente’s credit, these cracks, the most concerning of which ran from the band to the cap, caused absolutely no problems. I feared and explosion, and the only explosion I got was that great Hemingway flavor with the sweet broadleaf wrapper on top of it. It’s amazing that a cigar can taste the same year after year, which is why I feel compelled to pick up a few Hemingway maduros when I see them at Holt’s, which seems to be every time, and for the $6 or 7 that they cost it’s a no-brainer.  What put the Fuente bug in me yesterday was reading about the theft of a 40′ container of Fuente cigars, which really takes some planning, I would think, how does a whole container get stolen? Fuente’s are going to be in short supply for a while, I think, but the company has faced adversity before, and will overcome.

 

That’s enough out of me for today. Looking forward to another nice spring day, so we’ll see what gets smoked today!  Don’t forget you can follow @cigarcraig on Instagram and Twitter to see what I’m smoking, not that anyone should really care…Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Davidoff 702 Series Special R Cigar

Davidoff_702Series_Special RObviously Davidoff of Geneva has been synonymous with high-end, very mild cigars, but in recent years they have been blending more to the palate of those who prefer a little bolder cigar. Because I’ve fallen into the category of those who like stronger cigars, as well as being careful with the finances, I don’t have a great deal of experience with  the brand, but lately I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to try some of the recent blends. Following the Davidoff Nicaragua, and the Yamasa, they have released a new cigar recently with an Ecuador Habano wrapper, called the Davidoff 702 Series. They have stuck with classic Davidoff sizes on this line, the special T, the Double R, Anniversario No. 3, Special R and 2000 Corona. I managed to get my hands on a 2000 and a Special R robusto and chose the robusto for this evening’s cigar.  The 702 wrapper is a hybrid of three Cuban Habano varietals, and is grown exclusively for Davidoff in Ecuador in the Andean foothills.  As far as the appearance goes, it’s a beautiful cigar, milk chocolate-brown with a light oily sheen. Davidoff’s website suggests a smoking time of 45 minutes, and I think that if one were to suck one of these down in that amount of time one would be squandering an opportunity to enjoy a really great tasting cigar. I’m not one to pick up a lot of complexity in a cigar, but this one had a lot of great flavors, and there was an enjoyable (to me, at least) sweet flavor, like if you ate a handful of those little candy hearts a couple of hours before, it’s subtle, but popped up once in a while. Leave it to me to taste something so low-brow in a $20+ cigar! It had some coffee and earthy flavors too that were really quite nice, along with a little pepper bite here and there.

 

Davidoff_702_Special RI thoroughly enjoyed smoking this cigar down until my fingers were getting hot, I’m sure Zino would not have approved, having been a proponent of leaving the cigar at the band. Too much goodness to waste putting it down that soon, in my humble opinion. On a cigar of this size, the band is the halfway point, perhaps that’s where the 45 minute figure comes from. I bet I enjoyed this cigar for nearly twice that amount of time. It goes without saying that the burn and draw were perfect, they better be at this level.  The Davidoff 702 Series Special R is a great special occasion smoke, even if the special occasion is a Wednesday evening! The only downside to this is the price, but the upside is definitely there. I have the 2000 in the humidor waiting for the next special occasion.

 

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

 

CigarCraig (feeling fancy)

 

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CigarCraig’s Holiday Contest Number Four: General Cigar Co. and the Tommy Bahama Winner

Davidoff GolfI hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Christmas yesterday. As JJO suggested in his comment on the last post, it turns out I did have better things to do yesterday than post the winner, including having a big breakfast at our daughter’s house with the granddaughters and our kids, then taking a drive to visit more family in New Jersey. While at my bro-in-law’s in Jersey I got to smoke a glorious Sobremesa Short Churchill, which was wonderful. Christmas Eve I managed to smoke a Davidoff Golf Scorecard Edition, a gorgeous 6″ x 55 toro. These are presented in a five pack, ostensibly four cigars for your golf foursome, and one with a gold secondary band for the winner. These carry a pretty hefty price-tag , $114 for 5 at CI, who starts off the description with “Some things Bolivarare matches made in heaven – like bacon and eggs, mac and cheese, and of course, golf and cigars. “, which I find to be a rather pedestrian way to start a paragraph about a pretty expensive cigar! Anyway, it was a spectacular smoke, even though I don’t golf. It had loads of creamy, spicy flavors that were quite entertaining. It turned out to be pretty hard to find something suitable to follow such a stellar smoke, so I went with a Bolivar Royal Corona that had been floating around the humidor for 5 years or so. It was up to the task and was a great smoke, on the milder side, on par with the Davidoff. It was a pretty great couple of cigars on a reasonably nice winter’s day.

 

Contest!

GCCLet’s keep it going! I have some goodies from General Cigar for today’s giveaway!  There’s a Punch Bobblehead, a tin CAO Flathead Steel Horse sign, a pair of very nice La Gloria Cubana Cigar Scissors, and a Macanudo Inspirado Colibri Grip cutter, which is rubberized with orange blades, very sharp-looking. It’s hard to say what else might fall into the shipping box while I’m packing it up too, it’s been known to happen. Anyway, usual rules apply, leave a comment to enter,  I’ll announce a winner on Wednesday!

 

Winner!

 

Island LifestyleI almost forgot to announce the winner fo the Tommy Bahama ashtray and travel humidor, and Island Lifestyle Cigars!  I wore my blue check Tommy Bahama shirt yesterday with my blue check Vans, it was quite the look.  Many thanks to Ryan at Island Lifestyle Importers for providing this wonderful present! I can’t say how much I like the Tommy Bahama branded stuff, my wife told me I was crazy to give it away! But, giving is so much fun, so it’s off to Random.org to find the winner!  I’m not sure how this happened, but the winner is Andy Klueber.  Every once in a while someone calls their shot, but Andy chose the opposite, pessimistically entering saying he wasn’t going to win, several times! His number came up this time, and I’ll be sending him some great stuff!

 

That’s all for now! I got some chicken harnesses for Christmas so I can try taking chickens for a walk instead of Macha, that should get the neighbors talking….until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Davidoff, Tatuaje, and Surrogates Cigars and an Event

Davidoff_NicaraguaBox Pressed_robustoTo start of today I have to rewind to last Sunday, when I wrapped up a nice day in the city with a Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed Robusto, one of the new cigars in the line this year. If I was impressed with the toro, I was really impressed with the robusto! This one measures 5″ x 48, which feels even smaller with the box press. It features tobaccos from four growing regions in Nicaragua: Condega, Jalapa, Ometepe and Esteli, with the ligero coming from Esteli. As with the Toro, it burned perfectly as one would expect (or, dare I say, demand!), with a great draw, tons of rich, tasty smoke and a firm ash.  This is a special cigar, right up my alley in terms of flavor and strength, but  priced outside my personal comfort range, but for special cigars, my price threshold has been expanding recently. I would certainty recommend this cigar as a special occasion smoke. As I said of the toro, it’s yummy.

 

Tatuaje K222Fast forward to Saturday, when I went back to one of my favorite shops, the Wooden Indian, where they were having a Halloween party of sorts, along with a combined My Father, Tatuaje, L’Atellier, Surogates event with KC Johnson on hand. I introduced myself to KC, apologizing for not having met him before, I saw him at the IPCPR show and I suppose he was with someone at the time or something, I just felt weird for not having met him before. He’s a super nice guy, friendly and knowledgeable and a good fit for the cigar business. While I was there I smoked the Tatuaje Reserva Miami K222, new this year, and an homage to Pete Johnson’s dog Kona, who lost his battle with cancer last year after losing a leg to the disease. I have a soft spot in my heart for three-legged dogs, and offered words of encouragement to Pete when Kona was losing his leg. In our dog’s case, when lost her leg to a bad break, not cancer, but it’s amazing how animals adapt, within days they are getting around fine. Anyway, I felt compelled to smoke the K222, and it’s a fantastic smoke. Take the afore-mentioned Davidoff, kick the strength up a notch, and the sophistication and subtlety down a notch, and you have the Tatuaje. If that sounds like a dig, it’s not, it a different experience but no less satisfying. The K222 is 5 7/8″ x 52 with an Ecuador Habano wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and fillers and is made in the El Rey de los Habanos factory in Doral, Florida. Obviously the “K” stands for Kona, Pete’s Rottweiler, who passed away at 2:22 on April 22, hence the 222 in the name. It’s yet another great cigar from the Tatuaje line.

 

Surrogates_Animal Cracker_AC550While I was at the Wooden Indian, I kind gave Dave, the owner, a little grief about the inappropriateness of his Native American costume, with cultural appropriation being currently out of fashion. PC BS, nobody was insulted back in my childhood when we dressed as hobos, old ladies or banditos, I was even a mafioso once Halloween with a toy machine gun, offensive on several levels in today’s world. I guess if Dave had been standing outside his store with a bundle of cigars in his hand I would have gotten it, but I was slow on the uptake and only “got it” this morning. Anyway, I bought a Tatuaje Monster Series The Krueger, and I’m wondering if I should smoke it tomorrow evening, Halloween, or put it away for a while?  What do you all think?  I also picked up a couple of the Surrogates Animal Cracker AC550, as I’ve enjoyed several cigars in that line and hadn’t tried this one yet. I set one on fire last night and it’s a powerful, full flavored cigar. I loved the closed foot, it feels like it’s plugged on the Cold Draw (one of my favorite podcasts currently, BTW, an unsolicited plug), but upon setting fire to the foot it opens up and is perfect. This one has an Ecuador Habano Oscuro wrapper, burns well, produces lots of smoke and is a great cigar if one likes strong cigars (or needs a little help and doesn’t like taking laxatives, TMI?).  So far I’ve tried and liked the Broadleaf wrapped Skull Breaker and Bone Crusher, so I guess the Tramp Stamp and Crystal Baller are next on my to try list. These are made at the My Father factory in Esteli, and blended by Pete Johnson and the L’Atelier team. These aren’t subtle, the are aggressive, as the names might suggest, but are worth trying f you have a strong constitution!

 

That’s enough for now, I have a busy week, I’ve got a Prime Living Article deadline coming up, a weekend getaway that I need to write and schedule a post for, and various other preparations to make. since I was lazy last week and put off my usual Wednesday post for Friday, I’m going to make every effort to get back on track this week and not be a slug. So, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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