Tag Archives: dirty rat

CigarCraig’s Holiday Giveaways No. 3 – Drew Estate Goodies!

Happy New Year’s Eve to everyone,  2017 is just about in the books, the year went by really fast.  I honestly don’t know what to expect from 2018, but I’ll keep smoking cigars, visiting shops and going to events I suspect. So I wish everyone a safe and happy 2018, and be careful out there tonight!  I’ll be finding an appropriate cigar to smoke this evening, that’s for sure.  Anyway, there’s the business of selecting the winner of the La Gloria Cubana Contest, which includes a travel humidor and a dozen La Gloria LaGloriaCubana ContestCubana cigars. The random number generator selected Trent Berry as the winner!  Trent, please send me your address so I can ship this off to you!  Once again, thanks to Rami at General Cigar Co., Cigar Cigars in King Of Prussia for having a great event with Ernesto Carillo which caused me to open my wallet and end up with a cool humidor to give away, and of course, General Cigar Co, for being an awesome steward of a long loved brand.  Gee, I wonder what today’s giveaway is?


Contest (note: not Comic Sans this time Mike P!)


DE Contest2017Today’s third and (maybe) final giveaway of the season is a collection of goodies from my friends at Drew Estate. Included are some items that may not be very common in the wild. These are items I’ve received over the course of the year, there’s a Barnsmoker cap from the Connecticut Barn Smoker (I’m not a hat guy), a DE backpack which contained a lighter, ashtray, and other assorted goodies which was from the media party that DE threw at the 2017 IPCPR, some various stickers that I’ve accumulated over the years, some of which are from my last visit to the factory in 2013, and a selection of cigars from my humidor including Undercrowns (and example of each wrapper), a KFC, a Nica Rustica and some Joya de Nicaraguas because Drew Estate distributes them and I have a bunch.  I’ll add to it if I come across more stuff. Once again, it’s not that I don’t appreciate these gifts from Drew Estate, I do, but I like to share my good fortune, and I have lots of “stuff”! You know the de4l, leave a comment here to enter and I’ll pick a winner next Sunday, Jan 7, 2018. As always, thank YOU all for your continued support!


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



(I was thinking of making a version of the logo with a party hat and one of those noisemaker, party things, for New Years, but lack the patience for that right now…something for me to work on for next year!)



Filed under Contest

My Father’s Day Esperanza para los Niños, a Trilogy of Cigar Stores and Some News!

esperanza_churchillWhen we left off I was enjoying Father’s Day with my kids and granddaughter.  After they went home I lit up the Esperanza para los Niños Churchill. This was my last Churchill, from a handful generously gifted to me by a friend who won a box in the mid ‘00s. A few of these examples had an odd burn problem around the three quarter mark, and a hint of ammonia, which was odd for a 10 (at the time) year old cigar. This one was perhaps the best example I’ve smoked in a long time.  It was rich and delicious and satisfying. This cigar was made Christian Eiroa at Rancho Jamastran in Honduras in 1999 to benefit the children that were orphaned by hurricane Mitch in 1998.  Do you know that he had trouble giving the proceeds of the sales to orphanages because the money came from tobacco?  Unbelievable. Anyway, he finally was able to put the funds to good use and get it through peoples heads that the kids needed food and clothes, not some moral judgements. Anyway, the good news is that where I thought I was left with two Esperanzas after this one, I actually have three!  There was another torpedo in the humidor that I didn’t know about! So for the next two Father’s Days I’ll smoke torpedos, then in 2016 I’ll smoke the toro from the box I purchased in 2000.


Monday rolled around and my daughter gave birth to our second granddaughter, another beautiful little girl who they named Calla Violet.  My wife and I kept our two year old granddaughter, Willow, overnight and know why we finished having kids when we were thirty!  I’m only speaking for myself, but I’m now too old to keep up with a two year old for very long!  Pop’s celebratory cigar would have to wait. Tuesday after visiting mom and baby in the afternoon, I managed to light up a Drew Estate Liga Privada Dirty Rat from 2009, before they released them commercially, which was dynamite.  Age may not really improve this cigar, but it didn’t hurt it too much, it was a tasty smoke.


While we were coming home from the hospital we noticed an odd shop in one of the strip malls along Germantown Pike in East Norriton, PA.  Then we passed the Black Cat Cigar Shop, then we saw SmoKings, all within about a one mile stretch.  Tuesday, after visiting momma and baby and surrendering granddaughter no.1 to her daddy, we stopped at these three shops.  The first was called Hillcrest Tobacco and Dollar Store, an unlikely combination!  Of course, we had to visit. This store was kind of a mess.  The majority of the store was typical Dollar Store junk, with various cabinet humidors lining one wall.  Saying that the stock could have been merchandised better is understating, but they did have a fairly large selection that was well priced and in good shape. This would be a fine place to grab a few sticks.  I picked up a pair of the new H. BlackCatUpmann Legacy robustos for $4.99.  Next we stopped at Black Cat, which is a very nice place. I last visited this store when it was in Philadelphia on Sansom Street in a little place that was packed solid with cigars and stuff.  This stand-alone store had a very nice lounge area and a large walk-in humidor. The selection was very good with a generous selection of boutiques.  I hate to admit it, but I walked out of there with an Asylum 13 Ogre, just because I figured I had to smoke one eventually and I couldn’t make myself purchase the 6 x 80 (even though it was cheaper!).  This is a nice place to stop in, buy some cigars and sit and enjoy one or two. Note: H. Upmann Legacy Robustos – $6.60. The last place we happened to notice right after Black Cat was SmoKingsSmoKings, located within 25 feet of a Starbucks, oddly enough! This is another little smokeshop with cabinets down one wall, reasonably neatly merchandised, although my CDO (that’s OCD in alphabetical order as it should be) would have me either alphabetize it or group it by manufacturer or something that made sense.  I did find some Cain F tubed lanceros for $6 and change that are awesome and scarce.  The young man at the counter was enthusiastic and beginning to sample cigars.  I cautioned him on the Cain F. Another nice place to stop to pick some sticks up. They actually had a SmoKings branded cigar that looked like it was either wrapped in a leaf instead of cello, or had the world’s ugliest wrapper. It was priced at $7.99 and the clerk didn’t know anything about it, so I passed. My wallet has moths flying out of it by this third stop on the Germantown Pike impromptu cigar crawl. H.Upmann Legacy Robusto – $5.75.  It was my first real foray up that particular road in Montgomery County, PA and I was surprised to find three shops with properly kept cigars in a one mile stretch, and of course I had to stop at them all and buy cigars, as if I needed more…


As you can tell, it’s been an exciting week!  I’ll leave you with this press release about the upcoming Cigarnival Event hosted by Famous Smoke Shop up the road from me in Easton, PA.


Famous Smoke Shop Hosts Cigarnival 2013 – The Nation’s Premier Cigar Event

Famous Smoke Shop is hosting their annual cigar festival, featuring leader cigar makers meeting with guests and distributing a wide variety of their premium cigars. Attendees will also enjoy gourmet food, live music, craft beer, wine, spirits, raffles, and a casino with prizes sponsored by Drew Estate.


Easton, pa – June 19, 2013 – Smoking premium cigars has become more popular than ever. It’s also one of ways men (and women) of all stripes can bond and share their affinity for, as cigar smokers call it, “the leaf.” For this reason alone, the Cigar Expo “Cigarnival,” held annually at Leaf Cigar Bar & Restaurant on the premises of Famous Smoke Shop in Easton, PA, is one of the most highly-anticipated cigar smoking events of the year for cigar smokers near and far. This year’s event will begin Friday, June 28th at 12:00 PM with a pre-vent party sponsored by Gurkha Cigars, and continue through Saturday, June 29th.


Most of the biggest names in the cigar industry will be represented including Alec Bradley, Altadis U.S.A., Arturo Fuente, Davidoff, Drew Estate, General Cigar, Oliva, Perdomo, Rocky Patel, Tatuaje, Carlos Toraño, Xikar, and over 25 more vendors. Cigarnival guests will get to meet their makers up-close and personal while rubbing elbows with 400 other cigar enthusiasts. Shuttle service will also be provided to take guests to and from their hotels to the event.


“This year’s theme is music,” said Leaf COO, Jeff Brown. “Performances by a variety of bands will run continuously throughout the day and night. Plus, our award-winning restaurant staff will be preparing gourmet dinners for each night, including a grandiose lunch buffet for Saturday afternoon. People can see the entire menu on the Cigarnival website.”


Guests will also have a wide choice of libations which include a number of craft brews from Founders, Troegs, Goose-Island, Yuengling, and others, as well as plenty of water and soft drinks. Additionally, Miami Cigar & Co. will be sponsoring the “Hooch Hut” where guests can sample a special selection of wines, spirits, and more.


Friday morning, registered guests will play in the 6th Annual Camacho Golf Outing at Whitetail Golf Club in Bath, PA. Golf carts, drinks, a buffet, and Camacho cigars are all included. Prizes for closest to the pin and the longest drive will be awarded, and anyone scoring a hole-in-one will win a trip for two to Camp Camacho in Honduras.


Friday night, Alec Bradley Cigars will host the after party, while Saturday night Perdomo Cigars will close the show with a 20th Anniversary party. Also returning to the main event will be The Drew Estate Casino. Depending on the number of chips they’ve accumulated, players can claim any number of prizes from Drew Estate swag to cigars, including a year’s worth of cigars, or Drew Estate’s Cigar Safari in Nicaragua. Thousands of dollars in raffle prizes will be also given away, plus deals on just about every brand in The Humidor at Leaf Retail Store, and much, much more. For a complete listing of event festivities, visit http://www.cigarnival.com/festivities.cfm.


“We’ve been putting on this event for a while now, and I always look forward to the thank you emails we get every year from so many of our attendees,” said Brown. “For some reason, I have a good feeling that this year my inbox is going to be overflowing.”


For more information call 610-559-8800 or visit www.cigarnival.com



Friday, June 28 & Saturday June 29, 2013

Leaf Cigar Bar & Restaurant at Famous Smoke Shop

90 Mort Drive, Easton, PA 18040

Information: 610-559-8800



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


CigarCraig (or “Pop” in some circles!)



Filed under Editorial, News, Review, Stores

The Heartbreak Of A Damaged Liga Privada T52

First off, I’d like to welcome Oja Cigars, my latest site sponsor.  Click on the ad on the right and try their cigars if you get the chance.  Oja has four lines of cigars in several sizes, all made in Esteli.  It’s no secret that these have become a favorite of mine over the last several months.  Each line has a little something special to distinguish itself from the others.  Thank you to Luis Garcia and Oja Cigars for the support!

As I was rummaging around the humidor picking out some cigars to pack for my trip, I noticed a Liga Privada T52 robusto that had a cracked wrapper.  Imagine my horror.  This particular cigar came from the Drew Estate Blogger Party in Vegas at the IPCPR show, so it had been through a lot in it’s life.  Vegas isn’t kind to cigars.  Anyway, once i find a damaged cigar in my humidor, it has to go.  No question about it, it can’t continue to exist with the rest of it’s perfect brethren.  Maybe I’m shallow, or bigoted.  Certainly my CDO (that’s OCD in the correct, alphabetical order by the way!), but that’s just the way it is.  So I smoked it.  I peeled off the cap and used it as a bit of a band-aid of sorts, although the cap didn’t cover the entire crack, but it turned out OK.  I was expecting it to explode when it heated up, but it didn’t.  As usual, the T52 was a terrific cigar, despite the damage.  It burned like a champ, didn’t explode, and, while not as enjoyable as a perfect cigar, it delivered in the flavor department and was very satisfying.   Liga Privada, be it No.9, T52, or Serie Ünico, are exceptional cigars, one of the few cigars I consider worthy of the price-tag.


I’ve been alluding to my upcoming trip, and the day has come.  This time tomorrow I’ll be waking up in Santiago, Dominican Republic, and getting ready for a 3 day tour of the General Cigar factories and fields.  Stay tuned for updates along the way.  I’ll be taking pictures and video along the way and will try to upload something interesting over the next couple days, dependent upon connectivity.  Myself, and my 14 fellow bloggers will have a full schedule of educational activities and tours.  I feel very fortunate to be able to have this experience and share it with my readers.


Until the next time,






Filed under Review, Trip Report

Gee, I Smoked Some More Cigars This Week! La Aurora, My Joya de Nicaragua Blend, and a Dirty Rat

It’s the Memorial Day weekend, and time to remember all those who gave their lives in service to the country so that we have a shot at enjoying a fine cigar once in a while!  Thank You!  Now, on to some cigar nonsense!

I caught an article this week via Twitter that Guillermo Leon had completed his purchase of the La Aurora cigar division from the parent company, Grupo Leon.  I couldn’t think of a better cigar to celebrate this event than a La Aurora 107 Lancero that I had picked up when I met up with him last month at The Wooden Indian (the day my grand-daughter was born. Hard to believe she’s 4 weeks old already!).  I took this cigar for a walk with my wife to the local convenience store, about a mile round trip.  It certainly was a very nice cigar.  There was a time in the recent past that you could almost expect a lancero to be plugged, but I haven’t had one that wasn’t perfectly made in some time.  As a side note, I’ve been finding that a lot of the cigars I’ve been smoking have been well made. Either my selections have improved or there is an over-all trend in higher quality standards in the industry.  Not complaining!  It used t really annoy me when I’d invest my valuable cigar time and have a difficult stick. Back to the 107, I’ve now smoked this in the corona and lancero and enjoy the blend. I think the lancero is more of a good thing.  I should try some of the other sizes.  While these aren’t exactly what I look for taste wise in a cigar, they do give me a lot of pleasure, and I strive to keep an open mind.

I selected one of the cigar that I brought back from Cigar Safari in Nicaragua for my Friday night cigar.  This was one of the ones that were made for us as a result of our blending session at Joya de Nicaragua. I chose the the Corojo wrapper, and a Sumatra binder as well as Seco from Condega.  I focused on Esteli for the Viso and Ligero, with a little Condega Ligero thrown in for good measure.  What I ended up with was a fairly strong cigar, both in flavor and body.  I loved it, make no mistake, but it rivaled the Joya de Nicaragua Dark Corojo in sheer power, as a matter of fact, I commented to my son that I thought I had blended an Antaño Dark Corojo!  He had smoked the first of his batch, and he had used much more ligero in his, and it wasn’t bad, his shade wrapper may have toned it down a bit.  I smoked this cigar down to finger burning size, while it was one dimensional, it was a good dimension! I wouldn’t smoke these often, and I have four more resting to see how they develop over time. I continue to be amazed that a cigar that was rolled a mere 8 weeks ago is so perfectly smokable!  Thanks to Mario Perez at Joya de Nicaragua and Jonathan Drew for this exercise.  I’m reminded that I need to find some Cabinetta Lanceros sometime soon…great cigar! I actually think the Cabinetta Serie is my favorite blend from JdN for overall balance.


Saturday was a beautiful day, so for my evening walk I went with a Liga Privada Dirty Rat pre-release version that Steve Saka had sent me in January of 2010.  This cigar has since been released as a Liga Privada Serie Unico as of last years IPCPR show.  I’ve had several of these between the pre-release samples and the production line and they have all been exceptional.  Deep and dark, these are well made and seriously satisfying.  The stalk cut, Connecticut Habano wrapper is a thing of beauty and just tasty as all get out.  I lamented to my wife at the time that I should have grabbed one of the longer prototype Rats I brought back from Cigar Safari, as this cigar was finished too soon.  I could have easily spent another hour enjoying the deliciousness of the Dirty Rat.  Truly a spectacular cigar.

Today is another day, not sure what I’ll pull out of the humidor yet, and tomorrow could present more opportunities still.  Tuesday we head to NYC for a private cigar event, which we’ve been looking forward to.  Everyone have a safe and enjoyable holiday, and remember all those who paid the ultimate price so that we can enjoy what we enjoy!

Until the next time,




Watch for a new discount code from StogieBoys.com coming soon.



Filed under Review, Take a Cigar For a Walk

Cigar Safari Trip Report: Day 1

The next several installments will attempt to recap my trip to Drew Estate’s Cigar Safari in Esteli, Nicaragua. The trip was from March 9th the the 12th, 2011. My son, Corey, went on this trip with me, along with 9 others from a couple other groups who we didn’t know prior to this trip. I would recommend this trip to any rabid cigar nut, it covers all aspects of the cigar manufacturing process and the folks at Drew Estate bend over backward to make sure you have a good time.

Day 1

Cuba from the planeCorey and I left the house around midnight on Wednesday. Our flight to Miami was at 6am from Newark and I like to be early. It was around 2:45 when we arrived at security only to find out it didn’t open until 3:45. We just hung out until people started to gather. We had been assigned exit row seats on all 4 flights for this trip, which is nice for those of us with longer legs. The flight to Miami was uneventful…did you know they don’t even give you the little package with four peanuts anymore? In Miami we made our way to our gate and hung around waiting for our flight. We managed to meet some of our fellow Safari-mates while we were waiting. The Maimi to Managua flight also passed without incident. One interesting note was that we flew over Cuba, and there was a hope that we might see the space shuttle on it’s landing approach. We saw Cuba, but not Our busthe shuttle. Upon arrival in Managua we got through immigration and baggage claim and were met by Pedro, who would be our guide for the rest of the stay.

They loaded our luggage on the roof of the bus, which was decorated with Drew Estate graphics, and we left to eat lunch on the way toward Granada. Liga Privada T52 Toros were circulated and lit, there was much rejoicing. The place we ate was called Bucaneros, and had a view of a volcanic lake complete with black lava rock fields. They had a Mariachi band and the food was incredible. I had steak that was delicious and Corey had fish that he raved about. Shortly after leaving this open-air restaurant with a beautiful view of a lush valley, we found ourselves driving through a desert on the way to the rim of an active volcano, Vulcan Vulcan Masaya Masaya. Ironically there was “no fumar” at the observation area and, quite frankly, I don’t think I could have enjoyed a cigar with the sulfurous fumes. It wasn’t terrible, but noticeable if you got a good lungful of it. Several of us made the 177 step climb to an observation area overlooking the crater. Quite an awesome scene.

From Vucan Masaya we traveled to Granada where we took a boat ride on Lake Nicaragua, which was quite a counterpoint to the volcano. Pedro gave us a tour of all of the little islands (Las Isletas) that are along the coast, some of which have some really incredible homes, some have shacks, and one had monkeys! We spent an hour on the water just around sunset and it was very nice.

One of the islands on Lake NicaraguaQuick recap of the day so far: 2 hour drive, two 3 hour flights, a great lunch, a volcano, a boat ride on the 10th largest freshwater lake on the planet…and a seemingly unending supply of excellent cigars…not too shabby!

After we finished at the lake we loaded up on the buss again and made our way back to Managua. We were booked into the Crown Plaza, which is the best hotel in Nicaragua. The area this hotel is located in is very modern and metropolitan. There were all the usual fast food chains, lights, the whole deal, much like any other city. The hotel was first class, and there was a complimentary cocktail hour on the 9th floor that we stopped in on after dropping our luggage off and freshening up. We partook of some beverages and finger food there for a bit before dinner, and got to know some of our new friends a little more. We went downstairs after a bit and Jonathan DrA puma outside of the San Juan de la Selva restarauntew and his wife met up with our group and we went to another fantastic meal at San Juan de la Selva. I had a filet Mignon which melted in my mouth. A Dirty Rat was the perfect cigar after the meal. On entering this restaurant they have a Puma and a Jaguar in cages. While it’s fascinating to see these beautiful felines up close, it seems tragic that they should be confined in such small cages. I’m sure it’s inline with the Latin attitude towards animals, but it seemed a little wrong anyway.

While some of the group went for drinks and cigars at a place called CigarZone, which seemed to be in a mall of just nightclubs, others of us decided to return to the hotel and call it a day. It had been a long and full day, and I was exhausted, five minutes of Spanish language TV and I was out. At one point, and I forget if it was at the end of the first day, or the next morning, I mentioned to Jonathan that if the trip ended there it would have been worth it. We saw a lot of Nicaragua, had a never ending supply of great cigars, a great group of people, and the best tour guide ever in Pedro.

Stay tuned for Day 2, when we hit Esteli!

Don’t forget to check out my last post for a chance to win a 5 pack of Liga Privada No.9 cigars.

Until the next time,

Cigar Craig



Filed under Trip Report