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Deadwood Tobacco’s Fat Bottom Betty by Drew Estate

Fat Bottom BettyAs I’m getting my palate back after this cold, I wanted to smoke something with tons of flavor and was fairly new and interesting.  I recently heard Fabian Ziegler, also known as Dirty Fabian, on a podcast or two talking about the line of cigars Drew Estate made for Deadwood Tobacco in South Dakota, and recently took national to their Drew Diplomat accounts. He described it as a variation on the Natural line, which I enjoy now and then because it uses interesting tobaccos like Perique and Syrian tobaccos more often used in pipe tobacco. I want to say that the difference is the maduro wrapper on the Fat Bottom Betty, which I smoked tonight, the line also has the Crazy Alice and the Sweet Jane, three crazy bitches, as Drew Estate describes them.  I even like the sweet cap on these. The Fat Bottom Betty is a 5″ x 54 with an unfinished foot. It starts out very sweet, with the interesting spices from the exotic tobaccos making for a very entertaining smoke. There was a point near the end where I got a hint of a spiced candy that I can’t quite place, but I recognized, whether it was those spiced gumdrops, or some hard candy your grandmother might have had in her candy dish at the holidays, I’m not sure.  It smoked perfectly, as one would expect from a Drew Estate offering.

I admit that I don’t gravitate toward the non-traditional cigar lines, nor fat bottoms,  but this cigar is one I’d smoke again in a heartbeat. This holds true for the Natural (soon to be called the Larutan to avoid trouble, but seriously, cigars are natural, why not be allowed to call them that?) as well, as I’ve really enjoyed the NDB in the past, and owe the rest of the line a try. While I’m thinking about Dirty Fabian, give his podcast a listen, it’s DE4Live, available on iTunes until Apple decides that cigar podcasts go against their terms like Cigar Aficionado’s Where to Smoke App (story at the link if you haven’t heard)…or whatever other podcast app you might use. It’s a fun show.

That’s enough out of me for tonight, until the next time,

CigarCraig

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Villiger, General Cigar, and Drew Estate Cigars

Since I posted the contest Wednesday (go enter if you haven’t already!), I have a fee more cigars than normal to post about. Bear with me, it was a pretty good week!  We’ll start off with Villiger‘s newest release, the La Flor de Ynclan. A couple of months ago a package arrived at my door that weighed about 12 pounds and I thought “what the heck is in here?” It turned out to be a little box with three La Flor de Ynclan cigars in Churchill, torpedo and robusto sizes, and a bottle of Zaffra Rum, a very generous gift, many thank to the folks at Villiger and Creativas! Most of my loyal readers know that I don’t drink, so one of these days (and I should have done it while the weather was warmer!), I’ll have to have some people over and have them sample this rum and put out a spread of Villiger cigars. From the Villiger website:

 

The La Flor De Ynclan is a special cigar, diligently crafted by Heinrich Villiger and master blender Jose Matias Maragoto of ABAM Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic.

Heinrich Villiger, chairman of the board of Villiger Soehne AG, came across a young ambitious Cuban native 22 years ago in the Dominican Republic. That Cuban, Jose Matias Maragoto was an unknown cigar maker, who was beginning a new life in a new country. Fast forward two decades, the once untested Matias Maragoto is the overseer of all Villiger made product made in the DR. The Flor de Ynclan cigar, is the fruition of a bond between two different men from different backgrounds, over the love of tobacco.

The La Flor De Ynclan is a cigar that presents a distinct full-flavor experience, due to the extended aging of the tobacco. Choice Nicaraguan and Dominican filler tobacco, along with a true Indonesian binder, wrapped in a beautiful Ecuadorian wrapper make the La Flor De Ynclan a cigar that has been worth the wait.

FlordeYnclan

 

I started with the Churchill, a beautiful 7″ x 48 (close enough), with the above-mentioned components. I thought this was a terrific cigar. It was solid medium, and had a quality that I though would suite the European market well. It was complex with some citrus sweetness and a twinge of spice. There have been some Villiger cigars that I really liked, some were so-so, but this one stands apart, I think. It was very tasty, worth a try. I am disappointed that they discontinued the Trill line (made at Tabacalera Palma), although the name is kinda dumb, the cigar is good. I bought a box while I had the chance.

 

BolivarMoving on, I found myself at The Wooden Indian Tobacconist once again where Sean Williams, the Cohiba Brand Ambassador, was appearing for a meet and greet with the lounge membership. I first met Sean at the 2011 IPCPR show, in his El Primer Mundo booth. Ironically, Willie Herrera was hanging out in the booth with him at the same time, so it was also when I met Willie. I got there early and bought some General Cigar Co. cigars that I hadn’t smoked before, as well as a couple of the newer Sean_CohibaBolivars that I’ve enjoyed in the past. The only Cohibas that they had in stock were the Macasar, and I had a couple of those in the humidor already (and they are really pricey!). I was in the mood for Broadleaf, so the Bolivar 652 Toro was the smoke of choice. I know, I know, the Bolivar has a Connecticut Habano Maduro wrapper, not Broadleaf, but it was as close as I was going to get, OK?  This was released at the 2015 IPCPR show, and was Michael Giannini’s project re-imagining the Bolivar (and Ramon Allones). I like the box design, but I can’t say I love the band, it could have been classier, not Rami_Generalthat my opinion counts. I wonder what Mr. Giannini is up to? The Bolivar cigar is great, to my palate. I dig the closed foot and pigtail cap on these and they are very well priced. Anyway, it was a great evening at the Wooden Indian. Dave and his staff are top-notch and it was nice catching up with Sean ( and Rami, the area sales rep, another cool dude).  One last thing about this cigar. It’s neither on the Cigarworld.com or the Foundry websites, the only info I have is from the General Cigar Co. press info from the show.

 

LigaPrivadaSerieUnico_AI slipped back and forth between General Cigar Co. and Drew Estate this week, but I was probably heavier on the DE. I had to smoke another of the Florida Sun Grown toros since I bought a few more at the Wooden Indian charity event, and it was pretty darned tasty. Friday I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to smoke, and decided to go big and smoke a Liga Privada Serie Unico “A” that came from the Connecticut Barn Smoker. I probably should have swapped it for one from the 2014 two count box, but I was too lazy.  An “A” is a traditional Cuban size, it’s 9″ x 47, two notable examples being the Cuban Montecristo and the Sancho Panza Sancho. I took a walk with this cigar and when I got home an hour later I was just hitting the 6″ mark.  It was delicious, but due to its length, was on the milder side for a Liga Privada. It’s a good cigar, no doubt, and actually burned faster than I would have thought, I was finished in a little over two hours. From what I can tell, this is more of a T52 blend as it has the Connecticut stalk cut Habano wrapper, so I guess I’m still looking to satisfy my Broadleaf desire. I’ll find something today. These are only available at events, and are probably considered something of a unicorn in the Liga Privada world. I loved it, I thought it was delicious, but if I had ponied up a bunch of $ on the secondary market I’d have felt a little let down.

 

AcidKubaCandelaSince the current contest features a Drew Estate Acid KubaKuba Candela, I was kinda challenged to smoke one. Fortunately, I had one, as well as a couple of the little Blondie Candelas. I could have wimped out and went with the Blondie and gotten it over with, but why not just go for the gusto?  The regular KubaKuba is just distasteful to me, can’t even stand the smell.  I smoked a Kuba Maduro once in Nicaragua after about eight cigars and it was enjoyable. I entered this with as open a mind as I could muster, and, to lend credence to that, I didn’t take a spare cigar on my walk. I was committed (or should be). Happy to report that I enjoyed the cigar. The Candela wrapper has some bitterness that counters the sweet floweryness of the infusion. If one doesn’t like Candela cigars, I don’t imagine this one is going to change that opinion, because the grassy candellaness (my made up word for the day) is apparent. But, like it’s siblings in the Acid line, it’s well made with quality tobaccos. If you like the Acid line, try this, it’s probably going to be interesting. If you like Candela wrapped cigars, try this. If you don’t like either Candela or infused, I don’t know what to tell you…maybe this one would be a good change of pace, open your mind!

 

I was going to add one more cigar in here, but it’s getting long, I’ll circle back to that cigar. It was good and came highly recommended, I want to smoke another one and pay a little more attention to it before writing about it. Also, I bought a ticket to a Meet and Greet with Ernesto Carillo at the CigarCigars King of Prussia Mall store (smoke while your wife shops!) on Wednesday, October 11 which seems like a good deal, $25 for three cigars, booze and hors d’oeuvres and the chance to talk to a legend in the cigar business. Interestingly, this is a General Cigar event, featuring the new La Gloria Cubana Colleccion Reserva.

 

That’s all for now, until the next time, when we’ll select a contest winner,

 

CigarCraig

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Drew Estate Charity Pig Roast at The Wooden Indian Cigar Shop

PigRoast1For about the 7th year I stopped by the Wooden Indian in Havertown, PA for their annual pig roast and fundraising event for Drew Estate Charities. This year the weather was spectacular, they had tents on the front lawn and along side of the building. Dave and his staff at the Wooden Indian, in addition to running the best cigar store and lounge in the area, put on a fantastic event. The cigar specials featuring Drew Estate products this year was ridiculous. They were offering a box of Dirty Rats with a two box purchase (plus 14 cigars, and all kinds of other goodies). I PigRoast2suppose if I had the room (in humidors and on credit cards) I would have jumped at that. They had the new Undercrown Sungrown and Florida Sun Grown on hand for sale as well as just about anything you might want from Drew Estate. Representing Drew Estate was Pedro PigRoast3Gomez, Chris Stone and Alex Mayer, and Broc Jackson of Kensington Jewelers (the guy who makes all the cool Drew Estate jewelry) was on hand as well. There were also other store owners and reps from other cigar companies there supporting the cause. The BOTL PA Chapter and Cigar Cartel Facebook Groups were represented as well as other local cigar groups. This event is a big deal.

 

PigRoast4The whole point of this event is to raise money for the Drew Estate Charities. There was a whole bunch of very special Drew Estate goodies the centerpiece being an original canvas by Jessi Flores of Subculture Studios. While I didn’t stay for the raffle drawing/auction, I do know that they raised $9000 for Drew Estate Charities! This PigRoast5amount of money can actually build 5 houses for families in Nicaragua! A job well done by everyone at the Wooden Indian and the generosity of the attendees. While I can rarely stay for the whole event, it’s always a great time when I’m there. I smoked one of the new Undercrown Sungrown in the belicoso size while I was there and it was spectacular. When I got home I took a walk with a KFC Swamp Thang robusto, which was also tasty.

 

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

 

Cigar Craig

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Drew Estate Connecticut River Valley Barn Smoker 2017

Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining about 650 folks at Drew Estate‘s annual Connecticut River Valley Barn Smoker. This takes place at the Foster Family Farm in South Windsor, Connecticut. This is one of the farms where the Liga Privada T-52 wrapper leaf is grown. The event was from 10am to 5pm, and included a four station educational tour which included the curing barn, where Jonathan Drew talked about the differences between processing the stalk cut tobacco in Connecticut and the way they do it in Nicaragua. Another station had Pedro Gomez talking about the seeds and seedlings, the third had Willy Herrera and Henry talking about blending, and the fourth had the owners of the farm discussing the crop in the field there, and the sad fact that once in a while a hail storm comes through and ruins the whole crop. Videos and photos are included below. After the tour, it was time to eat, and a very nice lunch was catered by Bears’s Smokehouse which consisted of Barbecue pork and beef brisket, slaw, beans, mac and cheese and rolls which was delicious. There was also craft beer on hand, I don’t drink, so I didn’t take notice of the details, and samplings of John Drew Brands spirits. After the food was served, they had raffle drawings and an auction with proceeds going to Operation: Cigars For Warriors, for which they raised over $16,000! This was a great event, with your admission you were able to purchase a pack of ten cigars, which cost $10 at the door, since FDA regulations say they can’t “give away” cigars, clever work around. The cigars included a Liga Privada “A”, a Liga Privada Velvet Rat, a Liga Privada No. 9, a Liga Privada T52, a Nica Rustica El Brujito, an Undercrown toro, a FSG toro, a Kentucky Fire Cured Flying Pig, a Herrera Estali, and a Pappy Van Winkle. I took a few of my own and enjoyed an Undercrown toro and a Nica Rustica El Brujito at the event. Afterwards some folks met up at Puros Cigar Shop in East Hartford where some more fraternization occurred. I had the pleasure of hanging out with my friends Brian and Vince from BnB Cigars in Chestnut Hill, PA, and I also so several people I knew from the Philadelphia area. A good time was had by all, the weather was great, and the event was well done!  Thanks to Joe at Drew Estate for inviting me, it was great seeing all my Drew Estate friends!

 

Check out the videos below, and the photos, and don’t forget to go back to Wednesday’s post and enter to win some cool stuff from the folks at El Artista Cigars!

 

Until the next time,

CigarCraig

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IPCPR 2017 – Foundation Cigar Company

Tabernacle_LanceroEvery once in a while Facebook chastises me for not posting enough on the CigarCraig.com Facebook Page. It’s funny, I post twice a week when I update here, but I guess FB is looking for interaction. SO I took the opportunity to ask what I should smoke Friday night, and offered a prize to the person whose advice I followed. There were some great suggestions I really wanted to go with, but I didn’t have and El Rico Habanos on hand (an old favorite), nor could I find the new Enclave Broadleaf from AJ Fernandez. Mike Weinstein suggested the Tabernacle from Nick Melillo’s Foundation Cigar Company, and I selected the Lancero for my evening smoke. I really love the Tabernacle line, it has a great Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper with Nicaraguan fillers and smoked perfectly. The narrow ring gauge intensified the Broadleaf flavor, and slow smoking produced tons of rich, sweet smoke. Happy and sad at the same time that I only bought two of these, but it was the last two, so I didn’t have much choice. Tabernacle is a great cigar, thanks to Mike W for the inspiration, I’ll get some goodies out to you this week!

 

CharterOak_CTShade_RothchildAt the IPCPR show I visited Nick at his booth, which won the award for the best medium-sized booth, and we did a little video presented below for your enjoyment. He was displaying the new The Wise Man Maduro, simplifying the name from El Güegüense, which I guess the masses had trouble with. He also had the Highclere Castle on display, as well as the Special El Güegüense Humidor that he shows in the video. I didn’t receive any samples, but will certainly be buying some Wise Man Maduros when I see them. I did come across a Charter Oak Connecticut Shade from last year’s show and smoked that yesterday, boy what a great little cigar in the 4½ x 50 Rothchild size. These are priced from $4-6 and are exceptional values. The burn was great, the smoke had a nice, sweet nutty flavor and it was perfect for the early afternoon. Smooth, creamy and tasty. Not real pretty, but great tasting, and the closed foot is a nice touch. For what it’s worth, I had a couple of the Upsetters line from last year’s show that I could have chosen, I’m just always leery of the infused cigars. One of these days I’ll work up the courage…

 

Undercrown_Sungrown_GranToroNext Saturday I’m fortunate enough to attend Drew Estate‘s Connecticut Barn Smoker, the first of these events I’ve attended. I’m looking forward to learning more about the way tobacco is farmed in Connecticut, I’ve seen farms in Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, and burly tobacco farms in Lancaster County, but haven’t been to a farm in Connecticut. I’m looking forward to the experience and will take plenty of video and pictures to share with you. I figured I better try some of Drew Estate’s new offerings and had to sample the Undercrown Sungrown as I’ve heard great things about it. I’ll say right now, based on one sample, this may be my favorite in the Undercrown range, and I really like the maduro and Shade varieties a lot. It has a flawless milk chocolate-brown Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, Stalk Cut Connecticut grown Habano (like the T-52 wrapper), and Nicaraguan fillers. Besides this being one sexy looking cigar, it tastes friggin great! It had a nice, warm bread sensation, with some sweetness and a hint of pepper. I only came home from the show with a couple of these, but I will be putting more in my humidors as this is wonderful cigar. I look forward to trying other sizes. Willy Herrera and his team killed it with this one. Very impressive.

 

Check out the video with Nick, once again, terrible camera work by me, but great content from Nick! I need to look into one of those stabilizing gimbal camera holders I guess.

 

Foundation Best In Show

Foundation Goalie

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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