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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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Drew Estate Swamp Thang and a Natural Box Pressed Toro Cigars

Swamp Thang RobustoI’ve been waiting to get my hands on the latest in the MUWAT Kentucky Fire Cured line, the Candela wrapped Swamp Thang and Swamp Rat cigars. These were featured at last year’s IPCPR show, and I only recently received some in a care package from Drew Estate. The Swamp Thang is available in Robusto (5″x54) and Toro (6″x52) sizes, and I started with the robusto. I’ve been hot and cold on the Kentucky fire Cured line, when I first sampled it in Nicaragua in 2013 I wasn’t a fan, it was too “camp firey” for me. I’ve found with some humidor time these are much better and I actually really enjoy them now. As a fan of the occasional candela, I was anxious to see what the blend did with that wrapper. I believe these are made at Joya de Nicaragua, and they are rolled in the style of the Joya de KFC_SwampThang_RobustoNicaragua Cabineta, with the candela cigar made in the traditional way, and then, in this case, the dark fire cured leaf is added in the final two inches, making a striking contrast. This is used on the regular Fentucky Fire Cured line, but it’s much less apparent since the San Andres wrapper is similar in color to the Kentucky. I found the grassy flavors typical of the candela to be quite understated, and the robusto was a very tasty and well made cigar. It burned perfectly, drew perfectly and was a really nice smoking experience. I was so enthralled with the cigar that I tried the Swamp Rat, the 6″ x 46 size a couple of nights later. I’m going to reserve judgement and not talk about that one now because it wouldn’t burn right and aggravated the heck out of me. I will say that the Candela flavor was more present in the thinner ring gauge, but I’ll come back to that vitola at a later date. Thumbs up on the Robusto though, I really liked that one.

 

Natural_Lounge Exclusive ToroTonight I toyed with the idea of trying the Swamp Thang Toro, but the Swamp Rat scared me off for now, so I went with a cigar from a couple of years ago, a Natural Soft Box Pressed Toro that was a Corona Cigar Company Drew Estate Lounge Exclusive. I’ve had good luck with the Natural line, it features a bunch of non-traditional tobaccos, from places like Syria, Turkey and Perique from Louisiana, which make for a very interesting and pleasing flavor. There are loads of unique spices that work really well together, at least to my palate. I’ll have to see if my friends over at the Wooden Indian have the lounge exclusives or if they are still exclusive to Corona. Wooden Indian has a Liga Privada lounge. the lounge exclusives are all box pressed, the Liga Privada No.9, Undercrown and Herrera Esteli are all sharply square pressed, while the two Tabak Especial varieties and this Natural have a soft press. I’ve smoked most and they have all been quite good.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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Undercrown Shade, Tabernacle, and Herrera Esteli Cigars

Undercrown Shade Gordito I know, I know, nothing new here, but it’s been a busy week and I’ve been selfishly playing it safe smoking cigars I like and enjoying the hell out of them.  This started with a go-to Connecticut Shade wrapper cigar that I grab when I don’t feel like deciding on what to smoke, the Undercrown Shade from Drew Estate. At some point over the last year I came across a good deal on a five-pack of these in a the 6″ x 60 Gordito size, I can’t recall the details, but it was an offer I couldn’t pass up. While 6″ x 60 isn’t normally a shape I go to in a Connecticut, it works in this cigar.  Funny how one company’s “gordito” is different from another’s. I know one particular example where a Gordito is 4″ x 48. If my very rudimentary understanding of the Spanish language is even close, “gordito” is the diminutive of “gordo”, which means “fat”, which makes me wonder what the dimensions of a potential Undercrown Shade Gordo might be? Anyway, the Undercrown line is one of my favorites, and the Shade is one of my favorite Connecticut wrapped cigars, it’s got that nutty, creamy component, and has a good core of rich tobacco flavors to go with it. It’s not an Undercrown with a shade wrapper, although one might wonder what that might be like. Good smoke.

 

Tabernacle_RobustoIronically, I chose a Tabernacle Robusto from Foundation Cigar Co. for my next cigar. I say “ironically” because the Tabernacle is made by Nick Melillo, who probably would have been in charge of blending the Undercrown Shade if had still been with Drew Estate and Willie Herrera hadn’t stepped into his shoes. Most of my readers probably know that, but background included for those who don’t. Believe it or not, everyone isn’t as obsessed with the minutia of the cigar business as I might be. Tabernacle is the full-bodied, Connecticut Broadleaf blend that everyone expected Nick Melillo to make, and it’s not disappointing. I smoked the Robusto as it was later than normal and I didn’t want to be up all night with a cigar. I would have loved this in a 4″ x 48, I wonder what Nick would have called that size? The 5″ x 50 robusto was great, although I probably prefer the toro, more of a good thing. It burned great, was about an 8 on the strength meter, with sweet rich coffee and cocoa flavors, right up my alley. I love the color of the band, which features an image of Haile Selassie, who was the emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. It seems like an odd figure to feature on a band, but he is considered a god incarnate by the Jamaican Rastafarians, as a matter of fact, Selasie’s birth name was Tafari, so the movement is named after him. If you know Nick Melillo’s affinity for Jamaica and Reggae, you’ll get the connection. Where the name Tabernacle fits in is that it’s long been rumored that the Ark of the Covenant, which  is stored in a box called a tabernacle, is in a chapel in Ethiopia. I could probably write more about the history, but plenty of other people already have.The Tabernacle cigars are great (I’m still working up the courage to smoke Nick’s Upsetters line, it’s hard for me to talk myself into smoking infused cigars) . If you love Tajuaje’s Broadleaf blends, Liga Privadas, Mi Quedridas, Nica Rusticas, you’ll love the Tabernacle. I do.

 

HerreraEsteli_TAA ExclusiveI seem to have followed a path of related cigars once again, choosing a Herrera Esteli TAA Exclusive 2016. Last year I received a generous package from Drew Estate (as did many of my esteemed colleagues in the world of cigar blogs) which had all sorts of lounge and shop exclusives, and new items. It must have been the beginning of 2016, as it seems like a long time ago. Was it 2015? Time is moving too quickly!  I still have some cigars from that sampler, and this Herrera Esteli looked like the size I wanted and I decided to smoke it. Unlike the Herrera Esteli line, which features a Habano wrapper and is a great smoke, by the way, this TAA (Tobacconists Association of America) Exclusive has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, with Brazilian Mata Fina binder and Nicaraguan fillers. I like the regular Herrera Esteli line, it’s a great smoke, but this one, with the sweetness from the Broadleaf and Brazilian tobacco really is more in my wheelhouse. I smoked one of these in May of last year and got a meaty flavor that I didn’t get this time around. Perfect burn and draw, of course, and rich flavors that entertained me on my evening walk, and provided a great end to the week! I really didn’t need another $12 cigar to like. I guess it’s lucky for me there aren’t any TAA retailers close by!

 

Today is Father’s Day, which I have mixed emotions about given the fact that my father and father-in-law both passed in the last few years. My kids always do something nice for me, and I look forward to seeing them today, and enjoying my traditional Father’s Day cigar,  this year an 18-year-old cigar. I bought a box of Esperanza Para Los Niños toros in 2000 for Father’s Day and have one left, which I’ll smoke last. I’ve had some generous gifts of various sizes of these over the years which I save for Father’s day. I think I’m good until 2020 or so. In 2002 I found my self unemployed, and wouldn’t you know some online retailer bought the remaining inventory of these cigars (that were made by Christian Eiroa for charity) and was blowing them out for a great price, although it was a lot more than I could afford being out of work. I was pretty pissed that I couldn’t afford another box, and by the time I could they were gone. Anyway, that’s on my agenda for today. That’s all for now, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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