Tag Archives: general cigar

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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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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The CAO Concert Event at G & G Cigars

It snowed! It’s not even December yet and we have a blanket of snow on the ground. Last year the only major snow we had was at the end of October 2011, so maybe we get it out of the way again and have a nice, mild, uneventful winter? I can hope. I like cigars too much to limit myself to coronas and petite coronas all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I think a smaller ring cigar is fine, love a lancero and coronas, but variety is the spice of life! Go away snow!

 

Right before it snowed I had an opportunity to attend an event at G & G Cigars in West Chester PA. This is a nice little shop in the downtown area in what was once the Warner theater and is now the Warner Hotel. The hotel is a new addition and just looking into the lobby from the street (what was once the movie theater lobby, I think I saw the Muppet Movie there! back when you could smoke during the movie and you d didn’t think twice about rats running over your feet…you know, the good old days!) it looks like a very nice place. G & G Cigar Co. has been here for 13 years and is capably run by Doug and Jan, who I run into at the trade shows more than I see in the shop. Admittedly, I don’t get to this shop as much as I’d like, but that’s because I really don’t frequent any one shop over another in my area. I end up going to cigar events wherever they may happen to be and am not one to just go hang out at any one shop. If I were and lived a little closer, this shop would be the place. They work things a little differently here, the lounge and their events are for their members and not open to the public. I was lucky enough to weasel and invite out of Doug because my buddy Rick Rodriquez was bringing his CAO Concert tour to my home town. Rick is the man when it comes to the new blends coming out of CAO and I was fortunate to get to know him a bit when I visited General Cigar Co. in the Dominican Republic last year. He has studied the blending arts with Benji Menendez among others and knows his stuff and is a heck of a cool dude too.  A big thank you to Doug and Jan for extending me their hospitality and Ricky and his crew as well.  As you can see in one of the pictures, they even had a cake for Ricky’s birthday that’s this week, Happy Birthday Bro!

 

I enjoyed a CAO Concert Roadie while enjoying the company of several of the members. I have to say that many shops, membership or not, can be a little intimidating at first. I have been a guest of Doug’s in his lounge on two occasions and was welcomed and treated as a friend both times. This says something for the clientele at this shop and after talking to several members, they all seem to drive past one shop or another to come to this one. I wasn’t a fan of the members only lounge and events model but it’s working quite well here and if I were closer and would spend more time hanging around I would gladly pay the membership. Good group of folks for sure. As far as the CAO Concert goes, it’s a nice smoke. Medium bodied with a nice sweetness here and there that probably comes from the broad-leaf binder.  I enjoyed the heck out of the cigar as well as the time I spent talking to all the folks at the event.  It was a fun time.  If you get a chance to meet Rick on one of his tour stops do it, he’s a great guy and really knows his art.

 

Since it’s cold and there’s still stinkin snow on the ground I grabbed a short smoke for my walk, a CAO OSA Sol Lot T.  This 4 ½” x 50 box pressed torpedo is quite a neat little smoke.  It was loaded with  flavor and burned perfectly.  It’s a different experience from the Concert, it’s got refreshing, bright flavors that will be even better on a 80 degree summer afternoon by the pool than a cold evening with the moon and Venus lighting up the snow.  It was perfect for my walk.  I picked up a few of these at  Cigars International when I was at the new super store and they were in the $5 range, quite reasonable.

 

That’s it for this installment, enjoy the rest of your week and take some time to relax with a fine cigar, whether it’s at home in your favorite smoking spot, or in a nice lounge like G & G Cigars has.

 

Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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IPCPR 2012 – A La Sirena Merlion and Someone Wins Some Cigars!

Friday evening, the start of a holiday weekend, the (sigh) end of summer, all good reasons to spark up a good cigar.  One of the cigars I’ve really been looking forward to smoking from the IPCPR show is the Merlion from La Sirena and Miami Cigar and Co.  The sample I smoked was the Toro size, measuring 5½” x 54, which is a nice size for a late summer evening.  The cigars are made at the La Aurora factory with Ecuadoran Corojo wrapper, a Brazilian Sumatra binder and Dominican Corojo, Dominican Criollo, Nicaraguan ligero and Brazilian Mata Fina fillers.  It’s a very nice cigar.  I could certainly taste the influence of the La Aurora factory in the blend, there’s a signature flavor that I’m familiar with that stands out.  It performed perfectly and was a nice, satisfying smoke. Another winner from Arielle Ditkowich and the folks at Miami Cigar and Co.  Arielle took a few moments to talk to me at the show, here’s the video.

 

 

Thank you, Arielle, for being one of my first few interviews at the show. Keep making tasty smokes!

 

Contest

 

I know, nobody is interested in video of me talking to a lovely lady about cigars, you just want to know who won this weeks contest!  I was pretty amazed by the response, especially considering I was pretty vague about what the prize was (and I’m sorry, there will not be a Taboada in the prize pack! I had one and that was it).  What is in the package is a pair of Tortuga LE 2011 torpedoes from Victor Vitale, along with a selection of General Cigar Co. goodies, including some new releases and special cigars that are only available at special events. I also threw in a few favorites from my humidors.  As usual, I’ve consulted with the Random Number Generator at Random.org which has produced the number 15, which corresponds to Christian Logay by my figuring.  Congrats Christian!  Please send me your contact info so I can get this in the mail to you!   Again, thanks to everyone for reading along and making the last 3 years very special for me.

 

That’s it for now!  Have a great Labor Day weekend.

 

CigarCraig

 

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CigarCraig’s 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways Day 1: CAO Cigars

Well, here it is, the day you’ve all been waiting for!  Day one of CigarCraig’s 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways!  To say that we’re starting out small and building up would be a dirty lie!  We’re starting out huge, and riding the wave for the next 12 days!  Today we have a box of 24 La Traviata Divinos from CAO, as well as a “Rock and Rolled” tour cap.

 

 

Thanks to Victoria McKee at General Cigar for providing this outstanding prize!

Here’s how you enter: leave a comment.  That’s it, plain and simple.  Tweets don’t count, but feel free to spread the word, only comments on this page count as an entry.  Each day there will be a different prize and the winner will be drawn from that day’s comments. The winner will be announced on the next day’s post. All prizes will be mailed the week after Christmas, so don’t make me chase down your address!

That’s it, leave a comment to enter and good luck. Check back tomorrow to see if you won and enter tomorrow’s contest!

Until then,

CigarCraig

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