Tag Archives: general

Macanudo, Partagas and CAO Cigars – Maduro Week

A few weeks ago I received some samples from General Cigar Co, including the new Macanudo and Macanudo Maduro Gigantes, measuring 6″x60. I’ve become a fan of the Macanudo maduros, sure they are a mild cigar, but they have a load of flavors that I like. When I was visiting the factory in Santiago last fall, by the 3rd day I had smoked so many cigars, and I lit up a Macanudo maduro and first, I could taste it, and second, it tasted good. I probably smoked nothing but the Mac Maduros for the rest of the day. So, I was excited to try the 6″x 60 Gigante. Many say that this format waters down the blends, but I haven’t really found that to be the case.  I admit to really enjoying the 60 ring cigars, I feel like it’s a guilty pleasure, but I haven’t really had a bad 60 ring cigar.  I’ve mentioned before that 50 ring feels puny now, a robusto feels like a quick smoke.  The Macanudo was a very tasty cigar that was good to the last drop and had the exceptional construction one would expect.


I sometimes get in a bit of a rut, and smoke a few related cigars in a row, and this was one of those weeks.  Monday’s cigar was a Partagas Black Label Magnifico.  This a jet black 6″x54 toro that I revisited in the DR, and remembered how much I enjoyed them.  The dark, Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is oily and beautiful.  It is a bit stronger than the Macanudo, of course, but packed with flavor.  Of course it was perfectly made, as I witnessed first hand at the factory, they can’t seem to make a bad cigar there.  Partagas Black Label=yummy smoke!


Last night I was in the mood for something a little smaller, so I once again dug into the General Cigar Co. samples and picked out a CAO La Traviata Maduro Luminoso.  This is a newly released size in the Maduro line, measuring 4.5″ x 50.  I’ve smoked the La Traviata Maduro before and was quite unimpressed.  It was one of those cigars that everyone raved about, but I just didn’t get.  It seems like I had a dud (I think it was a trade show sample from a couple years ago), because this Rothschild was delicious.   It was just about the perfect size for my one-plus mile walk and held the ash for almost half of the cigar.  Another Connecticut Broadleaf, I know….I love that wrapper leaf, and combined with a Cameroon binder it was very surprising to me that I didn’t like the first ones I smoked.  This one’s back on my radar and one I’ll pick up the next time I see them.  I do have a complaint about the CAO website though.  It’s really slick, but one thing it lacks is a listing of the sizes of the cigars in each line.  If you want to know where the events are, it’s great, but if you’re looking for the sizes and names of the various cigars, one should be able to find it without having to go to retailers sites.  It’s a surprising omission, Rick? Ed?  Please feel free to comment on this and set me straight!



Once again, from the pages of history, this newspaper clipping appears in the October 18, 1838 Philadelphia Inquirer. It seems to be a mouthpiece for a cigar with a cotton filter.  Pretty cool to go back 175 years and see the new inventions of the times!  Obviously this modern development caught on in other areas of tobacco consumption, but when was the last time you saw a cigar holder or mouthpiece, let alone a filter?


That’s all I got!  Until the next time,




Filed under News, Review

Punch vs. Hoyo de Monterrey – A Debate Finally Settled

You will find that my cigar smoking habits may be a little different than most of my contemporaries. I certainly do smoke a lot of different, new and unusual smokes, but I don’t generally go out of my way to get the newest and rarest. Much of this has to do with my frugal nature, I’m a cheap bastard. The thing is, I have always had a healthy regard for the big brands, as often seeing a “yellow box” Partagas is as much of a treat as something like a Tatuaje (which I have not smoked many of, save for the La Casita Criolla) or something of that ilk. I honestly enjoy the heck out of a plain old Macanudo Maduro, and lets face it, while Macanudo and Partagas are not outrageously priced, they aren’t cheap, and I know first hand that they have the same care and passion put into them as any other cigar. The same can be said for Romeo y Julieta and Montecristo, both are made by an enormous company, in massive quantities, but the quality of materials and construction cannot be disputed. Anyway, that’s a little bit off of today’s subject, but gives some background and basis for the subject of this article.


A few posts back, MoBarbq left a comment referring to the Punch London Club Maduro in comparison to the Hoyo de Monterrey Sabroso. These two cigars are made in the same factory in Honduras (HATSA), and are the same size. It brought to mind a seemingly endless discussion back in the 90s (and to this day) about the Punch and Hoyo lines. There was a conspiracy theory that the Rothschilds were the same cigars, just packaged in the different boxes (at the time the Rothschilds were un-banded). Both lines were available in natural, maduro and double maduro (oscuro or maduro maduro), were priced the same and were close enough in flavor to fuel this suspicion. Also, if you look at the two lines, there are quite a few parallels in sizes, the Sabroso and London Club being another. Just recently as I was shopping for some Punch and Hoyo examples, my local tobacconist told me that he witnessed with his own eyes Punch and Hoyo cigars being taking from the same rolling tables in the factory. The info from the CigarWorld.com website would make you think that there is some truth to this:


Hoyo de Monterrey

Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sumatra  (Natural) and Connecticut Broadleaf (Maduro)

Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Dominican (Piloto Cubano)

Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf

Country: Honduras

Factory: Honduras American Tabaco S. A., Cofradia, Honduras



Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sumatra  (Natural) and Connecticut Broadleaf (Maduro)

Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Dominican (Piloto Cubano)

Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf

Country: Honduras

Factory: Honduras American Tabaco S. A., Cofradia, Honduras


I’m on a constant quest for cigar knowledge, so, I will finally find an answer to the age old debate.

  • This controversy goes back at least to a 1984 article in Connoisseur Magazine where Frank Llaneza is quoted as saying, when asked about the difference: “The filler is pretty much the same, but we try to use binder leaf from the upper primings for Punch; they’re stronger-tasting. Hoyo uses the lower to middle leaf as binder. It is mellower and more aromatic.”
  • In a 1995 interview with Dan Blumenthal, Marvin Shanken asked the question “C.A.: How would you describe the difference in blend or style or taste between Hoyo and Punch?  Blumenthal: I think that Punch is a little heavier cigar than the Hoyo. There’s a little more flavor, to me, than in the Hoyo de Monterrey. There is a difference. The blends are made by Frank Llaneza”.
  • So, I inquired of Victoria McKee Jaworski, the Public Relations Director at General Cigar, about these two references and she got me some updated information. She said “they have different ratios of tobacco, so the blends are different. Punch is slightly fuller-bodied and uses more ligero. Its wrapper is closer to a Colorado color. And for Hoyo, the wrapper is a lighter shade of Ecuadoran Sumatra”. In the case of the maduro, Agustin Garcia, production manager at HATSA, the man responsible for tobacco processing and cigar production, tells us: “The wrapper for Punch Maduro and HDM Maduro is Connecticut Broadleaf for both of them. For Punch we use a darker color and little heavier wrapper than HdM”.

So there we have it. While the materials used in both lines of cigars are similar, and in some cases the same, there are differences. The Punch is blended to be a little more powerful and the Hoyo is supposed to be a little more refined. That puts that controversy to bed once and for all, and I can go back to my local shop and argue with them that they do not, in fact, take cigars from the same rolling table and box them in Punch or Hoyo boxes (of course, they go from the rolling tables into the aging rooms long before they are banded, wrapped and boxed!).


Since I’ve been smoking my way through a box of Hoyo Sabroso Maduro for the last year, and managed to get my hands on a box of Punch London Club Maduros, I figured I’d see for myself what the difference is.  I’m half way through the box Hoyo Sabrosos and I’ve really been enjoying them. They have the reasonably heavy,  dark maduro flavors I look for in the colder months.  Every one has been well made and most have been smoked down to a tiny nub.  I bought this box last year and it has been in my humidor ever since.  I just received a box of the Punch London Club Maduros this week, so they haven’t had the benefit of a year’s rest, but I smoked a couple of them anyway!  The cigars appear to have a darker, oilier wrapper than the Hoyos, they are gorgeous. To me, the Punch is a little stronger in flavor, consistent with all of the evidence provided above, so I have no reason to doubt that each line has it’s own distinctive blend, even if that difference is a matter of primings, leaf selections or proportions.  As far as I’m concerned, both are outstanding little smokes, although, admittedly, comparing year old cigars to new ones isn’t a very scientific way to do it!  I also managed to smoke an old favorite, the Punch Rothschild Maduro Maduro this week, and boy, was it good!  Savory and lush flavors and a long finish…another yummy smoke!


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





Filed under Editorial, News, Review

CigarCraig’s 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways Day 11: La Gloria Cubana

It’s been a hell of a ride.  Just when I thought I was giving stuff away, I go and win a contest on Facebook that The Griffin’s Cigars was holding.  I can’t actually remember entering!  Today UPS delivered an absolutely gorgeous 75 count The Griffin’s humidor, and 2 boxes of The Griffin’s No. 500 Coronas.   Thank you to Dylan Austin and the folks at Davidoff. I’m stunned and amazed.  Anyway, you came to see who won the joint AJ Fernandez/Emilio Cigars prize, and Random.org tells me that Brian Impson is the winner!   Send me your address please!  Next up:


Today on CigarCraig’s 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways we have something very special!  Here’s a little video to explain how this all came about:


So, as Michael said, not to be outdone, we have not only a box of La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale Clubs, which would be a wonderful prize on its own, but a selection of about 30 La Gloria Cubana Artesanos de Tabaqueros, a bunch of which are Sumatra/Broadleaf versions only available on the Retro Tour stops.  That’s right, you can’t buy these cigars!  I can tell you from past experience, all of these cigars are outstanding!  There are also a couple of nice tubes as well as a La Gloria cutter thrown on top of everything.











What a haul, huh?  I can’t begin to thank Victoria McKee Jaworski and Michael Giannini at General Cigar Company enough for providing this overabundance of cigars!  Also a special thanks to Bryan Glynn of Cigar Obsession for helping me out with the video.


You know what to do! Leave a comment to enter and good luck!


Until tomorrow,





Filed under Contest

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,




Filed under Contest

12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways Countdown! A Monte Pascoal, a My Uzi and a Cain

It’s been a busy week, I’ve been gearing up for the 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways and the weather was mild and rainy for the fist part of the week, and cold at the end.  This didn’t stop me from getting in a few interesting cigars though!


Mid way through the week I took a walk with a Monte Pascoal Minuto.  This Brazilian puro is a tasty little firecracker of a smoke.  The cigar is 4 3/8″ x 42, with Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper and binder and Mata Fina and Mata Norte fillers.  The word on the street is that the smaller sizes are stronger than the larger sizes, based on the higher wrapper to filler ratio, but I find this difficult to comprehend given that the blend is so heavily weighted toward the same tobacco variety. Perhaps I’ll ask Wes at Tabacos Mata Fina USA about this the next time I see him.


Last night it was cold.  I needed to get some cash, and the nearest ATM is probably a mile and a half away, so I grabbed the 7″x 60 My Uzi Weighs A Ton pre-release sample Jonathan Drew sent me quite a few months ago. This cigar is a joint venture between Joya de Nicaragua and Drew Estate/Subculture Studio, and was released at this years IPCPR show. Certainly this monstrous cigar would last me the entire walk, and then some.  There’s nothing more frustrating that finishing the cigar before the walk.  Anyway, this cigar had a nice flavor, and as has been said many times by others, it’s not a killer strong cigar as the name may imply.  It’s just a really nice, balanced, medium bodied cigar that was an excellent companion for the 3 mile walk!


Yesterday I felt inspired to smoke a Cain Daytona Corona after a big Olive Garden meal with my wife.  I really needed a couple laps around the block to burn off the pasta!  I love the Cain line, but most of them are just too strong for me.  Not the Daytona!  It’s another medium bodied cigar that’s packed with delicious flavors.  What led me to this cigar was a meeting earlier in the day with my areas Oliva rep, Mike Staiber, who provided a terrific prize for the upcoming contest.  Always nice to see Mike, and I wish we’d have had the time to sit and smoke one together.


Speaking of the contest, it starts TOMORROW!  Keep any eye here bright and early each morning for the next two weeks for a fantastic parade of prizes!  Leave a comment to win and check back every day for the winner and the next prize!  This is a contest that is unprecedented in the history of CigarCraig.com!  Many thanks to the following companies who have made this contest possible:

La Gloria Cubana

Villiger Stokkebye

Brothers of the Leaf, LLC

Miami Cigar and Co.



Cigar Journal

Pipes and Cigars

C-Gars Ltd. 

Tabacos Mata Fina USA

Oja Cigars

and more to come!


My deepest gratitude for everyone for helping to make this a terrific 12 days of contests!

That’s it for now, more tomorrow!




Filed under Contest, Review, Take a Cigar For a Walk