Tag Archives: Hemingway

Cigar Jukebox, Fuente Hemingway, Tortuga and Debonaire

CigarJukeboxDo you want to hear me make a fool of myself on an international podcast?  Sure you do!  Head over to Cigar Jukebox and give the episode where I was guest DJ a listen.  I talked about recording the episode a couple of weeks ago, but failed to post the link when it dropped (as they say in the business). I guess it isn’t all that bad, the cigars were great, I have a soft spot for Candela and the Swamp Thang and Cromagnon Formorian are excellent smokes. It really was hard picking songs though, but it was fun, and it was nice talking to Dave. Give a listen and feel free to critique in the comments. What songs would you pair with those two cigars?


Fuente_HemingwayClassic_MaduroI had a bit of a throwback Thursday thing going on Thursday, I reached for a classic, a Fuente Hemingway Classic, to be exact. There are a few classic cigars I like to always have on hand, and I’m fortunate to have a selection of Fuente Hemingways around.  They aren’t all that expensive, all things considered, and they can always be counted upon to be excellent cigars. The regular Hemingway line has a Cameroon wrapper and are all perfectos, ranging from the little Short Story to the ginormous (in 1990s terms, not so much today) 9” x 52 Masterpiece.  The classic is just that, a classic, a 7”x48 perfecto that is smooth, creamy and nutty. I’m always amazed that these taste pretty much the same as I remember 20 years ago, which is why I’ll always have a box in the humidor of one size or another. Other cigars I consider classic that I make sure I have are the Padron 1964 and Ashton Virgin Sun Grown. Every now and then you see various Hemingway sizes available in Maduro (Broadleaf) and Sungrown (Ecuador).


TortugaCedroBeliI wrapped Friday up with a Tortuga Cedros Belicoso from Victor Vitale, who I haven’t heard from in a while. We’re thinking about taking a little trip up to New Hampshire, maybe we’ll run into him. I need to start thinking about hunting some more of these down, as I really enjoy them. They are a Nicaraguan puro rolled in Honduras and suit me just fine. The Belicoso is 6″x 54 and the Cedro series is round as opposed to the Reserva series that’s box pressed. I don’t really have a favorite in the line, I like them all and need to resupply soon.


Debonaire_Maduro_BelicosoYesterday, before a nasty cold came on seemingly out of nowhere, I took a walk and lamented the fact that it was the last day of Daylight Savings Time. I really wish they’d knock this crap off and leave it at DST.  With me on my walk was Macha, of course, and a Debonaire Maduro Belicoso. I guess I was on a figurado kick the later part of the week. Actually, five of the last six cigars I’ve smoked fall into that category. I’m glad I got that cigar in before succumbing to the funk of a head-cold that quickly moved south. I can’t even conceive of smoking a cigar with the way my mouth tastes…I’m not a happy camper today.  Anyway, this belicoso is also 6″ x 54 and had a sweet Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper around Dominican and Nicaraguan binder and filler, made in the DR. What a treat this was, and I’m quite sure it didn’t give me this cold. This is a pricey line, but awfully tasty and smoked right.  Phil Zanghi is a dynamic guy, if you ever get a chance to meet him or listen to an interview don’t miss it.


I gotta get a cup of tea and crash on the couch, if I’m out of commission too long I’ll have to have a contest Wednesday or some other BS cheating post…I hate do have to do that! Enjoy your early darkness for the next few months!


Until the next time,
















Filed under Review

Davidoff of Geneva, Partagas and Arturo Fuente Cigars

Thursday I had the privilege of attending a media event at the Davidoff of Geneva Brookfield Place shop in New York City for a meet and greet with Davidoff’s Global CEO,  Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard. We were instantly greeted by the attentive staff as well as Laura Peet, whose company handles the media relations for Davidoff. The shop is gorgeous, of course, only being about a year old, and Davidoff of Geneva NYClocated in a mall in the financial district with views of One World Trade Center from the comfortable lounge. I spoke with Hans-Kristian for a bit, but was unable to pry any secrets out of him. I asked about future Davidoff Lounge locations in the US and he was tight-lipped. When he spoke to the assembled crowd he said that they had just opened their 78th lounge, with seven of those in the US. The cigar of the evening was the incredible Chef’s Edition, which is a 6″ x 54 toro with a Habano 2000 wrapper, Ecuador Connecticut binder and a filler blend of San Vicente Mejorado Seco, San Vicente Mejorado Viso, Piloto Viso, and San Vicente Viso.  This cigar is a  collaboration between Davidoff of Geneva’s master blenders and six of the world’s most renowned chefs,  Peter Knogl, Cheval Blanc of Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois (Basel, Switzerland),  Renato Wüst of Bad Ragaz Grand Resort (Switzerland),  Ali Güngörmüs, of Le Canard HH Pageou (Münich, Germany),  Léa Linster of Restaurant Léa Linster (Frisange,Luxembourg),  Michel Trama of Relais & Chateau (Puymirol, France) and  Maria Marte of Club Allard (Madrid, Spain),with  nine Michelin stars among them. Amazingly, only four of the six chefs are cigar smokers. Here’s what Davidoff has to say about the cigar:

The Davidoff Chefs Edition is Davidoff’s version of a culinary masterpiece. Just like the perfect meal, it begins gently with complex layers of subtle flavors and builds up to a sublime and unforgettable crescendo. The wrapper is oily and smooth and everything about it, from its flawless composition to its elegant color, whets the appetite for the cigar’s initial aromas, both nutty and sweet. The flavors become richer and more uplifting in the second third, with hints of citrus, bloomy fruit, sweet corn and a refined aftertaste that is both oily and creamy. In the last third, the cigar’s beauty and vitality erupt into an intense, peppery yet meltingly sweet and gratifying Grand Finale, just as a gastronomic experience is crowned by a superb dessert.

Davidoff_Chefs EditionI smoked the cigar at the event and it was spectacular, and they had a spread of chocolates and hors d’oeuvres there that did compliment the cigar nicely. Some of the chocolate treats were amazing on their own. I missed the corn component in the cigar, granted a cigar event isn’t exactly best place to pick up subtleties, but I was talking with Greg Mattola of Cigar Aficionado who explained to me that to him it was more of a corn flavor one would get in a bourbon, something I have no frame of reference for. They were also sampling some Camus Cognacs, which I passed on, but they also had some very good coffee on hand. I am looking forward to smoking the Chef’s Edition again when I can really sit down and concentrate on it. Hans-Kristian did say that the next limited edition Chef’s Edition would feature input from American and Asian chefs. Davidoff has some very interesting thematic cigar lines. Rudy and his staff at the lounge were very attentive and this is a must visit if you find yourself in lower Manhattan. Prices were high, but it is New York, and it is Davidoff. It was a quick trip to the city for my wife and I, but we met a bunch of great folks including Ted Hoyt from Smoke Magazine and John Nubian of YRB Magazine,  and had a very nice time. My wife even enjoyed a Davidoff 2000 while there.



I could probably stop here and nobody would complain, but I did have a couple of cigars yesterday worth noting.  Yesterday I watched the second period of the Flyers game on the back porch with the new Partagas Heritage Rothschild, a 4½ x 50 cigar with the rosado colored OSA wrapper from Honduras, a Connecticut Broadleaf binder and a filler blend of Honduran Jamastran, Dominican Piloto Cubano and Mexican San Andres. This is is a cigar that is going to age well, not that it isn’t ready to go now. It has a spicy, tannin flavor that really wakes up the palate. The burn and draw are excellent, and the rounded head, a signature of cigars made by General Cigar, allows for pinpoint control of the cut, allowing a punch-like cut with a guillotine or scissors. I liked it, it was different from every other Partagas cigar I’ve had. The band could be better, a simple, red band with Partagas Heritage on it, from a distance it might look like the Partagas Serie D No.4 Habano, which is probably the point. Recommended, along with the Partagas Ramon y Ramon.


Fuente_HemingwayClassic_MaduroLast night I grabbed a lonely Arturo Fuente Hemingway Classic Maduro from the humidor. I was going to smoke a regular old Hemingway Classic Cameroon, but this Maduro had a couple of cracks that were concerning, so it had to go. I got a few of these on a visit to Holt’s in Philly last fall some time, and it traveled home with me on the train in a baggie and might have gotten dinged up a little. To the Fuente’s credit, these cracks, the most concerning of which ran from the band to the cap, caused absolutely no problems. I feared and explosion, and the only explosion I got was that great Hemingway flavor with the sweet broadleaf wrapper on top of it. It’s amazing that a cigar can taste the same year after year, which is why I feel compelled to pick up a few Hemingway maduros when I see them at Holt’s, which seems to be every time, and for the $6 or 7 that they cost it’s a no-brainer.  What put the Fuente bug in me yesterday was reading about the theft of a 40′ container of Fuente cigars, which really takes some planning, I would think, how does a whole container get stolen? Fuente’s are going to be in short supply for a while, I think, but the company has faced adversity before, and will overcome.


That’s enough out of me for today. Looking forward to another nice spring day, so we’ll see what gets smoked today!  Don’t forget you can follow @cigarcraig on Instagram and Twitter to see what I’m smoking, not that anyone should really care…Until the next time,





Filed under Events, Review, Stores

A Short Story, a Big Payback and a Couple Rocky Patel Fifty-Five Cigars

Fuente_ShortStory_MaduroFinally over the sinus thing for the most part, I trust my taste buds again, without question, and I know this because I smoked a Fuente Short Story maduro Thursday that was just a wonderful little cigar. I’ve had this in my humidor for a while, I figured since I just got some maduro Best Sellers, and I got off to a late start, this 4″ x 49 perfecto would be perfect. The Short Story has been around for as long as I can remember, which, in cigar terms, is a little over 20 years. It’s a cigar my wife would smoke when she enjoyed cigars. Back then it was just in the Cameroon wrapper, and is still a delicious cigar. The maduro has a broadleaf wrapper and has a little “dirtier” flavor to me, which I love. It’s rich, earthy and dark chocolaty. I have various Hemingways in my humidor, it seems I buy the maduros when I stop in Holt’s, they always seem to have them. It’s amazing how the Fuentes can make a cigar that tastes the same over the last  years! One odd note on the Short Story: while the rest of the Hemingway line has “Hemingway” on the boxes, the Short Story does not, yet it’s listed under that line on Fuente’s website.


BigPaybackFriday I was in the mood for a substantial cigar, so I went with a Room 101 Big Payback Hueso, the 6″ x 60 gordo in the line. I picked some of these up last summer when I was at Cigars International’s downtown Bethlehem store when Matt Booth was hanging out there. Ironically, I was listening to Matt on Kiss My Ash Radio while enjoying this cigar. I was a little bit behind, so the episode was two weeks old. Any time Matt appears on any show it’s a treat, full of surprises, he’s a hoot. Unfortunately, Matt is leaving the cigar industry and Davidoff is reportedly selling of the cigar under the Room 101 brand. the Big Payback line is/was a budget friendly line, a Nicaraguan Puro rolled in Honduras. I really like these cigars, in both the Nicaraguan wrapper and the Ecuador Connecticut wrapper, it’s a solid cigar that I find very appealing. I just got a box (10) of the Uncle Lee, I suppose I need to put some more of the Big Paybacks on the shopping list before they are gone for good. It’s a great cigar for a little over $6.


Yesterday my wife and daughter wanted to do some shopping at the King of Prussia Mall, one of the largest malls in the country and only fifteen minutes down the road.  One of my favorite things about shopping with my wife is that I can let her shop while I go to International Tobacco and sit and have a cigar. It usually ends up being a very costly cigar, but that’s OK.  Yesterday the selection was RP 55 Coronakinda slim, and the humidor tends to the classic side, without a lot of boutiques, they do have Davidoff, Padron, and many of the usual suspects. They have a coffee bar with soft drinks and are generally quite hospitable and friendly. I usually look for something I haven’t had, of course, so I picked up a couple of the Rocky Patel Fifty-Five, a “Corona” (4″ x 55) and a Toro for later. Since the Fifty-Five is inexplicably not listed on the website, I linked to Famous Smoke Shop’s listing for this, and would like to direct you to the new ad in the right sidebar. If you make a habit of shopping at Famous, click through the ad and maybe I’ll make a little dough on the side to support my “research”. They also offer a discount code, so we both win. Anyway, I lit up the pudgy little perfecto and was intrigued with the flavor. They say this cigar has Nicaraguan fillers and wrapper, and a Costa Rican binder, which you don’t see every day. RP 55 Corona-damageI got a mintyness throughout the smoke that was different and enjoyable. Unfortunately, there was a bit of chip at the cap of the cigar that I didn’t notice which resulted in the wrapper coming off completely with about an inch and a half left. I probably could have gotten a replacement if I had let the shopkeeper cut it for me, but I’m a DIY kinda guy and carry my own tools, so I didn’t press the issue. I haven’t had this kind of thing happen in a very long time, and I don’t expect it from a $9+ cigar. (As I write this, I think of the last time I wrote this and it was about another RP cigar….bad luck, I guess). Verdict: loved the flavor, hated the fact that the wrapper came off and I had to mess with it at all.


RockyPatel_Fifty-five_ToroSo intrigued by the flavor of the little 4″ x 55 “Corona” was I  that I look my evening walk with the Toro version of the Rocky Patel Fifty-Five. I suppose I should get one of these for my own 55th birthday in a year and a half, these were made to celebrate Rocky’s 55th birthday. As 55 is an unusual ring gauge for a cigar, I suspect a lot went into making these with special molds and all. The Rocky Patel Fifty-Five Toro is 6 ½” x 55, and has the same make-up as the little guy, both cigars have a bit of a taper at each end, which in my mind puts them into the perfecto category. I gave the Toro a much closer inspection, I certainly didn’t want to repeat the experience I had earlier in the day. I was pleased to find no flaws in this cigar, although the draw was a little on the restricted side until it got going. I found the same mintyness, with an occasional minty-cinnamonyness here and there. It was very intriguing to me, it’s so rare that I encounter an unusual flavor in a cigar any more.  While I wasn’t thrilled dropping north of $11 on a cigar, this one really didn’t bother me, I found it so interesting and special. I also don’t mind spending a few bucks in a local shop that provides the service of “husband day-care” while the better half shops, if people don’t spend money there it won’t be around!


In some news, I received an e-mail from Gaby Kafie of Kafie 1901 Cigars announcing that they are opening, or have opened, their own factory,  “Tabacalera G. Kafie y Cia”,  in Danli, Honduras. They were previously working with the Reyes family’s factory, having their cigars made along side such classics as Puros Indios and Cuba Aliados. Last year, Dr. Kafie introduced the Kafie 1901 Coffee with proceeds going to Cigar Rights of America.  Best of luck to Dr. Kafie and his family, I know he has a strong passion and hope he has few obstacles to success. Also of note is General Cigar Company‘s announcement that they will be adding Temple Hall Estates to their Foundry division’s FTC Heritage Series. the original Temple Hall Factory opened in Jamaica in the ’40s, and the Connecticut shade wrapped cigar will pay homage to that factory. This line joins the re-imagined Bolivar and Ramon Allones brands in the Foundry line-up. Will Cooper has the full story here.


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










Filed under News, Review

A.Fuente, an Emilio and a Sunday Morning Camacho Cigar with Family

Thursday evening I found myself on the phone with Verizon support.  I had been fighting with them about the upstairs TVs that we were initially promised would work without a box, only to find that we needed a special box.  Not that $4 a month is a lot for the box, but it  was the principle of it, and they figured out a way to give me a box for free so we could have more than one TV in the house again.  I had to call to get the box activated, and had been looking forward to an evening cigar. After several minutes listening to the planet’s worst hold music, I decided to grab a cigar and wait on the porch for them to pick up.  I grabbed an Arturo Fuente Hemingway Best Seller, put the phone on speaker and fired it up.  I’ve long been a fan of the Hemingway line, at least from the Signature down, as anything larger just doesn’t do it for me for some reason.  I would have preferred a Short Story, since I didn’t know how long I’d have, but I didn’t have any on hand.  The Best Seller is a great cigar.  I love the “Camerooniness” of the line, that wrapper really really is delicious on these.  It’s not too cheap of a cigar, but I had picked a few of these up last year with a Groupon for half off, so they weren’t too bad.  I got about half way through before the representative picked up and I went inside to get squared away, which did eventually happen.  I went back out and re-lit the cigar, but I didn’t get to smoke as much of it as I’d have liked.  Still, a terrific way to temper the frustration of having to deal with phone support.   I really think they want you to hang up, but I wasn’t giving them the satisfaction!


Friday evening’s walk called for a good smoke, so I grabbed an Emilio AF2 BMF and my elder son and I hit the bricks (concrete mostly, but actual bricks in a few places…it’s just an expression!).  I had picked a few of these up at my local shop a few months back.  Needless to say, this is a solid cigar, and sizable at 6″ x 58, truly a big MF!  I find this to be milder than the AF1, but loaded with flavor, a little sweet, and delicious.  I blame myself for this, but it’s a much better warm weather cigar than cold, but that’s my problem.  I wanted to smoke it, and the colder weather wasn’t going to deter me.  Still a solid smoke, highly recommended by me for whatever that’s worth!


I had picked up an odd cigar at my local shop, JM Cigars in Exton.  It was labeled with the shop owners name, and I was told that it was made by Rocky Patel (but I bought one anyway!).  This was a 6½” x 48 cigar, with what looked like a dark Habano wrapper.  Unfortunately, it burned a little crappy and was pretty ho-hum in flavor to me.  I don’t smoke a lot of RP cigars anyway, as they don’t really suit my palate for whatever reason.  Maybe I don’t smoke the right ones, maybe the breadth of his lines confuses me and is a pit of a turn off, I don’t know.  I still like to try peoples house or personal blends, and this experience won’t stop me from picking up the occasional oddball cigar when I see one.  I was told at the shop that this batch wasn’t as good as the first batch, but just because I didn’t care for it doesn’t mean that it isn’t someones favorite cigar, and for around $4 it was worth trying.


Sunday morning my wife, youngest son and I went out to breakfast with my brother-in-law, who was in town visiting.  My son, Christian, recently turned 18 and has been enjoying the occasional cigar, sometimes with me, sometimes with his friends.  As can be expected from someone in his demographic, he’s been digging the Acid line, trying a few here and there.  So Christian, my Bro-in-law Jeff and I stopped at JM Cigars for a post breakfast digestif.  Jeff had asked me to recommend an inexpensive daily smoke a while back and I told him to try the National Brand robustos from Camacho, which he loves (and he’s from New Jersey, so he gets a real good deal purchasing in PA because of the taxes).  I wanted something all three of us would appreciate so I grabbed a handful of Camacho Habana Monarcas.  I’ve loved this line for years, and haven’t had one in forever. Even though I typically don’t care for Criollo wrapped cigars, this one works really well, I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.  The cigar is light enough for the novice and has enough flavor and body for someone who has a cigar or two a day or a long-time cigar nut like myself.  It was nice to sit in the lounge and chat for a while. Myson and his uncle share the rock climbing gene, so they have a lot in common, and Jeff and I are roughly the same age and have known one another for 26 or so years, so the three of us, despite the disparity of ages, were able to have a nice, relaxing hour or so with a fine cigar and one-another’s company.  It also went a long way toward aiding in the digestion of an over-indulgent breakfast!



The annual Habanos Festival just ended, and I wasn’t there.  I did notice an interesting press release about the lots in the auction that is held every year. Looks like a nice box, but the price is a little steep for me!

Cohiba Cigar Humidor Sold for 475,500 USD, Equipped With Microprocessor-Controlled Adorini Humidifiers.

Humidor bought by Italian entrepreneur at 14th Habanos Festival in Cuba. The humidor comes with microprocessor controlled adorini humidifiers, 520 Cohiba cigars, and remote-controlled hydraulic system to open the humidor.

Why the heck you’d need to open your humidor from across the room is beyond me, but it sure sounds cool!  I guess you have to let those 520 Cohibas living inside get a breath of fresh air once in a while.


Anyway, that’s it for today, until the next time,




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

Happy Thanksgiving, a Fuente Hemingway and a Special Offer!

First off, let me wish my US readers a very Happy Thanksgiving.  I’m quite thankful for my family, as well as all of the cool opportunities that have been presented to me this year.  Thanks to all of my readers. Who would have thought that scribbling down my random cigar thoughts would entertain people!  (OK, my wife thought so, I’m thankful to her for giving me the site!)


Anyway, Wednesday evening is my traditional “Take A Cigar For A Walk” night, and since it’s practically a Friday, I chose a nice cigar to start the long weekend.  I came across a lonely Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signature that came to me by way of my good friend and UK Fuente distributor, Mitchell Orchant.  This is a long time favorite that I haven’t had in years.  I smoked a bunch of these in the ’90s, and have a lot of great memories associated with this cigar.  I love the flavor from the Cameroon wrapper, and the 6″ x 46 perfecto shape is just about perfect.  It was a great cigar, although it burned faster than I would like as it was over too soon.


Special Offer!

I received an e-mail today from Travis at PipesandCigars.com with the following offer for you, my loyal readers.  I took a look at the site and was pleasantly surprised.  The selection and pricing is top-notch and they even have singles. I like the feature they have that lets you build your own sampler. Check them out.


PipesandCigars.com is releasing a 2012 Cigar Calendar. This calendar features two of the greatest things in the world – beautiful women and fine cigars. Each month features an eye-popping female along with an eye-popping deal on the featured brands. A calendar sure to add some spice to your office or smoking lounge, and also sure to give you the best values on your favorite smokes. To get your free copy, subscribe to our special offers mailing list by simply sending an e-mail to mailinglist@pipesandcigars.com with your mailing address. We’ll start off your subscription with this free calendar along with a free cigar. Calendars & cigars will ship the week of December 5th. Enjoy!








So check out PipesandCigars.com and e-mail them to sign up for their e-mail list and get a calendar and a cigar, how can you go wrong?  If you find yourself in the Albany, NY area look them up and tell them I said hello!


Enjoy the holiday!







Filed under Contest, Review, Stores