Tag Archives: Island Lifestyle

Joya Black, an Island Lifesyle and Case Study by Ventura Cigars

I learned something last night…having a couple cafecitos with one’s cigar too late in the day will give me weird-ass dreams all night. I got the Moka pot out last night at my wife’s suggestion (odd since she’s mostly off caffeine) and whipped up some Cuban Coffee (Bustello). I didn’t get the sugar quite right, too much espresso, but it wasn’t bad, but boy was my sleep interrupted with disturbing dreams. I drink black coffee all day long through the week with no ill effects. I’ll have to save my Cuban coffee experiments for earlier in the day. I haven’t smoked too many cigars since Thursday, when I last posted, but I did smoke some interesting ones. I decided a revisit with the Joya JoyadeNicaragua_Joya Black_NocturnoBlack was in order. The first few I smoked had construction issues and did perform well enough for me to form an opinion. I selected an interesting size, the Nocturno, a 6¼” x 46 Lonsdale kinda size. I seem to gravitate towards toros, but I like the 46-48 ring cigars as long as they aren’t too short (unless I only have a short time for a cigar), so this seemed like a good size.  Finally I lit a smokable Joya Black. Since I’m not a huge fan of the Joya Red, I was expecting more from the Black. I guess my preference lies with the Antaño side of the Joya de Nicaragua portfolio, but I do enjoy the Cabinetta line a lot, and never really smoked something from Joya  I didn’t like. It was an “OK” maduro cigar, my excitement over this was fairly in line with my excitement over the Red. Of course, I’ll keep trying as I want to like this cigar, it’s the first time Joya has used a San Andrés wrapper on a cigar, so I really should like it.


IslandLifestyleMaduroSaturday afternoon I lit up another maduro, this one from Island Lifestyle Cigars, the folks who make all the Tommy Bahama cigar accessories. I spent some time with the guys at the IPCPR show, they are super cool guys and are making great cigars along with the excellent Tommy Bahama gear. I’ll say right now that it’s impossible to pry the factory where the cigars are made out of Rick or Ryan, I tried. They have their reasons, either it’s factory that makes cigars for everyone, or one that’s not known for anything of note, but it doesn’t matter because the quality of tobacco and construction is there. I was asked if this was a gimmick cigar, and it is not. I’ve smoked all three and they are all very, very good cigars. The maduro robusto burned forever, had a nice, sweet rich flavor that I liked. You can see what I thought about these last year here. Since it’s not officially Autumn, I didn’t want to let summer go, so the Island Lifestyle cigar made sense to me yesterday! Of course I cut and lit it with Tommy Bahama tools!


Last night I went for a toro sized cigar with a maduro wrapper, surprise, surprise, right? In 1995 when I started smoking cigars seriously, my go-to, believe it or not, was the Te-Amo Maduro Toro. I smoked a bunch of them, you could even get seconds that had Te-Amo Segundo bands on them. They were marketed as seconds, and were very inexpensive. Anyway, that might explain my affinity for the San Andrés wrapper. At the IPCPR show, the folks at Ventura Cigar Co. provided some samples of their Case Study line.  Here’s the blurb from their website:

From 1945 to 1966, Arts & Architecture magazine commissioned the rising stars of mid-century architecture to design and build a series of inexpensive, efficient model homes for the post-World War II generation. In total, 26 homes were built, mostly in the Greater Los Angeles area, by renowned architects including Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig and Eero Saarinen. These now iconic homes were designed with a minimalist, modern aesthetic and have been prominently featured over the years in Hollywood films, advertising campaigns and photo essays. The Case Study cigar project from Ventura Cigar Co. pays homage to this triumph of modernist design. Numbered from 1 through 26, each exclusive Case Study blend features a range of vitolas that have been hand-blended by the best Master Blenders in the business. We can’t tell you their names, but we trust you’ll recognize their signatures written all over their craft.

Ventura_CaseStudyCS03_ToroMy take on this line is that it’s along the lines of Caldwell’s Lost and Found series, where they bought up cigars from factory’s aging rooms that didn’t have a brand, were short runs, or something along those lines. Of course, I was attracted first to the dark toro, the CS/03, which turns out had a San Andrés wrapper and was 6″ x 50, a rather thin toro by today’s standard, but what toros were several years ago. This cigar could have produces a little more smoke, but it was tasty, with the sweet, savory, spice I look for in a cigar that looks like this. Expectations were met, it burned well and had the feel and taste of a well aged cigar. I can’t venture a (Ventura…I made a funny) guess as to where this was made, but smoking the other samples will be fun. I only have a the 26 variations (in multiple vitolas, this is a bigger project than Foundry’s Compounds, Elements and Musings!).


That’s enough for today, I’m off to find something to do before nap time :-).  Until the next time,




1 Comment

Filed under Review

Villiger 1888, La Gloria Cubana, Inca Secret Blend and More Tommy Bahama Accessories

Villiger_1888_RobustoTrying to get back into the swing of things after the holidays still, and with the remodeling going on in the house, my cabinet humidor has been a little hard to get into without moving furniture. Fortunately, there are other humidors around that I can get to, so I’ve been grabbing cigars out of those. One of the cigars I selected this week was a new Villiger 1888 robusto, re-issued this year in new packaging. This was originally released in 2009 and was the first handmade, premium cigar that  had the Villiger name. This one has an Ecuadoran wrapper, Mexican binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers made in the DR. I found it to be a well made, flavorful cigar, which burned well. It had a bit of sweetness and a floral component and was on the mild side.  I liked this cigar.


La-Gloria_Serie-R_Esteli_Maduro_cigarI have one desktop humidor that just contains La Gloria Cubana and Foundry cigars, which was accessible. I’ve been smoking La Gloria Cubana cigars for twenty years, but the Serie R Esteli blends that have come out in the last couple years are my favorites, so finding the new La Gloria Cubana SErie R Esteli Maduro No. 54 right on top didn’t bother me at all.  This cigar has a dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and fillers. As General Cigar has done with several lines, they have a brick and mortar version, the Esteli, and the catalog version, the black. With the original Serie R Esteli and Black having a Nicaraguan Jalapa wrapper, I thought the Esteli version had a deeper, more satisfying flavor, but the Maduro varieties I think are on a par with one another. The Esteli Maduro is rich, sweet and a very nice cigar.  I’m a maduro fan, but I love both varieties of the Serie R Esteli. Funny, I was never a huge fan of the regular Dominican Serie R, which was one of the original large ring gauge lines in the late ’90s.


IncaSecretBlend_MonumentoTonight I selected an Inca Secret Blend in the new Monumento shape, which is a classic 6″ x 52 torpedo. The Inca Secret Blend is the US market version of the Inka Secret Blend that was an exclusive to the UK market through Mitchell Orchant’s C-Gars Ltd.  The cigar is a Peruvian Puro, manufactured at Tabacalera del Oriente in Tarapoto, Peru. Gennaro Lettieri is the owner of the factory, and I’ve met him several times. I’ve told this story before, but I recall sitting outside the Casa Fuente in Vegas with Mitchell and Genaro in 2013 while they sampled test blends, which were all horribly plugged leaving ashtrays filled with cigars that had been smoked less than an inch. It wasn’t until the next year that I had the chance to sample the finished product, which came in a toro and 6×60 size initially. This year they released the torpedo, robusto and a 6″ x 40. I love cigars with Peruvian tobacco in the blend, and the Peruvian puro is surprisingly good. It’s on the mild side, and reminiscent of a milder Havana, with a sweet little twang, not surprising since one of the creators of the cigar has lived on a steady diet of Havanas for most of his life.


Tommy Bahama 4I’ve been taking a break from using my trusty Xikar tools for the last few weeks and using some of the Tommy Bahama line of lighters and cutter. Both lighters have detailed, embossed logos on both sides and the cutter has the Tommy Marlin design on one side, and the side with the switch to open the spring-loaded blades just has Tommy Bahama name and a little gold marlin.  These have a very classy gloss black finish. The cutter and pocket lighter have leatherish cases to keep them in good shape. the cutter has two very sharp blades which close effortlessly and provide a clean cut. It’s got some weight to it, and seems solidly built. The pocket lighter is also hefty, larger and heavier than the Xikar Xidris Ive been using, with a similar side trigger, but has two jets. Tommy Bahama 5This is the first dual jet lighter I’ve had, and I like it. Is it twice as good as one?  I don’t know, but it does a nice job and lights every time. It has an adjustment wheel on the bottom with a  flip-up turny thing. I filled it a week ago and it’s still ¾ full, which I can tell because there’s a handy little window which is very easy to see the fuel level. The table lighter is a beast, it’s  large, has four jets and twin side triggers. It really throws off some BTUs, I think I mentioned that holding it about six inches from the foot of the cigar looks like the foot of the cigar is re-entering the earth’s atmosphere like an Apollo capsule. The one thing it lacks is the fuel window, but I suppose the idea is that it doesn’t wander too far away from the can of butane, it being far too large to carry around. The folks at Island Lifestyle tell me these are becoming available in stores other than the Tommy Bahama stores, they are working on getting them into brick and mortar retailers. It’s nice to have good tools, and I think these are pretty good out of the box, I’ll keep using them to see how they hold up over time.


That’s more than enough for now, until the next time,






Filed under Accessories, Review

CigarCraig’s Holiday Contest Number Three: Island Lifestyle and Tommy Bahama and Xikar Contest Winner

So I came home tonight to find the Verizon Fios completely out, TV and Internet, which totally craps in my cornflakes as I had plans to write this post and watch the Flyers game.  After an hour on the phone, and the mind-blowing idiocy of just trying to get a human on the phone, they scheduled a technician for Friday…ironically, there was a Verizon truck right across the street at the pole doing something just before the outage. Coincidence, I’m told. Anyway, T-mobile to the rescue and I can announce the winner of the great Xikar Xidris lighter, and tell you about today’s giveaway!


Tommy Bahama 1A few months ago I posted about the Island Lifestyle cigars, as well as the Tommy Bahama ashtray and travel humidor. I would honestly use the hell out of the humidor and ashtray if I didn’t already have my fair share of accessories, so I figured they would make a great giveaway!  I’m going to include one each of the Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Cigars because I can still give away my own cigars if I want to!  These guys won one of the Tommy Bahama 2best in show awards at the 2016 IPCPR show, so they have some credibility. So there’s the  Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Cigars in three wrappers, Connecticut, Sun Grown and Maduro in this prize package. Island Lifestyle is  the exclusive manufacture for the Tommy Bahama cigar accessory line, and if you ever wander into a Tommy Bahama store, you’ll find a nice display of cool cigar cases, humidors, ashtrays and whatnot. They have a really neat folding ashtray with a cutter and lighter,but that’s not included in this give
away. The Tommy Bahama travel humidor is a larger size and will hold five 60 ring cigars,  but here’s a helpful hint: it will hold ten 5″ x Tommy Bahama 350 robustos!  The ashtray is a large, melamine ashtray with clip on rests, it looks like a fine ceramic ashtray, but if you drop the thing it will fare much better I think.  So that’s the gift this time around! Same rules apply, leave a comment to enter and I’ll pick a winner on Sunday (or Monday, Sunday being Christmas day and all). Thanks to the folks at Island Lifestyle Importers for providing these cool items! I kinda wish I were in the islands right now…




Xikar Xidris YellowThe winner of the Xikar Xidris lighter is…While I;m thinking of it, it’s been rather relaxing doing casual contests over three or four days, unlike the insanity of the daily contests…anyway, you wanted to know who won the great yellow and black lighter, and it is Lonnie W. Brooks! Congrats! Please e-mail me your address so I can send this to you.


That’s it for now, until the next time when I should have TV and internet back….





Filed under Contest