Tag Archives: joya de nicaragua

Joya de Nicaragua, La Sirena and Tatuaje Cigars and a Contest Winner

MiQuerida_AnchoCortaI continued this week’s cigar version of comfort food, smoking cigars I know I love and won’t disappoint. I just haven’t felt adventurous lately. I have some cigars I need to get around to smoking, I just felt like going with great cigars. I sat down and started writing this forgetting I had written about the Mi Querida from Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust on Wednesday. Since I didn’t want to abandon what I wrote, here it is:  Mi Querida is named after Gomez Addam’s often used pet name for his wife, Morticia in the ’60s sitcom The Addams Family…no, that’s not right, it’s actually an idiom for “my mistress”, side-chick or as they say in South Philly, “Goomad” (Saka couldn’t use “Goomad” because Antony Renzulli of Twin Smoke Shoppe named the Churchill in his La Zona made Renzulli line that). By now you’ve read everywhere that the Mi Querida is Saka’s broadleaf cigar, and it’s made at the NACSA factory in Esteli. This factory is better known for making inexpensive bundle cigars like Manteqilla, La Primadora, Villar y Villar, and part of them making Mi Querida, a true premium cigar, was Steve offering his manufacturing expertise to help that factory up their game, so to speak. Anyway, it’s a terrific smoke, and after smoking several sizes in the line, I think this robusto up there among my favorites, although I wouldn’t say no to any of the sizes. Sobremesa was the sophisticated, nuanced offering, Mi Querida is the straight-forward, sweet broadleaf maduro, full bodied flavor bomb. Yummy, well made and a staple in my humidor. I really need to get my hands on some Umbagogs!

 

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo El Martillo - @joyacigarsAnyway, on with the current smokes of the week. Another all time favorite of mine is the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo. I had a couple in the 5½” x 54 El Martillo size that Willie Herrera stuffed in my hand at the 2014 Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival. I distinctly remember the occasion, because he was smoking a Villiger Trill, which was relatively new at the time, commented that it was good,  and I was able to educate him on the origin of the cigar. Anyway, I dig the Antaño Dark Corojo a little more than I dig the regular Antaño 1970 line, which I dig a lot. It overwhelms the palate with strong, sweet, spicy and savory flavors and never fails to satisfy my palate. I’ve visited the factory twice and I love the place, along with most of the cigars they produce! There are very few Joya’s I don’t enjoy (the newer Red may be my least favorite), Rosalones, Sobremesa, Fratello…all great smokes from the oldest factory in Nicaragua.

 

LaSirena_DubloonFriday evening I went big. The Salamon is traditionally a 7¼” x 54 figurado, in the Diadamas family, a sizable cigar. The La Sirena Dubloon is exactly this size, is a Nicaraguan puro that was made at the My Father Factory. It has a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper over dual binders of Nicaraguan Habano and Corojo, and Nicaraguan Criollo and Corojo fillers. These were very limited and came in a box of eight, which I am half way through. This box came into my possession four years ago or so, and has been resting comfortably. This is a glorious size for a cigar, given you have the time to smoke one, and given that it’s properly made. With most cigars that are perfecto shaped, where they taper to a nipple at the foot, they are often a bit tight on the draw for the first puff or two. This particular one had a great draw out of the gate, and just kept getting better! It was meaty, savory and exactly what I was yearning for at the end of the week. Beautiful cigar, both in appearance and performance. I doubt there are many of these left in the wild, but if you can find some, grab them. I’ve smoked plenty of both the My Father and La Zona production La Sirenas and love them,  I think the blend ages very well.

 

Tatuaje_Black_CRA ToroYesterday it rained all day. It was cold, wet and nasty. After a trip to a local mall, where I stopped in to check out International Tobacco and see how their transition to new owners has come along (very well stocked, including the new 60 ring Davidoff’s which I passed on due to the $20+ prices. Not that the price was out of line, I just wasn’t feeling it). It’s great to have an oasis in the mall to get away from the hustle and bustle and and relax with a cigar occasionally. I came home and retired to the porch with a cigar that came from the “Oh F*ck I’m Lost” Tatuaje event pack that I had picked up last month. I’m a big fan of the Tatuaje brand, although I’m not a geek about chasing the rare cigars, or memorizing all the details, I wish I was, but there’s too much going on there for my grey matter to process. I asked Pete Johnson what was in the pack, and there were some Pudgy Monsters, something Tatuaje CRA Torocalled a Cheesesteak, and this Black Label CRA toro. I’m guessing this was from the batch that the CRA gives out with a membership or sells in the ten pack. I have a handful of CRA cigars that I’ve amassed over the 8 years I’ve been a member, but never got a Tatuaje. This cigar was incredible. Rarely am I this impressed with a cigar, it was perfection. The flavor was smooth as silk, but there was plenty of it. It had a unique spice flavor that grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go.  Holy crap this was a good smoke. I’ll have to check out some of the larger vitolas in  the Black line as I don’t remember this flavor, perhaps it’s unique to this special edition. It was worthy of the Poke and Smoke tool.

 

Contest!

To recap, the Philly Cigar Festival is only a couple weeks away, and since I can’t go, John, one of the organizers, graciously offered to allow me to give away my ticket. There are no strings attached to this, but I would be happy to post any pictures and /or feedback from the winners here on my site after the event. In this case, I want to live vicariously!  So I sorted through the entries, and consulted the random number generator, and came up with the number 6, which corresponds to Andrew Tomkovich. Please send me your contact info so I can get you your ticket.  Thanks again to the folks at the Philly Cigar Festival, I’m truly sorry I can’t make it.

 

That’s it for now, don’t forget it’s Mother’s Day! Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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A Special Guest Article and a New Partagas and Joya de Nicaragua

I’m going to lead off with this great article Dan Colley wrote with some of his insight into the new regulations from his time working for the FDA. This covers the importation procedures, I’m hoping he offers more thoughts on the implementation of the regulations at a later date.

 

Many of you are likely familiar with my name. I am Dan Colley and have been a reader of and commenter to the CigarCraig blog for quite some time. What you may not know is that I am a retired Investigator and Compliance Officer for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I left the Agency in the mid-1990s for work in the private sector. I have been retired now for about fifteen years I’ve been a cigar smoker since about 1967.

 

As someone who worked daily with the many requirements of the FDA, I have become intimately familiar with the import requirements that the law has put into place for many regulated products, from foods and drugs to medical devices, cosmetics and even tobacco products. The recent regulations that FDA has been charged with enforcing contain requirements that are new to the tobacco industry and I would like to provide you with some information about how those requirements will impact you, the cigars that you love to smoke and the tobacco industry in general.

 

It is important to know that the FDA and the U.S. Customs Service (Customs) work very closely together to enforce the various laws that regulate imports. Customs was first mainly interested in the collection of import tariffs, but as time has passed, they have joined their efforts with other Federal agencies who have authority over imported products. For example, the FDA has authority over foods, human drugs, animal drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, and tobacco that extend beyond taxes and tariffs. The procedures for allowing these products into the U.S. legally are essentially the same with very few differences.

 

I would like to briefly explain the physical process that imported products go through before entry into the U.S. The first thing that must occur when a foreign manufacturer wishes to import cigars into this country is that they make a declaration to the FDA and to Customs that a shipment is heading for the U.S. That declaration will usually tell those agencies what the shipment consists of, how it is arriving, where it will be offered for entry into the US and who the involved parties are. Typically, foreign manufacturers will use companies that consolidate shipments for ease and economy of transportation. When these freight consolidators are involved, they will make the required notifications to the U.S. agencies.

 

When the shipment arrives in the U.S., it is moved directly to what is called a bonded warehouse where it is held for government inspection. The consignee does not have access to the shipment at this point. Once the agencies are notified, policy dictates which path the shipment will follow.

 

There are several paths that are possible for these shipments to take. For example, some are merely “rubber-stamped” and allowed to proceed to the consignee without any action. This occurs when the agency has a long and successful relationship with the product and the manufacturer and has every reason to believe that the products comply with all requirements. That assumption is always based on historical data and not merely presumption.

 

Another path that imported products may follow is that of a simple examination. In cases like this, an inspector will go to the bonded warehouse and physically examine the shipment to see if it is what it is supposed to be and in the case of perishable items, the shipment is in good shape and not visually contaminated or adulterated. If no problems are identified, the inspector will file his paperwork with the FDA and the products is then released and may proceed to the consignee.

 

Since cigars do not meet the classic definition of “perishable goods”, they are primarily involved with what inspectors call a “paper chase”. Cigars require pre-market approval unless they were manufactured before the date that governing regulations were put into place, so it is not usually necessary to examine them for adulteration unless there is obvious physical damage to the shipment (eg: water damage, crushing, etc.). All the agency must do is verify that the cigars are either approved for sale in the U.S. or are ones that are “grandfathered” as being manufactured before the regulations became law. This is principally a paper exercise. FDA will review filings made by the manufacturer and will also examined specimens of the labels on the product to assure that they meet the requirements of the regulations. If they do, FDA releases the products. If they don’t, they enter the detention cycle.

 

The detention cycle can be involved and I will not delve into it very far. I will say that there are only a few possibilities for products caught up in this cycle. First, they can be denied entry outright and returned to the entity who shipped it. Another possibility is that the product may be reconditioned, if possible. This applies mainly to products with labeling non-conformances in which they may be brought into compliance by simply applying different labeling. There are other possibilities, but they are not generally applicable in the situation of cigars.

 

This rigorous inspection cycle will lead to a variety of other consequences as well. I’ve been told of people who order Cuban cigars from European retailers. They report that the shipments of contraband cigars arrive at their mailbox without any difficulty. This is likely because the shipper has a good relationship with U.S. Customs and its products proceed without examination. Now, with essentially every lot of imported cigars being examined as a result of the new regulations, this practice will likely come to a halt. Once an inspector sees “made in Cuba” on a box of cigars, all bets will be off. (Editor’s note: Many shipments of contraband cigars are not declared as cigars)

 

The bottom line is that if a cigar does not meet the letter of the law, it will not be allowed into the country. The process for making a cigar “legal” for domestic consumption is quite tedious and has not yet been completely defined by the FDA, but we can be assured, sadly, that it will be difficult and expensive for cigar manufacturers to import new blends of cigars into the country.

 

I hope that this has been enlightening for you. Since I have been away from FDA for quite some time, there are likely some differences in what they do with respect to regulated products, but I have learned from some former cronies who are still with the agency that the procedures remain essentially unchanged over the past 20 years.

 

Thank you Dan for that insiders look at the process! I think this is timely considering recent reports of cigar shipments being opened by customs, whole bundles of cigars cut in half and shipped on to the recipient as if nothing happened. Does it seem right for a government agency to destroy legal property and send it on with out so much as an apology? How is a retailer supposed to sell cigars that have been damaged like that, and they can’t return them for credit. This is where the new regulations are going to effect retailer’s bottom lines first.

 

Partagas_Ramon_y_Ramon_Single_Cigar EditI have a couple of IPCPR samples I wanted to talk about, first being the Partagas Ramon y Ramon Robusto. This line pays homage to Ramon Cifuentes, the founder of the Partagas brand, and uses tobacco that was grown in the Dominican Republic from vintage seeds from General Cigar’s library of seeds. The agronomists at General developed a process to regenerate these vintage seeds, and, if I recall, it takes several growing cycles to get a usable crop of tobacco with the right characteristics. The filler is composed of this special, old world tobacco, Nicaraguan Jalapa and Dominican Piloto Cubano, with a Dominican binder and a high priming Cameroon wrapper. This was one of the most interesting and enjoyable cigars I’ve smoked in a very long time. There was a spicy cinnamon flavor throughout the smoke which just kept making me think “wow, this is a delicious cigar!”. The burn and draw were perfect and the cigar had that signature round cap that General Cigar likes to use. This robusto’s size is a bit of a departure from the standard 5½” x 49 Partagas robusto, as they took the ring gauge up to 50. This a great smoke and the list price is in the $7.49-$8.99 range, very reasonable for a terrific cigar. Can you tell I was impressed? Photo is from General’s press kit, it was much better than mine!

 

JoyadeNicaragua_Joya Black_ToroAfter a visit to a newer local store, which I found to be rather lack-luster, with a poorly executed floor-plan and dirty and shabby lounge (although the company and the La Galera El Lector, a 6″x 54 toro which was really nice, but I failed to pay much attention to it), I had to break out the new Joya Black from Joya de Nicaragua. They are branding this along with the Joya Red and have re-branded the doble capa Cabinetta to fit the same design scheme. I’ve been looking forward to trying this San Andrés wrapped cigar since I heard about it. I probably could have chosen a better time when the ambient humidity wasn’t over 80%, as the cigar smokes a bit on the wet side. It had a great flavor though, I’ll be getting my hands on some more to smoke at the right moisture level. It was everything I want in a maduro, less the steamy smoke quality. Unfortunately, you can’t tell if a cigar needs to be dry boxed until it’s too late. Going back to the local shop I visited, it’s a shame that the owners of this chain did what I consider to be a half-assed job with this store. It’s in an area where an upscale, classy shop would do well, and it’s got more of a 7-Eleven feel to it. I hate to be so critical, but I was really disappointed in the place, but not surprised, based on some of the other stores in the chain. I’m sure my harsh criticism will be unpopular with certain people. On a positive note, the pricing was fine, the selection was not bad, although rather “safe”, and the cigar I bought and smoked there smoked well, despite the “store as a humidor” model (I wonder about the practicality of having a door to the outside directly into the humidified space, often they have to overcompensate for this and the cigars are wet).

 

That’s more than enough for now, I thought about breaking this up into two posts, but I am far to lazy for that on a Sunday morning. Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

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A Recluse, A Johnny Tobacconaut and a Joya de Nicaragua Cigar

It seems like the last few days I’ve been reaching for Figurados for some reason, I think five of the last eight cigars I’ve smoked were shaped cigars in one way or another. I don’t know why that’s significant, it probably isn’t, it just happened to be what I grabbed. None of the cigars featured here are new appearances on this site. I craved some Recluse_OTG_Kanu1favorites this week, what can I say. I’ve had a couple Recluse OTG Kanu #1 in the humidor for three or four years, I figured Wednesday was a good day to smoke one of these.  The Kanu #1 is a cool 6″ x 54 box pressed perfecto, styled after a Kayak.  It has a little “bun” pigtail cap that easily pinches off so you don’t have to cut it. I don;t know if this is a case anymore, but originally the larger sizes (the #2 is 7″ x 52 and the #3 is 8 x 58) had little o-rings or something on the head of the cigar telling you where to cut, because the recommended cutting them a little higher to get thee best draw. The #1, withe the pigtail pinched off had a perfect draw. The OTG line has a Brazilian maduro wrapper, Cameroon binder and Dominican fillers. I happen to be a fan of maduro over Cameroon, so I’ve been a fan of this line since it came out in 2012.  It had a great bittersweet cocoa flavor with a little bit of spice. The Recluse line in general has been very good, I can’t recall a single cigar in their line-up that I didn’t really, really like. They are innovative and patient in their approach, and word on the street is that they will be releasing a TON of new sizes and line extensions at the show. It’s criminal that the FDA has companies like this in their cross hairs.

 

Room101_JohnnyTobacconaut_Ranflactic(1)Friday I decided to wrap up the week with a Room 101 Johnny Tobacconaut Ranflactic (6½” x 50). If you’ll recall, I’ve bitched about this before, that this size is mis-labeled on a ton of retailers websites as 5.5 x 50 b(including the site I linked to, don’t get me started on the lack of a Room 101 cigar website or an easy way to find it on Davidoff/Camacho’s sites), when it’s the Room 101 Ranfla size renamed to fit the astronaut theme of the brand. It blows my mind that this hasn’t been fixed, but I suppose in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not that big a deal. It just seems to stand out to me and I don’t often see mistakes like this. This particular cigar came from a Davidoff trade show sampler from last year’s show, which has some Avos, some Camachos and some BG Meyers. I have more that I purchased that come in the paper sleeve much like the original Room 101 OSOK. I was really blown away by the first one of these I smoked, and I continue to be a fan. The perfecto shaped cigar has a nice woody, toasty flavor and a great burn. I don’t know how available these are as they only made 3500 boxes of twenty and released them last year, but, considering they are rather pricey, they may still be around.

 

JoyadeNicaragua_CuatroCincoReservaEspecial_TorpedoYesterday I managed to install two ceiling fans with a minimum of profanities, which is something for me. After dinner I sat down with a Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial Torpedo. Joya de Nicaragua came out with the original Cuatro Cinco in 2013 to celebrate 45 years of operations in Nicaragua. The following year they came out with this tweaked blend, the Reserva Especial. Oddly, this isn’t a Nicaraguan puro, it has a Dominican binder, but the rest is Nicaraguan with a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan filers. I felt like the original Edition Limitada Cuatro Cinco release was a fantastic cigar, I saw it as a refined version of the Antaño Dark Corojo, which is a favorite. This Reserva Especial seems to be missing something that the original limitada had. Here’s the dangerous thing with comparing cigars: The Reserva Especial is a great smoke, it’s got wonderful construction, great flavors, and I would absolutely love it if I wasn’t comparing it to the original. This is just me, and I’m sure there are people who see the Reserva as an improvement, which makes another point, everyone has different tastes. Joya remains one of my favorite brands, there are very few cigars in the lineup that I don’t enjoy.

 

That’s it for now. It’s the Fourth of July weekend, so be careful out there, have fun and smoke some great cigars. I have a Prime Living Magazine article due that I need to put the finishing touches on (on which I need to put the finishing touches?), then I’ll be getting on with my day. So, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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Welcome to 2016 with Sobremesa, CAO, Bolivar and Joya de Nicaragua and Tops of 2015

It’s 2016 already!  It’s hard to believe we’re now in the second half of the second decade of the 21st century! Hopefully everything remains status quo in the cigar industry with the pending FDA nonsense and all. Today wraps up an almost two-week vacation for me, I have to summon the will to get up and go to work tomorrow! But I managed to squeeze a lot of fun in that two weeks.  My wife and I celebrated New Year’s by ringodriving to Cleveland, OH to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame there.  We got there Wednesday afternoon after driving all day, wandered into the casino around the corner from our hotel, and it smelled funny. I expect casinos to have a smokey aroma, and this one smelled clean.  Very strange, apparently Ohio has a pretty strict indoor smoking law, so we didn’t spend very long there. It was damned cold there too, so smoking a cigar outside wasn’t happening either.  Luckily, on the way back from visiting the Hall of Fame, which was great, cousinsBolivar_550although it seems like the singers and guitar players get all the glory, very few drum sets on display, we visited Cousins Cigars.  This shop had a smoking area, was ringed with cabinet humidors, and had a very nice classic selection. I picked up some of the new Bolivars and lit one up, and it was very good.  Is still don’t care for the bands, but the cigar is right up my alley, rich, dark and full flavored. It was a great way to end 2015, and the gentlemen in the lounge were very friendly and welcoming, and Sam, the shopkeeper was excellent as well.  I’d say this is a place to visit if you find yourself in Cleveland.

 

Sobremesa_El AmericanoMy first couple cigars of 2016 were pretty great. I started off with a Sobremesa El Americano Friday after driving home, mostly through snow.  As I’ve come to expect, this is a complex and delicious cigar with subtle and nuanced flavors.  Definitely a special occasion cigar. I still want to try the Robusto Largo size, but so far this is my favorite of the sizes I’ve tried. Yesterday I took a nice walk with a CAO Flathead Steel Horse Apehanger, ironically, the subject of the last giveaway CAO Flathead Steel Horse Apehangerof 2015, the winner of which will be announced in a bit. I really like the Flathead line in general, and I like what they did changing the wrapper from the Connecticut Broadleaf on the box pressed line, to a Connecticut Habano Oscuro on the round Steel Horse line. I  can’t imagine whoever wins these will be unhappy as they are a really good smoke to my palate. I still can’t figure out why the Steel Horse line extension isn’t listed on their website though, JoyadeNicaragua_CuatroCincoReservaEspecial_Toroyet the fact that the 660 Carb was Cigar Aficionados number 3 is noted (as it should be).  I finished off the day with a Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial Toro. This cigar was released at last year’s IPCPR show, a tweaked version of the 2013 Cuatro Cinco that celebrated the companies 45 year anniversary. I guess Cuatro Siete was awkward. To me, this is reminiscent of the Antaño Dark Corojo with the rough edges knocked off. Its much more refined and smooth.  This is another great smoke to wrap up the New Years holiday.

 

While everyone else in the blogosphere is posting their lists of favorite cigars of the year, It was a very weird year for me, and with everything that went on for me personally, I will continue my tradition of not making a list. It gets easier every year not to make a list!  There were a lot of great cigars, and everyone’s palate is different. Kudos to everyone else for putting forth the effort to complete these lists.  For me, once again the important thing is the interaction with the readers. I resolve to do a better job of responding to the comments here, I appreciate every one of them and will do better at following up.  So my top five list is my loyal commentors:

 

Top5Commenters2015

 

Somehow Dan missed  commenting on 28 posts this year, as I hit an even 100 posts in 2015. So there’s your goal for 2016, make the list! I really do appreciate everyone reading along with my nonsense, thank you!

 

SteelHorse_LROn the contest results! This one actually got more entries than any of the 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways this year. Maybe I need to rethink the way I do the December contests!  I have a few months to think about it.  The random number generator gave me 38, which corresponds to Bob Langmaid!  Please send me your address Bob! Hopefully you’ll share some of these with the other Langmaids I’ve seen entries from in contests over the years!  🙂  Once again, many thanks to Victoria at General Cigar Co. for sending this great box along to give away, and to Ricky Rodriguez and Ed McKenna at CAO for making great cigars. Please don’t expect another contest for a while, I’m all giveaway’d out!

 

That’s it for today!  I’ve got a Prime Living article due this week that I have to finish up this week, and some Christmas cleanup yet to do around the house, and a lot of “last day of vacation” stuff to get to, including taking a nice cigar for a long walk!  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

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Contest Wrap-up, a Meet-up at JM Cigars, an Event at Mojo and a RoMaCraft Neanderthal

CC_Logo_xmas_sOK, a regular, non-contest post. How do I do this again?  It’s been a crazy couple weeks, hasn’t it?  Besides the 234 cigars, three ashtrays, two cutters, a lighter, and various other items, including one of a kind art and jewelry, there were some major holidays in there too. Time spent with family is the best part of the holiday for me, but doing this 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways is a load of fun too.  My unending thanks to the following companies and individuals who made all this possible, in no particular order: Eric Whitfield, Broc Jackson, Jack at Duran Premium Cigars, David and his crew at 2 Guys Smokeshop, Victoria at General Cigar Co., Fred at Nomad Cigar Co., Victor at Tortuga Cigars, Jason at Best Cigar Prices, Abe and his gang at Smoke Inn, Mel and Ron at MBombay Cigars, Bianca at Gurkha and the folks at Joya de Nicaragua and Drew Estate! As I say every year, I could do this on my own, but it would cost me a fortune! Thanks to all of them and all of you for coming back every day and entering! Next year I have some different plans, but it should still be fun, that is, unless the FDA ruins everything!   We’ll remain positive, keep calling your elected officials and letting them know that premium cigars should be exempt from regulation, and keep up your CRA memberships!

 

One of the things I did last week in, an effort to save on shipping and meet some new friends, was to hand deliver winnings from Days five and six. It turned out that Mike and Andrew were reasonably close by so we met up at JM Cigar in Exton, PA for a smoke.  Of course, I spent easily twice what I would have spent on shipping on cigars, but that’s way more productive. While shopping I came ERHacross a lone El Rico Habano Maduro Gran Habanaro (double corona) in a box and it look so lonely I had to add it to my cart, so to speak. I haven’t smoked an El Rico in ages, I can remember back in the ’90s when this was one of the strongest cigars on the market, a real powerhouse. It was Ernesto Perez Carillo’s brand that took a back seat to La Gloria Cubana, and I smoked a bunch of them.  It’s a minor brand now with General Cigar Co., only available in three sizes and maduro, where the original version was a natural wrapper. I thought the 7½ x 54 size would be a good size for sitting in the lounge, getting to know new friends, kinda cigar. It was good, but not as good as I remember my last one being, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I didn’t want a cigar that would distract me from conversation. As it always seems to be, meeting up to deliver a prize beats USPS every time, I felt like I have a few more friends now, and look forward to meeting up with Mike and Andrew again soon.  Thank you to them for adding to the spirit of the season!

 

Perdomo20thThursday I ran down to Cigar Mojo in King of Prussia, PA as they were having a Perdomo event and raffling off a tremendous Perdomo 20th Anniversary humidor. I like the Perdomo 20th a lot, especially in maduro, so I bought a hand full (as if I needed more cigars!) and got one chance in the drawing. The winner was a guy who bought a bunch of boxes of the 20th Anniversarys, so it’s hard to begrudge him the win. It was a beautiful box, but I don’t know where I would have put it, so it worked Perdomo20thHumidorout in the end. I thoroughly enjoyed a 20th Maduro Churchill while hanging out and talking to our local Perdomo rep, Joe Winder (who is probably the very first cigar company rep I ever met many years ago at a cigar event in Pittsburgh), CRA Ambassador and all-around good guy, Alan Price, who was working at the shop, owners Wade and Trae and various other customers.  I didn’t win the humidor, but I did put some great cigars in my humidor and had a relaxing afternoon.

 

Padron64AFHemingwayAs it was a special occasion, I selected some other great cigars that are worth mentioning. For the second year in a row, I took my Christmas Eve walk with a Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro Exclusivo, obviously a classic Nicaraguan maduro that’s like desert in cigar form. Absolutely delicious. Christmas day, after the kids and grandkids left, I sparked up a Fuente Hemingway Signature Maduro, again, a spectacular cigar that’s not unreasonably priced.  It was rich, burned perfectly and hit the spot. Yesterday Macha and I took a four mile walk with a favorite Nica Rustica Belly, maybe I’m on a bit of a Maduro kick?  I must be, because last night I lit up a cigar that caught my eye and I bought while at Mojo, a RoMa Craft Neanderthal HN, with a San Andrés wrapper. Of all the great cigars I’ve RoMa_Neanderthal_HNsmoked over the last couple weeks, this might have been my favorite. This cigar has a couple of distinctions, first, it has a flat head, and a slight taper at the foot, which I didn’t really notice until I looked at the photo, and it still looks like a robusto, as the size is listed at 5″ x 52/58. Now that I look at it, it may taper from head to foot. It could have been shaped like a pretzel for all I care, it tasted fantastic. Not only does it have a beautiful dark and oily San Andrés wrapper, but it has a Connecticut broadleaf binder, and fillers from Pennsylvania, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. About half way in to the cigar I got a really interesting and delicious spice, which really intrigued me. This was a $12 cigar and honestly, I don’t think I realized the price point when I bought them, I might not have taken the plunge. I’m glad I did. I’ve heard from people That this was a super strong cigar, and it didn’t hit me that way at all, it was full-bodied and loaded with flavor, but I didn’t feel the nicotine at all. Stellar cigar from Skip and Mike at RoMa! I used a punch in the flat head of the cigar if anyone was curious.

 

Cigartist1You probably want to know who won the final bonus day contest, the great painting “Wind” by Eric “The Cigartist” Whitfield. It looked like only those who really wanted and appreciated this item entered (or everyone is sick to death of my contests), so I consulted Random.org and got the number 37, which corresponds to KRUK, who I know will give this a good home, despite the relative creepiness of his comment :-).  Bryan, please send me your address so I can forward it on to Eric.  Thank you all, and don’t despair, there could well be a Happy New Year contest!

 

That’s plenty from me, until the next time,

 

Cigar Craig

 

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