Tag Archives: La Zona

Cornelius and Anthony Cigars Event at Wooden Indian

Still trying to shake this cold, nothing tastes right which is the worst!  However, when one of one’s favorite cigar brands is doing and event at one’s favorite cigar shop, one has to bite the bullet and man up.  I’ve gushed about The Wooden Indian often. I have about a dozen cigar stores within a 15 mile radius of my house, and I visit them all periodically, but the one that’s the furthest, Wooden Indian, is the one where I feel like I’m welcomed as part of the family. I know the people at all the other shops, I like them and all, and they all have their forte, but I find myself at Wooden Indian most often. I suppose it helps that my daughter and her family live about a mile from the place and I can stop in and say hello, but it’s the staff and events that make me stop in the shop. It should be made clear that I’m not the consumer who stops in the shop for a daily smoke, I’m happier smoking from my own humidors on my walks or on the porch, so I generally only go to shops for events or to meet up with someone. I value my friendship with Dave and his staff at Wooden Indian, there are many great shops in the greater Philadelphia area, but this one stands out.

 

I got a message from Jose Galvez, who’s our area rep for Cornelius and Anthony Cigars, as well as other La Zona partner brands, to stop in to the Wooden Indian as they were having an event. Of course, when I received this message I was already on my way.  In addition to my frequent gushing about the shop, I’ve also heaped praise on the Cornelius and Anthony brand, as they are probably my favorite overall brand of the last two years.  The Miami CandA_WImade Cornelius line I put right there with Davidoff, Sobremesa, and whatever other high-end, medium and complex and delicious cigars you can think of. Their other lines, the Daddy Mac, Venganza, Meridian, and the new Aerial and Señor Esugars are all excellent cigars made at La Zona.  In addition to really liking the cigars, I find the aesthetic part of the experience very pleasing, the bands are classy and appealing to me, and the box art is very cool. I bought a handful of cigars and lit up a Señor Esugars Corona Gorda which I could actually taste. I won’t say it tasted like it should because of my cold, but it didn’t taste terrible and I nursed about two hours out of it. It’s always nice to see Todd Vance, Cornelius and Anthony’s Director of Sales, and we were entertained by his playlist, which featured both kinds of music, county and western, although I found the country rendition of Purple Rain slightly disturbing. I can’t wait for this funk to lift from my head so I can just spend a week smoking through the Cornelius an Anthony line, which is highly recommended by me, for whatever that’s worth.

 

You can read my thoughts on the IPCPR booth and releases, along with an interview with Stephan Bailey HERE.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

 

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Intemperance, La Aurora and a Laranga Cigars

I don’t have a lot of cigars to share with you this time.  I had a busy week with the video I posted and the various Leccia cigars I had to smoke for inspiration, yeah, that’s it…Bottom line is that the Desnudo cigars are really good, the Luchador line is also very good (the El Hombre is one of my favorites, the El Gringo line doesn’t excite me as much as the original line), whatever that Barber Pole cigar was was really good, and many of Sam’s other creations over the years have been to my liking. If we could just get him to dump the Penguins and become a Flyers fan…So I posted the video, and I posted Friday about the suit filed against the FDA.  I hope this is effective, I know a lot of thought and preparation went into it, and I can’t imagine taking legal action against the US Government is a comfortable thing to do. Someone has to understand that it just isn’t right for an un-elected, bureaucratic department to cost so many jobs in so many countries. It’s wrong, it’s completely a tobacco vendetta, and it needs to stop. Rant over.

 

Intemperance_RevengeFriday I decided I wanted to smoke something from Skip and Mike’s RoMaCraft line, and while rummaging through my meager selection, I came across a box pressed robusto bearing the Intemperance band. I recognized that this was the BA XXI iteration of the Intemperance line, but couldn’t place where I got it. Once I figured out that it was the Intemperance BA XXI Revenge, a store exclusive to Outland Cigars in Charlotte, NC, I realized that it must have come from Will Cooper. My memory is not what it used to be. This cigar is 5″ x 56, basically a box pressed version of The Breach of the Peace. The wrapper is a Brazilian Arapiraca, not so dark, kind of a medium brown. They use an Indonesian binder (I’m typically not a fan of Indonesian tobacco, never have been, but I think lately it’s a pretty neutral, flavorless leaf that only serves to hold the filers together), and fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. It was a very well balanced cigar, flavors of coffee with cream and a little sweetness, some pepper and a little cedar. I think I have a Breach of the Peace in the humidor, and definitely need to grab some more of this line the next time I see them.  Congrats to Skip Martin on the recent birth of his third daughter!

 

LaAurora_Corojo_RobustoSaturday I busted ass around the house in the morning, when out for a late lunch, then settled into the smoking porch for a cigar or two.  I started with a La Aurora 1962 Corojo Robusto. I received a couple of these, along with it’s Connecticut counterpart, a few weeks back from Miami Cigar and Co. Regular readers may recall that I am a long time fan of the La Aurora brand, even though a great many of their offerings are not suited to my tastes. The first box of cigars I ever bought was La Aurora Bristol Especiales, which was under $40 at the time, my daughter still may have the box. Those cigars ended up having an odd, vegetable flavor that didn’t really do anything for me and taught me an early lesson about buying without trying. I do have a tradition of smoking a Puro Vintage 2003 whenever a granddaughter is born, but I can only accommodate two more granddaughters, not that we are expecting any more anytime soon. Anyway, my recollection is that the Corojo line has been around for a while, it’s made with Ecuador Corojo wrapper, Ecuador Sumatra binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. This example smoked a little wetter than I prefer, it was a humid day, but I enjoyed the flavor and will dry down the others and smoke them again. I must remember to open the bags before putting them in the humidor. I look forward to smoking the Connecticut.

 

Laranga_CoronaGordaA couple weeks ago I visited a local shop and the Espinosa Cigars Laranga Reserva caught my eye, and I hesitated to buy one until the shop manager came in a recommended it without any prior knowledge that I had been thinking about it. I’ll admit, the price played into my hesitation to try this cigar that I’ve heard a lot about over the last year. All they had was the corona gorda, which is a great size, so I lucked out. Still, a just under $10 corona gorda doesn’t sit well with me, but I guess I better get used to it. Probably at $8 I would have tried it long ago, but I have trouble getting past $9…cheap bastard as I am. Anyway, this cigar had a wide open draw, so I knew I wasn’t going to struggle with it like I did with the Aurora. I don’t know if it’s the reference to Orange in the name (Laranga is Portuguese for Orange, btw, and so named because the wrapper leaf has an orange tinge), or some other outside influence, but I really did get a citrus note. As with most cigars I’ve smoked from La Zona, and the list of cigars they make seems to grow daily, this was a really good smoke. It was well balanced with a ton of flavor.

 

That’s it for now. A week from now I’ll be traveling to the IPCPR show in Las Vegas, and I’ll be trying to bring you news, although folks like Cigar-Coop, Halfwheel, Stogie Review and Cigar Federation will have more detailed information. I’ll try to put a different spin on things, and I anticipate it being a busy show with a ton of new releases trying to get on shelves before August 8. I usually do something fun and silly for the show, but this year doesn’t seem to be the year to do something like that. Anyway, that’s all for today, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

 

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601 Pennsylvania Edition from Espinoza Cigars and Best Cigar Prices

Since taking most of December off from my regular schedule, I decided that this year I’m going to try something a little different for me, the occasional post dedicated to one cigar. I’ve got a bit of a backlog of review samples, and I wanted to start out with one which hits close to home, in a couple of ways. Best Cigar Prices, a valued sponsor and fellow Pennsylvanians, recently launched a the 601 Pennsylvania Edition, available in Robusto, Toro and Gordo, and was kind enough to allow me to be among the first to smoke it.  Here is their information on the cigar:

 

Blended in honor one of America’s top cigar states (and our home base), the 601 Pennsylvania Edition combines the finest of Nicaraguan tobaccos to bring you a fantastic full-flavored salute to PA. Showcasing a hearty Habano Oscuro wrapper over specially-selected Esteli & Condega leaves, each 601 Pennsylvania Edition cigar includes a single PA Broadleaf in the filler to ensure an authentic taste of Pennsylvania in every stick.

601

Handcrafted under the careful eye of Erik Espinosa at La Zona Cigars in Esteli, the 601 PA welcomes you in with a wave of peppery spice before introducing it’s dense and layered profile with tones of smoky wood, subtle sweetness, toasted bread, and almond. A bold, complex cigar with medium-full body, these special edition smokes present a wealth of rich character that’s right in line with the cigar excellence that 601 is known for.

 

601_PennsylvaniaEdition_RobustoI’ve been a fan of the 601 line for many years, and Erik Espinoza’s La Zona factory has been creating some great cigars since their inception. As it says above, the Pennsylvania Edition is an homage to my home state, and the band is modeled after the PA license plate.  That reminds me, I handed down my vanity plate to my son recently, I had C-SLICE for 30 years, and I need to find a new one. I wonder if 601 is available?  (One time I was travelling through New Jersey and got home to an e-mail from someone on the alt.smokers.cigars USENET group asking if it was me they saw!  Maybe a little creepy, as this was in the late 90s, and quite a bit off the topic of this post.)  I digress.  I smoked two of the Robustos in this line, generously provided by Best Cigar Prices, over the last two evenings and was most impressed. While both examples had a looser draw than I would like, the flavor and strength was very much to my liking. This cigar has a different flavor, there’s a twang in there which is uncommon. There have been quite a few cigars recently utilizing leaf from the next county over from where I live,  but this one is quite different from those. The smokiness is the predominant flavor to my palate, and it’s not a cigar that I would smoke on an empty stomach. I can see this aging well, and I, admittedly, smoked these relatively soon after receiving them.  It was hard to resist the urge to try them out. I would, and will, buy these cigars to have in the humidor, and I look forward to trying the other sizes. My only real complaint with this cigar was that the band was quite hard to remove, a minor issue.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

 

 

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New La Glorias and CAOs, a La Zona, a Culebra, and Another Contest!

Serie R Esteli_cigar_loResI’ve smoked a couple of La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli No. 54 and, for me, it’s a winner.  It was exactly what I was looking for Sunday afternoon in the pool. Of course, I’m a La Gloria fan, heck, I’ve dedicated the Adorini Cedro Deluxe humidor I got from Humidor Discount to the brand (OK, I may put a cigar in there for a while when I’m too lazy to put it in the proper humidor…there’s that CDO again!).  I always seem to have a collection of “LGCs” of various lines, shapes and sizes. Anyway, this new addition to the Serie R line is the first La Gloria Cubana made in Nicaragua.  The Serie N, which I also enjoyed, is made in the Dominican Republic with Nicaraguan tobaccos.  The Serie R Esteli is a dark, cocoa/coffee beauty with a hint of sweetness. The Esteli is a Brick and Mortar exclusive, however they also released the Serie R Black which is an online exclusive. I look forward to trying that one too, and they are all fairly priced.  Good stuff.

 

LaZona_Habano RobustoSunday evening I grabbed a La Zona robusto I had bought a few weeks ago for a very reasonable sub-$5 price.  This is made by Erik Espinosa in his La Zona factory in Esteli, and has a Nicaraguan grown Habano wrapper.  It was a great tasting cigar, although the burn meandered a bit.  For the price these are hard to beat. It was medium bodied and full of flavor, well worth the money and something to have on hand for sure.  Sadly, every time I went by the Espinosa booth at the trade show it was busy.  This cigar comes in a Connecticut version too.

 

Contests

Want a chance to win some cigars?  I’m not giving them away this time, but head over to The Hoyo de Monterrey website and check out the contest they are running.  The Hoyo Rothschild is a solid smoke in my book, I’ve smoked plenty of them, but haven’t had one in quite a while.  I don’t know how they pair with beer, but they go great with a nice premium root beer or ginger brew!  They are giving away a box a week, so head over and enter!

 

BACON!

 

baconjamsWant a chance to win something from my site again?  My good friend Bruce makes these awesome Bacon Jams, and he gave me a tasting sampler to give away to one of you lucky readers.  Yes, I said Bacon.  Bacon, bacon, bacon!  Spread some on your ham sandwich if you want, everything goes with bacon!  They have a Kickstarter campaign running right now to get this product to market. The website is www.TheBaconJams.com.  Leave a comment for a chance to win a sampler of the Original, Red Chile and Garlic and Black Pepper and Honey flavors  and I’ll pick a winner on Sunday!  These are high quality Bacon Preserves that are awful good, they’d have to be right?  They’re made with bacon! Leave a comment here to enter.

 

PARTAG~1Monday night we went out to dinner with Bruce, of The Bacon Jams fame, and his wife, and afterwards retired to our deck for cigars afterward.  Bruce very generously gifted me a Partagas Culebra from the ‘90s.  Oddly, I’ve never smoked a culebra, I got my 24 year old son to join us and the three of us fired these bad boys up. I enjoy the Havana Partagas line quite a bit, and this was an excellent example of the fine flavors found in the brand. It burned as straight as a bent up, crooked cigar could be expected to, and the draw was perfect.  These are awful neat cigars to share with two friends.  It was a great smoking experience with great company.

 

CAO Flathead_CamshaftAnother IPCPR show release I smoked a few of this week was the CAO Flathead 554 Camshaft, the most recent of which I enjoyed Tuesday night.  This cigar is square pressed and has a flat head.  If you’ve ever noticed, just about every cigar made by General Cigar Company has a round head.  It’s one of their hallmarks,  this flat headed Flat Head is unique. The first one I smoked I tried to V-cut, which didn’t work out very well. The cap popped off completely when I cut it, which I’ve heard reported by others.  The second example I used my Screwpop™ Cigar Punch, which has about a 7 millimeter diameter. This worked perfectly and provided a perfect draw and everything stayed where it belonged. CAO Flathead_boxThis is a dark and rich smoke with some strength to it. I like it.  I really look forward to trying the rest of the sizes in the line, as the smaller sizes were blended for strength and the larger sizes (maybe the 7”x70 is a little big, but the box press should make it feel more manageable) were blended for flavor. An odd approach, but Ricky Rodriguez and his staff are creative guys and I’m impressed with this Camshaft size. The packaging is really quite neat too.

 

Well, I was all over the place this week. Lots packed into this post. It’s time to find a cigar to celebrate the last couple hours in my 40s, perhaps something with a 49 ring gauge would be appropriate.  I’ll smoke something with a 50 ring tomorrow.

Until the next time,

CigarCraig

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