Tag Archives: liga privada

Villiger, General Cigar, and Drew Estate Cigars

Since I posted the contest Wednesday (go enter if you haven’t already!), I have a fee more cigars than normal to post about. Bear with me, it was a pretty good week!  We’ll start off with Villiger‘s newest release, the La Flor de Ynclan. A couple of months ago a package arrived at my door that weighed about 12 pounds and I thought “what the heck is in here?” It turned out to be a little box with three La Flor de Ynclan cigars in Churchill, torpedo and robusto sizes, and a bottle of Zaffra Rum, a very generous gift, many thank to the folks at Villiger and Creativas! Most of my loyal readers know that I don’t drink, so one of these days (and I should have done it while the weather was warmer!), I’ll have to have some people over and have them sample this rum and put out a spread of Villiger cigars. From the Villiger website:


The La Flor De Ynclan is a special cigar, diligently crafted by Heinrich Villiger and master blender Jose Matias Maragoto of ABAM Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic.

Heinrich Villiger, chairman of the board of Villiger Soehne AG, came across a young ambitious Cuban native 22 years ago in the Dominican Republic. That Cuban, Jose Matias Maragoto was an unknown cigar maker, who was beginning a new life in a new country. Fast forward two decades, the once untested Matias Maragoto is the overseer of all Villiger made product made in the DR. The Flor de Ynclan cigar, is the fruition of a bond between two different men from different backgrounds, over the love of tobacco.

The La Flor De Ynclan is a cigar that presents a distinct full-flavor experience, due to the extended aging of the tobacco. Choice Nicaraguan and Dominican filler tobacco, along with a true Indonesian binder, wrapped in a beautiful Ecuadorian wrapper make the La Flor De Ynclan a cigar that has been worth the wait.



I started with the Churchill, a beautiful 7″ x 48 (close enough), with the above-mentioned components. I thought this was a terrific cigar. It was solid medium, and had a quality that I though would suite the European market well. It was complex with some citrus sweetness and a twinge of spice. There have been some Villiger cigars that I really liked, some were so-so, but this one stands apart, I think. It was very tasty, worth a try. I am disappointed that they discontinued the Trill line (made at Tabacalera Palma), although the name is kinda dumb, the cigar is good. I bought a box while I had the chance.


BolivarMoving on, I found myself at The Wooden Indian Tobacconist once again where Sean Williams, the Cohiba Brand Ambassador, was appearing for a meet and greet with the lounge membership. I first met Sean at the 2011 IPCPR show, in his El Primer Mundo booth. Ironically, Willie Herrera was hanging out in the booth with him at the same time, so it was also when I met Willie. I got there early and bought some General Cigar Co. cigars that I hadn’t smoked before, as well as a couple of the newer Sean_CohibaBolivars that I’ve enjoyed in the past. The only Cohibas that they had in stock were the Macasar, and I had a couple of those in the humidor already (and they are really pricey!). I was in the mood for Broadleaf, so the Bolivar 652 Toro was the smoke of choice. I know, I know, the Bolivar has a Connecticut Habano Maduro wrapper, not Broadleaf, but it was as close as I was going to get, OK?  This was released at the 2015 IPCPR show, and was Michael Giannini’s project re-imagining the Bolivar (and Ramon Allones). I like the box design, but I can’t say I love the band, it could have been classier, not Rami_Generalthat my opinion counts. I wonder what Mr. Giannini is up to? The Bolivar cigar is great, to my palate. I dig the closed foot and pigtail cap on these and they are very well priced. Anyway, it was a great evening at the Wooden Indian. Dave and his staff are top-notch and it was nice catching up with Sean ( and Rami, the area sales rep, another cool dude).  One last thing about this cigar. It’s neither on the Cigarworld.com or the Foundry websites, the only info I have is from the General Cigar Co. press info from the show.


LigaPrivadaSerieUnico_AI slipped back and forth between General Cigar Co. and Drew Estate this week, but I was probably heavier on the DE. I had to smoke another of the Florida Sun Grown toros since I bought a few more at the Wooden Indian charity event, and it was pretty darned tasty. Friday I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to smoke, and decided to go big and smoke a Liga Privada Serie Unico “A” that came from the Connecticut Barn Smoker. I probably should have swapped it for one from the 2014 two count box, but I was too lazy.  An “A” is a traditional Cuban size, it’s 9″ x 47, two notable examples being the Cuban Montecristo and the Sancho Panza Sancho. I took a walk with this cigar and when I got home an hour later I was just hitting the 6″ mark.  It was delicious, but due to its length, was on the milder side for a Liga Privada. It’s a good cigar, no doubt, and actually burned faster than I would have thought, I was finished in a little over two hours. From what I can tell, this is more of a T52 blend as it has the Connecticut stalk cut Habano wrapper, so I guess I’m still looking to satisfy my Broadleaf desire. I’ll find something today. These are only available at events, and are probably considered something of a unicorn in the Liga Privada world. I loved it, I thought it was delicious, but if I had ponied up a bunch of $ on the secondary market I’d have felt a little let down.


AcidKubaCandelaSince the current contest features a Drew Estate Acid KubaKuba Candela, I was kinda challenged to smoke one. Fortunately, I had one, as well as a couple of the little Blondie Candelas. I could have wimped out and went with the Blondie and gotten it over with, but why not just go for the gusto?  The regular KubaKuba is just distasteful to me, can’t even stand the smell.  I smoked a Kuba Maduro once in Nicaragua after about eight cigars and it was enjoyable. I entered this with as open a mind as I could muster, and, to lend credence to that, I didn’t take a spare cigar on my walk. I was committed (or should be). Happy to report that I enjoyed the cigar. The Candela wrapper has some bitterness that counters the sweet floweryness of the infusion. If one doesn’t like Candela cigars, I don’t imagine this one is going to change that opinion, because the grassy candellaness (my made up word for the day) is apparent. But, like it’s siblings in the Acid line, it’s well made with quality tobaccos. If you like the Acid line, try this, it’s probably going to be interesting. If you like Candela wrapped cigars, try this. If you don’t like either Candela or infused, I don’t know what to tell you…maybe this one would be a good change of pace, open your mind!


I was going to add one more cigar in here, but it’s getting long, I’ll circle back to that cigar. It was good and came highly recommended, I want to smoke another one and pay a little more attention to it before writing about it. Also, I bought a ticket to a Meet and Greet with Ernesto Carillo at the CigarCigars King of Prussia Mall store (smoke while your wife shops!) on Wednesday, October 11 which seems like a good deal, $25 for three cigars, booze and hors d’oeuvres and the chance to talk to a legend in the cigar business. Interestingly, this is a General Cigar event, featuring the new La Gloria Cubana Colleccion Reserva.


That’s all for now, until the next time, when we’ll select a contest winner,





Filed under Events, Review, Stores

RoMEo Añejo, Aging Room DeSocio and a Liga Privada Aniversario

RoMEo_Anejo_TorpedoI have said many times over the last year or so that the RoMEo Añejo is a cigar I want to like. I don’t know exactly why I want to like it, perhaps its to find something in the Romeo y Julieta portfolio to call a favorite, or the fact that it has a Broadleaf wrapper and I “should” like it.  I tried my third one this week, a Torpedo, and I didn’t have the tight draw problems I’ve had in the past, or the over-humidified steamy smoke. Granted, this is less of a manufacturing problem and more of a storage problem, but who has the time to identify and segregate cigars that happen to smoke better at a lower humidity? If I can’t keep all my cigars (or a retailer for that matter, because at least one of the previous cigars I had trouble with came right off the retailers shelf) in the same humidor and have them smoke well I.m not happy. So I lit up the Añejo torpedo and had a nice, reasonable draw, and upon lighting it up I had mouthfuls of potent, rich smoke. I thought the line had redeemed itself in my eyes, until I hit a dead spot in the middle of the cigar. Once again, I want to like this cigar, but three strikes, ya know?  Fortunately the RoMEo 505 came along filling the void left by the Añejo, I really like that one!


AgingRoom_QuatroF55_DeSocioYesterday was  a beautiful Saturday with unseasonably high temperatures, so after getting some things done around the house and running some errands, I sat down with a fun looking little cigar that had been in the humidor for a while, I’m thinking since IPCPR 2015. I believe it was from the 2015 show because the Aging Room Quattro F55 DeSocio is an exclusive for the Alliance Cigar wholesaler group, and I remember meeting folks from that company in the Boutique Blends booth. The DeSocio is a 5¾” x 47 perfecto with a pigtail cap and a box press, so it seems smaller than the numbers would let you believe. Something about a lot of the Aging Room cigars has a tendency to effect me negatively nicotine-wise, not sure why, so I tend to let them age for as long as possible before I smoke them. This was a tasty little treat, with a Sumatra wrapper, and Dominican Habano filler and binder. It started out with a concerningly tight draw, but after about 30 seconds it opened up and was perfect. It had some sweetness and spice in the flavor and was very enjoyable. I did take a nap afterwards, but that didn’t have anything to do with the cigar. Like I said before, the box press makes this seem smaller than it is, I think I smoked it for an hour and a half. As with the majority of the output of Tabacalera Palma, this is a very good cigar.


LigaPrivada_Anniversario_ToroLast September, probably, I was at a Drew Estate Event at the Wooden Indian, and I did something I don’t usually do. Part of whatever deal they had going was that if you bought so many cigars you were allowed to buy a special cigar, in this case I ended up with a $16 Liga Privada Anniversario toro. I fell for it, I figured I liked Ligas, so chances were good I’d like it and it mike make for an interesting blog entry. This was one of those cigars that they had to get out into the market before the FDA deadline of August 8 last year, they were on display at the IPCPR show, and there were rumors that they were also releasing a 100th anniversary cigar thinking ahead to the future (this one, presumably, was for the 10th anniversary). I’ve been looking around for information on this cigar, the overall appearance is prettier than the No.9 wrapper, it’s more smooth and consistent, less rustic. Smoking it is a little more refined I think, there’s something smoother about it than the regular Liga 9. It was a good smoke, it functioned well, had a good burn and draw, and was satisfying, but it lacked the “pop” to me that No.9 has. I’d be interested to see more information on this cigar, there’s no mention of it on the Drew Estate Website, or the Diplomat app. I suppose I’ll have to harass the new social media guy there about this. It was a good cigar, I think for the price I should be amazed and not just satisfied, but that’s just me. While I don’t regret the purchase, I stick with my assertion that I’d buy two Nica Rusticas to one Liga every day of the week.


Today I’m thinking back six years to the time I met Guillermo Leon of La Aurora Cigars at the Wooden Indian after the birth of my first grandchild. We’ll be paying her a visit t, and will likely smoke something from La Aurora today at some point. I celebrated the birth of both my granddaughters with La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003s, and I have two more in the humidor. Not that I envision any more grandkids anytime soon, I hope, but they are there waiting for the day. Anyway, that’s all for today, until the next time,




1 Comment

Filed under Review

The Cigar Crate Cigar of the Month Program

There are tons of Cigar of the Month clubs out there, most of the online retailers offer them, even The Cigar Authority has their monthly “care package”. Often times there are a couple good cigars and a few private labels or house brands, but a few of them do it right. A new one that was recently brought to my attention is the Cigar Crate. Cigar Crate is based in Tennessee and is the creation of Veljko Bogdanovic and David Xayabudda. The crate1premise is simple, and what should be the standard, provide four great cigars for a monthly subscription fee.They also make a donation to Operation: Cigars for Warriors for each purchase in the form of one cigar for each monthly subscription. I received the first month’s crate last week and the presentation was very nicely executed. There were four cigars in a heavy ziplock bag, nestled in shredded cardboard,  with a fact sheet on the included cigars. All of this is in an OD Green cardboard box with the Cigar Crate logo on top.  Shipping is included in the monthly subscription price of $39.95 (or $37 if you commit to a six month plan).


The June line up included a Caldwell Blind Man’s Bluff Robusto, a Flor de las Antillas Robusto, a Blanco Nine toro and a Liga Privada No.9 Robusto.  I smoked all four cigars over the last three days, and all of them were in perfect condition, burned well and happened to all be cigars that I have smoked and like. Actually, the Liga Robusto is one I haven’t smoked in that size, I’ve really only smoked the Parejos, and maybe a Belicoso here and there. I liked it, I wonder why a cheapskate like me hasn’t tried the smallest size? Of the four, they were all good, but I think I like the Blanco Nine the best. The important thing is that they arrived ready to smoke.























In a subscription service like this, quality and condition are key. The website shows what the next month’s selection will be, so if you approach this month to month you can make an informed decision before you commit. Nothing worse than being surprised with cigars you may know you don’t care for every month! With shipping included, and the donation to Operation: Cigars For Warriors, Cigar Crate seems like a very nice little program. As an added bonus, Veljko has provided a discount code just for us!  Use the code CRAIG at checkout to get a 10% discount!


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





Filed under Review

Tortuga, Box Pressed Liga Privada, and Black Label Trading Co. Cigars

TortugaReserva_ElCoyoteNegro_600It’s been a crazy week, I posted a contest on Wednesday, and a humor/ad post on Friday, more than my usual output.  I thought the Rocky for President was humorous, and while we all know it’s not a possibility Constitutionally, there are some very good points raised in the satire piece.  Thanks to my friends at Famous for letting me in on that one as well as sponsoring the contest! This week’s cigar coverage goes back to Sunday, when I selected a nice Tortuga 215 Reserva El Coyote Negra Cedro No.600 from the humidor. It had been a long day, we had a great breakfast with the kids and grandkids, which was only slightly diminished by a migraine. I wanted a sure thing after a day building a chicken coop with my wife, daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters, something great to  finish off a nice day. I really love this dark Brazilian wrapped cigar, a beefy toro at 6½ x 56.  It’s sweet, it’s full flavored and perfectly constructed.  The cedar sleeve gives it a little something different from most Brazilian Oscuros, and it’s among my favorite cigars of the last couple years. Highly recommended along with the rest of the Tortuga range.


Liga PrivadaNoFast-forward to Thursday when I picked out the box pressed Liga Privada No.9 toro, which is exclusive to the Drew Estate Lounge at Corona Cigars in Orlando (officially called the Liga Privada No. 9 Box Pressed Toro Corona Cigar Company Exclusivamente) I believe there are eight exclusive box pressed cigars that Drew Estate has made for this lounge, a couple Tabak Especiales, a Herrera Esteli, a Natural, and Undercrown and Natural. The box press makes this toro feel like a corona gorda, whether it’s the press or getting used to ring gauges larger than 56, I don’t know. Anyway, it was a great representation of the Liga Privada No. blend. the draw and burn were perfect. This cigar has a flat head, like the aptly named CAO Flathead, and the less aptly named CroMagnon Neanderthal. I used the 9mm ScrewPop Punch on this one, as I generally do with similarly constructed cigars, it’s just easier than trying to cut it any other way.  This worked fine, the flavors were very much the same as its round counterparts, savory, satisfying and delicious. The press gives it a little bit of a different feel, but otherwise it’s quite similar. It’s nice to have options though. Is it too much to dream of a Nica Rustica box press?


BLaLabelTradingCo_LastRites_RobustoYesterday my wife and I took a walk to Panera Bread for lunch (free bagels every day this month, and I’m trying to reduce my carb intake!). For the walk home (it’s 1½ miles each way) I brought along a Black Label Trading Company Last Rites, which was given to me by the new Boutiques United sales dude, Alex (not to be confused with the old Boutiques United sales dude Alex, who is the new Drew Estate sales dude).  This is a chunky robusto, 5″ x 54, but also comes in a 6″ x 60 with box pressed versions of each, which is a unique and interesting twist. I smoked the round version, but now I feel compelled to try out the box pressed version, very clever sales ploy! I had my Xikar V cutter on me, so I gave this a V-cut and it worked out perfectly.  The cigar started out with a very intense “dirty” flavor, and I mean that in the best possible way. It was a like a really strong cup of black coffee, dark roast, much like the cup I was in the midst of drinking, only more like the pot that had been left on the burner for an hour or so. It settled down to a very enjoyable espresso/cocoa flavor after a while and finished strong (literally and figuratively).  I’ll definitely be looking to sample more in the Black Label Trading Co. Line, and now that they have partnered with the Boutiques United folks (previously known as House of Emilio) I’m sure I’ll see them around more as they have a pretty strong presence in my area.


That’s all for today, I did smoke a couple other cigars this week, the Rocky Patel Super Ligero Toro I smoked Friday to celebrate Rocky’s announcement (snicker) was much stronger than I remember and about kicked my a$$…I should probably stick with the lancero in this line, although I love the flavor. I also smoked a cigar that was highly recommended at a local shop that was just mediocre, which I alluded to in my Wednesday contest post. Not bad, but not worth typing about.  There was another sample of a new cigar that just wasn’t ready, so I’ll let the rest of the sample rest for a few weeks before taking about it. I’m against trashing a cigar in just about any circumstance. Anyway, thinking about checking out a lounge in Wilmington we recent;y heard about today, I’ll let you know how that turned out. Until the next time,







Filed under Review

Neya, Villliger, Kings and a Couple of Cigars from Drew Estate at the Wooden Indian

It’s Labor Day weekend where we ironically get an extra day of work off, and that means the guy remodeling my bathroom also took today and tomorrow off. We had a frustrating day with plumbing yesterday, but more on that later.  I hope everyone is enjoying this last weekend of summer, a milestone which passes every year and just depresses the hell out of me.  I like summer, sue me. Soon we’ll be back to bundling up, turning the heaters on, and not just being able to walk out to get the paper in your bathrobe (or, the winter bathrobe comes out if you’re a robe fan). Autumn sucks, Winter sucks and Spring is OK because it means it’ll be summer soon.  That’s enough of my bitching, I manage to enjoy cigars year round despite the weather, and I certainly did that some more this week.


Duran Neya_YankeeI received two samples of the Duran Cigars Neya F8 cigars from Miguel at the IPCPR show, and I selected the Yankee which is a 6″ x 60. My alternative was the “Big Jack” at 7″ x 70, aptly named after Jack Toraño, Duran Cigar’s Marketing/Sales manager. 7″ x 70 is a time commitment. I did smoke the Yankee, and it was a great tasting smoke. This cigar is made in Nicaragua, has a Ecuador Habano wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and filler and is priced in the $7 range. It wasn’t particularly powerful or “in your face”, but it had nice, smooth subtle flavors.  It almost made me wish I had smoked the larger cigar, as it would have been that much more enjoyment. I know my local shop carries some Duran cigars, and I’m going to have to see if they have the Neya, because it’s one I want to smoke again.


Villiger_Celebration125Two years ago Villiger celebrated their 125th anniversary, and the cigar they released in the U.S. to commemorate the occasion was a really nice smoke.  It turns out they had an even better version that they released in Europe, the Celebration 125th Anniversary, and this is starting to be distributed in selected shops here now. The sample I received was a 6″ x 50 toro, and was packed in a reusable black gloss tube, the kind that “pops” when you open it quickly. I have a collection of tubes and I like having these around for the odd occasion I carry a single cigar around, or have one un-cello’d that I want to protect (assuming it fits!).  The blend is top-secret, it’s been rumored to contain some Cuban tobacco, although I’ve had European Villiger execs infer that the machine-made Export has some Cuban tobacco in it too. I suspect it wouldn’t be hard to get away with that,  but I remain skeptical (not to say the little Villiger Export isn’t a tasty smoke). The tube is probably a good idea for this cigar because the wrapper color is just plain weird. It’s got an olive tinge to it, somewhere in the shadows between the beige of Connecticut Shade and Candela. To my eye it was unappealing, and I would pass over it on a tobacconist shelf based just on the color of the wrapper. However, this is a great tasting and performing cigar, and it should be as it commands a hefty price. It burned perfectly, was subtle with some sweetness, and nothing I would guess as Cuban, although there are those who get the flavors of Havana cigar. Despite what I consider an ugly colored wrapper (although it was smooth and uniform, just not the color I look for) this was another great cigar.


Kings_KingofKingsBroadleafI’ve been questioned as to whether I love every cigar I smoke, and the answer in “of course not”, but I just choose to feature cigars I rather enjoy here, and I value my cigar time such that I shy away from smoking cigars I don’t like!  Another cigar I do like quite a bit was the Kings Cigars King of Kings Broadleaf. I got to try this cigar at the IPCPR show when we caught up with the very fun group from Kings: Anwar, Pete and Greg. We met these guys when they debuted King’s at the 2013 IPCPR show and developed a raport. Unfortunately I never see Kings Cigars on my local shelves, so I had been missing out on this Pennsylvania Broadleaf monster. The King of Kings vitola is a 6″ x 64 box press, and, looking at the website, it appears that they also have this in Brazilian Arapiraca as well as the original Habano. Damn, there’s another cigar I have to try to find!  This cigar is a heavy, dark chocolate flavor bomb, a perfect desert cigar, sweet, but also savory, quite a nice smoke.  I savored this one until my fingers nearly burned. I had, on a whim, double punched this one, giving me a bit of a figure 8 hole, and that worked perfectly, I never had the need to open it up. I was impressed, as I have been with the Kings line. These guys make some good cigars.


Liga9Yesterday I installed a pedestal sink in our powder room, which took much profanities, irritation and trips to the hardware store. I also had to fix the screen on the front door twice, as Macha the three-legged pitbull realized that it took little to no effort to go through it. I still have a little swearing to do at the plumbing work today, but I got to a stopping point yesterday and headed down the The Wooden Indian Tobacconist in Havertown, PA to stop by their annual charity event with Drew Estate benefiting TECHO, who builds housed for the underprivileged in Nicaragua (of which there are many). There is generally a huge auction of Drew Estate stuff as well as some Original art by Jessi Flores and his Subculture Studios. The turnout was impressive, and I only hung around for a Liga Privada No.9 Parejo, a little over an hour. After the frustrations of the day I felt I deserved to treat myself to a LP. Of course the Liga was excellent, and after a short conversation with Pedro Gomez, the DE Factory spokesmodel and Cigar Safari master of ceremonies, I decided that Ligas are great, but if I can get two NicaRustica_RobustoNica Rustica’s for the price of one Liga I can be very happy. When I got home, I set about testing this theory, which may be considered heresy by many. I got one sample of the Nica Rustica in Robusto at the IPCPR show, and picked up a handful at the event, so I took to the porch and lit up the show sample. I’m right, of course. I find the Nica Rustica to be as pleasing to me, if not more, than the Liga No.9.  I found it to have a similar dark cocoa espresso flavor and just as rich. I make sure I always have these on hand, it’s one of my go-to cigars. I like them so much I over paid for a bundle of the Bellys when we went to the release party in Louisville in July (that worked out pretty well because I won a MUWAT ashtray too). I won’t turn down a Liga Privada and they remain special occasion cigars, but the Nica Rustica is an awesome smoke.


That’s it for me, off to spend Labor Day weekend trying not to labor too much. whatever you do to celebrate, be safe, and enjoy a fine cigar, I know I will be!  Don’t forget to go back to my last post and enter to win some cool Ventura Cigars and Psyko Seven stuff! Contest ends Wednesday. Until the next time,





Filed under Review