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Tabaquero, Punch and Montecristo Cigars and a Contest

tabaqueroThursday evening I ended up smoking a Tabaquero by Hamlet Paredes from Rocky Patel in the robusto format after hearing an interview with him on the Smooth Draws Radio show (I think they ripped off me website design, at least in concept!). What a fascinating story this guy has, and a very interesting cigar! For a guy who was used to blending cigars with Cuban tobacco, that is to say not a great deal of variety, he made a very interesting blend of Nicaraguan fillers, Mexican and Brazilian binders with a Mexican wrapper. If this had some Peruvian tobacco in the blend it might just be the perfect cigar for me! This isn’t the first one of these I’ve smoked, although it is the first robusto, and it’s a cigar that I should put more of in my humidors. I love the  strong, straightforward flavors of sweet earth, cocoa and coffee, which is very rich and palate coating. This is probably my favorite Rocky Patel cigar, with the Super Ligero coming in second, although there aren’t a great many RP cigars that do a lot for me.  Great cigar for me, and I’ll continue trying other sizes. I may look at the new Sungrown next time I see it in a shop, I’ve heard good things.

 

I would have been talking about another cigar here, one that a co-worker gifted me a few weeks ago, but something weird and stupid happened about a third of the way into the cigar while I was taking my evening walk. For some reason I stumbled and did a face plant on the street, smashing the cigar, scraping my chin and nose, among other scrapes and bruises. Macha was there to lick my face and see if I was OK, which I really didn’t know if I was or not yet. This whole thing surprised me because I’ve been walking for a long time, and thought I had it down pretty good. So I came home, cleaned myself up, and grabbed a Punch London Club Maduro to try to wrap my head around this turn of events, it freaked me out!  Ironically, it was on this exact date in 2012 I wrote about the London Club, it what I like to think was a pretty good article comparing the Punch and Hoyo de Monterrey lines. Give it a read and let me know what you think. I still have a few of both the Hoyo Sabrosos and Punch London Clubs, they are great little 5″ x 40 cigars, is it a thin corona or a fat panatela?  The Punch has maintained it’s richness and full flavor over the five years they’ve been in my humidors. The Broadleaf wrapper is oily and flavorful and the burn was perfect. This was a great choice to ponder the evening’s events.

 

MontecristoYesterday was a beautiful day for mid-February, temperatures in the 60s, which is a good 50 degrees over what it could be. Still feeling out of sorts, I napped a bit, and hung out in the yard with Macha and a Montecristo White Vintage Connecticut No. 2 torpedo. This is a 6″x 50 torpedo with the taper such that it feels like a smaller cigar than that. This cigar is made in the Dominican Republichas a vintage 2008 Connecticut Shade (Grown in U.S.A.), Nicaraguan binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Peru. I do like cigars with Peruvian tobacco, and I like this cigar, although I think I like the Double Corona (really a Toro, but OK) a bit better. It’s a milder cigar, with that grassyness you’ll get from the US Connecticut Shade wrapper, and a nice little spice. Certainly a quality cigar, and a good mid-afternoon choice.

 

Contest!

ContestIt’s been a while, so let’s give some goodies away!  Since I had Punch on my mind, I have a Punch Bobblehead, along with a Macanudo branded rubberized Colibri cutter and a pair of La Gloria Cubana Branded scissors. It’s always possible some cigars might fall into the box when I pack it up too, I get sloppy that way sometimes. Leave a comment here to enter, I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday! Usual rules apply, one entry per person and only comments here on this post will qualify.  Must be of legal smoking age to win.  Thanks to Victoria at General Cigar Co. for the giveaway goodies!

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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A Visit to Holt’s and Some of Their Exclusive Cigars: Tatuaje, Punch and Rocky Patel

Tatuaje_HCSReserva_MaduroSunday I stopped into Holt’s store on Walnut Street in Philadelphia after an excellent Philly Pops concert. I had gift card burning a hole in my wallet and I didn’t want to spend any of it on shipping (turns out I could have used it on the box of Room 101 Uncle Lee I bought yesterday on the website, would have made it $23 instead of $43…at $43 it was a deal too good to pass up if you like the cigars, which I do, and they will never be made again since Matt Booth left the cigar business). So I walked through the shop and picked up some of the Holt’s exclusive cigars they have. I already knew I wanted to get a couple of the Tatuaje HCS Reserva Maduro, a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapped cigar made at the My Father factory. I smoked one when I got home, and it was very good. It had some spice and some dark chocolate and I kinda wished I had stopped there and just got some more of these!  The size is a 5½” x 50 with a box press and was really a nice smoke. I’m told that the Tatuaje Verocu started life as a Holt’s exclusive, and that’s one of my favorite Tatuajes, although I really enjoyed the crap out of the HSC Maduro.

 

SanCristobal_Quintessence_RobustoMonday night I went with another cigar I got at Holt’s, although I don’t think it was exclusive to the store, but it caught my eye any way. The San Cristobal Quintessence is made again by Don Pepin Garcia and is distributed by Ashton, which is owned by the same parent company that owns Holt’s. I smoked the robusto again, another 5½” x 50, with an Ecuador Habano wrapper. I found this cigar to be milder than I thought it would be, with some flavors that aren’t really in my wheelhouse. It was fairly rich, with a dried fruit sweetness, and I’m sure a lot of people will love this, but it wouldn’t be one I reached for. The build was excellent and it performed well. Maybe some lingering sinus funk is to blame.

 

RockyPatel_Ocean ClubTuesday I went with the Rocky Patel Ocean Club, which has been a Holt’s exclusive for many years. Again with 5½” x 50, with a gentle press, where as the San Cristobal was round. Apparently I was buying cigars that fit easily in my pocket to minimize damage on the train rid home. This one had a very loose draw, and made me think of a Connecticut shade wrapper instead of the Nicaraguan wrapper, it was very light in color. This one I also found to be mild, with a different and interesting flavor. Still, I would trade this and the Quintessence for the Tatuaje, but that’s just my personal preference. I found it to be fairly mild, and the open draw made for a pretty quick smoke. As is my normal routine, I bought two of each, so I’ll revisit them at a later date. Since these have been on Holt’s shelves going back many years in my memory, I imaging they sell well enough, so whether I liked it or not is hardly relevant.

 

PunchVintage_Maduro_25I did grab some Arturo Fuente Best Seller Maduros, because I can’t seem to help but pick up something Fuente when I ‘m there. But the cigar I smoked tonight I have no regrets about. This was the Punch Vintage #25 Maduro, in the Corona Gorda (5½” x  46) size. First off, it’s a great size,  I don’t smoke enough corona gordas, but I’ve always been a fan. This is made in Honduras, with a blend of Honduran, Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers, and Connecticut Broadleaf binder and wrapper. This was like smoking a chocolate bar, I dug it. I would have been very happy just getting the Tatuaje and the Punch, both were up my alley and I really  liked the Punch Vintage Maduro.

 

I love stopping into Holt’s when I’m downtown, it’s a great place to pick up a few cigars and the lounge is a nice place to relax with a cigar. I still haven’t stopped into the Ashton Lounge upstairs, I’ve been to the predecessor, Mahogany, plenty of times, and I hear the new place is really nice. One of these days. Thanks to the folks at Holt’s for sponsoring a contest here a couple of months back as well as the helpful staff at the store! Also noteworthy was seeing Steve Saka’s Sobremesa and Mi Querida on an end cap.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

 

 

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CigarCraig’s Top Five Memorable Cigars of 2016 and A Contest Winner!

Happy New Year to everyone and thanks for another great year at CigarCraig.com. If you all keep reading, I’ll keep writing! Heck, I’d probably be writing this if nobody was reading.  I’m posting on a Saturday instead of Sunday for a couple reasons, mostly because I don’t feel like getting up early tomorrow to post something when nobody will be around to read it, and I slacked off and missed my Wednesday post, it happens. So I figured I wrap up the year with some of the cigars that were memorable to me this year,  and my criteria was simple, the cigar, no matter how many I smoked, made a positive impression on me to the point where I really want to smoke more of the cigar. These are presented in no particular order, and I know this keeps me off of Halfwheel’s annual conglomerate list, but so be it, why break the streak?

 

Maya Selva Flor Mayade Selva Grand Pressé Box Pressed Toro. This really shouldn’t be included as it was an IPCPR sample smoked on the show floor, and I typically think this is a bad place to properly evaluate a cigar. However, my approach was that I only smoked one cigar on the show floor all day, and I practically did smoke this all day. I would let the cigar go out while talking to someone, and relight it and it was still amazing. This was a brand that I had heard of but not tried, and was very impressed. Sadly, I don’t see these around the stores here, but I have to hunt some down. I know this is on;y based on one example, but it was memorable and fits my criteria!

 

RoMa_Neanderthal_HNRoMa Craft Neanderthal HN. Technically I smoked this cigar at the end of last year, but since I smoked it’s little brother, the Shallow Gene Pool, later in the year I’m going to mark it down as Memorable. I really did the candela wrapped  Fomarian ,  and smoked more of those this year than the Neanderthal, the Neanderthal stuck out in my mind as memorable. It had some strength, but most of all the flavor was exceptional and left a definite impression. The pricetag keeps it out of this cheap bastid’s rotation, but it competes favorably with other cigars at similar prices, such as a Padron 94 Exclusivo or similar. Bottm line is, there aren’t a whole lot of cigars I’d pay $12 for, but the Neanderthal is one of them.

 

Mi Querida_GorditoIt should be fairly common knowledge by now that Steve Saka and I go way back and I consider Steve a friend. Actually, in March it will be 20 years since Steve and I met face to face. So if that puts a bias on my inclusion of the Mi Querida Gordito (as well as the rest of the sizes) in this list, so be it. It could be argued that knowing Steve shaped my palate and preferences, and if that’s the case than I’m pretty lucky. I first smoke the Mi Querida Ancho Larga (toro) at the IPCPR show at the insistence of Stace Berkland, who was working in the Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust booth, and my initial impression was good, but that age would benefit the cigar, which might have been construed as saying I didn’t like it, which wasn’t the case at all. I’ve smoked several sizes in the line now, the Ancho Corto (robusto), the Muy Gordo Granda and the Gordito, which I am listing here as the most memorable. Hey, I love them all, they are exactly my style of cigar, I like the mellowness of the Muy Gordo Grande, but the punch that the little 4″ x 48 Gordito has really made an impression. I was going to include the Sobremesa Elegentes en Cedros in my list, as I found it to be an awesome cigar, with a slight edge on the also awesome Short Churchill, but I didn’t want to appear totally biased! Unfortunately the Mi Querida Gordito size might be hard to find as I think it’s fairly limited.

 

CorneliusandAnthony_Cornelius_ToroI’ve developed an affinity for milder, more complex and sophisticated cigars lately, and one new one that I find myself going to frequently is from Cornelius and Anthony, and is the Cornelius. This is a cigar that’s made at the El Titan de Bronze factory in Miami, and is just a really tasty cigar with a lot of subtlety and class. I’ve smoked several of the sizes and think the toro suits me best, although the corona gorda certainly has a lot going for it if you want a little bit of an edge to the flavor. The Cornelius and Anthony  Daddy Mac is a great smoke as well, but not nearly as memorable as the Cornelius. It’s another cigar in the over $10 range that I think is worthwhile. I put it in the same category as the Sobremesa, Davidoff, or some of the Havanas, it’s “clean” and delicious. There are some times that I chose to smoke this cigar that I remember fondly.

 

Fratello_Bianco_TheBoxerFinally, the cigar that was most memorable for me this year.  I was tempted to number this list because I knew this was number one, but really couldn’t assign numbers to two through five. At the time I said about this cigar “This was the best cigar I’ve smoked in recent memory” and I stand by that. Of course, the cigar Im referring to was the Fratello Bianco The Boxer. This is a box pressed torpedo, with  San Andrés Negro wrapper, binder from the Dominican Republic, and the fillers are Nicaraguan, Pennsylvanian and Peruvian. I dig the Bianco blend, and this tweaked version was just off the charts in flavor, and again, hit my particular flavor preference on the nose. Friggin yummy. Omar de Frias made news this year by quitting his day job at NASA to concentrate on the Fratello brand, a bold move given the whole FDA nonsense. What an amazing cigar.

 

That’s five, right?  There were a lot of runners up, the Hoyo La Amistad, the Foundation Tabernacle, the Foundry Time Flies, Leccia Des Nudos (it should have been in the top five…so close).  There were a lot to choose from but these were the most memorable.

 

Contest Winner!

 

GCCThe last contest of the year was some great stuff from General Cigar Company. We had a Flathead sign, a nice Macanudo Colibri cutter, some La Gloria Cubana scissors and a Punch bobble head. Maybe I should have included a cigar from each brand from my humidors in the contest, because that’s what I intend to include. Many people who have won my contests before can tell you that things often fall into the box when I’m packing it up (has anyone seen my keys?). The FDA says that manufacturers cant give away cigars for free, but they don’t have any say over my personal collection and what I do with it! The winner of the last contest of 2016 is Timmc71. Please send me your info so I can get these goodies out to you!  

 

That’s all for today!  Happy New Year again, and here’s to a successful 2017!

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

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CigarCraig’s Holiday Contest Number Four: General Cigar Co. and the Tommy Bahama Winner

Davidoff GolfI hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Christmas yesterday. As JJO suggested in his comment on the last post, it turns out I did have better things to do yesterday than post the winner, including having a big breakfast at our daughter’s house with the granddaughters and our kids, then taking a drive to visit more family in New Jersey. While at my bro-in-law’s in Jersey I got to smoke a glorious Sobremesa Short Churchill, which was wonderful. Christmas Eve I managed to smoke a Davidoff Golf Scorecard Edition, a gorgeous 6″ x 55 toro. These are presented in a five pack, ostensibly four cigars for your golf foursome, and one with a gold secondary band for the winner. These carry a pretty hefty price-tag , $114 for 5 at CI, who starts off the description with “Some things Bolivarare matches made in heaven – like bacon and eggs, mac and cheese, and of course, golf and cigars. “, which I find to be a rather pedestrian way to start a paragraph about a pretty expensive cigar! Anyway, it was a spectacular smoke, even though I don’t golf. It had loads of creamy, spicy flavors that were quite entertaining. It turned out to be pretty hard to find something suitable to follow such a stellar smoke, so I went with a Bolivar Royal Corona that had been floating around the humidor for 5 years or so. It was up to the task and was a great smoke, on the milder side, on par with the Davidoff. It was a pretty great couple of cigars on a reasonably nice winter’s day.

 

Contest!

GCCLet’s keep it going! I have some goodies from General Cigar for today’s giveaway!  There’s a Punch Bobblehead, a tin CAO Flathead Steel Horse sign, a pair of very nice La Gloria Cubana Cigar Scissors, and a Macanudo Inspirado Colibri Grip cutter, which is rubberized with orange blades, very sharp-looking. It’s hard to say what else might fall into the shipping box while I’m packing it up too, it’s been known to happen. Anyway, usual rules apply, leave a comment to enter,  I’ll announce a winner on Wednesday!

 

Winner!

 

Island LifestyleI almost forgot to announce the winner fo the Tommy Bahama ashtray and travel humidor, and Island Lifestyle Cigars!  I wore my blue check Tommy Bahama shirt yesterday with my blue check Vans, it was quite the look.  Many thanks to Ryan at Island Lifestyle Importers for providing this wonderful present! I can’t say how much I like the Tommy Bahama branded stuff, my wife told me I was crazy to give it away! But, giving is so much fun, so it’s off to Random.org to find the winner!  I’m not sure how this happened, but the winner is Andy Klueber.  Every once in a while someone calls their shot, but Andy chose the opposite, pessimistically entering saying he wasn’t going to win, several times! His number came up this time, and I’ll be sending him some great stuff!

 

That’s all for now! I got some chicken harnesses for Christmas so I can try taking chickens for a walk instead of Macha, that should get the neighbors talking….until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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CigarCraig’s 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways 2015 Day 8: Punch Cigars

It’s Day Eight, and once again my friends at General Cigar Company have come through with another great present for this year’s event.  New this year is the Punch Signature, an Ecuador Corojo wrapped robusto, with a Connecticut Habano binder and fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. These smoke very well, and taste great. As a mater of fact, I have one set aside for tonight, and have really been looking forward to smoking it! It’s a box of eighteen 5″ x 54 Robustos, many thanks to Victoria and everyone at General Cigar Company for today’s treat.

 

Punch

 

Yesterday we featured a travel humidor vastly improved by the talented artwork of Eric Whitfield, The Cigartist.  Make sure you visit his site and buy some of his work to class up your mancave!  There is one person who won’t have to buy a piece of his art, and that is Mike Hanna!  Please send me your address so I can pass it on to Eric.  Thank you to The Cigartist for providing this  great item!

 

 

You know what to do now, leave a comment here, check back tomorrow to see if you won!

 

RULES

 

All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment on the post of the day, if you can, try to post what you know or how you feel about today’s present, the folks donating the gift should get some feedback for their troubles! It’s not a condition to win, but it’s nice to have something to read. We did this last year and it benefits everyone. Once you’ve won, you’re out, let everyone else have a chance. Must be over 18 to win. Also, be sure to visit the links for each item. Comments on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else will not count, but feel free to spread the word!

 

Until tomorrow,

 

CigarCraig

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