Tag Archives: Room 101

A Fratello Cigars Event, a La Aurora, a L’Atelier and a Contest!

FrFriday evening we took a family trip over to the Wooden Indian cigar shop in Havertown, PA to have a visit with Omar de Frias and his amazing Fratello cigars. When I say family, my wife sometimes joins me on these trips, but this time my son Corey came along, and, at the invitation of the shop owner, Dave, Macha joined us too. Macha loves these outings as she gets a lot of attention and loves everybody. She was well-behaved, most of the time just laying down and relaxing, something I wish she’d do at home when we get back from a long walk and I just want to finish my cigar and she wants to play in the yard! Anyway, she had a great time, and I smoked one of my favorite cigars from last year, the Fratello Bianco Boxer. This is a box pressed torpedo wrapped in a beautiful San Andrés wrapper,  Dominican binder and fillers from Pennsylvania, Nicaragua and Peru. What distinguishes the Boxer from the regular Bianco line, and this holds true with the regular and Oro Boxers as well, is that they use a little extra ligero in the blend. Not only does the cigar smoke perfectly and taste amazing, it’s got a little extra kick! I picked up a few more for the humidor, along with some other goodies, and enjoyed a great evening at the Wooden Indian with my buddy Omar. It was the fist time I’ve seem Omar without his goatee, is that the breaking news here? Omar Shaves Goatee!…only at CigarCraig.com, Sorry Halfwheel and Cigar-Coop, I was first with this bombshell!


LaAurora DE ParkYesterday was a beautiful Saturday to go to the track, and my daughter decided to have our grand-daughters joint birthday party in the picnic grove at Delaware Park. We got there early to secure a spot, and while we were waiting for everyone I smoked a La Aurora Preferido Corona in the Diamond or Broadleaf wrapper. Since I smoked this the first time over two years ago the pungency and cloying flavor I got then has settled down and it’s more like what I would expect from an aged Connecticut Broadleaf. It was a little over the top the last time I smoked it, but it was slightly underwhelming to me yesterday. Honestly, I forgot that I didn’t really like this cigar the first time around, but was looking forward to a tasty Broadleaf cigar. I usually don’t choose my granddaughters events to enjoy a cigar, but when it’s reasonably appropriate, like at the track 45 minutes before they arrive, I go for it, and it’s usually something from La Aurora because Aurora is also my daughter’s name and how could she get mad at me, right? It works in my head. Anyway, I didn’t lose all my money, had a nice day playing the ponies and hanging with the family.


L'Atelier_LAT38SpecialLast night I rummaged through the Lancero tray and came up with a L’Atelier LAT 38 Special. This 7½” x 38 Lancero was a beauty, with a dark, Sancti Spíritus Ecuador wrapper, binder and filler from Nicaragua rolled at the My Father Factory in Nicaragua. I wanted to smoke something from the Johnson family of cigars, but I was only finding rubustos, and I craved more than that. I have a ton of rubustos in the humidor and should probably just go on a rubusto bender and work them down. There was a time when that was my vitola of choice, but I’ve either gotten more patient or have more time because I want a toro or larger more times than not. I digress, theLAT 38 was a beauty, and the flavor was outstanding. It had the savory and sweet flavor I’d expect more from the Broadleaf than the Sancti Spiritus that the L’Atelier line is known for. I can’t remember when I got this, it may have been at an event at a shop in Colorado I was at back in 2014, but it was good. I haven’t found many cigar in any of Pete Johnson’s portfolio that don’t satisfy my palate. My only complaint with this cigar was that it suffered from Nomex Wrapper Syndrome (Nomex is the stuff that electrical wiring is wrapped with so it doesn’t burn) it required a lot of attention with the lighter, and I was being careful not to overheat the cigar since Lanceros can easily be ruined by smoking too aggressively.  The humidor these are in stays in the mid to low  60s so it wasn’t wet.


June PrizeSince we got to the track early yesterday they were giving out hats, and since I’m not a huge hat wearing guy, I figured it might be a good time to have another giveaway. I’ve assembled some odds and ends that have been collecting for a while to go with the Delaware Park hat. There are a couple of bottle openers including one for your key chain from Nomad Cigars, a torch lighter from El Artista, a couple cutters, a highly collectible Matt Booth Room 101 punch cutter, a Ninety Degree magnetic cigar holder and a nice Balmoral flask. As always, a few cigars might fall into the box as I’m packing it up, it happens, I can’t help it! So the usual rules apply, must be of legal smoking age in your municipality, one entry by way of leaving a comment on this post, and have fun! I’ll pick a winner next Sunday, June 11, 2017. 


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






Filed under Contest, Events, Review, Stores

La Sirena, Davidoff and a Room 101 Cigar an News from Veritas Cigar Co.



La Sirena Trident SidebySideHappy Easter Sunday to all who celebrate! Every year I think I should let a cigar dry out for a while then re-humidify it and report on the process, but that seems like it could be sacrilegious to some, so I don’t do it. The first reason I don’t do it is because I don’t want to commit a sin against cigars, and then there’s the whole resurrection comparison that wouldn’t float with some people. So completely unrelated to that, Friday I found myself in the mood for something from  my friends at La Sirena Cigars, and I went deep into the dwindling supply of the original La Sirena Tridents, the ones made at the My Father factory. Now days they are made at La Zona, and are still excellent, and here’s how to tell them apart if you come across them in the wild: the new one’s have the second, thin band that’s under the enormous band centered on the primary band, and on the old ones you can see the thin band before you remove the large one. I strongly recommend buying all you can carry of the old ones if you come across them, they have aged spectacularly.  This four-plus year old cigar burned perfectly, had great savory flavors with a bit of a spice in the beginning and hints of sweet tobacco throughout. If I could go back in time I would, at a minimum, leave this box alone for four years, and, ideally, stock my humidor with boxes upon boxes of La Sirenas. That’s not to say that the current production of La Sirenas aren’t great too, and I’ll be interested in seeing if I’ll be kicking myself for smoking most of the box of Devines before the four or five-year mark. I wonder how the five-year old Dubloons I have in the humidor are faring?


Davidoff_Chefs EditionYesterday I smoked another of the Davidoff Chefs Edition cigars as I will be featuring that in an upcoming Prime Living Magazine article. If you feel so inclined, you can see  my articles in the Gentlemen’s Room section of the Prime Living Website.  I wrote put a lot of information about this cigar in last week’s post about the event at Davidoff of Geneva in NYC, so I won’t reiterate it here, except to say that some additional research has turned up that the wrapper is Ecuador Habano. There are some places you might find it listed as Dominican Habano, but that would be incorrect based on credible sources. Anyway, after smoking this cigar in a crowded social situation, and relaxing in private, I maintain that it is an wonderful cigar, not without some strength, loaded with flavor and I can see where it would pair well with food. I was going to snap a picture of me smoking the cigar with one of our chickens on my lap and say it paired well with chicken, but I was too busy enjoying the cigar. Every cigar should smoke this well, of course, every cigar doesn’t have a $30 price tag.  Good smoke for a special occasion, which for me was a nice Saturday afternoon.


Room 101 Big Payback HuesoLast night I took a walk with the Davidoff’s cousin, a Room 101 Big Payback Hueso, the 6″ x 60 Nicaraguan Puro. This cigar is a bit of a polar opposite of the Chefs Edition, it’s one sixth the price at around $5, it comes in boxes of 50 for less than the price of a box of ten of the Davidoff. It lacks the finesse, sophistication and nuance of it’s fancier relative, but it’s still a pretty darned tasty cigar!  My example had a burn that was very good, I had to re-light it a couple of times because I wasn’t paying enough attention to it, but that’s on me. In this particular instance I would have been better served with the Robusto size version of this, the Hueso smoked for about 2 hours, not that I didn’t have the two hours to spend, I guess maybe, as the second cigar of the day, I was just ready to do something else after about an hour and a half. Davidoff is selling down the Room 101 lines, and they will no longer be in production, which is a shame, as there are several blends I’ll miss, and this reasonably priced line is one of them. I only have a handful in the humidor, I guess I should grab some more before they are gone.


Finally, I constantly receive press releases with the request to pass them on, and you know that I m not the guy who posts a press release the minute I receive it. Plenty of people do, nothing wrong with this, if it fits with your style, go for it. I don’t feel the need to repeat what other people do if I can help it.  That being said, I did receive this from the folks at Veritas Cigars and something makes me think they are based in my general vicinity someplace, I remember running into them at the Delaware Cigar Festival back in 2011 or 2012. Now t’s my mission to go out and find some of their cigars.


Veritas Cigars proudly announces that Chris Weber has become the Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Veritas Cigars. “Like anything worth doing, this has been a labor of love for all those who have brought the brand to its current state of excellence, and I stand behind this cigar line, made great by the challenges I’ve faced, and I am poised to bring the brand to new heights,” stated Mr. Weber. To facilitate the continued evolution of the company, Veritas is moving Nicaraguan production to the fabled Black Label Trading Company’s factory, Oveja Negra, and the innovative expert cigar master James Brown. “In working with James I came to love his passion for blending and am excited to be working together to bring Veritas Cigars to the next level,” stated Chris. When asked about the new addition to his factory James Brown stated, “this is a tough industry for small companies. It’s hard to get the attention you need to create a premium product. Our goal is to help support other boutique brands and grow the premium-cigar market.” The transition will take time to complete with new product being scheduled to hit retailers at the end of July of this year.


Oddly, I have not smoked many cigars from the Black Label Trading Company lines, which is something else I’ll have to work on. That’s all for now, until the next time,





Filed under News, Review

A La Barba, an 1881 Perique Bold, a Room 101 and a Chogui Dos77 Cigar

La Barba_One&OnlyHmmm….I just realized all four cigars I’ve smoked so far this week have had a number theme, starting with the La Barba One & Only, a generous gift from my not so secret Santa, George,  this past Christmas. This cigar was a toro sized cigar with an Ecuador Habano wrapper and undisclosed binder and filler made at the William Ventura factory in the Dominican Republic. This is a limited edition cigar in the La Barba line, which is the creation of Tony Bellatto. This was a really well-balanced and sweet smoke on the milder side of medium to my palate. It was perfectly constructed and worked exactly like a great cigar should. This was one of several great cigars George sent, and I thank him very much for sending me some great cigars I wouldn’t normally have a chance to sample.


1881PeriqueBold_ToroI’ve been really enjoying the 1881 Perique line from Tabacalera Incorporada in the Philippines. This was a surprise since I had a bad experience with Philippine cigars in the 90s and swore off them. Of course, in the latter 90s there were a LOT of crappy cigars coming from everywhere, and I especially disliked Filipino and Indonesian brands. So I was skeptical, but have really enjoyed the cigars from Tabacalera Incorporada, especially the 1881 Perique, which use Perique tobacco from Louisiana in the blend. This time around I smoked the 1881 Perique Bold toro, with a natural wrapper. The Perique gives a unique spice to the full-bodied blend, which also features aged Philippine and Brazilian tobacco. These are definitely interesting cigars.


Room101_UncleLeeYesterday I  lit up a Room 101 Uncle Lee that I picked up a few months ago when Matt Booth was at the Bethlehem, PA downtown Cigars International store. I recently bought a box (of 10) of these at Holt’s very inexpensively, around $40 for the box with shipping. I really liked this cigar when I smoked it a while ago and figured having a box in the humidor wouldn’t be a bad thing. The Uncle Lee is a 6½” x 50 in the Ranfla shape that is in several of the other Room 101 lines, including the Room 101 Johnny Tobacconaut where it’s called the Ranflactic. Uncle Lee was Matt Booth’s uncle who introduced him to the enjoyment of cigars. I find the Uncle Lee to be an excellent cigar with a bright, refreshing flavor. It’s smooth, it tastes great, and I like this as a change of pace.  Like the rest of the Room 101 line, I’m afraid when they are gone, they are gone. We’ll miss you Matt!


Chogui_Dos77_RobustoTonight I grabbed a Chogui Dos77 Rogusto that I picked up a few months ago at B and B Cigars in Chestnut Hill, PA when I went down to hang out with Vince, the manager of the shop, and Steve Saka. I had heard a lot of great things about this line, so I figured I’d try it out. This is a  cigar that until recently was only available in the Dominican Republic, where the cigar is made. For some reason, as stated on the inside of the band, were supposed to “Fear the F*cking Bird”, with a bird where the “*” is.  I’m not sure what that’s all about, but I wasn’t real fond of #Fear the F cking Birdthe flavor of this cigar. I know some people who might be a fan, I think this is a cigar that to folks who like the sour flavors might appreciate, but it’s not for me. The plus side was the construction was exceptional, it was firm, burned straight as an arrow with a nice, flat ember telling me how much care is taken in the blending and leaf placement. I wanted to like this cigar, it wasn’t inexpensive, and I’ve heard raves about it. There are a lot of cigars that I don’t “get” that people love, so don’t go by me! Happily, of the vast variety of cigar I smoke, it’s rare that I get one that I don’t take some enjoyment from, and the smoking of this cigar was certainly not unpleasant, the flavor just wasn’t for me.


That’s plenty from me for tonight, it ended up being a longer post than I wanted to write, but that’s the way it goes!  Until the next time,





Filed under Review

A Short Story, a Big Payback and a Couple Rocky Patel Fifty-Five Cigars

Fuente_ShortStory_MaduroFinally over the sinus thing for the most part, I trust my taste buds again, without question, and I know this because I smoked a Fuente Short Story maduro Thursday that was just a wonderful little cigar. I’ve had this in my humidor for a while, I figured since I just got some maduro Best Sellers, and I got off to a late start, this 4″ x 49 perfecto would be perfect. The Short Story has been around for as long as I can remember, which, in cigar terms, is a little over 20 years. It’s a cigar my wife would smoke when she enjoyed cigars. Back then it was just in the Cameroon wrapper, and is still a delicious cigar. The maduro has a broadleaf wrapper and has a little “dirtier” flavor to me, which I love. It’s rich, earthy and dark chocolaty. I have various Hemingways in my humidor, it seems I buy the maduros when I stop in Holt’s, they always seem to have them. It’s amazing how the Fuentes can make a cigar that tastes the same over the last  years! One odd note on the Short Story: while the rest of the Hemingway line has “Hemingway” on the boxes, the Short Story does not, yet it’s listed under that line on Fuente’s website.


BigPaybackFriday I was in the mood for a substantial cigar, so I went with a Room 101 Big Payback Hueso, the 6″ x 60 gordo in the line. I picked some of these up last summer when I was at Cigars International’s downtown Bethlehem store when Matt Booth was hanging out there. Ironically, I was listening to Matt on Kiss My Ash Radio while enjoying this cigar. I was a little bit behind, so the episode was two weeks old. Any time Matt appears on any show it’s a treat, full of surprises, he’s a hoot. Unfortunately, Matt is leaving the cigar industry and Davidoff is reportedly selling of the cigar under the Room 101 brand. the Big Payback line is/was a budget friendly line, a Nicaraguan Puro rolled in Honduras. I really like these cigars, in both the Nicaraguan wrapper and the Ecuador Connecticut wrapper, it’s a solid cigar that I find very appealing. I just got a box (10) of the Uncle Lee, I suppose I need to put some more of the Big Paybacks on the shopping list before they are gone for good. It’s a great cigar for a little over $6.


Yesterday my wife and daughter wanted to do some shopping at the King of Prussia Mall, one of the largest malls in the country and only fifteen minutes down the road.  One of my favorite things about shopping with my wife is that I can let her shop while I go to International Tobacco and sit and have a cigar. It usually ends up being a very costly cigar, but that’s OK.  Yesterday the selection was RP 55 Coronakinda slim, and the humidor tends to the classic side, without a lot of boutiques, they do have Davidoff, Padron, and many of the usual suspects. They have a coffee bar with soft drinks and are generally quite hospitable and friendly. I usually look for something I haven’t had, of course, so I picked up a couple of the Rocky Patel Fifty-Five, a “Corona” (4″ x 55) and a Toro for later. Since the Fifty-Five is inexplicably not listed on the website, I linked to Famous Smoke Shop’s listing for this, and would like to direct you to the new ad in the right sidebar. If you make a habit of shopping at Famous, click through the ad and maybe I’ll make a little dough on the side to support my “research”. They also offer a discount code, so we both win. Anyway, I lit up the pudgy little perfecto and was intrigued with the flavor. They say this cigar has Nicaraguan fillers and wrapper, and a Costa Rican binder, which you don’t see every day. RP 55 Corona-damageI got a mintyness throughout the smoke that was different and enjoyable. Unfortunately, there was a bit of chip at the cap of the cigar that I didn’t notice which resulted in the wrapper coming off completely with about an inch and a half left. I probably could have gotten a replacement if I had let the shopkeeper cut it for me, but I’m a DIY kinda guy and carry my own tools, so I didn’t press the issue. I haven’t had this kind of thing happen in a very long time, and I don’t expect it from a $9+ cigar. (As I write this, I think of the last time I wrote this and it was about another RP cigar….bad luck, I guess). Verdict: loved the flavor, hated the fact that the wrapper came off and I had to mess with it at all.


RockyPatel_Fifty-five_ToroSo intrigued by the flavor of the little 4″ x 55 “Corona” was I  that I look my evening walk with the Toro version of the Rocky Patel Fifty-Five. I suppose I should get one of these for my own 55th birthday in a year and a half, these were made to celebrate Rocky’s 55th birthday. As 55 is an unusual ring gauge for a cigar, I suspect a lot went into making these with special molds and all. The Rocky Patel Fifty-Five Toro is 6 ½” x 55, and has the same make-up as the little guy, both cigars have a bit of a taper at each end, which in my mind puts them into the perfecto category. I gave the Toro a much closer inspection, I certainly didn’t want to repeat the experience I had earlier in the day. I was pleased to find no flaws in this cigar, although the draw was a little on the restricted side until it got going. I found the same mintyness, with an occasional minty-cinnamonyness here and there. It was very intriguing to me, it’s so rare that I encounter an unusual flavor in a cigar any more.  While I wasn’t thrilled dropping north of $11 on a cigar, this one really didn’t bother me, I found it so interesting and special. I also don’t mind spending a few bucks in a local shop that provides the service of “husband day-care” while the better half shops, if people don’t spend money there it won’t be around!


In some news, I received an e-mail from Gaby Kafie of Kafie 1901 Cigars announcing that they are opening, or have opened, their own factory,  “Tabacalera G. Kafie y Cia”,  in Danli, Honduras. They were previously working with the Reyes family’s factory, having their cigars made along side such classics as Puros Indios and Cuba Aliados. Last year, Dr. Kafie introduced the Kafie 1901 Coffee with proceeds going to Cigar Rights of America.  Best of luck to Dr. Kafie and his family, I know he has a strong passion and hope he has few obstacles to success. Also of note is General Cigar Company‘s announcement that they will be adding Temple Hall Estates to their Foundry division’s FTC Heritage Series. the original Temple Hall Factory opened in Jamaica in the ’40s, and the Connecticut shade wrapped cigar will pay homage to that factory. This line joins the re-imagined Bolivar and Ramon Allones brands in the Foundry line-up. Will Cooper has the full story here.


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










Filed under News, Review

A Room 101 Event and a Cavalier Geneva White Series Cigar

CI_DowntownSunday I had mentioned that we were going to Cigars International‘s Downtown Bethlehem store where Matt Booth was having a Room 101 event. We got there (it’s about an hour and a half drive), to find out there was a Celtic festival going on, making it difficult to find a place to park!  After driving around for another thirty minutes we finely found a place to park and made our way to the store. The Downtown store is a a small shop with a couple of chairs but a rather large selection. Fortunately, it was a nice day, and they had tables and chairs on the sidewalk. There was a lot of foot traffic, mostly oddly costumed folks in kilts and whatnot. They even had Celtic music playing on street side Room101_BigPayback_CT_Huesospeakers. And then there was Matt Booth. This was a cool event, as there weren’t lines of people there for the event, so there was a lot of good one on one time with Matt. He even had his attorney there, which, if you follow him on social media, is what he calls his young son, who is about as cute as can be. I bought a hand full of cigars and lit up a Room 101 Big Payback Connecticut Hueso, the 6″ x 60 gordo in the line. This was a very good cigar, and to my surprise, Matt was smoking one as well, in the robusto size, and said that it’s his recent go-to cigar. It was a nice, smooth and very flavorful cigar, quite a nice smoke for a beautiful afternoon in good company. I had gotten some of the Nicaraguan wrapped Big Paybacks too and almost regretted not getting more of the Connecticut, although I like the original Big Payback as well.  If you ever have occasion to spend some time with Matt Booth, jump on it, he’s one of the more interesting gentlemen in the cigar industry!


Room101_UncleLee_RanflaWhen I got home I lit up a  Room 101 Uncle Lee, a cigar Matt made to pay tribute to his uncle who introduced him to cigars. I only bought a couple of these as they only had a couple left, I would have bought a 10 count box if they hadn’t already sold out. The Uncle Lee is only made in the Ranfla size, the 6½ x 50 perfecto size that you find in Room 101’s Johnny Tobbaconaut line, the new Chief Cool Arrow, and the Namakubi line. This was a really interesting cigar with an Ecuador Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan Corojo binder and Honduran and Dominican Corojo fillers, so lots of Corojo. There was a flavor sensation akin to mint that wound it’s way through the smoke. This was a really nice cigar, I enjoyed the crap out of it, and may have to pick up a box. Matt mentioned that CI bought the remaining inventory, so they might be the only game in town for that cigar.  It was a really nice cigar day.


Cavalier of Geneva_WhiteSeries_DiplomateLast night I went into the IPCPR sample humidor and pulled out an interesting cigar from a booth we just happened upon on our last day at the show. Cavalier of Geneva is a Swiss cigar company, and their cigars feature a 24 carat gold diamond on the wrapper. I smoked the Cavalier of Geneva White Series Diplomate, a 5½ x 56 with a pigtail cap. the cigars feature a five country blend, Habano wrapper,  Connecticut binder and fillers from Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Paraguay. The cigar was a nice, well-balanced smoke, on the milder side in strength, but medium in flavor. It burned well, and the gold embellishment on the wrapper had no effect in flavor or burn, but it was kind of neat to watch it burn. These were supposed to be available in the US as of August 1, and are being distributed by Dallas Texas-based CigarArt. I’m very interested in trying the maduro in this line, and I should have smoked it tonight, but, for whatever reason, I decided against it. The San Andrés Negra wrapper over Arapiraca binder sounds quite intriguing.


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





Filed under Events, IPCPR, Review, Stores