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Oscar Habano and Tatuaje Pudgy Monsters Mummy Cigars

OscarHabano_SixtyHappy Wednesday everyone!  Over the weekend I picked up a couple of the Oscar Habano cigars with the candela outer wrapping.  I selected the Sixty for my Monday evening walk. It looks pretty ugly at first glance, the dry, green outer wrapping, a candela leaf taking the place of cellophane, but under that is a beautiful Ecuador Habano wrapper over a Honduran binder and fillers from Honduras and Nicaragua. This Sixty is 6″ x 60 as you would suspect. I got a toro as well, but had the time for the Sixty, so why not?  I’m one of the oddballs in the blogging game that doesn’t mind a 60 ring cigar. This was a terrific cigar, almost worth the $13 price tag, although I expect a lot from cigars in that price range. It was smooth, rich and chocolaty with some woody notes. This is from the same factory that makes the Leaf by Oscar, which is fairly obvious given the presentation, but it’s a totally different smoke.  I’m a fan of the Leaf line, most of the wrapper varieties, at least most of them, and this compliments that range quite well. It may be a little more suave than that line. I wasn’t disappointed.

 

Tatuaje_PudgyMummyLast night I went with another cigar from the Tatuaje tour pack that I mentioned last time. Included were three of the Pudgy Monsters selections, of which I selected the Pudgy Mummy. This cigar is presented in a 5¾”x 47 size, an eighth of an inch longer and one ring gauge larger than a traditional corona gorda. I rather expected the Pudgy series to all be robustos, so this one was a nice surprise. My experience with the Tatuaje Monster series is limited, I can only really remember smoking a Mummy a couple years ago, a Wolfman, and I have a Hyde floating around somewhere, I think. The Pudgy Mummy is a Nicaraguan Puro, with a Nicaraguan Criollo wrapper, and I love a closed foot.  I decided to try a V-cut on this one, once in a while I remember I have the Xikar XV and whip it out. I figure if the draw isn’t right I can always cut it again. In this case, it gave the perfect draw, and the cigar burned well, needing very few corrections. I thought it was a bit mellower than I’m accustomed to with the Tatuaje line, very smooth and dignified. This would be e nice cigar for someone who finds many of the Tatuaje offerings to be stronger than they like. It had some nice, cedary notes with a bit of spice.  Nice cigar, I suppose it was reminiscent of the full size version. I can hardly wait to delve into the other two Pudgy Monsters examples, I believe they are the Drac and Wolf, although the Wolf band looks different from pictures I’ve seen.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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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 Tatuaje and L’Atelier Event and the Philly Cigar Festival Contest Winner

Tat1Monday evening I found myself again at Cigar Mojo in King of Prussia, PA at the Tatuaje/L’Ateliar “Oh F*ck I’m Lost” bus tour stop. This was a huge event, as you might imagine. Pete Johnson, Casper Johnson and Dan Welsh were on hand for the event, they’ve been travelling around in a beautiful tour bus and visiting stores along the tat2way. Cigar Mojo had tons of stock on hand, and appear to have had a good sales day!  I picked up a couple singles and the tour special pack with five cool cigars that I haven’t yet taken the time to identify. If someone would fill me in, I’d be grateful (what can I say, I’m lazy). I lit up a Tatuaje Reserva K222 and went about schmoozing with friends old and new. On hand was a vintage travel trailer fitted as a bar mixing drinks and a BarBQue tat3trailer serving food. They had boxes of Pork Chops, bundles of Pork Tenderloins and  Le Vignoble available with the purchase of another box of qualifying cigars, all of which sold out. I chose the K222  since I’d smoked it before and would be distracted. It was and is a great cigar, Ecuador Habano wrapper and made in Miami. It was a great event, lots of great folks and I enjoyed the evening. tat4

Tatuaje_Cojonu2006

Last night I smoked the Tatuaje Reserva Miami Cojono 2006, a 5½ x 52 belicoso. Another great smoke, rich, complex flavors of espresso and earth. It, like the K222, had a great burn and draw, and I very much enjoyed it. Tatuaje cigars have always been special occasion cigars for me, so the last couple days were pretty special. I look forward to smoking my way through the  “Oh F*ck I’m Lost” sampler. Pete and his crew are a great bunch, it’s always a treat to spend a little time with them, and I’m glad I finally got to meet Casper and Dan and was sorry KC wasn’t there.  Cigar Mojo did a good job considering there were easily a hundred people there at a time, and while the shop is a good size, that’s a large crowd.

 

It’s time to choose the winner of the ticket to the Philly Cigar Festival, happening June 3, 2017 in Pottstown, PA. I’m looking forward to hanging out with the winner at the event!  Out of the 21 entries (adjusted for those who commented that they wouldn’t be able to attend), the random number generator at Random.org spit out the number 19, which corresponds to Michael shore. Please send me your full name and contact information so I can pass it on to the event organizers to get your ticket processed.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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Epic Cigars, Literally and Figuratively, a Tatuaje and an Event

Tatuaje_ReservaBroadleaf_J21It’s been a busy couple of days, so I figured I’d start the second half of the week right with what I hoped would be a great cigar.  Last summer at the IPCPR show I stopped into Pete Johnson’s booth where he had Tatuaje, L’Atelier, and his other brands represented, and oddly it wasn’t mobbed. In previous years Pete was pretty hard to get a minute with, so I made a point to visit his booth early. I’m just getting started talking with him when a representative of the IPCPR interrupts to introduce a journalist from the middle east somewhere, who proceeded to talk to Pete for a half an hour with me standing right there, then brought in the middle east distributor who went on for another 15 minutes. I patiently waited, but chastised the previously mentioned IPCPR representative later. Members of the media interrupting retailers and vendors is a big no-no, but it’s OK to interrupt other media members. This is part of the reason I have relinquished my IPCPR membership. Point is, I finally got to talk to Pete for a while, which I greatly appreciated, and he showed us the Reserva Broadleaf series, a collection containing the original 6 Seleccion de Cazador sizes, along with J21, SW, K222 and Cojonu 2003 all with a Connecticut Broadleaf Wrapper. The whole Tatuaje_ReservaBroadleafcollection can be purchased for just under $1200, or they are available separately in bundles of ten. Pete gifted me the J21 size, ironically I had just written about the Habano version in a Prime-Living article. The J21 is a standard 5″ x 50 robusto, obviously wrapped in Connecticut Broadleaf with Nicaraguan binder and fillers. I’m not clear on whether this is rolled in Miami or Nicaragua, but it hardly matters, it’s a stellar smoke! Holy crap did I enjoy this cigar! It hit all the points I like, great burn and draw, perfect ash, and flavor like crazy. Dark cocoa and espresso all day long, with some nice spice. I loved it, and I probably put down a half-inch nub. Just what I needed, another $10+ cigar that I fall in love with.

 

BnBFriday evening I took a ride into the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia to visit BnB Cigars where they were having an Epic Cigars event. I try not to miss Dean Parsons when he comes to town, he and Mick, his sales manager and right hand man, were on hand. For a small shop, BnB has a great selection of boutique cigars as well as your standard, bread and butter cigars, packed into display cases around the shop. There’s a cozy lounge in the back too.  Vince does a great job keeping the place stocked with interesting cigars that you don’t see many places around here. I’m a big fan of the Epic line of cigars, which are made in the Dominican Republic in the same factory that Kristoff cigars come from. I picked up some of the new Maduro Fuerte, I figured it would be a safe bet since I love the regular maduro EpicMaduroFuerteline. I also wanted to try the production version of the San Andres with the Epic “E” in light-colored tobacco leaf in place of the band, and pick up some more of the Connecticut Shade La Rubia.  I smoked an Epic Maduro while I was there hanging out, which comes in a 6½ x 54 size called the Compinche, which means “buddy”.  Like the regular Maduro line, this has a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper, Cameroon binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, with more ligero than the standard Maduro line. I loved the cigar, but I didn’t find it to be too strong, at least for my tastes. It burned well, and had some very nice flavors consistent with what I love about the Epic Maduro, and that Cameroon binder ads an interesting flavor to the blend.

 

Epic_San Andres_Gran OlaYesterday afternoon I camped out on the back porch with the Flyers game on the tablet and smoked the Epic  limited edition Project E San Andrés Gran Ola, also in the 6½” x 54 size. It’s fortunate that I smoked the cigar through the first two periods of the game and I wasn’t smoking it in the last 6 seconds when the Flyers, once again, managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I might have done unspeakable things to the cigar in frustration, and that wouldn’t have been a fitting end to the cigar. This is also appropriate because Dean Parsons played professional hockey in his native epic_hockeyCanada, so he would understand.  The San Andrés wrapper is not a dark, maduro processed wrapper, it’s more of a milk chocolate-brown, with the E that must irritate the folks at the factory who are tasked with its application. I snipped off the fanned pigtail cap and lit it up, thoroughly enjoying the interesting flavors. I would put this at the upper end of medium with some light spice and creamy coffee notes. I found no flavor change whatsoever when I hit the band, in case anyone wondered. Yet another winner from Dean and Epic Cigars! Very nice smoke, but disappointing hockey game.

 

CI Ad in Newspaper CouponsMy wife was clipping coupons today from the Sunday paper and came across this one from Cigars International. I’m not promoting this deal at all (although it’s not a bad deal), just thought it was interesting that it appeared in the regular coupons part of a major news paper. I wonder how long this kind of thing will be allowed? We haven’t seen cigarette advertising in what, 30 years? More? Certainly the anti smoking folks must see this and wish they had gotten the item on the bottom part of the ad so they could call for help when they fell over in shock from seeing *gasp* tobacco…I’m sure this kind of ad is forbidden in Australia, where they have plain packaging and curtains covering the cigars in shops. It could happen here, my friends, stay vigilant and keep pressing your elected officials to try to prevent them from ruining a good thing!

 

That’s all for today, 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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