Tag Archives: Tortuga

A Tortuga Reserva Maduro, a Providencia El Padre and a Joya Black Cigar

On New Years Eve I stopped in to CigarCigars store near my house for a smoke and picked up a handful of Tortuga Reserva Maduro “El Coyote Negro” in the Cedro No. 500 belicoso size. These were, sadly, marked down, and I’d seen this box on the bottom shelf in the past. I think the right thing for me to do is to go back and grab some more.  Of course, Victor Vitale’s Tortuga line has been a Tortuga Reserva Maduro No. 500favorite of mine for several years, and I like to keep a bunch on hand, and this is nowhere near the first time this brand has come up on these pages. I was checking, and I think the first mention of Tortuga was early in 2012, in a piece I wrote after visiting the Reading Terminal Market in Philly, Victor’s home town. The El Coyote Negra No. 500 had some age, the cello was amber, and the cigar was awesome. These have a Brazilian Oscuro wrapper and Nicaraguan filler and binder, and are made in Honduras.  I’ve been hoping to catch up with Victor as it’s been way too long, but the last I heard he was working on another Ora Vivo Armand Assante cigar, which is exciting as I really enjoy those too. I think I’ve liked all of Victor’s cigars since launching Tortuga and Ora Vivo, as I mention in the article from six years ago, I wasn’t overly impressed with his ORTSAC line, although it certainly wasn’t bad (Dave Garofalo owns the ORTSAC brand now). I look forward to catching up with Victor again soon!


Providencia_El Padre_TorpedoOdd thing: I can’t remember having dreams about cigars, but yesterday morning I awoke from a dream that was very specifically about Providencia cigars. I’m not sure how that particular brand slipped into my subconscious, perhaps I spotted one or two while rummaging in the humidor recently. I took this as a sign that I should smoke one, so I rummaged again and found an El Padre Torpedo.  This is a very small brand, of the retailers listed on their website, none are in Pennsylvania, which is odd because something makes me think one of the owners of the brand has a Philly connection too.  The torpedo is a 6″ x 52 with a Nicaraguan grown Connecticut Shade wrapper, and Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers and is a really tasty shade cigar.  Their website mentions “mature cigar smokers”, I’m not sure how to take that…I’m old, but I hardly consider myself mature…but it is a great tasting and performing cigar. I had a short, stocky Providencia El Santo (with a Sumatra Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper) on deck for after dinner, but decided that I posted about these two cigars together back in July.  I found the El Padre to be a very nice, full flavored, medium cigar.


JoyadeNicaragua_Joya Black_RobustoHave you ever had a cigar that you want to like? You really should like it, because it’s from a company that makes a lot of cigars you really like, and have visited and know some of the principles.  In addition to that, it has one of your favorite wrappers. The Joya Black from Joya de Nicaragua is that cigar for me. I know it’s been highly rated, made lists, and all, I just keep trying this cigar and keep being disappointed. I’ve had a selection in my humidor for the better part of a year, and keep trying them and keep having problems. It’s nothing to do with the flavor, it has more to do with getting the flavor, as there always seems to be a draw issue with the samples I’ve smoked. It’s funny, to me, at least, of Joya’s “Modern Line-Up” including the Red, Black and Cabinetta, I only really like the Cabinetta, and I’ve enjoyed that cigar for a long time. The Red never really did it for me, and now the same with the Black. I’ll keep trying, because, like I said, I want to like this cigar, but if it comes to choosing between the Black and an Antaño of any kind, I’m smoking the Antaño.  Joya de Nicaragua is one of my favorite factories, I’ve visited twice, I know the major people there, and love most of what’s produced there (Fratello, Sobremesa included), so it pains me to not like a cigar from there.


A quick rant about top <insert number here>, I’m probably missing out by not doing a formal list.  I see social media posts by many popular cigar makers when their cigar makes a list. By not doing a Top 10 or whatever list that included those who I know would spread it around, am I passing up good exposure?  I post the memorable cigars of the year for me, and I’m comfortable with that. I’m thrilled when my posts get shared (thanks to those who do it!), but I’m here just doing whatever it is I’m doing because I love cigars, certainly not for fame and fortune. I don’t mean this as a criticism of people posting lists, but maybe it sounds that way (I have been called a cynical, sarcastic bastard).


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







Filed under Review

Cigar Jukebox, Fuente Hemingway, Tortuga and Debonaire

CigarJukeboxDo you want to hear me make a fool of myself on an international podcast?  Sure you do!  Head over to Cigar Jukebox and give the episode where I was guest DJ a listen.  I talked about recording the episode a couple of weeks ago, but failed to post the link when it dropped (as they say in the business). I guess it isn’t all that bad, the cigars were great, I have a soft spot for Candela and the Swamp Thang and Cromagnon Formorian are excellent smokes. It really was hard picking songs though, but it was fun, and it was nice talking to Dave. Give a listen and feel free to critique in the comments. What songs would you pair with those two cigars?


Fuente_HemingwayClassic_MaduroI had a bit of a throwback Thursday thing going on Thursday, I reached for a classic, a Fuente Hemingway Classic, to be exact. There are a few classic cigars I like to always have on hand, and I’m fortunate to have a selection of Fuente Hemingways around.  They aren’t all that expensive, all things considered, and they can always be counted upon to be excellent cigars. The regular Hemingway line has a Cameroon wrapper and are all perfectos, ranging from the little Short Story to the ginormous (in 1990s terms, not so much today) 9” x 52 Masterpiece.  The classic is just that, a classic, a 7”x48 perfecto that is smooth, creamy and nutty. I’m always amazed that these taste pretty much the same as I remember 20 years ago, which is why I’ll always have a box in the humidor of one size or another. Other cigars I consider classic that I make sure I have are the Padron 1964 and Ashton Virgin Sun Grown. Every now and then you see various Hemingway sizes available in Maduro (Broadleaf) and Sungrown (Ecuador).


TortugaCedroBeliI wrapped Friday up with a Tortuga Cedros Belicoso from Victor Vitale, who I haven’t heard from in a while. We’re thinking about taking a little trip up to New Hampshire, maybe we’ll run into him. I need to start thinking about hunting some more of these down, as I really enjoy them. They are a Nicaraguan puro rolled in Honduras and suit me just fine. The Belicoso is 6″x 54 and the Cedro series is round as opposed to the Reserva series that’s box pressed. I don’t really have a favorite in the line, I like them all and need to resupply soon.


Debonaire_Maduro_BelicosoYesterday, before a nasty cold came on seemingly out of nowhere, I took a walk and lamented the fact that it was the last day of Daylight Savings Time. I really wish they’d knock this crap off and leave it at DST.  With me on my walk was Macha, of course, and a Debonaire Maduro Belicoso. I guess I was on a figurado kick the later part of the week. Actually, five of the last six cigars I’ve smoked fall into that category. I’m glad I got that cigar in before succumbing to the funk of a head-cold that quickly moved south. I can’t even conceive of smoking a cigar with the way my mouth tastes…I’m not a happy camper today.  Anyway, this belicoso is also 6″ x 54 and had a sweet Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper around Dominican and Nicaraguan binder and filler, made in the DR. What a treat this was, and I’m quite sure it didn’t give me this cold. This is a pricey line, but awfully tasty and smoked right.  Phil Zanghi is a dynamic guy, if you ever get a chance to meet him or listen to an interview don’t miss it.


I gotta get a cup of tea and crash on the couch, if I’m out of commission too long I’ll have to have a contest Wednesday or some other BS cheating post…I hate do have to do that! Enjoy your early darkness for the next few months!


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

Contest Wrap-up, a Meet-up at JM Cigars, an Event at Mojo and a RoMaCraft Neanderthal

CC_Logo_xmas_sOK, a regular, non-contest post. How do I do this again?  It’s been a crazy couple weeks, hasn’t it?  Besides the 234 cigars, three ashtrays, two cutters, a lighter, and various other items, including one of a kind art and jewelry, there were some major holidays in there too. Time spent with family is the best part of the holiday for me, but doing this 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways is a load of fun too.  My unending thanks to the following companies and individuals who made all this possible, in no particular order: Eric Whitfield, Broc Jackson, Jack at Duran Premium Cigars, David and his crew at 2 Guys Smokeshop, Victoria at General Cigar Co., Fred at Nomad Cigar Co., Victor at Tortuga Cigars, Jason at Best Cigar Prices, Abe and his gang at Smoke Inn, Mel and Ron at MBombay Cigars, Bianca at Gurkha and the folks at Joya de Nicaragua and Drew Estate! As I say every year, I could do this on my own, but it would cost me a fortune! Thanks to all of them and all of you for coming back every day and entering! Next year I have some different plans, but it should still be fun, that is, unless the FDA ruins everything!   We’ll remain positive, keep calling your elected officials and letting them know that premium cigars should be exempt from regulation, and keep up your CRA memberships!


One of the things I did last week in, an effort to save on shipping and meet some new friends, was to hand deliver winnings from Days five and six. It turned out that Mike and Andrew were reasonably close by so we met up at JM Cigar in Exton, PA for a smoke.  Of course, I spent easily twice what I would have spent on shipping on cigars, but that’s way more productive. While shopping I came ERHacross a lone El Rico Habano Maduro Gran Habanaro (double corona) in a box and it look so lonely I had to add it to my cart, so to speak. I haven’t smoked an El Rico in ages, I can remember back in the ’90s when this was one of the strongest cigars on the market, a real powerhouse. It was Ernesto Perez Carillo’s brand that took a back seat to La Gloria Cubana, and I smoked a bunch of them.  It’s a minor brand now with General Cigar Co., only available in three sizes and maduro, where the original version was a natural wrapper. I thought the 7½ x 54 size would be a good size for sitting in the lounge, getting to know new friends, kinda cigar. It was good, but not as good as I remember my last one being, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I didn’t want a cigar that would distract me from conversation. As it always seems to be, meeting up to deliver a prize beats USPS every time, I felt like I have a few more friends now, and look forward to meeting up with Mike and Andrew again soon.  Thank you to them for adding to the spirit of the season!


Perdomo20thThursday I ran down to Cigar Mojo in King of Prussia, PA as they were having a Perdomo event and raffling off a tremendous Perdomo 20th Anniversary humidor. I like the Perdomo 20th a lot, especially in maduro, so I bought a hand full (as if I needed more cigars!) and got one chance in the drawing. The winner was a guy who bought a bunch of boxes of the 20th Anniversarys, so it’s hard to begrudge him the win. It was a beautiful box, but I don’t know where I would have put it, so it worked Perdomo20thHumidorout in the end. I thoroughly enjoyed a 20th Maduro Churchill while hanging out and talking to our local Perdomo rep, Joe Winder (who is probably the very first cigar company rep I ever met many years ago at a cigar event in Pittsburgh), CRA Ambassador and all-around good guy, Alan Price, who was working at the shop, owners Wade and Trae and various other customers.  I didn’t win the humidor, but I did put some great cigars in my humidor and had a relaxing afternoon.


Padron64AFHemingwayAs it was a special occasion, I selected some other great cigars that are worth mentioning. For the second year in a row, I took my Christmas Eve walk with a Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro Exclusivo, obviously a classic Nicaraguan maduro that’s like desert in cigar form. Absolutely delicious. Christmas day, after the kids and grandkids left, I sparked up a Fuente Hemingway Signature Maduro, again, a spectacular cigar that’s not unreasonably priced.  It was rich, burned perfectly and hit the spot. Yesterday Macha and I took a four mile walk with a favorite Nica Rustica Belly, maybe I’m on a bit of a Maduro kick?  I must be, because last night I lit up a cigar that caught my eye and I bought while at Mojo, a RoMa Craft Neanderthal HN, with a San Andrés wrapper. Of all the great cigars I’ve RoMa_Neanderthal_HNsmoked over the last couple weeks, this might have been my favorite. This cigar has a couple of distinctions, first, it has a flat head, and a slight taper at the foot, which I didn’t really notice until I looked at the photo, and it still looks like a robusto, as the size is listed at 5″ x 52/58. Now that I look at it, it may taper from head to foot. It could have been shaped like a pretzel for all I care, it tasted fantastic. Not only does it have a beautiful dark and oily San Andrés wrapper, but it has a Connecticut broadleaf binder, and fillers from Pennsylvania, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. About half way in to the cigar I got a really interesting and delicious spice, which really intrigued me. This was a $12 cigar and honestly, I don’t think I realized the price point when I bought them, I might not have taken the plunge. I’m glad I did. I’ve heard from people That this was a super strong cigar, and it didn’t hit me that way at all, it was full-bodied and loaded with flavor, but I didn’t feel the nicotine at all. Stellar cigar from Skip and Mike at RoMa! I used a punch in the flat head of the cigar if anyone was curious.


Cigartist1You probably want to know who won the final bonus day contest, the great painting “Wind” by Eric “The Cigartist” Whitfield. It looked like only those who really wanted and appreciated this item entered (or everyone is sick to death of my contests), so I consulted Random.org and got the number 37, which corresponds to KRUK, who I know will give this a good home, despite the relative creepiness of his comment :-).  Bryan, please send me your address so I can forward it on to Eric.  Thank you all, and don’t despair, there could well be a Happy New Year contest!


That’s plenty from me, until the next time,


Cigar Craig




Filed under Contest, Events, Review, Stores

CigarCraig’s 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways 2015 Day 5: Tortuga Tuesday!

It’s day five, and it’s Tuesday, so we’re just going to go ahead and call this Tortuga Tuesday!  Frequent readers will know that I have a deep affection for the Tortuga brand, and have since it’s inception. Victor Vitale goes to great lengths to produce the best cigars, and today we have an excellent representation of that quality. Today’s spectacular present is 20 of the Tortuga 215 Reserva Tributo, a box pressed, 6″ x 56 super premium cigar made in Honduras.  These are a Nicarguan puro, and are complex, refined and sublime. These are packaged in five-packs, not boxed (saving me shipping costs!), I can probably come up with a box if you really want one, but the box count is 27, so you’d just feel shorted :-).  It’s better this way, trust me!  Many thanks to Victor Vitale for providing these terrific smokes!


Tortuga Resreva



Monday’s winner of the terrific MBombay Cigars sampler is Jay Rabinowitz! Please send your address so I can pack this up and send it out to you.  Thanks again to Mel and Ron at Bombay Tobak for sponsoring yesterday’s contest! Someone asked in yesterday’s comments how you tell each line apart as they all have the same bands. I’ve asked this question myself which led to the line being marked on the back of the cello in marker, which is the case with these samples (as shown in the bottom picture).  I’m sure it’s something Mel and his team are looking at, bands are expensive, but they do serve the purpose of identification. The bands and presentation are quite beautiful!



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



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,




Filed under Contest