Tag Archives: Ventura

Joya Black, an Island Lifesyle and Case Study by Ventura Cigars

I learned something last night…having a couple cafecitos with one’s cigar too late in the day will give me weird-ass dreams all night. I got the Moka pot out last night at my wife’s suggestion (odd since she’s mostly off caffeine) and whipped up some Cuban Coffee (Bustello). I didn’t get the sugar quite right, too much espresso, but it wasn’t bad, but boy was my sleep interrupted with disturbing dreams. I drink black coffee all day long through the week with no ill effects. I’ll have to save my Cuban coffee experiments for earlier in the day. I haven’t smoked too many cigars since Thursday, when I last posted, but I did smoke some interesting ones. I decided a revisit with the Joya JoyadeNicaragua_Joya Black_NocturnoBlack was in order. The first few I smoked had construction issues and did perform well enough for me to form an opinion. I selected an interesting size, the Nocturno, a 6¼” x 46 Lonsdale kinda size. I seem to gravitate towards toros, but I like the 46-48 ring cigars as long as they aren’t too short (unless I only have a short time for a cigar), so this seemed like a good size.  Finally I lit a smokable Joya Black. Since I’m not a huge fan of the Joya Red, I was expecting more from the Black. I guess my preference lies with the Antaño side of the Joya de Nicaragua portfolio, but I do enjoy the Cabinetta line a lot, and never really smoked something from Joya  I didn’t like. It was an “OK” maduro cigar, my excitement over this was fairly in line with my excitement over the Red. Of course, I’ll keep trying as I want to like this cigar, it’s the first time Joya has used a San Andrés wrapper on a cigar, so I really should like it.


IslandLifestyleMaduroSaturday afternoon I lit up another maduro, this one from Island Lifestyle Cigars, the folks who make all the Tommy Bahama cigar accessories. I spent some time with the guys at the IPCPR show, they are super cool guys and are making great cigars along with the excellent Tommy Bahama gear. I’ll say right now that it’s impossible to pry the factory where the cigars are made out of Rick or Ryan, I tried. They have their reasons, either it’s factory that makes cigars for everyone, or one that’s not known for anything of note, but it doesn’t matter because the quality of tobacco and construction is there. I was asked if this was a gimmick cigar, and it is not. I’ve smoked all three and they are all very, very good cigars. The maduro robusto burned forever, had a nice, sweet rich flavor that I liked. You can see what I thought about these last year here. Since it’s not officially Autumn, I didn’t want to let summer go, so the Island Lifestyle cigar made sense to me yesterday! Of course I cut and lit it with Tommy Bahama tools!


Last night I went for a toro sized cigar with a maduro wrapper, surprise, surprise, right? In 1995 when I started smoking cigars seriously, my go-to, believe it or not, was the Te-Amo Maduro Toro. I smoked a bunch of them, you could even get seconds that had Te-Amo Segundo bands on them. They were marketed as seconds, and were very inexpensive. Anyway, that might explain my affinity for the San Andrés wrapper. At the IPCPR show, the folks at Ventura Cigar Co. provided some samples of their Case Study line.  Here’s the blurb from their website:

From 1945 to 1966, Arts & Architecture magazine commissioned the rising stars of mid-century architecture to design and build a series of inexpensive, efficient model homes for the post-World War II generation. In total, 26 homes were built, mostly in the Greater Los Angeles area, by renowned architects including Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig and Eero Saarinen. These now iconic homes were designed with a minimalist, modern aesthetic and have been prominently featured over the years in Hollywood films, advertising campaigns and photo essays. The Case Study cigar project from Ventura Cigar Co. pays homage to this triumph of modernist design. Numbered from 1 through 26, each exclusive Case Study blend features a range of vitolas that have been hand-blended by the best Master Blenders in the business. We can’t tell you their names, but we trust you’ll recognize their signatures written all over their craft.

Ventura_CaseStudyCS03_ToroMy take on this line is that it’s along the lines of Caldwell’s Lost and Found series, where they bought up cigars from factory’s aging rooms that didn’t have a brand, were short runs, or something along those lines. Of course, I was attracted first to the dark toro, the CS/03, which turns out had a San Andrés wrapper and was 6″ x 50, a rather thin toro by today’s standard, but what toros were several years ago. This cigar could have produces a little more smoke, but it was tasty, with the sweet, savory, spice I look for in a cigar that looks like this. Expectations were met, it burned well and had the feel and taste of a well aged cigar. I can’t venture a (Ventura…I made a funny) guess as to where this was made, but smoking the other samples will be fun. I only have a the 26 variations (in multiple vitolas, this is a bigger project than Foundry’s Compounds, Elements and Musings!).


That’s enough for today, I’m off to find something to do before nap time :-).  Until the next time,




1 Comment

Filed under Review

World Know Tobacco Day and an Archetype Axis Mundi Corona Cigar

I read somewhere that today is World Know Tobacco Day, so I said to myself: “hey, I know tobacco, and I really like it!” It’s been said that tobacco cultivation has been done for ten thousand years in the Americas, the indigenous people used if medicinally and ceremonially long before Europeans “discovered” the Americas. The Europeans took a shine to it, and its use was met with mixed opinions, some of the  more enlightened (tongue firmly planted in my cheek) thought people with smoke coming out of their mouths an noses was a sign of demonic possession while others saw the economic potential. Our beloved nicotiana tabacum  was the currency that underwrote the war of independence and made the United States the independent country that it is today. Of course, nobody remembers that, and it’s again demonized by the less enlightened. Just the other day I was yelled at by a woman on our local multi-use trail where Macha and I take our daily walks. She ran past me and yelled “how can you be smoking on a trail where people are running?” I chuckled at her rudeness, an imagined that it offset any of my own rudeness for daring to enjoy a legal product. I wonder how people can live in a world where people do things that they don’t like. I don’t appreciate all the sweaty, stinky runners and cyclists disturbing my relaxation on the trail, but I’m not so rude as to point it out! Perhaps if I had a stick up my ass I’d have a different opinion. Anyway, tobacco is now grown in beautiful countries, tended by passionate and caring people, rolled into cigars by artisans and smoked by intelligent and humble people like us. Hopefully now you know tobacco a little better and can properly celebrate this World Hedonism Organization (WHO) holiday with a fine cigar. I got that all right, didn’t I?


Archetype_AxisMundi_CoronaI celebrated tonight with a cigar from the folks at Ventura Cigar Company, the folks that make the Psyko 7 and Project 805 cigars. I’ve been a fan of the Psyko 7 line since I had one in late 2013 as a guest on The Cigar Authority radio show. I have a neat Psyko 7 humidor that my wife won that works quite well, and have a cool light-up Psyko 7 Maduro sign hanging in the smoking porch. So I was pretty excited when I saw the Archetype line displayed at the IPCPR show last year, but I couldn’t really find anyone in the Phillips and King International booth to help me. Not their fault, they were busy and I’m not the guy at the show that’s high on the priority list. I managed to get my hands on some of the Archetype Axis Mundi Coronas, which was tonight’s smoke. I also got some of the Initiation in the same size, and the one I smoked last night tasted great, had a really unique flavor that I loved, but half way through it died on me, one of those strange situations that blowing through the cigar gives plumes of smoke, but drawing gets nothing. I tried and tried, but it frustrated me. I have more, I’ll come back to that one at a later date because I really liked the flavor. To be fair, it had spent a couple of hours in a case in my pocket on a humid evening, which may have contributed to my problems. The Archetype Axis Mundi has a Habano Ecuador Maduro wrapper, Indonesian Sumatra binder and Nicaraguan Habano filler. This is on the stronger end of the spectrum, had a great burn, although I let it go out a couple of times because I was trying to maximize the time smoking. It was great for a three-mile walk on the trail where nobody complained. It had some burned wood, savory and sweet dried fruit kinda flavors with a hint of spice. I really enjoyed this, I’ll be on the look out for larger vitolas in both this and the Initiation lines and would recommend it highly.


That’s all for now, unless you’re looking for Father’s Day gift ideas, then Holt’s has a nice selection on their Father’s Day Cigar Deals page, or the folks at Stage V Clingers are still running a special on their four-pack with the “StageVdad” code. Until the next time,




1 Comment

Filed under Editorial, Review

MBombay News and Cigars and the Ventura Psycho Seven Contest Winner

MBombay_CorojoOscuro_RobustoSince Mel at MBombay Cigars sent me the news item below and asked me to post it, I thought I’d smoke a couple of the samples he gave me at the IPCPR show when I met up with him and his crew.  Tuesday I selected the MBombay Corojo Oscuro. Of the four cigars they gave me at the show, they all look basically the same, same bands, same general wrapper color, and the same robusto format.  If Ron hadn’t written the line name on each cello I would have been lost.  Anyway, these are all made in Costa Rica at the Tabacos de Costa Rica factory, all have a covered foot, and all seem to smoke very well.  The cigar labeled Corojo Oscuro had a very rich flavor, sweet and spicy at the same time with some leather too.  It really didn’t look like what I associate with “oscuro”, it was the same milk chocolate color the other samples are, although the photos do show a difference. I guess my eyes are going too! Good smoke, still prefer the classic in this line.


MBombay_Habano_RobustoLast night I smoked the MBombay Habano, with the visual characteristics as the previous cigar, but with a bit more of a creamy and savory flavor to go along with the bit of spice. This one was very solidly packed and burned a long time for a 4½” x 50 robusto, although I would have liked to have had better smoke volume, it was a bit tight and took some effort to get a satisfying mouthful of smoke.  Still tasted great, and I have a Kecara and Mora still to smoke, and I still have a Maduro from the original release floating around. I still lean toward the Classic as a very nice, refined Connecticut shade cigar as my favorite, which is odd as I generally prefer heartier blends.  I haven’t had many cigars from this factory (and I have smoked a bunch over the last 10 or so years) that have been bad, Mel made a great choice having his cigars made in Costa Rica.


MBombay Offers A Chance to Attend one of Cigar Aficionado’s Big Smoke Evenings!

MBombay Big-Smoke-Promo


In an effort to provide Aficionados & Aficionadas a cigar Experience to remember, Bombay Tobak is offering a Drawing for 5 Tickets each to either Big Smoke Las Vegas or Big Smoke New York! The Deal…. BUY ANY 3 MBombay cigars at any MBombay Retailer, receive a Raffle Ticket to enter the Drawing… SIMPLE! Seek an MBombay Retailer near you by visiting www.bombaytobak.com.

MBombay is a Nationally Distributed Brand of Boutique cigars that incorporates Sophistication, Complexity, & Harmony of Flavors in their tobacco blends. Offering 5 different lines, their vitolas are  truly unique in their smoking Experience… a definite must ­try for all cigar lovers!

This “Big Smoke Promotion” will start on September 1, 2015 and run through October 23, 2015 for the Las Vegas, NV venue, and through November 12, 2015 for the New York venue. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to attend one of the Cigar Industry’s most sought after Events!





VenturaPsykoI intended to post this yesterday, but I was still seeing some entries come in so I figured I’d let it run thru Wednesday like I said I would and push-off posting until today.  There were 77 entries for the Ventura Psycho Seven prize pack, and Random.org generated the number 30, so the winner is Dan Colley!  Dan is a pretty regular participant in the comments here, I’m sure I’m not going to have to chase him down for his address! Congrats Dan, please e-mail me you’re coordinates so I can ship these goodies to you.


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





Filed under Contest, News, Review

First Wednesday Contest Featuring Ventura Psyko Seven Cigars and Swag

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, so it’s contest time, following a tradition that began last month!  But first I want to bore you with some tales of out latest vacation this week to Mountain Lake Lodge in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. We drove down Sunday and stopped at Luray Caverns on the way, which was expensive to get into , but spectacular to see. The organ they have down there that has strikers on pistons that strike tuned stalactites is a marvel. That was something to see, and we saw signs for half a dozen other caves and caverns on the drive south, buncha copy cats!  Anyway, Mountain Lake Lodge is the place where the movie Dirty Dancing was filmed back in the 80s, had we known that, we might have gone someplace else!  We ate in the dining room where Baby CAOColumbiagot put in the corner…big whoop…crappy movie. Anyway, it was a very nice place, and we had it mostly to ourselves. It takes exactly one CAO Columbia Vallenato to hike the trail which goes around the lake.  Spectacular morning cigar, the lake, not so much. It seems that once in a while the lake drains itself, it’s on a fault. It probably drains into one of those caverns they like so much around there.  Anyway, it apparently emptied itself out in 2009 and is starting to fill back up. The pictures of the resort with the lake make it look pretty cool, the lack of a lake wasn’t so cool, although if the place weren’t called Moutain LAKE Resort one may not notice. They did have a pool and a Jacuzzi that were deserted save for my wife and I, and one Tortuga Reserva Cedro Belicoso is just enough to get a little sunburn.  No pictures, I left my phone in the room.  We did some more hiking around the property, LeccaLuchadorand the food was very good in the restaurant in the lodge. There wasn’t a lot of night life with only 18 guests registered either.  On the way home we stopped by Jefferson National Forest and hiked the two miles to Cascade Falls. It takes exactly one Leccia Luchadore El Hombre to hike two miles, and the El Hombre remains one of my favorite cigars, even in the morning it was a great walking stick. The falls were pretty cool, 66′ drop and lots of cool little falls and rapids on the hike up. The weekend was a nice getaway with some exceptional cigars.




Ventura ContestA few months ago I received some pretty cook stuff from Ventura Cigar Co. in support of their really good Psyko Seven Maduro. I tried to find these guys at the IPCPR show, and managed to get in the Phillips and King booth (their distributor) when they were giving away a Rolex  watch (I didn’t win), so it was crowded. I had some tobacco infused coffee which was interesting, but didn’t manage to find the Ventura guys. I’ll catch up with them someplace, I suppose.  Anyway, the goodies in today’s contest are a nice ceramic Ventura ashtray, a Ventura single torch lighter with a flip out punch, a fun set of Rorschach Inkblot test cards so you can find out if you have an Oedipal complex or not, and two coffin boxes containing two Psyko Seven Maduro Robustos each (total of 4 cigars).  The usual rules apply, must be over 18 and must not have won in the last  months (sorry Matt Wells!). Leave a comment here to enter. I’ll announce a winner next Wednesday, September 9, 2015.


Until the next time,







Filed under Contest

Psyko 7 Maduro, Fuente, CroMagnon, Gran Habano and Punch Cigars

Here we are on July 5th already. It seems like the summer is flying by and it’s barely started.  In two weeks I’ll be in New Orleans at the IPCPR show, doing my best to collect information about the newest and greatest products.  I don’t think I’ll do too many of the video interviews this time around, but I do have a little something special planned. We’ll see how that all turns out. I managed to smoke a few cigars this week, let’s have a look.


Ventura_Psyko7Maduro_RobustoI received some Ventura Cigar Co. Psyko 7 Maduro Robusto samples a couple of weeks ago, and was really looking forward to trying them out. I had first smoked the natural wrapper Psyko 7 back when I was a guest on The Cigar Authority show back in November of 2013 and was really quite impressed.  This is another impressive cigar, right up my alley.  It’s got a San Andrés wrapper, an Ecuador binder, and an interesting blend of fillers including ligero from Nicaragua and Pennsylvania, some Honduran and Dominican and Pelo de Oro from Peru!  How can I not like this cigar!  The samples I smoked burned perfectly and had great, complex flavors of espresso, cacao with a nice sweetness. I appreciate the extra half-inch on this 5½” x 50 robusto. This is right up there with the Fratello Bianco as one of my newbies of the year so far.  Very nice smoke.


Fuente_DoubleChateau_SungrownAfter I had some more dental work done Monday I celebrated after with an Arturo Fuente Double Chateau Sungrown.  Boy, is this a tasty cigar!  It’s 6¾” x 50 with a cedar sleeve (which I removed before lighting, of course) and a black foot band.  The standard Cheateau series is more common in the Connecticut Shade wrapper, and I’ve enjoyed my share of those over the years, but this Ecuador Sungrown wrapper is quite special. It was solidly medium, but it had loads of great savor flavors.  I would definitely say that in the Fuente line, save for the Hemingway, Don Carlos, Opus, etc, the sungrown wrapper is my choice.


RoMa_CroMagnon_Mode5When I visited Holt’s a couple weeks ago I picked up some of the CroMagnon Mode 5 perfectos from RoMaCraft as I’d yet to smoke that shape and have heard so many great things about it.  It’s not a huge cigar, 5″ x 50 in a perfecto format, tapering at either end, your old school, 40’s Warner Brothers cartoon shape. It was quite the fun cigar to smoke, and it was loaded with great, meaty flavors that really made me smile.  Burn was perfect, it was well-balanced and not the powerhouse one expects from the name.  I look forward to seeing Skip and Mike at the show this year, it’s been too long and they are really making great smokes.


GranHabano_Gran Corojo No5 Maduro 2011_GranRobustoThe folks at Gran Habano send a few samples a couple of weeks back, and the Gran Habano Corojo No.5 Maduro 2011 Gran Robusto caught my eye.  This is a 6″ x 54 toro with a dark Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper, Costa Rican grown Habano binder and fillers from Jalapa and Costa Rica.  This was a great spicy cigar with some bitter dark chocolate that was really to my liking.  It burned well, the draw was good, and it was a cigar I’ll smoke again.  I find the banding to be a little too close to Cuban Limitada bands, that’s probably what they were going for but I think a little originality from a company that definitely has some original products would be better. I’m not going to mistake that beautiful dark wrapper for any Habanos cigars, and I would probably choose this flavor profile over most Havanas as well.


Punch_H&F1999_ChurchillYesterday was the 4th of July.  My wife and I celebrate our wedding anniversary that day, as the US celebrates another birthday. I always choose a special cigar to mark the event, and there’s generally an element of civil disobedience involved that I’d like to think the founding fathers would approve of. Yesterday I selected a Havana Punch Churchill that was a gift from a friend a few years ago who serves our country and will remain nameless to protect the guilty!  This particular cigar had the distinction of bearing a “Vintage 1999” secondary band which denotes that it was selected by Hunters and Frankau (the UK importer of Habanos cigars) as an exceptional cigar. I agree with their assessment, it was an exceptional cigar. While the draw was a bit more snug than I like, it smoked very well, needing no corrections, and the smoke had a delicate flavor that was quite delicious. It had a bit of the unique Cuban spice, and was a milder, but very special cigar.  It was the perfect way to celebrate a special day.  I wish I could be as complimentary about the Rocky Patel Freedom I smoked later in the evening, there was a sour component to the savory flavor that didn’t do it for me, and I wished I had chosen better, but the red white and blue band seemed appropriate for the occasion. The Punch Churchill was sublime though, and I’m fortunate to have had the chance to experience it.


That’s about it for today.  We’re heading in to Philly again today for tea, then maybe a visit to Smoke in Manyunk after. Until the next time,





Filed under Review