Thursday, March 23, 2017

I can get used to this / Cigar Review

             Cigar Review:

I have remarked several times recently  that I do not smoke many Maduro cigars. Yet in the last  weeks I have reviewed three Maduro smokes. Not sure if this is a trend but let's get to my thoughts on Perdomo Habano Maduro. This cigar was given to me gratis as part of a sampler from Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge in Los Angeles.
As always, how and where I received the cigar does not impact my judgement . I suggest you make your own subjective call on this cigar or any cigar you are so inclined to smoke.

Brand/Name of Cigar: Perdomo/ Habano Maduro

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 5 x 52
Wrapper: Nicaragua/Maduro
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Shape: Robusto
Price: Sampler package , no charge, Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge
Where and when smoked: Los Angeles, Ca. March, 19, 2017


Appearance/ Construction:

This is a very cool looking cigar with a darkish wrapper bordering on black. It has an oily feel, solid construction , no major vein issues. The band combo is eye popping which makes the appearance of the cigar even more attractive. Cigars need not to be beautiful but I think this one is.










Flavor/ Taste and Aroma
            
 The initial foray into the cigar was smooth, with a grey ash and medium profile. What hit me was a very unusual caramel, creamy taste almost like a thin mint Girl Scout cookie. There was the mint essence but not clingy sweet. Liked it a great deal. 











Smoking Characteristics:

                                                              
               
The smoke was smooth, just slightly off in the burn but was cool and without any  hitches .
  I wish more cigars behaved in this manner. I had no complaints.

Conclusion/Overall Impression: 

This is a great example of a high quality cigar for a very reasonable price point. It shows very good value and shows you do not have to overspend for a well crafted cigar.  Cigars of this type are around but you may need to hunt to find them. Of you can read cigar blogs and make your search much easier.

Final Thoughts and Numbers:

Appearance/Construction: 4 out of 5
Flavor/ Taste and Aroma: 4 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics : 3.8 out of 5
Overall:  3.9 out of 5

A definite addition for your collection. Perdomo cigars are a sometime item for me. Some companies just fall off the radar and I think this is the case in my cigar world.  My Maduro interest is getting higher up in the charts as I have had several good choices lately.

Keep smoking.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Give me strength

 I am backlogged in my cigar reviews which is a good problem. So let's get on with the enviable task of reviewing cigars. As policy how and were I received the cigar does not impact my subjective judgement. If this review interests you, please try the cigar yourself. I purchased this cigar as a 5 pack from Mikescigars.com.



















Cigar Review:

Brand/Name of Cigar: Punch/ Gran Puro Santa Rita
Country of Origin: Honduras
Size:  4.5 x 52
Wrapper: Honduras 
Binder: Honduras
Filler: Honduras
Shape; Petit Robusto
Price: Mike's Cigars 5 pack, $21.95
Where and when smoked; Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, Los Angeles, Ca. 3/5/17

Initial View


Appearance/Construction:


Wrapper is a shade of medium to almost dark brown. Oil is present on the wrapper but not slick. Not a pretty looking smoke but appears to be well made. Texture is pleasant with no rough or hard spots. It appears to have solid construction throughout.







Flavor/ Taste and Aroma:

The blast of spice hits right away but you expect that from a Punch product. The black pepper opens up the palate so get ready for a full bodied experience. There is no subtle nuances in this cigar. Hold on to your butt. ( pun intended )

Smoking Characteristics :

Cigar is doing a very good job of being true to it's burn, as the flow is steady, no hot spots or issues with any aspect due to good construction. What did surprise me was the second third produced a composite of cream and nuts. The spice was still evident but not bone shaking.

Conclusion/ Overall Impression:

I am always been partial to Punch Products from Honduras. I also like the product from Cuba but that's another story.  They manage to produce well crafted smokes, at a reasonable price point. The cigar in question was a real crowd pleaser for the full bodied fans. Actually those who are partial to medium profiles should give the cigar a try. 

Final Thoughts and Numbers:

Appearance and Construction: 4 out of 5
Flavor/Taste and Aroma: 4 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 4 out of 5
Overall : 4 out 5

The Punch Gran Puro Santa Rita is a classic win . It has all the markings of a outstanding smoke with the added bonus of a reasonable price.

Keep smoking








       

Murderer's Row

Cigar Talk :

Here are some of the new lineup of La Palina Cigars.  Reviews will be coming down the road but for now, keep your hands off my stash. Check out LaPalinacigars.com



New Product for the New Year, even though it is almost April 


Keep smoking

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Small cigar and small tease


























The H Upmann Half Corona Habano is a hit of heaven in a tiny package. I keep a full compliment of these nifty smokes in my humidor for a short smoke. They last about a half hour if you really nurture every draw. I will do a full review soon but for now, take a gander at this picture.


Keep smoking

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cigar Nirvana

Members enjoying a moment 
Cigar Talk.  3/12/17

There is a misconception about cigar lounges in Los Angeles. The myth is LA is cigar purgatory and cigar smokers are shot on sight.
Admittedly there are some draconian cities that make it very difficult to enjoy cigars with the long arm of unfair regulations pointed at those who partake in one of their favorite activities.
Dupont lighter display at the Lone Wolf
The city of  Calabasas does not allow smoking on public property and Santa Monica also has regulations where your cigar is totally unwelcome. There are others on the list but fortunately  there are also cigar lounges which will welcome you to the universal club of cigar smokers.

This blog will be featuring welcoming cigar lounges that cater to the public or are private establishments. The first cigar lounge that will be highlighted is the Long Wolf Cigar Lounge in West Los Angeles. It just so happens I am a member of the Long Wolf but as always this doe not reflect on any judgement of the lounge. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact the website at LoneWolfCigars.com.
Mariana of the Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge Staff
Part of the large humidor  at the Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge

I presented a series of questions to the affable owner, David Weiss, of the Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge with the intention of learning his thoughts on the cigar industry in general and his own place.

Q.When and why did you decide to bring a new cigar Lounge to West LA?

A.Ever since we lost the ability to smoke in Santa Monica in 09.

Q. Who is your competition and what makes you different from them?

A. I don't focus on the competition . We do things in a certain way and I focus on what we do.
Front service desk at the Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge

Q.What challenges do you think are the biggest in the cigar industry and you business?

A. Smoking regulations and taxation.

Q. How do you decide what cigars and accessories you sell?

A. We cater to what the public wants. We try new things and keep what people approve of.

Q. What are the trends for the future you see in the B and M cigar industry in general?

A. Smoking oasis with strong and consistent products.

Q. What do  you smoke as an every day smoke and on special occasions?

A. I'm all over the map. Full bodied with low spice is I look for but I try everything.

Q. What is an ideal price point for your sales team?

A. Depends on the location and the occasion. Gifts are typically more pricey as folks want brand and presentation plus quality for $8-$12.

Q. What do you like like cigars and what is your clientele like?

A. Clientele is very diverse on a socio-economic level. That is what attracts me to this business. I love the one on one experience getting to know very different types of people and being in service.

Q. What advice would you give to the novice and experienced smoker?

A. Try everything.

Q. Are there too many brands and choices in today's market?

A. There can never be too many options. Options make the world go around. Too many private labels clutter the field. I like more diversity in approach and manufacturing. Not just brand.

Q. It the opening of the cigar trade in Cuba going to impact your business and what are your plans about this development? Do you see this a negative or a positive?

A. Seems great but it also feels far away. We will embrace it when it happens as it adds to the diversity . I feel it is positive .

There you have it, the view from  David Weiss the owner of the Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge in West Los Angeles.

Keep smoking
The Logo of the Urban Fishing Pole







Friday, March 3, 2017

Pushing the Cigar Agenda

There are always an opportunity to recruit people to the joy of cigars. The better we do this, the better  politically it helps us. The state of how many no nothing politicians, or petty hacks who are hell bent in destroying an industry and avocation we enjoy  are expanding at a very alarming rate.
Preaching to the choir while important is a small part of the picture. It is very evident we need to convince the sometime smoker or the novice cigar person to join with us.
I do this in a manner that is not threatening or preachy but speak about how the camaraderie of the leaf gives us friendship, good talk and loads of fun.
Case in point. In my career of personal trainer and manager I point out how cigars and fitness are not contrary but actually are complementary endeavors. Working the body includes the idea of mental fitness too.
Cigars provide the atmosphere of relaxing , engaging in discourse about a variety of subjects with a common cause.  Enjoyment and awareness is a positive experience.
With this attitude I have opened up clients who would never think of cigars but now like all the aspects of cigars  I just spoke about.  You can have a cigar without making it a habit or dangerous to your health.
 Keep in mind this is not done overnight but a casual friendly  indoctrination.
I now have clients who join me in the pursuit of cigars and in my workplace I have organized cigar events with good turnouts.
Think about  your friends and make it a point to get a few of them into the fold. Offer them a smoke, a good drink and they will convert to the great joy of cigar fellowship.


Happy gents
Life is good
Keeping it real
California Dreaming






Keep Smoking

Monday, February 27, 2017

Thin is in

Cigar Review:

For me the perception back in the day that longer but thinner cigars were favored by the upper crust. These cigars looked very fashion oriented, sleek and had flair. Not sure how I came up with this conclusion but it was an idea that did appeal to me. Cigar manufacturers always had the Lancero shaped  in their roster but I believe they were not big sellers.
As larger ring gauge cigars became the rage and are still getting bigger, it is often not easy to find a smoke that appeals to the Lancero crowd. I personally like this shape and find it a great shape to smoke.

The Alec Bradley Coyol Petit Lancero comes with a 93 rating  and a # 18 ranking from Cigar Aficionado in the best cigars of 2016.
I purchased my cigar from the Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge on 1/2/17 and smoked it on 2/24/17 at the Wolf.
 With all my ratings, how and where I received the cigar does not impact my subjective thoughts on the blend. I suggest you try it on your own and make your own judgement. Hope to hear your thoughts on the cigar.



Brand/ Name of Cigar:   
   
                                                                Alec Bradley /Coyal Petit Lancero
                                                                Country of Origin: Honduras 
                                                                Size:  6.5 x 41 
                                                                Wrapper: Honduras
                                                                Binder: Honduras, Nicaragua 
                                                                Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua
                                                                Price: $8.99 Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, Los Angeles , Ca.





  
                                                                  Appearance/Construction:

 A slim cigar with a choice brown wrapper, well crafted with seams that do not mar the appearance of the wrapper. The band combination displays a very cool looking counter point to the cigar itself. Not flashy but says look at me. 



Flavor/ Taste and Aroma:


First third was a pleasing combination of cream, chocolate notes with a slight hint of spice/black pepper. Also a tease of cinnamon or nutmeg. Sometimes they taste the same to me. It was smooth, consistent and not harsh.


Smoking  Characteristics :

Cool smoking but slightly off in the burn as the photo clearly indicates. I did not find this off putting but wondered why it happened. I sometimes do a poor job on the initial lighting of a cigar but this was not the case as you can observe the first photo had  a good burn.


Conclusion/ Overall Impression:

As a top 25 cigar I have my doubts but as a good smoke it hits it for me. As a baseball fan I would describe it as a solid line drive two bagger but it would be a stretch to make it to third base. 



Final Thoughts:

This cigar just missed the mark for me. Slight burn issue was not a big thing but the taste was light without a major strength.

The numbers:

Appearance / Construction: 3.8 out of 5
Flavor/Taste and Aroma: 3.5 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics : 3. 3 out of 5
Conclusion/Overall Impression: 3. 5 out of 5

A good Triple A player with the chance to get to the Show.

Keep smoking.
     





                                       

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saturday afternoon at the Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge

Micky and Mark relaxing at Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge



One of Habano's choice blends



Keep Smoking

Micky and Mark relaxing at Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge

Old school , revisiting history, or cigar lounges are great everywhere


When I travel , I make it a point, to find a local cigar establishment and spend a couple of hours there. It's not that I am a frequent traveler, but I get a good idea of what the local populace is about and what they are thinking.
Couple of places come to mind. The grand daddy of all cigar B & M 's is Fox's in London. I was in London back in 2009 with my wife and while she was having a business meeting, I made the pilgrimage to Fox's. The store was about a 20 minute jaunt from my hotel in a business section of town. I arrived at the front door and my heart jumped. I was going to be in the place where WInston Churchill smoked.
 There were a couple of customers there placing orders. What struck me immediately was that the two employees were dressed vastly different.
 The younger of the two had a three piece suit on, looking as if he was a member of the House of Lords. . He was behind a computer screen, speaking to a client on the phone. They were in conversation about a new shipment of Cuban cigars coming in and the client was placing an order.
 The other employee was an older man, sporting a vest with a pocket watch and resembling a character from Dickens. He asked me if I needed help and I said to him, " I've come 6000 miles from Los Angeles to pay a visit to your store." He seemed impressed and offered to show me around. 
The store itself is not particularly large but I enjoyed the guided tour. He showed the chair that Winston Churchill smoked in and a painting of Sir Winston that hung on a wall . I also looked at many different brands of cigars, mostly Cuban and a small amount of central american brands. 
I was overwhelmed with the selection and asked him to help me pick out a special cigar as a remembrance of my trip. He went back to the front counter and selected a Monti #2 from the stash. He told me this stick was specially aged and would be a good choice. I thanked him and paid for the purchase, ( the most expense cigar I ever bought 17 pounds , 20 pence ), and asked him if I could take some photos of the shop. He said of course, I thanked him and then left. As I left I felt I just marched through a piece of history and Sir Winston was about to smoke with me.
 That night I went back to the hotel, sat in the English garden and puffed away. I don't know if it was the best cigar I ever smoked, but wanted to believe it was.
 Thank God for England, they do things differently with a style that is unique and full of custom which is a throwback I truly enjoy. 
A bit of a contrast but no less enjoyable was a B & M in Larchmont , NY called Dom's cigars. I hope that place is still around because if you live in the New York area, Dom's is worth a trip. Once again, I was with my wife, visiting this time her sister in law . The two of them chose to do something that did not appeal to me and was " allowed" to take off by myself. I noticed Dom's the day before while we were walking around Larchmon , looking for a lunch spot. It was a cold, rainy walk to Dom's  which to me was not unpleasant. I was dressed for the wet stuff, and truly enjoy a touch of bad weather as Los Angeles is about 75- 85 degrees 325 days a year. As I grew up back east, I am not taken aback by rain or snow.
 I went into Dom's and the place was empty. The walls were lined with sport celebrities, mostly NY legends such as Joe D, Mickey Mantle, Walt Frazier and Joe Namath. I walked through the store, looking at cigars and accessories when Dom came out from the back room. He asked me if I I needed help and told him I had time to kill and wanted to sit down and smoke a cigar in his lounge. Dom took me through his humidor, and I picked up a Gispert Maduro, which at the time was a new stick for me. I lit it up, Dom offered me a cup of coffee which I accepted. There was a basketball game on the TV screen ( not a flat screen , this was around the year 2005) We proceeded to watch the game , and talk about LA as Dom never had paid a visit.
I told him LA was not what I expected when I moved there in 1997 as I shared many stereotypes that east coast people have of Los Angeles. After the Gispert smoked down to the nub, he offered me another cigar as his gift to this transplanted NY/Boston guy. I don't remember what the cigar was, but it did not really matter. I was sharing a smoke with a friend who I knew for about 2 hours but felt like I knew him for years. Eventually I needed to get back and thanked him for the great time. He said he had a fine time too and if I ever come back, pay him a visit.
I recently went through my business cards and tossed his out which I could kick myself for.However, Dom is in my memory and this is what cigar smoking is about, finding new adventures ,new friends and never being bored.