Sunday, December 27, 2015

Be careful what you ask for

I often get cigars from my friends and clients for the holidays. They are well meaning and I truly appreciate the thoughts and effort. However more often than not , many of them know very little about cigars and this creates problems. 
The scene probably goes something like this. " I Need to buy some cigars for a gift but I don't know what to buy?"
The vendor replies, " how much do you want to spend and do you know what type of cigar he smokes?"
The answer usually is, " you decide but don't make them too expensive."
So the cigar clerk will make some choices based on a price point, popular brands and maybe a cigar they are overstocked. He will then say, " he will like these they are very popular."
The proper time comes and I get the gift of a group of cigars. Again let me remind you I always appreciate the thought but the selection rarely hits the mark. I open up the package and know the selection will either be re gifted to others who don't care what they smoke or are clueless about cigars. Either way the cigars in question are not what I would buy for myself or give to a true cigar maven. 
My suggestion is unless you know what you are doing , get a gift card from an established cigar merchant and let the giftee make the choice. This satisfies both parties and truly create good will.
Keep smoking.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

LA Cigar Blog: " The urban fishing pole ": A cigar with good vibes

LA Cigar Blog: " The urban fishing pole ": A cigar with good vibes: The Romeo y Julieta is a classic looking habano smoke . This is a cigar that needs a good hour, with uninterrupted time in your favorite cha...

A cigar with good vibes

The Romeo y Julieta is a classic looking habano smoke . This is a cigar that needs a good hour, with uninterrupted time in your favorite chair. I smoked it on a pleasant cooler Los Angeles afternoon. Impressive looking with an attractive wrapper with an oily feel. Let's do it and smoke away.

130 mm, ring gauge 55 : Habano

It started with creamy note of chocolate and almonds. Very smooth and flavorful but I expected a more spicy start. Very easy draw , medium in scope, not much heat.

After the first third still very smooth and the nutty profile hangs with us. Medium with perhaps a slight pepper aftertaste .

As we approach the end of the smoke, the burn becomes uneven which impact the appearance for sure.
It also got somewhat bitter which knocked the overall experience down a peg.

Final thoughts:

Overall a top flight smoke with a couple of minor imperfections . Here are my final numbers and rating.

Appearance and construction :  4.0 out of 5
Flavor, taste and aroma:  4 out of 5
Overall impression: 4 out of 5
If this smoke is available grab it.
Keep smoking

Friday, November 27, 2015

A damm fine cigar, Patoro cigar company

Several months ago I paid a visit to a local cigar shop named Shamlux and asked  Rick the manager for something new to smoke. He came up with a smoke from Patoro a company based in Europe. I let this beauty sit in my humidor and now finally smoked it. Here is my review.

Brand: Patoro

Size: 5.5 X 43, corona
Wrapper: Brazil
Binder: Domincan Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic


A clean looking cigar with a reddish color. No blemishes or soft spots. Well made , oily to the touch. 
Flavor/Taste & Aroma

Pre light aroma has a minty overtone. Upon lighting slight pepper hit with an underlying blend of sweetness, mint? Nice mix of favors , creamy. This cigar shows lots of promise.
Sometimes a picture tells a story better than words.  Take a look.
The path of this smoke is medium to full, not harsh , smooth and chocolate , rich tastIng.
Smoking characteristics:

It's always great to find a cigar that works on all fronts. The first 1/3 provided a combination of mild spice and chocolate, the 2/3 mark gave us additional flavor of mint.

Conclusions/ Overall impressions:

What a good find with only a few minor issues. The end result had a slightly bitter taste but the scorecard looks like this.

Appearance : 4 out of 5
Construction: 4 out of 5
Smoking characteristics : 4 out of 5
Overall impression: 4 out of 5

Keep smoking

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Just a thank you to all my cigar buddies and their families  for a peaceful holiday. Of course a good cigar too helps it make all better

Monday, November 9, 2015

Another great visit to a great cigar institution, Leavitt and Peirce, Cambridge, Ma.

Dr David Ticchi , Cambridge legend , and cigar guy in front of the classic cigar store Leavitt and Peirce. I have not seen David in almost twenty years and as fate would have it, ran into him as I was paying a visit this past week. David is a true icon in Cambridge as a leader in community service for the Cambridge YMCA, National Federation of the Blind, Newton Ma. High schools and one of the strongest guys I ever worked out with. Loves his work and loves his cigars.

The front of Leavitt and Peirce in Harvard Square.

The crew at Leavitt and Peirce . The flavor of New England lives on at this shop. A must visit for all.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Immortal cigar review from Famous Cigars

It's time for another cigar review with this interesting blend from Famous Cigars. As always the review are my thoughts with the disclaimer that I received the smokes gratis which in no way impacts what the rating will be. 
Check out this link too if you decide to make a purchase:

Immortal Toro
Strength : Full
Shape: Full
Size: 6 X 52
Country: Nicaragua 
Wrapper Color: Natural
Wrapper Origin: Nicaraguan
Wrapper Leaf: Habano

A deep color with a hearty appearance. It looks powerful with some slight veins but no flaws that mar the look.
Flavor , taste and aroma
The initial light had a very even burn , a grey ash that held it's shape. It had a minty flavor, creamy with no spice. Wanted to see what direction the blend would take me. With a Habano leaf one would expect a spicy blast eventually.
Looking good after 15 minutes smoking this baby. Still getting the minty overtones with a release of almond now popping. Liking it with no burn issues. That's always a good sign for me.
Here is another look  about 20 minutes in.
Just had this thought about the label. I had trouble reading it. I think presentation is a great marketing tool as sometimes you need to grab the attention of the consumer. I am sure a fair amount of insight goes into this process so if the label is difficult to figure out, it might give you second thoughts about purchasing the cigar. I eventually took the label off as you can see in the next picture.
As we moved on the cigar still held my interest . Flavor remained on the medium side so my expectation of a stronger hit of pepper and spice did not come. 
Couple of points. The burn was pretty good but did have a slight issue of an uneven burn about 3/4 into the cigar. That could have been how I lite it so no points off for that. It never did quite get to a full bodied smoke but that's still ok.

Here is a link that will provide you with more information about this blend and make a purchase .
Overall this is how I see it.

Appearance and construction: 3.5 out of 5
Flavor/Taste and Aroma: 3.5 out of 5
Overall impression and conclusion: 3.5 out of 5

Good price point and worth a try.

Keep smoking

Friday, October 23, 2015

Plenty of cigars to choose

There are countless cigar blends to indulge in. Finding the time, making choices and just giving new product a shot is almost a full time occupation. Wait a second, it is a full time occupation.  Checking out cigar blogs, interest groups, cigar nights are all part of the fun and allure of cigar magic. While I do reviews about cigars, I also enjoy looking for photos of cigar products. Here is another photo of a "manly" viewpoint of a cigar maven. Enjoy.

Keep smoking

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Smaller gauge Cuban cigars

These are 3 products  that sell very well in Spain and are 30 minute smokes. I have tried all 3 products and they have a varying profile of strength but would classify them as medium to full bodied. I like keeping several type of small cigars in my humidor if I don't have the time or desire for a longer cigar break.
They are available on line from a number of foreign cigar dealers. Give them a try and let me know your thoughts.
Keep smoking

Sunday, October 11, 2015

We have all been here before: Falto cigars

I purchased this cigar from a small cigar B and M in Brentwood a couple of weeks ago upon the recommendation of the owner. He labeled it as an outstanding cigar. The Falto brand sounded familiar but could not  remember if I had one before. There are so many brands that are boutique brands.
 According to the website the cigar I had was , " magnificent cigar that is continuously underrated ."
My review will examine this statement.

Name of cigar brand and cigar: Falto Deliro
Size: 6.5 X 42
Wrapper: Dominican  Corojo
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Shape: Lonsdale
Price: 15.00
Purchased: Cigarama, Los Angeles, 10/3/2015
Smoked: Los Angeles, 10/4/2015 

Appearance/ construction: Attractrive with a brown/ reddish wrapper. No soft spots or obvious faults or blemishes. Well made smoke with a earthy aroma. Very good presentation of band and color.
Rating : 4 out of 5
Flavor/taste:  The first smoke had a a subtle blend of mint and chocolate with a good burn. I thought it would be a bit more spicy but that was not the story. Creamy, smooth and a nutty flavor too.

Smoking   Characteristics: Some cigars are consistent with little deviation. Other smokes are all over the place. The Falto Deliro was hard to figure out. Each puff seemed to have a life of it's own. The cigar was pleasant enough with an occasional hit of pepper but the main theme was a bit weak in flavor. Did not really have a character that made me either like it or dislike it. I guess most folks would call it bland.
The burn was a bit off but do not think this killed the blend.

Conclusion / Overall Impression:

The price was extreme but that might have been the B and M's choice and decision. If it was 5-7 dollars cheaper my opinion would be the same. While I support small cigars firms the product still has to be good and this cigar was not of that model. Nothing in this cigar was particularly exciting or noteworthy . Would try other blends from Falto but this was not a keeper.
Overall it would rate between a 3 despite it's positive look and construction .  I would hope the rest of their products are better.

Keep smoking 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cigar folks are the nicest people

Had a very pleasant conversation with Egda Lovo this past week as he was rolling cigars for a golfing event at Porter Valley Country Club. At one time he owned several B and M operations in the area but pulled back and primarily does events for country clubs, weddings and other special times.  We chatted about his business , the state of affairs for cigars in general and his products looked great. Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to sample his products but they did look and feel top shelf.
His Email address is: and phone number is 908-237-4465
Give him a holler if you need a cigar roller for your event.

Keep smoking

Friday, October 2, 2015

Another hit of cigar humor

 We should always have a good time when we enjoy our cigars and other activities. Enjoy your day.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hip Town and Hip Cigar Joint: The Occidental Cigar Club

Wherever I go, I make it a point to find the local cigar B & M's. Sometimes I hit pay dirt with the right mix of people , spirits and or course cigars. In my recent trip to San Francisco I found a unique place near where I was staying in the Union Square area.
It was early afternoon and had an engagement later in the day so my time would be limited. Using Google and Yelp I discovered the Occidental Cigar Club was only a 10 minute walk, so I was on my way.
When I arrived at the cigar bar there were no other patrons there and it felt like they just opened up. Still I ventured in , walked around a bit and spent a few minutes checking out their humidor.
There were popular well known blends such as Ashton, Arturo Fuente, Rocky Patel and Padron. The sticks looked like they were well cared for. The price point was bit on the high side but again, you are in a city which is the most expensive city to live in the USA. You are concerned that you are spending too much, you might have second thoughts. However, they have a great policy which allows you to bring in your own stash for only a $5 cutting fee for each cigar you light up.  You cannot get more generous than that. I light up an Ashton, ordered a brew and took in the room.
It's a small bar, narrow and dark, probably holding about 20 patrons. Very good beer and scotch selection, which I don't know much about.
As I smoked, several people showed up and I struck up a conversation with two guys who also were ordering drinks and cigars. I made a cigar suggestion while I asked what brought them here. One fellow was from North Hollywood in LA and his friend was from Georgia, who was in the military. They were in town for dual purposes.  To watch the Oakland Raiders and celebrate the solider's bachelor bash.
That is what so great about cigar chat. You meet so many people with this common connection and the discussion can then get very broad on  just about anything.
I also was able to hold a brief conversation with the barkeeper who one of the co owners of the bar.
She said the bar was open since 1992 and had a steady clientele of folks who both enjoyed both cigar and spirits. The bar would get quite crowded at night and she invited me back later but alas, I could not do it.  Clearly on my next visit to SF, I will make it a point to head back to the Occidental Cigar Club. 
I suggest you look at their website, take a further look at the Yelp reviews and I know you will be making this part of your trip. If you are a resident of SF, you are indeed lucky to have such a great place.

So my rating is :

Bar Scene: Incomplete, did not stay there long enough
Cigar Humidor: B+
Spirits selection: B+
Value: B

I urge you to head to this great joint.

Keep smoking

Friday, September 11, 2015

Punch Punch Tubo Habano review

Is every Cuban perfect or do we like to over hype them? Here is a review of the famed Punch Punch which might sway your view of Cuban cigars

Brand name: Punch Punch Tubo
Country of Origin: Cuba
Size: 143 mm x 46
Shape: Corona Gordo
Box date: April 2013

Appearance/ construction
Earthy in appearance, a slight fault in the foot. Rustic appeal , somewhat oily to touch, firm cap. Love the presentation of the tube, very striking. 

3.8 out of 5 

Flavor/Taste and Aroma

Initially milder than I expected with a slightly nutty and sweet first third. Very little spice, smooth. Nice start to the cigar. Medium in my view. Enjoyable at the start, let's savor the moment. 

Smoking Characteristics:

Easy draw, no burn issues but not quite uniform, still very smooth but spice now kicking in, losing the sweetness and getting edgy , more flavor, more complex. Ash is solid.

As we smoked further into the cigar, pepper was the name of the game. Construction faltered a bit as we needed a re light.

Conclusion/Overall Impression

A good smoke with an uneven taste profile. The last third was still peppery but smooth. It burned a bit hotter at the end .  I certainly would buy them again but would not be a go to cigar on a regular basis.
A cigar for the experienced with a classic Cuban twist.
For those who like counting:

Burn: 3.5 out of 5
Flavor: 3.8 put out of 5
Construction: 3.8 out of 5
Overall : 3.6 out of 5

Keep smoking

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sneak preview : Dignity Cigars with DonJuan Gross

I had the pleasure of smoking with DonJuan Gross, owner of Dignity Cigars recently and of course we talked about cigars.
 He showed me a new blend he is working on which will be available very soon.  He stated the final blend is still not ready yet so I will let him announce it when Dignity Cigars is ready to make the new presentation.
However,  he did show me a new package that is one of the best designs I have seen in cigar marketing.  It is cool looking, with a strong looking presence that says: I need to have these cigars.  Here is the package and tell me what you think.
I am looking forward in smoking the next edition of Dignity Cigars.
 If you are unfamiliar with this boutique blend, I suggest checking out their web page. It is a Costa Rican cigar and has a very distinct flavor profile.  It is not what you expect, which is positive and I will let you make your own decision.

Keep smoking

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Romeo Y Julieta House of Capulet cigar review

When reviewing a new cigar  product you must be aware of your subjective bias. The marketing from the manufacturer will  try to sway your opinion .  Your friends who may be familiar with a particular cigar will chime in with their thoughts. Your own previous experiences will enter into your overall opinion  of what the cigar should taste like. As long you are aware of these factors and let your readership know, I think you are on a solid ground.

Romeo Y Julieta House of Capulet Robusto
Strength:  Medium
Shape : Robusto
Size: 5 X 54
Wrapper Color: Natural
Wrapper Origin: Eucadorian
Wrapper Leaf: Connecticut

This cigar was made for Famous Cigars by Romeo Y Julieta and it is an exclusive blend.

This is a very good looking cigar with a band and paper wrapper that is very arty and cool. Whoever in marketing put this together really did a bang up job with it. It was so impressive that I did not want to take the wrapper off. The cigar had a light brown hue and was smooth to the touch. Firm construction without any obvious blemishes. The roll was outstanding.

For more information on this blend, please click on the above description for a direct link to Famous Cigars.

Would rate this 4 out of 5.
The initial light and cut were made by Xikar products.  The smoothness of this blend was evident was the start with a hint of flavor of nuts and cocoa. This combo flavor stayed throughout the first third of the cigar.  While it was described as medium thought it was mild with perhaps some medium overtones. The  cigar at this stage was very smooth and truly enjoyed it.
At this juncture rating was still 4 out of 5.
The ash was light grey in color and was still attached to the cigar.  A slight burn flaw now appeared but did not create a problem. Eventually the ash did flake off nearing the 2/3 mark of the smoke. Continued to enjoy and reminded myself , a milder blend can be just as pleasurable as a more full bodied smoke.
The last third of the cigar had a bit of of a burn issue but in reality was not a factor. Perhaps it distracted from the overall look of the smoke but did not cause any other flavor or construction issue. The smoke stayed smooth and fun to smoke.

My final thoughts and impressions.
This is quite the find and the price point was very reasonable too. Sometimes we think of what the cigar costs and that might give us unreasonable expectations of the blend.  When it hits on both accounts it is a winner.
As a recap, the overall impression is very positive and for those who enjoy a lighter smoke , it might be in your cigar interests to pick up a box from Famous Smoke. I would certainly smoke it again but as milder cigars are not my regular profile, would have a 5 pack in my humidor when the lighter smoking moment hit me. 
4 out of 5 is a pretty good smoke indeed.

I received this cigar from Famous Smoke gratis for this review. As always this does sway my judgment of my opinion of the cigar.
Keep smoking 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hold it tight or loose.

One of my cigar crew sent me this poster on how you hold your cigar. You can read into it if you want.

Keep smoking

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mostly hits the mark

I imagine crafting a radio show is very similar to crafting a cigar.  Different pieces need to fit in order to make it all work. The finished product could be a big hit or more realistically , not everything is to your subjective  liking. The 90 rated cigar are a small minority but that does not mean you can't enjoy the other cigars of the world.
I was introduced to the @CigarGuysRadioShow through Twitter.  Finally cleared some time and listened to one full show and several excerpts from 4 others. The show is broadcast live from Atlanta on AM 920 every Sunday from 11 AM to 1 pm EST.   The show is also available on podcast which is the way I listened.
The two affable hosts are Gary "Doc" Laden and Alan " The Cigar Savant". Both gentleman have a easy going way about them and they know their cigar lore. Topics range from interviews from those in the business, reviews of cigars, call in from listeners and quirky subjects about cigars. 
On one show the listeners were asked to name three cigars they would bring with them if they were stuck on a deserted island. Fun topic with interesting takes of what listeners would bring. 
On another show  the question was what are good quality cigars which run under $6?
The overall show is very appealing with a reasonable mix of cigar insiders, cigar lifestyle folks and cigar smokers. Sometimes the interviews runs a bit long, the products may not be of interest to you but overall the show moves. Of course if you don't like what you hear, you can always turn the show off. I don't think that is necessary as there are than enough items in the world of cigars to talk about.
The show is well produced, very professional and if you like cigars you will truly enjoy the show and the hosts.
Their tag line , " Smooth Draws" could be likened to a cigar with a pleasant Connecticut wrapper. Not overpowering on your palate but will get will keep you interested for the duration. 
Give the show a listen, put it in your humidor for a leisurely couple of hours.
Keep  smoking

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Was it worth the wait?

I have been storing an El Rico Habano  Churchill in my humidor for over 5 years. It's not as I waiting for a special reason to smoke it. Basically I just never got around to doing it. So today happens to be the day and here is the review. 

El Rico Habano 7 x 54 with an Ecuadorian wrapper, Nicaragua binder and filler. Used an Xikar cutter and smoked in Los Angeles. 
Impressive dark wrapper with an oily feel and sheen. Construction solid, firm texture with a few veins which did not distract from the appearance. If looks tell the story the cigar appears to be a powerful smoke.

Somewhat uneven initial burn, had hints of cocoa and nuts. Flavor was a it muddled with no clear distinction where this was going to go. After 30 minutes I was surprised the smoke was pretty mild almost bland. My expectation it was going to be a kick in the pants blend.
Ash was light grey and was sustained well without any burn issues . Steady, slow draw and remained this integrity throughout the 1.5 hours of smoking time.

My overall thoughts were of a good quality cigar, decent enough and can be has for a reasonable price point Milder  than I thought it was going to be but more in the medium range. It was not a waste of time but was hoping for a stronger blend. Perhaps being in my humidor for 5 plus years took off some of the edge. I would buy several again but in different shapes to see what would happen. 
My rating would be:  appearance and construction 4 out of 5,  flavor: 3.5 out of 5,smoking characteristics: 3.5 out of 5 and overall 3.8 out of 5. 
A good cigar but not top tier.
Keep smoking