Archive for June, 2009

Oliveros Classic Collection Maduro

Monday, June 29th, 2009

I ran across this cigar from a couple sources. I won one in a raffle, and I believe I was sent one in a grab bag awhile back. There really isn’t a big story behind this cigar that I’m aware of. As we all know, I paired up with PUR filtered water and got to the review.

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro

Binder: Dominican

Filler: Dominican & Nicaraguan

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: Around $3.00


Pre-light & Construction:

First things first… During the pre-light inspection I was immediately annoyed. This cigar was rock hard. I had to massage it and ended up using a draw poker to make it acceptable. I was moments away from trashing the cigar and review, but I pressed on. Not a good way to start a review. Moving on… The wrapper looked nice and had a woody, earthy, and grassy smell. The foot produced a similar smell, with a tinge of pepper. As for the pre-light draw, as I mentioned, it was tight. I was too annoyed with that and didn’t even take notes on what it tasted like. The burn required a few corrections, and the ash was rock solid for over an inch.



The first third had a simple earthy taste. As I reached the end of this third, a slight sweet, dry mocha flavor arrived. Not bad, not great.


The second third didn’t offer much more then the first. I still had plenty of earthy notes, and a buttery flavor came about. Later on I had a bitterness that wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t pleasant either.


The last third really didn’t do anything for me. I was pretty bored at this point, but I pressed on. The earthy flavors fell back a lot, and that buttery component remained. That bitterness remained and started to get on my nerves. As the cigar came to a close, I may have gotten some slight nutty notes that weren’t bad.



This cigar wasn’t for me. The flavor profile just rubbed me the wrong way. The tight draw was the most annoying part of the experience. If you took that away, I would have enjoyed this cigar a little more. I think it boils down to a cigar that doesn’t fit what I like in a flavor profile. Your mileage may vary, so give it a shot. It wasn’t horrible.

Mr. Z Visits Washington

Monday, June 29th, 2009

walkable-washington-dc-lgFrom last Thursday to Sunday (yesterday) the Z family drove to the land of politico stooges – Washington DC. I’ve been to DC, but never did the full tour until now, and I can tell you, it is an absolutely spectacular place to visit. To say that it’s just a bunch of statues, museums, and big buildings is not only a gross understatement, but you slander the millions over the years who have toiled to make our nation’s capital one of the most breathtaking places you’ll ever happen to enjoy.

First off if you ever plan to do the tour, KNOW that you will walk the sidewalks and streets for miles on end and your legs and feet will ache beyond comprehension. Each morning I had a Motrin omelet with three pots of coffee to get me revved and going. Plus the fact that the temperature was in the high 90’s sure added to the difficulty of moving around. Of course my kids are 14 and 18 so they were pretty much fine. I, on the other hand was limping like a wounded grouse caught in a hunting trap. Even my wife who walks miles every day and is in great shape, was dragging terribly. I wished I could have rented a rickshaw and a massage therapist for the duration – happy ending, optional – no, not from the rickshaw guy.

washington-dcWe stayed across the river in Arlington and made use of the Washington Metro, an amazing subway service that gets you where you want to go cheap and fast. (Yes, it’s the same train line that had that horrible accident last week.) First stop was the Whitehouse and you get to see all of the crazies picketing, waving banners and shouting, like loons. Every time we walked by I would yell out, “Hell NO, we wont go!” I felt like a real rebel.  Then some old lady kneed me in the groin and called me a pinko.

If you’ve toured through Washington, you understand the grandeur I speak of. But if you’ve never been there, then it’s hard to even put into to words for you how grandiose it really is. There are buildings made of marble and concrete with ornate carvings and Roman columns that span ten football fields across. You think about the time period that these places were built in, and wonder how it all happened and how much massive.  manpower it took to complete. The Capitol Building and the Library of Congress are SO overly ornate, painted, sculpted and mosaic tiled that I was in awe (and pain) every step of the way.

1384739281_6ea7675f7bThen there are the museums that one could spend days on end in each – the Air and Space Museum, the American History Museum, and the Holocaust Museum (yes, the same spot the guard was killed in several weeks ago) were indescribably breathtaking. I got to see Archie Bunker’s chair and Seinfeld’s puffy shirt, the Wright brother’s plane, and an Apollo space capsule. But nothing is more sobering than hours spent in remembrance of those who endured the grotesque pain of Nazi hatred. I learned a hell of a lot more than I ever knew about the holocaust and what actually led up to it. Seeing in person the real prison uniforms, luggage, shoes, hair, and belongings of those who had their lives erased was surreal and so very humbling.

data1But for the good news, I DID get to smoke a few cigars in some very wonderful shops. Friday afternoon I spent several hours at W. Curtis Draper, Tobacconist, located about two blocks from the Whitehouse, on 14th Street. It’s the fourth oldest tobacco shop in the U.S. (around 120 years old) and it is an oasis for the weary traveler in need of a smoke and fine companionship. Owners John and Matt spent the entire time talking cigars with me and sharing their concerns about the tobacco taxes, anti smoke laws, and the new FDA inheritance of governing tobacco. Even though they face a hell of a battle, their spirits are high and have countless friends who enter the doors to purchase a leafy diversion from life. The guys are doing some excellent “outside the box” thinking to cater to their customer base, including diners where you have a pre-meal cigar reception at the store, a multi-course feast at a local eatery (no smoking as the laws dictate), then back to the store for post meal smokes. Everyone from highbrow politicians, military personnel, businessmen, and everyday botl’s like you and me, are the clientele, and Rudy Guliani makes it a regular stop when visiting. And if you love cigars like me, it will become a regular stop upon every visit.

Another wonderful place to stroll is Georgetown with it’s beautiful college campus and cosmopolitan streets with trendy shops, restaurants, and Georgetown Tobacco, where I found the people to be wonderfully friendly and again, true tobacconists in every sense of the word. Wandering M Street with a big-ass AVO hanging from my jaw was a pleasure after our brick over pizza feast at Pizza Paradiso. On a nice day, this is a terrific place to peruse.

1860008-mansion_of_george_washington-mount_vernonCan’t forget General George’s house in Mount Vernon. It’s a three story colonial mansion built on gorgeous farmland, with a breathtaking view of the Potomic River. Walking through the house that our nation’s founder lived in was pretty incredible. You get to see the actual bed he died in, which is ultra creepy, along with his tomb, but I say it’s a must visit if you’re in the area. GW also owned a distillery 2 miles up the road where over 11,000 gallons of hootch was produced back in colonial times. The original gristmill is still in operation and a very cool thing to see.

vietnam_memorialSunday morning before leaving we visited the Lincoln Memorial and the stunning Vietnam Wall – another sobering reminder of war and the wake of sadness it leaves behind. The amount of names inscribed in that stone is something you don’t expect. And I wanted to mention that about three years ago in DC we toured the Arlington Cemetery, an experience that changes you when you leave the grounds. Time didn’t permit us going this time around, but I will again on my next visit, for sure.

Wow… we did a lot…saw a lot… and I complained that I ached a lot. Plus I drove everyone nuts because I stop to drink and pee every five minutes, where my wife can go all day without stopping like a god damned camel. We had a tremendous time and I would not only recommend it highly, but I’ll do it again in the future. If you can try to forget the fact that the politico dirtbags of society inhabit the city in droves, I guarantee you’ll have an amazing time, as my family and I did. Just MAKE SURE to stock up on your painkiller of choice.

Have a great week my Patriots,

Tommy Z.

JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

One Bright Moment

Monday, June 29th, 2009
I had one of "those" days on the golf course yesterday. I was in a tournament, technically not in contention to win anything in the second round, although with a great round I might have put myself up with the overnight leaders in the net stroke category.

El Baton

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

The El Baton is made in Nicaragua by the J.C. Newman Cigar Co. Apparently they are made in a small factory dedicated to this particular line. They claim it to be medium to full bodied with “Notes of spice.” Tonight I am pairing up with water and a few sips of Glenfiddich 18 year scotch. Let’s see how this goes…


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo

Binder/Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: Robusto 5 x 54

Price: Around $5.00


Pre-light & construction:

You guys know my routine by now… believe it or not, I do this inspection before smoking every cigar. Overall, the wrapper looked nice, with a few bumps and veins. Squeezing the cigar revealed no soft spots. The cigar was firmly packed, yet had a good draw. The pre-light draw had a simple taste of sweet earth. Sniffing the wrapper, I noticed a hay like smell with a tinge of poo (Yea, I said poo). Don’t let this distract you. I’ve had many cigars that initially smelled like poo that turned out to be great smokes. Sniffing the foot revealed peppery notes that actually tickled my nose. I did no burn corrections, and the ash held for a little over an inch.



As advertised, the first third did start off with easy notes of spice. At first is was a peppery spice, but after about a half of an inch, it evolved into a sweet spice. A slight caramel flavor mingled with earthy notes.


The second third continued with caramel flavors overtaking the earthy notes. The earthy flavors remained, they just weren’t consistent or strong. The spice remained, with nuances of pepper and sweetness.


The last third saw changes in a few things. First of all, the earthy notes fell back even further. The caramel became mocha, switching back and forth every now and then. The smoke texture became a little smoother, making for an enjoyable experience.



Not a bad medium to full bodied cigar. It wasn’t exceptionally rich, but it was by no means bad. I think I’ll revisit this cigar when I run across them. Overall, the El Baton is definitely worth a try.

Takin’ Care of Business

Thursday, June 25th, 2009
I came across a couple of Montecristo Petit Edmundos a few weeks ago in one of my spare rooms at home. I am not sure where they came from but they were in a Ziplock bag. The three cigars were dry and needed to be rehumidified. So I stuck them in my Dunhill humidor at about 68 percent humidity and let them soften a little.

Panic Mode

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
My worst fears have been realized. I just received a press package from Knob Creek and tore off the brown paper wrapper with some anticipation, only to be greeted with a foreboding message on the lid of the box: "Thanks for nothing." "My god!" I thought, "What have I done to rankle the folks at the distillery?" I lifted the box top to expose a terrifying sight that rivals even reading the current performance of my IRA: an empty bottle of Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon.

Reyes Family Premier-A year Later

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

I’m sure many of you saw Ed and I review this cigar back in July of 2008. Unfortunately, we had a bad experience and the review reflected that (unlike our review of the Cienfuegos, which went great). When I saw the Reyes Family Premier recently at a local shop, I had to buy a couple sticks and give it a second try. This time around, I am without Ed, and I tried the robusto size. Sticking with my routine, I am pairing up with water. Let’s see how the Reyes Family Premier goes almost a year later.

Wrapper: Maduro Ecuador Sumatra

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua (Condega and Jalapa)

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: 4-$5.00


Pre-smoke & Construction:

The wrapper looked a bit rugged, with medium sized veins and a few large ones. I squeezed the cigar and found it to be a bit too spongy for my liking. Sniffing the wrapper revealed a sweet woody smell, while the foot smelled of wood and rich soil. The pre-light draw was a bit loose and tasted earthy combined with wood. The burn required many corrections in the first two thirds. It really got on my nerves. Eventually it evened out in the last third. The ash held for about an inch, but was loose and I didn’t trust it. Overall, construction was shoddy.



The first third began with an earthy base flavor. As I progressed into this third, mocha notes overtook the earthy flavors.


The second third continued with the mocha and earthy notes. They played tag with each other on which would be prominent flavor. Pepper entered and was pretty smooth and easy. As things came to a close, a decent woody flavor entered the mix.


The last third developed a coffeeish flavor that overtook the mocha. This revealed the woody flavor that went away for a little while. The pepper went away , and with a little over an inch to go, it was time to put the cigar down.



This cigar definitely went better then the review Ed and I did last June. I didn’t get those nasty ammonia flavors this time around. I can’t really complain about the flavor profile at all. It hovered in the medium to upper medium body range, and tasted good. As stated earlier, my only complaints relate to the construction. Gladly I can say at least the robusto size is worth trying.

Father’s Day Smokes

Monday, June 22nd, 2009
I had a great Father's Day. It started off with brunch at a local restaurant with my wife and son. They treated me to hanger steak and eggs, the steak medium rare, the eggs softly poached, with hollandaise sauce. It was brunch at a seafood restaurant, and my wife was more in the mood for lunch than breakfast—she began with a half-dozen bluepoint oysters on the half-shell.

Dad’s Weekend Revisited

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

commentbuddy_fathers_day_010You guys all know that I’m the total nostalgic sort, and nothing but nothing says nostalgic like Father’s Day. But I happened to have had a hell of a few days of celebrating. On Thursday, Tommy 3 graduated eighth grade. (Dad is Tommy 1 and I’m the Jr.) On Friday, my daughter Nicole graduated high school. Then Saturday, we had a daylong, nightlong party and I am so friggin’ wiped, both physically and emotionally.

00000f024It has rained something like 20 of the past 23 days in our area and people are going stir crazy. Thursday it poured and the eighth grade ceremony was in the gym – the 4,000 degree gym. The speeches were dreadfully long and drawn out and over 300 kids got their diplomas for what seemed like a day and a half. But the upside? A massive collection of hot moms – hot sweaty moms that drove many a dad wacky. Lots of leg and low cut tops made Mr. Polish Snausage do his own little pomp and circumstance. And then the fact that half the eight grade girls looked 21 years old was most disturbing. God knows there’s a humidor in hell with my name inscribed on it.

fathers-day-beer-lgBut Friday was a miracle. What started as a cloudy, dismal looking day gave way to sun, 72 degrees, and blue skies and the high school seniors got to parade around the football field and it was just sensational. Now THIS ceremony was brutally surreal. I was picturing my girl crying getting on the first grade bus, then opened my eyes to see her in her cap and gown. Wow. I did all I could to hold back the tears and look like more of a fool than I normally tend to be. But again, it was the gaggle of steaming hot mothers that kept me perky and pomped. Funny how years ago people thought a 40 year-old woman was an old maid. And of course the senior girls looked like beautiful women, not 17 and 18 year old kids. Just a very memorable day.

dad_and_little_league_sm1224164297So of course Saturday is our humongous party for the kids and of course it poured rain all god damned day long. But, I really didn’t give a rats ash cuz I drank and smoked and ate like a wolverine. I set up a tent in front of the garage and barbequed from underneath for close to twelve hours. My colon must look like a meat locker for crissakes. Don’t know if they’re a national brand, but we’ve got Thumann’s hot dogs, made from beef and pork and they blow up twice the size and split down the middle. The taste is so amazing and I kind of did the “one for you – one for me” thing all day. I also made sure to ingest a medium rare cheeseburger once every quarter hour. And for two days I’m now excreting once every quarter hour. (Yes, I am surely the king of TMI.)

cigar22I also put out on a table in the garage, a selection of fine smokes for the cigarophiles to partake. And god dayum, did “I” ever partake. I probably smoked eight or more cigars and washed them down with an eclectic mix of suds and libations. This would probably explain why Sunday morning I woke up at 11:30am and felt like Mike Tyson got medieval on my ass. Now my wife NEVER lets me sleep late on weekends cuz god knows nothing will get done around the house if I do. But yesterday was Father’s Day and the woman gave me the wonderful gift of slumber. No sex, just sleep. I guess the fact that I smelled like the ghost of Arturo Fuente had something to do with the lack of hummerage.

grilledprettydogswebOf course the first thing I did when I woke up was fire up the grill that was still out front and threw on a few of those beef n’ pork puppies. That and a cup of java really added to my grotesque gassiness. For once it wasn’t raining and I just sat at the edge of the garage like a swollen statue and thanked God above for my kids, family, and all that I had. Then I ripped a fart that could have knocked the horn off rhino. The dudes three miles under the earth over at Norad ordered a fly over just to make sure this wasn’t a level-5 terror threat. No real damage other than a ruined pair of shorts…And I’m pretty sure I killed a family of squirrels in a neighboring tree.

alexander-von-humboldt-pen_48Took a drive to Borders Books, guzzled an icy cold Seattle’s Best, and read for free for a couple of hours. Actually spent time with the newest Cigar Aficionado and I am now and expert on 20,000 dollar fountain pens and Dubai ocean front tennis courts. And I’m also having an incredible hankering for some Grey Poupon. I’m also up on all of Marvin Shanken’s wacky golf antics and I am so jealous. I can now cultivate eggs for my own homemade caviar and got to read the latest Netjets ad. You know, I think I actually remember reading something about cigars somewhere near the back of the book. Something about balsa wood, leather, and roasted meat flavors seems to stand out in my memory. Hell, this whole weekend was a collection of roasted meat flavors.

montypythonsmeaningoflifemrcreosoteitsonlywaferthin1Then last night it was another round of leftover cheeseburgers and Rocky Balboa could have used my bowels as a punching bag. After that was leftover desserts and a fancy French waiter asked if I wanted just on thin little mint. Around 9:30 my dad stopped by, I gave him a big hug and a few maduros for the road. That was a nice was to cap off a hell of a weekend by yours truly. But at 10pm I fired up one last stogie and listened to the pouring rain beat down upon my driveway, once again

big_boobsI hope you dudes have some good Father’s Day stuff to talk about right here. Let’s hear it boys, and if I don’t respond for a while, know that I’m most likely clogging the home’s plumbing facilities.

Oh yeah, I saved the cheesecake fer last. Enjoy.

Have a swell week youz guys.
Tommy Z.
JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Flavored—But Surprisingly Good

Friday, June 19th, 2009
I wanted to hate this product. When Jim Beam announced its Red Stag, Bourbon infused with black cherry flavoring, the purist in me was horrified. What lunatic would want to take something so noble as Bourbon and sweeten it up with fruit? After all Bourbon is the purest of all spirits, strictly produced as a straight whiskey, no flavoring, barrels only used once, no coloring.

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