Archive for January, 2010

January 2010-Cigar Site Of The Month

Sunday, January 31st, 2010 is obviously all about cigars. My method is simple: I come across a cigar or cigar related item, and post it here. I scour the web and run across a lot of cigar blogs. There are new ones popping up all the time. Some of them will go away within a year, others will stick it out for the long haul. Since cigars can be such a subjective topic, each site offers something different.

This is why every month I’ll mention a cigar blog that caught my eye. There is a lot of content out there to be taken in.



The first installment features a site that I frequent, called Cigar Obsession. I’ve had a few smokes with Bryan, a local Floridian. His site features cigar art, daily deals, cigar reviews, and video content. What drew me to the site was his cigar review videos. They are short, honest, and to the point. They are filmed in his back yard, but still have a professional feel to them. Chances are, you already know about Cigar Obsession. If not, by all means, leave this place and check it out now!

Don Lino Africa Duma

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

The Don Lino Africa Duma… I have no useful information about it. I bought it, threw it into my “To be reviewed” humidor (this is where I keep cigars to be reviewed), and forgot about it. The blend looks interesting, so I grabbed the usual glass of water and smoked a couple Don Lino’s.


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Cameroon, Dominican, Mexico, Nicaragua

Size: 5 x 50

Price: $6 to $7.00



Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The cigar was evenly packed, and the wrapper had minimal veins or flaws. The smell of the wrapper and foot was a little hay-ish. The pre-light draw had a little resistance, and had a sweet grassy/earthy taste.

The burn required no corrections. The ash sometimes would hold for about an inch, but other times it would drop off without warning.



The first few puffs of the first third were sweet, smooth earth. It didn’t take long for other flavors to introduce themselves in the form of coffee and cocoa, and slight woody notes. These flavors pushed the earthiness way into the background. I picked up a slight sweet spice when exhaling through the nose.


Sweet, woody, coffee and cocoa flavors dominated the second third. Coffee and cocoa varied in intensity. Sometimes the other flavors would increase and decrease in strength at a random pace. The smoke feel became very smooth and somewhat creamy.


The last third had an increase in body, but remained in the upper medium range. A unique sweet flavor was introduced that I couldn’t put my finger on. It may have been a mixture of cocoa, coffee, and wood combined to create an interesting flavor. For the most part, mocha was the dominant flavor. The smoke feel remained smooth and slightly creamy.



Overall I enjoyed this medium to upper medium bodied cigar. The flavor profile changed up enough to keep me from getting bored, and was overall pleasant. I would recommend this cigar and say give it a try.

Cigars and Football

Monday, January 25th, 2010
Yesterday I invited over my brother and a few good friends, slow cooked a big pot of spicy chili, headed down to the smoking room and turned on the television for two great football games. This is the time of year every game matters, every yard on the gridiron is fought for with passion, and you either win or you go home.

Inglorious Cigar Loving Bastids

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Pretty good chances are that if you read this blog, you are a lover of the luscious leaf. With deference to sir Quentin Tarantino. We ARE Inglorious Cigar Loving Bastids. Cigars make our lives better. The ritual of cutting, lighting, and then drawing in that first heavenly puff of smoke is one that we relish with all our hearts and souls. Dare I say that we would kill for our cigars.

inglourious-basterds-movie-posterA good cigar is truly like a friend who accompanies us on long car rides, a day on the links, or on the back deck when the stars litter the sky. It’s an understatement to say that we ‘love’ our cigars. So, I started thinking about the cigars I personally love – you know, my faves. My mind was all over the place as there are so many sticks I smoke. I tried to come up with a list of my top ten favorite smokes and it was too hard. So then I thought, what if I had to choose just five to smoke the rest of my days. Ooooo… now that’s getting more serous and required some intense thought. But then my brain went one bizarre step further. What if the smoke Nazis gained control and we Inglorious Bastids were only allowed to choose one cigar to make our regular everyday stogie. What would it be?

Wow, my brain started to hurt. A cloud of smoke began to seep from my ears as confusion riddled my soul. I have to pick one cigar to spend the rest of my life with. Holy crap, this is just like marriage – you have to be eternally faithful and you still don’t get laid. With my mental faculties in a quandary, I decided to seek the help of some friends. I turned to the cigar forum I frequent (or is it ‘freak’quent) on the internet for some support. I’ve been a member of Herfersparadise for a little over three years and it has become a fixture in my daily regimen. There are a lot of knowledgeable cigartophiles there – some good dudes, some weird ones (yours truly falls into that category) and a few grating assholes, just like any internet forum. (No I Am Not referring to any of my friends who post both here and there.)

So I posted my smoke-filled dilemma in a new thread in the cigars part of the forum and it read like so…

The smoke Nazi’s have cut us off at the balls and every smoker gets to choose one cigar to smoke the rest of their life. Just one to spend the rest of your days with. Price is NOT the object here, only choice. What will it be?

Now I really had no idea what the response would be, but I knew the Herfer’s faithful would enjoy lending their two cents into the kitty. Right off the bat, my bud, Kevin says, “I’ll choose none. If Tommys 8 th grade stupid question ever comes true I will be dead,” which cracked me up, and it was cool because the answers were coming in fast and furious.

And what was amazing is that about 35 answers in, we had 35 different cigars listed and that really surprised me. Finally a few repeats made the list, but what truly surprised me the most was that half of the answers that the guys listed as the ONE cigar they would choose… was a Cuban made smoke. I really didn’t expect that. A lot of guys seem to scoff at Habanas, stating quite emphatically that Nicaragua, Honduras, and the DR has surpassed the Isle de Castro in quality. But after close to 100 posts on the thread and 1,700 views, there are still those who feel that a ‘real-deal’ Havana is still the only way to go.

The top picks: Montecristo # 2 and 4. Siglo VI is popular as well as the Partagas Serie D Robusto. What’s so interesting about the “legal” cigars is that the choices were spread out across the board. And I personally think that’s a great sign for the industry, meaning that a lot of manufacturers are making a vast array of great smokes..

Oh yeah… my personal pick? Papayos? Optimos? Grape Philly Blunts? Well, since price is NO object, I choose to make the everyday smoke for the rest of my life… the 1926 Pardon Anniversario. (Sorry to disappoint those of you who refer to me as the JR whore. I mean I am, but variety is the spice of life, as they say… whoever ‘they’ are.) I think this cigar is so consistently smooth, well rolled, and the flavor profile is amazing.

On a final note, some found it impossible to narrow it down to ONE brand. One guy even said he’d rather give up smoking if he was forced to stick with the same cigar choice forever. To me, that’s completely insane and irrational, but probably every bit as my proposed question.

Okay, I didn’t solve world hunger or our grotesque economical problems, but I did offer up a mind numbing proposition for you to ponder.

Yes, we are the Inglorious Cigar Loving Bastids and the Smoke Nazis will feel our wrath… and smell.

Tommy Z.

JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Reyes Family-Cuba Aliados Miami

Monday, January 25th, 2010

I’ve always been a fan of the Cuba Alidos, which is what drew me to today’s review. The Miami addition sports a different blend and presentation. As its namesake suggests, these are hand rolled in Miami instead of Honduras. To get maximum flavor for the review, I paired with water and got to it…


Wrapper: Habano

Binder: Dominican

Filler: Nicaragua

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: $6 to $7.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

After removing the cedar sleeve, I was able to inspect the nice looking wrapper. It looked smooth, with only a couple medium veins. I could only detect mild cedar and natural tobacco odor when sniffing the wrapper. The foot had a similar smell, with an added earthy odor. For the most part, the cigar was packed evenly, with a couple hard and soft spots. This wasn’t anything of concern. The pre-light draw had just the right amount of resistance, and had earthy, cedary notes.

The burn requires a few corrections in the first two thirds, and the ash held for about an inch.



The first third opened up with a smooth cedary flavor. I picked up sweet, smooth spicy notes when exhaling through the sinus. As I progressed further, a familiar and nice pepper entered the picture that reminded me there is some Nicaraguan tobacco in this thing.


The second this kept the dominant woody flavor. The sweet peppery spice would be almost non existent in one puff, and reappear in the next. The smoke feel was somewhat creamy with a nice aftertaste.


Again… Like before, the dominant flavor was cedary wood for the most part. The pepper went away, but the zing remained when exhaling through the nose. At times, sweet mocha like flavors would appear and battle with cedar to dominate the flavor profile.



This was a good medium to full bodied smoke and was very enjoyable. I can and will smoke these again should I run across them. I can only suggest you give the Cuba Aliados Miami a try.

CAO Maduro

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Be warned. This may be my worst review in terms of video and audio quality. Here’s the story… The other night I was helping run a local cigar shop, Habana Cigars, and got a little bored. I figured I’d do a quick review using my MacBook iSight webcam. What resulted was the masterpiece video below. Maybe for future reviews like this, I can use an external microphone and adjust the lighting a bit. OR, I can abandon this idea completely. Let me know your thoughts, I can take it.

The CAO Maduro is a decent little medium to lower full bodied cigar. The flavors didn’t wow me or change a lot, but it did keep me relaxed for the duration. Overall the flavors were good. See my thoughts in this 8 minute video.

MP3 Audio

Cuban Cigars, Ready or Not, Here They Come……. I Think…

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

f_02Since John F. Kennedy signed the Cuban Embargo in 1962, nine straight U.S. presidents have come and gone, with so much talk of lifting it. Now we have the most liberal president in the history of mankind, and the question isn’t “if” the embargo will end, the only question is “when.” Okay, this is only my personal opinion, but it sure seems to be a popular opinion of many.

Many a cigar fan wants this embargo that is approaching half a century to end for selfish reasons. If you love your smokes from Havana, then you are excited about the availability of real-deal Monte #2’s, Hoyo DC’s, Bolivar Gigantes, and Partagas Serie D Robustos becoming a reality at a cigar shop near you.

castro2If you are a pro-Castro Cuban, you want this to come to an end so you can visit your homeland and family again. If you are anti-Castro and your family came over in the Mariel Boat Lifts, then you are for the embargo and want the U.S. government to continue to squeeze Fidel’s cajone’s until he is as dead as a doornail.

Habanos_logo_fullAs you can see, there’s a lot of mixed sentiment here. Now some of you reading don’t give a rat’s ash about Cuban smokes and are happy as a clam with your sticks from Honduras, Nicaragua, and the DR. But some of us really do enjoy the hell out of the cigars named two paragraphs above and would love to have them readily available to enjoy. But the question is: At what cost?

There are many that believe the cost of Cuban made sticks will double because immediate demand will be off the charts. And don’t kid yourself, demand for legitimate Habanos products will be utterly insane when they are readily available in America.

eitan-simanor-close-up-of-limited-edition-cigars-in-a-box-cohiba-havana-cuba-west-indies-central-america“There’s no way you can serve Europe and the US if Cuban cigars became big in the US,” Swedish Match Chief Financial Officer, Lars Dahlgren, who declined to say when the ban might be lifted.  “If consumers would demand the same quality of cigars, prices would skyrocket.”

It’s hard to say what pricing will be, but I personally think it will cause a kind of mini-boom here in the U.S. But the smoke Nazi’s will see this coming and raise taxes higher and fight to stop the Cuban invasion, but it won’t matter. People will want their Habanas and that’s gonna piss off a lot of Hidebeast and Pelosi supporters.

Now the interesting thing is, if prices go thru the roof in the U.S., that will again cause people to purchase them via mail order from outside of the country, but now it will be LEGAL to do so. So, to combat this, I’m sure the government will place some insane tariff on imported Cuban smokes and that’ll take care of that brief loophole.

At first, most people will go ga-ga and buy Cuban smokes at a crazy clip and smokes from the other countries will take an initial hit. But if the prices for Cubanos are ridiculously high, within a couple of months we’ll all go back to our favorite domesticated brands.

ABell03I think the thing that hits me the most is that it will no longer be considered an act of treason to purchase a real-deal stick from the Island 90 miles south of Miami. Travel will open up to Castroland and they are just going to love the U.S. dollar down there. And, you’ll see a boatload (poor choice of words?) of Cuban players in Major League Baseball. Wow, almost 50 years of talking about this and it looks as if it’s really going to happen in our lifetime. I remember Lew Rothman telling me that when the embargo was first put in place, all of the cigar companies completely believed that it wouldn’t last more than a few weeks. Well, a few weeks became a few months and it started a frenzy in the industry.

Well, I say get ready for a new frenzy in the industry, as handmade premium Cuban cigars are about to make their long awaited U.S. return…

… I think.

Tommy Z

JR Cigars Blog With the Zman


First Impression – 5 Vegas Limitada 2009

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

To be fair, I should mention that this is a first impression review. I try to smoke at least 2 to 3 cigars before doing a review. Unfortunately I couldn’t get my hands on more. Anyway…It was time to reach into the Cigars Direct goody bag again. What I pulled out was tonight’s review, the 5 vegas Limitada 2009. This is a small yearly production and I have never had any previous releases.


Wrapper: Dominican Corojo (2002)

Binder: Piloto Cubano (2003)

Filler: Piloto Cubano 2003 and Criollo Ligero 2004

Size: Belicoso 6.2 x 52

Price: Around $8.00 to $10.00


Pre-smoke & Construction:

This was a rugged, oily, yet attractive looking cigar. The wrapper had one large vein and a few medium to small ones. Overall the cigar was packed evenly except towards the cap, where it became a little spongy. When I sniffed the wrapper and foot, I picked up a fairly strong natural earthy tobacco odor, along with a sweet spice. The pre-light draw was perfect, and had a earthy, sweet, and simple natural tobacco taste.

Construction was good, requiring only a couple touch up’s on the burn. The ash held firm for over an inch.



The first third began with very simple and subtle peppery notes. As long we we are talking about subtle flavors, next up was a slight earthiness. The smoke feel was toasty and the finish (aftertaste) had an interesting flavor that I lack words to describe. As I progressed more, woody notes combined with sweetness came about. Strange but decent.


The second third wasn’t a lot to talk about… The sweet pepper remained, along with the toasty finish. Woody notes lingered just like before, along with the sweet woody flavors I mentioned before. Basically a carbon copy of the first third.


The last third, like the previous ones, didn’t offer too much. One subtle change was all the flavors I mentioned before remained but took on a sweet tinge. Other then that, copy and paste my previous comments and that sums up the last third.



The cigar wasn’t  bad, but didn’t wow me in any way. I’d say it fell in the medium body range. The flavors seemed one dimensional and flat, but were never bad. I guess for such a hyped cigar, I expected more complexities and body. Considering this is the only time I’ve tried this cigar, I’ll try another one if I run across them. If your experience was the same or different, I’d appreciate your opinions. Is this review accurate or am I way off base here? Be brutal, I can take it.

Tabacos Baez Serie SF

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

This cigar is from Don Pepin Garcia. What turned me on to this smoke was the price, the blender (Pepin), as well as the good reviews by Jerry and Chris. A friend of mine Matt pointed me to a decent deal, so I took a chance and picked up a box from a site supporter, Bonita Smoke Shop. I’m always searching for a good economical daily cigar. Let’s see how the Tabacos Baez Serie SF rates.


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan (70% long filler, 30% short filler)

Size: Toro 6 x 50

Price: $41.90 for a box of 20 or around $3.00 for a single.



Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper was a little rough looking and bumpy, but had no major flaws. It had a basic earthy sweet smell. The foot had a similar smell with a slight spice. When I squeezed the cigar, it was a little spongy with a couple soft spots. The pre-light draw was free, and the flavor reminded me of hay.

The burn required no corrections, and the ash held for a little under one inch.



The first third started with a smooth pepper. After a few puffs a slight sweetness joined in, with a mild earthy undertone that was hard to detect at times. The smoke volume was nice, with fairly large white cloud plumes.


The second third didn’t see any major changes. The flavors essentially stayed the same. The spicy pepper had a slight increase in strength and bite, but kept it’s smoothness. The sweet flavors remained, but I couldn’t pin down an exactly what the sweetness tasted like. And like before, very slight earthy notes lingered in the background from time to time.


Like before, there wasn’t anything major to mention, but I’ll mention it anyway. The sweetness developed into a dry cocoa type of flavor. The spicy pepper was nice, and didn’t change at all. The earthy notes almost went away, but I noticed them from time to time.



This is a good medium bodied smoke. Although one dimensional, I enjoyed this cigar. It is easily worth the price, and lately I find myself reaching for one of these when I just want a simple relaxing smoke. If you are looking for a good budget cigar, this one is worth trying.

Back in the Land of the Free

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
Getting caught with two Cuban cigars crossing the border between California and Mexico can really upset officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection—among other things. I found out the hard way last weekend on a road trip to Baja California with some friends.

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