Archive for March, 2010

March 2010 – Cigar Site of the month

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

A couple years ago I stumbled onto what is my cigar site of March, 2010. Stogie Fresh was started in 2005 by Doc Stogie Fresh. His site is dedicated to provide us with information on storing and aging cigars to keep them in the best possible condition. There is a ton of content on this topic, as well as cigar reviews, various cigar related articles, and the Stogie Fresh 5 podcast. Stogie Fresh has a variety of contributors, but the backbone of the site is The Doc.

Some of you have emailed me with questions I couldn’t begin to answer. Doc has been the guy who has bailed me out on a few occasions. I even stole one of his videos (with his permission of course) an posted it here on


Chances are you have a question that has already been answered by The Doc. So do yourself a favor and dig in to the vast content over at Stogie Fresh.

EO No. 21

Monday, March 29th, 2010

The EO No. 21 is a bundle cigar containing long filler tobacco. I was looking for a decent morning cigar at a low cost, and came across today’s review. EO (Erik Espinosa & Eddie Ortega) are responsible for some great cigars, like the Cubao and 601. When I came across the No. 21 at the Bonita Smoke Shop, I figured it would be worth a shot. Normally I drink coffee with a cigar like this, but for the review I did the usual water. Let’s see how it went…


Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Panama/Honduran

Size: Toro 6 x 52

Price: Around $40.00 for a bundle of 21


Pre-smoke & Construction:

The light tan Connecticut wrapper looked a little rough, with a few medium sized veins here and there. It had a slight odor of wood and soil, as did the foot. The pre-light draw was a little loose, and had an earthy/woody flavor. Overall, the cigar was evenly packed and a little spongy when squeezed.

The burn required a few minor touch up’s, and the ash held for an inch.



The first third had a mild toasty nutty flavor. A very slight earthiness combined with a mild spice. As this third came to a close, the smoke took on a slight buttery creamy feel.


In the second third, the smoke volume increased. A buttery aftertaste coated the inside of the mouth for awhile after being exhaled. Like before, the main flavors were nutty with a toasty sensation. The spice increased in strength, but only a little bit.


Not a whole lot really changed in the last third. An increase of coffee notes and in increase in body to upper mild. But other then that, things were consistent.



This was a pleasant mild to upper mild bodied cigar. The flavors were what I consider common for a Connecticut wrapped cigar. I was expecting a decent mild bodied cigar without a lot of complexities, and that’s what I got. I’ve smoked plenty of these in the morning with coffee, and it pairs well. If a mild cigar at an affordable price is what you are looking for, this one is worth a try.

Springtime’s Sweet Nostalgia

Monday, March 29th, 2010

I’ve always been a sucker for nostalgia. When I see imagery from yesteryear, I think of a time when text messaging and Blackberries had no place in our lives, third graders didn’t own three-hundred dollar phones and Tweeting was something that birds actually did.

Pictured below is a photo from Macanudo’s ad that has run several times on the back cover of Cigar Magazine. While I love baseball and cigars, this time period piece speaks to me from the heart. It’s a time pre-political correctness and long before the smoke Nazi regime began to attack our beloved pastime – no, not baseball, I’m talking about cigar smoking.


derringer-cigarJust look at the men on the bench, lighting up in the old-time ballpark. Maybe they’re scouts from the front office, looking to call up some young talent to the big leagues. Or maybe they’re newspapermen covering a local team that sits three games ahead in first place. Or perhaps they’re a couple fans that showed up early to enjoy a good smoke and an afternoon of sunshine and nine innings. Something about time spent with young men clad in pinstripes, the crack of a bat, and the scent of freshly cut grass that can put a guy into a three-hour meditative trance. Whoever they are, they’re not bothering anybody and there isn’t an usher asking the men to put out their cigars. In fact, the catcher running by who is backing up first base on a grounder, is savoring the sweet smell of finely aged, blended tobacco. This scene is a wonderful slice of Americana and oh how I’d love Rod Serling to come along and plant me on that bench for an afternoon of Twilight Zone delight.

ryancardBaseball season is about to start and I always get a major league bout of nostalgic goodness at the beginning of every spring. But in this day of free-agent lunacy and hundred million dollar contracts, my mind drifts back to 1969, when my beloved Mets did the unthinkable, beating the powerhouse Baltimore Orioles in five games to win the World Series. I’d be perched in front of the TV, baseball 7858cards lined up in the player’s positions as I awaited Bob Murphy and Lindsay Nelson to make s the calls. The names were Tom Seaver, Jerry Grote, Nolan Ryan, Jerry Koosman, Ed Kranepool, Buddy Harrelson, Ron Swoboda, Tommy Agee, and Cleon Jones and they were bigger than life to a ten year-old kid from northern New Jersey. Sorry Yankee fans, even back then you were the Evil Empire in a young boy’s eyes (lol.)

And now my 15 year-old, Tommy, a throwback, two-sport athlete, begins his first season of baseball as the starting right fielder for his freshman high school team. He’s had a great couple of scrimmages, showing the coach a few of sparkling catches and going two for three with two walks at the plate. I started my son playing both baseball and hockey at five years old and watching him grow to this higher level is an absolute joy. Will anything ever come of his sporting endeavors? I really don’t know for sure, but I just stay in the present and enjoy the hell out of every moment that life presents me.

newark_bearsLastly, here in New Jersey, a bevy of minor league teams and brand new mini ballparks have cropped up over the last decade. Watching these kids give it everything they’ve got in exchange for a six-dollar ticket is tremendous fun for me and the family.

For those of us in the northeast who have been pelted with flooding rains and buried in unusual snowfall, the warm weather is just about here and America’s SomersetPatriotspastime is about to rear it’s wonderful head once more. This spring and summer I will spend many an evening on the patio with the torches lit, my favorite cigar, a pour of scotch, and sounds of major league baseball on the radio. Damn, just reading back over my words has me overcome by a heavy wave of nostalgia. I’m ready and waiting for another season to find out that age-old question that is yet to be answered, “Who’s on First?”


Have a great week and remember Frank, a man whose unbridled passion for cigar making made it possible for all of us to enjoy a premium handmade smoke. Rest in Peace, our brother.

Tommy Z

JR Cigars Blog With the ZMan

Tour of St.Pete Cigars

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

I’m sure most of you know about Ed and his cigar shop, St.Pete Cigars. Luckily for me, it is only one mile away from my house. If you live in the St. Petersburg, Florida area, you owe it to yourself to stop by. Ed is the original supporter of this site. On a sie note… Fortunately, a few others jumped on board to help me as well. Their links are on the right side of this website. Thanks to them, hosting and covering some costs associated with this place is taken care of for a little while.

Some of you who aren’t nearby or are out of state have emailed Ed and I asking for a quick video tour of his shop. Coincidentally, Ed had a similar idea for his website. He wanted to give potential customers an idea of what they would find.

This short video is basically a snapshot of Ed’s shop as of March 2010. Obviously inventory is a constantly changing and evolving thing. But you’ll get a basic idea of what his shop is about. Check it out…

La Gloria Cubana Maduro

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

While browsing the humidor over at The Cigar Loft, I ran across the cigar up for review today. I smoked one at the shop, and took another home to review now. Staying with my usual routine, I filled my glass with water and started smoking.


Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan

Size: Double Corona 7.75 x 49

Price: Around $6.00


Pre-smoke & Construction:

The dark maduro wrapper looked great, with small to medium veins and minimal flaws. The wrapper had virtually no smell at all, while the foot had a sweet natural tobacco odor. Overall the cigar was firmly packed and pretty hard. The pre-light draw had some resistance with a simple earthy flavor.

The ash held for under an inch. The first third required some major burn corrections, but after that all went well.



The first third started off with an interesting note that reminded me of pipe tobacco that wasn’t strong. If anything, it was easy to miss. That flavor didn’t last long, and I started to notice a more peppery, spicy flavor. Other then that, I could only pick up on a familiar earthy taste.


The second third began with the addition of nutty flavors combined with a very slight dry sweetness. The peppery spice remained, as did the earthiness.


The last third had a slight uptick in sweetness. The spicy pepper remained strong and smooth. The nuttiness lessened and allowed the earthy flavor to come though a little more.



This was an OK medium to full bodied cigar. When I smoked it at the shop, I enjoyed it more. I think this was due to the hanging out factor. Once I was alone and could completely focus on the flavors, I found myself getting a little bored. Is this cigar worth trying? Yea I think so, but don’t expect a wow cigar.

Innovative Cigar From La Gloria Cubana

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
I spent quite a bit of time the other day with Michael Giannini, director of marketing for General Cigar Co. and La Gloria Cubana. Mike came by the Cigar Aficionado office with Victoria McKee from General to give us an exclusive look at a new La Gloria Cubana that's been in the works for a year and a half.

Alec Bradley Tempus

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

It’s that time again. Ed and I are back at The Stogie Review, and this time we take a look at the Alec Bradley Tempus. This is one of my favorite cigars, if not my all time favorite. The flavors are rich yet subtle and easy to miss if you don’t pay attention.

Take a look at our thoughts in this 21 minutes video review of the Alec Bradley Tempus.

MP3 Audio Only

Egos & Enigmas That Confuse Me

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

We men are indeed most strange creatures – an enigma of the highest order.

sandra_bullock_jessie_james_gossip_33Take for instance Jesse James, a motorcycle builder who grew up on the streets in California – a guy who lived a hard life and worked with his hands to make a success of himself. The dude then hits the proverbial lottery – he marries Sandra Bullock, a beautiful, sexy, and wealthy woman who is without question one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars. On the night of the Academy Awards, Bullock stares from the podium at her husband with tears in hers eyes, stating that Jesse is one of the reasons why her life is so complete. Then, only several days later, it is reported that Jesse kept himself plenty busy in the Monster Garage while wifey Sandra was away making the movie, Blindside. A skanky fetish queen dancer by the name of Bombshell McGee, complete with ten gallons of body paint and authentic Nazi regalia kept Mr. James throttle in full gear during the waning months. Uh-oh, time to forfeit your lottery prize, bro.

tiger_woods__elin_nordegrenTiger Woods is married to Elin Nordegren, a gorgeous model from Stockholm, Sweden. They have a couple of kids and live the charmed life as one of the world’s happiest couples. But it seems that the Asian/black/Indian/white golfer is a bigger swinger than everyone thinks. The squeaky clean, rabbit toothed go-zillionaire gets a text message and Ms. Elin finds out that her big cat husband is getting more tush than a toilet seat. One by one, the gal pals emerge from the rough – a few hotties and a couple of skankarama-mommas – and suddenly Mr. Nike is minus a bunch of longtime multi-million dollar sponsors.

christie-brinkley-picture-4Peter Cook, some business-guy-nobody hits the lottery as well. He marries super-model and world-renowned beauty, Ms. Christie Brinkley. Wow… the gal who Clark Griswold jumped in the pool for is still stunning and worth mega-millions… Yet, Peter Nobody gets caught spending five grand a month on internet porn while shtooping his 18 year-old assistant. Bye, bye, Ms. American pie… Dumbass.

Men are most bizarre, but especially the one’s that are believed to “have it all.” Really, what the hell, guys? Why are we willing to give up the goods for Michelle-Bombshell-McGeesomething strange and new? Why must we hunt, chase, and kill? Why do we conquer new worlds, plow new fields, smoke different cigars? I mean I love my core group of cigars – JR Ultimate, Punch Grand Cru # 2, Bolivar, and El Rey Del Mundo. But all of a sudden out of no where a new cigar will come along, so sleek, well wrapped and oily, and if I don’t put that son of a bitch in my mouth and light its fire, I almost think that I’ll go mad… mad I tell you!

Some say it’s genetics, something God-given, something we’re born with that we can’t control. And it sure as hell happens a lot more than the olividadosthree examples I just gave. Let’s face it, those are pretty high profile and appear on every news channel and internet site under the sun. But this sure as hell ain’t nothing new and has been happening since Og saw another cave chick wearing a sexy new sabertooth pelt.

But should I only blame men? Don’t women fall to the same desires? My personal answer is that I really don’t know, I’m a guy and I only can relate to the way men think – which is primordial and pretty twisted. It’s just this last Sandra Bullock thing that has thrown me for a loop. Let’s face it, Jesse moved up into the major leagues yet he still seems to like that minor league junk ball pitching. (And I am so full of euphemisms and analogies that I’m making myself nuts.) This one bothered me because I truly don’t get it. You’ve got this amazing thing and you turn back into a bottom feeder within no time at all.

I guess today was a cathartic attempt to work this one out and I chose you guys to help us all make sense of this strange and head-scratching human dilemma. So, I’m lighting up a lunchtime smoke and awaiting your responses. But I won’t tell you the cigar brand, because I have yet strayed again.

Oh the shame.

Tommy Z.

JR CIGARS Blog With the Zman

Rocky Patel Cameroon Especial

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

I was introduced to this cigar by Mike from The Stogie Review. His review didn’t go so well, but he basically had a bum stick in the construction department. What intrigued me about this cigar was the price and what sounded like decent flavor. I am always looking for something to have in the morning with coffee, and this sounded promising. Supporter of the site, Bonita Smoke Shop, has these at a good price. If this sounds like it is for you, it may be worth checking out. As always, I paired today’s review with water. See what I thought below…


Wrapper: Cameroon

Binder: Honduras

Filler: Dominican

Size: Toro 6 x 52

Price: Around $48.00 for bundle of 20


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

A quick glance at the wrapper shows a few blemishes, some medium sized veins, and an overall rugged appearance. The foot and wrapper both had a slight earthy, barnyard odor. There were a few hard and soft spots in the cigar, but overall it seemed to have decent construction. The pre-light draw was good with slight resistance, and had sweet earthy notes.

I did no burn corrections, and the ash held for just under an inch before falling off in my lap or ashtray.



The first third began with mild mellow notes that were typical to Cameroon wrapped cigars. By that I mean a smooth, somewhat earthy and nutty flavor. A tinge of sweetness sort of wrapped around the core flavors.


The second third kept the same flavors, but overall things became sweeter. I picked up a very slight spice when passing the smoke through the nose. The smoke feel became a little smoother with a slight creaminess.


And on to the last third. The creamy smoke feel went away but was very smooth. There was an addition of a mild sweet spice on the lips and through the sinus. The body increased a little higher into the upper mild or lower medium range. That same nutty flavors with whisps of earthy notes were there like before.



This was a pretty good mild to medium bodied cigar. For a bundle cigar, I can’t complain. There were no harsh sensations or bad flavors. My only complaint is that you may get a stick or two in a bundle that have a tight draw. But for a bundle cigar, this lives up to the price range.

Upper Cut by Punch

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Not long ago, Victoria from The General Cigar Company sent me a few cigars to review. Apparently they wanted to clarify the blend in the “Blogosphere” and of course get opinions on some cigars. I’m not one for major details on a cigar, but the Upper Cut features Ometepe tobacco, which they claim results in an intriguing range of flavors. Being a skeptic, I filled up a glass of water and put the Upper Cut by Punch to the test. Let’s see how it went.


Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan, Ometepe

Size: Grand Corona 6 x 45

Price: Around $6.50


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The dark wrapper was a bit rugged looking, but had minimal flaws. There were some medium veins along with a toothy (bumpy) appearance. Sniffing the wrapper and foot revealed a dark, sweet smell. The pre-light draw was free, and had a sweet natural tobacco flavor. I squeezed the entire length of the cigar, and found quite a few minor soft spots. It wasn’t extreme and nothing to be concerned with.

The burn would get wavy from time to time, but always corrected itself. The ash held for an inch before I tapped it off into the ashtray.



The beginning of the first third started out with an interesting flavor. This is one of the few times I was positive that I was picking up nice leathery overtones. A fairly strong pepper was present when exhaling through the nose, and I could feel the spice on the inner lips. The leather calmed down as I progressed further into this third, and earthy coffee-ish notes entered the picture. The pepper started to calm a bit but certainly did not go anywhere. A nice zing let you know it was lurking. As this third came to an end, I picked up some nice sweet notes.


The second third well and overall mellowed out a bit. The peppery spice calmed and took on a sweet flavor. I picked up coffee, wood, and leathery undertones that were very pleasant. The aftertaste coated the inside of the mouth with the same core flavors I just mentioned.


Coffee was the core flavor in the last third. Wood followed, along with wisps of earth and leather. The spice lost some of it’s sweetness, but kept some of it’s zing. Unidentified sweet notes would come and go. It was mellow and relaxing.



I really enjoyed this medium to upper medium bodied cigar. I thought it was interesting how the first third had all this stuff going on, but then changed as if someone flipped a switch. I wouldn’t call this a “WOW” cigar, but I think it was very good. Definitely worth trying!

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