Archive for April, 2010

Davidoff’s Dominican Wrapper

Friday, April 30th, 2010
I went to the launch of Davidoff's newest cigar, the 1, this week in New York City. It's the first new Davidoff cigar brand (not counting limited editions) in a decade, and it's a big deal because it has a wrapper grown in a new area of the Dominican Republic.

April 2010 – Cigar Site Of The Month

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

The World According To Stew started up in April of 2008. I’ve been visiting his site pretty much since the beginning. He started off with written cigar reviews peppered with political rants, sports, and a variety of other topics. 


It took awhile, but Stew eventually started doing video cigar reviews. They have an honest vibe with an angle only he can provide. When you go pay Stew a visit, you may ask yourself why he has slowed down on updating the site lately. I believe he is one of the few with a valid excuse, and it makes perfect sense if you are a new father like he is. So leave here and go visit A World According to Stew!

Rocky Patel 1961

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The Rocky Patel 1961 commemorates the birth year of Rocky. That’s really all I know about this cigar. And personally, I don’t care to have any more details. I tend to focus on the flavor and construction. I found this cigar at a great local shop called The Cigar Loft. Being the Rocky fan that I am, had to pick some up. It just looked good. So without further ado, I offer you my thoughts…


Wrapper: Ecuador

Binder: Honduran

Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: 5 to $6.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper had a few bumps and small veins, but no construction flaws. The wrapper and foot had an earthy and somewhat spicy aroma. Overall the cigar was consistently packed with tobacco, and bounced back when squeezed. The pre-light draw was great, with a sweet earthy natural tobacco taste.

The burn required a couple corrections in the first third, and the ash held for about an inch.



Pepper started off the first third. Woody and sweet notes were up next and for the most part rounded out this thirds flavor profile.


The second third had a couple changes and additions. The spicy pepper became sweet, but kept it’s bite. The spice also took on a mocha flavor. A whole gamut of flavors followed in varying intensities. There was wood, espresso,  and hints of nuts. But overall, sweetness, pepper, and wood were dominant.


The last third really smoothed out and became creamy. The spice and pepper kept it’s zing, but became very mellow at the same time. Wood became the dominant flavor as well. There were hints of coffee in there somewhere.



This was a very good medium to full bodied smoke. Despite having a blast of flavors, the subtleties were nice too. This was just a good, well balanced cigar. The only issue I have is… I had a 1961 on new years eve. It was good, but not nearly as good as the one I smoked for this review. It makes me wonder if there are consistency problems from cigar to cigar. Either way, I think it’s worth trying and judging for yourself.

Spring in New York City

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
Spring never seems to come soon enough in the Northeast, especially after the recent long, cold, wet winter of 2009-2010. But last Friday, the day offered up not just spring-like weather, but the promise of an early summer. It was all blue sky and bright sunshine, and I was lucky enough to enjoy it all on the terrace of the Metropolitan Club, a venerable institution at 60th and Fifth Avenue, overlooking Central Park.

La Flor Dominicana – Air Bender

Monday, April 26th, 2010


Ed and I stopped by The Stogie Review for our monthly Guest spot. This time around we reviewed the La Flor Dominicana Air Bender. What started as a good average cigar developed into a nice full bodied flavor bomb. The Air Bender proves that you can have a full bodied, strong cigar without sacrificing flavor. See our thoughts in this 21 minute video.

MP3 Audio Only

Smoking New Cigars with Tim Ozgener

Monday, April 26th, 2010
Tim Ozgener came by the Cigar Aficionado offices the other day with a few new C.A.O. La Traviata cigars in tow. Tim is the president of C.A.O. International Inc., headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, and La Traviata is his company's latest brand.

Heroes in the Streets

Monday, April 26th, 2010

My Afternoon With the Boys of Rescue Ink

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet some incredibly special guys to interview for an upcoming issue of Cigar Magazine. Their names – Joe Panz and Big Ant – and they run one of the most courageous rescue operation units in the world known as Rescue Ink.

Maybe you’ve heard of the boys as their reality television show was incredibly popular on the National Geographic Channel. Or you might have seen them on the news, in a magazine, or on a talk show, because their little group ain’t so little any more. They are gaining recognition the world over for the unsung work they do, all in the name of love – for line up

Rescue Ink started about six years ago when Joe Panz began hearing more and more about animal abuse in his neighborhood in Queens, New York. Since then, Joe has gathered a small army of his “street” friends, and the group has become internationally famous as the people to turn to when Club-Macanudothey simply have no more options and there’s no where else to turn.

The interview was set for lunch at Club Macanudo in Manhattan, thanks to General Manager, Mr. Mauricio Cordoba. He is a true gentleman, and he made sure our experience was excellent in every way. Although there is a dress code, Mauricio was kind enough to make an exception, allowing Joe and Anthony to enjoy the club in their everyday work attire, as you can see by the photos – and Mauricio, I thank you again for the outstanding hospitality. I have to mention that Club Macanudo is NOT private – it is open to the public seven days a week including lunch, dinner, and Sunday Brunch. Guys, there’s only a handful of places left in New York where you can enjoy a cigar, let alone along with your favorite drink and some spectacular food, and there isn’t a better atmosphere to revel in your favorite smoke.

UnknownMy Rescue Ink friends are bigger than life characters – New York street savvy tough guys who have taken it upon themselves to protect helpless animals who simply cannot defend themselves against cruelty and abuse. When they receive a call or an email about a potential problem, a group of eight or so rescuers arrive at the abusers front door, warning them about their unacceptable behavior, while putting the fear of god into them, if deemed necessary. Trust me when I say that you DON’T want these guys coming back for a second visit… capiche? What’s amazing is that these brave souls put their life on the line every single day, entering neighborhoods so bad that even the National Geographic camera crews refused to follow them in. Joe says with all sincerity that he and his guys have NO fear, for if they did, they could not function in a manner that gets the job done. And if you were wondering, they don’t play the role of vigilante, because they know that breaking the law or use of excessive force would land them in jail – a place where they can’t be of any help to their animal friends.

Unknown-1I’ve done a lot of great interviews with some big name people, but I have to say that I enjoyed this one the most to date. The guys were an absolute pisser, showing up on their gorgeous Harleys and brandishing three hours worth of colorful “street” language to boot. I did my part to keep up with the expletives just so I’d fit in and not have any bodily parts snapped or removed… although, Joe was kind enough to give me a neck rub while Big Ant helped me find my chair. (See photo.) And as a side note, I have never seen three guys eat so much goddamned food in my life. Joe works out three hours every day and he and Big Ant wolfed continuous appetizers like the Russians were invading Newark. Yeah, I did my share to help, but after Club Mac ran out of food, we had a live steer brought in and butchered on the premises – and yeah, the guys volunteered.

P1010297The Cigar Magazine Story won’t be out for a few months, so I wanted to let you guys know about these modern day heroes who have answered a calling and need our help to continue. People think because they’re on TV that they have skads of money, but it’s not so at all. They spend a lot of their own money and precious time on the streets and they need your financial donations, badly.

Look Rescue Ink up on the web or call the Rescue Ink Rescue Hotline at 800-510-7355.

Rescue Ink LLC, 459 Columbus Avenue, Suite 1800,  New York, NY 10024.

Thanx my peeps, this is an amazing cause and we’re doing our best to give the boys our support.

Have a great week,


JR Cigar Blog With the ZMAN

Drew Estate – La Vieja Habana

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

The La Vieja Habana is Drew Estates first brand, which was introduced in the mid 90’s. They come in four wrapper variations, the Cuban Corojo, Cameroon, Maduro, and Connecticut. I am doing the Cuban Corojo version. Unlike their flagship Acid line, this is a traditional cigar with no infused flavoring, and it  contains mixed filler. They claim this to be medium bodied with lots of flavors. I paired up with water and jotted down my thoughts.


Wrapper: Cuban Corojo

Binder/Filler: Esteli & Jalapa Valley, Nicaragua

Size: 6 x 54

Price: Around $3.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper was a little rough looking, with medium veins and quite a few bumps. Squeezing the cigar, I found it to be very spongy. The wrapper had a strange sweet, almost floral odor to it. The foot had that same odor along with woody notes. The pre-light draw was free, and had an earthy and woody flavor.

The burn required a few minor corrections, and the ash held for about half an inch. Pretty much typical of a short or mixed filler cigar.



The first third began with an easy earthy and natural tobacco taste. After about an inch, a slight spice kicked in. As I progressed towards the end of this third, the spice became a little peppery and increased in strength, but remained in the mild to medium bodied range.


The second third had the spice overtaking the earthy flavors. Every now and then I would get a slight sweetness, but it wasn’t consistent. The smoke became someone creamy, with a lot of smoke volume.


The last third had no new flavors. The earthy flavors were there along with the spice. The creaminess of the smoke increased slightly, as did the sweetness. The smoke volume remained huge. Clouds of smoke billowed out of this ting at all times.



For the price, this was a decent mild to medium bodied cigar. It is pretty much in line with what I expected. There is no wow factor, and it is basically one dimensional. I enjoyed the huge smoke volume and smoothness. If I were to complain, I would say it was the burn rate. I didn’t time it, but I burnt though this cigar quickly. If you are trying cheaper cigars, I’d say this is worth checking out.

Adios Mi Abuelo

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
I have been thinking a lot about Alejandro Robaina, the late great tobacco grower of Cuba. It's hard to think about the 91-year-old no longer being there. 1 at home in his bed, and I can't bear the thought of him not being on his farm, sitting on his terrace in his rocking chair and holding court with a cigar in his hand.

Xikar Warranty

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Many of you have read my review of the Xikar Axia here. I had some initial problems and tested the warranty by swapping it out at the shop I bought it at. It couldn’t have been easier.


Unfortunately, towards the end of March 2010, the lighter sprung a leak and wouldn’t hold fuel anymore. I admit, I was bummed and a little angry. I babied this thing, and even kept it in the free sheath Xikar sends you if you register your product on their website.


I figured it was time to test Xikar’s warranty again via their mail in option. While I was at it, I figured I’d send my Xi MTX Multi-Tool for sharpening. I used it for a couple years straight, and it was getting dull. This is to be expected from any cigar cutter as time goes on.


Per the instructions on their website, I packed my items in a padded envelope, along with a short letter containing my contact information and description of why I sent them back. I opted to add delivery confirmation (per their suggestion) for a few cents more. I spent less then $3.00 in shipping.

My envelope was shipped on March 31st, 2010. It sat at a “Soft Facility” in Kansas City, MO from April 3rd until it arrived at Xikar on the 14th. If there is a next time, I’ll chose priority mail!

On April 20th, a replacement Axia lighter and Multi-Tool were at my door. Despite the shipping delay, I had my items back within the 3 week time frame Xikar gives for warranty service.


So once again Xikar made good on their warranty. I didn’t expect anything different. The point of this article was to demonstrate how easy it is to get them to honor their lifetime guarantee. You just have to ask, it’s basically that easy. I was lost without my multi-tool, and like I said, I was a bit annoyed about the lighter blowing up. Time will tell how the lighter holds up to regular use. I have complete confidence in the scissors though.

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