Archive for October, 2010

Illusione Nostros

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

The Nostros is a collaboration between Illusione and Drew Estates. You may know Drew Estates as the maker of the infused Acid cigars. This time around, they went with a more traditional blend with no additives. I am a fan of most of the Illusione lines, so I thought this would definitely be worth trying. I paired this cigar with water and offer you my thoughts.


Wrapper: Corojo 99

Binder: Connecticut Habano

Filler: Nicaragua

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: Around $8.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper looked nice, with barely any flaws and small veins. The smell of the wrapper was cedar and sweet earthiness. Overall the cigar was well packed, with a few soft and hard spots here and there. The pre-light draw had a slight resistance, which was just about perfect. The taste of the pre-light draw was interesting and unique. It was woody with almost a fruity type flavor combined with natural tobacco.

The burn required a few minor corrections, and the ash held for just about an inch.



The first third was easy and had a nice peppery punch. Wood was the dominant flavor, and slight sweet and earthy notes lingered in the background.


The second third seemed to open up a bit and felt richer (for lack of a better word). That nice pepper was still there and noticeable when passing smoke through the nose. An chocolaty type of sweetness was very noticeable, but wood was still the most dominant flavor.


The pepper mellowed out a little in the last third and became more of a sweet spice. The overall flavor profile was sweet and mocha-ish. Woodiness was up next, and occasionally earthy notes would appear. The smoke coated the inside of the mouth and lingered for a nice aftertaste. Throughout this cigar, smoke volume had been plentiful.



This was a good medium bodied cigar. It didn’t wow me, and the $8.00 price tag is a little steep. But in the end it was an enjoyable, slow burning, and relaxing. I think it is worth picking up a five pack and judging for yourself. Not a bad cigar.

Gurkha Ninja

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Ed had a Gurkha event at his shop, and the rep threw a few samples my way, which I always appreciate. I forgot his name, so if your out there, thanks! The Ninja is a new line from Gurkha, and is priced lower then most of their other lines. It is aimed at those who seek a lower price range and don’t care too much about presentation (like me). There really isn’t a lot of fluff to this cigar, so without any more delay, I bring to you my thoughts on the Gurkha Ninja.


Wrapper: Brazil Maduro

Binder: Cameroon

Filler: Nicaragua

Size: 6 x 52

Price: Around $5.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The dark maduro wrapper had an oily, rugged look to it, with small to medium sized veins here and there. The odor off of the wrapper had hints of sweetness and reminded me of a mild pipe tobacco. The cigar was pretty evenly packed, and bounced back when squeezed. The pre-light draw was free, almost loose, and had a sweet natural tobacco taste.

The burn required no corrections, and the ash held for just about an inch.



The first third began with simple earthy and woody flavors. When exhaling smoke through the nose, I got a peppery, woody spice. It was simple and a little rough around the edges. The smoke volume was plentiful and dry.


The second third pretty much kept pace with the first third. One difference is the pepper mellowed out a little, but still felt a little rough. It wasn’t harsh, but it wasn’t smooth either. It was just kind there, and dry. I felt parched and craved water.


The last third: I hate to say it but not a lot happened. That core earth and woody component remained. The smoke feel was plentiful and left me feeling parched. When retro-haling, that same pepper was there. Everything pretty much stayed the same.



This was an “OK” medium bodied cigar. I didn’t get any bad flavors. I had one a month ago and seemed to enjoy it more then the ones I smoked for this review. Maybe it was because I was hanging out at an event at Ed’s shop. The flavors, although decent, just felt unrefined. It reminded me of a bundle cigar. In the end, the Gurkha Ninja just wasn’t for me.

A Most Perfect Winey Autumn Day

Monday, October 25th, 2010

This weekend, the New York, New Jersey metropolitan area had the pleasure of experiencing the crème de la crème of weekends as the thermometer hit 70 degrees and we were treated to warm sun and an over abundance of blue sky. With October weather like this, you’d better find something to do that incorporates the elements because old dude winter is about to have his way with us very shortly.

woman-drinking-wine-001After the torture of raking leaves for several hours, I was struck with the idea of heading to nearby New York State – where just 35 minutes away lies the Warwick Winery – a place I’ve always wanted to visit. Getting snookered on some local vino seemed like a fine idea on such a glorious day, so the wife, daughter home from college, and I hopped in the car and headed into the countryside.

Picture 12Tucked down a side road in what truly seems like the middle of farmland wilderness is the Warwick Winery & Distillery, just jam packed with locals like us who were looking for something different to do on a magnificent fall afternoon. Outside the main building was a sprawling lawn littered with blankets and lawn chairs as couples WineTastingWarwickValleyWinery2and friends enjoyed bottles of wine and barbecued delights prepared by the on site staff. As if the smell of liquid grapes and charring meats weren’t quite intoxicating enough, the scent of burning premium tobacco laced the air as many a patron partook in a mandatory Sunday afternoon cigar. I walked by one group where the husbands were firing up and I asked why no one brought a stick for me. Well, I kid you not, five different guys held out cigars, offering me some prime pickings to choose from, and there was just no chance I was going to say no! One incredibly magnanimous gent insisted I take one of the Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduros from his fist and like a giddy little kid on Halloween I gladly obliged to this most gracious gesture. My daughter grabbed my arm and said, “Dad, you’re actually just going to grub a cigar from a stranger?” I forgave the girl for not understanding the way of us Brothers of the Leaf, perhaps the most generous type of human on the planet. (Say, did I forget to mention that the cavalcade of most gorgeous ladies also made for a most happening day? How do I forget these details?)

At this point I was jonesing for some real crushed grape refreshment as we headed to the tasting room. For five bucks you got to taste six of their wines plus one alcoholic fruit cordial that they make (as well as keeping the wine glass.) It was a nice array of tasty whites and reds, but I particularly enjoyed a cordial that would pair most excellent with my cigar, an apple dessert wine that was matured in brandy casks. Damn that is serious good stuff and made a hell of a companion to my gifted maduro.


The winery was established in 1989 and became the first operating distillery in the Hudson Valley since prohibition. This part of New York State is known for their world renowned “black dirt”, a soil fertile and rich in nutrients that it produces some of the most amazing fruits and vegetables, including some of the finest sweet onions on this earth. And doctors have even proclaimed that this soil also produces red grapes whose tannins are extremely high in health benefits, especially for the heart. The owners were taught by area apple growers how to cultivate and nurture the local fruit and they might just best be known for the flavor packed Doc’s Draft Hard Apple Cider, made from some of the most delicious apples you’ll taste absolutely anywhere.

To top off this most perfect day, we purchased a gourmet cheese and fruit platter, with a loaf of fresh baked bread and pesto base olive oil for dipping. We found a picnic table in the shade, I stoked up my Padron, and dined like the royalty we were for that wonderful moment in time.

You think we had a nice day? Yeah, you could say it was pretty awesome. I’ll definitely take a trip back in the spring and this time make sure that I have cigars to offer some other poor bastid who didn’t remember to bring his stoags!

‘Til Next week,

Tommy Z.

JR Cigar Blog With the Zman

Sunday Filler – Are you a cigar addict?

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010


I debated how I would answer this question. But after some thought, the answer is simply “Yes!”

To elaborate a little on my answer to my own question… I was addicted to cigarettes for years. I didn’t smoke them for taste or enjoyment. In fact, I despised every cigarette I lit up. With every drag I inhaled into my lungs, I literally could feel death. If I went too long without one, my body and mind would protest with the shakes, headache, irritability and the standard withdrawal symptoms. When I quit, I even became physically ill with a fever for a couple days.

So I stand by my addiction to cigars. The big difference is, I enjoy them. To me, cigars are more of an art form. Around 300 hands will touch the tobacco that goes into the  premium cigar you are about to light up. Yes, from seed to finished product in your hand, 300 people or so. Making a good blend is indeed an art in itself. Rolling them is a skill that takes time to develop. It shares a lot in common with wine. Does a glass or two make you an alcoholic? I don’t know…

I am forced to relax and unwind every time I light one up. It shares nothing in common with my previous cigarette addiction. I can only compare it to the Internet or computers. If I am without either, I kind of freak out. It has gotten to the point that I need the Internet accessible at all times via a handheld device that I can clip to my belt. Without it, something is missing. Cigars are sort of like that for me, but not quite that bad!

The bottom line is… To me, cigars are a hobby, perhaps a habit, and yes, an addiction. Look around, I have a website dedicated to cigars! That should say something. No, I don’t go through physical withdrawal without them, but I REALLY miss them. So why fight it. If you are like me and smoke a couple cigars every day, chances are you are an addict.

So I ask you… Are you a cigar addict?

Olor Fuerte

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

After a short hiatus from what turned out to be a sinus infection/cold, I finally got over it. I figured I’d get my feet wet with reviewing a cigar with more of a simple flavor profile. Also, stay tuned as I re-work a Xikar contest!

The Olor Fuerte is a blended for the Famous Smoke Shop. They were kind enough to send me a couple to review. After letting them sit in the humidor for a little while, I got to smoking. Paired with a glass of water, I offer you my thoughts.


Wrapper: Talanga Cubano

Binder: Mexican San Andreas

Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan, Brazilian

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: 5.60


Pre-Smoke and construction:

The dark natural wrapper had a nice sheen, with slight discolorations that gave it a blotchy appearance. The odor coming off of the wrapper and foot was a sweet natural tobacco. The cigar was firmly packed and had a hard spot here and there. The draw was a little snug, and had a sweet earthy natural tobacco taste.

The burn didn’t require any corrections, and the ash held for an inch.



The first third had a dominant smooth earthy flavor mixed with a natural tobacco core. When passing smoke through the nose, there was a very very mild spice. It was easy to miss if you didn’t pay attention.


The second third took on more of a creamy feel with notes of sweetness. Smoke volume increased as I got past the tight spot and the draw loosened up a bit. That sweetness coated the inside of the mouth and lingered in the aftertaste. Like before, the core flavor was earthy natural tobacco. When passing smoke though the nose, the sweet peppery spice was very mild, but slightly increased in strength.


The last third really didn’t have any changes. It kept the pace of the second third.



This was an OK medium bodied cigar. The flavors were one dimensional and simple. I could see some of you picky smokers becoming bored with the flavor profile. If an easy, smooth cigar is up your alley, maybe this is for you. As for me… I thought it was OK. You can find these at Famous Smoke Shop for a decent price.

A Weekend of Pain-Providing Jackasses

Monday, October 18th, 2010



–noun: insatiable greed for riches; inordinate, miserly desire to gain and hoard wealth.

imagesdanger-thieves-jun-05-smallWell, in my humble opinion, that pretty much describes the actions of the FOX network and Cablevision. It got real ugly this weekend as FOX, who is demanding significantly more money from the cable giant, pulled FOX channel 5 and channel 9 from over three-million subscribers in the New York area. (And don’t forget Family Guy, The Simpsons, and a host of other good old fashioned Sunday night watching material!)

Q: Now the New York Yankees are in the MLB playoffs, and what are the two channels you watch the Yankees on here in the Big apple metropolitan area?

A: Gosh, that would be channels 5 & 9, wouldn’t it, Zman?

Q: And howz ‘bout the New York Football Giants game vs. the Detroit Lions on Sunday? What channel does the team in blue appear on?

A: Um, hey, that would be FOX channel 5, right, Z?

Give yourself a useless cheap stuffed primate, sucker, cuz ya got both answers correct!

6a00d8341d417153ef0120a51bef1c970c-piThe only action we got to see here in the New York area was the battle of the fat-cat billionaires, who have acted like immature a$$holes, calling each other names and pointing the blame, all in the process of screwing over the hard working stiffs who already pay outrageous fees for channels that are considered to be FREE TV. Earlier this year, ABC pulled off of Cablevision right before the Oscars and then it was the Food Network who yanked their programming. Meanwhile, each time this happens, the stooges in their ivory towers at Cablevision broadcast slick written voiceovers on the blank channels, laying 100% total blame on the other side, accusing them of greed, lying, and thievery. All I can say is, Mr. Pot meet Kettle.

And even if you live outside this area and this had no effect on you, well, you’d better start caring because you’re definitely next. Okay, the greed is one thing, we get that… but it’s not caring about your viewers and screwing us over to no end is what both of these monolithic companies should be grossly ashamed of. This kind of malicious action proves that that they truly don’t care about their customers and it’s kind of ironic that maybe – just maybe it is us who has the last laugh that comes in the form of two very simple words: Direct TV.

JackassJackass Kicks Ass!…

FOX and Cablevision execs weren’t the only flailing jackasses this weekend, as it was a record two days for Johnny Knoxville and his cast of masochistic psychos as Jackass 3D took in over 50 million dollars, setting a record for the month of October! Plain and simple, people like to watch other people do stupid shit while hurting themselves, and this film gives all of us over taxed and economically de-stimulated Americans just what we want: a sledge hammer in the gnads at somebody else’s expense.

Immature, degrading, moronic, sophomoric, juvenile, unsophisticated, raw, infantile, asinine, pointless and three levels below retarded is the style of humor delivered by these modern day Moe, Larry, and Curly’s, and I for one cannot wait to get to the theater this week to laugh til I pee my pants.

KegAs you can imagine, with no sports to watch I was brow beaten by the wife to do yard work for hours on end during a gorgeous, blue-sky, fall weekend here in north Jersey. But afterwards I treated myself to marinated, slow-grilled London broil, followed by several fine smokes and tasty libations, so all was not a total loss.

And just in case you were wondering… I thoroughly enjoyed a post dinner medium bodied > Martinez New York with a Columbian coffee, followed by a magnificent, dark & oh so full flavored > Cask Aged El Rey Del Mundo accompanied by a single malt over ice. This just goes to show that a not-so-swell day can always end on an incredibly high note if you want it to!

Until, next week, fight the good fight, my brothers of the leafiness,

Tommy Z.

JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

The Birth of a Cigar Shop

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Anyone who knows me has already heard about my pal Ed’s cigar shop. He is in a very small lot, and literally crams in tons of inventory. A quick tour of the current location can be found here. It was only a matter of time before he would have to expand. And that’s exactly what he is going to do. In addition to more retail floor space, Ed is taking it to the next level with what will be a huge smoking lounge.

While St. Pete Cigar currently has the biggest inventory in St. Petersburg, FL, this will solidify his position even more. This little 2 minute video is a walk though of Ed’s new, unfinished cigar shop. Stay tuned for more updates and see the progress take place right here.

Site Update – Where Are The Reviews?!

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Just a quick update. I’m sure you’ve noticed a lack of reviews around here lately.


It appears that I’ve come down with something known as the common cold. This has me spraying decongestants up my nose, and spraying Chloraseptic in my mouth. While that makes life bearable, it leaves little for my palate. I tried smoking a familiar cigar, and while it was enjoyable, every puff reminded me of decongestant chemicals. It wouldn’t be fair to even consider reviewing a cigar until this shit blows over. So stay tuned, I’ll be back SOON.

It’s My Cigar-Blogging Annversario!

Monday, October 11th, 2010

bl4First off, how about starting with a sincere congrats to Tommy Z and the good people here at JR as this marks the 3rd Anniversary of JR Cigars Blog with the Zman!!! Yeah, that’s right, I have been poisoning your weekly reading for 36 straight months now and it really is a beautiful thing for one and all!

I’m going to go back to a blog I wrote very early on in the first few months of its existence about my frustration with the local McDonalds here in my town in north Jersey. I ranted on about the fact that the ladies who worked there barely spoke a word of English and just ordering at the drive-thru was like being a real live part of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First” routine. Now I can assure you, it is NOTHING at all against Hispanic people. Being in the cigar industry, the Hispanic folks I have met are some of the warmest and most wonderful peeps on the face of the earth. Their culture puts a high regard on family and friends while making even gringos like me are an important part of their universe.

MCDONALDS-COFFEE-largeSince that time, three years ago, the ladies have gained a better grasp of the native language and all has been honky Dory as my occasional breakfast orders have been just peachy. So, fast-forward to today. I just happen to really like the taste of siglo-x-limited-reserve-5McDonalds coffee and I’ll forgo the convenience of the local deli (whose java could be confused for soapy dish water) and wait on a line of ten friggin cars for some premium McD’s roasted beans. I know this is gonna be a serious wait, so I break out a Siglo Limited Reserve robusto and spark up what you might refer to as a real happy meal! Ah, Nicaraguan and Dominican filler with that rich Sumatra wrapper is toastier than a buttered croissant, as aged tobacco aroma permeates the morning air. I can tell by the faces being made from the soccer-mom sow in the Suburban behind me, that there isn’t great appreciation for my smoky stick, but  tough mierde, I say, as God created the “up” button on power windows for a reason.

As 15 minutes or so draws past, and my car only two from the drive-thru, there is a knock on my window. I turn my head to see that it’s one of the woman from the store, apparently outside on her break. Okay…am I gonna catch shit for smoking? Um… no… quite the contrary.

“Amigo, that see-gar, eet smells so gooood!”, she says with a big smile on her face. “Everyone inside can smell eet and wee weesh you could come een-isde and smoke!”

Alright… you and I know quite well that this kind of shit just doesn’t happen anymore. In a world full of namby-pamby, politically correct do-gooders, it is rare to find someone who doesn’t condemn you to hell for exuding your love for premium long-filler tobacco. She tells me that she is indeed Cuban and works with another Cuban friend and two gals from Santiago in the Dominican Republic.

“Gracias!”,  I said with sheer fervor, as the gal who once butchered my orders was now my new bestest pal!

1c7f7e8964f5bad69b0957c8fd73e797_resizedAs I pull the car up to the window, three smiling amigas stick their heads out to catch a whiff of my fragrant stogie and tell me that they have been enjoying the aroma for the past twenty minutes. (Wow, this is like a dream for a guy who usually gets brow beaten by the aggressive pricks of the world who feel they know what is best for my life.) So after they hand me my coffee, I take a big old billowing puff and blow it into the drive-thru window as the ladies let out a belly-laugh. I’m sure the patrons inside weren’t too fond of getting a taste of Nicaragua with their Egg McMoofins, but it was worth it seeing these ladies so giddy and happy on their job!

So. a very wonderful experience was had by me this morning, and all just in time to commemorate the glorious anniversary of JR Cigar Blog with the Zman! I couldn’t have asked for a better start to any day! Smoke ‘em cuz ya gottem my brutha’s and sistas of the leaf!

And you have a good one, too, comprende?

Tommy Z.

JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Contest! Win a HC Series Grande Sampler

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

The fine folks at Xikar are giving you a chance to win a HC Series sampler in the new Grande size. (6 x 60).




Usually when I hold a contest, it is a simply matter of entering and waiting to see if you won. This time we thought it was time to switch things up a little bit.

That’s not to say entering is difficult. All you have to do is take your best picture of you smoking any of the Xikar HC Series cigars. Get creative, do your best pose or whatever you can think of, and send it in. If I were allowed to enter, here’s all I could come up with. I’m sure you could do better than this, but if not, enter anyway!

DSC05743There are only a few rules, and entering couldn’t be easier.

You must:

1) Be at least 18 years of age.

2) Live in the United States of America.

3) With your picture submission, please include your name, date of birth, and mailing address.

4) You can only enter the contest once.

I can assure you that ALL of your information will be kept confidential. We will treat it the way we would want ours to be treated.

Email your submission to

The staff at Xikar will review all the entrees, and pick their five favorites. The winning five people will all receive a sampler pack of the HC Series Grande.

So take the best picture of you smoking any HC Series cigar by Xikar and enter now! And lets not forget to thank them for generously sponsoring this contest!

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