Archive for April, 2011

Master by Carlos Torano

Monday, April 25th, 2011

I picked up this cigar by literally randomly buying it. While I am not a big smoker of Torano cigars, I usually give his stuff a try from time to time. I enjoyed the Single Region, so I figured why not try this one. I paired with water and here is my review of the Master by Carlos Torano.


Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Nicaragua (Esteli)

Filler: Nicaragua (Esteli and Jalapa)

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: Around $6.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper almost had a velvety appearance, with small veins and no visible flaws. The odor off of the wrapper and foot was a fairly strong barnyard. Overall, the cigar was very well packed, with only small variations here and there. The pre-light draw had slight resistance. The pre-light draw flavor was a dark earthiness with hay.

The burn required one correction, and the ash held for an inch.

1 Master_by_Carlos_Torano cigar


The first third had a nice black pepper that lacked harshness. That pepper was prominent when passing smoke through the nose. The dominant flavor was cedar. Behind the cedar was black coffee. After about 1.5 inches went by, the black pepper calmed down and blended well with the coffee and cedar.

2 Master_by_Carlos_Torano cigar

In the second third, the black pepper was still there and very noticeable though the nose. It also left an interesting sensation on the top of the mouth. The cedar and coffee didn’t go anywhere, and there was a sweet note mixed in with it. I couldn’t pin down anything to compare it too. The smoke feel was thicker in this third. The flavor profile just “Popped” and was very enjoyable.

3 Master_by_Carlos_Torano cigar

The last third had more of that sweet note that was mocha-ish. The woody and coffee flavors were still there, and were held together by that sweetness. Through the nose, the pepper lost some of it’s bite, but it didn’t go anywhere. There was a cinnamon type of tingle in the mouth and on the lips. The overall flavor profile was simply put together well.

4 Master_by_Carlos_Torano cigar


This was a very good medium to maybe a full bodied cigar. This cigar had a great flavor profile. Everything fit together nicely. That’s the best way I can describe it. I’d strongly recommend picking up a few of these to try. I think you won’t be disappointed.

A Politician Who Makes Sense? Nooooooo!

Monday, April 25th, 2011

New Hampshire House representative, Kevin Waterhouse has made a bold move with an open letter to the people of his state in support of dropping the tax on tobacco products by as much as 17%. New Hampshire is currently considering bill HB 156, which will do just that, and the Smoke Nazi fascists are absolutely losing their minds over it.

nh_license_plate2Waterhouse owns a convenience store and claims that the sale of tobacco (adult) products actually help small business flourish and creates job growth. He claims that: New Hampshire has more than 1,300 retail stores, 859 are convenience stores, and 607 are mom and pop operations. It is estimated that nearly 1,600 New Hampshire retailer and wholesaler jobs are supported by in-state tobacco sales. In 2010 New Hampshire stores sold 128.6 million packs of cigarettes. This translates to gross retail revenue of nearly $755.8 million for local retailers. Simply put, tobacco products are an important product for Granite State retailers.

That number is astounding, close to $800 million in sales and 1,600 jobs supported by tobacco sales in the small state of New Hampshire. It seems that Waterhouse feels that with the continual bombardment of new taxes, people will buy their smokes out of state and on the internet, an action that will cripple small businesses and the state’s economy – and he’s right.

When people stop at their local bodega, deli, or convenience store for a cigar, pipe tobacco, or what have you, 90% of the time they purchase ancillary products like soda, coffee, sandwiches, newspapers, magazines and lottery. Waterhouse says, “As the tax on tobacco has increased over the last five years, I have seen the economic effects ripple up and down each of the aisles in my store. HB 156 is an important vehicle to return this business to local retailers, and allow them to recoup revenue lost over the past five years.

It’s safe to say that tobacco and ancillary products sold in convenience stores in New Hampshire create over a billion dollars in sales and God knows how much in tax revenue for the state. The way I see it is that Waterhouse isn’t promoting smoking, because face it – people are going to smoke no matter what. If taxes continue to put a dent in their wallets they will simply buy their tobacco products “somewhere else”, and if they choose to go outside state lines to do so, the loss of income for the state would be disastrous. This makes a hell of a lot of sense to me, but like I said, the anti-smoking zealots are up in arms over this bill and are calling for their state representative’s head on platter.

On the website, union leader,  where his open letter was posted, the vile and belligerent attacks on Waterhouse in the comments section (below the article) is simply out of control. The knee-jerk comments filled with venom and hate accuse the state rep of supporting cancer while lining his own pockets, which is asinine and outright ludicrous…

“What an idiot. Yeah lets lower the tax so you can make more profit on giving people lung cancer….” “Only in America can you make a law that benefits you and preys on the ignorant….”Okay, I’m sold! Everyone start smoking and the state’s unemployment rate will be the best in the country. Doctors and nurses will have job security and we can build hundreds of hospice houses. The unemployed carpenters can build caskets and Wal-Mart can branch out into the funeral business…” “You are clearly a self serving moron along with the rest of your politicial confederecy of certifiable dunces who champion the tax break for smokers as a boom to liquor and lottery sales as well…gambling,alcoholism and cancer costs all assigned to we, the last of the surviving “wage slaves”.”

Okay…answer me this… if people continue to smoke – a legal act in this country that is freedom of choice done by responsible adults – but they go out of state to purchase those products – please tell me how you are going to replace a billion dollars in New Hampshire’s revenue? What kinds of horrendous taxes will your government invent to replace those monies? Will they raise the gas tax even more so you are paying $8 – $10 a gallon? Where is the revenue going to come from? Trust me, you simply DO NOT want to find out. You’ll all be up in arms, screaming and swearing at local officials who will throw their hands to the sky while shrugging their shoulders.

While I don’t live in New Hampshire, I am in full support of Rep. Waterhouse and this bill, because it makes incredible economic sense. He is NOT trying to get more people in his state to smoke – that accusation is absurd and moronic. Listen… I LOVE my cigars and if it’s becomes cost prohibitive to purchase them in my state then I will find somewhere else to buy them and thousands upon thousands of others will no doubt follow suit.

Like the license plate reads… Live Free or Die. And that’s all I have to say about that.


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Guest Review-Oliva Master Blends 3

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Today’s review comes to you courtesy of Jeremiah. He is stationed in the Aomori Prefecture, which is located in northern Japan. While it is very fashionable to be concerned with Japan these days, he is actually helping out over there. You won’t hear him brag about it in this review though.

I did a write up of this cigar awhile back, but I’m always interested in other opinions of the same cigar.CIMG2687

So take 10 minutes out of your day and see how the Oliva Master Blends 3 treated Jeremiah.

MP3 Audio Only <-Right Click, Save As

Berger and Argenti Clasico

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Let’s get the formalities out of the way… I have no idea where I got these cigars. It could have been gifted to me, or maybe I bought it. This cigar is from the same people who make the Exile Wired. Other then that, I have no further details or back story. So I got down to it and paired up with a glass of water. Here are my thoughts on the Berger and Argenti Clasico.


Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo

Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: Churchill 7 x 50

Price: Around $7.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The chocolate brown wrapper had a nice shine to it, with some ruggedness as well. There were a couple decent sized veins, a small wrinkle here and there, and a little toothiness. The odor of the wrapper reminded me of hay, and the foot had sweet notes. The cigar was pretty evenly packed, only getting a little softer towards the foot. The pre-light draw had some resistance, but fell within my tolerance. Taking a cold draw revealed an earthy sweetness.

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

1 _Berger_And_Argenti_Classico Cigars


The first third had a simple earthy natural tobacco flavor. When passing smoke through the nose, I could only pick up a very mild sweet spice. After about 2 inches, the smoke feel developed into a sweet creaminess with a mild woody aftertaste.

2 _Berger_And_Argenti_Classico Cigars

The second third kept the natural tobacco flavor, but the earthiness went down a notch. Overall there was a creamy sweetness that had notes of caramel. When retro-haling, there was more of a cedary flavor and barely any spice.

3 _Berger_And_Argenti_Classico Cigars

The last third didn’t change a lot from the second third. I’d be repeating myself if I described it. Just re-read my notes from the second third.

4 _Berger_And_Argenti_Classico Cigars


This was a OK mild to medium bodied cigar. The flavors were good, but I found my attention wandering away from the cigar. It was relaxing, but I guess a little boring in this size. I have a feeling I would like this cigar more in a smaller size.

Anti-Smoking, Left Coast Lunacy Strikes Again

Monday, April 18th, 2011

The last time I checked, smoking was still legal in America, right? I mean we are still allowed the privilege to smoke our beloved cigars in at least some places… right? Well, I’m sad and angered to report that not if California, Senator Mark DeSaulnier has his way.

Say hello to California Senate Bill 575, proposed by Sen. DeSaulnier on February 17, 2011…

SB 575, as introduced, DeSaulnier. Smoking in the workplace. Existing law prohibits smoking of tobacco products inside an enclosed space, as defined, at a place of employment. The violation of the prohibition against smoking in enclosed spaces of places of employment is an infraction punishable by a specified fine. This bill would expand the prohibition on smoking in a place of employment to include an owner-operated business, as defined. This bill would also eliminate most of the specified exemptions that permit smoking in certain work environments, such as hotel lobbies, bars and taverns, tobacco shops, banquet rooms, warehouse facilities, and employee break rooms. By expanding the scope of an infraction, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.


attachmentGo ahead… say the ugly word with me right now, people, and say it loud! You know what… we tried this bit of fascist, puritanical bullshit about a century ago here in the U.S. and it didn’t work out very well, did it? And what is most absurd is that one of the very last places in the world that you can still smoke is a cigar lounge, and of course, leave it to a politician with an agenda to target it for extermination.

California is an incredibly influential state and if this passes, the Pandora’s Box is open wide as other states will no doubt quickly follow suit. In 1998, actor/director Rob Reiner was the proponent of Prop 10 (referred to by many as the Meathead Bill) helping to heavily tax tobacco, then championed the strictest anti-smoking laws that were soon mimicked throughout the U.S.

Now, while I don’t live in California, I certainly do feel that I have the right to tell Senator Mark DeSaulnier, a man elected by the tax payers, how I feel about his proposed bill. A quick Google search and I found his website and contact information and sent him the following message…

Senator DeSaulnierLet me tell you that I enjoy cigars – a legal product here in the United States of America. When I visit your state of California,  I seek out cigar bars and smoking lounges to relax and enjoy my passion. It is beyond all comprehension that you propose to take this adult right away from people. You were NOT elected and bestowed the power to remove our rights, but rather to preserve our freedom to choose the way we want to live our lives. Senator, you are now taking Big Brother to a whole new level as George Orwell laughs from above. – Tommy Zarzecki

smoking_nazisWe, the “so-called” People are losing our rights at an astonishing clip and if we don’t make some noise, then we don’t stand a chance. I personally urge all people – not just smokers – but ALL people to call and write your government representatives and tell them to STOP destroying our liberties and personal freedoms in America. STOP with the outrageous taxes, STOP trampling on our rights, and STOP deciding on what YOU think is best for responsible adults who are very capable of making their own choices when it comes to smoking, food, drink, and whatever else YOU propose to TAX and regulate the living Shinola out of.

This is scary, guys and it’s time for our voices to be heard before we’re all standing on a four-hour line to get a roll of toilet paper at our jobs in front of the cement plant. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Well, Belushi was right about one thing…

It’ ain’t over until WE say it is.


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Joya De Nicaragua Cabinetta

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

I purchased this cigar at a local shop. The double wrapper is what caught my attention. The light wrapper is Ecuadorian. Added on top of it, towards the cap, is a darker Nicaraguan wrapper. So without further ado, I paired up with water and bring you my review.


Wrapper: Ecuador & Nicaraguan

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: Robusto No.4  5 x 52

Price: Around $5.40


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The light Ecuadorian wrapper had a dull sheen to it and had a few bumps. The dark Nicaraguan portion had an almost velvety look, with no real flaws. The light wrapper had a cedary odor, and the darker wrapper was more earthy smelling. The foot had a mild wood and sweet smell to it. Overall, the cigar pretty tightly packed. Around the head seemed to be rolled tighter then the rest. This probably explained the tight draw. While it wasn’t over the top tight, it was a little too snug for my liking. The pre-light draw had a generic sweet flavor.

The burn required no corrections, and the ash held for over an inch. The draw opened up a bit in the second third, making things more enjoyable.

1 Joya_De_Nicaragua_Cabinetta Cigar


The first third opened up with cedar and mild pepper through the nose. After about an inch, a somewhat creamy earthiness joined in. The earthiness became more of a background note and the creaminess stood out. The strange things was the smoke feel was dry yet creamy at the same time.

2 Joya_De_Nicaragua_Cabinetta Cigar

As I got into the second third, the tight draw opened up a bit, allowing me to enjoy the cigar more. The same core woody flavor remained. I picked up that bitterness you associate with black coffee, which isn’t a bad thing. While the smoke had creamy qualities, somehow it was crisp and dry at the same time. Through the nose, a nice pepper with a sweet cinnamon type of spice. 

3 Joya_De_Nicaragua_Cabinetta Cigar

During the last third, I hit the Nicaraguan secondary wrapper. It contributed a heavier smoke feel that stuck to the mouth. Coffee was dominant, along with a sweet tingling spice. The other core flavors I mentioned in the previous third fell to the background as soon as I got into the second wrapper. This is a good example of how a wrapper effects the flavor profile.

4 Joya_De_Nicaragua_Cabinetta Cigar


This was a good medium bodied cigar. The flavor profile was somewhat one dimensional for most of the cigar. I think I would have preferred more of the secondary Nicaraguan wrapper. It seemed to add that little extra to make things more enjoyable.  It’s too bad that it is only present in the last third. All in all, I think this cigar is worth trying.

Perdomo Slow Aged Lot 826 Maduro

Monday, April 11th, 2011

In the morning I tend to prefer a cheaper cigar. Often I reach for the Perdomo Slow Aged but in the natural wrapper. I reviewed that cigar here. It dawned on me that I never tried the Maduro version of this cigar. I ordered a bundle from a popular online store to give it a try. At around $2.00 a cigar, it was hard to pass up. I paired this cigar with water for the review, but I usually smoke these in the morning with coffee.


Wrapper: Connecticut Maduro

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Size: Glorioso 6 x 52

Price: Around $49.00 for a bundle of 20


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper was a little toothy looking, but overall was nice with very few flaws. The odor from the foot and wrapper was dung. Overall, the cigar was well packed, with a hard and spot here and there. The pre-light draw was free, and had a dark earthy flavor.

The burn required no corrections, and the ash held for around 1.5 inches.

1 Perdomo_Slow_Aged_Lot_826_Maduro Cigar


The first third had simple flavors. The main flavor was a smoky earthiness, similar to a charred wood. Through the nose, I picked up a black pepper that had a small punch. As this third came to an end, I picked up some notes of coffee.

2 Perdomo_Slow_Aged_Lot_826_Maduro Cigar

The second third kept a similar basic flavor profile as before. The only difference was the coffee had a sweetness to it. It was like adding a little sugar to your coffee. The pepper also calmed down a bit.

3 Perdomo_Slow_Aged_Lot_826_Maduro Cigar

Not a lot to report in the last third. It kept the same smoky, charred wood core flavor along with earthiness. The sweet coffee was up next, and the pepper was the same as before. In summary, it was consistent with the previous third.

4 Perdomo_Slow_Aged_Lot_826_Maduro Cigar


This was a decent lower medium bodied cigar. It was one dimensional and definitely had no wow factor. This is a yard gar or dog walker as they say. For me, the simple flavor profile is enjoyable enough for an early morning with coffee smoke. Does it meet the price point? I think so.

Gas Prices, Cigars, & Rosie O’Donnell – Be Afraid

Monday, April 11th, 2011

As you drive down any highway or pass your local filling station in town, you’ll notice that the price of gasoline is changing more rapidly than Joan Rivers face. Now while both situations are a ghastly thought, at least the facially carved up comedian doesn’t put a hurt on your disposable income.

glol_lgThe term “disposable income” means different things for everyone – money for Chinese food on Friday nights, golf on Saturdays, going to the movies, money for poker night, or enrollment into Clark Griswold’s jelly of the month club. But for me, it means cigars. Premium cigars. Premium, handrolled cigars made by a couple of Latin American fellows named Manuel Labor and Manuel Dexterity. My disposable income (if there really is such a thing anymore) is happily spent on brown, leafy cylinders with names like JR Ultimate, Siglo, and Arturo Fuente. Okay, there’s an occasional beer or twelve, scotch whisky aged in sherry casks, and phone bets to an undisclosed Florida dog track, yada, yada, yada, but for the most part, I spend every last leftover cent I have on cigars. (I was going to say I spend it on the “love of my life” but I didn’t want you to think that I blow all my remaining dough on my wife or something like that, fer crissakes. Sheesh.)

BRITAIN BAFTASLike many of you, cigars are a vital part of my weekly regimen. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about my Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Honduran buddies, wrapped all snuggly and warm in their fermented and aged brown blankets. Yes, I think about them constantly while planning my days around their beloved company. And purchasing them is a rush that every waking, breathing person should live to experience – plucking their oily carcasses from their cedar-lined dwellings, then bringing them home to meet the rest of your tobacco laden family members. (Excuse me for a moment while I collect myself. This gets emotional for me.)

But now we have a real problem and there seems to be no end in sight. The price of gasoline is drifting higher than the front row at a Grateful Dead gig, and that means what tiny bit of extra dinero we had to purchase our smokes is going up in a proverbial puff.

JR+Ultimate+OscuroWe’re all used to seeing the price on the gas station signs change by a couple cents every week, but now you wake up to a fifteen cent jump and that means there’s a couple less Hoyos that daddy’s coming home with. You truly wonder when it’s going to end and then you hear some hack, no-name economist on CNN say that he predicts that we’ll see a painful six dollars a gallon by June. This is sheer madness and good god, that government of ours needs to step in and do something before they actually do shut down for good.

What truly pisses me off – or shall I say what really roasts my robusto (hey, that’s catchy, I’ve gotta use that somewhere) is when the oil companies announce that their quarterly profits are up by hundreds of millions of dollars – and it’s obviously all from fleecing customers who have no choice but to bend over and stick a nozzle in their tanks. You’d really think that big American oil would get together by giving the average Joe a break until somebody takes out that crazy-ass dictator, but noooooooooo, that would make just too much sense. Greed is a goddamned ugly thing people, I don’t give a Shinola what Gordon Gecko has to say.

rosieksmSo, what the hell are we gonna do, guys? Do we horde our stash and ride out the storm? Do we show up at several unnamed refineries with whiffle bats wrapped in duct tape and start swinging for the fences? (Wow, I haven’t broken out the whifle bats in a while.) The truth is, none of us know how this is going to all play out, and it’s getting scarier than Rosie O’Donnell at an all you can shove down your pie-hole burrito buffet. You know what? I don’t even know how to end this friggin blog, I mean, what the hell, you worthless, Washington FAT-ASS bureaucrats… DO SOMETHING ALREADY! DO SOMETHING!!!

May your Whiffle swing mighty tall and mean,


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Kristoff Maduro

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

After a short delay, Ed and I are back to review the Kristoff Maduro. This month we are joined by Mike from and This cigar doesn’t offer a lot of complexities, but it makes up for it with a nice refined flavor profile. I find myself smoking plenty of these lately.

In addition to picking apart the cigar, we talk about a new radiocast called Stogie 411. This is a new podcast ran by Mike from, and Mike from Matt from pulls it all together behind the scenes. This is how cigar sites are supposed to be ran. All of us working together to help out with no competition between us.

!Kristoff Maduro

And finally… We briefly cover how Ed likes to handle shoplifters in his shop. For the record, Ed would have went on with the review the day of “The Incident,” but I convinced him that it was best to reschedule. So blame me for the delay.

This video runs approximately 27 minutes. For those of you who demand to see us in Hi-Def, your wish has come true.

MP3 Audio Only <Right Click, Save               For Hi-Def-Press the “HD” Button on the player.

Punch Rare Corojo 10th Anniversary

Monday, April 4th, 2011

The General Cigar Company recently sent me a 5 pack of the 10th Anniversary Rare Corojo. I usually look forward to their annual release, so this was a pleasant surprise. The previous releases featured an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. This year it features a Connecticut Corojo wrapper. I am pretty sure the rest of the blend remains the same as before.

The bands are also new, along with this years Rare Corojo box. But now I am just babbling. I really only care about how the smoke is. So with a glass of water, I smoked some of my samples…


Wrapper: Connecticut Corojo

Binder: Connecticut broadleaf

Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican

Size: 5 x 50

Price: $6.50


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper looked almost velvety smooth, with virtually no veins or flaws. The wrapper had a barn yard odor, as did the foot. The only difference was, the foot had a little spice kick in addition to the poop smell (not a bad thing). This boxed pressed cigar was tightly and evenly packed, and the draw was ever so slightly on the snug side. The pre-light draw had a dark earthy taste.

The burn required one correction, and the ash held for just over an inch.

1 Punch_Rare_Corojo_10th_Anniversary cigar


The first third had a nice peppery spice through the nose. I detected it on the tongue and lips as well. It wasn’t a burning type of pepper but it did have some punch. Up next was cedar mixed with sweetness. The smoke feel was somewhat thick and lingered on the palate for awhile.

2 Punch_Rare_Corojo_10th_Anniversary cigar

For the second third, the pepper went down a notch in terms of strength and zing. It didn’t go away by any means though. The overall smoke feel became very creamy intertwined with sweetness. The dominant flavor was still wood, with some coffee mixed in with it.

3 Punch_Rare_Corojo_10th_Anniversary cigar

In the last third, the smoke remained very creamy, but it went down a notch at times. The woodiness remained dominant, and the peppery spice left a nice tingle in the nose and on the tongue. Like before, coffee mingled in with the other flavors along with sweetness.

4 Punch_Rare_Corojo_10th_Anniversary cigar


This was a very good medium to full bodied cigar. Although the flavors were simple, they came together well for an overall pleasing flavor profile. I think this one is worth a try for sure. Thanks again to The General Cigar Company for sending these to me. Either way, I would have gladly paid the asking price.

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