Archive for June, 2011

Drew Estate–My Uzi Weighs A Ton

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Thanks to the people at Drew Estate for sending me some samples of their new cigar. My Uzi Weighs a Ton will be introduced at the 2011 IPCPR trade show. The final product will have a band, and come in 3 sizes – 5×60, 6×60, and 7×60. I have limited information on the cigar. It’s name sake can be found with a simple Google search though. Anyway… Back to what matters. How did the two cigars I smoked treat me? Below I review the 5 x 60. For good measure I smoked a 7×60, which pretty much performed like this one. Read on…


Wrapper: San Andreas Maduro

Binder: Connecticut Capote

Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina, Nicaragua

Size: 5 x 60

Price: ???


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The dark wrapper had no visible flaws and looked seamless. The odor coming from the wrapper and foot was barnyard. The cigar was evenly and solidly packed with tobacco. The pre-light draw had slight resistance, and had an earthy, musty flavor.

The burn required some corrections in the first third. The ash held for well over an inch.

1 Drew_Estate_My_Uzi_Weighs_a_Ton Cigars


The first third had an interesting dark earthiness with a leathery finish. After about an inch in, a dry cocoa introduced itself. Overall, the smoke was very dry but plentiful. Through the sinus, there was a peppery spice that wasn’t too strong at all.

2 Drew_Estate_My_Uzi_Weighs_a_Ton Cigars

There were no new flavors introduced in the second third. What changed was the dominant flavor became the dry cocoa I mentioned before. Behind it followed the other flavors – earthiness with leather and some woody notes. The smoke feel became less dry and I stopped feeling parched. The aftertaste thickened up and stuck to the mouth. The peppery spice remained and may have picked up a notch.

3 Drew_Estate_My_Uzi_Weighs_a_Ton Cigars

The last third really didn’t change from the second third in terms of flavors. The body picked up a little and hit the upper medium to lower full range.

4 Drew_Estate_My_Uzi_Weighs_a_Ton Cigars


This was a good medium to full bodied cigar. The 5×60 size seemed to hit the spot for me more than the larger 7×60. I think the large 7×60 is over kill. The flavors were simple but refined. This compensated for essentially a one dimensional flavor profile.  Since I don’t know the price, I can’t factor that in to the equation. While there was no WOW factor, it was a good smoke. Depending on how much these will go for, as of now I recommend at least trying the “My Uzi Weighs a Ton” and be your own judge.

Illuminati Crusade

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Thanks to Joel for getting me some samples for today’s review. I obtained these while attending Ed’s grand opening at his new shop earlier this year. Illuminati is a fairly new brand that is blended and made in Rocky Patel’s factory in Nicaragua. I am always curious and reluctant to try new brands. A few times I was forced to give undesirable reviews due to cigars that were sub-par. So I figured I’d let my samples rest for a good 5 or so months. With that, here is how the Illuminati Crusade treated me.


Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: 6 x 54

Price: $7.50


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper looked nice, with a few small veins and a nice consistent look. The odor from the wrapper was natural tobacco and earthiness. The foot had more of a woody smell to it. The cigar was evenly packed and bounced back nicely when squeezed. The pre-light draw had minimal resistance, and had an earthy, natural tobacco flavor.

The burn required two minor corrections, and the ash held for around an inch.

1 Illuminati_Crusade Cigars


The first third started off with a simple earthiness. It didn’t take too long before a black coffee joined in. When passing smoke through the nose, there was an easy pepper. The smoke feel became thicker as time went on. The aftertaste was a simple woody notes with earthiness.

2 Illuminati_Crusade Cigars

The second third had the same flavor profile as the first third. The only addition was a slight creamy sweet smoke feel. I should add that the smoke volume was plentiful and nice.

3 Illuminati_Crusade Cigars

The last third kept the same flavor profile as previous thirds. The only change was a tingle on the lips when exhaling.

4 Illuminati_Crusade Cigars


This was a decent medium bodied cigar. The positive aspects were simple and good flavors, good smoke volume, and construction. If I were to complain, it would be about the price. For the price range I expected more complexities. Price aside, this was a pleasant experience. I think it could be a solid five to six dollar cigar.

Play Ball, Not Politics, fer Crissakes!

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Florida’s Tampa/ St. Pete area is rich in baseball tradition, hosting great minor league teams over the decades, as well as the present day Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The current major league team has been celebrating their heritage by wearing throwback jerseys of those teams of the past that brought great joy to the Florida fans. The St. Petersburg Pelicans, St. Pete Saints, and the Tampa Tarpons have all been represented on throwback days, wearing replicas of their original jerseys.

Now this year’s throwback day game is coming up on July 2nd, as the Rays take on their National League rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. And the team of the past being celebrated is the The Tampa Smokers who played in the 1951 Class B Florida International League – a team whose outstanding season record of 90-50 took them all the way to a championship.

-1Everyone knows that cigar making has been the backbone of the Tampa/St. Pete area for well over a century, as the industry has employed many of central Florida’s population. And even in light of the cigar industry’s role in the area, smoking has become a horribly dirty word as many smoke-free groups, including the Devil Rays players have spoken out against tobacco use of any kind…. which leads me to this particular upcoming throwback day. There will be a noticeable change to the Tampa Smokers uniform, one that has baseball fans and historians pretty damned mad. You see, the jersey design for the July 2nd game will be minus the cigar that was emblazoned across the original 1951 team’s chest. Yes, people, political correctness has reared its hideous stench in the face of our national pastime.

Picture 3The team issued the following thoroughly asinine, bulls shit statement about the cigar omission:

“We have chosen to wear the Smokers jersey to celebrate the rich heritage and traditions surrounding baseball in Tampa Bay and this version of the logo is intended only to be a slightly more contemporary version of that wonderful history.”

South Florida history professor and co-director of the Florida Studies Program, Gary Mormino spoke openly about this politically correct hypocrisy. “It’s kind of embarrassing, I mean, embrace the past! Tampa’s love affair with the national pastime is equaled by its passion for making and smoking fine cigars.”

Right on, bro, you tell him!…

“Tampa still is known as Cigar City,” Mormino said. “Prior to the 1950s, dignitaries who came to Tampa got the key to the city along with a box of fine cigars, he said, and mayors always were out in public, chomping on foot-long cigars. If you were a banker, you didn’t smoke a machine-made cheroot,” he said. “Cigars were a mirror of one’s standing.”

1930s-El-LectorYou know, while these fear-mongering morons are taking things far beyond the norms of reality, I have to ask, why stop at changing the logo? Why not change the name of the team, all together? I mean, their name is the SMOKERS! Dear God, man, what if little Johnny turns to dad in the middle of his giant sugar laden sodie and nitrate loaded, fat infused hotdog and asks, “Hey pop, what’s a Smoker?” Can you imagine how dear ol’ dad will have to scramble thru the depths of his brain to think of a lie in order to suffice the obese child’s inquisition! They are called the smokers because Tampa has long been the cigar making capital of the United States and cigars are what everyone smoked! I personally believe that omitting the cigar from the team jersey is similar to the people who want any mention of racism stricken from Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. What, are you gonna deny that it existed? It is a part of our history, no matter how it affects you emotionally. But the difference with the scenarios is that, yes, racism is an ugly, and horrible truth. Now some out there feel the same about smoking, while so many others relish in their daily taste of tobacco, and profess their love for premium handrolled cigars.

Removing the cigar from the Smoker’s team logo is nothing short of grotesquely hypocritical. They will keep the name of the team, but remove the image of the cigar to prevent children from streaming out of the stands and clamoring for the nearest smoke shop. The blatant idiocy is simply appalling and a sample of the direction the country’s politico suck-ups are taking us.

We will continue to fight the good fight, people – a constant battle where there is truly no end in sight.

God Bless Us, Everyone,


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Joya de Nicaragua–Antano 1970

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

The cigar up for review today is a tribute to the original Nicaraguan puro. It was introduced post Cuban Embargo and apparently it was popular. But honestly I don’t care about that. You can read more on their website. As always, I paired this cigar with water and offer you my review.


Wrapper: Nicaragus

Binder & Filler: Nicaragua

Size: Consul 4.5 x 52

Price: Around $5.50

Paid for by me


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper was a little rugged looking but had no real flaws to speak of. The scent off of the wrapper was a mild earthiness. The foot had a similar odor but it was a little stronger. The cigar evenly packed and it was rock solid. In turn the pre-light draw was pretty snug, almost too snug. The pre-smoke flavor was a sweet woodiness.

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

1 Joya_de_Nicaragua_Antano_1970 Cigar


The first third had a peppery spice. Through the nose I picked up that same peppery spice along with woodiness. The aftertaste was nutty. Despite the snug draw, some volume was decent. The smoke feel was very dry but didn’t leave me parched.

2 Joya_de_Nicaragua_Antano_1970 Cigar

The second third: The pepper lost some of it’s kick but it didn’t go away by any means. The woody and nutty flavors were pretty much the only other flavors I detected. Simple but not bad.

3 Joya_de_Nicaragua_Antano_1970 Cigar

The last third had a nutty aftertaste that stuck to the mouth and lips. The woody flavor was there but fell in to the background. The pepper stayed at the same level as before. There isn’t really a lot to say about the flavors. They were simple but good.

4 Joya_de_Nicaragua_Antano_1970 Cigar


This was a decent full bodied cigar. It was one dimensional but delivered good flavors. There certainly was no wow factor, and the snug draw wasn’t desirable. I probably won’t be seeking more of these. In the end it was OK.

Mederos–Fifty 3

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Where I got the Mederos Fifty 3 from, I have no idea. I literally found them in my humidor and figured why not. The bands caught my attention, as did the nice chocolaty brown wrapper. I don’t have any other information on the Mederos, but their website isn’t bad at all.


Wrapper: Corojo from Jalapa, Nicaragua

Binder: Esteli Nicaragua

Filler: Esteli, Nicaragua

Size: Torpedo 6 1/8 x 52

Price: Around $7.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper looked nice, with minimal veins and a rugged bumpy appearance. The wrapper and foot had almost no odor at all – perhaps a mild natural tobacco smell. The cigar was evenly packed except for at the foot, where it was rock hard. The pre-light draw was a little snug, and had a cedar taste on the cold draw.

After burning through an inch, I got past the knot and the draw loosened up a bit. The ash held for over an inch, and I did no burn corrections.

1 Mederos_Fifty_3 Cigar


The first third began with a simple woody flavor combined with earthy notes. When passing smoke through the sinus I picked up a simple dry and mild pepper. The smoke feel was incredibly dry and a little irritating. While it wasn’t downright bad, something about this third seemed off.

2 Mederos_Fifty_3 Cigar

The second third kept the same flavor profile as the first third. The only change was the smoke feel became a little thicker feeling, and the aftertaste was earthy. Nothing to see here…

3 Mederos_Fifty_3 Cigar

The last third developed a black coffee type of flavor but kept the core woody and earthy notes. The smoke feel remained very dry, and left a slight irritation on the back of the throat. 

4 Mederos_Fifty_3 Cigar


The body of this cigar stayed in the medium range. While it wasn’t downright bad, I didn’t care for it. The smoke feel was too dry for my liking, and the delivery of the flavors seemed unrefined. I’ve read mixed reviews of this cigar, so who knows… Maybe you would like it. As for me, I won’t be smoking any more of the Mederos Fifty-3.

Another Smokin’ Father’s Day

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Father’s Day is a glorious day for me as I really do celebrate the love I have for my kids. My daughter just turned 20 and my son is the classic 16 year old teen age boy. (NO WAY Zman, you’re WAY to youthful to have kids that age – yeah, I know, I hear it all the time.) We’re very close and hearing the words, “Happy Father’s Day” the first thing in the morning, is all I need to make me smile.

Picture 12But the question I always have is… How come Father’s Day, in NO Way gets the attention, adulation, and fanfare that Mother’s Day does? Mom gets flowers and cards, an expensive brunch at the fancy buffet joint, or a great family dinner at her favorite place. It is her most special day as the queen basks in the the_kitsch_bitsch_vintage_dad_graphic_mousepad-p1441578026363796637pdd_325glory of her motherhood. Dad’s on the other hand just get that morning “Happy Father’s Day”, then it business as usual, doing back breaking yard work on a hot June Sunday afternoon, as I did yesterday, replanting bushes. Joy. Five straight hours of digging a trench with more friggin. boulders than all of Colorado.

And of course, dad’s don’t get taken to their favorite joint, no, beer-old+guyuh-uh. (Well if I did, it would be huge steaks, martinis and baseball bat sized cigars that would cost the wife a mortgage payment.) So, dads like me, all across the U.S. of A., barbecue for the family, which of course is more work after a day filled with knuckle-crunching hard work.

Ah, who am I kidding, I love to barbecue for the family on Father’s Day, choosing what I want to make, without being concerned about health and safety. What that means is that some kind of animal carcass will be gutted and served, along with a mayonnaise laden salad, corn on the cob, and ice cold beer, the brew of daddy’s choice. (And today is Moretti, an Italian import that is loaded with flavor, holding up to the big n’ meaty Zman-b-que.) Also note that I grill my corn – not in the husks or in foil, but right on the hot open grill plate, first slathered with butter, garlic powder, salt and pepper, until it gets brown and crispy on the outside, while juicy and sweet on the inside. Food Nazi’s and calorie counting weenies need not apply.

Quite fortunately, Father’s Day is a glorious day for me as I really do celebrate the love I have for my dad, who is 77, alive and kicking. My parents live only 20 minutes away and having them over is nice, as they give the kids money and tell many of the same stories that have been shared dozens of time before. Now my dad and I are close, and always have been. And while he’s still got most of his marbles left, he is a certified wacko, getting weirder and more bizarre with each passing year. It’s those classic, “crazy old bastard” idiosyncrasies” that make me pray I don’t get all nutty in my elder years (Too late, I’m sure many would say.”) Dad just loves, I mean totally gets off on cursing out other drivers. You can’t go half a mile with six guys being called mother f@#%ers, c@#k s#$&@&s, or having them being told where to place certain appendages into a particular rear functioning cavity. About a month ago I bet the old man that we couldn’t drive a half an hour with at least three unsuspecting fellow drivers being scorned and verbally violated by my cursing, ex-sailor of a dad. And sure enough, out of pure instinct and nothing more, dad hit three on the nose. While trying so hard to hold back his litany of colorful language, pops just could not stop himself from letting three different drivers know what they should eat and where they should go.

dad_with_large_cigarNow, the good thing is, my dad loves premium cigars and after every Father’s Day meal, we head to the porch to share a smoke with stories new and old. My pop loves maduro, and I hand him a JR Ultimate Principale, a luscious medium-bodied Honduran-born stick with a mountain of flavor. I opt for the Camacho Corojo, a full-bodied blast of Jalapa Valley tobacco goodness. So as we snip our sticks and are about to light, dad takes a small spray bottle out of a bag and starts coating himself with a liquid he swears keeps the bugs away. I furrow my eyebrows as a pungent stink crawls up my nose, as he tells me, “It’s vinegar, son, it works like magic and you won’t even smell it!”

“Won’t even smell it? Dad, you stink like a goddamned Greek salad, you old coot! Want me to put out a plate of feta cheese for you”

“Oh, it’s not that bad,” he tried with a feeble attempt to convince me,  “and I never get bit.”

“Of course not, “I said in agreement, “what living creature will come within 25 feet of you? By the way, I’ve got a bottle of Wishbone Italian in the fridge if you want me to do your back.”

Somehow I managed through the smell as the two of us bonded and smoked those beautious handrolled treasures. It was another wonderful Father’s Day for me, as I can’t help but thank my maker for all the goodness I truly do have in my life.

Please Note – That’s NOT my dad in the picture, but he is crazy looking and I thought it fit nice for the story.

Hope all you dads got to enjoy as well. Til next week,


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

JFR Maduro

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

The JFR line of cigars is made by Casa Fernandez and stands for Just For Retailers. Strangely enough, they can be found online pretty easily. I tried the Corojo version of this cigar, and thought it was all right. I figured I’d give the Maduro a try.


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro

Bonder & Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: Robusto 5.5 x 50

Price: $4.39

Paid for by me.


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The dark seamless wrapper had no noticeable flaws, and had an earthy/barnyard odor. The foot had more of a sweet spicy smell. The cigar was very firmly packed, and had a couple tight spots. Despite this, the draw was good, offering slight resistance. The pre-light draw tasted like dark natural tobacco and earthiness.

The ash held for around an inch, and the burn required several corrections.

1 JFR_Maduro Cigar


The first third went right in to a dark woody flavor, with a sweet spice on the finish. In the back ground was earthiness, and natural tobacco flavors. Every now and then, I picked up a floral note. The spice developed a peppery component with a tinge of sweetness. A coffee like bitterness made itself known as the first third was almost over. This thing had good smoke volume. This little room filled up quickly.

2 JFR_Maduro Cigar

The second third had a dominant cocoa flavor. The bitterness seemed to be an aftertaste of dark chocolate, but it kept a normal cocoa sweetness too. The pepper calmed down in the retrohale and took on more of a sweet spice. The earthiness and woody flavors became background notes. The aftertaste left a spicy tingle on the lips and tongue. Like before, there was a lot of smoke volume and it took on a thick feel in this third.

3 JFR_Maduro Cigar

The last third saw an increase in woody flavors. The dominant flavor switched between wood and black coffee. Earthiness made a comeback too, at least in some draws. Other times it was nowhere to be seen. The sweet cocoa was still there, but it was further back in the flavor profile. Through the nose, the spice switched back to being more peppery.

4 JFR_Maduro Cigar


This was a good medium to full bodied cigar. The flavors were good, and they switched up quite a bit. This naturally held my attention through the whole smoke. I really enjoyed the sweet spicy aspect of the flavors, along with the pepper. By the way, the bitterness I described wasn’t the bad kind. I think the JFR Maduro is worth a try.

Perdomo Patriarch Maduro

Monday, June 13th, 2011

I tend to think of Perdomo as an “Everyman’s” cigar. They often are right down the middle of the road in flavors and price, which isn’t a bad thing. The Perdomo Patriarch comes in 3 wrappers – Cuban seed Corojo, Ecuadorian Connecticut, or Nicaraguan Maduro. Today I am reviewing the Maduro wrapped version of this cigar.


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro

Binder/filler: Nicaraguan

Size: Epicure 6 x 50

Price: Around $6.00

Purchased by me.


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper had some issues, and it may have been due to improper storage and handling. Towards the head, the wrapper was coming apart. At the foot, there was a crack here and there. I had some vegetable glue handy and made repairs as needed. The wrapper and foot had a sweet dark odor. The cigar was pretty well packed, with some soft and hard spots. The pre-light draw had slight resistance. The pre-light flavor was a simple earthiness.

The burn required one minor correction, and the ash held for an inch or so. Everything went well despite the trauma the cigar went though… improper handling, storage, and all.

1 Perdomo_Patriarch_Maduro Cigars


The first third was a simple combination of coffee, earthiness, and some pepper through the nose. As I progressed on the smoke feel became a little thicker and more satisfying, but it stayed well within the medium range. There was a powdery sweet note that developed in to cocoa as time went on.

2 Perdomo_Patriarch_Maduro Cigars

The second third had a dominant dry cocoa flavor. Coffee, wood, earthy notes were up next much like in the first third. When retro-haling, the peppery zing kicked up a notch in strength, but remained smooth.

3 Perdomo_Patriarch_Maduro Cigars

The last third kept the same pace as the second third. It may not sound like anything special, but it was pleasant and satisfying.

4 Perdomo_Patriarch_Maduro Cigars


This was a solid medium bodied cigar that hit the spot for me. It wasn’t what I would call a WOW cigar, but it stood on it’s own and delivered a relaxing experience. I think Perdomo Patriarch Maduro is worth a try.

Cigars, Cars & Bikes Done JR Whippany Style

Sunday, June 12th, 2011















Nothing, I mean NOTHING brings out the gear-heads in full throttle like Bike & Car Nite at JR CIGARS in Whippany, New Jersey. It was a hot and muggy evening as the machines rolled into the lot, all for a night of metal, rubber, chrome, and testosterone. The smell of fire-grilled  burgers & dogs wafted through the air, but not to be outdone by the rich scent of premium aged, handrolled tobacco, courtesy of the good people at JR. With summer only a couple of weeks away, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the coming of sun and fun, than filling a parking lot with colorfully loud 13machines of every make and model.

First off, I hope you dig the photos, courtesy of yours truly. It took hours to Photoshop them all and get ‘em into the blog, but I’m pretty happy with how they look and that’s all that really matters.


28I always find that the camaraderie at an event like this is just simply amazing. It’s like we’re all brothers and sisters of the motor mount, and everyone is there to hear the stories and see the incredible detail these people put into their joy rides. A lot of money and time is spent to bring these beauties of yesteryear to life, and Make no mistake, these machines are like the owners very children. The pride that shows on their faces is such a pleasure to see.

2931While there were too many incredible bikes to behold and cars to count, I was awestruck by New 30Jersey’s own Cheryl Chapman who brought her 1956 Ford Thunderbird (in original Fiesta red)… the car she received on her 17th birthday. But the metallic love her love of her life was stolen in 1966, breaking her heart, but not her spirit. Close to four decades later she decided to search for her car and believe it or not, in 2004 she found it in Iowa and the T-Bird was returned to her home soon after. An amazing story.

3Next to Cheryl’s amazing Bird was a ‘59 DeSoto with it’s original owner tagging along as well. This thing is just a tad shorter than an ocean liner and I’m sure needs an over sized garage to house it. Then there was the screaming nitro red Plymouth which was pretty awesome as well as the 1968 Camaro in absolute pristine condition. I tried my damnedest to convince the red Chevy’s owner to let me take it for a spin, but when she threatened to put my Frank Llaneza 1961 out in my eye, I figured I’d better move on and enjoy the other machines.

The motorcycles were equally insane as usual, all of them a custom job, one more wicked than the next. Their owners decked out in leather made it all just seem right as the band played rock and roll classics through the night.

Guys, as you can tell, it was an amazing evening, and I’m sure most of you are drooling at the pix and kicking yourselves for nor being there! But don’t worry, my bruthas, we’ve got one more scheduled at the end of the summer on Friday, September 9th.

Hey, let’s try to make it here next time!



Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman Episode 4 with Ed and Tom

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Ed and I paid a visit to Stogie411 on June 9th at 7PM. Click here and check it out!


During this 60 minute episode, we discuss the cigar business, Ed talks about troublesome shop lifters, our review process, IPCPR, the cigar blogger ego, and various other topics. So tune in and enjoy!

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!