Archive for August, 2011

The Nature of Cigar Smokers

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

For those of you who have been following this smoky blog for the last few years, you know that I have a habit of belly aching about the weather, as it is always interrupting my cigar smoking activities. It’s either, ‘too hot’ and disgustingly humid in the summer, or it’s ‘too cold’ in the winter, with snow and ice freezing my cojones into ice balls when I try to enjoy a smoke. But this past week here in Jersey, we have been hit by some of the most bizarre acts of nature that I have ever seen ‘round these parts.

The Day After Tomorrow (Widesc6093_fLast Tuesday afternoon an earthquake hit the east coast… now I know you dudes in Cali thought it was funny stuff, but for you left coasters, it’s kind of like a snow storm descending upon San Diego. I was sitting in a local diner with my dad when our table started shaking and I said, “Holy crap, did you feel that?” We thought a big truck went by, but thanks to Al Gore’s amazing internet, word spread around the globe in seconds flat. While the cackling old hens in the diner were worrying about a “Day After Tomorrow” scenario, I had one thing only on my mind… what was going to be my cigar of choice when I got home from my shaky meatloaf lunch? An oily Excalibur 1066 Dark Knight?… a full bodied Macanudo Maduro Vintage 1997? Or perhaps the flavorful new Rocky Patel Edge Corojo to ease the pain of the aftershocks? Life is full of difficult decisions, but in times of crisis, a real man will keep his head and deal with the matter at hand. So, like the trooper I am, I went with the Rocky. Seriously, guys… there is no wrong answer, here.

Let’s switch to the present moment as I am writing this blog at the edge of my garage at 9:00 on Saturday night – the wind is whipping and the rain is coming down in over-sized buckets. Hurricane Irene has made its way up the eastern seaboard as New Jersey and New York are next in line for a hammering, following the awful beating the good folks in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware took. I’m actually about four feet from the garage opening and starting to get drenched, but with a Punch Grand Cru #2 clenched firmly between my teeth, no freakin’ dismal act of God named after some angry bitch is gonna stop me from reporting to my Brothers and Sisters of the leaf!

370Cigar smokers are indeed a steadfast bunch, and we will endure conditions that mere mortals would shiver at, all for the sake of our Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Dominican made amigos. It’s pretty damned hard to keep a tried and true cigar smoker down, and this past week sure as hell proved it. Hopefully all of you reading this made out okay and stayed safe and dry, no matter what geographic region you hail from. And hopefully, the power stays on here in Zmanville so I can get this blog of mine up and posted. You know that I do this for ‘you guys’… I give and I give.

It’s 11:30pm, it’s pouring with a vengeance and the trees are bending with the wind. I feel it’s only fitting to leave you with words of wisdom that Carl the greens keeper once made famous, “I don’t think the heavy stuff’s coming down for some time.”


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

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Monday, August 29th, 2011

This is the first blend from CAO since it’s move to General Cigars. A part of me is disappointed in CAO for “selling out.” Another part understands mentality behind taking the money and running. General Cigars has good brands and bad. So it is only fair to give CAO a chance.

The name OSA stands for Olancha San Augustin. This is the region of Honduras that the wrapper is from. Sol refers to the fact that the wrapper is sun grown.

General Cigars sent me a five pack along with a press release. I appreciate the chance to try this new blend. So let’s see how the CAO OSA Sol treated me.


Wrapper: Honduras

Binder: Connecticut

Filler: Nicaraguan & Honduran

Size: 6 x 54

Price: $6.25


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper had a nice look to it, with no visible flaws. The odor coming off of the wrapper was a mild earthiness. The foot smelled the same with an added spiciness. The cigar was evenly and solidly packed, and the pre-light draw had slight resistance. The pre-light flavor was earthy with perhaps a note of wood.

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

1 CAO_OSA_Sol Cigars


The first third had a core flavor of earthiness. Accompanying it was wood. When passing smoke through the nose, I picked up an easy spice with earthy and woody notes. As I progressed through this third, the smoke feel improved from a dryness to smoother feel with a tinge of sweetness.

2 CAO_OSA_Sol Cigars

The second third kept the same earthy and woody flavors. The earthiness was different, almost grassy or a little musty. The spice through the nose basically remained the same. The smoke feel became thicker feeling at times, with a lingering sweetness.

3 CAO_OSA_Sol Cigars

The last third had an increase in that earthy, musty flavor. I can’t decide if I liked it or not. It was just there. Like before, woodiness was next in the flavor profile. The spice through the nose increased slightly in strength. A spicy tingle was left on the lips and tongue, but the flavor was that earthiness I mentioned earlier.

4 CAO_OSA_Sol Cigars


I’m on the fence about this cigar… It wasn’t outright bad, but something about the earthy flavor seemed off. Nothing stood out as being bad, or particularly good. The flavors were just there. Maybe some age on these cigars would mellow the weird earthiness a bit, who knows. In the end, the CAO OSA Sol was just OK. Thanks again to General Cigars for letting me try it out.

Casa Fernandez Cuban Seed Corojo 2006

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Ed and I are back to where it all started, the Stogie Review. As always, our videos are posted here for archive purposes. Call it a one stop shop for Ed and Tom reviews. In an effort to get back to our regularly scheduled visits, we made our August spot in the nick of time…


Ed and I have reviewed a lot of cigars. It is often an over thought process on what we should review next. This time around we just took a walk around the shop and picked something.

Be warned that this video runs a little long at 28 minutes. This is the type of review that is best viewed while you relax with a cigar and smoke along with us. We ultimately pick apart every aspect of this cigar and leave no stone unturned.

This video is also available in high definition simply by pressing the HD button on the video player. Lately has been doing horrible standard definition video quality. I’d go ahead and hit the HD button right off the bat.

MP3 Audio Only <-Right Click, Save As

Thunder by Nimish

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

The Thunder by Nimish is a Rocky Patel product. If you are asking, “Who is Nimish?” Nimish Desai is Rocky’s cousin, and he oversees all of the central American manufacturing for Rocky. I’ve seen him at some events as well, so I assume travel is part of his job. This is his first blend. Thanks to Patrick V and Nimish for getting me a couple samples.

One thing I should mention… The size I got was the Toro, but the ring gauge was very smaller then their specs. The toro shows as a 6×52 on their website, but my ring gauge guide showed this to be a 6 x 46. None the less… Here are my thoughts on the Thunder by Nimish.


Wrapper: Habano

Binder: Nicaraguan & Honduran

Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran, Costa Rican

Size: Toro 6 x 52?

Price: Around $5.75


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The oily looking wrapper had minimal flaws, and some medium sized veins. The odor coming off of the wrapper was a dark, sweet earthiness. The foot had a similar smell, with an added spice. The cigar was pretty evenly and solidly packed. The pre-light draw had slight resistance, and had a simple earthy flavor.

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

1 Thunder_By_Nimish cigars


The first third didn’t have a build up. It started immediately with black coffee, or perhaps it was more like espresso. Mingling with it was an unidentified sweetness. Through the nose, there was a nice peppery spice with a some kick. Smoke volume was thick, and the aftertaste coated the mouth and lips.

2 Thunder_By_Nimish cigars

The second third had that nice coffee or espresso flavor, with the associated bitterness you would expect. Don’t take that as a bad thing. It wasn’t a pungent bitterness. There was something going on way in the background at times. It was almost like a faint fruitiness. It would appear and go away quickly. The peppery spice remained about the same, as did the sweetness.

3 Thunder_By_Nimish cigars

The last third continued to build off of the flavors I have already described. The smoke feel became thicker and richer. Like before there was the dominant espresso and sweetness. The peppery spice kept it’s zing. That suspected fruitiness I talked about before wasn’t in this third. The overall flavor profile was full and nice.

4 Thunder_By_Nimish cigars


This was a good medium to full bodied cigar. It definitely isn’t for the novice smoker. The flavor profile was simple but well put together. In the end it hit the spot for me. I think Nimish has a good blend here. If you see these in the shop I’d pick a few up.

Perdomo Cuban Bullet 2.0–Maduro

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

I tried the Cuban seed wrapped version of this cigar awhile back. I remember thinking it was a decent cigar for the price range. When I ran across the Maduro wrapped Cuban Bullet, I thought it was worth trying. What have I got to lose besides a few dollars. So as always, I paired this cigar with water, and offer you my thoughts.


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro

Binder/Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: Around $3.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The shiny wrapper had small veins and a rugged, bumpy look to it. The smell coming off of the wrapper and foot were earthy, almost a mild compost. The cigar was well packed, and had a hard spot here and there. The pre-light draw had slight resistance, and had a mild earthy flavor.

The ash held for about an inch, and the burn required one minor correction. There was plenty of smoke volume. Clouds of smoke billowed for the entire cigar.

1 Perdomo_Cuban_Bullet_Maduro cigars


The first third had a simple yet decent flavor profile. Up first was a earthy and somewhat woody flavor. I also detected subtle notes of sweet bitterness. It was like the subtle bitterness you get in the aftertaste of chocolate. Through the nose I found a mild pepper with a slightly sweet, maduro-ish finish.

2 Perdomo_Cuban_Bullet_Maduro cigars

The second third had an increase of that maduro-ish sweetness. It bordered on being dry cocoa. Like before, there was earthiness with subtle woody notes. The flavor didn’t change when passing smoke through the nose. A mild peppery, sweet spice is the best I can describe it. There was that slight bitter finish present. I covered that in the previous third as well.

3 Perdomo_Cuban_Bullet_Maduro cigars

The last third had virtually no change. The sweetness picked up in strength, but otherwise things held steady and consistent. Copy and paste my comments from the second third here.

4 Perdomo_Cuban_Bullet_Maduro cigars


This was a decent medium bodied cigar. It was pretty much what I expected. A fairly simple, one dimensional cigar with no WOW factor. For you picky bastards who demand a complex flavor profile, this cigar isn’t for you. If you are looking for a decent cigar at a reasonable price, you may want to give this a chance.

An Intrusive Government, You say?…

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

This past week, five major US tobacco companies filed suit against our federal government in a most unprecedented and landmark fashion. Since the FDA has taken over governing cigarette tobacco, they have wreaked havoc with manufacturers, mandating that large, exceedingly graphic warnings be placed on every pack of smokes. And, to add insult to injury, the companies are being forced to pay for the updating of all their packaging!

629268,h=425,pd=2,w=516The FDA has ruled that by October 2012, cigarette manufacturers will be forced to display one of nine grotesque health warnings on all packaging, and the companies are fighting back, taking the FDA to court on the grounds that the ruling basically violates their right to sell a legal product.

“Never before in the United States have producers of a lawful product been required to use their own packaging and advertising to convey an emotionally charged government message urging adult consumers to shun their products,” said a spokesman for the group of companies.

A complaint has been entered in US Federal Court that also says, “This is precisely the type of compelled speech the 1st Amendment prohibits.”

fda_cigar_sm-250pxGuys, this is going to be one hell of a messy fight, one that we cigar smokers should take great interest in. The cigar industry has been lobbying hard to keep FDA regulators out of our humidors, and thankfully, several government officials are behind a bill to do just that. While I don’t have too much good to say about lifetime politicians, sometimes they’ll surprise us and think with their heads, instead of only pandering to get votes. While those kinds of actions are few and far between, we do seem to have a few politicos on our side.

While I am personally not a fan of cigarette smoking, and feel that cigars are an entirely different animal, in this case, a ruling in favor of the butt makers certainly helps the cigar industry, as we are no doubt targets next in line. It is the opinion of many of the anti-smoking zealots that tobacco is tobacco, lumping cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco into the same category, and to me, that is just wrong. That’s like saying that alcohol is alcohol, which would be putting wine, beer, and whiskey into the same category, when they are all very different types of drinks. Plus, a big part of the FDA’s strategy is to target the minds of children, but as I’ve said on this blog a million times, when have you ever seen kids hanging out, smoking $8 or more Montecristo Reds, TTT Trinidad Reserves, or Hoyo de Monterrey Dark Sumatras? The answer is: You don’t. In my opinion, premium hand rolled cigars are an adult pleasure, created for people who enjoy the relaxing benefits of a finely crafted product…  that yes, is still legal in this here United States of America.

Of course, the FDA won’t comment on any pending litigation, but that didn’t stop Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, calling the FDA ruling ‘frank and honest warnings about the dangers of smoking.’

R.J. Reynolds, vice president and general counsel, Martin L. Holton III, fired back: “Rather than inform and educate, the graphic warnings include nonfactual cartoon images and controversial photographs that have been technologically manipulated to maximize an emotional response from viewers, essentially turning our cigarette packs into mini-billboards for the government’s anti-smoking message.”

My question is as always, if the anti-smoke contingent gets their way and eradicates all forms of smoking, just where will these billions of dollars in tax revenue going to come from? The answer to that one is indeed a scary thought. This is gonna be a hell of a dog fight in public over the coming months, and the outcome will be groundbreaking. Yes, my brothers of the leaf, we certainly do live in interesting times.


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

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Sunday Filler-Stinky Cigar Floor Ashtray

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

StinkyThanks to, who on August 4th, 2011 had the Stogie Review guys on as guests. During the show, Walt put a question out to the live audience. I never enter cigar site contests, but this was an exception. Considering I have been following Stogie Review since 2007, I knew I would be an instant winner, which I was. The prize was this great Stinky Floor Ashtray you see here. I picked jet black powder coated finish of course.

The contest was sponsored by the East Coast Cigar Company, who promptly had the winning prize at my doorstep. I will use this ashtray for years to come. If your smoking area needs an ashtray, check out the variety of products that Stinky has to offer.

While your at it, pay attention to, who has bi-weekly video casts not seen anywhere else. It goes without saying that Stogie Review is the king of cigar review websites. But every now and then somebody new pops up that is worth paying attention to.


By the way… Do you know the answer to the question that won me this prize? “What is the Stogie Review equivalent to a Rick Roll?” To my surprise, no one in the chat room knew. Duh… Winning…

Jose Seijas Signature Series

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Thanks to Bonita Smoke Shop for gifting this to me. This cigar was off of my radar probably because of the price. The Jose Seijas is a brand of Altadis, and was one of the top ten cigars of 2006 by Cigar Aficionado. I probably would have never tried this cigar had it not been gifted. As always, I paired with water. Let’s see how the Jose Seijas Signature Series treated me.


Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra

Binder: Dominican

Filler: Peruvian, Dominican, Nicaraguan

Size: Perfecto 6 1/2 x 48

Price: $15.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper had small veins, no real flaws, and a nice velvety smooth appearance. When sniffing the wrapper and foot, I could only pick up a rich natural tobacco. The cigar was consistently packed, and bounced back when squeezed. Due to the perfecto head, the pre-light draw was very stiff. I could detect sweet, almost fruity flavor.

The ash held for about 1.5 inches, and the burn required one minor correction.

1 Jose_Seijas_Signature_Series Cigars


The first few puffs of the first third were woody. Once I got past the small perfecto opening at the foot, the draw opened up nicely, and the flavors developed. Woodiness was still the main flavor with an earthy aftertaste. There was an easy peppery spice when passing smoke through the nose. Towards the end of this third, the spice had subtle sweet notes.

2 Jose_Seijas_Signature_Series Cigars

The peppery spice calmed down in the second third. It became smooth with sweet notes. The core flavor was still wood with some coffee mixed in with it. The smoke feel thickened and became somewhat creamy. The earthy aftertaste went away, for the most part, and was replaced with a creamy sweetness. As I made it past the halfway point, the smoke became even more smoother and creamier. The sweetness increased  too, but I couldn’t pin a flavor to it.

3 Jose_Seijas_Signature_Series Cigars

The last third: At times the flavor profile was much like the first third. Other draws were creamy and sweet. The sweet spice left a cinnamon like tingle in the nose and on the lips. The woody flavor with subtle coffee notes remained the staple of the flavor profile.

4 Jose_Seijas_Signature_Series Cigars


This was a nice medium to upper medium bodied cigar. The flavor profile was enjoyable and complex enough to keep me interest. Construction was good as well. For a cigar of this price, I would expect more of a WOW factor. This cigar really didn’t have that. As I often say – Price aside, this was a good cigar. But had I shelled out $15.00, I would be less enthusiastic. The bottom line is, if you have $15.00 burning a hole in your pocket, this cigar is worth a try.

Drew Estate – Liga Privada T52

Monday, August 15th, 2011

This is a first impressions review. Thanks to my pal Kenny for picking this up for me at The Tampa Humidor. For the record, we did a trade, so technically this wasn’t a freebee. Initially, when I thought of Drew Estate, I thought of Acid cigars. You know, the ones infused with herbs and spices that I honestly don’t like. Lately, I’ve come to think of Drew Estate as more than “The Acid guys,” due to their release of non infused blends. I’ve been curious to try the Liga Privada for awhile now. They simply aren’t available at shops around here. So I jumped at the chance to smoke this and review it.


Wrapper: Connecticut

Binder: Brazil

Filler: Honduras and Nicaragua

Size: Belicoso 6 x 52

Price: Around $12.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The dark wrapper  had a nice sheen when held to a light, and had minimal flaws. The foot and wrapper had almost no odor at all. Maybe a faint earthiness at best. The cigar was rock solid and evenly packed. The pre-light draw was a little too snug for my liking. Taking a cold draw, I picked up a dark, almost musty woody earthiness.

After cutting the cigar, the cap tried to unravel. I think this may have been because I cut too deep. A little pectin glue and I was back in business. While the draw was snug, it didn’t seem to bother me that much. This may have been due to the smoke volume. This thing practically smoked itself. It bellowed smoke constantly, which I found enjoyable.

1 Drew Estate Liga_Privada_T52 cigars


The first third began with a dark woodiness and rich earthiness. It didn’t take long before black coffee joined in. Subtle dry sweet notes lingered in the background. When passing smoke through the nose, I was greeted with an easy pepper. It wasn’t the standard pepper I am used to. This had an interesting feel and taste. As this third was coming to a close, the sweetness developed into a cocoa-ish flavor mixed with leathery note.

2 Drew Estate Liga_Privada_T52 cigars

The second third saw in increase in sweet cocoa. It was matched with black coffee and woody notes in the background. The pepper calmed down but kept a little kick. It is hard to describe. It was simply very good. The aftertaste was nice and matched the flavor profile. It hung around for awhile after exhaling. Earthiness and leather seemed to go away in this third. Note of interest – Some draws had dominant cocoa, others were coffee, others were woody with coffee, and a lot of the time it was a combination of everything. Very nice…

3 Drew Estate Liga_Privada_T52 cigars

The last third kept pace with the second third. I would be repeating myself to write anything more of this third. Don’t take that as a bad thing. If you re-read my comments, you’ll see it was quite enjoyable.

4 Drew Estate Liga_Privada_T52 cigars


In my opinion this cigar proves that Drew Estate can and have shook their image of the guys who make Acid cigars. This cigar was complex, medium to full bodied, and delivered with flavors. With all the praise the T52 gets, I had high expectations, and they were met. My only complaint is the price is a little high and out of my comfort zone. Otherwise – a solid cigar. If these become available in my area, I will have more from time to time. This is a must try!

Time Flies When You’re Smoking Cigars

Monday, August 15th, 2011

This past winter, many of us across the country endured one the most heinous stretches of miserable weather ever encountered. Rain, snow, ice, and so much awful crap was brought down upon us that I just wanted to bitch-slap Mother Nature so hard that she’d think twice before messin’ with our lives again. It was like a cruel joke, day in and day out, and worst of all, I couldn’t smoke my beloved cigars! When it’s freezing, sleeting, blizzards and what have you, a brother of the leaf just can’t enjoy his favorite cigar under those conditions, I don’t care who you are. Oh I try – set up a portable heater in the garage, bundle up in layers, and wear a good pair of gloves – but 20 minutes after lighting up, I lose feeling in some really important body parts and it’s time to head back into the warmth. And as you all know, there isn’t a worse feeling than having to ditch a half smoked, Romeo Y Julieta Real Reserva, Punch Grand Cru Number 2, or a delicious La Aurora 107. Oh the humanities, indeed.

photoYou see, the thing is, when I can’t smoke my daily cigar, time drags forever as I yearn for warm weather, green grass, and a barbecue dinner with friends and family. It’s amazing how time almost comes to a complete standstill during the winter as I am jonesing like a wacko for some premium aged, tobacco goodness. I get irritable, cranky, and act like a 4 year old who can’t play outside with his favorite toys. My wife thinks I’m an ass and my kids lock their doors and hide in their bedrooms when daddy can’t pound his plentiful puros.

So, FINALLY, the warm weather comes… first Spring, then Summer, and before you know it here we are in mid-August as time has flown by like a rocket sled that’s headed straight back to Christmas, cold weather months, and NO MORE DAILY SMOKES… AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

rosie_odonnellSo I ask you, why does time fly during cigar season… you know, the time of year you can sit outside with a cold brew, a couple of you best buddies, and enjoy a hand rolled happy stick? Why is it that the good days spent with your Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Dominican amigos blow by like a jack rabbit on Red Bull, but in the winter the days drag slower than a turtle with Rosie O’Donnell strapped to its back? (Yes, that was a most disturbing visual and I’m sure I speak for the management here at JR when I say I apologize for reaching beyond the normal boundaries, all for a cheap and distasteful laugh. But I can assure you, it won’t be the last time.)

turtle1I guess it’s just human nature that we yearn for the good times, but those good times sure do pass you by if you don’t take the time and make the effort to enjoy them. If you have kids, then you know exactly what I mean. Okay, so it’s almost the end of summer, but that doesn’t mean you’ve gotta think about the future and what is going to come. I say, spend the rest of these nice weather days enjoying the hell out of life, savor that premium cigar, sip that glass of scotch, relish your family and friends, and live in the now, because the truth is, right now is all you’ve really got.

Now does that mean I’ll stop being a moron in the winter, alienate my loved ones, and brood like bratty little school-girl? No, probably not, but I definitely will make an attempt to relax and enjoy what I have in the present… and an imported, premium, hand rolled cigar is the best present a guy could ever give himself.

Until next week my Brothers in Leafdom,


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

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