Archive for January, 2012

Goodbye Jose and Hello Javier by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Late last week word came out that Jose Seijas was leaving as Vice President and General Manager of Tabacalera de Garcia, possibly the largest cigar factory in the world.  His retirement took effect in the last week or so. The La Romana factory is home to Altadis USA’s Dominican blends—Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann and even the machine made cigars like Backwoods. (However, under Altadis USA’s reorganization last year the company split the machine from the premium operation and the premium was under Seijas.  By the way Backwoods is the largest selling all natural tobacco cigar in the world.)

Jose Seijas and Javier Elmudesi

Jose Seijas and Javier Elmudesi

Seijas, 61, came to the factory in 1974, just 2 years after it opened, as an industrial engineer. His first job was in sorting and stripping of the leaves. Applying his engineering background he found ways to set standards to make the workers happier. The standards, he said, allowed for a fair amount of work, not too much and not too little and that saved a lot of problems and complaints.

Over the years, Jose moved up through the company to become a Vice President and General Manager of the factory. He helped launch the extremely successful Vega Fina in the Spanish market and last year, he launched the limited edition Jose Seijas Signature Vega Fina. Jose and his team also blended the Seijas Signature Collection.

Javier Elmudesi will take over La Romana as Factory Manager. Javier is no stranger to the operation having joined the company as an industrial engineer first through Revlon when Ron Perelman owned both Revlon and at that time Consolidated Cigar. Javier stayed with Revlon for 3-4 years before moving over to the cigar side. He has been with Tabacalera de Garcia for the past 15 years. He was Jose’s right hand man as plant manager and assistant General Manager.

Smokers worse than possible criminals

Dr. Michael Siegel (who for the record is against smoking) notes that for the Cleveland Clinic you can be a suspected white collar criminal and get a job, BUT if they suspect you are a smoker…no way.

Apparently, the Clinic hired Tom Thornton who left the Kansas Bioscience Authority under a cloud of a criminal investigation and in the early stages of a forensic audit of his agency. The state funded KBA invested taxpayer dollars in bioscience companies. Thornton was faulted in an audit for destroying documents, misusing public funds for personal expenses and creating an uncomfortable working environment by dating a woman he hired and later married. He even cited being a target of a criminal investigation when resigning last April (although professing his innocence.) He left to go to work for The Cleveland Clinic as General Manager of Strategic Alliances.

Here are the quotes from Siegel:

These are apparently the principles that the Cleveland Clinic stands for in its hiring policies. Under no circumstances will the Cleveland Clinic hire a smoker or a nicotine user because it sends a “bad example,” but hiring a suspected criminal is perfectly fine.

In reality, the Cleveland Clinic ban on hiring smokers only applies to “suspected smokers” because the Clinic cannot prove that these individuals actually smoke. They can only prove that they use nicotine, which could have been in the form of nicotine replacement therapy. They will not, however, take the person’s word for it.

In contrast, if you are a suspected criminal, the Cleveland Clinic will apparently take your word that you are not guilty. They do not require proof of your innocence.


Again the numbers don’t add up

Over at Cigar Weekly they were talking about an article from MSNBC.

The article was designed to scare the crap out of you in that the headline says, “Many keep smoking after cancer diagnosis.” How sick is that. Well read into the article and you find that they are studying lung cancer and COLORECTAL patients. This was my first WTF. Colorectal? Were they smoking with their butt? Did someone NOT show them how to smoke? (Or as my wife says maybe they’ve had too much smoke blown up their ass.)

The second WTF moment came when they said 38 percent of the lung cancer and 15 percent of the colorectal cancer patients were smokers. Which of course means 62 and 85 percent respectively were NOT smokers.

But aside from that, then it gets weird:

According to the Lung Cancer Foundation of America, 60 percent of new lung cancer diagnoses happen to non-smokers, 15 percent of whom have never smoked a day in their life (the rest are former smokers who quit 10, 20 or even 30 years prior to diagnosis). The American Lung Association estimates that active smoking is responsible for close to 90 percent of lung cancer cases; radon causes 10 percent, and occupational exposures to carcinogens account for approximately 9 to 15 percent.

I guess the American Lung Association, or maybe the reporter cannot add. 90 percent plus 10 percent plus 9- 15 percent…115%????

Accuracy does not matter when you are trying to make a point I guess.

Look, these morons are trying to dictate our lives. Flooding Congress with calls and petitions CAN work. Look at what happened with SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). It has been delayed and Congress is rethinking a bad law. Even if you have done it once already, contact your Senator and Representative again. The Cigar Rights of America makes it easy. Please keep doing this to be certain the FDA does not ruin the cigar industry….because it will.

Illusione mj12

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Illusione… This boutique brand has yet to make a blend I don’t like. Sure, some blends are better than others, but I have yet to have one I didn’t like. I haven’t smoked an mj12 in quite some time, so I thought it was time to revisit this cigar. I picked up a couple from Ed’s shop and got to it…


Wrapper: Nicaragua

Binder & Filler: Nicaragua

Size: 6 x 54

Price: $9.75

1 Illusione_mj12 cigars

Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper was rugged looking, yet velvety smooth. There were some good sized veins but no flaws to be seen. The smell of the wrapper was barnyard. The foot had more of a sweetness with a tingly spice. Overall the cigar was evenly packed, and was rock solid to the touch. The pre-light draw had some resistance, but not too much. The cold draw had a hearty sweetness woth a woody flavor.

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

2 Illusione_mj12 cigars


The first third started off with cedar, but quickly ramped up. There was coffee, cedar, and a nice peppery zing, especially when passing smoke through the sinus. A sweet dark chocolate joined in after about 1 inch in. The aftertaste reflected the same flavors, and it lingered for awhile after exhaling. At this point no flavor really stood out over the other. It was just a nice combination.

3 Illusione_mj12 cigars

The second third had the flavors I mentioned before… Coffee with a dark chocolaty note. I say this often, but it’s worth repeating. I don’t mean chocolate that you get in a regular Hershey’s bar or milk chocolate. I am referring to dark chocolate or cooking chocolate. Anyway… The peppery spice calmed down and lost some of it’s zing. Wispy notes of cedar were noticed from time to time. The smoke was crisp and dry, with a lingering aftertaste. The body increased slightly, but remained in the medium to upper medium range.

4 Illusione_mj12 cigars

The last third kept pace with the second third. The flavors seemed fuller and sweetness stood out a little more than before. But basically it was the same flavors in varying strengths. Saying anything more would be repetitive. It was good.

5 Illusione_mj12 cigars


This was a good medium to full bodied cigar. The flavors were well blended and refined. My only complaints are with the burn and the price. One side of this cigar wanted to burn faster than the other. If left unattended I feared it would canoe. Despite my complaints, I have, and will revisit this cigar again. They all don’t burn badly, but they all taste good.

Dona Flor Selecao

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

I recently found out that Dona Flor is back. After a lengthy lawsuit between who has rights to the brand, a winner was decided upon in court. I don’t have the details at hand. Ed and I will cover that in our next review of the Dona Flor Alonzo Menendez series. The guys I knew as the owners were ruled to not own the brand. It is alleged that the quality of the tobacco has not changed under the new, or different ownership. Let’s take a closer look…


Wrapper: Brazil Mata Fina

Binder: Brazil Mata Norte

Filler: Brazil Mata Fina

Size: Robusto 5 x 52

Price: Around $6.50


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper was a little rugged looking, but not as much as I remember them to be years ago. There were no flaws that I could see. It had a hay-ish smell, and the foot smelled mildly earthy. The cigar was pretty well packed, with some minor hard and soft spots. The draw had some resistance, but fell within my tolerance. The pre-light flavor was mild and reminded me of hay.

During the first third, the burn was horrible. I had to do some major burn corrections because the filler was not burning as fast as the wrapper. Luckily the issue resolved itself after the first third. The ash held for around an inch.

1 Dona_Flor_Selecao cigars


The first third had a base flavor of wood. Behind it was an earthiness. When passing smoke through the sinus, there was no spice whatsoever. It was a mild smooth flavor similar to coffee and cedar. Towards the end of the first third, a generic sweetness was noticed.

2 Dona_Flor_Selecao cigars

The second third developed nicely. The sweetness became more of a mocha type of flavor, or at least similar to it. The woodiness and earthy notes remained behind it. Through the nose, there was an easy spice that left a tingle. There was also a flavor mixed in that I couldn’t identify. This may have been what I remember from years ago… Brazilian tobacco has an interesting uniqueness. I recall have trouble pinning down this flavor in the past.

3 Dona_Flor_Selecao cigars

The last third had a thicker smoke feel that was laced with sweet mocha like flavors. The woody and earthy flavors fell further in to the background. It was replaced with a spice that had a sweet tingle. Some draws were sweet mocha, and others were woody, earthy, and mixed with coffee. At other times, I could taste that elusive flavor I can only pin down as a characteristic of tobacco from Brazil. Glad to see it still stumps me after all these years.

4 Dona_Flor_Selecao cigars


This was a good, solid medium bodied cigar. The guys I knew as the “Owners” of Dona Flor had nothing to do with this cigar. A part of me wanted to not like the Selecao because of that. But truth be told… I liked it. I don’t know if I liked it as much as the original, but I haven’t had one of those in years. I was glad to see there was that elusive flavor I recall from back then. I think Dona Flor is worth re-visiting, or trying if you haven’t had the chance.

The Cigar Smoking Week in Review by Tommy Zman

Friday, January 27th, 2012

So, my fellow CROMAGS… if you happened to read last weeks little bloggie, yours truly, El Zman of NJ correctly picked the New York Giants and the New England Patriots to win their respective games sending both teams to Indianapolis to meet in the Super Bowl… again. I am truly the master of all prognosticating Polacks and should be held in high praise (just go along with it, you know that I like feeling important.)

Patriots-v-Giants-10-30-1Yes, as a Giants fan, I whooped it up with a choice selection of celebratory smokes for several days on end. Right after the game I poured a belt of single malt goodness and fired up an Omar Ortiz Honduran Maduro and holy guacamole that thing is one serious little flavor bomb – dark, oily, well rolled, and bursting with taste from the first draw! This Central American hottie is quickly becoming a real favorite of mine! Other fine sticks of celebration included the Frank Llaneza ’61, the Rocky Patel Edge, and the Fonseca 1907. Pretty damned nice, huh?

Now last week, the Date of January 19th came and went, the date that the FDA stopped taking public feedback on their proposed regulation of the cigar industry. As of this moment, the organization, Cigar Rights of America has collected over 157,000 petitions that have been sent to congress. Now I’ve heard some complaining from people that the number sounds small, but look at it this way – Take two professional football stadiums filled with 80,000 cigar lovers in each, and that’s one hell of a smoke signal if you ask me! The CRA would like to hit the quarter million mark and with all our help, they certainly can. So I urge you all to keep sending your friends, family, neighbors, FaceBook and Twitter followers to and fill out the simple petition because this is one battle we simply cannot afford to lose.

Picture 11All that dominates our tv sets these past few weeks are annoying debates amongst politico dumbasses and a speech chock filled with classic political rhetoric. Good God, talk about blowing smoke. Now this is NOT aimed any political party – it’s the general statement that I have been making for over four years since day one of this blog, as it is MY personal opinion (not that of JR’s whatsoever) that ALL lifetime politicians are lying sacks of excrement who all have their own agendas and do everything for their own political gain. While our political view and parties certainly differ, every time I have EVER posted this opinion, we ALL seem to agree. And while some will say that’s a pretty broad brush I’m painting with, I have to believe that there’s a 99.9% accuracy rate in my assessment.

ftctsTake one little for instance: all these politicians who support New Jersey’s 88 year old senator, Frank Lautenberg’s crusade against smoking, well, the fact is that we know that so many of these politico jack wagons smoke fine cigars in back rooms and at private functions, living it up with their cronies. We KNOW that they do… yet, in the name of getting votes, they pander to the anti-smoking contingent leaving all of us lovers of the leaf to ask… Et tu, Brute?

Last but not least, the weather is freezing again here in the northeast, making it a frigid hell for us cigar lovers. But just a few days ago the mercury actually hit the low 50’s and I was outside in shorts and a t-shirt (manly, huh?) smoking it up like a banshee, making up for days of jonesing for my Pepin, Punch, and Partagas! I vow to you right here and now that one day I WILL have that luxurious man cave, oh yes… it will be mine.

So that’s it for this week, my peeps, and all I have left to say is “Smoke ‘em Cuz You Gottem.”

Your BOTL in good Standing,


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

Smoking bans hurt and maybe go too far by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

I know, the headline states the obvious. But Illinois may loosen its smoking ban and another ban slips up, goes too far and shows real purpose.

In a rare display of actual common sense, a democratic state rep from Chicago is pushing legislation that would let casinos and bars apply for smoking licenses that would get them out from under the current ban.

Anthony De Luca says,” It’s about letting the businesses decide.”

Whoa…now that makes sense…and ya know it also may make cents too. Maybe Illinois is finally realizing just how much the smoking ban is costing the state. A study by the St. Louis Federal Reserve in March 2010 showed Illinois took a hit of about 20 percent in gaming revenues when it banned smoking. That cost the state $200-million from gaming alone(some estimates say $500 million). Not to mention losses of tax from closed businesses due to the ban. I can remember lighting up in the cigar bar at the Palmer House not THAT long ago.(The cigar bar is gone now) Or having a nice Hemingway at Gibson’s bar drinking an ice cold martini while the piano player entertained and the place was jam packed with people drinking and smoking. Or even a bunch of us at Ditka’s smoking Bolivars after eatin Da Pork Chop. Yeah Gibsons and Ditkas are still there but I bet they aren’t as packed as they used to be.

Anyway, after the St. Louis Fed report the anti’s did their own study and are using it to fight the relaxation of the state smoking ban. It was truly impactful because it claims that loosening the smoking ban will not bring back more patrons because they never left.

This is how you use statistics, but at least the group who did the study added a disclaimer.

“This report is NOT about revenue, and makes no claims about revenue: It is about admissions. We were driven by the arguments that casinos in Illinois would lose patrons to neighboring states.”

So in other words, the same number of people came into the casinos but since they couldn’t smoke, they left sooner and spent less. Game. Set. Match.

Oh and maybe Illinois is finally waking up to its economic problems since it now has the worst credit rating of any state in the nation.

Not only that but when Moody’s downgraded the state debt, 85 winners in the state’s lottery had their checks bounce. A total of $159,000. I would say the state has much bigger problems that regulating where to smoke.

But leave it to the American Lung Association to push for Illinois to double its state cigarette tax to $2 per pack. When pointed out that tobacco taxes are regressive and hurt businesses and lower income people more than the rich, a spokesman for American Lung that’s ok because they would save more money if they quit smoking. Like taxes will make people stop. Yeah American Lung…Let them eat cake.

The real reason for bans

Dr. Michael Siegel is a tobacco control advocate. He believes smoking is dangerous and wrong. However, Dr. Siegel IS rational. And even he says the anti’s are going too far.

In Florida, those institutions of enlightenment and higher education either have or are banning all smoking from their campuses. They can do that, but as Siegel quotes an article in the Sun Sentinel:

If you smoke, you may be breathing less easily on college campuses these days.

Looking for the designated smoking area at Florida International University? There is none.

Want to light a cigarette inside your car at the University of Florida? Don’t let the cops see you

Hoping to smoke during your break at Nova Southeastern University? You have six months left until NSU becomes the latest college to go tobacco-free. Come July 1, the covered smoking benches will come down and smoke-free-campus signs will go up.

So how far are they going? Into your personal property…your car according to Tom Vitucci, NSU’s director of campus recreation and leader of the smoke-free effort.

“We don’t want your car to be a safe haven, where you do any activity you want as long as you’re in your car,” he said.

So inside a car that you own, you cannot do something that is totally legal. Ok, got it. Christopher Snowden says it shows these bans are nothing more than naked authoritarianism.

Trampling on property rights; paternalism run riot; the tyranny of the majority—why would libertarians not be interested in this?

But it is all because of that nasty smoke seeping out and affecting someone else right? Nope …someone may SEE you.

Patricia Kelly, associate professor, director and doctor of the Health Science Program in the Health Professions Division, said, “Secondhand smoke has been proven to be dangerous in a number of instances.

“Students who do not see their peers smoke, either in public or in private, are less likely to start smoking themselves,” she said.

So we have gone way beyond smoking is bad for you, past the whole secondhand smoke argument and into the crux of the matter…we know what is best for you and we don’t want to even see you doing it. After all, the University of California , San Francisco ban we talked about a couple of weeks ago included e-cigarettes which are not smoked nor even contain tobacco. Appearances are what matter to the anti’s. According to Dr. Siegel:

The anti-smoking advocates have long since left the realm of promoting policies to protect the public from secondhand smoke exposure. They are now in the area of paternalistic policy making which aims to segregate and isolate smokers so as to prevent the rest of the public from ever having to see these people

Be sure you visit the CRA and send a petition to congress to stop the FDA from taking over our industry. As you can tell….it ain’t about the science it’s about control.

Undercrown by Drew Estate

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Drew Estate… The Acid guys, right? That’s what I thought for years, until I got my hands on the Liga Privada T52. The Undercrown uses the same tobacco as the Liga, but has different primings and vintages. So this is by no means a Liga Privada rip off. It is a completely different cigar. That’s my simplified, dumbed down version. Many other sites out there get in depth about the blend. I’m far too lazy for that. I want to experience it, not blab about it’s background. When I found out Ed had a few of these at his shop, I picked some up immediately in anticipation. Let’s see how it went…


Wrapper: San Andreas

Binder: Connecticut

Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina and Nicaragua

Size: Robusto 5 x 54

Price: Around $7.50


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The dark maduro wrapper had a nice, seamless look with no flaws. The smell of the wrapper and foot was hard to pin down. It was sweet but I can’t compare it to anything. The cigar was evenly and solidly packed with barely a hard or soft spot. The draw was perfect, and the pre-light flavor was unique. It was sort of earthy and sweet, but there was something more to it that I can’t describe.

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

1 Drew_Estate_Undercrown cigars


The first third began with a nice and easy peppery spice through the nose. The flavor quickly developed, offering coffee and cedar. The smoke volume was ridiculous, in a good way. Thick plumes of smoke came off of this thing as I puffed, and even when I let it rest on the ashtray. It just smoked, whether I puffed on it or not, and I like that. Back to the flavor… In the background was a sweetness much like cocoa. The smoke feel was thick and somewhat creamy.

2 Drew_Estate_Undercrown cigars

The second third took a turn with more sweet rich cocoa. The pepper became a tingly sweet spice that was encased in creaminess. Coffee and cedar remained, with wisps of earthiness in the background. Smoke continued to billow off of the end of the cigar. Despite being in a cross ventilated room with an exhaust fan, the room filled up with a nice aromatic smoke.

3 Drew_Estate_Undercrown cigars

The last third saw the creaminess tone down a bit, but the smoke volume stayed the same. The woody and coffee flavors stood out more over the sweet cocoa. The tingly spice remained and may have increased a little. Flavors were nice right down to the nub.

4 Drew_Estate_Undercrown cigars


This was a very good, solid medium to upper medium bodied cigar. As you probably gathered by now, I liked it. Construction, flavor, nice smelling aroma, everything… It was very good. While this is no Liga Privada, it stands on it’s own and it a must try. What more can I say? Keep your eyes out for the Undercrown and pick a few up. See for yourself, you may like it as much as I do.

JR Alternative–Padron Exclusivo

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Today’s review is an ultra cheap bundle cigar offered by JR Cigars. They offer alternatives to dozens of cigars. My lifelong friend Jay gave me a couple of these cigars, which are an alternative to the Padron Anniversary Series 1964 Exclusivo. He was basically curious of my opinion. So here it is, my opinion of the JR Alternative Padron Exclusivo.


Wrapper, Binder, & Filler: ???

Size: 5.5 x 50

Price: Bundle of 20 – $31.95


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper looked good, with small veins and no noticeable flaws. It had a barnyard smell, and the foot shared the same odor. The cigar was a little spongy when squeezed, with some minor tight spots towards the head. The pre-light draw was free, and had an earthy and woody taste.

The burn required a few decent sized corrections, and the ash held for a bit over an inch.

1 JR_Alternative_Padron_Exclusivo cigars


The initial few puffs of the first third were earthy. Soon after, the flavor became a little buttery with some of the associated creaminess. The earthiness fell to the background, and I picked up some woody notes.

2 JR_Alternative_Padron_Exclusivo cigars

The second third kept the same buttery creamy flavor and smoke feel. When passing smoke through the nose, I could pick up slight earthy notes.

3 JR_Alternative_Padron_Exclusivo cigars

The last third developed a slight sweet spice, but otherwise remained the same as before.

4 JR_Alternative_Padron_Exclusivo cigars


For a little over a buck, this cigar met it’s price point. Obviously it brought nothing special to the table. It was an OK mild to medium bodied cigar. I have run across much more expensive cigars that offer the same as this one does. Because of that, I say this is not bad. At least there were no bad flavors or harshness. How does it compare to the actual Padron? Give me a break, it isn’t even close. Clearly this is a gimmicky sales tactic, which I’m sure you’ve figured out by now.

Pig-Skinning-Out on Premium Hand Rolled Cigars! by Tommy Zman

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Last week we talked about ANY excuse to smoke a cigar, but there’s one HUMUNGOUS excuse I’ll always have, and that’s NFL Playoff football. Cigars and football… damn guys, it’s like mac n’ cheese… Starsky n’ Hutch… mashed taters n’ gravy… beer nuts and… well, um… beer. Now being a lifelong New York Giants fan, you can only imagine how I’ve been enjoying the gridiron action so far. With the reaming of Atlanta and the pummeling of the 15 – 1, heavily favored Green Bay Packers, I have admittedly been a horror for anyone to be around who doesn’t bleed blue.

Men with cigars and a football, and a woman with football pads.Now I always break out the premium smokes when there’s hot playoff action on the telly, but when it’s my team winning, I will pass the good stuff around like a proud papa celebrating the birth of a child! And these past two weeks I’ve been like Santa on a month-late run handing out the likes of the Camacho Triple Maduro, Jaime Garcia Reserva Especiale, Montecristo Red, El Rey Del Mundo Real, and some Oliva Cain Daytonas! What am I nuts? No, just a generous BOTL who is enjoying the pigskin madness that only the National Football League can provide.

The unfortunate problem we will forever have up here in northern New Jersey is that it is just frigid outside this time of year, and even heading to the garage for a halftime shortie will undoubtedly freeze some important parts of the anatomical structure. Now come on guys, we’ve been thru this crap for over four years now, and you KNOW that I don’t smoke in the house. Yeah, go on tough guy, call me a wuss, girlie-man, or any kind of insult you’d like, but it’s not gonna change things for me. And I tried getting a really good heater for the garage, but I still freeze my little bag of onions off so I can only really go to a friend’s house where smoking is accepted, or a local cigar shop – and thank God, there are a few by me that I frequent for just these kind of occasions.

So this weekend we have two stellar match-ups: the NFC has My New York Football Giants on the road to take on the defensively tough San Fransisco 49ers, and the AFC has the Baltimore Ravens trying to take down the Patriots Brady Bunch in Foxborough, Massachusetts. If you’re a football hound anything like me, you’ll be glued to the flat screen, tossing epithets at opposing players, coaches, and referees, all while noshing an assorted mix of man-food goodness. (I’ve got a rootbeer pulled pork recipe that’ll knock your taste buds off into another stratosphere. Let me know if you want me to send it.)

tyreeNow these match ups are going to call for some special play selections direct from the JR CIGARS humidor. For the AFC game, your friendly neighborhood Polack is taking the New England Patriots along with a the Alec Bradley American Blend Classic with its Connecticut-seed Honduran wrapper intermingled with a flavorful binder and hearty blend of long fillers from the town of Condega, located in the province of Estelí, Nicaragua, to create a mild-to-medium-bodied, smooth, and creamy smoke with great balance and a sweet cedar finish. As for the NFC, well, you KNOW I’m picking the road dog Giants paired up with a Macanudo Cru Royale GIGANTE! Don’t let the Macanudo name fool you because this dark stick is packed with with a long-filler blend of Brazilian, Nicaraguan, and Dominican Mata Fina tobaccos, a smooth La Vega Especial binder, and a deep, dark, oily Ecuador Habano-seed wrapper. Plus the Blue band goes perfect with a Big Blue victory. (Sorry, dude, I told you I was an obnoxious snob.)

So, I guess what I’m saying is that it’s gonna be a rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl, Patriots vs Giants and I’ll be looking for a repeat of that amazing game. (Can anybody see where that David Tyree fella is at?) Hey, don’t let me get ahead of myself, because it’s only Friday and we’ll see on Monday if the Zman is a champ or a chump. But no matter what happens, I’m gonna be smoking up some serious premium goodness, courtesy of our friends at JR CIGARS! Ahhhh… football and cigars… say, it’s just a hunch, but I bet some ice cold beer would work with this whole shindig, whaddya think?

Stay Smoky My Friends,


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

Factories reopen, move and more by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

It is that time of year when the cigar factories begin reopening. You see each year they all close for the Christmas holiday. So no cigars are made between the middle of December and about now. One factory that is new, is the MATASA factory in the Dominican Republic. It’s grand opening was Monday.

5th Generation Quesadas celebrating new factory

5th Generation Quesadas celebrating new factory

MATASA, makers of Fonseca and Quesada, moved out of their old digs in the free trade zone in Santiago (as noted on my Dec 13th post) and now have opened the new factory outside Santiago. While it officially opened yesterday, the gala will be during Pro Cigar next month.

Crossed Travelers=New cigar

Ok I admit it, I am a mileage whore. American Airlines is running two promotions which end up giving you 3x elite qualifying miles. I usually hit somewhere between 60-75,000 miles without some “mileage runs to make certain I make 100k and Executive Platinum. Yeah it is a big deal. Well, yesterday I flew from DFW to SFO and back. While checking into the Admirals Club in San Fran, I look to my left and say Brian? It was Brian Chinook of Chinook Cellars Wine and Cigars. We have known each other from Pro Cigar and the IPCPR trade show. He was headed out to Raleigh for both his wine and cigars. While we were talking he gave me one of his newest cigars…the Terroir corona. He had launched the line at last year’s IPCPR but the corona is new…probably debuting in March. It is made at El Titan De Bronze in Miami and uses Dominican seco, Nicaraguan viso and two Nicaraguan volado leaves for the binder. The wrapper is Sun Grown Ecuadorian Cubano seed.

A light in the Darkness

While there is still a lot of work to do in fighting the smoking bans, there is a positive trend over in London. It seems that the old cigar rooms which once populated most of the city ( can you picture Winston Churchill without his cigar?) are making a comeback. But with a twist which is a good sign.

According to the Daily Mail, since smoking was banned in England in 2007, cigar rooms went the way of the dodo bird. Extinct. A pity because there were some terrific places in London hotels where a cigar could be enjoyed along with a wonderful selection of spirits. Well, apparently guests of the hotels have not stopped asking where they can enjoy a quiet smoke. You have to smoke outside now, but the hotels are coming up with ways around it. The rule says 50% of the place has to be open and the hotels are figuring out ways to make the the new cigar divans legal. But instead of doing them up in the old woods and leather aimed at men, the new lounges are being aimed at women. You can now light up at the Lanesborough, the Langham and the May Fair hotels and soon at the Bulgari Hotel. According to the article:

“The renewed popularity of cigar smoking, traditionally associated with older men, has been partly driven by younger enthusiasts and a growing number of women.”

In fact, one hotel hosts women-only cigar smoking evenings. Let’s hope this continues.


In Savannah, Georgia, the county council has given us a victory of sorts. By a vote of 5-4, the council removed prIvate clubs, tobacco shops and bars that only allow people 21 and older from the proposed smoking ban.

“Democrat Harris Odell, a staunch proponent of local wellness initiatives who chairs the county health board, joined Kicklighter, his Republican counterpart and outspoken critic of “nanny government,” in approving the exemptions.

“I believe in individual choice,” Odell said later.”

Score one for the good guys.

First they came for our cigars

But with the good comes the ominous. The CDC now says that one in six Americans binge drink. The CDC (much like other nannys) say this is a big problem. Look for the government to spend more money studying it and look for more laws regulating it.

Now if you are like me, you probably think of binge drinking as getting blotto. Nope, that is not the definition. This crap began in Australia, of all places, in 2008 when the government decided that binge drinking meant having three glasses of wine at dinner. Really? Yeah, that is troubling. The Australian government, which knows what is good for you, decided no one should have more than two drinks a day.

Now the CDC is doing much the same, except it says women should only have one a day. The CDC defines binge drinking as having 5 drinks in a short period of time…it does not designate the “short period of time”. If it is like in 20 minutes, yeah sure…but if it is an evening out…not so much. (By the way one glass of wine counts as 1.5 drinks)

I find it funny that the report says drinking too much contributes to sexually-transmitted diseases. Wonder why? Hah.

But the writing is on the wall about this. Nanny Bloomberg has alcohol in his sites and expect others to do the same.

According the the NY Post, Bloomberg wants to cut the number of places New Yorkers can get the evil booze and possibly ban advertising. (First Amendment bye bye in Bloomberg land.) Now this is “just a proposal” and according to the U.K. Daily Mail, Bloomberg has backed off. (Wanna bet?)

Cigar and the Senate

J.C. Newman, makers of Cuesta Rey among others, took a step this past week when they invited Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell to Tampa to meet with cigar industry representatives and retailers. The meeting was a round-table with 48 cigar companies participating. They talked about the bills pending in Congress to help protect our beloved cigars from FDA control. You can bet McConnell got an earful.

This is serious stuff and everyone needs to be involved. You can contact your Senator and Representative via the CRA website. Please do it today.

Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Legend

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Back for another random cigar review. I spotted this cigar at a local shop, picked some up, and here we are. This cigar is said to have been “Designed to appeal to those tenured smokers demanding a full flavored smoke.” This is simply quoting General Cigar’s website. I paired this cigar with water. Let’s see how it went.


Wrapper: Honduran Claro

Binder: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Dominican

Filler: Connecticut Broadleaf

Size: Crusader 5.75 x 45

Price: Around $7.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The shiny wrapper had no real flaws. It had a somewhat veiny and rugged look to it though. The wrapper had a cedary and earthy smell, and the foot was more of a plain natural tobacco. The cigar was well packed to a rock solid feel. There were some harder spots here and there, which raised concern about the draw. Luckily the draw was decent. It had some resistance but fell within my tolerances. The pre-light flavor was earthy and woody.

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

1 Hoyo_De_Monterrey_Excalibur_Legend cigars


The most noticeable thing about the first third was the peppery zing when passing smoke through the nose. Next up was an earthiness with a sweet creaminess. The flavors were simple, but they were well refined.

2 Hoyo_De_Monterrey_Excalibur_Legend cigars

The second third calmed down a bit in terms of peppery spice. The smoke was sweet and creamy, yet it had a dry crisp finish. The earthiness fell way in to the background. At about the half way point, cedar joined in. This crisp dry feel left me craving water.

3 Hoyo_De_Monterrey_Excalibur_Legend cigars

The last third didn’t really offer anything new. The creaminess diminished, which left a spicy sweetness with a dry cedar flavor.  Otherwise, there wasn’t a lot of change to mention.

4 Hoyo_De_Monterrey_Excalibur_Legend cigars


As you probably gathered, I liked this cigar. It had some negative aspects, like the dry feel that left me with some cotton mouth. But the flavors were good, and construction was decent. It didn’t wow me, but it didn’t disappoint.

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