Archive for March, 2012

I LOVE MY CIGARS… and You Can Quote Me On That, by Tommy Zman

Friday, March 30th, 2012

“What is the difference between a $10 and a $2 cigar? Eight bucks.” - Lew Rothman

Have I ever shared with you guys the fact that I love to smoke cigars? No, really, I wasn’t sure if I had made that clear or not. Sure seems like a heck of a lot of you guys love the taste of finely aged tobacco, as well. In fact, for the past 150 years or so, premium hand rolled cigars have been a true love affair for so many, including some of the world’s most famous people. Throughout the decades, a number of noted folks have made their insatiable lust for cigars well known, something you don’t see a whole lot of in today’s world full of smoke haters and politically correct do-gooders.

twainMany decades ago, politicians, actors, athletes, and many notable people would openly smoke cigars in public, and were proud to let the world know of their craze for their stogies – and some were just absolutely plain nuts when it came to their unmitigated love for the burning leaf.

I love cigar quotes because they are generally written with tremendous passion. Writer, Mark Twain was insane for cigars and bragged about it in many of his writings. In fact, the author is known for some of the best quotations ever written…

“Eating and sleeping are the only activities that should be allowed to interrupt a man’s enjoyment of his cigar.” And… “I ordinarily smoke fifteen cigars during my five hours’ labors, and if my interest reaches the enthusiastic point, I smoke more. I smoke with all my might, and allow no intervals.” And then, there is just about everybody’s fave who ever cut and lit a premium stick… “If I cannot smoke in heaven, then I shall not go.” - Mark Twain

churchillWinston Churchill was a psycho for cigars and it has been unofficially calculated that the Prime Minister smoked 250,000 in his lifetime, a number that seems unbelievable, but the man was rarely ever seen without a smoldering billy-club dangling from his jaw. Some of my favorites from the guy they named a size after… “I drink a great deal. I sleep a little, and I smoke cigar after cigar. That is why I am in two-hundred-percent form.”… and, “My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.”Winston Churchill

BurnsThe legendary George Burns was NEVER seen without his trademark cigar and even smoked one when he appeared on the Muppet Show, how horribly and wonderfully politically incorrect. Seems Burns had a lot to say about his favorite smokes… “If I paid ten dollars for a cigar, first I’d make love to it, then I’d smoke it.”… and, … “I smoke ten to fifteen cigars a day. At my age I have to hold on to something.”… and my personal all-time favorite, “If I had taken my doctor’s advice and quit smoking when he advised me to, I wouldn’t have lived to go to his funeral.” – (98 years old) – George Burns

As you can tell, I did a little research and there are literally hundreds of quotes about cigars made by people who were so enamored with their smokes it’s almost all they ever talked about… “A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.”Rudyard Kipling (who wrote the famed poem the Betrothed, about choosing his love of the leaf over the woman who was the love of his life… “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”Sigmund Freud (the famed shrink who was known to puff 15 or more a day)… “Ah, if only I had brought a cigar with me! This would have established my identity.” - Charles Dickens (a guy who believed that smoking while writing made him better at his craft – and I can personally vouch for that.)… “A cigar numbs sorrow and fills the solitary hours with a million gracious images.” – Georges Sand (whoa, that one is deep)… “I think cigars are just a tremendous addition to the enjoyment of life.” – Rush Limbaugh (No matter what your political beliefs, I’m sure we all can agree on that… and a great one from old blue eyes, himself, “Fresh air makes me throw up. I can’t handle it. I’d rather be around three cigars blowing in my face all night.” – Frank Sinatra

You know what, guys, cigars have been around for a very long time, loved and cherished by so many. When I think of the p.c. punks who are trying to take them away from us, it gets me pretty riled up, but when I read so many of these great quotes, it soothes my soul knowing that there are so many of us that truly understand what a great cigar means. And with that said, I leave you with this final gem from German novelist and Nobel Prize Laureate, Thomas Mann“I never can understand how anyone can not smoke it deprives a man of the best part of life. With a good cigar in his mouth a man is perfectly safe, nothing can touch him, literally.”

Wow, now THAT is beautiful. I think I’m gonna go light up a big, oily maduro right now. And, hell yeah, you can quote me on that.

Stay Smoky My Friends,


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman


Macanudo Maduro

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Thanks to General Cigar for sending me a few of these to review. My first experience with premium cigars was with the Macanudo Vintage lines. They were mild, simple, well refined, but expensive. I do enjoy the Cru Royal from time to time, but for the most part I rarely smoke Macanudo’s. Armed with fine filtered Florida tap water, I got to smoking…


Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder: Mexico San Andrean

Filler: Dominican, Mexican

Size: Gigante 6 x 60

Price: $7.99


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper had a toothy and somewhat blotchy appearance, but didn’t have any flaws that I could find. The smell of the wrapper and foot was earthy with sweet notes. The cigar was rock solidly packed. When squeezed, there was no give. Luckily the draw wasn’t too tight. It was a bit snug, but fell just within my tolerance. The pre-light draw had a woody and dark bitter flavor.

The ash held for almost two inches, and the burn required one minor correction.

1 Macanudo_Maduro cigars


The first third had a pretty straight forward flavor profile. A nice sweet bitter chocolaty core with some wood and earthiness. A slight spice was present in the sinus and mouth.

2 Macanudo_Maduro cigars

The second third kept that dark chocolaty flavor, with a tinge of bitterness and coffee. The spice was sweet and left a tingle in the mouth and sinus. At about the half way point, the earthiness took on a hay or musty tone, if that makes sense. It wasn’t bad, just different.

3 Macanudo_Maduro cigars

The last third crept up in strength, maybe upper medium to lower full. The tingly spice worked it’s way to the front of the flavor profile. It didn’t taste like cinnamon but had that cinnamony feel. Dark bitter sweetness, earthiness and some wood fell in line after the spice.

4 Macanudo_Maduro cigars


This was a good medium to full bodied/strength cigar. The flavors were pretty straight forward, but I enjoyed the 1.5 hours it took to smoke. Sure there was no WOW factor, but it wasn’t bad, and I think it met the price point. The only negative thing I can think of is the snug draw. But again, it fell within my tolerance, it could have just been a tad looser. Otherwise, it’s worth a try.

RIP Bert Sugar

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
Bert Sugar as seen in SMOKE magazine

Bert Sugar as seen in SMOKE magazine

Bert Sugar was a swell. He was best known for his love of, reporting and writing on the “sweet science” —boxing. The New York Daily News called him a reincarnation of Damon Runyan. Bert was always seen with his hat on and a cigar in his mouth (and more often than not a drink in his hand). It was natural then that he became a columnist for SMOKE magazine…his column Blowin Smoke was kind of sports coda to each issue of SMOKE. Bert passed away Sunday from a heart attack at the age of 75.
Originally from Washington D.C., Bert migrated north and found a home in New York City. A lawyer by education, a writer by avocation. Said Sugar, “I passed the Bar and it was the only bar I’ve ever passed.” After law school, Bert was one of the original Mad Men working for the big ad agencies, J. Walter Thompson and McCann Erickson on Madison Avenue in the 60s. Legend has it Bert came up with the old Nestle’s commercial of the 60s…”N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestles makes the very best.”
The author of more than 80 books and the editor and publisher of Boxing Illustrated and The Ring he lamented the state of sports reporting today and had much distain for bloggers.
“Once they state a subject, they can go on. There’s no space restraint. And they’re writing quickly, so there’s no time for thought and cerebral thinking on an article, they’re just banging away.”
He also believed in sitting around a bar listening to and telling stories because it gives writers a foundation. “Sports did not start in 1979 with the beginning of ESPN.”
Last year, Bert was at the IPCPR, the industry trade show, as he launched his own line of cigars distributed throughout the Northeast. For SMOKE, Bert has one last column to come out. It is in the current issue on newsstands now with Animal Planet’s Shorty Rossi on the cover. In his final column, Bert talks perhaps presciently about going through his stuff—the memorabilia he collected over 60 years. As with all of his columns it is a great story. Said SMOKE Editorial Director E. Edward Hoyt III,”Bert truly was one of a kind and we were fortunate indeed to have him as part of the SMOKE family. He will be sorely missed.”

New Partagas Debuts

Partagas 1845

Partagas 1845

General Cigar is officially announcing its newest addition to the Partagas line, the 1845. The new cigar, which had been reported by Cigar Aficionado after the Pro Cigar Festival, will be in stores April 9. The cigar is a departure from the Cameroon wrapped yellow box Partagas. The new cigar will have an Ecuadorian Habano Viso wrapper over Connecticut Habano binder and Dominican fillers.
The new 1845 is a medium bodied cigar nestled between the traditional yellow box Partagas and the stronger Partagas Black label.
The cigar was blended in the Dominican Republic by Jhonys Diaz, Francisco Rodriguez and Yuri Guillen with guidance from cigar legend Benji Menendez…the same group which blended the highly popular and successful limited edition Benji Menendez Partagas. Benji calls this “one of the most significant blends I have ever been involved in developing.”
The company also says there will be innovative packaging, but details won’t be released until right before the cigar hits the shelves. There will be four sizes Corona Extra, Robusto, Cigante and Double Corona with suggested prices running from $5.99- $7.49.

Affordable Health Care Act and Smoking

This week, the Supreme Court of the United States is hearing arguments on the Affordable Health Care Act, or Obamacare as it is called. Does this matter to you? If you smoke, it should. Here’s why:
Last week, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, was about new Tobacco Cessation methods that soon will be forced on hospitals. Starting back in 2004, the Joint Commission (then called the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) required hospitals to report when they gave advice on how to quit smoking. But now, the group is requiring hospitals to do much more including giving you drugs to help you stop smoking. The newest rules:
“… requires that hospitals identify and document the tobacco-use status of all admitted patients, provide both evidence-based cessation counseling and medication during hospitalization for all identified tobacco users (in the absence of contraindications or patient refusal), provide a referral at discharge for evidence-based cessation counseling and a prescription for cessation medication (in the absence of contraindications or patient refusal), and document tobacco-use status approximately 30 days after discharge.” (emphasis mine)
In other words, sell more drugs even though the most effective way to quit smoking it through e-cigarettes. A new study in the British Medical Journal showed the Nicotine Replacement Therapy (Nicorette and Nicotrol etc) was not effective. Says Dr. Michael Sigel :
“The most important finding of this story is that under the best real-life conditions of free nicotine replacement therapy and frequent counseling, a chemically-confirmed six-month smoking cessation rate of only 6.6% was achieved. Even the non-confirmed (self-reported) quit rate of 17.7% at six months among those who received free NRT is quite dismal.
Compare these findings with those of the first electronic cigarette trial. In that study, the sustained six-month abstinence rate was 22.5%.”
Anyway back to Obamacare, it includes tobacco intervention as a key component of the law, which is why the Joint Commission is acting. According to the Joint Commission:
“The act also mandates that, by 2014, new insurance plans provide coverage for evidence-based prevention treatments [this means drugs], including those for tobacco cessation. Helping patients quit using tobacco is one of the greatest preventive care efforts in which hospitals can engage, and it is likely that other regulatory bodies will soon require such efforts.”
You can expect more intrusion into your private life if the Affordable Care act is upheld. The bureaucrats like the Joint Commission or the Independent Payment Advisory Board will be able to mandate your behavior since they would be providing your health insurance. Just like over in Britain where the National Health Service is taking into account your lifestyle when deciding if you will get medical treatments. Hip and knee replacements are off limits to smokers or people with a Body Mass Index of 30 or more. But now the National Health Service Trust in Hertfordshire has expanded the rules so smokers are banned from all routine surgeries. Think that won’t happen here?
By the way, the whole Joint Commisson rules on tobacco which flogs effective medication, the head of the panel that wrote the rules received grant funding from Nabi Pharmaceuticals—which just happens to have a nicotine vaccine on a fast track by the FDA for use in smoking cessation. Good thing the “science” is independent.

Springfield to Vote

We’ve told you about Live Free Springfield’s attempt to overturn the Missouri city’s draconian smoking ban—a ban that bars smoking in tobacco shops and even includes e-cigarettes which are not even smoke. The group collected enough signatures to get the city council to act on repealing the ban. Last night, the council punted. While there was talk of the repeal or even a compromise, the hard liners– supported by the One Air Alliance (i.e. American Heart, Lung and Cancer Societies and Missouri state health…or put another way, the ones with a lot of cash) defeated all the proposals and in the end the council voted to put the measure on the June ballot. That special election will cost the city nearly $100-thousand dollars (not including the money One Air will spend on getting its voters out, which last time was another $100k.) So in addition to the jobs lost in Springfield now the city will be out even more money, yet the anti’s say Smoking Bans do not cost. Right.

No Smoking… Yeah, No Big Deal… But in CUBA?!!!, by Tommy Zman

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Okay, we know all about No Smoking laws, right… but in CUBA? Are you kidding me… in CUBA? I am talking about the Island 90 miles south of Key West, Cuba… you know, the birthplace of Fidel Castro, Cuba… the country synonymous with the brown leafy wrapped tobacco stick… yeah THAT Cuba!

cuba-tourismIn 2005, the Cuban government enacted an indoor no smoking law, but business owners scoffed at it, particularly bar and restaurant owners who know that foreign tourists come to the Isle de Cuba to experience the relaxing effect of an authentic hand rolled cigar with their drinks and during a good meal. But now, in a kind of “quiet move” many prominent eateries in Havana’s popular Colonial Quarter are enforcing the law, asking patrons to take it outside if they feel the need for a Cohiba, Monte, or Hoya.

Cuba is a European vacation hotspot, and in some of the articles I read this past week, many British, German, and French, return there year after year, and enjoying cigars wherever they go is a big part of the experience… well, not anymore, and it has seriously 1upset a lot of people. I mean, face it, can you imagine not being allowed to eat chocolate in Switzerland, drive a car in Detroit, or give some punk a beatdown who looked at you funny in north Jersey? Come on, it’s all a part of the culture and that’s what people want and expect, but suddenly their seems to be a smoke-naziesque health police in Cuba who is enforcing the rules, much to the dismay of visiting Brothers of the Habana leaf.

Habaguanex, the state-run business that administers tourist concerns in Old Havana is the group responsible for enforcing the seven year-old smoking law. Tannya Sibori, publicity manager for Habaguanex, said, “”There is a campaign at the world level in which we should also take part, where we are helping to create healthier spaces even for the smokers themselves.” But Tannya, you do realize a statement like that is essentially saying that we cigar smokers are too stupid to decide what is good or not good for us, essentially following the lead of the Big Brother contingent here in the U.S. who feel the need to save us from ourselves. How dare you play God and mandate what is healthy for us when it is OUR choice to do so? I totally understand placating to those who do not smoke and don’t want to breathe in smoke while eating, but we cigar lovers want to be ensconced in the luscious and aromatic blue swirling smokiness of a good cigar, it’s a choice that we freely make. And while you do make the rules and have an obvious agenda, don’t try to bullshit us into thinking that you want to create “healthy spaces” for us smokers. It’s transparent and insulting to our intelligence.

“Cuba has an eternal summer, and you can take advantage of the terraces and exterior spaces,” Sibori said.

cuba-tourism-sunsetTannya, will you listen to me – people who have been donating to your country’s depleted economy for years in the form of expensive vacations – they don’t want to be relegated to a terrace in your balmy tropical heat, when savoring an island puro during their meals has been a part of the romance of Cuba for countless decades. And I think a point to really look at is that Cuba’s tourism has never been hurt by cigar smokers, has it? No, in fact, we all know that its part of the nation’s charm. So do you really believe enacting no-smoking laws will actually help your tourism?

Hey, here’s my open thought to the travelers of the free world… if you don’t like smoke, then don’t visit a place whose economy and culture has embraced premium hand rolled cigars for hundreds of years. Pretty simple, if you ask me.

Good Lord, Cuba and NO cigar smoking? Come on, what will the pleasure police come up with next – no smoking outdoors? Yeah right… can you even imagine?

Stay Smoky My Friends,


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

••••• Check out this week’s weekly special! > CLICK RIGHT HERE! •••••

dona_lydiaWe’re slashing the price for every size of the delicious, premium hand made Dona Lydia to just $49.95 - that’s only $2 bucks a stick.

At this price you just have to try ‘em and see for yourselves how yummy they are. Since we won’t be carrying them anymore, you should really stock up! These beauties are handmade with the finest aged Cuban-seed long fillers from the famed Oliva farms, a tasty broadleaf binder, and an eye-catching Ecuador Sumatra wrapper. They’re medium-bodied, well-balanced, rich, and satisfying with a unique nutty flavor and sweet aroma. John Oliva thinks so highly of these beauties that he adorned each box with a picture of his beloved wife.

VegaFina Sumum Edicion Especial 2010

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Before I get started… Thanks to Altadis for sending me out a three pack to try. I’m pretty sure they have never sent me anything before. I’m not complaining that I somehow ended up on their radar. It is appreciated.

As you’ve come to expect from me, I don’t dig too deep in to the backgrounds of cigars. Altadis does have a bit more information on their website though. It is claimed that this cigar provides earthy and spicy flavors with a hint of coffee. Hey I like those flavors, so let’s see how it went.

1 VegaFina_Sumum_Edicion_Especial_2010 cigars

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Cubano

Binder: Santo Domingo

Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican, Peruvian

Size: 5 x 54

Price: $6.75


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The chocolate brown wrapper looked nice, with minimal flaws. The wrapper had a mild earthy smell, and the foot had a slight earthiness with spice. Overall, the cigar was evenly packed, and it was rock solid. As a result, the pre-light draw was a little stiff. It was just out of my comfort zone. The pre-light draw had a dark bitter sweet flavor.

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

2 VegaFina_Sumum_Edicion_Especial_2010 cigars


The first third started off with earthiness and… wait for it… Coffee. Initially, retrohaling the smoke didn’t really produce any addition flavor. In time, I picked up an ever so light spice. It wasn’t pepper, it was more like a slight tingle in the nose mixed with coffee. The aftertaste was earthy and smoke volume was decent.

3 VegaFina_Sumum_Edicion_Especial_2010 cigars

The second third had a core flavor of black coffee. Earthiness was there right behind the coffee. The spice developed into a slight pepper. The smoke feel became a little syrupy and had some sweetness. Simple but not bad.

4 VegaFina_Sumum_Edicion_Especial_2010 cigars

The last third did not change from the second third. It increased slightly in strength, but that’s about it. Saying anything more would be redundant.

5 VegaFina_Sumum_Edicion_Especial_2010 cigars


This was a decent medium bodied cigar. The flavors weren’t very complex, but they were good and refined. Really, my only complaint was the draw. It was just out of my comfort zone – a bit stiff. All three cigars that I smoked had the same draw, so I have to assume this is intentional. As I often say, don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself and draw your own conclusions. It wasn’t bad.

Rolando Reyes, Sr. dead at 87

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
Rolando Reyes, Sr.

Rolando Reyes, Sr.

Rolando Reyes, Sr. died Monday after a lengthy illness. He was 87. Reyes was the founder of Reyes Family Cigars—maker of Puros Indios and Cuba Aliados among others. Reyes was born in Cuba in 1924 and began rolling cigars at age 9 in Remedios near his hometown of Las Villas. Reyes moved up to the H. Upmann factory in Havana before returning to his hometown and setting up his own factory – Los Aliados. Like the other factories, Castro eventually seized it in 1968 and the regime tried to send Reyes to the El Rey del Mundo factory. Rolando refused and was punished. By 1971, he finally was allowed to leave the island and in July, he settled in Union City, N.J.

He initially worked in a textile factory while rolling cigars at night. After two years, he built a house with a factory and called it Cuba Aliados in tribute to his old factory. Eventually the costs of producing cigars in New Jersey became too much so Reyes tried the Dominican Republic but soon was back in New Jersey where he remained until 1984. That year, he moved his operations to Miami, leaving the store in Union City in operation. In 1988. Reyes moved his rolling operation to Honduras. Today, the Union City retail location called Cuba Aliados remains open along with a store at the corporate headquarters in Miami.

According to Carlos Diez, the president of Reyes Family Cigars and Rolando’s grandson, the family patriarch had been in ill health for the past several months. The last thing his grandfather accomplished in Honduras was to begin farming tobacco. The family owned land in the country for years, but Rolando was opposed to growing figuring it was a lot for him to do — running the factory and farming operations. But Carlos prevailed on his grandfather and now the first crops from the fields are being used in the Cuba Aliados Cabinet Reserva. Carlos says this year’s production is limited due to the small initial production, but he expects more tobacco going forward and adds, “we are even planning on growing our own wrapper.”

Figures lie and liars figure

The National Cancer Institute has gone where no sane person has ever gone. They have come up with a study showing that nearly 800,000 lung cancer deaths have been prevented by anti tobacco policies from 1975 to 2000. Wonder what that study cost us? And how do you prove a negative? Can’t be done. If you want to read about the “science “ that goes into the anti tobacco research there is a lengthy paper here. It is called the Plain Truth about Tobacco written by Steve Kelly and it talks about modern day science or lack thereof. (It is good background for fighting those “studies” on second hand smoke.)

Speaking of stupid government antics, you may have heard that the CDC is going to spend (or waste) $54 million over 12 weeks on a new graphic anti-smoking campaign. The CDC says it will encourage 50,000 Americans to stop smoking. Wanna bet? (They could not get that crap on cigarette labels thanks to a federal judge, although they are appealing the decision, so they will go on t-v to lie.)

And if that doesn’t make you uncomfortable, there is a column in the Orange County Register by a professor from the University of Kentucky who says the Obama Administration might ban tobacco.

He bases his theory on what the Health and Human Services Administration has been saying. They call tobacco an epidemic and say it needs to be eradicated. (Both the CDC and National Cancer Institute are a part of HHS.)

Says Rodu:

In a relentless and unscientific bid to “end” the “tobacco epidemic,” federal government officials are deliberately misapplying causation from smoking, a legitimate risk factor for many diseases, to tobacco in general.

Think it couldn’t happen? Over in Britain they are cracking down on Hookah bars. You see hookah smoking is illegal indoors because of the British strict anti-smoking laws. But since it is a legal activity and people don’t want to sit outside, the hookah bars are going underground. (Gee who’d have thought?) Now the officials are worried about fires from the hookahs being inside.

The amazing thing is that the WHO (World Health Organization) and the dumb BBC reporter says a 40 minute Hookah session is the equivalent of smoking 100 cigarettes. Really? Over 2 per minute? I guess the shisha must be huge, I mean one is equal to 10 cartons? Yet the reporter says those surveyed thought it was less than 10 cigarettes per session. Carl V. Phillips takes the BBC and WHO to task saying this is pure fiction.

But let’s set aside the crazy option of Ms. Sturdey doing some research before writing her article, and just consider what would happen if she had a third-grader’s command of math and had thought about what she was writing during a quick trip to the restroom (or rather, I suppose, it would be the loo):

Hmm — “volume of smoke inhaled”. To smoke 100 cigarettes in 40 minutes would be more than two per minute. That is much faster than anyone smokes, and indeed would require more total inhaling then someone normally does in that much time, and for every breath to be smoke. That is close to physically impossible.

She would then have time during her inevitable hand washing — she is a health reporter after all — to think:

Smoking even 10 cigarettes in 40 minutes would require about 1/5th of all breaths to be a solid drag. Smoking that much that fast would be an extreme intense session, whatever was being smoked. Gee, maybe “those surveyed” are not morons after all.

Set your DVR

On Thursday night, Rocky Patel will be on John Stossel’s program on the Fox Business Network. The show airs at 9pm EDT. Rocky is on to talk about the the state of the premium cigar business and more importantly about how the FDA could really put us out of business. If you miss it Thursday, the show re-airs on Saturday & they say check local listings.


A member of US Special Forces smokes a cigar in Afghanistan (REUTERS/Erik De Castro

A member of the U.S. military’s Special Forces smokes a cigar while holding a weapon as his unit leaves for a mission at Forward Operating Base Joyce in Kunar province, eastern Afghanistan March 13, 2012. (REUTERS/Erik De Castro)

I saw this photo last week and it reminded me how much our troops appreciate cigars. Here in Dallas, we have been sending smokes overseas since the war began. If you want to participate, you can go to the Kabul cigar club page on facebook and try to get a name from them so you can send cigars. Or do what we do…ask around someone you know has a son or daughter over there. Get their name and adderess and send a package. Even if they do not smoke cigars, they have others in their unit who do and they appreciate it. Let them know you are thinking about their service.

Flavor–Extracting Flavor From Cigars

Monday, March 19th, 2012

I was a little pressed for time to do a proper review, so we’ll do something different today…

It’s been a while since I’ve done any kind of articles or videos that are geared towards new smokers (noobs). It crossed my mind that many smokers, ranging from new to seasoned, are missing out on a lot of the flavor that cigars have to offer. In fact, I’ve heard quite a few smokers say the flavors we describe is all in our heads, or maybe we just make it all up.

If you can only taste a “Smoke flavor” and you enjoy it, that’s great. Who am I to say you are wrong? Some smokers, new or old, want to explore the possibility of experiencing a bit more in terms of flavor. This was a realization I had as a new smoker pretty quickly, and it took cigar enjoyment to another level.

With that, I threw, and I mean threw, together a short video on how I extract flavors from cigar smoke. It may work for you, it may not.

And lastly… A lame video from some guy on the Internet does not compare to having a mentor to learn from. I am lucky that my friend and local tobacconist Ed Nazare of St. Pete Cigar really helped me out.

This video runs five minutes. Yes, I can get a little long winded. You already know this.

The 5 Step Process of the Anti-Smoking Zealot, by Tommy Zman

Monday, March 19th, 2012

If you are a lover of the aged leaf, then you are well aware that over the past few years that we cigar smokers have simply become the lowlife pariah scum of the earth in the eyes of the anti-smoking zealots of our world. We basically can’t smoke ANYWHERE indoors anymore, they won that battle… and now these haters are trying to get rid of our precious puros for good.

Picture 7 copyWhat I find to be so incredibly ironic is that the Smoke Nazi contingent claims that we cigars smokers are rude, when in actuality, they are indeed the rudest, nastiest, and most obnoxious bastids to roam the land. We are basically looked upon as diseased laden lepers who should be banished from all society. They treat us with massive disrespect as if we have absolutely no rights at all and I’m completely sick and tired of it…. aren’t you? Of course you are!

This past weekend, on a gorgeous mid-60’s degree day, I took a little day jaunt into Little Italy in New York City. After a great big authentic Italian meal, I love nothing more than walking the streets with a nice premium hand rolled cigar as I take in the sights, sounds, and the smells. Now, here I am in the middle of the street, walking along when a couple of these zealots decide to give me their ten pounds of grief as they walked past me a good 25 feet away on the side walk. After getting treated so rudely by these self-righteous cretins time and time again, you’d really think I’d be used to it by now. But I guess it’s just the blatant disregard for human decency that really has me bewildered every time. What’s amazing is that every one of these indignant schmucks have the same exact act down pat, as if they attended some class on how to abuse the hell out of anyone they catch smoking. So I have come up with the 5-Step process that the Smoke Nazi’s have developed and shared with their fellow fascists across the globe. (All they need is a uniform, knee high black boots, and a high step kick to complete their attempt at world dominance.)

Okay, after much research and pure unadulterated abuse, I have decided to share this most wretched 5-Step method with my beloved Brothers and Sisters of the Leaf…

photoSTEP 1. The Look – As they walk anywhere in your cigar smoking presence, these acerbic foes will start out with a distasteful look on their face – the kind of look one does when perhaps your load-encrusted septic overflows into your living room. They want you to know that something has gone awry, and this pungent look is what leads directly into…

STEP 2. The Deadpan Glare – Now their head has turned in your direction, as you are the present recipient of the stare of doom. The eyes squint, the brow furrows, and the scowl on that puss is so twisted and vile that you start to wonder if perhaps you called this person’s mother an unsavory epithet in another life.

STEP 3. The Cough – or should I say the BIG FAKE cough that bellows through the street as if the black plague has found its way into the 21st century. Rottweilers are jealous of this pseudo-bark, and the coughers do not care that one hell of spectacle is being made in public.

STEP 4. The Wave – To accompany the dreaded howling cough, the hands begin to wave in front of their face with such ferocity that one would be convinced that the person was being attacked by a strain of killer bees. The Wave, combined with the cough is an amazing site to see, one riddled with ignorance, guile, and blatant stupidity.

STEP 5. The Confrontation – When all attempts at ruining your cigar smoking experience has failed, the psycho-zealot will have the oversized pair of cajones to get in your face and confront you. They will let you know with a brazen fervor that your cigar stinks and they do not like it. Yes, they will have no regard for manners or human decency at this point in the game, and if it were the Old West, 95% of these rude sons of bitches would be mowed down in broad daylight.

Now it’s the 21st century and our culture has supposedly evolved into a civilized lot, but me thinks that someone needs to inform these indignant anti-smoking goons that you simply cannot treat fellow human beings in this manner. Agreed? I think so.

Well, that’s my little public service announcement for my cigar loving fans and friends who need to remember that we have the right to live the way we choose and there isn’t an anti-smoking punk who can take that away from us.

Remember, as Always, Stay Smoky My Friends,


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

Room 101 One Shot One Kill

Friday, March 16th, 2012

This cigar is a limited release from Room 101, and is the brain child of Matt Booth. Like other Room 101’s, the OSOK is made in Camacho’s factory in Honduras. I didn’t snap a picture of the box, but they sport some pretty cool artwork. I generally don’t care about packaging or flash, but I admit it caught my eye and I bought some. Marketing does work, I am living proof.

Back to the cigar… It comes in three sizes, the 8 x 60 Chingon, 4.5 x 52 Filero, and 6.5 x 50 Trucha. I guess the deal is, these cigars are rolled by one person due to their complex shape. This resulted in very limited production numbers. As always, I paired this cigar with water…


Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Honduran

Filler: Dominican

Size: Perfecto “Chingon”  8 x 60

Price: $12.00

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Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The dark brown wrapper had a velvety smooth appearance, yet glistened in the light. No major flaws were found, but there was a 1/2 inch tear towards the middle of the wrapper. The smell of the wrapper was mild barnyard. Sounds gross, but it isn’t. The cigar was a little spongy to the touch, but it didn’t concern me. The pre-light draw had slight resistance, and had a dark coffee and mild bitter sweetness.

The burn required several corrections during the first and second third, but wasn’t anything outrageous. The ash held for just over an inch before falling off.

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The first third started off with a mild cedar. As got out of the tapered perfecto end, the flavors developed a bit. Wood was the dominant flavor, with earthiness, easy pepper, and something else I had trouble pinning down. I’ll call it floral. It’s the closest thing I can think of.

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The second third kept that dominant woody flavor. What I can only describe as floral remained throughout this third as well. The peppery spice developed a little zing, but remained easy to swish around the mouth and through the sinus. Earthiness took a back seat, but it would rear it’s head from time to time. A sweet bitter chocolate appeared and built in strength the more I smoked. The aftertaste became a sweet tingly spice. The smoke feel was dry and I craved water.

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In the last third, the sweet tingly spice took front row along with a dark bitter chocolate. I say bitter but it isn’t a bad bitterness. It is what you would relate to dark chocolate or cooking chocolate, not your standard Milky Way or 7-11 candy bar. This was some rich stuff. Earthiness went away, and that dominant woody flavor fell to the background. All the while, that floral note was wrapped around everything.

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This was a pretty long winded review, but this was a very good cigar. It started out in the lower medium range and built to a full flavored, full powered experience. I didn’t time how long it took to smoke, but it didn’t matter, it was worth the commitment. A complex flavor profile and changes made this a joy to smoke. I was expecting less. This cigar is worth the money and time, at least in my opinion.

Happy Birthday Avo and more smoking madness by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
Avo La Trompeta

Avo La Trompeta

Avo Uvezian is turning 86 on March 22.  To mark the occasion, Davidoff –which distributes the Avo brand—is releasing the 12th limited edition Avo cigar; this time it will be “La Trompeta”.  The tradition of releasing a limited edition cigar for Avo’s birthday began on his 75th.    The 2012 Limited Edition is a dedication to not only Avo,  but to his other passion of jazz.   (For those who only know Avo as a cigar guy, for most of his life he was and still is a jazz musician.  In fact, Avo’s big claim to fame was writing Strangers in the Night that became a hit for Frank Sinatra.  In playing jazz in Puerto Rico, Avo used to smoke cigars and leave extras on his piano for guests to enjoy.  One day he was at the pool with his young daughter Karin when someone walked up and asked Avo for a cigar.  He gave it to him and then his daughter said you should SELL the cigars not give them away. Avo was introduced to Hendrik Kelner in the Santiago and since 1988 Avo cigars have been on the market.  In 1995, Davidoff paid Avo an estimated $10-million for exclusive distribution rights.) “La Trompeta” is a 6.5 x 54 pyramid shape, but with three small circular leaf cutouts to signify the keys on a trumpet.  The cigar itself is a medium to full bodied smoke with an Ecuador Special Sun Grown wrapper.  The suggested retail price is $15.50.

In addition, Avo will be attending several birthday celebrations across the country where the cigar will be released.  The first will be hosted by Davidoff of Geneva at the Grand Havana Room in New York on Avo’s birthday of March 22.   Other events will take place in the coming days in Orlando, Sarasota, Charlotte, Nashua N.H., Sugarland, TX, San Antonio, and Cincinnati   In May, Avo will tour through Germany and Switzerland.  He ends his tour near his home in Puerto Rico in Old San Juan on June 21st.

New Name

Beach Cigar Group, the makers of Gurkha , today has announced a name change.  From now on the company will be called Gurkha Cigar Group.  According to their press release:

“This is a natural and progressive move for the company as we link our identity even more with the Gurkha brand,” said Gary Hyams, President of Gurkha Cigar Group. “The new name is also appropriate to further signal the positive direction the company is taking and will be a tremendous help as we position the Gurkha brand internationally.”

The company notes that 2012 is the 125th anniversary of the Gurkha brand.  The newly named company says there will be a special anniversary cigar coming out later this year to mark the anniversary.

Smoking Ban Roundup

In Indiana, the legislature has passed a statewide smoking bill.  While no one likes yet another smoking ban, the one in Indiana apparently contains a decent bunch of exemptions (which of course they can always take away at a later date.)  The International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association is working on many fronts against smoking bans…the two most recent on their radar are in Oklahoma and Alabama.  The Oklahoma one is particularly sneaky because it allows towns to come up smoking bans stricter than the current state one.  Always check out the IPCPR legislation website for calls to action.  Picking off towns one by one seems to be the strategy of the Anti’s.   If they can get enough towns together then they can force a smoking ban on the whole state.  That is what happened in Springfield, Missouri, but while American Cancer won a battle they may not win the war because residents are fighting back.

In 2010 and 2011, the American Cancer Society reportedly spent over $100,000 — about a dollar per resident or over $9 for every yes vote in the April 2011 election — to implement a smoking ban in the town.  The ban is draconian.  It does not allow for smoking anywhere indoors including in tobacconists, and it even bans e-cigarettes, which of course have neither smoke nor tobacco.   Live Free Springfield—which only has one tobacconist as a member and was actually started as a freedom-based/ property rights coalition –was formed to fight the original election and only lost by about 14-hundred votes on a very limited budget.  Live Free Springfield has not given up.  It has collected signatures on a petition to repeal the draconian law and presented the petition to the city council, which will take up the revision to the ban in two weeks.  Under Springfield’s ordinances, it would take a unanimous vote of the council to change the voter passed ban, but with the petition it only takes a majority.  If the council does not act in two weeks, the measure goes back on the ballot in June.  Jessica Hutson, who co-owns Just for Him a cigar store in Springfield, testified that the ban is hurting businesses.  She added that since the ban began nine bars that had been open for many years already have closed and a tenth will close within a matter of weeks.

What’s it all about?

Up in Ontario, Canada, they are following the lead of Mayor Nanny,  er Bloomberg of New York and are pushing the smoking bans further…outside.    You might think it is because of the risk of 2nd hand smoke (which we know is junk science) but you’d be wrong.  A spokesman for the Canadian Cancer Society gives it up

“It’s about decreasing smoking around children so they don’t emulate that behaviour[sic],” said Joanne Di Nardo of the Canadian Cancer Society, a national group that has advocated with city councils across the country for outdoor bans similar to those in Georgina.

So it is not about health, but about appearances.  They just won’t give up.  So neither can we.

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