Archive for April, 2012

Carlos Torano Vault

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

I picked up a couple Vault’s at a local shop. While chatting with @cigarmonkey43, I realized that I was never really impressed with Carlos Torano cigars in the past. But lately, I have found their stuff to be enjoyable. So without further ado, here are my thoughts on the Carlos Torano Vault.


Wrapper: Nicaragua

Binder: Honduras

Filler: Nicaragua

Size: Toro 6 x 50

Price: Around $7.50


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The chocolaty looking wrapper glistened with oil. It just looked appetizing, and I could find no real flaws. The smell of the wrapper was sweet, earthy, and woody. The smell of the foot was a slight barnyard along with spice. The draw was a little snug for my liking, but wasn’t real bad. The pre-light flavor had a dark earthiness with a slight bitter note.

Almost immediately after lighting, the draw loosened up and was perfect. The ash held for just about an inch, and the burn required no corrections.

1 Carlos_Torano_Vault cigars


The first third opened up with a peppery spice. A woody, almost cedary flavor dominated. The aftertaste had a slight earthy note. Eventually a slight sweet bitterness developed and closed out this third.

2 Carlos_Torano_Vault cigars

The second third had an interesting sweetness. It wasn’t chocolate or caramel, but somewhere in between. The aftertaste was earthy, woody, and sweet. Retrohaling revealed a sweet spicy cinnamon that packed a nice zing. There may have even been notes of coffee in the background.

3 Carlos_Torano_Vault cigars

The last third was an even mixture of the flavors. Nothing really stood out over the other. Just a well balanced flavor profile. Sweetness, wood, earthiness, coffee, and that tingly cinnamon spice.

4 Carlos_Torano_Vault cigars


This was a very good, solid medium to full bodied cigar. The flavor profile was complex and challenging at times. Everything just came together – Price, construction, flavor, nothing bad to report. If you are a Torano fan or not, I think this one is worth trying.

Cigar Lovers Keep on Signing and Fighting! by Tommy Zman

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Cigar Rights of America is fighting the good fight for us cigar smokers every single day, and today I’m proud to announce that the good people at the CRA achieved a goal that is an important step in keeping the government and the FDA’s nose FAR AWAY from the cigar industry.

295112_10150703545336938_576651937_9899251_377098924_n-2The CRA has been doing some amazing work getting members of Congress and the Senate on board in supporting HR 1639, a bill whose purpose is to prevent the Food & Drug Administration from having control over the cigar industry, like they do over the cigarette industry. As you all know by now, FDA jurisdiction would be detrimental to all of us who enjoy our leafy treasures – and that is a tremendous understatement. Well, now the CRA has teamed up with the IPCPR – International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association, and the duo has drafted a petition to be placed before the Obama White House Administration. Quite simply, they are asking the government to support our effort in assuring that the FDA leaves us all the hell alone! Here, here!

The one catch is that we needed 25,000 signatures on this petition within a month in order for Washington to even look at it. But in typical fashion of all tried and true cigar smokers, we hit the minimum 25,000 needed signatures on Wednesday night – in just five whole days! Woo-hoo, I say, as lovers of the leaf everywhere have come through like the troopers we truly are! But in reality, our work has just begun. I say let’s send 100,000 signatures to the politicos in the White House, letting them know deafeningly loud, and undeniably clear that we love our cigars and no one, and I mean NO ONE is going to take them away from us!

craTV-GlynnLoope-smJust to let you guys know, I personally spoke with CRA executive director, Glynn Loope this past week and he and his dedicated staff are working overtime in the fight for the product and industry we all love. The man is traveling all over creation, meeting, greeting, and speaking to people in government, in all 50 states, trying to get them to understand exactly what is at stake here if the FDA gets their mitts on our leaf. It’s a damned tough job, if you ask me – while a good number of people do understand the ramifications of an FDA takeover, a good number don’t – and worse yet, many don’t care because smoking is evil in their eyes and there’s little that can be done to have things seen with an open mind. So I applaud Mr. Loope and everyone at the CRA who are giving their all, trying to protect our premium hand rolled cigars.

In closing, we ALL need to do our part – spread the word, FaceBook and Tweet this stuff to death, and let all your friends, not just the smokers, know how important this situation is and how many people’s livelihoods depend on it (85,000 here in the United States alone and hundreds of thousands more in Latin American countries whose entire economies depend on the sale and exportation of cigars.)

Okay, I’m out of words and out of breath (a rare occurrence indeed.) It’s up to everyone who smokes cigars to make some noise. My job is done here for today.

Smoke ‘em cuz ya gottem,


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

Check out this week’s Weekly Special!

Quesada Seleccion Espana

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

I’m paraphrasing what is on the Sag Imports website. The Quesada Seleccion Espana a blend aimed at customers in Spain. High unemployment, and high cost of Cuban cigars has apparently led the Spanish to seek other alternatives. Quesada has responded with this blend. That’s about as elaborate as I can get. Thanks to Jackie for sending this to me!


Wrapper: Arapiraca Ecuador

Binder: Dominican

Filler: Connecticut, Dominican, Nicaraguan

Size: Robusto 5 x 52

Price: Around $7.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper had no visible flaws, only a few small to medium sized veins. The wrapper had a cedary smell, while the foot was just a simple earthy tobacco. The cigar was rock solidly packed, with no soft or hard spots. Luckily the draw was free, with only slight resistance. The pre-light draw was earthy with natural tobacco flavor.

The burn required no corrections, and the ash held for just over an inch before falling off into my lap.

1 Quesada_Seleccion_Espana cigars


The first third had a peppery start, but it didn’t punch you in the face. A smooth cedar slowly took over and evened things out. I picked up notes of light coffee from time to time. After about an inch, the smoke feel became even smoother, with a tinge of sweetness.

2 Quesada_Seleccion_Espana cigars

The second third continued smoothing out and basically became creamy. The pepper from the first third became a smooth cedar with something similar to sweet tea mixed in. An easy earthiness lingered for awhile on the aftertaste.

3 Quesada_Seleccion_Espana cigars

The last third increased in strength and body, and fell in the upper medium to full range. The creaminess developed a sweet spice that left a nice tingle. I reluctantly say “Tea” but that’s what I think I was picking up. The earthy aftertaste remained unchanged, and had a spicy feel.

4 Quesada_Seleccion_Espana cigars


This was a nice, complex little cigar. At times picking up on flavors was a challenge. The slow transitions made it that much more enjoyable. Lastly, construction was top notch on this slow burner. It just hit the spot for me. If you get the opportunity, try this cigar!

1/2 Billion and counting by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
Zippo 500,000,000

Zippo 500,000,000

500-million of anything is kinda a big deal (unless you are counting the federal budget and deficit). It has taken 80 years but Zippo is going to make its 500 millionth lighter on June 5th. They announced this yesterday.

Now I know they may not be the best for cigars, you have to let the lighter fluid burn off a bit, but they are iconic lighters and that click is more known than the ping of more expensive lighters. (Our website only has 14 pages of em.) Sides to me they have always felt good in my hand. I still have my father’s Zippo from the 50s.

So how do they know when they will make the 500-millionth? Well they are kinda fudging it a bit since June 5th is the birthday of Zippo’s late founder George Blaisdell. “When we realized that our 500 Millionth lighter and the birthday of Mr. Blaisdell were both on the horizon, we decided to ramp up production to ensure the milestones would coincide,” said Greg Booth, Zippo president and CEO. “We weren’t sure if we could do it at first, but we have now confirmed that we will be able to meet this date. We are also excited that the 500 Millionth achievement is occurring during our 80th anniversary year.”

The actual 500-millionth lighter will be made in the traditional brushed chrome and carry a time stamp and a serial number of 1. It will go on display in the company’s museum. Then throughout the day of June 5th, the company will make 50-thousand more replicas, each with a special stamp on the bottom. These will be about $50. But if you want a higher priced Zippo, there will be a limited edition lighter of only 10-thousand, each with a serial number on it. They will retail for $100. Look for them later this year.

Buyer Beware

In the U.K there is a law suit going on between a night club owner and one of that nation’s oldest tobacconists and at stake is £145,000 or about $233,000. The store — Fox of St James — has been operating for 220 years. (The Brits think that makes it the oldest tobacconist in the world when Demuth in Lancaster, PA, has been around for 247 years.) Fox was most notably known as a place Winston Churchill used to visit to enjoy a cigar. Anyway the nightclub owner bought a collection of vintage cigars and when he opened them….he had beetles! The night club owner says Fox assured him the cigars were fine (they had come from a private collector.) Neither Fox nor the night clubowner have publicly commented on the law suit. But remember when buying older cigars, be sure YOU check them for beetles.

Smoke In

Gulfport is a small city in the Tampa area and last November the city council passed a ban on smoking for the beach. The city said it was to curb littering. Attorney Andy Strickland says it is against Florida law and it fighting it. He wants a $143 ticket for smoking on thhe beach so he can go to court. He was cited back in February, but when the charges came up, the city dropped it. So this past weekend, Strickland and more than a dozen supporters fired up cigars and cigarettes on the beach. The goal was to get another ticket.

Well once they started smoking, police showed up within the hour and told the protestors, sorry we are busy, we’ll get back to you. About 2 hours after it all began, the cops finally came back and said they would prefer to write one citation. Strickland volunteered. He now will go to court on May 24th where he wants to fight the law legally.

The protestors noted that the Gulfport Teen Council looked at the ban and thought it would be better to invoke it on only half the beach to avoid infringing on people’s rights. Wow the teens get it.

“Everybody’s entitled to their right,” Morgan Jones said.

Jones is a Gulfport resident, small business owner and cigar smoker. Jones is a member of Cigar Rights of America and says cigar smokers are being attacked. He says as a smoker, he respects other people and disposes of his cigars properly.

“This is a lifestyle, not a habit,” Jones said.

Dennis Cline of Madeira Beach said, “I think the erosion of any of our rights is something everyone should be concerned with.”


FDA Petition

If you have not signed the White House petition to keep the FDA away from our cigars, do it today. We have until may 11th to gather 25,000 signatures and as of this writing we are less than 2,000 away. But remember 25k is only the lowest threshold. The more signatures we get the better. This is an election year and the saying is I smoke and I vote. Let Washington know we want them to keep their hands off our stogies.

General Cigar Trip Day 4

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Well, as they say, all good things must come to an end. This trip has been unbelievably amazing!

Our amazing view

Our amazing view

There was nothing planned for today so we used it as much-needed day of relaxation. This resort had so much to offer, such as tennis, massages, golf, and of course there was a beach and a pool. Then came our last dinner on the island, and this was a bittersweet occasion. It was the last time we would all be together before scattering back to our own little corners of the world.

The pool at our resort

The pool at our resort

This has been a great experience provided by General Cigar, and was first class all the way. The people at General have not only made us feel like family, but like part of their family. After you see how much they care about every employee from top to bottom, you realize how much of an honor it really is to be accepted into that family.

This trip of a lifetime was also memorable because of the people we shared it with; we could not have picked a better group! During our time here, we have shared some great meals together, had more laughs than we can count, and smoked so many excellent cigars. One of best parts is how friendly and hospitable all of the people here have been! We could not have been made to feel more at home… even in our own houses!

Our last day of the trip

Our last day of the trip

Check out the rest of the pictures from the trip here.

Ultimate Cigar Fantasy Day 3

Monday, April 23rd, 2012
Day Three is just as amazing as the first two! Today we left Santiago to head to the Copata farm in Mao, the growing region of some of the tobaccos used by General, as the area’s climate and soil are ideal for cultivating long fillers. The farm is on a vast 500 acres and split into four separate areas.
Capato Farm

Capato Farm

Upon arrival, we are given a brief lesson on the growing process. The most interesting thing shown to us is the machine used to plant the seeds. It is amazing how simple its design is, given how many man-hours it saves.

The curing barns were just as amazing as everything else we’ve seen on this trip. Not only do they look big on the outside but they feel even bigger once you walk inside.

Lunch was served in a gazebo overlooking the entire farm. When most people read the word “gazebo,” they automatically think of the structure that may be in your backyard. This one, however, was more like a house.

After lunch, it was time to leave and head out to the beach at the Barceló Puerto Plata Resort for some relaxation in the sun. The drive offered spectacular views of the mountain ranges and valleys of the lush, green country. The resort itself is massive, gorgeous, and sure to provide us with a lot of fun!  Check out the pictures here!

In the gazebo for lunch. Lunch at the Copata Gazebo

AVO Domaine 10

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

I picked up a couple of these the other day at a local cigar shop. The creepy guy behind the counter suggested them, so I figured why not. To those of you that are new to my site – I’m not big on intro’s and long winded back stories of cigars. So let’s see how the AVO Domaine treated me…


Wrapper: Sungrown Connecticut from Ecuador

Binder & Filler: Dominican

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: Around $7.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The velvety smooth wrapper had a rugged look to it. No flaws were found, just some veins and bumps. The smell of the wrapper was barnyard, while the foot had more of a woody and earthy odor. The cigar was a bit squishy and had some minor hard and soft spots – nothing of concern. The draw had some resistance, but fell well within my tolerances. The pre-light flavor was sweet, woody and earthy.

The burn required no corrections, and the ash held for over an inch. When I removed the band, a nice chunk of wrapper came off with it. Too much glue – a pet peeve of mine. Cigars are made by humans, stuff like this will happen from time to time. I got over it.

1 AVO_Domaine_10 cigars


The first third started off with a very dry smoke feel with earthy and woody notes. The flavor evolved into a nuttiness with an easy black pepper through the nose. The dry smoke feel seemed to stand out the most to me though. It wasn’t bad, it was just so dry that it couldn’t be ignored. I chugged a lot of fine filtered Florida tap water, which helped.

2 AVO_Domaine_10 cigars

The second third developed in to a powdery cocoa flavor combined with nuts. Like before, easy black pepper and earthy notes were noticed when retrohaling. The dryness went down a notch, which increased enjoyment.

3 AVO_Domaine_10 cigars

The last third took on a creamy smoke feel. This was a far cry from the parched feeling from before. The dry cocoa flavor became less dry, and increased in strength. Nutty notes lingered and were noticeable from time to time. The pepper became more of a sweet spice that left a tingle on the tongue and lips.

4 AVO_Domaine_10 cigars


This was a solid medium bodied cigar. I appreciated the change up of flavors from third to third. Besides the little incident with the band, construction was fine. There really is nothing bad to say here. I think it is worth trying.

Take My Wife, Please…but Leave My Cigars, by Tommy Zman

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Ah, the quote made famous by the late, great Henny Youngman, “Take My Wife, Please!” Then there was the legendary writer, Sir Rudyard Kipling who’s love for the hand rolled leaf knew no bounds as he often talked about cigars in his writings. When once asked what he would do if his wife objected to his unbridled love for cigar smoking, Kipling simply required, “Get a new wife.”

Picture 20Now why do I bring this up, you ask. Simple: My Wife HATES CIGARS. Okay, is there a word stronger than hate?… disdain, loathes, deplores, can’t freakin’ stand? Yeah, it’s true, my friends, and as the years go by it’s getting even more hateful.

Now, let me explain… she is a good woman, wife, and incredibly loving mother. She has a great job, works hard, and is just an extremely nice lady. But since day one, a good 17 years ago, she just cannot stand the look, smell, and smokiness of cigars and that will never change. She friggin hates ‘em, people. I’m trying to find a stronger word, but HATE really seems to sum it up just fine.

Why is this? I’m not really sure because the irony here is that I love cigars almost as much as life itself. I am a cigar freak, a tobaccoholic, a psycho for Siglo’s, a wacko for Warlock, a crazy for Cain. If this were the early 1900’s, I would have been one of those guys who smoked 20 a day like Freud, Twain, and JP Morgan. I would have wreaked from head to toe with breath like a barn fire, but you know what – I wouldn’t give a rat’s ash because I LOVE CIGARS. Now, unfortunately for me, as you already know by now, my wife hates them.

Okay, here’s the interesting part: She’s NOT a smoke Nazi at all and doesn’t believe it should be outlawed, and in fact she supports a person’s right to choose a legal product and enjoy it. She just doesn’t like ME smoking cigars because she says I smell horrible, we have kids, and she doesn’t want me to drop dead. Well, that’s incredibly noble of my gal, but if I stopped smoking today and a bus decides to take me out next week, I’m really gonna be one pissed mother f@#ker from the great beyond.

The REAL ironic madness of this whole situation is that most of the work I have done for the past ten years in the cigar industry has paid for our mortgage, fed the family, and is putting my daughter through college. But as you know, my fellow Cromags, when a woman has her mind made up, there is simply ZERO chance of a peaceful resolution. And after 24 years of so-called joint bliss I have come to the conclusion that I don’t speak “cement.” You ever have a friend that your wife or girl didn’t like? Forget it… friendship over. Does your significant other constantly remind you of the time you didn’t hold the restaurant door open for her… 16 f@#king years ago?! Has she started turning into a clone of her mother as the years go by? Yeah, uh-huh.

kipling1Now some of you are quite lucky, as your wives don’t mind your cigars, encourage you to enjoy them, and even purchase them as gifts on holidays and special occasions. The day my wife buys me a cigar, well, maybe I just hit Mega-Millions or something, but that’s probably about it.

Hey, listen, I didn’t want you to come out of this disliking my wife because that wasn’t my goal. Like I said, she a great person – she just has a tobacco flaw in her brain and it’s only when “I” smoke them. My only reason for writing this tale of woe was admittedly for selfish reasons. It’s basically a cathartic attempt to deal with something I can’t reason with and a little encouragement from my fellow ball-scratchers would go a long way – mainly because the weather is gorgeous now and I’m smoking my stoags like a demon.

Thank you my BOTL’s & SOTL’s. Maybe some of you suffer from the spouse hating cigars affliction as well. If so, I’d love to hear cuz as they say, sharing is caring. And if your spouse actually likes ‘em, don’t rub it in, I need the support. I’m dealing with this, one day at a time…

Stay Smoky My friends,


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

> Check out this week’s JR WEEKLY CIGAR SPECIALS!!! <

Ultimate Cigar Fantasy Day 2

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Today we learned all about the cigar-creation process, from the blending stage all the way through the packaging stage. We even got to create our own blends!

First, we were shown a table laid out with all the different types of tobacco leaf, and were taught what the flavors of each were. We used our newfound knowledge to mix the tobaccos and make small cigars for ourselves.

Different types of tobacco leaves

Different types of tobacco leaves

The next step was the stemming of the leaves. The machine that does this has two pedals: a brake and a clutch. It seemed to be a lot like driving a stick-shift car but much, much harder.

The third step in the process is bunching our blends together. After we watched this done for a few minutes, we felt we could jump right in; it didn’t look too hard. Boy, were we wrong! This process is not only a skilled job but is also an art form to master.

While we waited for our new-formed bunches to be pressed, we took a tour of the box factory. Just like the cigarmaking process, the boxes are crafted in a similar type of assembly line with every step representing a very specific job.

After our cigars were done being pressed, it was time to apply the wrapper. This was the most difficult job of all and involves numerous steps. If it weren’t for the master instructors by our sides, this would have been impossible.

Working on our cigars

Working on our cigars

Finally it was time for us to package our cigars. While not as hard as the bunching or wrapping, this is a skill that needs to be mastered as well. So much thought is put into making sure the bands are lined up and the cellophane is perfect. We were happily surprised when we saw that General had printed our names on the cello that we were going to use on our cigars.

Seeing the creation process from start to finish was amazing, and really gives you a sense of how immensely skilled these workers are. It is astounding that each team of one buncher and one roller can produce about 300 cigars a day.

The day ended with a wonderful dinner at Camp David Ranch. The restaurant offered views overlooking the city of Santiago and it was just as wonderful as all the activities we had participated in earlier.

Check out the rest of the pictures here.

Ultimate Cigar Fantasy Day 1

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
In front of the cigar factory

In front of the cigar factory

Today started out as a roaring success as the winners of the contest were situated and getting ready for the big day ahead of them. To get the trip started, General brought our lucky travelers to the place where the magic happens for the La Gloria Cubana brand. This place is huge! It is in a free trade zone and, with the 2,175 employees here, it feels like its own city.

We were treated to a tour of the facility and got to fully learn about how different tobaccos are sorted and molded. What is truly astounding is the level of dedication each and every employee has. We met several employees who have been working here for decades, including one 84-year-old man who has worked with General for 39 years and helped build the factory. This dedication is not a one-way street though because General Cigar is just as committed to its community and offers literacy programs and support of higher education.

One thing that stood out to all of us was how truly handmade and hands-on the production is. One tobacco leaf is touched over 250 times, from farm to the finished product! The scope of production is unbelievable as well; over 350,000 cigars come out of this factory every day!

The picture-perfect day ended with everyone enjoying a fabulous meal at Rancho Steak House and then smoking the product we had just seen created.

Our cigar dinner

Our cigar dinner

Check out the rest of the pictures on our web page.

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