Archive for May, 2012

Good News and Bad, a New Lounge and Tobacco Taxes are High Enough by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012


Let’s get the bad news out of the way .  The weasels in Illinois are trying to sneak through an increase in tobacco taxes.   The vote  in the Illinois House was on Friday and they hoped to meet over the Memorial Day weekend to work out details.  The tax would increase cigarettes by a buck a pack and double the tax on cigars.

According to the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association legislative director Chris McCalla:

“The legislators are hoping to sign off on these laws while everyone is out enjoying their Memorial Day Weekend. If this isn’t a violation of the state’s Government in the Sunshine laws, it certainly violates the spirit of a representative democracy. They want to pass this with as little attention as possible.”

The Illinois Senate still needs to vote but they want the tax to go into effect beginning in July so they have to finish the vote fast.  There still is some time to act,  according to IPCPR CEO Bill Spann:

“Voice your opposition to the back room dealings in Illinois to raise the #cigar OTP tax from 18% to 36% while no one is paying attention over the long weekend! Call President of the Senate John Cullerton at 217-782-2728; Republican Leader of the Senate Christine Radogno @ 217-782-9707; House Speaker Michael Madigan @ 217-782-5350; and House Republican Leader Tom Cross @ 217-782-1331. Say “NO CIGAR TAX INCREASE FOR ILLINOIS!” Call. Quickly.”

Ohio’s top court says smoking ban ok

In Ohio, the State Supreme Court ruled the smoking ban in the state IS constitutional.

Ohio Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, in authoring the opinion, wrote, “The goal of this legislation is to protect the health of the workers and other citizens of Ohio.  It does so by regulating proprietors of public places and places of employment in a minimally invasive way.”

Right.  Says the attorney representing the challengers to the law, Maurice Thompson ,

”There’s really no meaningful limit on the regulation of private property in Ohio by the government.”  Thompson said it is unlikely they would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on a federal property-rights issue, even though Ohio’s is the first state Supreme Court to rule on that issue with regard to a smoking ban. He said Ohio has some of the strongest property protection laws in the country.

“So we felt that if there was anywhere we could win, it was with bars in Ohio,” he said.

Thompson said he expects the fight to move now to the state Legislature, where a bill already is in the works to exempt bars from the ban.

NY Sense

The author of a bill to ban smoking at beaches and parks in Suffolk County, NY is having a change of heart – of sorts.   William Spencer says he wants a balance between  the rights of smokers and non-smokers.  As a result he is amending his own bill which totally banned smoking with no compromise, to a new version which will allow sections for smokers.  It may be a small step but it is New York.

Alabama ban fails

The Alabama legislature has left the building and in doing so the members also left behind a proposed smoking ban. The ban would have banned smoking in almost all public venues including bars and restaurants (even outside seating), outdoor bleachers and grandstands, hotels, motels and retail stores  (you know, cigar stores).  The IPCPR and retailers in the state helped to scuttle the bill….at least until next year.  We have to stay vigilant.

Davidoff opens first US lounge

Kelsey Gramer opens Davidoff lounge

While cigar taxes may be going up in Illinois (don’t forget to call the above legislators) Davidoff of Geneva has opened its first lounge in the US and in Illinois to boot.  The Humidor of Westmont, IL, opened this past week with Boss star Kelsey Grammer cutting the ribbon.  Davidoff makes Camacho and Avo along with its namesake brand)

The new lounge is 500 square feet with 14 foot high ceilings. The lounge naturally has lockers for members which flank a fireplace.

Wall insets highlight artwork that depicts images of the tobacco cultivating process that are at the heart of the Davidoff tobacco fields in the Dominican Republic. Additional artwork romanticizes old world tools used by the torcedor.

Smoke and save the Government $$

This is not new, a study a few years ago in Europe said all the bunk about smokers costing governments money was just that, bunk (and an excuse to raise tobacco taxes).  Today comes yet another report this time from New Zealand’s treasury department.  The report says smokers pay more in taxes than their health care costs. (No kidding).  One reason is that cigarette smokers die earlier than non smokers.  The report came out because New Zealand is trying to raise the cost of a pack of cigarettes to….wait for it….$20 over the next 4 years.  The treasury report says the amount NZ smokers pay already is more than their health care costs.  The country’s Assistant Health Minister, who came up with the tax increase, says:

The regulatory impact statement said taxing smokers was a much more reliable way of generating income for the Government than taxing other goods and services.

It said tobacco taxes were “very efficient” for raising revenue because the addictive nature of nicotine meant smokers were not highly sensitive to price increases.

Yeah…explain that to Illinois and other states who experience revenue drops when the taxes go up.  Oh yeah and at $20 a pack, guess New Zealand’s black market and bootlegging operations will take off. Morons.

Romeo by Romeo y Julieta

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Thanks to Altadis for sending me a sampler of the cigar up for review today. It never get’s old when cigars arrive in the mail. My experience with Romeo y Julieta isn’t anything spectacular. I expected a mild, fairly one dimensional cigar. Let’s see if I was right or not…


Wrapper: Dark Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Dominican Olor

Diller: Dominican Piloto & Olor

Size: Toro 54 x 5

Price: ???


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper was oily and shiny, with no flaws visible. It was a little toothy looking, and had small to medium sized veins. The smell off of the wrapper was earthy, woody, and a touch of barnyard. The foot smelled similar, with a slight spicy component. The draw had some resistance, but fell within my tolerances. The pre-light draw had an interesting flavor of wood, earthiness, and perhaps a slight sweet note. The cigar was solidly packed, with minor hard and soft spots.

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

1 Romeo_by_Romeo_y_Julieta cigars


The first third had a mixture of dry cocoa and black coffee. The aftertaste had the associated sweetness and bitter aftertaste you would expect. There was an easy pepper through the nose and a slight earthiness. Woody notes would come and go.

2 Romeo_by_Romeo_y_Julieta cigars

The second third switched up a bit. The dominant flavor was coffee. On second thought, it leaned more towards espresso. Up next was woodiness and cocoa. The pepper from the first third became milder, sweeter, and took on a creamy feel.

3 Romeo_by_Romeo_y_Julieta cigars

The last third was an even mixture of coffee, cocoa, and wood. The only thing that stood out was a sweet tingly spice. It clung to the mouth, lips, and sinus. The smoke feel remained creamy, much like in the second third.

4 Romeo_by_Romeo_y_Julieta cigars


This was a good medium to maybe full bodied cigar. It had nice complexities and changes that held my attention. Construction, burn, and ash was top notch. I can’t factor in price, and couldn’t find that information online either. I could see paying between $6 to $8.00. I think it’s worth a try!

Cigars & Getting into the Spirit, by Tommy Zman

Friday, May 25th, 2012

In last week’s blog I discussed my personal choices for pairing man food with cigars. Well this week, as kind of a Part Two, I thought it would be a great follow up to pair some of my favorite libations with the cigars I love… I mean you guys DO like a little bit of spirit, don’t you? Yeah, yeah, I thought so.

Before I started smoking cigars about 17 years ago, I was your typical beer swilling knuckle-dragger who didn’t know much about the finer things in life. But it was the world of premium hand rolled cigars that introduced me to the kind of drinks that make a man feel happy while keeping a smile upon his face. I first started to discover craft beers and imports that went well with my full-bodied Henry Clay. Hearty stouts and ales like Chimay, a Belgian import made by Trappist monks let me know that there was a lot more to the world of barley and hops than the self-proclaimed “king of beers”.

Premium Vodka was becoming all the rage, as the drink that once tasted like lighter fluid was now smooth and flavorful without mixing it with orange juice.  Brands like Kettle One and Grey Goose were attached to a few of my business friends via intravenous, and martinis soon became compatible playmates to my El Rey Del Mundo Flor de Llanza. One executive I hung with was severely in lust with fine Cognacs, and Remy XO would always flow like Kool Aid at a kiddie party when I broke out the premium sticks. Yeah, I was starting to really like this lifestyle and I’m sure many of you can concur.

Now scotch was something I never really drank until about ten years ago, but once I learned to appreciate the golden liquid from the Scottish Isle, the cigar smoking experience was raised to a whole new level. And now my pre-dinner Siglo is often accompanied by the sweet malted grains of MacAllans and Balvenie Doublewood. I’m not a fan at all of the petey/smoky flavored scotches, as the sherry cask aged drams are definitely more to my liking. And I tend to like a lot.

Now let’s have a candid discussion about rum. Dark rums with notes of vanilla and oak have always gone so well with an after dinner cigar, and have long been popular with the Hispanic stogie loving crowd. While I have always enjoyed a good rum, I never really found one that I completely fell for head over heels for – well, until very recently. There’s an exotic rum from the isle of Madagascar that is just making its way to the U.S. by the name of Dzama (pronounced Zama, as the D is silent). I was fortunate enough to get a tasting of a couple of their light and dark offerings, and I have NEVER experienced such flavors and complexities in a rum in all my life. I smoked an Ashton VSG during my sampling, and I honestly haven’t enjoyed a cigar and libation pairing like this in many years. This rum is beyond sublime, and trust me when I say that you have to keep your eye out for this one.

Finally, there’s Port, my dessert wine of choice. After a nice dinner I generally reach for a sweet, full-bodied maduro like Punch Grand Cru #2. And to me, NOTHING accompanies a good smoke like this than a delicious tawny port. There are many excellent ports out there like Fonseca, Sandemans, and Cockburns, but a couple Christmas’s ago, I got spoiled to death by a some friends who bought me a couple bottles of 40 year old Taylor Fladgate and 40 year old bottle of Presidential. The deep, rich caramel color and ultra-smooth complexity has made it hard for me to come back down to earth, and while being a snob is not generally my thing, I sure could get used to a steady diet of the high life!

So that’s my regimen for pairing my favorite smokes and luscious libations. So, how about sharing some of your faves and possibly some little known liquid gems that you’ve stumbled upon? I know we’d all love to hear it! Until next week, Smoke ‘em and drink ‘em cuz you gottem!

PLEASE SUPPORT Cigar Rights of America as they continue to deal with congress, the senate, and all US legislators who need to be made aware that our cigars are the best friends we know of and we will fight like hell to keep them in our lives! >>


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

CLICK HERE to Check out this week’s J•R CIGARS Weekly Special!


Padron Series Londres Maduro

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Not long ago I was looking for a smaller cigar at a decent price. Julia, from JuliaLightsUp, suggested the cigar up for review today. Being a fan of the Padron Series in larger sizes, it made sense to try this one. For the record, I paired this cigar with water.


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro

Binder & Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: 42 x 5.5

Price: $3.35


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper looked good, but I did notice it’s blotchy color and rustic appearance. The wrapper had the smell of barnyard. The foot had more of an earthy and woody smell. The cigar was a little lumpy when squeezed, but there was nothing of concern. The draw had slight resistance, and had a dark bitter cocoa flavor.

The burn required no corrections, and the ash held for about 3/4 of an inch.

1 Padron_Londres cigars


The first third had a nice mixture of coffee, bitter cocoa, earthiness, and a nice peppery spice through the nose. The smoke feel was a bit dry and I craved water, but it wasn’t too drastic.

2 Padron_Londres cigars

For the second third, the cocoa increased in strength and dominated the flavor profile. Right behind it was coffee, and mild earthy notes. Pepper was mostly noticeable through the nose, and had a little zing. The smoke feel became creamy and sweet, which was reflected in the aftertaste.

3 Padron_Londres cigars

The last third had an even mixture of flavors most of the time. Occasionally cocoa would stand out, and sometimes coffee would. But for the most part, it was consistent with the second third. The strength of the flavors increased a little.

4 Padron_Londres cigars


This was a good medium to full bodied cigar. The flavor profile, construction, and burn left me nothing to complain about. The price was appropriate as well, and worth every penny. If you only have 30-40 minutes to spare, but want a cigar that delivers, you may want to check this out. Needless to say, this has been my go to “Quick smoke” for a couple of months now.

Free Cigars, New Cigars and Smoke in NYC by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012


Free box

Let’s get to the free stuff first.  General Cigar is launching a new website for Hoyo de Monterrey.

To mark the occasion, the company is giving away one box a day!  The cigars are the Hoyo de Monterrey Reposados en Cedro.  These cigars are really cedar bombs.  After being rolled at General’s HATSA factory in Honduras, each cigar goes through the company’s proprietary process called Inmersión.  From the press release:

“With this technique, each cigar is enveloped in fragrant cedar and left to rest for an extended period of time. The cigar matures to a complex, medium-bodied smoke that has won the brand stellar ratings and praise from the premium cigar category’s most discerning experts.

According to Kendall Rountree, brand manager for Hoyo de Monterrey cigars, “Since its debut, Hoyo de Monterrey Reposado en Cedros cigars has developed a cult following among serious cigar smokers who are drawn to its uniquely spicy taste. We’re utilizing the launch of the Hoyo de Monterrey website as an opportunity to increase the brand’s legion of fans through the ‘Box a Day Giveaway’ and are confident that cigar lovers will enjoy the brand’s uniquely spicy taste.”

Winners of the box of cigars will be announced every Monday on the brand’s website,  Facebook page and Twitter.  The giveaway is now through July 31st.

Cuenca & Blanco

Cuenca y Blanco

As we first reported back in November ,  Jose Blanco and Dr. Alejandro Martinez Cuenca are coming out wih a new cigar for Joya de Nicaragua.  We didn’t know the name of it exactly at the time, but now we do.  It will be Cuenca y Blanco.  The cigar uses fillers from Nicaragua’s Esteli Valley and the volcanic island of Ometepe along with  aromatic viso from Peru.  The binder is Piloto Cubano from the Dominican Republic and the wrapper is Ecuadoran Habano.

Joya senior vice president Blanco says, “As many know, I have always been deeply fond of Nicaraguan tobaccos, but I am also very pleased to bring more origins, including my own Dominican heritage, to Joya de Nicaragua.”

Joya president Dr Martinez Cuenca says he sees the Cuenca y Blanco as the future of their blending adding, “This cigar is the quintessential expression of how two minds, two experiences and two origins worked together,  each venturing off our traditional paths of only making puros to instead creating a cigar of diverse tobaccos.”

Joya de nicaragua will introduce the cigar at the industry trade show in August.  The cigar will come in 5 sizes:  Corona  (5.5 x 46), Robusto (5.25 x 50), Toro (6 x 54), Torpedo (6.25 x 52) and Lonsdale (6.5 x 44).

New Nestor

You cannot say Miami Cigar & Company is not getting busy.  After last week’s riotous Merlion, the company is announcing another more traditional cigar…the Nestor Miranda Grand Reserve 2012.   The 6.125 x 52 box pressed maduro cigar comes in a box of 10 and the run is limited to 1500 boxes.  This year’s edition will be a bit stronger than last as the cigar has a bit more Nicaraguan ligero.  The cigar will retail for $12 plus any applicable taxes.

New Undercrown

Steve Saka—president of Drew Estate—let fans know about a new Undercrown that should be showing up on shelves any day via  Facebook last week.  The company is coming out with a corona gorda (5.625 x 46).

What he wrote was:

“Long Live Undercrown Corona ¡Viva! – that is it, no picture, no fuss, no muss, I am too damn busy… just wanted to let those who are interested know it is hitting the streets this week. It is IMO one of our finest blends to date and I am really proud of our factory for their continued ability to handcraft such excellent smokes. Go Nica!”

The cigar is a bit stronger than the usual Undercrowns  in that they turned up the strength a bit.  The suggested price for the cigar is $7.25 less any applicable state taxes.

Smokem in New York City

Free the Smokers

As almost everyone knows,  smoking is banned pretty much everywhere in New York City.  But there can be exceptions and there will be one tomorrow Wednesday 23.  This is the second annual legal outdoor smoking event.   It is the brainchild of Bill Paley – owner of La Palina Cigars –who got tired of the nannies in NYC.  Bill is the son of CBS founder William S. Paley.  The senior Paley set up a privately owned park in New York City to honor his father Samuel Paley—the founder of La Palina cigars.  Bill felt the private park should not go to waste so last year he held a legal smoke in at the park.  It has been a year, so Bill is doing it again.

The deal is if you want to smoke a cigar outside legally in a New York park and give Bloomberg the bird..just bring a receipt (and your cigar) from a New York City tobacconist dated between  May 20 and 23 to Samuel Paley Park –3 East 53rd Street (between  Fifth and Madison Avenues) between 5 and 7pm.  It should be fun.

Arturo Fuente Solaris (SI Exclusive)

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Thanks to Smoke Inn for sending me a couple of these to review. This is another exclusive blend for them, and was completely created by Fuente. Carlos Fuente made a small batch of cigars over six years ago, and there they sat. Until now. I paired with water and got to smoking. Let’s see how it went.


Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown

Binder & Filler: Unknown

Size: 6 x 49

Price: $89.50 for a 10 pack


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper had a smooth, oily appearance. There were no visible flaws, and the veins were small to medium. The smell of the wrapper was a mild cedar. The foot had almost no smell at all, perhaps a mild earthiness or hay. The cigar was well packed, with only minor hard and soft spots. The draw had slight resistance, and the pre-light draw had a sweet, almost honey flavor to it.

The burn required a couple corrections, and the ash held for about 1.5 inches.

1 Arturo_Fuente_Solaris cigars


The first third had a dominant flavor of cedar. Retrohaling revealed an easy pepper with a tinge of creaminess. There may have been a mild nutty component as well.

2 Arturo_Fuente_Solaris cigars

The second third was almost an even combination of cedar and nuttiness. Like before, the pepper was easy to swish around the mouth and sinus. I could only detect earthiness in the aftertaste.

3 Arturo_Fuente_Solaris cigars

The last third kept the same core flavors as before. The only difference was the smoke feel became creamy and sweet.

4 Arturo_Fuente_Solaris cigars


This was a solid mild to lower medium bodied cigar. In typical Fuente fashion, it was consistent, easy to smoke, and construction was good. Unlike other Smoke Inn blends, this fits a different demographic than, let’s say, the Anarchy. For me, this is a breakfast or lunch smoke with coffee. If I had to complain, the price may be a little on the high end, for me at least.  I think they are worth a try if you appreciate mild to medium cigars.

Pairing Cigars with your Man Food, by Tommy Zman

Friday, May 18th, 2012

I think it has become obvious on this blog that I have an over the top passion for cigar smoking. I am passionate about a lot of things and unfortunately I don’t know how to stay away from over-indulging. I’m pretty much the classic CROMAG whose passion runs deep for typical guy stuff… you know, sports, cars & bikes, beautiful women, beer, scotches, wines, and other fine libations, beautiful women, guy flicks, The Sopranos, fishing, did I forget to mention beautiful women? But other than my love for cigars, my insatiable lust for amazing man foods is substantial.

Now before I smoked cigars, I used to skeeve out when I saw someone smoke while they ate. But now I find that there’s NOTHING that accompanies a hearty man-meal better than a finely aged, premium hand rolled gem tendered from a Latin-American country.

Let’s start with grilling. Oh man, I just love to char a meaty carcass over an open flame, all while smoking a good pre-meal happy stick. Generally I go for a shorter smoke for time’s sake, something on the lighter to medium bodied side accompanied by a nice cold beer. Something like an Alec Bradley American Classic is an excellent start while quaffing on liquid grains while devouring pieces of my test steak that I always have off to the side as I cook (like I said, I overindulge.)

While I’m actually eating, the type or body of the cigar I pick really just depends on the kind of food that I’m enjoying. With good eats like seafood, shellfish, burgers or even pasta, I can go medium bodied. The flavor profile and strength of a Romeo Y Julieta Reserva Real will compliment these kind of foods quite nicely. Remember, you want to be able to taste your food and taste the cigar as well. So, you don’t want to choose a smoke that over powers your taste buds where you don’t enjoy your meal. And by the same token, you don’t want to go too light with your cigar’s body so your food overpowers the tobacco’s flavor.

Now, hearty full-flavored foods need hearty, full-bodied smokes to create the perfect pairing. A thick grilled juicy steak (with some Montreal seasoning), tangy dry-rubbed bbq ribs, pork chops, broiled rack of lamb – oh damn, I’m starting to salivate – these kind of meals NEED a smoke with rich body and some strength in order to cut through to your taste buds! An El Rey Del Mundo Robusto Larga is a fine choice – lots of smoke and tobacco flavor to make it all work out just right. And hey, much like cigars, if you’re choosing a nice wine with dinner, that has to compliment the entire shebang as well. Rich red Cabs, bold zinfindels, or maybe a peppery Australian Shiraz mixes so well with hearty meats and full tobacco flavor. (Oh yeah, I am definitely NOT eating light for dinner.)

Finally, that post meal cigar needs not only some full, bold flavors, but I like a touch of sweetness as well. A nice dark maduro or double maduro wrapped smoke – the Omar Ortiz Honudran Maduro is a freakin’ flavor bomb – is the perfect way that I like to cap off a kick-ash man-meal. Now there’s most likely a good single malt scotch making the round, so I like the sweetness of a Sherry cask aged to match that maduro. There’s also the possibility of a dark roast coffee along with an aged tawny port, another amazing combo to bring some serious flavor to your life! YESSUH!

Well, guys, I hope I drove your stomach into the growling frenzy that my gut is presently experiencing. Good food & drinks go so well when paired with the right cigars and you really should give some thought to the experience to make your meals truly memorable. Go for it, my BOTL’s and SOTL’s cuz we’ve only got one life to enjoy!

PLEASE SUPPORT Cigar Rights of America as they continue to deal with congress, the senate, and all US legislators who need to be made aware that our cigars are the best friends we know of and we will fight like hell to keep them in our lives!


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

CLICK HERE to Check out this week’s J•R CIGARS Weekly Special!


Nice Ash – Cigar Reviews by Brian Massey

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Perdomo Lot 23 Toro

Here at JR Cigars, we try to keep moving forward and introducing new lines to our already huge inventory.  So we’re pleased to announce that we’re now carrying cigars from Perdomo!  Perdomo is a brand that’s always requested by our customers and we worked hard to add this line to our inventory.

I’m going to review Perdomo’s Lot 23 cigar and wanted to talk about the process that went into creating this sweet smoke. The Lot 23 cigar is blended with a 2001 harvest of bale-aged Cuban Corojo and Criollo ’98 tobaccos grown exclusively on a virgin plot of land discovered by Nick Perdomo and his late father, Nick Sr named Lot 23.  When Nick went to create this cigar, he found that the tobacco that came from Lot 23 did not blend well with foreign tobaccos.  He decided to create a blend with tobacco that came exclusively from this field and found that this blend worked the best out of all his creations.

So the powers that be handed me a 5 pack of Toros and I was told to “knock myself out”.   Just looking at the cigar you can tell you’re in for a real treat.  It was well rolled with a decent weight and construction to it and the band is a true work of art.  The Connecticut seed wrapper had a few thin veins and a nice sheen to it. I cut the cigar traditionally with my guillotine and took a few dry draws to determine what may lie ahead.   I could immediately taste the richness of the tobacco in the dry draw so I was really excited to fire it up.   Right away the cigar delivered with a great rustic flavor and medium bodied strength.   The smoke was thick and there was a ton of it and the burn line and draw were perfect.  There was a distinct flavor carried throughout the entire life of this cigar and was just phenomenal.  This flavor will make you want to smoke this cigar over and over again.   The flavors I got were earth tones mixed with leather and a bit of coffee with a nice, rich, nutty flavor that accompanied the finish.  With its delightful yet subtle complexity – it remains consistent throughout the whole smoke.  I love it when cigars deliver something that’s completely unique!  The cigar finished the same way it started: fantastic!  I’m very excited that we’ll now be carrying the Lot 23 here at JR Cigars.

Overall this is one of the best “bang for the buck” cigars I have ever smoked.  The Lot 23 delivers on all things that make a cigar awesome:  Great price, great flavor, great draw, and something unique in the flavor profile.  Trust me – you want to try this cigar and at our prices how can you possibly say no?

El Tiante Habano Oscuro

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Once again, I am reviewing an El Tiante cigar. The Oscuro was included in a sampler that I won on the Stogie 411 first anniversary show. Thanks again to Stogie 411 and El Tiante for the smokes! Like the Rosado, the Oscuro is made in the My Father Cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. You know the routine… I paired with fine filtered Florida tap water.


Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro

Binder & Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: Piramide 6 x 52

Price: Around $8.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The dark wrapper had virtually no flaws, just a visible seam or two. It had an earthy smell, while the foot was more of a straight up natural tobacco. The cigar was solidly packed, with some minor soft and hard spots. Nothing was drastic enough to be of concern. The draw had slight resistance. The pre-light flavor was a musty, earthy flavor.

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

1 El_Tiante_Habano_Oscuro cigars


The first third: Pepper. Nice pepper with a zing. It didn’t take long for black coffee to join in. The aftertaste hung around for awhile, and kept that peppery tingle.

2 El_Tiante_Habano_Oscuro cigars

The pepper calmed just a bit in the second third. It became more of a sweet dry cocoa mixed with pepper. Coffee was up next. Eventually everything evened out and had equal strength. Like before, the aftertaste left a spicy tingle on the tongue and lips. Everything just came together in this third.

3 El_Tiante_Habano_Oscuro cigars

The last third kept the same core flavors – peppery sweet spice, cocoa, and black coffee. What changed was the delivery. Strength increased, and everything just tasted richer than before.

4 El_Tiante_Habano_Oscuro cigars


This was a good, solid medium bodied cigar. The flavor profile was pretty simple and straight forward, but well refined. Construction was great as well, which is what we’ve come to expect from anything out of the My Father factories. What about the price? It’s a little on the high end, but the cigar does deliver. You’ll have to judge for yourself. I liked it!

New Mischief and a New Cigar (with a dumb name) by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Miami has been home to many cigar makers.  It’s legendary Calle Ocho still resonates with the sounds of cigar making.  Now Miami is talking about banning flavored cigars and other tobacco.  As usual, Menthol, Mint and Wintergreen are exempt.  The Miami-Dade County Commissioners are taking a preliminary vote on the measure today.  It is all about the kids don’t you know.

“Flavored tobacco products, a favorite of high school kids, could be prohibited from sale in Miami-Dade County.”

This is how the story begins and of course everyone thinks about the 13 year old smoking a blunt.  The reality is that the vast majority of stores won’t sell to those kids.  They may sell to 18 year olds who are old enough to join the military and give their life for the country.

“The kids can be in the classroom chewing tobacco and the teachers won’t know anything — it looks just like candy,” said William Sanchez, a longtime Hialeah parks employee who also works with the county on a tobacco-free youth effort. “It’s growing in popularity, and it’s easy to carry.”

Yeah those flavored cigars do look like a Mounds bar….not.  Of course conveniently forgotten in this discussion is that it already is illegal for anyone under 18 to buy any tobacco products.  But unless the cigar makers of Miami rise up against this, it probably will pass.

At least one company is fighting back…Swisher based in Jacksonville.

“There are laws on the books now,” said Joe Augustus, Swisher’s senior vice president of external affairs. “It seems to me they need to work on enforcing the law more than banning the product.”

That seems logical so it probably will never work.

Dumb Idea



Ok some cigars have stupid names—Smoking Toad,  Fighting Cock, Big Butt, Smoking Ass, Bad Frog and our own Flor de Baloney that Lew came up with years ago when Villazon was still making cigars in Cofradia.  But there is a new cigar with possibly a dumber name…Merlion. (Even though it may look like a sealion) La Sirena, a boutique brand made by La Aurora and wholesaled through Miami Cigars has announced the Merlion.  Yup, it is supposed to be a cross between a Mermaid and the La Aurora Lion for the Leon family.

The cigar itself will use Ecuadoran Corojo for the wrapper with a Brazilian Sumatra binder.  The fillers are Brazilian, Dominican and Nicaraguan.  It will come in three sizes—Robusto, Toro and Gran Toro and cost between $9 and $10.50.

Shape Trademarked

Litto Gomez makes La Flor Dominicana.  Early on, they were mild to medium smokes.  But then Litto got the idea of making a a much stronger cigar and the  Double Ligero was born to great success.  Then in 2003, he added a new shape, the Chisel, a kind of flattened torpedo.

(Rumor has it the best way to smoke a chisel is to punch the top of the flat part not cut it, which is what I generally do.)  Anyway, according to Cigar Aficionado Litto filed for and last month got a trademark on the name Chisel AND the shape.  The registration is retroactive to 2006 and goes through 2016.

Electronically Yours

In speaking about Cigar Aficionado it should be noted that the magazine is now offering digital subscriptions for your iPad, iPhone or Android.  Last Friday, CA uploaded 5 issues of the magazine and says many more will be coming.

Dirtbin Does it Again

When last we heard from Senators Dick Durban (D –Owned by Big Pharma) and  Frank Lautenberg (D -I saw Prohibition firsthand), they were all about pressuring the FDA to regulate cigars.  Seems they felt flavored cigars were the gateway to hell.   Well now the dyspeptic duo joined by newcomer Richard Blumenthal (D- Connecticut) are saying the tobacco tax is unfair.  You might think that is true and good, but NO.  These morons think the taxes on cigarettes are just right and want to raise the tax on all other tobacco products up to the cigarette level.  Of course the smoke Nazis at the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids — a Johnson and Johnson lapdog (gotta push drugs for people who want to stop smoking)– loves the idea.

They consider the hard fought S-CHIP lower tax rate (which was a huge increase BTW) for large cigars is a “loophole” and want to close it.

“Blumenthal added that this measure “equalizes the federal tax rate for all tobacco products to that of cigarettes” and is expected to generate more than $1b billion in revenue.”

Sure it will Skippy.

This is why we need the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act.    We have sent over 100,000 petitions to Congress but need more.  Be certain that you have sent a petition.

Kalifornia Kapers

The Wall Street Journal editorializes this week that California’s financial situation is getting ugly.  It notes that the state is now forecasting a 16 billion dollar budget deficit and adds that Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin –who will make billions off the Facebook’s Initial Public Offering— won’t be paying taxes on it because he has renounced his U-S citizenship to move to Singapore which has no capital gains tax.  You would think with the revenue drop the state would be lowering taxes to help bring in more business and people….you would be wrong.    Up first is the “California Cancer Research Act” which sounds nice but as I have written before, Prop 29 as it is also known raises state taxes on tobacco—cigars included.

As we have written before, California also faces a lack of money to pay off its tobacco settlement bonds.  As the LA Daily News wrote:

“Unlike many other states, California made the mistake of deciding not to take the annual payments from tobacco firms but instead borrowed money against expected receipts. Now that the payments are less, the state faces another fiscal problem.

California is one of only a few states that guaranteed some of those bonds with general fund revenue. If tobacco settlement money does not cover the debt, the state will have to pick up some of the tab. There are currently $2.9 billion in bonds outstanding that are backed by a state general fund guarantee.

To add to its fiscal woes, California went back to investors in 2007, when it issued $4.4 billion in 40-year tobacco bonds. To have sufficient revenue to pay back investors by 2047, the state assumes cigarette consumption will decline by about 1.8 percent per year.”

Ok kids, let’s assume Prop 29 passes and tobacco taxes go up.  What will happen to tobacco sales?  Anyone ? Anyone?  Bueller? Right, they will drop further and the so-called tax increase will result in less tobacco revenues making California’s financial situation worse.  Genius.

Still Working

There are some people still fighting the good fight.

In Kansas, the legislature is considering a plan that would let people light up again.  The bill was introduced at the end of last month and aims to let patrons smoke in bars and casinos.  One lawmaker says because it was introduced so late in the session it is unlikely to become a law this year.

As we noted last week, the Live Free Springfield coalition has made progress against its draconian smoking ban.  But the group still needs help as it faces a June 5th vote to totally repeal the 2011 ban.  They take donations on the webpage.

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