Archive for June, 2012

Cigar Lovers, May the Fourth Be With You, by Tommy Zman

Friday, June 29th, 2012

July fourth doth cometh along with barbeques, fireworks, good drink and good friends. And if you are a reader of this blog, a gaggle of premium hand rolled cigars will be a part of the summer holiday festivities for sure. I don’t think when John Hancock and his fellow white-wigged forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence, they envisioned ice cold micro brews, buffalo wings, and Fuente King B’s as a part of the festivities, but if the old boys were around today, I’m sure that they would partake in the explosive style merriment.

My town always has the most excellent fireworks display at our high school field and people come from miles around to enjoy. There is just something about fireworks that brings out the kid in me – nostalgia at its very finest. We always pack a cooler filled with good chow and brews, plop our lawn chairs down in our usual spot of 15 years, and of course I bring a selection of the finest premium hand rolled sticks from a smattering of tobacco producing nations. A bunch of my buddies and I will each spark up a stick (or five) as our smoke rivals that of the town’s gunpowder laden display. Sure we piss some people off, and the dirty looks are for certain, but this celebration is all about FREEDOM – the freedom to enjoy our lives in a country that was founded on an awful lot of smoke and fireworks.

One of the things so many people forget is that the tobacco trade was a gigantic part of our nation’s beginnings and president George Washington was in on that, and a whole lotta whiskey, to boot. In fact, Washington, Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and Paul Revere were all noted tobacco growers. Before cotton, tobacco was actually the chief cash crop in the United States. In 1776, during the Revolutionary War, tobacco actually helped finance the revolution by serving as collateral for loans that our country borrowed from France. Wow, the education you can get right here, only on the JR Blog, do tell.

For any holiday or special occasion, I spend serious time considering and picking out the cigars that will be smoked during the festivities. What kind of stinks this year is that the 4th falls on a Wednesday and there are no long weekends in store for anyone. So I really have to pick out my smokes for just the one day and then regroup my thinking and tactics come next weekend. I always start off early with a mild to medium choice, then on to medium bodied, then finish out with fuller flavored smokes. And what better cigar to start the day of our independence off than with the Alec Bradley American Classic – a Connecticut-seed Honduran wrapper intermingled with a flavorful binder and hearty blend of long fillers from the town of Condega, located in the province of Estelí, Nicaragua, to create a mild-to-medium-bodied, smooth, and creamy smoke with great balance and a sweet cedar finish. Starting off with anything less would be downright unpatriotic!

I’m not sure about the other smokes for the Fourth, as I really do have to go thru the list and weigh my options carefully. But the one thing you can count on is that I am going to celebrate my freedom as an American and enjoy the living hell out of the free time I have, with family and friends, and of course, the cigars I love and cherish.

And speaking of our freedoms… I urge you to 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! >>

Have a great 4th of July, my friends!


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

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


Nat Sherman Timeless

Friday, June 29th, 2012

This is a first impression review. As you probably know, I try to smoke at least two or three cigars before reviewing. Lack of availability made that impossible this time. This isn’t a big deal, but worth noting…

Matt, from, was generous enough to send me some cigars, which included the Nat Sherman Timeless. I have never had any Nat Sherman cigars, so I looked forward to giving it a try. As always, I paired with water.


Wrapper: Honduran

Binder: Dominican

Filler: Dominican and Nicaraguan

Size: 6.25 x 52

Price: Around $8.50


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The oily wrapper was shiny, with brown and light brown color variations. Overall it looked good, just a bit rugged. The smell of the wrapper was earthy, and the foot was cedar. The cigar was solidly packed, and I could find no soft spots. The draw had slight resistance, which is how I prefer it. The pre-light draw was sweet, cedary, and mild.

The ash held for about an inch and a half, and the burn required several small corrections.

1 Nat_Sherman_Timeless cigars


The first third started out with a smooth earthy flavor. After about a half of an inch, an easy pepper, along with coffee, joined in. The coffee didn’t have a lot of bitterness that you would associate with black coffee. The pepper wasn’t of the traditional black variety, and it packed just a little zing. As I got towards the end of this third, the smoke feel became thicker, sweet, and somewhat creamy. This mixed with the coffee nicely. I can only equate it to adding a little cream and sugar to coffee.

2 Nat_Sherman_Timeless cigars

The second third kept the same basic flavors. The body increased slightly, and the smoke feel became a bit more creamy. The pepper developed a little more zing, but remained easy to smoke. Otherwise, it was coffee, mixed with a bit of sugar and cream.

3 Nat_Sherman_Timeless cigars

The last third went back to the basics, but in a good way. There was an uptick on the zingy pepper. The creaminess took a back seat, as did the sweetness. It was basically an easy, not too bitter black coffee with pepper.

4 Nat_Sherman_Timeless cigars


This was a solid medium bodied cigar. There was certainly no wow factor, but the flavors were simple, refined and smooth. Construction was good as well. If I run across them again, I’ll give the Timeless another try.

We’re Making Some Progress by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012


This past week has been a pretty good one.  The Associated Press’s tobacco writer (yup apparently they have one) wrote a rather lengthy article titled Cigar lovers to FDA: A cigar isn’t just a cigar.  That story then was picked up in the Washington Post.

The story was decent, except for the idea that the 2009 law passed by the democrat-controlled House and Senate actually gave FDA authority over cigars.  Cigars were omitted from the bill’s language and the FDA has been pushing for it every since.  The article talked about the efforts to pass laws to help protect the premium cigar industry House Resolution 1639  (which has 206 sponsors) and Senate bill 1461 (which has 12 sponsors). (More  sponsors are needed. The IPCPR and CRA are working Capitol Hill to get more support for the legislation but nothing beats hearing from constituents in the home district. Be sure to contact your Congressman and Senator via the IPCPR’s legislative action pages…just click the above links.)

According to the article:

“U.S. tobacco sales topped $107 billion in 2011, but only 7 percent, or $7.77 billion, consisted of cigars, according to statistics from Euromonitor International. And of the 7 billion cigars sold annually, only about 250 million of them qualify as premium, handmade cigars that range in price from $6 to $30.”

Bill Spann, the CEO of the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association, says premium cigars are the equivalent of fine wines or craft beers, adding “You don’t have a middle-schooler or high schooler standing on the corner with a $15 Davidoff sticking out of his mouth.”

Also this week,  the House Appropriations Committee passed a funding bill for the FDA and in the bill’s language came what is called a “stern warning” to the FDA.  The committee added this:

“The committee reminds FDA that premium cigars have unique characteristics and cost-prohibitive price points and are not marketed to kids. Any effort to regulate cigars should take these items into consideration.”

But that has not stopped the anti’s from frothing about children and cigars they say the IPCPR bills to protect small businesses (i.e. mom & pop cigar stores) would cover cheap mass produced cigars as well.

Spann, who will not comment on pending legislation, did say about the opposition’s lines, “That means they either have not read the two and a half page double spaced bill or they are lying.”  Personally I bet on the latter.  It is always about the children and no one ever mentions that it is already illegal for anyone under 18 to actually buy a tobacco product.

On Thursday, the Fox station in Tampa did a story on J.C. Newman  and the potential of the FDA control over cigars.  Newman, maker of Cuesta Rey, talked about the possibility of putting graphic warnings on tobacco products like the FDA is trying with cigarettes.  Eric Newman responded:

“One of our good selling cigars, Diamond Crown Julius Caesar, there’s a picture of my grandfather on the label when he was 20 years old,” said Newman. “I’ll be danged if I’m gonna put a picture of a dead baby, just because the government says so, right next to my grandfather.”

Packaging Truth

Speaking of packaging, in the U.K. the government is pushing for plain packaging for cigarettes.  This is a forerunner of what the anti’s want to do here.  It is not sitting well with consumers ( i.e. smokers).  Some of you may remember the BBC comedy show Yes Minister from the 80s and a staple of PBS until recently (thought it still may be airing somewhere in the US.)  But an English group called Hands Off Our Packs has produced a parody of the t-v show which actually hits on the truth about the government’s true motives.  And be sure to watch  the whole thing….it is for the children after all.

Hat tip to Chris Snowdon.

Cigar making up for Davidoff

Oettinger Davidoff (maker of the $25 cigars favored by little delinquents….not) reported its earnings and while they were down slightly because of currency fluctuations there was  encouraging news.  Sales were up slightly but the company’s  annual cigar production increased to 34.4 million cigars which is up nearly 7% from the previous year.  Davidoff makes the namesake Davidoff brand, along with the popular Avo  and Camacho.

Kalifornia done

Apparently the other side FINALLY has given up on Prop 29 which would have increased the cigar tax by over 70%.  The vote was close and the no side was winning but the anti’s refused to give up.  According to the Associated Press, the yes side is admitting defeat.

We are now about 28,000 votes ahead and with only 150 thousand left to count…it is game, set and match.  But the game is not over…according to the report the anti’s may try the legislative route and it adds:

“Missouri voters are expected to weigh in on a tobacco tax increase in November and similar taxes are working their way through the legislative process in the Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Illinois.”

We need to keep involved!

Liga Privada No. 9 by Drew Estate

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

First, a HUGE THANKS to Todd and Julia from I was recently a victim of an unprovoked cigar bomb. Included was the cigar up for review today.

I’ve had the T52 before, as well as the No. 9, but not in a long time. They are simply too hard to find around here, and I’m too lazy to order them online. The Drew Estate website has a lot of background information, so check it out. I just care about the experience, so let’s get to it…


Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf (ligero)

Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina

Filler: Honduran and Nicaraguan

Size: Robusto 5 x 52

Price: Around $10.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The dark wrapper looked great. It had a shiny, oily, and appetizing appearance. The only flaw was a small split near the foot. This was most likely a handling issue, and wasn’t a big deal. The smell of the wrapper was cedar. The foot was more of a dense, natural tobacco earthiness. The cigar was solidly packed, with only minor variations in density. The draw had slight resistance, just the way I like it. The pre-light flavor was interesting and unique. It’s hard to describe… Musty, earthy, bitter coffee, and a tanginess that I couldn’t put my finger on.

The burn required three minor corrections, and the ash held for about 1.5 inches.

1 Liga_Privada_no9 cigars Drew Estate


Out of the gate, the first third opened up with espresso. Retrohaling revealed an easy pepper, and perhaps a slight leathery note. As I progressed, the pepper developed some zing. The espresso increased in richness, and a tinge of sweetness was noticed. The aftertaste was a combination of these flavors, along with earthy notes. The smoke feel was dense and satisfying.

2 Liga_Privada_no9 cigars Drew Estate

The denseness of the smoke feel increased in the second third. The espresso didn’t go anywhere, but is was dialed back just a little bit. This allowed the earthiness and spicy pepper to stand out a bit more. A subtle sweetness lingered in the background.

3 Liga_Privada_no9 cigars Drew Estate

The last third went well. The spice left a tingly sensation throughout the entire palate, and it stuck around quite awhile after exhaling. The flavors pretty much kept pace with the second third, but everything seemed smoother.

4 Liga_Privada_no9 cigars Drew Estate


This was an excellent medium to full bodied cigar. My simple palate, combined with a similar writing style, may not do this cigar justice. The flavors weren’t anything that I would consider out of the ordinary, but the delivery was. Rich, refined flavors, along with subtle changes, made me dread putting this smoke down. On the downside, the price is a little high, and finding them isn’t easy. I still think the Liga Privada No. 9 is worth the asking price, and makes for a special treat. Go get some!

The Impressionistic Cigar Lover is Gone, by Tommy Zman

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

One of the most prolific artists of the second half of the 20th century as passed away, an ardent cigar lover whose impressionistic style made him a commercial success and a notable figure to the sports world.

Back in 1998 I launched my own cigar Magazine, called the Back Room and was looking for some good original content to make my pub different than the 100 cigar rags that were popping up left and right during the cigar boom of the 90’s. I was attending a private party at The Manor in South Orange, New Jersey and amongst all of the well-dressed guests, sitting at the bar was a man in a gray sweatsuit listening to two cackling hens who were vying for his attention. Only a LeRoy Neiman with his trademark mustache could get away with such attire at an affair like this, and as a longtime fan of his work, I wanted to grab his attention away. I stood there thinking that the guy looked almost naked sitting there without a cigar sticking out from under that stash, so I did what any purveyor of the burning leaf world do.

As I approached he glanced upward, while I gently removed a Cuban Montecristo #2 from my fancy-shmancy leather case. Without a word I held out my hand, gracing his presence with the magnificent dark brown torpedo. His eyes widened like a kid on Christmas morning as he gladly removed the Cuban treasure from my mitts.

“For me?!”, he asked quite innocently, while ignoring the babbling yentas.

“Of course it’s for you,” I said with a chuckle, “Who else is in need of a fine smoke as much as you?” And at that moment, I had made myself a new best friend.

We spoke for a while as LeRoy seemed to take curious interest in The Back Room. He really liked the idea of a cigar lifestyle magazine that the New York are could call its own. And why shouldn’t he have? The artist had spent 37 years of his life in the same studio location on Manhattan’s upper west side. He was a true New Yorker who had made cigars a part of his life since he was 16 years of age. But the best part of all came when he asked if I wanted to spend a day in his Central Park studio for an interview for the Back Room. Wow, when serendipity knocks it’s a wonderful thing, indeed.

When I arrived at Neiman’s studio, I was blown away as he walked me in – a cover painting for the Goodwill games was in an easel to the right… on the table before me lied six Gibson Les Paul guitars with fresh paintings of BB King on them… and as we walked into his office, unopened cigar boxes were lined from floor to ceiling, gifts from everyone who had entered his way-cool abode. And of course, I graciously added several fine sticks to his collection.

I got to spend three occasions with LeRoy, and better yet, smoked cigars with him all three times. In our last meeting he told me one of the coolest reasons I have ever heard on why he loved cigars. He said, “Because a cigar is honest.” Wow… a cigar is honest. I had never viewed a premium hand-rolled stick that way before. “There’s nothing remotely pretentious about a cigar, Tommy. You cut it, light it, smoke it, and then it is gone forever. The person smoking it could be pretentious, but the cigar just does the job it was born to do.”

Again… wow.

LeRoy Neiman, the world was graced with your amazing style, both personally and on canvas. I will never forget the generosity you displayed to me and the experience of being a part of your world for just a short time. Rest well, my friend, and I hope you brought a enough smokes for Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Picasso.


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

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

Quesada Q D’Etat Molotov

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Thanks to Matt for sending me a couple of these cigars to smoke and review. The Quesada Q D’Etat is a limited line, with three available sizes. They will be released at different times. More information can be found here.

I reviewed the Howitzer not too long ago, and though it was good. Not great, but not bad. Regardless, I looked forward to trying this size. Let’s see how it went.


Wrapper: Dominican

Binder/Filler: Dominican

Size: 5 x 38

Price: Around $8.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper glistened with oil, and had no flaws to speak of. The appearance was a little toothy, but it was consistent and looked nice. The smell of the wrapper was cedar and a touch of barnyard. Overall, the cigar was evenly packed, with no hard or soft spots. The draw had some resistance, but nothing extreme. The pre-light draw tasted of cedar, with a tangy note.

The burn required no corrections, and the ash held for about 1.5 inches.

1 Quesada_Q_DEtat_Molotov cigars


The first third had a quick ramp up of flavors. Don’t get the wrong idea, it wasn’t anything terribly complex, but it was good. Wood was up first, followed by a peppery spice. I picked up earthy notes in the background. As burned in to the larger ring gage portion of the cigar, a mild floral flavor was noticed.

2 Quesada_Q_DEtat_Molotov cigars

The second third had a dominant spicy tingle, with a tingly sweetness. It was easy to smoke, yet had a decent zing. Woodiness was up next. As I progressed part the large ring gage, and back into the smaller part, the floral flavor decreased. A combination of everything clung to the mouth and lips for some time.

3 Quesada_Q_DEtat_Molotov cigars

The last third took on a thick smoke feel, and bordered on creaminess. The peppery, sweet spice was present. Like before, woody flavors remained throughout. From time to time, that elusive floral note would appear. Far in the background, I picked up earthiness. A sweet cocoa was noticed as I approached the end of the cigar.

4 Quesada_Q_DEtat_Molotov cigars


This was a good medium to full bodied cigar. If you are wondering, yes, I liked it more than the Howitzer. The smaller ring gage of this cigar seemed to have more focused flavors. Construction was good, as were the flavors. Does it meet the price point? I’m on the fence, but I think it is at least worth trying.

Cigar Smoker Event–My Father Cigars

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

To anyone who already knows me… I rarely attend cigar events. Forced camaraderie and friendship isn’t my thing. But, when my pal Ed, of St. Pete Cigar, has a smoker event, I make a point to show some support.

If you enjoy a laid back atmosphere, with no pressure to fit in, stop by for a smoke or two.


The event is Friday, June 22nd, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. Click HERE for details.

As you would expect, there will be plenty of door prizes, grub, and one day only deals.

See you there!

Fuente Delays Celebration by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
Fuente Delays Celebration

Fuente Postpones Celebration

2012 is the 100thanniversary of the founding of the Arturo Fuente cigar company.  At last summer’s IPCPR trade show, Carlito Fuente talked about the plans the family had to celebrate their centennial.  Alas, a month later, tragedy struck the company when fire destroyed two of the Fuente’s warehouses in the Dominican Republic.  The exact cost of the loss and what tobaccos were damaged has not been reported (as far as I can determine).  But Carlito told Cigar Aficionado at the time the loss included some “irreplaceable tobaccos that had been purchased in 1990 from a Connecticut grower and may have been harvested as long ago as 1960.”

It was thought the company would still push ahead with its celebration and special cigars, but then, Carlito posted that would not be the case.  He said:

” There are times when fate has other plans for us, and this is one of those times.

As you know, we planned to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Arturo Fuente cigars this year with several special events.  However, fate stepped in and handed us a series of personal and professional challenges that have made this year a trying time.”

He continues to say that the family decided to postpone the celebrations for a year until 2013 at which time they will mark the first year of the second century.

The family reportedly was planning a special 858 Anniversary cigar along with a new Don Arturo line and special Opus X cigars called Angels Share.

Perdomo Marks 20 years

Perdomo 20th

Cigarmaker Nick Perdomo is about to chalk up his 20th year in the business and to commemorate the occasion,  Nick is putting out a special 20th Anniversary cigar.  On Friday, Nick put up a sneak peak for an hour on youtube…The cigar apparently is going to be unveiled at the IPCPR trade show and shipped in September.  In looking at the video, the cigar appears to be a dark box-pressed toro or robusto (kinda hard to tell from the video what the size is.)

We took this picture off the video which has been taken down after the one hour it was up.



Capitol Hill Progress

It should be noted that S 1461 in the Senate has picked up its 12th co-sponsor.  S-1461 is the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act.  It is the Senate version of the House bill which already has 203 co-sponsors.  These bills are aimed at preventing the FDA from taking control over premium cigars.  Last week, National Review wrote a story on the bills.

As expected the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids is out against the bills saying they will turn more youths to smoking.  Of course they always fail to note that it is already illegal for anyone under 18 to actually BUY cigars or cigarettes. But none the less they hammer about youths between 12 and 17 buying cigars.  Right.

Then comes this group…Faith United Against Tobacco.  Apparently the anti-tobacco goons are trying to co-opt faith now as well.  Anyway, these useful idiots are pushing Congress not to pass the FDA-Cigar exemption.   The group says:

“We know all too well that the tobacco companies continue to spend billions of dollars to attract people to their deadly products and we urge you not to weaken FDA’s authority to protect children and others from cigars and all other tobacco products.”

So who is this Faith United?  It is another shell group courtesy of George Soros and the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation.  RWJ has given $84 million to pay for Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, which in turn begat Faith United.   But to RWJ this is a drop in the bucket since it has spent nearly a half billion dollars pushing smoking bans.  Why?  Hmmm, could it be that the company sells Nicoderm and Nicorette finds it in its financial interest? That would be Johnson and Johnson the company founded by Robert Woods Johnson.

We cannot compete on money, but we can pressure Congress.  If you haven’t sent your Senator or Congressman a letter, do it now via the IPCPR.  It is easy and we need more sponsors.

California Update

In the vote against the huge cigar tax in California, Prop 29, they are still counting ballots.  The No side is still winning, although our margin has shrunk to  17,534.  They will cheat when they can.

Room 101 Namakubi

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

I’m not sure where I got this cigar from. If you gave it to me, let me know, and I’ll give proper credit. For the record, this is a first impressions review. This means I’ve only had one, this one, to review. Normally I have at least two, but I prefer 3 to 5 cigars for a review. Anyway… Namakubi, such a strange name. Apparently is means “Freshly severed head.” I admit it, I think that’s a pretty cool name. The band caught my attention too. From what I could gather, this is a limited cigar, but you can still find it out there on the Internet.

As always, I paired this cigar with filtered, fine Florida tap water. Room temperature mind you. Cold drinks seem to dull my palate.


Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Generoso Honduran

Filler: Dominican, Nicaragua, Honduran

Size: Sucio 7 x 48

Price: Around $9.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The tan, almost reddish colored wrapper was oily, and overall nice looking. It had a split that I was able to repair with pectin. I suspect this flaw was a handling issue, not a construction flaw. The wrapper had a nice cedary odor, and the foot was more of a dark earthiness. Overall, the cigar was firmly and evenly packed. The draw was free, with just the right amount of resistance. The pre-light flavor was an interesting combination of wood and some kind of tanginess.

The burn required one minor correction, and the ash held for about 1.5 inches. About the split wrapper, that was a non issue. It is worth repeating, it was shipping and handling damage.

1 Room_101_Namakubi cigars


The first third had an easy, simple, yet interesting flavor profile. The main flavor was wood. Up next was something that reminded me of tea. When retrohaling, there was almost no spice at all. It was only towards the end of this third that a mild sweet spice reared it’s head. The smoke feel was clingy. By that, I mean it seemed to stick to the inside of the mouth for awhile.

2 Room_101_Namakubi cigars

The second third took on a syrupy sweet feel. This mochish sweetness mixed evenly with a woody flavor. Through the nose, a nice peppery, sweet spice developed. The aftertaste lingered and stuck to the mouth and sinus like before.

3 Room_101_Namakubi cigars

The last third saw the sweet spice increase a bit, and it left a cinnamon tingle on the lips. The sweet spice and creamy smoke feel dominated the flavor profile. Up next was cedar, and a sweet bitter note.

4 Room_101_Namakubi cigars


This was a good medium, to maybe lower full bodied cigar. I like the gradual buildup of the flavor profile and body. It made the two hour commitment well worth it. Construction, ash, draw, and flavor were all good. Is it worth the asking price? I think so. If you run across them, I’d say pick a couple up.

The AMAZING People of the CIGAR Biz, by Tommy Zman

Friday, June 15th, 2012

I have been so incredibly fortunate during my time covering the cigar industry to meet and befriend many of the amazing people who have worked so hard to make this industry one of the greatest that anyone could ever work in. These people are in love with what they do and are committed to the lifestyle of the cigar smoker. And that’s why I’ve been on a rampage lately, being very vocal about supporting Cigar Rights of America and the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association. With the danger looming of the FDA regulating cigars, I have actually never been more appreciative of the dedicated industry people of the coveted leaf.

The coolest thing about spending time with these people is seeing and feeling the passion oozing right out of their very soul. I spent five whole days in the Dominican Republic and Honduras with then General Cigar CEO, Daniel Nunez, and I THOUGHT I knew about the cigar business before I met this wonderful and humble man. The guy was running an empire but catered to me and treated me like I was the most important person in the world. I will NEVER forget his unconditional kindness.

I was SO incredibly fortunate to spend some quality time with two cigar greats who are no longer with us – Frank Llaneza and Sal Fontana. Frank was a kind and caring soul who talked about the cigars he made like they were his very own children. And Sal, was one of the funniest and quick witted men I have ever met. Spending three days with him at the IPCPR show in Vegas a couple years back had me laughing non-stop, actually crying out loud at times. These are two men that are sorely missed by so many.

Then there are some of today’s great people who work harder and travel the globe more than any people I have ever known. People like Carlos Fuente, Rocky Patel, Benji Menendez, and Nick Perdomo are true patriots of the cigar biz. And then there are several who I can actually call my friends, guys who are making a tremendous impact on a personal level with the cigar fans – George Sosa of Alec Bradley, Jose Blanco of Joya de Nicaragua, Rene Castaneda of Miami Cigars, Jonathan Drew and Steve Saka, Pete Johnson, and Christian Eiroa. I like to refer to these guys as a part of the Extraordinary League of Gentlemen in the world of premium aged, hand rolled cigars.

Last, and certainly not least, I couldn’t write a piece like this without talking about longtime JR Cigars owner and chief funnyman, the great Lew Rothman. His JR Catalog pieces are forever legendary and were a definite influence on the way I write about cigars.  I personally owe a hell of a lot to Lew, a guy who recognized some kind of talent or something in me, and gave me my shot at covering the cigar business. Guys like Lew Rothman NEVER retire, so I really don’t know how he eventually did it. Cigars are in his blood and I have never met a man like him. And Lew, if you’re reading this, I’ll never forget Honduras and the D.R. and you telling me on our layover in West Palm Beach, “Tommy, we all just took a vote… for you to shut the f@#k up!”

So that’s my personal ode to my friends whose labor of love is this amazing business. We cigar smokers cannot let these men down as we need to continue to fight the FDA, nanny state jurisdiction, and intrusive government intervention.

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!

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