Archive for August, 2012

A Cigar – Perhaps the most Important Moment of the Day, by Tommy Zman

Friday, August 31st, 2012

There’s a saying that goes, “The Best cigar in the world is the one you’re smoking right now.”  Well, it’s not only true, but kind of deep and profound – pretty existential, actually. (Yeah, you can go look that word up, I’m too busy going with the flow here with my smokey thoughts.) No matter what cigar you’re smoking, what time it is, or where you are smoking it doesn’t really matter as much as the fact that you are enjoying the hand rolled product created by some wonderful Latin American people who live far south of us.

I think what’s cool about cigar smoking is that it’s not only a very personal thing, but a very psychological thing as well. Cigars are an amazing tool, a vessel if you will, that when lit and puffed, put us in the moment. When we are enjoying our  J•R Edicion Limitadas, Camaco Corojos, or Sancho Panza Extra Fuertes, Oliva V’s, did you ever notice that NOTHING else around you exists other than the people or things that are in your personal space at that very moment in time? Whether you’re alone on your patio, or with friends (at a place that actually even allows public smoking these days) a cigar grounds you in that spot in time. It’s almost like there is no work, or future at all, it’s just you and that brown leafy cylinder that’s doing the job it was born to do.

When you’re alone with a cigar, perhaps after dinner, at night when the rest of the family is elsewhere, your mind begins to unravel and allows the troubles of the world to melt away, if only for that 45 minutes to an hour. Even upon that very first puff, your mind sends a signal to the rest of your body that it’s time to cut out that worrying or sad crap, because plain and simple: cigars don’t do worry and sad. You ever see guys break out cigars at a funeral and smoke around the casket? Uh-uh. Your puros are meant for good times and celebration, and every time that you light up, your brain really does produce endorphins that communicate with the rest of your being, where it’s kind of like, “All right boys, the Don Pepin is lit, time to shut ‘er down for a while.”

Just look at when we celebrate, I can tell you with most certainty that there is no greater pleasure in this world than celebrating an event or an achievement with a good cigar. Many a wedding, bachelor party, birth, job promotion, and sporting championship has been christened with a premium aged, hand rolled tobacco throughout the ages, (a ritual that is no doubt becoming endangered by the Anti-smoking zealots of this world.) And while many of us enjoy a nice smoke on a daily basis, there is something extra-rewarding about crowning a special occasion by firing up your favorite smoke – while keeping in mind that your favorite smoke indeed is the one you’re smoking at that very moment. (I guess you figured that was going to make it’s way back around into the picture.) Life itself is always something worth celebrating, and as you all know, a good cigar just makes it all the more special.

So like I said, our cigars are very personal to us, and psychologically pleasing to the mind, body, and yes, even the soul. Listen, we all have our own crap going on, and even the littlest diversions help to keep our sanity in check – and that’s why cigar smoking is WAY high at the top of the list for me and probably you too if you are a reader of this blog.

You know guys, these are all the reasons why we cannot let the anti-smoking zealots continue on with their attempts to take our cigars away, literally regulating them out of existence. Our smokes are just way too important to the preservation of life and fight we must, however we must, and as long as it takes to protect the industry, along with our right to choose a legal product and enjoy it. Those who don’t smoke have no idea how important this is to us, and I say it’s time they found out because NO ONE is going to take away my daily bouts of existentialism.

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! >>


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

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



Montecristo Epic

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Thanks to Altadis for sending me samples of the Epic. They have a cool little packaging thing going on. Basically, when Altadis sends samples to idiots like me, they are in customized “Blogger Edition” boxes of three. Pretty cool! Anyway…

It is claimed that this is a limited production run. Some smokers say that the Epic breaks away from your standard ho-hum Montecristo. Mike also said that this is only available at brick and mortar shops. I can appreciate that. I assume this is to appeal to more smokers like myself. So without further ado…


Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Vintage 2007 Nicaraguan and Dominican

Size: Toro 6 x 52

Price: $14.00

1 Montecristo_Epic cigars

Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper was shiny with oil, and it had no flaws to speak of. The odor from the wrapper was earth, wood, and a slight, spicy tingle in the nose. I could only get a earthiness, and a generic sweetness, off of the foot. The cigar wasn’t consistently packed, but it was nothing of concern. Some minor hard and soft spots were randomly found. The draw was a little snug, but within my tolerances. The pre-light flavor was interesting, and I had a hard time pinning it down. It was sweet, bitter, and floral.

The burn required two corrections, and the ash held for around one inch.

2 Montecristo_Epic cigars


The first third was pretty straight forward, but interesting. As I chewed, swished, and exhaled smoke, the flavors introduced themselves in the following order: Coffee, wood, easy pepper, and a nutty component at the end. The smoke feel was smooth, with just a little zing through the nose.

3 Montecristo_Epic cigars

The second third had an uptick in strength and body. The flavors smoothed out, and mixed together more evenly. Straight cocoa joined the flavor profile, and as you would expect, there was a slight bitter component. The smoke feel became dense, and borderline creamy.

4 Montecristo_Epic cigars

The last third changed up a bit. Coffee was the dominant flavor. Up next was cocoa. Think of cooking chocolate or dark chocolate. Retrohaling revealed a zingy pepper, with a woody component. The smoke feel became crisp and dry.

5 Montecristo_Epic cigars


This was a good, even a very good, full bodied cigar. From beginning to end, it fired on all cylinders. If I had to complain, I would say the price is high. That alone would probably make me pass this cigar on the shelf. $14.00 is out of my comfort zone. But, if money is no object, and this sounds like something you’d like, I say go for it. It is a good smoking experience.

Freedom and Courts by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

When you get through with the trade show, there are so many cigars and so little time to smoke them all, it takes a while to go through them.  One, which will ship to stores this week, is Freedom by Rocky Patel.  Made at his Tabacusa factory in Esteli,  it uses an Oscuro wrapper over Nicaraguan filers and binder.  The cigar is medium to full bodied with lush flavors.  The name Freedom is apropos considering the fight Rocky and others in the industry are having to keep the FDA out of our cigars.  (BTW if you have not petitioned your congressman or senator, please do so now.)

But the name has other meanings as well.  The cigar actually is named for the Carnival Cruise ship Freedom which will host Rocky’s Cigar Cruise  next April.  It comes in four sizes—Robusto (5”x50), Toro (6”x52), Torpedo (6.125”x52) and Sixty (6”x60).  The suggested price runs $7.50 for the Robusto up to $8.50 for the Sixty.


Another Court Win


On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled 2-1 to uphold a lower court decision which said the graphic warnings on cigarette packs are unconstitutional.  In essence, the court told the FDA to go back to the drawing board.  The court ruled that the case raises questions about the ability of the government to force the manufacturers to go beyond factual information and literally undermine their own economic interests.


The court also wrote that the FDA “has not provided a shred of evidence” showing that the warnings will “directly advance” its interest in reducing the number of Americans who smoke.

 Going Further:

Although the FDA “makes much of the ‘international consensus’ surrounding the effectiveness of large graphic warnings,” it “offers no evidence showing that such warnings have directly caused a material decrease in smoking rates in any of the countries that now require them.”

 This matter will probably end up in the Supreme Court.


Look ahead, Look Down under


Speaking of courts…last week we noted the Australian High Court ruling that plain packaging for cigarettes was hunky dory.  For those who think we can negotiate with the anti’s need to pay attention.  According to Chris Snowdon, Tasmania is looking at banning all tobacco sales.

The deal would be for anyone born in the year 2000 or later, tobacco would be off limits.  Mostly they are talking about cigarettes but they say tobacco which most likely would include cigars.  According to the article, Finland and Singapore are considering similar laws.


Jann Smith from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Council says it is unclear whether the move will help smokers to quit.

“If we’re talking about changing this, we can also see consequences that we might not have thought through,” she said.

“So there could be a black market that would emerge. There could be a range of other consequences that we need to think through.”


According to Snowdon:


As with Ireland’s smoking ban and Australia’s plain packaging law, the real motivation is for undistinguished politicians and lobbyists to make a name for themselves by being “exciting” and bullying a minority in the knowledge that their only financed opposition is a demonised industry.

Nowhere in this article is there any suggestion that grown adults—now or in the future—might have the right to buy and smoke tobacco if they want to. It’s a sort of “think of the children even when they are no longer children” argument, which is fitting since Australian politicians clearly see the whole population as children and themselves as—what other word can there be?—nannies.

I have increasingly come to believe that the worst thing about Australia is that it is not far enough away.


Not too Sweet in Sugarland



Down in the Houston suburb of Sugarland, the smell of cigar and pipe smoke has prompted a landlord to apparently change the conditions of a cigar store’s lease.  For the past four and a half years,  smokers have been using an outdoor patio at Cigar Cigar to enjoy their cigars.  Now no more.


Owners of Cigar Cigar say they received a letter from the property management in May stating that it was changing the rules of its lease, prohibiting smoking of cigars or pipes within all outdoor or common areas. Cigarette smoking, however, is still allowed.


Store general manager Tom Parks says according to city ordinance, the smoking is legal, but the property management company and owners want to change that.  Needless to say the matter is going to court.


This is a toughie.  I appreciate the store’s position, especially if the property management company is changing the terms of the existing lease.  However, this is a property rights issue and as such the owner of the property can go no smoking if desired.  I find the fact that cigarette smoking still being allowed is interesting and this should prove to be an interesting case since obviously it has nothing to do with second hand smoke and more about the smell.

Quesada Oktoberfest 2012

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Where have I been?! I took a week off of blogging. Not to worry, this site won’t suffer the same fate as my Twitter account. One thing worth mentioning is, winners for the cigar giveaway will be drawn soon, and I’ll post the winners. Otherwise, things will be business as usual. On to the review!

The Quesada Oktoberfest was one of my favorite cigars of 2011. Being limited in production, I still managed to keep some in my humidor for most of the year. The 2012 release has some new sizes, one of them being the Das Boot. When Ed got his shipment from Sag Imports, I immediately stocked up. So, with water, not beer, let’s see how the 2012 Oktoberfest treated me.


Wrapper: Dominican

Binder & Filler: Dominican

Size: Das Boot 6 x 52

Price: Around $8.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper glistened with oil, and simply looked great. I can only describe the scent of the wrapper as cedar, some sweet spices, and a hint of barnyard. The foot basically had an earthy, woody odor. The cigar was solidly packed, with some minor soft spots here and there. The pre-light draw had some resistance, but fell within my comfort zone. The cold draw tasted woody and earthy, with a hint of sweet spice.

1 Quesad_Oktoberfest cigars


The first started off with a dominant woody flavor. Retrohaling revealed a fairly easy pepper. It wasn’t the burn your face kind, and reminded me of cayenne pepper. Up next was a mild bitterness that you’d associate with black coffee. Again, it was nothing I’d call “In your face,” but there were no subtleties either.

2 Quesad_Oktoberfest cigars

The second third didn’t have any significant changes in flavor. Spice may have developed a little more zing, but everything pretty much remained status quo. One thing worth noting is the smoke feel. It was dry and crisp.

3 Quesad_Oktoberfest cigars

The last third had a slight reduction in peppery spice. In addition to wood, pepper, and coffee notes, there was a sweet component. I can only compare it a tingly cinnamon. Simple, but good.

4 Quesad_Oktoberfest cigars


This was a damn good full bodied cigar. The Oktoberfest proves that flavor delivery is really what counts, not necessarily complexities. While many people insist that this cigar must be smoked with Oktoberfest beer, I have yet to try the combination. So if you are like me and don’t drink, I have seen no reduction in enjoyment as a result. Try these while you can!

PS – I reviewed the Bavarian last year, which was similar to this size. See how they compare.

Cigar Smoking… A Beautiful & Fleeting Encounter, by Tommy Zman

Friday, August 24th, 2012

A few nights ago I was walking around the Upper East side of Manhattan, cigar in hand, enjoying a gorgeous evening (along with one heck of a lot of gorgeous ladies, not that I normally notice that kind of thing, uh-huh). It’s such a nice neighborhood, lots of folks hustling and bustling about, jogging, walking dogs, pushing strollers, heading to their favorite restaurants – you get the picture, a classic cosmopolitan area in the Big Apple.

Now we know that New York’s Mayor Mikey has made it a no-no to smoke in a lot of areas, but your Zman here is a defiant CROMAG indeed, and if I want to enjoy a great cigar – OUTDOORS – where there’s billions of square feet of open air mixed with billions of pollutants from the gazillions of vehicles that drive through the city, well, THAT is what I choose to do. Am I condoning defiance of the readers here on the JR Blog? No, not at all… I’m condoning my own actions, and smoking a beautiful hand rolled cigar in the open air is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world to do – and until some government moron makes cigars illegal, then just call me an anarchist rebel and be on your way. And as I walked the streets, not only did no one complain, but on three occasions I was told how good my La Aurora Double Corona smelled.

So, I’m walking along 2nd Avenue, looking to hook up with my friend who flew in from the left coast, when I pass by this stunningly attractive lady, leaning back relaxed against a beam outside a fancy little French eatery, and this gal is also smoking a double corona sized cigar. I jammed on the breaks brakes from a fast-paced stroll as my eyes just gazed upon this smoking hot woman – yes, literally. You have to admit that this kind of thing is an odd site, indeed, especially in this fancy-shmancy neighborhood. So I did what any ultra-curious lover of the leaf would do – I went over to see what her story was because there’s always a story.

Like out of a movie I walked over and leaned myself on the beam next to her, puffing my double corona as she just laughed and puffed away as well. I introduced myself, assuring I wasn’t some weirdo cretin trying to hit on her. She smiled and said she knew I wasn’t and told me her name was Rachel and admitted that she gets a lot of weird stares when she’s outdoors enjoying her favorite smoke. I actually told her I thought she looked beautiful standing there and it was obvious how much she was enjoying the moment. Again, I can assure you all I wasn’t on the prowl, I was simply taken aback by such an unusual sight and situation, and when does a shlub like me get to oogle without making an ash of himself? (Not very often, that’s for sure.)

So before I could ask, she asked me, “What’s your story, Tommy?” Like I said, everyone’s got a story and this goddess was curious about mine (the ego was inflated beyond reproach at this point.) Now usually I’ll go with the line that I’m a CIA operative and blending in with Joe public was my assignment from headquarters for today, but somehow I knew that telling her I write smoky tales for the cigar world would be a hell of a lot more interesting to her. And much to my pleasant surprise she was a big fan of Cigar Magazine and had read many a story of mine. Whoa, get the hell outta here… no one this breathtaking has ever told me they were a fan of my work… most of my fans wear 3X guayaberas while hooked up intravenous to a bottle of 12 year old single malt. I was speechless.

And before I could get another word out of my dumbfounded, smoke-filled face, she said, “Oh, my husband is coming… it was just great meeting you Tommy, enjoy your cigar and the rest of the day.”

And like a puff of smoke into the nighttime air, she vanished. Wow… a truly bizarre, yet way-cool encounter on a random Wednesday evening in a cigar lover’s life. And there’s really no reason to write anything further, so, let’s just agree that we’ll meet here again next week.

DON’T MISS The NEW JR•Cigar Catalog is out and you can read my regular column on page 98: What Really Roasts My Robusto! This issue’s story is entitled: The Ultimate Answer to saving the World (and if you love cigars, you’re gonna love where I’m headed with this one!)

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! >>


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

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


Sixto by Plasencia, Science and Congrats by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

In the overwhelming release of new cigars at the trade show, one may have been overlooked. It is Don Sixto being marketed by General Cigar and made by the Plasencias in Honduras.  The Plasencias are known as growers of wonderful tobacco in Central America and makers of popular cigars such as Rocky Patel’s Edge, MATASA’s Casa Magna and Alec Bradley’s Black Market.

Don Sixto


To many people it is a Don Who?  But in reality it is named for Nestor Plasencia’s grandfather who arrived in Cuba at age 14 in 1890 and for Nestor’s father.  Sixto made the voyage from Spain by himself and immediately began working in his family’s established growing business in the Vuelta Abajo region.  Nestor’s father, Sixto, Jr., was born on the family farm and literally grew up in tobacco. The family prospered until the Cuban Revolution and in 1965 Sixto, Jr and his family left Cuba and ended up in Honduras thanks to an old friend, Julio Eiroa  (his family would make Camacho, Baccarat and La Fontana)who told him about the land, the tobacco and got the Plasencia family visas.


This new cigar from Nestor Plasencia honors his grandfather and is made from tobaccos grown on the farms that Nestor’s father cultivated for years.  The cigar uses Connecticut Honduras wrapper, a Habano Esteli binder with Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers.  The cigar is a medium plus body with complex flavors.  Don Sixto comes in 4 sizes, from a Robusto to a  Grande (6” x 60) with prices of $5.75 to $7.25.

Real Science

By now you may have read about the Canadian study which said eating eggs was just as bad as smoking.  You know I think I may agree but not for the study’s reasons.  I think most studies on smoking are about as sound as this one.  The study INTERVIEWED a bunch of people to ask them how many eggs they eat and how much they smoke etc.  Getting people to remember what they ate and how often is shoddy science.  In fact, within a or two day, ABC News actually had a story saying the egg study was not what it was cracked up to be.

“This is very poor quality research that should not influence patient’s dietary choices,” said Dr. Steven Nissen, who chairs the department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, in an email. “It is extremely important to understand the differences between ‘association’ and ‘causation’.”

Dr. Tom Linden, a medical journalism professor at the University of North Carolina,said journalists should exercise caution when writing about studies like this. He said they should put the studies into context by explaining the caveats and consulting experts

“The danger here is headline writers who aren’t necessarily science writers may go way overboard in headlining the story,” Linden said.

And yet when ever a study claims to find smoking dangers, the headlines scream and there is no moderation amongst the journalist class since everyone knows about 2nd hand smoke etc.

Bad News Down Under

You may or may not have seen that the Australian High Court upheld a new law that will take cigarette brands off of packaging and instead put graphic pictures of cancer-ridden mouths in their place. (By the way isn’t a virus responsible for many mouth cancers? Don’t let science get in the way.) The new packaging will be uniformly olive drab with scare warnings on them.  In the U-S there is a move to do the same thing here…fortunately we do have the First Amendment and apparently Australia does not.

What this plain packaging will do is remove premium cigarettes, since there will be no more Marlboro, and give the edge to cheaper alternatives.  Oh and drive more people to the black market.

Chris Snowden writes about the Australian decision and Professor Simon Chapman from the University of Sydney’s response to it where he said getting rid of the premium brands will hurt the cigarette companies.

The money is in the premium brands. The premium brands are about to lose much of their appeal and so people are going to turn to cheaper cigarettes. Pushing people onto cheaper cigarettes is not generally considered to be best practice in public health. But fear not, because Chapman has the solution…

But the Australian government can simply raise tobacco tax overnight as often as it needs to effectively maintain a floor price for cigarettes that will deter smokers from buying more than they could have afforded previously.

The man’s a genius! Make cigarettes more expensive and fewer people will buy them. Why has no one thought of this before?!

Since this is such a cunning plan, why not double the price of cigarettes? In fact, why not triple it?

Oh, that’s right. Because higher prices give massive incentives for people to buy cigarettes on the black market and it gives black marketeers further incentives to increase supply. That would explain why Ireland—the home of Europe’s most expensive cigarettes—has an illicit tobacco market which is off the frickin’ scale. Add plain packaging into the mix and you have cigarettes that are easier to counterfeit, combined with bigger profit margins from escalating tobacco duty. And, of course, organised criminals don’t care how old their customers are. Jeez, what could possibly go wrong?




Cigar Aficionado's 20th

The new issue of Cigar Aficionado is out and it is a celebration of the magazine’s 20th anniversary.  I have just skimmed it but there are look backs and looks ahead.  This magazine helped to start the cigar boom and may it have another 20.  Congratulations guys.

Cigar Smoker Courtesy, by Tommy Zman

Friday, August 17th, 2012

I really do think for the most part that cigar smokers are very courteous people by nature, always making quite the effort to keep their distance from those who do not partake. In a world full of anti-smoking zealots and Nazi fascist haters of tobacco, it really does behoove one to be as considerate as possible when it comes to smoking of any kind.

As much as we try to be considerate of others, there are those who are hell bent on putting us in our place while making a public spectacle of the situation. A few months back I wrote on this blog about a crazed smoke Nazi who attacked me on the open streets of New York City, lecturing me about his inability to breathe and that MY cigar was killing him. Without hesitation I got right back up in his pansy-ass grill reminding him he was walking around in a 2-block radius full of enough pollutants to bring about a zombie apocalypse. Did he care? Not at all… I was an evil smoking dirtbag and that’s all that really mattered.

And forget even trying to be being courteous in places like New York City’s Time Square where Johnny Law will issue you a $50 fine for firing your Fonseca! The city’s mayor cited upon passing the law that New Yorkers deserve to breathe clean fresh air. Meanwhile, it has been documented that over 300,000 cars, busses, taxi’s, trucks, and other vehicles spewing a plethora of toxins crawl through this tiny several block area every single day. Um, Mr. Bloomberg, can you give us a hint on where we might be some of this ‘clean & fresh air’ that you speak of?

It’s really hard to keep your composure when dealing with rude and vile people, but that’s the plight of today’s smoker. But no matter what, we really do owe it to those who don’t smoke, to do our best to keep our wafting love away. We know it’s the right thing to do, and as I said, I really do think most cigar lovers feel the same.

Hypothetically, just once, I know we’d all love to throw all caution to the wind and light our La Auroras anywhere we damned pleased, like in the olden days. I would loved to have been a guy like Winston Churchill who didn’t give a flying figurado where, when, and how much he smoked. This guy pissed off more people than Rosie O’Donnell at the Republican Convention buffet line. Old Winnie smoked his beloved cigars absolutely everywhere and didn’t care for a second who was offended. Upon lighting up a big fattie, when asked to extinguish his smoke, he’d either flat out tell the person NO, or he would just leave. The man was a total selfish bastard about it, but it was his brazen demeanor that made the guy such an effective and respected world leader.

As a side note… while it may sound incredible – let me correct myself – thoroughly unbelievable, as it has been calculated by those nerds who like to calculate, that during the course of his lifetime, old Winnie smoked in excess of 250,00 cigars. That’s right… that’s what I said… a quarter of a million stogies. And may I note that the man lived to the age of 91. And don’t think he didn’t drive his wife completely insane. The old man ruined so many of his fine silk pajamas while lighting up in his bed, that the Mrs, had a special flame retardant smoking bib made for him.

So while the anti’s keep on flailing away at our premium-aged armor, we must hold steadfast in our fight to save our cigars from extinction, all while remaining the courteous lovers of the leaf that we are. Now Smoke ‘em cuz ya gottem’, my friends….basically cuz I said so.

DON’T MISSThe NEW JR•Cigar Catalog is out and you can read my regular column on page 98: What Really Roasts My Robusto! This issue’s story is entitled: The Ultimate Answer to saving the World (and if you love cigars, you’re gonna love where I’m headed with this one!)

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! >>


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

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


La Flor Dominicana Ligero Oscuro

Friday, August 17th, 2012

I’ve been smoking the La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero for a few years now. The Ligero usually slips under my radar, until recently. I started enjoying these when I don’t want to risk the ass kicking of the Double Ligero. As always, I paired this cigar with water. Let’s see how it went.


Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra

Binder & Filler: Dominican

Size: L250 4 3/4 x 48

Price: $7.10


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper had a toothy and blotchy appearance. That may not sound so good, but it didn’t look bad at all. Perhaps “Rugged” is the word that fits here. I can only compare the scent of the wrapper and foot to sweet cedar. The cigar was solidly packed, perhaps too solid. This probably explained a draw that was a bit to tight for my liking. The pre-light flavor was sweet, and made the nose tingle a little bit.

It should be noted that I rarely have draw issues with any La Flor Dominicana cigar. Anyway… The ash held for just over an inch, and the burn required no corrections.

1 La_Flor_Dominicana_Ligero_Oscuro cigars


The first third came out of the gate with a nice black pepper. Retrohaling, when done with care, was no problem at all. Wood was up next, and it was of equal strength as the pepper. Espresso notes were noticeable in the aftertaste. The smoke feel was dry and crisp.

2 La_Flor_Dominicana_Ligero_Oscuro cigars

The second third kept that zingy pepper. If anything, I had to pay extra attention to retrohaling. The strength of the espresso increased, and it took on tinge of sweetness. Wood was up next, along with earthy notes. The smoke feel became smoother, but stayed shy of creamy.

3 La_Flor_Dominicana_Ligero_Oscuro cigars

Wood was the dominant flavor in the last third, behind the pepper that is. Espresso was up next, along with a note of earthiness. Everything was basically up front, and nothing stood out over the other.

4 La_Flor_Dominicana_Ligero_Oscuro cigars


This was a very good full bodied cigar. As you might expect, it sits right below the double ligero in terms of strength. It offers plenty of flavor, minus the ass kicking. Construction is generally good. It was luck that I’d review the one with a snug draw. The bottom line is, I have liked these cigars for awhile now, and I’ll be smoking more.

New Cigars and a Law to Watch by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Now that the trade show is over, I am having a little time to go through some of the other cigars I did not have a chance to really look at.  Charlie Torano has added to his Master line with the Master Habano Maduro.  This remains a collaboration of Charlie and master roller Felipe Sosa.  The cigar uses a Habano Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper over Habano Ecuador binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers.  It comes in a Robusto, Toro Grande and BFC (which is a 6” x 60).  They will be prices from just under $6.47 to $7.80.

The other cigar from Torano is the Salutem. The name comes from Latin and means a friendly greeting.  The company says the cigar and its name are “inspired by the character  and strong will of those who overcome great challenges and adversity.  Salutem represents a celebration of life and raises a toast to all who live life to the fullest.”  Coming in four sizes, this medium bodied cigar sports a Hanabo Ecuador wrapper over binder from Jalapa and fillers of Cameroon,  Dominican Corojo and tobacco from Esteli.  Pricing will be from $7.20 to 8.76 for the BFC 6.125” x 60.  You may ask what does BFC stand for? Torano is not saying but you can use your imagination…Big…

Miami Happening

If you happen to be in South Florida next weekend, you may want to check out the Fuente Havana Nights.  Berta Bravo – the Guayabera Lady –is working with the Fuente family to put on a charity shindig which will benefit the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation.  The event will be held on Saturday August 25th at Berta’s shop at 4832 S.W. 72nd Street in Miami.  Tickets are $75.  There will be food, free booze and Fuente cigars.  Carlito,  Cynthia and Liana Fuente will all be in attendance.

Health Risks of Cigar Smoking

We all know of the propaganda put out by the other side on the “risks” of cigar smoking.  It is worse than cigarettes, they say.  But this week, a blog linked to a study by the Kaiser foundation which falls in line with the National Cancer Monograph on Cigars.  The monograph showed (much to their disappointment) that someone smoking 1-2 cigars a day had a risk of death either equal or below that of non smokers.  One thing that you need to know is that a relative risk (RR) of less than 2 can be touchy –there may be something to look at or maybe not. Epidemiologists do not always agree.

The Kaiser study was divided into heavy smokers—more than 5 cigars a day—and moderate smokers 5 and under per day.  The results showed little effect from cigars.

“Cigars, the data show, have few health effects when used in moderation.  One of the reasons that cigar (and pipe) smokers have lower risks than cigarette smokers is that they puff without inhaling.  In addition, they smoke less: 76 percent of cigar smokers in this study were in the moderate use group.  Those who smoke even fewer cigars probably have lower  risks. “

 And they often include people who inhale cigars with those who don’t.  That would make a difference.  Bottom line, enjoy your cigar.

Buy Smokes, Become a Felon

Arizona has done it again.  If you live there and happen to order a carton of cigarettes or some snus, without seeing the seller face to face, you could be a felon.  Nice.  The law went into effect on August 2, same day at the IPCPR was beginning its trade show in Florida.  SB 1280 prevents the sale of tobacco products in any manner other than face to face.  The law makes it a felony to violate and anyone who violates this could be liable for civil and CRIMINAL penalties along with fines and even cost incurred for prosecuting.  They are doing this ostensibly to protect children from buying tobacco cause, as we know,  kids buy cartons of cigarettes.

The law does carve out the exemption for cigars and pipe tobacco in one section but includes it in another to prevent minors from getting their hands on em.  Watch this carefully because a change of just a few words could stop catalog cigar sales.

What is interesting is that Arizona is one of the few states where you can actually buy guns over the internet.

The other side ALWAYS  takes whatever  ban it can get and then keep nibbling at the edges until all tobacco sales and smoking are gone.  This is a horrible law and needs to be challenged.

Torano Master Habano Maduro

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

I recall liking the original Torano Master, so I figured I had nothing to loose with this version. From what I can tell, the two have little in common, not that I really care. I tend to enjoy that maduro sweetness and spice. As you’ve come to expect… read on for my thoughts.


Wrapper: Nicaragua Habano Maduro

Binder: Habano Ecuador

Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: $5.97


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper looked oily, toothy, and well, delicious. I can only describe the smell as a mild hay, with a touch of earthiness. The foot basically had no odor at all. The cigar was consistently packed, and had a slight sponginess. This accounted for a draw that had no resistance. The pre-light flavor was mild, earthy, and cedary.

The burn required one correction. The ash was a little flakey, and held for just about one inch.

1 Torano_Master_Habano_Maduro cigars


The first third started out with earthiness, and nothing more. It only took a few puffs for pepper to reveal itself on the retrohale. Espresso quickly joined in, and it lingered on the palate for awhile. The aftertaste was crisp, slightly bitter, earthy, and maybe a little woody.

2 Torano_Master_Habano_Maduro cigars

That familiar maduro sweetness I was expecting, revealed itself in the second third. It was very noticeable, but it stood behind the espresso and peppery spice. The aftertaste was sweet and syrupy. Wispy notes of earthiness and wood were far in the background.

3 Torano_Master_Habano_Maduro cigars

The last third saw a return of that crisp, dry smoke feel. Sweetness fell to the background, and was replaced with peppery spice and espresso. Some draws reminded me of coffee, but with a sweet mocha mixed in. The flavor profile switched between the two, if that makes any sense. Did I mention smoke volume? Throughout the entire cigar, it was plentiful.

4 Torano_Master_Habano_Maduro cigars


This was a good, solid, medium to full bodied cigar. I tried this same cigar in a larger ring gage, and it didn’t really satisfy me. The flavors seemed scattered and unfocused. This one was quite the opposite. Flavor, complexity, and construction, all came together nicely. Nothing bad to say here. I think the Torano Master Habano Maduro is worth trying.

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