Archive for July, 2013

Gurkha Rogue

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

I know what both of you are saying… “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?” Never mind that. I’ll be giving away a cigar sampler in the next day or two, and you’ll have a chance to win it. This is another story in itself, so stay tuned.

I found out about the Rogue from a local tobacconist. Thankfully, I’ve noticed that Gurkha has been releasing reasonably priced cigars these days. Like any brand that boasts dozens of blends, some are a hit, and some aren’t. I figure for this price, it’s worth the risk, so let’s get to it.


Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Ecuador

Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican

Size: Ruthless 6 x 54

Price: Around $7.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper looked chocolaty and velvety smooth. The odor was mild, woody, and earthy. When squeezing the cigar, I found some minor inconsistencies. One half was fairly firm to the touch, while the other was squishy. The draw was free, and had a woody, earthy flavor.

The ash held for over an inch, and the burn required quite a few corrections. It wasn’t anything too extreme, considering this was a box pressed cigar. One thing noteworthy… When I removed the big band, it put multiple, large tears in the wrapper. This caused chaos in the end of the second third, and in the last third. Less glue on the band would have prevented this. I got through it and everything was fine.

1 Gurkha_Rogue cigars


The first third started off with earth, cedar, and an easy pepper. As I progressed, the pepper became stronger, and reminded me of Cayenne. Thankfully, it wasn’t burn your face off pepper. The smoke feel was smooth, with plenty of volume.

2 Gurkha_Rogue cigars

The second third kept the same core flavors, for the most part. There was an addition of nuttiness, and a creaminess that had some sweet undertones. The pepper remained, and it developed a slight zing.

3 Gurkha_Rogue cigars

The last third was dominated with a nutty sweetness. Earthiness and cedar lingered in the background. Pepper remained, but lost most of it’s punch. The smoke feel was smooth, and borderline creamy.

4 Gurkha_Rogue cigars


This was a good, solid, medium bodied cigar. I was underwhelmed with the beginning, but the flavors developed nicely, at a gradual pace. I found the last third to be the most interesting. While the Rogue didn’t have any wow factor, it was good, and worth trying. I’d smoke it again.

AJ, Swisher? and really hot smokes by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

A.J Fernandez makes some great cigars.  The San Lotano series…Connecticut, Habano, Maduro and the Oval ( which was named to the top 25 list of CA last year).  They are adding another new limited line to the group with El Mayimbe.  Mayimbe comes from the Taino Indians on Quisqueya Island (another name for Hispanola, ie. where the Dominican Republic is and it is a province in the eastern portion of the Dominican Republic) and loosely translated  El Mayimbe  means village chief.  According to the company, in Latino culture Mayimbe is someone everyone loves to be around.


The cigar itself uses a select Pennsylvania broadleaf wrapper, over Fernandez’s Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan, Honduran Jamastran and special private filers.  The cigar comes in four sizes in a 10 count boxes; robusto at 5” x 56,  toro at 6” x56, Churchill at 7” x 56 and a torpedo at 6” x 56.  These are pricey cigars with the suggested retail ranging from $14.20- $15.




During the show, I told you about Tom Lazuka with Christian Eiroa adding a new size to his Schizo line.  The 7” x 70.  Well in the rush of the convention I forgot to say it is already here.


Big Dog

The potentially big dog at the trade show was a name most premium cigar folks are not used to.  Swisher.  The company, which makes a bundle off of its mass made Swisher Sweets, is jumping into the premium side with both feet.  The company has hired Alex Goldman as its president and his family has a long history in the business and many connections.  For the new project, Alex and Swisher reached out to well known manufacturers for their new cigars.  Casino Gold HRS is being blended by both Nestor Plasencia , Sr. and Jr. and made in their Honduras factory.  The cigar uses a Jalapa Habano Rosado wrapper over Cemeroon binder and Ometempe, Jamastran and Esteli fillers.   It comes in 5 sizes,  Ace 6.25” x 62, King, 7” x 54, Queen 5.75” x 52, Jack 6”x 44 and a Joker Belicoso at 5” x 52.  The suggested retail ranges from $5.45 to $6.95.


The Kismet comes out of Augusto Reyes Corporacion de Cigar Export in Santiago.  It is a true Dominican puro and uses a 2006 Dominican Corojo wrapper over  Dominican binders and fillers.  Again it comes in 5 sizes; Fate 6’ X 60, Destiny 7.25” x52, Luck 6” x 50, Fortune a 6.25 x 54 Belicoso and Chance 5.5” x 46.  Being from the Dominican they are a bit more in price, ranging from $7.10 – $8.50.


Gold Strike is the company’s Nicaraguan made bundle which has an Indonesian Sumatra wrapper over an Indonesian Besuki binder and Nicaraguan fillers.  There are two sizes, a 7 x48 Churchill and a 6.25” x 50 Toro with suggested prices of $6.99 and $6.75 respectively.  They come in bundles of 15.


Maybe the most interesting outing from Royal Gold will be the Nirvana.  It won’t be ready until October and it is being made at the Drew Estate factory.  At the show there were no samples of this one.  It uses a Cameroon wrapper over San Andres Negro binder with Nicaraguan filers from Jalapa and Esteli.  Jonathan Drew and the Goldmans go way back so really it is no surprise that the two have gotten together again.  Nirvana comes in 5 sizes—  Silencio at 4” x 44 for $9.15, Corona Gorda at 6” x 46 for $9.65, Robusto at 5” x 52 for $10.35 and a Toro at 6” x 52 and a Torpedo at 6” x 54 both priced at $10.85.


When asking Alex Goldman about the challenges of making a premium product for Swisher, he said he thought it might be tough, considering their place in the machine made universe, but was surprised about how open the manufacturers were to him and the concepts.  He also said having Swisher’s backing was amazing in that if he wants to do an event, he makes one call and it is all handled for him.  Swisher has an event staff just to do that.  It should be interesting.


Hot Smokes


If you are in Florida and someone has a great deal on cigars for you, it may be too good to be true.  It seems several people broke into a cigar warehouse in South Florida and stole a quarter of a million dolars worth of cigars.  The thieves, who were caught on tape, stole 700 cases of cigars from the warehouse.  No word on WHICH cigars were taken.



Still More Cigars by Frank Seltzer

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

In May, we told you about the tenth anniversaries of both My Father cigars and Tatuaje.  At the show last week, My Father showed off the newly completed band for  its tenth anniversary cigar.  Only 2000 boxes of these will be made     and the Nicaraguan puro measures 6.5” x 52 uses Criollo, Pelo d’Oro and Habana tobaccos. The company also added a box pressed La Dueña coming in  6.5” x 52 Toro Grande.  We already talked about the El Centurion  which is now coming out.    This is a new blend of the old cigar which was out about 6 years ago.  Jaime Garcia tweaked the blend and it will be in regular production…and a bit cheaper than the previous incarnation, running around $7 to  $8.50. El Centurion comes in four sizes 5.75” x 50 robusto, 5.5” x 54 belicoso, 6.25” x 52 toro and the 6.5” x 58 toro grande.

French for The Workshop

Pete Johnson is out with his special 10th as well.  It is a brown label blend with a closed foot.  Available for this year only with the commemorative band.  Pete’s other venture, L’Atelier released the L’Atelier Maduro. Coming in 3 sizes – 4.5” x 44, 4.5” x 54 and 5.5” x 56—it is a nice ful flavored smoke using the dark Maduro wrapper combined with the Sancti Spiritus leaf which is a hallmark of the brand.  Prices for the Maduro range from $6.50 to $9.50.

The other new addition to L’Atelier is the Extension de la Racine (Extension of the Root).  The idea behind this extension is that every year only one size will br created and available for that year only.  This year’s release ( ER 13) uses a Criollo wrapper with Sancti Spiritus for the binder with a combination of Nicaraguan fillers.  The size if 5.875” x 52 and will cost $9.25.

 La Flor Dominicana

At La Flor Dominicana, the company is offering a new Factory Press Limitado, using a very dark Sumatran wrapper over a Nicaraguan Binder and Dominican fillers.  Litto Gomez also is coming out with an A size in the Double Ligero line.  Measuring a whopping 9’ x 47,  it uses a Sumatran ligero wrapper over Dominican fillers and binder.

The Chisel is getting a new addition as well, called Chapter One, it is the first cigar blended by Litto’s son Tony who now works in the factory.  Tony says it is the strongest Chisel to date.  It uses a Brazilian Oscuro wrapper with a Connecticut Broadleaf binder to kick things up a bit, over Dominican filers.  It measures 6.5” x 58.  Litto says Tony made the cigar bigger then flattened it. It is a limited edition coming in boxes of 10.

 La Matilde

Speaking of La Flor, the company now has a factory that is open to the public down in La Romana.  It is run by former Altadis USA factory head Jose Seijas and the store/factory is called La Flor Dominicana Experience.  At the factory Jose’s rollers make the Air Bender for Litto…but they also are busy making another cigar, it is called La Matilde.  While not ready to display at the show, Jose was talking about the new project.   The name, according to Seijas, comes from one of the first factories in the Dominican Republic back in Santiago in 1867.  It was also the name of a factory in Tampa back in the early 1900s.  Seijas is making La Matilde in four sizes a Corona at 5.5” x 44, Robusto 5.25” x 54, Grande 6”x 60 and a Toro Bravo at 6.5” x 54. The cigar is mostly Dominican tobaccos with a little Nicaraguan filer and a Habano wrapper.  The price will range from $6.50 to $8 and should be available in November.



Oliva has added to its Serie V line with the Melanio Gran Reserve Limitada.  Named for the patriarch of the Oliva cigar family — Melanio Oliva – this Serie V contains the flavor and power  you would expect in the line, but with more smoothness.  The wrapper is Ecuadorian Sumatra, but from a special proprietary seed, over a Nicaraguan Habano binder and fillers. It actually debuted late last year and scored impressively in the ratings.  Coming in 5 sizes, the Melanio is a premium priced cigar ranging from $7 – $14.



I neglected to mention another cigar coming out of Christian Eiroa’s incubator.  Asylum has released the Ogre.  This is a true big boy measuring 7” x 70.  What makes Ogre distinct is its barber pole wrapper which uses a light candela mixed with a dark Habano over Nicaraguan binder and filers for a distinctive taste.  MSRP on the Ogre, which comes in boxes of 30 is $8. Of course there is Christian’s core CLE Corojo line which is very taste as well, but it actually came out at last year’s show.


Aged Cigars

From Altadis there is another special project called the Cedar Room Selection. These are some short run cigars that were set aside to in the company’s huge Tabacalera de Garcia factory’s cedar room.   These cigars were only used for special events at the factory but now, you’ll soon be able to enjoy the special tobaccos used to make these limited cigars.


Cigars with a View by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013


View from the Top

Last night Alan Rubin of Alec Bradley was celebrating the release of his new cigars (Mundial which we wrote about yesterday) and the re-launch of the Nica Puro.  The event was held in the penthouse of Phil Maloof…yup it was his home and he opened it to us on the 59th floor of the Palms Casino.  (He has a Picasso over the fireplace, this really is his place.)  The Penthouse was also where the Bradley team launched their weather baloon to send the Mundial into space.The Nica Puro is, as its name suggests a Nicaraguan Puro with extremely rich taste and balance.  (The cigar was debuted last year, but Alan Rubin says the blend was great until it started to age, then got out of balance. He decided to change the blend and it came out this year.)  Anyway, we had the chance to view Vegas from a unique perspective, all the while smoking either the Nica Puro, or the Tempus and the host, Phil Maloof, also provided us with one of his own personal cigars, the Maloof, which also is made by Alec Bradley.   You gotta love a casino owner who is passionate about cigars which Phil certainly is.

Phil Maloof at Home


Back to earth

Christian Eiroa has been very busy with his cigar company incubator known as Tabacaleras Unidas ( of sometimes called Fabricas Unidas….FU for short).  Under the parent company Christian personally is putting out the CLE lines like the Corojo, which is a Honduran puro.  He also has his new Eiroa, the first time the family has put its name on a cigar.  Under the FU operations, Christian has the Asylum line headed by Tom Lazuka.  This cigar is made in Nicaragua and is a very affordable cigar. In sizes ranging from 4” x 44 to a 6” x 60.  The more value brand from Lazuka is the Schizo which is adding a 7”x 70 size.

The factory also has the Edgar Hoill line, and the OSOK (One Shot One Kill) which was initially released as a Room 101 last year until Edgar joined Christian’s group.  The Wynwood –which is named for the F-U Miami factory ( I love the F-U shorthand) has come out with an interesting new concept, the Wynwood fresh series.  The idea is the cigars are rolled in Miami and then delivered within a couple of days to the store for sale.  The group is fighting the tradition of cigars having to be aged for long periods by using aged tobaccos, but by keeping the moisture content the same throughout the tobaccos, eliminating any sick periods.  The result is a fresh tasting cigar like you just picked it up off the rolling table.


Room 101

Speaking of Room 101, Matt Booth is adding his Master Collection and the HN which is the second core line to Room 101.  The HN uses a Criollo 98 wrapper over Brazilian Mata Fina binder and Criollo and Navarrete fillers.  The MSRP on these are about 6 bucks.



The Padron family always is slow to release anything new. They take their time. Over the years, they have added to the regular Pardon series, and the Anniversarios (1964) and the this year they have come up with a 4 pack of the 1926 Anniversarios.  Included in the pack are sizes 1, 9, 2 and 6 naturally.  They will be shipping soon ( and keep watching for them to show up here.)


Earlier we told you about the new San Cristobal Revelation which is coming out of the My Father factory in Esteli.  This newest San Cristobal is meant to fill out the line falling right in between the  San Cristobal Elegancia with its Connecticut wrapper and the regular full strength San Cristobal with its oily Habano wrapper.

The Revelation uses an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and is a definite medium bodied smoke.  It will come in 5 sizes with retail prices running from $6.95 to $9.50 for the Leviathan which measures 6.5” x 64.

The success of the Ashton small cigarss, is bringing out a new series of lighter small cigars called Senoritas this time with a lighter Connecticut wrapper for people who do not have time for a regular cigar and still want a lighter smoke.


Sam is back

Sam Leccia is back in the cigar business once more. (You remember he was originally behind Nub.)

Now he has come up with white and black label cigars. The White uses a sun grown Cameroon wrapper over an Ecuador Habana binder and a combination of Nicaraguan, Dominican, Brazilian and Pennsylvania fillers.  The result is a very right smoke,  His black label uses the Habano Ecuador  leaf for the wrapper, with a Nicaraguan Rosado binder and  uses similar filers as the white label except instead of Pennsylvania tobacco, he uses the Kentucky Fire cured.

It has been a very long day and I will have more to report later…not tonight I may actually be able to have dinner for the first time.



Literal Cigar Launch by Frank Seltzer

Monday, July 15th, 2013


Mundial in Space

We told you about the new Alec Bradley Mundial launch coming up at the trade show, and when we said launch, little did we know brand owner Alan Rubin would literally launch the brand into space.  This past weekend, a special box with a camera was tethered to a weather balloon and sent aloft.  The cigars made it to 110,000 feet and then the balloon popped and the cigars went plummeting to earth.  The attached parachute worked perfectly as did the built in GPS transponder and the Bradley folks were able to retrieve the cigars and had a great picture of them in space.  No Photoshop here.  Oh and the white between the cigars….ice crystals.  Rubin joked, “This is one way to prevent beetles”.  The Mundial will be limited to 3,000 boxes this year.


The other Bradley new product is the Raices Cubanas, named after the factory which makes many of the cigars for Alec Bradley and is a brand the factory actually owns.  Alan developed it  for the factory as a way of saying thanks to its owners the Endemaño family.   It is a medium bodied cigar which uses a Honduran wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers.  It comes in four sizes and will retail between 9 and 10 dollars.


Focused Altadis


Altadis is not putting out a bunch of new brands, instead it is dislaying two new ones.  Monte by Montecristo, is a new updated take on the classic Montecristo brand, much like Romeo was for Romeo y Julieta last year.  The cigar is much fuller than the traditional Montecristo.  It uses an Ecuador Habano wrapper over a double binder of Dominican Olor and vintage Nicaraguan tobacco with a blend of Dominican fillers.  The company says this is a modern take on the Montecristo and yet at a price point where it is more affordable for smoking on a regular basis.  It comes in three sizes, the Conde  which is a corona size 48 x 5.5” with a pig tail will retail for $8.95, the Jocopo Number 2 is box pressed figurado at $9.25  and the Monte is the 6” x60 at $9.50.


The other new line is actually a resurrection of an old heritage brand the Juan Lopez.  The company made the cigars for years, but about a couple of years ago, he line was dropped.  Altadis USA took another look at the brand, and re-blended it and reinvigorated it, keeping the classic Cuban look but with a bit more flair.  It keeps the heritage but it is totally new. The result is a Nicaraguan puro, made in Condega, Nicaragua with a rich bold flavor.  A shade grown Nicaraguan wrapper and the fillers come from all three growing regions of Nicaragua.  It will come in three sizes, 5” x 54,  6” x 54 and a 6” x 60 and will retail between $5 – $6.


Drew Estate


One of the big launches for Drew is the Kentucky Fire Cured My Uzi Weighs a Ton.  It comes in three sizes the Chunky at 4” x 46 for $5.95, the Fat Molly at 5” x 56 for $7.95 and the Just a Friend 6” x 52 for $8.15.  As for the regular MUWAT line there will be a new 7” x 70  addition to the line up for $11.40.


The Nica Rustica is the other new launch and is an homage to Esteli.  Coming in one size of a 6” x 52 and will retail for $6.95.  The Nica Rustica uses a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over tobaccos from Jalapa and Esteli. The emblem on the box is El Brujito, one of the oldest artifacts found in Central America where it was carved in stone near Esteli and has become a symbol for the city.  It is said the picture is of a shaman, which were one of the earliest users of tobacco.


As for the future, WIllie Herrera is working on another new cigar, this time with a San Andres Maduro wrapper.  The unnamed cigar most likely will come out next Spring.


Rocky Doesn’t Like Nimish


From Rocky Patel  there are new lines starting with the Bold by his brother Nish.  When Nish first made the Xen, he said he wanted to release a stronger cigar and this is it.  Coming in 4 sizes, it will retail just under 9 to just under 10 dollars, the Bold will be shipping in October.


The RP Royale  is medium bodied and comes in 4 sizes with a retail price of $8.95 to $11.60 for the Colossal which is 7” x 52.  The RP Platinum is a little stronger running medium to full in three sizes costing between 10 and 11 dollars.


Rocky’s cousin, Nimish Desai is a terrific guy and he has blended another cigar.  His first was Thunder and now he has come out with a smoke that is not quite as strong as the Thunder but still with strength yet rich and complex.  But for some reason Rocky decided to call it the Nimmy-D.  Nimish is not wild about the name.  The cigar will come in three sizes and retail from $7.60 to $8.40.


Lots more to come tomorrow.


So Many Cigars by Frank Seltzer

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

The first day of the IPCPR trade was certainly busy.  It began with a breakfast ( free food always a good draw) and a couple of speakers.  Rep. Bill Posey from Florida who is the author of HR 792 which aims to protect the cigar industry from the FDA.  Posey said that  the legislation is important to keep premium cigars available and said one of the biggest problems facing the industry is apathy.  Too many consumers and retailers have not contacted their representatives to become co-sponsors of the bill both in the House and in the Senate (SB 772).  If you have not done so, contact your people in Congress today.

The second speaker was Mike Ditka who noted that most politicians have their heads up their asss.  No further comment needed there.

General’s Expanse

The show opened at 930am and there was a lot to see.  At the General Cigar booth, there are about 100 new line extensions or new brands.  100.  Wow.    General’s top General Dan Carr says the company is working on expanding its position, obviously with that kind of expansion, and working to help protect the rights of smokers.  It also is trying to reach new smokers by working with the Golf Channel’s Big Break in sponsorship for Macanudo with the program’s reach of 450 million households.  Carr hopes it will bring in new smokers and expand our ranks.

Some of the new lines have already been introduced and are available like the new La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black, the first Nicaraguan La Gloria.  There is a counterpart for brick and mortar stores called La Gloria Esteli, which is its brother with a slightly different blend.


Cohiba Diamante A

Among the other new offerings are the Cohiba Diamante, the upscale cousin of the Cohiba Black.The Diamante will be coming in two sizes, a Gigante at 6” x 60 with a retail price of $27 per cigar, or the A size at 8.25” x 49 with a price tag of $33.33 each.  The A’s  come in the three pack with a retail of  $100 and are packaged in beautiful wooden tubes.  This will make a great gift presentation.


Macanudo is featuring a new limited edition Estate Reserve to mark the brand’s 45th anniversary.  It uses aged tobaccos and comes in three sizes, III 5”x50 at $16, II a 6”x 52 for $17 and I at 7” x 50 for $18.  Unlike the Macanudos from the past couple of years like the Cru Royale or the 2006 Vintage, this cigar is more in line with the traditional Macanudo with its milder flavors.


CAO has another line coming out.  Last year it was the Concert and this year the Flathead.   The Flathead comes from Rick Rodriguez who is a fan of cars, cigars and women…who isn’t?  It brings back the glamour of the 50s with the hot rods and pinups.  Rick said he wanted to use a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, with Connecticut Habano binder and ligero fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.  The result is a truly full bodied smoke, which mellows out, Rick says in the bigger ring gauges.  Flathead comes in 4 sizes starting with a 6.5” x 40 Lancero called the V624 Piston for $6.75, the V554 Camshaft Robusto at 5.5” x 54 for $7.25, the V660 Carb at 6” x 60 for $8.25 and the V 770, measuring 7” x70 for $9.50.  They will be out in September.



Foundry Blends (a few)

The line started by General’s Creative Director Michael Giannini last year called Foundry has evolved into the Foundry Tobacco Company.  Instead of only one brand, it is launching an array of items.  It is virtually impossible to describe everything coming out of the new boutique section of General.  The first section is the war of currents…or AC versus DC which was inspired by Tesla and Edison and it is joined with Compoounds, Elements and Musings.  There are 12 small batches, 18 exotic blends and sometimes multiple blends in a single box.  Truly it is mad scientist stuff.  There most likely is a cigar for everyone in these batches…to list them all would take more space than I have allotted for now.




Ernie Carrillo is out with two new cigars, the Limited Edition 2013 which will ship in October and the E-Stunner which is

EPC No Bull

another full bodied smoke and designed to appeal to the crowd who loves Red Bull energy drinks.  To that end, EPC brought in a mechanical bull today for retailers to try to ride.  The deal was for every second you stayed on you got a discount on your order.  Surprisingly, there were lots of people willing to ride the bull….they were even sober.


We’ll have much more tomorrow.



IPCPR Minus 1 by Frank Seltzer

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Officially, I guess the annual industry trade show is under way.  Today was seminars and the welcoming cocktail party, but already there is news.

First up, Steve Saka has retired from Drew Estate which as we know makes ACID ,  My Uzi Weighs a Ton    and the Liga Privada Undercrown.   Steve went to Drew Estate from here at JR.  Before that, he wrote extensively about cigars on his own website, Cigarnexus and co-hosted three amazing cigar events known as Boondoggle.

He went to Drew Estate as president of the company in 2005 and was the driving force behind the Liga Privada #9 (and the number 9 came from the number of blends they went through but truth be told it was 9 and then some more) and the construction of the current and new expansion of the Drew Estate factory in Esteli.  He lived in Miami for several years, but eventually he moved back to New Hampshire, which is where he still felt was home.  Last year, Steve was named Chief Executive Officer with Mike Cellucci taking over the duties of president.  His retirement came just before the show opened on Friday.  According to the company no one will replace Saka.

Steve posted on Facebook that, “I am officially just a cigar citizen and looking forward to herfing up a storm with all my good friends in Vegas!!!”

In a joint statement printed by Cigar Aficionado, company founders Marvin Samel and Jonathan Drew said:

The team at Drew Estate would like to thank Steve for all of his hard work and dedication over the past eight years. His passion, leadership and expertise are a very rare combination within our industry. Steve will be truly missed and we wish him all the best moving forward.”

 Steve will be at IPCPR this year but hopefully with more free time.  And once it is over he can concentrate on his other passion, fishing.


New San Cristobal

The folks at Ashton are adding to the San Cristobal line with a new cigar called Revelation.  Like the other San Cristobals, it comes out of the My Father factory in Esteli and is made by the Garcia family.  The cigar uses an Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper over a blend of aged Nicaraguan tobaccos.  It is described at medium to full-bodied with an earthy core flavor.  No word on price or sizes yet.



Over at Miami Cigar and company, Nestor Miranda is coming out with the Casa Miranda Chapter 2 and a new La Sirena size will be unveiled. The Dubloon is a 7.35” x 56 Salomon.  It will come in boxes of 8 and there will only be 500 boxes.  It uses a dark Habano oscuro wrapper over Nicaraguan fillers and binders.  The suggested retail is $12 each.


Cubita Noveau

Cubita has been a value brand for the Quesada family for many years, and now it is getting a refresh. The latest incarnation is called Cubita Noveau and will be a bit fuller bodied than the original.

According to Manuel Quesada, “We have been making the Cubita Brand since the Cigar Boom but over the past few years we’ve focused on promoting our other lines of cigars.  This new Cubita is medium in body and priced to ensure that you can afford to smoke them everyday.”  It is priced from $4.70 to $5.75 and comes in four sizes, a 5”x 54 Robusto, 6”x50 Toro, a 7 “x52 Churchill and a 6”x60 Gordo.


Mr. Sam

Bill Paley owns La Palina cigars which was the cigar that started the CBS network.  Yup Bill’s father was William Paley founder and the chief guy at both the radio and television networks.  William’s father, and Bill’s grandfather was Samuel Paley the founder of the original La Palina in 1896.  Now Bill is coming out with a cigar to honor his grandfather and it is called the Mr. Sam.  The cigar comes from the El Titan de Bronze factory in Miami and is limited to 850 boxes of 10.  It features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over Nicaraguan fillers and binders and is 4.75” x 54.

Introducing the Spectacular New Black Tie Cigar! By Steve Nathan

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

The New Black Tie Cigars

Just outside the city of Santiago, Dominican Republic, a mere 1,487 miles from Nutley, New Jersey (much farther if you’re driving), is the prestigious Carbonell factory. It is a small operation that produces cigars the old-fashioned way: small batches, long aging and meticulous care to assure that each and every cigar meets the classic old-world standard of excellence that comes from over a century of tobacco knowledge. Sound familiar? Well, the folks at Carbonell employ these principles of excellence found in all of those superb boutique cigars that are taking the industry by storm.


The mastermind behind this operation is Ramón Carbonell, a third-generation tobacco man who has been running this small operation since the mid-1990s, when the Cigar Boom was in full swing. If you know anything about this era, you know that it was a very risky time to be producing cigars. Everybody and his uncle were grabbing any piece of land that could grow cigar leaf to capitalize on the shortage of premium smokes. Lots of these self-appointed entrepreneurs sold subpar crap at astronomical prices and, needless to say, most of these fly-by-night operations vanished as quickly as they’d appeared. Being one of the only surviving independent manufacturers in what I like to call the “dog-rocket era” is a testimonial to Ramón’s commitment to producing some of the finest cigars in the world! If Carbonell could produce such top-notch smokes in that tumultuous era of crummy sticks, just imagine the quality of his cigars today!


Black Tie Cigars

This brings me to his latest creation. It is called Black Tie and, let me tell you folks, I was fortunate enough to smoke a bunch of these in all of the sizes available… and I can unequivocally say that they are delicious!


The words “black tie” conjure images of an evening of elegance, opulence and sophistication that can only be marred by the wife of a famous congressman who has one too many whiskey sours and does a Greg Louganis face-plant into the punch bowl. But once again (as usual) I digress…


Ramón who has overseen the production of thousands of cigars in the last two decades, proudly admits that working on the Black Tie project was a highlight of his distinguished career! Okay, already, enough of the hype; I’m sure you guys are itching to find out what makes this cigar so great… so I’m gonna tell ya!


A gorgeous, oily, rare Brazilian wrapper covers a Sumatra binder and the finest Dominican tobaccos handpicked by Ramón himself (actually his cousin Ernie was going to help but was sidelined with a groin injury at the last moment). The result offers the connoisseur a smoke with a savory spice that is accentuated with sweet, nutty undertones and a lush earthiness that highlights the cigar’s many complex and delightful nuances. While this new offering is fuller in body in flavor, its aging, blending and flawless construction offer an easy draw and delectable aroma that fans of milder cigars will surely appreciate. All in all, it’s truly a classy cigar for everyone.


In short, this is one helluva smoke and the presentation makes it the perfect gift for the best man at your wedding, a go-to cigar for any bachelor party, or the perfect cigar to hand out at your next formal event. So make some room in your humidor because the new Black Tie will definitely be at the top of your smoking list!

Catalog Deal

New Cigars By Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Well the annual IPCPR trade show begins on Sunday in Las Vegas and that means a plethora of new cigars will be announced.


Casa Cuba

From the Fuentes, one of the cigars announced at last year’s show but not released was the Casa Cuba. This was supposed to be sent to market during the company’s 100th anniversary but due to a lot of issues, the family decided to mark their 1st year of the new century this year…it was a way of looking ahead not back.  The blend was made by Carlos Fuente, Sr., (Don Carlos) about two years ago.  The name is an old one the family had and resurrected with the new blend. At last year’s show, Carlos (Carlito) Fuente, Jr., said,  “People say this is the best cigar they have ever smoked. I said don’t tell my dad that.  He is pissed at me for holding it back.  He says,’ I don’t make brands to keep it in the bakery. Ya gotta sell it. ‘ He used to be a baker before he made cigars.”  At Pro Cigar in Santiago this year, a few friends went over to the Fuente factory and got to try one.  They all raved about it saying it was unlike other Fuentes.  This should be a big hit for the family.


The Fuentes are also going to be releasing the Don Arturo Anniversary Destino Siglo which is a high-end cigar much like their Opus X.  It is meant to honor Carlito’s grandfather and founder of the company.  Also they will be releasing The Angel’s Share, which is also in limited production.


La Flor Dominicana


For Litto Gomez, this year will have new products but he is already looking ahead to NEXT year when La Flor Dominicana turns 20.  Gomez has been squirreling away tobacco in tercios (an old process where the bales of tobacco are wrapped in palm tree bark –it is an enclosed bale with no contact with the outside and keeps the moisture in–think of it as a slow cooking, low heat method of fermentation).  Litto has enough tobacco for 3 million cigars and wil use that next year.  When I last spoke with him, he was still working on wrapping up his new factory expansion.  But La Flor will be introducing a new box-pressed Chisel.  According to Cigar Aficionado,  it will be called La Flor Dominicana Chapter 1 and come in 10 count boxes.  It will be a limited edition cigar.


Gomez told Cigar Aficionado the project was the brainchild of his son Tony. “He made it fatter and he flattened it,” Gomez said this morning.

When asked if the cigar was strong, Gomez replied: “Very. I think it’s the strongest Chisel. The broadleaf binder kicks it up.”


Drew Estate

Drew Estate will be adding a new size for ACID.  According to Marvin Samel, it is the first new size since Toast which came out about 3 years ago.  He wouldn’t say much about it except that it should be great.  The company also is launching its Kentucky Fire Cured line extension to My Uzi Weighs a Ton.

The cigars are being made at the Joya de Nicaragua factory just like the usual MUWATs and the blend was the result of a tobacco broker showing the D-E people some Kentucky Fire Cured tobacco leaf which had an amazing flavor.  Again according to Marvin, the final blend was still being tweaked in hopes of having them ready for the show.  My guess is they will make it but also knowing Drew Estate, if it is not ready, it won’t be there.  As for the MUWAT line itself, the company will be adding a 7×70 size.

Nica Rustica is another new brand from Drew.  Marvin says, “Nica Rustica uses some binders and filler leaves of which we have an ample supply.  It is full bodied and not over powering.  Not very finished with a Rustic Look. “

The company also is trying to slowly add more rollers for the Liga Privada and Herrera Esteli lines in order to keep up with demand.



Alec Bradley certainly has a bunch of cigars. From the Prensado, which won the best cigar of the year last year, to the often overlooked Black Market, Family Blend, the American Classic blend, Tempus (which should have won over Prensado),  and the New York blend.  This year owner Alan Rubin is adding yet another line to the family…Mundial.  According to Cigar Aficionado, Rubin has been working on the Mundial for the past 5 years, although some of that time it was on the back burner.  Mundial means “global” in several languages says the mag.


“For the last few years, every time I went down to Honduras, no matter what I smoked, I always had Mundial on my mind,” said Rubin in an interview with Cigar Aficionado. “I knew what we wanted, but it had to happen organically. It’s finally going to be released.”

More than one year ago, Rubin found the taste he was looking for. “We had eight blends, smoked through the eight, but I couldn’t wrap my head around it. So I sat on it. Ten months ago, I said ‘Let’s revisit that blend.’


Rubin says the cigar will be limited to about 3,000 boxes this year.  The cigar will be a Honduran and Nicaraguan blend with prices running from just under $10 to  just under $16.


No More HC

For about the last 8 years, Xikar has been in the cigar business in addition to its popular accessories.  The HC and Definance blends were ones that attracted some followers but apparently not enough.  Last week the company announced that it had sold the brand.  According to the press release:

“We have been in the cigar business for eight years, and have concluded that focus on accessories better aligns our resources to our goals.  We appreciate the support we have received from retailers and consumers, and commit to rewarding that loyalty through continued innovation and enhanced sales, marketing and customer service behind our leading accessory portfolio. We desire to hold market leadership, and believe a singular focus will enhance the XIKAR brand for the long term,” concluded Mr. Van Keppel.

Retailers who have the brand will be price protected for 90 days, then it most likely will be discounted and there is no guarantee that even the blends will stay the same.


I am sure there will be lots more new cigars at the show and we’ll be there bringing you up to date starting this weekend.

Weather, Heavenly and More by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Normally I don’t do weather reports. But there are two things of note.  First is that this morning it is a wonderful 65 degrees in Dallas this morning (after 100 plus degree temperatures last week)  and second there was a tornado in Connecticut yesterday.

The tornado was in a big thunderstorm that moved across that state and caused a lot of damage, but fortunately no deaths.

What makes this storm an issue for a cigar blog is that Connecticut shade grown tobacco is in the fields in ..yup Connecticut.  High winds and heavy rains, let alone a tornado, could really hurt the crop.  Of course the newspapers and tv stations don’t care about the tobacco crop, but Cigar Aficionado does ( and they live a lot closer to that area than I do.)  So far, Dave Savona and Greg Mottola have confirmed some damage to the fields—some of the netting that covers the plants has ended up in trees and power lines—but cannot say how the crops were affected yet.  If the netting is gone and there were heavy downpours you can bet it was not good for the crop.  CA will have more information but lets hope this was confined to a small area of Connecticut.


Must be Heaven


Heavenly Angels


The Heavenly Cigar company is known for having “angels” at company events—especially the trade show.   Founded by Heather Phillips back in the  mid-90s, she had become entranced with cigars while working as first a cocktail waitress and then assistant manager of  a Naples, Florida cigar bar called Heaven Cigar Bar. When the cigar boom ended so did the cigar bar and Heather was out of a job, but she got the name from the bar and started her own cigar company—Heavenly Cigars.  If you don’t know them it is probably because most of the Heavenly lines are flavored smokes.  Things like Vanilla, Cherry, Grape, Rum and even Chocolate Fudge.  The company also makes a Red Lion line of premium cigars.  Heather has been outsourcing a bit over the lasts few years, first she let Davidoff have distribution rights about 2 years ago.  Last week, Drew Estate, maker of ACID among others, announced it has purchased the company and will have the Heavenly brand as part of its booth at the upcoming trade show.  According to the release no changes are planned for the Heaven line up.


“We are extremely excited about this acquisition and look forward to building the Heavenly cigar brand further across the U.S.,” said Michael Cellucci, President of Drew Estate. “We believe that with our expertise and innovation we have the ability to fully realize the potential of the Heaven line of products” Cellucci later added.


Speaking of Davidoff

Two weeks ago, we reported that Davidoff was going all in on cigars, focusing on its traditional White Label line, along with Zino, Camacho, Avo, The Griffin.  Yesterday, the company announced it was dropping out of the cigarette vending business it had in Switzerland. The company sold its operations to another Swiss company effective July 1.

Smoking to Relax, you’re wrong

Ok lots of people smoke cigars to relax.  Often, it helps you feel better and calm down.  But in the ever continuing war against anything tobacco, Gallup is out with a new report that says smokers have a worse emotional health.  According to the study smokers scored 71 while non smokers hit 82.  Wow. So what is this index?

The index is based on whether survey participants did a number of things “yesterday,” such as learning or doing interesting things, feeling stress, sadness, anger and worry, and being treated with respect.

Gee ya think smokers get treated with respect by the antis? And I am sure not being able to smoke anywhere and wen you do light up someone usually is in your face screaming about the evils of tobacco any wonder why there is stress?

- Far more smokers experience daily stress than nonsmokers, with 50 percent of smokers reporting feeling stressed “yesterday” compared with 37 percent of nonsmokers. Similarly, 40 percent of smokers said they experienced worry “yesterday” compared with 28 percent of nonsmokers.

- Smokers are more likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression: 26 percent versus 15 percent.

Wow this must be science.  So when you sit back, light up and relax, you are only fooling yourself.  Heh.  But maybe smokers would have less stress, anger and worry if we could just be left alone with our cigars and our thoughts.


How many?


Speaking of health….I don’t know if you saw it but on Turner Classic Movie channel last night they had Conan hosting clips of Johnny Carson Tonight show interviews.  The one that caught my attention was the one with George Burns.  He was 93 at the time of the show and Burns had his trademark cigar during the interview. (Imagine the outrage today if that happened.)  Anyway Carson asked Burns how many cigars he smokes a day.  Burns said between 11 and 15.  Carson then asked what does your doctor say.  Burns shot back, my doctor is dead.  In case you are wondering George smoked El Productos exclusively (reportedly at least 250 per month.). George lived another 7 years and passed away at age 100.  He smoked cigars and drank and was working into his late 90s.   Stuff that “research”.

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