Archive for August, 2013

Falto Terruno “Hermanos”

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

A few years ago, while hanging out at Bonita Smoke Shop, I ran into Luis Juan Falto. There are so many boutique cigar brands these days. Everyone has their name stamped in a cigar band, and I have learned to keep my expectations low. Needless to say, the Falto cigars I smoked back then were quite good. Fast forward to a few months ago. Luis sent me a box of the Terruno Hermanos. After smoking quite a few of them, it is finally time to give you my opinion.


Wrapper: Dominican Corojo

Binder: Dominican Corojo

Filler: Dominican & Nicaragua

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: ?

1 Falto_Terruno_Hermanos cigars

Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper looked good, with a slightly rugged appearance. The odor of the wrapper was an unidentified spice, and cedar. The cigar was solidly and evenly packed. The draw had slight resistance, and a pre-light flavor of cedar and earth.

The ash held for around one inch, and the burn required no corrections.

2 Falto_Terruno_Hermanos cigars


The first third had a mixture of cedar, cayenne pepper, nuts, and earthy notes. The smoke feel was dry, smooth, and peppery. Despite this, it didn’t leave me craving water, or feeling parched.

3 Falto_Terruno_Hermanos cigars

The second third kept that dominant cedar and peppery core. Like before, nuts, cayenne, and earthy notes wrapped around those core flavors. The smoke feel took on a slightly sweet creaminess.

4 Falto_Terruno_Hermanos cigars

The last third kept the same basic flavor profile as the second third. The only difference I could pick up was a faint, floral note. The body and strength picked up a bit, but remained in the medium range.

5 Falto_Terruno_Hermanos cigars


This was a good, solid, medium bodied cigar. The flavors were simple, but balanced and refined. I couldn’t get a price range, so I can’t factor that in. So, price aside, every Terruno I smoked was enjoyable. I tried them at various points of the day, from breakfast to dinner, and it worked.

IPCPR Cigars Are Arriving by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Ok we told you a lot about the new cigars that are out this year..trouble has been you could not get them until now.

Here is a brief respite from the usual goings on to let you know that as we approach September the cigar makers are filling orders and we got em in stock. Last week, I told you about the tasty Nica Puro from Alec Bradley being available but this week there are more.


CAO Flathead

This was one of the stand outs at the IPCPR show. Rick Rodriguez decided to do a throwback to the era of pin ups and muscle cars and came up with the CAO Flathead as an homage to that muscular engine which ruled the high powered cars in the 50s.  The result is a cigar with a lot of power behind it.  All of the cigars are square pressed, which means sharper corners than the usual box press.  The strongest of the bunch is the V642 Piston, which is a a 6.5” x 42 lancero.  The flavor develops right away and the strength is there throughout.  The V554 Camshaft is a 5.5”x 54 robusto which begins a bit softer than the Piston but still develops the power as you smoke it.  The

V660 Carb is a big boy measuring 6” x 60 but remains dwarfed by its brother the V770 Big Block measuring 7” x 70.  The last two have more flavor than strength.  Said Ricky if you put that kind of strength like in the lancero in a cigar that big, your head would explode.


Star Crossed

This is a cigar you probably haven’t heard much about…the reason is that it is new and made just for us.  Star Crossed refers to the star crossed lovers of Romeo and Juliet.   You already know about the Romeo from Romeo y Julieta which made number three on the Cigar Aficionado top cigars of last year…well this is another modern take on the old reliable Romeo Y Julieta.  It comes in boxes of 10 and uses an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers to provide a kind of spicy yet sweet flavor.  They have shipped and are available now, oh and if you buy a box you get the chance to win a trip for two to Verona, Italy.  Not bad huh?


Montecristo Connoisseur


This past year, Altadis has put out regional cigars for New York, Texas, Las Vegas and Chicago.  The trouble was with these specials you pretty much had to be in the above cities to get one.  No more.  Because people wanted to try them, I do like the Texas version but I could be prejudiced, Altadis decided to put together a Connoisseur Edition Collection which features 2 of each of the regional cigars for a total of 8.  You get 2 New York’s which measure 6”x60, 2 Texas editions again at 6” x 60, 2 Las Vegas which are 6” x 54 and two Chicagos which are 6” x 50.  Each has the traditional Montecristo flavor but perhaps amped up a bit.  The New York uses an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and Dominican fillers.  The Texas uses the same wrapper but changes the binder to Dominican, with Dominican fillers. The Las Vegas has a nice San Andres Criollo wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and Dominican fillers and the Chicago uses an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over the Nicaraguan binder and Dominican fillers.


Cedar Room

These are more cigars from Altadis which have not really been talked about. They are the Cedar Room.  These are really aged cigars, but from some short runs. They were made mainly for the European market and then set aside in the cedar aging rooms in the huge Tabalacera de Garcia factory.  They were kinda forgotten about but now have been found.  For the most part these cigars were only used for special events at the factory, but now you can taste the finely aged smokes at a great price.  They are different tobaccos, I honestly don’t know all the combinations but for the price (between $2.60 and $3.20 each) how can you go wrong?


El Centurion

This was a cigar I told you about back in February that it was getting re-born.  The original El Centurion was a limited edition and pricey cigar.  The newest incarnation from Jaime Garcia and the My Father factory in Nicaragua is in my mind a better tasting cigar at a much better price. And the best thing is that they have shipped! Jaime used a Maduro Nicaraguan Habano wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and for the filler he uses Nicaraguan Criollo 98 and Corojo 99.  They come in four sizes—Robusto at 5.75” x 50, Toro at  6.25” x 52, Belicoso at 5.5” x 54 and a Toro Grande at 6.5” x 58.  They run just over $6  to $7 and change.

Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve Maduro

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

I used to smoke the Olde World Reserve back when I first started smoking cigars. Years later, they sort of vanished from local cigar shop shelves. Lately, I’ve seen them re-appear. It was inevitable that I would pick some up and see if I still liked them.


Wrapper: Maduro

Binder: Honduras

Filler: Nicaragua & Honduras

Size: Robusto 5.5 x 54

Price: Around $7.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper had a velvety, yet oily appearance. There were no visible flaws, and the odor was a fairly strong leather. Squeezing the cigar, I found minor variances, but nothing of concern. The draw had slight resistance. The pre-light flavor was sweet, earthy, and woody.

The ash held for almost an inch, and the burn required a few minor corrections.

1 Rocky_Patel_Olde_World_Reserve_Maduro cigars


The dominant flavor in the first third was black coffee. Behind that was an unidentified sweetness, along with dark earthiness and wood. An easy pepper was noticed when passing smoke through the nose, and the aftertaste lingered for awhile.

2 Rocky_Patel_Olde_World_Reserve_Maduro cigars

In the second third, the smoke feel became sweet, creamy, and thick. Coffee still dominated the flavor profile, but it was joined with a sweetness that reminded me of cocoa. Wood, earth, and nutty notes were behind the coffee and cocoa. The peppery component wasn’t harsh, but it had a little kick.

3 Rocky_Patel_Olde_World_Reserve_Maduro cigars

Coffee, with sweet cocoa, continued to build in the last third. The smoke feel became increasingly thick and creamy. Pepper was still there, but it felt smoother, without losing its zing. Wood, earth, and nuts, became background notes that I could barely notice.

4 Rocky_Patel_Olde_World_Reserve_Maduro cigars


This was a very good full bodied cigar. The flavors were pretty bold starting out, and continued this trend right to the end. I’m glad this cigar resurfaced on cigar shop shelves. I find myself smoking one or two a week lately.

Expensive and not so Expensive Cigars by Frank Seltzer

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

World’s Most Expensive Cigar Sold


Last year at the IPCPR, we told you about the World’s Most Expensive Cigar.  Regius of London was offering one double corona for the price of $70,000! The deal was, if you bought this cigar, Regius CEO Akhil Kapacee would come to you and personally clip it and light it. And then, the buyer and his or her tobacconist get an all-expenses-paid VIP trip to Nicaragua, where they will be able to blend and name a cigar according to their own tastes. Further, the buyer also gets 1,000 of this custom blend.  Well that cigar has now sold.

Callum Jones and the World's Most Expensive Cigar


Cigar merchant Mitchell Orchant in London sold the cigar for  £ 40,000 (which with the exchange rate today is about $63,000, so it is a bargain).  Mitchell told us at the show the cigar was sold, but it was late last week when the official word went out. and monies had been exchanged.  The buyer was Callum Jones, a young man who made millions in the coffee business.  As promised, Regius owner Akhil  Kapacee was there in London to cut and light the cigar.


“We are delighted that Callum has decided to enjoy the best,” said Mr Kapacee as he handed over the unique cigar. “Not only will he enjoy this cigar, but we will personally fly him to Nicaragua where he can see firsthand how the cigars are made. It will be the trip of a lifetime for a cigar lover. We will also blend and roll 1000 special Regius cigars to Callum’s personal flavour, size and strength profile.”

Upon lighting the cigar, Callum said: “This is one of the best cigars I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. I’m looking forward to finding out how these cigars are made”.

Regius also has cigars for the rest of us with the black label made by the Plasencias in Nicaragua and the white label blended by Manuel Quesada in the Dominican Republic.  The company also introduced the Orchant selection (named for Akhil’s good friend Mitchell) but this is very limited with only 200 boxes of 10 available in the U-S.


More Affordable

For those wanting a pure Nicaraguan cigar that is well within our reach, I have talked about the new, old Alec Bradley Nica Puro.  It is a good smoke and has begun shipping.  They range from a robusto to a gordo and the prices range from $6.30 to $7.65.


Pro Cigar Opens

I neglected to mention during the trade show that registration for next year’s Pro Cigar Festival in the Dominican Republic is now open.  (It usually fills up fast.) The 2014 version will be a bit different than past years in that the traditional Wednesday informal dinner has been replaced with the opportunity to have dinner with your favorite cigar maker.

The festival begins Sunday, February 16th in La Romana where you will stay at the fabulous resort Casa de Campo.  On Monday you can take a Catamaran trip to a beach or just hang out in the hotel.  Tuesday is a tour of the huge Casa de Garcia factory located right outside the hotel.  Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the festival moves to Santiago where there are tours of General Cigar’s factory and fields, La Aurora,  Davidoff’s factory and fieds , Corporacion Cigar Export, MATASA, and new this year will be tours of the Fuente Charitable Foundation,  Tabacalera La Alianza ( Ernie Carrillo’s factory) and La Flor Dominiciana’s factory and fields.


You can register for single events, but the package all the evnets is available for a discount at $895. According to Pro Cigar VP Manuel Quesada, if they happen to go into the black, it only means the participants did not eat, drink or smoke enough.  It is truly a terrific event and registration is here.

They are still coming at us..


The New York Times this past week hit on a favorite meme of the tobacco control group in that flavored cigars are luring kids into smoking.

No editorializing in this “news” story:

In 2009, Congress passed a landmark law intended to eliminate an important gateway to smoking for young people by banning virtually all the flavors in cigarettes that advocates said tempted them. Health experts predicted that the change would lead to deep reductions in youth smoking. But the law was silent on flavors in cigars and a number of other tobacco products, instead giving the Food and Drug Administration broad discretion to decide whether to regulate them.

Four years later, the agency has yet to assert that authority. And a rainbow of cheap flavored cigars and cigarillos, including some that look like cigarettes, line the shelves of convenience stores and gas stations, often right next to the candy. F.D.A. officials say they intend to regulate cigars and other tobacco products, but they do not say how or when. Smoking opponents contend that the agency’s delay is threatening recent progress in reducing smoking among young people.


The article quotes all the usual suspects about how bad the smoking is for the “kids” yet everyone interviewed was over 18…they are worried about the 18-24 group which in most states is legal for smoking.  The article is one to try to push the FDA into taking control over cigars, something the legislation did not address.

Flavored or not, the issue is one of government control over a product we love.  Again be sure to send yet another petition to your Senator and Congressman to support the exemption for premium cigars from the FDA.

Illusione mj12 Maduro

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

I recall liking the non-maduro version of the mj12, so I figured it was time to try this one. The black paper wrapper caught my eye. I admit it, sometimes I’m a sucker for presentation. It just looked cool. There is always a story behind the names of Illusione cigars. I’m far too lazy to post it here, but a quick Google search will yield results, if you’re curious.


Wrapper: San Andreas Maduro

Binder & Filler: Nicaragua

Size: 6 x 54

Price: $9.95

1 Illusione_mj12_Maduro cigars

Pre-Smoke & Construction:

A wrapper looked really nice. It was shiny, oily, and had nice variations in color. What can I say, it was pretty. The odor was cedar and earth. There were some minor variations in the firmness of the cigar, but nothing of concern. The draw had slight resistance, and had a floral, woody, and earthy flavor.

The ash held for around one inch, and the burn required quite a few corrections.

2 Illusione_mj12_Maduro cigars


The first third quickly ramped up with flavor. Up first was a sweet, bitter cocoa. Think cooking chocolate here. Retrohaling revealed pepper, with just enough kick to make it enjoyable. Up next were earthy and woody notes, along with black coffee.

3 Illusione_mj12_Maduro cigars

The second third had more of a peppery bite. The cocoa calmed down a bit, which allowed espresso to really stand out. Like before, there was cedar, and slight earthy notes. The aftertaste was thick, and had a floral tone.

4 Illusione_mj12_Maduro cigars

The last third kept the same flavor profile as the second. The only difference was in strength. The flavors stood out more, and everything had more kick. It was simply stronger.

5 Illusione_mj12_Maduro cigars


This was a good full bodied cigar. It had bold flavors, and it was plenty strong. I could see the pepper turning some people off. I wouldn’t push this on a new smoker, or someone who doesn’t like a full bodied cigar. But, after a good meal, I think this would go nicely. I’ll revisit this for sure.

Smoke Inn/TomsCigars Sampler Contest WINNER

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Let’s cut to the chase. The winner of the cigar sampler is Steve D. I will be emailing you for your contact info, so keep an eye on your inbox and spam filter.

TomsCigars_Money_Shot_Sampler cigars

Thanks again to Smoke Inn for making this raffle possible, and to everyone who entered. Don’t forget, you can purchase this sampler for yourself directly from Smoke Inn. CLICK HERE for more info!

My Father El Centurion

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

In 2007, the El Centurion was released in limited quantities. If my information is correct, this release will be a regular production product, and the blend differs from the original. A friend of mine picked some of these up before I had the chance. His opinion was positive, to say the least. I was able to nab some at a My Father event Ed  had not too long ago. Being a Don Pepin fanboi, I jumped at the chance to buy some.


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo 98

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Size: Robusto 5.75 x 50

Price: Around $7.50


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper was very rugged looking, almost like worn leather. The smell was a fairly strong barnyard (poop). As you’d expect, the cigar was solidly packed, with only minor inconsistencies. The draw had slight resistance, with a dark, earthy, leathery, and sweet flavor.

The burn required a few minor corrections, and the ash held for almost an inch and a half.

1 My_Father_El_Centurion cigars


There was no buildup in the first third. I picked up dark chocolate and espresso from the first puff. Retrohaling revealed an easy pepper. The smoke feel was thick, and the aftertaste lingered for quite some time.

2 My_Father_El_Centurion cigars

Much like the first third, the second third was earthy, with cocoa, espresso, and easy pepper. There was a floral background note, and a touch of cedar.

3 My_Father_El_Centurion cigars

The last third kept the same flavors. The difference was in the delivery. Cocoa and coffee dominated the flavor profile. Pepper was up next, while wood and earth stayed in the background. The aftertaste left a tingle on the gums and lips, and lingered for at least thirty seconds.

4 My_Father_El_Centurion cigars


This was a very good medium bodied cigar. It has all the flavors and characteristics that I like. The biggest bragging point about the El Centurion is balance. It isn’t the strongest, or even the best, but, it has great balance. I’ll be smoking more of these without a doubt.

Smoke Inn/TomsCigars Sampler Contest Ending Soon!

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Have you entered to win a free sampler of cigars? If not, time is running short. CLICK HERE!

TomsCigars_Money_Shot_Sampler cigars

Don’t forget, you can purchase this sampler at any time RIGHT HERE.

Any time now, I will draw a random winner. Thanks to Smoke Inn for making this raffle possible!

My Old Kentucky Home by Frank Seltzer

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

A couple of years ago someone must have really been pushing Kentucky Fire Cured tobacco.  It was something you didn’t hear about then this year, bam three makers are using it, albeit in different blends.  For me, mostly it is over the top, but perhaps like a fine peaty scotch you can come to appreciate it.  Heck I know now I love Ardbog and other peat bombs.

Ok you already know about the Kentucky Fire Cured My Uzi Weighs a Ton (they will be shipping soon)  and I’ve told you about Sam Leccia’s Black label using the Kentucky tobacco…but there is one more.

George Rico has a small factory in little Havana.  He and his family are Gran Habano and George’s factory is part of the George Rico STK project.  STK comes from the saying Stay True Kid, which George has taken to heart.  Last year he came out with the Zulu Zulu from the STK side and he also debuted a robusto cigar in Hawaii called the Barracuda.  The one from last year was very limited, only 100 boxes of 20, but now he has tweaked the blend and is able to make more. The new Barracuda uses Nicaraguan Habano from 2002 for the wrapper over a Jalapa binder and Jalapa and Esteli fillers.   He has also added sizes, a 5.625” x 46 Corona Gorda and a 6.5” x 54 Toro along with the 5 x 50 Robusto. They retail between $7-9 each.


But one of the most interesting things out of STK is the American Puro.   Coming in three sizes, a 4.75” x 52 Robusto, 5.875” x 54 Toro Grande and a 5.625” x 46 Corona Gorda,  Rico is using all American tobacco…that is tobacco from the U-S with the Kentucky Fire Cured, Pennsylvania and Connecticut broadleaf fillers over a Habano wrapper and binder grown in Connecticut.  Rico goes even further in that the boxes and bands are made in the U-S and the cigar is rolled in his Miami Factory.  How is that for an All American? The retail prices are $8 to $9.


Chinese Cuban?


Roberto Pelayo Duran was born in Cuba.  He learned about tobacco growing up there and he later set up the Pacific Cigar Company, which helped distribute Cuban cigars to Canada and Asia.  Now out of Cuba and living in Hong Kong, he is growing tobacco in Ecuador, and making cigars in Esteli and just opened a warehouse operation in Miami.  He debuted at the IPCPR show his first creation, Azan.  Azan is actually an old Cuban cigar brand.  The name dates from 1928 when Wan Ben Sen, who later adopted the Cuban name of Domingo Azan, and his brothers started producing handmade cigars from the center of Cuba.  Azan’s great granddaughter Maria Isabel Alvarez Azan is part of Duran’s team and is very happy the old brand has been resurrected.  Initially, the cigars were sold primarily in Asia and with the show, they are now being offered in the United States.


There are two primary lines, the White and Burgundy, with the White label being the premium one.  It uses an Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and fillers from Jalapa and Esteli,  Nicaragua  along with Brazlian Matafina.   The cigar is medium bodied and comes in three sizes Robusto 4.875” x 50, Robusto Extra 5.5” x 52 and Campana (torpedo)  5.5” x 52 and retails between $6- $8.


The Burgundy line, which is priced for everyday smoking,  again uses Nicaraguan binder and fillers with an Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper.  It has four sizes from Petit Corona 5.125 x 42,  Short Robusto 4.75” x 50 , Robusto 4.875” x 50 and Short Campana 4.375” x 46 and will retail between $3.50 to $4.


Azan is also making a Special Edition Maduro Natural.  The cigars are made of 100 percent Maduro tobaccos and come in two sizes—Robusto Extra 5.5” x 52 and Campana at 5.5” x 52.



FDA  going after E-Cigs We are Next


On a recent NPR show, the top people from the FDA basically said they are going after e-cigs.  Why should you care?  Well the FDA is supposed to regulate tobacco and e-cigs don’t contain any.  But apparently that is not stopping them.  The FDA also is not supposed to regulate cigars so what do you think they are going to do?

In the broadcast, the head of the FDA’s Tobacco control division Mitch Zeller said:

The thing that’s most interesting about e-cigarette is that we look at individual-level risk, what is the risk, say, to a current smoker who would be otherwise unable or unwilling to quit, if that person completely substituted all of their conventional cigarettes for an e-cigarette, that’s individual-level risk.”

 But the FDA won’t consider the individual…

“… Policy is going to be made here at the population level, and there’s population-level harm.  Who is actually using these products?  And how are they being used?  Tim [McAfee] talked about this earlier.  Are current smokers going to be less inclined to quit, and more likely to engage in what we call dual use of both the combustible version and the electronic version?  Are kids going to start using e-cigarettes?  These are the kinds of questions that we have that ultimately comes down to behavior, and right now we have far more questions than answers.”


So bottom line, you have to be involved.  As of today there are 117 co sponsors of the bill to protect cigars in the House and only 11 on the senate version.  Please take a minute and sign the petition to keep the FDA out of our humidors.

Alec Bradley Nica Puro

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

I found this cigar while browsing a local cigar shop. As the name implies, this is a Nicaraguan puro. I believe this is a first for the company, and they claim an exciting flavor profile. Let’s see if I agree or not.


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano

Binder & Filler: Nicaragua

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: 6 – $7.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

I could find no flaws in the wrapper, and it had a mild barnyard odor. The cigar was solidly and evenly packed. Despite the rock solid feel, the draw was decent. The cold draw had cedar, coffee, and earthiness.

The burn required no corrections, and the ash held solid for just over an inch.

1 Alec_Bradley_Nica_Puro cigars


The first third was very smooth, with a very simple flavor. Up front was earthiness, coffee, and an easy pepper. I could be wrong, but there may have been a faint nuttiness far in the background. The smoke feel was dry, with a cedary finish.

2 Alec_Bradley_Nica_Puro cigars

The flavor profile livened up a bit in the second third. Things stayed simple, but flavor deliver was improved. Up first was black coffee, followed by a familiar, peppery Nicaraguan zing. Next was earthiness and wood. The smoke feel remained dry, but satisfying.

3 Alec_Bradley_Nica_Puro cigars

The last third… Now we’re talkin. That is, if the “Nic Zing” is your thing. The peppery zing left a cinnamony tingle on the lips. I could even feel it on my gums and tongue. Despite my description, it wasn’t harsh or unpleasant.

4 Alec_Bradley_Nica_Puro cigars


This was a good medium to full bodied cigar. Body and strength gradually built as I smoked. The flavors were very simple, but satisfying. I could see this being a turn off to those who prefer a more subtle, mild experience. As for me, if in the right mood, I would smoke more.

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