Archive for September, 2013

Brick House Maduro

Monday, September 30th, 2013

I used to smoke the Brick House years ago. It is a cheap, consistent, reliable smoke. I moved on, and they fell off of my radar. Recently, I ran into the Maduro version, and had to try it. Keeping with tradition, the price was reasonable too.


Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca Maduro

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Size: 6.25 x 60

Price: Around $7.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper had an odor of hay and poop. The cigar was evenly packed, and bounced back when squeezed. The draw leaned on the tight side, but fell within my tolerances. The pre-light draw had an earthy, bitter, leathery taste.

The ash held for just about two inches, and the burn required a couple small corrections.

1 Brick_House_Maduro cigars


The first third had a dry cocoa flavor. Notes of coffee hid behind it. The smoke feel was a bit dry, with a mild spicy finish. Basically, everything was smooth.

2 Brick_House_Maduro cigars

The second third kept the same basic flavors. The sweet spice went up just a notch in strength, and took on a sweet tone. Cocoa and coffee were equal in strength, and made for a nice flavor profile. The smoke feel was a bit dry, yet it took on a slightly creaminess.

3 Brick_House_Maduro cigars

The last third went up another tick in strength, but stayed in the medium range. Cocoa and coffee remained the dominant flavors, and sweet spicy notes followed behind. Woody flavors would come and go. Everything remained smooth, from beginning to end.

4 Brick_House_Maduro cigars


This was a good, middle of the road, medium bodied cigar. No frills, and no twists and turns here. Just a consistent, good cigar that easily meets the price point. I could see this going well with coffee. I will definitely revisit this cigar.

Drew Estate Liga Privada UF-13 Dark

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Thanks to Steve for sending me a few cigars to try. I am a big fan of the Liga Privada lines. The T52 and No. 9 are on my list of favorites. These cigars are limited, with quite a bit of fanfare. You can read more about that on the Drew Estate website. Steve contacted me, and simply wanted my opinion. I looked forward to the opportunity, so here we go!


Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina

Filler: Honduran and Nicaraguan

Size: 5.5 x 52

Price: Around $14.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper was flawless. It even glistened when I held it to light. It had odors of cedar, earth, and barnyard. The cigar was evenly packed, and bounced back when squeezed. The draw had some resistance, but fell within my tolerances. The pre-light draw had flavors of leather, dark chocolate, and cedar.

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

1 Drew_Estate_Liga_Privada_UF-13_Dark cigars


The first third started off with a strong blast of pepper. It wasn’t unpleasant, but for the faint of heart, it could be a problem. Dark, musty earthiness, wood, and bitter notes accompanied the pepper.

2 Drew_Estate_Liga_Privada_UF-13_Dark cigars

The second third kept the same peppery punch, along with wood and earthiness. There were notes of strong espresso from time to time. The smoke feel was almost gritty, and left me craving water. As I approached the end of this third, things started to calm down and smooth out.

3 Drew_Estate_Liga_Privada_UF-13_Dark cigars

The last third ramped back up. No smoothing out or calming down. There was a welcome addition of dark chocolaty notes. This mixed well with the flavors I mentioned before. 

4 Drew_Estate_Liga_Privada_UF-13_Dark cigars


My description may not paint this cigar in the best of light. But, make no mistake, this was a very good full bodied smoke. The flavors were bold and satisfying. For those of you who don’t like pepper, it may not be for you. As for me, I really enjoyed everything the UF-13 brought to the table. If I had to complain, it would be the $14.00 asking price. Otherwise, I think this is a cigar that holds it’s own, and is worth trying.

Ch-Ch-Ch Changes by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

The IPCPR is officially leaderless.  Bill Spann, who came in as CEO to run the premium cigar group two years ago, has left.  Spann turned in his resignation last week and it was effective on Saturday.  Spann said the main reason was that he was commuting.

“My staff and many of our members know that I have been apart from my family each week since I took this position in July 2011,” said Spann. “We fully intended to move to Columbus, but unfortunately the town’s size did not afford my spouse the career opportunities she required.”

IPCPR will now look for a new C-E-O.  In the meantime, board members say IPCPR board president Finnie Helmuth will be helping to run the organization while the search is underway.


Caldwell says Bye, Christian Adds Another

Robert Caldwell who was partnering with Christian Eiroa in the Wynwood cigar line has left the company.   According to the company’s website:

Wynwood Cigar Factory a part of the Fabricas Unidas family has opened its doors in the Wynwood art district of Miami. The concept of the Wynwood Cigar Factory came from the minds of Robert Caldwell and Christian Eiroa and features a unique environment for cigar smokers and art lovers alike.

Robert has been a pioneer in the cigar industry for over 5 years. He started The Hotel Humidor Company to service the cigar needs of the hospitality industry. He co-founded The Wynwood Cigar Factory with Christian Eiroa with a dual purpose of educating consumers and manufacturing only the finest, most unique cigars possible. Eiroa joined together with Caldwell with a purpose of building a luxury cigar brand different than any other.


A statement is expected in a couple of days, but insiders say creative differences were the reason and Christian says he wishes Robert well in his new venture.

Meanwhile the Tabacleras Unidas (or Fabrica Unidas depending) coop that Christian is running is keeping busy.  He still has his line of cigars like the CLE Corojo and he is also busy with the Pura Soul being championed and blended by Robert Wright.  Robert was V.P of sales for the old Camacho and was a national sales manager with Davidoff as Eirora’s Camacho was being sold.  Now he is back with Christian and came up with the Pura Soul brand.  (He says the name represents his background having been born in Costa Rica yet growing up in New York)  The blend is all Nicaraguan and he says it is a medium bodied cigar with full flavor and a clean creamy finish.  Pura Soul comes in 5 sizes, 5” x50, 6” x 48, 6” x 50, 7” x 52 perfecto and a 6” x 60 with prices running $6.95 to $8.95.  The Pura Soul came out at the IPCPR trade show last summer but just started shipping in the last couple of weeks.




Another new cigar is coming out in the next week or so from Grace Sotolongo who joined Christian right before the trade show.  Grace is expected to debut her cigar the Hechicera or Sorceress in early October.  She says samples are already on the way.  Hechicera is another Nicaraguan blend and comes in four sizes,  4.5” x 50 robusto, 5.5” x 44 box pressed corona, 6” x 52 toro and a 6” X 60 toro gordo.  Grace describes the line as medium bodied. From the press release:

The beautiful art featured in Hechicera is the work of Grace’s dear friend Ninoska Perez Castellon. Ninoska is a journalist, radio talk show host, political commentator and a respected leader of the Cuban exile community in Miami. And recently launched her new career as an artist.


Swisher Cuts Back


Who says taxes don’t kill jobs?  Swisher International maker of Swisher Sweets says it is laying off another 250 people from its cigar making operation in Jacksonville.  The company already had laid off 150 last year.  According to the company, the jobs will move to their operation in the Dominican Republic.


“We’re seeing a shift of a lot of cigar manufacturing to the Dominican Republic and also an influx of low cost cigars being imported into the country that are driving prices way down,” said Joe Augustus, senior vice for global affairs for Swisher. “So, the pricing pressures need to be addressed to maintain our competitive position in the marketplace.”

Regulatory pressures also factored in.

“The way our tax structure is set up, it’s less expensive to be an importer than it is to be a domestic manufacturer,” Augustus said. “We’re seeing a lot of imported products paying much less in tax revenues than we are.”


The company wants to keep as many jobs in Jacksonville as possible since it has been there since the early 1900s, but sometimes other factors get in the way.


Nebraska No Smoke

Cigar bars may be a thing of the past in Nebraska….

A Nebraska judge has upheld the constitutionality of the state’s smoking ban.  The ban was passed in 2008, but a challenge from a pool hall saying the ban illegally infringed on its rights as a private business and cut its revenues.  The judge said nope the state can screw you…well not in those exact words.

And since that ruling, the state Attorney General says he plans to file an appeal to remove the exemptions in the state smoking ban that allow for cigar bars, motels and other businesses the right to smoke legally.

You cannot compromise with these people.  If anyone thinks getting an exemption is the way to fight smoking bans, they are simply crazy.



Perdomo Champagne Sun Grown

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

The Perdomo Champagne is a staple breakfast or lunch smoke for me. I reach for a Champagne Noir for a reasonably priced, fuller bodied cigar. When I found out that this cigar was available in a sun grown wrapper, I had to try it. Off to the shop I went, and here are my thoughts.

Side note… I often use a punch for larger ring gauge cigars like this. It tends to cause just enough restriction in the draw, which helps keep the smoke volume up.


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown

Binder & Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: Super Toro 6 x 60

Price: Around $7.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The reddish brown wrapper had a nice, oily sheen. The smell reminded me of hay, and rich soil. Overall, the cigar was evenly packed, with a slight give when squeezed. The draw had slight resistance, with a flavor of earth and cedar.

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

1 Perdomo_Champagne_Sun_Grown cigars


The first third had a core of wood and pepper. After a few puffs, coffee entered the picture. The smoke feel was dry, and the aftertaste lingered for quite some time. Right before entering the second third, I picked up a note of nuttiness.

2 Perdomo_Champagne_Sun_Grown cigars

The smoke feel became a bit creamier in the second third. Somehow, at the same time, it was crisp. Otherwise, it continued to have pepper, coffee, wood, and nuts. From time to time, I picked up an unidentified sweetness.

3 Perdomo_Champagne_Sun_Grown cigars

The last third became a bit more creamier, with less of that crispiness than before. Otherwise, it was a mixture of pepper, coffee, wood, nuts, and from time to time, sweetness.

4 Perdomo_Champagne_Sun_Grown cigars


This was a good medium to full bodied cigar. I wouldn’t call it complex, but it had enough to hold my attention. I think it hits the asking price. I could smoke this at any time of the day, much like the Noir. The regular Champage, that tends to be just for breakfast or lunch. I’ll smoke more of these.

TV and Cigars and More Stealing by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

T-V shows and cigars have become a thing.  Quesada came out with the Heisenberg in honor the show Breaking Bad last year, but there is no official tie in, just that some of the younger Quesadas are fans of the program.  (The main character on the show, if you haven’t seen it, is Walter White who is a chemistry teacher but operates as a bad guy under the name Heisenberg which is also the name of a German Physicist who came up with the Uncertainty Principle in Quantm Mechanics.)


The first official show cigar I remember was when CAO had the Sopranos cigar?  It was a few years ago but that was one of the first show themed cigars I can remember. (That is if you don’t count Ernie Kovacs and Dutch Masters or George Burns and El Productos.)


Just Ducky

You probably already know about the Duck Dynasty cigar that came out at this year’s IPCPR show.  It is called the Duck Commander and is made by Ted’s Cigars.

The thing is the boys from Duck Dynasty are on a roll.  The premier of their fourth season recorded 11.8 million viewers, which set a record for a non fiction cable t-v series.  In the meantime, the boys have multiple books in the works and will even release a Christmas record called Duck the Halls.  So why shouldn’t they have a cigar?

The cigar itself comes in a glass tube, perfect if you want to throw it in a bag when you are hunting.  It is a toro measuring 6 x 50 with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over Dominican Piloto Cubano binder and fillers include U-S broadleaf, Dominican Piloto Cubano, Dominican Habano and Dominican Criollo 98.   It is not a strong cigar, rather is it creamy and mild.   They cost about $6.50.


Sons & Cigars


According to Cigar Aficionado, the Duck boys won’t be the only show with its own cigar.

Through a licensing partnership between Twentieth Century Fox’s Consumer Products division and Meier & Dutch cigar distributors, Sons of Anarchy now has its own line of cigars, humidors and accessories.

The star of the show, Ron Perelman is a huge cigar fan and is usually seen smoking a cigar in almost every episode.  If you don’t know, Sons of Anarchy is a program about a gun running motorcycle club and now is in its 6th season.

“The production team at Fox was already purchasing cigars from us for the show anyway,” said Stephen McDevitt, director of sales for Meier & Dutch. “So last year, 20th Century Fox actually contacted us to do a project like this. It was their idea.”

 Officially called Sons of Anarchy by Black Crown, the new cigars will be adorned with the club’s ominous Grim Reaper symbol—a perfect replica of the biker’s patch found on the back of every member’s jacket in the show.

The cigar is a line extension of the Black Crown brand which the company owns and will be made at the ST Danli factory in Honduras.  It will use an Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper over Nicaraguan Criollo 98 binder and Nicaraguan fillers.  It will come in 5 sizes, Prospect at 4.5” x 60,  Toro at 6” x 54, Gordo 6” x 60 and a Torpedo at 6.5” x 54.  Retail is going to be between $5.50 to $6.50.

CA also says there will be a line of accessories out later this year.

Two 75-count humidors—one in saddle-bag leather and one with metal corners—and a pewter ashtray look as though they’ve come straight out of the Sons of Anarchy clubhouse. They’ll retail for $200, $175 and $50, respectively. If you want to show your devotion to the Sons in public, a three-finger cigar case ($50) also dons the club’s Reaper symbol, as does the Xikar Xi4 cutter ($50).


So far it has not shown up on the show yet…but you know it will.


Thieves Strike Again

Back at the end of July we told you about some cigar thieves who stole a quarter of a million dollars worth of cigars from a South Florida warehouse.  Well apparently it has happened again.  This time to someone we know…Alec Bradley.  On Satuday September 7th, around 630 in the morning thieves cut a hole into the roof of the company’s warehouse and loaded up pallets of cigars into a stolen truck and got away.  Police are investigating and Alec Bradley posted about this on Facebook yesterday afternoon.  The company asks for people to be on the lookout for anyone suspicious selling their products.


More Taxes


I know many retailers will cheer this move, but it looks like Congress is going to try to impose an internet sales tax.  I do not understand why a retailer based in say the east coast should have to pay Texas sales tax if they do not operate a store here.  Nor should they have to pay usurious tobacco taxes.  It simply rewards the moronic legislators who keep thinking that they can tax tobacco to death. (Hello New York).

This legislation should die, but in the meantime, you may want to contact your Senators and Representative and tell them taxing the Internet is a bad idea.

While you are at it, you might want to take another shot at your Congress people to ask them to support HR 124 and SB772that will protect the cigar industry from the FDA’s clutches.  There is more talk from House Democrats who want the administration to put out new rules for e-cigs and cigars.

The group of legislators also sent a separate letter to Republican leaders on the Energy and Commerce Committee, on which Waxman is the top Democrat, requesting a hearing on the health risks posed by the tobacco products and the FDA’s authority to impose new rules.
The FDA, which oversees cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, has been working on regulations to expand its oversight to e-cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco, which are currently exempt from its rules.

They will keep pushing to put the FDA into our humidors, we MUST stop this. So far we have 124 sponsors for the House bill and 11 for the Senate.  We still need more.  Please do your part.







CAO Flathead

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Thanks to Victoria, of General Cigar Company, for sending me samples of the CAO Flathead. The namesake is a tribute to old school, hotrod motors. You know about flathead motors. The valves sit beside the cylinder, right under the combustion chamber. Much less efficient than current overhead valve motors. My introduction to these old motors were with old Harley’s from the 1930’s. Obviously I would be drawn to this gimmick, so on to the review.


Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder: Ecuadorian Connecticut

Filler: Nicaragua

Size: V554 Camshaft 5.5 x 54

Price: Around $7.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The dark wrapper looked really good, and had a mild, earthy, hay aroma. True to it’s name, the head was flat, real flat. The cigar was solidly and evenly packed. The draw had slight resistance, with a woody, earthy pre-light flavor.

The ash held for about an inch. The burn required one major correction in the first third, but things calmed down after that. Basically it acted like a typical box pressed cigar.

1 CAO_Flathead cigars


The first third was pretty straightforward, with dry chocolaty flavors, along with earth, leather, and a peppery zing. The aftertaste had these same flavors, along with some wood.

2 CAO_Flathead cigars

The second third was basically the same as the first. There were minor differences, such as increased strength. The peppery zing increased, and the sweetness stood out a little more.

3 CAO_Flathead cigars

Dry chocolate increased in the last third. Otherwise, everything remained the same. Earth, leather, and pepper, just like before.

4 CAO_Flathead cigars


This was a good medium bodied cigar. Picky smokers, this isn’t for you. There was no wow factor at all. It was basically one dimensional, which isn’t a bad thing. It had good, simple flavors, which is really all I require. I won’t go out of my way to get these cigars, but I would smoke more from time to time. For a predictable, easy cigar, this fits the bill.

Camacho Mike Ditka Throwback Edition

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Da Bears. I saw this cigar on shelves a couple months ago, but resisted purchasing one. Eventually, curiosity got the best of me. I only bought one, and this review is based on that alone. I’m not big on filler material, so here we go.


Wrapper: Honduras

Binder: Brazil

Filler: Dominican, Honduran, Nicaraguan

Size: 6 x 50

Price: About $10.00

1 Camacho_Mike_Ditka_Throwback_Edition cigars

Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper looked nice, and had an earthy, woody odor. There were quite a few squishy spots on the cigar, but it wasn’t drastic. The draw had some resistance, but fell within my tolerances. The pre-light flavor was a very unique citrus.

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

2 Camacho_Mike_Ditka_Throwback_Edition cigars


The first third had an interesting melody of citrus, floral, and cedar notes. I picked up an easy cayenne pepper through the nose. After an inch or so, bitter cocoa joined in, with a hint of coffee.

3 Camacho_Mike_Ditka_Throwback_Edition cigars

The second third became sweeter, which pushed the citrus notes to the background. It reminded me of one of those foo foo coffee/chocolate drinks, available at your local Starbucks. This isn’t an insult. I admit it, I like those foo-foo drinks, I just don’t drink them. The pepper was smooth, with just the right amount of zing.

4 Camacho_Mike_Ditka_Throwback_Edition cigars

By the time I got into the last third, everything was focused on chocolate and coffee. An added peppery, cinnamon zing made a nice aftertaste.

5 Camacho_Mike_Ditka_Throwback_Edition cigars


This was a very good medium to upper medium bodied cigar. I couldn’t care less about the Ditka collaboration with Camacho, but I can’t argue that this cigar delivers where it counts. There is nothing bad to say here. If you have a chance, this is worth trying. I will get more if I have the chance.

J Lo is back, Elections and More By Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Nope not that J Lo, instead it is much older, Juan Lopez  a very old Cuban brand that had been sold by Altadis but then kinda got dropped. As I reported from IPCPR, the company is re-invigorating the brand while keeping the classic Cuban look.  Today the new Juan Lopez is a Nicaraguan puro using a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper over Nicaraguan Criollo binder and Nicaraguan fillers.  These are really tasty cigars and come in three sizes Number one at 5” x 54, Number two 6” x 54 and Number three at 6” x 60 in 16 count boxes…the best news is the price, around $5 each.


Elections Matter

There is a lot of East Coast news going on today.  First up is the New York City Mayoral primary.  This is the time to finally get rid of Nanny Bloomberg.  I have not paid really any attention to the politics of NYC, although I assume the next mayor will be almost as bad as Bloomberg.  But at least Weiner’s experiencing shrinkage….in the polls that is.

With that being said, there is a guy running on the Republican side that ya gotta love,  John Catsimatidis.   Last week he held a “friendraiser” at Cigar Inn in New York.  (He didn’t expect contributions since he is a billionaire.)  According to midtown store manager Geshon Sakha:


  “He enjoys a cigar every now and then,” Mr. Sakha said of the candidate, who frequents the uptown location. “He comes with his friends Saturday morning after breakfast. He smokes a few different brands—sometimes Davidoff, sometimes Padrón and sometimes the house blend.”

Despite the beleaguered-minority role cigar smokers and the emporiums that service them project—”He will abolish the Nanny State,” Mr. Sakha vowed of Mr. Catsimatidis.


Although the candidate himself was a bit more circumspect.  He even refused to smoke a cigar because “there was a reporter from the Wall Street Journal” in attendance.  The reporter from the Wall Street Journal, however, was impressed with our culture.


Say what you will about cigars and cigar bars, but they may be among the few places in New York—a city, despite what anyone contends, that indulges elites and that traffics in exclusivity—where you’re accepted, whether hedge-fund manager or handyman, simply because you possess the intellectual gifts to enjoy cigars.


The other person running for mayor on the republican side Joe Lhota has famed cigar smoker Rudy Giuliani in his corner.

Mahogany goes Ashton


Philadelphia is getting a new/old cigar bar on Thursday.  The Ashton Cigar Bar opens right above Holt’s store in Center City at 1522 Walnut.  The locale was the home to Mahogany since 1997, but Holt’s decided it would be better for them to own the joint. So Holt’s and Ashton’s owners –Robbie Levin, his son Sathya and daughter Meera — will be running the place. After some remodeling, the new Ashton Cigar Bar will debut with the feel of a luxury cigar bar and of course will carry the Ashton, Ashton Aged Maduro, Ashton Cabinet and the Ashton VSG  among others, but according to the Phildelphia Business Journal it will have a few new wrinkles:

In addition to a wide range of cigars, it will have more than 200 whiskeys and signature cocktails. The space is outfitted with plush lounge chairs, flat-screen televisions and a state-of-the-art air purification system.


“We’ve taken significant steps to make all of our guests feel welcome, even those who may not have ever set foot in a cigar bar before,” said Levin. “Our customized air purification system comes from the same manufacturer that provides systems for many of the country’s top hospitals and casinos. Our goal is to keep the air crisp and clean at all times.”


Sathya and Meera are the third generation in the family business.



Disney to Drop Sosa


By the end of the month, Downtown Disney will be closing its only cigar shop.  Fuego by Sosa Cigars has been a mainstay of the area for many years.  I have never visited the place because of my aversion to The Mouse.  (Yeah, I worked briefly for Disney through one of its tentacles.)  But lots of people are upset that Fuego is going away because it offered an adult oasis in the Disney universe where you could get an adult beverage and smoke a cigar. (Given Florida’s nutty smoking laws this is a great thing.)


The official reason is that Disney is doing a remodel of Downtown Disney and as a result the company is not renewing the lease of the store.  There is a petition to fight the move.  You can go here to sign it.


A House is Not a Home

My House in Winter


Ocean City









A house is not a home, but today I am feeling a bit out of sorts.  You see the two homes pictured above were my homes for a good part of my life.  As a T-V guy, I mostly lived in apartments and moved around a bit…a lot actually.  The Ocean City home was my grandparents who bought it in 1957 and we would stay there every summer..  It stayed in the family until 2006 (49 years) when we sold it to help pay for my mother’s medical care.  A developer bought it and leveled it and put up two huge two story condos.  Alas, Ocean City is not now I remember it anymore.  Too many people and with the big structures no breeze from the ocean.  You need air conditioners now, before we never needed them even three blocks from the ocean.

The one on the left was the first home I actually bought in 1985.  It was built in the 20s and while it had its problems, it was home to me and my family.  Pets who lived and died there and my lovely wife who decided we needed more room and were tired of the Mc Mansions going up on our block.  We sold the house in July having moved across town.  Yes the old place was a bit drafty at times, needed work but it was a home.  Today I drove past and saw that the developer who bought it has made it no more.  Pity.

all that remains

Another two story Mc Mansion will arise.  The thing is our old neighborhood was a “conservation district” to prevent or limit this type of thing.  What ended up happening was that WE would have had to stick to strict guidelines if we wanted to fix our house..but the developers get a pass.  Another brilliant government solution.   Progress is great, but sometimes it stinks.


Sindicato Hex

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Thanks to Smoke Inn for sending some samples for review. Sindicato is a new cigar company. Basically, a bunch of retailers got together and formed this brand. Retailers include Smoke Inn, Quality Fresh Cigars, Old Virginia Tobacco, Corona Cigar Company, and Nice Ash Cigars. Who better to collaborate on cigars than experienced retailers? This is an interesting concept, so enough rambling from me.


Wrapper: Ecuadorian

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: Toro 6 x 54

Price: $6.95


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper had an shiny, oily appearance. I picked up an odor of earth, barnyard, and mild spice. The cigar was solidly packed, with no inconsistencies. The draw had slight resistance, just the way I like it. The pre-light draw had flavors of dark chocolate, earth, and spice.

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

 1 Sindicato_Hex cigars


The first third started out with a dark, earthy flavor. Think of how rich, fertile soil smells. This is what it reminded me of. It was ultra smooth, and quickly developed black coffee notes. After about an inch in, a dark chocolate flavor joined in.

2 Sindicato_Hex cigars

A very easy, smooth pepper introduced itself in the second third. What really stood out was dark chocolate. Coffee was up next, but it had minimal bitterness. A note of cinnamon was noticed in the aftertaste. The smoke feel was very smooth and sweet.

3 Sindicato_Hex cigars

There was a cinnamon tingle in the last third. It accompanied the dark chocolate nicely. Coffee, and that easy pepper, remained in the background. There may have been subtle earthiness, leather, and wood. I had a hard time telling, due to the sweetness. This wasn’t a bad thing.

4 Sindicato_Hex cigars


This was a very good medium bodied cigar. It was basically a candy bar. The flavors quickly established themselves, and subtle changes kept things interesting. I could smoke this at any time of the day. I’m curious to try their other lines. Stay tuned for that. As for the Hex, I’m sure you can tell, I really enjoyed it.

A Short Week by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

I hope everyone enjoyed the Labor Day weekend with a fine cigar.  (Alas, I was working a convention and didn’t not get that chance…sob.) After last week’s blog you should have been able to load up.  And I hope you were able to pair your smoke with a fine beverage.  But before I get to this week’s topic, there was some news.


Blanco Back Home


Jose Blanco

Jose Blanco is back home in the Dominican Republic. Jose is known to most cigar lovers as a friendly, knowledgeable cigar maven.  Many people know Jose from his long stint as head of sales for La Aurora where he helped the company bring out the popular Cien Anos, the La Aurora 1495 ( still one of my favorites especially in the corona size) and the La Aurora 107 among others.  Jose also became widely known for his famous blending seminars he held at conventions, tobacco stores and for cigar groups across the U-S and around the world.  A little over two years ago, Jose left La Aurora and the Dominican Republic to become Senior Vice President of Joya de Nicaragua. He worked with Alejandro Martinez Cuenca on the CyB ( which was a cigar initially bearing both their names, Cuenca and Blanco but due to legal reasons had to be shortened to the initials).   His contract was for two years, and late last week it was announced that he was leaving Joya to return to the Dominican Republic.  Jose, Emma and his son Jasper are now in La Romana, to be specific Casa de Campo, having left Managua. (So he is now living right next to the Dye Four golf course, with a pool and the ocean just a couple of minutes away…he says recently he has seen Michael Jordan and even Justin Bieber there at the resort.  Guess I will HAVE to go visit and then beat him in a golf game.) He says he is doing a bit of consulting and taking it a little easier.  (After all he is older than me.)  Jose still is not certain of his plans as of now, but it is pretty certain that he will be returning to the industry he loves after a little down time.


Now with that bit of news out of the way, let’s go to this week’s topic.  Cigar lovers and morons.


Business Insider is an Internet publication that I cannot quite get a grip on.  Sometimes it has good stuff…others…well.  Anyway last week, it published an article  “8 Tips For Drinking Whiskey Without Looking Like A Newbie” (they must love capital letters there).


One of the tips is good. It is the first one which talks about moving from bourbon to scotch and which ones to try.  Gotta say I agree with the recommendations of Oban14, The Balvenie Doublewood 12 or Laphroaig.

But then the whole thing kinda falls apart.

The Editor’s blog at the Washington Free Beacon goes after Business Insider’s tips and it is pretty funny.  Starting with the Business Insider’s tip number two which assures newbies that they are not doing it wrong.

Whiskey snobs may say there’s a “right” way to drink the stuff, but just relax. Simoneau has seen every request, from a Laphroaig 10 year Manhattan (a cocktail usually prepared with rye) to Johnnie Walker Blue and ginger ale. Point being: You don’t always need to drink it neat.

Look, I’m going to be blunt here: Johnnie Walker Blue is the most overrated whiskey on the market. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine scotch. I enjoy it. It’s smooth! But it’s only a slight upgrade over Johnnie Walker Black in terms of taste and it’s four times more expensive. You might as well eat twenty dollar bills; the effect is the same and you’ll get some much-needed roughage.

However, for the love of god, if you’re going to pay for that slight upgrade in taste enjoy it and do not drown it in sugary sweet soda. If that’s how you’re drinking your Johnnie Walker Blue, you are doing it wrong. I can ASSURE you of this. ALL CAPS ASSURE.

Also: If you’re going to enjoy a whiskey and ginger ale, it shouldn’t be scotch. Jack and Ginger is fine! Antique Weller and Ginger? Great! But scotch is too smoky; it doesn’t go well with the ginger ale at all. Again: If you’re ordering a scotch and ginger, you’re doing it wrong.


Gotta say I agree…As for buying an app so you can pronounce the names of scotch.  Don’t do it. The Editor and I agree again…just watch Brian Cox’s pronunciations that he did for Esquire on YouTube.

There are other bits about the whiskey in the Washington Free Beacon and it is all worth reading.



And to me there is nothing better than having a fine scotch and a cigar with friends.  Face it; cigar smokers are a social group.  We like to sit around and talk while we smoke.  It is how we pass the time.  And my guess is you have made many friends while smoking a cigar.

Well CNN recognized that, finally. The put together a short video on – get this –’’the secret world of cigar lovers”.  Who knew this was a secret? Anyway it is less than 3 minutes.  Enjoy.

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