Archive for May, 2017

Cigarillos: Get To Know Them, Get To Love Them

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

I remember the first time I ever lit a cigarillo. I was sitting outdoors for lunch on a hot summer weekday, roasting away at some swanky New York City restaurant that’s probably turned over twice by now. I knew that being in the company of my superiors meant I’d be able to fully enjoy the meal without the burden of watching the clock. I was certainly in good company—these guys signed my checks, were fans of the same sports teams, and shared my love for anything wrapped in a tobacco leaf. Time may not have been a factor that afternoon, but once the plates were cleared and the ice had melted in our glasses, break time was clearly over.


“We’ll have another round,” my supervisor said to our server. I gazed at him half bewildered and half blatantly enthused. “Cigar?” he casually asked.


Right then? Really? I probably even looked at my watch! He grabbed his blazer from the back of his chair and pulled out a little silver tin. I immediately recognized the Davidoff logo, as any seasoned cigar buff would…but what was this miniscule packaging? He opened it and handed me the tiniest cigar I’ve ever seen. Was this legitimate? Did Davidoff really make something this small or did this guy shop on Canal Street for his smokes?


I probably lost all credibility in my supposed cigar knowledge as I stared at and examined this thing. I gave it a little squeeze and it sure felt like a cigar. I gently slid my finger up and down its wrapper; it was definitely rolled like a cigar. I held it up to my nose to give it a whiff, and it certainly smelled like a cigar. I put it to my lips, grabbed his torch, and lit up—and dammit, it actually tasted like a cigar!


Because, despite its size, it was a cigar.


Put simply, cigarillos are a shorter, narrower variation of the standard cigars you know and love. Larger than cigarettes (their greatly inferior cousins), cigarillos are wrapped in tobacco leaves or brown tobacco-based paper and, like cigars, are typically made without filters. They smoke exactly like their big brothers (so don’t inhale!) to provide the same satisfaction and bold flavor…but in a quick 10-minute window.


I’ve always had a borderline obsession with compact things. Less is more; portability and convenience are two constant necessities in my current lifestyle. Realizing that I could essentially keep a pint-sized version of my cigar humidor in my pocket or briefcase, I quickly embraced this change. I began to study and sample these distinct offerings. And now I welcome you to this greatly underrated and underappreciated fold.


The first rule of cigarillo culture is—actually, there are no across-the-board rules other than they’re small. But the options never end! There are such unique blends and offerings out there that you couldn’t possibly fathom their existence without opening up to them. There’s something for everyone and, I assure you, I’m not overcompensating with that statement. I’m so adamant about the top-notch quality and convenience of this superior cigar style that I’m going to break down all the pros one by one.


Luxury: There are big, premium offerings in the cigarillo world. The aforementioned Davidoff brand become an icon in Europe back in the ’70s and it’s still going strong. But Davidoff isn’t alone; there are plenty of brands that offer high-quality handmade cigarillos or premium-tasting machine-made ones. Industry giants like Montecristo, Cohiba, Ashton, Romeo y Julieta, and H. Upmann, to name a few, all manufacture exceptional tasting and well-crafted cigarillos that exude high-end class and luxury. Other brands that have conquered this market are just as familiar: Panter, Nat Sherman, Garcia y Vega—all names you’ll recognize, but absolutely must try in order to understand the elegance and robust flavor meticulously crafted into these compact marvels.


Quality: With such notable names producing cigarillos, you can expect the same top-quality construction and flavor complexities as you would from their full-size offerings. These sticks have a pretty decent shelf life due to being almost universally sold in stay-fresh tins or pouches. It’s another plus for those forgetful smokers who let their cigar humidors dry out, or even forget to throw their newest selections in. Mostly precut and ready to go, these top-quality cigarillos almost always provide a smooth burn and great pull.


Taste: Don’t be fooled by their shortened stature! These little sticks pack as much bold and savory flavor as the big boys. These premium-tasting smokes can be as pleasantly mellow as a sun-aged Cuban, or as robust and decadent as some of the finest full-sized maduros. In fact, due to their size and the improved logistics of machine-manufacturing, there are some exceptional blends and distinct flavors that are only available in this smaller size. Which brings me to…


Variety: Whether they’re handmade or machine-made, there are myriad cigarillo options available. In fact, I’d even go beyond that to say that this class of cigars may have the widest selection of them all—the world of cigarillos isn’t limited to miniature versions of the classics. The lower cost of producing and increased technology have allowed for some of the most innovative types of tobacco products out there. Vast flavor selections from popular machine-made brands like Phillies, White Owl, and Zig-Zag range from exotic fruit infusions, to rich and aromatic decadence, and even boozy varieties like wine- and cognac-infused delights. Old-school brands like Toscani and Backwoods offer straggly-looking sticks that pay homage to the old west. Prominent manufacturers like Black & Mild even switch up the tips for an extra bang for your buck. Seriously, this paragraph could go on and on; there’s flavor for every palate, and a top-notch pairing for any meal or cocktail.


Affordability: Perhaps the best thing about cigarillos is that there’s something for everyone; there’s a smoke for your premium aficionado, a basic offering for your rookie smoker, and even a fruity blend for when you force the Mrs. to head to the cigar lounge with you. But most importantly, there’s a type that fits any budget. Cigarillos are typically less expensive than standard full-sized cigars; even big names like Davidoff and Montecristo craft cigarillo-sized offerings that are cost-effective without compromising taste or quality. And makers of already affordable full-sized stogies, like Dutch Masters and Toscani, offer cigarillo-sized assortments for an even more economical smoking option. (Just be on the lookout, especially when shopping online, as some of the more inexpensive names only market their products under its brand name; despite technically being a cigarillo, the term may not be used on its packaging or online listing.)


So I think I’ve kept you here long enough. If you made it this far, you’re definitely as intrigued by these tiny treasures as I first was. Check out some of the names I’ve mentioned and browse our first-rate assortment of top-quality, premium-tasting cigarillos in all our available varieties. Knowing is half the battle, and now you’re right there. Give cigarillos a shot by taking advantage of our superior selection and unmatched prices. See for yourself what all this fuss was about! You’ll be glad you did.

Cornelius & Anthony Venganza— A Very Special Premium Cigar

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Cornelius & Anthony Venganza Cigars come from the esteemed Bailey family who have been curating premium tobaccos for more than 150-years! A superb follow-ups to the company’s highly touted Cornelius line, a fine recipe of the finest aged Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos, paired with silky and seamless Ecuador wrapper are being rolled at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

For a very small operation, La Zona has made a lot of noise with 601, Murcielago, MoyaRuiz, and a string of other top selling blends including this one.


Right out of the gate, these flawlessly crafted vitolas wallop the palate with a blast of white pepper. The draw is nearly perfect, and you can tell that this stick will be burning slow. A few tokes later, things settle down nicely as full, but creamy textured notes of cinnamon, cedar, black cherry, and sweet spice remain until the final third when a long and satisfying cream finish wraps things up nicely.

The Venganza lineup includes four popular sizes, the (5 x52) Judge, the (6 x50) Persuader, for smaller ring fans, the 5.5 x 46 Silencer, and the big and bold BMG that weighs in at a hefty 6 x 60 length and ring. Twenty of these lovely smokes come beautifully banded and packaged in aromatic, slide top cedar dress boxes.

We think that seasoned cigar enthusiasts looking for a delicious, yet highly distinctive full flavored cigar smoking experience will love all aspects of the flavor and complexity that the top-quality Cornelius & Anthony Venganza Cigars provide.

JR Special Corona- The Rebirth of a Classic JR Cigar.

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

For more than three decades, the JR Special Corona cigars were some of the best-selling smokes in our exclusive in-house lineup. When they finally disappeared due to manufacturing issues, some of the hardcore brand loyalists were very upset— to say the least! We are happy to report that we have resurrected this legendary brand and they are just as delicious and affordably priced as ever.

The brand new JR Special Corona, once again made exclusively for us, is handmade in Nicaragua in your choice of three top-quality wrapper styles that include a golden brown Ecuador Connecticut, a robust, clay-red colored Habano Rosado, and a deep dark and delicious Connecticut Broadleaf maduro. Nestled underneath these three fine wrapper varieties are perfectly aged Indonesian and Nicaraguan long filler tobaccos. All three blends are medium in strength, 6 x 50- Toro sized, and packed in value-price bundles of 15.  Now, let’s take a closer look at what this affordable brand has to offer.

When choosing the JR Special Corona Toro Connecticut Ecuador, you will enjoy an easygoing smoke with a warm and toasty aroma and lush complex notes of sweet spice, leather, nuts, and coffee. This one will become your ideal morning and mid-day cigar-smoking companion.

The Toro Habano Rosado Ecuador cigar really stands out with its stunning reddish-brown Cuban-seed wrapper. Slightly more robust than its Connecticut wrapped cousin, the cigar remains medium bodied with delicious flavors of earth, leather, spice, and dark roast coffee. Smooth enough for that first morning smoke, yet boasting enough complexity and balance for the evening, this Special Corona is a very accommodating cigar.

With the JR Special Corona Toro Maduro, dark leaf enthusiasts will savor delicious medium body notes of chocolate, coffee bean, earth, and caramel. This wonderful slow-burning smoke is one that can be enjoyed all day. This gem also pairs perfectly with espresso, port wine, and a nice craft brew.

Boasting outstanding construction and tons of complexity, our lineup of JR Special Corona blends prove that a premium cigar doesn’t have to be

Southern Draw Cigars – Your Perfect Pairing Companion!

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Southern Draw is a unique and extraordinary line of premium handmade cigars specially blended to complement the various styles of craft brews, boutique wines, and spirits. A  relative newcomer to the industry,  these patriotically inspired vitolas were founded by U.S. Veterans to honor their southern  tobacco traditions and the generations of  families who have cultivated, fermented, and aged it to perfection.  After rolling, every Southern Draw cigar rests in cedar lined aging bins allowing the flavors to marry and blend for the utmost in consistency and smooth taste. In addition, before leaving the factory, each stick is draw-tested to exacting standards assuring and easy and effortless draw.

Kudzu, the inaugural line boasts a double-fermented Habano Oscuro wrapper with a slick, oily sheen over binder and filler tobaccos made with aged Cuban seed Nicaraguan tobaccos. Available in three big ring sizes, full flavored maduro enthusiasts will enjoy a smoke loaded with dark tobacco, spice, cedar, and cocoa flavors.

Firethorn, Southern Draw’s second offering, features an aged and double-fermented Habano Rosado wrapper atop a San Andres Mexican binder, and Nicaraguan fillers made from Cuban seed tobaccos. Rife with a sweet tobacco aroma, and complex flavors of subtle spice, hints of cinnamon, cocoa, caramel, and pecan, this delicious, medium to full body recipe will enhance the taste and complexity of any adult beverage that you pair with it.

With the small ring enthusiast in mind, Southern Draw Quickdraw cigars, in boxes of 50, offers two 44-ring blends and two regular size 52- ring vitolas. The cigars come in your choice of a dark Pennsylvania Broadleaf, Ecuador Connecticut, and Ecuador Habano wrappers over a two-nation blend of aged binder and filler tobaccos. Quickdraw offers a perfectly balanced variety coffee, cocoa, and nut flavors in the lighter wrapper leaves, with espresso and sweet spice being the dominant component in the dark maduro broadleaf.  Once again, like its two cousins, these beauties are full in flavor and crafted to pair with your favorite beer, wine, or just about any adult beverage that you enjoy.

New from Nicaragua- the Fabulous H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez cigars.

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

A famous name in the world of Premium cigars, the H.Upmann brand has a long history of top-selling blends that date back to Cuba in 1844. Eventually forming a sister brand in the Dominican Republic where the legacy of excellence continues today, American smokers have come to rely on the Dominican H.Upmann cigar for its smooth and rich medium body flavor, along with a fabulous aroma.

We are excited to say that this storied brand has received a makeover, and its coming out of Nicaragua from one of the world’s hottest cigar makers. H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez cigars bring to the vanguard a selection of the finest aged tobaccos that include a seamless Sumatra wrapper from Ecuador over a vintage Nicaraguan Corojo 99 binder and fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. These superb vitolas are offered in three popular sizes, the Churchill, at 7 inches by 54 ring gauge; Toro, 6 by 54; and the Robusto which weighs in at 5 by 52. The cigars ship in 20-count cedar boxes with powder blue trim, and each stick comes adorned with elegant powder blue and gold bands.

Already a huge hit with our in house “herfers”, H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez cigars deliver a rich tobacco sweetness accented with medium to full flavored notes of  dark roast coffee, hazelnut, cedar, and subtle hints of spice. Not only are these new smokes super-delicious, but in true AJ and H.Upmann fashion, you can count on outstanding construction, a very slow and even burn, and an effortless draw.

From the stunning bands and boxes to the super-premium quality and flavor, H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez offers the discerning aficionado the utmost in beauty and cigar smoking perfection.

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