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Grand Daddy Cigar Show Starts Today in Vegas!

Monday, July 18th, 2011

My last IPCPR Show in 2008 was in the very same place as this year’s, in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Venetian Hotel and Casino. While I didn’t get to make the trip this year, I have nothing but great  memories of that show.

ipcprFirst off, The Venetian is like the size of a small city. I remember it taking me a good 15 – 20 minutes to walk from my room to the show floor – all in the same hotel! It’s a spectacular place, done in classic, all-out, in your face, over the top, Vegas style. But I can tell you that there’s nothing quite like the site of 3,000 cigar smokers descending upon one place, having the entire hotel smell like finely aged smoldering leaf! I remember the Sunday night kick-off party for the attending retailers was supposed to be poolside, but a rare, heavy rainstorm sent the party inside as 1,000 or so stogie puffing maniacs spilled out from the ball rooms, into the hallways, as it was so smokey, you swore you were walking through the streets of London. Non-smoking guests who had to pass through the halls were holding their noses with shirts pulled up over their faces as hotel security and the fire marshalls were fit to be tied. They were clearly not prepared for this onslaught of us Brothers of the Leaf.

FontanaThe most memorable thing I can say about this gathering was that the camaraderie was truly like nothing I had ever seen before. Cigar makers and retailers were there to support an industry that is facing a lot of set-backs, but nothing, I mean NOTHING was going to stop this event from being anything short of huge success. The store owners are there to see what new products the manufacturers are debuting, while purchasing products from the sales reps. And the reps are busy writing up orders while strengthening the relationships with their customers. Like I said, it’s camaraderie like I had never really seen before in all my life.

The big thrill for the shop owners is getting to meet the cigar makers and the master blenders. They line up, some thirty yards deep to personally speak with the likes of the Fuentes, Steve Saka, the Garcias, Lito Gomez, Nick Perdomo, the boys from Alec Bradley, Rocky, Nestor Miranda, and Placencia. Lucky for me, the good people at Camacho let me infest their leather seated pad, and I got to spend several days with my friends Dylan Austin and Christain Eiroa. And the best part was three straight nights of Camacho’s private after party, in a bar filled with cold drinks, hot women, and a couple hundred Neanderthals smelling like they just came from a Honduran barn fire.

the-venetian-hotel-las-vegasThree people I remember the most from that trip are men who touched this industry like no others. First is Daniel Nunez, then president and CEO of General cigar, a man who treated me like the most important guest in the world when I visited his facilities in the DR and Honduras only a couple months prior. Everything about that man is total class and I’ll always remember our long talks about baseball and our favorite New York Mets. The other two are beloved gentlemen who passed away within the last year – the great cigar making legend, Frank Llaneza, and Camacho’s one and only, Sal Fontanna. Frank was telling me about his new cigar that he was so excited about, which unknown to me at the time was his 1961 namesake. And then there were the three days listening to Sal Fontana’s stories that had everyone laughing until we couldn’t breathe. Lew Rothman was very close to both of these good men and I’m sure I speak for Lew when I say that they are both so terribly missed.

So today the show begins in the desert – many a new smoke will be debuted to the cigar loving world, and I can’t wait to see what the manufacturers introduce! I may be there only on spirit, but I will smoke till my brain implodes in honor of our most awesome and leafy industry!

Smoke ‘Em Cuz ya Gottem,


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

JR CIGARS is Like, Totally Social

Monday, July 11th, 2011

I think we’re all pretty much blown away by this social media revolution. It all kind of started with simple blogs like this one, and now FaceBook and Twitter has gone bonkers with hundreds of millions of people Tweeting and posting like crazy on a daily basis. I swear there are people who do absolutely no work and just post online all day… well, at least that’s what my wife accuses me of.

JRTube.FBI personally can’t believe how much social media has had a positive effect on the cigar industry as more information is being shared about the aged leaf than ever thought possible. On FaceBook, I have probably close to 6,000 friends and fans myself, and I’m betting three-quarters of them are cigar lovers. It really shows how so many people love the leaf and and crave information about their passion. I also think it says a lot about the camaraderie factor that cigar smoking has always been about.

This weekend I decided to build up my Twitter followers by searching out cigar lovers on the site, following them, so they might follow me in return (that’s pretty much how it often works.) To my utter surprise, I was finding thousands of people with “cigars” in their bios. But most of all, I am blown away how many guys have their own cigar blog or review sites. I came across hundreds of them and I was really happy to see how alive this industry is with an explosive passion like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Now, YouTube is of course a HUGE part of this crazy social revolution and our JR CIGAR TUBE with Nathan and the Zman Show is going great as we approach 20,000 uploads by the fans in just a very short period of time. Below you’ll find a quick little video from Stave Nathan and I, just thanking the fans for watching, commenting, and supporting every episode. If you haven’t seen our video cigar extravaganza, please check it out and tell us what you think! We run 2 part episodes every Monday and Thursday and like I said, the feedback has been just terrific!

Check out the show right here >

Join & Follow JR Cigars on FaceBook >!/jrcigars

Join & Follow JR Cigars on Twitter >!/JRCigars

See The Zman & Nathan Thank You video >

Picture 8Now I hope you all know that JR CIGARS has a gorgeous new website, so stop visiting the old one and start with the new! Hey, our people worked hard on this and we’re all very proud, so give it a look and I bet you might wanna even buy some tasty cigars! Come on, what are you waiting for… CLICK AWAY!

I speak for everyone at JR when I say THANK YOU for being a loyal customer. We’ve been around for a lot of years for a reason, and of course the fans and the followers are why!

Keepin’ it Social,


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Go Fourth & Carry a Big Stick

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Farmers, carpenters, inn keepers,  blacksmiths and all men young and old (some as young as 13) banded together under the guise of General Washington… an army of newly trained men and local militia were to fight the world’s most elite army. Oppressive taxes and brutal British rule caused a bunch of rag tag rebels to rise up and defend what they believed was right. And this is the day we honor those brave men, men like Patrick Henry who made it clear when he defiantly stated, “Give me Liberty of give me death.”

sampleJuly 4th, 1776 was the day that a group of determined men signed the world’s most famous document, the document that declared to the world that the United States of America and its citizens were forever free. Yet 235 years later, Anti-smoking zealots purport their fascism upon the masses, many being government officials who abuse their political power all in the name of saving us from our selves.

While we live in the land of the free, our personal freedoms are being stripped away at an alarming rate as government tells us they think they know best. But intrusive government, high taxes, and eliminating our personal choices is everything our founding fathers fought against.

The words of our 1st President, George Washington…

george_washington“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

“I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery.”

Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.”

When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen.”

The words of our 40th President, Ronald Reagan…

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

“Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.”

“The government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

“Today I raise my cigar in the name of freedom and I will fight the oppressors who wish to smolder my true love.” That one is all mine, people, so make sure to quote my Polack ash when you use it, for I am your Puro Patriot.

Long ashes my brothers and sisters,


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Play Ball, Not Politics, fer Crissakes!

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Florida’s Tampa/ St. Pete area is rich in baseball tradition, hosting great minor league teams over the decades, as well as the present day Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The current major league team has been celebrating their heritage by wearing throwback jerseys of those teams of the past that brought great joy to the Florida fans. The St. Petersburg Pelicans, St. Pete Saints, and the Tampa Tarpons have all been represented on throwback days, wearing replicas of their original jerseys.

Now this year’s throwback day game is coming up on July 2nd, as the Rays take on their National League rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. And the team of the past being celebrated is the The Tampa Smokers who played in the 1951 Class B Florida International League – a team whose outstanding season record of 90-50 took them all the way to a championship.

-1Everyone knows that cigar making has been the backbone of the Tampa/St. Pete area for well over a century, as the industry has employed many of central Florida’s population. And even in light of the cigar industry’s role in the area, smoking has become a horribly dirty word as many smoke-free groups, including the Devil Rays players have spoken out against tobacco use of any kind…. which leads me to this particular upcoming throwback day. There will be a noticeable change to the Tampa Smokers uniform, one that has baseball fans and historians pretty damned mad. You see, the jersey design for the July 2nd game will be minus the cigar that was emblazoned across the original 1951 team’s chest. Yes, people, political correctness has reared its hideous stench in the face of our national pastime.

Picture 3The team issued the following thoroughly asinine, bulls shit statement about the cigar omission:

“We have chosen to wear the Smokers jersey to celebrate the rich heritage and traditions surrounding baseball in Tampa Bay and this version of the logo is intended only to be a slightly more contemporary version of that wonderful history.”

South Florida history professor and co-director of the Florida Studies Program, Gary Mormino spoke openly about this politically correct hypocrisy. “It’s kind of embarrassing, I mean, embrace the past! Tampa’s love affair with the national pastime is equaled by its passion for making and smoking fine cigars.”

Right on, bro, you tell him!…

“Tampa still is known as Cigar City,” Mormino said. “Prior to the 1950s, dignitaries who came to Tampa got the key to the city along with a box of fine cigars, he said, and mayors always were out in public, chomping on foot-long cigars. If you were a banker, you didn’t smoke a machine-made cheroot,” he said. “Cigars were a mirror of one’s standing.”

1930s-El-LectorYou know, while these fear-mongering morons are taking things far beyond the norms of reality, I have to ask, why stop at changing the logo? Why not change the name of the team, all together? I mean, their name is the SMOKERS! Dear God, man, what if little Johnny turns to dad in the middle of his giant sugar laden sodie and nitrate loaded, fat infused hotdog and asks, “Hey pop, what’s a Smoker?” Can you imagine how dear ol’ dad will have to scramble thru the depths of his brain to think of a lie in order to suffice the obese child’s inquisition! They are called the smokers because Tampa has long been the cigar making capital of the United States and cigars are what everyone smoked! I personally believe that omitting the cigar from the team jersey is similar to the people who want any mention of racism stricken from Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. What, are you gonna deny that it existed? It is a part of our history, no matter how it affects you emotionally. But the difference with the scenarios is that, yes, racism is an ugly, and horrible truth. Now some out there feel the same about smoking, while so many others relish in their daily taste of tobacco, and profess their love for premium handrolled cigars.

Removing the cigar from the Smoker’s team logo is nothing short of grotesquely hypocritical. They will keep the name of the team, but remove the image of the cigar to prevent children from streaming out of the stands and clamoring for the nearest smoke shop. The blatant idiocy is simply appalling and a sample of the direction the country’s politico suck-ups are taking us.

We will continue to fight the good fight, people – a constant battle where there is truly no end in sight.

God Bless Us, Everyone,


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Another Smokin’ Father’s Day

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Father’s Day is a glorious day for me as I really do celebrate the love I have for my kids. My daughter just turned 20 and my son is the classic 16 year old teen age boy. (NO WAY Zman, you’re WAY to youthful to have kids that age – yeah, I know, I hear it all the time.) We’re very close and hearing the words, “Happy Father’s Day” the first thing in the morning, is all I need to make me smile.

Picture 12But the question I always have is… How come Father’s Day, in NO Way gets the attention, adulation, and fanfare that Mother’s Day does? Mom gets flowers and cards, an expensive brunch at the fancy buffet joint, or a great family dinner at her favorite place. It is her most special day as the queen basks in the the_kitsch_bitsch_vintage_dad_graphic_mousepad-p1441578026363796637pdd_325glory of her motherhood. Dad’s on the other hand just get that morning “Happy Father’s Day”, then it business as usual, doing back breaking yard work on a hot June Sunday afternoon, as I did yesterday, replanting bushes. Joy. Five straight hours of digging a trench with more friggin. boulders than all of Colorado.

And of course, dad’s don’t get taken to their favorite joint, no, beer-old+guyuh-uh. (Well if I did, it would be huge steaks, martinis and baseball bat sized cigars that would cost the wife a mortgage payment.) So, dads like me, all across the U.S. of A., barbecue for the family, which of course is more work after a day filled with knuckle-crunching hard work.

Ah, who am I kidding, I love to barbecue for the family on Father’s Day, choosing what I want to make, without being concerned about health and safety. What that means is that some kind of animal carcass will be gutted and served, along with a mayonnaise laden salad, corn on the cob, and ice cold beer, the brew of daddy’s choice. (And today is Moretti, an Italian import that is loaded with flavor, holding up to the big n’ meaty Zman-b-que.) Also note that I grill my corn – not in the husks or in foil, but right on the hot open grill plate, first slathered with butter, garlic powder, salt and pepper, until it gets brown and crispy on the outside, while juicy and sweet on the inside. Food Nazi’s and calorie counting weenies need not apply.

Quite fortunately, Father’s Day is a glorious day for me as I really do celebrate the love I have for my dad, who is 77, alive and kicking. My parents live only 20 minutes away and having them over is nice, as they give the kids money and tell many of the same stories that have been shared dozens of time before. Now my dad and I are close, and always have been. And while he’s still got most of his marbles left, he is a certified wacko, getting weirder and more bizarre with each passing year. It’s those classic, “crazy old bastard” idiosyncrasies” that make me pray I don’t get all nutty in my elder years (Too late, I’m sure many would say.”) Dad just loves, I mean totally gets off on cursing out other drivers. You can’t go half a mile with six guys being called mother f@#%ers, c@#k s#$&@&s, or having them being told where to place certain appendages into a particular rear functioning cavity. About a month ago I bet the old man that we couldn’t drive a half an hour with at least three unsuspecting fellow drivers being scorned and verbally violated by my cursing, ex-sailor of a dad. And sure enough, out of pure instinct and nothing more, dad hit three on the nose. While trying so hard to hold back his litany of colorful language, pops just could not stop himself from letting three different drivers know what they should eat and where they should go.

dad_with_large_cigarNow, the good thing is, my dad loves premium cigars and after every Father’s Day meal, we head to the porch to share a smoke with stories new and old. My pop loves maduro, and I hand him a JR Ultimate Principale, a luscious medium-bodied Honduran-born stick with a mountain of flavor. I opt for the Camacho Corojo, a full-bodied blast of Jalapa Valley tobacco goodness. So as we snip our sticks and are about to light, dad takes a small spray bottle out of a bag and starts coating himself with a liquid he swears keeps the bugs away. I furrow my eyebrows as a pungent stink crawls up my nose, as he tells me, “It’s vinegar, son, it works like magic and you won’t even smell it!”

“Won’t even smell it? Dad, you stink like a goddamned Greek salad, you old coot! Want me to put out a plate of feta cheese for you”

“Oh, it’s not that bad,” he tried with a feeble attempt to convince me,  “and I never get bit.”

“Of course not, “I said in agreement, “what living creature will come within 25 feet of you? By the way, I’ve got a bottle of Wishbone Italian in the fridge if you want me to do your back.”

Somehow I managed through the smell as the two of us bonded and smoked those beautious handrolled treasures. It was another wonderful Father’s Day for me, as I can’t help but thank my maker for all the goodness I truly do have in my life.

Please Note – That’s NOT my dad in the picture, but he is crazy looking and I thought it fit nice for the story.

Hope all you dads got to enjoy as well. Til next week,


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Cigars, Cars & Bikes Done JR Whippany Style

Sunday, June 12th, 2011















Nothing, I mean NOTHING brings out the gear-heads in full throttle like Bike & Car Nite at JR CIGARS in Whippany, New Jersey. It was a hot and muggy evening as the machines rolled into the lot, all for a night of metal, rubber, chrome, and testosterone. The smell of fire-grilled  burgers & dogs wafted through the air, but not to be outdone by the rich scent of premium aged, handrolled tobacco, courtesy of the good people at JR. With summer only a couple of weeks away, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the coming of sun and fun, than filling a parking lot with colorfully loud 13machines of every make and model.

First off, I hope you dig the photos, courtesy of yours truly. It took hours to Photoshop them all and get ‘em into the blog, but I’m pretty happy with how they look and that’s all that really matters.


28I always find that the camaraderie at an event like this is just simply amazing. It’s like we’re all brothers and sisters of the motor mount, and everyone is there to hear the stories and see the incredible detail these people put into their joy rides. A lot of money and time is spent to bring these beauties of yesteryear to life, and Make no mistake, these machines are like the owners very children. The pride that shows on their faces is such a pleasure to see.

2931While there were too many incredible bikes to behold and cars to count, I was awestruck by New 30Jersey’s own Cheryl Chapman who brought her 1956 Ford Thunderbird (in original Fiesta red)… the car she received on her 17th birthday. But the metallic love her love of her life was stolen in 1966, breaking her heart, but not her spirit. Close to four decades later she decided to search for her car and believe it or not, in 2004 she found it in Iowa and the T-Bird was returned to her home soon after. An amazing story.

3Next to Cheryl’s amazing Bird was a ‘59 DeSoto with it’s original owner tagging along as well. This thing is just a tad shorter than an ocean liner and I’m sure needs an over sized garage to house it. Then there was the screaming nitro red Plymouth which was pretty awesome as well as the 1968 Camaro in absolute pristine condition. I tried my damnedest to convince the red Chevy’s owner to let me take it for a spin, but when she threatened to put my Frank Llaneza 1961 out in my eye, I figured I’d better move on and enjoy the other machines.

The motorcycles were equally insane as usual, all of them a custom job, one more wicked than the next. Their owners decked out in leather made it all just seem right as the band played rock and roll classics through the night.

Guys, as you can tell, it was an amazing evening, and I’m sure most of you are drooling at the pix and kicking yourselves for nor being there! But don’t worry, my bruthas, we’ve got one more scheduled at the end of the summer on Friday, September 9th.

Hey, let’s try to make it here next time!



Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Cigars – Downright Neighborly, Don’tcha Think?

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Sunday morning here in northern New Jersey couldn’t have been any more spectacular – 67 degrees, blue sky and sunny at 9:30 am. The wife and kiddies were away at the shore so I got myself a big-ass egg sammich, a Janitor in a drum sized mug o’ java, the Sunday newspaper, and a Gloria Cubana Serie R Natural to hang on the back patio with.

Breakfast was awesome, and now my Nicaraguan Ligero dessert was all ready to be enjoyed as the fresh morning dew and the perfect spring breeze assured me I was about to relax, big-time. Well… that’s what I thought…

OLD.BroadEXCUSE-A ME!,” the shreaking voice of an old European woman blurted out, like the sound of a needle being zipped across and old phonograph record. I look up and my neighbor’s mother has her head stuck through my forsythia bushes with the face that only an surly old ethnic woman can make.

“Your-a seegar steenks all-a da way over heer and I don’t need’s my grand keeds being poisoned while jumping on da tramp-a-leene! You putta dat a goa damma ting out rite now!”

Now the trampoline is about 45 to 50 feet away from where I’m sitting on MY GOD DAMNED PROPERTY! My first inclination was to throw my hot coffee into that sour puss and blow smoke rings around her haggy dome… But I just sat there and calmly replied, “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FRIGGIN KIDDING ME, LADY!” Okay, I was a little less tactful than maybe I should have been, but what major league psycho path of a person demands that someone sitting on their own property put out the ten dollar premium aged, Dominican made cigar that they’re smoking?

“I am on my own property enjoying a 100% LEGAL product out in the open air and you have the audacity to demand I stop smoking?” I could tell by the confused look on her ruddy face that she had no idea what the word audacity meant, but that really didn’t stop her from being a totally rude jackass.

“Leesen meester, I’m-a not gonna tell a you again!”

“Well that’s good,” I let her know, “Cuz I was gonna just sit here and enjoy the hell out of my cigar so please go back on your side of the property and leave me alone!”

“So you doan care dat you are-a poisoning da cheeldrin?”

“Lady, now you’re REALLY pissing me off… and to make the allegation (another big word she didn’t know) that I’m killing you’re grand kids is completely insane! How about taking away their Koolaid and Gummy Bears and I guarantee that will help them extend their expected lifespan… Now PLEASE LEAVE!”

Now the old coot has her hands on her hips, bobbing her head,  and is dancing around like a semi-trained circus bear behind the bushes. Then, she actually says to me, “I’m a gonna come over dere and putta dat damn ting outta myself!”

La-Gloria-Cubana-Serie-ROkay, this broad is certifiably nutso, so I pick up my brandy-new and cool iphone and tell her, “Come on over, grandma, I’m dialing the police right now. And of course you know that almost all cops love a good cigar?”

“You-a son ov a beetch! I’m-a tellin’ my Son-een-law rite now!”

Now my neighbor, Bill is a cool guy and has warned me in the past that his mother-in-law was originally from Hades before coming to the United States. And wouldn’t you know it, cool old Bill comes out onto his deck and yells out, “Nana!… get over here and leave Tommy alone! What in the name of God is wrong with you?”

“He’s a keeling Stehanie and-a Michael!” she blurted out like someone who definitely missed taking her horse pills that morning.

“Bill,” I said very calmly, “Can you make her go away before I blow my Polack stack?! She was gonna come over here and put out my cigar!”

“I am SOOOOOO sorry, Zman, Bill said with total sincerity. “Can you even imagine the crap that I go through every time she visits?”

I just stood there dumbfounded, making a silent face in return, the kind that clearly said, “Wow… you poor mother f@#ker.”

GET IN THE HOUSE NOW, NANA! If you ever bother our neighbors again I’ll have you deported!”

Damn, I didn’t know you could deport someone back to hell, but I’m sure Satan doesn’t want any part of that old loon, as well. So, old sour-bag the Smoke Nazi stomped her lime green Crocs like a five year-old, while swearing like a drunk-ass, eastern block sailor as she scurried her barn-door buttocks into the house.

“Bill, you owe me, bro,” I said in all seriousness.

He nodded in agreement and assured me it wouldn’t happen again.

That night, some ten hours after my clash with the Devil’s concubine, the doorbell rings, and Bill is standing there with a six pack of icy-cold Stellas and a couple of “real-deal” Cuban Monte’s he picked up on his trip to Antigua a month ago. I shook my head letting him know that all was forgiven. He also had a bag of produce in his hands and told me to take it.

“They’re fresh Hot peppers,” he said with a smile. “The smell of them barbecued makes my mother-in-law want to hurl her guts up, when she gets a whiff. Thought you might like to grill some up with tomorrow’s dinner.”

Wow, now THAT’s what I call being downright neighborly.


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman


Monday, May 30th, 2011

Hamburgers, check… Extra-long dogs, check… Cheese, check… buns, check… beans for sustained gas, check… Tater salad, check… onions to increase the gas potential, check… coleslaw to make it a slam dunk, check… assorted brews, check… okay what am I forgetting?…

CIGARS!… Oh my God… I can’t forget the CIGARS!!! How the hell could I forget the freakin’ smokes? What is a holiday without a gaggle of your favorite premium handrolled tobacco sticks of love? Okay… now am I forgetting about anything else? Come on, anything… there’s got to be something else we all need to remember for this Memorial Day holiday 2011?… Right?… Damn yeah, you know there is…


bish33I talk about this every year, but I believe the reason we celebrate Memorial Day with barbecue feasts, family gatherings, swimming pool openings, along with a good cigar and your favorite drink is because of the hundreds of thousands of amazing  men and women who fought in past and present wars made it possible for us to do so. And it all dates back to the late 1,700’s where settlers in Virginia rose up against the taxes and tyranny to form a new nation under some of the most heinous conditions imaginable.

Last summer I took the wife and kids to historic Williamsburg, Virginia and learned more than I ever knew before about the revolution and the incredible sacrifices so many men made… all in the name of freedom. We were out manned, out gunned, out numbered, and with so many key supplies cut off by the British we still managed to succeed in victory and create a way of life envied the world over. Without hesitation, men stood up against forces infinity stronger, more polished, and heavily armed, yet somehow, someway America prevailed, as it has done for hundreds and hundreds of years.

jtwroblewski-gravesite-photo-082005Fighting for our freedom goes back a long, long ways, and today we give special honor to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. They have left behind parents, brother and sister, wives, and even children, and those are the ones who have truly suffered the most. Today I think about my neighbor’s boy, JT Wrobolewski, who died of battle wounds from gunfire in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, in April of 2004. JT was the first Marine from New Jersey, to lose his life in Iraq. Five years ago we visited his grave site in Arlington National Cemetery and the emotions were overwhelming. I still well up with tears as I sit here & remember.

Today we enjoy the barbecues, friends, the great outdoors, and our favorite smokes because so many brave souls fought so it could be. That’s why we should enjoy our family and friends and appreciate everything that we have in our lives.

Today we enjoy because we can… and we remember.


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Cigar Smoking Like It Was the End of the World

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Not so far away, in the land of fruits and nuts – a strange place lovingly known as Kalifawnya – there lived a crazy old preacher-man who warned the earth’s inhabitants that the end of the world was indeed coming… and, guess what… that was back in 1994. Obviously the 88 year old coot prescribes to the notion of once you don’t succeed, try, try again. So, a new date was set for this past Saturday, May 21, 2011, as nutty old Harold Camping spent hundreds of thousands of dollars erecting billboards all across the Untied States, warning the world of the coming rapture. Well, I guess the fact that we’re still here proves that Mr. Camping’s message of apocalyptic doom was merely the rantings of a half-baked nutjob, who really should just stick to walks in the park and heaping bowls of high fiber oat bran with warm milk.

cd-coverAs Saturday approached, I thought to myself, just what if there was even the slightest chance that this was all true and the Dumbo-eared preacher really did hear the voice of God. I mean, what the heck would any of us do if the world was really about to end as we knew it? I’m sure many would think about loved ones, the wife and kids, parents and friends, yada, yada, yada. And that’s all nice and everything, but I thought, “What the hell am I going to do about all those god damned cigars, in all of those god damned humidors, I have all over the god damned house?” It’s taken me eons to collect all of those finely aged smokes and you’re telling me that the Harold-Camping-Funny-Numbersworld is gonna go poof before I get to go puff?

So, on a whim, just in the event that Camping had some inside information from the man in the clouds, himself, I proceeded to smoke cigars, one after another, all day long on Saturday, right up until the witching hour of six pm. That’s right, I lit up one stick after another until I smelled like a fire in a condom factory, as the beginnings of black lung started setting in. I worked too damned hard to accumulate many a premium stick, and I wasn’t about to let the four horsemen ride off with my precious humidors, no, way, uh-uh. “Hey Pestilence, gimme back those Mayorgas  before I get medieval on your boney, gray ass!”

BillboardBut then six o’clock came, the hour that Camping said all hell would break loose. And much to the the old boner’s chagrin, there were no comets hurtling through the atmosphere, setting the world ablaze. Nope, no earth-cracking quakes, releasing souls of the damned into the world as our bodies were plucked into the heavens without even a fight. No zombies strolling down main street and through your favorite mall stores, no locusts, no plagues, no day after tomorrow. Nothin, nada. Harold Camping was full of Shinola as us mortals went on with the events of our normal mundane Saturday. At that moment, I was on my 15th cigar while barbecuing burgers and chicken legs on my back patio. My kids said I was a little green and my wife vowed never to share the same bed again, but you had to understand that I did it all in the name of rapture, which was seriously more of a rupture.

Okay, Harold Camping may be a real laughing stock, But I do thank the fella for getting me to smoke some of the tastiest cigars I’ve had in ages. The following are my top cigar picks to make any judgment day a satisfyingly smokey one…


CAMACHO COROJOWrapper: HON    Binder: HON    Filler: HON   Full Bodied
The world’s only authentic Corojo cigar…
Handmade in the Jamastran Valley of Honduras, where the fertile soil and climate compare to Cuba’s renowned Vuelta Abajo Region, this Camacho line is the cream of the crop. Under the strict supervision of Christian Eiroa, these rich, full bodied Honduran puros are made with 100% first generation Corojo seed tobaccos that are finished with hearty, sun grown Corojo wrappers – only the best leaves from the harvest. The complex, distinctive flavors make this smoke a favorite amongst cigar connoisseurs everywhere.


ARTURO FUENTE HEMINGWAYWrapper: CAM    Binder: DR    Filler: DR   Medium Bodied
The Hemingway series, named after renowned novelist Ernest Hemingway, was the first limited edition brand extension launched by the Fuentes. These highly respected cigars are handmade with a medium to full bodied blend of aged Dominican filler tobaccos, a Dominican binder and a delicate West African Cameroon wrapper. The rich, earthy flavors and pleasant spicy finish that these masterpieces provide will delight you. Each cigar is expertly crafted in the Cuban perfecto shape.


EL REY DEL MUNDOWrapper: ECSU/CTBL    Binder: HON    Filler: HON
Medium-Full Bodied
El Rey del Mundo is a classic Cuban brand featuring a symphony of delectable Honduran flavors, impeccable construction, perfect burn and draw, and an enchantingly complex blend of the finest tobaccos. They are available in both Ecuador Sumatra EMS and dark Connecticut broadleaf maduro wrappers. These are arguably one of the finest cigars made in the world today – bar none. An absolute “must try” cigar for all!


MAYORGAWrapper: NIC/CR    Binder: NIC    Filler: NIC
Medium-Full Bodied
This fantastic Nicaraguan cigar has quickly become one of our best sellers. These solid, square-pressed vitolas are loaded with creamy coffee flavors and reward the smoker with a long, lingering finish that will satisfy any cigar lover’s soul. Your choice in either a spicy Nicaraguan EMS wrapper or a dark, robust Costa Rican maduro – both are exceptional.


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Cigaring in the Great Outdoors

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

After one of the longest, coldest, wettest, nasty-ass winters, I have ever seen in all my years, Spring has finally sprung here in the north east. That crotchety sour cretin, Old Man Winter has finally given it a rest and Mother Nature has decided to stop being such a cold tempered bitch. We had a record 20 something snow storms, wearing our nerves thin and producing pot holes the size of Rosie O’donnell’s swim trunks. Temperatures have finally settled into the mid to high sixties as we all have breathed one big collective sigh of relief.

sts-097_kidstation_project2000_sun_shadesTo most people, warm weather means mowing lawns, walking dogs, washing cars, and taking in a ball game or two. But to us cigar hounds it means we FINALLY get to smoke our precious hand rolled happy sticks in the great outdoors. Fresh air and aged premium tobacco is a match made in heaven, and being able to enjoy a Frank Llaneza 1961, Romeo y Julietta Reserva Real, or Maria Mancini on my back patio again is truly a gift from the good Lord, above, I kid you not.

5225500-riding-lawn-mowerI’m one of those guys who takes pride in his lawn and I actually enjoy hopping on the riding mower and making the yard look purty. I’ve got a nice sized property and it takes a good hour to cut the thing, so I always choose a mammoth sized club of a cigar to light up as I motor my tractor around the property (staying clear of retaining walls at all costs – see Blog July 2009 With an Arturo Fuente Canone protruding from my jaw, I zoom around the lawn as the scent of freshly cut grass and Dominican tobacco makes everything feel just right. And when doing planting or yard work, I chose a couple of lesser priced sticks from the JR collection – my “yard gars” if you will – and puff away as my leafy companions make the work seem a bit more relaxing and fun.

42-21708854Nothing is more enjoyable than my after dinner, night time cigar, as I make a few phone calls to my local buddies as we herf it up on the patio and enjoy the smoke filled camaraderie. Since it’s still spring time, the temperatures dip into the 50’s at night, so we toss a pile of logs in the steel bowl pit and like the cromags we are, we huddle and gaze at the flames while puffing our glorious puros. We talk about the days events, the local teams, the idiots in government, and anything else that comes to mind. World hunger is never solved, diseases never cured, and politicians only seem ridiculously more brain dead, but the waxing over life’s little intricacies brings relaxation to our bodies and peace to our minds and souls.

As I write this fine piece of stogified literature, it’s 10:30 Sunday night, and I’m taping away at the laptop key board at the edge of my garage on a 63 degree evening. I’ve basically nubbed a Camacho Corojo as a cool breeze draws the smoke towards the outside air. The tree frogs or whatever the hell you call them are chirping in the woods next to my house as a light rain falls and the slight sound of thunder rumbles in the distance. Yes, Spring has truly arrived in the nick of time and I couldn’t possibly be more relaxed… and thankful.

So, how are things by you guys? What are you smoking and what springtime rituals are you finally enjoying? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and unwind with your stogie-loving pal, the Zman.

From northern New Jersey, Tommy Z signing off, wishing you long ashes and wonderfully and tasty smokes.


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman


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