Archive for the ‘Aging Room’ Category

Have Yourself A Merry Little Stogie

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018
It’s that time of year again! A time of joy and cheer, high-calorie meals, and maybe even a bit of well-earned time off for some.

Little Guys by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

We have talked a lot about the big manufacturers but there are others who while known are still growing.  Take Boutique Blends for example.  The company has a bit of an identity crisis. Many people are not sure of Boutique Blends, but do know of Oliveros.  Rafael Nodal and his partner Hank Bischoff started the company  in February 2002.  When the company started it was to distribute Oliveros, but about  two and a half years ago.  They started with SWAG and then they came out with Aging Room.  They have evolved from Oliveros into Boutique Blends because according to Rafael, they is more what they do…make small batches of cigars.  They take terrific tobaccos and make small batches of cigars.  How many?  Well it all depends on the size of the cigars each blend has…bigger cigars mean fewer available as the use more of the tobacco.


This year at the show, the company released its  Aging Room M-21 Fortissimo, a 5.75”x 47 Salomon.  The Fortissimo is limited, there are only 3,000 boxes of 10 being made with a retail price of right around $13.  The company is adding to its Aging Room line with a new Maduro, which will come in 5 sizes; Presto 4.5” x 48, Rondo 5”x 50, Mazzo 6”x 54, Major 6.5” x 60 and Alto 7” x 47.  They run from about $7.75 to $9.  If you notice some music terms for the names, Nodal was a classically trained violinist in Cuba and came to New York at age 15 during the Mariel Boat lift to study at the Manhattan School of Music.


The other new thing from Boutique is the Wild Pack.  This pack has 5 different blends which eventually will be added to the Aging Room line.  Nodal says  the 6” x 50 cigars will each have a number and he wants feedback from smokers as to which one they prefer.  The winner becomes the next Aging Room release.  Cost for the Wild Pack is $96.




Abe Flores is a small guy too, but he is very busy.  Not only does he have his own line of cigars PDR, but he is also creating new blends for others as well.  He makes the highly rated, La Palina Classic for that company. His own PDR line includes blends like the PDR Small Batch Reserve.  This year, Abe added a maduro, the PDR AFR 75 Edicion Limitada.  It uses a dark San Andres Maduro wrapper over a Criollo 98 binder grown in Nicaragua and Dominican Habano, Connecticut Broadleaf and Nicaraguan Criollo 98 fillers.  The AFR-75 comes in three sizes, Sublime at 5”  56, Edmundo  at 6” x 58 and the Inmenso at 7” x 60.  They are priced at $14.75, $15.75 and $16.75 respectively.


The other new cigar from PDR is  the A. Flores Gran Reserva 1975 Corojo 2006.  The wrapper if a 2006 Criollo grown in the Dominican Republic, the binder is Dominican Olor and the fillers are Dominican Corojo and Nicaraguan Habano.The Gran Reserva comes in three sizes, a half corona at 3.5” x 46, Robusto at 5”x 52 and a Grand Toro at 6” x 54.  The half corona retails for about $5 and besides coming in moxes of 50, it also comes in tins of 5.  The Robusto goes for $12.35 and the Grand Toro is $14.10.


Bloomberg loses but keeps trying


By now you have undoubtedly heard about our favorite nanny—Michael Bloomberg—who lost his Big Gulp fight.  Yup a second court ruled he overreached in trying to get his health department to ban big sodas in restaurants and some other venues.  The appeallate court ruled unanimously that hizzonor went way over the line in trying to ban the drinks ”for the health of the kids”, just like smoking.  Unlike the smoking ban, where the City Council agreed with the moron, err mayor, this time the council did not have a say and Bloomberg acted on his own.  The courts have ruled that this not only violates separation of powers but would eviscerate it.


Bloomberg says he is going to appeal…BUT since he will be soon out of office it may be up to his successor to continue or drop the appeal.  Nice to see New York has so much money it can afford to waste it on appeals of stupid laws.  If only we could get something on the smoking ban.


By the way, you may not have seen the nanny’s latest declaration of war.  It is on elevators and escalators.  It is like the Nazis, they started with something “everyone” thought was evil and continued working their way up.  Bloomberg started targeting smokers, then trans fat, then salt, then sugary drinks and now the Otis creation.  (When will New Yorkers wake up?)


The city is proposing new legislation that all new buildings and any under renovation would be required to give the occupants access to at least one stairwell. Never mind the security concerns.  The buildings would also have to post signs near elevators pointing to near-by stairs.  Another bill would permit the use of hold-open devices for the stairwells.   Since denial isn’t only a river in Egypt, Bloomberg says all his panderings are actually improving the city.


“Somebody asked me the other day: ‘Well isn’t all this nanny … stuff hurting business?’ And I pointed out we had a record number of companies moving here, we had record-number of private sector jobs here, we had record-number of tourists.”


Uh huh…and I have a bridge for you.



New CAO, TaxCap for Arkansas and Become a Blender (Cigar not drinks) by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

CAO Brazilia Carnivale

CAO has had the Brazilia line for a while, but now they are getting into the bigger ring gauges with the addition of the Carnivale.  It is a 6.5”x 60 box pressed cigar being introduced now in a limited quantity. Carnivale differs from the usual Brazilia in that the wrapper is not Brazilian, this time it is the binder.  The fillers are ligeros from the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua and the wrapper is Habano Grueso which is grown in very small quantities, which is why the cigar is limited.


Ricky Rodriguez heads up the blending for CAO and he said:

“We haven’t changed any CAO blends since we took over the brand. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t put our spin on one of them. That’s exactly what we did with Carnivale…it’s my and my team’s take on Brazilia. We added a new wrapper, made the original wrapper the binder, and cranked the whole thing up with more ligero.”


The Carnival comes in a bright yellow box with 12 cigars and a suggested retail price of $8.30 each.  Rick also hinted, according to the release, that the CAO team may be making tweaks to other CAO lines in the future. Stay Tuned.

Be a Blender


Speaking of CAO, the company about a year or so ago, gave consumers the chance to pick a blend.  The company offered a sample with three cigars only designated with the letters C, A, and O.  The idea was for you to smoke them and then report back on which blend you liked.  I forget which one won…but this concept of having actual cigar smokers trying out blends it still going strong.

Today, MATASA –  makers of the Quesada and Fonseca lines – have out a sampler which contains 8 cigars…6 of which are on the market and two samples of a test blend.  The Quesada family wants smokers to try them and let them know how the samples stack up against their other blends ( the Jalapa, the España and Tributo blends.)  If enough people like the samples, they will go into production.


Rafael Nodal of Boutique Blends Cigars is going one step further.  Nodal, who passed through town last week and is known for SWAG and Aging Room cigars, is planning on releasing what he calls the “Wild Pack” in June.  Nodal released the Aging Room M 356 in 2011.  The way that blend happened was that he and his partners (Jochy Blanco and Hank Bishoff) were originally looking for a blend for SWAG when they happened on this one.  They loved it, but the next day, Jochy said there was not enough of that tobacco for a major release.  A bunch of the cigars using the blend were made and then just kept in the Aging Room at the factory.  When people came to visit, they would always ask Rafael what he was smoking and he’d say get a cigar from The Aging Room…hence the name.  The number M-356 is the blend, made on a Monday on the 356th day of the year.


At any rate, Rafael had the idea to play with other limited tobaccos for new Aging Room blends.  Last year was the Quattro F55 (it was made on a Friday) and this year it will be the M 21.  But the Wild Pack will be 5 different blends—all for Aging Room.  They were the finalists and Nodal wants the customers to decide which one should be released next.  (Probably late this year or early next whenever the M-351 finally runs out.)  He will be putting up his tasting sheet on the net and ask smokers to evaluate the 5 cigars and pick which one they like best.  So if you’ve ever wanted to help pick a blend, this is your chance.  Look for the Wild Pack around June.


Good News


The IPCPR has been busy on many state fronts and their latest victory is in Arkansas. Right now, Arkansas had a tax of 68% of wholesale cost for cigars which meant a $10 cigar becomes almost $17.  But thanks to the hard work of the state’s retailers, the IPCPR and the Cigar Association of America the new tax will cap out at 50 cents per cigar. A much better rate for consumers.  The legislation passed the state house 87 to 1 and just passed the state senate 34-0. The Governor signed the bill this morning and it goes effect October first.  Congrats to all.




Bloomberg just keeps stepping in it.  On the Sunday shows apparently the Mayor proved he never read the Constitution, or if he did he did not understand it.  In talking about his soda ban hizzonor said:

“I do think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom,” Mr. Bloomberg said, during an appearance on NBC.

 This guy really is a moron. But an even bigger moron exists…


Meet California freshman assemblyman Marc Levine from San Rafael.  He has introduced legislation that would CRIMINALIZE someone smoking in his or her home. This was too much even for Santa Monica, where the city council voted to oppose this nonsense.


Assembly Bill 746, which would, as City staff phrased it, prohibit smoking in all indoor areas of multi-family dwellings, including within the units of existing tenants otherwise protected by rent control and/or other local housing security and stability measures.

Non-compliance with the smoking prohibition would make smokers subject to eviction.

Nice make someone a criminal AND homeless all in one fell swoop.  No wonder even Santa Monica could not take this.  Of course being Kalifornia, the Santa Monica opposition was only to the bill as written.  If it is amended to provide more protections for renters they could change their opposition.

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