Archive for the ‘smokes’ Category

National Cigar Day and more by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Ok it was last week…on my birthday coincidentally.  February 27th was National Cigar Day and it is that to commemorate the date that Oscar Hammerstein patented the first cigar-rolling machine in 1883.

He worked in cigar factories in New York when he first arrived and eventually became a cigar maker himself. He became wealthy through cigar making and that money allowed him to pursue his interests in theater and opera.  His grandson, Oscar Hammerstein II became a famous lyricist partnering with Richard Rodgers.  You know their work… these musicals still run on Broadway–The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Oklahoma, the King and I and Show Boat.  Again, all of that from a cigar.


Speaking of Birthdays

Avo Uvezian will soon turn 87.  I saw him down at Pro Cigar and he was still going strong. To mark the occasion of his birth, he will be releasing another new limited edition cigar.  This year’s will be the Dominant 13th.  It takes its name from music the Dominant 13th chord.  (If you really want to know about it check here) The new Avo cigar will be a 6” x 52 toro using mostly Dominican tobaccos with a wrapper from Ecuador.  The cigar will cost $15 and come in a box of 13.  Only 9,000 boxes have been made.  It will debut at the end of this month at a special party in New York City and should be on shelves sometime next month.

New Cigar Company

Well new to us anyway.  The company is called Kuuts.  According to a news release, Compañia Hondureña de Tabacos has opened Kuuts Distribution Center in Miami with the intent of selling 3 new premium cigars to the U-S.  The release says the company sells over 2-million cigars a year throughout Europe and the rest of the world. (The primary company is based in Spain).  Compañia Hondureña de Tabacos has been in business over 15 years and has a new factory in Danli, Honduras which is capable of making 6 million cigars a year.

The three brands coming into the U-S will be the Placeres Reserva, a box-pressed cigar coming in 5 sizes using a Habano wrapper grown in Nicaragua over Costa Rican binder and fillers from Honduras and Nicaragua.  Miró will come in 4 sizes and will use a Sumatran wrapper with Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers.  The Tabacalera Zapata (named for one of the company’s founders Ramon Zapata Perez) will use a Connecticut Oscuro wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras and Jaltepec—which is a Habano seed grown in Mexico.  The cigars are said to be medium to full bodied.

Long time cigar guy John Gonzalez is the Vice President of the company and says he believes they have a great portfolio of products for the US market.  The cigars should be hitting stores in the next week or so.


Denmark says No


According to Christopher Snowden, Denmark has rejected the E-U Tobacco Products Protocols….which is a nice way of saying Denmark is saying no to the E-U’s plan to ban tobacco and even E-cigarettes.  Danish politician Merete Riisager made the announcement on her Facebook page and it says (courtesy Bing  translation):

 I have never smoked, and probably never will come to it, but it provokes me enormously, when politicians from the municipal level to the EU will legislate on whether to smoke or not.

For me, it is a totally inappropriate interference with personal freedom.

In Europe the Committee, I have today helped send a tobacco directive back to the head of the Commission, which among other things would prohibit snuff, cigarettes with flavour, thin cigarettes and cover 70% of the packages with warnings. If customize many countries do the same, the Commission must start over.

If the EU, State and municipalities have managed to make all people non-smoking (what the dog hardly does), we will be healthier, but it is a poor community that want to control its citizens completely into the private sphere. A rich life is to have his personal integrity intact, and even to be able to choose; good, bad, fun, unhealthy, healthy or decidedly silly.

The only thing that is certain in life is that we die at the end. What we do with life while we have it, we even have the right to decide.

If only more politicians would stand up, but alas the next two are more the norm….


Norway was one of the first countries to ban smoking everywhere.  It was back in 2004.  Well now they are relaxing the smoking ban….but not for tobacco.  Guess for what?  Marijuana…posh.  Nope Heroin.  Yup. If the Health Minister in Norway has his way, that illegal opiate would be legal to smoke, but NOT tobacco.  The logic is simply amazing.


Never Compromise

It is often said you can compromise with the anti tobacco side…I find this not true.  They will take whatever they can and then push further.  Case in point, Minnesota has a smoking ban, but along with 11 other states there is an exemption for theatrical productions. Now the state is considering taking it away.

 …a state senator says there’s no reason actors should subject the audience to tobacco fumes or glorify smoking on stage, and she has introduced a bill that would ban the practice.

 But the senator said she is open to letting actors use e-cigarettes or herbal ones.  Right it is tobacco that is EVIL.  Maybe she should move to Norway.

Cigars… Anywhere, Anytime, It’s a Love Affair, People, by Tommy Zman

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

“Eating and sleeping are the only activities that should be allowed to interrupt a man’s enjoyment of his cigar.”Mark Twain

Okay, yeah, I admit it, I’m crazy about cigars. Sometimes I’ve gotta  step back and take a look at how much I love cigars and I think I freak myself out a whole lot. How can a person have such a passionate love affair with an inanimate object… one that you actually light on fire, no less? And I guarantee that just about every one of you reading this blog feels the same – and you know it… come on, fess up, this is the Zman you’re talking to…

This is just crazy, I mean did you ever really take the time to stop and think about why we love cigars so much, and why we dedicate so much of the time we spend around their brown and leafy existence? Why the hell are we so intoxicated by the sight and smell of hand rolled leaves? What in the name of God makes us crave its brown and oily complexion, where smoking one to the fingernail is all we can possibly think of at any given moment? Are we mad? Yes, we are madly in love with a burning desire that many have felt, but no one has ever been able to rationally explain.

“My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.” – Winston Churchill

I believe that cigar smoking is a celebration of life itself and I can tell you with most certainty that there is no greater pleasure in this world than celebrating an event – any event – with a good cigar. Just how many weddings, bachelor parties, births, job promotions, and championships throughout time have been christened with a premium aged, hand rolled cigar – a ritual that is no doubt becoming endangered by the Anti-smoking zealots of this world. And while many of us enjoy a nice smoke on a daily basis, there is something extra rewarding about celebrating a special occasion by firing up a quality smoke from a tobacco producing nation! I often say after a long-hard day of dealing with life’s curve balls and sliders, there’s nothing like enjoy a nice piece of ash.

“A cigar numbs sorrow and fills the solitary hours with a million gracious images.” – Georges Sand

Now I’ve got to say that one of the things that gets my heart throbbing is the arrival of new cigars at my place of premium tobacco purchase. And nothing gets me giddier than our very own site, JR, as there is an absolute plethora of new brands, new blends, and smiling, happy faces… especially mine! I’m tired of hearing from people who are NOT in the know, spouting un-truths that JR only carries the grumpy old-man brands. There is in fact so much new stuff here in JR-land that your head would spin trying to take count. I’m even having trouble keeping up with it all, as it’s my own personal rule that I’ve gotta smoke EVERYTHING and ANYTHING new that we get in stock!

“Fresh air makes me throw up. I can’t handle it. I’d rather be around three cigars blowing in my face all night.” – Frank Sinatra

Okay, that’s about all the love I can take for the time being. I’ll see you next week and as always, smoke ‘em cuz you gottem,


JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

PLEASE SUPPORT Cigar Rights of America as they continue to deal with congress, the senate, and all US legislators who need to be made aware that our cigars are the best friends we know of and we will fight like hell to keep them in our lives! >>

> CLICK HERE to Check out this week’s J•R CIGARS Weekly Special


Pro Cigar Continues (New Cigars and New Digs) by Frank Seltzer

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Yesterday’s post was actually written before we arrived in Santiago…I admit I was cheating but with the Internet here you never know.  On the flight from Miami on Sunday, I spoke with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo who confirmed he was making a new cigar for Crowned Heads.  This is the Nashville-based company co-founded by Jon Huber formerly with CAO.  The cigar will be the J.D.Howard Reserve, who is better known by his alias of Jesse James.  According to Greg Mottola at Cigar Aficionado, Huber says Howard used to live in Nashville and he was intrigued.  The new cigar will come in 5 sizes but the price and boxes and bands have yet to be finalized.  The cigar should be ready for the industry trade show this summer.

Food and Beer in Santiago

So upon arrival in Santiago we met with Manolo Quesada who took us to a new beer bar (VinoBeber) which served an amazing selection, and had a nice outdoor smoking area.  The beer that impressed us the most was the Dogfish Head Miles Davis Bitches Brew (made at a small brewery in Milton, Delaware).  Released in 2010 to mark the 40th anniversary of Davis’s landmark album Bitches Brew,  it is an Imperial Stout mixed with a Honey Beer.  Amazing flavors as it warms up.  Who would have thought you come to Santiago to get a small han- crafted American beer. We also discovered a new restaurant not far from the hotel called La Comai (not sure of the spelling) but they served a full pound of Mofongo with fantastic Chicharrones for about 6 bucks…and it is probably the best Mofongo I have ever had.

On Monday, Manolo took us to his new factory in Licey.  I say new because they moved in a year ago, and since I was forced to cancel last year’s trip.

The factory has plenty of room now, compared to the original MATASA factory in the free trade zone.  I will officially tour the place later this week and will report more about it then.  On Tuesday night, about 60 people who spent the first couple of days at Casa de Campo in La Romana for the official start of the festival made the 5 hour bus ride to Santiago. A total of 250 people are signed up for the festival. At La Romana the participants spent a day golfing, or on the beach on Monday and then Tuesday morning they toured Tabacalera de Garcia—home to Altadis USA.

Fonseca Cubano Exclusivo

At Pro Cigar, a few of the factories often introduce new cigars and this year is no exception.  The Quesadas are unveiling their new Fonseca Cubano Exclusivo.  For years, the Fonseca brand has been on the mild end of the cigar spectrum.  The primary exception was the Cubana Limitada which had much more strength for the advanced smoker’s palate.  This new Fonseca is a middle ground for the brand.

While in the mild to medium range, it presents a fuller flavor so it is approachable for the novice while delivering a lot of taste for the more serious smoker.  Using Dominican HVA (Havana Vuelta Arriba) wrapper over a Dominican binder and Connecticut broadleaf, Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers.  The cigar will ship next month in four sizes, Robusto (5.5” x 52), Corona Gorda (6 x 46), Belicoso (6.5” x 52) and Gordo (6.5”x 60).  The prices have yet to be determined.

New Digs

Litto Gomez

For Litto Gomez at La Flor Dominicana one of the newest members of Pro Cigar, his mind has not been on the festival.  Instead Litto has been working on a major expansion of his factory in Tamboril.  About 3 months ago, he was able to acquire the land next door to the factory and in that short period he was able to clear the land and construct new buildings giving him a lot more space.  Now, La Flor Dominicana has room for its tobacco storage (although not all of the tobacco is here some remains in a warehouse).  Litto has been concerned not only with the physical aspects of the construction, but also the aesthetics.  The results are beautiful.

His new expanded factory also has much more room for the rollers who now are producing about 3 million cigars a year.  Litto says once the construction is totally complete, he will focus on new cigars for this year…but he admits that his big push will come NEXT year when La Flor Dominicana turns 20.

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