Archive for the ‘smoking’ Category

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.

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.

CAO Cruisin and a Bad Week for Bloomberg by Frank Seltzer

Friday, March 15th, 2013


Last week, CAO sent a cigar lover on a cruise with Kid Rock for his annual “Chillin’ The Most” cruise. The contest was part of the kick off for the CAO Concert line of cigars. Justin Harris of Nashville won the cruise which included a CAO branded cigar lounge aboart the Norweigian Pearl cruise ship.  CAO blender Rick Rodriguez also was on board.  Said Ed McKenna the senior brand manager for CAO,

“Kid Rock’s ‘Chillin’ The Most’ is the ultimate expression of our brand.  It’s also a fitting way to celebrate the success of CAO Concert, which gives a nod to our rock n roll roots.”

Justin cruised the Bahanas getting back to port, and most likely reality, on Sunday.


Bloomie Loses

Bloomie (from Huff Post)

You may have already heard about part of this but this has been was a bad week for the nation’s top nanny.  Bloomie boy got shellacked in court and in a science paper.  First up,  a state judge stopped Bloomberg’s ban on 16 ounce sodas.  Yippee. The decision is a huge blow to the mayor’s efforts to control possibly every second of New Yorker’s lives and it came one day before the ban was to go into effect.   Said the judge, New York is “enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations”.  Why? Because he further said, “The Rule is nevertheless fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences…the loopholes in this Rule effectively defeat the stated purpose.”


Gee a Bloomie health department rule that is arbitrary?  Who would have thunk it.  The NYC ban on big sodas excluded some places ( 7-Elevens ) and some drinks with more sugar ( milk shakes, lattes, frozen coffees etc.).  Oh and for all its good sounding BS, the rule never did address free refills.  The rule was strictly a nanny PR stunt.


The judge further said that the health board was basically trying to have virtually limitless authority.  The city’s arguments in favor of the soda cap would leave the board’s “authority to define, create, mandate and enforce limited only by its own imagination.”  That was the Mayor’s idea.  Of course the city wll appeal this common sense ruling most likely the challenge will continue long after Bloomberg is gone.


Science Fact

But if that wasn’t bad enough for Bloomie, the Lancet published a study this week showing that ancient mummies had clogged arteries….you know arteries we have been told that are clogged by fast food, sugary drinks and smoking.  Oh wait…ANCIENT mummies…4,000 years ago, way before all that stuff was invented.  Bloomie’s whole raison d’etat just went up in …hehehe…smoke:


Researchers say that suggests heart disease may be more a natural part of human aging rather than being directly tied to contemporary risk factors like smoking, eating fatty foods and not exercising.


Wait what?  SMOKING IS NOT the cause? Maybe it is time to look to something else rather than tobacco!


“Heart disease has been stalking mankind for over 4,000 years all over the globe,” said Dr. Randall Thompson, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City and the paper’s lead author.


Thompson said he was surprised to see hardened arteries even in people like the ancient Aleutians who were presumed to have a healthy lifestyle as hunter-gatherers.


“I think it’s fair to say people should feel less guilty about getting heart disease in modern times,” he said. “We may have oversold the idea that a healthy lifestyle can completely eliminate your risk.”


Mayor Bloomberg….you listening?   (Of course not.)

Let’s Make a Deal by Steve Nathan

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Fellow cigar smokers: As we all know, our economy is in the proverbial crapper. The value of the US dollar is ranked 96th in world value just below Zimbabwe and Uzbekistan. Yet the value of the Latin American cigar is booming. Let me ’splain.

Every knucklehead, even if he’s never smoked a cigar or watched a Marx Brothers movie, will graciously accept one just to feel like Fidel Castro or Winston Churchill if only for just one lousy puff. Even those who feel that a Ziploc bag of two-week-old meatloaf is more appealing than a cigar will take one to appease someone, whether it’s a boss, a father-in-law or the guys coming next Tuesday to deliver the new dishwasher.

So, what’s my point? I don’t know… oh yeah! My point is that a cigar offers one the chance to barter and open doors to lasting favors never dreamed possible. Take me, for example; I always have a stash of genuinely cheap albeit tasty cigars on hand at all times to offer to my irritating neighbors, or to expedite a favor or service. And after reading this painfully boring blog, hopefully you will too.

Now before I begin, remember this fact: Unless it becomes a devout hobby, almost all occasional cigar smokers don’t know squat about them; you can roll up a turd in cabbage and they will believe it was smuggled in from Havana by a congressman if that’s what you tell them Get it? Good!  So (and this is very important), on your next visit to J•R Cigars, add some inexpensive smokes to your order… but you must go to J•R only! Why, you ask?

Because I work here and if you don’t shop here I will lose my job and be forced to collect unemployment because it is hard to find a job when you’re almost 58 years old! Then when the unemployment runs out in three years, I’ll be 61 and living in a trailer park behind the Secaucus, NJ landfill. Then I will quickly realize that I’m totally unemployable and from all the stress, I will most likely lose my bladder control and have no choice but to be a greeter at Wally Mart and wear big-boy diapers. So just shop at J•R so this awful stuff doesn’t happen to me, okay?

Anyway, you have purchased your cheap (excuse me, I mean inexpensive) cigars from J•R only… now what?

Put together a list of all the people you deal with, may deal with or hopefully and sometimes regrettably have to deal with. Then eliminate those who will not accept a cigar under any conditions. A few examples: most nuns, the head of the FDA, the archbishop of Canterbury, the US surgeon general, and the old handicapped lady with six cats who yells at you for parking too close to her driveway.


With this knowledge in hand, I have painstakingly spent hours putting together a list of some tasty but very economical cigars that you should stock up on, along with some ideas about how and when to hand them out. (Actually I didn’t spend hours; I did it during a commercial break of the Ice Road Truckers marathon. I have a tendency to lie a lot.)


Don Mateo

This old-time bundled Honduran classic has been a favorite of old farts and cheap bastards for more than two decades. Feed these to your next-door neighbor occasionally and you will have and unlimited access to his hedge trimmers!


Five Star

This mild, silky smooth bundled handmade is the <i>exact same</i> smoke as some other famous brands that sell for two or three times the price! If offered during routine checkups, these tasty smokes will get you a doctor’s appointment within three hours, even during a flu epidemic.


Red Dot

This mixed-filler baby tastes like those old classic Royal Jamaicans cigars… at a fraction of the cost. Every so often, leave a couple of these in your mailbox with a little sticky note saying, “Thanks for delivering my mail on time. Enjoy!” Do this and, I promise you, your priority package won’t be lying on your neighbor’s front porch during a thunderstorm.



These medium-bodied Nicaraguans are for the guy who says, “I don’t need those fancy $12.00 cigars! These are pretty damn good… and were you doing 80 in a 60 mph zone?”


License, registration, Riata… no ticket! Just be careful with this one; if it backfires, you may be sitting in a cell next to some nut wearing aluminum foil on his head claiming to be receiving signals from Pluto.


Maria Mancini

Okay, boys, I saved the best for last… this cigar is fantastic! It’s a Cuban-style box-pressed beauty that tastes just as good as many cigars costing at least twice the price. Whenever you see that guy across the street with his big house and fancy car, hand him one. I guarantee that, in no time at all, you’ll be sitting in his man-cave basement every Sunday afternoon watching football on his 90-inch flat screen while drinking his imported beer!


And there you have it. Good luck, get creative and have fun. There is a world of opportunity awaiting you with a well-stocked humidor of bargain-basement sticks. (By the way, I really hate when someone calls a cigar a stick. In fact, it makes my skin crawl. But you guys like it, so what the hell?)

Flavorless in New York City by Steve Nathan

Friday, March 8th, 2013

All of you “New Joisey” commuters and native “New Yawkers” may already know that, in October of 2009, the Big Apple’s mayor created an ordinance that restricts the sale of flavored tobaccos throughout the whole city. So, if you’re looking to purchase some “Jamaican Me Crazy” aromatic pipe tobacco or a cognac-flavored corona, you’re in for a big shock.


Per New York City’s health commissioner, “Flavored-tobacco products are marketed to youth, their packaging resembling that of candy and gum, and young people are more likely than adults to try flavored-tobacco products. This law, one of the first of its kind in the country, ensures that youth will be protected from these harmful products.”


Okay, I can understand if the honorable doctor was referring specifically to the monitored sale of those cheapo candy-store flavored blunts sitting on the front counter at the local Quickie Mart and are many times irresponsibly sold to underage smokers with fake IDs, because I sure don’t see a market for those amongst the old farts that enjoy a good machine made cigar. And I surely can’t imagine my 93-year-old Uncle Irving enjoying a blueberry stogie after downing a bagel with a shmear: “Oy vey! What’s up with these farkakte flavors? Where the hell is my Dutch Masters?”


Regulating Tobacco

So, yes, I can see regulating such blatant unregulated abuse of tobacco. But to make a sweeping bill that affects allflavored pipe tobaccos and cigars, no matter where or how they are sold, is pure stupidity that just adds another nail in the coffin for those poor tobacconists that have already been kicked in the cajones with a 75% tobacco surcharge in thecity that never sleeps!


This is just another example of government telling us what to do. For our own health, the King of Manhattan decided he was going to fight obesity as the New York City Health Department became the first in the nation to ban the sale of sugared beverages exceeding 16 ounces at restaurants, mobile food carts, sports arenas and movie theaters. Well, guess what? If I consume four triple cheeseburgers and a bag of Cheetos with my “healthier” eight-ounce soda, I’m still going to eventually be fat enough to have my own zip code! And admit it, most very corpulent (lard-ass) people wash down their bucket of chicken with a diet soda anyway. Perhaps it makes them feel less guilty… but I digress!


Let’s get back to the flavored-tobacco ban. Show me one pimply kid living with his parents and making $120 a week bagging groceries who is walking into a fine tobacco shop and dropping 10 bucks on a Maker’s Mark bourbon cigar, complete with glass tube and fancy melted-wax cap. No way, fella! He’s headed to that Quickie Mart for a 65¢ blueberry dog rocket so he can smoke Latin lettuce in his bedroom without his mom smelling anything suspicious. And he certainly isn’t going to take his whole paycheck and buy an $85.00 Savinelli pipe and a tin of Mac Baren Cherry Cavendish to start his spiral into the depths of tobacco addiction: Unsatisfied by smoking just cherry pipe tobacco, he turns to marijuana, the gateway drug to opiates. And when the opiates become too expensive, he hocks his Savinelli pipe for a bag of crack. And sadly, when he is living in a cardboard box behind the Home Depot, he will forever regret that first bowl of Mac Baren Cherry Cavendish…


Luckily things are a little better across the pond in “Joisey,” where our main man hasn’t seen his shoes since 1983; we are still allowed the guilty pleasure of negotiating a giant Slurpee while loading our pipes with gobs of gooey-casing goodness or smoking any flavored cigar that our hearts desire.


Mr. Mayor, there are much bigger problems to tackle in your city. And one day, if you’re not too busy, maybe you can put on a gas mask and walk into one of your local tobacco shops to see for yourself that you are depriving responsible adults their freedom of choice to enjoy flavored tobaccos… as they have for many years before you interceded. And guess what? I’m also sure you won’t find any nicotine-starved young folks drooling over a jar of vanilla pipe tobacco and begging for a fix.



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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