Archive for the ‘swag’ Category

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.


Friday, January 21st, 2011

Swag is a cigar line from Oliveros. It features all ligero tobacco from the same farm in the Dominican Republic. It is said that the body and flavors are full, and you’d never know this was a Dominican puro. Their slogan – “The SWAG cigar is not your father’s Dominican cigar.” The Swag line apparently is all about a lifestyle. I am not concerned with all of that stuff. It’s all about how it performs. You can read more at Swag’s website.

A quick lesson – Ligero refers to the top part of a tobacco plant. The leaves are exposed to the sun and tend to be thicker and fuller bodied. They usually contain the most nicotine, and often require a bit more aging.

I was given a few samples at Ed’s grand opening. Ed and I may review this one day. In the mean time, I figured I’d give you my take. As I do in all reviews, I paired with water.


Wrapper/Binder/Filler: Dominican Ligero

Size: Quickie – 5.5 x 42

Price: Around $5.00


Pre-smoke and Construction:

The wrapper was a little blotchy looking, with minor variations in color. This isn’t an issue. The wrapper and foot had a mild odor of cedar. The cigar was pretty evenly and solidly packed, and the draw was good. The pre-light draw had a dark woody and mild earthy taste.

The burn required one minor correction, and the ash held for about 3/4 of an inch.



The first third began with a simple cedar taste. It didn’t take long before it opened up a bit. There was an easy pepper when passing smoke through the nose that had a tinge of sweetness. The cedar stepped back a bit and nutty notes joined in. Overall, it was very smooth and easy.


The second third took on a creamy feel. The smoke volume was plentiful and thick. It left a sweet coating in the mouth that reminded me of caramel. The cedar notes were still there and mingled with a sweet nuttiness. If I literally chewed the smoke, I swear I picked up a fruity flavor. There wasn’t a lot of spice when passing smoke through the sinus. It was more of a sweet woody flavor with a tinge of pepper.


The last third pretty much kept pace with the second third. There may have been the addition of coffee, but it was hard to tell. The spice picked up a little bit when exhaling through the nose. The body and strength definitely hit the full range. I had a slight nicotine buzz at this point. Otherwise, the core flavors stayed the same, and it was pretty good.



This was a very good cigar. It started out as a medium and went into the full range. The flavors were good and mixed together well. It was just a well refined flavor profile and strength wasn’t the focus (although it was there). I’d recommend at least trying a few of these. I liked em.

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