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Showing posts from March 6, 2009

ProCigar Festival 2008

19 February 2008


I just returned from a quick trip to the Dominican Republic. Within hours of my feet touching Dominican soil, I felt like I never left. I get to the Dominican Republic about four times a year, and every time is unique and special. This year I brought my girlfriend and two friends along with me- making it extra special.

Thursday, we spent the day at MATASA. Best known for making the Fonseca brand, MATASA makes some of my favorite cigars to smoke. From the airport, we went straight to one of MATASA’s storage facilities. Bails upon bails and Tercios upon Tercios were stacked- filled with tobaccos from years past that ensure MATASA’s ability to make incredible, consistent cigars, year after year. We proceeded to the factory in Santiago,where we walked through the factory looking at the various stages of making a premium cigar. From sorting, to stripping, to sorting some more… then making the bunch, applying the wrapper, forming the cap, and then aging. But of cour…

New Year's Smoke 2008

2 January 2008

The celebration of a New Year is always filled for me with reflections over the past year and thoughts of the upcoming year. 2007 was a wonderful year for me. I traveled quite a bit- from the Tobacco Harvest in the Dominican Republic in February to the Grape Harvest in Napa Valley in September. Great cigars, wine, food and friendship were what helped make 2007 so special. And what better way to finish up a year than by embracing all of those great things together.

At 17 people strong, we held court at Rothmann’s Steakhouse in Midtown Manhattan for the ringing in of the new year. The food was outstanding as always! I brought along a few bottles of Vieux-OS 2005 Old Vine Charbono by Shrader Cellers (one of my favorite producers) to help wash down the Crab Cakes, Lobster Ravioli, and Porterhouse. Once the countdown was over and there were more streamers than vino in my wine glass, it was time to change venues. A remaining 6 of us, with a couple bottles of bubbly in t…

New Year's Smoke 2008

2 January 2008

The celebration of a New Year is always filled for me with reflections over the past year and thoughts of the upcoming year. 2007 was a wonderful year for me. I traveled quite a bit- from the Tobacco Harvest in the Dominican Republic in February to the Grape Harvest in Napa Valley in September. Great cigars, wine, food and friendship were what helped make 2007 so special. And what better way to finish up a year than by embracing all of those great things together.

At 17 people strong, we held court at Rothmann’s Steakhouse in Midtown Manhattan for the ringing in of the new year. The food was outstanding as always! I brought along a few bottles of Vieux-OS 2005 Old Vine Charbono by Shrader Cellers (one of my favorite producers) to help wash down the Crab Cakes, Lobster Ravioli, and Porterhouse. Once the countdown was over and there were more streamers than vino in my wine glass, it was time to change venues. A remaining 6 of us, with a couple bottles of bubbly in t…

Dunhill Estupendos

3 December 2007

There’re tricks in every trade- but one thing cannot be faked, and that’s age. Whether it’s a good bottle of wine, a classic car or a great cigar, they all demand proper care, patience and a true love for them. Today I smoked a Dunhill Estupendos (7X47 tubos) from the mid 1980’s. Made entirely of Cuban tobacco, it has been among the most sought after cigars for collectors at auctions.

I never had the opportunity to taste what a Dunhill Estupendos tasted like when it was new, but having smoked this one with over 20 years of age… why turn back the hands of time? This cigar began slightly vegetal in character, with an herbal and tea-like quality. It slowly built in all aspects- strength, flavor, and aroma.

By the mid-point of this cigar a toasty, caramel-like flavor began to work its way into the profile. Hints of cedar and honey also became more apparent as I smoked more and more, but impressively the cigar never became hot or harsh.

The finish was long, and lingered…

Mystery Smokes

26 November 2007


Jose Blanco, marketing director for La Aurora, popped in to see me recently. I love this guy, I really do. He’s balls to the wall cigars. We smoked some La Aurora Excepcionales and drank espresso as we caught up on what was new. La Aurora recently moved their facility from Santiago to a much larger one in Guazumal, Dominican Republic. Just before he left, he reached into his pocket and pulled out two cigars and said, “smoke these when you have a minute.”

Well, it just so happened that I had a minute (and nothing to smoke), so I cut the beautiful little corona shaped cigar and dry smoked it for a bit. The draw was effortless. The earthy undertones and the wrapper’s spiciness were apparent without the use of flame. It lit easily and the flavorful smoke filled my mouth with each puff. A small blister began to form around the base of the ash. This is typically an indication of youth- and although common to see among many of today’s popular strong cigars, it’s rare…

The "Special Occasion"

2 November 2007

I woke up this morning earlier than normal and opted to drive into work rather than taking the subway. I dimpled my tie and walked over to the humidors to make my morning selection, but found myself at a loss. Not at a loss of cigars… but which cigar to smoke. As I moved cigars and boxes left and right, I saw a a box of Juan Lopez petit coronas from 2001- gifted to me from a good friend in Switzerland a couple years ago. It’s a trophy little stick with loads of flavor. I was conflicted whether to sacrifice one to my morning commute when it me. I’ve got lots of cigars… many of which I hold on to for “a special occasion”. But, I’ve had countless special occasions since I’ve received these cigars and never once had I gone for one since I’d received them. So I decided to make my commute that special occasion. I cut the cigar and lit it in my apartment, just to enjoy the aroma for a moment. Then I was off. As I neared the foot of the bridge, I found myself less agi…