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Jeremy Jack JJ14 Corona Gorda

This cigar has a nice Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper surrounding Nicaraguan Aganorsa from Esteli and the Jalapa Valley. The aromas from the foot are earthy and floral. The bunch is a bit short of firm. The cold draw is perfect. Today’s beverage is a Stone Exalted IPA.

The cigar starts out smooth with a bit of spice, floral and earthy flavors and black pepper in the retrohale. The smoke is very smooth and thick. The burn is very even and the ash is solid. The IPA is a good pairing.

During the second third some sweetness joins the flavor profile. The pepper in the retrohale has muted a bit. The burn remains very even.

Approaching the final inch the complexity of flavors remains excellent. This is a very well constructed cigar. 90, Joe Bob says check it out.

Southern Draw Rose of Sharon Lancero

This cigar has a beautiful smooth Connecticut wrapper with a closed foot and a pigtail cap. Very light aromas of toasted tobacco from the wrapper and foot. A box pressed cigar with a good bunch. The cold draw is perfect.

Initial flavors are toasted tobacco with a bit of a zing. Soft pepper notes are in the retrohale. The cigar is burning evenly and the ash is light grey and solid.

The first third reveals a solid mix of spice while retaining the toasty character. There is a good peppery quality in the retrohale. The burn remains even and the ash is solid.

During the second third a cinnamon note emerged from the spice mix. The smoke is very smooth and plentiful. This is a medium bodied cigar with great complexity. It also has a long toasty finish. The burn remains even.

Approaching the final inch the flavors remain solid and the smoke is very smooth. Excellent construction and complexity, this one earns 98. Joe Bob says check it out.

Hoyo La Amistad Silver Robusto

This is the 2017 release of the Hoyo collaboration with AJ Fernandez. It has a nice dark wrapper. Aromas from the wrapper are mostly tobacco, but there is a little “zing” from the foot. The bunch is firm and the cold draw is perfect. Tonight’s beverage is a Krombacher Dark Lager.

The initial draws yield flavors of tobacco, cedar and hints of spice that remind me of a really good BBQ rib rub. The draw is perfect and the burn is very even. The ash is solid and light grey.

In the first third the spices settle to a smooth pepper note on the tongue and in the retrohale. A toasted flavor blends in with the profile. The ash dropped at one inch and remains solid and the burn remains even.

During the second third a sweetness creeps into the already excellent profile. The smoke is very smooth. This is a solid medium bodied cigar. The burn remains flawless.

Approaching the final inch the cigar remains smooth and tasty. The ash has been solid throughout, as has the burn. Perhaps a bit milder than the Amistad Gold of 2016, but still an excellent experience. 95, Joe Bob says check it out.

Blanco Nine Robusto

This cigar has a beautiful dark brown wrapper. The predominant aromas are well tanned leather and cocoa. The ligeros seen in the foot and clipped head are very well placed. The cold draw is perfect. Today’s beverage is a Lorelei Merdude Russian Imperial Coffee Milk Stout.

The cigar starts very smooth, especially for a triple ligero. This is a full bodied smoke from the start. The smoke is very full and rich. Strong notes of leather and cocoa dominate the opening flavors. The burn is very even. The mottled grey ash is fairly solid and taps off easily.

The burn angles a bit in the first third; perhaps a bend in one of the ligero leaves. Every other aspect improves. Cedar notes appear and blend in very well. There is a healthy dose of pepper in the retrohale.

During the second third the burn self corrects and is once again even. The flavors build without any bitterness. Some coffee notes also appear. The ale is a perfect pairing, enhancing the cigar.

Approaching the final inch the flavors remain exceedingly complex. The overall construction is also very good. Again, a very full bodied smoke. 93

Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano Short Robusto

This cigar has a beautiful chocolate brown wrapper. The wrapper has a nutty aroma while the foot smells of cocoa. The bunch is firm. The cold draw is perfect. Tonight’s beverage is a Dos Equis Lager.

The initial flavors are nuts and cocoa. The smoke is very smooth from the beginning. The burn and draw are perfect. The ash is light grey and looks solid.

In the first third the burn developed a fairly bad run, so I corrected. We’ll see what happens. The cigar is burning in a cone, so it’s not a filler issue; it could be a wind problem since the big doors of the lounge are open and a storm just blew through. The flavors continue to be a nice blend of nuts and cocoa. The retrohale is very smooth.

During the second third the correction worked and the cigar is burning evenly. A bit of cedar has joined the flavors and is blending in well. The smoke is very smooth and the ash remained solid even though the correction.

Approaching the final inch the flavors remain the same. Still decently complex but didn’t develop much. Except for the one run, the construction is good. 83, Joe Bob says check it out.

Camacho Ditka Gametime

Good construction, some veins in the medium wrapper, light tobacco notes from the wrapper and a somewhat generous draw. Paired with a Shiner Texas Warmer ale.

Not surprisingly, it’s very similar to the Camacho Corojo I smoked last week; the differences being a cleaner draw and less tendency to go out, although I will have to say that I was pretty involved in conversation while smoking the Camacho.

There is however a slight difference in the tasting notes; the Ditka has more pepper early on and has an odd sweetness that I might expect from a “dipped” cigar, although I know this one is not. Continue reading Camacho Ditka Gametime

General Cigar/AJ Fernandez Diesel collaboration -Grind

A perfect bunch and aromas from the wrapper and foot that almost make you want to eat the cigar it smells so good. Hints of cocoa wrapped in earthy tones of tobacco. A clean clip and a perfect draw speak of great things to come.

A nice strong bite of tobacco greets you from the very start, grabbing your collar and yelling, “this is gonna be special, ok?” And it’s right. This is a great cigar. Undertones of cocoa provide a nice bed for the tobacco while the peppers play around with your palate. The burn is nice and even with a firm light grey ash.

When two great cigar makers team up you can expect great things. This cigar has the consistency of a General with the complexity of an AJ Fernandez. While that may sound somewhat contradictory, trust me, the end product is outstanding.

At 1/3, hints of cognac sneak in. The peppers are somewhat muted although still present. And the volume of smoke is outstanding. The burn continues to be straight and the ash remains firm. My Topo Chico also does a very good job of keeping the cigar from being overwhelming.

There is absolutely no stinging from the smoke as it passes across the face. At 2/3 I am still impressed by the seamless combination of General and AJ. When you smoke this cigar you will understand how it can be both complex and consistent. The strength combined with the flavors is epic.

Putting it down at one inch, I wish it was a longer cigar so I could continue to enjoy it. 90. Joe Bob says check it out.

The 10 Most Compelling People from Day 3 of the IPCPR 2017

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Before we get into the Top 10, there is one person who stands above all the rest – Victoria McKee Jaworski from General Cigar. You know that person who makes you feel like a close friend (but that you see only once a year), that offers you coffee (and even knows how you take it) and asks about your children (then remembers their names)? That’s her. She had the company’s booth running as smoothly as clockwork, and made customers feel right at home. Plus she promoted their new products – Macanudo Black & White, Hoya de Amistad Silver, CAO Amazonia Anaconda and Partagas 1845.

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1. Big Papi David Ortiz showed up to promote his cigar, take pictures with fans and sign posters of his cigar, named Big Papi. Red Sox fans, and baseball fans in general, were thrilled.

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2. Omar de Frias towered over the crowds as he made the rounds – always a crowd favorite. There were free samples at the FDA compliance meeting, provided by Fratello Cigars. And Omar ‘launched’ his new Navetta.

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3. The idea guys at Espinosa Cigars. Espinosa’s new Murcielago cigar, as well as the other lines, were well represented in their booth, with creative displays, unique bands and names. Truly an ‘overnight success twenty years in the making’.

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4. Toscano and his ‘Friendship’ cigar. In an Italian tradition that helps to embrace the rest of the world, the new Toscano is designed to share. Meet a friend, cut the cigar and a half, and share a smoke and a story. Toscano also has a few interesting naturally flavored cigars, like coffee and chocolate. Brought to you by La Aurora.

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5. Frank Santos, an old friend in a new company. Don’t you love it when someone is genuinely happy to see you? A.J. Fernandez did it right when he hired Santos to represent his brand.

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6. The coffee and whiskey man at the La Palina booth. Just hired for the event, he did an excellent job of representing the company to customers who stopped by for a beverage. Twin Engine Coffee has roasted and espresso for La Polina, and the fellow slyly convinced customers that they should get coffee for their shops while they stopped there to get cigars.

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7. Steven Bailey, of Anthony & Cornelius, was a truly genuine person who spoke about his early failures, which had driven him to research more and draw on others’ knowledge in order to achieve his recent successes, as well as his new blends, the Ariel and Señor Esugars.

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8. Carson Serino showed off his new Wayfarer cigars. Serino is already a CW favorite (with his Serino Royale, and I’m excited about the future release of the new stick.

9. CW member Jon Huber is at Crowned Heads, promoting their new Four Kicks Maduro and the soft-release Luminosa (from earlier this year).

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10. Johnny Soyak and his ‘Cigar in the Bottle’. Johnny shared both his apple-flavored Cognac and his unique concept at the show. The first time I saw this bottle was ten years ago at a charity auction, after he donated it to help a school for children with learning disabilities. He’s still around, providing good spirits in more than one way.

Continue reading The 10 Most Compelling People from Day 3 of the IPCPR 2017

Novel Pairings from the IPCPR 2017, Day 2

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1. El Chapo and Sausage. Jeremy Jack Cigars went out on a limb with some unique looks. Their El Chapo is in a three-count box, and is on the lam. The Salchichas, or ‘sausages’, is a good link.

2. Oscar and Island Jim. Yes, Island Jim really looks like his cigar band, and he even has a BBQ pineapple snack sausage with a cigar-like package.

3. Sakasquatch and ‘Everyday’. Steve Saka introduced Todos Los Dias, and apologizes for his poor Spanish translation, but promises happy smokers if they try the stick. He also has a new mascot – the cigar-smoking big-foot Sakasquatch.

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4. Bravo and his mom. The Guayaberas Lady was happily sharing her love of stylish smoking shirts with retailers while her son happily shared the J. Fuego Gran Reserva Original, and everyday Walk Around cigar.

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5. Two different families. The Micallef family and the Gomez/Sanchez family bonded together over a common goal – make cigars, make them well and share them with the world. This new partnership made for a unique booth, with live cigar rollers, live interviews about the cigar industry and a beautiful humidor giveaway.

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6. Cigars and stuff. The new and improved Tommy Bahama has combined the look and feel of sailing and golfing with cigars and accessories. Their ashtrays include some that stand up to sun, wind, rain and falling off the table. Their humidor comes with a built-in light so you can always find the cigar you want. And their lighters and cutters are the quality you would expect from a high-end outfitter.

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7. 40-million sticks and a new brand. Despite having to start over twice, the Plasencia family has been the cigar manufacturer go for customers wanting quality tobacco and production. The Plasencia family has made quite a jump in the market with their own brand of cigars, including the new Alma Fuerte line.

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8. LFD and a long road back from number one. After Cigar Aficionado named La Flor Dominicana’s Andalusian Bull number one, the elation did not slow for the company. This year, they are trying to follow up with La Volcada – named for a step in the tango dance.

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9. Re-banding and measurements. Coming up with one the most unique bands, E.P. Carrillo’s Inch took on a stylish new look, with a gold band, to mark their unique inch-size ring gauges.

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10. Luck and the ‘Ladder’. Knowing Robert Holt of Southern Draw would make one think successful cigar manufacturing and sales is about luck, because that he definitely has. For him and his new Jacob’s Ladder, it’s more about work, travel and talent.

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