Jane Doe to be released…

Cubariqueño Cigar Co. announces the release of the Protocol Jane Doe, a follow up to the quick selling John Doe. The John Doe is now a unicorn. John and Jane Doe are the names given to unidentified persons. Males are given John Doe and females are given Jane Doe. The cigars are packaged in 10 count white paper bundles and no information is known on the blend. This project is a Limited Edition with undisclosed amount of bundles, they will be available after party if any are left over. The authorities are asking the public’s help in identifying our Jane Doe. The pricing is set at $99.00 per bundle. The cigars will be available first to those attending Cubariqueño Cigar Co. 4 Year Anniversary Party this coming Saturday, June 1, 2019 at a special discount rate. The cigars were produced at LaZona in Estelí, Nicaragua. Cubariqueño Cigar Co. will again hold its Anniversary Party at the Holiday Inn, Clinton NJ at 2pm. All that contributed to the success of the company are invited to attend. 

Size- 6×52 Toro Box Press

Wrapper- Unknown 

Binder- Unknown 

Filler- Unknown



March 14, 2019



On April 1, Smokers Abbey, a Nashville-based retail tobacconist, will debut a new Limited Edition cigar, “Sanctuary,” created exclusively for the boutique-centric retailer by Crowned Heads.

Produced at Tabacalera La Alianza, S.A., the factory behind Cigar Aficionado’s ‘Cigar of the Year 2018’ (EPC Encore Majestic), ‘Sanctuary’ is a 5 1/2″ x 52 trunk-pressed Genios vitola that features an Ecuadorian (Sumatra) wrapper and all-Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. Total production of Sanctuary is limited to 333 12-count boxes. “We’ve been amazed to witness the rapid rise of The Abbey since they began from square one five plus years ago,” commented Crowned Heads co-owner/founder, Jon Huber. “We’ve always had a mutually supportive local relationship and it’s really been a labor of love to create a shop exclusive for them. ‘Sanctuary’ have been aged for over fourteen months, and they are truly a special smoke for a special tobacconist.”

‘Sanctuary’ single cigars will be available for $11.99 and boxes will be priced at $129.99

Box reservations are currently being accepted by contacting Smokers Abbey at (615) 678-8458, via email at info@smokersabbey.com, or online at SmokersAbbey.com.

Founded in 2013 by Joshua Stump, Smokers Abbey is located in the heart of East Nashville. The Abbey was born from Josh’s passion for cigars and his desire to build community and fellowship among people. The Abbey has successfully carved a national reputation as a go to source for some of the most sought-after and hard-to-find boutique cigars on the market, as well as a place where all are welcome to come “Find Rest for Your Soul.”


Protocol Night Stick Announced

Cigar Dojo & Cubariqueño Announce Second Collaboration with Protocol Night Stick

DENVER, CO (Friday, March 15, 2019) —— Cigar Dojo, the first and
largest social cigar app, and Cubariqueño Cigar Company, a rapidly growing favorite in the craft cigar industry, have collaborated for the second time, introducing the Protocol Night Stick—a swift and just assault on the palates of die-hard cigar enthusiasts.

Following in the footsteps of 2018’s Hit Release: Protocol K9—a limited
edition project that proved to be among Cigar Dojo’s most acclaimed and fastest selling cigar collaborations—the two community-focused companies have combined talents once more, now upping the ante with a 6½” x 54 toro gordo; a
commanding cigar truly befitting its “Night Stick” title.

With Protocol Night Stick, members of both Cigar Dojo and Cubariqueño
worked in collaboration with Espinosa Premium Cigars’ director of operations, Héctor J. Alfonso, Sr., to design the Nicaraguan-based blend. Like all Protocol cigars, the Night Stick caters towards Nicaraguan tobaccos and vibrant flavors. This begins with a filler recipe selected from Nicaragua’s uppermost Condega and Jalapa growing regions, giving the blend an approachable sweetness. This blend is bound in a Nicaraguan leaf and finalized in a highly specific Ecuadorian Habano Rosado Oscuro wrapper, imparting deep levels of stone fruit and cinnamon to the flavor-forward profile of the Protocol Night Stick.

Juan Cancel, co-owner of Cubariqueño Cigar Co., notes, “We wanted to
follow up the extraordinarily successful Protocol K9 with something special for the Cigar Dojo community! We wanted the Dojo Nation to have a very memorable cigar experience, so we blended this beauty especially with them in mind! We hope you guys enjoy the Night Stick
as much as we do; I actually love it and am sad that it will not be a regular-production cigar. I made myself a few extra because I know they are going to sell out fast!”

As the Night Stick’s predecessor was extremely short-lived on the retail shelves of Pennsylvania-based Famous Smoke Shop (completely selling out in a matter of 2 hours), Protocol Night Stick has increased production to 500 limited-edition bundles of 10 cigars (compared to only 300 bundles for Protocol K9). With a completely new blend and size, Night Stick showcases custom-designed artwork as well, adding to the atypical series of police-themed projects from Cubariqueño and Cigar Dojo. Like the K9, Night Stick is being offered exclusively through Famous Smoke Shop, including an in-store sale (accompanied by a release-party with members of Cigar Dojo and Cubariqueño), as well as online orders through


Cigar Dojo owner Eric “Master Sensei” Guttormson commented, “The
release party, the amazing cigar, working with Juan, Bill, and Kevin—the Night Stick is EPIC in every facet, so get ready for another instant classic.”

With Cubariqueño co-owners Juan Cancel and Bill Ives being among the
first influential members of Cigar Dojo’s app upon its debut in 2012 (including a Dojo Hall-of-Fame induction in 2014), the two companies have shared a tight-knit bond and common core beliefs; this has
allowed for highly engaging collaborations such as the Protocol K9 and now the Protocol Night Stick!

“Juan and I have been involved with the Cigar Dojo community since
2012,” adds Bill Ives, co-owner of Cubariqueño Cigar Co. “Being able
to work with Eric and blend a second Dojo cigar after the K9 hit is an honor.”

The Protocol Night Stick Release Party will be held at the Famous Smoke Shop and accompanying Leaf Cigar Bar, located in Easton, PA. The event will begin simultaneously with the cigar’s release on April 5th at 12pm (Eastern Time).

Protocol Night Stick Breakdown

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Rosado Oscuro
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua (Condega | Jalapa)
Factory: La Zona
Production: Limited Edition (500 bundles of 10 cigars)
Packaging: 10-ct Bundles
Vitola: 6½” x 54 “Attitude Adjuster”
Price: $89.99 ($9/cigar)
Release: April 5, 2019 | 12pm (EDT)
Retailer: Famous Smoke Shop

2016 Z. Alexander Brown Cabernet Sauvignon

With some members of the CigarHawk Facebook group requesting reviews of wines under $20, I figured I’d give this bottle a try. While it’s Zac Brown’s wine venture, I assumed it was more novelty versus trying to create a wine business, and was I wrong.

This Cabernet is grown in the North Coast region of California, which is known for producing Cabernets, Zinfandels, Merlot, and Chardonnays. The temperate climate helps produce a more expressive and fresher wine.

After letting the wine breathe for a half hour, the nose presented well balanced fruit notes, and very mild acidity. My first few sips had notes of blackberries, some mild spice, and light tannins with mild acidity. Also, my initial swirl left good legs on the glass. Additional sips were well balanced, with mild tannins, and a pleasant amount of fruitiness that’s not overwhelming.

For under $20 at every major grocery store, this cab should age well for another 5-10 years. If you’re impatient like I am and want to drink wine as soon as you purchase a bottle, this one fits the bill as it’s not overly dry but has good fruit flavors. I’d pair it with grilled lamb, pork chops, or a mildly spiced Maduro cigar.

Wine terms

Acidity – A naturally occurring component of every wine; the level of perceived sharpness; a key element to a wine’s longevity which helps the overall balance

Aerate – Introducing air into a wine

Aroma – Scents that are components of the nose

AVA – American Viticulture Area; a designated wine region in America

Balance – The combination of acidity, tannins, fruit, etc. that is more based on individual preference over a scientific view

Barrel Fermentation – A process by which wine (usually white) is fermented in oak barrels rather than in stainless steel tanks that creates a richer, creamier, oakier style of wine

Body – general weight, fullness, or overall feel of a wine in your mouth

Breathe – The process of introducing air to open a wine up

Color – A key determinant of a wine’s age and quality. White wines usually grow darker with age while reds become a brownish orange

Corked – What happens when a wine cork becomes tainted by TCA (trichloroanisol.) The wine has flavors and aromas of mushrooms and mustiness

Decant – The process of transferring wine from a bottle to another holding vessel. The purpose is generally to aerate a young wine or to separate an older wine from any sediment

Dry – A wine that has less than 0.2 percent unfermented sugar

Earthy – aromas and flavors that have soil-like qualities

Finish – the aftertaste, how long the flavors last until they fade, the textural impact

Horizontal – A tasting of a group of wines from the same vintage or representing the same style of wine

Legs – wine that sticks to the glass after drinking or swirling

Mouthfeel – Sensation of the wine in the mouth

Nose – The wine’s aromas

Oxidized- A wine that is no longer fresh due to too much exposure to air

Residual Sugar – The sugar remaining after fermentation stops, or is stopped, but it can also result from the addition of unfermented must or ordinary table sugar

Silky – A wine that has a smooth mouthfeel

Tannins – Compounds that exist in most plants. In grapes, tannins are found primarily in the skins and pits, and tannins are astringent while providing structure to a wine. Over time tannins die off, making wines less harsh

Terroir – The combination of soil, climate, and all other factors that influence the ultimate character of a wine

Texture – the mouthfeel or tactile sensation on the palate

Varietal – Wines made from just one grape type and is named after it

Vertical – A tasting of one wine through different vintages

Vintage – A specific year or harvest in the wine industry

These are some of the most common wine terms used when tasting wines. I plan on doing a few more posts about wine varietals and their history, along with what types of glasses and pairings go with them.

Amendola Family Cigars Maduro Review

Happy New Year Hawks! I am really excited to be back and ready to get a ton of reviews done this year. I appreciate all of you that stuck by me over the past 6 months or so and all the things I went through. I really wanted to get a Top 10 Cigar List done but unfortunately I did not review enough contenders to have a viable list. There were so many amazing cigars released last year and I still have a ton to go through. With that said, this was one of them.

I met Jeffery Amendola last year at a rolling event in Winton Salem and we have stayed in contact since then. I have smoked a few of his cigars and purchased more since then. I recently attended another rolling event with some friends and they got to try these cigars for the first time and the feedback we received was more than positive. This was my first time with this one so I decided to do a review on it.

I did a little history on them during my first review of Amendola cigars so if you are interested, go back a few reviews and check it out. I see big things happening for them this year.

So enough of that, let’s get done to business.

First things first.

The Amendola Maduro 42×5.5 Maduro is a really good looking cigar. This is a Mexican San Andreas Box Press that may be small in stature but looks really nice dressed up. Kind of like myself. Ba Du Bum. (Remember to tip your bar tenders folks, I’ll be here all night).

I do not have the blend info but if I can get it I will update the post.

Profile: Wrapper/Binder/Filler: Undisclosed

Appearance: This is a beautiful box press. A medium brown wrapper with small to medium veins and tight seams. The red foot band really works well with the presentation as does the “Terracotta” (my wife corrected me from my previous color description) band featuring the Amendola bull. Overall just a nice, clean, elegant presentation.

Pre-Light: I pick up notes of hay, some black pepper, and slight cocoa from the barrel and foot both. I opt for a straight cut (damn nice cut I might add. See photo) and the draw is perfect. Not too open and far from tight. I pick up notes of sweet cocoa, straw/hay, coffee and pepper. I am really excited to get this one going. So let’s do it.

1st Third: I get things nice and toasted and right off the bat I get notes of black pepper up front and on the tongue mixed with that maduro sweetness that I love. A couple of things that really stand out to me is how smooth and creamy this cigar is and how aromatic the smell is. Very seldom to I ever reference how cigars I review smell but this is something that not only I have noticed and pointed out, but others have as well. This thing smells amazing. About 1/2 inch in I pick up notes of coffee and semi sweet cocoa. The draw remains perfect and the burn is razor sharp. I am really enjoying this so far.

2nd Third: No real crazy transitions but I do start to get notes of toasted nuts, more semi sweet chocolate and still very creamy and smooth. The pepper has really toned down and this blend just seems to get a bit more complex and better as I go. I can’t really pinpoint any major changes or nail down any particular standout flavor but the blend works and works well. I am really digging this cigar. Everything remains the same except a slight wave in the burn line.

Last Third: A sweet graham cracker sweetness appears along with some roasted nuts, and coffee. Further in some meatballs and spaghetti appear…Oh wait, I thought I was writing for a much larger publication, my bad. It seemed fitting given the whole Italian thing, ah, fuhgeddaboudit. (see what I did there). Moving on, this cigar just continues to impress. No real changes all the way to the nub. Great flavors, outstanding performance, what more do you need?

Final thoughts: Buy this cigar. Buy bundles of this cigar. Absolutely great, quick smoke, especially in the winter when it’s cold and you need a quick smoke, this is a go-to smoke.

For those that don’t know me, you may be thinking “well he knows the guy so he won’t say anything negative about his cigars”, wrong. I will say exactly what I think. If it was off or not for me I would say it. Does this mean that you will like it as much as I did? No. Everyone’s palate is different so this is purely my opinion based on my experience. For me, this was a great smoke. Everything about this cigar worked beautifully. The presentation was great, the draw and burn were excellent with 0 required touch ups, and the flavors really worked well for me. If your local retailer does not carry Amendola Family Cigars, purchase a 5 or 10 pack and give them one to smoke and tell them they need to consider them. I highly doubt they would be disappointed in your recommendation.

So there you have it. The first review of 2019 and Amendola hits it out of the park. I know I am not alone in this thought because people close to me are just as impressed with this brand as I am.

Appreciate you taking the time to read through this. If your interested in ordering, please visit https://amendola-family-cigars.myshopify.com/collections or visit https://topleafcigarlounge.com/ and be sure to tell them you read about it here on CigarHawk.com

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Join our Facebook group but be sure to reinforce your mailbox as packages seem to fly all over the country as we share new cigars and great spirits. (Cigarhawk Group, be sure to answer the questions)

Until next time, #LongAshesFullGlasses friends.

Protocol John Doe

Cubariqueño Cigar Co. announces the release of the Protocol John Doe Series for ‪www.BerkeleyHumidor.com‬. John Doe is the name given to unidentified body’s until identification can be made at a later time. The cigars are available in 10 count bundles with pricing set at $75.00 per bundle. The first installment of this series is a limited run of only 300 bundles in a 5 X 50 Robusto size. The project is available now online only. Cubariqueño Cigar Co. does not know the origin and has no other blend information on JOHN DOE until a proper identification can be made and next of kin notified.

Wrapper- Unknown
Binder- Unknown
Filler- Unknown

If you follow me then you already know that I am a huge fan of these cigars. The owners are terrific guys and they continue to produce some of the best cigars on the market. Get them now while you still can!

2017 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

I decided to review a 2017 Robert Mondavi private selection Cabernet Sauvignon that’s aged in bourbon barrels, as it seems to be popular among members in the CigarHawk Facebook group. This cab is from Southern Monterey County which is known for its Cabernets, Merlots, and Zinfandels. The climate in the county helps produce numerous quality wines.

After letting the wine breathe for close to a hour, the nose presented notes of fruit, acid, and a pleasant aroma of charred oak. The first few sips had hints of oak, pronounced black cherry, and the tannins were mild.

The longer the wine was left to open, the tannins become very well balanced and almost velvety, while the acid tamed and the fruit forwardness lessened. Hints of vanilla and blackberry lingered after sips.

For a 2017, the wine is still young, and could easily age for another 5 or more years. For a cab under $20, I feel this one is pretty hard to beat. It would pair well with rack of lamb, pork, makes a great pan sauce Bordelaise, and I would pair it with a cigar that’s more floral to help bring out the fruit notes in this wine.

Blanton’s Red (Japan)

Good afternoon Hawks!!!!!

Sorry for the delay on the next installment of the Blanton’s series. It seems like that of late, I just haven’t had the time to sit down and open my old, slow laptop. My wife and I are in the process of building our forever home and we’ve been quite busy with life in general. Enough about me and my life…… I know you guys and gals don’t come here for my nonsense, y’all come here for the reviews.

In the next installment we take a look at the last Blanton’s that is offered exclusively to the Japanese market. Blanton’s Red or Red Edition.

Blanton’s Red is just like Black in the sense that it’s aged a minimum of eight years. Once again, you won’t find an age statement on any bottle of Blanton’s, but it is known that the Red and Black editions get a minimum of eight years. Master distiller for Buffalo Trace Harlen Wheatley has been quoted as saying “We don’t pick by the age, we pick by the taste”. So even though it may be a minimum of eight years, you may be getting bourbon that is nine, ten, or more years old.

The mash bill on this bourbon is Buffalo Trace’s mash bill #2, which has the higher rye content. However, BT doesn’t disclose the exact mash bill. This is the same with all of the Blanton’s editions.

ABV on this variation of Blanton’s is 93 proof. This is slightly higher than the 80 proof that the Black edition is.

The color of this fine juice is a honey brown. Almost lighter than the Black edition. I would have expected this pour to have been darker than its watered down brother.

This bourbon sits at about 80 dollars USD. However, it can only be found in Japan and on the secondary market. Prices on the secondary market are high. I’ve personally seen these range from 200-350 USD.

The nose on this bourbon is just as nice as the Black. Very sweet smell of cherries, caramel, vanilla, and citrus. Not as much of an oak smell with this one. On the back end notes of plum shine through.

The taste is spicy. Not hot like the burn you get from a high proof bourbon, but nice and warming. Vanilla, oak, and citrus on the front of the tongue, with a cherry leather taste on the back end.

The finish on this bottle was medium at best the same as the Black. It doesn’t linger on the tongue at all. It still makes a great pour, but won’t challenge your tongue with any complexities.

My final thoughts on this bourbon are that it’s better than the Black just because of the higher proof. If you find yourself in Japan and find a bottle for under a hundred bucks, I definitely suggest picking one up. However, if you’re forced to go the secondary route, then I would pass. It’s just not worth the extra cash.

An interesting side note- Blanton’s in the US and Japan comes in the standard 750ml bottles. Blanton’s released to European market only come in 700ml bottles.

I didn’t require ice or water with this bourbon and tasted it using my Glencarin glass.

I paired this dram with a Espinosa Wasabi cigar. These two paired nicely together and neither one overpowered the other.



Robert Rasmussen

Brand Manager Mombacho Cigars

E: rob@mombachocigars.com

P: 510-693-1714


The latest release from Mombacho Cigars S.A. is the first cigar to use a Nicaraguan Broadleaf wrapper.

GRANADA, NICARAGUA. – (26 November 2018). Mombacho Cigars S.A. announced today that it would begin shipping a limited Pre-Release of Casa Favilli to retailers in the US and Switzerland.

“Casa Favilli is very special to me,” said Claudio Sgroi, President and Master Blender of Mombacho Cigars. “This cigar is the first ever Nicaraguan Broadleaf in the industry. I am proud to say we have done something truly unique.”

Casa Favilli is the third core line cigar in the Mombacho Cigars portfolio and continues the company’s tradition of producing 100% Nicaraguan puros. The blend consists of a Nicaraguan Broadleaf wrapper with binder and filler tobaccos from Jalapa and Condega. The cigar is named in honor of the Mombacho Cigars factory in Granada, Nicaragua.

“This is a unique cigar,” said Robert Rasmussen, Brand Manager of Mombacho Cigars. “Casa Favilli features a wrapper that has never been used before. It is on the full side of the strength spectrum and, in true Mombacho fashion, is packed with flavor.”

Casa Favilli will be available in 12-count boxes and in three sizes:

Robusto – 5 x 52 – MSRP $10.95

Toro – 6 x 52 – MSRP $11.95

Torpedo – 5 ½ x 52 – MSRP $12.95

The initial pre-release of Casa Favilli will consist of approximately 150 boxes of each vitola and will ship to retailers during the first week of December. The cigar will be in regular production starting in 2019.


Mombacho Cigars S.A. is a Canadian owned company established in 2006 that entered the US market in 2013. The international interest in Mombacho has grown rapidly and Mombacho cigars are now available in Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and Trinidad and Tobago. Mombacho produces all of its products at its factory in Granada, Casa Favilli, where over 30 members of the Mombacho Family work. For more information contact Robert Rasmussen, Brand Manager of Mombacho Cigars, at rob@mombachocigars.com.

INTERVIEW with Jeffrey Amendola of Amendola Family Cigar Company

#cigarinterviews #AmendolaCigars #cigars #cigarculture #BOTL #SOTL #DurhamNC

Can you tell us a bit about your company? When did it start, how it came to be etc.?

-I moved to Durham N.C. in 2009 and started a career in Law Enforcement. While I was in the Police academy I would enjoy a nice cigar in my down time and was surprised that the area I was in only had one or two shops and not many places to smoke. I also noticed that no one was really hosting cigar social events and there were no factories or locally hand made cigars. I decided to host a cigar social event at a local bar because I needed an outlet and was always looking for a good excuse to light one up with co-workers and friends. I had fresh cigars from a factory in the Bronx at the time and had a nice little turn out where guests could purchase from me. That one event became a monthly event, then a bi-weekly event and other venues were asking me to come host and sell cigars on different nights. I saw momentum in this business model and began setting up cigar bars at weddings and house parties as well. When I graduated the police academy I became an official cigar retailer, wholesaler, and manufacturer as “Bull City Cigar Co.” Selling cigars and hosting events became my side hustle, as I like to call it and had a great time doing it. I didn’t mind having my product made in the Bronx but I wanted to make my product more personal so I devoted my free time to learning about different types of tobacco and how to blend. I soon had connects in Miami to get raw leaf tobacco and found hand me down rolling equipment from old factories. A lot of our tables and tools at the time were made by some locals that just wanted to help me get going. I started rolling my own blends in a room at RJ cigars in Raleigh, then moved the factory to a small office underneath a coffee shop in Durham near Duke University. I had 2 other cigar rollers working with me at the time that really helped me define my blends, some of which we are still producing today. That led to opening wholesale accounts, doing more events, and eventually opening my own retail shop and cigar lounge. I rebranded in 2017 to Amendola Family Cigar Co. I felt the need to personalize the brand with my last name and to build a legacy for my children and family.

When did you get into cigars? Do you remember your first cigar experience?

-I got curious about cigars when I would visit Arthur Ave. in the Bronx NY. It was a place near where I grew up that has the best Italian food, fresh markets, and a cigar factory in the main retail market on the block. I was fascinated by watching the cigars being made and what went into prepping the tobacco and I started collecting cigar boxes. I loved the artwork and nostalgia. I was 16 or so at the time but didn’t have my first cigar until I was 21 or so. I was hooked on the experience ever since.

When did you decide to learn to roll cigars?

-2011 when I decided I was in this for the long haul and I wanted to blend and produce my own product.

Who taught you?

-I found a factory in Ybor City, Florida, by the name of La Faraona Cigars. Odelma, the owner took me in and taught me everything I needed to know about rolling cigars as well as one of my full time rollers, “Kiko”. Kiko was a supervisor at Davidoff for 7 years, and worked in the Fuente factory for many years.

Is this your full time job? What did you do prior to the cigar world?

-This is my full time job. Cigars are my life at this point. Prior to working in the cigar business I was employed with the City of Durham Police department and resigned in 2015 as a Special Victims Unit Detective. When I resigned I jumped into my cigar biz full time.

Production was recently moved to Tabacalera G. Kafie Y Cia factory. Can you tell us a bot about that?

-Moving our production to Honduras has been the greatest decision I have made so far. I have complete freedom to blend my product the way I see fit and approve the tobacco that we use and choose to ferment. It is also a one stop shop. All of our boxes, labels, and cigars are produced under the same management. Dr. Kafie is a great guy to work with and he allows me to do what is best for my business and my blends.

Your company produced more than 30,000 cigars last year and you are projected to increase that by 30%. What do you attribute your growth to?

-I contribute that to putting out a solid product. No hype, no shenanigans, no gimmicks, just a good quality consistent cigar. I am old school and believe in a classic, timeless look, something that doesn’t go out of style. I pride myself in the relationships I have with my customers and retailers and rely on their returning business. With those relationships, comes word of mouth. People are starting to talk about Amendola and want to experience it for them self. On a separate note we have just started to open accounts in Texas, NYC, and other states across the USA. I will also be attending the international trade show in Germany on Sept. 19th 2018 and am expecting to finalize distribution deals with Germany, Italy, and other European countries.

I recently attended one of your rolling events. How often do you host those?

-I host rolling events at least 3 times a month at different venues and cigar shops.

Where can people find your cigars in their local B&M’s? Any areas you are looking to expand into specifically?

-We are currently selling in NYC, NC, PA, and Texas. Florida and GA are next as well as South Africa, and in the European Market. You can still buy from our headquarters at 1214 University Dr. Durham, NC or online www.amendolafamilycigars.com We are working on getting a list together of all of our wholesale accounts to put online for our customers to find our product easier.

What other cigars on the market do you really enjoy or smoke on a regular basis?

-I really enjoy Kafie 1901 cigars, La Gloria Cubana, and Most of what AJ Fernandez puts out.

Are there any people in the industry that you would like to work with at some point?

-I honestly haven’t thought about that yet, but definitely think that would be an option later on down the road.

Let’s talk a bit more about the cigars coming out. You have a range of variety hitting the market from Connecticut, Habano, Maduro, Sumatra and more. Can you expand on that a bit?

-So I wanted to hit the basics and focus on what consumers usually look for in a cigar. I produce anything from a mild, medium, to full body profile. Our Connecticut blend is something to talk about though. Not what you would traditionally expect from a lighter smoke. Lots of good flavors in there. You can thank Honduras for that. Our Sumatra blend was something to do for fun and it has become one of my favorites out of all my blends. We sold out of those in the first 3 weeks so I think that is a winner. Our Habano 2000 has nice citrus notes for a medium body smoke. The Amendola Special is my signature blend and my daily smoke. It is a Nicaraguan puro with a Oscuro maduro wrapper, and maduro binder.

You are based in Durham NC. Do you have a lounge or storefront people can visit?

-Yes retail shop and lounge at 1214 University Dr. I always encourage people to come by for a nice espresso and a Amendola Cigar! Never know what might happen in there.

How much has social media helped to get your product out in front of people?

-Honestly social media and word of mouth has been the only way I am currently getting in front of people.

Anything you would like to add or discuss?

I would like to encourage the cigar community to go out and continue to support all of the boutique brands out there. We are fighting hard to overcome threats and ridiculous stipulations from the FDA and still have to compete with the mainstream cigar lines out there. Any support at all is appreciated! On a more serious note, Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, stay ashy, and I like ‘em with a fat ash…

I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us and we look forward to a long relationship with you and your team.

I was honored to have this experience! Thank you for the love and support.

2013 Pinot Meunier

There’s nothing like enjoying a complex bottle of wine on a beautiful day. I decided on a 2013 Pinot Meunier from Willakenzie Vineyards. They are known for producing quality wine at a great price point. 

Pinot Meunier grows well here in Oregon as the varietal is more accepting of colder climates. Meunier has the same DNA fingerprint as Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes, but is less acclaimed even though it’s a quiet workhorse for champagnes. 

The nose presents a lot of acid, hints of black pepper, and some spice. There is also a strong jammy aroma. My first few sips present a mildly tart jam flavor, with some acid and tannins that coat the palate. While the acid and tannins are strong, they don’t overwhelm the palate too much.

I noticed the wine really opened up after breathing for a few hours. While the acid was still prominent, mild black pepper along with confected fruit notes helped balance the wine. This Meunier would pair well with shellfish, pork, or charcuterie.

You should be able to find this wine at any major grocery store, as the Lacroutes entrusted the Willakenzie Estate to Kendall Jackson back in 2016. It’s reasonably priced around $30 for a bottle.