How do you define a truly great cigar?

There are A LOT of cigars out there. There are A LOT of really good cigars, A LOT of decent cigars and A LOT of mediocre cigars out there. I think that without a doubt the majority of us will agree on that point if nothing else. When I started with cigars I tried everything that I could get my hands on basically, and I fell for the big brand advertising online and in the magazines telling me just how great this new cigar was going to be and I went out in search of it and paid too much money only to get it home, light it up and go “Eh, not really all that great”. Then I thought, well, the people advertising and promoting these have been smoking WAYYYYY longer than I have, maybe it’s not the cigar at all, maybe my palate just isn’t up to par. And the vicious circle continued for awhile. Then I tried my first boutique cigar and it hit me, this is what I have been searching for. I started researching these hidden gems and learning about the companies, the brands, and the people behind them. It became a passion for me, and it still is today. Along with this new research came the wave of all new cigars to try, so many so that I had to purchase a new beautiful humidor to house them and segregate them from the “big box brands” everyone raves about. In a way, I have become a cigar snob. I really thought I was building a nice collection of great smokes with the humidor of big name brands I have. (They are available for purchase at a great price if anyone would be interested, just throwing that out there)

I have a very hard time putting money down on big brands anymore because the market is saturated with mediocre cigars and the majority come from a handful of big name factories. I am not saying that there aren’t so truly wonderful, consistently great sticks on the market. I have a select few names that if I need to, I will pick up and have no worries with what I am smoking. In the rare occasion that I am traveling without my own or I end up in a place I haven’t been before, I always spend money locally and will make a purchase in the local shop. (For anyone that is new to cigars, this is not a written rule, but it is a courtesy to always make a purchase of some sort when visiting a new lounge or shop if you plan to smoke there) If they carry boutiques, I am going for them, but if not, I can always find something that will get me through. It’s just courtesy. If they have a house blend, sure why not. I did that at Primings in Nashville and it was a fantastic stick. (Free plug for them, lol)

One thing I have found through all of this, is that boutiques have made me super picky about what I like and what I will spend money on. As of now I have only a handful of brands that I will purchase on a regular basis. Well that limits you from trying a lot of great cigars. No, it means I know the difference between mediocre bullshit and quality. Nothing is stopping me from trying anything except the choice I make to put my money down or not. I do not ask cigar companies to send me samples to review, I do not review the next trendy cigars, I have not been to IPCPR (although I would love to go for different reasons), but if someone sends me a cigar and ask me to review it for them I certainly won’t tell them no. I also won’t sell myself out and give it a high review if I didn’t enjoy it simply because there is some obligation to the manufacture who sent it. Unfortunately there is too much of that already and it’s the reason I had many cigars I didn’t care much about.

So, all of this leads me. As I said in previous reviews about Felix Assouline, I was told about this company from a BOTL awhile back and just never really got around to ordering online. They are not available in my local go to shops so it just fell off the radar. One day I saw a very cool post of the II Saints cigar and I made the decision to place the order. Just so happens that the online store was down. Bummer. No, not really. The man himself, Felix reached out to me via Messenger and we went back and forth for a bit and he took my order personally and took care of me. It was a blessing in disguise because how often, in this day and age of digital, online ordering, do we actually get to interact with the owner of a company? On Monday I received a message with my tracking info, an apology for the store being down and a thank you for doing business with FAC. WOW! Again, not often we get that these days, but the thing that really blew me away was that Felix told me he was sending me something special for my troubles. Great I thought. It really wasn’t much trouble but I certainly appreciate it regardless. Little did I know that I would be receiving something TRULY special.

My order came in and I opened the box and as ordered were all of the cigars with one exception. There was one extra that I didn’t recognize from the website. After some messages with Felix, I found out that this gem was from his personal stock of a 17 year old cigar that he had made for himself and select friends and customers. Well I must say, I was truly honored. I thanked him and told him I would save that for a very special occasion. His response was, I would appreciate it if you would review it for me! Needless to say I am honored and told him I would. I was a little skeptical about it because in my mind I am still very green to this and still working on developing my palate. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from this cigar. Felix never gave me much input about it as to try and sway me in any direction. All I knew after smoking 3 of the other brands he made, all of which were fantastic, this was 17 years old and from his private stock, so I anticipated a truly great cigar.

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The CSB Vintage Habano 98′. First things first. It’s right at 18 years old. I have a son that was born in 98′ so this thing is ancient for a cigar right? As you can see from the pic, the cellophane has turned orange but when you remove this cigar, it is just as fresh and smells like it was just taken off the rolling table. This particular cigar (as with all of FAC cigars) are made with tobaccos grown by them on the farms in the Jamastran Valley in Honduras and in Jalapa Nicaragua. This is a full bodied, full flavor cigar.

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Wrapper: Jalapa Habano Crillo 98′ Binder and Filler: Jamastran Honduras. Since I had tried 3 other cigars from Felix with Jamastran tobacco in them, the notes from the foot were not as foreign to me as it was the first time I smelled it. This tobacco is unlike anything I have tried in any other brand. There is a scent and a flavor profile to it that is so hard to pinpoint but to me, it reminds me of almost a pine or evergreen. I may be completely off base with that description but that is the closest thing I can come up with. I pick up notes of barnyard, earth, leather and a sweetness like dark chocolate or cocoa. The cigar, as stated, for being almost 18 years old, looked great. Rustic, dark brown wrapper with small veins. The band was a simple golden orange color with CSB lettering. Nothing fancy or flashy. That was left to the cigar.

I decided to change it up and used my Xikar hole punch to get things going. I started with a wooden match to heat the foot and followed up with a dual flame just to finish it off. Initial draw of this cigar was simply one of the most unique flavor profiles I have had in a cigar. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what I was tasting as I was not expecting that I had. After a few puffs, I was able to wrap my head around that Jamastran flavor profile which is very woodsy, almost evergreen-ish, with some pepper like spice, earth and a sweetness at the end that blended amazingly with the profile. The pepper stuck with me for a bit but was never harsh. This was the TRULY GREAT cigar I knew was out there and I thought I had found it a couple of times, but this cigar raised the bar for me. Thick, greyish, white, smoke poured off of this cigar and the ash, as you can see held for the entire first third of the cigar. It only fell because I made it.

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The second third brought me more of the same wonderful flavors I had been experiencing. The pepper dropped off and I was met with more of the chocolate/cocoa or espresso flavor, but they were not so noticeable that it made the cigar sweet. It remained a full flavored, full bodied cigar, but the subtle hints of sweetness really smoothed the second third out. Again, the ash held throughout, the draw was simply perfect, the burn lines were sharp and only got a little off when I stepped outdoors for a minute. (Keep in mind that it is in the 30’s and I am in a heated garage).

The final third brought all of the flavors together for me. Earth, leather, pepper, sweetness, and of course that wonderful woodsy flavor. The profile of this cigar never got fully away from where it started but changed enough to keep you very interested in where it was headed. As you can see, I nubbed this cigar for all the right reasons. Even going that far down with it, I never hit any nicotine bitterness nor did it burn super hot. These are 2 factors that really speak to the quality of the tobacco and the construction of the cigar. I did not pair this cigar with anything except water so I got the full profile of only the cigar. Wise decision but I can easily see this blending with a great Scotch or Bourbon. This cigar would make spoiled milk shine, ok maybe that’s pushing it a little…If you get the chance to score one of these (see below) be sure to let me know what you think.

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What else can I say about this work of art? Felix Assouline has some terrific cigars in his portfolio and I was completely sold on all 3 of the cigars I had tried prior to this. After going back and forth with him about a number of different things, I will say this, he truly outdid himself with this cigar and I am very lucky to have been given the opportunity to try it. I am truly honored that he asked me to review it and I hope I did it justice. If you follow him on Facebook and join the family, tell him you read this review. I am sure that he will take care of you and you may just get lucky and score one yourself. (Facebook Felix Assouline Family) Let him know I sent you.

I apologize for the long post but something like this doesn’t come along often.

At the end of the day, everyone enjoys a great cigar and we all have our favorite sticks. The great thing is that we don’t all like the same exact thing and even better, we don’t have to. I encourage everyone to try all the new cigars you want and venture out of your comfort zone. You may be surprised at what is out there but be careful, once you find it, it may ruin many others that you thought were great. Until next time, long ashes and full glasses friends. Peace.

 

Felix Assouline Cigars…II Saints Review

 

Who is Felix Assouline you ask?

Felix Assouline (Taken from their website)

Felix first started out in the cigar business in 1997 on the retail side. His first store in Dania Beach, Florida sold all the premium brands and launched him into 3 additional stores in South Florida over a 6 year span. During that time he also ran a successful wholesale cigar business. Felix’s passion for a great smoking cigar drove him to try every cigar he possible could and as he did, he developed an intricate knowledge of cigar construction and how different leaves affected the flavor of the cigar.

With that insight, Felix opened his own factory in Danli, Honduras in 2004 and began making his own cigars. Felix introduced 2 successful brands, one of which being the original EGO, which received a 90 rating in Smoke Magazine in the September 2006 issue.

In 2007, Felix decided to sell everything and focus all his attention on his greatest love, his family. After enjoying incredible family moments for 6 years, he decided it was time to get back into the cigar business. This time, Felix wanted to focus all his efforts on fulfilling a dream of creating his own blends to achieve one goal: create the best premium cigars on the market…

The story is much more involved and I hope to do a spotlight on Felix and FAC in the upcoming weeks but for now I want to spend some time on reviewing a few of their world class cigars.

I was told about FAC through a BOTL on social media and he spoke very highly of all of their cigars. As life got busy I sort of forgot about them until I saw a post online for the II Saints cigar. Felix replied to one of my comments and directed me to the online store which happened to be down that day. We struck up a conversation and I placed an order via DM and we have chatted a couple of times since. Felix is a great man and very down to earth. I received my order yesterday and could not wait to try them all. First thing I noticed was the construction of the cigars. These are some of the most well constructed cigars I have seen. Right away you can see the quality of the cigar and the artwork of not only the bands but the sticks themselves.

I decided to try the cigar that sparked my interest in the first place, the II Saints. This cigar is available in 5 sizes but I chose one in particular and for a very specific reason. The La Petite Mort 5 x 52. Why you ask? If any of you follow me online you know that I am a music head. I love all types of music (well mostly) and if you are fans of Metal you may have heard of a band from Flint called King 810. Their sophomore album is titled La Petite Mort or A Conversation With God. For that reason alone I had to go with it. I exchanged a couple of messages with Felix and he asked me if I knew what La Petite Mort meant in French and I said yes and told him. He said “Yes, but the French use it in a much different way”. I found that it means “the brief loss or weakening of consciousness” and in modern usage refers specifically to “the sensation of orgasm as likened to death”. The expression comes from French, in which it literally means “the little death”. When you smoke this cigar in this votive you will clearly appreciate this history lesson. LOL.

Made in Nicaragua the II Saints features a beautiful dark brown Jamastran Criollo 98 wrapper with a Jamastran binder and Jamastran / Jalapa filler. Never heard of Jamastran? I hadn’t either so here is a little info on that.

“II Saints is produced in our factory in Esteli, Nicaragua with Tobaccos grown from our farm in Jamastran, Honduras.
The valley in Jamastran is known for its flavorful tobaccos which feature a sweetness and strength inherent in each puff. II Saints Cigars are all box pressed like most of our brands. II Saints feature a Lijero dark wrapper marking the cigar as a unique find in the cigar world.”

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So before I get too far into this let me preface this by saying that I had every intent of giving a detailed review on this cigar, however…Apparently my palate needs some serious work and expansion because this cigar was unlike ANYTHING I have ever tasted before. Holy     $!#@. As you can see from the photos, the cigar is a beautiful dark brown with an awesome band (shown above credit halfwheel) and it smells of barnyard hay, earth and a faint sweetness. I used a Xikar guillotine cut and matches to get it started, finished with a Xikar dual flame to finish. The first draw hit the me with a ton of flavor. There were certainly notes that I have had in other Nicaraguan cigars but the Jamastran adds and different level to this cigar. I can’t pinpoint what it is or really how to explain it so you just have to try it for yourself. There is a spice that hits the tongue and lingers for awhile but is balanced by a sweetness that makes it creamy and smooth. It is certainly full bodied and full flavor for sure. I was surprised at how complex and different this cigar truly was. As I made my way through the first third, the flavor remained the same throughout. Tons of flavor, sharp burn line, draw was good with a bit of resistance, and a good amount of white smoke.

As I moved into the second third, it turned just a bit to more of a woodsy/spicy blend. I didn’t pick up as much sweetness but the flavor was still complex and kept me interested. Ash held for more than 1 inch before I initially dropped it. I was in my garage with the heat on due to the cold weather and the cigar seemed to need that extra air to keep it going. The burn line stayed completely even throughout the cigar which demonstrates the quality of the construction of this cigar.

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Moving to the final third of this beauty and it stayed true to the first 2 thirds. A bit of the sweetness returned and the flavor never truly changed but it was complex enough to remain enjoyable for the entire smoke.

Warning: I found myself not wanting to put it down for long trying to figure out what I was tasting and I will say this, as a medium to full bodied smoker, this cigar does pack a punch and will test you if you are not use to full bodied smokes. Take your time with it. You have been warned. I did not get sick but this stick is very capable of it if you rush it or are not use to a smoke this strong.

Final thoughts. I really enjoyed this cigar. It was full bodied and has a lot of flavor from start to finish. I smoked this cigar down to less than 1 inch and the flavor profile remained true to the end. The blend is complex and tasty and people with a more experienced palate may be able to pinpoint all of the flavors, I could not. I will say that the Jamastran / Jalapa filler adds a level of flavor that sets this cigar apart from anything I have tried and I was not the least bit upset by that. I would recommend this cigar to anyone. Felix Assouline has a reputation of making World Class Cigars and I have heard this from many people I respect in the community. Again, proceed with caution on this one as far as strength goes but it is a Box worthy smoke for me for sure.

Hope you enjoyed the review and as always, I welcome comments, other reviews, questions etc. Now the challenge is, which one to try next? Felix sent me a special gift and asked me to review it so maybe we go with that one next. As always with cigars, so many great choices, so little time to smoke them all! I can think of worse problems. Have a great one folks. Peace!

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It’s not a cigar…It’s a 1502

I  heard the brand 1502 being talked about in a few shops and online but I had never gotten the opportunity to try them. After exchanging a few comments with Enrique of 1502 on social media and placing an order through Cigar Federation, I finally had the opportunity to try 2 from their line-up.

First up was the 1502 Emerald. 6.5 x 52 box pressed torpedo. Made by Global Premium Cigars  Country of Origin: Nicaragua Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Corojo Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan (Esteli, Condega) & Mexican (San Andreas)

Looking at the cigar it is caramel brown in color with a nice Emerald green (duh) and gold wrapper, and had minimal veins and super tight seams. I picked up notes of pepper and wood from the foot. Straight cut and match to start the burn, touched up with a dual flame torch.

The draw was very nice with a touch of resistance and produced a lot of smoke. Pepper (maybe a mix of black pepper and cedar) mixed with a coffee or cocoa blend hit my palate. As I move through the first third, I find the cocoa has a slight dark chocolate bitterness (in the good dark chocolate way) that evens out the pepper and spice nicely.

Going into the second third, the earthy, spice (cedar and pepper) take over and remained through the final third of this cigar. I found this to be a nice smooth blend throughout the entire cigar and it was a mild to medium strength cigar to me.

The ash never got more than 1/2 to 3/4 inches and the burn was even and sharp. I had no issues keeping it lit with no touchups required. With so many great cigars coming out of Nicaragua these days, adding the Mexican San Andreas sets the flavor profile of this cigar apart. It has a nice cedar woodsy flavor mixed with some spice. I really enjoyed this cigar and I think it would be a nice addition to any humidor. If you are newer to cigars and want something with a slight kick and flavor, I would recommend trying this cigar. Total time was 1 hour 50 minutes. Paired with Water. 20161128_1937051

Up next was the 1502 Black Gold Toro. 6 x 50 Wrapper: Sun Grown Maduro Binder and Filler: Nicaraguan

As the name suggest, this cigar is a dark brown maduro wrapper with a Black and Gold band. It also has barley visible seams and the foot is partially covered. It smells of leather and spice with earth notes. Guillotine cut and match lit with dual flame touch up produced a nice draw with some resistance and lots of smoke.

I am met with a lot of cocoa and spice to start out the first third. The cocoa was almost like an espresso with a bit of spice mixed in. The burn was a little jagged and uneven but not too bad.

Moving into the second third the earth notes come in nicely and there is a subtle sweetness added to the blend. I am not sure I can pinpoint it but it reminds me of dried fruit of some sort. It is complex enough to make it interesting but not overwhelming and it is flavorful for sure. I find it to have a lot of flavor but is medium to full in strength.

As I get into the final third, I still have the dried fruit flavor with the espresso or cocoa flavor mixing with the spice. The spice hangs on for a bit. The burn and draw were both good throughout and no touch ups were needed.

This was a good cigar that leans towards the full flavored and full bodied strength. As a fan of the maduro, I would smoke this cigar again. I would certainly pick up a 5 pack and put it into my rotation. Total smoke time was 1 hour 45 minutes. Paired with Buffalo Trace Bourbon.

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I have a Blue Sapphire in the humidor and I hope to review it soon. At the price point, it isn’t an everyday smoke so I am hanging on to it for a nice occasion.

I will say that I enjoyed both of these cigars a lot. They were a nice change in flavor and strength and I would smoke them again for sure. They make an XO which I would love to try as I am a huge fan of the Balmoral Anejo XO, both of which are 18 year aged. I would be interested to compare the 2.

Feel free to check them out at http://www.globalpremiumcigars.com/ and leave your comments and reviews here.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out the reviews. Until next time…Peace.

Road trip…Nashville and Louisville

So Monday we returned home from a 1700 + mile road trip from Pa, to Nashville, Louisville and back with a stop at the legendary Leaf and Bean in Pittsburg. It was a quick trip but it was packed with things to do. After working all day Thursday we finally hit the road around 6 pm and drove all night and arrived in Nashville around 7 am. Just in time for breakfast and then a stop off at Crowned Heads headquarters to meet Jon Huber. Because of scheduling we couldn’t hang out for long but it was nice to finally meet the man behind some of my favorite cigars. I was able to score a new hoodie and a couple of great samplers! Next was a stop off at Smokers Abby to pick up some Crowned Heads Tennessee Waltz (FINALLY!!!!), the new Oscar Habano, and a couple of Viaje Honey and Hand Grenades. This is a great local shop with mainly boutique brands, a nice humidor and lounge. I highly recommend stopping in if you are in the area. After that it was full blown tourist mode. The Johnny Cash museum, all the bars and stores on Broadway, The Ryman Auditorium (incredible amount of history in that place and we also got to attend The Grand Ole Opry in the Ryman which was awesome), local bus tour of the area, Music Row and more. We found another local lounge called Primings Cigar Bar and Lounge. Another nice humidor, the best Old Fashion I have ever had, great bar, super friendly and attentive staff and a really nice house blend cigar. If you have never been to Nashville and you like country music or history I recommend taking a trip. I am not a new country music fan, personally I think this new bro country garbage has ruined the genre. I think much of the “talent” shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breathe as the true legends of the music. Moving on…

The Tennessee Waltz is a cigar that was made by Crowned Heads and sells exclusively in the companies home state (some online retailers do have them). If it reminds you of another cigar, it’s for good reason. Made in the My Father’s Cigar factory this cigar is 5 1/2 X 52 with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers.

Right off the bat this cigar smells of barnyard (hay) with notes of cocoa and pepper. It is a very rustic looking stick with a dark brown color with lots of veins and the orange ribbon on the foot. As I light it, first with a match and then touched up with a dual torch, I am met with black pepper and a woodsy cedar (maybe) with some leather and nuts. As I moved towards the second third, the spice leveled off because of the sweet cocoa that appeared.

Into the second third and it moves into a cocoa and nuttiness.There is still some spice but its a nice combination. It isn’t super complex but the blend is very nice. The draw, ash, and smoke production are still great.

As I move into the final third, the spice makes a comeback but the woodsy, leather, earthy notes even it out nicely to finish out this cigar. It remains a solid medium bodied smoke for me. I have read reviews that stated it became tart or bitter into the last third. I did not experience that with this one.

Overall the Tennessee Waltz was a solid medium bodied, flavorful cigar with great construction, even burn, perfect draw, not super complex but consistent throughout the entire smoke. I enjoyed this cigar a lot and would recommend it to anyone. For me, it is a box worthy cigar and I will certainly smoke it again. Total time was right at 1 hour 40 minutes.

After Nashville we took the 2 hour drive to Louisville and stopped in at Four Roses Bourbon distillery for a tour and tasting and then over to Woodford Reserve for another tasting (we got there too late to tour). The next morning I realized that our hotel was literally a couple blocks from Angel’s Envy bourbon so we had to stop in. They recently re-opened their distillery and we didn’t have reservations for the tour but still scored a nice bottle and shirt. Overall I would say it was a busy, but very nice getaway. It helps that I came home with new cigars and 3 bottles of really nice bourbon.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my review. Please drop your comments and reviews here. Take a few minutes and click on the links below.

Up next, the Oscar goes to….. Check back and find out.

Peace!

Please visit: http://www.crownedheads.com/cigars/

http://smokersabbey.squarespace.com/

http://www.primingscigar.com/

 

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Black Label Trading Company and Black Works Studio Cigars

Where do I start with this one? My love for boutique cigars started with the Crowned Heads brand and I started doing some research. I came across the BLTC website and clicked on it. Something about the imagery, the feel, the vibe, the grunge intrigued me about this brand. As I read more about their cigars the more I knew I had to try them. So I made some calls and checked all the stores listed online and only 1 small place told me they had them. Time to load the wife into the car and bribe her with a night out for dinner and some casino fun, with a small pit stop along the way. We arrived at the Wooden Match (awesome old train station converted into a humidor and restaurant) and I bought what they had in stock. I threw caution to the wind and hoped that I actually liked the cigars but if not, well I guess some friends were getting some cigars gifted to them. Lucky for me these cigars were everything I hoped they would be and then some. With names like Salvation, Redemption, Benediction, Last Rites, and Lawless…how could I go wrong? The hardest part was figuring out which one to smoke first. Lawless it was and with that, my love for Black Label was born. These cigars were unlike anything I had tried before and that was a good thing! I started looking online for reviews and seeing what other people thought about them and to my surprise, there wasn’t a lot of info available. How could that be I thought? Such a great product from a great brand (in my eyes anyway) and then it made sense. Boutique brand that is pushing the envelope, not doing very commercial packaging and kinda had that “Outlaw” feel to what is accepted. This made me like them even more.

As I tried the rest of the cigars I had gotten, I did some research on the people behind the brand, James and Angela Brown and Stephanie Harris. I won’t give much away in this post because I am hoping to feature them as this blog grows and I want to do a feature piece on them, but I was amazed at where they came from, how they got started and the passion and courage they had breaking into the industry. When we talk about brands and cigars, seldom do we stop to think about the people behind them and their stories. This is something I am hoping to change because to me, the people are the true story and the cigars are their way of telling the world about themselves. Artistry and expression in the form of a cigar. It wasn’t very long ago that one of my favorite cigar shops held a Black Label, Black Works event and I was able to meet James and enjoy a couple of cigars with him and talk about all of this. You could not ask to meet a nicer, more down to earth guy.

So…Black Works Studio. Yeah about that. Founded by James, Angela and crew and out of their Fabrica Oveja Negra factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, come some of the best boutique cigars to hit the market. As if BLTC weren’t enough already, the BLK WKS come out swinging and they don’t miss! For those that know James or follow on social media, you have seen the references to the Wu-Tang Clan and you will also notice the reference with the Killer Bee cigars, and so forth. I can appreciate that as I was and still am a big fan of when hip hop was great and totally unlike most of the non-sense that is currently being sold as “good music”. This year I have picked up the Green Hornets, Killer Bees, Bishops Blend (contender for Cigar of the Year in my opinion), Rorschach, and I am picking up my Santa Muerte cigars tomorrow and I cannot wait to try them. I have not reviewed these cigars as of yet but I can say this with all honesty…Try them all! Bishops Blend is a standout for me. Even before the hype and the ratings from Halfwheel (Great rating and well deserved 94) and others, this cigar was way at the top of my list of must have cigars. Everything that is produced in this factory is outstanding. Nomad is produced there also and if you haven’t tried the Martial Law, well, you need to have that in your life. By the third draw of the first third I was looking for a box of these.

My goal is to be able to take a trip down to Esteli within the next year and visit the factory and hang out with James and the crew for a few days. That would be an amazing experience and for those that agree, you can reach out to James and Angela and she will forward you the itinerary and the pricing. I would love to get a group of us together and make the trip so if you are interested, hit me up.

Although I want to do a more in-depth post about these 2 amazing brands, I wanted to do something now and showcase some of the great products they have on the market. I know that Cigars on State, Cigar Federation and some others have them in stock. I also know that they both ship and have great deals available. I hope that you will take the time to enjoy some of their cigars and that you would drop some comments or reviews here and let others know what you think.

I can tell you that without a doubt both of these brands are a staple in my humidor and anything they put out is a great choice for a “go to” cigar. Now that it’s getting colder out and being outside isn’t always ideal, the Rorschach is the perfect choice for an outstanding smoke when you don’t have much time. For a cigar of this quality to come in under $5 it’s a no-brainer for me.

As always, please share and leave your thoughts, comments and questions here. Until next time, long ashes. Peace.

Killer Bees, Bishops Blend and Last Rites.

Trying new brands and some tips for beginners.

So the past 2 weeks have been super busy and crazy for me but I have had the opportunity to try some new brands and that is always a good thing. I placed an order with the fine folks at http://cigarfederation.com for some amazing boutique cigars recently and I will review them at a later date, but I have to say that all of them (so far) have not disappointed. I have heard great things about them and it’s good to know that it wasn’t just hype.

First up was the 1502 Emerald Box Pressed Torpedo 6.5 x 52, then the Ezra Zion Tantrum PA 6.5 x 44, followed by the Illusione f9 6.25 x 44, and lastly the Surrogates Crystal Baller Corona Gorda 6.5 x 46.

Yesterday I stopped by http://cigarsonstate.com/wp/ to pick up some cigars I ordered back at the Black Label Trading Company event with James Brown. Killer Bees, Green Hornets and 1502 Blue Sapphire and Black Gold. I have a nice collection of some really great smokes and of course the weather is now freezing and talk of snow flurries in the am so my ability to get out and try them will be limited.

I try to stick to a ritual as much as possible when I am trying new cigars or reviewing one. Being in a group of people, mixing their smoke with yours, can skew your flavor and experience with the stick so I try to do it when I am on my deck and can really take my time and enjoy the experience. I am far from a master reviewer but I am trying to expand on that and develop my palate some. For me cigars fall into a limited number of categories. 1) Box worthy (Exactly what it means. It’s good enough for me to buy an entire box) 2) Definitely will smoke again (Worthy of a 5 or 10 pack and something I want in my collection) 3) Eh…(It was ok but I wouldn’t spend money on it again) Almost every cigar I have tried recently fall into the first 2 categories with very few falling into the last. That is the difference between boutiques and large, big brand cigars. I can honestly say that I had more cigars that were just “Okay” and fell into that 3rd category based on my taste and liking. I am one of the few people on the planet that really didn’t fall head over heels with the OPUS X. Many people swear by them and they have a cult like following but I got one for my birthday this year and I didn’t really enjoy it. Call me crazy but it is what it is.

So for those of you that are new to cigars, I recommend starting a journal or cigar log. Write down the brand and the cigar name and write down what you think about it. You don’t have to know every exact thing you are tasting or even how to describe it, just if you like it or not and why you do or don’t. Simple characteristics of things you notice in the cigar can help. Take that list with you next time you go to your local shop or research similar cigars online prior to going and try to buy cigars with those traits. I went crazy and tried so many cigars from one end of the spectrum to the other and I really did myself a disservice (and spent a ton of unnecessary cash) on cigars I really didn’t like. When you are trying a cigar for the first time, I recommend staying with something mild and then moving into the mild – medium range. Take your time smoking it and don’t puff too often or you will get sick. Keep some water and or Coke/Soda, Sweet Tea etc nearby to help regulate your blood sugar if you start to feel lightheaded or nauseous. Jumping right in to a full bodied cigar can really be a turn off and ruin the experience for you.

Didn’t mean to drift off to Cigars 101 but I know a few readers are new to cigars so I thought that might be helpful. Now that I have been smoking for awhile, I can tolerate almost any strength cigar but being a smaller guy, I can’t smoke cigar after cigar like I see many guys doing. It also screws up my taste buds and sinuses. One thing I have noticed also is now that I started smoking a pipe, I find the tobacco very mild compared to what I am use to with cigars. Maybe it is the blends I am smoking but they seem very light in comparison.

When I first started out with cigars, you could not find 2 of the same brand cigars in my humidor because I wanted to try everything. I would see something online or a catalog and I wanted to try it. I didn’t know enough to research what it was, strength, etc. Now that I am more informed, I find myself sticking to a few trusted big name brands and a lot of boutique brands. I did some humidor maintenance today and I noticed that I have certainly limited my selection as of late. I have a lot of great cigars but it took awhile to get here. Hopefully this will help some of you save some cash and frustration from trying a lot of cigars you really don’t like. Invest in what you enjoy and build from there. There are SO MANY cigars out there to choose from and even now it is overwhelming for me so keep a log, ask questions, research and don’t be afraid to spend a few extra bucks on a good boutique cigar. I can tell you that you will be less likely to be disappointed with that purchase than dropping 4 or 5 bucks on a big brand stick. No one said this hobby was cheap, but if you truly love it, the time and money invested in that stick will be very much worth it.

As always, feel free to drop some comments. Tell us what brands you are smoking and what you like about them. Until next time, long ashes and stay smokey friends. Peace

News and info

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Leaf by Oscar Coroja and smoked ribs

Hope everyone had a great weekend full of great smokes and good times. I just wanted to drop in and let you know that I am working on some good stuff behind the scenes and talking with some great people that are going to be featured here very soon. Getting a lot of support and encouragement along the way but I need your help. Please spread the word and share us on social media. I can’t do this without followers and I want to make this a place that people want to come and spend a little time reading and engaging.

I scored some great smokes this weekend and I am looking forward to trying them and reviewing them here very soon. I am also looking for some reviewers and bloggers that may want to join in and help with reviews, articles, etc.

I am going to start a boutique spotlight feature starting very soon dedicated to the companies, people behind the companies and the products they make. This is something I am very much looking forward to doing because never in a million years did I ever think I would have people I look up to in the industry reach out and offer to help with this project. If you are a fan of any certain brand/s, drop me a comment about who they are and we can try to arrange a piece on them. Also, let them know about us so if they want to be featured, we can set them up. I have a list of great companies already and I am just waiting on the getting the info so I can start.

I also want to feature local cigar and pipe shops. If you have a favorite, drop me a comment. Tell us what makes them special to you. This helps us get a feel for where we are being seen and puts others in touch with awesome shops to support if they travel to your area. I am spoiled because I have a few major players in our area, but we also have some great local spots with some really awesome people. As an Ambassador for Cigar Rights of America (check them out at www.cigarrights.org and become a member) I am getting to travel to a few shops in and around my area and it’s always cool to experience new places and meet new people. Brothers and Sisters of the Leaf are some of the best people you will ever meet. I have always been amazed at how friendly, open, and downright generous people in this community are. We want to support those places!

New logo in the works. Looking to do a simple Vintage type logo that we can use here and on social media so people can start to recognize us as we build a brand. Maybe we can look at merch later down the road. We shall see how it goes.

So anyway, please check back often, spread the word and drop some comments. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I may do a dedicated page for the blog as we start to grow. Thanks for the support and stay smokey friends! Peace

 

So what are some Boutique Brands? What is your Favorite Boutique and why?

 

So tonight I want to open it up to anyone that reads and/or follows the blog. What is your favorite boutique and what makes it special? Loaded question isn’t it? With so many fantastic boutique cigars on the market today how can you possibly choose A favorite cigar? I can honestly say that I could not narrow it down to one certain cigar. Every time I try a new brand or new cigar by brands I already know, its like they just keep getting better. Then I go back to cigars I haven’t had in awhile and its like trying it again for the first time and it is better than I remembered it. How many of you can say that about the last big box brand you had? Granted I have had some good big name cigars that were impressive to a point, but to go through the entire line up and say without a doubt that each one was as consistent as the first or better, I would have a hard time. I can think of probably 2 major brands that I can honestly say, I have never had a cigar from them that I didn’t like.

So some of the boutique brands that I want to feature here tonight are brands that I have either personally tried, or they have come Highly recommended by friends and people I interact with on a regular basis. Some I will be ordering very soon since I have found a website that carries a very good boutique selection and are super awesome to deal with. That would be the great folks at www.cigarfederation.com (Free plug because they rock). I encourage you to visit their site and throw all of your money at them because they don’t sell anything but the best. Their Color Project stuff I hear is off the charts good. I am hoping to get some of them soon! They also carry every one of the brands I am going to mention. (I have no affiliation with them, not sponsored or employed by them, just showing love to those that deserve it)

Ok, brands. These are also companies that I hope will allow us to feature them on a weekly spotlight we are looking to start very soon. I have 2 companies lined up now, just working out the details.

1502 Cigars. Have not tried them yet, highly recommended to me by several people I know and trust.

Balmoral Cigars. Personal top 5 cigars for me. 18 year aged given to me by my wife on our anniversary and after the first third I called my friends at www.cigarsonstate.com (Clark Summit Pa free plug cause they rock too) where she found them and ordered a box without hesitation. You won’t regret dropping the cash on this stick.

BLK WKS Black Works Studio. Created by James and Angela Brown of Black Label Trading Company. They are dropping so many fantastic sticks, I am considering a second mortgage on my house. Killer Bees, Green Hornets, NBK, Bishops Blend, Boondock Saints, Sindustry, Rorschach, phew what did I miss? Everyone I have tried has been head bangers. The vibe and feel of the brand, James is one of the coolest, down to earth people you will meet and they are making INCREDIBLE cigars.

Black Label Trading Company – The one that started it all for me and my love for boutique cigars. Lawless, Redemption, Deliverance, Benediction, Morphine, Last Rites and more. Fantastic brand. Love their vibe, love the feel to the brand, and love their cigars even more. Lifetime fan for sure. Some of my favorite go to cigars on a regular basis.

Caldwell Cigars – Caldwell has released some great cigars that I have enjoyed a lot. Blind Mans Bluff, Eastern Standard, The King is Dead, are all really good cigars. He just did a collaboration with Jon Drew called All Out Kings. I have not tried it yet but I hear good things about it.

Crowned Heads – Jon Huber and crew make some of the best cigars on the planet in my opinion. Based in Nashville, the music vibe and theme for their cigars, along with the blends they are doing are just incredible. My first cigar from them was the Mason Dixon and I have been hooked every since. Headley Grange, Jericho Hill, JD Howard, Four Kicks, La Imperiosa, Las Mareas, are some of the many great cigars they make.

Crux – Hearing a lot about this brand as of late. I have only had one of their cigars and I really enjoyed it. I am hoping to try more of what they have out. #GoCruxYourself

Ezra Zion – I have not tried these however, I found them in stock online and they are mine! Do not try to order them I am calling dibs now and I licked everyone of them! Back off! I have been searching for them at a few local spots and they are always gone. I am guessing there is a reason for that. They come highly recommended.

Illusione – What a mysterious brand. Visit their website and see for yourself. Very intriguing company. I have heard some great things about their cigars. Looking forward to trying them very soon.

Nat Sherman – New York New York. I just killed that Sinatra impression…turn your speakers up and you will hear for yourself! I have had a few of these and they are terrific cigars. I actually have 2 or 3 in the humidor that I have been eyeing for the last few days. Maybe this weekend my friends. Start spreading the news… Yep, I did that.

Nomad – Fred Rewey is not your typical cigar maker. Says it right on his website. And boy am I happy about that fact! This guy is KILLING it. When I met James Brown last month he recommended the Martial Law which just so happened to be in stock, so I took it home. The next day I cut the cap and took a cold draw, what the what???? I couldn’t light it fast enough. The initial draw hit my taste buds and back of my throat like a dose of cayenne pepper from my home state of Louisiana, and then blended so perfectly and smooth. Next up was the C-276. Another fantastic stick that I really, really enjoyed. I found more Nomad online and plan to try many more from them soon.

Room 101 – Started by Matt Booth I have tried a few 101 cigars. Payback, Johnny Tobacconaut, Daruma Gold and the San Andres. All of which I enjoyed very much. The big Payback was a bit on the larger ring gauge spectrum for me but it was a great smoke. Matt also makes some incredible jewelry. Think West Coast meets Far East tradition. I recently won a nice Xikar Room 101 cutter that I use on a regular now. Thanks Matt, Xikar and Famous Smoke Shop for that!

Surrogates – I heard about them through my brother in law recently and started doing some research. So far I am seeing nothing but great reviews and looking forward to picking some up to review and try.

Tatuaje – What can you say? This company is so highly regarded in the boutique world and for damn good reason. Pete Johnson has created some of the best cigars at the My Father Cigar Factory in Nicaragua. I had a 10th Anniversary on a cruise recently that I enjoyed, Tatuaje Black, Fausto, Havana VI, and Tattoo are all wonderful sticks.

So there you have it. These are just a FEW of the many, many great boutique brands that you will find out there. Like I said, I started with these because I am either very familiar with them, smoke them regularly, or they have been very highly recommended. I am talking with a few other brands now that I am hoping to feature very soon. I hope you got some info from this. Please feel free to comment, share and drop us your favorite brands. ALL are welcome here and we would love to do a feature piece on each and every one of them in the future. Please send them to the page and have them contact us at the top of the page. Until next time, smoke em if you got em. Peace!

 

 

 

 

What is a Boutique Brand or Cigar?

This is a question that gets debated frequently in the cigar world and one that isn’t exactly very cut and dry to answer. There are some variations of the term that get used a lot and in my opinion misused in order to describe a “small batch” put out by larger cigar manufactures that we are told are “boutique blends”.

Right now the cigar industry is going through a new and exciting phase with the explosion of new, innovative, creative, masterful, artful, passionate people that are developing and creating some of the best cigars the world has ever seen. Sadly, many of them go undiscovered because these cigars don’t get the publicity of the big brands because the companies simply choose to invest their promotional and advertising dollars into high end, premium tobacco or more experienced torcedors that ensure the highest quality and craftsmanship. This new phase of cigar manufacturing and influx of great new products is being driven by Boutique brands.

So the term boutique, as I understand it in the industry (again much debate goes into this) defines a company that produces less than 1.5 million cigars per year. I have heard that number at 1 million to 1.5 million. The other thing that gets considered is the cultivation of the small batches of tobacco and the high attention to detail that the cigars are made into. So those 2 things alone can describe boutiques and small batch cigars. Confused yet?

Boutique cigars, to me, are a premium handmade cigar, but unlike regular premium cigars, are made in small batches with much greater detail. The tobacco is special and hand selected, grown in smaller batches and used to create a very complex, distinct flavor. They are typically harder to find, and not available in every cigar shop making them a sought after commodity for those of us that love them. The flavor and aroma of these cigars are not to be found in a regular premium cigar. For me, it’s more than just a cigar. It’s knowing the passion and artistry that was put into each cigar, the vibe of the brand, the artwork on the band, knowing how hard they can be to get your hands on, seeing the quality of the construction, knowing that you are not one of the sheepeople mindlessly smoking whatever they have been told is the “next great cigar” only to feel ripped off or trying to convince yourself that you actually liked the taste of shoe leather and ashtray. It’s about the experience and knowing that you have something that is special and most of the world will never experience it. The true hidden gems of the cigar industry.

Many times when I am in a cigar shop and pick up a boutique cigar and people ask me about it, I hear “never heard of it, how much is it?” I know right then that they are not usually someone that I can convince to try it so I don’t bother trying. Other times I get “Never heard of it, how is it?” Those are the ones that have a chance. Sometimes they opt for a more familiar choice, but they are thinking about trying it later on. Sometimes I just feel like being generous and I will just buy them one and watch them as they experience it for the first time. It’s almost magical to see their expressions as their senses come alive and they give you the “Damn, this is a good cigar”. Welcome to the world of true boutique cigars my friend. You are welcome. I certainly remember my first one and I no regular premium cigar had topped it yet. Not to say that there aren’t many great premiums out there because there are, and on occasion I do smoke them. Shhh.

Jonathan Drew posed the question in Cigar Advisor awhile back “At what point does a ‘Boutique Cigar Company’ lose it’s roots and become a ‘Corporate Cigar Company?’ The answer is the same as the question, ‘When does a person become old?’ The answer is defined by the person’s heart, their attitude and, in this case, in the market’s perception, quite honestly.”

I thought that was a brilliant take on the topic. Obviously, JD has become one of the largest cigar manufactures in the world, but the culture and cult like following of their many brands is something you find at a much smaller level with many current boutique brands. You can’t walk into a cigar shop today without finding something that Drew Estate produces or has a distribution deal with. One of my all time favorite cigars is the Balmoral Anejo XO and they have been around forever but are under the distribution of Drew Estate.

As these smaller companies continue to grow and word spreads, a few may strike some big distribution deals and get into heavy rotation with the big box stores. If that happens, it will be interesting to see how many of them keep their same high quality standards. I think for the most part many of them will do just fine. I also think some of them aren’t out there looking for that big deal and just love doing what they do.

How many of you have been to a cigar event that featured a big name cigar maker? They are always nice, willing to take a photo with you, sign an autograph on the box you purchased and all of that fun stuff. Nothing wrong with it at all. Been there, done that. It had that big brand feel to the entire experience. How many of you have had the chance to attend an event with the owner of a boutique brand? Night and day experience. The most down to earth, humble, nice, generous people you could ever hope to meet. It’s not just about the sales for the night, it’s about meeting the people that support their brands and enjoy their creations. They willingly give up their time to have real conversations about things outside of cigars. These are the people that I respect and admire in the business. They are creating such high quality works of art, in my opinion, with such passion and dedication that most of the successful guys seem to have lost. Don’t get me wrong, many of the most successful cigar makers are still very passionate and creative, but the feel is different. It’s almost like Ford Motor Company and Bugatti. Both make products they are passionate about, just at much different levels of quality and quantity.

Which leads me to my last point. Cost of a boutique vs. a regular premium cigar. Why such a big difference? Is there a big difference? Is a micro-brew more expensive than a Miller Lite? Why is that? They are both beer right? A boutique is just a premium cigar right? Wrong. The quality of the tobacco is much higher, the construction of each hand rolled cigar is on a different level, the blends are better, the flavor and aroma are unmatched. They also have higher shipping cost and to fewer stores. So if a boutique comes in at $9.50 per cigar vs. Big Brand Box Store with all of it’s marketing, mass production and lower shipping cost is on the shelf next to it at $7.95 how much cheaper is it vs. what you are actually paying for? Certainly the quality is going to be inferior to the boutique, the flavor won’t come close, the construction won’t be as good and at the end of the day you were left with a subpar smoke that passed the time, but did you honestly walk away from it going “That was a fantastic cigar and I enjoyed the hell out of this”? I know the answer because as someone that smoked many big brand cigars over the past few years I have had exactly 1 cigar that made me purchase more than a 5 pack. (Balmoral) On the flip side of that, I own more boutique cigars than anything else. Why, because they are effing incredible cigars, that’s why. If I had more money, no wife, a large humidor, and a house I could smoke in, I would be on TLC as the cigar hoarder and they would be trying to do an intervention on my a$$. Just kidding babe (I am already in trouble because I said I was doing stuff on boutiques and she got excited thinking it was clothing…my response was not to her approval) anyway…moving on.

Not sure if this cleared anything up but I would love to hear some feedback and suggestions. Please spread the word about us. I have some pretty exciting news coming up in the next day or so. Working out some details for some special guest, finalizing the format for the Boutique Spotlight section of the blog, getting some great support from many in the industry and on social media so stay tuned. Let’s make this thing blow up!

Thanks for stopping by. Light em if you got em. Peace!

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Welcome to CigarHawkBlog

Hey! Thanks for stopping by! Let me start this by saying I am in no way, shape or form a professional writer, blogger or social media mogul. I am just a guy that got into cigars a couple of years back and it has become a passion of mine. I most recently got introduced to pipe smoking and although I enjoy it, cigars are, and will remain my passion. Not to take anything away from the pipe folks, but for me, cigars is where its at. We can debate that all later on.

So why a blog? With so much available on social media (follow me on Twitter, Insta, and FB, shameless plug right there) I wanted something more. I wanted a place where people who enjoy premium cigars and pipes can visit, learn about new products, current events, trends in the industry, updates to the FDA bull$@it that we are fighting, share reviews of products and most importantly to me, support smaller boutique brands and companies that are making some of the highest quality products on the markets but don’t have the marketing budgets that the big brands have.

I stumbled upon Black Label Trading Company through a web search about a year and a half ago and I went on a mission to find them in my local area. After many disappointing phone calls and stops at local shops, I was able to track down 1 shop that had them in stock. I took the 45 minute ride out and bought everyone they had. Why? What was it about this product that I have never tried or heard anyone talk about before that made me rush out and drop $100 + on their product? Honestly, the truth is simply their website and imagery. They looked and felt so much different from the traditional cigar companies we have all seen on every website, magazine and article. They had this dark, edgy, kind of a hip-hop/rock star/grunge, in your face type of vibe that made me want to stand out from the crowd of traditional cigar smokers. Although that image is rapidly changing, more  younger people are into cigars and it’s become more socially acceptable, for me, the image of sophisticated, wealthy groups of old guys stood out to me. I personally do not fit into those stereotypes and BLTC spoke to me.1467911127284

So I purchased a bunch of cigars I had only seen online before and got them home. Now what? What if I light them up and realize I just dumped a lot of cash into a garbage, gimmick cigar and I am stuck trying to pawn them off on people? Lucky for me that wasn’t an issue. From the moment I cut the cap and took my first cold draw on the Lawless cigar I picked, I knew this was something special. I lit that cigar and from that moment on, I was a fan of BLTC for life. The rest of the line-up was just as good and consistent as the first cigar I tried from them. As time has gone by, I have had the privilege of sitting down and enjoying a cigar with the man that started BLTC, James Brown, and he was by far one of the most down to earth, humble, generous people on the planet. I have met some of the Big Brand guys and although they are nice, you never get that comfortable feeling with them that they are just regular people making cigars. They always have that Big Brand feel about them. And rightfully so, as most of them have been in the industry their whole life and have built upon their families reputation and turned them into mega-brands. I will never say that the big name companies don’t make some great cigars, however, I will say that more times than not, when they release a new cigar, they dump tons of cash into marketing and advertising, branding and hype, and I finally get my hands on this new “game changing” cigar only to be left feeling like I paid for a Top Shelf Bourbon and was given Mad Dog 20/20. Not to say the effects of drinking too much of both aren’t the same, but…at the end of the day, I expected much more.

So my love affair with Boutique cigars started by accident and I was sold on a brand. Next step, find more boutique brands and see how they stacked up to the big boys. Next up for me was Crowned Heads Cigars from Nashville. Nashville? Cigars? That’s like salsa from New York City right? I figured what the hell? What’s $8.50 for a cigar I never heard of right? Ultimately unless you have been smoking cigars for 20 years, almost every trip to the local humidor is a crapshoot anyway. I picked out a Mason Dixon by Crowned Heads and gave it a shot. Again, right out of the gate I knew I had discovered another gem. Since then I have tried almost every cigar they have made with the exception of a few that I cannot find. My wife and I are heading to Nashville in a month so my plan is to stop by and visit their office and see if Jon has any unicorns he will part with. On top of making great cigars, Jon Huber is a big fitted hat guy and they make some awesome head gear. I continue to try anything and everything Crowned Heads makes and every time I think I have found my favorite, they put out a new stick and it blows my theory of “go to” cigar all to hell and I am left going online to figure out what box to order. I could think of worse choices right?

Since then I have been on a mission to try out new brands and blends as I can find them. Blk Wks (Black Works Studio) is also from James Brown of BLTC and right now they are dropping so many amazing cigars I am thinking about taking a part time job to make extra money to buy them…As I always tell my wife, I should have been born rich instead of so good looking. Yeah, she laughs at me also. FML.

Nomad by Fred Rewey is making cigars that are just incredible. Haven’t found one yet that I haven’t added to the instant favorite cigar list. 1502 Cigars, Emilio Cigars, and Ezra Zion Cigar Company are some that I have not yet had the opportunity to try, I am hearing great things about and look forward to experiencing.

Leaf by Oscar is another cigar that I am currently a huge fan of. My first impression of the tobacco leaf wrapped packaging was 100% gimmick cigar. WRONG! Wow what a smoke. I have had 3 of the 4 blends and all have been excellent.

So switching gears here a bit, I hope that you will come back and visit as I start to do this on a more regular basis as work and life allow me to. I will be reaching out to some boutique reps, owners, reviewers, and bloggers and trying to get some outside help to build this page and spread the word about everything cigar and pipe related. My goal is to make this thing a trusted resource for legit info and reviews about smaller brands and help them grow their business. I am not doing this for money or anything like that. I am doing this because I believe in the people behind these amazing products and I feel that the cigar world is missing out on some great products that in reality may cease to exist in the very near future because of the recent FDA rulings. I think it is an unfair, absolute travesty and the main reason I am an Ambassador for Cigar Rights of America. I invite and encourage all of you to at the very least, visit the website www.cigarrights.org and sign the petition, and if you like what we are about and want to help us fight, become a member. Please put my name Scott Hawkes in the referral box if you do. I would greatly appreciate that and CRA would appreciate your contribution and membership.

Again, thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings. I hope that you will stop by and check us out as we get this started. I hope to have a lot more content for you in the very near future. Hopefully some decent reviews, maybe some guest blogs or some Q&A with some of the reps, or owners if they feel so inclined. Feel free to drop some comments, you can email me at cigarhawk16@gmail.com anytime. Until next time, light em if you got em.

Peace.