CAO

Friday Cigar Ramblings – Jan. 15, 2010

It’s the end of another week. Tonight’s “take a cigar for a walk” cigar was the Perdomo Fresco Torpedo. This is a budget priced bundle cigar, I had purchased a single a few weeks back out of curiosity for around $3.00,  bundles can be found for under $50. This was a pretty cigar with a Connecticut shade wrapper and measured a hefty 6½” x 54. It was mild to medium with a nice creamy flavor and an even burn. I really had no complaints about this cigar and will pick up a couple more sometime. The band is enormous and shiny! Good for 2 miles!

In today’s cigar news Swedish Match (Macanudo, Partagas, La Gloria Cubana, etc.) and Scandanavian Tobacco Group (CAO, Toraño) announced plans for a merger. You can read Frank Seltzer’s article about it on Cigar Weekly. My good friend and tobacconist Jason told me a couple years ago that the industry was consolidating, a prediction that is coming true.

As I’m typing I’m sitting in on the Dogwatch Cigar Radio‘s live Stickam chat. This was the first time I’ve done this and it’s interesting to listen in on the recording of the podcast. The folks in the chat are quite friendly. Stickam seems to be a little unstable though as it keeps losing the connection.  In the end, they went on to record the podcast without Stickam.  They had just returned from a trip to Estili, Nicaragua with a group of listeners.

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A few weeks ago I posted about going to Holt’s flagship store in Philadelphia. I’ve put together a modest prize pack from that trip (and I’ll probably throw another cigar or two in before I send it out) which is the prize in this months contest. The rules are simple: Post a comment to this blog post, about a cigar, constructive criticism, whatever. The winner will be selected in the usual manner: The entries will be spread out on the floor in front of me and I will gaze at them intently, the first one that one of the cats sits on will be the winner. I will e-mail the winner for their mailing address.  The contest will run until Friday January 22.

Until the next cigar,

CigarCraig

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Cigar-ventures – Jan 10, 2010

Last night I did something I don’t make a habit of doing, I smoked a cigar in the house.  I don’t do this too often because, as I am writing this, I can still smell the lingering aroma of the CAO CX2 that I enjoyed while watching the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning.  After enjoying the Don Lino Africa the night before, I wanted more of that Cameroon flavor.  Interestingly, the CX2 is no longer listed on the CAO website, but a little research turned up that this is now a Famous Smoke Shop exclusive.  I had thought that I got this particular cigar in July 2008 at the IPCPR show, but I’m thinking I must have had it longer than that.  This sports a Cameroon wrapper and binder and was a really nice cigar.  I managed to get almost two hours out of this robusto.  As much as I enjoy the smell of cigars, and as nice as it is to sit back and relax in your living room with a good game and a cigar, I am not a big fan of “the day after” aroma. This practice will be reserved for special occasions.

Sunday my wife suggested we go to the mall so she could do some shopping and I could hang out at the cigar shop and have a cigar.  The King of Prussia Mall is one of the largest malls on the east coast.  International Tobacco is conveniently located in the mall, however it has an outside entrance and access to the mall is through a corridor.  All malls should have such an arrangement.  The shop has a decent selection of mostly traditional brands and they are priced reasonably well considering the mall location. There was a game on the TVs and the bar had coffee and soda available.  I bought a Casa Magna Belicoso to smoke there while my wife shopped.  I chose this one because it had been Cigar Aficionado‘s top rated cigar of 2008 and I was curious to see what the hype was all about.  It looks like someone forgot to update the website for this brand, and there isn’t a lot of information out there.  These are supposed to be sold in shops only, so I guess it’s not surprising that there isn’t a lot of info on the web.  I  took a seat at the bar and lit my cigar.  The Casa Magna was a good cigar, and the $6 price tag is not bad for a good cigar. I guess I was expecting it to be a really great cigar, but  I just didn’t think it was as good as Cigar Aficionado made it out to be.   Still, if you need to go to the mall, King of Prussia mall has an oasis in the middle of shopping mayhem where a guy can park his butt for and hour or so and have a cigar!   

Please remember to go to the Austin Chronicle and place your votes for the 25 Smokin’ Figurados, and leave a comment on the last blog post for a chance to win their CD (and a couple cigars to go with it!).  Also, I’ve changed the appearance of this page, please let me know what you think.

Until the next cigar,

CigarCraig

Running Low on Cigars…

As I was packing cigars to take to Reno, I decided to do some housekeeping in the humidor and consolidate some boxes.  Imagine my dismay when I realized that I was dangerously close to dropping below 100 cigars in the house!  I will admit that for an occasional cigar smoker like myself (fewer than one a day, and often just a couple a week) having 500 or 600 cigars in the house is maybe a bit excessive, but 100?  Let’s think about this…potentially that’s only 4 boxes, in the days when there were 25 in a box  —  Tangent:  A box of cigars should contain 25 cigars!  The current trend of 20 cigars in a box is ridiculous…think about it. If you have a box of 25 and you smoke 5, you still have 20 left…the box of 20 cigars after smoking 5 you only have 15!  I’d much rather have 20 than 15, wouldn’t you? —

Where was I…Oh yeah…so I’ve gone through the humidor and I have very few of the kind of cigars you can just grab to smoke without thinking, without worrying about where it came from and whether you have to review it.  I’ve found that I have a good many nice cigars, some CAO singles from the IPCPR show in Vegas last year, a handful of Opus X, Ashton VSG, other high end Fuentes and a pretty good handful of Havanas.  So I mentioned this dilemma to my wife, and do you think she was sympathetic?  No!  She wanted to know how long it would take me to smoke what I had on hand…I tried to explain that there were just some cigars that if I smoked I would probably never have in my possession again, either they just weren’t available, or were more than I general spend on cigars myself.  Realistically,  I suppose I do have a years worth of cigars on hand, BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT!

Lately I’ve been making a mental list of cigars that I would like to stock my humidor with in the near future, you know, the kind of stuff you can just grab one on the way out the door, but something that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to share with a friend.  First on my list is one of my  “goto” cigars:  Maria Mancini…I like the Corona Classico, Palma Delgado, DeGaulle, and the Magic Mountain.  I’m down to a precious few of these and I’ve been stocking some in my humidors for 10 years or so.  Next on the list is La Vieja Habano from Drew Estate.  These are mixed filler and come in various sizes and wrappers.  I’ve only had the corojo wrappers, but have enjoyed them.   A bundle cigar I’d buy are the National Brand from Camacho.  Once you get past the sweetened cap, these are as well constructed and flavorful as just about any premium cigar.  I’m partial to the maduro robustos, but the natural corona is nice as well.  I think I’d get a box of Santa Damiana No. 300 to have a nice mild but flavorful cigar on hand and Don Tomas Classicos are also on the list.  Neither are in the same value category as the previous three brands, but not ridiculously priced either.  I’d probably round out the assortment with a couple bundles of Jose Piedras in a couple sizes, just because it’s really nice to be able to grab a $2 Cuban cigar that tastes great.  Mind you, the humidor restocking project is still in the dream stage until well after the holidays.  I realize to some the pictures here seem to indicate that I have plenty of cigars, but don’t be fooled!  Lake Meade may still have a lot of water in it even though it’s 10 feet down, but there are fish flopping around on the beach man!  It’s just not acceptable to be under 200….or 300…sheesh…

Until the next time,

Craig

(note:  in some circles this sort of story would costitute a mooch…not the case!  Just going for some laughs! My wife laughed at me…)