Archive for September, 2009

CRA Logo

This may be news to some, and old information to most but we are fighting yet another battle against Washington but this time, they have totally crossed that line. In a nutshell – We have all seen the cigar wraps at gas stations also known as ‘blunts’. Now most people acknowledge this form of cigar wrap as being used with smoking marijuana and I don’t think that any cigar smokers really have an issue with these being outlawed. The issue arises because the way this bill is being worded – any single cigar sale would be outlawed. Umm, sorry guys, but no. I have included the article posted on www.cigarrights.org – All credit on the report goes to them, I am just spreading the word.

“There is more trouble in Washington , DC , but this time it’s a few blocks from Capitol Hill. It’s in the Washington , DC City Council chambers.

An initial group of five (possibly eight) city council members, including Marion Barry, Tommy Wells, Michael Brown, Yvette Alexander and Harry Thomas, have introduced an amendment to the Drug Paraphernalia Act of 1982, known as the Single Sale of Cigar Products Prohibition Act of 2009. The very reading of cigars in a drug paraphernalia ordinance is deeply disturbing, and the reason such a trend needs to stop now.

The intent of the proposed ordinance is to prevent the use of cigars as a means to marijuana use. The draft ordinance defines cigar as an individual cigar, cigar leaf wrapper, flavored or non flavored cigar that is referred to as a blunt, blunt wrap, or any other tobacco product that may be used in the ingesting, inhaling or introduction of marijuana to the human body.

In this draft, there is no mention of price, size, hand-made, machine-made, or other defining characteristics of cigars. While media reports have said its intent is to ban sales at convenience stores and gas stations, there is no mention of them in the bill either.

Local premium tobacconists such as W. Curtis Draper and Georgetown Tobacco view the language as too vague, with John Anderson of W. Curtis Draper stating, It’s scary because it’s open ended. David Berkebile of Georgetown Tobacco intends to join in the opposition.

The measure is not without precedent. Just over the border in Maryland , Prince George ‘s County Council, where ordinances were advanced to require sales of cigars in packs of five, helped usher in a trend with such public policy. That legislation did exempt stores that specialize in cigar sales.”

Help in the fight against issues such as this, join CRA today – Click on the banner on your right – What are you waiting for?!

Earlier this year, Mayor Sheila Dixon of Baltimore , Maryland stated, cheap cigars are becoming popular and these products are addictive and deadly. The effort in Maryland was praised by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, stating Individual cigars are more affordable to price sensitive kids.

We would like to dramatize how such nebulous policies can lead to unwarranted and unjust actions.

Recently, a customer of Havana Connections, a Richmond , Virginia based premium tobacconist, purchased a $10 cigar, left the shop, and proceeded to drive home. He was enjoying the cigar in the privacy of his car, when he saw the blue lights flashing in the rear view mirror.

When the cigar enthusiast asked what the problem was, the officer said he saw smoke, and wanted to know if he was using marijuana. Obviously, the answer was no, but the officer said well, I have probable cause. Give me the cigar. I need to test it.

After some protest, he took it; set the cigar down, and the officer proceeded to cut this premium hand made cigar in half, dousing it with a solution to test for the presence of marijuana. Guess what? There was none. The cigar enthusiast proceeded to say, you owe me $10 for that cigar. The officer said, no, but you can take it up with our office. He did, and they gave him $40 for his trouble. True story. Two weeks old. Amazing.

In government, especially at the local and state level, one of the foremost contributing reasons to bad public policy is the setting of precedent and others saying we should do that too. That’s how an outdoor smoking ban makes its way from San Francisco to Boston . That has been the case on matters of indoor and outdoor smoking bans, private property (housing) smoking bans, regulation of advertising and marketing, and the setting of tax policy.

Hopefully on September 29, a committee of Washington DC City Council will set aside this proposed ordinance. More so, however, there needs to be a halt to the very introduction of these measures across the country.”

— Text taken in full from CRA (Cigar Rights Of America)

Cohiba Robusto

If your going to start something off, start it right! I must say, I am a little bias with this stick, as it is my all time favorite. This Cohiba Robusto was made 08/08 and has been resting in a humidor since. Cohiba – A name that almost everyone knows, has respect for and to most, a go to cigar. For me this is a cigar that I set aside for special occasions only, not only due to the high cost but also due to the issue of acquiring such a prize. The first Cuban Cohiba I was able to enjoy was on a vacation trip of mine, but I had to pay the insane Habanos price – almost 25.00 for a single Robusto! I got ripped off, but it was still worth it, and has become my favorite since. Perhaps one of the most complex, smooth and finely crafted cigars I have ever encountered, if you have not had the pleasure of being able to smoke one, I say don’t wait any longer – Get one!!

Cohiba Robusto

Construction: This is a very well hand made cigar, I’d have to suggest the top 10, perhaps top 5 even. Their was a medium amount of veins that gave this stick that classic cuban hand rolled effect, but the wrapper was still smooth and oily to the touch and had no imperfections. The cigar itself was firm from head to foot, but did not feel brittle.

Cohiba Robusto

Smell: Once I was able to allow myself the chance to take in this beautiful aroma, I was hit with a wild cross of smells that reminded me of a barn at the farm, but only the good smells if that makes sense. Cedar, Straw, Honey – It was very sweet and mellow. The foot had a more bitter sent, deeper cedar or perhaps coco is noticed, but still a ‘sweet smell’ that made me almost drool. As said before, this cigar is so complex even the smells seem to change – haha!

Cohiba Robusto

To start off this cigar, especially since it was a Cohiba and a rare cigar to myself, I used cedar spills from my local tobacco shop to make it that much more interesting. The cigar was a little hard to light, I had to use 3 spills, although it could also be from inexperience. Once it was lit, never had one problem with burn or blisters.

Cohiba Robusto

1st third: From the first puff, sweet wood notes and leather filled my mouth. Those were the most prominent flavors but a sweet almost Carmel or Honey flavor would linger as well and was slightly noticeable on my lips. The draw was perfect, providing for lots of thick, full smoke with a medium amount of resistance. I noticed that a few coffee notes would peak and hide, exchanging flavors with roasted nuts – a slight pepper sensation as well on the retrohale – it was actually smooth and enjoyable. Towards the end of the 1st third, I noticed that an overall ‘earthy’ taste would coat my pallet as the body increased from a medium to an upper medium. The ash held on for roughly an inch and fell off (causality below)

Cohiba Robusto

2nd third: The 2nd third started off with lots of leather and wood, a good bitter and sweet combination. One big thing I noticed here was that the finish started to increase, roughly 30 second of ‘true flavor’, as well I could taste it when I licked my lips. The burn did decide to go kinda wild at this time, but it corrected itself within a few minutes. I noticed the wood flavor increase as well as the body picking up to a high medium. Coffee notes still come and go, exchanging places with pepper – makes for a very odd but enjoyable exchange. Ending the 2nd third, sweet cedar takes front seat.

Cohiba Robusto

Last third: The body has defiantly picked up and is now in the upper medium to lower full. The smoke just coats my mouth at this time but surprisingly does not dry out my mouth. Rugged leather, dark woods and roasted coffee jump out at you with every puff. Towards the end, the sweet notes from the beginning start to surge through, never overpowering the coffe and earth but rather adding a nice highlight to the darker setting.

Cohiba Robusto

Overall: One of the most complex cigars I have been privileged enough to enjoy. Still, very expensive per stick (Paid 28us in Mexico) but soo worth it. More for a very special occasion rather than a daily smoke and when had in such a way, by far my favorite at this time

Finally was able to pick up my CRA Sampler – I will try to review as many of them as possible (the ones I don’t smoke first haha!) and will especially review all of the Sampler Only sticks. More to come, till then, just pictures. Refer to my previous post here for all the info.

CRA Sampler

CRA Sampler

CRA Sampler

CRA Sampler

Like other reviews I have done “after everyone” (Cain Habano for example) I don’t smoke them right when I get them, I like to let them rest around 2 weeks minimum so they get some life back in them. That being said, I will have reviews up on these exclusive cigars asap, until then check out www.cigarrights.org and order yourself a pack!

Cain

Size: 6 x 54

Wrapper: Habano

Filler: Nicarauga (Jalapa, Esteli, Condega)

Binder: Nicarauga

Body: Full

Cain

This cigar comes to us via Sam Leccia from Nub Cigars, and happens to also be his new child in the cigar world. Sam sure has been a busy person, releasing new profiles for his Nub line as well as creating this new beauty in Maduro and Habano. He sent me, as well as a few other review sites, a stick of this to review. This powerhouse comes in with a triple Ligero, or top leaves of the tobacco plant. These leaves get the most sunlight and they are known for being very aromatic as well as containing a lot of oils that the tobacco plant produces and usually does not create the best burning or even smoking cigar. These things combined are known to make a very strong smoke and are commonly used as long filler to create the base flavor of the cigar rather than becoming the wrapper. The reason for this is that the Ligero, being filled with more oils and seeing more light causes it to be stronger, and burn slower than the Seco or Volado portion of the plant, not to mention the two years plus required to mature the leaf.

Although we may expect this tail kicking, Sam – as always – has to keep us on our toes. Using a triple fermentation process (similar to the Cuban Cohiba brand) the cigar responds to us with a very smooth, mild spice. Sam did use more than just Ligero also, about 82% of the stick is Ligero, but with the triple fermentation – the smoothness can not be matched.

Cain Habano

This is one of those cigars that you can just feel seeping into your system while smoking it, but never becomes overpowering. I frequently keep cigars in my mouth while I smoke them, and I can honestly say my mouth had a slight tingle to it by the 3/4 mark. The flavors of Coffee, Wood just take over the foreground while a nice leather and semi-sweet notes would always remain, just changing in their strengths and weaknesses. I attempted to retrohale this bad boy, and well, I’m just not that good yet, haha! Burned like hell.

I have smoked three of these to date and as of this time, have yet to encounter any type of draw or construction issues with the exception of one which cracked near the head, but it only had about a half inch left of life anyway so I can not complain. All in all, at 6-8 bucks a pop, if your into full body cigars or if your wanting to expand from a medium body rut, give the Cain a try, I guarantee you’ll be talking about it after!

CRA sample

So, as I’m sure that I am just like all you other CRA memebers, its about time! This sampler is brought to us from an organization call Cigar Rights of America, or CRA for short. This organization really does a great job at helping us ‘sinners’ enjoy one of our last pleasures, cigars. Their main goal is to help assist the Tobacco Industry by lobbying and helping to reduce the taxes imposed upon the Tobacco Industry and to combat restrictive smoking bans.

One of the things that this organization has recently accomplished was when they went to the IPCPR (International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers) convention held in New Orleans which started August 8th, 2009. While at this convention, they were able to gather quite a few new members, and those were the real power players, the tobacconists themselves. These retailers are the ones who truly feel the effects of the laws and regulations. We, as consumers, may see a few cents to a dollar extra per stick or perhaps 20.00 per box but the retailer has to eat that cost, on every.. single.. cigar. The bans have also cause some brick and mortar shops to close, for what used to be a safe haven for us to enjoy in a tobacco shop, now has been deemed a no smoking zone. While at this event, CRA decided to gather a few cigars from varying producers and thus the sampler was born.

This sampler – Costing 60.00 VIA CRA and 30.00 via B&M Local Tobacconist (90.00 total) includes -

ASHTON VSG

Ashton Distributors will offer CRA members a memorable experience using 4-5 year old Dominican tobacco and an Ecuadorian wrapper. Ashton Distributors Vice President Sathya Levin stated, Ashton is pleased to provide this one-time only presentation of the VSG. For the many fans of the VSG, this should be a great experience.

CAO Lx2 Rosado Especiale

This Nicaraguan wrapper, Honduran binder, and fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic make this a signature cigar for CAO , and the members of CRA. Tim Ozgener, President of CAO International noted, The CAO LX2 Rosado Toro is an extremely limited production cigar made exclusively for the CRA at CAO Fabrica de Tabacos in Danli , Honduras . Featuring a Nicaraguan-grown Rosado wrapper, the cigar boasts a bold, muscular structure layered with flavors of bittersweet chocolate, paprika, and woody tobacco notes. The exquisite Rosado wrapper imparts a pleasant floral note upon the flavor profile, which balances superbly with the three different ligero fillers.

Casa Fenerandez

With a 100% Cuban Corojo Seed from specific farms in the Jalapa Valley and Esteli, Tobacalera Tropical President Paul Palmer pointed to the Caf Rosado leaf and tobacco from Aganorsa as attributes of this cigar, which has a medium to full-bodied strength.

Davidoff Avo Classic #2

This carefully crafted blend of five different tobaccos results in a rich and mellow flavor. The Cuban Piloto seed, San Vicente filler and binders, blended with Dominican Olor leaves, offers the CRA Avo a special aroma, in this mild, yet flavorful cigar. Davidoff USA President Peter Banninger noted, We are proud to make this carefully crafted cigar available to the members of CRA. It should prove to be a memorable moment.

Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9

Through a limited production run with tobacco from seven different farms, Drew Estate’s Liga Privada No. 9 is a rich and complex cigar, using a Connecticut Broadleaf #1 darks, Plantation Grown Brazilian Mata Fina and Honduran and Nicaraguan Cuban Seed. Drew Estate President Steve Saka stated, We are very pleased to offer the cigar that was initially meant to be strictly a private stock cigar, to the members of CRA.

General Cigar’s Punch CRA Blend

Punch cigars continue to enjoy critical acclaim and a devoted following among tenured smokers. As an exclusive offering to the CRA, General Cigar developed a unique blend if this celebrated brand. Featuring spicy blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobacco, punctuated by a Nicaraguan binder and enveloped in a brawny Nicaraguan wrapper, Punch CRA cigars are handcrafted in Honduras.

Debo Mukherjee, Vice President of Marketing for General Cigar commented, It is with great pleasure that we have donated 5,000 handcrafted Punch cigars to continue our support of CRA. As a Founding Sponsor, we continue to stand behind the organization and its ongoing effort to protect the rights of premium cigar smokers.

La Flor Dominicana LG CRA Blend

Litto Gomez, recently referred to as one of the most innovative minds in the cigar business today by Cigar Aficionado stated, We were pleased to develop this cigar exclusively for the members of CRA. It should prove to be a great experience knowing that only a select few can enjoy this, and the other cigars in this sampler.

Padron 1964 Anniversary Series

The 1964 Anniversary Series line was introduced in 1994 to commemorate the company’s 30th anniversary. All tobacco used in this limited production series is aged for four years, creating a smooth and complex flavor. In honor of the age-old Cuban tradition of box – pressing cigars, the 1964 Anniversary line was introduced as a box-pressed series. The Padrn 1964 Anniversary Series is consistently ranked by industry experts as one of the top brands in the world.

Rocky Patel CRA Blend

This exclusive ‘CRA Blend’ offers a medium to full bodied ‘masterpiece’ with its Habana wrapper from Ecuador, that is spicy yet elegant with just a hint of sweetness. Rocky Patel stated, We wanted to do something special for the CRA sampler. The mission of CRA is to allow consumers the very ability to enjoy our cigars. They deserve the best from each company, and this sampler tells that story.

Tatuaje – This 6×50 Nicaraguan Puro comes from Tatuaje with Pete Johnson stating, CRA members will remember this sampler, and each cigar within it for time to come. That’s the affect we wanted with this project.

The Following is a blurp from CRA:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 8, 2009
Contact: Brian Berman
Phone: (818) 541-1535
Email: brian.berman@cigarrights.org

CRA Launches A Limited Edition, One-Of-A-Kind Cigar Sampler For Members Only!

Fairfax, VA Cigar Rights of America (CRA) has announced a new program exclusively for its members that will serve as a unique member benefit, while advancing the cause of protecting cigar enthusiasts from intrusive taxation and regulation.

An initial coalition with approximately twenty of the worlds top cigar makers have joined forces to create a limited-edition, one-of-a-kind collection of cigars specially blended or sized for CRA members only! The cigars will be offered in two editions of an exclusive CRA Cigar Sampler* each containing 10 cigars. These cigars are not available anywhere else and you must be a CRA member to get them.

CRA Executive Director Glynn Loope stated, The Founding Sponsors of CRA wanted to offer something special to the membership. The participating companies have developed unique blends or sizes, available only in this sampler. With the proceeds of the sale of these cigars going to address the issues confronting cigar enthusiasts, this is a win-win for the member and all involved.

The first edition CRA Cigar Sampler of 10 cigars will be pre-packaged in an all-inclusive humidor bag that includes Humidipaks patented 2-way humidity control and will include exclusive cigars from Ashton, CAO, Casa Fernandez, Davidoff, Drew Estate, General Cigar (Punch), La Flor Dominicana, Padron, Rocky Patel and Tatuaje.

News about the CRA Cigar Sampler has already created high demand. Therefore, CRA will have a strict one sampler per member limit!

To learn more about the exclusive cigars in the first-edition CRA Cigar Sampler, or to purchase your Sampler, please visit http://www.cigarrights.org/cigar_sampler.htm.

About Cigar Rights of America
Cigar Rights of America (CRA) was founded on the principle of fighting for the freedom to enjoy premium cigars. A consumer-based, non-profit public advocacy organization that works with local, state and federal governments to protect the freedoms of cigar enthusiasts, CRA works with its constituency of members including manufacturers, retailers and cigar enthusiasts to focus on opposing restrictive smoking bans and increased taxation of cigars.

Cohiba Cuban Cigars

One of the main reasons Cuban Cohibas are so popular is they are known to use some of the finest cigar tobacco available in Cuba, which for years was known as the best tobacco in the world. The tobacco for Cohiba is selected from the finest Vegas in da San Luis and San Juan y Martinez zones of the Vuelta Abajo region of Pinar del Rio Province. The tobacco used in Cohiba cigars undergoes a unique third fermentation process in barrels, to give it a smoother flavor than other cigars. Originally all Cohibas were made at the El Laguito factory, a converted mansion located on the outskirts of Havana.

Cohiba began with the cigars smoked by a bodyguard of Fidel Castro’s named Bienvenido “Chicho” Perez. Castro noticed he often smoked a “very aromatic, very nice” cigar. When asked by Castro what brand he smoked, he replied that it was rolled by a friend of his who would give him some of these cigars as gifts.

The man in question was a cigar roller working at the La Corona factory in Havana named Eduardo Rivera. Castro approached Rivera about rolling cigars for him personally and set him up with five other rollers in a former diplomatic mansion in a suburb of Havana known as El Laguito (Spanish for “the little lake”). Historically, security at the factory was tightly regulated, with only designated officials and workers allowed entry into the factory.

Castro decided to release his personal cigars as a premium cigar brand for public consumption when the 1982 World Cup was held in Spain. When first launched the Cohiba name consisted of three vitolas or sizes: the Panetela, the Corona Especial, and the Lancero. Castro himself is said to be particularly fond of the long, thin cigars rolled for him, especially the sizes that would become the Lancero and Corona Especial.

In 1989 three more vitolas, the Robusto, the Exquisito, and the Esplendido, were added; the six are referred to as the Linea Clasica (classic line).

Cuban Cohiba

In 1992 Habanos SA launched the first sizes in what it calls the Linea 1492, commemorating Christopher Columbus and his voyage to the Americas, with each size named for a century since Columbus’ discovery. The initial launch included the Siglo I, Siglo II, Siglo III, Siglo IV, and Siglo V, with a Siglo VI added in 2002.

Besides regular production, Habanos SA regularly releases limited release Cohiba cigars for such events as the annual Habanos Festival, brand anniversaries, and their annual Edicion Limitada (limited edition) release of special sizes of their various cigar brands wrapped in a darker vintage leaf. In 2007, Habanos released a new line of maduro-wrapped Cohibas, called “Maduro 5,” in three sizes.

Cohiba Maduro 5

Cohba also produces two machine-made cigarillos: the Mini and the Club.

Habanos SA have used their Cohiba brand name for non-cigar products, manufacturing Cohiba cigarettes since 1987 and Extra Cohiba Cognac since 1999.

As of late 2006 Cohiba had released three different Edicion Limitada Cohibas: the Piramide released in 2001 and re-released in 2006, the Double Corona in 2003, and the Sublime in 2004.

~RUMORS~

The cigars were reserved for Castro and other high-ranking Cuban officials, and were often presented to foreign dignitaries as gifts. Additionally, with rumors and fears of a CIA assassination attempt running rampant, it made sense for Castro to smoke only cigars that were manufactured under extremely secure and secretive conditions. (The CIA had allegedly contemplated using exploding cigars as a means of assassinating Castro).

A long-standing rumor is that the original Lnea 1492 was a replacement for the Davidoff marque that recently ceased production in Cuba (each of the first five “Siglos” corresponded to a size in the Davidoff line-up).

Cohiba Cuban Cigars

Legal –
With the nationalization of the Cuban tobacco industry along with all other businesses after the Cuban Revolution, many cigar makers fled the island and began growing tobacco with smuggled Cuban seed in the Dominican Republic and Honduras, taking the brand names of their cigars with them. Other Cuban businesses, big and small, also moved abroad.

Because of the precarious legal and trademark situations created by Cuba’s communist government and a US embargo against all Cuban goods, there are many brand names that are used by both Cuban and non-Cuban cigars (and rums), though the non-Cuban varieties of such cigars as Hoyo de Monterrey or Montecristo cannot usually be sold under those names in foreign markets where Cuba is considered to own the trademark. To circumvent this, most non-Cuban cigar manufacturers simply sell their cigars under different names for the foreign market while retaining the old pre-Revolution name in the US market. But there has been heated debate between Habanos SA and other cigar manufacturers about using the brand names of Cuban cigars created after the Revolution in the US market, Cohiba being one of those brand names.

In the 1990s, US-based cigar manufacturer General Cigar Company, Inc. began mass-marketing a Dominican-made cigar under the “Cohiba” name for the US market.

General Cigar first registered the name Cohiba in the United States in 1978 and claims to have sold cigars under the Cohiba name in the US in limited quantities through the 1980s until its current incarnation with the so-called “Red Dot” Cohiba, named for the red dot in the middle of the “O” in “Cohiba” on its bands and boxes, in 1997. Cubatabaco, the government-run company in charge of cigars, half-owner of Habanos SA, along with Altadis SA, promptly began a campaign to have General Cigar’s trademark revoked and numerous legal battles ensued that were partly resolved on 19 June 2006, when the U. S. Supreme Court denied Cubatabaco’s petition. As a result, the February 2005 decision of the U. S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals (Docket #04-2527), which confirmed General Cigar Companys exclusive ownership of the Cohiba trademark in the United States, is final and is law of the case. The General Cigar-made Cohiba cigars now have a disclaimer on boxes that they are not affiliated in any way with the Cuban brand.

However, the United States government, in an amicus curiae brief filed in the Supreme Court, acknowledged that Cubatabaco could request U.S. government permission for judicial protection of the brand from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which administers the U.S. blockade. Cubatabaco has stated that they intend to pursue this course of action

Information gathered from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cohiba_%28cigar_brand%29 , http://www.cigarinspector.com/stellar-stogies/stellar-stogies-cohiba, google images, and random browsing

Switch to our mobile site