I recognize that one of my duties to you, the loyal maggots, is to pay attention to news and politics so that you don’t have to. Thus, when I know how such things will ultimately affect your life, I am obligated to bring that information to you, rather than allow you to wake up one day and go “hey, how the hell did this happen?”
There’s at least a 50/50 chance that Barack Obama will be elected president this fall and there is a 100% chance that the Democrats will continue to control congress. At the very best (from a cigar smoker’s point of view) the Democrats will have a solid majority and a President McCain who may or may not protect smokers’ rights. I wouldn’t bet on it.
This brings us to S-CHIP, the Socialistic precursor to universal healthcare that stupidly provides health insurance for people who neither need it nor deserve it, sold to the American public as a way to keep kids healthy and safe. It’s bogus as hell, but that’s practically irrelevant at this point, especially if the Democrats gain full control. The party’s on-going desire to act as the behavior police for all Americans has led them to the brilliant decision to try to pass a law that will increase the cigar tax in America by 6000% to pay for the S-Chip program. This means that, once passed, a multitude of cigar stores (small businesses, thank you) will be forced out of business and most hard working, blue collar guys who just want to enjoy an occasional stogey will no longer be able to. To read about this absurd proposed law, here are some links from recent stories on it. As you’ll see, we’re safe for now, but come this fall, cigar lovers will be doomed.
So, what do you do? Well, I would suggest getting the biggest humidor you can find. Whether it be a large Tupperware or a cabinet humidor like mine which is automatically regulated to maintain the perfect temperature and humidity, find somewhere safe to store a large arsenal of cigars right now. This particular cabinet I won is only about $1500.
The next step is to stock it to the rim, right now, as I have done recently. Starting with my top shelf, you’ll see that all of my compartments are loaded to the brim with 6000% tax-increase-free cigars. Remember, cigars age beautifully so as long as you can safely store them, there is no reason not to stock up now.
Personally, I would recommend buying as many Oliva Series S and Padron 1926 cigars as you can find. The Padrons are hard to find and are already pricey at about $500 per box, but that’s nothing compared to what will happen to them.
The bottom half of my humidor stores a brand new box of Hoyo De Monterrey Maduros as well as a cornucopia of different brands and styles. Plenty of on line merchants allow you to buy single cigars so choose a bunch and by 3 at a time and go nuts…now is the time to stock up…you’ve been warned!
As the world of cigar smoking continues to expand and mature, vintage cigars and stronger maduro cigars have become very in vogue of late. Cigars, like wine, can be aged, and when done so properly in the right conditions, the cigars do take on more mature attributes. Sometimes this effect soothes an otherwise rough cigar, other times the aging process allows a cigar’s flavors to properly blend over time and produce a much better smoke.
For my money, the best way to smoke vintage cigars is buy great cigars today and put them in your humidor for a few years. I have found most of the hype around vintage smokes to be just that; hype. I tried recently to check in on the vintage cigar world and also grabbed one of the newer Romeo Y Julieta Maduro cigars; as well as a newer Ashton that is getting mentioned for its uniqueness.
ROCKY PATEL VINTAGE 1992 (5.5×50)
On the heels of a fairly pleasant experience with the new and surprisingly good Rocky Patel Olde World reserve, I decided to try the much heralded Vintage 1992 Rocky Patel. Similar to the old world reserve, this cigar lacks any spiciness at all, but still carries a good amount of fullness to it. I found the 1992 to be exceptionally smooth with an excellent draw and burn and lots of dark wood flavors that were very pleasant. The cigar was not as strong as the olde worlds reserve and the flavors not as vibrant however I was surprised at how pleasant it was as a whole. This cigar however does not live up to its hype as a full smoke. Overall, I would describe this cigar as an excellent mild cigar and a great starter to the day. Since I enjoy bigger, fuller, spicier cigars I would not buy this cigar again, but I would get one for any friend who enjoys mild smokes.
ROMEO Y JULIETA MADURO RESERVE (5×44)
I have always thought the Romeo Y Julieta line was incredibly overrated by the cigar world, both for their Cuban and Dominican brands. Even still, I have been intrigued by their foray into the Maduro world since I prefer darker, stronger cigars that commonly come with maduro wrappers.
I purchased a smaller than usual cigar, not expecting to like an R&J smoke enough to invest more than 30 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised by this cigar, however.
The burn is consistent and even, producing a nice long ash. The flavor is very balanced, delivering nice strong wood, oak and dark tobacco flavors. About two-thirds of the way through this cigar, the flavors switched a surprisingly pleasant warmed cinnamon. The strength was medium to full bodied and overall this was a great cigar for people who like a lot of flavor with a little spice.
ASHTON HERITAGE PURO SOL CORONA GORDA (5.75X46)
This is a much heralded newer cigar from the Ashton line, sold on promise that it delivers unique flavors based on the uniqueness of its wrapper and influence of the Fuente family who partnered in the making of this particular cigar. The Puro Sol name derives from the wrapper, made from 100% sun grown tobaccos. Although I do not usually like a cigar thinner than a 50” band, I enjoyed this smoke immensely and believe it may be the perfect compromise cigar between people who enjoy milder flavors and people like me who would rather get a stronger, spicier flavor.At first this cigar delivers a rather wet, lame flavor but within a few puffs strong, oaky vibrant notes of robust flavors come through, even if only for a short time (less than a third of the cigar I would estimate).
At the end, the flavors are burnt cardamom and brown sugar which is a nice finish to a fairly mild cigar with a decent amount of strength. Anyone who enjoys cigars is never going to turn down an Ashton, and at approximately $9 per smoke, this is worth the effort to at least taste.
Drop me an e-mail if you have any questions about these cigars!
ROCKY PATEL OLDE WORLD RESERVE (maduro wrapper, 6.5×52)
I have never felt that most Rocky Patel cigars live up to the hype, but this cigar is a pleasant surprise. This is a full flavored, big cigar. It lacks the spiciness that I prefer, but it does possess great aroma and dark flavors of oak, cedar, some subtle burnt chocolate and light hints of leather. The strength is medium to strong to a seasoned a cigar smoker. For my tastes, this cigar is mild, but too most people this will be a strong, full flavored cigar. Either way, it smokes like a meal. I would buy it again, but only as a starter cigar.
TRINIDAD MADURO ROBUSTO (5×50)
This cigar received a 92 from Cigar Aficionado and has gotten rave reviews as a big, bold, dark cigar. These reviews are crap. This cigar is not only not good, it’s rather, um, crappy. I smoked half of it and discarded it because the only flavors this cigar produces are hot smoke and wet leather. I wouldn’t smoke this cigar again for free.
I’ve been working on getting my humidor supply lowered the last few months to make room for some new selections so my exposure has been limited recently. I did however stumble upon a couple gems recently.
They are both excellent, and very different from one another.
We begin with the Davidoff Diademas, these perfecto’s were designed to commemorate Zino Davidoff’s 100th birthday, and are 6.75 inches long with a ring gauge of 52. As far as I know, they are only sold by boxes of 10 or singles and they are a little pricey at $22.
This is easily the best non-maduro wrapped cigar I have ever tasted that hasn’t been made in Cuba. The flavors are not overbearing, but rather are full and luscious and, quite honestly, just wonderful. The wrap is flawless, the draw perfect, the burn even. There is a nice sweet/wood overtone to this cigar that I find very pleasant.
Look at how cute this cigar is. I bought these on a whim after reading a good review and thinking that if they were any good at all, these would be good to have around for those occasions when you want a cigar but don’t have an hour to spare and savor.
This is A Camacho Coyolar Perfecto. It has a ring Gauge of 50 and a length of barely 4.5 inches, which means you can easily smoke it without rushing in less than 30 minutes. The flavors are, once you get into it, earthy and full but the real eye raising moment about this cigar is when you first put it in your mouth and light it…it burns! The overwhelming cayenne spice that consumes the cigar for the first 1/4th is worth the whole thing.
Camacho makes other, longer cigars which boast equal strength in flavor, but I haven’t bothered trying them yet since I have found a perfect 30 minute smoke that gives me all the flavor I could ever want in these little puppies.