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Posts Tagged ‘Dominican Republic’

Quick Review: CAO America Robusto Box Press

01 Oct

CAO America Robusto Box Press

CAO America Robusto Box Press

Cigar Name: CAO America Robusto Box Press (5 1/2 x 55)

Cigar Description: Connecticut Shade and Broadleaf Maduro around filler from Dominican, Nicaragua, Italy and USA

Cigar Strength: Full

Review of the Cigar itself: As I continue through the Four on the 4th of July set, I decided to give the Box Press a go this time. The construction of the cigar was good, although there was a weird “fold over” near the cap. It didn’t take away from the cigar but just seemed to be less attention to detail. The pinstripe wasn’t as noticeable as found on the Potomac. The lighter Connecticut Shade was actually a bit dark.

The cigar had a very mild sweet smell, more milder than I expected. It was kind of surprising given that it’s a full cigar. The actual smell was reminiscent of a sweet woody smell, almost like a cedar. I punched it and lit the foot. The white-blue smoke that wafted up had a nice black pepper scent to it while the initial taste was a light leather with hints of cedar and damp earth tones.

As I got into the 1st third the cedar tastes continued throughout the cigar with hints of the earth, less damp at times. This combo proved to continue through the rest of the cigar until near the end where the tastes became more pronounced. While it was nice to finish with the cedar and leather, it seemed more milder than I expected. Hopefully, the others prove otherwise.

Enjoyed with: water

Smoke time: approximately 110 minutes

Final Review Rating: 8/10

 

Cigar Review: A visit on the Potomac

18 Sep

Taking the time to enjoy a Potomac

Taking the time to enjoy a Potomac

Cigar Name: CAO America Potomac (5 x 56)

Cigar Description: Connecticut Shade and Broadleaf Maduro around filler from Dominican, Nicaragua, Italy and USA

Cigar Strength: Full

Review of the Cigar itself: Since moving to the USA, I’ve become more and more fascinated by America and the people that make up this vast and varied land. What has struck me the most is generally how friendly Americans are. The more I’m here, the more I want to stay. Since I’m enjoying it so much, I figured I’d continue along the 4 part series I did with the Los Blancos and do a four-parter on the Fourth of July Sampler. Yes, I know. Not quite the holiday yet. But I’ve always believed that one shouldn’t wait for a holiday to celebrate something. Barberpoling or pin-striping on cigars has always fascinated me. It’s basically a double-wrapped cigar with two different coloured wrappers (usually a maduro along with a lighter dairy chocolate coloured wrapper). For the Potomac, it appears that it was attempted to be a pin-stripe but some of the “stripes” are thicker than others. Sizing inconsistency aside, when looking closely at the cigar you’d be hard pressed to discern that the lighter stripe was a separate wrapper. I thought at first that it was a strip but even closer inspection shows otherwise.

Additionally, the cigar is thick and solid, feeling very packed. The initial smell and taste is that of spring hay. It makes me think of the many farms that initially made up the heartland of the US. The initial light took a bit to get going. I suspect this is a result of the packed, dense feeling that the cigar gives. The draw is tight and even a poke down the middle with a toothpick relieved only a little bit. So, I tried again, only going deeper with the toothpick. That worked and the cigar performed better. I did begin to notice one thing: my jaw was hurting. The size of the cigar, 56, is definitely a mouthful. The initial tastes came out as a nice, gentle creamy leather. The ghostly white smoke gave off the scent of roasted peanuts (and made me hungry for a PB&J for some reason).

A balancing act

A balancing act

The construction is definitely good. Although at one point I thought it was going to tugboat/tunnel, it self-corrected pretty quickly and efficiently. The solid ash is a motley of white with patches of black, dark grey and light grey. The more I got into the first third, the more it loosened up and the easier the draw became. At one point, the ash got so long I was concerned about it dropping it mid-draw, so I kept the little single ashtray under it and, as luck would have it, it fell on it’s own in the ashtray as a solid inch and a half mass. As it continued into the middle of the cigar the flavour got more pronounced. Occasional earthy tones and strong zings of pepper started to come through.

I, of course, got mildly distracted and forgot to watch the ash. I tumbled on my vSphere book and I had to clean it up. Thankfully it wasn’t too serious a tumble. The last third showed a more meatier taste to it and a generous but not overpowering pepper flavour. The leather had tapered off somewhat while a nice smokey cedar taste started to come through. Although it felt mild at the start, it was finishing with a nice somewhat sweet taste towards the end. I ended up using a toothpick for the nub to keep going right to the last little bit.

Enjoyed with: water

Smoke time: approximately 110 minutes

Final Review Rating: 8.8/10

Tidbit: The Potomac River was designated as an American Heritage River in 1997.

Fun Bit: I couldn’t help but look for good ol’ School House Rock Videos. I remember these as a kid as one of the ways I learned about the US (also learned some US history in Canada — something about some war in 1812 that Canada won ;) )

 

Quick Review: Amazing what you forget about in the humidor

17 Aug

El Rey Del Mundo Larga Oscuro -- in white

El Rey Del Mundo Larga Oscuro -- in white

Cigar Name: El Rey Del Mundo Larga Oscuro (6 x 54)

Cigar Description: Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers surrounded by dark oily Oscuro wrapper.

Cigar Strength: Medium-Full

Review of the Cigar itself: I had planned on doing a review of the Felipe Gregorio Power cigar that I had gotten with my CI cigar of the month order but before I realized it was all gone. So today I figured I’d a review of the El Rey del Mundo that has been sitting in my humidor for quite a while. It’s unusual because of the paper that it’s wrapped in. The plus is that the band doesn’t get stuck on the cigar but it does make it hard to see the cigar this way. It’s a decent sized with a bit of heft to it. While overall well constructed it did have a couple of prominent veins on it. That had me somewhat cause for concern.

As I lit the dark chocolate cigar, I immediately got a deep espresso flavour from it. This was good since I was having a late coffee while doing some work. This very smokey cigar — a lot of greyish smoke — also had a nice mix of white and black pepper in it. The ash was nearly white and burned so straight I could have used it as a level. At least at the initial. It then started to tugboat a bit thanks to a particularly prominent vein but I was able to adjust for that. While the flavour can be full at times, it doesn’t seem to pack — at least during the first third — a punch.

El Rey Del Mundo Larga Oscuro -- naked!

El Rey Del Mundo Larga Oscuro -- naked!

As I continued in the cigar, a nice slightly sweet cocoa taste came through. Although it still did burn as perfectly as it had started it still remained pretty consistent. At one point, the ash dropped unexpectedly. Thankfully, it was on clear portion on my desk. It was easy enough to clean up but made me be more aware of that the ash was more fragile than I realized. The taste didn’t really change much into the middle third but by the end I noticed a nice creamy leather taste starting to make it’s appearance. As it whittled down to the nub, the creaminess continued along with definite cocoa flavouring.

A good cigar to say the least and best paired with an espresso or a mocha coffee, with neither of those having a sweet flavour to them.

Enjoyed with: water and coffee

Smoke time: approximately 80 minutes

Final Review Rating: 8/10

Tidbit: Originally created around 1850s, this was once the most expensive cigar brand in the world.

 

Cigar Review: Nothing is taboo on a Saturday afternoon.

15 Aug

Cigar Name: Taboo Limited Reserve Havana Torpedo (7 x 52)

Cigar Description: Nicaraguan  wrapper around Dominican filler

Cigar Strength: Full

Review of the Cigar itself: After schleping to the post office with some goodies for others, including the winners (1st, 2nd and 3rd place), I came home soaked from the heat and humidity. This past week had been a challenging one and definitely was in need of a break from work. After watching a bit of Archie with my girlfriend, I picked up some parcels. One included my new “Cigar of the Month” package from Cigars International. I had been getting regular shipments from Thompson’s but found that there wasn’t too much variety with it. So I figured I’d try CIs for a bit and see if they were better. So I put those aside for now into the humidor and picked out a cigar I had gotten earlier in the year but hadn’t had: my last Taboo.

The Mystery of the Taboo Limited Reserve

The Mystery of the Taboo Limited Reserve

While the construction isn’t as detailed oriented as other manufacturers it still was good. The wrapper was a deep, dark chocolate in colour and had minor veins in it. The cigar has been in the humidor since the beginning of the year. And it showed in the oils sparkling on the wrapper. The tobacco had a sweet mild cocoa/coffee scent to it. I clipped the pointed cap off the end and lit it very easily. A nice spicy scented white smoke wafted from the foot. The near solid white ash was fragile and somewhat gentle. I kept the cigar close to the ashtray to prevent any stray flakes from escaping.

Whenever a taboo is broken, something good happens, something vitalizing. Taboos after all are only hangovers, the product of diseased minds, you might say, of fearsome people who hadn’t the courage to live and who under the guise of morality and religion have imposed these things upon us. — Henry Miller, 1891-1980

As I smoked the cigar I puttered around my home office, updating my Blackberry, sorted through the Humidor and just general organizing. Amazing how when life gets busy this can become out of sorts. The only thing that isn’t are my cigars. I decided to read one of my favourite authors, Jeffery Deaver. I had gotten The Cold Moon recently from PaperbackSwap and my pile of books has been growing. As I started into the murder mystery, that would ultimately be solved by Lincoln Rhymes (I always picture Denzel Washington who played the character in the 1999 movie The Bone Collector) and his female love interest Amelia Sachs (played by Angelina Jolie), I quietly puffed through the first third of the cigar. The spiciness, hinted with toasted almond flavours, added a nuance and ambiance to the afternoon as I turned the pages.

I was into the middle third as I continued into the mind of the killer. Or rather, killers. One was complicated while the other simplistic. The cigar, however, was a nice mix of complexity and simplicity. The spiciness continued while the toasted almonds faded in favour of a more creamier leather taste. I got so much into the start of the book I didn’t see the lengthy ash forming at the end of the cigar. As I looked at it, I noticed the fine lines of different colours and wondered if one could tell the age of the cigar by the lines, much akin to those of a tree. (You can’t; the effect is more likely from taking a draw and cooling the ash down).

As I got to the second crime scene in the book, I looked at the cigar. As it neared the top of the last third, it had begun to tugboat a bit. Sigh. This always annoys me when this happens. I put the book down and gently burned the unburned side to adjust the cigar a bit. Hopefully it was enough to keep the piquant stogie on the straight and narrow for the rest of the investigation. The sharp pepper continued to gain momentum, almost as if to race me to the nub of the cigar. Unfortunately, the cigar still insisted on it’s lopsided dance with it’s own wrapper. The ash had become more uniformed and lost it “rings” as I continued to smoke it and the killer continued to develop.

By the time I had gotten almost a hundred pages into the book, the cigar was down to a milder spicy tasting nub. The ashtray was a flecked sea of greys and whites. A good cigar with a oomph of flavour in the middle, to say the least. The book would need a few more to get through it all. If I only had a few more Taboos..

Enjoyed with: water

Smoke time: approximately 80 minutes

Final Review Rating: 8.2/10

Tidbit: Jeffery Deaver has 26 books to his name. 8 of them are specifically Lincoln Rhyme novels.

 

Cigar Review: Sometimes a Good Cigar is more than a cigar, it’s full blown novel.

09 Aug

woan1

Work of Art Natural & Glen Breton Ice

Cigar Name: Arturo Fuente Hemingway Work of Art Natural (4 7/8 x 56)

Cigar Description: Cameroon wrapper around Dominican filler

Cigar Strength: Medium

Review of the Cigar itself: Back in October, I got to enjoy a Short Story. When I wrote about it someone had suggested that I find out about the Work of Art, either in Natural or Maduro. This became a bit of my white whale search to find some WOAN, even a single one. The other day I lucked out on Famous having them and decided to fork over for a box of them along with a box of Opus X Journey to Chateau De La Fuente Brown Box (it was a $99 special). Like a kid I opened both to see the delicacies inside. I set the Opus X aside for later and eagerly had a WOAN right away. It was heaven. I figured I should enjoy it again and write about what I enjoyed and found. Even now it’s hard to stop from enjoying to write. I poured a glass of Glen Breton Ice over the rocks to enjoy with this.

This has the smoothest flavour I’ve ever had, consistent all the way through. I had no cigar magazine to amuse me this time but enjoyed the antics of the Simpsons while perusing Book in a Month by Victoria Schmidt. I may not be Hemingway but I do enjoy writing about life and the fancy of the mind.  The

USPS brings wonders..

USPS brings wonders..

cigar is well constructed and solid. I did find the head to be a bit tight but cutting it a little farther down (from an 1/8 to a 1/4 of an inch) resolved the tight binding of the filler. This made the draw far easier and made the cigar feel as if it was as light as a feather. The ash quickly became an inch and a quarter long after 30 min. It was amazing how quickly the time passed as I savoured this.

I switched to Law and Order: Criminal Intent (season finale!) as I got midway through the cigar. I’ve always liked the series because of the story they tell. It’s often an interesting puzzle that shows all the things, good and bad, about people. And really, when you think about it a cigar is nothing more than a story on it’s own. It tells about how it’s made, the care that goes into the making of it. As the ash got longer and it felt light. I tapped it off before it

Something worth sharing..

Something worth sharing..

accidentally dropped down. This cigar burns evenly and consistently. I looked at it and pondered what it would be like to be an author in the time of Hemingway. You could savour life and write about what you saw or experienced. Granted it wasn’t always perfect for him and I don’t doubt without pain but still, the world was still a mystery and open for exploration yet to be.

Perhaps today it isn’t as much as the locations as it is who is there to enjoy it with you. While I only got to enjoy it this evening with Bobcat, my manx cat, I will be sharing a good portion of the box with others including my mini-contest winner (to be announced Tuesday morning — I moofed on the date and allowed for entries to continue until Monday at midnight). As for the cigar, I ended up using a toothpick to hold the sliver of a nub to get ever last bit of flavour out of it. Well worth it.

Box is big but oh, what it protects!

Box is big but oh, what it protects!

Enjoyed with: Glen Breton Ice on ice

Smoke time: approximately 80 minutes

Final Review Rating: 10/10

Tidbit: Ernest Hemingway quote: “I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”

Tidbit #2: Linus quote: “I never feel bad after a cigar therefore it must be moral.”

Watching: The Simpsons and Law & Order: Criminal Intent

 

Quick Review: Something to Celebrate With

02 Aug

Davidoff Limited Edition 2009

Davidoff Limited Edition 2009

Cigar Name: Davidoff LTD 2009 Toro Especial Seleccion 702 (6 5/8 x 48)

Cigar Description: Ecuadorian sun-grown wrapper around Dominican Piloto, Olor, and San Vicente fillers

Cigar Strength: Full

Review of the Cigar itself: After a successful week in Alexandria, VA I thought I’d celebrate (after doing work expenses). So I took out the Limited Edition Davidoff I had gotten a couple of weeks ago. Much like many Davidoff’s it is well constructed. It was difficult to see where the cap ended. The wrapper is a nice rich chocolate colour, darker than dairy chocolate but not as dark as dark chocolate (kind of in-between the two). The tobacco scent was a mixture of sweet and nutty sensations. Eagerly lighting this up resulted in peppery scent wafting forth.

As a treat, I decided to enjoy a small glass of Glen Breton Ice that I had recently purchased in Halifax (You can order it online here or go to Nova Scotia and get it there). The sweet peat taste, mixed with a rich wooden flavour, was a nice match with this well-made cigar. Within the first third I got hints of chocolate mixed with a nutty flavour and deep creamy leather. I sat back, enjoying the animation exploits of the Justice League: Paradise Lost (2002) dvd that NetFlix had sent me. A perfect way to enjoy a cloudy, drab Sunday. One of the things I like about Davidoff is how easy it is to enjoy their cigars. In fact, it was so easy what I thought was the end of first third was nearly the end of the 2nd third.

The leather remained a nice hidden flavour that would creep in and out throughout the cigar as I continued towards the nub. As I got closer to the end of the cigar lush cocoa (almost a dutch cocoa) taste came through with an espresso hit. While the cost of this cigar would preclude it from being an every day kind of cigar, the flavour definitely puts it up there as one of those ones to get to impress or celebrate with.

Enjoyed with: Water and a Glen Breton Ice on ice

Smoke time: approximately 70 minutes

Final Review Rating: 9/10

Tidbit: Glen Breton Ice was the first Single Malt to be made in ice wine barrels (giving it a bit of sweetness)

Tidbit #2: Glen Breton Distillery was sued over the use of “Glen” by the Scottish Whiskey Association, who used the claim that “Glen” is only to be used by those from Scotland. SWA lost the lawsuit.

 

Cigar Review: Not all Silver Bullets are small

29 Jul

Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Porta Real

Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Porta Real

Cigar Name: Romeo Y Julieta Reserva Real Porta Real (7 x 36)

Cigar Description: Ecuadorian Connecticut Maduro wrapper  around a Cameroon binder and encapsulating Dominican long fillers

Cigar Strength: Medium

Review of the Cigar itself: I’m in Alexandria, VA this week and to get here I took the Acela Express train to D.C. The Acela is a tube-like train (you can see a video here from Amtrak’s website). It’s a really nice train and a nice alternative to the plane. The amount of time between flying and taking the train is about the same (when you consider the joy of going through airport security and such). The bonus is the ability to stretch out more on the train and walk around. Additionally, far less turbulence. So in honor of the train, I thought I’d give a try to the Porta Real that a friend sent me.

The long slender tube nestled the rich tobacco scent of the pantela cigar. As I drew it out of the tube and since it was such a small gauge it was very easy to light. One of the things that is easy to notice is the even burn. And I mean, even. I almost could use it as a mini-level. The ash is a charcoal-gray and black mosaic that is rather solid even if narrow. The scent is very reminiscent of some Cuban cigars I’ve had when back home in Canada: a gentle spicyness.  It’s nice to be able to enjoy this cigar without having to suffer in the sweltering heat of the outdoors. The Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Alexandria, VA has a wing set off with smoking rooms. Opening the window let in a bit of warm air but it was nice to let some circulation to come through.

While the flavour wasn’t too complex it was still nice. As I went through the long cigar (almost twice the length of some others), I tried to amuse myself by blowing some cigar smoke rings. It was easy to do given the amount of smoke generated by this cigar. The flavour was a plain leather with hints of almonds and a sweet earth taste. In some ways, not being complex was a nice change from more complex cigars and helped to unwind from a long day of traveling. This wouldn’t be necessarily something I’d use all the time but if one wants simple that will let time pass at a slow rate, this is definitely it.

Enjoyed with: Yuengling Lager and a small bottle of water

Smoke time: approximately 90 minutes

Final Review Rating: 8/10

Tidbit: Although Porta Real would potentially translate to regal door, I think one could that this is the doorway to the Regal RyJ and good flavour.

Tidbit #2: Things seem to be thawing between Cuba and the US. Cigars next?

Watching: Family Guy (Victory is mine!)

 

Cigar Review: Harry Potter ain’t got nothing on this Dragon

24 Jul

Fiery Pepper Packed Cigar

Fiery Pepper Packed Cigar

Cigar Name: Black Dragon (4.5 x 52)

Cigar Description: Ecuadorian Connecticut Maduro wrapper  around a Cameroon binder and encapsulating Dominican long fillers

Cigar Strength: Full

Review of the Cigar itself: We went to see new Harry Potter movie last night. Eh. Not bad but not great. In the end, I think I enjoyed many of the previews more than the book (GI Joe is top on the list!) I think, like the book, it was the stepping stone to the Grand Finale (which, I believe, will be a two-part movie release in a year or so). The cigar, however, isn’t a stepping stone. It’s a rather meaty and nice cigar although a little more attention to the detail of the cigar would be good. I noticed on mine that the wrapper near the cap was a bit loose and there was a few pieces of the wrapper missing at the foot (although that could be normal mishandling en route). The wrapper is nearly an ebony wood colour, giving light to the name of the cigar. As I examined the cigar, the sweet earthy scent of the Maduro wrapper came full force. Simply nice and inviting.

As I lit the foot, gentle wisps of blue and white came forth. Although the whitish ash gave a tender feel to it, the cigar itself felt dense and light at the same time. Almost a magical flare to it. As I started I noticed a toasty nut taste at the start and then, what I thought was eggs but then realized it was the spices. Specifically black pepper. As a kid, I’d often coat eggs with a nice sprinkling of salt and pepper. That’s what this reminded me of. Needless to say, this dragon has a bit of bite to it with a sweet leather taste in the background. And this is likely why it’s called a Black Dragon.

The black pepper taste continued as I got into the middle of the cigar. And the smoke changed to a mix of blue and brown. It’s not an overwhelming full cigar but just enough of a kick to make you notice. The same went for the smoke itself. Rather than be enveloped in a dark cloud, it was enough to carry the scent but not linger around in an annoying sense. As I continued through the middle portion, the sweet earthy smell I had noticed at the start began to come through as a flavour. It was nice. And although the appearance construction wasn’t initially the best, it didn’t detected or disturb the actual integrity of the cigars.

I had to relight this cigar a few times but I don’t think it was an issue with the cigar itself as much as it was the humidity today. It wasn’t too big of a deal and it did mean me puffing it a little more often. I did realize that I’ll have to get a few more (Awww.. shucks, darn. More cigars! What’s a guy to do?) to verify this. As I got into the last third, the ash was darker with blotches of black in dispersed in the grayish-white. The black pepper taste was far more stronger here than at the start and was making me hungry again for eggs, sunny-side up. By the time I got to the nub, the pepper became overwhelming and a bit much. Apparently, there was still a little bit of ferocity left in this little dragon.

Enjoyed with: water

Smoke time: approximately 70 minutes

Final Review Rating: 8.8/10

Tidbit: The US Navy has an Iowa-Class Battleship called “Black Dragon“.

Music listened to: Sly and Family Stone

 

Cigar Review: A special cigar for TAA stores only

11 Apr

Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series Robusto

Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series Robusto

Cigar Name: Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series (5 x 50)

Cigar Description: Wrapper and filler Unknown

Cigar Strength: Medium

Review of the Cigar itself: So this past week I was back in Wall Street teaching. So I headed down to the Broad Street Barclay-Rex, my usual stop when down there, and checked out what they had. After getting a few favourites, I came across a new one from Rocky Patel. In fact, this is so new, I cannot find any info on it so this entire review will be kinda a blind review. I know Rocky made it so that usually means pretty good quality. The construction is tight with few veins on the chocolate brown wrapper. It toasted well and easily, giving a kind of white/blue smoke (makes me think Dominican in both wrapper and filler — and thus, in turn, perhaps a mild-medium cigar). As I took the first draw I got a creamy, almost mocha flavour tickling my tongue and taste buds.

The ash was a darker “white” (kind of like greyish-white) and flaked occassionally. There were no telltale signs of Nicaraguan filler (usually they produce a dark, dark grey to almost black ash). There may be Ecuadorian as I noticed a secondary smoke that was a light grey intertwined with the prominent blue/white smoke. As I continued in the first third I definitely got rich mocha/chocolate tastes along with a hint of espresso and spice in the background. The aroma was a nice peppery scent. It was a perfect cigar for a wet kind of day, giving that sense of just enough warmth to make the weather seem pleasant.

The burn is very consistent and doesn’t need touch-ups if attention is given to the cigar. As I started into the middle third, I noticed that the ash was still there from the original start. I gave the cigar a gentle tap and the ash fell off, in a single mass, into my little metal ashtray. As I continued, TheOnlyJoan asked to do an online Skype Herf. So we talked about the cigars we were enjoying and other things in life. It was during the middle that I began to notice a creamy leather taste hinting along with the mocha. And before I knew it, I was into the last third.

It was in the last third that I noticed a bit of a stronger pepper come through and a deeper blue smoke coming from the cigar. I watched the deep blue smoke dance around the light as I talked with Joan. It’s nice to be able to do a mini-herf like this. Most of the people I know from the cigar community that I want to meet are all over the country so it can be hard to meet up. But this is the closest thing to actually doing a Herf I can get for now. The next thing I noticed was that I had less than an inch left on the cigar and it was done. To me, a cigar that tastes good enough that I am not overwhelmed by it and enjoy the people I’m around is a good one. And this one definitely fits. If your Cigar Store is a TAA member, ask them if they have any. Well worth it.

Enjoyed with: water

Smoke time: approximately 70 minutes

Final Review Rating: 9/10

 

La Rosa Cubana Cigars and the Cuban Poll

02 Apr

One of the things about getting older is that while you may feel a lot younger, your body has this awful tendency to not feel so much so. I spent the better part of yesterday visiting various doctors’ offices, getting poked, prodded and queried. Once they were done with me, they sent me on my merry way into the gloomy grey of misty Big Apple. It wasn’t too cold but it wasn’t warm. It was rather damp and miserable to put it honestly. I had originally thought I’d be able to head home first before going into the city for evening plans but the doctors had kept me so long that it wasn’t really a viable option. So I decided to search for a cigar bar or something to find something to amuse me (since I hadn’t brought any with me). I opened up my Blackberry and fired up Google Maps. A quick search and I found La Rosa Cubana Handmade Cigars.

After making a few too many wrong turns, I finally ended up at the corner of 30th and 6th (Avenue of the Americas). Dodging other pedestrians, flying yellow cabs and construction I trudged, with my sweat shirt hood pulled up over my ears. I checked the numbers and then saw the handmade sign that pointed to the 2nd level of the building where La Rosa Cubana is located. I walked up a single flight of dingy narrow stairs to the glass door at the top. Walking in I listened to the spanish discussion going on in the back, none of which I understand (being French Canadian, I haven’t spent a lot of time yet learning spanish). I could see the two men in the back making the cigars as they smoked their own in the small cramped former office space. The place was sparse for decorations and contained a single showcase of cigars already made.

A faint sweet smell of cigar mixed with sweat and laughter filled the place. I eyed the glass display and the various sizes. I decided to get a fiver of Robustos ($14USD, all taxes included and just made!) as those would be just big enough to smoke while I walked to my evening dinner plans (which was still two hours later). The filler is Dominican with a Connecticut wrapper. I tucked the cigars into my backpack, taking one out. When I got outside, I found a small alcolve to cut and light it. It cut easily. I examined the cigar before fighting the rain and wind to toast the foot. I could see the shaping from the traditional Cuban rolling method they use to make the cigar and one vein throughout. Otherwise, it was well made. I eventually won out against the elements and got to enjoy a wonderful 90 min sensation of mocha, almonds and “buttery” tastes (I kept craving buttered toast today as I smoked another one without the elements challenging me). By the end of the cigar, a nice creamy leather taste emerged.

The cigar occasionally tugboated its burn but that was more of a weather thing than the cigar. The aroma from the cigar was a pleasant sweet spicy tingle of the nose. The flavour remained consistent and complex enough to make me ponder flavours but not too complex as to take away the enjoyment of this mild-medium cigar. But I have to admit that this is the kind of store I’ve been looking for where they make the cigars themselves and are unique in who they are. The cigar gets a 8.5/10 from me and the shop, while not fancy by any stretch of the imagination, should be a must visit for anyone going to Manhattan. I’ll definitely be adding them to my regular visits.

As I enjoyed a 2nd one today with the warmth of the sun beating down on the balcony, I could hear Buena Vista Social Club floating over the air. It made me smile to think that summer is just around the corner. It turned a long day into a wonderful day, weather be damned. And since I’m talking about that fleeting feeling of Cuba and the cigars that might come from there, March’s poll just closed. And it seems overwhelming that the Embargo should be lifted. 87% of you said, toss it! Perhaps they should consider that as part of an overall economic recovery package.

For April, now that the weather is getting better many of us will be able to enjoy more cigars with friends and families and such. So the question is, besides the people in life, what do you enjoy your cigar the most with?

 

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