Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cigar Review: Graycliff Crystal

Another masterpiece!

This limited production blend is an excellent smoke for those who enjoy a fuller, more complex cigar. I did my best to ignore my Graycliff bias when judging this cigar. I even had friends try it and tell me their thoughts. Everyone loved this cigar! Hands down a great smoke, no objections.

The Crystal is wrapped in an Ecuadorian sun grown wrapper and is blended with Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Brazilian tobaccos and a Grecian leaf adds the spice toward the finish. Its construction and burn were flawless as usual. The taste was very similar to a moderately spicy maduro. The smoke was creamy and airy. Its finish with that little spice from the Grecian leafs, really balanced the cigar. The fuller body and earthy tastes might turn away mild fans, but for those who like a little kick, this is your cigar. says "This cigar is often compared to the finest Cubans being made today." Not to shabby! This cigar earned a 9.5 of 10.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cigar Review: 5 Vegas "A"

Another earthy classic from 5 Vegas (pronounced Cinco Vegas by the way).

The 5 Vegas “A” is a great full bodied maduro cigar. It was very smooth and had some pleasant flavors, especially for being a little more on the bold side. It was very similar to many premium maduro’s with its espresso sweet taste and earthy finish. What made it different from the rest of the pack was how agreeable the flavors played together. It was a great balanced cigar and I smoked it to the very nub. I actually almost forgot to take a picture and write this review because I was a little busy! I have noticed myself smoking the 5 Vegas more and more…

One of the great features of the 5 Vegas brand is also that price tag. You just can’t beat their lower priced premium cigars. They might not blow you away with flavor but they definitely deliver a great cigar for a stellar price. There are also some great sampler packs that come with all sorts of goodies at Bottom-line, if you want a good smoke without breaking the bank, try the darker 5 Vegas cigars. I give this “A“ cigar 8.5 of 10.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cigar Review: The 5 Vegas Cask Strength

I have only smoked two 5 Vegas cigars my whole life, and well that just isn't enough!

This cigar was what I expected a "Cask Strength" to be. It was bold and refined, yet easy to smoke and surprisingly complex. It lit great and kept its burn fairly well, just a little work needed. It billowed a thick almost pungent smoke, not pleasant for non cigar smokers (I guess, I personally loved it). It had an excellent draw, really easy to get puffing. It was the taste that really made this 6 year old a joy. It was rich and earthy with some chocolatey sweet on the finish. It had a little spice and the strength of the Costa Rican Maduro really came out. Not much changed as you smoked it but its little flavors here and there really added to the cigars complexity. It would go great with a sweeter liquor, maybe gin or rum?! I will definitely try to get some more of these. I give this bold little cigar a hefty 8 of 10. Definitely a must try, especially at a very affordable price.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cigar Essentials: The Xikar MultiTool

I was hesitant at first when ordering this tool. I already had a cutter and why would I need another?! Well I will tell you why, it's sweet!

First off, it is a Xikar so you know its good and it is backed by a great warranty. Second, it is really thin, this pictures doesn't do it justice. Third, it has some neat little tools built in like a screwdriver, lighter pressure spike, and the always needed bottle opener. The thing also has a VERY sharp cutter built in like pliers. It allows you a little more control on how you cut your cigar, unlike a traditional guillotine cutter. Plus it fits right on your key chain! I got the matte finish on mine, and it looks great and hides scratches. So there you have it, I would recommend this to any cigar connoisseur!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cigar Review: Acid Atom

Sweet and sassy!

The Acid Atom maduro was an unexpected treat! I was rummaging through my flavored cigars humidor and found this Acid in there. I have had this cigar in there since I bought my first Acid cigar almost 2 years ago. It has aged nicely but I am uncertain if it has fully retained its flavor integrity. I keep all my Acids in a separate humidor but in that humidor I have every kind of Acid from Opulence 3's to Kuba Kuba's to Nastys.  So I am not sure how much of the other flavors it has absorbed.

Anyway, whatever it did in my humidor tasted great. It has a sweetened maduro wrapper with a nice herbal and citrusy taste. It was very light and easy to smoke, it burned great too!  I am surprised I haven't tried it before. It was so different than anything I usually smoke. Don't get me wrong, a little too sweet, but still really nice. I decided to pair it with a little Disaronno to see what would happen. Fireworks, that's what happened! It was a great pairing, but definitely sweet. I had this for dessert and man did it hit the spot. It was better than cake!

Well I have to go brush my teeth now, but man that was good. The cigar was great, too sweet for everyday smoking but PERFECT for desserts. I give this cigar a solid 7 of 10, and if smoked after diner a great 8.5 of 10!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cigar Review: Graycliff Double Espresso

If BMW made cigars, this would be it!

I say that because of the similarities of the two brands and their products. Both are of excellent quality, not the absolute best, but definitely better than most brands. Both are expensive, this little stick ran me a good 20 bucks!  Both are industry leaders, this cigar was excellent in all aspect and truly challenges other cigar makers to top it in quality. If you couldn't tell I am also a BMW owner and fan!

Now a little bio from"One of the most limited and exciting releases from Graycliff, the Double Espresso is a special robusto blend packed with extra ligero for a premium full bodied flavor.

"Aficionados are very familiar with the Graycliff brand. Created by Enrico Garzaroli, founder of the Graycliff hotel and restaurant in Nassau, Bahamas, it is the world’s only 5 star brand. To create his coveted cigar line, Enrico teamed up with legendary cigar maker Avelino Lara, Cuba’s most accomplished roller who at one time rolled all of Castro’s personal cigars. He is also credited as the founder of the Cuban Cohiba brand. With Enrico’s palate for fine food and wine and Avelino’s extensive experience, the two created Graycliff cigars which today are counted among the finest and most expensive cigars on the market."

"The Double Espresso is a limited edition extension of the original Espresso line from Graycliff. Made only in a special robusto size, the Double Espresso is the strongest cigar in the Graycliff portfolio, featuring a special ligero filler that perfectly balances flavor and body. The Double Espresso is only available to fewer than six dealers worldwide, and is proud to be among them." from 

Now on to my actual tasting! Well I lit up the little guy and was welcomed by the great rich smoke that I expected.  It was a very tight draw but that is a good thing with such a small cigar. It took me a good hour and half to smoke the whole thing. The flavor was excellent, it was very earthy with a little sweetness. It was balanced and rich and worth every penny! I was loving every puff and I couldn't put it down. I actually smoked it till I burned my fingers, and I actually got a pretty nasty nicotine buzz from this. I was smoking it so much I didn't want to put it down! Back to the BMW comparison, this cigar will shake up the competition. It is everything that a deep rich ligero should be and I hope other brands try to emulate this delicious cigar. Sorta like what BMW's have done with the car industry! I am going to have to give this cigar a 9.5 out of 10, only because I would love to see this cigar in a bigger size!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cigar Review: Graycliff Original

I am starting to feel bad. I smoke way to many Graycliff cigars, I am starting to think it is affecting my ability to judge them with an unbiased mind. Today was just another lazy Sunday and I thought a nice cold beer and cigar would do the trick! I pulled out a Graycliff Original and Sam Adams witbeer, and my day started to get better!

It was perfectly rolled and presented, the feel and appearance were flawless. It burned perfectly and was flawless in my hand. Blended from Nicaraguan, Honduran, Brazilian, Ecuadorian and rolled up in a Sumatra Wrapper. It had a good flavor, nothing too extraordinary though. It was medium in body but was very smooth, and easy to smoke. It was nutty, almond like with little nuances of spice. It got a little more intense and toasted as you smoked it, but still very nice. I loved how the thick creamy smoke just rolled off the tongue. That was my favorite part. I just think Graycliffs are such great cigars and that they are always a crowd favorite (minus the G2, not worthy of the name in my book). I am seriously thinking about a humidor just for my Graycliffs!

I recommend every Graycliff to everyone but the Original is just good. It isn't stellar, it sure isn't disappointing, but it is a nice smoke and definitely one to buy. I give the Graycliff Original a solid 7.5 of 10.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cigar Review: Natural Irish Hops

Football, beer, and cigars! What could possibly be better?!

I was getting ready to watch a pre season NFL game and decided it was time for a cigar and beer pairing. I open up the man cabinet and pulled out the Acid humidor and snatched up a Natural. I have had the original Natural cigars and they have been pretty good, but this time I got the Irish Hops. It was a great choice, definitely a difference between the two varieties.

The cigar was visually the exact same as a normal Natural except the foot label. The fillers were a mixture of unique tobaccos from Brazilian and Nicaraguan leaves. These leaves are then coated by a dark and oily San Andres Negra wrapper from Mexico.Its nice oily wrapper was slightly sweetened. It lit great and man did it taste good. It was a creamy, sweet, toasted taste. It was smooth and full of flavor. Definitely sweeter than the original but in a good way. I was very impressed. So I paired this cigar with a nice German Hefeweizen, and the two were great together! The fruit like wheat ale was a nice accent to the sweet cigar. The game was coming on and I was loving it! What a good life huh?!

The Irish Hops Natural cigar by Drew Estate gets an 8.5 in my book! Maybe a little too sweet but still a very interesting smoke. It is a definite must try at least.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cigar Essentials: The Hygrometer

I'll say it again and again and again.....a humidor is useless with out the right equipment. I have tried several different hygrometers and have found the most accurate and dependable hygrometers. I thought they would all work the same and that I could just get one and be happy.....yup that didn't happen. At first I thought it was the humidifiers or the humidor itself. After a few experiments I found that it was a poor hygrometer. So I will share some of the hygrometers that I have found to work!!!

The Analog Hgyrometer: These are cheap and most humidors come with some built in. They work great if you never have to adjust them or if they come pre-calibrated! Well most do not, so these actually suck. I have had so many problems with these, and adjusting them requires patience that I am not capable of. If you have them and love them good for you, I just cant stand them.

The Digital Hygrometer: Ya buddy these are my type! They are dependable and require no calibration, usually. I have had a great experience with all of them except one brand called Csonka. For some reason this brand couldn't keep a steady reading and was really messing up. I brought in a another hygrometer and it was fine in the humidor, it was the Csonka. I have included a few that I have and would recommend below! So I guess the only real insight here is to get the items below for they are proven in my book! I hope this helps.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cigar Review: Cain "F"

What the "F" ?!
 I just got the new Cain cigar- the "F", and after smoking it, I think I understand the rationale behind calling a cigar a single consonant.....

To start it off, the cigar had great construction, nicely wrapped with few visible imperfections. The smooth Habano wrapper looked good enough to eat! (Well not really, I am sure cigars are not a good snack) The smell was quiet strong and reminded me of a peat bog or something along those lines. Don't be scared though, it is refreshing to have a such an honest earthy smell. I was really pumped up for lighting this new cigar.

The cut was made and the head cap definitely helps in determining how much to trim off the top. After lighting it, you can definitely feel the "F", it is very strong with lots of hearty earth and a faint nutty finish. As you smoke the cigar, about an inch in, it becomes noticeably sweeter and smoother. It picks more of that nutty taste and less of the deep peaty flavors. It is a nice little transition and really adds a little to the character of the smoke. It was a bit strong for my liking with its triple ligero leaves. Its bold character was warm and full as it lingered around us as we smoked. It felt a little too strong for the lighter wrapper to handle. The Habano couldn't quite hold in the power of the Ligero leaves. The cigar's perfume was quite strong and could be smelled from some distance and I was glad we were smoking outside. The nub picked up the intensity and held it strong. After we were done smoking, we had the strong but pleasant aftertaste for hours!

 I have always been impressed with the Cain cigars and I go to them when I am in the mood for a rich deep smoke, but that is less often than not. I prefer a medium-strong cigar over a strong one, and that is the only reason why I give this one a 8.5 of 10.
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cigar Review: Acid Satori

I believe in cigar therapy! So I ordered a bunch of cigars for my cousin in Afghanistan hoping they would ease the nerves and remind him what he is fighting for. This new Drew Estate Acid cigar was in his care package. This is called the Satori and it is part of the subculture line of Acids. I was very excited to try it and my cousin loves Acid cigars too. After smoking one I almost didn't want to send him any!

The cigar had a sugared Brazilian Mata Fina Oscuro Wrapper and had a three nation blend for the fillers. It was a very nice wrapper and featured a partially covered foot. It cut and lit easy, and the second it touched your lips you knew it was a sweetened cigar. It was very similar to the sweetness of a Kuba Kuba but had the spice of a Roam or Toast. The best part was the chocolate taste like an Opulence 3, my personal favorite of the Acids. It was excellent! I really liked this cigar and famous smoke shop had a pretty good deal for a 5 pack. I had this cigar with a nice Appleton Estate rum and it was a perfect pairing. The whole smoking/drinking experience was just what I needed, and I hope my cousin will enjoy it as much too! Now I have to figure out how to ship them without too much damage to the cigars....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cigar Review: Graycliff Chateau Grand Cru

Time for another Graycliff! So I bought the Graycliff Top Ten Sampler from, and the Chateau Grand Cru was the next in line to get smoked. What can I say, I love Graycliff cigars!

Right away you knew this was another great cigar. The presentations of these cigars are always flawless. I really admire the label on them; the Graycliff "G" has the power of the Nike Swoosh, but in the cigar world. Back to the actual cigar though, the wrapper is a fine Costa Rican leaf and filled with aged Honduras and Nicaragua tobaccos. This combination produces a nice sweet and rich flavor. It is filled with plenty of complex and subtle nuances as well. It was a little espresso, a little toast, and a little almond taste. The cigar was smooth and easy to smoke, but with all those nice flavors it really made for a delightful experience. This cigar was a pure joy to burn; the only problem is that hefty price tag. They are definitely not cheap, and their elegance may not be entirely worthy of that price tag. Other than that, it was a great cigar and worthy of praise. I rate this expensive little jewel a 9 of ten (I am an elastic consumer).

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cigar Review: Graycliff Espresso

I have been waiting for months to have come up with their Graycliff Top 10 Sampler again. It is the best of all the lines, the Professional, Espresso, 1666, G2, Gran Cru, Original, and the CI Legends. I got 10 amazing Graycliffs for 37 dollars! The espresso alone is 20 bucks. Anyway enough plugging To the actual cigar...

The Graycliff Espresso was everything I thought it would be. It had an excellent wrapper and good draw. No burn problems and was easy to smoke down to the very nub. The cigar smelled light and slightly sweet. The smoke was very thick and had a pleasant leathery smell. The taste o the taste! It was a mild sweet espresso and chocolate with lots of nutty flavors. It was complex yet subtle. It had a nice roasted taste to it as well. There was a negibale spice note but not worth highlighting.

All in all, this was a fantastic smoke. Once again Graycliff fails to disappoint, time after time their entire brand just rocks my world. It is definitely one of my favorite cigars. After all these amazing cigars I just might have to make a visit down to their super prestigious and world renown resort. It would be so cool to chill in an atompshere where smoking cigars is ENCOURAGED! Overall I give this great smoke a solid 9.5 of 10.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Cigar Essentials: The Humidifier

A humidor is basically useless without a good humidifier. I have bought many humidifiers to try to find one that keeps perfect humidity, but doesn’t require changing it every week. Through my trials and tribulations, I have found a few good ones that have worked for me. They all work the same way, fluid is added and slowly evaporated into the humidor, simple! The price, operations, and frequency of care are the most important aspects of a humidifier. When you talk about humidifiers you need to address the different kinds of humidifiers….

Traditional Sponge Humidifiers: These are the most common and some of the cheapest. They are basically an antifungal sponge housed in a plastic casing. They can be fitted to the inside of humidors using Velcro or magnets. They require “cigar juice” or polypropylene solution to keep them moist and humidifying your stogies. I have several of these from many different brands, but my favorite are the VG humidifiers. I have found that these are very effective but require some attention to keep the right humidity. I have found that after some time they need a “time out” and need removed from the box temporarily, to dry out. I place new ones in and let the older ones dry out completely before cycling them back in. This works great and seems to help the humidifiers work more efficiently.

Gel Humidifiers: These are great and require very little care. They are a crystalline gel substance that is saturated with the solution. They usually have markings on the container to show when to fill them up and when to replace, making them very simple. The only problem I have seen is that they are very moist and certain containers are basically open and can spill those little jelly crystals into your humidor. They also seem to have a shelf life and are a little pricier (over the long run) compared to the traditional sponges. Some good brands are Dry-Mistat and HUMI-CARE. 

Electric Humidifiers: These are by far the best and also the most expensive. There are many different models and brands but most have a hygrometer built in and release the evaporated solution to keep that perfect humidity. The biggest problem with these is the large size and battery requirements. If you have a humidor with over a 200 cigar capacity you might as well keep them perfect with one of the best and least maintenance oriented humidifiers. When I get my big cabinet humidor, I am definitely getting one of the mini electric humidifiers. Some good brands are Cigar Oasis and Hydra.

Packet or Pillow Humidifiers: I have had limited experience with these but they have been pretty effective. Most of my online orders come with the pillow humidifiers. They have kept the cigars moist but they are wet and have caused swelling because of the cigar being pressed against the actual wet pillow. They now have plastic trays that can be inserted into humidors that house the pillows and separate them from the actual cigars to keep them from touching. I think this would make changing out the pillows every month or so, very easy but my only concern is that your spare pillows will dry out over time and require constant ordering. It is much easier to store a bottle of cigar juice than to store pre-moisten pillows. A good brand is Boveda

So there you have it! That is everything I have learned from taking care of my precious little stogies, I hope this has helped. As for my recommendation, just use the traditional ones till you get a big humidor for all those fancy cigars you will be smoking! At that point the mini electric ones will fit your needs better.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cigar Review: Oliva V

Sometimes it is better to give than receive....

That is just about what sums up this cigar, for me that is. It would make a nice gift, but definitely not a personal favorite. I have seen the Oliva V cigar in cigar aficionado, on, and on and I couldn't wait to smoke this bad boy! It was given a 94 rating and has won its share of awards, it looked like a real win! This is where you may want to stop reading, I may offend any Oliva fans out there, but man I was disappointed.

This cigar had a very strong smell and nice hearty weight. It cut and lit very easily and everything was going pretty good! It billowed a nice thick smoke and its full earthy smell came through. It tasted like a very strong maduro would, earthy sweet and hints of espresso or chocolate. Now comes the problem.....It was like smoking 3 maduros at ounce. Everyone claims this cigar is full of complexity and a smooth richness. It was complex and rich but there was no smooth! It was so strong and direct that there was nothing for the senses to look for, everything was smashed into them. Instead of subtle tastes and smells, it was like sensory overload. I was not enjoying this cigar. I smoked it through but was not impressed. Maybe it was just me, maybe it was too strong for my liking but regardless I am giving this brute a 6 or 10. Next time turn down the strength if you want to highlight rich flavors.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cigar Essentials: The Portable Humidor

Cigars should be enjoyed everywhere you go! That can be the golf course, a neighbor's BBQ, or even a camping trip. The portable humidor is the ideal way to safely and comfortably transport those little stogies! The hard case of the herf-a-dor keeps the cigars from getting smashed and damaged in transit. The built in humidifier keeps the cigars nice and moist till you are ready to smoke them. They can comfortably stay in the case for days, maybe weeks! There is nothing worse than packing up a nice cigar for a trip, only to find it crumbling from drying out…

Many herf-a-dors come in various sizes and designs. I figured it was not worth splurging on, and so I decided to purchase the one pictured left. It is simple, strong, and effective. I have used it many times to take cigars on trips and to local get togethers. My cigars never even knew they left their comfortable humidor! All you have to do is put a few squirts of cigar juice in the humidifier and place those cigars in the case! The case comes with two snap seals, and all around the opening is a rubber lining to keep the seal till you are ready to smoke. Works great, and they are not going to break the bank.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Delicious Pairings: CAO LX2 and Mount Gay Rum

You have to try this! I recently read an article from a catalog about pairing rum with cigars. I am very familiar with pairing cigars with Scotch, but I have yet to try rum! So this post will be all about what I learned and what you should try.

After rummaging through my man cabinet, (every man needs a man cabinet by the way) I selected a darker more complex cigar and a smooth unflavored rum. The article specifically said to not use a flavored rum, the sweetness can ruin whatever subtle flavors you are creating by the pairing. So what did I select? I selected Mount Gay Barbados Rum, it is relatively cheap and a great rum! It is like the St. Luis Rey of rums. I went with a CAO LX2 for the cigar, for its complexity and dark earthy taste. I also haven’t had a CAO in a while so this was great.

Now to the actual tasting. The whole point of pairing a cigar with a drink isn't to "cleanse the palate" from the cigar. It is to enhance the taste from the cigar, with the drink whether that be coffee, whisky, or rum. The LX2 provided a deep earthy and petty taste that was enhanced with sweet sugar from the rum. It created a truly fantastic pair and keep the mouth happy for hours! I was sitting on my porch just enjoying a sunny day, and the taste of earthy sweetness filled my senses! It was great and I will definitely try further pairings. I am planning on getting some more rums, because I think I may like a rum better with a cigar than a Scotch. I dare say it...

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Cigar Essentials: The Lighter

You can't smoke a cigar without lighting it first! With that being said, you need a good lighter or specific cigar matches if you want to smoke a cigar the right way. There are plenty of lighters out there, with plenty of bells and whistles, so what should you look for? Well for starters the price range will probably be the biggest factor in your lighter purchase. So for myself, I choose ones right in the middle price range, with a lifetime warranty. I currently have the Xikar Element lighter pictured here. It is great and works every time flawlessly. It also features a window to see how much fluid I have left and a little punch cigar cutter built right into it. There are plenty of really cool Xikar lighters but this one was a great bang for the buck. 

So other than this model, what should anyone look for? For starters, make sure the lighter is butane! Butane makes a great flame and is odorless and tasteless. Traditional lighter fluid will alter the taste of the cigar and no ones wants to smoke anything that taste like lighter fluid. This means most Zippos will not do for cigar smoking, and most matches for that matter. Also make sure the lighter has a window to see how much fluid is in there! I can't tell you how frustrating it is to not know how much fluid is in the lighter. You get your cigars in your Herf-A-Dor and head out to golf, and you cant lite anything because you are out of fluid and didn't know it! Happened to me all the time. Also this is not a must, but the built in cutters make life easier for when you forgot your cutter as well. People forget stuff, so why not include everything you need in one package!? As far as the number of flames that the lighter produces, this is a personal call. The more flames the faster and more spread out the heat is when lighting your cigar. This means a better lite in the beginning and that will elevate some burn problems down the road. With more jets, it lites more of the cigar foot and will make for a better burn. I have two jets and it works fine for me! The last thing to look for is design, the design of the lighter is just as important as the functions! Who wants a lousy looking lighter when they are lighting up a great, expensive cigar?!

In conclusion, just pick a lighter that you can afford that is at least butane! I personally recommend lighters with warranties, cutters, and windows. The multi-flames are nice but can really get pricey. So go out and do a little research to get that perfect lighter for you and enjoy those cigars!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cigar Review: Room 101

Bookmark and ShareSometimes you just gotta try it....

I was sitting in Cigars Cigars for my friend's bachelor party and this one cigar caught my attention. I am a sucker for cool labels and Room 101 just had that spark. It is a relatively new brand and my curiosity got the best of me...

Just looking at this cigar will tell you smoking it will be  a treat! The cigar had a great little oily wrapper with a spongy texture just ready for smoking. It is a Semilla Honduras wrapper, and the only way I can describe it is to say a maduro and a connecticut had a little too much fun one night and made this little mistake. It is sweet and oily with the slight earthy notes of a maduro. It had a fast draw and great wrapper construction. It was definitely a medium bodied cigar with sweet chocolate notes and a rich, very thick smoke. It was a good smoke and the branding was interesting. Room 101 is inspired by Japanese art and the tattoo culture. It is just an interesting story and brand persona, and I am a believer in brand importance just as much as the actual quality. The Room 101 had a nice mellow finish and I enjoyed it to the very nub. It wasn't overly complex or interesting but it was still a high quality smoke. I will pick up a few more of these and maybe will post a little more on the brand story as well. Overall I give this cigar a solid 8 of 10.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Whisky Essentials: Whisky Rocks

This is the best use for rocks I have ever seen! Pet rocks have nothing on whisky rocks! I was given these whisky rocks as a senior gift from a respected fraternity advisor and I am forever grateful. I never thought I would get so excited about a couple square rocks...Anyway, they are a great gift for any whisky lover and most importantly, they actually work.

What you do is freeze them for around 3 to 4 hours before your tasting session. You then place them in your glass for around 10 minutes. They make a noticeable difference in the temperature of your whisky, without diluting or shocking the liquid from melting ice cubes. They are pretty effective and keep the chill for quite some time. Plus, they look really neat in your glass! The only thing I ran into is that I use Glencairn nosing glasses and it starts to get a little cramped in the glass. If you are using traditional low ball glasses or whisky tumblers, they will work great. Overall, I am very impressed and thought that every whisky connosuer should own  a bag of rocks! Remember ice melts, whisky rocks!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Drew Estate's Social Media

I love it when two of my passions collide! Drew Estate is launching a very interactive and personal social media campaign. I have not posted many articles about marketing on my blog recently, but when a cigar company starts some very interesting marketing campaigns, it would be a sin if I didn't! I have always been very interested in this Web 2.0 and social media marketing, and I have always been interested in cigars, so this is perfect!

Their campaign has included Facebook communications, Twitter posts, website news, YouTube videos, and newsletters. It is the textbook definition of a social media campaign. They are not selling me anything, they are just informing me about their unique and great brand/product and providing me with some really cool "insider" information. This is where most companies mess up, they try to sell too hard during a social media campaign. They need to just inform and share with their fans, and then their fans will turn around and share that information to others. This is a great example of word of mouth marketing and social media. Notice my post, a perfect example. There must be thousands of people out there telling their friends about the cool things Drew Estate is up to. Advertising and marketing is changing and I think that it will be moving toward permission based mediums (inbound marketing) like what Drew Estate is using now. I am not 100% sold on the effectiveness of social media but its main principles make a lot o' sense! So for anyone reading this post, take a look at some of the advertising and marketing now a days and tell me what you think. For anyone interested in doing a social media campaign at their company, just check out what Drew is doing!

Here are the links to all that is Drew Estate!

The Drew Estate Facebook Page
Drew Estate YouTube Videos
Jonathon Drew's Twitter
Drew Estate Twitter
The Drew Estate Website
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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cain F and Nub Cigar Tour

Cain F & Nub Join Forces!Cain F Tour Header

Join the Cain F Tour at a cigar shop near you to meet the man behind 
Nub and Cain, Sam Leccia. Watch a rolling demonstration and get exclusive giveaways like hats, shirts, bottle openers, matches and more. The Tour events will also be the only place to try the limited edition Cain F energy drink and to get the currently unreleased Cain F Nub.

For a more detailed calendar of events (including time and shop address), visit the 
Cain or Nub websites. The Ohio locations are:

May 5th 4PM-8PM- The Cigar Affair, 323 Conant St., Maumee, OH 43537
May 6th 5PM-8PM- Jungle Jim's International Market, Inc. - 5440 Dixie Highway Fairfield, Ohio 45014
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Scotch Review: Aberlour 12 DW

Eh, not double the deliciousness...

I decided on the Aberlour because I wanted to give it a try against my favorite, The Macallan 12. They are very similarly priced and I wanted to see how the tastes compare. I also like my Balvenie Doublewood and thought this doublewood could use a tasting.

Color: muscat or russet, a deep gold
Body: medium
Nose: brown sugar and a some notes of floral, almost like a daisy smell
Palate: very fast with a sweet and spicy, a little floral is tasted, and ends with a little smoky flavor
Finish: it is a short finish with the smoke and sweet fighting for dominance, the smoke wins but it bits the whole time!

I liked this whisky but it was not very complex, with only a few flavors and some very strong characteristics. It didn't have the fruity smells or flavors that I expect from a sherry cask. The oak took over here and really pounced what the sherry had to offer. The finish was short and the bit was medium to strong. It did have some great sweet notes, but it just wasn't what I expected it to be. I would say it is a whisky to have in the cabinet because of the price, but not one to keep on the top shelf. I give this one a 7 of 10.

Question for YOU: What is your favorite doublewood Scotch!?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cigar Essentials: The Humidor

The humidor, the most important piece to a cigar enthusiast, yet the most misunderstood! The humidor is the castle to your cigar kingdom, and without the right protection and care your kingdom will fall apart. It is essentially a porous box that is prime for keeping a certain humidity. If one thinks about what a cigar is, it becomes very apparent for special care. Because the cigar is a dried dead leaf, it can mold, lose taste, and dry up if the proper humidity is not maintained. That proper humidity is 65-75%. Monitoring that and achieving that, is done by getting special humidifiers and hygrometers.

So what should one look for in a humidor? Fist and foremost, it should be Spanish Cedar or Honduran Mahogany. These two porous woods allow for the proper breath-ability for the humidity levels to stay at 70%.

The next couple attributes are mainly personal tastes. Glass or no glass? I have one that is similar to the one pictured, but some people do not like or approve of glass tops. They don't have the properties of the wood and allow for sunlight to further increase temperatures and cause other problems. If kept in a dark place it doesn't really matter, in my experiences at least. I have had a great experience with the glass top and it holds the 70%. I also like the look of the glass top, it is up to you.

The location or allotment for the hygrometer is also a personal taste. I like mine to be built into the box, like pictured. This allows to monitor the humidity without actually opening the box. The only problem with these are that the analog hygrometers are finicky and I have had trouble with them in the past. I will recommend nice digital hygrometers in future articles.

Then there is the issue of shelves or dividers. I don't feel a particular preference either way, but I like the idea of being able to separate certain cigars from others. You wouldn't want to mix your sweet cigars with your earthy maduros. I would never recommend mixing flavored cigars in any box with normal cigars. An Acid or Java cigar can overpower other cigars and really alter the taste. I found it preferable to have 3 humidors! Ya that's right, 3. One for my sweet mocha cigars like the Java and Tabak Especial, one for aromatic Acids, and one for my traditional cigars.

Now that you learned just a few things about selecting a humidor lets look at how to season your new humidor. They say you need to season a new humidor because the wood has not absorbed any humidity and can literally suck the moisture from your cigars! You don't want a vampire humidor so always season new boxes! When you buy your humidor, “season” it by applying a moist cloth to the interior wood and then leaving a small, closed container of water inside the humidor for 12 hours. If the humidor “drinks up” most of the water, leaving the container near-empty after 12 hours, repeat the process for another 24 hours. Once the water stops evaporating, the humidor is ready for your cigars! Just add the humidifying solution to your humidifier and insert into the humidor. Make sure to sprinkle it into the device, do not drench it! It seems to actually cause it to not release enough humidity. Enjoy and I hope you found this helpful, feel free to leave comments and advice!
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cigar Review:Graycliff Professionale

Mmmmm, I decided to try this Graycliff after a few of the 1666's. I was in love with Graycliff's great full flavor and was trying to find one with a little less peppery of a taste. This was it!

It was smooth and rich, full of earthy notes and sweet chestnuts. It was great, and actually so complex I had a hard time putting my finger on the flavors I was experiencing! It is exactly what I am looking for. I love a good medium smoke, and this cigar was so smooth too. It had nearly flawless construction and a really great burn. The smell of a Graycliff is also worthy of noting, they have a sweet musky smell and it is much preferred over most cigars. All in all, I was very impressed and cant wait to get some more. Graycliff is my favorite brand at this moment, and I really respect everything they make. the price tag is a little hefty, but you can usually find some great deals at So check out this great smoke and make sure to buy online to save some bucks, it tastes better when it's a deal! I give this guy a 9 out of 10!

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cigar Review: Java Maduro

Sweet and mellow dark chocolate...That is exactly how I would describe the Java Maduro by Drew Estate and Rocky Patel. I reviewed the Java Connecticut shade earlier and I have to say I really like them both. The maduro is made with a sweet Brazilian maduro wrapper. It makes the flavor seem a little more bold and earthy. It is exactly like comparing milk chocolate to dark chocolate . I really like both cigars, it is hard to tell you  which one I prefer more. I would say the maduro is a more enjoyable on a cold winter night after a rich meal. The Java Connecticut is great for that after work treat! That is how I would compare them! The actual cigar itself is amazing.

The cigar had stellar construction, a medium slow burning draw, and a great overall presentation. Upon lighting you are pleasantly surprised by how mellow the taste is. It is a little stronger than the other Java cigar but offers a little more in complexity. It really takes on the espresso taste a little after an inch of burning. After this, it offers a deep chocolate and oaky taste. Towards the nub I started to notice the tiniest peppery finish. It was great, a little bit of everything, yet not too much. It was a really good cigar and I can't wait to smoke the others. They would make a great gift for others too. They are not very strong or offensive and can be given to anybody. The more experienced cigar smokers will enjoy its complexity and the novices can still love that great chocolate taste. Overall I give this one a 9.1 of 10, that is .1 higher than the lighter Java because I think the maduro version offers a touch more complexity! mmmmmmm tasty...
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cigar Review: Tatiana Mocha

I really like the Drew Estate Tabak Especial and the Java, so I decided to try another flavored cigar like those two. I decided on the Tatiana Mocha. It looked great and sounded delicious! When it arrived it was dark and heavy, very well made and had a great label and presentation. I couldn’t wait to smoke it!

It cut well and lit fairly easily. I noticed something interesting right away. It burned very strangely. It had a light colored ash, a very faint tan compared to a normal ash color. It was one layer of ash though, the other layers of the cigar ashed normally, it was just this one layer that burned a tan color. It tasted great initially, very faint traces of that mocha and it was very smooth. It was very enjoyable. As it got towards the middle the cigar, it really took on a nice mocha/chocolate flavor and was great. Compared to the Tabak, it was a little less flavored and more mellow. I then started to notice something very strange. It had a blue color to some parts as it burned?! It was that chemical blue that you get when you burn magazines! It freaked me out a little bit, not only am I exposing myself to burnt tobacco but now there are strange burning chemicals?! Not cool. Anyway the flavor started to get a little dull and chemically as well. Similar to the nub end of Acids. Acid cigars are great till the very end where they get a peculiar chemical taste. The Tatiana followed the same path. It had some burn problems as well and was very hard to keep going.

Overall, I give this cigar a 6 of 10. It had a great beginning and end, with a smooth mocha taste but the burn problems really took away from my experience. I was also a little freaked out by the blue hue that the ash took on. I hope my second picture portrayed that! I probably will not purchase again. I will stick with my Java’s and Tabaks when it comes to chocolaty cigars!

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Whisky Essentials: A Whisky Bible

One of the easiest ways to enjoy whisky like a pro is to learn about the drink first! There are many "Whisky Bibles" out there but I have found Jim Murray's to be the best. They are filled with every dram under the sun, and a huge number of distilleries. It really helps when you want to get the most out of your drinks. Seeing what the "experts" say first, is a good place to start.

 It shouldn't affect your own personal tastes, but should be used as a guide to see what there can be. I like to read up what Jim thinks a whisky tastes like then dive in myself and see how my tasting compares. Generally he is spot on and it is very interesting to see how he names the tastes and smells you are experiencing. There are occasions where I think the artist in him gets away, and he starts getting a little too fancy with the descriptions.  There are tastes that are just too simple to be fully extrapolated like he does.All in all, he does a great job and at the beginning of every chapter he talks about the regions and trends in the whisky business and it is very interesting to read about it. I would recommend a book like this to novices and pros alike, it just makes sense to listen to a man that has tried 'em all!

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Cigar Review: Padilla Obsidian Especial

This one was very similar to the Greycliff 1666. Its oily maduro wrapper and smooth taste really did a good job in comparing to my new favorite, the Greycliff. This padilla was excellent though. It had some more spice than I enjoy but man, what a great cocoa flavor! The ligero wrapper and Nicaraguan & Honduran filler was a great mix and match of flavors and it provided a very complex smoke. I have really grown to like the rich dark maduros like this one and it definitely did not disappoint. It had a very earthy after taste but it had a great thick smoke. The burn was so so and uneven but I blame the slight wind and not enough time to mellow out after arriving in shipping. I will definelty buy this again and will have to try the Padilla Miami, which gets great reviews as well. Overall i give it a 8.5 of 10!

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cigar Review: Cain

Mmmmm this was a great cigar! I heard many things about the brand and was really excited to try it out! It was New Years Eve when I lit this Cain  cigar up. The Cain series comes from mastermind Sam Leccia. He is also responsible for Nub I believe. The Cain cigar was very balanced and perfectly constructed for a great burn.

It uses straight ligero leaves from 3 regions of Nicaragua. This is supposed to achieve a more smooth taste despite the strength of the ligero itself. Well it worked! It was initially very spicy but mellowed off a bit, for nice clean finish. The finish was very lite compared to the initial onslaught of flavor! It was a great strong smoke and it appealed to even the novice smokers I was with. Its bold flavors were well constructed and didn't overwhelm the senses. It was a clean crisp finish and the smoke itself was a nutty cedar taste. I was really impressed and the size of this thing lasted for an hour among 3 guys! I will definitely get this again, and it definitely lived up to the hype! I give this new creation a solid 9 of 10.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Cigar Review: Gurkha Micro-Batch TPB1

I was very impressed with this Gurkha cigar. It was a bit small, as the picture indicates it is long but very thin. I think I would have preferred a thick fuller smoke. O' well still really impressive!

The construction was really good with a nice smooth Habano wrapper. It had very few imperfections and the wrapper had that nice oily look and feel typical of Habano wrappers. I botched another cut but I know it is my fault, not the cutter. The draw was light and fast but it still gave you enough time to thoroughly enjoy it because of that length. The actual cigar itself smelled dully of earth and sweet nuances. Upon burning it really started to kick in. The burn was average with some spots burning faster than others, once again probably my fault. Now to the taste! Ligero leaves have really started to grow on me and I loved the balance in this cigar. Its binders were Ecuadorian leaves with viso and ligeros leaves as fillers. It gave off a very easy to smoke, balanced, and complex taste of earthy and musty sugarcane. It picked up in intensity upon the first third and actually mellowed out after the half. Then ending picked back up as the cigar started to heat up. Overall I was very impressed and wish I smoked more Gurkhas. I will definetly be buying more of these to a see if it can rival my favorite brand Graycliff! I give this fine cigar a 9 out of 10!
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Friday, January 22, 2010

I am a Whisky Expert!

Below is the email I recieved from How cool! What a great way to show appreciateion for those who contribute to thier forums....

"Hey there!  Just wanted to touch base to let you know we have upgraded your account to Expert! Also, your posts will no longer need to be moderated  - they'll go live right away

Thanks for all of your great contributions to the Forum!

Cheers!  Jojo"

** Admin**
**admin's email**

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cigar Review: Graycliff G2 Turbo

Turbos Engage!

I had my Graycliff Turbo for a while now and have been yearning to smoke it! I am a huge fan of the Graycliffs and have decided on them as my go-to cigars. Time after time, these cigars impressed me. I just haven't run into another brand like Graycliff...

Graycliff introduced the G2 line this year and they have two sticks in that line. I was not overly pleased with the regular G2 cigar and hoped the G2 Turbo delivered on the great Graycliff taste I have come to love. This cigar is a G2 per se, but only in the name. It was much more enjoyable and had a better taste and finish than the regular G2's. So lets get started on the actual review!

The construction of the cigar was impeccable! It is a Habano wrapper from the San Andreas Valley and its fillers are Cuban seed ligeros. It had a few large veins in the wrapper but all in all, the  leaves used in it looked great! It lit very easy and the maintained a great even burn with a nicely balanced draw for the whole hour we smoked it. It started a little spicy and strong and finished with a toasty aftertaste. Its spice faded as we smoked it and a  sweet cedar taste took over the finish. This was my favorite part of the cigar, it was sweet and had less of that peppery taste. The perfect burn of the cigar maintained the whole time. Towards the nub of it, the sweet toast taste finished the experience and really made for a strong ending.

This was a good smoke. I was not a huge fan of the pepper and spice in the beginning but the sweet cedar taste was excellent! It really made the smoking experience complex and more enjoyable. I coupled this cigar with a nice sweet white wine and it was a great way to start the night! I give this cigar a respectable 7 of 10.

Questions for YOU: What is you favorite Graycliff?