illusione Fume D’Amour
Welcome to Episode 096! Tonight, we’re smoking the most recent full line introduction from illusione. After about a 3 year break from core additions, the Fume D’Amour (Smoke of Love) came out at the end of August 2014. One of the more interesting aspects of this line is the total absence of ligero. Dion (Giolito) claims to have found enough flavor and strength in some of the lower viso and seco primings from available AGANORSA stock. It comes in 4 vitolas (Lagunas – 4 1/4 x 42 Viejos – 5 x 50 Capistranos – 6 x 56 Clementes – 6 1/2 x 48). The illusione website remarks that it comes in these four…but more are to come. Even with a later introduction during the year, the line made it into the number three spot on Cigar Aficionado’s Top Cigars for 2014. Tune in to the show to find out how it went!
- Cuba?!? What does it all mean? We wanted to spend some time talking over this week’s news concerning some restored relations with Cuba…and no, you can’t run out next week and buy Habanos at your local shop stateside….
- The council on Foreign Relations: After 2008 Cuba’s private sector has swelled as a direct result of these reforms; in 2014 it was reported to be about 20 percent of the country’s workforce. A report [PDF] by the Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA) states that Castro’s reforms highlighted “an acceptance that market forces can play a role in economic policy and that economic growth must be the central criterion to judge economic success.”
- Am I happy about the change? You can bet your ass, I am. Do I expect anything to be different for you and I in 100 days when things take effect (affect?)? No, I do not. The majority of people out there are keeping this in perspective but I’ve seen some facebook posts that talk about “finally” being able to get their hands on a Cuban, or “when will cubans be for sale at the tobacconist?” These posts are uninformed and potentially just a spur of the moment quip. I don’t think the majority of citizens believe this is “it” in regards to the embargo. I DO believe this can be the beginning of the end of the embargo. It can also be the beginning of its strengthening if the next congress and next president are suited and like minded to claim Obama’s declarations were not only incorrect, but helpful to an enemy.
- Much will depend on Kerry’s analysis of Cuba’s status as a terrorist state and whether Cuba does truly lower some of the restrictions they have on contact to the outside world. If Cuba shows ANY legitimate human rights improvements (yes, the internet is a human right derived from free speech) there is a chance that this gains some momentum and the embargo could end after the next congress (Jan 2017) are sworn in. There is little to no chance this will occur in 2015 since the Republicans have taken power of the house. There would have to be SWEEPING change in Cuba for the likes of Rubio and others who want the 29 (27?) electoral votes in Florida to change their public opinion on this. It’s just too critical of a voting base to alienate the Southern Florida core of Anti-Castro citizens.
- If Kerry does not rescind the edict that Cuba is a state that assists terrorism (there is an official phrase here that I’m missing) OR major humanitarian improvements are not witnessed, I am fairly certain that the next president will swiftly and completely go the other direction with his ruling on the matter. Think Bush’s change in 2002, I believe. He lowered the visit limit, removed the legality of “financial assistance” to Cuban family members and made it even more difficult to travel to the nation for aide workers. We could go right back there, if not even further.
- Cuba, and its citizens, have been made more of a pawn in the recent years than ever in the past. Even in the election of 64 when it was the first chance for a new administration to address the “blockade” as it essentially was in its initial form, it was not as polarizing of a topic as it became later in the Castro regime’s tenure (I understand LBJ held office. It’s speaking to the fact that it was not a point of contention between candidates). We have to realize that the goal here is an improvement of life for the citizens of our southern island neighbor. This is the first real attempt at improving that which I can recall. I am not an expert on the topic but I don’t believe there have been public declarations from the POTUS as strongly worded as those shared Wednesday in regard to the failure of U.S. policy on the matter. There is a real chance that THIS declaration is enough. There is a real chance that Cuba will give a little in response. And there is a real chance that this may be a day we remember for the rest of our lives. It’s possible the U.S. just got a little less hypocritical in its foreign relations (think human rights & the torture report). When a major government does that, we’re all in a better position.
- We finally have some “official” light shed on the Florida SunGrown project that Jeff Borysiewicz has been growing here in central FL. The tobacco is being sold exclusively to Drew Estate. From
THIS IMAGE:“Jeff Borysiewicz from Corona Cigar Company grows the Florida tobacco exclusively for Drew Estate. The tobacco plants in the photo are experiental because they are Sumatra Seed. We have been growing and curing the Corojo Seed since 2013 and blending with the first crop. I believe that this is the first time Florida tobacco has been grown for premium cigars since 1979. It’s expensive, but we are getting more confident each passing month that it’s worth it. So proud of Jeff Borysiewicz. Waiting to see Willy Herrera and DE Production Team’s final blend from the 2013 crop.”
- Fresh on the heels of the recent release of Smoke Inn’s MicroBlend Series “Pactum” from illusione, the next iteration has been announced. Drew Estate will produce the cigar in a singular 6”x40 vitola. Interestingly, the name will be the “Pope of Greenwich Village.” No real blend detail is available as yet, but it will soft launch at Smoke Inn’s Great Smoke VIP event in February. Official full launch will be later, in April.
- La Flor Dominicana 707 – another 7×70 cigar…biggest ever from LFD….
- Cigar Aficionado’s ever-popular/ever-controversial Top 25 list is out. Congrats to the folks at Oliva for taking the #1 spot this year with the Melanio. I was surprised with the EPC La Historia at number two. Tonight’s featured CotW is number three on that list. Rounding out the top ten were:
4. Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial (Tubo)
5. Rocky Patel Royale (?!?)
6. Opus X Perfecxion X
7. Padron Reserve 50 Years Maduro
8. Ashton ESG 22 Year
9. Monte by Montecristo Jacopo #2 (Altadis USA)
10. A. Flores 1975 Serie Privada Capa Habano
What Have We Been Smoking?
- Unbanded#1 for Halfashed.com
- Padron Principe – natural. I grabbed a natural version of this after Craig’s recent comments on its maduro brother. I’ve never had much experience with the natural, but I’d say these have experience blend drift as well. The couple I had this week were – like Craig’s maduro – considerably more spicy than I remember. More bold, both in flavor and strength. Still an amazing smoke.
- Padilla Reserva Maduro….picked up a few on clearance at my local. Crisp, bold new-school Nicaraguan style blending. Great construction & burn. Much better as a $5 stick than $9-10. If these were to debut in the $6.50-9 “sweet spot” they have the potential to be a big hit.
- L’Atelier LAT38 Special lancero…I wanted to love this cigar. I love its shorter brethren. How could I not fall head over heels for a lancero? I picked up two this week, and couldn’t finish either. Both were plagued with burn issues and absolutely refused to stay lit. I gave up on each about halfway through.
- No listener emails discussed this week.
In the next episode we will be featuring a yet-to-be-determined cigar from Craig’s offerings, so be sure to check back in Friday night at 9:30pm EST on halfashed.com where you can catch us recording and participate in the new and much improved chatroom. If you would like to contact us in the meantime, you can reach us via the “Click to Contact Us!” tab at the side of this page, or at the following emails: [email protected] or craig[email protected] Please feel free to drop us a line if you have any questions you’d like answered, comments to make…or even compliments and complaints. We love to get your emails! Also, remember you can always go back and listen to previous episodes, which can be found in the Half Ashed Archive. You can download this week’s audio directly below (right-click “Download” and save), find us on iTunes, or subscribe with any podcast app at our RSS Feed. Video, as always, will be available at the Half Ashed YouTube Channel.
P.S. – If you have unbanded suggestions or contributions, you can get those to us by sending an email to [email protected] This email address goes directly to my wife, so you can simply suggest an unbanded cigar for her to source, or send me an email to [email protected] if you have something you’d like to send in. I will provide an address to send them. Thanks!