News of some organizational changes and executive appointments emerged from Joya de Nicaragua today in the midst of celebrating its 45th anniversary. A series of executive changes were detailed in a letter from Chairman and CEO Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca earlier this afternoon. Dr. Cuenca will continue as Chairman and CEO of Joya de Nicaragua S.A.; additionally, the Board of Directors has elected Mr. Juan Ignacio Martínez as Executive President, [Read more…]
Welcome back to Episode 027 of Half Ashed. This week, we’re smoking our cigars shaken; not stirred. We take a look at Unbanded 007, submitted by Dan Crouch (Thanks, DC!). In another of DC’s experiments with this segment, he submitted two vitolas from the same line – a corona and a robusto. We found marked differences between the two. Tune in to the show to get the grand reveal, and our thoughts on both cigars.
A big thanks is due and given to those folks who submitted recommendations and submissions for the Unbanded segment this week (as us how if you’d like to do the same). In this week’s cigar news, we talk a bit about this year’s annual release of the Alec Bradley Fine & Rare, Erez Cigars’ “Unsmokeable” cigar, Avo Uvezian’s car accident, the newest vitola released in the Cuenca 5 Anniversary series (hoowahh!), an upcoming release from Steve Ysidron’s Epicurean Cigars, and the announcement of CFC2014. Kip in particular is excited to be planning another trip to the beautiful Dominican Republic for this latest even. We also covered what we’ve been smoking, a couple of random thoughts from Kip – which will likely get him into some trouble, and went over the deep end of tobacco chemistry in our listener emails.
Episode 012 of Half Ashed is in the can, and we welcome you back to join us for this week’s show. We are offering up another opportunity to humble ourselves in the public eye this week, with Unbanded 003, generously provided by Dan Crouch. Smoking blindly is something that is becoming somewhat of a habit for me. Be sure you give us a listen by any of the means below for several news items and updates, what we’ve been smoking, what we thought of the unbanded selection this week, a couple listener emails, and a slight rant from me. Also, don’t forget to listen in and check out the details on our current giveaway. Thanks for stopping by! Here is a quick show summary:
The Cigar of the Week for Episode 012 is an Unbanded submission from Dan Crouch. Dan took a novel approach with this submission; something that is a little different than our normal format. He submitted two differing vitolas from the same line of cigars, rather than two examples of the same cigar. Craig and I both had similar notions about the origin of the cigars, as well as a clear preference for one vitola over the other. Definitely an interesting experiment, and we thank Dan for the originality and generosity of supplying the cigars. Check out the show to see what we thought of it, and get the reveal.
- Legislative items – NYC Democratic mayoral candidate Christine Quinn (also speaker of NY City Council) is proposing that the age restriction on tobacco be raised from 18 to 21 years – NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley states “People who become full-fledged adults without smoking are very unlikely to pick up the habit afterwards. So if we can prevent our youth from starting smoking until they are 21 we may just be able to protect an entire generation from a lifetime of being addicted to the world’s most dangerous drug.” So, 19-21 year olds are still youth? Reminds me of the “study” a few years ago that classified “youth” as anyone under 26, and “smokers” as anyone who’d ever smoked a single cigarette….ORIGINAL STORY
- Sam Leccia’s White began shipping this week. From appearances, the White allocation was all spoken for very quickly….
- Casa Fuente tweeted that their online store was open on Monday – much to the delight of Fuente fans everywhere. Disappointment quickly followed, when they went to the site to find out that no cigars were sold there….just Casa Fuente branded clothing and accessories.
- The Casa Magna Domus Magnus II is finally being shipped – months after it was initially announced. I’m not a fan of some Casa Magna cigars – but I love me some Domus Magnus. I believe the blend remains mostly the same, with the exception that the wrapper (sungrown Jalapa) is of a different vintage than the earlier offerings.
- Ezra Ziontweeted a picture of their upcoming Limited Edition TANTRUM being boxed up at the factory. So, it appears they’re on schedule for the release (launched at Michael’s Tobacco of Keller – in Keller, TX on Friday April 26th). They crew from Ezra Zion will be joining us LIVE on May 10th.
- Macanudo will be the new main sponsor for “Big Break” on the Golf Channel. I’m not a golfer, but apparently this is the channel’s longest running original series – and a big hit for them. Macanudo will feature prominently, with several episode being filmed at the Macanudo lounge Mexico, as well as the brand being incorporated into some of the challenges.
What Else Have We Been Smoking?
- Kip – This week, I’ve been through a number of cigars, including two special Fuente sticks, a “Lauro’s” from Craig, some Casa Fernandez Arsenio and more. Tune in to the show to get the scoop on how those went…
- Giveaway! It’s time we have another giveaway, and we have some cool stuff going out this time around. Courtesy of Cuenca Cigars, we have an Ashton ashtray and some killer premium cigars – as well as a Cigarmy coffee mug and a couple more cigars from me. The cigars are: 2X Cuenca 5 Anniversary, 2X Ortega Serie D Maduro #12’s, 1 Oliva Serie V Maduro, 1X La Aroma de Cuba Marquis Tubo, 1X L’Atelier Surrogates Tramp Stamp, 1X Torano Salutem, 1X Aging Room M356, and 1X JC Newman Perla del Mar. Listen to the show for all the details, but every email received between now and May 30th with a comment, question, concern, or compliment/complaint about the show will be entered in the giveaway – although, admittedly, complaints will have considerably less chances of winning :). On our May 31st show, we will randomly select a winner from those entries. So, get those keyboards humming and send us an email to [email protected] or [email protected]!
- After last week’s discussion of my attempts and misadventures in making Cuban coffee, I received quite a few emails on making better brews for cigar accompaniment. I’m looking forward to giving some of these a try.
- We also talk a little about another email we got from Enzo Temko concerning a bit of discomfort after smoking some cigars.
- Finally, I go over the edge this week with a minor rant about the profusion of recent emails and distribution lists I’m on – or rather, some that I was on.
Next week, our featured cigar will be the 2005 Padron Aniversario Natural. Be sure to tune in to find out how that goes. On May 10th, we will have our next LIVE show, broadcast on Cigar Federation. We’ll be talking with special guests from Ezra Zion about their Limited Edition release – the TANTRUM. The following week, we will have another special guest – William Cooper (Cigar_Coop) to get his insights into the industry, how it’s going, where it’s going, and generally pick his brain and see what we can learn.
Again, thanks for tuning in, and be sure to check back in next week. In the meantime, if you would like to contact us you can reach us through the contact page or at the following email addresses: [email protected] or [email protected] Also, don’t forget 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), or find us on iTunes.
This week on Half Ashed, we’re joined by our old friends Bob McDuffee and Dale Roush, formerly of Dogwatch Cigar Radio. Bob and Dale provided 410 Episodes of the first, longest-running cigar podcast in history. Dogwatch was the context through which Craig and I met, and its much lamented conclusion was the impetus for the two of us to pick up the mantle and try to preserve the community it fostered – all the while (hopefully) continuing to provide a useful couple hours of cigar information and entertainment each week. We’re much indebted to both Bob and Dale in that respect, as well as their generosity and help in getting Half Ashed off the ground and running. We wanted to have them on the show as the first of an ongoing segment in which we bring in various industry people – bloggers, manufacturers, retailers, etc. – for some discussion about their ideas and views concerning the world of cigars. We want to provide an outlet for them to candidly discuss and reveal the unique insights that they have into the industry and provide us with an education on the same.
Our cigar of the week for Episode 3 is the recently released Cuenca 5 Anniversary, which I reviewed a few weeks ago. It was my idea to have this as the cigar of the week, as it has made such a grand impression on me. It’s not secret that I love the cigar, and I wanted to share it with you all. We also spend a great deal of time talking with Bob and Dale, getting their ideas on what is wrong with the cigar industry, what is right with it, and some of their preferences in cigars when they just want to enjoy a good smoke. In news, we cover what we think the ramifications are with Swisher International having designs on creating a premium cigar division within their company, some antismoking legislation being proposed by a Florida state Senator, and what we’ve been smoking this week. We also make a couple of corrections from last week’s show, brought to our attention some of you – notably, we misspoke about the arrangement of some local/state ordinances during the IPCPR tradeshow last year. Thanks to George Edmonson of Stogie Guys for helping us out in that regard. Also, I managed to talk a good deal about an upcoming Fuente cigar without ever telling you its name. That cigar is the Casa Cuba. Thanks to the many of you who made me aware of that. I see at least some of you were paying attention :).
Unfortunately, we went very long this week and had to cut out a good deal of content we had planned on discussing. Under normal circumstances, we try to hold the show below two hours, but we were having such a good time conversing with Bob and Dale we managed to go over the 2:30 mark. So, we’ll have a few more news items next week – as well as some discussion from the world of pipes and tobaccos spurred on by an email and questions from Stephen D. We’re looking forward to that, in addition to next week’s Cigar of the Week – our first Unknown/Unbanded cigar! Remember, you can suggest an unbanded cigar for us via email at: [email protected] That is a forwarding account that goes directly to my wife, who can source the cigars and provide them to us without information. You can also send us cigars to smoke blindly by contacting me: [email protected] for an address to ship them.
As always, you can find the video on Cigar Federation, on our YouTube channel, or simply through the embed below. You may also download the audio below or find us in the iTunes store (be sure to leave us a good review!) to subscribe directly to an audio feed of the show as it publishes. Thanks for tuning in!
Craig and Kip are back this week for Episode 2 of Half Ashed. This week, we take a look at some vintage 1998 Montecristo Especial No. 1 (Laguito#1) as the Cigar of the Week. News updates from La Palina, Sam Leccia, IPCPR, and an interesting bit of potential legislation in Tennessee. Plus, a tour of the recently renovated Arturo Fuente Tampa operations and a discussion of some neat “happy accidents” in what we’ve been smoking this week. Be sure to also check out this month’s giveaway, as well as the ongoing Cigarmy promotion for new and renewing members of the Cigar Rights of America. So, give us a listen and check out our thoughts on the Montecristo Especial and all these other topics!
Next week, the Cigar of the Week segment will feature the Cuenca 5 Anniversary, which I reviewed here in depth. So, be sure you tune in for that, as well. We will continue with the recorded shows weekly, and our next live show will be coming March 8th with full audience participation during the broadcast. You can find the video of this week’s episode over on our YouTube channel, or through the embed below. Audio is available for download both below and free of charge through the iTunes store, or simply point your mobile device apps to: http://halfashed.com/feed/podcast . As always, if you have any questions, comments, compliments…or even insults…you can get in touch with us by email at: [email protected] or [email protected]
Thanks for tuning in!
A few worthwhile items have presented themselves this week, and I thought I’d share them with you in one “Cigarmy News” post:
1. First, a press release from Tarazona Cigars:
MIAMI, FL, January 16, 2013 – Building off the success of its Cubanacan Connecticut line, released at IPCPR 2012, Tarazona Cigars is announcing the release of the Cubanacan Habano. As with the Connecticut, the Cubanacan Habano will be available in five vitolas and housed in boxes of fifty. MSRP for the Cubanacan Habano will be between $5.35- $7.85. The Cubanacan brand is named after the Tarazona Cigar factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
Chato 4.5 x 42
Rothschild 5 x 50
Piramide 6 1/8 x 52
Churchill 7 x 50
El Gordo 6 x 60
3. I tried a few new (to me) cigars this week that were of note.
I was down in South Florida a few weeks ago, and while at a cigar shop I met Emiliano, a rep for Cipriano Cigars. As he was leaving, he passed me a petit torpedo to try. I just got around to firing it up this week, and found it very interesting. They do have a website, although it is essentially a placeholder with some contact information. So, I don’t have much information to go on beyond that brief chat with Emiliano. Based on the conversation I had with him, I believe that the company has a history in the Northeastern U.S., and is currently expanding into new markets (such as Florida). He told me the cigars are Nicaraguan puros, manufactured in Esteli, with a Jalapa/Esteli filler blend and featuring a habano wrapper. I’ll abstain from a full review since I have not yet been able to find a retailer from whom to buy a couple more to try; however, here are some initial notes on it. By my handy-dandy cigar ring gauge guide, I found it to be about a 54 ring, and 4.75″ long. Prelight, both the aroma and flavor were a very faint hay. With the addition of fire, it produced a good amount of smoke, and moderate spice over a predominant nuttiness. The cigar burned well, and the flavors remained consistent throughout – with a slight increase in the spice as I neared the end of the cigar. I could not locate the MSRP on any of their cigars, so I’m afraid I can’t offer much information on pricing. I also have not yet located a retailer – so I am in a holding pattern on this line pending more information. If you find them in your local shop let me know. I’d be interested in buying a few more to try. I’m sure most fans of Jalapa tobacco and medium strength cigars would enjoy the Cipriano. The construction was very good, and the flavor quite pleasant. Definitely worth investigating should the opportunity arise.
On the same trip, I bought a couple of other cigars at Charmed Leaf with which I was unfamiliar. They are from DUJO, a company I’d never heard of – so, of course I had to buy a couple to try in the name of science, right? The cigars are Dominican puros, with a “super secret blend of the finest tobacco available. Made in extremely small quantities and available ONLY at Charmedleaf” (per the Charmed Leaf website). DUJO also has a website, but like Cipriano above it doesn’t yet furnish many details about the cigars themselves, although I do know that they sell at Charmed Leaf for $8.75 per stick. Again, holding to only a brief synopsis of the cigar: The DUJO comes in one vitola, which is 5.5″ X 52. Mine had a slightly oily sheen to the wrapper, which made it quite smooth to the touch. The unlit aroma was faint on the wrapper; slightly less so at the foot with a bit of sweetness that reminded me of allspice. Both of mine delivered an outstanding draw – firm, but free. The flavors ranged from nutty to citrus to a sweet spice (akin but not identical to the allspice aroma before lighting). At times, the sweetness was accompanied by a savory “twang” that was reminiscent of some contraband cigars I might have had in the past. If you are into Dominican tobacco with the slightest touch of spice you should give these a try. I wouldn’t hesitate to keep a few around.
Finally, thanks to Ana at Cuenca Cigars, I had the chance to try the new Cuenca 5 Anniversary cigar. I published the press release from them last week, and will be posting a full review of the cigars later this week. Just as a teaser, I smoked the first one in preparation last night, and it was one of the best new cigars I’ve tried in a some time. I made mention of it over on The Cigarmy Facebook page, so I won’t rehash those comments here. I’ll only say that it was bold and spicy – but never approached being overwhelming. It remained remarkably flavorful. Full bodied and constructed superbly. Suffice it to say, if they are all as good as that one, Cuenca should have a great future with that cigar. So, stay tuned for the review – I should have it published by week-end.
4. Plans continue to progress for the new Show.
The only other news I have is that Craig and I are zeroing in on kicking off the new show. We have a tentative first-show date set for February 8th. There will be some big news between now and then with details on how we’ll be pushing the show out and some alliances that are forming for supporting the show (muhahaha). For the first show, I’ll be freshly back from my third trip down to the Dominican Republic to visit the Chateau de la Fuente and the CigarFamily Charitable Foundation for CFC 2013, so you don’t want to miss that.
Well, that about wraps it up for today. I hope you’re all having a great week and will stay tuned in to The Cigarmy.
Recent news from Cuenca, whose cigars I will be reviewing this upcoming week:
Monday, December 28th, 2012
Hollywood, Florida— Today, Miguel Cuenca has officially announced the upcoming release of Cuenca Cigar’s latest creation: the “Cuenca 5 Anniversary” cigar. The cigar is available for sale since December 2012.
“Cuenca 5 Anniversary”, is a medium to full body cigar with a full flavor profile accented with spicy notes. This blend has been specially chosen by Miguel Cuenca. Then, a group of five seasoned smokers at Cuenca Cigars of Hollywood, along with Ana Cuenca were part of the testing process. “This is how we do things at Cuenca Cigars”, said Ana Cuenca. We have reinforced our customers’ avid knowledge and palate by allowing them to freely experience the vast selection in our store. In turn, they have become even more sophisticated when making their next choice for a great smoke. When it came time to develop our cigar, we fully engaged them in the development process. Who better than our loyal customers to give us unbiased feedback!
Our goal was to blend a cigar with complexity and a lot of flavor. We did not want to come out with a mild blend; we love spicy and full bodied cigars. Even though, mild may be an easier sale; we want to be known and defined for offering a spicy and strong product. We also love to be “different”, in every possible way. Did you notice the absence of the “th” in 5? We like it like that way, and 5 is a great number for us.
“Cuenca 5 Anniversary” will have an initial batch of 500 boxes. All boxes will be signed by Miguel Cuenca. In 2013, a full line will be released using this same blend. More details will be released early next year.
“Cuenca 5 Anniversary” is a 7 x 54, Torpedo Box pressed, with carefully selected dark Habano wrapper from Nicaragua. It was aged and cured by AJ Fernandez the creator of San Lotano Cigars, a good friend of the Cuenca Family. They come in an elegant cedar box which contains 10 cigars.
Cigars will be initially available in 20 different cigar stores in the Continental U.S. and Europe. By mid 2013, the whole line will be available in 50 U.S. and European stores. The “Cuenca 5 Anniversary” line is a registered trademark of Cuenca Cigars TM and/or affiliated companies.
….the only place that will put up with your ash…..
1928 Harrison Street
Hollywood, FL 33020
954-364-7660 * Fax: 954-364-7661
Cuenca Cigars is a bar, a patio, a cappuccino bar situated adjacent to a “Members Only” Lounge. Enthusiasts gather for a great coffee, beer and wine at outside tables and signature cigars in lounge. Owners greet guests with a cigar in one hand and a fun attitude, providing cigars bars aren’t just a boy’s Club anymore. Their active Facebook page pitches promotions, drawings and comedy nights. It is truly an inviting aura that is unpretentious and sophisticated. Hollywood Gazette, 2011.