Tobacconist’s Review – Romeo by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room F25 Copla

RyJ Aging Room F25 Copla
Wrapper: Dominican-grown habano (Cibao Valley)
Binder: Dominican-grown habano (Cibao Valley)
Filler: Dominican-grown habano (Cibao Valley)

Body: Medium-full
Vitola: Robusto (5” x 48)

Manufacturer: Boutique Blends
Factory: Tabacalera La Palma
Distributor: Altadis, USA
Blender: Rafael Nodal, et. al.

Smoke time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Price: $10.49

We all have Facebook friends, those whom we’ve never met yet share intimate details of our personal lives with… Well, I have one Facebook friend that I really look forward to meeting someday in person, Rafael Nodal.

No, not the tennis player… The Rafael I’m referring to is one of the principals of Boutique Blends Cigar Company and one of the blenders of the new, let me see if I can get this right, Romeo by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room F25… Whew, that’s a mouthful. And, what’s with the “F25?” More on that in a moment…

I first “met” Rafael back in 2009. At the time, I was doing some work for a cigar company located in Miami and Rafael and Boutique Cigars had just released the first of their Aging Room lines, the M356. Even back then I was a cigar geek and sought Rafael out in order to learn as much as I could about his new cigars. I’m sure he must have entertained the thought of me being a stalker as I inundated him with question after question about Aging Room cigars, his other ventures such as Swag and Oliveros and many, many more. Let me tell you, he’s a trooper. He answered every single question and taught me more than I could have asked.

[Author’s note: Rafael is also a world class pianist and composer. Below you can hear him play his composition, “Renacer.”]

There are a lot of cigar makers that have wonderfully entertaining, often intriguing backstories, but I prefer Rafael’s. You see, Rafael came to the United States from Cuba as a teen during the Mariel Boat Lift of the 1980’s. Once here, he worked his way up in healthcare, earning his degree and landing a job in healthcare finance. He met his partner, Hank Bischoff, and his wife while working for a mental health facility and the three of them eventually took over Oliveros Cigars.

Building on the Oliveros company, Rafael and his partners came out with Swag Puro Dominicano, which is a story for another day, and the first Aging Room cigars, the M356. Both blends received great reviews and scored in the 90’s in Cigar Aficionado’s ratings. Since then, Boutique Blends has released several more cigars in the Aging Room line, all of which have met with acclaim.

[Author’s notes: The naming of most Aging Room cigars includes a letter/number combination, such as M356 or F25. These “codes” refer to the day of the week (M = Monday or F = Friday) and the day of the year (356th day of the year or 25th day of the year) that the cigar blends were created on. The fun part is trying to figure out exactly what date the blends were created on… Cigar math… Ready? Go!]

Now, to the cigar at hand…

For simplicity sake, and to spare my wrists further carpal tunnel swelling, I’ll refer to this one as the Aging Room F25.

At first glance, the Aging Room F25 commands you to take a second glance.

The packaging of this cigar is striking. From the high-gloss box with the gilded art cover to the gleaming bands on the cigars inside, you can tell that no expense was spared on this project. A small booklet included in the box describes the cigars and seems to be a very thoughtful touch.

The cigar itself, once the foot band, main band and protective paper sleeve are removed you are greeted by a deep brown, glossy and rather toothy wrapper covering what looks like (judging from the foot) a diverse filler bunch.

All of the tobacco used in this blend is from two farms located in the Cibao River Valley in the Dominican Republic. La Canela is the farm where most of the tobaccos used in Aging Room cigars grows under the watchful eye of black tobacco master, Jochy Blanco.

Physically, the cigar is perfect. Solid from head to foot with minimal veins showing on the wrapper and a perfectly mounted, slightly flattened head. The foot of the cigar gives off a faint chocolate aroma while the wrapper smells of fresh cut grass and well-fermented tobacco.

Cutting the cap of the Aging Room F25 was effortless using my Xikar Xi1 cutter and the initial cold draw was full and easy. Toasting the foot lightly brought out a nutty aroma with a bit of spice.

Bear in mind that this is a fuller bodied smoke, and the first few puffs of the Aging Room F25 were intense with a bold pepper note. This did tame significantly by the time I was ½ inch into the cigar but remained noticeable throughout the first half of the cigar. Once lit, the Aging Room F25 Copla produced a ton of very rich, very full-bodied smoke with little to no effort required on the draw.

Throughout the cigar the peppery notes remained, building and fading as I progressed. There are some sweet notes to the aroma and a predominant coffee character along with a characteristic I’ve found in other Aging Room cigars that I can’t quite put words to… A good characteristic; a nice tone.

The construction of the Aging Room F25 was spot on lighting easily and requiring no attention while resting. The cigar produces a somewhat flaky, bright white ash and held a burn line you could slice bread on. In fact, the cigar burned so well throughout I took a few extra photos… Picture perfect!

Aging Room F25 Copla

With Nicaraguan cigars and tobacco being the current rage, it’s nice to see a cigar maker that eschews trends and produces an outstanding cigar, and a puro at that, from the Dominican Republic, a cigar producer with an unfortunate reputation for making “mild” cigars.

By carefully blending well grown, properly processed tobaccos Rafael and the team at Boutique Blend Cigars have managed to create a full bodied, very flavorful, highly aromatic and quite complex cigar that I’m certain will follow its predecessors to the top of every cigar magazine’s “top” list.

Bottom line… The Romeo by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room F25 is an outstanding cigar that still comes in with a reasonable price and a wonderful story. Be sure to treat this cigar with the respect it deserves and enjoy after a good meal, and preferably with a good drink.

Good smokes!

Marty Klausmeier, CRT
Tobacconist – SmokesOnMain

The Huge Pipe Review – Part II

by Jose Ruiz

Read The Huge Pipe Review – Part I here…

Now we will jump right into another review with a tobacco followed by a pipe review on a new pipe to me so I will review the pipe as well.

MacBaren Solent Mixture pipe tobacco

The tobacco smoked is from MAC BAREN “The Solent Mixture”

Pipe used: Nordig Eriksen Egg # 2 Keystone pipe
Tobacco: Burley, Cavendish, Latakia, Virginia
Flavoring: Cocoa, Chocolate, Rum, Vanilla
Cut: Ribbon
Pack method: Franks method
Tin note: Sweet notes of vanilla, rum, fruit, grass.
Room note: Cocoa, nuts, light smokiness, some sweetness.
Strength: Medium
Taste: No vanilla tasted, slight wood smoke, nuts, some sweet notes.

Notes: Out of the tin the aroma is unusual. It reminds me somewhat of the famed Esoterica blends in its slight licorice notes. You don’t normally find the licorice used in most English blends as a part of the fermentation process. Perhaps its inclusion is because this isn’t a true English blend but more of an aromatic/English blend. Solent Mixture is ready to pack straight out of the tin and after the first 1/3 of the bowl it has a nice peppery note like you would get from a Perique but its a gentle spicy note. I personally don’t get any vanilla taste, but I noticed some rum flavor and the natural sweetness from the Virginia, as well as nuttiness from the Burley, finished by some light wood smoke from the Latakia. The most unique taste I get is a slightly sour note but it is in a pleasant way, refreshing like citrus fruit not sour like bad milk. During the last 1/3 of the bowl it remains a well-balanced smoke and the consistency in its blending helps maintain taste, strength, coolness, with no bitterness or tongue bite. So after all this what in a nutshell do I think of this blend?? Hmmm? For sure its a unique blend with pleasing aromas and flavors, nicely done blend for a aromatic/English blend, it’s worth a try if you never had it before and like something different to try. If you’re a purist of English or Balkan blends it may not be for you, or maybe it is, if your adventurous and willing to try something a little out of your purist English/Balkan box. The Solent Mixture is a nice blend either way you choose in my opinion.

Rate: 3.5 out of 5

Last, but by no means last of this review, is the pipe review I used for this tobacco review. I’ll get right down to the nitty-gritty of it.

The pipe I used is a NORDING ERIKSEN EGG #2 KEYSTONE PIPE

“ Eriksen pipes are the newest innovation from the brilliant mind of Erik Nording and feature a removable bowl that allows you to add Keystones into the base. The Keystones will absorb excess moisture for a cool, dry smoke. Each pipe is lightweight with a nice capacity bowl. Try one and you will automatically see the difference.”

Ok that is being said on a sellers website, so lets see how it really smokes. A canned product review from a marketing standpoint is nice but does it give an accurate portrayal of the product?  I’ll abuse it to see if it really does smoke well and cool. I normally don’t puff like a freight train but since it’s a test and review it needs to be done. It did get slightly warm but never hot where you can’t hold the pipe. The draw was great. Then I smoked it normally and yes it stayed cool and gurgle free as it trapped the moisture. So in a nutshell, yes their claims are true. I can see this being a great pipe, especially for aromatic lovers as most of the aromatics are moist to begin with. It will also be great for those that like to puff aggressively. I also noticed this pipe is also very lightweight and that can be a welcomed pipe for those that smoke as they work and love to clench there pipes no jaw fatigue noticed. The bowl can be removed very easily when you need to replace the keystones but yet is firmly in place. At no point does the bowl wiggle or feel loose. The aesthetics of the pipe look is classy yet functional. My only real draw back of the Nording Eriksen Egg #2, and it is a more personal preference is the straight stem. I hope they will also make them in a bent stem soon as I prefer a bent stem to a straight one. They do have different style bowls to choose from all in briar, which does allow for customization of the pipe. Maybe they can expand to also make the bowls in Meerschaum and different bowl materials in time. It’s a great pipe to have no matter what your doing and easy to care for as the bit comes off nicely to clean it as well as the shank. So maintenance shouldn’t be an issue. The only non-personal preference draw back I noticed was at the tip of the bit. They need to make sure to smooth it a bit more from the molding at the very tip, you can feel it and it is a little rough on the tongue.

Rate: 3 out of 5

Read The Huge Pipe Review – Part I here…

The Huge Pipe Review – Part I

by Jose Ruiz

Well I hope every one had a great and safe 4th of July.  I looked forward to a few days of relaxing and having fun, of which I did both. Today’s review will be a bit longer than normal, as I’ll be having several items in one big review. We are including some product reviews also in the mix; as well as two tobacco reviews and a new pipe in the line-up.

OK first will be on the product reviews as I got a really badly ghosted pipe from friend of mine and he couldn’t get rid of the ghost in the pipe. I’m sure your wondering what the hell is a ghosted pipe? Do I need to get an exorcist or what!!!!!! For those who aren’t aware, the meaning of a ghosted pipe is that whatever was smoked in it leaves an offensive smell and taste when you smoke it again. Some tobaccos can do this from time to time, especially some aromatics. It gets quite upsetting when you paid a respectable amount of cash for a quality pipe and all of a sudden can’t get the flavor and odor of a smoke out of it. My friend had tried to clean it as best as he could and still this pipe ghosted and so he gave it to me. I figured I have nothing to lose but time in trying to fix it.

The products I used on the ghosted pipe is DENI CLEAN, DECATOR HAZE-AWAY (stem oxidation remover), DECATOR SHINE-BRITE (stem polishing compound) both of which I picked up at Smokes on Main in West Bend, WI.

What I did first was ream out the bowl to as much bare briar as I can get without damaging the bowl with my reaming tool. Then I used bristle pipe cleaners to ream the shank with Deni Clean also, swapped it out with regular clean pipe cleaner soaked in Deni Clean and stuffed the bowl with cotton balls to just below the rim; soaked with enough Deni Clean to get it wet (if any gets on the outer part of the bowl wipe right away to prevent accidental removal of the stain or finish on the outside of the bowl). Let it all soak for a few hours, or better yet over night. Then remove the used cotton ball and you will see the gunk that came off with it. Wipe the inside of the bowl with a rag or paper towel till clean and as dry as possible. Now is also the time to remove the soaked pipe cleaner from the shank and pass a clean pipe cleaner through it till dry also. Let the pipe air dry over a day or two before smoking it. This way you know the pipe is all dry and free of chemical; did this for the stem also.

After all that I used the DECATUR HAZE-AWAY first then I used DECATUR SHINE-BRITE on the stem to rid of any oxidation, and shine the stem. For both products you just rub it on the stem and let it dry before using a rag to buff it out, like waxing your car back in the day. You will love the results visually on the stem and it leaves no bad after taste on the stem at all. Both products are very easy to use.

Drew Estate Meat Pie pipe tobacco

Now for the tobacco review, and I did use the pre-ghosted pipe for test purposes to see how the end results of these products work. The first tobacco I’ll be reviewing is from DREW ESTATE – MEAT PIE.

Pipe: Oom Paul full bent rusticated
Tobacco: Latakia, Oriental, Turkish, Virginia
Cut: Ribbon
Pack method: Pour and tap
Tin note: Nice campfire smokiness, natural sweetness, citrus, grassy notes.
Room note: Somewhat pungent from the Latakia with sweet grassy notes and nuances of fruitiness.
Strength: Medium- medium strong
Taste: Balanced blend that is also smooth and no bitterness, complex and rich.

Notes: I looked so forward to trying this blend as I have heard great things about it. The tin art is appealing and out of the tin it is ready to pack. The tin aroma is of a rich, complex, balanced blend as I can infer from all the different tobaccos that are in the tin; from the wonderful smokiness from the Latakia, the citrus notes of the Turkish/Orientals, the sweet grassy notes of the Virginias. I just can’t wait to light it up and taste them all. After the initial char light in my Oom Paul pipe I was amazed how good the taste is. It just pops on your tongue with all of the fantastic flavors from the blend and nothing overwhelms each other. So after the first 1/3 of the bowl the taste/flavor/strength remain constant and pleasant and balanced. There is absolutely no bitterness and it smokes cool, with no tongue bite. I’m enjoying it with a hot cup of coffee with cream and sugar; it pairs well and is blissful. Now for the last 1/3 of the bowl, guess what? It’s still a fantastic smoke through the whole bowl!!!! SOOOOOOOOOO all in all Meat Pie by DREW ESTATE makes me hungry for more and more!! I highly recommend this for all English lovers and lovers of Latakia and possibly even for new smokers who want to try English/Latakia blends. You won’t be disappointed!!!

Rated: 4 out of 5

Read The Huge Pipe Review – Part II here….

Tobacconist’s Review – San Lotano “The Bull” torpedo

San Lotano "The Bull" torpedo

Brand/Line:  San Lotano “The Bull”

Purchase date:  2/24/15

Smoke date: 6/22/15

Vitola: Torpedo

Size: 6 1/2 “ x 54

Purchase price:  $6.85 ea.

Packaging: Cellophane wrapped single

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Wrapper:  Ecuadorian Sumatra

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler blend:  Nicaragua

Manufacturer:  Tabacalera Fernandez

Blender:  Abdel J. Fernandez

Distributor:  AJ Fernandez Cigars

Appearance:  Beautifully done. Each cigar comes sleeved in cedar which has the bull’s head logo “branded” onto it and banded with the standard San Lotano band. The wrapper is a deep reddish-brown, almost colorado rosado, with a healthy sheen of oil and a very slight tooth. The cigars are slightly box pressed and look just gorgeous.

Construction:  The Bull feels great in the hand, thanks in part to the soft press of the cigar. Each stick feels well filled, not too soft, not to firm… but just right. The foot reveals several bunches of well placed filler tobaccos and the pointed head is shaped and finished to perfection.

Cut and light:  I was able to cut the head with ease using my Xikar Xi1 grip cutter. A soft light with a Bic lighter was all it took to get the foot glowing and the smoke underway.

The Smoke:  The initial puffs of the San Lotano The Bull are filled with pepper and woody notes. While rather intense for the first ½ inch or so, the pepper quickly subsides yet remains present in the background for the rest of the cigars. The cigar maintains a woody, earthy profile like most Nicaraguan cigars, but the Sumatra-seed wrapper contributes a layer of pleasant spice not usually found in Nicaragua tobacco.

The Bull smokes perfectly maintaining an even burn and immaculate burn line. The ash held for over an inch before I tapped it off. I was able to leave the cigar unattended for well over 5 minutes without ever having to re-light or touch it up, a testament to the great construction AJ Fernandez’s cigars are known for.

Smoke time:  1 hour, 15 minutes (I smoked this to the nub!)

Discussion: Billed as medium to full bodied, I find the San Lotano “The Bull” closer to the full-bodied end of the spectrum. While I wouldn’t recommend this cigar to a beginner, I think that as full-bodied cigars go, this is one of the most easily approached.

Why I like this cigar: With all of the Nicaraguan tobacco based blends hitting the market right now, it’s nice to find one that’s just a little bit different. The Sumatra-seed wrapper from Ecuador is one of my personal favorites for its ability to add a deep spiciness to the aroma of a cigar. In selecting this wrapper for The Bull, AJ Fernandez created another great “Nicaraguan” cigar that doesn’t taste like every other Nicaraguan cigar out there.

I’ve been a huge fan of AJ Fernandez work and we have featured several of his blends as “Featured Boutique Blends” this year already. I’m glad that we’re able to offer this blend too for it has a profile that is unique and unlike any other blend we offer.

Customer Review: Foundry Elements Cobalt Robusto by Thurston Howell IV

Foundry Elements - Cobalt robusto

Back again with a special stick from those strange folks at Foundry Cigars.

The Cobalt robusto, aka “The Goblin,” is from the Foundry Elements line created by master blender Michael Giannini. Now there’s not much info on any of the cigars he makes, but I can tell you that the Cobalt robusto is 5 ¼ x 54 and it contains Nicaraguan, Mexican and Mysterious tobaccos. The element the cigar derives its name from is used to build alloys and bring components together. The same can be said about this cigar because it brings all these different tobaccos together to make a truly unique smoking experience.

Things to notice when the cellophane comes off is the big band which is very cool looking that sticks with that steampunk vibe that all foundry cigar have. The cigar has a rather strong sent of cedar to it. The wrapper has a nice brown hue with no cracks in it. You’ll notice that cigar is more oval shaped then round, like it was box pressed. It cuts with no issues and has a good draw, one that’s not too tight but doesn’t feel like I’m drinking through a straw.

The first few puffs bring a whole assortment of flavors for you to discover. It has a taste of cedar and almonds, which is an unusual flavor combination, but it works. There’s also a slight acidic taste to it, which leaves a tingle on your tongue. There are some spicy notes that I can’t put my finger on. All together this is quite the flavor experience and we’ve only just started.

As I smoke more into this cigar the flavors seem to intensify, showcasing how the flavors work together. The ash is a nice white color and holds together well. I did notice an irregular burn line near the start of this cigar but it quickly corrected itself. This cigar also doesn’t need to be constantly watched while it burns. I’ve let it sit in the ashtray for a few minutes while I’ve worked on this review and it hasn’t needed to be relit. As I come to end of the Cobalt robusto, I’ve noticed a strong surge of spice bringing things to a nice end.

A few notes. I’ve noticed the smoke is relatively light so this could be a great social smoke. It is a mild-medium bodied smoke so even a beginner smoker would enjoy this little treasure. I would say this cigar lives up to its namesake and gives us something new, unlike anything else I’ve tried.

My hat is off to you Michael, You’ve once again made a cigar that truly one of a kind and I look forward to whatever brilliant creations you bring us next!

Customer’s Review: The Vega Fina Gran Toro by Thurston Howell IV

Vega Fina Nicaragua Gran Toro

It’s been awhile since my last written review and what a gem to be given. So let’s start with getting some facts out of the way. This blend comes in three different sizes: Corona (5 ¾ by 42), Robusto (5 by 50), and Gran Toro (6 by 52). I’ll be smoking the Gran Toro today, which is perfect for the lovely weather we’re having here in Wisconsin. This is a very reasonably priced cigar at only $6.05 per stick.

This is a Nicaraguan cigar all the way through, from the wrapper to the filler. The wrapper is a Nicaraguan Habano 2000, binder is Nicaraguan Seco, and the filler is Nicaraguan Ligero, Nicaraguan Viso, and Nicaraguan Seco. The wrapper is a nice dark tan color with a few veins and bumps. Upon smelling the foot of the cigar I get some subtle note of chocolate and cherry. The cigar cuts easily and has an excellent draw. Let’s light her up and see how she smokes.

As I take my first puff of this cigar the word that jumps to mind is spice. It hits the tongue and back of my throat hard. With each puff there is quite a large volume of smoke, probably because of the easy draw. After the few puffs it mellows out and brings in a subtle sweet taste. It really rounds out the flavors and makes for an enjoyable smoke. As I get through the first third of the cigar I notice how well the cigars burns. Nice and even. It’s been very well rolled to the point where the ash stays on the cigar without always needing to be knocked off or falling from its own weight.

About halfway through the cigar now and seems to have developed a black pepper taste. It’s quite interesting as far as flavors go. Overall I’d say its medium to full flavor but medium strength so not too harsh for every day smoking. As we come to the end of the smoke the flavors seemed to mellowed out but leave a nice tangy aftertaste. There were a few issues while smoking that I noticed. It liked to go out if you weren’t paying too close attention to it, which isn’t good if you’re trying to socialize. The smoke is very thick and likes to linger so it’s best to smoke outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. One problem my stick had is that the wrapper started to crack slightly as I got further into the cigar. I hope it was just my cigar and not all of them.

Overall I would say this is a fantastic smoke and it would be foolish to pass it up.

Tobacconist’s Review – Carolina Cigar Company Carolina – Carolina Corona #1 Cappuccino

The Carolina corona #1 cappuccino The Carolina corona #1 cappuccino packaging

Brand/Line: Carolina Cigar Company Carolina Corona #1 Cappuccino

Purchase date: 4/28/2015

Smoke date: 5/21/2015

Vitola: Long Corona

Size: 6” x 42

Purchase price: $3.49

Packaging: Cellophane wrapped singles in zip-lock package

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Wrapper: Cameroon

Binder:  Sumatra

Filler blend: Dominican Republic

Distributor: Carolina Cigar Company

Appearance: The cigar comes wrapped in cellophane and enclosed in a hermetically sealed zip-lock bag that maintains the cigar’s freshness. The cigar itself is wrapped in a dark, colorado maduro Cameroon wrapper that has a good degree of tooth and a nice glossy sheen of oil. The banding is traditional and gives the cigar a nice, classic look.

Construction: The cigar is well built if maybe just a bit soft. The draw was very easy without seeming “loose.” Overall the cigar felt spot on.

Cut and light: The head of the cigar cut easily with my Xikar Xi1 cutter and lit with ease using a single jet torch style lighter.

The Smoke: The Carolina Cigar Company Carolina Corona #1 Cappuccino begins with a mild body and a slightly sweet note to the finish over what is otherwise a very traditional tobacco flavor core. I did not get an overpowering sense of coffee or cappuccino, but the aroma was definitely there in the background. The Cameroon wrapper contributed a bit of mild spice to the aroma, which compliments the overall blend nicely.

By mid-cigar, the flavor and aroma intensified, however at no point did any one flavor become predominant nor did the body go much farther than mild-medium.

Smoke time: 40 minutes

Why I like this cigar: Those of you that know me know that I’m not a huge “flavored” cigar aficionado so you might want to sit down for this…

I love this cigar!

As flavored cigars go, this is in my opinion, one of the best-blended, well-balanced options around. The subtle sweetness contributed by the cappuccino compliments the blend of this cigar very nicely.

Truth be told, for the majority of the cigar I barely noticed the flavoring and enjoyed the cigar for just what it is… A very well done, mild to medium bodied premium cigar.

So, if you’re a flavored cigar fan, golfer looking for a good stick for the links, or just wanting to try something different, definitely give the Carolina Cigar Company Carolina Corona #1 Cappuccino a try!

P.s. We also offer this blend in Amaretto, Sambuca, and Carolina Fire flavor!

Check out all the blends online here….

M. Klausmeier, CRT
Tobacconist – SmokesOnMain

The real effect of the FDA’s proposed legislation

Unbeknownst to the great majority of Americans, the US government is preparing to declare an all out war on tobacco and tobacco products.

Beginning with the Tobacco Control Act of 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration has taken on the role of “tobacco cop” and is currently in the process of trying to expand their authority.  Under the newest legislation to be proposed by the FDA are several new regulations that will directly and severely affect the premium cigar industry and the fallout could be dire.

Under the proposed regulation, FDA will have the authority to force cigar manufacturers to submit their blends to the FDA for product approval.  On the surface this may sound fine, but bear in mind that the FDA is currently thousands of applications behind on these approvals and there will be a significant cost to manufacturers should the regulation take affect.  Additionally, any cigar blend introduced since 2009 will have to go through the same product approval process as new blends.  This will result in a huge cost to cigar manufacturers.

In addition, under FDA’s proposed regulation, a “premium cigar” will be defined by price rather than compostion.  The FDA’s proposed price point to meet the criteria as a “premium” is $10.00 per cigar.  Those of you that enjoy fine, handmade cigars will know all to well that a $10 price point means that the majority, some estimate upward of 80%, of premium cigars sold now will not meet the requirement.  The solution, according to FDA, is simply to increase the price of every cigar to $10.  Unfortunately, this move would put the enjoyment of a premium cigar out of the reach of many Americans who simply cannot afford a ten dollar cigar.  This, to me, is a perfect example of “classism” wherein the rich and well to do that can afford expensive cigars go unaffected while the average American Joe goes without.  How terribly un-American….

And, while these regulations sound terrible there is another regulation that I can actually show you; the regulation that stipulates that the majority of premium cigar packaging displays “graphic health warnings.”

Acorta su vida

“Fumar acorta la vida” – Smoking shortens your life

 

Venta prohibida a personas menores de edad.

“Para venta exclusiva en Costa Rica. Venta prohibida a personas menores de edad” – Exclusively for sale in Costa Rica. Sale to minors prohibited.

 

Mortalidad

“Los fumadores tienen una mortalidad 80% mayor respecto a los no fumadores.” Smokers have an 80% higher mortality compared to non-smokers.

 

Health warning - Smoking affects your health

“Fumar afecta su salud” – Smoking affects your health

Check out this link to an excellent piece about the proposed FDA regulations on TownHall.com….

Pipe Tobacco Review – Frog Morton by McClelland

Hope every one had a great weekend! The weather was sunny and pleasant here. Main Street Pipers-pipe club had their first club meeting at SmokesOnMain in West Bend, WI. It was a great time for everyone and I can’t wait till the next meeting.

Marty from SmokesOnMain asked me to review one of the new blends at the shop and of course I said yes!!! So for tonight’s review and for your enjoyment will be McClelland’s Frog Morton.

Pipe: Eric Berks freehand briar

Tobacco: Latakia, Virginia

Cut: Ribbon, rough cut

Tin aroma: Frog Morton had the aroma of a nice earthy fireplace with a hint of Virginia natural sweetness. Overall, it was rich with slight citrus notes in the background. It also had leather notes.

Pack method: 3 tier method

Taste: The flavor was smooth and rich with slightly sweet citrus notes. The smoke itself had a hard wood smoke aroma, that builds in strength more you smoke, with less sweetness and more body and richness thereby losing its citrus nuances.

Strength: Medium to medium full

Room notes: It has a nicely rich earthiness with hard wood smoke that lends in the beginning a sweetness of the Virginia. Over time, that builds to a fuller strength of wood smoke.

Notes: The tin art looks whimsical; funny, yet nicely done. I found the tin notes of the Latakia are forward with the natural sweetness in the background. It packs well right out of the tin. The first half of my bowl I noticed a medium taste of the natural sweetness with citrus nuances in the background. On the last half of the bowl I noticed the sweetness/citrus notes fading more as the Latakia is building more of its smokiness and strength to medium full. Through out the smoke had no gurgling or tongue bite. Frog Morton is a smooth, cool smoke as long as you smoke it slow. I guess Frog Mortons original in it series is a very good blend to compare with the others in its series. For that reason, I can’t wait to try the other Frog Mortons. I recommend this English blend for its flavor, med/medium full, and ease to smoke. If you never had Frog Morton original I recommend it for sure!!!!!!

Rate: 3.5 out of 5

Keep on puffin!!!
The Piper

The Good Wife’s Review:

Well kids, my husband has smoked this twice today. The first time I was really nicely surprised. But before I even get that far, let me tell you the tin note and room aroma are both quite strong. I wouldn’t suggest smoking this blend inside unless you are right next to an open door, and even then, smoke a short bowl please. Frog Morton has a very strong mesquite barbeque aroma for me. Which, once again, outside is fabulous but inside it can overpower quickly and destroy the ability to sit comfortably in an enclosed space. It also reminds me, oddly enough; of the first time you open a package of beef jerky. It has that rich, smoky, beefy scent. Lastly, during the first run with this tobacco I detected a rich buttery note, which I found very pleasing. It reminded me of butter melted over corn on the cob but without the added corn sweetness. Now, for the second take. Once again, it was strong and barbeque laden with hints of meat and butter so that didn’t change one bit. However, for whatever reason I found it overwhelming this time. My lungs didn’t like it nearly as well. In fairness hubby had tried another blend in between the two bowls of Frog and it had been a good five hours between them so maybe I was just smoked out for the day. Because of this second experience I would state, Frog Morton is a nice blend of outdoorsy smells that should work well at a picnic or out on the patio. I would not recommend it inside in the dead of winter, unless you like sitting inside the smoker at a barbeque restaurant.

P.S. I will further state that my cat, who was sleeping near him, agrees as by the end of my husbands bowl the poor cat had a sneezing fit the likes of which I have never seen before.

Pipe Tobacco Blind Review – Montego Bay @SmokesOnMain

This is the second of three initial pipe tobacco reviews written by our pipe smoking friend and founder of the Main Street Pipers Pipe Group, Jose Ruiz.

We gave Jose three unmarked bags of our SmokesOnMain premium pipe tobaccos to sample without a bit of info on the blends. This blend, #1 to Jose, is our Montego Bay pipe blend manufactured by Altadis, USA.

And now, a look into the mind of Jose……

Ok, weather is getting better as the week goes by, so I’m here for your viewing enjoyment. Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite drink. Tonight’s blind review from SmokesOnMain is on Bag # 1

Pipe: Torino Apple briar

Pack method: Plug

Tobacco: Yellow/gold Virginia, light Burley, topped with what I believe to be rum, or bourbon /whiskey

Bag Aroma: Nice sweetness for an aromatic from the Virginia and burley with nuances of a buttered rum /light nutty coconut aroma.

Taste: Not cloyingly sweet, has body, richness, and complexity. Noticed a brown butter taste in the background. The rum/bourbon is not very strong but has some hints of it.

Strength: Medium

Room Aroma: Pleasant with warm buttery rum . In the background I noticed a delightful nutty caramel coconut aroma.

Notes: The tobacco aroma not overly sweet but is pleasing to your senses. Ready to pack, stayed lit with a cool complex rich smoke. Towards the last 3rd of the bowl it started to produce some tongue bite, so make sure you smoke it slow to reduce it. Room aroma is pleasant with a buttery rum coconut hints. I recommend this for a good aromatic with some nice body and richness that also produces a pleasant aroma.

Rate: 4out of 5

Keep on puffin !!!!
The Piper

The Wife’s Review:

My husband and his friend lit this tobacco a minute ago. Sitting here I got a whiff of a rich caramel sweet crème brulee. It wasn’t a sickeningly sweet smell. Rather it was rich and unctuous with vanilla notes that surprised the senses. I bet it would be fun to sit here on a summer day with an icy glass of homemade lemonade and some simple butter shortbread cookies and chat the afternoon away. I would rate this blend as “summer smoking”. I will definitely enjoy this on a lazy August afternoon, chilling with good friends, avoiding the heat with a cold drink. Or better yet, on a blanket, with a picnic basket overflowing with goodies, lounging out by the lake, under a tree. I guess I’ll have to hide the rest of this bag in the picnic basket without telling the husband, that way we can enjoy it on a hot, lazy August afternoon.