Top Cigars of 2014

Cigar and Spirits Magazine has just released their top 20 cigars for 2014 and this year’s #1 Cigar is the Norteno blended by Willy Herrera for Drew Estate Cigars.

Great news! We just received our first shipment of Norteno in both the robusto and toro sizes.

We have the Oliva Serie V Melanio, Cigar Aficionado’s #1 Cigar of 2014, on order and expected any day as well!

So very soon, we’ll have two of this year’s #1 Cigars of the Year ready for you to smoke.

And we’re happy to say that you can smoke quite a few other Top 20 Cigars from Cigar and Spirit’s 2014 list of amazing cigars at SmokesOnMain.

Right now, we have several of the top brands in stock, Including….

#15  JC Newman – Brick House Mighty Maduro

#13  Ventura Cigar Company – PsyKo Seven Gordito

#10  Padilla – Vintage Reserve

#8  Arturo Fuente – Anejo Reserva 48

#5  Rocky Patel – Vintage 1990 Torpedo

#4  Altadis USA – H. Upmann 1844 Reserve

AND now in stock….

#1  Drew Estate – Norteño by Willy Herrera

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Tobacconist’s Review: Oliva Serie V Lancero

The Oliva Serie V Lancero

The Oliva Serie V Lancero

Brand/Line: Oliva Serie V

Purchase date: December 20, 2014

Smoke date: December 20, 2014

Vitola: Lancero

Size: 7” x 38

Purchase price: $6.65

Packaging: Cellophane wrapped single

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Wrapper: Nicaraguan sun-grown habano

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler blend: Nicaraguan ligero (Jalapa Valley) and other Nicaraguan tobaccos

Manufacturer: Tabacalera Oliva de Esteli

Distributor: Oliva Cigar Company

Appearance: The Oliva Serie V lancero is wrapped in a rich, nearly rosado sun-grown wrapper. The wrapper has an oily sheen to it and has just a bit of tooth. The Serie V lancero is finished with a traditional cap rather than the “rabito” head commonly found on lanceros. The banding is minimalist with browns, reds and gold. In all, the Serie V is a great looking stick.

Construction: Lanceros are notoriously difficult to roll. The small ring gauge means that every single leaf must be positioned perfectly to provide ample draw, and the Oliva Serie V lancero is the picture of perfection. Solid yet not overly stiff, the cigar feels great in the hand and somehow, elegant.

Cut and light: Cutting the Serie V lancero is simple and the well-mounted head ensures that the cigar will maintain its integrity while smoked. The smaller ring gauge requires very little to get going and lit with a few passes of a single jet, torch lighter.

The Smoke: The Serie V produces some of the most complex and refined tastes and aromas of any cigar available in the world. The rich, oily habano wrapper contributes a spicy and leathery note to aroma while the filler blend brings flavors of coffee, nuts, and a bit of earth.

The blend produces a very smooth smoke despite its outright strength. Being a lancero, this cigar can overheat easily so taking one’s time is a must in order to fully appreciate all of the cigars qualities.

Smoke time: 45 minutes

Why I like this cigar: The Oliva Serie V is not, let me just say that again, NOT a cigar for a beginner. Not to put anyone off, but if you don’t have a moderately high tolerance for nicotine, you won’t be able to appreciate this cigar fully.

That being said, the Serie V is a very full-bodied, very flavorful cigar with an amazing aroma. All those 90+ ratings from Cigar Aficionado can’t be wrong… (Right?)

Nicaragua produces some of the richest black tobaccos in the world right now and the Serie V is one of the best examples of what can be done with high quality tobacco in the hands of a true master blender.

The habano wrapper delivers an amazing array of aromas and when combined with the rich fillers, produces a great mouth feel with a long lasting finish.

I like the lancero vitola particularly because in this small ring gauge, the aroma from the wrapper really shines through. (Those of you who’ve had a chance to talk with me know I favor smaller ring gauges just for this reason!)

Oh the whole, at under $7.00, the Oliva Serie V lancero is one of the best premium cigar bargains out there. Better yet? The come 36 to a box making a box purchase one amazing deal! I can’t think of another, multi-90+ rated cigar that can be bought in boxes of 36 for less than 7 bucks a stick.

Bargain hunters, full-bodied enthusiasts, this cigar is for you!

M. Klausmeier
Tobacconist – SmokesOnMain

Vaping Basics: It’s All In The Blend

Usually, when I write about a “blend” I’m discussing the mixture of black tobaccos that make up a premium cigar. Today however, we’re talking about the blend of propylene glycol and vegetable glycol used to prepare an e-liquid used for vaping.

Propylene glycol (PG) is an organic compound which is liquid, colorless, nearly flavorless with a slight sweetness. Because PG readily mixes with other liquids it makes a great base for our e-liquid. PG is also used in the preparation of many other daily items including some foods and medicines. PG is generally considered “safe” for human consumption and forms the base for many inhaled medications like asthma inhalers.

Vegetable glycol (VG) or glycerin is a naturally occurring compound derived from plants. Like PG it is also colorless, odorless, and nearly tasteless with a sweet flavor. VG is also used in many products we use daily and is also a common ingredient in medicines. Like PG, VG is generally considered safe for human consumption and is used in many food products.

E-liquids are created by blending PG and VG, in differing ratios, and adding flavorings, sweeteners, and often nicotine. Since both compounds are viscous (thick) liquids, it takes longer for the liquids to evaporate and when heated each produces a large amount of steam (vapor).

By mixing PG and VG in different amounts, manufacturers (and consumers) can control the amount of vapor produced by a particular liquid as well as controlling the amount of “throat hit” the user experiences.

While each manufacturer tweaks their e-liquids for a particular profile, here are some general guidelines that will help you in selecting the best blend for you.  (Ratios list amount of PG first, VG content second)

100% PG – produces a very strong “throat hit” and a clean flavor with very little vapor production

80%/20% – mixed using 80% PG and 20% VG this blend still produces a fairly strong “throat hit” but yields better vapor production from the VG

70%/30% – a very common blend which produces some “throat hit” and good vapor production

50%/50% – evenly mixed, PG and VG produce ample vapor with a noticeable “throat hit”

40%/60% – delivers substantial vapor with minimal “throat hit” and more sweetness

30%/70% – very good vapor production with minimal “throat hit” and more sweetness

20%/80% – very thick vapor production with very small amount of “throat hit” and even more sweetness

100% VG – amazing vapor production with no noticeable “throat hit” and a predominate sweetness

To sum it all up, the higher the concentration of PG, the more “cigarette” like the vaping experience will be with noticible “throat hit.” Increase the amount of VG and the vapor production goes up, “throat hit” goes down, and sweetness increases.

We hope this helps you better understand the complexities of creating an e-liquid and makes your next shopping experience at SmokesOnMain easier and more enjoyable.

Vape On!

Tobacconist’s Review: Joya de Nicaragua Red Toro

JdN Red Toro

Brand/Line: Joya de Nicaragua Red

Purchase date: 5 January, 2015

Smoke date: 5 January, 2015

Vitola: Toro

Size: 6” x 52

Purchase price: $7.05

Packaging: Cellophane wrapped single

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler blend: Nicaraguan (Jalapa, Condega, and Esteli)

Manufacturer: Joya de Nicaragua

Blender: Juan Ignacio Martínez

Distributor: Drew Estate

Appearance: The Joya de Nicaragua Red uses bold colors and big bands to really announce this cigar. The Nicaraguan habano wrapper gleams with oil and shows a slight amount of tooth. Overall, the Joya Red is a very appealing looking cigar.

Construction: The Joya Red feels solid in the hand and well rolled. There were no hard or soft spots and the wrapper was applied nearly seamlessly. Overall, the Joya Red is a great looking cigar.

Cut and light: I cut the Joya Red using my Xikar Xi2 grip cutter and was able to produce a perfect cut. The cold draw is flawless, with just a slight resistance. After toasting the foot, the Joya Red toro light easily using a single-jet torch style lighter.

The Smoke: Unlike most Joya de Nicaragua cigars, the Joya Red hit and stayed in the medium body range from the start. The smoke is creamy and slightly sweet with spicy notes through the nose.   The spiciness increases a bit as the cigar is smoked, but never becomes overwhelming while the blend remains medium bodied throughout. As the cigar progresses, the aroma remains spicy, but other tones such as a slight floral aroma and a woody/nutty flavor develop keeping the blend from becoming singular or predictable.

Smoke time: 55 minutes

Why I like this cigar: I’ve been a longtime fan of Joya de Nicaragua cigars. For pure, unadulterated strength with amazing flavor and finish, it’s hard to be a Joya de Nicaragua 1970 Antano…

But, the Joya de Nicaragua Red is not about full on, in your face strength. Rather, the Joya Red delivers a flavorful and very aromatic blend without kicking your teeth in… Joya Red is all about balance.

The initial bit of the cigar does produce some rather bold spiciness through the nose, but this tempers as the smoke progresses. It’s the aroma that cinches the deal for me.

The Joya Red does a magnificent job of bringing great taste, plus wonderful aromas together while maintaining a medium body and it does so with a great price.

At seven bucks and a nickel, the Joya de Nicaragua Red provides at least an hour of fine smoking pleasure that can easily be enjoyed by fans of milder blends as well as full-bodied aficionados.

M. Klausmeier
Tobacconist – SmokesOnMain