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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

THE

BEST OF 2017

Collector’s Edition

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH SAMMY HAGAR AND ADAM LEVINE


KETEL ONE SPREAD

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

LINCOLN SALAZAR CEO & Publisher RANDY MASTRONICOLA Editor-in-Chief JOE REDMOND Art Director BREAHNA WHEELER Editorial Assistant CODY CHO Cigar & Spirits Web MIKE GOLDBERG Cigar & Spirits Online CHRISTOPHER BEDEROV Account Executive SHAHID GHANI Chief Financial Officer NATALIE NICOL In-House Legal

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Joe Bosso, Julie Harrington Giffin, Nick Hammond, Elisa Jordan, Dave Johnson, Kevin Kenney, Randy Mastronicola, Greg Mays, Gerard Papa, Audrey Pavia

A L I N CO L N B L A K E S A L A Z A R P U B L I C AT I O N Editorial, Production and Sales Office Headquartered at: 1 Columbia, Suite 120, Aliso Viejo, CA (949) 599-2761

Cigar & Spirits is published bi-monthly by Top Hat Media Group, Please send address changes to Cigar & Spirits, P.O. Box 37185 Boone, IA 50037-0185. ©2018 by Top Hat Media Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from this issue in whole or in part is strictly prohibited. For subscription inquiries or change of address: Cigar & Spirits, P.O. Box 37185, Boone, IA 50037-0185; (800) 542-1600, Fax: (515) 433-1013. Subscription rate is $19.99 for 6 issues; $32.99 for 12 issues. Canadian and foreign surface, add $6 extra per year payable in U.S. funds. Single copy price is $5.99. Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for new subscriptions to begin. When changing address, give six weeks’ notice and address label from latest copy as well as new address with zip code. Occasionally, we make our subscriber list available to carefully screened companies that offer products and services that we believe would interest our readers. Please view our Privacy Policy at tophatmediagroup.com/privacypolicy.html. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40612608, Registration No. R126851765. Return undeliverable Canadian Addresses to: IMEX Global Solutions, P. O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2, CANADA. Printed in the U.S.A. January 2018 Volume 8/Issue 1 For Advertising: Advertising@CigarandSpirits.com To Contact Us for Questions & Comments email: CustomerService@CigarandSpirits.com Letters to the Editor: Feedback@CigarandSpirits.com

Cigar & Spirits Magazine

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CONTENTS

ON THE COVER

36

SAMMY HAGAR AND ADAM LEVINE

Kindred Spirits by Joe Bosso

BEST of 2017

48

WORLD SPIRITS COMPETITION

58

TOP 20 CIGARS

64

TOP 20 BOUTIQUE CIGARS

LIFESTYLE

12

STYLING LIKE AN ICON

Timeless Celeb Inspired Fashion by Dave Johnson

36

VICES

32

ON THE COVER

HAGAR & LEVINE

FEATURED PAIRINGS

Phenomenal Cigar & Spirits Pairings by Greg Mays

84

WINTER COCKTAILS

It Was Love at First Sip by Julie Harrington Giffin

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SEINFELD AND CIGARS

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 FEATURES

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SEINFELD AND CIGARS

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TRAGIC COURAGE

Puffy Shirts, Low Talkers and the Cigars of Seinfeld. by Randy Mastronicola

ALSO...

COMEDY TONIGHT!

Something familiar, something peculiar, something for everyone, a comedy (and cigars) tonight… by Randy Mastronicola

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PLUGGED CIGARS

Rescue Your Tough Draw Sticks by Gerard Papa

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TRAGIC COURAGE

102

The World of F. Scott Fitzgerald: Jazz, Prohibition, Flappers and American Literaturet by Elisa Jordan

DAN TYMINSKI

84

90

WINTER COCKTAILS

AMSTERDAM CIGAR SCENE

On Your Bike and Loving Every Bit of It by Nick Hammond

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STYLING LIKE AN ICON

THE BEST OF THE WEST

Pendleton Whisky Meets the Smith Fork Ranch by Audrey Pavia

INTERVIEWS

94

BEST OF THE WEST

102

THE CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE Q&A WITH DAN TYMINSKI

Alison Krauss & Union Station Member Flies Solo by Kevin Kenney

108

BEHIND THE LEAF

A Conversation with Chris Ferdico and Scott Jansen of Warfighter Cigars by Joe Bosso

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE The issue you have in your hand is our biggest one every year because we get to look back at the hundreds to thousands of cigars and spirits we smoked and sampled from our staff to our blind tasting panels. Most importantly, it gives our readers an expert rundown of the world’s very best cigars and spirits of 2017 for them to sample.

“So sorry for your bad news,” says the concerned neighbor. “Good news, bad news, who can say?” the farmer replies.

Cigar & Spirits Magazine is the only publication that has an anonymous, non-biased blind tasting panel with over 100 years combined experience in each category. They are the most intricate tasting panels in the world. As you read through this issue you will find the very “Best of 2017.” These are brands that rate the highest throughout the year. Whether it be in our spirits competition or cigar rating panels. After they have been through the rating panel throughout the year, the top qualifiers are then placed back into the panel all starting blind again, and then rated and voted on to narrow down to the top 20 cigars and best spirits of the year. Now, there are many great cigars and spirits out there, and it is not easy narrowing it down to only 20, but based off our panel and staff of experts here is what we present to you this Annual Collector’s Issue of the Best Cigars & Spirits in the world.

In a week or so, the emperor’s men come and take every ablebodied young man to fight in a war. They come to take the farmer’s son to war where 1 in 2 soldiers were killed. The farmer’s son is spared….

As we celebrate another new year and dive into the best Cigar & Spirits of 2017, I also like to sit back, put my feet up, pour myself a Scotch, and light myself a cigar and reflect on the past year. The good, the bad, the excitement, the lessons taught, and most importantly, the laughs and moments shared with our loved ones. I find each year at that stroke of midnight as the year changes we hear everyone celebrating yelling, screaming, kissing, and cheering their drinks. I always like to take a quick moment of silence and look around and just watch everyone. I like to see everyone as their eyes and face show so many emotions. As I look around I see people with excitement, love, dreams, and most of all hope; hope for a new start, hope for a new chance, hope for a better year and most of all hope for another year. To be honest with you, every year at that stroke of midnight, after I look around and see the happiness on people’s faces, and the hope, I get teary-eyed. It brings me so much joy to see this. I feel so blessed for another year, but most of all, for what possibly may lie ahead and the joy I hope to bring people the next year. Call me a hopeless romantic but I do believe in that stroke of midnight being magical. It’s a moment across the world shared universally rather than as Christian, Muslim, American, North Korean, Black, White, Brown, Yellow or Pink. We all celebrate looking to the future and a new hope for another year. This year a real Chinese proverb stuck with me and it goes like this…and I really took a a lot of time to reflect and take this in as the big picture in life it works in so many ways. Here it is: In the ancient Chinese days to have a horse was like being a rich man. It was a very big accomplishment. A Chinese farmer gets his first horse one day and the next day it runs away. A neighbor says to the farmer, “That is bad news.” The farmer replies, “Good news, bad news, who can say?” Three days later the horse comes back and brings 2 more horses with him. The neighbor says, to the Chinese farmer “That is Great news!” The Chinese farmer replies “good news, bad news? Who can say” The farmer gives the second horse to his son, who rides it, then is thrown and badly breaks his leg.

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Good news bad news who can say.... As I now take a sip of my scotch and puff on my cigar, this taught me about being humble, about destiny and how you never know that you may be rich one day, poor the next...Good news, bad news, who’s to say? This year, let’s reflect on how we treat one another. Did we pass judgement? Did we show unconditional love? Did we act as gentleman? Well, gentlemen let’s live our next year with humility, as men of tolerance, an understanding heart, and most of all, unconditional love and peace. This New Year I raise my glass, tip my cigar, and wish you and your families health, peace, love and joy in 2018. I thank you with a humble heart for all the years and support for helping me build my dream here at Cigar & Spirits Magazine. I would be nothing without the fans, staff and support of Cigar & Spirits Magazine. God bless 2018. Here’s to another year. Cheers!

Sincerely, Lincoln B. Salazar CEO/Publisher Follow on Instagram

@cigarandspiritsmagpublisher


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10 years ago we crafted a cigar for those who value Substance over Style and demand absolute satisfaction. Liga Privada is the no compromise, no short-cuts taken best cigar you have ever smoked, and we strive for that level of perfection, every single day. - Jonathan Drew

Celebrating 10 Years of No Compromises. W W W . D R E W E S T AT E . C O M WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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LIFESTYLE

STYLING LIKE AN ICON

TIMELESS CELEB INSPIRED FASHION by Dave Johnson

Whenever we choose to dress better, we inevitably look to other men as our fashion examples. Maybe it was family or friends, but often we’re influenced by characters in movies or television, famous Hollywood actors in magazine pictorials, or musicians from your favorite bands. Every magazine has articles on their favorite best-dressed men, past or present, but we plan to do one better. Let’s not just talk about the men who wore the clothes; let’s talk about some of the clothes they wore. Hopefully some of these suggestions tickle your fashion-bone, and you can look even better than your style heroes.

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Photos courtesy of Getty Images

THE BEATLES >>Liverpool by Allen Edmonds ($445)

The Beatles changed styles frequently throughout their career, navigating between classic, contemporary and hippie psychedelic fashion. But their shoe choice started a trend that has legs to this day. In their early years (Ed Sullivan Show era), you’ll see their iconic mop-tops, velvet collar suits, ties and their shoes: Chelsea boots, a slip-on

boot without laces. The best modern choice of these boots is still the Liverpool by Allen Edmonds ($445). It brings the classic Fab Four style and adds impeccable construction and modern aesthetics. If you want to add more Beatles points to your look, grab the Hermes Tricot de Soie 2 Temps tie ($140). It’s thin and black, as per The Beatles, and it’s woven for added texture.


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>>One Star Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket by Schott ($735)

MARLON BRANDO

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

JAMES BOND We all have our favorite James Bond actor. But regardless of who fits the role, Bond has always been on the bleeding edge of high fashion. His well-known tuxedo is a Bond staple, but his fashion sense also extends to his choice of watches. Throughout the films, Bond has either worn Rolex or Omega—most recently, the trend has been Omega. For Daniel Craig’s iteration, the choice was the Omega Seamaster 300 Master CoAxial ($5,800), which was inspired by the watch issued to Britain’s Royal Navy in the 60s. The watch is well-made, luxurious and is essential for any serious watch enthusiast.

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Arguably Marlon Brando’s most iconic look is from The Wild One, where he wears a simple white t-shirt and black leather jacket while perched on his Triumph motorcycle. Finding a great white tee is surprisingly difficult, since most are undershirts. Rivay, however, has nailed it. Their 100% Cotton Slub Jersey Pocket T-shirt ($45) is perfect. With its textured slub, slim fit, and the much-needed pocket, it will never look like an undershirt and will always look rebellious and cool. As for the jacket, there are many asymmetrical leather jackets, but the One Star Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket by Schott ($735) is the jacket Brando brandished for the film. It’s the jacket. It’s made in the USA with a thick, heavyweight steer hide that will last the long haul. Now, just go find the motorcycle.


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Only Four Roses handcrafts 10 distinct and extraordinary Bourbon recipes then mingles them by hand to create our family of award-winning Bourbons. ®

Since 1888. FourRosesBourbon.com

Be mellow. Be responsible. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

AL PACINO If you look at pictures of Al Pacino, you’ll immediately notice a trend. Pacino loves the color black. Whether it’s a sweater, t-shirt, or black-on-black suit, black is his color. And if black is your color, Ministry of Supply has you covered with their Apollo 3 Dress Shirt ($115). The shirts are made of some sort of magical unicorn material that is stretchy, breathable, comfortable and wrinkly resistant. While some companies don’t get the color black quite black enough, the Apollo 3 is very dark and saturated, and is the perfect Pacino piece.

CARY GRANT

>>Apollo 3 Dress Shirt ($115)

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Legions of style-conscious men have long been Cary Grant fans. He was an obvious choice for this article, because his fashion sense is still revered by many. The man knew how to wear a suit, our first suggestion. Grant liked gray, pin-stripe suits with broad, peaked lapels. And Tom Ford suits are the best choice here, marrying classic and modern—specifically the Grey Stripe Shelton Suit ($3,990), Cary Grant personified. Grant also loved smelling good, and the perfume house of Creed created a scent for him called Green Irish Tweed ($425)— which smells fantastic. Green Irish Tweed is a bright, fresh, green scent with notes of iris, verbena, sandalwood, and ambergris, and is one of the best masculine fresh scents in existence. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

>>Grey Stripe Shelton Suit ($3,990)

>>Creed’s Green Irish Tweed ($425)


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Photo courtesy of Getty Images

WARREN BEATTY It seems that few actors can pull off the preppy-chic look quite like Warren Beatty. While Beatty is somewhat of a chameleon of fashion, his East Coast, Ivy League, elite style is a beloved classic. For this look, go with the Harding Reverse French Terry Crewneck Sweatshirt by Rivay ($118). This sweatshirt isn’t like the frumpy sweats you’re used to. It’s buttery soft, comfortable, and is easy to dress up with a polo or oxford, and dress down with some joggers. The natural white color gives it that extra uppity quality. Match this with a pair of Chromexcel Natural Boat Shoes from Gustin ($180), the best modern, preppy shoe out there, which will age and change color as you break them in—marvelous. Take this look to your second Cape Cod vacation home.

>>Hermes H Cretois scarf ($740)

MILES DAVIS Many old-school jazz musicians were great dressers, and they mostly wore suits while playing. Miles Davis did too, but he also liked to dress down a bit in more relaxed attire. And he still looked snazzy. For this look, go with the Hudson Japanese Cotton Chambray Popover by Rivay ($148). It’s a mixture of dressy and casual, and looks great both ways. And it’s light and breathable, which is great for those sweltering barroom gigs. Davis was fond of wearing scarves, so for the full look, go get the Hermes H Cretois scarf ($740), made from cotton and silk. It’s the perfect, high-quality accent note to your jazzy look.

>>Hudson Japanese Cotton Chambray Popover by Rivay ($148) Photo courtesy of Getty Images

ROBERT REDFORD

Some folks just aren’t city people. They revel in the slow time of the open prairie or pasture and they love western-styled apparel. Robert Redford personifies that guy. Though he dresses up just as fine as any city-slicker, his best style has always been a little bit country. Rivay’s Irving Indigo Denim Western Shirt ($148) is the perfect shirt here, being western in influence, but modern in application. Even if you’re a yokel not into cowboy hats, you’ll still love this tough shirt. Of course, you can’t have a cowboy without the boots. That’s why you need The Wyatt boots by Tecovas ($355). They feature handmade, high-quality cowboy boots, many of them made of exotic leathers. These are made from ostrich. Whether you’re a tenderfoot or a wrangler, you’ll want a pair of these. Both choices are fantastic, ensuring that perfect cowboy style is two whoops and a holler.

Dave Johnson is a fragrance reviewer, critic and entertainer on the popular YouTube channel Fragrance Bros. To see more, visit www.FragranceBros.com.

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>>Rivay’s Irving Indigo Denim Western Shirt ($148)

>>The Wyatt boots by Tecovas ($355)


FOUR OF A KIND, UNIQUELY DIFFERENT. Introducing the full line of Pendleton® Whisky products. From the uncommonly smooth taste and rich, complex flavor of our original Pendleton Whisky, to the new ultra-premium Directors’ Reserve, a whisky aged for 20-years in American oak barrels, the 90-proof Pendleton Midnight, with notes of leather and warm spices and the rich notes of tobacco, charred oak and butterscotch with a spicy rye kick offered by Pendleton 1910, we’re sure to have a whisky that suits your taste. To learn more about our products, visit us at PendletonWhisky.com.

©2017 Hood River Distillers, Inc., Hood River, OR USA Stay in control.® Pendleton®, Pendleton Directors’ Reserve, Pendleton® Midnight Blended Canadian Whisky and Pendleton 1910 Canadian Rye Whisky, 40%–45% ALC./VOL. The Bucking Horse Logo and Let’er Buck are registered trademarks of the Pendleton Round‐Up Association Round Association. PENDLETON is a registered trademark of Pendleton Woolen Mills.

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images

FEATURE

SEINFELD AND CIGARS

PUFFY SHIRTS, LOW TALKERS, AND THE CIGARS OF SEINFELD

by Randy Mastronicola

IT

has been over twenty-five years since we were first introduced to Seinfeld. Cocreators of the landmark sitcom, Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, were able to blend cigars into a surprising number of episodes for comedic effect. In particular, Larry David and Michael Richards (Cosmo Kramer) are long-time legit cigar enthusiasts. While Jerry and the other cast members of the show may not be as closely identified with cigars as some other comedy legends, upon inspection, they more than do their comic forebears justice. When a stogie is placed in the hands of Jerry, Elaine, George or Kramer, zany and memorable notes are created.

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Further enhancing Seinfeld’s cigar legacy, Larry David is frequently seen enjoying a stick on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Jerry’s follow-up show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, features a couple of episodes that are cigarcentric as well. The Steve Harvey episode in season six is a highlight reel in and of itself. Cigar & Spirits Magazine takes a look back at some of the stogie-infused storylines built into those masterful scripts throughout the show’s nine-season run. The following are some of the high-water cigar moments featured on Seinfeld. If you can recall all or most, you are surely Master of Your (cigar) Domain.


THE WALLET 1992 Season 4, Episode 5

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Kramer lights his hair on fire. That slug line alone should trigger a guffaw right off the bat. Elaine, George and Jerry are sitting down and discussing her current boyfriend who happens to be her “svenjolly” shrink. He is just one in a litany of her kooky paramours. Kramer comically bursts into Jerry’s apartment seeking a torch for his cigar. He turns on a stovetop burner, bends and leans in with cigar in mouth, and draws several times to light it up. A moment later, puffing away and standing above the threesome, we see a ferocious smoke cloud emanating from the top of his head. He lets out a wild scream and frantically runs into the bathroom to douse his smoldering dome. That highly anticipated scene occurs about sixteen minutes into the episode. It never fails to illicit a giggle attack even though we have seen it many times.

THE BUBBLE BOY 1992 Season 4, Episode 7 “The Bubble Boy” storyline revolving around an unseen character is a benchmark moment in the show. The classic confrontation over a game of Trivial Pursuit between George and the crass “boy in a bubble” is one of Jason Alexander’s best turns. The episode starts as a simple weekend getaway at Susan’s family lakeside cabin but quickly becomes a catastrophe. The plot points include Elaine’s heartstrings getting tugged at by The Bubble Boy’s emotional father while an indifferent Jerry eats a sandwich; the ensuing madcap race to “make good time” by George en route to the cabin; Jerry’s futile battle with a coffee shop waitress over an autographed photo he would like returned; and Kramer’s decision to enlist Jerry’s girlfriend, Naomi (who possesses a cringe-worthy “Elmer Fudd sitting on a juicer” cackle), to insinuate themselves into the cabin weekend, even though they are mostly unwanted, are some of the highlights.

Early in the episode, George passed along a box of Cubans that were given to him by Susan’s father. Kramer is elated by his score and enjoys the cigars throughout the show. The long-suffering Susan, who in the course of several seasons endured many comedic assaults by Kramer and George, would soon pay the price for George’s generosity. Kramer breaks into the cabin with Naomi while the others are persevering through their madcap journey upstate. Kramer and Naomi set out for a night swim but he carelessly leaves his lit cigar near some newspapers, and the fire destroys the cabin. The rest of the party arrive shortly thereafter and watch in astonishment as the cherished cabin burns down. The kicker: Kramer bolts and rushes towards the inferno while screaming, “My Cubans!”

THE CALZONE 1996 Photo courtesy of Alamy Images

Season 7, Episode 20 Elaine’s boyfriend du jour, the smarmy Todd Gack, was supposed to score some authentic Cuban cigars for Jerry so he could pass them out at George’s impending nuptials. The three hundred dollars Jerry paid him garnered a virtually unsmokable Peruvian product. Elaine and Jerry are lamenting the whole Gack situation while seated on his sofa. Elaine comically chomps the cigar she’s stuck in the corner of her mouth, leaning back, legs up on the coffee table. She poses, “What kind of a name is Todd Gaaaaack anyway?” Her delivery of this line is spit-take inducing worthy. Additionally, she wonders aloud why the inferior Peruvian cigars are so terrible. Jerry replies, “It’s like trying to smoke a chicken bone.”

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THE FOUNDATION 1996 Season 8, Episode 1 This episode has no shortage of storylines. Jerry’s breakup with Jeannie Steinman, the brief return of “Mulva,” The ill-fated Urban Sombrero, the development of Susan’s posthumous foundation, J. Peterman’s madness in Burma, and Kramer’s karate exploits all make this episode jam-packed with laughs. Kramer persuades Elaine into thinking she has the right stuff to assume the helm at the catalog in Peterman’s absence. Kramer uses himself as an example because he recently looked within and listened to his “katra,” or spirit, to learn “ka-ra-te.” In doing so, he has been able to dominate at the dojo even though he initially doubted himself. Kramer persuades Elaine to ignore Jerry’s derisive comments about how she will lead the clothing empire to ruination.

Before we move forward, let us offer a word or two about Julia Louis Dreyfus. She is one of our favorite comediennes of all time, and more than held her own with the male principals in the show. She has arguably had the most post-Seinfeld success of her cast mates. Her work on The New Adventures of Old Christine and HBO’s Veep has arguably given her the most postSeinfeld success and comedy cred. As illustrated above, the way she used a cigar to illicit a laugh several times during the sitcom’s run is just about genius.

THE ABSTINENCE 1996 Season 8, Episode 9 This episode is chock full of funny vignettes around George and Elaine’s issues with abstaining from sex. Additionally, Jerry’s mishaps at his old high school’s Career Day as a guest speaker add a lot of laughs to the mix. However, Kramer’s cigar scenes make the episode memorable, and features one of our favorite exchanges between Jerry and Kramer in the canon of the show. Kramer is ordered to vacate Monk’s coffee shop because he fired up a cigar in the diner. He comes across others who have been tossed to the curb and are lost without smoke-friendly establishments. Kramer decides to set up a smoking lounge in his apartment for his brethren. He engages in what appears to be several days of non-stop cigar smoking and partying in his apartment with the other revelers. Kramer enters Jerry’s apartment and invites him to “pipe night” at his place. Jerry notices that Kramer’s face has become leathery “like an old catcher’s mitt,” and his teeth have become offensively brown. (The make-up used to illustrate this transformation is hysterical.) Kramer grabs a toaster and glances at his reflection. He’s repulsed by the radical change in his appearance and comically rails that his face is now crinkly and craggly. He despondently declares that he has lost his allure, his “twinkle.” Jerry points out that he has experienced a lifetime of smoking in seventy-two hours. Kramer ashamedly tells Jerry that he is now “hideous” and he should look away from him.

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Kramer decides to enlist the services of attorney Jackie Chiles and forge a union “to take on Big Tobacco.” In a recurring theme throughout the seasons, Kramer subverts Jackie’s efforts in a case by agreeing to a non-monetary settlement without his approval. He is rewarded with his likeness on a Times Square billboard showcasing him as a smoking cowboy, much to the dismay of Chiles. Note: We recommend you do a quick search on YouTube to view the outtake reel in the Jerry/Kramer kitchen scene. It is a real treat for any fan of the show because Jerry just cannot keep it together during the filming of the scene.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Inspired by Kramer, she decides to let go of her self-doubt and take charge of the company. (Unbeknownst to her, Kramer’s been sparring with children, not adults, in the karate class.)

Thereafter, she telephones Jerry to gloat about successfully putting her first issue to bed in retaliation for his mocking her. She is feeling like a big shot, leaning back in her chair, legs up on her desk, self-assuredly chewing up a Churchill, and it’s a hoot. Her affectation of a hard-boiled, old school newspaper editor is a brilliant comedic take. She proceeds to lay into Jerry, insisting that he is the real “doofus” and not Kramer. Cigar firmly planted in her mouth throughout the conversation, she peppers him with a few more shots regarding his “weak” story about his latest breakup. Jerry, miffed by her pomposity, decides to tell her to go see Kramer at the dojo for herself. Subsequently, she witnesses Kramer man-handling the children and decides to take him down in front of his tween competition. The episode ends with Elaine realizing the “Urban Sombrero” she featured in the catalog has ruined the careers of businessmen throughout New York City.


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Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Honorable Mention: THE CHEEVER LETTERS 1992 Season 4, Episode 8

THE ENGLISH PATIENT 1997

Kramer’s supply of Cuban habanos has run out. The cigars were being used as barter to play the course at The Westchester Country Club because he hates public golfing. He decides to head over to the United Nations’ Cuban Diplomatic Mission to find a new supplier, and is befriended by Cuban ambassadors, one of whom desires to swap sticks for Kramer’s favorite vintage jacket.

Season 8, Episode 17 The bevy of writers and directors throughout the show’s run is amongst the best in sitcom lore. However, Louis Dreyfus’ acting choice in which she expresses her hatred of “The English Patient” is not something you can put down on paper or direct. The way she squirms in her seat while watching J. Peterman’s beloved movie—a movie she loathes—while contorting her face in agony, conveys nothing short of flesh crawling. It’s pitch perfect. George’s story arc in the episode is expertly integrated, as is the Mandelbaum Magic Pan segment. Much of the episode is triggered by Kramer’s plans to produce Cuban quality cigars in America. His get-rich-quick cigar scheme involves transporting Cubans (“Are we talking about people or cigars?”), and his plans to become a cigar mogul wreak havoc throughout the episode. Kramer procures investors, and enlists Jerry to pick up his “Cubans” while visiting his parents in Florida. Kramer neglects to tell Jerry that he will be picking up actual people and not simply cigars. As it turns out, they are Dominicans passing themselves off as Cuban cigar rollers. The plan falls apart when they are found to be impostors. Kramer, now stuck with his fruitless imports, senses they are plotting a rebellion against him. Jerry decides to help Kramer out by getting “his Cubans” jobs rolling crepes at the Magic Pan restaurant. Unfortunately, it does not go according to plan, and many patrons are scorched because the crepes were rolled too tightly.

THE VOICE 1997 Season 9, Episode 2 The on-and-off-again relationship between Elaine and Puddy had a bundle of bizarro moments. Jerry seizes an opportunity to call Elaine out on her inability to stay broken up with her droll and dim-witted boyfriend. Previously, Elaine and Puddy ran into one another at the coffee shop while on one of their many breaks. Jerry tells her it’s inevitable she’ll relapse and sleep with him. Elaine and Jerry bet fifty dollars she’ll no longer see or sleep with Puddy. Throughout the episode, in a series of quick back and forth clips, we see Elaine sheepishly slapping cash down on Jerry’s kitchen table for every sexual backslide involving Puddy. Jerry, leaning back in a chair, legs atop his kitchen table, raucously laughing while working a cigar and avariciously taking her money, is classic. It is one of the best laugh-out-loud-with-a-cigarin-your-mouth moments ever filmed, rivaled only by De Niro’s Max Cady and his diabolical squawks in the 1991 remake of Cape Fear.

Randy Mastronicola is the Master of His Domain and Editor-in-Chief of Cigar & Spirits Magazine.

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THE CIGAR STORE INDIAN 1993 Season 5, Episode 10 This episode would unlikely make it to the small screen today because it’s not particularly PC. However, the hijinks that ensue around Jerry’s purchase of this classic cigar-related collectible is an early gem in the show’s run.


SOMETHING FAMILIAR, SOMETHING PECULIAR, SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: A COMEDY (AND CIGARS) TONIGHT… by Randy Mastronicola

Comedians and cigars have been a great pairing for many decades, much like Zero Mostel and his rendition of “Comedy Tonight” from the 1966 film, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. A handful of brilliant cigar-loving performers, rarely seen without a stick in hand, are some of the most celebrated comedic geniuses in entertainment history. Not merely a prop, cigars were their passion, and greatly enhanced their comic identities.

His career spanned American Vaudeville, radio, film and television. He is regarded as a true cigar-smoking comic genius. Groucho is a pop culture icon. Legions of baby boomers can look back at some point and recall wearing a Groucho Halloween get-up. Mom would gather up some household or five and dime store items and fashion a costume in homage to Groucho. The ensemble was achieved with requisite greasepaint mustache and eyebrows, extralarge nose, round glasses, and one of those chintzy plastic cigars. Hunched over like a stooped chicken, raised eyebrows, and quick pitter-patter speech were the ingredients to imitating Groucho.

MILTON BERLE

Long before he became America’s “Uncle Miltie,” Berle was a child actor. Bronxbred and the son of a classic stage mother, thirteenyear-old Milton was booked to perform on a cruise ship to Havana. He bought his first cigar on a break from performing and never looked back. Milton Berle was a cigar smoker for the rest of his life. He favored Cubans and was a known H. Upmann devotee. Milton Berle was an accomplished star in American Vaudeville, film and radio. His true legacy is television. The innovative “Mr. Television” dominated the ratings every Tuesday night throughout the early 1950’s. Berle was an indomitable force and helped pave way for the era known as “The Golden Age of Television.” Milton Berle’s hilarious sketches featuring him in drag or taking a pie in the face inspired millions of Americans to go out and purchase their first television set and cemented his standing in the lexicon of comedy.

Given his legendary rapier wit, many Groucho quotes have worked their way into the American consciousness. “A woman is an occasional pleasure, but a cigar is always a smoke.”

DAVID LETTERMAN

David Letterman is the quintessential 1990’s cigar baby-boomer. His sardonic shtick was the comedy equivalent to an alternative college radio station or an indie film when he first arrived on the scene. Johnny Carson is, of course, The King. Leno, Conan, Kimmel, and Fallon have served us well. However, Dave resurrected late night television and made it edgy and cool. He was educated, snarky, and didn’t suffer fools easily.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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Dave would frequently squeeze in a smoke from a double-Corona during commercial breaks. The camera would catch him in the act as the smoke surrounded him backstage. Dave would top the gag off, and depending on his mood, would comically look bemused, sheepish, indifferent, or defiant as only he could have. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

Hard-drinking and hard-living best describes the cads and curmudgeons W.C. Fields depicted in his landmark comedies throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s. Fields got his start in American Vaudeville and taught himself to juggle by tossing cigar boxes. He would later proclaim: “I never smoked a cigar in my life until I was nine.” Fields is unforgettable for his perturbed nasal delivery, bulbous nose and kooky variety of hats. He is one of the most imitated comedic actors of all-time. The “My Little Chickadee” line is one of the most recognizable sound bites in comic lore. Fields used cigars as props in many of his movies to comically (and ironically) present himself as elitist and stuffy.

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Marx Brothers aficionados throughout the world would agree that Groucho was the first rock star comedian. This occurred several decades before Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy and Andrew “Dice” Clay had their runs and were selling out arenas.

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

GROUCHO MARX

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

COMEDY TONIGHT!

W.C. FIELDS

GEORGE BURNS

The Mount Rushmore of 20th Century comedy stars would make up some combination of Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Mel Brooks, Jackie Gleason, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, and Groucho Marx. George Burns deserves to be right up there as well. Burns began performing at the age of seven and continued to entertain well into his nineties. George and Gracie Allen (His on and off stage partner.) were stars in American Vaudeville, radio and television. After Gracie’s passing, Burns continued to perform stand-up for many years around the country, and was a perennial Las Vegas favorite. Additionally, Burns won an Oscar in 1975 for Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys. George’s cigar of choice was the inexpensive El Producto and he stuck by it. He was often ribbed for his choice of stick by other celeb cigar smokers of the day. Many people, including Milton Berle, would offer him more expensive cigars, and he would refuse. It is virtually impossible to think of the postGracie George Burns and not have three things come to mind; the silver toupee, the black round glasses, and the cigar. “If I had taken my doctor’s advice and quit smoking when he advised me to,” Burns cracked at age 98, “I wouldn’t have lived to go to his funeral.”


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FEATURE

Photo courtesy of Perfect Draw

PLUGGED CIGARS

RESCUE YOUR TIGHT DRAW STICKS by Gerard J. Papa MOST CIGAR SMOKERS agree that there are few

ways more relaxing to cap off a long week than sinking in an overstuffed chair with a fine single malt and a favorite puro. Ah, life is good. You start by washing your worries away with a sip of honey from the Scottish Highlands. Then you admire the handcrafted, meticulously rolled beauty you dreamed about since Monday. You cut off the cap with the skill of a surgeon and strike fire. Anticipation builds as you raise the cigar to your lips, only to be met with a useless draw. The cigar is tight and no smoke comes through. The feeling of tranquility dissipates from your body as your blood begins to boil. No, it can’t be! Maybe the stick needs a bigger cut? Will an amputation cure this patient, or cause it to unravel into shreds?

CAUSES OF A PLUGGED SMOKE

The common causes of a tight smoke are over humidification, poor construction and overstuffing.

OVER HUMIDIFICATION

The filler leaves in a wet cigar expand with moisture, but the binder and wrapper may not stretch as much, causing strangled airflow. You can try “dry boxing” your cigars to correct the problem. Do this by placing wet cigars in a wood cigar box without humidification to lower the cigar’s moisture content. This can help improve draws if the cigars are really wet.

POOR CONSTRUCTION

Different techniques exist for bunching filler tobacco, and an inexperienced roller might bunch the leaf improperly. “Book” bunching involves laying leaves on top of one another and folding them like a book. This limits airflow, and is a common cause of an inferior draw. Twisted filler leaf or an excessively tight binder or wrapper can also limit airflow.

OVERSTUFFING

Another form of bad construction is overstuffing. Hand rolled cigars are pressed in a mold, forming them into their desired shape. A cigar may have too much filler tobacco for its mold size. Smoking an overstuffed cigar is like trying to suck a lime seed through a straw. There may be excess filler throughout the cigar or just in one section. Another common error is rolling too much filler near the cigar cap, which is the side that you draw from. This happens because the filler leaves may not be as long as the entire cigar, so more is added at the ends.

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Sadly, we have all experienced a bad draw at one time or another. The good news is that a plugged stick can be repurposed, if you want to put in the effort. A close friend insists life is too short to battle a tight cigar, and immediately tosses any smoke that does not have a voluminous draw. Another friend puffs all his smokes before lighting to confirm a good draw, and stores his rejects in a baggie with the anticipation that advancing technology will someday cure them. But some folks are up for the challenge, and will work with their tight cigar no matter how hopeless it seems.

There’s a simple remedy that can help fix a partially blocked cigar. As you smoke, the cigar heats up and becomes moist, making it slightly pliable. Feel if there is a bind in the cigar by rolling it between your fingers. An overstuffed section will not give like the rest of the cigar. Massaging the hard part with your fingers can cause the binder and wrapper to expand enough to fix the problem. Use care to not split the wrapper.

TOOLS FOR A CURE

Plenty of tools are advertised as the cure to a bad draw, and an Internet search reveals a dizzying array of devices. This gadget fan’s search for a viable tool revealed one product worth recommending: The Perfect Draw (perfectdraw.com, $39.95). This is the tool of choice, fixing about 8 of every 10 cigars tested. The Perfect Draw is a compact metal poker that differs from the rest. Circling the shaft tip are barbs similar to tiny fish hooks. These barbs snag excess tobacco as the tool is removed. Full stems and leaves are sometimes pulled out far enough for you to grab hold and finish the extraction by hand. This tool works, and is fun to use. Be careful not to overdo it though. Check the draw after each extraction. The friend mentioned earlier who hordes his plugged smokes in a baggie is now a local hero. With the Perfect Draw, he has been able to fix many of his long forgotten, now wonderfully aged duds with this tool. It appears that technology has caught up.

Gerard J. Papa is a freelance writer and photojournalist based in Southern California.


Who else but AJ Fernandez could reimagine a 175-year legacy of uncommon quality to create something truly original? Let us introduce you to the H. Upmann AJ Fernandez, an authentic, distinct Nicaraguan cigar for the next generation of uncompromising adult smokers.

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VICES

FEATURED PAIRINGS PHENOMENAL CIGAR & SPIRITS PAIRINGS by Greg Mays

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WARFIGHTER GARRISON 7.62MM Warfighter Cigars is combat veteran owned and based out of Nebraska. Their cigars are Dominicanmade and named for military calibers: .50 Cal, 5.56 MM and 7.62 MM. The 7.62 MM has a scent of old-school tobacco before lighting, almost like the classic machine-rolled cigars back in the day. The Garrison 7.62 has a medium draw, with notes of citrus and banana – it’s mild and well-built, and smokes cool all the way to the nub. As you progress, it becomes more nutty and sweet. It’s a solid smoke with an even burn. I paired the Garrison 7.62 MM with Miel de Tierra Reposado Mezcal, a match in flavor profile with orange, pecan and banana tasting notes. The usual smokiness of mezcal gives way to a sweet honey, reminding us of the mascot bee of Miel de Tierra. This is a unique and flavorful premium mezcal that delivers mild spice with a cool, honey sweetness on the tongue. The two pair together incredibly well, this Nebraska-based Dominican cigar brand and a smooth, sweet Mexican mezcal. The two interplay together well, with a solid and tasty combination of tropical and nutty tastes between both the cigar and mezcal. SIZE: Robusto 52 x 5” WRAPPER: Aged Sumatra Indonesia BINDER: Dominican FILLER: Dominican MSRP (cigar): $8.50 MSRP (mezcal): about $60

BALMORAL AÑEJO XO GRAN TORO Balmoral Cigars are named for the famed Scottish castle and operates under the Drew Estate family, and only have two blends available: the Añejo XO and the Añejo 18. Both are Dominican-made with a blend of Dominican, Nicaraguan and Brazilian tobaccos that are “ultra-aged” (as Balmoral calls it), which translates to several years of age with the XO, and (of course) 18 years with the 18 blend. With the incorporation of Nicaraguan and Brazilian tobaccos (including the wrapper), you’d think the Añejo XO could approach full-strength, but it’s a mild and pleasant smoke with sweet notes of toasted white bread with subtle cocoa and vanilla notes. I paired the Balmoral Añejo XO Gran Toro with Pendleton Midnight Whisky, a mild Canadian blend that also has a touch of sweetness and traces of wheat and cinnamon. Aged for 6 years in American brandy barrels, Pendleton Midnight can be classified more as a “Canadian-style” whisky, as it’s distilled and aged by Oregon’s Hood River Distillery, a small distillery and brand portfolio that includes brands of whiskey, absinthe, vodkas and gins. The mildness of the cigar and whisky play together well, as a milder whisky like this would vanish if you were smoking a spicebomb deodorant stick. Both of these, though, offer a balanced and mild pairing experience of cocoa, sugar and cinnamon spice. SIZE: Gran Toro 52 x 6” WRAPPER: Sungrown Arapiraca (Brazilian) BINDER: Dominican FILLER: Brazilian, Dominican, and Nicaraguan MSRP (cigar): $10 MSRP (whisky): $35

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KRISTOFF SAN ANDRES From Illinois based Kristoff Cigars, the San Andres blend is a Mexican-wrapped Nicaraguan cigar with a chocolaty profile from foot to cap. On light, the cigar delivers flavors of bitter dark chocolate that gives way to an apricot-chocolate flavor midway through the smoke. There are hints of granola throughout as well. It’s built with a pigtail cap and a semi-closed foot that gives it a very unique look with it’s dark, dark wrapper and bold golden band. As this cigar has some bold richness to it, I grabbed a spirit with the same bold richness: Rogue’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey. Beermaker Rogue has been building their spirits library over the last several years, and their Oregon Single Malt is one of their flagships. A light straw-colored liquid disguises a bold and spicy whiskey with traces of milk that delivers itself in the form of a clove crème brulee that’s totally unlike single malts of Scotland. Both the San Andres and Rogue’s Single Malt have bold profiles, with interacting notes of chocolate, spice, vanilla and cream. The balance between the two is phenomenal and both deliver a quality pairing experience. SIZE: Robusto 54 x 5.5” WRAPPER: San Andres (Mexico) BINDER: Ecuadorian FILLER: Nicaraguan MSRP (cigar): $9 MSRP (bourbon): $50

DREW ESTATE UNDERCROWN SUN GROWN Drew Estate has both rocked the cigar industry with their new brands in recent years and enlisted the classic cigar gurus like Willy Herrera and impacted quality brands under their umbrella like Balmoral. The Undercrown line has always intrigues me with the quality of the build and the flavorful smokes they offer. This blend, the Sungrown, is mild and pleasant, with a white-hot ash and a great build with a solidly-wrapped cap. Flavor profiles are a light, limey citrus and maple syrup, and while there aren’t massive varieties of flavors across the smoke, this is a wonderfully flavorful tobacco flavor profile, pure and simple. If you love the taste of tobacco without big spice, you’ll love this smoke. I chose Papa’s Pilar 24 Rum to pair with the Drew Sungrown. Papa’s Pilar is an incredible rum for the price ($35), incredible flavorful and bold with a syrupy cinnamon and clove profile. I drank mine on ice and it didn’t detract from the flavors at all, in fact, I felt it made the rum even more drinkable. Saying Papa’s Pilar 24 is complex and tasty is an understatement. It’s been in contact with no less than 3 barrels: bourbon and port barrels using the high-temperature Solera aging, then finished in Spanish sherry casks. The flavor and price makes this rum a must-buy for a cigar smoker. Together with a quality tobacco flavor like the Undercrown Sungrown, Papa’s Pilar 24 offers outstanding terroir balance and pairing flavors. SIZE: Gran Toro 52 x 6” WRAPPER: Connecticut BINDER: Dominican FILLER: Dominican MSRP (cigar): $10 MSRP (rum): $35

Greg Mays is the Executive Editor of Simple Cocktails (simplecocktails.net). You can follow him on Instagram at @simplecocktails.

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ON THE COVER

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Photo courtesy of Guy Aroch

KINDRED SPIRITS

SAMMY HAGAR &

ADAM LEVINE by Joe Bosso

One can’t drive 55 while the other moves like Jagger. On paper, they’re an odd, if not impossible, pair to imagine: Sammy Hager, the wailing, mega-watt veteran frontman for hardcharging groups like Montrose, Van Halen and Chickenfoot; and Adam Levine, the smooth, classy-cool singer who, when he’s not leading multiplatinum poppers Maroon 5, holds hopeful newbies’ futures in his hands as a judge on TV’s The Voice.

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images

What could these two wildly disparate personalities have in common? For one thing, there’s tequila. “I’ve always loved tequila,” says Levine. “It’s always been my absolute favorite spirit.” As for Hagar, his affinity for tequila is already the stuff of modern legend. The musician was one of the first celebrities to put his stamp on the boutique spirit industry when he founded Cabo Wabo Tequila in 1996. In just a few short years, the brand became a monster, enabling him to eventually sell his stake in the company – in a pair of transactions ending in 2009 – to the Campari Group for a tidy sum of $100 million. In recent years, Hagar launched the similarly successful Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, but he was loath to get back into the tequila business. In his view, the market that he presciently jumpstarted has become flooded with new product. “It’s become a generic thing, like vodka,” he observes. “Do we really need another one?” But a fortuitous meeting with Levine blossomed into a full-blown friendship, and the downing of many drinks with his new pal caused him to rethink his plans – with a twist: The two started mixing tequila with mezcal – think Arnold

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Palmer combining iced tea and lemonade – and they realized that they were on to something. And the result was…mezquila. Hagar enlisted the distillers behind Cabo Wabo Tequila to work with him and Levine on the new blend, and after a two-year trial-and-error process, they finally arrived at Santo Mezquila, a unique combination made from 100 percent Blue Variety Tequilana Weber agave and 100 percent Espadin agave of the Angustifolia variety. “It’s got that sweet entrance and a little bittersweet finish, but there’s a few smoky notes,” Hagar enthuses. “God, it’s nice, man. You can drink as much as you want without getting overload.” The two music titans launched the 80-proof product in 2017 and they’re both high on its prospects. “This process has been as much a creative exploration as a business decision,” says Levine. “It feels really good to be the first to do something, and to do it with a team as experienced as the Santo partners meant we had the knowledge and ability to do it right.” Adds Hagar, “I’m really proud of it because we invented something, a mezquila. It’s like a whole new category. I know we’re going to start a trend.”


Let’s go back to the beginning. How did you two meet and become friends? Sammy Hagar: The whole thing was so damn organic. This wasn’t a business plan. I was getting ready to do a TV show, and the lady doing my makeup said, “Oh, I do Adam Levine’s makeup. He just got married, and he’s down in Cabo for his honeymoon.” I said “Really?” I got a napkin and wrote down my phone number, and I said, “Have him call me. I’ll hook him up down there.” So, Adam called me up and said, “Sammy Hagar, my hero! Growing up, all I listened to was Van Halen. I wanted to be you, man.” Adam Levine: Of course, I was a fan. Who wasn’t? Sammy has always been an inspiring dude for me. He’s Sammy fuckin’ Hagar!

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Sammy Hagar: And I’m going, “Holy shit, here we go! Here’s my buddy.” So, my wife and I went down there. We took Adam around. We had dinner and had drinks at the Cabo Wabo. We became instant friends, and our bond was right there. He said, “I love tequila.” And then he told me how all kinds of big companies had come and asked him to endorse a whiskey, a gin, this and that, and he said “I don’t want to endorse shit. I want to do it the way you did it.” I said, “Well, I know we’re just meeting, but maybe we’ll do something together down the road.”

WE WERE OUT TOGETHER ONE NIGHT WITH A FEW OF SAMMY’S FRIENDS, AND THEY KEPT POURING US SHOTS OF MEZCAL. I DO ENJOY MEZCAL IN SMALL AMOUNTS, BUT TOO MUCH IS OVERPOWERING, AND SAMMY AGREED. WE STARTED ADDING IN A BIT OF TEQUILA TO THE MEZCAL, AND WE REALIZED THAT IT CREATED A WHOLE NEW TASTE EXPERIENCE, THAT WAS DIFFERENT THAN EITHER – AND REALLY, REALLY TASTY.

So how did it go from just talking to actually creating a spirit together? Sammy Hagar: We saw each other many times since then, but about a year later I said, “Hey, guess what? We have this idea to make mezcal…and so it went.” Adam Levine: We were out together one night with a few of Sammy’s friends, and they kept pouring us shots of mezcal. I do enjoy mezcal in small amounts, but too much is overpowering, and Sammy agreed. We started adding in a bit of tequila to the mezcal, and we realized that it created a whole new taste experience, that was different than either – and really, really tasty. The original partners had been discussing doing a mezcal, yes, but after that night when Sammy brought me in, we all agreed that the new flavor profile we had come up with was so incredible that we had to follow it through. Sammy Hagar: That’s when we said, “Let’s put some professionals on it.” But the thing I want to stress is, it was organic. We became friends first. I mean, everyone goes – “Oh, you’re a genius to get a younger guy and a younger demographic with such a hot celebrity right now.” I’m going, “Fuck you. I did not think that way. This guy’s my buddy.” We became friends and did this out of love.

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IT DOESN’T TASTE LIKE SOMEBODY JUST POURED A SHOT OF TEQUILA AND POURED MEZCAL TOGETHER. THIS TASTES LIKE SOMETHING HIGH-BRED, A HIGHER SPIRIT. IT’S BRAND NEW. IT’S DIFFERENT AND MEMORABLE.

How exactly did you proceed? Sammy Hagar: I got a hold of my Cabo Wabo team, which is Marco Monroy and Jack Daniels from Wilson Daniels, and we had El Viejito in Mexico. El Viejito was making our tequila. I don’t know if I should give this away, but they found a way to mix mezcal and tequila and have it be smooth as silk. It’s like chemistry. How long did the tasting process last – and how many iterations of the blend did you go through? Adam Levine: It was two and a half years of testing until we finally came to this premium blend. Sammy Hagar: When we first started to mix the two, the process was really weird. You know, you do 10 percent of this, 20 percent of that, 30 and 40 percent… We shook it up and tasted it, and it was horrible. The taste profile didn’t work when you just tried to put the two together. I wouldn’t call it oil and water, but it wasn’t far from it. Adam Levine: I wanted it to reflect the perfect balance between the two, and a lot of people went through a lot of tastings to make the balance right. I could never drink as much tequila or mezcal myself to get it there; Sammy would come to me only when he felt happy with a new mix. Sammy Hagar: Finally, the master distiller said, “Well, let’s redistill it, instead of just trying to blend it and stir it up and drink it.” We had to put it together and distill it again, and then it became mezquila. That’s what they called it when they sent it to me. And it was so… I got goosebumps on my arms when I tasted it. [Laughs] We all did.

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We went freakin’ crazy – “There it is!” Now it doesn’t taste like tequila, and it doesn’t taste like mezcal. It doesn’t taste like somebody just poured a shot of tequila and poured mezcal together. This tastes like something high-bred, a higher spirit. It’s brand new. It’s different and memorable. I challenge anyone to a blind test. You put our mezquila in a glass, and you put any other tequila or any other mezcal you want next to it. I will smell it and know what it is – I won’t even have to taste it. I will pick mezquila instantly, and you will, too, once you taste it a few times. Are you saying it’s more of a sipping tequila than a shot? Is that how you would recommend to take it? Sammy Hagar: I think every tequila’s a sipping tequila. But I like it with lime and salt, and I like it with chili salt, when you mix the dried smoked chilies and salt. It’s salty and hot. That’s the way I drink tequila anyway. I don’t use it to do a shot. Most people do shots either to get drunk fast or because it’s so nasty they just want to get it down. But this isn’t like that. This is like fine tequila or any kind of a fine spirit. It’s really savory. You’ll want to drink it and enjoy it. Adam Levine: We definitely recommend sipping it straight to get the lingering, slightly sweet and smoky full body. But it’s also great on the rocks with a twist of lemon, and it holds up beautifully in a classic margarita. Sammy Hagar: It makes a badass margarita.


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SAMMY IS A TRUE RARITY IN OUR WORLD. REGARDLESS OF GENRE ITSELF, I THINK THERE’S A LOT OF POISONOUS PITFALLS IN THIS BUSINESS. ANYONE WHO KNOWS SAMMY KNOWS THAT HE IS THE GENUINE ARTICLE. AND ABOVE ALL ELSE, HE HAS MANAGED TO FIND SOME TRUE HAPPINESS IN DEVOTING HIMSELF TO HIS FAMILY. AND TO ME, THAT IS THE TRUEST MEASURE OF A MAN.

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Photo courtesy of Guy Aroch

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ADAM’S MY FRIEND. I LOVE THE GUY. I LOVE HIS WIFE, I LOVE HIS LITTLE GIRL, DUSTY ROSE, AND I’M JUST SO HAPPY THAT I MET HIM BECAUSE WE HIT IT OFF SO WELL. HE GIVES ME ALL THE RESPECT OF AN ELDER, AND I GIVE HIM ALL THE RESPECT OF A YOUNG, HIGH-ENERGY GUY AT THE TOP OF HIS GAME.

How did the name come about? Adam Levine: Well, Sammy’s dog and our unofficial mascot is named Santo. What’s better than that? Sammy Hagar: Names are funny things. We always throw different names around. I mean, look, Cabo Wabo was a stupid name, but it was memorable.

Absolutely. Sammy Hagar: So, I’m sitting around with my man Marco, and he just said, “Santo,” as in “Saint Tequila.” I thought, “Wow, there you go.” I mean, saint anything is good. So, then I start going “Santo Sambo,” “Santo Sammy” – saint everything. If it’s great and you think it’s great, you put the “saint” – Santo – in front of it. I just thought it was a great name. I came up with “mezquila” after Adam and I decided what we were going to do by blending it. So “Santo” came from Marco. It just sounded right.

What about the shape of the bottle? Sammy Hagar: We designed our own bottle. In my warehouse, I’ve got 30 different bottles that I can show you. You’d laugh at some of them. It was like, “Hey, Adam, this one is kind of cool… ” He liked one, and I said, “No, Adam. That’s the one that the samples came in.” But he liked it – said it looks authentic. We were having that much fun with it. Adam Levine: I have to say, the team did such an incredible job of research, and they knew the market and competitors so well. I had a lot of faith they’d create great branding.

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Where do you see this going in the next few years? Sammy Hagar: In the next year we want to come up with another skew. We want to age it. This is a blanco mezcal and blanco tequila. It’s re-distilled, so it’s really smooth and sweet. I’m not a big over-distilling guy – I like my tequila distilled two, maybe three times. But we’re going to age it and see what happens. It’s in barrels right now; it’s been in there about four months. We keep tasting it. It’s getting sweeter and it’s getting more color – that’s what wood does. The wood and smoke are really working for me. We can’t make the mezquila fast enough. We’re making 1,000 cases, six-packs, a week. Every two weeks, we ship 2,000 cases to a different state. We’re in about seven states right now. Once the fans get wind of it, they just go buy it. They don’t fuck around. They buy a case of it. They say, “How many bottles you got in that store?” “We got four bottles.” “I’ll take all four. I’ll be right down.” That’s what I’ve been hearing from retailers around the country. It’s in all of my bars, all of the Sammy’s Beachfront Grills and Cabo Wabos, and my restaurant here in Mill Valley called El Paseo. It’s a little hard to find, I must say. I wish we could make it faster and get it spread out more, but it’s handmade artisanal stuff, and it takes that extra process of going and getting the mezcal from a region and driving it in containers in a truck to Jalisco, to El Viejito. And then they’ve got to blend it, redistill it and bottle it. That’s a little extra link in the process.


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ALWAYS DRINK RESPONSIBLY. UNCLE NEAREST PREMIUM WHISKEY, 45% ALC/VOL, 50% ALC/VOL, UNCLE NEAREST, NASHVILLE, TN. © 2017 UNCLE NEAREST, INC. WWW.UNCLENEAREST.COM

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Photo courtesy of Guy Aroch

I understand you two got tattoos of the logo. Sammy Hagar: That’s right. I’m just so proud of this. I got a tattoo before we had our first bottle. When we had our logo, I went out and got the tattoo on my forearm. Adam’s going, “Man, I’ve got no room for another tattoo,” and I’m like, “Put it on your dick, man!” [Laughs] Adam Levine: I don’t know yet how I’m going to work that one in. I’m still thinking about it. I’m curious – do you guys have any common ground musically? Adam Levine: Sammy and I are very different, but we also share a ton of common ground musically. Sammy Hagar: Not the music we make, but when we talk about other people, we talk about Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, the Police – Sting’s voice. We have the same taste in other people’s music, and that was so apparent when I was the mentor on The Voice with him last season. And we have the same cars! It’s so fucking crazy. He collects cars, and so I do. I go to see his car collection: “Oh, I’ve got one of those. I’ve got one of those. I’ve got one of those… “We’re going. “Holy shit. We’re brothers from a different mother!” It sounds like this is a lasting friendship. Adam Levine: Sammy is a true rarity in our world. Regardless of genre itself, I think there’s a lot of poisonous pitfalls in this business. Anyone who knows Sammy knows that he is the genuine article. And above all else, he has managed to find some true happiness in devoting himself to his family. And to me, that is the truest measure of a man. Sammy Hagar: He’s a great partner. He’s such a soulful guy. That’s the last thing I’ll say about our friendship and our partnership. We are friends first and foremost. Just like Marco Monroy, my Mexican partner who’s been with me with Cabo from the beginning – Adam’s my friend. I love the guy. I love his wife, I love his little girl, Dusty Rose, and I’m just so happy that I met him because we hit it off so well. He gives me all the respect of an elder, and I give him all the respect of a young, high-energy guy at the top of his game. He is so big. Look at this guy: He’s got one of the biggest TV shows ever, he’s in one of the biggest groups in the world, and now he’s got the hottest spirit brand on the planet. The guy’s on fire. He’s so talented, and it’s just an honor to work with a guy like that. He’s out kicking everybody’s ass, and I get to step back and say, “Go get ‘em, Adam!” It’s really a cool relationship.

New Jersey native Joe Bosso is obsessed with movies of the ‘70s, music of the ‘60s and cigars of any vintage. A graduate of NYU film school, Joe has written for TV shows you definitely know (like The Sopranos) and a few you might have missed. He spent 10 years in the record business and actually got to see a rock star trash a hotel room (identity withheld because, well, you know...).

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CIGAR & SPIRITS WORLD SPIRITS COMPETITION 2017

CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE PRESENTS THE

WORLD SPIRITS COMPETITION 2017 WINNERS Ranked in order - #1 being the highest

VODKA 1. KETEL ONE VODKA 40% | $29

2. GREY GOOSE VODKA 40% | $42.99

3. WESTERN SON ORIGINAL TEXAS VODKA 40% | $19.99

4. STATESIDE URBANCRAFT VODKA 40% | $27.99

5. VEKTOR VODKA - RUSSIA 40% | $29.99

FLAVORED VODKA 1. VODKA 261

40% | $26.99

2. WESTERN SON BIG STRIPE WATERMELON VODKA 30% | $19.99

3. SEACRETS DISTILLING COMPANY ORANGE VODKA 35% | $22.99

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CIGAR & SPIRITS WORLD SPIRITS COMPETITION 2017 GIN 1. NOLET’S SILVER DRY GIN 47.6% | $49

2. HENDRICKS GIN 44% | $28.99

3. EMULSION NEW AMERICAN GIN 91% | $32.95

4. MICHIGAN WOODLAND GIN 45% | $31.96

5. MADAM PATTIRINI GIN 44% | $24.99

SILVER TEQUILA 1. CASA NOBLE CRYSTAL 40% ABV | $39.99

2. COMISARIO BLANCO 40% | $39.99

3. DON JULIO BLANCO 40% | $37.99

4. 1800 SILVER 40% | $21.99

5. CORZO SILVER TEQUILA 40% | $50

REPOSADO TEQUILA 1. CASA NOBLE REPOSADO 40% | $49.99

2. CASAMIGOS REPOSADO 40% | $47

3. ROCA PATRON REPOSADO 40% | $80

4. HERRADURA REPOSADO 40% | $35.99

5. TEQUILA CORAZÓN REPOSADO 40% | $30

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CIGAR & SPIRITS WORLD SPIRITS COMPETITION 2017 ANEJO TEQUILA

1. HORNITOS BLACK BARREL 40% | $29.99

2. PADRE AZUL SUPER PREMIUM TEQUILA ANEJO 40% | $85

3. COMISARIO ANEJO 40% | $64.99

4. MILAGRO SELECT BARREL RESERVE ANEJO 40% | $59.99

5. DON NACHO EXTRA PREMIUM ANEJO 100% PURE AGAVE 40% | $52.99

EXTRA ANEJO TEQUILA

1. CASA NOBLE EXTRA ANEJO 40% | $99.99

2. PATRON EXTRA ANEJO 40% | $399

3. DON JULIO REAL EXTRA ANEJO 40% | $499

4. CLASE AZUL ULTRA EXTRA ANEJO 40% | $500

5. PARTIDA ELEGANTE EXTRA ANEJO 40% | $350

MEZCAL

1. BOZAL ENSAMBLE MEZCAL 47% | $50

2. BOZAL TOBASICHE MEZCAL 47% | $80

3. MEZCAL AMARÁS CUPREATA JOVEN 43% | %55

WHITE RUM

1. PAPA’S PILAR BLONDE RUM 42% | $29.99

2. BACARDI SUPERIOR 37.5% | $8.99

3. APPLETON WHITE RUM 37.5% | $24.99

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CIGAR & SPIRITS WORLD SPIRITS COMPETITION 2017

GOLD DARK RUM

1. JOHN DREW DOVE TAIL 80% | $34.99

2. STOLEN

42% | $24.99

3. ZAYA GRAN RESERVA 40% | $24.99

EXTRA AGED RUM 1. ZACAPA XO 40% | $99

2. ZACAPA 23 40% | $45

3. KIRK & SWEENEY 18 YR. 40% | $49

4. PAPA’S PILAR DARK RUM 43% | $39.99

5. PARCE 12 YR 40% | $69.99

SPICED RUM

1. MAGGIE’S FARM SPICED RUM 40% | $30

2. SEACRETS SPICED FLAVORED RUM 35% | $22.99

3. CAPTAIN MORGAN PRIVATE STOCK 40% | $26.99

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CIGAR & SPIRITS WORLD SPIRITS COMPETITION 2017 TOP 5 WHISKIES OVERALL

1. 4 ROSES SMALL BATCH BOURBON 45% | $30

2. GLEN MORAY 18 YR. SINGLE SCOTCH MALT 47.2% | $89.99

3. 4 ROSES SINGLE BARREL BOURBON 50% | $39.00

4. PENDLETON 1910 40% | $38

5. UNCLE NEAREST 1856 PREMIUM WHISKEY 50% | $59.95

#1 RANKED IN WHISKEY SUBCATEGORIES STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKEY 1. BOOKER’S BOURBON 60.5% | $68.99

SMALL BATCH BOURBON - UP TO 10 YEARS

1. 4 ROSES SMALL BATCH BOURBON 45% | $30

SINGLE BARREL WHISKEY - UP TO 10 YEARS

1. 4 ROSES SINGLE BARREL BOURBON 50% | $39

SINGLE BARREL WHISKEY - 11+ YEARS 1. PENDLETON 1910 40% | $38

AMERICAN BLENDED WHISKEY 1. REDWOOD EMPIRE AMERICAN WHISKEY 45% | $45

SINGLE MALT WHISKEY

1. THE MACALLAN FINE OAK 12 YEAR OLD 40% | $59

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CIGAR & SPIRITS WORLD SPIRITS COMPETITION 2017

STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY

1. ROGUE OREGON RYE WHISKEY 40% | $38.99

TENNESSEE WHISKEY 1. UNCLE NEAREST 1856 PREMIUM WHISKEY 50% | $59.95

BLENDED WHISKEY

1. PENDLETON MIDNIGHT 45% | $34

SINGLE GRAIN WHISKEY 1. STOLEN WHISKEY 46% | $39.99

BLENDED SCOTCH- 11+ YEARS 1. GLEN MORAY 18 YR. SINGLE SCOTCH MALT 47.2% | $89.99

FLAVORED/INFUSED WHISKEY /MOONSHINE 1. DR. STONER’S SMOKY HERB WHISKEY 42% | $32.99

BRANDY

1.CARDENAL MENDOZA CLASICO 40% | $42.99

2. STARK SPIRITS SUNSHINE BRANDY 50% | $50

3. MARTELL VS FINE COGNAC 40% | $38

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CIGAR & SPIRITS WORLD SPIRITS COMPETITION 2017 SAKI

1. HAIKARA SAKE: MOMO ASIAN PEACH 12.5% | $34.99

2. HAIKARA SAKE: YUZU ASIAN CITRUS 12.5% | $34.99

3. GEKKEIKAN BLACK & GOLD SAKE 15.6% | $15

BLOODY MARY MIXERS 1. BACKYARD MARY BLOODY MARY MIX $9.99

2. ZING ZANG BLOODY MARY MIX $4.99

3. TASTE OF FLORIDA SPICY BLOODY MARY $5

PINA COLADA MIXERS

1. TASTE OF FLORIDA PINA COLADA $5

2. MR & MRS T PINA COLADA MIX $8.22

3. DAILY’S PINA COLADA MIX $5.39

GINGER BEER MIXER

1. KICKTAIL ENERGY MIXERS: GINGER BEER $2.25

2. Q GINGER BEER $5.99 (750 ML)

3. FEVER-TREE NATURALLY LIGHT SODA GINGER BEER $2.84

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CIGAR & SPIRITS WORLD SPIRITS COMPETITION 2017

LIQUEURS

1. FOS GREEK MASTIHA LIQUEUR 28% | $33.99

2. MAGGIE’S FARM COFFEE LIQUEUR 20% | $30

3.PORTER’S FIRE CINNAMON WHISKEY LIQUEUR 33.3% | $16.99

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CIGAR & SPIRITS TOP 20 CIGARS OF 2017

TOP 20

CIGARS OF 2017 #1

CIGAR OF 2017

MAGAZINE

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JC NEWMAN DIAMOND CROWN JULIUS CAESER 6½” x 52 Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican

Tasting Notes: Medium-Full Strength smoke. Decadent flavors include hints of coffee, spice and a soft wood note on the finish.


#2

CIGAR OF 2017

Medium to fu of chocolate, and hints of

tasting

FILLER:

BINDER:

Nicaraguan

WRAPPE

____________

PADRON FAMILY 50 YEAR 5 x 54

PADRON

ciga

CIGAR & SPIRITS TOP 20 CIGARS OF 2017

PADRÓN FAMILY RESERVE 50 YEARS 5” x 54 Wrapper: Natural Nicaraguan Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: Medium to full-bodied; notes of chocolate, coffee, earth and hints of cinnamon on the finish.

#3

CIGAR OF 2017

LA FLOR DOMINICANA LA VOLCADA 7” x 48 Wrapper:Mexican San Andrés Maduro Binder: Ecuadoran Corojo Filler: Dominican Republic

Tasting Notes: A full bodied, medium to full flavor cigar with a flawless draw includes notes of charred oak and hay with a minor sweetness and pops of spice throughout.

#4

CIGAR OF 2017

FUENTE FUENTE OPUS X ANGEL’S SHARE

5 5/8 x 46 Fuente Fuente Wrapper: Dominican Chateau de la Fuente Sun Grown Binder: Dominican Republic Filler: Dominican Republic Tasting Notes: Medium Bodied, and Medium-Full in strength with a rich complexity of flavor. Buttery and creamy on the palate with notes of cedar, earth and cinnamon surrounded by hints of raisin, and sweet roasted nuts.

#5

CIGAR OF 2017

MONTECRISTO & AJ FERNANDEZ MONTE BY MONTECRISTO AJ FERNANDEZ 6” x 55 Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo ‘98 Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 and Dominican Piloto Cubano

tasting notes:

ng notes:

Medium to full-bodied, lush, earthy and espresso-like

FILLER: Nicaraguan

R: Nicaraguan

and Honduran

BINDER: Brazil

R: Brazilian

CIGAR OF 2017

6.5” x 52 Wrapper: Connecticut broadleaf Binder: San Andreas Filler: Nicaraguan

LIGA PRIVADA NO. 9 BELICOSO 6 X 52

#6

ROCKY PATEL PLATINUM

___________________________ WRAPPER: Connecticut Broadleaf Ligero Oscuro

Tasting Notes: A full bodied smoke that was created with a taste for stronger, bolder smoking experiences

Tasting Notes: a medium-to-full-bodied cigar with rich, complex glavors and notes of dark chocolate, sweetness and a long earthy finish.

DREW ESTATE LIGA PRIVADA NO. 9 BELICOSO

ied with notes of colate and oak

duran

________________ PER: San aduro

Tasting Notes: Medium to full-bodied, lush, earthy and espresso like finish.

RCROWN NA DOBLE

#7

CIGAR OF 2017

6” x 52 Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Ligero Oscuro Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina Filler: Nicaragua and Honduras

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CIGAR & SPIRITS TOP 20 CIGARS OF 2017 AGING ROOM SOLERA

#8

CIGAR OF 2017

4.7” x 52 Wrapper: Dominican Sun Grown Binder: Dominican Habano Filler: Dominican Habano Tasting Notes: Subtle sweetness with notes of honey, earth, nuts and spice.

DAVIDOFF WINSTON CHURCHILL LIMITED EDITION 2016 THE RACONTEUR

#9

CIGAR OF 2017

6 x 56 Gran Toro Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano 2000 Binder: Mexican San Andrés Negro Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: Just shy of Full strength, The Raconteur offers an instant creaminess followed by pepper, roasted nuts, oak wood, and hints of leather.

ESPINOSA CIGARS LARANJA RESERVA

#10 CIGAR OF 2017

5.5” x 54 Wrapper: Brazilian Laranja Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: Medium to full bodied with an underlying sweetness.

#11 CIGAR OF 2017

ALEC BRADLEY CIGARS BLACK MARKET 7” x 50 Churchill Wrapper: Honduras Binder: Sumatra Filler: Panama, Honduras

Tasting Notes: Medium to full bodied cigar offering a complex profile of spiced earth.

GENERAL CIGARS CAO BRAZILIA FUMA EM CORDA

#12 CIGAR OF 2017

5” x 50 Wrapper: Honduran Colorado Binder: Cameroon Filler: Brazilian, Honduran and Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: The fillers bring a deeper dimension of spice to the salty, earthy flavor of Brazillian leaves. The binder was chosen to deliver a solid burn, and the wrapper delivers notes of leather, roasted coffee and black pepper.

LA AURORA ADN DOMINICANO ROBUSTO

#13 CIGAR OF 2017

5” x 50 Wrapper: Dominican Republic Binder: Cameroon Filler: Dominican Republic, Pennsylvania & Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: Medium bodied creamy smoke with flavors of chocolate, espresso, hay, earth with a hint of floral and spice.

MY FATHER CIGARS GARCIA Y GARCIA – TORO DELUXE

#14 CIGAR OF 2017

6 ¾ x 54 Wrapper: Habano Rosado. Binder: Nicaragua Criollo 98. Filler: Nicaragua including some “Pelo de Oro” leaves.

Tasting Notes: An exquisite representation of what a Nicaraguan cigar should be. ¾ to Full Bodied, the Garcia y Garcia is a flavor powerhouse, layer upon layer of complexity unravel as you enjoy this cigar. Expect notes of wood, molasses, cocoa, spice, and earth throughout with a unique spice on the retrohale.

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CIGAR & SPIRITS TOP 20 CIGARS OF 2017 AJ FERNANDEZ ENCLAVE HABANO

#15

6.5” x 52 Wrapper: Ecuador Binder: Cameroon Filler: Nicaragua

CIGAR OF 2017

Tasting Notes: The rich Habano Rosado wrapper from Ecuador compliments a decadent Cameroon binder greeting the smoker with notes of pepper, spice, cedar and cinnamon.

ALTADIS U.S.A. HENRY CLAY STALK CUT

#16

6” x 54 Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican & Nicaraguan

CIGAR OF 2017

Tasting Notes: Earthy, toasty and cedary notes.

TATUAJE MIAMI RESERVA GRAN COJUNO 6.5” x 60 Wrapper: Ecuador Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua

#17 CIGAR OF 2017

Tasting Notes: An Old World full bodied Cuban style cigar. Notes of pepper, spicy cedar and coffee linger throughout this complex, well-balanced and bold smoke.

AVO SYNCRO SOUTH AMERICAN RITMO 7” x 54 Wrapper: Ecuador Binder: Mexico Filler: Nicaragua, Brazil, Peru and Honduras

#18 CIGAR OF 2017

Tasting Notes: Tasting Notes for Montecristo Espada: An extremely well-balanced medium to full cigar, layered with rich, hearty notes of wood, pepper, coffee, cream, nuts, and sweetness with a cinnamon and spice finish.

Habano

Rich notes of leather framed by a range of coffee, caramel and woody intonations

tasting notes:

FILLER: Nicaraguan

BINDER: Nicaraguan

WRAPPER: Ecuadorean

_________________________

OLIVA

6” x 50 Wrapper: Habano Jalapa Vintage 2010 Binder: Habano Jalapa Vintage 2009 Filler: Habano Jalapa Seco Vintage 2008, Habano Jalapa Viso Ometepe Vintage 2008 and Habano Condega Ligero Vintage 2008

SERIE V MELANIO FIGURADO 6½ x 52

tasting notes:

92

Medium; notes of cedar, caramel, nuts and coffee with a spicy mocha finish

FILLER: Nicaraguan

Ecuadorean Corojo 98

CIGAR OF 2017

MONTE CRISTO ESPADA

WRAPPER:

#19

BINDER: Ecuadorean

________________________

Family Series Miami Babe Robusto 5¼ X 50

LA PALINA

Tasting Notes: Opening with untamed intensity, syncro South America Ritmo presents deep flavors of rasted nuts and black pepper. Unique cocoa and black coffee flavors remain prominent towards the end as a rich creaminess emerges, perfectly fusing the rugged flavor of an ancient civilization with sophisticated style of Avo.

OLIVA SERIE V MELANIO FIGURADO

#20 CIGAR OF 2017

6 ½” x 52 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

notes:

ith notes of cedar

: Nicaraguan

: Cuban-seed

_______________ ER: Cameroon

G Churchill

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

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notes:

died; smooth ith notes of earth, dar

icaraguan and

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: Peruvian,

: Cameroon and Corojo

62

_________________ ER: Ecuadorean lta Arriba

rmo Leon Gorda

ORA

Tasting Notes: Rich notes of leather supplemented by a range of coffee, caramel, and woody intonations.


11/11/15 7:45 AM

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CIGAR & SPIRITS TOP 20 BOUTIQUE CIGARS OF 2017

TOP 20

BOUTIQUE

CIGARS OF 2017

#1

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

MAGAZINE

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MICALLEF CIGARS RESERVA

7� x 52 Wrapper: Habano 2000 Seed Binder: Micallef Family Reserve Secret Blend Filler: Micallef Family Reserve Secret Blend Tasting Notes: This medium to full smoke offers a complex draw of sweet peppers and fresh fruit. Just beneath the oils of its beautiful wrapper, the well-balanced eight year aged reserve is reminiscent of the best days of old and comforts with notes of rich, warm leather and sundrenched wood.


CIGAR & SPIRITS TOP 20 BOUTIQUE CIGARS OF 2017 HIRAM & SOLOMON CIGARS FELLOW CRAFT

#2

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

6” x 52 Wrapper: Habano Oscuro Binder: Indonesian Filler: Habano Halaba, Habano Ometepe, Habano Esteli

Tasting Notes: The flavors are diverse as the cigar smokes through. Hints of ginger and coffee take the leadoff spot and they are followed up with sustainable blends of chocolate and spice. The finish is sweet with evident notes of leather and dark chocolate.

LA SIRENA ORIGINAL TRIDENT CHURCHILL

#3

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

7” x 50 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo Filler: Nicaraguan Jalapa & Condega

Tasting Notes: A medium body and mild to medium strength cigar with heavy notes of cocoa and espresso with a bit of floral toastiness ending with a robust finish.

#4

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

PLACENSIA SIXTO II 6” x 60 Wrapper: Nicaragua Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: Laced with hints of dark chocolate, plum and cinnamon, the taste is rounded out with finishing notes of oak and molasses.

ROMA CRAFT TOBAC NEANDERTHAL HN

#5

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

5” x 52/56 Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, U.S.A. (Pennsylvania) Tasting Notes: Full bodied and full strength thanks to the use of green river sucker one double ligero, the Neanderthal offers loads of dark and rich flavor. Expect notes of nuts, cinnamon, pepper and earth with a spicy retrohale and cream on the long finish.

CORNELIUS & ANTHONY DADDY MAC CORONA GORDA

#6

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

5.5” x 46 Wrapper: Brazil Binder: Ecuador Filler: Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: Medium-to-full bodied, features notes of sweetness and spice that dance on the palate. Superior balance of flavor.

#7

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

THE T BY MATT BOOTH, A.J. FERNANDEZ, AND ROBERT CALDWELL 5” x 52 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: This medium bodied smoke is filled with an amazing variation of full flavors including coffee, leather, dark chocolate and hints of cedar and raisins with a smooth and tasty finish.

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CIGAR & SPIRITS TOP 20 BOUTIQUE CIGARS OF 2017

#8

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

PDR CIGARS FLORES Y RODRIGUEZ 10TH ANNIVERSARY RESERVA LIMITADA 6 ½” x 52 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Binder: Dominican Olor Filler: 7 year Seco Ligero Piloto Cubano & Jalapa Viso

Tasting Notes: A medium, medium plus with hints of citrus, makes this a perfect cigar to pair with I.P.A.’s and peaty scotch’s.

MOMBACHO CIGARS LIGA MAESTRO DOUBLE ROBUSTO

#9

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

6.75” x 50 Wrapper: Habano Shade Grown from Jalapa Binder: Habano Criollo from Jalapa Filler: A blend of Condega and Jalapa Valley tobaccos

Tasting Notes: A medium strength cigar with three main flavors: sweet spicy, earthiness and sugarcane. The liga Maestro cigars start with some spiciness and a deep earth flavor that turns into a sugarcane sweetness.

#10

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

KRISTOFF SAN ANDRES

6” x 60 Wrapper: San Andrés Mexico Binder: Ecuadorian Habano Seed Filler: Triple Nicaraguan Habano Seed Tasting Notes: The Kristoff San Andrés is an extremely rich medium-full bodied cigar with pronounced notes of spice, a hint of black pepper, sweet milk chocolate and smooth coffee cream finish.

ESTEBAN CARRERAS CHUPA CABRA HELLCAT

#11

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

5.5” x 54 Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: Medium bodied and strength, the profile is dominated by leather and espresso with a creamy finish. There are hints of dark fruit, nuts and spice throughout.

NAT CICCO ANNIVERSARIO 1965 LIGA NO. 4

#12

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

6” x 52 Wrapper: Equadorian Habano Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: Full bodied cigar that has an abundant amount of complex, well-balanced flavors, with a pronounced nuttiness to satisfy the palates of most cigar connoisseurs.

MBOMBAY TOBAK GAAJA MADURO

#13

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

6” x 54 Torpedo Wrapper: Brazil Binder: Ecuador Filler: Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay and Dominican Republic Tasting Notes: Key Flavors: Mocha, Cedar, White Pepper, and Herbal Notes. Burn: Very Good. Draw: Excellent Complexity: Medium to High. Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half) Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half). Finish: Excellent

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CIGAR & SPIRITS TOP 20 BOUTIQUE CIGARS OF 2017 REGIUS CIGARS EXCLUSIVO BLUE LABEL OSCURO TORO

#14

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

6” X 52 Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: The blend is complex, nuanced and well rounded. It appeals to those who like maduros, as well as those who prefer a fuller bodied cigar. The sweet and spicy blend offsets the bold tones. It’s a smooth, clean smoking experience with no aftertaste. Perfect in its intensity and strength with delicate cocoa notes throughout.

SOUTHERN DRAW JACOBS LADDER

#15

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

5.5” x 54 Wrapper: Broadleaf- Lancaster, USA Binder: Maduro- Confidential Filler: Viso- Nicaragua, Seco- Nicaragua, Jalapa, Ligero- Estelí Tasting Notes: Cold draw offers notes of Black cherry, coffee, burnt molasses and black pepper, after five or six draws the taste of toasted cashews and sweet tea and anise coat the palate and cigar becomes full bodied transitioning a few times with espresso coffee and dry cocoa and the finishing third is a diverse blast of clove, sweet cherry and pepper.

DUNBARTON TOBACCO & TRUST MI QUERIDA

#16

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

5” x 42 Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: Full bodied. Earthy and dense with a long finish of cocoa, leather and hints of black pepper.

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CIGAR & SPIRITS TOP 20 BOUTIQUE CIGARS OF 2017 PADILLA SAN ANDRES

#17

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

5” x 54 Wrapper: San Andres Maduro Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaragua Aganorsa

Tasting notes: Features traditional Cuban techniques of applying a triple cap and being rolled entubado. This cigar has flawless construction with an easy draw and perfect burn. You can expect palate pleasing notes of chocolate, spice, earth, wood and leather in this medium to full bodied blend.

#18

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

FOUNDATION CIGAR CO. EL GÜEGÜENSE CORONA GORDA 5 5/8” x 46 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Creole Corojo 99 (Finca Putalito-Jalapa) Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo 99 (San Jose-Jalapa) Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo & Corojo (Estelí & Jalapa) Tasting Notes: Exceptionally robust and complex, medium-bodied.

FALTO MENTOR

#19

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

5.75” x 54 Wrapper: HVA Ecuador Binder: Sumatra Ecuado/Cameroon Filler: Dominican Republic, Brazil and Nicaragua Tasting Notes: The Falto Mentor is a toro blended in honor of the man who taught Luis Falto everything he knows abot tobacco and cigars: Manuel J. Inoa. This cigar is fairly complex and some people, when they try it, consider it to be very full bodied and others find it quite medium flavored. It carries great balance between both spectrums with subtle tones of nuts and some coffee.

TABACALERA EL ARTISTA PULITA

#20

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2017

5” x 50 Wrapper: Negrito Binder: Dominican Criollo 98 Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Colombia and Pennsylvania Tasting Notes: This cigar contains a master blend of six exceptional tobaccos. The Dominican Criollo binder adds body to the medium smoke and the filler is composed of tobaccos from the DR, Nicaragua, Columbia and Pennsylvania that add remarkable complexity as the cigar transitions.

TOP 3 NEW CIGAR COMPANIES OF 2017 *ESTABLISHED SINCE 2013

1.) MICALLEF CIGARS 2.) HIRAM & SOLOMON CIGARS 3.) CORNELIUS & ANTHONY CIGARS 68

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CIGAR & SPIRITS TOP 20 BOUTIQUE CIGARS OF 2017

#2

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2016

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TOP 5 CUBANS OF 2017 #1

MONTECRISTO A

CUBAN CIGAR OF 2017

9.25” x 47 Wrapper: Cuba Binder: Cuba Filler: Cuba

Tasting Notes: A mild to medium cigar yet has a complex and rich flavor profile including earth, leather, woods and spice. Considering the size, this silky smoke has a uniquely superb draw.

MAGAZINE

COHIBA BEHIKE 52

#2

CUBAN CIGAR OF 2017

4 3/5” x 52 Wrapper: Cuba Binder: Cuba Filler: Cuba

Tasting Notes: A creamy and velvety medium to full bodied smoke loaded with flavors of wood, earth and a hint of coffee.

COHIBA SIGLO VI

#3

CUBAN CIGAR OF 2017

5.9” x 52 Wrapper: Cuba Binder: Cuba Filler: Cuba

Tasting Notes: A medium to full bodied smoke both incredibly creamy and smooth the whole way through including flavors of soil and spice with a hint of both oranges and wood.

BOLIVAR TESOROS - EDICION REGIONAL ALEMANIA (2016)

#4

CUBAN CIGAR OF 2017

7.25” x 57 Wrapper: Cuba Binder: Cuba Filler: Cuba

Tasting Notes: Medium full to full flavor with amazing construction containing smooth, creamy and detailed notes of sweet cedar, caramel and white pepper followed by a nutty, espresso and black pepper flavor.

#5

CUBAN CIGAR OF 2017

HOYO DE MONTERREY EPICURE NO 2 RESERVA COSECHA 2012 4 7/8” x 50 Wrapper: Cuba Binder: Cuba Filler: Cuba

Tasting Notes: Light to medium strength with a slightly fruity overall flavor of orange peel along with hints of nutty caramel, toast and a touch of white pepper. Creamy smoke with a perfect draw.

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MAGAZINE

Medium to full-bodied

tasting notes:

Tasting Notes: Medium bodied smoke with notes of butter, vanilla, earth and just a touch of pepper.

FILLER: Nicaraguan

5” x 52 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Binder: Nicaraguan Habano Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran & Dominican

BINDER: Nicaraguan

LIGHT CIGAR OF 2017

LA SIRENA CIGARS LA SIRENA LT

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tasting notes:

#1

__________________________ WRAPPER: Nicaraguan

PADRÓN SERIES 3000 5½ X 52

Full-bodied, rich with notes of spice, cedar and some cocoa and an earthiness

FILLER: Nicaraguan

BINDER: Nicaraguan

Ecuadorean

WRAPPER: Sun-grown

________________________

TOP 3 LIGHT CIGARS OF 2017

Smooth and complex

tasting notes:

FILLER: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: This medium-bodied cigar shows rich flavors as a smooth, silky smoke and is not short on flavor with subtle notes of wood, coffee and cream.

BINDER: Nicaraguan

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5” x 50 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

padrón cigars

OLIVA CONNECTICUT RESERVE

PADRÓN 1964 ANNIVERSARY TORPEDO 6 X 52

Medium-bodied, earthy with notes of oak and some salted nuts on the finish

tasting notes:

FILLER: Nicaraguan

BINDER: Nicaraguan

#3

LIGHT CIGAR OF 2017

Tasting Notes: Medium with hints of spice throughout entire smoke.

__________________________ WRAPPER: Nicaraguan

Corona 5” x 50 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Havana Binder: Cuban-seed Dominican Republic Filler: Cuban-seed and Dominican

#2

LIGHT CIGAR OF 2017

#2

5 ½” x 52 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

Exceptionally smooth, complex, balanced and full-bodied

tasting notes:

FILLER: Nicaraguan

BINDER: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: A full bodied and powerful cigar which is one of the strongest and most well-balanced cigars including bold and heavy notes of pepper, cedar, spice and leather.

PADRÓN FAMILY 1926 SERIE NO. 2 MEDIUM-FULL CIGAR OF 2017

_________________________ WRAPPER: Nicaraguan

5.2” x 52 Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican

PADRÓN 1926 SERIE NO. 2 5½ X 52

MAGAZINE

LA FLOR DOMINICANA DOUBLE LIGERO

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Connecticut

MEDIUM-FULL CIGAR OF 2017

Mild to medium-bodied with notes of cedar and nuts

Nicaraguan Cuban Seed

Nicaraguan Cuban Seed

#1

tasting notes:

FILLER: Dominican and

BINDER: Dominican and

TOP 3 MEDIUM-FULL CIGARS OF 2017

WRAPPER: Sun-grown

__________________________

WRAPPER: Connecticut

__________________________

ARTURO FUENTE CASA CUBA

Tasting Notes: Exceptionally smooth, complex, balanced and full-bodied.

ROCKY PATEL SUPER LIGERO

#3

MEDIUM-FULL CIGAR OF 2017

Robusto 5” x 50 Wrapper: Honduran Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Costa Rican, Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: Robust and full-bodied; begins with a blast of bold flavor and a slight woodiness. Lingering spice with hints of cinnamon and white pepper. Hearty finish with a sweet aftertaste.

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FEATURE

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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TRAGIC COURAGE The World of F. Scott Fitzgerald: Jazz, Prohibition, Flappers and American Literature by Elisa Jordan

Show me a hero, and I will write you a tragedy.

ot long before the millennium turned, the Modern Library published a list of the twentieth century’s 100 Best Novels. Number 2 on that was The Great Gatsby by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Only Ulysses by Irish novelist James Joyce beat Gatsby for the top position. When Fitzgerald died in Los Angeles in 1940, thousands of copies of Gatsby sat unsold in his publisher’s warehouse. Just a decade or so earlier he had been the toast of America’s literary community, traveling abroad and making enormous sums of money. Toward the end of his life his wheel of fortune had turned. He was struggling for work as a screenwriter in Hollywood, his books’ popularity was waning and his wife Zelda was institutionalized. He disliked life in Hollywood but it provided one of the few viable options for income. In addition to living expenses, he was also paying for Zelda’s care at a private facility and for his daughter’s education. But alcoholism disrupted his once-prolific writing schedule and years of hard living took its toll on his health. Before he died of a heart attack at the age of 44, F. Scott Fitzgerald believed his work would be forgotten. Little did he know that his entire of body of work would later revolutionize twentieth century fiction. The Great Gatsby, the novel in which Fitzgerald examines America against a backdrop of the 1920s “Jazz Age,” is now considered a masterpiece. Fitzgerald himself coined the term “Jazz Age,” and he didn’t just write about it. He lived it.

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THE JAZZ AGE

Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

For the first time in America’s history, more people lived in cities than in rural areas. It was an age of machinery. Cars were more affordable thanks to the Model-T, skyscrapers were jutting into the sky and airplanes were becoming more commercial. The machine theme heavily influenced a style called Art Deco, which emphasized geometric design and industrial materials like chrome and metal. The symbolism behind it all: progress. And that’s exactly what was happening in the 1920s. In addition to the mechanical revolution, a cultural revolution was also breaking open. The Jazz Age, of course, takes its name from the style of music for which it is named. Its roots grew in New Orleans and combined multiple types of music, including marching band, blues and ragtime, to form a new, unique sound. In retrospect, jazz is considered the first truly American style of music. F.Scott Fitzgerald and friends ham it up

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Jazz was created by African Americans during a time when whites and blacks were often segregated. But jazz had the unique ability of bringing people together. Music lovers gathered to hear bands play. And thanks to the new era of mass production, phonographs and radios provided other avenues to reach listeners who might otherwise have missed out because of their geographical location or race issues. The culture of mass consumption had another side effect: It narrowed gaps between social classes. Mass produced goods lowered prices and made them more readily available to middle and lower income families.

During this time, F. Scott Fitzgerald—Scott to his friends— was honing his craft as a writer and intently watching all that was going on around him. Although born into a modest but upper-middleclass Irish-American family, Scott was determined to achieve two things: a writing career and infiltrate the upper levels of society. He enrolled in Princeton, which provided material for his first novel, This Side of Paradise. In 1917, he dropped out to enlist in the Army and serve in the war. Before he could be deployed, however, the war ended in 1918 and he never even left the United States.

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images

The era of excess that F. Scott Fitzgerald would call the Jazz Age starts where World War I ends. The United States was on the winning side and the entire county was jubilant in the 1918 victory. Soldiers returned home and soon the country was on an economic upswing. The stock market boomed, which gave many a feeling of wealth even if it was only on paper. It was also a time of change.

Here was a new generation, a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success, grown up to find all gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths to man shaken.


PROHIBITION: A TIME OF REBELLION Although the 18th Amendment had noble intentions, it soon backfired. Instead of curbing the public’s desire to drink, people just found illegal ways to acquire liquor. Illegal alcohol manufacturers, or bootleggers, sold their products to eager buyers. Because liquor no longer originated from legal channels, a criminal element creeped into distribution. Nightclubs (“speakeasies”) catering to thirsty crowds thrived despite the looming and very real possibility of police raids. Despite connections to the underworld, many speakeasy attendees were hardly the criminal type. Everyday people had been forced underground to find fun and music. The jazz scene exploded in speakeasies, which were less likely to have the rigid cultural rules imposed by prior generations. Now, both black and white musicians played together on stage and whites were introduced to a new style of music.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

That same year, he released his first collection of short stories called Flappers and Philosophers, which contains “Bernice Bobs Her Hair.”

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Flapper and revelers make the bar scene

You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

It was an exuberant time, for women especially. The 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was ratified on August 18, 1920. Women began entering the workforce, expanding their role in society and their personal freedoms. Fashion and behavior followed accordingly. Skirts were shortened and so was hair—as Scott documented in the short story “Bernice Bobs Her Hair.” It was also the first time in America when women who were not prostitutes could be seen in public smoking and drinking—even though it was the Prohibition era. This generation was called the New Woman, although most people are probably more familiar with the term “flapper.” After Scott married socialite Zelda Sayre in 1920, he called her the “first American flapper.”

Jazz Fan parties with flappers

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

In the latter days of the war, President Woodrow Wilson temporarily suspended the manufacturing of alcohol to save grain for food production. After the war ended, Congress submitted the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, transportation and sale of liquor. It was ratified on January 29, 1919, and went into effect in 1920.

Prohibition Agents at work


100% FLORIDA RUM MADE FROM FLORIDA SUGARCANE BLACK STRAP MOLASSES MATURED IN BOURBON BARRELS

Please Drink Responsibly. Dove Tale Rum. 40% alc./vol. © 2018. John Drew Brands, Auburndale, FL

NOTES OF CARAMEL, NOUGAT AND VANILLA EASY DRINKING & DELICIOUS 80 PROOF

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GATSBY’S PARTIES Scott closely watched the world changing around him and wrote his observations into fiction. He examined this in the short stories but began working on a longer, more epic story that evolved into The Great Gatsby. Jay Gatsby, a man of questionable background who longs for Daisy, an old flame who went on to marry a millionaire. Gatsby earns a fortune in bootlegging and displays his new wealth with elaborate parties on his vast lawn with intention of winning Daisy’s love. As the book unfolds, a dark side to the glamour emerges. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

New York City’s elite drinking, dining and dancing

Gatsby’s guests are nameless, faceless against a backdrop of excess and drunkenness. There are allusions to the criminal underworld. Reckless youth spirals and the working class hopelessly dreams of upward mobility that will never happen. Gatsby’s tragic demise suggests the death of the American Dream. Although the novel is set against the backdrop of the hedonistic Jazz Age, Scott was a keen student of history and his cautionary story can apply to almost any era.

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The test of a firstrate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.


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THE PARTY’S OVER F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work was fictional, but a great deal of it was based in reality. Charming alcoholics, some of whom fall from grace, dot much of Scott’s fiction. Scott and Zelda, charming alcoholics in their own right, started slowly losing control of their lives. Drunken revelry devolved into embarrassing episodes in public and self-destruction in private. For as much as they drank, the Fitzgeralds did not always hold their liquor well. They went from life of the party to friends resenting their behavior. Scott began struggling with bouts of depression and to keep a writing schedule, which he had once been fastidious about. For her part, Zelda struggled with life in Scott’s shadow. She wrote her own novel, Save Me the Waltz, and started intensive ballerina training. She showed some talent, but as a woman in her late twenties she was far too old to embark on a professional dance career. Her training strained their marriage and her health. Zelda, once the ideal flapper, was showing signs of mental illness. Her grueling dance schedule likely exacerbated her breakdown, which resulted in a diagnosis of schizophrenia. She spent the rest of her life in and out of sanitariums during a time when there was little help for her illness. Scott strove to provide his wife with the best care he could afford, but the financial burden was heavy. There was also their daughter, Scottie, to care for. But his work started to bring in less money. His last two completed novels, The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night, did not meet sales expectations. Cultural times were about to change. The Roaring 20s—the Jazz Age—that had inspired a nation’s spirit of rebellion and social change came to a calamitous end when the stock market crashed in October 1929. So much of the nation’s presumed wealth had been in stocks and it evaporated in an instant. Now thrust into the Great Depression, people no longer wanted to read about wealthy drinkers who lived glamorous lives. When Scott moved to Los Angeles in 1937 to write for movies, it was for the money. He held little regard for the rising art form. “I saw that the novel, which at my maturity was the strongest and supplest medium for conveying thought and emotion from one human being to another, was becoming subordinated to a mechanical and commercial art. As long past as 1930, I had a hunch that the talkies would make even the best-selling novelist as archaic as silent pictures,” he wrote in The Crack-Up. His screenwriting career sputtered, but Hollywood did provide material for the Pat Hobby series of short stories and for a novel he was working on, The Last Tycoon. It was incomplete at the time of his death, but like its predecessors explores heavy topics like wealth, power distribution and excess. It was published posthumously, so he never got to see the response to his final, if incomplete, work. Scott similarly did not get to witness the increasing popularly of his literature. In the 1950s, after the country had recovered from economic disaster and another world war, fresh eyes were able to see F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work for what it was. These were hardly shallow stories of excess and wealth. Readers were finally able to understand the cautionary tales of corruption, crumbing morality, materialism, power distribution and the idealism of the American dream. He embodied the Jazz Age but at times he overshadowed his own work. “I do not know that a personality can be divorced from the times which evoke it,” Zelda wrote after Scott’s death. “I feel that Scott’s greatest contribution was the dramatization of a heart-broken & despairing era, giving it a new raison-d’etre in the sense of tragic courage with which he endowed it.” F. Scott Fitzgerald may have been consumed by the era he epitomized, but through his experiences and genius for language he accomplished the rarest of literary prizes: the great American novel. Closing line from The Great Gatsby: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Elisa Jordan is a freelance writer in Southern California. She has a Masters Degree in English with an emphasis in American Literature. Her favorite book is The Great Gatsby.

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The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.


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VICES Photo courtesy of DB. Bar Max La

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WINTER COCKTAILS by Julie Harrington Giffin

IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIP Sip? Clearly, that’s not how the classic saying goes but “frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Like the blue blazer, the Jaguar XK-E, or the little black dress adorned with a single strand of pearls, the ticking clock bares no influence on timeless style. Enduring the test of time are classics that extend far beyond that of fashion or flair. Masterpieces in pop music include classic songs from greats like The Beatles or Louis Armstrong. Literary classics include Melville’s Moby Dick and Hemingway’s final but most celebrated work, The Old Man and the Sea. Cinema greatness has exposed larger than life classics on the big screen such as Gone with the Wind and Casablanca. And it is here, in the Golden-age of Hollywood where the iconic status of timeless libations has been made.

Ian Flemming penned the most quintessential three-word catchphrase that when spoken by Sean Connery as the legendary James Bond, its fate was sealed. “Shaken not stirred” will forever be synonymous with the bespoke martini preferred by Agent 007. The Dry Vodka Martini is most identified with the British secret spy as is his memorable Aston Martin but it is the Vesper named after the original Bond girl that is most notable from Flemings’ 1953 literary work and subsequent movie, Casino Royale: “Three measures of Gordon’s, one vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until its ice cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”

Photo courtesy of DB. Bar Max La

VESPER COCKTAIL 3 oz. Gordon’s Gin 1 oz. Belvedere Vodka ½ oz. Lillet Blanc Add all ingredients to a shaker and fill with crushed ice. Shake, do not stir, and pour into a tall champagne glass. This is Bond’s stemware of choice. Garnish with a large thin slice of lemon peel and serve. Note: Cocchi Americano is often said to be closer in profile to the original recipe’s Kina Lillet and may be substituted for the more widely used Lillet Blanc.

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The debate over who created the original Mai Tai will forever be shrouded in controversy. Whether it was Victor Bergeron of Trader Vic’s fame or Donn Beach of the worlds first tiki bar Don the Beachcomber, one thing is for sure, Elvis Presley brought this American made classic to life in his 1961 romantic comedy musical, Blue Hawaii. Variations of the original Mai Tai recipe are vast but one thing that sets apart a true Mai Tai from imposters is fruit juice. The addition of orange juice or pineapple juice is a tell-tale sign that a Mai Tai lacks authenticity. A proper Mai Tai contains no juice and allows a good quality rum take center stage. As with all things Polynesian, one sip of the Mai Tai whisks you off to vacation paradise with warm trade winds and the proverbial sounds of the ukulele. It makes you wonder, when Elvis sang his hit song from Blue Hawaii “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” perhaps he was thinking of the Mai Tai.

MAI TAI (BASED ON TRADER VIC’S RECIPE) Photo courtesy of DB. Bar Max La

1 oz. Zacapa Edicion Negra 1 oz. Zacapa Centenario 23 ½ oz. Orange Curacao ¼ oz. Orgeat Syrup1 ¾ oz. fresh lime juice ¼ oz. Rock Candy Syrup2 Combine ingredients in shaker and fill with crushed ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and half of a juiced lime.

1. Small Hand Foods Brand recommend 2. Rock Candy Syrup: This is a thicker and sweeter version of simple syrup.Combine 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water in saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer until sugar dissolves and syrup is slightly thickened (3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store in a mason jar in refrigerator until ready to use.

Albeit a screen of a different size, we leave the golden-era of Hollywood to the modern-era of television where the most celebrated drama series of the last decade brought us Don Draper of Mad Men. Set in 1960 New York, a time when a smoke and a drink in the same hand was an elevated sense of sexy and sophistication, Don Draper popularized the Old-Fashioned causing a resurgence of this classic. Created by James E. Pepper in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, the Old-Fashioned didn’t gain recognition until Pepper had it debut at the Waldorf Astoria in the 1880’s. This traditional cocktail recipe has remained steadfast over the years and never disappoints.

OLD-FASHIONED 1 scant teaspoon of simple syrup 2 dashes Angostura Bitters 2-inch slice of orange peel with pith intact 2 oz. high quality bourbon or rye whiskey 1 Amarena Wild Cherry (optional) In old-fashioned glass, combine simple syrup and bitters. Add 1 medium ice block (or fill glass half way with ice) and stir. Squeeze orange peel over glass to extract oils and add peel to glass. Add Whiskey, stir, and garnish with an Amarena wild cherry.

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Photo courtesy of DB. Bar Max La

Fast forward almost a century and a half later and the Old-Fashioned continues to exhibit its timeless style by reigning supreme as the number one most popular cocktail in the world. Where better to enjoy this top reigning classic than at one of LA’s top reigning bars, Melrose Umbrella Company. The award-winning masterminds behind this post-prohibition bar, Zach Patterson and Austin Melrose, have set a new standard in creating a cocktail program leaving their customers with nothing less than a provocative imbibing experience. Their influence on the Old-Fashioned casts aside its traditional personality, unveiling a highly seductive expression that only Melrose Umbrella Company, dare fashion.

MAN IN THE MURE Photo courtesy of DB. Bar Max La

1/2 oz. Teeling Single Grain Whiskey 3/8 oz. Giffard Crème de Mure 1 bar spoon (teaspoon) Simple Syrup 2 dashes Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters Islay Mist Stir and strain into a single old-fashioned glass over one large cube. Sprits with Islay Mist and serve. Man in the Mure: Irish Whiskey Old-Fashioned with a nut and berry profile bearing a toasted smoky top note. Teelings is the first new Irish Whiskey distillery in 125 years. Creme de Mure is a blackberry liqueur and the Islay scotch mist on top dries out the sweetness of the drink. Garnish with Islay Scotch Mist sprayed into glass before serving.

Irrespective of time, classics will forever remain in vogue. And as long as our glassware runneth over in high-spirited fashion, there are many Love at First Sip experiences to be had. So, raise your glass to the old, the new and the classics that are yet to be and remember, It’s a Wonderful Life. 1. Drinks International – Worlds 50 Best Selling Classic Cocktails 2017 (drinksint.com)

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FEATURE

By Nick Hammond

Our intrepid Englishman abroad, NICK HAMMOND, takes a stroll around the markets, waterways – and cigar parlors – of old Amsterdam…

I LOVE Amsterdam. There’s a great vibe to the place; a positive and can-do atmosphere that seems to reward what the Brits would call a bit of gumption, application and bloody hard work. There are millions of bikes – it’s hard to get used to how many there are, to be honest, and on this glorious late Summer morning, I nearly get mowed down several times. Remember, the little paths lined off at the side of the road are for cyclists and not preoccupied British cigar lovers! This Sunday morning, I’ve awoken to take a stroll through the centre of town. Here, behind the Van Gogh museum on Van Baerlestraat, an excellent market is coming alive. Every other stall is some sort of street food (Wurzt, Belgian waffles, fresh frites, oysters on the shell, ‘the best pulled pork you’ve ever eaten’) and rich, nostril-twitching scents swirl on the blustery breeze that also disturbs the leaves which have fallen from the plane trees surrounding the adjacent park. I take my time to pick through the selection of handcrafts, jewellery and wooden curios, for I can afford to be blasé – just over the street are two cracking cigar shops awaiting my attention.

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The first is run by my friend Sasja van Horssen. He has that delightful mix of temperament so many ambitious young Dutch seem to possess – stubborn, straighttalking, ever so slightly barmy and great fun to be around. Sasja also makes things happen. An outspoken advocate of New World cigars – in particular, those made in Nicaragua – van Horssen has done something remarkable here in the Netherlands. He has opened the world’s first Nicaraguan-only cigar store – called Cigaragua. And it’s fantastic. After a couple of fresh oysters sprinkled with nothing other than a little lemon juice and a paper wedge of hot, salty frites, I’m ready for action. I stride purposefully across the road – narrowly avoiding being flattened by a flotilla of charging bicyclists – and into the store. The ground floor welcomes you with a counter, cool signage, and scores of the excellent Cigaragua photobook that van Horssen commissioned for the store’s opening. The sampling lounge – down a few suicidally steep steps – is below you. And Valhalla lies waiting above.


You won’t ever have seen so many dark, oily Nicaraguan cigars anywhere under the same roof before. There are thousands here in this glassfronted crypt, where tendrils of cooling condensed air escape periodically from the snaking coil of ventilation tubes which line the ceiling. Joya de Nicaragua, Drew Estate, Nick Perdomo, Tatuaje, Padron, Alec Bradley, Oliva – these and many, many more. It’s hard to make a choice, to be honest. But I do, eventually – it’s a Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Gran Reserva in Belicoso – and I make my way down to meet Sasja and store manager Rod for a much-needed coffee. The sampling room is large and comfortable, with excellent coffee. There’s great Wi-Fi and if you want to work, chat or simply chill out, the atmosphere here is relaxed and welcoming. You’re just as likely to find a shortswearing hippy as you are to find a sharp-suited businessman. That’s Amsterdam for you. The Joya de Nic Antaño Gran Reserva is a new take on an old cigar – the company’s best-selling US cigar, incidentally. The Gran Reserva includes fillers aged up to five years and is an incredibly smooth, bold smoke. Maybe a punchy start to the day, but after food and with good strong coffee, it works for me. Business concluded at Cigaragua, I take the matter of about 50 steps up the road and enter the Davidoff store. It’s compact, beautifully designed, and includes an upstairs seating area in front of a huge glass window which allows for extreme comfort

while indulging in great people watching. I choose a Davidoff Nicaragua Short Corona – one of my favourite small cigars – and I chat to Jasmina Ramic who works here and also helps run the Smoqueens – the Amsterdam ladies’ cigar club. There’s a small, but passionate membership who meet for good times, cocktails, canapes and the chance to smoke something delicious. You can’t come to Amsterdam without noticing the canals and to clear my head, I take a walk along and around this beguiling maze of them. There are more than 100km of canals here, and around 1,500 bridges. I only visit a handful on my wanderings, but all are bustling with canal boat trips, tourists and of course bikes. The café culture is alive and well here – couples and friends meet to share a coffee or glass of wine and soak up the atmosphere. In one of the art shops I stop to admire a striking painting of an African tribal girl – soon the young assistant and I are chatting about England and her visits there. They’re a friendly bunch on the whole, the Dutch. I hop into a cab for the short ride to PGC Hajenius. This glorious building has been selling fine cigars since 1826 and much of the original ambience remains – including some of the interior Italian marble, the chandeliers and leatherwork. There’s also a fabulous little sampling room at the back of the store, which is galleried like a public library and with glorious high ceilings. I make

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Tom Mulder from La Sagrada Familia cigars, Sasja van Horssen of Cigaragua and Joya de Nicaragua’s Juan Martinez

Photo by Nick Hammond

myself comfortable in a corner with an espresso and a boxpressed Padron 1926. There’s a clubbable atmosphere here, new entrants quick to raise a hand and say hi to those already indulging. I am intrigued by a couple of blind chaps who are led in by a friend, and welcome them to my table. Despite some language difficulties – mine, not theirs, for they speak better English than I do Dutch – we spend the next hour or so chatting and comparing notes. It’s interesting to get the point of view of a blind cigar smoker, incidentally; their opinions and experiences are shuttered to purely the taste and smell of a cigar and they had some interesting insights for me. They smoked a pair of Cuban Ramon Allones Specially Selected - another favourite of mine - aided by their friend and myself with the occasional relight. A couple of swigs of water and a powernap in the back of another taxi took me to my final destination of this wonderful day in Amsterdam. The Le Casa del Habano in Almere – 30 minutes or so outside the city – is a must-visit while you’re here. Yuri Dijskstra and Olav Meijer are old school pals and they’ve been close all their lives. Now they’re also in business together. This beautiful La Casa in the little working suburb of Amsterdam is one of the best I’ve had the privilege to visit; wonderful selection of cigars, a very cool downstairs bar, complete with rare and aged whiskies, rums and Cognacs – and best of all, a killer vibe.

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I strike up my Dutch Regional Edition cigar while Elvis does his stuff via the sound system. A couple of hours spent here is like being in your own episode of Cheers. Old friends swing by, make the acquaintance of new ones. There’s a game of pool, a smoke and a couple of drinks and they move on. Darkness is falling as I slump into my cab for the drive back into the city. I’ve had a great day in Amsterdam. If you know where to look, it’s a paradise for cigar fans. And even without the cigar shops, it’s one of my favourite cities. So what’s stopping you? The bicycles are waiting.

Cigaragua, www.cigaragua.nl Van Baerlestraat, 56H, 1071 BA PGC Haejenius, www.hajenius.com Rokin 96, 1012 KZ La Casa del Habano, www.lcdh-almere.com Brouwerstraat 2, 1315 BP Almere Nick Hammond is the UK’s premier cigar writer, a winner of the inaugural Spectator Cigar Writer of the Year Award and a regular contributor to cigar publications around the world. He also writes extensively on travel, luxury, food, drink and The Good Life.


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FEATURE

The BEST of theWEST PENDLETON WHISKY MEETS THE SMITH FORK RANCH by Audrey Pavia

hen I received an invitation to visit the Smith Fork Ranch in Colorado to sample some the finest whisky in the West, “no” was not an option. Saying yes to spending time in the western Rockies at a luxury ranch to explore quality spirits was a no-brainer.

The River House is one of several guest cabins located on the ranch.

I arrived at the Montrose Municipal Airport in Montrose, Colo., on a crisp fall evening and took a shuttle an hour or so out to the ranch. It was dark during the drive, and the driver assured me I would be stunned when I woke up the next morning and saw the scenery around me. I knew we were climbing to more than 7,000 feet, so I was expecting something very special. I was not disappointed. After spending the night in the ranch’s River House, a majestic three-bedroom cabin furnished in luxury western décor just above the creek-like Smith Fork River, I was greeted with a stunning array of fall colors as I gazed out my window. Photo by Audrey Pavia

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Photo by William Campbell

This limited edition bottle of the Pendleton Directors’ Reserve features a handmade leather label.

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Photo by William Campbell

The restored wooden barn is the centerpiece of the ranch’s stable.

reakfast was scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Dinner Bell Cook House, so as I walked the path from the River House, I took in the nearby pond and the cascading hills that towered all around me, covered with orange, yellow and red foliage. The meal was wonderful, and featured a variety of homemade delights, including a blueberry cobbler and avocado toast. A breakfast cocktail featuring Pendleton Whisky—the first of many to come—was also on the menu. I had a chance to meet the other guests who were here to take in the delights of the Smith Fork Ranch. They were all staying in one of the other four opulent rustic-opulent cabins located on the property. After breakfast, we were scheduled for a horseback ride. I and the other guests gathered at the riding stable, which featured a majestic two-story wooden barn. The wranglers asked us a few questions about our riding abilities and then chose suitable mounts for us. I was given a white gelding named Ghost. After all were mounted, we headed up in the hills, going single file through several miles of single-track trails that wound through stunning groves of yellow, red and orange scrub oak and strands of yellow aspen. We wove our way up into the hills until we hit a plateau with a view of

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the surrounding mountains. After some photo ops, we made our way back down to the ranch. Lunch was next on the agenda, and guests were given a choice of gourmet burgers or salads. Since the Smith Fork has a farm-to-table philosophy, the greens in the salad were grown right at the ranch’s Farmstead Garden.

ALTHOUGH PENDLETON WHISKY BEARS THE NAME OF A FAMOUS OREGON TOWN, IT IS ACTUALLY BLENDED IN WESTERN CANADA, WHERE IT IS AGED IN OAK BARRELS USING THE FINEST INGREDIENTS. As part of our lunch, we were all offered a special cocktail made with Pendleton Whisky. I chose the Barrel Racer, a coffee drink with whisky and three donut holes on a skewer lying across the top of the mug. The coffee/whisky blend was amazing, and the donut holes tasted like they had been soaking in whisky for longer than it took the bartender to make my drink. Next on the agenda was clay shooting and hiking. I chose instead to stroll around the pond and take photos down by the creek. I then spent the rest of the afternoon reading on the picturesque porch of the River House.


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Photo by William Campbell

A view of the Elk Lodge, the main gathering place at the Smith Fork Ranch.

ater that afternoon, we gathered in the pavilion of the Elk Lodge to meet Linda Hodgson, who owns the ranch with her husband Marley Hodgson. The Hodgsons founded the legendary leather company Ghurka, and Linda gave us a detailed history of their beautiful resort. Situated in the Northfork Valley, the land now occupied by the 300-acre ranch was once home to the Ute Indians. The Hodgsons discovered the neglected property in 2000 while searching for a ranch home in the West. The buildings, many of which were built from the 1920s to 1950s, were in bad shape, but after 2 ½ years of renovation, the ranch became a place they could truly enjoy. Every building was disassembled, each log numbered, and then re-built from the inside out. This attention to detail allows the ranch to retain much of its original style. In the process, the Hodgsons inserted their own sense of classic style and taste. After adding all this charm to the ranch, the Hodgsons decided the ranch was too nice not to share. They opened it to the public in 2002, and have hosted guests from all over the world, including Britons, Italians, French and many visitors from the East Coast. The surrounding towns of Crawford, Hotchkiss and Paonia provide guests with places to shop, although when you’re at the Smith Fork Ranch, you feel like the nearest civilization is many miles away. The Smith Fork partnered with Pendleton Whisky for this event, so next up was Randy Severe, owner of Severe Brothers Saddlery, who told us all about the town of Pendleton, Ore., where the whisky got its name, and where the famous Pendleton Roundup rodeo is held every year. Randy’s connection to Pendleton Whisky became obvious when he showed us the handmade leather case he made for the limited-edition Pendleton Directors’ Reserve. Prior to dinner, it was time for the Pendleton Whisky portfolio tasting we had all been waiting for. Although Pendleton Whisky bears the name of a famous Oregon town, it is actually blended in western Canada, where it is aged in oak barrels using the finest ingredients. Before bottling, Hood River Distillers in Oregon add glacier-fed spring water from Mt. Hood.

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Randy Severe and Jodi Severe Thackeray entertained guests around the campfire.


Photo by William Campbell

THE EVENING ENDED WITH AN INCREDIBLE TIME AROUND AN OUTDOOR CAMPFIRE, WHERE GUESTS ENJOYED S’MORES, AND RANDY SEVERE AND HIS DAUGHTER JODI ENTERTAINED US WITH YODELING, ALONG WITH GUITVAR AND FIDDLE PLAYING. AS THE SMELL OF CAMPFIRE SMOKE AND THE SOUND OF TRADITIONAL BLUEGRASS FILLED THE AIR, I KNEW IT WOULD HARD TO LEAVE THE NEXT DAY.

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Guests had the chance to taste four different Pendleton whiskies, each with its own distinct palate.

The portfolio whiskies we tasted were the Pendleton Whisky, Pendleton 1910, Pendleton Midnight and Pendleton Director’s Reserve. I was impressed with the smooth finish and lack of bite. My favorite was the Midnight, which is aged in American brandy barrels, and features notes of leather mix with warm cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and a hint of ginger, with subtle undertones of dried fruit.

Horseback riding in the hills above the ranch is one of the Smith Fork’s most popular pastimes.

After the tasting, it was time for dinner, prepared by Smith Fork’s resident chef, Marcus Parrott. Guests were provided a number of 5-star choices that featured ingredients grown at the ranch’s organic farmstead garden, which cultivates more than 80 varieties of herbs, fruits and vegetables. Dinner also featured meat and fish selected from local farms. Besides cocktails made with Pendleton Whisky, guests could also choose from the ranch’s extensive selection of fine wines from around the world. The evening ended with an incredible time around an outdoor campfire, where guests enjoyed s’mores, and Randy Severe and his daughter Jodi entertained us with yodeling, along with guitar and fiddle playing. As the smell of campfire smoke and the sound of traditional bluegrass filled the air, I knew it would hard to leave the next day. It became clear that saying good-bye to Smith Fork Ranch is the hardest part of the visit.

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For more information, visit www.smithforkranch.com and www.pendletonwhisky.com

Audrey Pavia is an award-winning writer and author of 23 books. She’s a frequent contributor to Cigar & Spirits Magazine and more than a bit of an anglophile as well.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

Photo by William Campbell

Photo by Audrey Pavia

Photo by William Campbell

Pendleton Whisky in a mug of coffee with three whisky-soaked donut holes made a great afterlunch drink.


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INTERVIEW Photo courtesy of David McClister

The Cigar & Spirits Magazine Q&A with

Dan Tyminski Alison Krauss & Union Station Member Flies Solo by Kevin Kenney

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Photo courtesy of David McClister

Dan Tyminski is well-known in music circles for being a Grammywinning guitar player and vocalist with the country/bluegrass band Alison Krauss and Union Station…for being the singer who gave voice to George Clooney’s “Man of Constant Sorrow” in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou”…and for his surprise, genre-breaking version of Swedish producer Avicii’s electronic dance hit, “Hey Brother.”

What this longtime collaborator and self-described sideman is less known for is...being Dan Tyminski, songwriter and solo artist. That’s likely to change with the recent release of a Tyminski solo album, “Southern Gothic” – a project that finally moves the 50-year-old Vermont native out of the penumbra of the spotlight and into its bright center. The 13-song album was co-written with an all-star team of country luminaries, but it mines a wide array of influences that defies pigeonholing it into any one genre.

But as the “gothic” part of “Southern Gothic” would suggest, it’s also a serious exploration of some the darker dichotomies of human nature – which the listener learns from the title cut’s very first words – Blackbird on the old church steeple Spanish moss hanging in the setting sun Every house has got a bible and a loaded gun All the songs were originally written for other artists, until serendipity and self-examination led Tyminski to decide to record them himself. It’s a story Tyminski shared with Cigar & Spirits during a recent interview from his Nashville home.

“When people ask, I jokingly say to them, it’s a country, pop-y, church-y, swampy, bluegrass-y, electric-y album,’’ Tyminski says.

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How did “Southern Gothic come together? Quite accidentally. If I had to put the most condensed version together, like in a sentence or two, I would say that I found myself having written a body of work that I was so passionate about, I thought I needed to take the spotlight and do this record. I didn’t set out a long time ago to really want to do a solo record. I found myself taking a writer’s deal – you know, I write songs with other people in Nashville, and I found myself with a bunch of material I didn’t even realize I had the ability to write. When I was presented with the offer from Universal (Music) to do this record, I had to consider hard if I wanted to step aside from what I’ve been doing for the past 25 years, which is Alison Krauss and Union Station. I’ve been so happy there, and still remain happy there …but this record was born out of realizing that I had something to say with my songwriting. Is there a theme to this album? If you asked Jesse Frasure, who produced the record, if you asked him what the common thread through the record is, he would say it’s my voice. I say that, through a lot of this record, I get to kind of hold a mirror up to society, and not necessarily say I think you should or shouldn’t do anything, but it’s just the things that I see – I think there’s a lot of contradictions that we tend to ignore in the world, and I get to sing about some of them. You seem to be saying there are things going on in the world below the surface. I think there almost always is. I do believe that there’s a light and a dark side…it’s getting to some of the hypocrisy that’s out there. You know, you get to touch it with the first line – “Every house has got a Bible and a loaded gun.” Hopefully, there’s a continuity within the record…that it’s not judging, and it’s not preaching, but it’s observing.

It’s not a fluffy record. There’s a lot of deep content on the record, there’s a lot of double meaning, a lot of hidden meanings. I never found myself with a body of work that I felt so strongly about, and was as emotionally attached to, that I wanted to give this much of myself to.

Photo courtesy of David McClister

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You wrote many of these songs for other artists before deciding to record them yourself. What led you to go that route? I took my writer’s deal fully expecting to write songs for other people and to pitch to other artists. But I found myself driving home, listening to some of the demos, thinking I really secretly wished I could do that stuff. But I remember spiritually signing off and saying, “You know what? I hope they end up in a good home.” That’s kind of where I left it emotionally. I said bye-bye. (But then) I got an offer -- the people at Universal were listening to these songs that we would pitch to send to other artists, and they liked them in the version that we sent them. They said, “Would Dan be interested in doing a record himself?” So it was kind of like a secret little dream that I didn’t even know I had. And it’s a dream come true that I got to do this stuff myself. The album has some serious things to say. It’s not a fluffy record. There’s a lot of deep content on the record, there’s a lot of double meaning, a lot of hidden meanings. I never found myself with a body of work that I felt so strongly about, and was as emotionally attached to, that I wanted to give this much of myself to. Stepping outside, it’s definitely not my comfort zone, it’s not what I secretly pined to do, but I think this album is important, and this music is important to me. I think it reached a point where it was important enough to be willing to step out and take center stage. You’re billed only as “Tyminski” on this album, not “Dan Tyminski.” Why is that? I wanted to draw a line, so that when people heard this new music, that they would understand that if they were listening to “Tyminski,” that they would not expect banjos, and the music that I played for so long. I will always and forever, probably, have that element of Max Baer to me, where he was Jethro Bodine for evermore after he had that role (on “The Beverly Hillbillies)…There’s a generation of people out there that see me as “A Man of Constant Sorrow,” from the movie, “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” the soundtrack. So many people know me for that type of music, so we wanted to draw a line and let people know that “Tyminski” is going to be some different music. You kind of took a step away from your country and bluegrass roots, into electronic dance music, when Avicii asked you to record his “Hey Brother.” Is “Southern Gothic” a continuation of that direction? I don’t really compare that song sonically to what this record is, but I will say that is by far the farthest I ever stepped outside of the box. And what surprised me about “Hey Brother” was, when it was all said and done and I listened back, it sounded right, I didn’t sound like I was forcing myself into any other genre. And it kind of gave me a little confidence to step outside of the box and experiment with styles of music that were different than what I’ve played my whole life. I will credit “Hey Brother” with giving me some courage to try to go other places in music.

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For the first time in my career of playing music, I decided to write music, and lo and behold, I found myself creating things I never dreamed I would be playing.

Photo courtesy of David McClister

You turned 50 in June. Did that represent to you any kind of milestone, some jumping-off point to the direction you took with “Southern Gothic”? I actually something I hadn’t even considered, if this is some sort of a subliminal midlife crisis record. But it’s truly not. I just found myself taking a publishing deal late in my life, and for the first time in my career of playing music, I decided to write music, and lo and behold, I found myself creating things I never dreamed I would be playing. You’re also quite the cigar enthusiast. I have had a cigar habit for most of my adult life. I have a pretty extensive five- or six-cigar a day habit. Do you have a favorite smoke? I have so many brands that I love. I smoke probably more Fuente cigars than I do anything else. I’m a big Opus X guy. Power Ranger is by far the one I always gravitate toward, I always buy ’em up whenever they come around. But I love so many cigars. I mean, yesterday was a Davidoff day. I love Padron cigars…When you need a cigar you can absolutely trust no matter what, I can always get a Padron and know the draw is gonna be perfect, it’s gonna burn great. But again, I smoke probably more Fuente cigars. I love their whole line, everything they have speaks to me. Of course, I have to love the Fuente cigars! There’s a Tyminski Fuente cigar. I have my own line of Fuente that they graced me with. You’re smoking a stick on the cover of “Southern Gothic” – what kind is it? I am smoking a Power Ranger, an Opus X Power Ranger.

Kevin Kenney is a veteran journalist who splits time between Los Angeles and his native New York. Over 30-plus years, he has been a writer and editor for United Press International, the New York Post and Fox Sports, among other outlets.

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Photo courtesy of Randee St. Nicholas


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INTERVIEW

BEHIND THE LEAF:

A CONVERSATION WITH CHRIS FERDICO AND SCOTT JANSEN FROM WARFIGHTER CIGARS By Joe Bosso

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S

everal years ago, former military combat men Chris Ferdico and Scott Jansen, both veterans of the 101st Airborne Division, met up at the Shot Show in Las Vegas and decided to combine their passion for cigars with their dedication to fellow service people. The two brought in a small band of military colleagues as partners – George Patton, Jon Simons, Bryan Bettey and Vincent Vargas (soon to be seen in the Sons of Anarchy spin-off Mayans MC) – and launched Warfighter Cigars, a brand marketed to members of the service but also targeted to firefighters, police officers and first responders. At first, the Warfighter line was deployed on the internet only, but after a year of robust sales, the Nebraska-based crew is expanding its tour of duty to include brick and mortar stores in the US. Ferdico and Jansen sat down recently with Cigar & Spirits Magazine to discuss how a righteous band of “sheepdogs” is making its own unique mark on the cigar industry.

Not many cigar companies have an actual ethos. But you guys are really guided by principles, not just sales. Chris Ferdico: That’s right, and it’s why I realized we could be successful in the industry. In the military, almost everybody I know has smoked a cigar at one time or another. I’m a big cigar smoker. We smoke cigars for different reasons than the average cigar smoker. I realized that while a lot of people market to us, nobody really understood us as consumers. So what we wanted to do was create a company by warfighters for warfighters, and we’ll speak directly to that market.

Chris Ferdico: We all know that cigars are a luxury item, and cigar marketing is often done at the luxury level. But when you’re a warfighter – a soldier, veteran, firefighter or policeman – you don’t picture yourself with Ferraris and Rolexes. To us, cigars aren’t about luxury; they’re about camaraderie. So we focus on that lifestyle aspect.

Scott Jansen: All the owners are veterans. We know the military and we speak the lingo. We have ethics, and we try to do the right thing all the time. If we say something, we mean it. We try to be charitable. Even as a new company, we tried to do charity work when a lot of people told us not to – “You’ve got to be profitable first.” But we support our community, and we’ve certainly gotten a lot of support from it.

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FUNNY THING IS, BEFORE I GOT INVOLVED IN THIS COMPANY I WASN’T AN AVID CIGAR SMOKER. NOW I’M A BIG SMOKER. I LOVE TO GO DOWN TO NICARAGUA AND WORK ON BLENDS. What was your experience in the cigar business? Scott Jansen: Not one of us had any, but it hasn’t impacted us. [Laughs] From some of the experiences I’ve had in other businesses, I knew I wanted a consumable product that I could brand. I wanted it to be, you know, “manly” – I didn’t want to brand soap. Funny thing is, before I got involved in this company I wasn’t an avid cigar smoker. Now I’m a big smoker. I love to go down to Nicaragua and work on blends. You ask somebody in the military if they smoke cigars, and they’ll say, “Yes.” Ask them which brand they smoke, and they have no idea. We wanted to give a brand back to our community. If you ask them what they’re smoking, they’ll say, “Warfighter.” Chris Ferdico: We didn’t find the business part of it hard. The technical part of it, obviously, presented a learning curve. The thing about warfighters and what we refer to as the “sheepdog community” is that they’re very loyal. What’s more, they can spot a fraud. People can market to us, but if you’re really going to communicate to the community, you’ve got to be legit. You’ve got to be from the community.

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Were you looking to emulate any particular brand’s success? Chris Ferdico: The answer is yes, but it wasn’t a cigar brand. We were looking at the other veteranowned businesses that had done well. We were trying to emulate companies like Article 15, a clothing line Vince Vargas owns part of. We were trying to emulate Black Rifle Coffee. These are successful veteran-owned businesses. Strike Force Energy – that’s an energy drink company. We weren’t worried about Gurkha and Padrón.

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LA SIRENA

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Correction: A quote that appeared on page 62 in reference to Francis Ford Coppola and Sofia Coppola of the 2017 Nov/ Dec issue of Cigar & Spirits Magazine in the article “Andy Garcia: The Calling of an Artist” was incorrectly attributed to Mr. Garcia.

What was behind your idea to sell over the internet first? Scott Jansen: We wanted to prove the concept first. We felt like it wouldn’t make much sense to go to brick and mortar stores without any kind of success story behind us. We started out with one factory, and once we got success online we outgrew that facility, so that’s why we’re now with Plasencia in Nicaragua. Now we know what we’re doing. We have a great social media following.

Do you all agree on what makes a good cigar? Scott Jansen: We tend to agree. There’s a lot of trust between everybody. This goes beyond just “What makes a good cigar?” though. As veterans, we all understand and trust one another. I can say, “Hey, that’s a stupid idea,” and nobody will take offense. Chris Ferdico: We all have our preferences. It hasn’t been difficult to pick our blends because I think we all legitimately like the cigars that we’ve made. Some we like better than others, but that’s not unlike any other product. Good cigars come in all sorts of shapes and colors and varieties. I think we’ve all been able to say, “Hey, we want to have a cigar kind of in the range from mild to bold for every taste,” understanding that not every single person was going to like every single one of our cigars for preference reasons.

Being military guys, do you have a chain of command? Scott Jansen: [Laughs] I don’t know how that works with us. Nobody’s had to pull rank yet, so I think we have a smooth-running team

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VETERANS WANT TO FIND FELLOW VETS IN THEIR COMMUNITY. THEY WANT TO SUPPORT VETERAN-OWNED BUSINESSES AND PRODUCTS. I THINK WE CAN BE A BIG PART OF THAT IN THE FUTURE.

Where would you like to see the company in a few years? Chris Ferdico: We’re going after an extremely loyal client base, one that we understand intimately. It just so happens that, because of the current nature of the conflicts that we’re in, it’s also a relatively young client base. About 80 percent of our clients are 34 years old or less. I think that bodes well for us long term. It’s also why I think we’re going to be successful going into brick and mortar – we can drive traffic in that demographic. Veterans want to find fellow vets in their community. They want to support veteran-owned businesses and products. I think we can be a big part of that in the future.

New Jersey native Joe Bosso is obsessed with movies of the ‘70s, music of the ‘60s and cigars of any vintage. A graduate of NYU film school, Joe has written for TV shows you definitely know (like The Sopranos) and a few you might have missed. He spent 10 years in the record business and actually got to see a rock star trash a hotel room (identity withheld because, well, you know...).


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ALTADIS

Cigar & Spirits Magazine Top 20 Jan/FEB  

Best in the world issue 2017

Cigar & Spirits Magazine Top 20 Jan/FEB  

Best in the world issue 2017

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