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FUENTE

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

LINCOLN SALAZAR CEO & Publisher RANDY MASTRONICOLA Editor-in-Chief AUDREY PAVIA Consulting Editor JOE BOSSO Sr. Contributing Writer JOE REDMOND Art Director BREAHNA WHEELER Director of Events/Administration CODY CHO Cigar & Spirits Magazine Web KEVIN KIM Cigar & Spirits Magazine Social Media CHRISTOPHER BEDEROV Account Executive LISA TURNBULL Administrative Coordinator SHAHID GHANI Chief Financial Officer NATALIE NICOL Legal

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Troy Anthony, Joe Bosso, Nick Hammond, Greg Mays, Audrey Pavia, Lisa Turnbull

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: 11 Orchard Road, Suite 106, Lake Forest, CA 92630 (949) 599-2760 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. ©2019 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. December 2020 Volume 10/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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@CigarSpiritsMag


The premium whiskey from Tennessee as remarkable as the story behind it. Double distilled and charcoal mellowed for astonishing smoothness, then aged a minimum of seven years.

DRINK HONORABLY™. UNCLE NEAREST PREMIUM WHISKEY, 46.5% ALC/VOL, UNCLE NEAREST, SHELBYVILLE, TN. © 2019 UNCLE NEAREST, INC. WWW.UNCLENEAREST.

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contents COVER

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FILM LEGEND FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA

ON THE COVER

Wine, Women and Spirits

FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA

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BEST OF 2019

Top 20 Cigars of 2019 Top 20 Boutique Cigars Top 5 Cuban Cigars Top 3 Mild Cigars Top 3 Medium to Full Cigars World Spirits Competition Winners

LIFESTYLE

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FASHION ROUNDUP

Winter Tips and Spring Heads-Up

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THE 2ND ANNUAL CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE TEXAS TASTING EVENT

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COCKTAIL RECIPES TO KICK OUT THE JAMS FOR THE NEW YEAR

ABOUT OUR COVER Cigar & Spirits Magazine met with Francis Ford Coppola at the Coppola Family estate in Napa Valley, CA for an interview and photo shoot this past fall. The home was the one he purchased with the money earned from the success of The Godfather, and where he raised his family. Mr. Coppola was gracious, warm and offered our team a master class on a myriad of topics: his line of great women’s spirits, film, business, philosophy and family were some of the topics on the table that we feasted on. We were eager students, and took it all in. Monti Smith’s photos from the day beautifully captured Mr. Coppola’s depth and humanity. We thank Mr. Coppola, Monti Smith and writer Audrey Pavia for their efforts. A special thank you to Casey Shaughnessy and Kristin Thwaites from Mr. Coppola’s team who helped put us all together.

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january/february 2020

FEATURES

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AROUND THE WORLD CIGAR BAR DESTINATIONS

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AROUND THE WORLD LOUNGE DESTINATIONS

London, Lugano and Figueira da Foz

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FEATURED PAIRINGS

Perfecto Pairings to Expand your Palate

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THE WORK AND WHIMSY OF CREATING A SPIRITS ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN

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FASHION ROUNDUP

TEQUILA COMISARIO

Cuba, Friends, Cigars...and Tequila

INTERVIEWS

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LEGENDARY NEW JERSEY ROCKERS

The Smithereens Go Hall of Fame and 40th Anniversary in a Flash

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BEHIND THE LEAF–TOSCANO CIGARS

How Near-Tragedy Became a Brand’s Blessing

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TOSCANO CIGARS

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THE SMITHEREENS

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publisher’s note The Father of The Godfather Each year, I like to sit back and light up Cigar & Spirits Magazine’s Cigar of the Year and pour myself an aged spirit as I reflect before the new year arrives. I think about all the good things that happened throughout the year and all of the blessings that I should be so grateful to God for, from my health and the air we breathe to the simple gift of opening my eyes every morning and getting to live another day. We should all think about how blessed we are to have another new year to celebrate, to fight, to smile, to laugh, to share and to write another chapter in this thing called life. As I reflected on my 2019, one of the most monumental things that happened, which I will never forget or take for granted, was the opportunity to sit privately with a few of our team members at the home of legendary film director and esteemed wine maker Francis Ford Coppola. We met at his white colonial home in Napa, California on a midAugust day. His beautiful property sits surrounded by vineyards where he raised his children, complete with a swing hanging from a big oak tree in the front. It looked like something straight out of the movies—picture perfect. Now, I’m very used to being around celebrities and influential people, and in fact have made a few friends along the way. It’s part of the job. However, this time was different for me. I wasn’t star struck or nervous. I really was just trying to live in the moment. I was about to meet and sit down with one of the most legendary filmmakers in the world, and I did not want to miss a beat. Most importantly, what I was looking forward to was not hearing stories of Hollywood or how he made his movies, but gleaning wisdom from his 80 years of life and lessons learned. I wanted to hear about his obstacles, his wins, his losses—the real Mr. Coppola. He arrived wearing an all-white, Cuban-style suit, shook my hand and introduced himself. “Hello, I’m Francis,” he said warmly. He asked us if there was anything we needed, showing the same hospitality you would expect at a family member’s home. We then sat down on his porch as he lights up a Julius Cesar Cigar by J.C. Newman Cigars when he says, “You’re going to smoke too, right?” Myself and Cigar & Spirits Magazine Editor-in-Chief Randy Mastronicola immediately began to light our cigars, and Mr. Coppola reached out to light them for us like an old-school gentleman. He then says we’ll we have to have a drink, so Maria Gaetana Agnesi brandy was poured from his spirit line for us to share and pair with the cigar. We each raised our glasses and offered a cheers to one another as we leaned back to take our first puffs and sips. I took a moment to think to myself and live in the moment. I am drinking and smoking cigars with the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, and not at some crowded charity event or golf tournament or a paid event. Just me, Randy Mastronicola and Mr. Coppola in his private residence. This is a pretty amazing experience. How many people could say this in their life?

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As the time went on and the hours went by like minutes, Mr. Coppola filled my mind with all of his wisdom on life, women, business, movies, afterlife and spirituality. This man had so much knowledge, and what was supposed to be a couple of hours turned into a whole day. He was by far one of the most brilliant people I have ever met. The one main thing I took from him that he repeated so many times throughout our conversations was to “never stop learning.” He said that even today, at the age of 80, he remains eager to learn every day. This, coming from a man who has done so much in life. But for him, learning was everything and is what keeps him imbued with such a youthful spirit. As we enter 2020—the roaring ‘20s once again—we start with this legendary collectors issue that any man or woman who are fans of this lifestyle should own. We have Mr. Francis Ford Coppola gracing the front cover, as well as the Best Cigars and Spirits of 2019, the result of hours of consultation with our experienced ratings panelists. As we enter the new year, let’s not just set resolutions. Let’s enter 2020 by learning—learning from the past, learning in the moment and realizing every single day that we are blessed to learn something that will change our lives and change one another’s lives and, most of all, change the world. May God bless you in 2020 with health, love joy and peace. Every day is another opportunity to learn, as is every year!

Cheers!

Lincoln B. Salazar CEO & Publisher Follow on Instagram

@cigarandspiritsmagpublisher


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LIFESTYLE

>> A handsome shadow-plaid 14 oz. heavy flannel top coat.

Photo Credit: Troy Anthony Clothing

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Photo Credit Michael Piombo

FASHION ROUNDUP A fine example of a worsted suit.

WINTER TIPS AND SPRING HEADS-UP

Photo Credit: Troy Anthony Clothing

by Troy Anthony

Winter Flannel Suits

Left: 8 ¾ oz. light weight flannel suit jacket. Center: 12 oz. heavy weight flannel sport coat. Right: 10 oz. unlined all-weather flannel sport coat with elbow patch.

Whether you are a suit aficionado or it’s a must you wear one for work, winter is the best time to pull out all the stops, especially if you live in a cold state. We all love our slick, year-round suits made with worsted wools, but nothing beats a nice flannel when cozy fall becomes cold winter. The most common misconception about flannel is that it’s too heavy if you’re not walking six blocks in Chicago or catching the subway in New York, but the truth is that the material comes in different weights. My favorite suits are flannels for a few reasons: I run cold, I love the finish, and the colors just pop so much more when there is depth in the cloth. A flannel-finished sport coat or suit is great no matter where you live because it can add warmth and personality to your wardrobe. You may be reading this and saying, “Well, I don’t run cold so flannel isn’t for me.” I beg to differ, and here’s why. When I’m in a consultation with someone, I always ask, “What’s your body temperature like?” If the answer is, “I run hot,” I will suggest quarter or no lining in the jacket in order to allow air to pass through easier. This is a tactic I even apply to flannel garments, depending on where the garment will be worn or how much the client will be moving in it.

Photo Credit: Troy Anthony Clothing

Every piece of cloth starts as a flannel, but finishing processes determine the ultimate product. Worsteds, or the “clear-finished” garments most Americans have come to know and love, are combed and burned in the final stages in order to achieve that finish. Flannels are combed but not burned, so that those remaining long hairs can help produce a flannel, or “milled,” finish. Still, neither option has anything to do with weight. The weight of a jacket is based on the way it is woven at the yarn level. When yarn is spun tightly, it tends to be for lighter, more clear-finished garments. When yarn is woven loosely and the yarns are left thicker, the garment is going to be heavier. That being said, flannel comes in light, mid-year, year-round and heavy-weight varieties, depending on what the cloth is meant for. This winter, own the stage and say whatever you want with your style, and if you don’t already have any flannel garments, I hope this encourages you to give it a go.

A classic 8 3/4 oz. light-weight flannel suit.

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>> Troy Anthony

Sneakers and Suits

>> Adidas Stan Smith

>> Mark Chris Shoes

Men’s suiting has become more and more casual. Some men wear suits with T-shirts, tech guys seem to favor woven shirts and denim, and some men will even wear suits with sneakers. This is a concept that’s controversial inside the clothing industry, because no one has the answer on whether it’s right or wrong, but everyone has an opinion about it. It’s my position that the combination can be tasteful when executed correctly, and help more traditional individuals bridge the modern fashion gap. If you want to do it right, the first thing to know is that less is more, so don’t go too crazy with bulkiness and colors. A “dress sneaker” is meant to complement the suit but not become the centerpiece. Pick out a low top, solid-colored or minimalistic sneaker to complement your suit or sport coat. If you can play sports, work out, hike, or do anything active in the sneaker, that style is out.

>> Axel Arigato

The most popular complaint about sneakers with suits is it’s not a mature look. That’s fair, but at the same time, trends change and style is ultimately about self-expression, so I don’t think anyone should inhibit someone on how to dress. Plus, there are ways to advance new fashions without abandoning what came before. Some brands that do a great job at producing a luxury sneaker that can be dressed up or down include Mark Chris, Gucci, Adidas Stan Smith Collection, Good Man Brand, Axel Arigato and the Troy Anthony brand (handmade in Spain). Mark Chris (handmade in Italy) is a most favored label, but with any of the brands mentioned you can’t go wrong. Again, style is your own self-expression. Conventional wisdom exists for a reason, but you can choose to break the rules, so long as you do so wisely. >> Good Man Brand

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Photos courtesy of Troy Anthony, Gucci, Axel Arigato, Good Man Brand, Mark Chris Shoes, Adidas Stan Smith

>> Gucci


THE BOUQUET

IN A BOTTLE

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY Finding your person in life is worthy of celebration, no matter what day it is. But this Valentine’s Day, let them know how special they are with a toast of Four Roses Small Batch in their honor. Cheers. Cocktails.FourRosesBourbon.com FourRosesBourbon.com • Four Roses Distillery LLC • Lawrenceburg, KY • Be mellow. Be responsible. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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>> Paige Denim

Get a Jump on Spring! Think Colored Denim Most know by now how sneakers can make a suit more casual, but what about a nice dinner out or a day event that may not call for a full suit? How do you still make a nice impression and express your style? Any suit jacket can become a great sport coat, and a complementary colored denim or cotton chino makes for the perfect trouser to add a tasteful pop. There are many ways to achieve this, depending on the pattern of your jacket and whether you want to be traditional or what I like to call “advanced.”

>> 34 Heritage

Let’s start with a more traditional look. You’ll likely have a solid-colored sport coat on the darker side, perhaps navy. If that’s the case, you have an abundance of options to choose from, since most colors go with darker solid tones. Come spring, lighter colors go better, but for a more traditional year-round approach, you will want to focus on light blues and tans for contrast. For a more “advanced” patterned jacket, I suggest going with a complementary color or even matching the dominant pattern, but if you want to be really stylish, go for the color that is the most subtle and pull it out with the matching trouser. Skin tone is a big deal for men, but not as big a deal as some think. If you have more of a pale complexion, very light colors can wash you out, but you can break it up with a darker shirt or jacket. Make it stylish and fun by finding that pop of color in the trouser; it’s a great way to show confidence and create an impression. Putting in a little extra effort goes a long way. Some top denim brands that are available in today’s market are Paige, AG and 34 Heritage.

>> Sport Coat and Cotton Chino by Troy Anthony

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Photo Credits: 34 Heritage, Paige Denim, Troy Anthony

Troy Anthony brings over 10 years of expertise in the clothing industry. He’s had the good fortune to work with the finest menswear stores on the West Coast, and he’s learned the ins and outs of men’s tailored clothing and fine fabrics from top fashion influencers. He has relationships with mills in both Italy and England, and that knowledge informs his personal style and writing.


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FEATURE >> Figueira da Foz, Portugal

AROUND THE WORLD CIGAR BAR DESTINATIONS LONDON, LUGANO AND FIGUEIRA DA FOZ by Nick Hammond

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Photos Courtesy of Younan Company

MALIBU FOZ HOTEL

Figueira da Foz, Portugal The beguiling Malibu Foz Hotel in Figueira da Foz, Portugal has added a new reason for you to visit—the El Septimo Premium Cigar Lounge. The Younan Collection, which owns the Malibu Foz, recently acquired the El Septimo brand lock, stock and barrel, and has spent the subsequent period testing, marketing and investing to bring the Costa Rican brand to a wider cigar audience. One angle in particular fascinated Younan’s namesake CEO and cigar lover, Zaya S. Younan. “Today, more than ever, women are finding enjoyment in the taste and aroma of premium, hand-rolled cigars, but are often ignored by the industry,” he says. “There are no cigars on the market today that are custom-designed to appeal to women and their tastes, as many see cigar smoking as a masculine pastime. We want to step outside the box and encourage men and women alike to taste, explore and understand premium cigars.” The company has duly released the Alexandra Collection, featuring two lines—Coco and Marilyn—that offer a choice of strengths and profiles specifically designed to appeal to women cigar smokers. Not that you have to be a woman to enjoy the cigar experience at Malibu Foz, itself a five-star hotel on the Portuguese coast. Its new lounge—complete with a fully-ventilated, stunning retractable glass ceiling which, at night, reveals the stars above—is open to guests and the public alike and includes a staggering 38 different vitolas of El Septimo. (If you’re a guest, you can also enjoy your selection in a private poolside cabana.) Or maybe you’d like to catch a movie in the private cinema (something with a cigar-chomping Edward G Robinson?) while you enjoy fine food and drink from Mensa, the hotel’s Italian restaurant? El Septimo cigars are unique, coming as they do from the tropical heights of Costa Rica, some 9,500 feet above sea level. The country is not renowned as a cigar-growing nation, but El Septimo has already developed a passionate worldwide following for its dark, distinctive, carefully aged and exceptionally oily leaf. El Septimo is named after the seventh day of creation, in which God rests and appreciates his work. Now is your chance to do the same. malibufoz.com

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>> Ajay and Bhavna Patel with their daughters Rekha (left) and Meera Patel (right). Photos courtesy of Ajay Patel

NO. 6 CAVENDISH

London, England There’s a new cigar player in town—London town that is. Ajay Patel of Casa del Habano, Teddington fame has made a move into the big smoke with his new cigar store and sampling lounge, No. 6 Cavendish. And in a major move away from Patel’s previous single-minded focus on Cuban cigars, the new store, which is situated in prestigious Cavendish Square, Mayfair, will also feature New World cigars from around the globe. “There are members lockers and a luxurious, comfortable place for people to sit, talk or simply enjoy a phenomenal cigar,” Patel assured as the finishing touches were being put on the interior décor. “It’s been a push to get through the building work—a lot needed to be done. But we’re delighted with what we’ve created and think cigar lovers will be too. No expense has been spared in fitting it out from top to bottom. Given Patel’s pedigree for sourcing and selling vintage Cubans, it follows that the new lounge will also offer some spectacular old sticks for sale and sampling on the premises. Several New World lines, including the likes of Davidoff will also be available by the stick. no6cavendish.com

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>> The front view of the Villa Principe Leopoldo, and majestic Lugano, Switzerland.

VILLA PRINCIPE LEOPOLDO

Lugano, Switzerland The uniquely elegant Villa Principe Leopoldo in Lugano is a must for those seeking delight in Switzerland. “Villa Principe Leopoldo was once a private stately home–a prince’s hideaway,” says Giacomo D’Alò, Events Manager at the Leopold Hotel. “It has breath-taking views of the city, the lake and the setting of the surrounding mountains.” The eponymously named Bar Principe lives up to its reputation of serving the finest cocktails, not to mention a sterling range of cigars to enjoy alongside them. “We offer a relaxing environment, live music and exclusive cocktails. Our spirits selectio cocktails makes the Bar Principe the focal point of the hotel for cigar and spirits enthusiasts as well as other guests seeking fine bistro dishes.” The luxurious Villa Principe has everything the weary traveler could wish for. So, if your night of debauchery in Bar Principe goes on a little longer than anticipated, fear not; you can avail yourself of all the pampering your heart could desire in this five-star getaway. Stunning location, breathtaking views and a large slice of exclusive luxury. Sounds like a plan. leopoldhotel.com Photos courtesy of Villa Principe Leopoldo.

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>> A journey to Lugano, Switzerland will leave you with indelible memories.

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PARCO PARADISO

Lugano, Switzerland In the same neck of the woods as Villa Principe is the Relais & Châteaux elegance of the stunning Parco Paradiso Hotel at the foot of Monte San Salvatore looks languidly over the serene waters of Lake Lugano. Its killer Bar Havana Deck does pretty much what it suggests by offering a colorful recreation of the famed Cuban capital, complete with toe-tapping tunes, dangerously good cocktails and a very cool area in which to settle with a fine smoke and watch the sun go down over the water. The bar is open from 4 p.m. for early birds and keeps the drinks flowing until 1 a.m. when the place gets really jumping. If you love Cuban nostalgia, plenty of life and the chance to sample a full cigar menu alongside your food and libations, then this is the place to lose a few hours. parco-paradiso.com

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. His new book, Around the World in 80 Cigars: The Travels of An Epicure, is a must read for every cigar lover and world traveler. Photos courtesy of Parco Paradiso. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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INTERVIEW >> The Smithereens standing tall, and looking cool back in the heyday. Left to right: Dennis Diken, Jim Babjak, Pat DiNizio and Mike Mesaros.

THE SMITHEREENS GO HALL OF FAME AND 40TH ANNIVERSARY IN A FLASH by Joe Bosso

IN

the span of three days last fall, New Jersey veteran rockers the Smithereens were feted like genuine music royalty. First, they were the honored guests of a special Grammy Museum Experience at the Prudential Center in Newark, and next they were inducted—along with fellow Garden State natives Southside Johnny Lyon, Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame and Martha Stewart, among other luminaries—into the New Jersey Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park. “We’re in some pretty good company,” says drummer Dennis Diken. “Along with the people who came in with us, past inductees are the Four Seasons, Abbott and Costello and Albert Einstein. That’s not too shabby.”

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Photo courtesy of Jim Babjak Archives.

LEGENDARY NEW JERSEY ROCKERS


Photo courtesy of Jim Babjak Archives.

G >> The Smithereens rock London Town’s Mean Fiddler in 1986.

uitarist Jim Babjak recalls the Hall of Fame night as being “something of a whirlwind, but it was filled with good feelings.” We were surrounded by people who told us how much our music meant to them. The whole thing was pretty magical.” He mentions that at one point he found himself standing next to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “I wanted to get a rise out of him, so I said, ‘Hey, what about these property taxes?’ He just doubled over, and I said, ‘No, I’m serious.’” For Babjak, Diken and bassist Mike Mesaros, there was only one thing missing from the week’s honors: their friend and band frontman Pat DiNizio, who passed away unexpectedly in 2017. “Pat would have eaten it all up, man,” says Diken. “Like the rest of us, Pat was New Jersey through and through. He never forgot where he came from, and he would have been proud to be acknowledged by the people of his state.” Joining the band at both events were singer-guitarist Marshall Crenshaw and Gin Blossoms vocalist Robin Wilson. Since early 2018, the two have alternated as guest frontmen for the Smithereens, and as Mesaros sees it, their involvement couldn’t have come at a better time. “Having Marshall and Robin singing with us has allowed us to pay tribute to Pat,” he says. “We’re celebrating our history by bringing our music to the fans, and the shows have been phenomenal.”

IT’S STILL INCREDIBLE TO THINK THAT KURT COBAIN WAS LISTENING TO US. A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE COME UP TO US AND SAID, “I PICKED UP THE RICKENBACKER BECAUSE OF YOU.” THAT MEANS A LOT. Photo courtesy of Love Imagery.

>> The 2019 New Jersey Hall of Fame induction. Dennis Diken at the podium. Back left to right: Jim Babjak, Mike Mesaros and Liza DiNizio.

At the same time, Babjak points out that the band will be commemorating their upcoming 40th anniversary with a pair of recordings, one from the past and a set of all-new material. “We recorded enough songs for two records back in 1994 when we were between labels, so there’s a ‘lost album’ we’re going to finish up,” he says. “And we’re starting to write new stuff with Robin and Marshall, and sometime this year we’re going to get to work on that. It’s going to be an exciting time for us.” Below, the three surviving, original members reflect on local musical lore, a love for Padrons and Punches and honoring their late friend and frontman.

My old band used to play the Dirt Club in Bloomfield, New Jersey. We would look at your name in the dressing room and say, “Hey, the Smithereens played here and they made it. We can, too!” Jim Babjak: There you go. That’s what I thought when the Catholic Girls got signed to MCA. “They got signed? We’ve got a shot, too.” Mike Mesaros: All the Jersey bands before us inspired us: the E Street Band, [Southside] Johnny and the [Asbury] Jukes. They opened up the world’s ears and laid a path of acceptance for New Jersey bands. We sure put in the work, of course. A lot of sweat. Dennis Diken: It’s good to set an example. I mean, look, we were hardly pin-up material, especially in the era of hairbands. That wasn’t our scene. We stuck to our guns. We made music we wanted to make, and fortunately, the time came around where people were receptive to it. If we inspired anybody else, that’s great to know. Babjak: It’s still incredible to think that Kurt Cobain was listening to us. A lot of people have come up to us and said, “I picked up the Rickenbacker because of you.” That means a lot.

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>> The 2019 Grammy Museum performance with Marshall Crenshaw taking lead vocals.

Mesaros: That show was a funeral, because as per Pat’s wishes, he didn’t have one. So for all of us, that was Pat’s funeral, and all these people came to help us get through it. Diken: We had recorded with [Marshall]. We knew he was a kindred spirit. The thing is, we weren’t looking for a soundalike. We wanted somebody to come on board and interpret the music. Babjak: We had that feeling about Marshall, and we felt the same thing about Robin. After we played with them, I was like, “People want to hear these songs. We owe it to them to keep doing it.” We were fortunate to have a couple of great artists who wanted to be a part of that.

It’s interesting, Jim, that you and Marshall are two of the most underrated guitarists out there. How has it been working out guitar parts with him? Babjak: It’s been great and very easy. Marshall is a tremendous guitarist, and it’s a lot of fun playing with him. He has no ego at all; he just wants to play the music the way it should sound. A lot of our songs have very set solos, although there are a few times where he’ll take one and go for it. When we play with Robin, I go back to our old approach. You know, we started out as a three-piece before Pat even joined us. Our model was the Who’s Live at Leeds. Going back to that format isn’t a big stretch for me. It’s hard to explain. I just play fuller. Mesaros: Marshall is an incredible singer and guitar player, but he’s probably a little more reserved on stage as far as physical movements. Robin doesn’t play guitar, so he’s more of a professional frontman. That’s what we jokingly call him.

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Photo courtesy of Love Imagery.

Marshall Crenshaw told me last year that when he did the tribute show for Pat, he thought it would be a one-off. Were you guys already thinking it might lead to something more? Diken: Hard to say. I mean, at that time we were still processing Pat’s passing. That show was only a month after Pat died, so we didn’t have a whole lot of time to really digest and reflect enough on everything.


REMEMBERING PAT DINIZIO by Randy Mastronicola

Photo courtesy of Concert Photos/Alamy Stock Photo

I met Pat DiNizio in the early 1980s while working my way through New York University at the legendary nightclub Gerdes Folk City in Greenwich Village, New York City. (Bob Dylan was discovered there as well as many other renowned artists across decades.) Pat worked as a sound technician, and I was initially a bouncer, then bartender. Rockers, writers, folkies, actors, artists, poets, comedians and musicians connected there in many ways, working to realize individual and shared hopes and dreams. I was a bit younger than most of those making the scene for the first time. I was awed by the energy, and drawn to it. I was in a new lane, and a bit intimidated. What was a lower working-class street kid like me doing with all these creatives? Nevertheless, a variety of mentors got to me and became friends, and I eased in surprisingly fast. I made lifelong relationships there. We became part of a group of friends at the nightclub–a family, really. Along the way, we were learning and contributing to a sometimes raucous scene. People influenced and steered each other in different ways. Some made it, some didn’t. Nevertheless, the time spent at Folk City (and some of the surrounding nightclubs and coffeehouses) was a transformative period for me and many others who soaked up the songs, the booze and a slew of other experiences back then. It was the ‘80s, and many of us regard that era as truly special, and the best of times. Re-visiting a partial list of some of the incredible artists who graced the Folk City stage during my time there brings me right back. The list is voluminous. Some memorable performers who come to mind quickly, in no particular order: John Lee Hooker, Richie Havens, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Steve Buscemi, Robin Williams, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, Elvis Costello, Violent Femmes, Suzanne Vega, Marshall Crenshaw and the Smithereens. Pat was the principal lead singer and songwriter for the Smithereens. Our personalities clicked in and out of our time spent at the club. I soon started attending many of their local gigs with our co-workers and friends. We became faster friends because of my appreciation of the band, and I became a big fan. Pat and I continued to work our shifts– joking around, kibitzing with staff and patrons, and drinking some. We’d hang out after the work night, hit the Washington Square Diner for a late night breakfast, and reveal ourselves a bit to one another: conversations about our shared Italian-American upbringings, favorite books and films, relationships, and so forth evoke feelings that still remain real to me. My view of him felt a little bigbrother-ish, though I’d never actually had a big brother. Pat was funny, wry, deep and very talented. And he never gave up on his dream. That was meaningful to me because the band easily could have packed it in as they were working their way through the industry during a sometimes musically vacuous era. Glam hair bands, synth-pop pretty boys, and one hit wonders routinely scored on the pop charts and appeared in MTV’s video rotation as much as artists-for-the-ages like Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson and U2. The ultimate Seinfeldian representation of male bonding occurred between Pat and I one day when I helped him move from one apartment to another. He returned the favor by helping me move as well. He busted my chops for years because I couldn’t score a reasonably priced apartment in the Little Italy/Greenwich Village neighborhood I was born into, and had settled by taking an apartment by the El train in Brooklyn. I’d share a book I loved with Pat, and he’d hit me back with a script like On the Waterfront. We spent a fair amount of time analyzing The Godfather, Raging Bull, film noir classics and whatever else would trigger a laugh at the off-beat cast of characters at Folk City. He nicknamed me “Goombie” as in goombah. I’d Goombie him back, or call him “Stracci” (a minor character reference from The Godfather) just because it sounded funny. Silly stuff like using Italian-American street slang would make him guffaw. We’d dissect the artists we admired, like Scorsese, De Niro, Coppola, Pacino, The Beatles, The Kinks and so on. We quoted lines back and forth. Pat was always a schmoozer–in a cool way—and routinely handed out cassette tapes of the band’s music. He’d already given me copies of their early EPs Girls About Town and Beauty and Sadness, but the best tape of all was a graduation cassette from him to me (see photo). “Blood and Roses” and “Behind the Wall of Sleep” blew my doors off, forever capturing that romantic moment in time, as did some other

>> Pat DiNizio taking in the love from the audience.

songs that would appear on their first album, Especially for You, in 1986. Eventually, one of those tapes found its way into the right hands at Enigma Records, which was a subsidiary of Capitol Records, and the band broke after that. They went from playing local club scenes in Manhattan and Jersey one month to Radio City Music Hall and many other large venues across the globe the next. The first few albums, like Especially for You, Green Thoughts and 11, were gems: Top 40 ‘60s-radio-metnew-wave-met-power-pop. Dennis Diken’s alternately thunderous and nuanced drumming, Jim Babjak’s jangly, fuzzy, muscular guitar work, Mike Mesaros’s energetic bass lines and Pat’s songs highlighted by his deep, dark vocals added up to something both uniquely old and uniquely new. The Smithereens collaborated with artists like Lou Reed, Suzanne Vega, Belinda Carlisle, Graham Parker, Julian Lennon and Dave Davies of the Kinks. My friend had hit the big time. “Top of the Pops,” as it were. It was so cool to see Pat’s dream come true, and it was inspiring to me. Hits, MTV videos, tours, and ups and downs occurred over the next couple of decades. The arc and leveling of a rock band’s career is always a fascinating chronicle, and the Smithereens have that in their history as well. We kept our friendship together with varying degrees of regularity over the subsequent decades, but it was different, of course. We sometimes talked about collaborating or connecting to a movie studio on something like a script for Mars Attacks (he was ahead of his time on that), or opening an Italian restaurant. I was thrilled that he’d attained a level of success that many talented musicians never get to experience, but I knew our growing closeness had been derailed somewhat by that success. I sometimes experienced feelings of loss when I thought about my relationship with Pat. I went West Coast, and he maintained his East Village apartment, eventually settling in his hometown of Scotch Plains, New Jersey. During phone conversations, or while spending time with him before or after the band’s Southern California gigs, we’d pick up right where we left off. He always made my wife and I feel special—she and Pat were friends from back then as well. He would call us out from the stage, sometimes dedicating “A Girl Like You” or another song to her. Or he’d parody a schmaltzy Las Vegas lounge singer, and ask us to take a bow to applause from the audience, congratulating us as if we were on our honeymoon. He played a role in an important time in my life, when many of us were forming who we’d become in our 30s and beyond. He is a part of those cherished memories for me. Sadly, though not so shockingly, Pat passed away in December 2017. Fortunately, my wife and I were able to see him twice in the final year or so of his life. We knew he’d suffered injuries that limited his ability to play guitar, had health issues and was ailing. My wife said with much pain that she had a bad feeling the last time we saw him, and he passed not too long after. In hindsight, the Smithereens’ discography between 1986 and 1999 is as formidable as that of some other bands who’ve already been enshrined in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Now that Pat is gone, the Smithereens are gaining some traction as Hall-worthy—a sort of Van Gogh syndrome of appreciating and elevating an artist to higher ground after they’ve left the earth. Pat’s legacy is intact. His music and his daughter Liza are testaments to that. The original surviving members of the Smithereens—Dennis, Jim and Mike—pay tribute to him by playing clubs with guest vocalists Marshall Crenshaw, and Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms standing in for Pat. I’m forever grateful that I knew him as a friend. R.I.P Pat DiNizio. And long live the Smithereens. - Randy Mastronicola is the Editor-in-Chief of Cigar & Spirits Magazine. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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>> Garry Tallent of the E Street Band inducted The Smithereens into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. L-R Garry Tallent, guest vocalist Marshall Crenshaw, Dennis Diken, Jim Babjak, Mike Mesaros, guest vocalist Robin Wilson (of the Gin Blossoms).

Even though Pat’s not here, it must feel nice for the three of you to be back together. Mike, you were out of the band for a while. Mesaros: I was. I raised my kids, and there were some things about the business I didn’t like. Babjak: We got a little lost along the way, and we did spend some time raising our families. Even though, as you said, Pat’s not here, it’s really important to have the three of us in this band again. Diken: We were hit really hard by some deaths over the years. Friends and family members passed away. That got us all thinking, “Life’s too short.” Babjak: But it was funny—when Mike came back, it was like the time never happened. I said, “Damn, I feel like we’re just finishing a conversation we had started yesterday.” It’s like what happens with friends you don’t talk to for a year or so; you can pick things right back up. Mesaros: It was great to come back. It was important for me to do so. And fortunately, I got to play with Pat for a year and a half before he died. It would have broken my heart if I didn’t get to play with him again. Coming back for me was like slipping on a comfortable pair of shoes. You know, I learned how to play bass by playing with Dennis and Jimmy. We have an unspoken thing. We just know what to do together.

I HAVE BITS OF 50 SONGS RIGHT NOW. HOW MANY OF THEM WILL BECOME FULL SONGS IS HARD TO SAY— PROBABLY FOUR OR FIVE OF THEM. I RECORD BITS ON THE PHONE AND TEXT THEM TO ROBIN SO HE CAN WORK ON LYRICS.

I loved the covers albums you did a while back, Meet the Smithereens and The Smithereens Play Tommy. Did you ever hear from either the two surviving Beatles or Pete Townshend? Babjak: No. Diken: Although I do think we got a note that was passed along to us from Olivia Harrison. She thought we did a nice job.

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>> The surviving members of the Smithereens celebrating 40 years together with a libation.

Photos courtesy of Cindy Sivak.

Babjak: It’s a funny thing, because I played all the guitar parts on Tommy, and it was Pat’s idea to do the whole thing. Dennis and I grew up on Tommy, and we were screwing around one day playing “Pinball Wizard.” Pat heard us and said, “We should do the whole thing.” I said, “OK, but we have to leave out Uncle Ernie.” In this politically correct world, I didn’t want to touch that.


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>> Mike Mesaros and Jim Babjak are equally adept with cigars and spirits in hand as well as their instruments.

So there’s going to be an album of all-new material with both Marshall and Robin. A lot of fans have been waiting for that. Mesaros: I’ve been waiting for that! We’re better musicians than we were back in the day, so I can’t wait to get started. Babjak: I have bits of 50 songs right now. How many of them will become full songs is hard to say—probably four or five of them. I record bits on the phone and text them to Robin so he can work on lyrics.

So you’ll do that with both him and Marshall, remote collaboration? Babjak: Remotely right now. Then we’ll get Mike and Dennis together to come up with their parts. That’s how we’re going to move along. Mesaros: I really enjoy this part of the process. I love rehearsing and writing basslines. Our growth has never stopped. Even though we’re in our early 60s, we still play with fire. Finally, let’s talk cigars and spirits. Dennis, you’re not a cigar guy, but what do you like cocktail-wise? Diken: Mostly I’ll have Jameson’s or some other Irish whiskeys. A friend of mine just turned me on to Teeling. It was really smooth. I like Powers, too, even though it’s more of the working man’s whiskey. And I also like bourbon quite a bit. My favorite actor of all time, Percy Helton, he was a great character actor in a million films. He was a bourbon and water man. If it was good enough for Percy, it’s good enough for me. Babjak: I like Scotch, usually the expensive stuff. And I’m into Bordeauxs and ports. When it comes to cigars, I’ve loved the Padron Anniversary for the past 12 years. It’s hard to come down from them. I’m one of the few guys who goes to the Caribbean and takes his own cigars with him. [Laughs]

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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Photos courtesy of Cindy Sivak.

Mesaros: I started out with Punch, which is a strong cigar to begin with. I really like boutique cigars, like Mombacho out of Nicaragua. And I like a very small brand called Falto, and then there’s Perdomo cigars. I have a rotation; I try not let my palate get conditioned to one type of cigar only. I love Padrons, and I still like Punches. You know, I went to culinary school, so I look at cigar blending like a chef views a recipe, or how a musician puts together parts in a song. You want a lot of flavors blending together to make something complex. You don’t want just one note.


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FEATURE Photos courtesy of Nejron Photo/Shutterstock.com

FEATURED PAIRINGS

PERFECTO PAIRINGS TO EXPAND YOUR PALATE by Greg Mays

EL SEPTIMO EXCEPCION GREEN: 7-YEAR-OLD BALVENIE PORT WOOD 21 El Septimo is brand new in their U.S. cigar distribution. Created for Younan Properties and their La Grande Maison Younan Collection, which is based out of Switzerland, they offer dozens of vitolas in their core lines, and all are targeted at the luxury audience. All El Septimo cigars are blended from Costa Rican tobacco, and I smoked the Excepcion Green, a 7-year-old Gordo with a flawless dark wrapper. The age became apparent immediately on lighting, with initial flavors of dry toast and wood. Rolled entubado, or “scroll-like,” this is easily a two-hour cigar, and there is definitely some strength to it. Notes of clove and dried rosemary join in the flavor profile, too. I paired this luxury cigar with The Balvenie Port Wood 21 and was immediately taken by the floral nose this scotch carries—it lights up the room on nose alone. Tasting the Port Wood 21, I got Christmas spices and some mulled wine, but all along there was those flowers on the nose. With some subtler herbal tasting notes, The Balvenie meshed well with El Septimo’s offering; herbs, sweet, wood and floral could be found in both. There’s some clear richness here in both elements of this pairing, and with the smoking time of the cigar alone, make sure you set up a few hours to relax and unwind with them. Size: 5 x 60
 | Origin: Costa Rican MSRP (cigar): $40
 | MSRP (scotch): $200

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FEATURED PAIRINGS FUENTE DON ARTURO DESTINO AL SIGLO DE AMISTAD LAST DROP CENTENARIO TAWNY PORT One of many tribute cigars to the late Don Arturo Fuente, the Destino al Siglo is a limited-release cigar with a flavor profile to match the rich heritage of the Fuente family. Pre-light, the cigar is well-aged, rich and musty on the nose, and after the light, there are some incredibly deep notes of toast and rich cream. As the Destino al Siglo progresses, the rich, aged tobacco is clear, and winecellar notes with prune and plum take the lead. The richness and complexity of this stick is masterful. There are nuances throughout, and the flavors work together well, like jam on toast. A cigar as elegant as this requires an equally elegant pairing, and Last Drop’s Centenario Tawny Port turned out to be better-than-perfect. Syrupy and woody on the pour, the flavor profile of this fine Port is exactly as hoped: jammy, prunes, sweet but not sickly. Pairings dance between the richness of the cigar and Port, from the plum notes to the toasty cream, and the sweet balance between these two quality aged products is outstanding. This pairing is best reserved for an evening with perfect temperature, cool shade and a belly full of a rich, delicious dinner. Size: 5 x 50 Robusto
 | Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade Binder: Dominican | Filler: Dominican MSRP (cigar): $40
 | MSRP (port): $5,000

DREW ESTATE UNDERCROWN SHADYXX ALPINE TRAVELER’S REST SINGLE MALT WHISKEY The Shady XX was designed as a collaboration between Drew Estate and Shady Records (co-founded by Eminem and Paul Rosenberg) to celebrate the label’s 20th anniversary. Rosenberg is a cigar smoker and joined forces with Drew on this limited-edition run, the first since Shady XV, the 15th anniversary version. Packaged in a gold-embossed box of 10, the ShadyXX looks to be a variation on the Undercrown Maduro, though with a belicoso box-pressed shape and the commemorative Shady cigar band on the foot. Using a similar blend to the standard Undercrown, these cigars have a Mexican San Andrés wrapper and are filled with Nicaraguan and Brazilian tobacco. On light, the presence of the Brazilian tobacco is clear, complemented by a plume of rich and spicy smoke with an initial sweetness from the slick wrapper. As the cigar burns on, it has perfect construction and ramps up in strength and spice. Toward the nub, the wrapper’s sweetness gives way to a pepper-spice flavor with a touch of nuttiness. I paired the Shady XX with Alpine Traveler’s Rest Single Malt Whiskey, a craft spirit from Utah with great notes of pine and earth, a tight pairing combo that accompanies the cigar well. Traveler’s Rest is bright and tingly on the palate, with a cinnamon spice and a smooth, cool, clean finish. Size: 5 x 50 Box-Pressed Belicoso
 | Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
 | Binder: Connecticut Habano Filler: Brazilian and Nicaraguan
 | MSRP (cigar): $11
 | MSRP (whiskey): $45

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AVAILABLE ONLINE EXCLUSIVELY AT WWW.PAPPYCO.COM

THE STORY OF THESE HISTORIC BOURBON-BARREL-FERMENTED CIGARS STARTS, WHERE ELSE, BUT IN KENTUCKY, USA AND FEATURES KENTUCKY SEED AND KENTUCKY GROWN TOBACCO. ONCE GROWN, THE TOBACCO LEAVES ARE HARVESTED AND CAREFULLY SELECTED FOR TRADITIONAL KENTUCKY STYLE FIRE CURING. WE THEN TRANSPORT THE LEAVES, USED AS THE WRAPPER, FROM HOPKINSVILLE, KENTUCKY TO SAINT JAMES PARISH, LOUISIANA. THIS IS WHERE THE TOBACCO UNDERGOES BARREL FERMENTATION. THE PAPPY VAN WINKLE BARREL FERMENTED CIGAR IS HAND CRAFTED AT LA GRAN FABRICA DREW ESTATE IN ESTELI, NICARAGUA AND FEATURES TWO WRAPPERS, "TAPA NEGRA”, THE KENTUCKY GROWN, BARREL FERMENTED LEAF BLENDED OVER A MEXICAN SAN ANDRES LEAF WITH AN ALL-NICARAGUAN BLEND OF WELL AGED, ROBUST & EARTHY TOBACCOS. AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL DREW DIPLOMAT RETAILER

DREW ESTATE | THE REBIRTH OF CIGARS WWW.DREWESTATE.COM #DE4L

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FEATURED PAIRINGS DREW ESTATE HERRERA ESTELI NORTENO ALPINE PRESERVE LIQUEUR Representing one of many great sticks in the Herrera Esteli line from Drew Estate, the Norteno is blender Willy Herrera’s take on a distinctly Central American melding of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos, wrapped in a Mexican wrapper. Drew Estate incorporates Honduran tobacco in interesting ways. While that region’s crops produce a distinct earthy flavor, Drew’s group incorporates it subtly in their blends, creating a flavor profile that is unique to them. The moment the flame hits a Norteno, almonds and sweet earth hit the palate. Earthiness remains as the cigar smokes through, with a mild pepper starting at the halfway point. Alpine Preserve Liqueur seemed a great fit for the Norteno, and I started by drinking it on the rocks. Preserve is light and offers a sweet contrast to the earthy Norteno. There’s a cinnamon-and-citrus note that presents like a pecan pie on the palate. There’s a great interplay that happens between these two over time, from the sweet soil of the cigar to the spiced sweetness of the liqueur. Adding a splash of club soda and some more ice to the Preserve made for an even more balanced and pleasurable pairing. I highly recommend it. Size: 6 x 56 Gran Toro
 | Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Binder: Nicaraguan and Honduran | Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran MSRP (cigar): $9
 | MSRP (liqueur): $45

MICALLEF CONNECTICUT ALFRED GIRAUD HERITAGE FRENCH MALT WHISKY Micallef has made quite the name in the craft cigar space over the past few years. It seems they have arrived big time and are now considered a major brand by most. Micallef Cigars is a Texas-based business with cigars that are blended and rolled by the Gomez Sanchez family in Nicaragua. Every Micallef cigar I smoke is impeccably built and very flavorful. The Connecticut is the same. Citrus notes on the cold draw, the smoke production and draw are equally pleasing. Additional flavors include sweet pipe tobacco, and buttery pastry on the tongue with a dry and nutty mouthfeel. I paired the Micallef Connecticut with Alfred Giraud Heritage, a French single malt whiskey. The name Alfred Giraud is already synonymous with Cognac and they are now releasing a line of single malt whiskies in the States that are aged in—you guessed it—cognac casks. Heritage is their top-of-the-line offering. Giraud Heritage is wood-spicy, with complementary citrus notes to the Micallef Connecticut, veering toward lime with an almost tropical undertone. Distantly, there is something like red wine present as well, viscous and meaty. The surprising level of spice in Heritage makes for a great cigar malt, for sure, a bold and bright interplay in which the cigar actually provides the sweetness and balance. Strength-wise, this pairing is on the lighter side, great for a warm afternoon with an hour or two to relax, smoke and sip. Size: 6 x 52 Toro
 | Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
 | Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Dominican and Nicaraguan
 | MSRP (cigar): $9
 | MSRP (whiskey): $300 Greg Mays is the Executive Editor of Simple Cocktails (simplecocktails.net). Follow him on Instagram at @simplecocktails.

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ON THE COVER

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FILM LEGEND

FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA WINE, WOMEN AND SPIRITS by Audrey Pavia | portraits by Monti Smith

D

riving through picturesque, treelined Highway 128 on my way to the Coppola Family estate in Napa Valley, I flashed back to the first time I saw The Godfather. It was 1972, and I was 14 years old. I remember sitting in the theater with my parents, mesmerized by what was happening on screen. I was too young to understand that gripping storytelling, brilliant acting and a powerful score had all come together to create a film that was so compelling, it was impossible not to be moved by it. All I knew was that I couldn’t stop thinking about the movie for weeks afterward. Seeing The Godfather gave me a profound appreciation for the power of film—an appreciation I still have today. On this day at Mr. Coppola’s Rutherford estate, on the wraparound porch of the house he purchased decades ago with his earnings from The Godfather, we were preparing to talk about

his line of Great Women Spirits, a collection of fine liquor dedicated to five special women in history. Given the effect Mr. Coppola’s work had on my artistic sensibilities, it’s not surprising I was both scared and excited about meeting him. So when I saw his red Tesla coming up the driveway, I could barely catch my breath. My nerves were soon put at ease. It was clear within a matter of minutes that Mr. Coppola was a kind, down-to-earth man who was easy to talk to and who remembered what it was like to have nothing. As we sat on the beautiful porch, surrounded by a lush garden, I asked one of film’s greatest directors about Great Women, winemaking and the overlap between spirits and cinema.

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THE INTERVIEW Tell me about what motivated you to create Great Women Spirits. Maybe 30 years ago, I read a book called Twelve Against the Gods by William Bolitho. It was a book of short 30-page biographies of 12 great men in history. I realized I could also come up with 12 great women in history, even though women of those times weren’t allowed to have books or an education in many cases. Many of them did their work in convents, because that was the only place where they could get access to learning. Even though it seems very topical in the moment to honor great women, this is something I’ve always wanted to do.

What drew you to the story of Ada Lovelace, the inspiration for your gin? Ada Lovelace was really an interesting woman. She was the daughter of Lord Byron. She was raised with a sort of early feminist attitude, and as a very bright young girl was steered away from anything to do with art or poetry and steered toward science and mathematics. She married William King, who became the first Earl of Lovelace, and she became the Countess of Lovelace. Her interest in mathematics led her to a man named Charles Babbage, who had built the first mechanical computer known as the Analytic Engine. This was a huge mechanical device that could do calculations. Ada provided patronage, but was also the one who wrote the programs because she was a mathematics expert. In a sense, she was the first programmer to invent the algorithm. She’s just an incredibly important woman that few people know even existed. She can stand shoulder to shoulder with any man in terms of achievements that have affected the modern world. In fact, to me the two most important names in the whole world of computing are Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing.

Tell us about the brandy in your Great Women Spirits line. Brandy was the first beverage that our company thought of making because there was not really a go-to brandy out there. There are great cognacs, which is a form of brandy, but to me there wasn’t really a brandy that was not a cognac that you would reach for.

EVEN THOUGH IT SEEMS VERY TOPICAL IN THE MOMENT TO HONOR GREAT WOMEN, THIS IS SOMETHING I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO.

There was an Italian brandy called Stock. It’s very old. I wanted to make something that would have the flavor profile of Stock. I decided to call our brandy Agnesi because Maria Gaetana Agnesi was an extraordinary 18th century Italian mathematician. She had to operate out of a convent because as a young girl, she wanted to learn. She wanted to study, and in those days, they just wanted to marry girls off. They didn’t even allow them access to books in many situations, but in a convent, Agnesi could get her hands on books.

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CIGAR OF THE DAY

Cigar & Spirits Magazine selected the J.C. Newman Diamond Crown Julius Caeser for Mr. Coppola’s photo session. The aromas of coffee and spice were enhanced by pairing the cigar with Maria Gaetana Agnesi Brandy that was graciously provided by Mr. Coppola. Not a bad way to spend the day…

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Ford >> Dorothy Arzner was Francis Film A UCL at tor men ’s pola Cop School in the 1960s.

Dorothy Arzner photo credit: Album/Alamy Stock Photo

DOROTHY ARZNER Born in 1897 in San Francisco, Dorothy Arzner claimed some firsts in American cinema. She was the first woman to join the Directors Guild of America and the first woman to direct a sound film. In the 1930s, she was the only female director working in the United States. Arzner directed Clara Bow’s first talkie for Paramount Pictures in 1929. To enable Bow to move freely around the set, Arzner had technicians rig a microphone onto a fishing pole, creating the first boom mike. She later worked with Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball and Katharine Hepburn, helping to kick-start their careers. After retiring from directing, Arzner became a film professor at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Francis Ford Coppola was one of her students. The Family Coppola’s Dorothy Arzner Straight Rye Whiskey is 3 years old and made from grains that are aged in American oak barrels in Sonoma County. The innovative heat-sensitive label on the bottle reveals the names of Arzner’s films when touched with the hand.

You also have a potato vodka in the line. I wanted to make a Polish-style potato vodka, and to me, one of the most wonderful women on earth is the Countess Maria Walewska. Her story was so moving to me. When Napoleon and his armies went to Poland, he was greeted as a liberator because Poland had always been under the tough heel of Russia. When Napoleon came in, the Poles anticipated being liberated. The Polish people had a wonderful aristocracy and tradition in music and other things. They had a very extraordinary culture. The idea that they could get out from under the heel of Russia was so exciting to them that people came to the streets and cheered Napoleon as he was coming. Napoleon was what I would call “girl crazy.” [laughs] He saw this maiden kneeling by the road with a big basket of flowers for him. He was really struck by this girl. Then he goes into Warsaw to a bigger fanfare. The entire nobility was presented to Napoleon. Then he meets a man and a beautiful woman, the Count Walewska and his wife, Maria. He can’t believe his eyes, because it seems to him it’s the same girl. Indeed it was. She was a tremendous Polish patriot and very passionate. She had gone in the dress of a simple maiden to welcome the man she felt would be the liberator of Poland. In fact, she was the Countess Walewska, married to an important nobleman. Napolean immediately said, “I must have dinner with the Countess Walewska.” But she said, “As a woman, I can’t go have dinner with the general. If he wants to invite my husband, I will go.” Nothing Napoleon could do would convince her to dine with him—she was that loyal to her husband. Finally, her husband said, “Please Maria, have dinner with Napoleon, for the future of Poland.” Finally, the Count Walewska divorced her so she would be free to not violate her idea of loyalty. She did have dinner with Napoleon, and she did in fact really and truly fall in love with him. What I love about the story is just how she was impossible to seduce because of this idea of loyalty in her mind. Just as loyal as she had been to her husband, that’s how loyal she became to Napoleon. I wanted to commemorate that with a vodka that was loyal to the idea of Polish potato vodka.

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ADA LOVELACE ONE HOPES THAT INTELLIGENT MEN ARE INTERESTED IN FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS OF GREAT ACHIEVEMENT, EVEN THOUGH THEY DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THEM.

Your third spirit is a liqueur dedicated to Hypatia. Who was she? Of all of these women I have mentioned, Hypatia was the greatest woman so far. She was basically a Greek philosopher, mathematician and astronomer, and by some coincidence was also incredibly beautiful. She lived around 350 BCE in Alexandria. All the young men wanted to come and study with her, partly because she was so beautiful. She was the daughter of a mathematician. She really was beyond what thinking and knowledge was in those days.

Your newest spirit in the line is dedicated to someone you knew personally. We are coming out with our Dorothy Arzner rye. Dorothy Arzner was a very important woman film director. Now, of course, we have young women making great inroads as film directors. Women like Jane Campion, my own daughter, Sophia, and many other women. Before all of them there was Dorothy Arzner, who was a silent film editor for The Covered Wagon, and she made many movies with Joan Crawford and Katharine Hepburn. I had the great privilege of not only knowing Ms. Arzner, but she was my teacher. She spent her last years as a UCLA instructor, as many retiring film people did. I had the firsthand opportunity to learn from her. She was a very salty, wonderful woman, with a huge heart. The thing about her that I always appreciated is that whenever she came into class, she always brought boxes of biscuits. I think that she knew we were starving, which we were. She once took me to lunch. My lunch budget was 40 cents in those days. She bought me a $2.75 club sandwich. I really was beginning to think of chucking it. I had been pretty successful at my college career in theater, and I knew I could get a job as a stage manager or something. I was really thinking of just leaving in defeat. One night, she saw me sitting on a stoop. She saw I was depressed. She said a few words to me, which of course I’ll never forget, and left me with that. Because of what she said, I stayed. I will always be grateful to her for this.

Can you share what she said? She said, “You’ll make it. I’ve been around, and I know.”

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The only legitimate daughter of the poet Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace was born Augusta Ada Byron in London in 1815. Ada’s mother, Lady Byron, had mathematical training, and had Ada tutored privately in the study of mathematics. At the age of 17, Ada met Charles Babbage at a party. He showed her a small working section of the Analytic Engine, which inspired her to eventually publish an English translation from a French article on the device. Ada added extensive notes to the translation, including the first published description of a stepwise sequence of operations involving certain mathematical problems. For this work, Ada is often referred to as “the first programmer.” The Family Coppola’s Countress of Numbers Ada Lovelace Gin pays homage to the great English-style gins of Ada Lovelace’s era and includes Code of 10 Botanicals. Some of these botanicals can be found at the Coppola wine estates in Napa and Sonoma.

MARIA GAETANA AGNESI Born in Italy in 1718 to a wealthy and welleducated family, Maria Gaetana Agnesi became a mathematician, philosopher and theologian. Fluent in seven languages by the time she was 11 years old, she was the first woman to write a mathematics handbook and the first female professor at a university. Her Analytical Institutions for the Use of Italian Youth discussed a mathematical curve that has since become known as The Witch of Agnesi. The goal of her work was to give a systematic illustration of different results and theorems of infinitesimal calculus. Maria was driven to charitable work, and in the last years of her life, spent all her time and money working for the poor. She died a pauper and was buried in a mass grave. The Witch of Agnesi is often a substitute for the bell curve and finds its place in all aspects of life— including the fermentation and factional distillation of the Family Coppola brandy named in honor of Maria Agnesi. Maria Gaetana Agnesi 1799 is a 5-year-old small batch American brandy proofed with Napa Valley spring water from the Coppola Family estate in Rutherford.


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WHEN PEOPLE SAY, “YOU HAVE HOPPED FROM THE WINE BUSINESS TO THE MOVIE BUSINESS TO THE HOTEL BUSINESS,” I SAY, “PEOPLE, IT’S ALL THE SAME BUSINESS.”

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>> Film Revolutionaries Marlon Brando and Francis Ford Coppola on the set of Apocalypse Now, 1979.

Brando / Coppola photo courtesy of AF archive/Alamy Stock Photo

HYPATIA Considered ancient Alexandria’s greatest female scholar, Hypatia was born sometime between 350-370. The daughter of a mathematician, she was raised in a time when Alexandria was second only to Athens as the philosophical capital of the Greco-Roman world. She taught students from all over the Mediterranean, lecturing on the writings of Plato and Aristotle. She was also known as a superb mathematician and astronomer. Christians, Jews and pagans all lived in Alexandria during Hypatia’s time, and power struggles took place between the three religions. Hypatia became the victim of a vicious political murder. Dragged from her carriage by a group of religious zealots, she was taken to a church and beaten to death. Her death sent shockwaves throughout the empire. The Family Coppola honors Hypatia’s legacy with Hypatia Rubi Amaro, a liqueur crafted from classic bitters of herbs, flowers, roots and citrus peels, distilled with spring water from the Coppola Napa Valley Estate. The formulation is from the 1890s and includes coloration by carmine red.

Will a line of spirits honoring these great women appeal to men? One hopes that intelligent men are interested in fellow human beings of great achievement, even though they don’t know much about them. It’s interesting to know that there was a Greek philosopher who was a woman, who was persecuted because she had knowledge. I hope that, if anything, the men who might want to try these products know that they can trust them. That anything that our family does is something we really did. Fred Astaire once told me that the worst decision he ever made is when he licensed the name Fred Astaire Dance Studio because he never liked the kind of dance they taught, and so beware of that. That’s why the things we’ve done, be it wine, or now spirits or hideaway resorts, is all stuff that we did. We don’t sell wine that we don’t drink. We could have licensed some company to make Sofia Coppola jeans, but we don’t do that. If we’re going to make something, we really make it. We get into it and try to determine the quality and the style.

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WHEN YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT SPIRITS, WINE AND MOVIEMAKING, THERE’S ALWAYS THE FIRST GATHERING PHASE. GATHER THE SHOTS. HARVEST THE GRAPES. GATHER THE INGREDIENTS FOR THE SPIRIT.

Do you find any connections between crafting a great spirit and wine or filmmaking? I’ve often spoken about how really all of these fields—the wine industry, spirits, resorts, hideaways, what have you—are really all aspects of show business. Usually, show business breaks down into certain categories. When you’re talking about spirits, wine and moviemaking, there’s always the first gathering phase. Gather the shots. Harvest the grapes. Gather the ingredients for the spirit. Then there’s the second phase, which is the actual editing phase where you work with what you’ve gathered and you blend and you edit. The third phase is always the finishing, where you arrive at the finishing techniques, the final refining or the overall packaging and, ultimately, marketing. Every one of these arts breaks into these same three categories. When people say, “You have hopped from the wine business to the movie business to the hotel business,” I say, “People, it’s all the same business.”

COUNTESS WALEWSKA Born in 1786 in Poland to a revered but impoverished family, Countess Maria Walewska is said to have deeply influenced the life of Napoleon. Married at 15 to the wealthy Count Walewska, who was 50 years her senior, Maria is known for her deep patriotism. Against her wishes, she was convinced by Polish nobles—including her own husband—to spend time alone with Napoleon for the good of her country. The emperor had been actively pursuing her after meeting her along the road during his triumphant march into Poland. Although only 18 years old, she resisted all attempts by the emperor to seduce her until the pressure from her fellow countrymen became too great. Maria ultimately became Napoleon’s mistress and bore him a son. She became his confidant over the years and even visited him during his time in exile. Along with Napoleon’s wife Josephine, Countess Walewska is said to have had the greatest influence on the great general. The Family Coppola’s tribute to Maria Walewska is the Countess Walewska Authentic Potato Premium Vodka. Proofed with Napa Valley spring water, the vodka represents loyalty to the traditions of the finest potato vodkas from Poland.

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Photo courtesy of Photo 12/Alamy Stock Photo

>> Francis Ford Coppola working camera and craft for 1979’s Apocalypse Now.


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>> A cast of characters on the set of The Godfather, 1972. Left to right: James Caan, Marlon Brando, Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino and John Cazale.

IF WE’RE GOING TO MAKE SOMETHING, WE REALLY MAKE IT. The example I give is Godfather II, one of the more complicated movies I ever made. Godfather II basically told as two stories: the story of the younger godfather Vito Corleone and his son at the same age. It took place in Lake Tahoe, in L.A., in Cuba, in old New York and a place in Sicily—both old Sicily and modern Sicily. Also, Las Vegas. There were all these different things, but to me it was all the same movie. I was able to go from sequence to sequence, just as now I go from business to business because it’s all showbiz. It’s all the same. It’s all about ultimately presenting something to an audience. It’s about how the audience perceives it, be it a spirit they’re trying out or a movie or a glass of wine or a hotel. It’s a show. The staff, the waiters—they’re the cast. And the guest is the audience. Really, all these businesses are the same. It’s the pleasure business you’re offering.

Audrey Pavia is an award-winning writer living in Southern California, and a frequent contributor to Cigar & Spirits Magazine.

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Photo courtesy of MARKA/Alamy Stock Photo

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INTERVIEW >> The dapper Anton Giulio, Export Manager of Toscano Cigars.

HOW NEAR-TRAGEDY BECAME A BRAND’S BLESSING by Joe Bosso

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Photos courtesy of Toscano Cigars Manifatture Sigaro Toscano S.p.A..

BEHIND THE LEAF:


>> The women of Toscano Cigars hand-rolling cigars in 1935.

“A SENSE OF HISTORY IS A BIG PART OF OUR SUCCESS,” says

Anton Giulio, Toscano Cigars’ Export Manager. “In fact, I would say it’s built into each cigar that we sell.” Giulio isn’t just tossing out slogans. He points to the famous “accident” that occurred at the Manifattura Tabacchi factory in Florence in 1815, when a bale of tobacco was left out in the summer sun. A fierce and unexpected storm soaked the leaves. Most growers would have considered them useless, but the factory manager decided to let them dry naturally. “The fermentation process created the most striking and unusual characteristics in the tobacco,” says Giulio. “It was literally something you couldn’t have dreamed up, but the resulting cigars made from that bale of tobacco had a taste that people loved.”

Photos courtesy of Toscano Cigars Manifatture Sigaro Toscano S.p.A..

Giulio also points to Toscano’s two-century tradition of employing a league of highly trained female rollers who produce a large portion of the company’s output at two factories in Italy, one in Lucca and the other in Campania. At present, 40 female rollers produce roughly 100,000 cigars per week, and the yearly average is between four to five million sticks each year.

Thus, a tradition was born when, in 1818, the Grand Duke Ferdinand III built a new factory in Florence and officially began the production of the Toscano cigars, utilizing the very same fermentation process from that fateful summer day. Also key to the Toscano brand is Kentucky tobacco, the company uses American-grown Kentucky leaves. But the majority of the product is created with Kentucky tobacco grown in Italy. “Between the fermentation process and our use of 100 percent natural, fire-cured Kentucky tobacco, Toscano cigars have a taste all their own,” says Giulio. “You can try every other band out there, and nothing will be the same as a Toscano.” Giulio also points to Toscano’s two-century tradition of employing a league of highly trained female rollers who produce a large portion of the company’s output at two factories in Italy, one in Lucca and the other in Campania. At present, 40 female rollers produce roughly 100,000 cigars per week, and the yearly average is between four to five million sticks each year. “The hand rollers give our cigars a look and feel that is distinctly Italian,” says Giulio. “They have a slightly irregular shape that is called ‘storto’ [Italian for ‘crooked’]. You can spot a Toscano immediately because nothing else looks like it.”

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>> The terrain and views from the Toscano area are inspiring.

BACK IN THE ’60S, Americans first caught a glimpse of that long, imperfect-

>> Cigar rollers in 1960.

looking cigar when Clint Eastwood clenched Toscano Anticos in his famed spaghetti westerns directed by Sergio Leone. Today, Toscano’s worldwide presence is robust. It’s in 77 countries, and the brand racked up sales of 215 million cigars last year—and the U.S. has been catching on.

“We’re very happy with our growth in the States,” says Giulio,” and we’re investing more money and energy in the market. We even purchased our own farm in Tennessee. It’s our desire to be on the ground—literally—in the U.S.” In a recent interview, Giulio elaborated on Toscano’s global presence, the precision of women’s hands and rolling out new releases.

How many factories do you currently have? We have two factories in Italy. Between the two of them, that’s more than 300 workers; altogether we have 400 employees. We have also some farms out in the woods.

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To be a cigar roller for Toscano is a status symbol. This started years ago, because as I said, not everybody can become a roller. For the women who made it through the training, it’s like they achieved something rare and difficult. It’s also a tradition for many of them; sometimes the jobs pass from mother to daughter.

Photos courtesy of Toscano Cigars Manifatture Sigaro Toscano S.p.A..

Let’s talk about the U.S. market for Toscano. Who is a Toscano smoker? Are certain areas of the country stronger than others? In geographical terms, I would say that our core is in the northeast. The Italian community is very strong in New York and Philly, but there’s also Washington, D.C. and Chicago. We’re growing in the south, especially in Texas and Florida. Toscano Cigars smokers are generally 40 and over. It’s mainly men, but we are getting women who are drawn to our aromatic cigars. Both genders appreciate a cigar with character. We have the long cigars that are bursting with character, but the aromatic cigars are short and very easy for new smokers to enjoy.


That was my next question. You guys purchased a farm in Tennessee. What was the idea behind that? Our Kentucky tobacco mainly comes from Italian farms, and that’s part of our tradition. We have many great techniques to turn that tobacco into such beautiful cigars. We decided to buy the farm in Tennessee to provide our own expertise to the American farmers who grow this tobacco. It’s been a very positive thing for everybody. Between 6,000 and 7,000 tons of the Kentucky tobacco are grown in Italy, but only 200 tons come from the United States. That’s quite a big difference. Right now, I would say that 20 percent of our Kentucky tobacco is coming from United States. Of the percentage that comes from Italy, I would estimate that 90 percent of our Italian Kentucky comes out of Tuscany. The rest is scattered about both in the North and South. Most of our products are made with Italian Kentucky, but our Anno Domini 1492 is 100 percent American Kentucky. The mixtures change depending on the products.

>> The firecuring process of Toscano Cigars helps create the brand’s signature flavors.

Can you briefly describe how you replicate the fermentation process from that famous accident that occurred 200 years ago? There are a few steps in the process, but it’s really not much different from what happened during that accident. First, we collect the leaves from the farmers, and we carefully select which are the best of the batch. That’s as important a step as any– which leaves are good enough to make it. Then we put those leaves in a big box filled with water. This is what we do in the factories. The tobacco stays in the box for 20 days, and as the days pass, the temperature gradually rises, and thus, the fermentation process begins. That’s really the most important aspect to what we do, and it’s what gives our cigars a unique taste.

Photos courtesy of Toscano Cigars Manifatture Sigaro Toscano S.p.A..

>> Precision and balance help create the standards at Toscano Cigars.

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It’s interesting how the fermentation process changes the chemical compound of the cigars, rendering them non-hygroscopic. That’s right. When finished, they don’t absorb moisture like other cigars, so you don’t need to put them in a humidifier. It’s so remarkable when people hear that; they think it’s some sort of crazy advertising. Especially people in the United States. They’re so surprised. “You don’t have to humidify them? How can that be?” But it’s true: The Toscano is very strong and dry, and you don’t need a humidifier. If you like, you can put them in a box with a little water, but that’s as far as you need to go. People can leave them in their car glove box for long periods, take them out and smoke them, and they’re great.

>> The tradition continues with modern day female cigar rollers.

TOSCANELLO AROMA CAFFE AND ILLY CLASSICO ESPRESSO A MATCH MADE IN ITALY by Michael P. Cappellini National Brand Ambassador, USA–Toscano Cigars

In practical terms, is there just something about women’s hands that make them more adept at rolling cigars than men? Exactly. They’re more precise and delicate. They’re just more sensible in their approach. I say “delicate,” but their hands are also strong. There’s just something about their capability that is more attuned to the cigarmaking process.

Talk a little about your long-format cigars, which are quite popular. The long-format cigars are very big. We have different long formats. There’s the Antico, the Classico and Stilnovo, the Extravecchio. We get the best possible leaves for the wrapper and filler. Some of the longs are a big stronger like the Antico, and then there’s a lighter smoke, which is our new Garibaldi.

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When I talk about smoking a Toscano cigar, I ask consumers to picture themselves in a hillside Tuscan villa as the smell of fresh air blows over them and the Tuscan sun kisses their skin. They reach for their favorite Toscanello, and with the strike of a match, they are swept away into the savory aroma of sweet espresso from the cigar. They sit down and enjoy their Illy espresso, take another puff of their Toscanello, and magic ensues. Once the Illy espresso touches their lips and they take in the tasty and light, fire-cured flavor with hints of the caffe aroma from their Toscanello, the sensation on the palate creates a mood-altering effect. Stress melts away and life is lived how it should be. The Toscanello Aroma Caffe gives our consumers a sweet smoking experience. At first glance, the rugged design of the cigar gives the perception of an intense smoke. However, as you smoke through, you’re pleasantly surprised with velvety smoothness, the savory aroma of espresso and hints of almond that engulf your nasal cavity on the retro. The complexity of our Toscanello blend is brought to full fruition after the first sip of the bold yet pleasant Classico Illy espresso. Its delicious sweetness and delicate notes of citrus and caramel provide for a better understanding of the intensity and complexity of both products. Your senses become overwhelmed with varying sensations, from the Toscanello’s pleasant sweetness to the Illy espresso’s citrus notes. It’s truly a “match made in Italy.” Size: 3 x 38 Wrapper: Italian Kentucky Filler: American and Italian Kentucky MSRP (cigar): $14.00/pack MSRP (coffee): $19.00/canister of 21 capsules

Photos courtesy of Toscano Cigars Manifatture Sigaro Toscano S.p.A..

Talk to me about the tradition of the female rollers. In the past we had many, many more, but 40 is a good number for us in terms of quality control. This isn’t a job anybody can just walk into. We have a training period that lasts for 18 months. It’s quite tough, and not everybody makes it through. The women who roll our cigars have to demonstrate that they really have the ability to perform the task with flair and precision. It’s like an art form, really. I tried rolling a cigar myself, and it was a tragedy. I had no flair for it whatsoever. It’s interesting: There is this sexy aspect to the idea of female cigar rollers, but on the other hand, they achieved a degree of power in terms of getting the same pay as men, something that would have been hard to imagine years ago. To be a cigar roller for Toscano is a status symbol. This started years ago, because as I said, not everybody can become a roller. For the women who made it through the training, it’s like they achieved something rare and difficult. It’s also a tradition for many of them; sometimes the jobs pass from mother to daughter.

Italy—the birthplace of culture, elegance and inimitable lifestyle brands. One of them is the Toscano cigar. In my travels across the country, I have found that our consumers fall in love with not just our product, but our 204-year story. And it makes for the perfect pairing with complementary high-end products. I personally love savoring a Toscanello alongside a cup of espresso from one of Italy’s most famous coffee companies, Illy. There’s nothing like experiencing a combined 290 years of Italian excellence. Manifatture Sigaro Toscano takes great pride in the quality of its product, providing a consistent and delicious smoke with premium tobacco, and I feel the same about who I pair our products with. Illy espresso provides our consumers with the perfect Italian experience.


When was the last time you experienced something for the first time?

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“Passionate curiosity is essential to discovering and enjoying the best experiences in life.”

BALMORALCIGARS.COM

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>> Toscano’s Mt. Florence cigar packaging facilities, 1960.

You’ve just launched that one. Exactly. The Garibaldi just arrived in United States, and we’re very excited because it’s been a best seller in Italy and in other counties. It’s very important for us, and I think people in the States will really enjoy it. The Garibaldi has the right balance between the sweet aromas of our natural tobacco and the woods. At the same time, it’s maintaining notes of spice and toasted nuts. It’s a perfect mix—not as aggressive or strong like other cigars. To me, it’s for men who like something very smooth; it’s for women and younger people. A lot of customers will embrace it.

In the last year, you’ve also released the Stilnovo. We launched Stilnovo a few months ago. It’s unique in our portfolio worldwide because it’s the only Toscano cigar that features a wrap and binder.

If you’re out with a friend, you can cut the cigar in half and enjoy it together. A great cigar should be a unique experience, and that’s what people get with Toscanos.

Now, why is that? The Stilnovo was created to be closer to different consumers. Cuban cigars and Dominicans are mostly made with the wrapper and binder philosophy, so we decided to replicate something like that, maintaining the Kentucky tobacco and the Toscano character. And that turned out to be a great idea. In Italy, it’s been a great seller. We repeated that success in other countries in Europe, and now we’re in the United States. It’s only been available in the States for a few months, but so far people are really enjoying them. All of the feedback has been positive.

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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>> The Toscano Toscanello Aroma Anice pairs nicely with espresso any day of the week.

Photos courtesy of Toscano Cigars Manifatture Sigaro Toscano S.p.A..

And people really cut them in half and share them with friends? Absolutely. We used to say that Toscano is a social cigar, and that’s something very unique that you can’t get with other cigars. People feel very dedicated to what they like, whether they’re Cuban, Dominican, Nicaraguan or whatever. With our long cigars, people are equally dedicated, and they are finding that the Toscanos are the perfect social cigar. If you’re out with a friend, you can cut the cigar in half and enjoy it together. A great cigar should be a unique experience, and that’s what people get with Toscanos.


All of our products are handcrafted in extremely small batches from the finest ingredients we can source. We have a passion for crafting spirits of exceptional quality that shines through in every sip. We invite you to raise a glass and celebrate family and friendship with the pure spirit you will find in every one of the handcrafted products our family brings to yours.

Taste makes

the difference

westernreservedistillers.com • 14221 Madison Ave., Lakewood, OH 44107 • Please Drink Responsibly

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BEST OF 2019

CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE’S

TOP 20 CIGARS 2019 RATINGS ARE BASED ON THE AVERAGE BLIND TASTING SCORES OF EACH CIGAR BY A PANEL OF TEN CIGAR EXPERTS. THESE CONNOISSEURS POSSESS MORE THAN 100 YEARS OF COMBINED CIGAR-SMOKING EXPERIENCE.

#1

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

LA AURORA CIGARS 115TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATIVE COLLECTION 5.75 x 54 Toro Wrapper: Ecuadorian Binder: Brazilian Filler: Cibao Valley (Dominican), Nicaraguan and Brazilian

Tasting Notes: An almost bold cigar with a predominance of spicy black pepper notes that give way to more complex and delicate flavors. The presence of wood is evident throughout the smoke, but it is enriched with nuances of cinnamon, nuts and even citrus tips. Its finish is powerful and creamy.

To provide feedback on any of the ratings, or to offer your own opinions on any of the cigars featured, write us at: feedback@cigarandspirits.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and leave your comments:

facebook.com/cigarandspiritsmagazine

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@CigarSpiritsMag

@CigarSpiritsMag


#2

#3

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

DREW ESTATE LIGA PRIVADA T52

6 x 52 Belicoso Wrapper: Habano Connecticut, Maduro, Pennsylvania Broadleaf, Sun Grown Binder: Brazilian, Sumatran Filler: Dominican, Honduran, Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: A stronger, more robust cigar that’s a very balanced smoke with notes of black pepper, sweet spice, leather and earth.

ARTURO FUENTE OPUS X ANGEL’S SHARE

5.20 x 50 Robusto Wrapper: Dominican Chateau De La Fuente Sun Grown Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican Tasting Notes: A combination of creamy nuts and cinnamon with a balance of elegant, slightly sweet cedar-like flavors that evolve into cocoa notes. Aroma from the wrapper is strong and offers an almost shockingly distinct peanut butter note, along with just a touch of leather and cedar, while the cold draw brings flavors of cinnamon, cedar, sweet raisins and an interesting floral essence.

#5

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

LA FLOR DOMINICANA LA NOX

#4

6.5 x 50 Toro Wrapper: Brazilian, Cuban Binder: Mexican San Andrés Filler: Dominican

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

Tasting Notes: Dark in appearance and in flavor, La Nox features a sweet Brazilian Maduro wrapper, a San Andrés binder and a blend of Dominican Piloto and Pelo de Oro fillers. It’s smooth and rich flavor is memorable.

J.C. NEWMAN CIGAR COMPANY DIAMOND CROWN CLASSIC NO. 6 6 x 46/64 Figurado Wrapper: Connecticut Shade Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican

Tasting Notes: The Classic No. 6 is creamy and sweet. It features notes of corn and toast and a slight cedary zing.

#6

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

PADRÓN CIGARS 1964 ANNIVERSARY SERIES DIPLOMATICO (NATURAL)

ROCKY PATEL ROYALE TORPEDO

6 x 52 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra Binder: Sumatran Filler: Nicaraguan

7 x 50 Churchill Wrapper: Nicaraguan Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

#7

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

Tasting Notes: This timeless 1964 Anniversary is a box-pressed cigar with a superior draw that offers complex layers of spice, cocoa and coffee bean flavors on the palate. The final third is creamy with a toasty hazelnut finish.

Tasting Notes: Medium to full in body, featuring complex notes of cedary spice and espresso leading to notes of toasted nuts, leather and an earthy finish. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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#8

MICALLEF EXPERIENCIA LA CREMA TORO

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

6 x 52 Wrapper: San Andrés Sumatran Binder: Ecuadorian Habano Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican, Panamanian

#9

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

Tasting Notes: An elegant and smooth cigar, nutty, balanced, complex with nuanced sweetness.

PLASENCIA CIGARS RESERVA ORIGINAL PIRÁMIDE

6.2 x 52 Pyramid Wrapper: Nicaraguan Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: This nuanced cigar is organically grown. The Plasencia Reserva Original honors the tobacco that Europeans enjoyed more than five centuries ago upon arrival to the New World. It features notes of nuts, fruits, and caramel with delicate essence of marzipan and final hints of cedar.

#10

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

MIAMI CIGAR & COMPANY NESTOR MIRANDA 75TH ANNIVERSARY

7.25 x 57 Salomon Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: A gorgeous fullbodied smoke that’s worthy of a 75th Anniversary. It has a creamy black pepper, earth and wood notes with a dark coffee finish.

#11

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

ALEC BRADLEY BLACK MARKET ESTELI

7 x 50 Churchill Wrapper: Nicaraguan Binder: Nicaraguan, Honduran Filler: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: The cigar is sweet and savory with earthy and leathery notes. Natural sweetness with undercurrents of raisin and cocoa.

#12

#13

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

GURKHA NICARAGUAN SERIES

OLIVA CIGARS SERIES V MELANIO CHURCHILL

7 x 50 Churchill Wrapper: San Andréan Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: The Oliva Series V Melanio is a superior cigar in an array of vitolas. This Churchill is a full-bodied cigar with rich notes of espresso, pepper, spice, earth that provide an elegant finish.

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5 x 52 Robusto Wrapper: Aganorsa Corojo 99 Clara from Nicaragua Binder: Corojo 99 Aganorsa double Filler: Corojo 99 and Criollo 98 Aganorsa Tasting Notes: A savory medium to three-quarters strength cigar with a bit of bite and sweetness throughout.


Aged with Aloha Artfully crafted and carefully aged, Kōloa Kaua‘i Reserve Aged Hawaiian Rum is distilled from the finest Hawaiian sugarcane

and pure, abundant rainwater from Kaua‘i's Mount Waiʻaleʻale, A remarkably smooth rum with a bouquet of mellow oak, orange peel and toasted vanilla. Visit koloarum.com |

Please enjoy Kōloa Rum responsibly. ©2019 Kōloa Rum Company Kālaheo, Hawaii 10-46% Alc/Vol WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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#14

#16

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

#15

VEGAFINA 1998

AGING ROOM QUATTRO NICARAGUAN MAESTRO

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

6 x 54 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Binder: Java Indonesian Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan, Colombian Tasting Notes: A mild to medium cigar with an excellent draw that has a woody roasted flavor, with mild salty and spicy hints. There are sweet nuances of mellow fruit, notes of almonds, white pepper, vanilla, coffee and molasses.

#17

6 x 52 Torpedo Wrapper: Nicaraguan Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

E.P. CARRILLO INCH RINGMASTER

5.5 x 64 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: An expertly crafted medium/ full-bodied smoke with rich flavors of pepper, wood and caramel. The finish is sublime with toasted almond and notes of dark chocolate flavors.

Tasting Notes: A mild to mediumbodied cigar with aromas of peanut shells, leather and chocolate with a cold draw of almonds, espresso beans and black pepper. This cigar features a noticeable almond paste sweetness that is mixed with dominant sourdough bread notes that leaves a pleasant flavor on the palate and has an earthy, cocoa and black pepper finish.

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

#18

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

DAVIDOFF LIMITED EDITION 2019 THE TRAVELLER

5 x 43 Corona Wrapper: Dominican Binder: Mexican San Andrés Filler: Dominican

Tasting Notes: The Traveller is an elegant Corona. It features a delicious chocolatey coat, offering cocoa, wood and earth at the start. Pepper, cinnamon and coffee notes are evident with billowy smoke throughout this stellar Davidoff 2019 release.

#19

MY FATHER CIGARS LA OPULENCIA

6 x 54 Toro Wrapper: Mexican Rosado Oscuro Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: The La Opulencia is a superbly constructed cigar that features an easy draw resulting in loads of billowy smoke. It’s a medium-plus bodied cigar with rich flavors of pepper, spice and cinnamon. The smoking experience culminates with a creamy finish.

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

#20

RATED CIGAR OF 2019

PERDOMO CIGARS ESTATE SELECCIÓN VINTAGE CONNECTICUT ARISTOCRATICA

7 x 54 Churchill Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Binder: Cuban-Seed Nicaraguan Filler: : Cuban-Seed Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: The Aristocratica is a light colored cigar with sweet hints of cream and honey. The undertones are rich and oaky. This cigar blend offers elegant flavors with complex aromas. The Aristoctatica payoff is the customary Perdomo silky and smooth finish.

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COHIBA SPECTRE

7 x 54 Churchill Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf Filler: Honduran Jamastran, Honduran La Entrada/Honduran OSA, Nicaraguan Estelí and Dominican Piloto Cubano Tasting Notes: A smooth and sweet cigar with the natural flavors of eight tobaccos. The draw is unsurpassed and the smooth tobacco flavor is the best of five countries.


El Artista: Artfully Crafted in the Dominican Republic since 1956 We teamed up with David “Big Papi” Ortiz to bring to life a Dominican Dream Team of exceptional tobaccos from Ecuador, Dominica, and Nicaragua. Blended by our master artists for a smoking experience as unique and impressive as Ortiz.

WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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BEST OF 2019

CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE'S

TOP 20 BOUTIQUE CIGARS 2019 RATINGS ARE BASED ON THE AVERAGE BLIND TASTING SCORES OF EACH CIGAR BY A PANEL OF TEN CIGAR EXPERTS. THESE CONNOISSEURS POSSESS MORE THAN 100 YEARS OF COMBINED CIGAR-SMOKING EXPERIENCE.

#1

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

JOYA DE NICARAGUA BLACK

5 x 56 Doble Robusto Wrapper: San Andréan Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: : Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: The Black is an expertly crafted medium/full cigar. It has the Joya signature elements–complex flavor profile, balance and a luxurious draw. The cigar smokes with notes of pepper, leather and dark coffee. It has delicious hints of chocolate throughout, and showcases Joya de Nicaragua at the top of their game.

To provide feedback on any of the ratings, or to offer your own opinions on any of the cigars featured, write us at: feedback@cigarandspirits.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and leave your comments:

facebook.com/cigarandspiritsmagazine

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#2

#3

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

BALMORAL AÑEJO XO OSCURO

6 x 52 Gran Toro Wrapper: Sun-Grown, Stalk-Cut Mexican San Andrés Binder: Dominican Olor Filler: Dominican Olor, Nicaragua (Jalapa) and Exclusive, Stalk-Cut Brazilian Mata Norte.

NAT CICCO ANIVERSARIO 1965 LIGA NO. 4

Tasting Notes: A luxurious rich experience with complex notes of dark chocolate, espresso and black pepper that finish with a smooth, underlying natural sweetness.

6 x 52 Toro Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: A full cigar with an abundant amount of complex, wellbalanced flavors. This elegant cigar has a pronounced nuttiness and is extremely satisfying on the palate.

#4

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

ESTEBAN CARRERAS CIGARS UNFORGIVEN

6 x 52 Toro Grande Wrapper: Barrel-aged dark Sumatran Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: Rich blend of wood, leather, coffee bean and spices, backed by a slight smoky sweetness from being in 18-year-old rum barrels.

#5

HIRAM & SOLOMON UNITY

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

6 x 52 Toro Wrapper: Sumatran, Indonesian Binder: Indonesian Filler: Arapiraca, Habano Jalapa, Habano Ometepe, Dominican Tasting Notes: The Unity is chock full of flavors—notably leather, sweet cedar and dark cocoa. The cigar produces an ample amount of billowy smoke and the construction is first rate.

#6

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

FALTO CIGARS VEJIGANTE

6 x 58 Grand Corona Wrapper: HVA—Habana Vuelta Arriba Ecuador Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan and Brazilian Tasting Notes: The Vejigante delivers a complex blend with notes of wood and a variety of nuts. There’s more than a hint of dark roasted coffee and dark chocolate throughout which makes this a perfect cigar to pair with fine cognac.

#7

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

KRISTOFF CIGARS VENGEANCE

6.25 x 54 Toro Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Binder: Indonesian Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican Tasting Notes: This medium-full bodied cigar has rich notes of dark roast espresso bean, sweet mocha, graham cracker, spice and a long creamy cocoa finish.

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#9

#8

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

TABACALERA EL ARTISTA CIMARRON CONNECTICUT

6 x 50 Toro Wrapper: Ecuador, Connecticut Binder: Dominican negrito Filler: Criollo

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

Tasting Notes: An aromatic cigar that is spicy with sweet cedar notes. Toasted bread and perfumed florals with gentle spice and subtle pepper add nutty notes complete with an earthy finish.

ROMA CRAFT AQUITAINE CIGARS KNUCKLE DRAGGER

4 x 52 Petite Robusto Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Ligero Binder: Cameroon Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican Tasting Notes: This is a zesty petite robusto. Rich and nutty, earthy with spice and cedar and a creamy finish.

#11

#10

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

LA SIRENA ANIVERSARIO ESPECIAL

CALDWELL CIGARS LA BARBA RED

5.75 x 54 Robusto Extra Wrapper: 10-year-old Mexican San Andrés Negro Binder: Mexican San Andrés Criollo 98 Filler: Mexican, Brazilian, Nicaraguan, Dominican

Tasting Notes: The cigar is rich with graham cracker and marshmallow sweetness with white and black pepper spice. It’s a pleasant, earthy and leathery smoke.

Tasting Notes: This anniversary edition cigar is made in Nueva Matacapan de Tabacos S.A. de C.V., Casa Turrent’s factory in San Andrés, Mexico. The draw is top notch and there’s evident pepper with luxurious sweet and spicy notes throughout. A formidable blend and a fine tribute cigar to La Sirena for their anniversary year.

5.75 x 46 Wrapper: Dominican Corojo Binder: Corojo Ligero Filler: Criollo ’98, Peruvian Pelo de Oro

#12

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

#13

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

EPIC HABANO 5.5 X 52 ROBUSTO

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Binder: Cameroon Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: The medium Epic Habano is rich with cedar, earth, black pepper and grain. The burn and draw are firstrate with a smooth and creamy finish.

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SOUTHERN DRAW CEDRUS

60 x 52 Toro Wrapper: Besuki, Indonesian Binder: Habano 2000, Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: An excellent subtle-flavored cigar with a light sweetness to it and the complex flavors of nutmeg, toasted clove and cinnamon, along with a cedar aroma.


ElArtistaCigars.com

NEW FROM EL ARTISTA CIGARS

LIVE

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#14

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

GRAN HABANO S.T.K. BLACK DAHLIA

5 x 52 Robusto Wrapper: Corojo Shade Grown Nicaraguan Binder: Habano and Nicaraguan Filler: Habano and Nicaraguan Cubita, Colombian, Costa Rican Tasting Notes: A medium cigar that offers notes of cream, coffee and spice, with additional notes of nuts and woods in the flavor.

#15

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

#16

MOMBACHO CIGARS LIGA MAESTRO

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

FRATELLO CIGARS BIANCO BOXER

6.25 x 52 Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Binder: Dominican Filler: USA, Nicaraguan, Peruvian Tasting Notes: The Boxer is blended with a medium to fully body profile. The Bianco signature adds complexity and richness to this plush cigar.

6.75 x 50 Doble Robusto Wrapper: Habano shade grown from Jalapa Binder: Habano criollo From Jalapa Filler: Condega, Jalapa Valley

#17

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

Tasting Notes: The Mombacho Liga Maestro is a medium cigar with a distinct sweetness. The sweetness is offset with multiple notes of spice, earthiness and sugarcane.

ESPINOSA 601 BLUE LABEL MADURO 6.5 x 50 Short Churchill Wrapper: Broadleaf Maduro Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: The 601 Blue Label Maduro is a full cigar with a handsomely constructed box press. It’s a robust cigar with a combination of earth and coffee aromas. The rich espresso bean flavors sync nicely with hints of almond and caramel. The 601 Blue provides satisfying complex flavors on the finish.

#18

#20

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

CRUX EPICURE SHORT SALOMONE

6 x 54 Vitola Wrapper: Ecuadorian, Connecticut Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan Condega Tasting Notes: Sophisticated and creamy with refined notes of white chocolate and creme brûlée, with a kick of pepper and cinnamon.

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#19

BOUTIQUE CIGAR 2019

PDR JOSE REY DULCE MADURO

5 x 50 Robusto Wrapper: Maduro Binder: Proprietary Filler: Proprietary

Tasting Notes: A mellow to medium, sweet-tipped cigar with the flavors of toast and zesty wood notes, leaving a subtle sweetness on the palate at the finish.

SINDICATO CIGARS MADURO

5.5 x 48 Corona Gorda Wrapper: San Andrés Morrón Binder: Double Binder Esteli, Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan Esteli, Jalapa, Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: A medium to full-bodied cigar that generously offers a bold earthy flavor and aroma with notes of cocoa and a toasty finish.


Hear The Man’s story at: www.arturofuente.com/theman

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CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE'S

TOP 5 CUBAN CIGARS 2019 #2

CUBAN CIGAR 2019

#1

CUBAN CIGAR 2019

COHIBA BEHIKE BHK 52

4.75 x 52 Pigtailed Robusto Wrapper: Cuban Binder: Cuban Filler: Cuban

Tasting Notes: The Cohiba Behike BHK 52 is a luxurious cigar. Tea, almonds and honey carry this cigar to the top of the 2019 taste list. It has evident vanilla-sweet and floral notes throughout as well. The finish is earthy and smooth.

PARTAGÁS SERIES D NO. 4

6.25 x 47 Presidente Wrapper: Cuban Binder: Cuban Filler: Cuban

Tasting Notes: We almost hate to say it, but this is a man’s man cigar. It’s a blast of power and we love it foot to cap. The pinched foot triggers an easy burn, and the perfecto cap makes it a snap. It has deeply rich flavors of earth, dark chocolate and spice throughout. A formidable lead to our list.

#3

CUBAN CIGAR 2019

HOYO DE MONTEREY EPICURE NO. 2

#4

CUBAN CIGAR 2019

H. UPMANN NO. 2

6.125 x 52 Pirámide Wrapper: Cuban Binder: Cuban Filler: Cuban

Tasting Notes: This H. Upmann has become one of the go-to Cuban cigars in our circle this past year. This pirámide is medium-full to most, the shape is inviting and it has keen notes throughout—oak, caramel and cedar. It’s a savory cigar, and it smokes wonderfully. It’s akin to the more wellknown Montecristo No. 2, but well worth your time searching it out.

5.5 x 52 Robusto Wrapper: Cuban Binder: Cuban Filler: Cuban

Tasting Notes: This Hoyo Epicure is a consistently medium cigar (never strong) and balances our list, in part because of its most impressive draw and billowy smoke. A delightful Cuban cigar with sweetness and cocoa. We recommend pairing the Hoyo De Monterey Epicure No. 2 with a favored rum like Ron Diplomatico’s Reserva Exclusiva.

#5

CUBAN CIGAR 2019

MONTECRISTO NO. 2

6.125 x 52 Torpedo Wrapper: Cuban Binder: Cuban Filler: Cuban

Tasting Notes: The “Monte 2” is known the world over, and remains a coveted smoke. It appeals to the new Cuban cigar connoisseur as well as veterans. It’s one of the most recognizable cigars in the Cuban cigar world. It’s consistent, and deliciously balanced with leather and citrus flavors. A true Cuban cigar for us all, and we’re happy to have become re-acquainted with it this past year.

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TOP 5 CUBANS


CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE’S

TOP 3 MILD CIGARS OF 2019 #1

MILD CIGAR 2019

BALMORAL AÑEJO XO CONNECTICUT

6 x 52 Gran Toro Wrapper: Connecticut Shade Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra Filler: Dominican Olor, Pennsylvania 41 and exclusive, stalk-cut Brazillian mata norte Tasting Notes: The cigar provides a luxuriously creamy experience. It embraces your palate with complex notes of vanilla, toasted caramel and white pepper. The finish is smooth with underlying natural sweetness.

#2

MILD CIGAR 2019

MICALLEF CIGARS CONNECTICUT

6 x 52 Toro Wrapper: Ecuadorian, Connecticut Binder: Nicaraguan Habano Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican Tasting Notes: This thoughtfully-blended Micallef is not your average Connecticut. It’s medium strength with full Connecticut signature flavor. It builds in richness and complexity with a variety of nutty flavors that are enhanced by its creamy and balanced nature.

#3

MILD CIGAR 2019

ALEC BRADLEY CIGARS MEDALIST GORDO

6 x 60 Gordo Wrapper: Honduran Binder: Honduran Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: The Medalist Gordo is smooth and mild. There are notes of tree nuts, wood, vanilla and citrus with some serious hints of allspice. It’s an earthy sweet and rich cigar.

CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE’S

TOP 3 MEDIUM TO FULL CIGARS OF 2019 #1

MED-FULL CIGAR 2019

AVO CIGARS IMPROVISATION LE19

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#2

MED-FULL CIGAR 2019

VENTURA CIGARS PSyKO SEVEN NICARAGUA

#3

MED-FULL CIGAR 2019

PLASENCIA CIGARS ALMA FUERTE SIXTO II

6 x 52 Toro Wrapper: Ecuadorian Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican, Peruvian

6 x 50 Toro Wrapper: Nicaraguan (Connecticut) Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

6 x 60 Haxagon Wrapper: Nicaraguan Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan

Tasting Notes: The initial aroma features a combination of sweet cedar and earth. The binder leaf envelopes five different filler tobaccos comprised of both Dominican and Peruvian leaves, delivering a complex palate stimulation with the perfect balance of thick cream and earthy spice.

Tasting Notes: The Nicaragua version of PSyKo Seven has evident notes of creamy espresso, cedar and leather and is a standout in the portfolio. The cigar was expertly crafted by the up-and-coming blender Indiana Ortez, the daughter of noted cigar maker Omar Ortez.

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

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CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE PROMOTION

CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE PRESENTS THE

2019 WORLD SPIRITS COMPETITION WINNERS To provide feedback on any of the ratings, or to offer your own opinions on any of the spirits featured, write us at: feedback@cigarandspirits.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and leave your comments:

facebook.com/cigarandspiritsmagazine

@CigarSpiritsMag

*World Spirits Competition submissions included paid entrants.

76 76 // CIGAR CIGAR & & SPIRITS SPIRITS

JANUARY/FEBRUARY JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020 2020

@CigarSpiritsMag


VODKA

Ketel One Vodka

Grey Goose Vodka

Aris Vodka

Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Belvedere Vodka

FLAVOREDVODKA

44 North Vodka Sunnyslope Nectarine

44 North Vodka Mountain Huckleberry

3 Kilos Vodka Coco Gold

GIN

Nolet’s Silver Gin

Aviation American Gin

Hendrick’s Gin

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LOW CALORIE SPIRIT –

UNDER

100 CALORIES PER 1.5 OZ

Skinny Girl Bare Naked Vodka Smirnoff Zero Sugar Infusions

Ketel One Botanical

SILVER TEQUILA

Tequila Comisario Blanco

Casa Mexico Silver

Patrón Silver

REPOSADO TEQUILA

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Oranges illustration courtesy of Marina Grau/Shutterstock.com.

Tequila Comisario Reposado

Casamigos Reposado

Revel Avila Reposado


WORLD SPIRITS COMP

WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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ANEJO TEQUILA

Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila

Tequila Comisario Añejo

Casa Mexico Añejo

Suavecito Añejo

EXTRA ANEJO TEQUILA

Volans Ultra Premium Extra Añejo

Arta Extra Añejo

Patron Extra Añejo

WHITE RUM

Western Reserve Premium Silver Rum

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Diplomatico Planas

Brugal Blanco Supremo


WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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DARK RUM

Ron Zacapa Edición Negra

Rum E. Leon Jimenes

Divine Distillers Rum Paradiso

EXTRA-AGED RUM

Kōloa 12-Barrel Select Kaua’i Reserve Aged Hawaiian Rum

Zacapa 23

Diplomatico Single Vintage 2004 Rum

SPICED RUM

Big 5 Spiced Rum

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The Kraken Black Spiced Rum

TOPO Organic Carolina Spiced


FLAVORED/INFUSED RUM

Divine Distillers Pandan Paradiso

Bacardi Coconut Rum

Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum

DOMESTIC BRANDY

Divine Distillers Apple Brandy Paradiso

E&J VSOP Grand Blue

D’ussé VSOP

STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKEY

Oak & Eden Bourbon & Spire Four Roses Bourbon

Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey

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SMALL BATCH BOURBON

Heritage Elk Rider Bourbon

Western Reserve 8 yr Single Barrel Bourbon

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

(UP TO

10 YRS)

Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch

SMALL BATCH BOURBON ( 11 + YRS)

Western Reserve 14 yr Single Barrel Bourbon

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15 Year Bourbon

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

SPECIAL BARREL FINISHED BOURBON

Oak & Eden Bourbon & Vine

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Iron Fish Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Maple Syrup Barrels

The Burning Chair Bourbon


Look for the Moment.

WARNING: Cigars Contain Many Of The Same Carcinogens Found In Cigarettes, And Cigars Are Not A Safe Substitute For Cigarettes. This Product Contains Chemicals Known To The State Of California To Cause Cancer And Birth Defects And Other Reproductive Harm.

LaMIRADA CIGARS Charlotte, NC 28208. 866-316-1991 www.lamiradacigar.com

Potomac Tobacco Group. All Rights Reserved-LaMirada-C&S-JF20

True Connecticut Shade wrapper aged 13 years. Perfectly blended long fill Criollo 98, Viso Piloto Cubano, and Pedaso Cubano Canela fillers. Created by hand in The Dominican Republic. Four exquisite sizes.


SINGLE BARREL WHISKEY

Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon

Western Son Single Barrel Bourbon

(UP TO

10 YRS)

TOPO Organic Reserve Straight Wheat Whiskey

SINGLE BARREL WHISKEY ( 11 + YRS)

Elijah Craig 18-Year Old Single Barrel

Uncle Nearest 1820-US 21

Coppercraft Single Barrel Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Uncle Nearest 1820-US 28Â

STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY

Lip Service Rye

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Tamar Low Gap Rye Fainting Goat CB Fishers Straight Rye


#2

BOUTIQUE CIGAR OF 2016

WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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RYE MALT WHISKEY

Tahwahkaro Texas Rye Malt Whiskey

AMERICAN BLENDED WHISKEY

Second Glance American Whiskey Basil Hayden’s Two By Two Rye Whiskey

Sagamore Spirits Reserve Port Finish

TENNESSEE WHISKEY

Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey

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Fugitive Grandgousier Tennessee Whiskey

George Dickel Classic No. 8 Whisky


THE 10TH ANNUAL WEST COAST CIGAR & SPIRITS TASTING

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Come sample some of the world’s greatest cigars and spirits! NEWPORT BEACH

THE ULTIMATE LIFESTYLE EVENT

SATURDAY, JUNE 6TH, 2020

PRESENTED BY

EMAIL EVENTS@CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM OR VISIT CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM FOR MORE INFO.


JAPANESE WHISKEY

Kamiki Sakura

Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whisky

Suntory Whisky Toki

UNAGED WHISKEY/MOONSHINE

TOPO Organic Carolina Moonshine

Ole Smoky Moonshine Original

Southern Distilling Southern Star White Whiskey

FLAVORED/INFUSED WHISKEY/MOONSHINE

Heritage BSB 103

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Southern Tier Distilling Company 2X Hopped Whiskey

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

Ole Smoky Moonshine Apple Pie


MIAMI #4

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MARGARITA MIX

Zing Zang Margarita Mix SPLASH Premium Margarita Mixer

DAIQUIRI MIX FRUIT FLAVORED MIX

Zing Zang Strawberry Daiquiri

HERBAL LIQUEUR Zing Zang Pina Colada

OTHER LIQUEUR

Salish Sea Honeybush Liqueur

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Alpine Preserve Liqueur

Rivulet Artisan Pecan Liqueur


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AVANTICIGAR AVANTI CIGAR


OTHER COCKTAIL MIXER

Zing Zang Sweet & Sour Mix

BLOODY MARY MIX

SPLASH Premium Bloody Mary Mixer

1934 Bloody Mary Mix

Taste of Florida Spicy Bloody Mary

READY TO DRINK

Mule 2.0

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Southern Tier Distilling Company Vodka Madras

Southern Tier Distilling Company Bourbon Smash


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FEATURE

DRINK

MARVELOUSLY...

>> Ketel One Vodka kicked off their 2019 in a big way by partnering with the Emmy Awards.

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>> The men of Mad Men squarely put the ad game in our collective consciousness. Left to right: Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell, Jon Hamm as Don Draper and John Slattery as Roger Sterling.

THE AD GAME HAS BEEN PORTRAYED IN MANY LIGHTS. Mad Men showed us how sexy and sinister it could be back in the day. The inherent genius of the show was its balance of duplicitous drama butting by Randy Mastronicola

up against moments of sincere humanity, and it resonated with viewers as true to life. It gave us fictionalized insight on how an ad campaign comes to life from concept to execution– how ingenious manipulation of people and their emotions could move product via consumer buy-in. Words like creatives, influencers and disrupters weren’t used back then as they are now, but that’s what they were.

Above and right photos courtesy of Diageo North America and Ketel One Vodka. Mad Men photo: PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy Stock Photo

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It’s a different world today. Premium lifestyle consumers are a savvy lot, and they are inundated with digital images online, at events, on television, print and other media. The recent Drink Marvelously campaign from the Dutch Vodka brand, Ketel One, speaks to the company’s ability to connect in a meaningful way while drawing in Think New Yorker cartoon art design quality, and waggish sophistication (with a lot of fun mixed is as well) integrated into a spirits marketing push. The Drink Marvelously campaign launched during the 71st Emmy Awards Season of 2019, and has been highly lauded since its inauguration. (Ketel One Vodka was the Official Spirits Partner of the 71st Emmy Awards Season.) Each graphic element in the campaign illustrates a sublime moment with friends and interesting characters, offering a mental and physical holiday in the life and times of a Ketel One Vodka appreciator. The campaign is the latest creative expression of the award-winning vodka brand (developed in partnership with creative agency FIG), and showcases Ketel One’s signature design sensibilities with a twist of the unexpected. “Introducing Drink Marvelously was no small feat–a long time in development, hundreds of illustrations and many dozens of pencils,” says Jim Ruane, Brand Director of Ketel One Vodka.

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Photos courtesy of Diageo North America and Ketel One Vodka.

consumers who desire an escape with better drinks, and freedom from the mundane.

CONSUMERS ARE SEEKING MORE THOUGHTFUL DRINKING EXPERIENCES, AND WE IMAGINED A WORLD THAT BROUGHT THIS TO LIFE–A WORLD WHERE EVERYONE IS WELCOME AND MOMENTS ARE MADE BETTER IN THE COMPANY OF FRIENDS AND PERFECTLY CHARMING STRANGERS.


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>> Jim Ruane, Brand Director of Ketel One Vodka.

“Consumers are seeking more thoughtful drinking experiences, and we imagined a world that brought this to life–a world where everyone is welcome and moments are made better in the company of friends and perfectly charming strangers. It’s intended to be a cocktail napkin-inspired invitation into this marvelous world.” Ketel One partnered with Diageo Reserve World Class award-winning mixologist Charles Joly to architect an inspired array of artisanal cocktail blends, and they were served at several key Emmy Awards events, including the Creative Arts Governors Ball. The cocktail collection includes: The Marvelous Mule, The Dapper Dragon, The Moonlighter and The Helmsman. (You can visit the company’s website for drink recipes.) “We picked the 71st Emmy Awards Season as our launch moment because nothing’s more marvelous than a celebration of those who entertain and delight us all year round,” says Ruane. “By tying our launch to a major media moment and a marvelous personality in Emmy-winner Billy Porter [Pose], we were able to place the campaign at center stage in culture, and elevate an already spectacular occasion.” Additionally, Ketel teamed up with the notable box subscription company Cocktail Courier to create a bespoke Emmy Awards cocktail kit. The kit offers Joly’s expertise to the home bartender, allowing consumers to Drink Marvelously on Emmy night, or any other night of their choice. That said, the company is looking for a bang-up 2020. They recently created a hot air balloon experience at Art Basel Miami Beach, which offered consumers an opportunity to “drink in the clouds.” “We’ll continue to bring Drink Marvelously to life in imaginative ways,” offers Ruane. “Moments big and small, where we can delight our drinkers and even invite them to engage in our world. We’ll continue to focus on growing and encouraging responsible consumption of our current products, including our newest line, Ketel One Botanicals.” Big-time branding is a no-nonsense game in today’s brave new world of advertising, particularly in the highly competitive spirits lane. That doesn’t mean you can’t engage creatively and ethically with consumers, and have a little fun at the same time.

Randy Mastronicola is the Editor-in-Chief of Cigar & Spirits Magazine.

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Photos courtesy of Diageo North America and Ketel One Vodka.

Ketel One Vodka created one of the most praised advertising campaigns in 2019.


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LIFESTYLE

>> Attendees enjoyed the rustic charm of the historic Panther Island Pavilion.

>> Country star Derek Anthony entertains the crowd.

CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE AND MICALLEF CIGARS PRESENTS

THE 2ND ANNUAL TEXAS CIGAR & SPIRITS TASTING EVENT by Cigar & Spirits Staff | photos by Robert R. Tejada

S

aturday, October 12th was an exciting night at the Panther Island Pavilion in Fort Worth, TX for cigar and spirits enthusiasts. The rustic and comfortable space housed the 2nd Annual Texas Cigar and Spirits Tasting Event. The inviting aromas of stogies and country music filled the air for the sold-out affair. There were ample premium cigars to smoke, elite spirits to sip and the live entertainment all added up to a whirlwind evening for those in attendance. Cigar & Spirits Magazine’s Director of Events Breahna Wheeler says, “We’ve seen our West Coast Tasting event grow by leaps and bounds these past nine years. It’s awesome to see the Texas tasting event take off in just two. We co-branded the event with Fort Worth-based Micallef Cigars, and that made the event extra special for the attendees. Derek Anthony and his band played some hot country music. The cigars, spirits, raffle items and swag were first rate.” Based on the phenomenal response to the affair, the shared camaraderie, and loaded swag bags, it’s safe to say everyone will be looking forward to next year’s big bash. The Cigar & Spirits Magazine Texas Tasting Event is gaining traction to become the most popular event of its kind in the area.

>> The men and women of Ft. Worth, TX area soaking up the event with a cigar and spirit.

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A special thank you to the following 2019 Texas Cigar & Spirits Tasting Event Sponsors Title Sponsor

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

MALTAGE

WITH AGAVE NECTAR ADDED

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LIFESTYLE

The 2nd Annual Texas Tasting Event

CELEBRITY SPOTLIGHT:

DEREK ANTHONY

by Randy Mastronicola

Derek Anthony was the star musical guest at The 2nd Annual Texas Tasting Event, and we caught up with him to get this thoughts on the evening. What was your experience like performing at the 2nd Annual Texas Tasting Event? The historic Panther Island Pavilion is one of the best venues in the Fort Worth Metro area. It was a blast to play there! There was amazing energy, atmosphere, and new friends were made. It was a great time, and we’re happy we were part of the event. The attendees were major cigar and spirits enthusiasts, and the crowd responded to your music in a big way… Definitely. The setting was great, and such a warm staff–everyone–the audience, the vendors, and the VIPs seemed to love us. We truly appreciate the support, and were so pleased with the response. The event has caught fire in just two years. We’re already looking at 2020… We would love to play the event every year. No matter where it might be located. We do travel quite a bit. What should we be on the lookout from you in 2020? We have several new singles releasing in 2020: “Beads of Courage,” and “The Place I Lay My Head.” There will be a new music video release of “She Wanted,” as well as the “Sunset Town” single to national radio in June of 2020. Be sure to add us to your playlist, and keep up with the progress.

www.derekanthony.net Randy Mastronicola is the Editor-in-Chief of Cigar & Spirits Magazine.

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Photos courtesy of Scott Saldinger.

O

ver the past several years, Derek Anthony has landed squarely in the center of the country music landscape. He’s found his sweet spot in the genre as a Nashville Recording Artist with BLUANT Music Group. Derek carries the country torch while bridging traditional and contemporary music. Derek’s music is formidable–raucous when necessary, at times tender–and his ever-growing following is a testament to the hard work he puts in with his group–The D-Train Band. He’s received kudos for his high energy live performances, and is highly regarded as a soulful singer, writer and stellar guitar player. His tune “Cowboy Way” is an anthemic crowd pleaser, and the song appropriately stirs the Dallas Cowboys and their fans when played during their home games at AT&T Stadium.


LIFESTYLE

COCKTAIL RECIPES TO KICK OUT THE JAMS FOR THE NEW YEAR by Lisa Turnbull

FOR “GOLD” LANG SYNE CHAMPAGNE Serves: 6 Ingredients: • ¼ tsp. gold luster dust (edible) • 5 oz. elderflower liqueur (chilled) • 2 ½ oz. premium vodka (chilled) • 24 oz. sweet Champagne or prosecco (chilled)

Directions:

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Photos courtesy of Zerbor/Shutterstock.com

Combine gold luster dust, elderflower liqueur and vodka in a glass cocktail pitcher. Mix until gold luster dust is dissolved. Either separate evenly into 6 Champagne flutes and add chilled Champagne when ready to serve (preferred) or add Champagne to pitcher and serve when ready. If you’re using the pitcher option mix gently prior to serving to keep gold shimmer.


NEW YEAR MAGIC MARTINI Photos courtesy of New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Servings: 1 Ingredients • 1 ½ oz. espresso vodka • ½ oz. coffee liqueur • ¼ oz. salted caramel syrup • ½ tsp. shaved dark chocolate (garnish) • ice

Directions: Fill shaker glass with ice, pour espresso vodka, coffee liqueur, and salted caramel syrup into glass and stir with bar spoon. Strain into martini or coupe glass and garnish with shaved chocolate.

SHINY SHOTS Servings: 4 Ingredients: Photos courtesy of YKD/Shutterstock.com

Glitter Vodka: • 2 cups premium vodka • ½ cup vanilla syrup • 4 tsp. Champagne • ¼ tsp. silver or gold luster dust Shot glass rim: • 2 tbsp. sugar • ¼ tbsp. silver or gold luster dust • 4 tbsp. vanilla syrup Shots: • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice • lemon zest and/or fresh mint leaves (optional-garnish)

Directions: Glitter Vodka: combine vodka, vanilla syrup, Champagne and luster dust ingredients from Glitter Vodka ingredient list. Chill until ready to serve. Shot glass rims: combine sugar and luster dust. Place syrup in another small bowl. Dip rims of 4 shot glasses into syrup then into sugar mixture. Set aside. Shots: Combine Glitter Vodka, lemon juice, and ice into shaker glass. Shake until chilled. Pour into prepared glasses. Garnish with lemon zest and/or mint (optional).

THE BLACKBERRY NEW YEAR’S SPARKLER Serves: 4 Ingredients:

Photos courtesy of Sarsmis/Shutterstock.com

• 1 cup fresh blackberries • 1 cup sugar • 1 cup water • 3 oz. blackberry brandy or cognac • 1 bottle of sweet Champagne or prosecco • rim with sugar or edible silver or gold luster dust • 4 small to medium sprigs fresh rosemary (garnish) • 4-8 blackberries (optional-garnish)

Directions: Combine blackberries, sugar and water in a small sauce pan. On high heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes until blackberries become soft and bright in color. This should create a light purple syrup. Remove from heat and separate blackberries, and syrup into two bowls (keeping both). Refrigerate until completely cooled. Moisten rim of 4 medium cocktail glasses, Champagne flutes or coupe glasses, with brandy or cognac and dip rim of glass into rim sugar or luster dust. Once simmered blueberries and syrup are cooled, add brandy or cognac to syrup and stir. Pour 4-5 tablespoons of syrup mixture into each glass. Top with Champagne, garnish with cooked or fresh blackberries and a rosemary sprig. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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Serves: 8 Ingredients: • 1 ½ cups premium scotch • 1 ½ cups sweet vermouth • 5 oz. water • 2 oz. bénédictine herbal liqueur • 2 tsp. raspberry liqueur • 8 lemon twists for garnish

Photos courtesy of Altavoz Creative/Shutterstock.com

THE BOBBY BURNS WITH A TWIST C&S Magazine salutes poet Robert Burns, author of “Auld Lang Syne.”

Directions: In a cocktail pitcher, combine the Scotch, vermouth, water, bénédictine and raspberry liqueur and stir well. Pour mixture into a bottle or carafe that can be closed tightly and chill 2 hours. When ready to serve, shake the bottle until well-mixed. Pour into coupe or martini glasses and garnish each drink with a lemon twist. Keep unused cocktail chilled in ice bucket or refrigerator.

PUNCH FROM THE PAST C&S Magazine Revisits the Wassail Punch Servings: 6 Ingredients:

Directions: In a medium to large sauce pan, combine madeira (or sweet sherry), pear liqueur, allspice dram, chardonnay, eggnog and syrup. Heat at low-medium heat and stir gently until mixture is warm. If serving immediately, pour into warm heat resistant punch bowl or keep warm in a crock-pot. Ladle into heat resistant glass, top with whipped cream, caramel drizzle and grated nutmeg. Place peach slices and cinnamon stick into whipped cream.

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Photos courtesy of Elena Shashkina/Shutterstock.com

• 3 oz. sweet sherry • 4 oz. spiced pear liqueur • ½ oz. allspice dram • 1 bottle chardonnay • ½ cup eggnog • 2-4 oz. demerara syrup • pinch, freshly grated nutmeg (optional-garnish) • 1 pear, thinly sliced (garnish) • cinnamon sticks (garnish) • whipped cream (garnish) • caramel drizzle/sauce (garnish)


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CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE PROMOTION

CUBA, FRIENDS, CIGARS...AND TEQUILA equila dinner–we know the wonderful experience of enjoying the perfect matching of a world-class tequila with an equally worldclass meal. When you add the allure and history of a fabulous setting in Cuba—with its cigars, food and a few friends—the atmosphere becomes, well, indescribable.

Joining them was their friend Terry Tribelcock, owner of King of The Cage–a mixed martial arts company available weekly to 50-plus million homes in the United States on cable and satellite television and more than 50 countries worldwide—along with a few other friends. Some of the trip highlights included a meal at the beautiful La California Restaurant in Havana (one picture does not do it justice), with its many great rooms, fresh seafood and superb service. Next, a visit to the renowned Hector Luis Prieto Tobacco Plantation. Truly a cigar smoker’s dream, Prieto is the source for some of the world’s greatest Cuban cigar brands.

And yes, tequila in Cuban rum country does well in matching up with its wonderfully savory, well-appointed food. Tequila Comisario Añejo 100% Agave Ultra-Premium with a fabulous Cuban cigar is an experience to be remembered for a long, long time. Comisario Añejo is complex and elegant, with its well-balanced finish highlighting the naturally aged agave (averaging 8 years), with twice the required aging in oak barrels (starting with 2-year-old barrels so that the wood impact upon the agave juice is very soft and elegant). Comisario’s Blanco Tequila, the base for its great Añejo, is distilled twice only, oxygenated for 36 hours and cold filtered, producing a great and approachable Blanco. Don Wetherell’s Cuban tour for Rob Beckham and Terry Tribelcock was a life-altering experience not soon forgotten in the world-class setting of Havana and throughout the Island of Cuba. Great food, great cigars, great rum, great friends and great tequila. We all should strive for that balanced way of life: a bit of business, a bit of family and a bit of personal enjoyment. This trip was the epitome of that enjoyment. –Elite Beverage International Sponsored Content

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Photo courtesy of Luis Cota.

No visit to Cuba is complete without enjoying Cuban cigars, particularly at one of Partagas Cigar’s private lounges. Here is Don (on the left) and friend Luis Cota, President/CEO of Tequila Comisario, enjoying a respite in one of the fabulous lounges (later to be accompanied by a beautiful bottle of Cubay Extra Añejo Rum).

Photo courtesy of Hector Luis Prieto Tobacco Plantation.

Such was the occasion a few weeks ago as Don Wetherell, a shareholder and more importantly great friend of Tequila Comisario® (owned by Elite Beverage International) hosted a few mutual friends for a sojourn in Cuba. Don (a Canadian-American with dual citizenship) has been travelling to Cuba for more than 30 years and is well-versed in all things Cuban. Accompanying Wetherell was Rob Beckham of Nashville. (Rob and his partner Bill Simmons formed the AMG Management Firm.) Beckham, former partner and co-head of WME Nashville, and Simmons will continue to manage long-time clients such as Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley, Chris Young, Justin Timberlake and others.

Photo courtesy of Don Wetherell.

T


CHRIS YOUNG BRAND AMBASSADOR

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DREW ESTATE

CELEBRATI N G 125 YEARS For four generations and 125 years, our family’s cigars have stood the test of time. Please join us in celebrating our 125th anniversary by enjoying a J.C. Newman cigar or visiting our historic El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa, Florida. – Eric, Bobby, and Drew Newman

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DREW ESTATE

Pictured left to right: Eric Newman (third generation) , Drew Newman (fourth generation), & Bobby Newman (third generation)

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BACK COVER KETEL ONE

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY. KETEL ONE Vodka. Distilled from Grain. 40% Alc/Vol. © Double Eagle Brands, B.V. Imported by Ketel One USA, Aliso Viejo, CA.

Profile for Cigar & Spirits Magazine

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020 ISSUE  

CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE'S JAN_FEB 2020 ISSUE FEATURING FILM LEGEND, FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020 ISSUE  

CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE'S JAN_FEB 2020 ISSUE FEATURING FILM LEGEND, FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA.