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LINCOLN SALAZAR RANDY MASTRONICOLA AUDREY PAVIA

CEO & Publisher Editor-in-Chief Consulting Editor

JOE BOSSO

Sr. Contributing Writer

KEVIN KENNY

Sr. Contributing Writer

JOE REDMOND BREAHNA WHEELER MIYURI NORRIS CODY CHO LILLY DUDREY LISA TURNBULL

Art Director Director of Events/Administration Digital Media Director Cigar & Spirits Magazine Web Account Executive Administrative Coordinator

SHAHID GHANI

Chief Financial Officer

CARLY SCHEUR

Accounting

NATALIE NICOL

Legal

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Troy Anthony, Joe Bosso, Sean Chaffin, Nick Hammond, Dave Johnson, Elisa Jordan, Kevin Kenney, Audrey Pavia, Breahna Wheeler

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 Magazine, PO BOX 92675, Long Beach, CA 90809. ©2020 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 changes of address: Cigar & Spirits Magazine, PO BOX 92675, Long Beach, CA 90809 (you may email us at cigarandspirits@pfsmag.com) (888) 881-5861, or fax (714) 226-9789. 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 up to 8 weeks for mailing of first bi-monthly issue to new subscribers. When changing address, give 12 weeks notice, and include address label from latest copy as well as new address. 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. June 2020 Volume 10/Issue 4 For Advertising: Advertising@CigarandSpirits.com To Contact Us for Questions & Comments email: CustomerService@CigarandSpirits.com Letters to the Editor: Feedback@CigarandSpirits.com For subscription customer service: cigarandspirits@pfsmag.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. © 2020 UNCLE NEAREST, INC. WWW.UNCLENEAREST.COM

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contents ON THE COVER

60

NBA LEGEND KARL MALONE

The Mailman Delivers Double Gold Rum and Cigars

LIFESTYLE

10

GOLF SUMMER STYLE

Fashionable Garb for the Greens

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THE LOWDOWN WHAT’S OUT THERE NOW

The Legend of the Pickleback On The Road Again Food Fun Camp It Up Gear The Mail Order Cuisine Scene

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ICONIC BRAND SPOTLIGHT

Ron Barceló’s Journey From One Man’s Dream To Spirits Icon

FEATURES

60 24

ON THE COVER

KARL MALONE

38

ROCKIN’ IN THE FREE WORLD

Legendary Landmark Summer Concerts

38

WELCOME TO MOB VEGAS!

The Lure and Lore of Las Vegas Tough Guys

MOB VEGAS!

94

SPORTS TALES FOR THE SUMMER CAMPFIRE

The Random, The Curious and The WTF

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YOUR VINTAGE MISSION

Aging, Collecting and Tasting Tips For Cubans and More

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AGING CUBANS

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REWARDS

july/august 2020 10

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GOLF SUMMER STYLE

FEATURED PAIRINGS

Perfecto Pairings To Expand Your Palate Celebrity Edition

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70

BIG BANG COCKTAILS

FOR YOUR HUMIDOR

Summer Cigar Buyer’s Guide

82

FOR YOUR HOME BAR

Summer Spirits Buyer’s Guide

112

BIG BANG COCKTAILS

Five Big Bang Fourth of July Cocktails

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ROCKIN’ IN THE FREE WORLD

INTERVIEWS

46

JAMMING GOOD WITH GAVIN ROSSDALE

The Bush Frontman Circles Back to New Frontiers

100

BEHIND THE LEAF

Tabacalera El Artista’s Radhames “Ram” Rodriguez Family, Vision and Big Papi

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THE LOWDOWN

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SPORTS TALES

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GAVIN ROSSDALE WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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publisher’s note Together As One I had such a passion for cigars and spirits as a younger man that it led me to start Cigar & Spirits Magazine almost 10 years ago. The history, the legacies, the craftsmanship–all the beauty that goes into the making of a cigar and spirit–it fascinated me. However, what made me really fall so deeply in love with these cigars and libations is how they bring people together–the comradery, and the unspoken bond that people share over a cocktail and a cigar. It’s more than loving cigars and spirits. It’s that I love seeing people smiling, laughing and enjoying this beautiful gift we call life. Really living. In such uncertain times our world is in, let us not forget the importance of sharing love, grace, time and giving to one another. It seems we have been so broken, and yet so connected during these times. I’ve always thought if you put any two vastly different people in a room, even an hour of sharing a cocktail and cigar, they would always find something in common. They could both find a way to work together for the common good, and become friends. As we go through the uncertainty of our world, let us not forget that every single one of us shares common fears, dreams, hopes and interests. Let us embrace these feelings with one another, and show compassion to one another because we are all going through the same trials and tribulations. We are all in this together. Whether you are the CEO of a corporation, a sanitation worker, a doctor, a landscaper or a stayat-home mom or dad–each and every one of us needs one another whether we know it or not. There would be no business leadership without a CEO. Our streets and homes would be unlivable without people who help us maintain our standard of living. There would be no healing without a doctor. There would be no one at home to raise our next generation of children without the stay-at-home mom or dad. We’d be living in a jungle without landscapers. Each person is just as important as the other. You see, it takes a village to make this world go round. Let us not forget that we are all tied together. There is one beautiful thread tied to each one of us, connecting us. The world becomes broken when we break that thread. We would just be another empty planet floating into space without world energy, love and togetherness. Let us not take the power of this for granted.

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During these times, take the extra step. Give a cigar to someone you may not know. Pour them a drink. Share in stories together. Talk about dreams and passions. Like my friend Daniel Marshall says, “Cigars are today’s modern campfire.” We may find out we’re all not so different. My hope for these times is that we show love, compassion, understanding, grace and humility. I hope we realize that we are here for such a short time in this crazy thing called life, and remind ourselves that it is all over in the blink of an eye. We are all in this together.

May God Bless.

Dedicated to all the frontliners of the world.

Lincoln B. Salazar CEO & Publisher

Follow on Instagram

@cigarandspiritsmagpublisher


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C&S Photo by Eric Gloerson/Shutterstock.com.

GOLF SUMMER STYLE

FASHIONABLE GARB FOR THE GREENS by Troy Anthony

W

e’ve all learned by now that we’ll have to use our creativity when being active and interactive this summer. There’s no better time to keep safe, and compete at the same time while catching a few rays of sunshine. So, now that you’ve bought in, it’s a matter of how best to upgrade your style for a round at the local course. Oh, what to wear? The answer to the above question begins with deciding on the message you want to send while on the course. Are you sporty? Are you stylish? Are you conservative? Are you aggressive with your patterns and colors? All of the above works because style is your own self-expression, and it’s about time the sweats and slides return to the dresser anyway. Many elements matter when you’re outfitting yourself for sports activities– style, comfort, wrinkle resistance and the choice of lightweight materials to name a few.

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Photos courtesy of Troy Anthony.

TORSO TIME

>> Hugo Boss

>> Ralph Lauren Polo

You’ve been working out at home these past few months, and now it’s time to show off your upper body with proper shirt selections. You’ll most likely reach for a polo shirt in a lightweight cotton or dri-fit material if you plan on looking sporty. Of course, we’re all inclined to think about Nike, Adidas or a personal line of clothing from a favorite pro golfer. Others to consider are Psycho Bunny, Hugo Boss, the Mizzen & Main Phil Mickelson collection or the classic Ralph Lauren polo. I personally like a true dress shirt in a linen or light cotton with my sleeves rolled up with one or two buttons undone–a timeless look for men on the greens. Mizzen & Main have some great hybrids that do not wrinkle, feel phenomenal on your body and keep you loose as a goose when you’re taking your swings. >> Psycho Bunny

>> Hugo Boss

>> Mizzen & Main Phil Mickelson Collection

TROUSERS AND SHORTS I’m partial to anything custom-made. We have an abundance of options out there, and a great custom walking short or lightweight trouser is perfect for a day on the links. Side tabs give your trouser a nice sartorial look, and they double for function if you decide to have a hearty meal after the round. If you’re apt to go with an offthe-rack experience, I highly recommend 34 Heritage for a nice stretch walking short featuring lightweight cottons, and they have an multitude of colors to boot. For an off-the-rack trouser choice, defer to Brunello Cucinelli, Isaia or Zanella. These brands are all made in Italy, and have various price points for most budgets.

>> 34 Heritage

>> Isaia

>> Zanella

>> Bruno Cucinelli WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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>> Troy Anthony

>> Nike

Photos courtesy of Troy Anthony.

>> G Fore

>> Footjoy

FOOT FORWARD If you’re a man of style, you’re all about the footwear to complete your look on the links. Custom-made is going to give you the most personality for who you are, and what you want to say about your style. Looking for comfort and fashion? The Troy Anthony custom golf shoe (made in Spain) is 100% what you’re looking for. However, there are many options for off-the-rack from Nike, Footjoy, or Adidas. Footjoy actually offers a program with customizations on different portions of the shoe that also make it fun to craft your own style and fashion with your footwear. Another really fun, non-custom brand that I’ve come across is G Fore. The brand offers some very cool styles for both men and women in stylish, tasteful colors. I haven’t personally worn them, but as far as the reviews and what my research shows, they’re very comfortable.

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

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>> Caps left to right: G Fore, Psycho Bunny, G Fore, Psycho Bunny

LIDS

>> Marcel Rodrigues

We’ve all learned that accessories can enhance your look no matter the look of the overall ensemble. A fine hat will really get you noticed, protect you from the elements and act as a golfing equivalent to a pocket square or necktie touch. The Panama hat is great for an elegant and sophisticated look during the summer months. It offers the added benefit of shading your face from the sun and heat. We recommend BONE By Dawn located in Los Angeles, CA and Marcel Rodrigues Hats out of London. Marcel makes his hats fully bespoke, and Dawn hand finishes each hat with a lot of class and personality. Both are amazing for any style. I would pivot back to G Fore and Psycho Bunny if you want something more unconventional. These brands take the mainstream golf cap and put a spin on it with fun graphics and golf wordplay. You can always grab a traditional hat from Nike or other sports brands, but we aren’t looking for the norm here. Remember, you are indeed a stylish man on the greens. >> BONE by Dawn

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I N T R O D U C I N G

C O H I B A R OYA L E E x tr a o rd i n a r i ly c r a f te d . Fu l l - b o d i e d fl avo r.

E x p erience Luxury at C O H I B A . C O M

SURGEON GENERAL WARNING: Tobacco Use Increases The Risk Of Infertility, Stillbirth, And Low Birth Weight. © 2020 General Cigar Company, Inc.

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Photos courtesy of Troy Anthony.

>> Psycho Bunny

>> Puma

>> Callaway

GET THE BAG The last piece a gentleman needs on the links is a golf bag. It’s ok if you want to keep the clothing to a more simplistic look, but you should at least make a statement with an eye-catching bag. It’s a unique thing with bags, it’s almost as important as the car you drive or the watch you wear. You show up for a few rounds, you’re unpacking the car and somehow the bag is the talk of the parking lot (other than who’s going to take the most skin from the pot). Some great bags with personality come from Psycho Bunny, Callaway and Puma. There are many other options, but I admire these the most given what’s currently on the market. These tips will upgrade your look and undoubtedly up your game. I’m as excited as you are to get out and about a bit, and hit the links this summer. troyanthonyclothing.com nike.com hugoboss.com footjoy.com marcelrodrigues.co.uk brunellocucinelli.com zanella.com bonebydawn.com psychobunny.com mizzenandmain.com puma.com gfore.com Troy Anthony is a men’s and women’s custom clothing designer based in Los Angeles, CA focusing on suits, shirts, and jackets made in Italy. He has 10 years of clothing experience, and has very close relationships with tailors and mills in Italy and the United Kingdom. troyanthonyclothing.com >> Puma

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USBG

CONTRIBUTOR


C&S

Photo courtesy of Bushwick Country Club.

>> The funky bar at Brooklyn’s Bushwick Country Club where the pickleback gained notoriety.

WHAT’S OUT THERE NOW THE LEGEND OF THE PICK LEBACK

ON THE ROA D AGA IN FO OD FU N

C A M P IT U P GE A R

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THE M A IL OR DER CU ISINE SCENE

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by Dave Johnson


Robert K. Chin/Alamy.com

>> You can and should visit The Pickle Guys if you find yourself in the Lower West Side of Manhattan, or order online.

THE LEGEND OF THE PICKLEBACK Legends are often more fun than history. But sometimes legend and history are equally satisfying. The Pickleback, a shot of whiskey chased by a shot of pickle brine, is precisely one these examples. The concept sounds like something from a bad Western, where the cowboy moseys up to the bar and orders pickle juice to go with his shot of whiskey. The truth is…it’s a lot like that. The Pickleback was popularized by Reggie Cunningham at Bushwick Country Club in Brooklyn, N.Y. Cunningham’s story was very similar to our eponymous cowboy. As legend goes, a Southern gentleman asked Cunningham for some pickle juice to go with his whiskey and then asked the bartender to try it, which Cunningham reluctantly obliged. To his amazement, the pickle brine “erased” the shot, reduced the burn and complemented the flavor. It was at that moment when Cunningham realized this could be an “only in New York” discovery. He wasn’t wrong, but he wasn’t entirely right either.

Photo courtesy of Wickles Pickles

The Wickles Dirty Dill Pickle Martini Ingredients: • Ice

The Pickleback inherently predates Cunningham’s telling of the story, and there are some who say that it started in Philadelphia, but regardless of who and where it originated, Cunningham certainly made it popular. The Pickleback took off from there, and became something of a phenomenon. The genius of it is that it’s such a simple combination, easily sourced, tastes great and has the legend to top it all off. Other bars in the New York City area, such as The Whiskey Tavern, The Rusty Knot and The Belfry started offering their own Picklebacks. It would soon spread around the world. Bars in the United Kingdom started making their own versions

of the Pickleback. Byron Knight, a bartender from England, makes his version with homemade pickle brine. The Burlington Hotel, in Sheringham, England offers more than ten varieties. Paraguay even has its own version of the Pickleback using rum instead of whiskey. The rum creates an interesting tropical flavor to the cocktail. The original combination used a shot of Old Crow Bourbon chased by a shot of juice from McClure’s spicy dills. Newer iterations use Jameson Irish Whiskey because the flavors go well together. Some fans particularly like to pair the pickle brine with cheap whiskey because they say it transforms and enhances bad whiskey into something delicious. The added salt and acidity from the brine seems to accentuate good flavors and mitigate some of the harsher ones, which is one reason people love it. Today the Pickleback craze has influenced cocktail recipes, and you’ll find many bars and restaurants offering pickled cocktails: everything from pickle-infused vodka drinks, dill pickle Bloody Marys, dill pickle martinis or a pickle juice margarita. Martha Stewart even has her own recipe for cocktail pickles to use with these drinks. Do a quick search on “pickled cocktails” and you’ll find a plethora of recipes you can make at home. The Pickleback is an inspired tale, and the drink itself lives up to the legend. It’s popularity has spread all over the globe, and the curious combination of ingredients is so wrong–it’s right. bushwickcountryclub.com

• 6 shots of vodka • 1 shot of extra dry vermouth • 1/4 cup Wickles Dirty Dill Baby Dills juice • Small dill pickles or cornichons (optional for garnish)

>> The famed pickleback ingredients of the Bushwick Country Club.

Directions: • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. • Add the remaining ingredients and shake well. • Pour into glasses. • Garnish with Dirty Dill Baby Dills. whicklespickles.com Photo courtesy of Bushwick Country Club. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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>> Lobster an d frie delights at Portla s nd.

>> The ultimate Philly cheesesteak at Pat’s.

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Portland Lobster Restaurant: James Kirkikis/Shutterstock.com. Beacon Drive-In: Photo courtesy of Beacon Drive-In. Pat’s King of Steaks” Phil Rozenski/Shutterstock.com. Photo courtesy of Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery.

>> Naughty or nice? You make the call at Clementine’s.


Andriy Blohkin/Shutterstock.com

ON THE ROAD AGAIN FOOD STOPS One of the best parts of a road trip is finding the off-the-beaten-path restaurants that locals frequent. Maybe it’s a little out of the way, and maybe it’s not exactly on the interstate but once you get there you realize it was worth the detour. Here are a few landmark spots across the country that are absolute gems to put on your list when you make your version of Lost in America.

>>The jo y of ja and beignet va w set you free. ill

The Café Du Monde is nearly as iconic as jazz to the city of New Orleans, La. If you mention visiting New Orleans, chances are the question that follows will be, “Did you go to Café Du Monde?” The restaurant opened its doors in 1862, and they don’t serve much, they don’t have to: just beignets and coffee (and soft drinks now). What’s a beignet? Imagine the fluffiest donut made in heaven covered with powdered sugar, and sprinkled with lemon juice. There are a few locations, but the best location is the one in French Market. Take it to go, or just sit in the courtyard and enjoy. If you find yourself in New England near Portland, Maine, take a detour to the Portland Lobster Company. As the name suggests, it’s all about lobster—more specifically, their lobster roll which was voted best in Portland for several years running. Their outdoor seating and waterfront view was also awarded best in the city, making this a great spot to relax and eat the dream lobster roll of your life. If you like cheesesteaks, then you should check out Pat’s King of Steaks, where it all began. Started as a hotdog stand in 1930 in Philadelphia, Pa., Pat’s invented the Philly cheesesteak making it an instant classic. The topic of which Philly cheesesteak is the best can be a contentious topic, but at the very least you should try the original and see what you think. If you like chili cheeseburgers, onion rings and barbecue—and you want to stay in your car—go to Beacon Drive-In in Spartanburg, S.C. They’ve been serving Food-A-Plenty since 1946, and though they have an inside dining room, you can always just pull up and honk if you want someone to come take your order. Of course, you should try their Chili-Cheese A-Plenty, a cheeseburger smothered in chili and onion rings. Be sure to sample their legendary sweet tea to wash it down. If you have some room left, get The Pig’s Dinner–a decadent and loaded banana split. Clementine’s Naughty And Nice Creamery in St. Louis, Mo. is last but not least. Clementine’s makes all-natural ice creams that are creative and delicious. They have “nice” ice creams that the whole family can enjoy, like Salted Crack Caramel and Gooey Butter Cake. Their “naughty” ice creams feature infused spirits or liqueurs, such as Fig and Bourbon, Fireball and also Boozy Banana Rum. And they even have a vegan selection as well. Clementine’s is a special type of ice cream shop that is at the top of its class. It’s impossible for one cross-country snapshot to encompass all the best local spots ideal for road trips. But if you have a chance to go to any of these, you’ll be grateful you did.

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>> The Timberleaf Camping Trailer

CAMP IT UP GEAR There’s something magical about the first camping trip of the season. After waiting for weeks and months for the weather to be just right, the elements seem to agree all at once: the clouds part, the rain stops and the temperature is ideal. We’re ready to embark on the perfect camping trip. And with all the camping gear introduced each year, we want to go over a few new favorites. The Timberleaf Camping Trailer costs approximately $15,000. Despite its lightweight and small footprint, it’s deceptively spacious, comfortable and open. The exterior is made with aluminum and Baltic birch siding, and it’s insulated for comfort. The inside has a queen size bed, natural wood furnishing and shelving, and it has plenty of windows and a huge skylight for sleeping under the stars. It contains a galley in the back with a sink, storage and running water via external tanks. But if you need something cushier or off-road-worthy (or both), they offer upgradeable packages as well. It’s a little slice of home in a trailer-sized package.

>> Nammatj 3 GT by Hilleberg

The Garmin GPSMAP 66i ($600), is a GPS and two-way satellite communicator. The 66i does double duty as a much-needed emergency signaling device as well as a convenient map device. It has many great features like satellite and topo maps, two-way emergency messaging, long battery life, current location autosaving and it even has a built-in flashlight. A must-have tool for the trails. For the coffee-lovers out there who can’t go a day without their daily java, try the Handpresso Pump Set ($160). It offers a true espresso coffee experience by producing 16 bars of pressure on ground coffee or espresso pods, and it does so with a hand pump—no electricity or batteries. It comes with a pump, case, thermos and unbreakable espresso cups. There’s no better indulgence than a perfect creamy espresso while camping.

>> Handpresso Pump Set

For cooking food, look no further than the Jetboil Genesis Basecamp ($379). This is a great system for cooking hot food quickly and conveniently, no matter how many people you camp with. It’s a dual-burner design that can boil water in a mere three minutes, and it cooks food with the included 10-inch FryPan and 5-liter FluxPot. It’s also expandable with the Jetboil suite of products via their Jetlink system. When you’re done, it neatly folds up into a small carrying bag with a total weight of just 9.1 lbs. These products make it easy to scratch that summer itch to get out there and rough it.

>> Jetboil Genesis Basecamp

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Photos courtesy of Timberleaf, Hilleberg, Garmin, Handpresso and Jetboil.

>> Garmin GPSMAP 66i

If traditional tents are more your thing, try the Nammatj 3 GT by Hilleberg ($1,300). Hilleberg has been making high-quality tents for over 45 years, and each tent they make must hold up to rigorous standards of strength, reliability, low weight and durability. The Nammatj is a three-person tent, comes in at a total weight of about 9 lbs. and is made with a lightweight, highly durable 40 denier ripstop nylon. It’s surprisingly spacious, and has a huge outer vestibule. For tent camping, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something as efficient and comfortable as the Nammatj.


USBG

CONTRIBUTOR

WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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THE MAIL ORDER CUISINE SCENE We’ve learned much about a number of things from navigating our world in 2020, and during the process many of us have developed a new appreciation for finding unique ways to be creative with our home culinary explorations. Using a variety of grocery supply companies has proven beneficial to many Americans. Here we serve up a few of our favorite companies to receive food by mail.

>> Phivi Fever

If you’re a carnivore at heart, look no further than D’Artagnan. The food company specializes in offering highquality meats that are ethically sourced from small farms that never use antibiotics. The caliber of the meat they stock is equal to anything you’ll find at a good restaurant, and the sheer size of their inventory is astounding. Nearly anything you can think of will be at your disposal, and it’s all phenomenal. If you want the tops, this is it.

>> D’Artagnan

>> Sun Fresh

>> Flaviar

Our next choice is Sun Fresh. Sun Fresh also delivers fresh ingredients and recipes to your home, but what sets them apart is that every item is certified organic. And not only that, if you want food to be gluten-free, paleo, vegan, pescatarian, diabetes-friendly or anything in between, they have meals for you. They have an extensive menu that offers anything you could need, and it’s all clean, healthy, delicious and perfectly matched to your needs. If you have a sweet tooth and love dessert, try Phivi Fever which delivers fresh artisanal treats. Each month they have different dessert themes. A recent example is their chocolate theme from this past April. It showcased chocolate cranberry monkey bread, bourbon pecan truffles, stuffed red velvet cookies and about seven other treats. Warning: a box of these delights might convince you to skip dinner and go straight to dessert—speaking from personal experience, of course. Let’s take a look at Flaviar for a bit of drink. Flaviar is dear to our heart because they deliver boxes of spirits to enjoy. With a truly impressive array of spirits—whiskey, vodka, rum, brandy, everything—they send generous samples and bottles of choice spirits. This is a great way to try new or rare spirits, or to branch out and try something you might not try otherwise. It’s great as a gift for a friend, and even better as a gift for yourself. We enjoyed receiving our Flaviar box immensely, and we highly recommend it. Getting quality food (and some spirits) by mail has never been so convenient. There are many great choices out there, but we think you’ll be sated by our recommendations.

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

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Photos courtesy of Hello Fresh, D’Artagnan, Sun Fresh, Phivi Fever, Flaviar

>> Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh, bills itself as “America’s most popular meal kit”— and we understand why. Hello Fresh makes everything simple, delicious and affordable. They deliver weekly boxes with everything you’ll need including fresh ingredients and detailed instructions. Even if you don’t have much cooking ability, the company makes you feel like a superstar chef. They have multiple recipes to choose from as well as diet-specific menus like low-calorie, kid-friendly and vegetarian. The portions are formidable, and the price is also appealing with a starting point of $7.49 per meal.


TIME TO RAISE YOUR SPIRITS

E N J O Y R E S P O N S I B LY NOLET’S Silver 47.6% Alc./Vol. (95.2 Proof) ©2020 Imported by NOLET’S US Distribution, Aliso Viejo, CA. ®

*Per 1.5 Fl Oz. - Average Analysis: 117 Calories, 0g Carbs, 0g Protein, 0g Fat

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LEGENDARY LANDMARK SUMMER CONCERTS by Elisa Jordan

T

here are many great summer traditions—bar-b-ques, family vacations, outdoor biking and hiking, lazing at the beach, and, if you’re a music lover, attending outdoor concerts. This summer’s concert season will likely be remembered for all the shows that were postponed or cancelled, but that doesn’t dampen the spirit of how music can bring people together and cause cultural shifts. Here’s a look back at some of the summer season’s most historic concerts in popular music history.

BOB DYLAN AT THE NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL

Dylan Goes Electric Fort Adams, Newport, Rhode Island–July 25, 1965 Music history quite literally changed overnight when Bob Dylan took the stage at the Newport Folk Festival and plugged in his guitar for an amplified set. Some audience members were displeased and began booing the folk superstar. (Contrary to popular belief, Dylan was not booed off the stage but a great many fans saw the move as traitorous and were vocal about their thoughts.) A substandard sound system exacerbated the crowd’s dissatisfaction. Word quickly spread that Dylan had “betrayed” his folk roots and “sold out,” but in the bigger picture non-folk fans began taking notice of Dylan’s unique sound and considerable talents. Fans weren’t the only ones taking note. The era’s most popular bands were soon feeling Dylan’s influence and retooling their own music to up the ante and compete. Pop bands like the Byrds used his songs as a launching pad, reworking them with a rock sound and propelled the songs to new heights on the charts. As a result, the quality and sound of popular music changed. At the time Bob Dylan plugged in, it was one of the most rebellious acts in popular music and the effects of it were felt around the world. >>

Bob Dylan, 1965.

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Tony Gale-Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy.com

ROCKIN’ IN THE FREE WORLD


Beatles photo: Keystone Press/Alamy.com

THE BEATLES

>> A hitherto unpubli she Beatles in motion, and abo d photo of The ut ready to rock Shea Stadium in 1965.

The Fab Four Shake, Rattle and Roll Shea Stadium Queens, New York–August 15, 1965

Always pioneers and innovators, The Beatles were the first rock band to perform at a stadium. The Beatles performed for 55,600 delirious fans at Shea Stadium in New York, the newly built home of the Mets and the Jets. Being the first has drawbacks—sound systems capable of amplifying to a venue that large had not yet been invented so the band had no choice but to use a tiny PA system. The Beatles frequently complained they couldn’t hear one another during performances partly due to the primitive sound systems as well as the incessant screaming from euphoric teenage girls– Shea Stadium was no exception. They performed on a small stage at second base so they were far away from the crowd, and the actual music was overpowered by the inadequate sound. (Enhanced recordings today reveal they still managed to stay remarkably in synch with one another.) Footage from that evening shows band members reacting to the tensions by laughing and, John Lennon in particular, letting loose with antics such as playing the keyboard with his elbows. Shea marked the pinnacle of The Beatles’ concert achievements but band members were increasingly dissatisfied by the limitations of live performance. A year later they ceased touring forever and focused solely on studio recordings. The Beatles at Shea Stadium documentary was later released and the concert is also a featured section of The Beatles Anthology documentary.

MONTEREY POP FESTIVAL

Jimi Hendrix Fires Up The Summer of Love Monterey County Fairgrounds, Monterey, California–July 16-18, 1967 The original summer concert festival as we know it today started with the Monterey Pop Festival. Organized by producer Lou Adler and John Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas, it was a three-day event held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, about two hours south of San Francisco. The song “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” sung by Scott McKenzie was written by John Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas and produced by Lou Adler. It was designed to specifically promote the festival, though San Francisco was chosen

THE RITUALISTIC STAGE ACT OF HENDRIX SACRIFICING HIS GUITAR TO FIRE AND DESTRUCTION IS REGARDED AS ONE OF THE MOST TRANSCENDENT MOMENTS IN POP MUSIC HISTORY. as the city mentioned in the lyrics instead of Monterey to avoid appearing “too commercial.” The musical acts were a who’s who of 1967, including The Who, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, The Animals, Jefferson Airplane and The Mamas and The Papas. The show was stolen, however, by a newcomer Paul McCartney recommended to organizers named Jimi Hendrix, who made history that night by lighting his guitar on fire and smashing it. The ritualistic stage act of Hendrix sacrificing his guitar to fire and destruction is regarded as one of the most transcendent moments in pop music history.

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>> Woodstock. Music. Peace. Love. Hugs.

ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL

Pop Explosion at Afton Down Afton Down, Isle of Wight, United Kingdom–August 26-30, 1970

ORGANIZERS FOR 1970 MADE SURE NOT TO DISAPPOINT. ACTS INCLUDED JIMI HENDRIX, CHICAGO, THE DOORS, THE MOODY BLUES, THE WHO, MILES DAVIS, JONI MITCHELL, JETHRO TULL, SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE AND EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER. shadow of Woodstock from the year before also loomed large. Organizers for 1970 made sure not to disappoint. Acts included Jimi Hendrix, Chicago, The Doors, The Moody Blues, The Who, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Jethro Tull, Sly and the Family Stone and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The event took place at Afton Down and attendance estimates range from 600,000-700,000, possibly even 800,000. Promoters accomplished what they set out to achieve—a watershed concert in Britain—but the huge attendance numbers led to complaints by residents, causing the British Parliament to pass the Isle of Wight County Council Act 1971, which prevented overnight open-air gatherings of more than 5,000 people without a special license. It effectively killed the festival until 2002, when it was revived.

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Flower Power Reigns in Upstate New York Bethel, New York–August 15-18, 1969 What started as a ticketed event for “no more than 50,000 people” turned into a free concert for more than 400,000 when gate crashers flooded Max Yasgur’s dairy farm, where the festivities were taking place. Although several of the acts performed in the rain, which created a muddy field for concertgoers, the overall festival was still seen as a pivotal moment in rock ‘n roll. Many of the 1960s biggest acts were present and the nearly half million audience members remained peaceful despite the rain and mud. Minimal security was needed, and it was noted people shared food and shelter. A 1970 documentary and soundtrack album followed, along with the song “Woodstock” by Joni Mitchell (and also covered by Crosby, Stills and Nash), capturing the feelings of spirituality and empowerment that resulted from the show. In the years since Woodstock, the festival has come to symbolize the hippie movement and the late 1960s counterculture.

>> Roger Daltrey of The Who working the mic and crowd like a superstar does.

Isle of Wight photo: Colin Underhill/Alamy.com

Founded as a counterculture festival in England, the year 1970 marked the third version of the Isle of Wight Festival, and had a lot to prove. The previous year’s Isle of Wight Festival featured Bob Dylan making a comeback to the stage following a threeyear absence due to a serious motorcycle accident in 1966. The

WOODSTOCK

Woodstock photo: Collection Christophel/Alamy.com

WHAT STARTED AS A TICKETED EVENT FOR “NO MORE THAN 50,000 PEOPLE” TURNED INTO A FREE CONCERT FOR MORE THAN 400,000 WHEN GATE CRASHERS FLOODED MAX YASGUR’S DAIRY FARM, WHERE THE FESTIVITIES WERE TAKING PLACE.


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>> Tommy Lee of Motley drums all day at the US Crue bangs on the Festival in 1983.

Day On the Green photo: Sheri Lynn Behr/Alamy.com. US Festival photos: MediaPunch Inc/Alamy.com.

Plant of Led Zeppelin >> Jimmy Page and Robert be their final tour in ld wou t wha on d lou playing live and rden in New York City. Ga are Squ n diso Ma 1977 at

LED ZEPPELIN AT DAY ON THE GREEN

Led Zep’s Crash and Burn Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California–July 23-24, 1977 Led by legendary concert promoter Bill Graham, the Day on the Green concert became a summer staple in the Bay Area during the 1970s, 1980s and even a few shows in the 1990s before sputtering out. Unbeknownst to everyone at the time, the 1977 dates would go down in history when they became Led Zeppelin’s last shows on American soil. With Led Zeppelin headlining, these two Day on the Green shows were among the largest. Led Zeppelin’s 1977 North American Tour started that April, and had been highly anticipated. Singer Robert Plant had been injured in a 1975 car accident and the incident took the one of the most popular bands of the 1970s off the road while he recovered. Now they were back. The backstage drama at these shows was also the stuff of legend, with a physical fight erupting between the Led Zeppelin camp and Graham’s crew. (Arrests of Led Zeppelin’s involved crewmembers and a lawsuit followed.) Things went from bad to worse when Plant’s 5-year-old son died before the next show could take place in New Orleans. The rest of the tour was promptly canceled and Led Zeppelin headed home. The band took its time regrouping, playing two warmup dates in Europe in 1979 and a few more in 1980. The plan to tour North America again was in the works when drummer John Bonham died, ending not just the tour but the entire band as well. The mighty Zeppelin’s American concerts came to an abrupt and tragic end at the Oakland Coliseum.

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>> Eddie Van Hal en of Van shreds at the US festiva Halen l in 1983.

US FESTIVAL 1983

The Diversity of US Glen Helen Regional Park, San Bernardino, California–May 28-30; June 4 1983 The US Festival (pronounced “us” like the pronoun) only lasted two years thanks to colossal financial losses, but has since become remembered as a much-loved concert. With the help of Bill Graham, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak staged his first US Festival on Labor Day Weekend in 1982 with the hopes of capturing the togetherness that was a hallmark of hippie-era summer festivals, hence the name “us.” Less than a year later, the second US Festival took place over three days on Memorial Day Weekend and the scale of the 1983 concert has gone down in history. Wozniak paid for the land to be cleared and for the state-of-the-art amphitheater’s construction. He also insisted on water misters to keep the crowd cool and doubling the amount of portable bathrooms normally installed at large-scale shows. The extravagance caused monetary losses, but the US Festival has distinguished itself for its careful planning and meticulous operations. It’s reported that approximately 670,000 attended the Memorial Day Weekend portion and is notable not just for the big names attached to the show, but for each day having a musical theme. New Wave Day included INXS, Oingo Boingo, the Stray Cats and the Clash, in what turned out to be their last show with Mick Jones. Heavy Metal Day included Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, The Scorpions and Van Halen. Rock Day included U2, The Pretenders, Joe Walsh, Stevie Nicks and David Bowie. A fourth day, Country Day, was added for the following weekend and included Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., Waylon Jennings, Alabama, Ricky Scaggs, Riders in the Sky and Emmylou Harris.


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Back in the USSR Lenin Stadium (now Luzhniki Stadium), Moscow– August 12-13, 1989 The Moscow Music Peace Festival managed to pull off an epic-scale concert in the USSR, two and a half years before it was dissolved and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was established in its place. The idea behind the show was to donate the proceeds to the Make a Difference charity and to train Russian doctors in treating addiction. It’s rumored that talent manager Doc McGhee, who organized the event, staged the show as a way to beat a drug charge, which he has always denied. Regardless of the how the concert came to be, he managed to assemble an A-list roster of rock and roll acts for the era that included Skid Row, Cinderella, The Scorpions, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne and Bon Jovi. The event was broadcast as a payper-view special via MTV, back when the initials really did stand for Music Television, giving the festival an international audience of millions. Soon after the show, word began to spread about drunk rock star antics and ego clashes THE EVENT WAS BROADCAST AS A (Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee punched PAY-PER-VIEW SPECIAL VIA MTV, Doc McGhee over preferential treatment BACK WHEN THE INITIALS REALLY DID given to Bon Jovi is an example), which STAND FOR MUSIC TELEVISION, GIVING overshadowed the accomplishment of staging a THE FESTIVAL AN INTERNATIONAL first-rate music festival behind the Iron Curtin.

AUDIENCE OF MILLIONS.

>> Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash performing at Cummins Prison Farm in 1969.

10 GREATEST LIVE ALBUMS OF ALL TIME

If you can’t attend that concert you were looking forward to this summer, you can still listen to some of the best live performances ever recorded. There are too many great live albums to include here, but this list will get you started.

Johnny Cash: At Folsom Prison (1968), At San Quentin (1969) The Who: Live at Leeds (1970) The Rolling Stones: Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out (1970)

LOLLAPALOOZA

The Concert Festival as Alt Road Show National Tour–July 18-August 28, 1991 Cofounded by Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, Lollapalooza not only revived the idea of the concert festival, but to turn it into a travelling tour. As with some of the great festivals of the past, the philosophy was to showcase eclectic musical acts that were not considered mainstream at the time. The lineup consisted of Jane’s Addiction, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nine Inch Nails, Living Color, Ice-T and Body Count, Butthole Surfers and Rollins Band. It was so successful that it went on to become an annual tour until 1997, only to be revived in 2003. It’s now a more traditional one-day event in Chicago every summer but the term “lollapalooza” has become synonymous with a gathering of diverse people and ideas.

Elisa Jordan is a lifelong music fan and gives tours of rock ‘n roll sites in Los Angeles.

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>> Perry Farrell (left) Dave Navarro (right) of and Jane’s Addiction having a mo ment at Lollapalooza in 1991.

The Allman Brothers: At the Fillmore East (1971) Deep Purple: Made in Japan (1972) Kiss: Alive! (1975) Peter Frampton: Frampton Comes Alive! (1976) The Band: The Last Waltz (1978) U2: Under A Blood Red Sky: Live at Red Rocks (1983) Nirvana: MTV Unplugged in New York (1994) –E.J.

Lollapalooza photo: MediaPunch/Alamy.com. Johnny Cash photo courtesy of nwaonline.com

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C&S

FEATURED PAIRINGS

Celebrity Edition

PERFECTO PAIRINGS TO EXPAND YOUR PALATE

by Randy Mastronicola

Photo by Scott McDermott

Michael Strahan

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019

DREW ESTATE ACID KUBA KUBA TEQUILA COMISARIO We met with media star Michael Strahan in his spacious New Jersey man cave. It’s an actual warehouse he calls “Strayland.” Mementos from his illustrious football career, his vast collection of vintage cars, and a cigar lounge there made us all feel like kids in a candy shop. He happily gave us a tour, eagerly shared cigars and tequila with us, and chatted spiritedly with staff and crew for a few hours. We selected the Drew Estate ACID Kuba Kuba and Tequila Comisario for the shoot. In reality, Michael is everything you see on television: an energetic and engaging man who fills a room with warmth and good humor. It was readily apparent to us that he’s not only a Hall of Fame football player, he’s a Hall of Fame gentleman as well. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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RATED!

Joe Mantegna

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017

MICALLEF CIGARS EXPERIENCA VINO ROSSO AND PIZZA

SWINGING LONDON Cigar Scene

Joe Mantegna is a paisan. Joe was on hiatus from Criminal Minds, and he offered us the chance to spend the day with him at his offices in Burbank, Calif. We made a lasting connection with one of the world’s most enduring actors on the day of his interview and photo shoot.

JOE MANTEGNA

>>INTERVIEW

star of

Criminal Minds

ISIAH THOMAS Talks Hoops and Champagne

>>PLUS PAPA HEMINGWAY’S

PARIS

#1

the

VODKA SODA REVEALED

Photo by Monti Smith

Joe regaled us with anecdotes from his Chicago youth and his career, including some insider stories about The Godfather Part III. He invited us to Taste Chicago (the restaurant he owned at the time in Burbank), and we talked about and smoked cigars that day, drank some red wine and had some fine pizza. We talked a lot of baseball. (Joe is one of the most passionate Chicago Cubs fans you’ll ever meet.) We talked about how he became friends with Ringo Starr. (The legendary drummer was a big fan of Criminal Minds.) We talked about his friendship with actor Gary Sinise. (They co-host the National Memorial Day Concert together.) We talked about his association with playwright David Mamet. (Joe won a Tony Award for his 1984 performance in Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross.) You get the idea. We talked and talked–and smoked some fine Micallef Experienca cigars. Subsequently, Cigar & Spirits Magazine was the recipient of magazine publishing’s Gold Ink Award for Joe’s issue. He’s graciously appeared with us on social media. A huge thank you to Joe for sharing his friendship with us these past few years.

MARCH/APRIL 2020

INTERVIEW

BRYAN CRANSTON & AARON PAUL

Dos Hombres

Br eaking Br and 1

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Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul

DON LINO AFRICA BY MIAMI CIGAR & COMPANY DOS HOMBRES MEZCAL We met with Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in Los Angeles on a sunny day this past January. An inspired Southwest home and grounds were the perfect setting to spend a day shooting photos, shooting the blank, sipping their Dos Hombres mezcal and smoking the Don Lino Africa by Miami Cigar & Company.

It was special spending a day with them and witnessing their brotherhood. They are the embodiment of what we cover in the pages of Cigar & Spirits Magazine. Dos Hombres, indeed!

Photo by Charlie Gray

We talk frequently in our magazine about the camaraderie that thrives when friends share a cigar and a spirit. We also talk about refining who we are and what it means to be a modern gentleman and a mentor, as well as creating a legacy and having meaningful connections with people. Bryan and Aaron have all that and more.

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Mario Lopez and Oscar de la Hoya J.C. NEWMAN’S DIAMOND CROWN JULIUS CAESER CASA MEXICO TEQUILA We spent the better part of a hazy and cool afternoon with Mario Lopez and Oscar de la Hoya in the hills above Los Angeles. Mario Lopez, always the amiable host, opened up his gorgeous hacienda-style home to our staff and crew for the photo shoot and interview. Mario is just one of two celebrities to appear on a Cigar & Spirits Magazine cover twice. (The other being a solo Sammy Hagar, and a few years later with Adam Levine.) The two men were completely on board with being styled with a Rat Pack look for the shoot, and the black and white photos are a testament to their swagger and charm. They proudly shared their Casa Mexico Tequila with staff and crew. Their spirit proved to be another dynamic duo when we paired the tequila up with J.C. Newman’s Diamond Crown Julius Caeser. Mario has a bocce ball court on his property, and it was quite entertaining watching the two square off. Mario was a worthy opponent, but Oscar delivered the knockout punch. “This guy can do anything,” Mario said.

Photo by Amber Asaly

The connection with both men remains strong. Oscar de la Hoya has attended the Cigar & Spirits Magazine West Coast Tasting Event, to the delight of the attendees. Mario Lopez and Publisher Lincoln Salazar have become good friends through their years of collaboration.

JULY/AUGUST 2019

INTERVIEW

CHAMPION LENNOX LEWIS

BOXING IS BACK!

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Lennox Lewis

HIRAM & SOLOMON VEILED PROPHET BOOM BOOM BOURBON The. Last. Undisputed. Heavyweight. Champion. Of. The. World. Spend a day with Lennox Lewis and it’s easy to see why he’s known as the “Gentleman’s Pugilist.” Lennox is erudite, spiritual and damn proud of his boxing legacy. He’s an easy laugh, but he doesn’t suffer fools easily. We shared the day smoking Hiram & Solomon’s brawny Veiled Prophet, and the large stick perfectly fit the champ. Former WBA Lightweight Champion Ray Mancini lavishly provided us with his Boom Boom Bourbon to sip throughout the shoot.

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Photo by Monti Smith

At one point, during a break from the session, Lennox started shadow boxing. It was an incredible display. We were in awe of how deftly and furiously his hands cut through the air. His demeanor changed from laid back to fierce in a flash. What would you expect? This is the man who laid out Mike Tyson. He defeated Evander Holyfield, Vitali Klitschko, Hasim Rahman, Shannon Briggs, Razor Ruddock and every other boxer he faced throughout his career. Most importantly, he’s a devout husband and father who shows compassion and caring for people through his charitable works.


in collaboration with :

ERNESTO PEREZ-CARRILLO

Available Worldwide ALECANDBRADLEY.COM WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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Photo by Monti Smith

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

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Francis Ford Coppola

J.C. NEWMAN’S DIAMOND CROWN JULIUS CAESER MARIA GAETANA AGNESI BRANDY Cigar & Spirits Magazine met with Francis Ford Coppola at the Coppola Family estate in Napa Valley, Calif., for the interview and photo shoot. We were excited (and a bit nervous) about meeting this legend. He immediately disarmed us with a warm handshake and said, “Hi. I’m Francis.” The home was the one he purchased with money earned from the success of The Godfather, and where he raised his family. Mr. Coppola was an inspirational interview subject. He was as gracious as can be, 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. Throughout the day, we shared the J.C. Newman Diamond Crown Julius Caeser and Maria Gaetana Agnesi Brandy that was generously provided by Mr. Coppola. Meeting Mr. Coppola was a sublime experience. Spending a day with him and basking in his genius for a moment in time was a magical gift.

MAY/JUNE 2020

INTERVIEW

OUTLANDER’S

SAM HEUGHAN

the ACTOR’S RUNAWAY CAREER and WHISKY RIDE

Sam Heughan

DREW ESTATE SWEET JANE DIA DE LOS MUERTOS SASSENACH SCOTCH WHISKY We met up with Sam in Los Angeles shortly after he launched his Sassenach Scotch Whisky. His passion for a fine dram was evident. Sam assured us this was no money grab, and he excitedly told us that he was involved in every step of the crafting of the spirit and bottle design. We connected as whisky blokes are wont to do.

Photo by John Russo

Sam is known as a deep and intense actor, and he is undoubtedly a charming Scotsman. He easily shared his sense of humor and laughter throughout the shoot. We smoked the Sweet Jane Dia de los Muertos Maduro made by Drew Estate, and it paired up perfectly with his award-winning Sassenach Scotch Whisky. The combination was copiously enjoyed by one and all.

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

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C&S

MOB VEGAS!

THE LORE AND LURE OF LAS VEGAS TOUGH GUYS by Audrey Pavia

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krkt/Shutterstock.com.

Welcome to


Mobster illustration: inteuri/Shutterstock.com. Welcome to Las Vegas: Christophe Testi/Shutterstock.com. Golden Nugget/Old Vegas: Alon Alexander/Alamy.com. Flamingo Hotel: Heritage Image Ltd/Alamy.com

N

ew York and Chicago might be known for their famous mafia bosses, but glitzy Las Vegas owes its very existence to the mob. While organized crime functioned outside of the law on the East Coast and in the Midwest, in Las Vegas, the mob was the law. Though today’s Las Vegas is family friendly and a haven for tourists from around the world, without the early influence of the mob, this glamorous desert town would likely be no more than a bus stop today.

>> The old Las Vegas Strip in 1958.

LET THERE BE LIGHT When driving down the Las Vegas Strip, with its towering casinos and flashing lights, it’s hard to imagine this space was once occupied only by sand and scrub brush. It wasn’t until 1905 that the first sign of civilization in the form of a railroad depot christened what is now Las Vegas. As with many Western towns, the building of a train depot led to growth in the area. Farmers and adventurers laid claim to the desert, creating a demand for water and electricity. In 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed a bill to create nearby Boulder Dam to capture water and power from the Colorado River. Men from across the country flooded the area to begin construction on the dam. Gambling was already illegal in Nevada, but local business owners and mob bosses in Chicago and New York saw the potential to score big. Casinos and show girl theaters sprang up around the new town, and the dam workers spent their hard earned cash making the mobsters rich.

>> The Flamingo was Bugsy Seigel’s creation and demise.

In 1931, the Nevada state legislature legalized gambling in Clark County, and this included the budding town of Las Vegas. The federal government retaliated against the state by forbidding dam workers to enter Las Vegas. But this didn’t stop the dam workers, who found ways to sneak into the town’s theaters and casinos. Once Boulder Dam was finished, electricity became plentiful in Las Vegas. Fremont Street, where the gambling houses were located became known as Glitter Gulch for its bright flashing lights. Lake Mead, which resulted from the damming of the Colorado River, became a recreational area. Visitors began coming to Las Vegas in droves.

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>> The charismatic criminal: Bugsy Seigel was a snazzy dresser and cigar lover.

>> Bugsy Seigel’s 1928 mugshot.

>> Meyer Lansky d looking smug an sinister in 1958.

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Those who preferred to make their living illegally were drawn to Las Vegas from the start. When prohibition ended in 1933, mobsters needed another source of income, and gambling was the perfect sport. Fremont Street was already home to the first legalized gambling venues in Las Vegas, and with miles of desert stretching in every direction, there was plenty of room for more. One of the first casinos built on the budding Las Vegas Strip—so named because of its straight, 4-mile stretch—was the Flamingo. Partially financed by Benjamin “Bugsy” Seigel, the mobster most synonymous with Las Vegas, the hotel and casino was opened in 1946. The project was started by publishing entrepreneur Billy Wilkerson, but when he ran out of money due to the high war-time cost of building materials, New York mobster Bugsy Seigel stepped in. Bugsy’s angle was to offer the high-end liquor, food and entertainment in Las Vegas, but at affordable prices. He wanted to attract both high rollers and average Americans. Although Seigel was part owner when the casino was being built, he soon muscled Wilkerson out of his shares and became the sole proprietor. Seigel wanted the Flamingo to be known as the West’s Greatest Resort Hotel. He spared no expense in building the resort, and soon ran out of money. When the Flamingo opened in December, the hotel portion of the resort was not complete. The resort did not live up to its fanfare without the luxury rooms that would encourage guests to stay and gamble, and the casino soon began losing money. By January, the Flamingo was closed. Determined to bring the resort back to life, Seigel borrowed money from his mobster associates. Construction resumed, and the Flamingo re-opened in March, this time with an adjacent hotel. Although the resort began gradually turning a profit for its investors, Seigel had lost favor with some of the more powerful mobsters in Las Vegas. He was murdered in Beverly Hills the following June, dying in a hail of gunfire while reading a newspaper at his girlfriend’s house. The day after the killing, associates of New York mobster Meyer Lansky walked into the Flamingo and took over. Lanksy was one of the gangsters who had financed Seigel’s expensive construction of the Flamingo. An expert in running illegal gambling operations in New Orleans, Florida and Cuba, Lansky had known Seigel since the two were kids growing up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Before Seigel’s death, a secret meeting that would come to be known as “The Havana Conference of 1946” was held in Cuba, and attended by mobsters from around the United States, including those who had invested in the Flamingo and were losing money. Lansky reportedly begged for Seigel’s life when some attendees expressed a desire to knock him off. Thanks to Lansky, Seigel received a second chance. The Flamingo continued to lose money, however, and Lansky was no longer able to protect him.

Photos courtesy of the Mob Museum.

BUGSY & MEYER


PRE

STIG E

SUP

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PANAMER I

CANA

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STERLIN

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THE TIMELESS COLLECTION.

Four blends. Five countries. Thirty vitolas.

USBG

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>> Moe Dalitz hams it up after an actual mob shootout, pretending to bribe a police officer in a staged photo.

>> Robert De Niro portrays casino boss Sam “Ace” Rothstein in 1995’s Casino.

and Hollywood is never one to pass up a good story, be a the mob’s presence in Las Vegas has shown to source of great yarns. the Three of the most heralded films that help tell story of Sin City’s connection to organized crime o are The Godfather, Casino and Bugsy. Major studi these ors, direct ned renow three ring releases featu films paint a picture of how the mob helped build Las Vegas. THE GODFATHER 1972

takes While most of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather ne Corleo el Micha where s scene place in New York, the rt (Robe n Hayde Tom liere, consig his and o) (Al Pacin the of one is casino Duvall), pay a visit to their Las Vegas ne most memorable. Having just taken over the Corleo t part crime family, Michael informs the casino’s curren will be owner, Moe Greene (Alex Rocco), that Greene , and resists e Green nes. Corleo the to s share selling his Greene Michael leaves unhappy. At the end of the film, eyeball. meets his inevitable demise from a bullet to the

CASINO 1995

MOE DALITZ

y of the Las Vegas Strip was the Another mob-owned resort built early in the histor the resort in 1947 but soon ucting constr began Clark r Wilbu Desert Inn. Businessman to notorious mobster Moe went t, he ran out of money. Hoping to complete the projec made an investment, Dalitz help. for , group crime Dalitz, head of a Cleveland organized later, Dalitz owned 75 percent of the and when the casino was finished a few years Desert Inn. was heralded by a two-day gala. The When the Desert Inn opened in April 1950, it lists from around the country, along journa in casino spent thousands of dollars flying featured huge performers of the Room t Deser d Painte ’s with VIP guests. The resort Vivian Blaine, Van Heflin, and Abbott time, like Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, ter friends were also present at the mobs stern and Costello. Some of Dalitz’s Midwe Vegas with the mafia. opening, solidifying the public association of Las as an opulent, high-class resort, The Desert Inn went on to develop a reputation and Duchess of Windsor, Senator John drawing the likes of Winston Churchill, the Duke n as guests. Truma S. F. Kennedy and former President Harry

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of the Martin Scorcese’s take on the final glory days and Niro De t Rober ht broug o, mob in Las Vegas, Casin ter gangs the in work their after er togeth back Pesci Joe tein Roths Sam s classic Goodfellas. The story follow ing and Nicky Santoro, two low-level mobsters skimm Strip. money off of a Teamsters-funded casino on the evel Rothstein and Santoro run afoul of their high-l tion, opera the on in g closin starts FBI the bosses when and things get ugly.

BUGSY 1991

Beatty Directed by Barry Levinson, Bugsy stars Warren in the title role. The fictionalized film covers Bugsy Seigel’s years in Los Angeles through his ill-fated on involvement with the Flamingo Hotel and Casino brutal ’s Seigel with the Las Vegas Strip. The film ends on the assassination in Beverly Hills, with details based gruesome scene revealed in highly publicized crime photos of the time.

Moe Dalitz photo courtesy of the Mob Museum. Casino photo: Moviestore Collection Ltd/Alamy.com

LAS VEGAS SINEMA"


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What city could provide a more appropriate location for a museum dedicated to the histo ry of organized crime in America? New York? Chica go?

>> Left to right: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop were the core members of the legenda ry Rat Pack.

THE RAT PAC K Post-war Las Vegas saw the creation of the Las Vegas Strip and the town’s most famous casino s. But the real boom for Las Vegas came in the 1950s and ‘60s, when the town’s mob connections brought topnotch performers to the casinos. The most famous of these performers was Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack. A group of celebrated friends who did a lot of hanging out at the Los Angeles home of Hump hrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, the Rat Pack became famou s in the Hollywood press for their charisma and comradery. Although members of the pack came and went, the core fellows with the biggest influence on Las Vegas consisted of Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. Sinatra was not only the Rat Pack’s ring leader, he also had friends in the mob. Among his acqua intances was Mickey Cohen, who worked for Lansky. Lansk y was part owner of the Sands Hotel and Casin o on the Strip, and Sinatra had made his performance debut there in 1953. In the late 1950s and early ‘60s, Sinatr a and the rest of the Rat Pack became a regular presence at the Sands. Sinatra, Martin, Davis Jr., Lawford and Bishop were frequent performers—and guest s—at the mob-owned casino. Other celebrities who could be seen visiting the resort included Cary Grant , Mia Farrow, Jimmy Stewart, Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich. The star power Sinatra had brought to the Strip changed the image of Las Vegas foreve r. The tradition the Rat Pack started in Las Vegas of topnotch performers taking the stage at the Strip’s casinos has continued to today. Some of the bigge st acts in music and comedy can still be found on Las Vegas marquis.

Guess again. It’s Las Vegas. The Mob Museum in downtown Las Vegas opene d in 2012, and contains exhibits that cover the full range of organized crime and law enforcement history, from the mid-1800s to the 21st century. “The Mob Museum emerged as the winning idea to repurpose a historic federal building in downtown Las Vegas,” said Geoff Schumacher, vice president of Exhibits and Programs. “When the federal government decid ed it no longer needed the city’s first U.S. post office and courthouse, built in 1933, the City of Las Vegas, led by Mayor Oscar Goodman, immediately recognized an opportunity and acquired the historic building as a tool for downtown redevelopment.” Goodman, a former defense attorney who had many clients involved with organized crime, suggested creating a museum focused on the history of organ ized crime and law enforcement in America. The mob’s influence in Las Vegas is a key part of the story of organized crime, and the Tough Little Town exhibi t on the third floor and the Open City exhibit on the second floor are dedicated to Las Vegas and the influence of organized crime in the town, according to Schum acher. Other elements of the Las Vegas story can be found throughout the museum. “The biggest takeaway for guests of The Mob Museu m is that we tell a very well-balanced story of organ ized crime and law enforcement, from the birth of the Mob, to today’s headlines from all over the world,” said Ashley Miller, vice president of Marketing, Communicat ion and Sales. “There is much depth and history to Las Vegas , and our mission is to educate the public on organ ized crime’s history and impact on American society, both good and bad.” The Mob Museum is located on Stewart Street in downtown Las Vegas. The Internet home for muse um can be found at www.themobmuseum.org.

Without the influence of the mob, Las Vegas would not be the unique town it is today. While organized crime no longer has a hold on the glittering city, the mobs ters of the 20th century certainly left their mark. Audrey Pavia is an award-winning writer living in Southern California, and a frequent contri butor to Cigar & Spirits Magazine.

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>> The Mob Museum houses a must-see Las Vegas exhibition room.

Rat Pack photo: Moviestore Collection Ltd/Alamy.com. Museum photos courtesy of the Mob Museum.

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C&S

Photo courtesy of BMG.

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JAMMING G O O D WITH GAVIN ROSSDALE THE BUSH FRONTMAN CIRCLES BACK INTO NEW FRONTIERS by Randy Mastronicola

>> Bush 2020

IF I SAID TO ANY KID WHO’S EVER BANGED OUT “WILD THING” in his or

Photo courtesy of BMG.

her garage, “Hey, you’re going to be a rock ‘n roll sex symbol. You’re going to write some dark, raucous, alt-post-grunge songs that help define the sound of a decade. You’re going to headline tours throughout the world. You’re going to experience the good fortune of fame (and, of course, a bit of the downside), and sell over 20 million records.” What do you think the response would be? “Hell yeah! Sign me up.”

no hint of pretention. Unlike some of his contemporaries, he doesn’t have that angsty affectation leftover from when they were forming in their youth. There’s a real easiness to Rossdale that draws you in. He has the Zen vibe of a man who’s been there, adjusted to life after the kaboom! of making it big, and been dusted off and come back a time or two.

Bush has recaptured a good measure of acclaim these past few years. Their newest offering, The Kingdom, is no small part of that. It seems to have awakened older fans, And then, if I also said, “You’re going and they’ve picked up some new ones in the to compile a formidable string of 18 past five or so years. The consecutive Top 40 hit credit goes to their 2014 Man singles on the Modern Rock “ACTUALLY, ONE on the Run, along with their and Mainstream Rock charts, newest release. Bush’s 2020 THING WE CAN with 11 landing in the Top 5, and six reaching No. 1.” The TAKE FROM THIS IS Live in Tampa Blu-ray shows they still have the onstage response is predictable. TO LOOK AT THIS fire and fury that fans have “Oh, hell yeah!” come to expect from early SHUTDOWN, AND hits like “Everything Zen,” Gavin Rossdale of the British LOOK AT WHAT’S “Little Things,” “Glycerine,” band Bush has achieved HAPPENING WHEN and beyond. all that and much more. At WE TAKE A MOMENT Rossdale and I met up over the age of 54, he’s taking a rearview mirror look, TO BE HOME. WE Skype just after the release of embracing the road he’s on, FALL IN LOVE WITH The Kingdom. We were both and looking forward to roads quarantining in Southern OUR FAMILIES.” he’ll get to. It’s all become California, and figured this a fine fit. The equation of was the best way to have family plus gratitude plus rock ‘n roll is a a face-to-face in the age of COVID-19. He revelatory place for him to be. Family is gave the quarantine some grace by saying, paramount because he has three sons from “Actually, one thing we can take from this is his marriage to ex-wife Gwynn Stefani to look at this shutdown, and look at what’s (ranging in ages from six to 14), and an adult happening when we take a moment to be daughter with fashion designer Pearl Lowe. home. We fall in love with our families. I’ve Rossdale is as good-looking and fit as a man who’s approaching his mid-fifties has the right to be. He still has those leonine locks and angular features, and there’s a warmth in his eyes. His energy is intense in a charismatic way. He’s erudite, with

spent time with my kids, and I’ve read more stories to my kids this week than I have in the last two years of their lives.”

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>> Left to right: The current Bush lineup is Corey Britz on bass, Gavin Rossdale, Nick Hughes on drums and guitarist Chris Traynor.

Randy Mastronicola: I’ve been listening to The Kingdom. Kingdom. This new record is stellar. I still call them records. [laughs] Gavin Rossdale: As you should. [laughs]

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Some artists describe themselves as receptors, or like being open to divine intervention. Yes. It’s just a sort of an energy field. We’re meant to amplify the regular, the standard situations and that’s how people recognize and connect to things. You just put out things that everyone’s feeling in a different way that speaks individually to people. Then they can reclaim themselves. It’s really interesting, sort of a figure eight.

Photo courtesy of BMG.

It just seems very timely. There’s longing and loss, but there’s this quest to be positive. Is it your hope that there will be a sea change as we work our way through these times? When I refer to “the kingdom,” which is this place–this utopia– it’s just that of like-minded individuals being together. There was something that needed to be said for all the self-righteous, judgmental people that are in our orbit, surrounding us through our lives no matter what we do. From the workplace to home life, to everything. It just really made me fed up, and I dreamt of this place where you could just be free to think and say and do as you wish, without any harm to others.

Interestingly, The Kingdom seems like a response to what’s happening now. Do you feel there’s some foreshadowing there? The luxury of making things is when you get them right. They align with the zeitgeist. It’s a really incredible feeling, and it’s almost otherworldly because it’s such an instinctive job to be a musician, and to write and whatever. I write with words and music. It’s interesting when you get plugged into stuff. Of course the loneliness and the longing, that’s what we’re meant to do.


NAT CICCO

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>> Gavin taking in the moment in Los Angeles, Calif. this past spring.

There’s a lot of depth to The Kingdom. Kingdom. I think “Flowers on a Grave” cuts to the bone. I connected to “Send In The Clowns” as well. Your lyrics are poignant throughout the record. The “Send in the Clowns” track made its way into John Wick: Chapter 3– Parabellum,, and I thought Bush’s own performance video take on the movie was badass. Parabellum Thank you. I’m never political, and I’m always polite. I like personal context, you know? That whole song is really based on the disillusionment of society– race wars, planet wars, star wars, mind wars–all these things. All the outside forces that confront us every day. It was incredible to put that into a song, and feel this is the right place. I didn’t do it just for John Wick. I did it in combination with having someone who’d left me in the most devastating way. This amazing breakup that I had. It was unbelievable.

Talk about a paradigm shift. Between the pain of that, and the existential looking at life and looking at society–it’s so weird because to be divorced is to be suffering. All this in your middle age–and you have love affairs–then you go back, and it’s just extraordinary. I was so settled and secure at one point in my life, almost sequestered with a wife and three kids.

“THERE’S A FINITE NUMBER OF FINE SUMMERS LEFT IN OUR LIVES. THERE’S NO ROOM FOR COMPROMISE,

THERE’S NO ROOM FOR DELAY AND THERE’S NO ROOM

FOR NOT DOING EXACTLY WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING.”

>> Bush performing at the Km de Vantagens Hall in Rio de Janeiro in 2019.

I know you’re a tequila and cigar enthusiast. Do you have a cigar moment or story you can share? Yes. I had a really contentious relationship with my stepfather. He then got really sick, so the last two years of his life, I actually became much closer to him. We had ten years of disliking each other, but two years where we found a connection and we let that grow. I had to go through all of his belongings in his office to help my mom. I found myself actually getting to know him more going through his papers, his work and his studies more than I did in our entire time together. My mom was having a really hard time upstairs, and I was like the man trying to help my struggling mom. From there, I got this connection to his cigars. I’ve always loved the smell of cigars. He had cigars with a lovely big humidor. I think they were big fat Cubans. I’m not good enough to know all the different ones, but they looked pretty good and pretty fresh. When I was going through these things for her, I used to get a glass of scotch, and I’d take a cigar and I’d just cut off the end like he used to do. He dipped the bottom end in whiskey. He’d draw on the smoke, have a taste of the whiskey, and I sort of felt like him when I did it. It’s cool that cigars brought the connection to a deeper level. Yes. Actually, the last cigar I smoked socially was with Tom Jones. You mean “What’s New Pussycat?” Tom Jones? I shot a TV show pilot that hasn’t been made yet, and he was one of the guests. I cooked for him, and we just shot the breeze for a few hours as I cooked, and we ended it by smoking cigars. Cigars are a special occasion. If I’m there, it just suits the whole moment. It just feels like it’s a primal pastime. Tequila or scotch? I do like scotch, but I’m more for tequila. I enjoy the taste of it. I really like Don Julio 1942 Reposado. All that stuff is so smooth and so good. I take it with just a cube of ice. I just nurse that. That’s a great drink for me. I really enjoy it. Yes, that’s my jam. Just taking a tequila and a cigar to relax can be meditative, or just hanging out with a buddy is a powerful thing. It’s the ceremony of it. It’s a beautiful ceremony, and it just feels like the world is right for us. It’s a respite from the outside world. Because if you light up a cigar with a buddy, and you’re having a drink, there’s a lot of “oohs and aahs” there. The body decompresses. The mind decompresses, and you just chew whatever fat you desire.

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Top right photo courtesy of mgmt. company. bottom left photo: A.PAES/Shutterstock.com

We all have to re-build at times and say “All right. I got ripped apart. Now I’ve got to get angry or whatever so I can eventually heal.” It’s not easy under media scrutiny. Do you re-connect yourself through your art? Yes. The previous record I did was Black and White Rainbows. It had a bruised, brooding feel. I worked hard on that record to keep the saddest songs off of the record. That was the only function of that record. It was just, “Don’t put out the most maudlin music you have made. People don’t want to hear that.” I was so bruised–and what was incredible about this and quite liberating–was that there was strength, vitality, purpose and perspective. My perspective changed. It’s not my angry phase because I’m aware of the horizon in front of me. I can now look back at my life and see where I was 25 years ago, which means, “Shit, that means 25 years in the future is a palpable actual thing, an actuality.” When you’re 20, you just think life is forever. Then you’re 40 and you feel it’s just like, “Wow, okay.”

Gavin’s Cigar and Spirits Jam


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ESSENTIAL BUSH LP’S Sixteen Stone (1994–6x platinum album)

Razorblade Suitcase (1996–triple-platinum album) The Science of Things (1999–platinum) The Sea of Memories (2011–“the comeback album”) Black and White Rainbows (2017) The Kingdom (2020)

When I go onstage, I either feel love—great love—or intrigue. We played to a lot of people last summer. That’s an incredible feeling. I love performing. I love the whole thing. Just absolutely getting lost.

It’s an incredible thing that I’m doing that–I think if there’s any kind of chip on my shoulder about this underrated side, it has to do with how we came up, and what happens when I have a new record out. When I talk to core people, the people who are respectful and know the material–like for instance, you know my work when I’m talking to you–I can then quickly tell, you know it, you’ve felt it and we’re on an even playing field, right? Yes, and I’m happy to see that you’re getting kudos with The Kingdom. Kingdom. Thank you.

>> Bush is still edgy after all these years.

Yes. You realize time is precious. precious. There’s a finite number of fine summers left in our lives. There’s no room for compromise, there’s no room for delay and there’s no room for not doing exactly what you should be doing.

To hearken back to The Kingdom, Kingdom, it’s hard to stay in that quest given how we’re pulled at in opposite directions sometimes. That cosmic delusion. I look at it as the greatest opportunity–to be as quiet and as small as possible onstage, right through to being as loud and as wild onstage–and everything in between. Because what we’re trying to do the whole time is be interesting and self-editing. Make sure if you write a song, or you perform for an hour and a half, those moments, that time that you feel, has to be of extreme quality. What’s the opposite of phoning something in? It’s showing up and being present. It’s funny. I love this job so much. The more I’ve done it, the more I’ve realized that there’s such a bizarre self-sufficiency to it. Like a vocation about it. That I just want to do it great. I don’t know how many more records I can make or should make. There’s a few good ones, and I think that the combination of being on tour a lot–which is where our world used to be–now I don’t know if we’ll go on tour for another year. [Bush’s touring schedule had been suspended at the time of the interview due to the pandemic.]

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We always ask about legacy in our magazine. You’re a father. You’re an artist. When you look back–hopefully, at 95 or beyond, and you’re putting your head on the pillow for the last time—what would you like your legacy to be? I have four children, and I’m really proud of them. I have an older girl who lives in London, and three younger boys. I have four funny people. [laughs] I’m very physical, affectionate and emotional with my kids. I’ve done it that way their whole lives. They’re now very affectionate people. They’re kind people who are able to show love to each other, to their friends and hug. I think that if you grow up in an austere emotional environment, it makes you austere and distant. My criteria for seeing whether I’ve been successful with them is, “Are they kind? Are they considerate?” If you’re kind, funny and considerate, then I think you can go really far into the world. The world is much more your oyster. No humor and no empathy, that’s a tough climb. Whereas if you’re funny, everybody wants you around. And if you’re kind, people want you back.

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

Photo courtesy of BMG.

There’s that connection to you and the people who matter, not detractors or whatever. That’s what’s real. I feel like I’m a working musician, and it’s a beautiful thing. I still get the gigs. I have records on the radio. I really shouldn’t have records on the radio at this point in my life.


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C&S

ICONIC BRAND SPOTLIGHT

RON BARCELÓ’S JOURNEY FROM ONE MAN’S DREAM TO SPIRITS ICON by Kevin Kenney

Way back in 1929, a 25-year-old Spaniard named Julián Barceló landed in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic with a dream–making the best rum in the world. Like most big dreams, this one started small, with the young Barceló barnstorming around the island selling his product from the back of a Model T Ford.

But dreamers like Julián Barceló don’t get discouraged. He quickly rebuilt, continued to tinker and experiment with his brands, and, by 1950, reached what the company’s website today calls “the highest level in terms of product.”

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It’s no stretch to say that, more than 90 years and two generations later, Julián Barceló’s dream has come true. Sure, “best” is a slippery and subjective term for any work of art or fine piece of craftsmanship…but the Barceló brand is most certainly prominent in any serious conversation about the world’s best rums.

Photo courtesy of Ron Barceló.

And like most big dreams, this one also had obstacles to overcome–in this case, Barceló’s original distillery getting destroyed in the 1930 San Zenon hurricane (all these years later, still the fifth-deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record).

That’s when the Ron Barceló brand was launched, with its Barceló Blanco and Dorado lines. Some 20 years later, Ron Barceló Añejo joined the Barceló family–three of what now number nine products in the company’s worldrenowned portfolio.

“RUM IS PART OF THE CULTURE AND HISTORY OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.’’


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>> Workers tend to the Barceló base camp fields near the distillery.

>> The renowned Barceló barrel roasting techniques in effect.

Indeed, not only is Barceló “the quintessential Dominican rum,” according to Forbes magazine, it’s also one of the world’s most recognized in awards competitions. What’s more, Barceló is also the fourth-biggest rum exporter on the planet, selling in more than 75 countries. It has become a brand as iconic as Coke or Levi’s within its realm…and it has plans to continue growing its footprint in the years beyond 2020. The company is looking ahead, building on a rich history and a revered place in Dominican culture. “Rum is part of the culture and history of the Dominican Republic,’’ Ron Barceló’s global brand ambassador, Otto Florez, tells Cigar and Spirits Magazine.

“BARCELÓ IS THE ONLY DOMINICAN RUM PRODUCED SOLELY FROM DOMINICAN SUGAR CANE JUICE THAT WE EXTRACT FROM OUR OWN SUGAR CANE FIELDS.’’

Around the company’s headquarters in Santo Domingo, as well as at the production plant in San Pedro de Macoris, history and pride are very much in the forefront of the culture, Florez says. “Almost a century of incredible rum history rewards us with the recognition of being a reference in the category of rums,’’ he says.

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In 1974, Julián Barceló handed the company’s reins to his nephew, Miguel Barceló; and in 1980, the company began adding new chapters to its history with the introduction of Ron Barceló Imperial, which the company calls “the flagship of Dominicans…a rum that has become the leader in its segment.”

In the 1990s, Barceló & Co. connected with a group of Spanish entrepreneurs, and became Ron Barceló SRL. In 2006, Barceló SRL fully acquired the Barceló brand, and along way brought in a third generation of the Barceló family. Members of the Barceló Diaz family and the Garcia family now sit on the board of directors. The Barceló line now includes: Barceló Imperial Premium Blend; Barceló Imperial Onyx; Barceló Imperial; Barceló Gran Añejo; Barceló Gran Platinum; Barceló Cream; Barceló Añejo; Barceló Dorado Añejado; and Barceló Blanco Añejado.

Photos courtesy of Ron Barceló.

“As a Dominican and brand spokesperson, it is quite gratifying to be part of the most international Dominican rum brand, one that has a presence in more than 75 markets around the globe and the second-most exported dark rum worldwide.’’

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“This recognition increases our brand commitment to the consumer in being innovative, strengthening our sustainable production philosophy and returning to society the high appreciation, which the brand has, in order to maintain its leadership positions and reach new levels of excellence.’’


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>> Otto Flores is the global brand ambassador for Ron Barceló.

>> A rudimentary trapiche is a mill made of wooden rollers used to extract juice.

But this global operation with its vast and varied portfolio has not forgotten its roots–roots that give Barceló rums their distinctive characters. As Florez points out, “Barceló is the only Dominican rum produced solely from Dominican sugar cane juice that we extract from our own sugar cane fields.’’ “It is worth mentioning that only a few rum brands in the world could claim this kind of integration,’’ he says. “By achieving this we are able to produce exuberant organoleptic properties (in) naturally aged rums. In addition, it allows us to control 100 percent of our production– something that not all producers can communicate.’’ Like companies around the world, Barceló is navigating the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis and staring down a cloudy 2020 forecast. Still, the company is looking with optimism beyond these troubled times.

“Nevertheless, as soon as economies resume their normal activities, we will continue to focus our efforts to strengthen our premium product portfolio and learning about the most recent consumer trends and preferences.’’

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Indeed, Barceló’s website says it’s “the only rum with a complete 100 percent green production process.” “We will continue our efforts to mitigate the environmental impact of our operations by the development of a robust implementation of our sustainability system,’’ Florez says of the future. “Our carbon-neutral initiatives belong to this code since 2016. Our focus has been holistic and contemplates also our impact in three other fields–water, terrain and community.’’ Barcelo has come a long way from the back of young Julián Barceló Model T Ford.

Senior Contributing Writer Kevin Kenney is a veteran journalist who has dropped anchor at various ports over the last 40 years, including the New York Post, United Press International, Fox Sports and Gannett newspapers.

Photos courtesy of Ron Barceló.

“Due to the very unfortunate COVID-19 virus pandemic that the world is going through, the industry in general will suffer a recession, which will delay in a certain way the leap that the dark aged rum has taken towards premiumization,’’ Florez says.

With some 60 percent of the energy consumed at the company’s San Pedro de Macoris plant produced by solar power the company itself generates, the company also will continue its green focus in the year and years ahead, Florez says.


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NBA LEGEND KARL MALONE “THE MAILMAN” DELIVERS DOUBLE GOLD RUM AND CIGARS by Lincoln Salazar and Randy Mastronicola

IF YOU WERE AN NBA FAN during the league’s renaissance in the late 1980s and ‘90s, it would be nearly impossible to dispute that Karl “The Mailman” Malone’s dominance led to one of the most storied careers in the league’s history. His status as the premier power forward of his generation is virtually undeniable. Indeed, Karl has one hell of a basketball resume: In college, Karl was a standout Louisiana Tech power forward as an All-Southland selection for his three years at the university, and he was the Southland Player of the Year in 1983. His NBA career is beyond reproach—the stuff of legends. Karl was a Utah Jazz superstar from 1985 to 2003, and a two-time Most Valuable Player. (He garnered the awards in 1997 and 1999.) The Mailman appeared in 14 NBA All-Star games, and was awarded the game MVP in 1989 and 1993. He’s a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-time Team, and his number 32 was retired by the Utah franchise in 2004. Karl was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

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“IT’S KARL MALONE COMING OUT OF THE GATE RUNNING RUM. WHAT DO KARL MALONE AND E. LEÓN JIMENES RUM HAVE IN COMMON? DOUBLE GOLD, BABY!”

Photos courtesy of La Aurora.

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>> The 1992 Olympics Dream Team Bottom row, left to right: Scottie Pippen, John Stockton and Clyde Drexler. Middle row, left to right: Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Coach Chuck Daly, Charles Barkley and Chris Mullin. Top row, left to right: Patrick Ewing, Christian Laettner, Magic Johnson, David Robinson and Karl Malone.

K The 1992 Dream Team: photo courtesy of Olympic.org. Karl Malone/John Stockton: photo courtesy of nba.com

arl played on the Olympic Dream Team along with many of his contemporary superstars. They obliterated every country’s basketball squad and won Gold Medals in 1992 and 1996. Winning double gold the way they did is one of the United States’ shining Olympic accomplishments. The teams featured Karl, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing and his legendary Utah Jazz teammate John Stockton. Collectively, they are regarded as the most dynamic powerhouse team to ever represent a country in Olympic history. Karl Malone is developing quite the resume in new arenas as well, namely, in the cigar and spirits world. He’s the sole United States importer and brand ambassador for the E. León Jimenes 110 Anniversario super-premium rum. It’s a limited production spirit by La Aurora, S.A., and is produced by the iconic Ron Barceló brand. Karl is a long-time cigar enthusiast. Spend five minutes with him and you’ll see his passion is on par with many cigar industry leaders. Karl has developed a lasting bond with the president of La Aurora Cigars, Guillermo León Herbert. Their connection is real. La Aurora is the oldest cigar factory in the Dominican Republic, with a rich family tradition like the Malones’. Karl has become a kindred spirit with the company and the country, and their cigar collaboration has produced the Barrel Aged by Karl Malone. The Malone-customized cigar uses tobacco aged in rum barrels, and has been recognized for its craftsmanship and complexity.

>> John Stockton (left) and Karl Malone (right) are regarded as one of the most dynamic duos in NBA history.

Back to the rum and that double gold mention, I quote The Mailman: “It’s Karl Malone coming out of the gate running rum. What do Karl Malone and E. León Jimenes Rum have in common? Double gold, baby!” To wit, the E. León Jimenes rum was awarded the Double Gold Medal in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition this past April. Lincoln Salazar, CEO & Publisher of Cigar & Spirits Magazine, spoke with Karl recently, and we present the highlights of their conversation below.

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>> Karl stands tall at his rustic Legends Lounge in Ruston, La.

“YOU CAN GET ANY LA AURORA BLEND, AND IT PAIRS WITH THIS RUM PERFECTLY. WHEN YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT THE PERFECT PAIRING, THAT’S JUST NOT A SEXY THING TO SAY. IT’S REAL STUFF.” Lincoln Salazar: I had the opportunity to try out the E. León Jimenes 110 Aniversario Rum at the La Aurora factory in the Dominican Republic. It’s distilled with Ron Barceló, correct? Karl Malone: Yes, Barceló. It’s eight years in virgin white oak barrels, and two in French barrels. That’s what gives it that color—you put some 10-year ingredients in it. I want to point that out: we’ve made sure it’s 10 years. I’m truly the luckiest man alive pertaining to cigars and meeting La Aurora with Mr. León. [Guillermo León Herbert is the president of La Aurora Cigars and grandson of Eduardo León Jimenes, who founded the company.]

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They’re like family to us. It would take you two seconds to convince me, “let’s take a trip to the DR.” That’s how ready I am. The DR is my Rome. I call Mr. León “The Godfather.”

>> The Mailman pairs up at the bar lounge.

>> “Double Gold, baby!”

>> Karl’s owns home court at Legends Lounge.

Photos courtesy of La Aurora.

They just welcomed me, and my family, with open arms, and when I say class… They always say “the speed of the ship is speed of the captain.” Mr. León and the way he is with his employees, it’s awesome. Think about this: They accepted us in, and they have been just amazing. We have been down there probably no less than 15 times.

Yes, the whole company is family, very welcoming. We had the greatest experience in the Dominican Republic with La Aurora as well. Me and our Editor-in-Chief, Randy Mastronicola, smoking La Aurora cigars and experiencing the rum. You can get any La Aurora blend, and it pairs with this rum perfectly. When you’re talking about the perfect pairing, that’s just not a sexy thing to say. It’s real stuff.


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Tell us about the creation of your cigar line. At first, my intention was to go down there as a family, strictly for my cigar, but I thought it was just, “I’ll be in, okay, yes.” I was interested, we met down there, and I told them, “At least 75 or 80 percent of the top cigars have something to do with the DR.” Mr. León paused for a minute, lit a cigar, and he asked me to tell him more. I got his attention when I said, “Why isn’t anyone promoting the Dominican cigar?” A lot of athletes just put their names on labels, and I kept talking to him. Well, within 20 or 30 minutes we had broken the ice. It’s still all about trust.

So that’s how it was born. For the next five trips, every time we went by the factory, Manuel would give me a whole bag of cigars with numbered labels. [Manuel Inoa is the Master Blender for La Aurora.] All I did was smoke cigars and write notes down. I’d give them the notes before I left. We did that five or six times, and he kept trying to fool me, and I always came back to the same blend. That’s how our cigars were created. Now we have the Churchill, Belicoso, Sumo Toro, and Robusto.

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I have a quick story about Mr. León. I was trying to be cool during our meeting. I was kind of mimicking him. I wanted to make an impression. He’s sitting at the head of the table, and I’m sitting right by him. He went through the production of cigars and everything. He took his cutter out, and he’s ready to cut. Well, I wanted to be cool like him, so I got my punch out. This is an hour into our first meeting, and we’re ready to light up. I went to use the punch, and he smacked my hand. He then explained it to me. He got a white napkin, clipped it and blew through a white napkin. There was a big ring on it. Then he said “Okay, punch yours.” I punched mine. Then he said, “Blow through the napkin.” I had a little one. “Lesson 101,” he said, “You’re getting less than half the flavor of your cigar. If you smoke a cigar, you want all of the flavors of the cigar.” And now, I had been doing that ever since I was 26 when I had my first cigar. I’d been punching it because I saw the older gentlemen do it. Mr. León set me straight about it three, four years ago, and it makes sense.


“THE NEATEST PICTURE THAT I’VE SEEN IN THE DR IN THE TOBACCO FIELD WAS THE GREAT GRANDFATHER HAVING A CIGAR, THE GRANDFATHER, THE SON, HIS KIDS, ALL THE GENERATIONS.”

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>> The Family Malone at the 2019 PCA tradeshow. Left to right: Kadee, Kj, Karl, Kay, Kylee, Demetress and Karlee.

Your cigars have such great construction. The burn is truly fantastic, and the flavor is beautiful. The character of these cigars is just amazing. The excitement, the experiment, and how this makes us all feel. I’m not telling you to start smoking cigars, but when you’re passionate about it, do not be afraid to talk about your passion.

You know firsthand, because you’ve seen it in the field. You’ve seen the leaf. You’ve seen all the rollers. You’ve seen how it’s made. You’ve been through it all, and you’ve blended. Let’s start with the farmer. We visited the field. The only mechanical machine out there is a tractor. Imagine how many plants a day they water by hand, when they’re little, and every day the farmer is out there, from sun up to sun down. And they’re passing it on to the kids, their grandkids. The neatest picture that I’ve seen in the DR in the tobacco field was the great grandfather having a cigar, the grandfather, the son, his kids, all the generations.

How long have you had your Legends cigar lounge now? Three years this July. It’s rustic. We have private rooms, and it’s in Ruston [Louisiana]. My daughter, Kadee, has her own CBD line in there. We have a Legends CBD line. We have just one TV in the whole place because it’s a fellowship to me.

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We’ve had attorneys, doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers and construction workers. We have truckers that come through. They see the billboards on the interstate, and they come in. It really doesn’t matter what your bank account says. When you light up a cigar, all of us are equal. You know the neat thing about it when you don’t have a TV? It’s “What are you smoking?” “Man, I’m smoking such and such.” We say we’re smoking the house blend—our signature cigar—anything La Aurora is considered our house blend. We have some exciting stuff that’s coming with La Aurora that we can’t talk about right now, but it’s going to be amazing.

Our team met you and your family last year at the Premium Cigar Association tradeshow when you were introducing the rum. I was so impressed by your daughter, Kadee, and the passion you share for cigars. It made us fall in love not only with the Karl Malone line, but you guys as a family. It’s really beautiful to watch that grow. What’s neat about it, it’s not just Kadee. My sons, my wife Kay, all of them are involved with the process. The passion that they have is beautiful. It’s an exciting time to be a cigar connoisseur. Our rum, E. León Jimenes Rum, Double Gold—we’re excited to rock this to all.

Photo courtesy of Kadee Malone.

“MY SONS, MY WIFE KAY, ALL OF THEM ARE INVOLVED WITH THE PROCESS. THE PASSION THAT THEY HAVE IS BEAUTIFUL. IT’S AN EXCITING TIME TO BE A CIGAR CONNOISSEUR.”


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.

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FOR YOUR HUMIDOR

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SUMMER CIGAR BUYER’S GUIDE 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.

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:

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92

CIGAR RATING

ALEC BRADLEY PRENSADO LOST ART 6.5 x 52 Torpedo Wrapper: Honduran Binder: Honduran Filler: Honduras Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: There are hints of coffee beans, hickory wood, cinnamon and tea in this highly enjoyable smoke. It has a smooth and easy draw.

93

CIGAR RATING

ALEC BRADLEY GATEKEEPER Robusto 5 x 50 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: The Gatekeeper is informed with a natural sweetness offset by black pepper, cedar and nuts throughout most of the smoke. There’s a surprisingly creamy leather finish that takes it to another level.

95

CIGAR RATING

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 cedarlike 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.

94

CIGAR RATING

ARTURO FUENTE DON ARTURO GRAN ANIVERXARIO SIGLO DE AMISTED 5 x 50 Robusto Wrapper: Dominican Chateau De La Fuente Rosado Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican Tasting Notes: This medium to full cigar has hints of spice with a strong peppery and coffee profile. It’s certainly a creamy and smooth smoke–dark chocolate, leathery and finishes with a slight cocoa and earth flavor on the palate.

92

CIGAR RATING

ASHTON CIGARS LA AROMA DE CUBA EDICION ESPECIAL #4 7 x 49 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: The golden-brown Cuban-seed wrapper leaf is harvested in the volcanic landscape of Ecuador. It’s paired over a premium interior of vintage Nicaraguan long-filler tobaccos. This zesty, medium cigar is strongly Cuban in profile and perfectly balanced from beginning to end. There are nuances of intensity and flavor including leather, white pepper, toffee, coffee beans and light cocoa.

94

CIGAR RATING

ASHTON CIGARS VSG TORPEDO Torpedo 6.5 x 55 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican Tasting Notes: The wrapper conceals a combination of Dominican binder and filler tobaccos aged four to five years. The Ashton VSG is a full cigar that’s flavorful and rich. There are standout notes of cedar, earth, espresso beans and leather. It’s a classic cigar.

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93

CIGAR RATING

AVO CIGARS IMPROVISATION LE19 6 x 52 Toro Wrapper: Ecuadorian Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican, Peruvian 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.

93

CIGAR RATING

COHIBA TORO ROYALE TORO 6 X 50 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Jalapa Binder: Dominican Piloto Cubano Filler: Dominican Ligero, Honduran Viso, Nicaraguan Ligero Tasting Notes: The Jalapa Valley offers a rare combination of a moist microclimate, high elevation and reddish-brown soil all combine to make for flavorful and unique tobaccos. The Dominican Piloto binder delivers complexity with pleasant aromas and flavors. The tobacco fillers (Estelí and Jamastrán) provide a darkly rich flavor profile for this strong cigar.

91

CIGAR RATING

DANIEL MARSHALL CIGARS BLACK LABEL Churchill 7.25 x 50 Wrapper: Dominican, Chateau de la Fuente Binder: Dominican, Chateau de la Fuente Filler: Dominican, Chateau de la Fuente Tasting Notes: This finely crafted Daniel Marshall cigar (from Manuel Quesada’s factory) is a mild blend aged at one year. There are evident notes of cedar, leather, walnuts and tasty spices. There’s an ample amount of billowing smoke throughout with a lush draw.

96

CIGAR RATING

DANIEL MARSHALL CIGARS DANIEL X CARLITO XXXVIII ANNIVERSARY CIGAR LIMITED EDITION 2020 Torpedo 6 3/8 x 52 Wrapper: Dominican, Chateau de la Fuente Binder: Dominican, Chateau de la Fuente Filler: Dominican, Chateau de la Fuente Tasting Notes: Each cigar is crafted by an individual artisan at Chateau de la Fuente–12 per day. This celebratory cigar is blended with tobaccos up to 12 years old, then aged a minimum of one year after being rolled in special cedar vaults. Chocolate, coffee, caramel and honey notes are evident. The blend is rich and smooth, and worthy of the Marshall anniversary. The Fuente draw is effortless, and offers a fine ash.

90

CIGAR RATING

DIESEL WHISKEY ROW Robusto 5.5 x 52 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Binder: San Andrean Filler: Nicaraguan Habano Tasting Notes: The binder leaf is aged in charred Kentucky oak bourbon barrels from Rabbit Hole Distillery. The barrel finish adds a unique dimension of flavor just beneath the wrapper. The subtle hints of bourbon in the flavor and aroma, take some of the bold Nicaraguan spice out of this blend for a medium finish.

91

CIGAR RATING

DREW ESTATE UNDERCROWN SHADYXX 5 x 50 Torpedo (Box Pressed) Wrapper: San Andrés Binder: Habano Filler: Brazilian, Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: A full-bodied cigar with notes of chocolate, earth and leather that finishes with a long-lasting pepper draw.

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KOLOA

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94

CIGAR RATING

DREW ESTATE HERRERA ESTELÍ NORTEÑO 6 x 52 Toro Especial Wrapper: San Andres Maduro Binder: Honduran Filler: Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: This Herrera blend showcases a rich and bold Mexican San Andres wrapper, with a spicy complexity leading to a smooth, creamy smoking experience. The citrus hints are particularly alluring.

89

CIGAR RATING

EL SEPTIMO CIGARS AQUA ANU THE GILGAMESH COLLECTION 6 x 50 Wrapper: Costa Rican Binder: Costa Rican Filler: Costa Rican Tasting Notes: The Aqua Anu is a handsomely constructed cigar with a dark and oily Maduro wrapper. The flavors are balanced with roasted coffee , cocoa powder and light cream notes. It scores high with an impressive ash. This medium cigar leaves a pleasant aftertaste on the palate.

93

CIGAR RATING

E.P. CARRILLO CIGARS EPC NEW WAVE CONNECTICUT BRILLANTES Robusto 5 x 50 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: The New Wave Connecticut Brillantes has a mild body yet very rich in flavor. This elegant smoke is creamy and smooth with hints of sweetness. The tastes are very balanced, and offers a sweet aroma. It’s a delicious cigar.

91

CIGAR RATING

FALTO CIGARS FALTO LA PUREZA Lancero 6 7/8 x 40 Wrapper: Habano (HVA) Ecuador Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican Tasting Notes: This medium to full cigar boasts a delicious Habano (HVA) Ecuadorian wrapper with rich Dominican tobaccos for its binder and filler. It smokes with balanced complexity. The La Pureza offers sweet and woody tastes with floral notes, finishing with nutmeg and other simple spices.

90

CIGAR RATING

FALTO CIGARS FALTO YAGÜEZ “ARAWACO” Short Figurado 5 x 54 Wrapper: Dominican Corojo Shade Binder: Brazilian Sumatra Filler: Brazilian, Dominican, Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: This short Figurado has a tasty Domincan Corojo Shade wrapper with a Brazilian-grown Sumatra seed binder. The stellar blend is full of filler tobacco from the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Nicaragua. The Yagüez “Arawaco” has perfect balance and complexity. There are wonderful hints of black pepper with sweet cedar and floral notes.

91

CIGAR RATING

HIRAM & SOLOMON CIGARS MASTER MASON Napoleon 4 x 38 Wrapper: Habano Maduro Oscuro Binder: Indonesian Sumatra Filler: Habano Jalapa, Habano Ometepe, Ligero Habano Estelí Tasting Notes: The Master Mason is a full cigar with a velvety Maduro wrapper. It resonates with notes of sweet leather, and cocoa flavors that are enhanced by a cedar aroma that linger pleasantly on the finish.

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

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92

CIGAR RATING

HIRAM & SOLOMON CIGARS VEILED PROPHET LANCERO Lancero 7 x 38 Wrapper: Brazilian (Arapiraca) Colorado Binder: Indonesian Filler: Habano Estelí, Paraguay, Ligero Habano Jalapa Tasting Notes: The Brazilian wrapper features the aromas and tastes of cedar, coffee and caramel. The cigar is expertly crafted, and finishes with soothing hints of earth and mild pepper.

96

CIGAR RATING

HOYO DE MONTERREY EPICURE NO. 2 5.5 x 52 Robusto Wrapper: Cuba Binder: Cuba Filler: Cuba Tasting Notes: The cigar is a consistently medium, rarely comes off as strong. It features a most impressive draw, and loads of billowy smoke. It offers sweetness and cocoa throughout. A delightful and classic Cuban cigar.

89

CIGAR RATING

HOYO LA AMISTAD LA AMISTAD DARK SUMATRA MEDIA NOCHE Toro 5.75 x 54 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra Oscuro Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf Filler: Dominican, Honduran ligeros, Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: The Hoyo La Amistad series represents a successful partnership with A.J. Fernandez and Hoyo de Monterrey. There’s the signature “Cubanesque” character and flavors of Hoyo de Monterrey as well as A.J.’s fermentation, aging and cigar expertise. This La Amistad Dark Sumatra is a rich and creamy smoke, made in A.J.’s full-bodied tradition.

91

CIGAR RATING

J.C. NEWMAN CIGAR COMPANY PERLA DEL MAR MADURO 4.75 x 52 Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: A smooth-smoking cigar with flavors of bitter baker’s chocolate, molasses, nutmeg and cedar with a salty and spicy finish.

91

CIGAR RATING

KRISTOFF CIGARS KRISTOFF ORIGINAL CRIOLLO Robusto 5 x 54 Wrapper: Honduran Criollo Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: Kristoff captures the spirit of a fine Cuban here. It embodies the taste and richness of traditional blends. It has a rich and oily wrapper, pigtail and uncut foot. This Kristoff offers notes of toasted almond, hints of spice and a sweet finish. This medium cigar is incredibly smooth.

91

CIGAR RATING

KRISTOFF CIGARS KRISTOFF 685 WOODLAWN Perfecto 6.5 x 60 Wrapper: Brazilian Habano Binder: Brazilian Sumatra Filler: Dominican Habano, Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: The 685 Woodlawn is a limited production blend, and it’s a superbly crafted cigar. The 685 features rare tobaccos. There are evident notes of spice, cedar, coffee and features a sweet almond finish. The Perfecto vitola is nicely suited for the balanced flavors and craft of the cigar.

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ElArtistaCigars.com

NEW FROM EL ARTISTA CIGARS

LIVE

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94

CIGAR RATING

LA FLOR DOMINICANA GOLDEN “ORO” 50TH ANNIVERSARY 6.5 x 54 Toro Extra Wrapper: Mexican–San Andrean Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican Criollo 99 Tasting Notes: A medium to full cigar. There are hints of creamy jasmine rice leading into earthy country barn flavors–fresh hay and bark. The finish is somewhat sweet with flavors of plum, cocoa, nuts and a touch of saltiness on the palate.

91

CIGAR RATING

MIAMI CIGAR & COMPANY NESTOR MIRANDA COLLECTION SPECIAL COLLECTION 5.5 x 54 Toro Wrapper: Habano Nicaraguan Binder: Criollo 98 Nicaraguan Filler: Estelí, Jalapa, Condega Tasting Notes: Special Selection is the original Nestor Miranda cigar. Spicy and medium-full bodied with a rich sweetness on the finish.

92

CIGAR RATING

MICALLEF CIGARS EXPERIENCIA PROMINENTE 5.5 x 58 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Binder: San Andrés Habano Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican, Panamanian Tasting Notes: Woody, citrus, & sweet dense, woody smoke full oaky character, citrus notes and sweet vanilla notes of cedar, cinnamon, and a touch of earth accompanied by a hint of white pepper on the finish.

93

CIGAR RATING

MICALLEF MIGDALIA TORO 6 x 52 Wrapper: San Andrean Habano Binder: Sumatran Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican Tasting Note: A beautifully balanced cigar with complexity and a uniquely full flavor. Smoky smooth—a superbly enjoyable medium-full strength cigar.

94

CIGAR RATING

NAT CICCO ANIVERSARIO 1965 LIGA NO. 4 6 x 52 Toro Wrapper: Ecuadorian Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: A box-pressed cigar with an uncut foot. The smoke billows abundantly. This oaky and nutty flavored cigar is a pleasant smoke. Additionally, there are notes cocoa.

91

CIGAR RATING

NAT SHERMAN INTERNATIONAL METROPOLITAN CONNECTICUT UNIVERSITY 6 x 50 Wrapper: Connecticut Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican Tasting Notes: The sophisticated Metropolitan is a traditional expression of a smooth Dominican cigar. The Connecticut wrapper is gorgeous to the eye. It’s mellow to medium based on your palate, and delivers an incredibly smooth and creamy smoke. There are abundant flavors of earth, cedar and wood. It’s a classic Nat Sherman cigar.

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90

CIGAR RATING

NAT SHERMAN INTERNATIONAL TIMELESS SUPREME 660 6 x 60 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: The Timeless Supreme 660 is a collection of full-bodied, and elegantly box-pressed Nicaraguan puros. The cigar is consistent in that it delivers fine Nicaraguan flavors of cocoa, chocolate and a light spice rounded out with a smooth creaminess. There are subtle hints of earthiness along the finish.

91

CIGAR RATING

PLASENCIA CIGARS RESERVA 1898 7 x 50 Churchill Wrapper: Nicaraguan Binder: Honduran Filler: Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: A full-flavored delight that hits the palate with chocolate notes. This flavor profile is laced with hints of walnut, dried figs and leather, followed by a subtle trace of pepper.

93

CIGAR RATING

ROCKY PATEL ROYALE TORPEDO 6” x 52 Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sumatra Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf and Connecticut Shade double binder Filler: Nicaragua 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.

92

CIGAR RATING

TABACALERA EL ARTISTA BIG PAPI BY DAVID ORTIZ 6” x 54 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Claro Binder: Criollo 98 Filler: Dominican & Nicaraguan Tasting Notes: Medium bodied smoke with notes of pepper, chestnut and cream.

89

CIGAR RATING

VILLIGER CIGARS DO BRASIL MADURO 5 x 50 Robusto Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca Binder: Brazilian Filler: Brazilian Tasting Notes: A medium cigar with elite Brazilian Arapiraca tobacco. The cigar has a silky smooth flavor– hints of fruit and notes of dark coffee and leather.

88

CIGAR RATING

ZR CIGARS GRAN CHAVON

6 x 60 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican Tasting Notes: A medium and sweet cigar on the palate. It offers aromas and tastes of wood, black coffee, cream and citrus.

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KREMLIN

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SUMMER SPIRITS BUYER’S GUIDE 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

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FOR YOUR HOME BAR


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SPIRIT RATING

London Dry Gin No.3

SPIRIT RATING

Humboldt Distillery

93

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SPIRIT RATING

Grace O’Malley

SPIRIT RATING

Red River

LONDON DRY GIN NO.3

MSRP: $40 | ABV: 46% No.3 Gin is a crisp, classically styled London Dry Gin. The nose is bright, crisp and fresh with an uplifting welcome of juniper. The palate features juniper at the fore, supported by floral, summery notes and spicy, warm flavors of cardamom complemented by the gingery spiciness of coriander. The No.3 Finishes with the earthy dryness of angelica.

HUMBOLDT DISTILLERY ORGANIC SPICED RUM

MSRP: $25 | ABV: 40% The rum is double distilled, once in a custom column still and then again in a traditional pot still. It’s made from organic cane sugar, grown and packaged in the United States. It’s non-GMO, organic and gluten free. This spiced rum features hints of vanilla, allspice and fruit.

ROGUE SPIRITS ROLLING THUNDER STOUTED WHISKEY (LIMITED EDITION)

MSRP: $70 | ABV 48.5% This stouted whiskey is big, bold and uniquely bridges the gap between Single Malt and Bourbon. There are evident aromas of dark cocoa, graham, coffee, spiced baked apple, dried fruit, subtle smoke and sea air on the nose. The flavors of dark cocoa, toffee, vanilla, dried fruit, cola on the palate with a finish of cola, coffee and grain.

95

SPIRIT RATING

Rogue Spirits

96

SPIRIT RATING

Dos Hombres

GRACE O’MALLEY BLENDED IRISH WHISKEY

MSRP: $50 | ABV: 40 % This is a special blend that combines multiple batch whiskeys of varying age. The whiskey is matured in a range of barrel types, including French oak and the casks are hand-selected according to each whiskey’s characteristics. There are aromas and tastes of caramel, bourbon, vanilla, malt, dry almonds, orange peel and honey.

RED RIVER TEXAS BOURBON

MSRP: $45 | ABV: 41.2% The bourbon is aged in new, charred American oak barrels and then finished in Napa Valley Pinot Noir casks. It has a deep, rich chestnut rouge appearance, with aromas of sweet dried fruit, black cherry and caramel. Texas Bourbon is smooth and balanced. It finishes warm, sweet and soft.

DOS HOMBRES

MSRP: $60 | ABV: 42% Dos Hombres Mezcal is the collaboration between Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston along with the renowned Mezcalier, Gregorio Velasco Luis. The spirit is crafted with espadin agave, hand-selected from the hillsides of a small village in Oaxaca. The mezcal was developed with velvety notes of fruit, agave and features a woody, apple quality. The fine finish is smooth and smoky sweet.

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95

SPIRIT RATING

The GlenDronach Revival Malt Scotch

Ron Barceló

95

Journeyman Distillery

92

SPIRIT RATING

Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum

SPIRIT RATING

Vale Fox Distillery

THE GLENDRONACH REVIVAL MALT SCOTCH AGED 15 YEARS

GARRISON BROTHERS BALMORHEA BOURBON (2020 RELEASE)

RON BARCELÓ IMPERIAL PREMIUM BLEND 30 ANIVERSARIO

HOLMES CAY SINGLE CASK RUM BARBADOS 2005 LIMITED EDITION LUXURY RUM

MSRP: $93 | ABV: 46% The GD 15 displays a gorgeous antique bronze to the eye, and is a richly complex blend. It leads with a burst of maraschino cherry, ripe blackberries and dark chocolate on the nose with hints of mint, orange bitters and walnut liqueur. The flavor offers intense notes of ripe dark fruits and manuka honey evolving into an elegant silk-velvet chocolate finish.

MSRP: $125.00 | ABV: 43% The 30 is distilled in the Dominican Republic from the fermented juice of freshly cut estate-grown sugar cane. It has exceptional flavor, robustness and complexity. This Limited Edition (only 600 bottles are allocated annually to the United States) is a keeper. The rich, enveloping aromas of dried fruits, vanilla and caramel are sublime.

JOURNEYMAN DISTILLERY FINE GIRL BRANDY

MSRP: $50 | ABV: 45% Fine Girl Brandy gets its start as Vidal Blanc grapes from St. Julian Winery. The result is a full-flavored brandy that sweetly blends the complex flavors of oak and grapes. Green apple and honey are present upon first taste, melon comes through as the flavor opens up with a creamy finish and a kiss of vanilla from the oak barrel.

84

SPIRIT RATING

93

SPIRIT RATING

Garrison Brothers

92

SPIRIT RATING

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MSRP: $160 | ABV: 57.5% Balmorhea is the only twice-barreled bourbon in the Garrison Brothers portfolio released on an annual basis. It includes a mélange of what the brand refers to as the “Dairy Queen toppings.” Described by bourbon, candy, frozen fudgesicle bars, amaretto, coffee with cream, sticky buns and pecan brittle. All topped off with tastes of thick, white chocolate syrup.

MSRP: $149 | ABV: 64% The Single Cask Rum starts with a nose of brown sugar and butterscotch and moves forward on the palate with notes of caramelized toffee, tangerine and vanilla. There’s a crisp mouthfeel leading to a light woody finish with a heft of peppery spice.

VALE FOX DISTILLERY TOD & VIXEN’S DRY GIN 1651

MSRP: $40 | ABV: 48% This dry gin is distilled on a Forsyth’s gin still from 100% wheat neutral spirit. It’s uniquely made by macerating botanicals including juniper and angelica root, red rooibos tea and fresh orange peel. It retains these robust flavors with non-chill filtering. The resulting sip is bold on entry giving way to a well-balanced, vibrant gin with a robust, flavorful and weighty mouthfeel.


THE 10TH ANNUAL WEST COAST CIGAR & SPIRITS TASTING

Save the Date!

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

THE ULTIMATE LIFESTYLE EVENT

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5TH, 2020 PRESENTED BY

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

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96

SPIRIT RATING

New Amsterdam Vodka

SPIRIT RATING

Glen Moray

94

Davidoff Cognac XO

SPIRIT RATING

Balcones

NEW AMSTERDAM VODKA RED BERRY

MSRP: $15 | ABV: 35% New Amsterdam Red Berry offers sweet, juicy flavors of ripe raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and boysenberries. A touch of lime zest brightens the berry flavors on the palate, and the flavors are rounded together with brown spice and sweet vanilla. Its silky-smooth mouthfeel leads to an ultra-clean finish.

GLEN MORAY 21-YEAR-OLD PORTWOOD FINISH WHISKY

MSRP: $180 | ABV: 46.3% This expression offers aromas of intense berry fruits. The fruits merge with creamy vanilla and rich caramel with hints of freshly- baked gingerbread. It’s nicely balanced and full of character. The flavors you’ll encounter throughout are blackcurrant and licorice that dominate in the first instance, then chewy caramel toffee and chili-infused chocolate come to the fore. It finishes rich and satisfying, multi-layered and smooth.

THE WHISTLER IRISH WHISKEY OLOROSO SHERRY CASK FINISH

MSRP: $35 | ABV: 43% The blend is distilled three times for extra smoothness, and aged in exbourbon and oloroso sherry casks. The notes are lemon sherbet, white grape, walnut, nougat with creamy raspberry, and a hint of tropical fruits on the nose. There are flavors of bergamot orange, nougat, a slight minerality, tied together with a hint of coconut, banana and a brief pear notes are tasted on the palate and a sweet, lingering finish with a dry wood prickle.

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The Whistler Irish Whiskey

96

SPIRIT RATING

93

SPIRIT RATING

90

SPIRIT RATING

Watershed Distillery

DAVIDOFF COGNAC XO

MSRP: $150 | ABV: 40% The spirit is made by Hine Distillery located in the heart of the Grande Champagne cru right along the banks of the river Charente. The XO is made with 25 cognac eaux de vie with from Petite Champagne, Fin Bois and Bon Bois and aged for 18 years to give it the smooth flavors of apricot, peach, walnut, honey, chocolate, leather and clove.

BALCONES TEXAS SINGLE MALT

MSRP: $74 | ABV: 53% This single malt has aromas of ripe, buttered stone fruit, banana and pears; honey and rose water with delicate citrus accents on the nose. This Balcones expression is silky and full with lightly toasted bread with fresh butter and marmalade flavor on the palate. It has a long finish with lingering toast and burnt sugar notes morphing into rich malt and wood flavors with counterbalancing acidity.

WATERSHED DISTILLERY BOTTLED OLD FASHIONED

MSRP: $33 | ABV: 35.1 % (varies by batch) This Watershed Distillery offering is a classic Old Fashioned cocktail made with quality ingredients: bourbon, bitters, sugar and Ohio cherry juice. It’s a good introduction to the new Old Fashioned appreciator. Simply uncork, pour over ice and enjoy. It’s balanced with sweetness and strength.


micallef qr code from FFC with actual photo

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92

SPIRIT RATING

Distillery 291

Monkey in Paradise Vodka

91

Egan’s Irish Whiskey

MSRP: $115 | ABV: 50% The blend was originally created by mistake when a double dose of rye was accidentally added to its bourbon recipe. After aging, the result was a complex bourbon that strikes a balance between the 291 Colorado Bourbon Whiskey and 291 Colorado Whiskey. This created a taste of spice and fruitiness to round out the vanilla and oak.

MONKEY IN PARADISE VODKA

MSRP: $18 | ABV: 40% This Monkey is handcrafted in South Florida of the United States. It’s 7x carbon filtered and 7x column distilled from a special formula, non-GMO corn grain. The vodka is 100% gluten-free. It’s a colorful, clean spirit with balanced flavors of bread and cream and smooth on the palate.

BUZZARD’S ROOST SIPPIN’ WHISKEY BUZZARD’S ROOST SINGLE BARREL STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY MSRP: $70 | ABV: 52.5% The Buzzard’s Roost Sippin’ Whiskey is a single barrel whiskey, handselected from Buzzard’s Roost inventory that gives it a unique and outstanding flavor of ryegrass, vanilla, fruity spice, cinnamon and nutmeg with some oak tannins. This is a spirit you’ll come back to over and over.

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Buzzard’s Roost Sippin’ Whiskey

93

SPIRIT RATING

DISTILLERY 291 291 HR COLORADO BOURBON WHISKEY

88

SPIRIT RATING

96

SPIRIT RATING

Traverse City Whiskey

93

SPIRIT RATING

SPIRIT RATING

Tarnished Truth Distilling Company

TRAVERSE CITY WHISKEY XXX STRAIGHT BOURBON

MSRP: $33 | ABV: 43% The Traverse City Whiskey is superbly aged at 4 years. It’s a sophisticated bourbon, offering an elegant profile with hints of vanilla, citrus undertones and a smooth finish.

EGAN’S IRISH WHISKEY EGAN’S LEGACY RESERVE II

MSRP: $200 | ABV: 46% This Egan’s single malt, aged for 16 years in American Bourbon casks, is limited to only 1,000 bottles. It’s finished in a Banyuls cask, made from old vines on the slopes of the Catalan Pyrenees in France. This Irish Single Malt is exceptional with hints of chocolate, cream and charred oak on the nose. The palate is fullbodied, sweet and fruity and incredibly smooth. Hints of peaches and apricots give way to a slight blackcurrant and slight cassis aftertaste.

TARNISHED TRUTH DISTILLING COMPANY OLD CAVALIER, STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKEY, AGED 9 YEARS

MSRP: $95 | ABV: 43% The aromas of sweetness with baked apples on the nose and the taste of toffee that coats the mouth. Hints of black pepper and cinnamon, and a smooth finish with dried spices. This straight bourbon surprises with smoky tones and pleasant sweetness.


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94

94

SPIRIT RATING

Rabbit Hole

INSÓLITO Tequila

93

Diplomatico Rum

92

SPIRIT RATING

Tanteo

SPIRIT RATING

Bacardi

RABBIT HOLE “BOXERGRAIL” KENTUCKY STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY

BARRELL DOVETAIL BOURBON WHISKEY

MSRP: $60 | ABV: 47.5% Rabbit Hole “Boxergrail” has a light mouthfeel, with notes of caramel and mild spiciness on the nose. On the palate there’s a strong flavor of dried sweet fruits, that are followed by the same aroma notes of caramel and a mild spiciness. The finish is long and warm, with a slight spiciness that fades into an herbal aftertaste left on the palate.

MSRP: $90 | ABV: 62.17% The Dovetail is an aromatic bourbon. It’s pungently floral and herbaceous, with subtle, balancing pops of minerality. It leaves a darker, cocoa, molasses, burnt marshmallow and spicier flavor on the palate than on the nose, which is derived from the cask. It finishes with a sweet signature of rose jelly, chestnut, honey, and Pineau des Charantes that also features hazelnut, eucalyptus and Corsican mint.

INSÓLITO TEQUILA AÑEJO

TANTEO HABANERO TEQUILA

DIPLOMATICO RUM DIPLOMATICO PLANAS

BACARDI AÑEJO CUATRO

MSRP: $55 | ABV: 40% This blend is a strong-bodied, smooth and aromatic tequila. It’s aged 18-24 months in New American White Oak Barrels. It’s a silky, well-structured Añejo due to its extended aging period. The evident flavor notes are chocolate, nuts, dry fruits and wood.

MSRP: $33 | ABV: 47% This Diplomatico is made from molasses and sugar cane honeys and distilled in pot stills, columns and batch kettle. It’s aged for up to 6 years in American white oak, ex-bourbon, and ex-malt whiskey barrels. The aromas are fresh and tropical, and very pleasant. It leads with coconut and ground coffee, followed by slightly fruity and creamy flavors. There’s fine balance with a delicate and pronounced finish.

90

SPIRIT RATING

93

SPIRIT RATING

Barrell Dovetail Bourbon Whiskey

93

SPIRIT RATING

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MSRP: $40 | ABV: 40% The habanero is an ultra-premium 100% Blue Weber Agave Blanco Tequila infused with real habanero peppers, sourced from the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s spicy and tropical nose. It works as well in cocktails as it does on its own. It shines in the Tanteo portfolio.

MSRP: $20 | ABV: 40% This Bacardi expression is a barrel-aged rum developed over a minimum of four years. The notes of mild vanilla, toasted oak, clove and honey, with a smooth finish, make it ideal in cocktails or simply with a rock or two.


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93

92

SPIRIT RATING

Cathead

SPIRIT RATING

Mammoth Distilling

94

Clase Azul Tequila

SPIRIT RATING

Blood Oath Pact No. 5

CATHEAD CATHEAD HONEYSUCKLE VODKA

MSRP: $25 | ABV: 35% This Cathead is made by hand in small batches using all-natural ingredients. It’s infused with all-natural honeysuckle and pure Louisiana cane sugar. It’s soft floral and herbaceous aromas of honeysuckle are uniquely evident. It features a sweet and delicate flavor with a wellrounded fresh finish.

MAMMOTH DISTILLING BORROWED-TIME 12-YEAR RYE

MSRP: $70 | ABV: 56% This rye is a limited release. It’s a 6-barrel blend of 12-year Canadian rye whiskey aged in second-fill bourbon casks. The barrels in this blend (HB3) were carefully selected among a collection of several hundred for their exceptional character. The whiskey offers a superb palate of bright apple, pear and dried cherry with a grassy sweetness and a hint of spice through the finish.

BRADSHAW STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKEY

MSRP: $39.99 | ABV: 51.9% Bradshaw Bourbon is distilled by a third-generation master distiller. The spirit is blended from the finest grains, and aged in hand-selected barrels. The vanilla, coffee, banana, leather and campfire notes segue into distinct flavors of cinnamon, baking spices, vanilla and coconut on the palette, with a tasty finish of wood, vanilla and butterscotch.

92

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Bradshaw Bourbon

94

SPIRIT RATING

95

SPIRIT RATING

93

SPIRIT RATING

Southfork Vodka

CLASE AZUL TEQUILA CLASE AZUL REPOSADO

MSRP: $84.99 | ABV: 40% Clase Azul Reposado is an ultra-premium reposado tequila made with Tequilana Weber Blue Agave that is slow cooked in traditional stone ovens for a minimum of 72 hours. Once the agave reaches a deep, rich flavor, it’s fermented with proprietary yeast prior to distillation. It’s aged for 8 months in hand-selected oak barrels. This process results in a superb, smooth taste which exceeds expectations with each sip. Intense amber color with a silky and rich body and a woody, fruity, vanilla and toffee caramel aroma. Also, with the taste of cooked agave, woody, fruity, very smooth, vanilla and toffee caramel.

LUX ROW DISTILLERS BLOOD OATH PACT NO. 5

MSRP: $99.99 | ABV: 49.3% Pact No. 5 starts with an eight-year-old rye bourbon rested in used dark Caribbean rum barrels for six months to add a touch of warm island spice. This bourbon picks up rum notes and combines with an 11-year-old silky wheated bourbon and an extra-aged, peppery 13-year-old rye bourbon. The result is complex—spicy, sweet, lingering bourbon with balanced flavor notes.

SOUTH FORK VODKA

MSRP: $21.99 | ABV: 40% South Fork Vodka is 6x distilled. It’s a smooth sipper featuring GMO Free American Corn and Sierra Nevada Spring Water. It’s an elegant and delicate spirit.


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C&S

by Sean Chaffin

hs–the t n o m w e last fe dunks, Stanley h t r o f g sports -dropping NBA ff the tee. The n i v a r c ve been h Madness, jaw onster drives o wn. a h s n a at play h t Americ the bat, Marc ck cars and m e is still unkno s e n i l o c nt story about human a t s crack of ffs, rumbling st turns in full for n o c o e orts are ck. Sports are zy feats and p s , Cup play e that sports r ’s O r tra g st cra ’s and exact tim yond just the X urt, rink, field o d sometimes ju quely interestin Be the co ermination an are some uni d n o y e b out d det in mind, here e years. n a t i r g , emotion rs. With all that f sports over th e o encount rom the world f oddities

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DO THE ROBOT

Quite a few fans consider the FOX Sports robot as a bit of a curiosity. Cleatus debuted during the network’s NFL coverage in 2005. The CGI-generated droid expanded beyond football and has been seen tossing a football, hitting baseballs, playing guitar–and even nursing a hangover after New Year’s Eve.

FAN MAN TAKES A POUNDING

Top left photo: WENN Rights/Shutterstock.com. Bottom left photo courtesy of nba.com. Right photo courtesy of reviewjournal.com.

On Nov. 6, 1993, it wasn’t quite clear if James Miller had been trying to get a great view of a big fight, or if he was simply being a jackass. Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe were matched up in a highly anticipated heavyweight championship bout at the outdoor arena at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the seventh round, Miller flew into the ring via paraglider. The contraption involved a parachute with a fan attached to Miller’s back, and he was later known by many simply as the “Fan Man.” As Holyfield and Bowe duked it out in the ring, Miller descended into the crowd near ringside. His parachute got caught in the arena’s overhead lighting, and the action was paused. Fans quickly took security into their own hands by landing blows on Miller. He was knocked unconscious and taken to a nearby hospital before briefly landing in jail. The Fan Man later told a British newspaper: “It was a heavyweight fight, and I was the only guy who got knocked out.”

BIZARRE BABY MASCOT

Looking for a sports mascot to creep out the kids? The NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans King Cake Baby takes the prize as the creepiest mascot in sports. This creation looks like a cross between a Cabbage Patch Kids doll and a Sloth from the Goonies movie, but actually the mascot has a tie-in to local culture and tradition. “For those not in the know, King Cake is a ring-shaped doughy cake that’s commonly associated with Mardi Gras,” Sporting News noted about this creepy creation. “The baker hides a plastic baby inside the cake and whoever finds it in their slice either receives good luck, gets pregnant or has to bake next year’s cake. It depends on how you opt to interpret the process.” Humans as mascots are weird in general–including the Dallas Cowboys’ Rowdy or Purdue Pete. Mascots should be animals like the great San Diego Chicken, not freaky babies or lame cowboys. In 2019, the King Cake Baby’s creator sued the producers of the slasher film Happy Death Day for unlawful use of the mascot’s likeness. Creepy mascot? Yes. Possible serial killer? You make the call.

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HEAD SCRATCHER SUPERSTITIONS DOUBLING UP

>> Moses Malone was the major star player for the St. Louis Spirits Stars.

THE DREAM DEAL CATCHING THE YIPS

Mackey “The Hacker” Sasser began his MLB catching career in 1987 with the New York Mets. He was considered good defensively behind the plate, and had a strong throwing arm to second base that would thwart would-be base stealers. He batted a solid .285 in 60 games during the 1989 season. Sasser looked to have promise on a Mets team that finished first in the NL East that season, and had the inside track as a replacement for Hall of Famer Gary Carter, whose last season with the Mets ended in 1989.

Sasser isn’t the only player to have experienced issues throwing the ball. One case inspired a condition no baseball player would like to have–Steve Sax Syndrome. The former Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman struggled to get the ball to first base. In 1983, Sax committed 30 errors and fans along first base took to wearing helmets as “protection” for his errant throws. Luckily for Sax, his abnormality lasted only one season, and he had a solid career. In fact, Sax led the American League in both fielding percentage and double plays in 1989 with the New York Yankees.

The renegade ABA had to shed a few teams as part of the merger however. To fold, the Kentucky Colonels were given a $3.3 million buyout. A similar deal was offered to the Silna brothers, but they didn’t go for it. Instead, they negotiated a $2.2 million severance for the Spirits’ roster of players and a 1/7th payout for each of the four former ABA teams’ share of the NBA’s “visual media” rights. In essence, the two brothers received 57 percent of one full share of the NBA’s television rights. That first year, the Silna brothers received a check for $521,749. But as the NBA grew in popularity throughout the 1980s and 90s, the league received astronomical sums for its broadcast and cable rights. In total, their payouts added up to $300 million by 2014–all without owning a team. With a new TV deal on the horizon at the time, the NBA apparently reached a deal to buy the former Spirits owners out of the agreement for an estimated $500 million. Some have called their deal the best in sports history. Few would argue with that. Cha-ching!

THE URGE TO MERGE IN PENNSYLVANIA

What if the New York Giants and Jets were combined into one team named the Gets? Maybe the Oakland Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers joined forces as the Ragers? Those scenarios seem unlikely, but something like this actually happened during the 1943 season. During World War II, so many players served in the military that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles were combined into one team. Most players in the league at the time were deemed unfit for duty due to some physical reason, or they received a deferment for having to support children. That still left NFL rosters short in some cases, and an Eagles and Steelers merger was needed. They became known by fans informally as the “Steagles.” The team produced a 5-4-1 record, but missed the playoffs. Another interesting note about 1943? It was the first year helmets were required on the playing field.

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SOME NICE NUMEROLOGY

Many people have a favorite number, but former five-time MLB All-Star right fielder Larry Walker was obsessive about the number three. Walker wore the number 33 throughout his 17-year career with the Expos, Rockies and Cardinals. He reportedly ensured his phone number included as many threes as possible, and only woke up at 33 minutes past the hour. Walker even got married on November 3rd at 3:33 p.m.. Fittingly, he ended his career with a .313 batting average, 383 home runs, 1,355 runs, 1,311 RBI, and 230 stolen bases. Using a biblical reference, the number three  was used to put a divine stamp of completion or fulfillment on a subject. Larry Walker was selected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this year.  

NAILED IT

A salon manicure may be popular with some men nowadays, but certainly not during a professional basketball game. Former NBA point guard Mike Bibby spent time clipping his fingernails as a regular part of his time spent on the bench. His quick clip timeouts came after seeking a solution for biting his nails. It must have worked, but it was an interesting scene on the bench. Maybe opening a salon might be a nice idea for Bibby in retirement.

PASSING ON THE FIFTIES

The fifty-dollar bill is viewed as unlucky by many poker players. There are numerous theories for this superstition. One argument is that former United States Civil War General and President Ulysses Grant (depicted on a “half yard”) was poor at managing the nation’s economy. Others believe the mob buried bodies with a fifty-dollar bill in the victim’s jacket pocket. One theory is that the bills were targeted more by counterfeiters. Another likely scenario is more practical– fifties are more likely to be confused with five-dollar and twenty-dollar bills. Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @ PokerTraditions or email him at seanchaffin@ sbcglobal.net.

Mackey Sasser photo courtesy of AL.com. St. Louis Spirits photo credit St. Louis Today.

Sasser began experiencing a unique problem that would plague his career. Inexplicably, he compulsively started double and triple clutching when throwing the ball back to the pitcher. His tentativeness with returning the ball to his battery mate frustrated fans, and players began stealing on him during the time it took for the pitcher to receive the ball. Sasser’s case of the yips led to reduced playing time, and ultimately ended his career. Fans also didn’t appreciate one additional byproduct of his double clutches– adding time to the length of the game.

Billion dollar deals are frequent topics in today’s sports media. But one NBA deal meant close to a billion dollars for two St. Louis brothers in 1976. Ozzie and Daniel Silna were the owners of the ABA’s Spirits of St Louis when the league merged with the NBA in 1976. The league took in the ABA’s Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and New York Nets.

Many athletes have routines and superstitions regarding their uniforms, socks and other accoutrement they don during a game. Fresh on our minds because of the recent ESPN documentary, The Last Dance, Michael Jordan wore his game-used University of North Carolina uniform shorts under his Bulls gear in every game. Those lucky Tar Heel bottoms from the 1982 National Championship Game triggered the trend of wearing longer basketball shorts throughout the sport during his era. Depending on your fashion point of view, the over-sized shorts may or may not have enhanced the magnificent “Air Jordan” basketball legacy.


NOLET

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MANAGERIAL MUSICAL CHAIRS

Coaches and managers come and go in sports, but the 1977 Texas Rangers take the cake for clubhouse leadership changes. The team went through four different managers in only eight days that season, including one of the ugliest incidents in the history of the franchise. During spring training, second baseman Lenny Randle confronted manager Frank Luchessi about losing his starting job to Bump Wills. The player and manager were seen exchanging words, and Randle lost it. He pummeled the manager with several punches sending Luchessi to the hospital with a concussion and broken jaw. Luchessi had managed the club since taking over midseason for Billy Martin in 1975, but was fired after 62 games. Rangers owner Brad Corbett must have been frustrated with a 31-31 record. He fired Luchessi and installed Eddie Stanky as manager, who won one game and then resigned to return to coaching in Alabama. Connie Ryan then took the reins for six games (2-4) before being replaced by Billy Hunter, who would last until 1978. An interesting footnote, Texas actually finished second in the AL West that season at 94-68. That Rangers win total wouldn’t be topped until 1999.

GEORGE “THE ANIMAL” STEELE IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN

>> Joe Namath led the Jets to victory in the Heidi Bowl.

by Randy Mastronicola

>> Jennifer Edwar starred in H ds eidi in 1968.

THE HEIDI BOWL

Imagine it’s a huge Sunday afternoon of NFL football, and the time is ticking away in the fourth quarter of the big game. As any football fan knows, this can be the most exciting time and there’s always a chance for a comeback. But someone at NBC must not have been a football fan on Nov. 17, 1968.

“The Animal” was a villainous brute known for his steel wool body hair and green tongue. He substituted monosyllabic grunting in lieu of using words to great comedic effect. Steele’s ogre-like physical characteristics could easily have been the inspiration for Shrek. Steele’s most notable trait, however, was his penchant for maniacally tearing into and eating the stuffing out of turnbuckles. The maneuver was pulled off by Steele in the middle of his matches to the delight of rabid wrestling fans over a number of years. It was campy, bizarre and hilarious. His turnbuckle antics are legendary in sports entertainment history. Steele was born William James Meyers in 1937. Steele had dyslexia, and earned a master’s degree from Central Michigan University. He went on to teach high school in the Detroit area while maintaining his career as a pro wrestler.

The Jets and Raiders were the class of the AFC, and were battling it out in front of 53,000 fans at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. But late in the fourth quarter with the Jets ahead, NBC dropped coverage of the high-scoring game to show the heavily promoted made-for-tv movie Heidi. The story about a young girl living in the Swiss Alps with her goat herding grandfather is about as far away from football as you can get. The NBC network was barraged with complaints by angry fans, and the company president had to issue a formal apology.

In yet another interesting twist, Steele kicked off his acting career as the Swedish wrestler-turned-actor Tor Johnson in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood in 1994. He would go on to appear in seven additional movies as well as television and video productions.

Viewers missed Oakland scoring two touchdowns in the last minute to pull off the improbable win. Bettors were also pleased that Oakland covered the 7.5-point spread with the 43-32 win. However, the Jets would soon put the loss and Heidi behind them. They knocked off the Raiders in the playoffs, and Joe Namath led the upstart Jets to victory in Super Bowl III.

WWE Chairman Vince McMahon’s Twitter message upon George Steele’s death in 2017 read, “George Steele was only an animal in the ring. He was one of the truly nice men in the world.”

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Steele was inducted into the WWE (formerly WWWF) Hall of Fame in 1995.

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

Heidi photo: United Archives GmbH/Alamy.com. George Steele photos courtesy of WWE.

George “The Animal” Steele was a uniquely charismatic wrestler who gained fame in the 1970s and ‘80s during the heyday of the World Wide Wrestling Federation. He was discovered by World Champion Bruno San Martino. His contemporaries were a who’s who of wrestling legends: Gorilla Monsoon, Andre the Giant, Ivan Koloff, Chief Jay Strongbow and Mr. Fuji to name a few.


EL SEPTIMO

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BEHIND THE LEAF

TABACALERA EL ARTISTA’S RADHAMES “RAM” RODRIGUEZ FAMILY, VISION AND BIG PAPI by Joe Bosso and Randy Mastronicola

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Photos courtesy of Tabacalera El Artista.

ANY MAN WHO STEPS INTO A FAMILY-RUN BUSINESS usually knows he has big shoes to fill. However, in the case of Radhames “Ram” Rodriguez, he had a couple of pairs of them. In the early 1950s, his grandfather, Ramon “Pulita” Rodriguez, started selling cigars out of a hut in the Dominican Republic province known as Tamboril. By 1956, Ramon’s cigars were so successful that he was able to establish a small factory and called his company Puros Cibao.


>> The Buffalo Ten 5-pack

>> The Big Papi Slugger

>> El Artista’s Cimarron

B

y the time Ramon’s son, Osvaldo, took over management of the organization in the 1980s, Puros Cibao–now rechristened Tabacalera El Artista–was a dominant force throughout the country and had gained a strong foothold in both Europe and the United States. Not only that, but Osvaldo had also established Tabacalera El Artista as one of the leading sellers of tobacco to other manufacturers. Radhames–affectionately known as “Ram”–originally had little interest in carrying on the family tradition. Although his family had instilled a strong work ethic in him and put him to work doing odd jobs in the factory, throughout his childhood Ram harbored dreams of being a doctor or going into the IT field. That all changed in 2007 when he attended his first International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (The organization is now known as PCA, the Premium Cigar Association.) It was at that trade show where Ram fully internalized his deep respect and admiration for the business his family had started and realized that he had what it took to carry it forward. After completing his formal education–he studied industrial engineering in the Dominican Republic as well as business administration in the United States–he started working for Tabacalera El Artista in 2011 at the age of 21. “When I stepped in, I realized that I had a long trajectory and this was my turn to go to the next level,” says Ram, now 30. “One of my main goals is to have El Artista on the map as one of the best cigar makers in the Dominican Republic. At the same time, my father is still on the tobacco side, so basically what we do now is, I take care of the factory and the cigar making, and he works on growing the tobacco, doing the fermentation and reselling the tobacco.” Now CEO of Tabacalera El Artista, Ram oversees a growing empire that produces over 4.5 million pounds of tobacco each year and has seen the company’s own cigar lines–brands like Pulita, Puro Ambar, Got Your 6, Exactus, Cimarron, Buffalo Ten, as well as two entries in association with Major League Baseball star David Ortiz, the Big Papi and the Slugger–account for sales of approximately 7.5 million sticks per year. Ram sat down with Cigar & Spirits Magazine to talk about his plans for the future, new products, his relationship with David Ortiz, and how he carries on the family tradition by treating the company as “one big family.”

Photos courtesy of Tabacalera El Artista.

In the length of time that you’ve been doing this, you’ve already achieved a substantial amount of success. What would you say are the biggest obstacles you face in your growth? The problem we have is the fact that the tobacco market in the Dominican Republic nowadays is so crazy; even for us, it’s a little complicated to guarantee an amount of tobacco that was noted at the forecast. Because basically the way we’re operating on the tobacco side of the business is, all the tobacco on the farms is already being sold even before we do the fermentation. There’s way too much demand right now. We kind of play two different games here, and we need to be very cautious because we make cigars, but we also sell tobacco to a lot of cigar manufacturers here in Central America and in Europe.

Are there any new releases you’ll be introducing in the near future? We actually have a couple of projects. We’re going to be rebranding the Puro Ambar upper line. There will be some small changes in the presentation–new band, a new fresh box. We’re making some changes to the cigar as well, the main reason being to comply with all the FDA regulations. Instead of a 21 count per box, it’ll be a 20 count. Also, the line will feature 100 percent Dominican tobacco. Other than that, there’s a new line for the Buffalo Ten. The truth with that cigar is that the first blend was so good that I need to be 100 percent sure that the new one is the same or better. It’s been quite a challenge considering the price point, because in order to continue the trajectory of that brand, we also need to guarantee that the price point is going to be very close to the original blend.

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“WE GROW OUR TOBACCO. WE DO OUR OWN FERMENTATION AND SORTING. WE MAKE OUR OWN CIGARS, AND WE ALSO DISTRIBUTE IN THE UNITED STATES BY OURSELVES.”

There’s a quality control issue, but you also have to consider consumers who have gotten used to that price point. I would imagine that’s a fine line to walk. Yes. The goal with Buffalo Ten is to be able to achieve that price point, and still make sure we have a perfect blend. Most of the feedback that I get from Buffalo Ten smokers is that this is already such a good cigar, so we want to maintain the quality at an affordable price. We need to make sure that any line extension has the same balance, but of course we want to be profitable at the same time. There’s a lot of pieces we need to work with, but we’re getting there.

>> El Artista’s premium tobacco about ready to roll.

Anything else you’re working on that you can discuss? We’re also working on a new bundle product that will be the lowest price point out of our catalog. It’s going to be a medium cigar, but it’s coming with something very special. I’m actually working with one of my grandfather’s brands that we use to do around 10 years ago. That cigar, in particular, is very, very good. A lot of value for the price. Not a lot of people like to pay attention to bundle projects like this one, but we’re basically treating it as a premium product. We want to make sure people can perceive the El Artista quality on a lower-end product as well and a value product.

>> The art of hand-rolling is in full force at the factory. >> Expert hands at work.

So those are the main items for you right now – the rebranding of Puro Ambar, a new Buffalo Ten and a new bundled product. We also have it in mind to do something else with David Ortiz. The last cigar we did with him, the Slugger, is really, really good. People love the cigar, but there are a lot of consumers that would rather have a smaller cigar.

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Photos courtesy of Tabacalera El Artista.

That’s an interesting approach to a bundle–you’re starting with your grandfather’s blend but you’re targeting a more sophisticated smoker. Yet at the same time, from a production side, it has to be cost effective. We’re a vertically integrated company. We have a lot of ways to play with the prices because we cut out a lot of people in the middle. We grow our tobacco. We do our own fermentation and sorting. We make our own cigars, and we also distribute in the United States by ourselves. That’s actually one of the main reasons why all of our products are usually reasonable price-wise compared to the average. With this one, we want to offer as much value as we can out of our bundle in a way that most companies can’t.


The original TOSCANOÂŽ cigars are only the ones made by Manifatture Sigaro Toscano S.p.A.

Distributed by: Miami Cigar & Company www.miamicigarcompany.com (305) 599-3395 - office 1 (800) 643-7209

www.toscanocigars.com info@toscanoitalia.it #toscanocigars


>> The Pulita line is an El Artista fan favorite.

“I FEEL AS IF I HAVE A LONG ROAD THAT I NEED TO CONTINUE RUNNING, BUT IT’S A DREAM THAT ONE DAY WILL COME TRUE. FOR ME, ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IS TO ALWAYS KEEP THE OLD VALUES THAT MY FATHER LEARNED FROM MY GRANDFATHER. OUR COMPANY IS LIKE A VERY BIG FAMILY.” You’ve enjoyed a very strong relationship with David Ortiz. How would you say your association with him has enhanced your brand? Our association with David has really helped us to get a little bit more exposure. A lot of people focus on his name and they forget about the cigar. I always tell him, “David, it’s your responsibility to put the first cigar in people’s mouths. After that, if they don’t re-buy, that’s on me.” The Big Papi cigar that we did with him was voted Boutique Cigar of the Year by Cigar Business; it was ranked number three in their Top 25. So the cigar stands on its own.

Let’s talk a bit about the legacy of the company and how you’re carrying it forward. On the one side, you have to honor what happened before you in terms of tradition, but you also have to be a visionary in terms of where you want to take this. Definitely. It’s not as easy as it sounds, because there are so many factors in the middle that I need to consider all the time. I feel as if I have a long road that I need to continue running, but it’s a dream that one day will come true. For me, one of the most important things is to always keep the old values that my father learned from my grandfather. Our company is like a very big family.

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We actually have a lot of people that have been working here since the ‘70s and ‘80s. It’s generational, and I feel very proud when they retire. New people come and we try to treat them the same way as my grandfather did. My grandfather used to throw a lot of parties. In his day, there were 50 employees in the factory; nowadays, it’s about 800, so it’s not as easy as it was before. But on special days– Labor Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas–we always have some special activities for them. When school starts, we always provide them with books and notepads to give to their children. Those little things that we have been doing our whole time, I’ll try to continue them.

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

Photos courtesy of Tabacalera El Artista.

David’s support has meant a lot to us. Here in the Dominican, we have softball leagues from all the cigar factories–we all play against each other. Last time David was here, it was during the season and we made an El Artista softball jersey for him. He put it on and said, “Let’s make a video to send a message to our team.” He was supporting them like, “Oh, I wish I could play with you guys.” That kind of thing tells me that he really identifies with the factory. He loves cigars, and we love the cigars we make for him.

>> Ram Rodriguez carries the torch of pride and product at Tabacalera El Artista.


I FEEL AS IF I HAVE A LONG ROAD THAT I NEED TO CONTINUE RUNNING, BUT IT’S A DREAM THAT ONE DAY WILL COME TRUE. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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>> The Hoyo De Monterey Epicure No.2 and the Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill are desired smokes by Cuban cigar enthusiasts.

YOUR VINTAGE MISSION

AGING, COLLECTING AND TASTING TIPS FOR CUBANS AND MORE SOME things get better with age. Wine; top quality furniture and paintings; cult films; and a small, but definitive band of actors and actresses. Do cigars fall into this category? The answer, on the whole, is a cautious yes. Let me explain. The interest in vintage cigars has gone through the roof in recent years. Both collectors (those who want rare boxes/ humidors/sticks for the sake of their rarity) and smokers (those who value the taste of old cigars more than their

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scarcity value) often hone in on the same cigars. These sticks and boxes get a name because they’re outstandingly good; then people want to buy them to smoke or collect, then they become rare and expensive and then people want to buy them and…you get the picture. But for those of us interested in tasting this change in the years, as opposed to seeing them like stamps to collect, or to put away as an investment–and there are some very good investments to be made in the cigar world, if you get the right advice–the whole ethos of aging cigars is an intriguing one.

Large photo: JWakelin/Shutterstock.com. Box photo courtesy of Nick Hammond.

by Nick Hammond


“FIRST AND FOREMOST– SELECT CIGARS YOU WANT TO LAY DOWN WITH GREAT CARE. A CRAP CIGAR IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE A CRAP CIGAR.” That’s because it’s as much alchemy and mystery as it is simple logistics. What I mean by this is that you can’t just grab a box of cigars, stick it in your humidor for a year or two, pull one out and smoke it and hey presto! you have great tasting, vintage cigars. No sir. It’s not quite that simple.

>> The 2018 Bolivar Edición does not disappoint.

The basis of aging cigars is that the very best of them– those with potential–are put down in a carefully controlled environment to gently slumber away their youth. This is because, when all the stars align, a good cigar can become a better one (or at least a more interesting one) when it’s had time to settle. How do vintage cigars taste? Different. That’s it. It’s simply different. But it’s a good sort of different, if you catch my drift. It seems a smoother, rounder, more subtle, more complex sort of different, that gives your cigar hobby a whole new perspective. That, in short, is why people love it.

Photos courtesy of Nick Hammond.

There’s no science behind it. The cigars can act in an intriguing number of ways along their journey. For example, a cigar laid down for a couple of years may exhibit a flattening, deadening of taste and flavor and many have been tempted to give up on the experiment, claiming the cigars to be bad. But, miraculously, those same cigars have also been seen to go through this period and ‘come good’ again, soaring on to new and ethereal planes of pleasure in the years to come. Tough call. But don’t let its intricacies and inconsistencies put you off aging. It’s a fun experiment to get involved in, and gives you a greater insight into the tobacco in your humidor. Let’s cover some basics which will set you right. First and foremost–select cigars you want to lay down with great care. A crap cigar is always going to be a crap cigar. Five years in a humidor are just going to make it an old, crap cigar. So, pick carefully which sticks you are going to play with. It’s generally accepted that more powerful cigars age

longer and potentially better. As with all rules, take them with a pinch of salt. Light cigars–Cuba’s Hoyo de Monterrey line, for example– can also age stunningly. I’d take your arm off right now for an aged Epicure No.2. Regular readers will know this is one of my all-time favorite smokes when new and if you can get some age under the lid, then you’re knocking on heaven’s door. Just don’t overdo it–three to five years is a great aiming point as a general rule with light cigars. So, look on the whole to the larger, darker cigars to age long term; your Bolivars, Partagas’ (Partagai?) and your Cohibas. Bolivar Belicocos Finos can be stellar, as can the legendary Partagas Lusitania. But search around for less obvious candidates, too. Laurence Davis of Sautter cigars in Mayfair, London, says you’re better off looking for some of the lesser lights to make sure the quality is up to scratch. “Firstly, I’d say look to age the Limited Editions,” he says from the store in Mount Street, while fulfilling the online orders during the UK’s Corona-enforced lockdown. “These have at least two-year-old tobacco leaf, so you’re already ahead of the curve. They’re better rolled than ‘run of the mill’ production. They all come out of factories with a limited amount of top rollers producing them.

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Scrounging Around Vintage cigars–expensive and less so–can be bought at auction as well as from off-the-shelf at discerning cigar stores. C.Gars Ltd of London have been running auctions for some years and as well as the huge cabinets of rare or forgotten cigars costing tens of thousands of pounds, these auctions also often feature current production examples with a few years of age. You can pick some of the less popular brands up at surprising prices at times. Friends of Habanos–the Australian-based cigar club–has teamed up with London’s famous JJ Fox store to create a new and transparent Havana auction house in Bond Roberts. This allows cigar lovers to buy and sell old and aged cigars which have guaranteed provenance. If you make it back to stores selling Cuban cigars, don’t forget to ask if there is any aged stock; these will often turn out to be the lesser known brands, simply because there’s less demand for them. They sit on the shelf for longer. So have a little dig around. There are several stores in London which will have vintage cigars for you to try, from Dunhill in St James’s, which has a terrific stock of old Dunhill cigars, through Davidoff of London with Edward Sahakian’s legendary stores, to JJ Fox’s long-held keeps to Sautter’s aged and vintage cabinet offering cracking sticks with perhaps 15 years of age and very little mark up. It’s a great excuse to try different brands and sizes combined with some age. Finally–while aging New World cigars–those made in factories outside of Cuba–is not common, it is done. Jonathan Fiant, the man behind the J London New World line, made in Dominican Republic, has long been a collector (and advocate) of aged sticks from the likes of Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Honduras and more. “There are some incredible smokes out there with a good many years of age,” he says. “When you think of the likes of Padron, Tatuaje, Illusione; made with amazing tobacco–the would age beautifully. The canny cigar smoker is seeking these out. You won’t get it until you’ve tried them.” onlineauctions.com bondroberts.com cigarsbyjonathan@gmail.com

“After that, I’d go for Regional Editions. Once again, you’re looking at limited production numbers of cigars. And if you want to try aging current production cigars, then I’d say look for those of smaller production; your Trinidads, Sancho Panzas, Por Larranagas, El Rey del Mundos, Diplomaticos. They don’t make as many of these, and I think more care is taken with them.”

>> The 2017 Cohiba Edición is a stellar Cuban smoke.

I’ve smoked some breathtaking El Rey Del Mundo Demi Tasse with age; little tiny, creamy, dreamy aperitifs which make your heart sing. I have a sneaking love for the overlooked Rafael Gonzalez Petit Corona too and if I could keep a box hidden long enough without smoking it, I would wager they’d be a great contender for a smaller, aged smoke. You may want to find another humidor for your aged smokes, too. The more you can slow down the aging process, the better, it seems. Tubed cigars, for instance, age more gracefully than their un-coffined companions. Take your aging humidor down in terms of relative humidity–Davis recommends 65%, for example–and see if it makes a difference.

There are no hard and fast rules. Have fun. Don’t get too uptight about it. It’s all good.

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.

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Photos courtesy of Nick Hammond.

You don’t have to buy boxes and boxes to lay down; start with a few singles. Make a note of their age when laid down, and perhaps smoke one after a year and note any changes in flavor. Another after another year and so on.


Photo courtesy of the Churchill Bar and Terrace.

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FEATURED COCKTAILS

FIVE BIG BANG FOURTH OF JULY COCKTAILS

by Breahna Wheeler

THESE FIVE PATRIOTIC COCKTAILS ARE CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION. YOU’RE SURE TO HAVE SOME FIREWORKS AT YOUR FOURTH OF JULY BASH AS WELL AS ON YOUR PALATE. WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED WITH EXPLOSIVE COCKTAILS FOR EVERYONE. OH YEAH, AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ‘MERICA!

VODKA BOMBS BURSTING Serves 1 Ingredients:

Directions: • Fill a cocktail glass with ice. Combine the vodka, cranberry juice, sparkling water, blueberries and strawberries. • Stir or muddle the fruit for a more extensive fruit flavor.

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julia_n/Shutterstock.com

• 2 oz. vodka • 2 oz. cranberry juice • 4 oz. sparkling water • 5 fresh blueberries • 3 fresh strawberries


GOD BLESS GIN Serves 1 Ingredients: • 2 oz. gin • 1 oz. simple syrup • 1 oz. fresh lime juice • 5 fresh blueberries

• 7 fresh mint leaves • 1 lime • Ice

Directions: • In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, blueberries, mint leaves and ice. • Shake vigorously. • Strain into a cocktail glass. • Garnish with lime and mint leaves.

THE ALL AMERICAN MARGARITA Serves 2 Ingredients: White layer

Red layer

Blue layer

• 3 cups ice • 2 oz. silver tequila • 1 oz. triple sec • 2 oz. lime juice

• 3 cups ice • 2 oz. silver tequila • 1 oz. triple sec • 2 oz. grenadine

• 3 cups ice • 2 oz. silver tequila • 1 oz. triple sec • 2 oz. blue curacao

Directions: • Garnish both glasses with salt (optional). • To make the blue layer: blend all ingredients and pour evenly into two glasses. • Repeat with the white and red layers. • Pour the white layer, and the red layer over the blue layer.

Photos from top to bottom: FamStudio/Shutterstock.com, posteriori/Shutterstock.com, Elena Hramova/Shutterstock.com, Kondratova/Shutterstock.com

LIBERTY LEMONADE Serves 4 Ingredients: For the margarita • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar • 2 tbsp. kosher salt • Cut 1 lemon into wedges • 8 oz. tequila • 4 oz. triple sec • 1 cup pink lemonade • Ice

For the syrup… • ¼ cup granulated sugar • ¼ cup water • ½ cup blueberries • zest ½ of a lime

Directions: • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add blueberries, lime zest and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer the mixture until the blueberries burst (approximately five minutes). • Remove from the heat, and let cool ten minutes. Strain the mixture into any glass or jar, and let it cool completely. • Stir the sugar and salt together on a small plate. Rim each glass with a lemon wedge, and dip it into the sugar and salt mixture. • Divide the tequila, triple sec and lemonade between four glasses. Fill each glass with ice, and top with blueberry syrup. • Garnish with blueberries, lemon or lime wedges and sprigs of mint.

THE STAR-SPANGLED SIPPER Serves 2 Ingredients: • ½ cup blackberries • 1 handful fresh mint leaves • 4 oz. white rum • Juice of 2 limes • 1 tsp. sugar • Crushed Ice Directions: • Muddle the blackberries and mint leaves in a small bowl. • Spoon the blackberry and mint mixture evenly into two glasses. • Add rum, sugar, lime juice and stir. • Top with crushed ice. • Add rum and garnish with mint and blackberries.

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JC NEWMAN

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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.

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