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DREW ESTATE

SPARING NO EXPENSE, EVEN ON THE LITTLE THINGS

Petit Corona corona viva short panatela 114mm x 40 108mm x 46 152mm x 46

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LINCOLN SALAZAR CEO & Publisher RANDY MASTRONICOLA Editor-in-Chief AUDREY PAVIA Consulting Editor JOE REDMOND Art Director BREAHNA WHEELER Director of Events/Administration CODY CHO Cigar & Spirits Web KEVIN KIM Cigar & Spirits Social Media CHRISTOPHER BEDEROV Account Executive LISA TURNBULL Administrative Coordinator SHAHID GHANI Chief Financial Officer NATALIE NICOL Legal CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Joe Bosso, Nick Hammond, Julie Harrington Giffin, Dave Johnson, Elisa Jordan, Amanda Keeley-Thurman, Randy Mastronicola, Greg Mays, Taryn Paulson, Audrey Pavia, Robbie Woliver

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: 6 Upper Newport Plaza 2nd Floor Newport Beach, Calif., 92660 (949) 599-2761

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

Cigar & Spirits Magazine

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@CigarSpiritsMag


UNCLE NEAREST PREMIUM WHISKEY ®

ALWAYS DRINK RESPONSIBLY. UNCLE NEAREST PREMIUM WHISKEY, 45% ALC/VOL, 50% ALC/VOL, UNCLE NEAREST, NASHVILLE, TN. © 2018 UNCLE NEAREST, INC. WWW.UNCLENEAREST.COM

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contents ON THE COVER

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THE WHISKEY AND WISDOM OF BOB DYLAN

LIFESTYLE

10

WINTER WEAR AND GEAR ESSENTIALS

Working Your Way Through Snowy Days and Nights

18

TRENDWORTHY: ROSE GOLD WATCHES

Elegantly Vintage and Modern at the Same Time

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LOUNGE LIFE STORIES

You might just decide to go for it and become a player in the cigar lounge of your dreams.

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RABBIT AIR

A California-based Company is Helping Cigar Smokers Keep the Air Clean

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FEATURES

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ON THE COVER

BOB DYLAN

A PORT AFFAIR

A Timeless Wine Greets the Future with Flair

10

50

WINTER WEAR

HANDS-ON WINE CELEBRITIES

Hollywooders to Athletes Share Their Passion

58

THE REAL LIFE DOWNTON ABBEY

A Royal Look at Lord Carnarvon and Highclere Castle Cigars

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LOUNGE LIFE

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CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE 2018 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE


november/december 2018

VICES

36

30

A PORT AFFAIR

FEATURED PAIRINGS

Perfecto Pairings to Expand Your Palate

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CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE’S RATED SPIRITS

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CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE’S CIGAR BUYER’S GUIDE

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FEATURED HOLIDAY COCKTAILS 2018

The Twelve Drinks of Christmas

58

HIGHCLERE CASTLE

INTERVIEWS

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JIM JACKSON INTERVIEW

C&S Talks Hoops and Cigars with the Former NBA Star and FOX Sports Basketball Analyst

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HOLIDAY COCKTAILS

BEHIND THE LEAF

A Conversation With Fouad Kashouty and George Dakrat of Hiram & Solomon Cigars

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JIM JACKSON

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WINE CELEBRITIES

18

ROSE GOLD WATCHES

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publisher’s note My publisher’s notes over the years have often contained thoughts about how you only live one life—you only get once chance—you’re living the live act and this isn’t a dress rehearsal. So, don’t take one moment for granted. This past month, my grandfather—a 96-year-old WWII Veteran, husband of over 55 years, father of eight, grandfather to over 50 grandchildren and dozens of great and great-great grandchildren passed away. That’s 5 generations living! His passing really got me to start thinking, probably deeper then I usually do. As I sat with him for seven days—as he passed of pretty much just old age—it made me reflect on his life. Subsequently, his life made me reflect on my own as well as made me think about us, not just as men but as people. What really is important in life? What is the ultimate goal? What were my grandfather’s thoughts at 96 years of age as he looked back on his life in his last moments? Family? Is it fame? Is it money? Is it that big promotion? Is it the party? What is it that in life, by the end of it, we will think to ourselves and say “by George I think I did it.” Which then brought me to simplify all of this into—what is a successful day? You see money, possessions, tangible objects are all things that may come and go. They can always be replaced but for me the most important things come each day and in the simplest way. I’ve asked many people what a successful day to them is? I usually get responses regarding their financial goals, or work goals or measurable goals for success. Well, l here is what I believe to be the most successful day… The day starts with me opening my eyes. That is one of the most exciting part of the day for me because the second I am awake I have been given the gift of a new day, a new opportunity to love, to laugh, to feel and to inspire. Then to add to this successful day I have three meals and I am thankful that I was blessed to nourish my body and appreciate having something to eat. I have a chance to call or spend time with loved ones. Something as being able to call my mother or father just to say hello, because this will not be forever. I get the chance to go to work and make a living so I may provide for family and myself. I get to spend time in my home. I’m blessed just to have a roof over my head to protect me and my family from the cold or heat. I get a chance to make moments and memories that will last a lifetime, not only for me but for the people I love and come in contact with in my life. I get the chance to make choices each day to live for today and plan for the future. Now, when all the day is done, I get to lay my head on my own pillow on my bed with a roof over my head, joy in my heart and thank God for another day, if I did all these things in this day I know that I had a successful day. My grandfather was not a financially rich man. However, he was rich in life and love. You see

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at the end of the day, no matter what your bank account looks like or how big your home is, we all start and end the day the same exact way. It’s how did we spend that time in between being the most important. My grandfather served our country, he got to laugh and love—he got to live. I say he wrote his full book of life. He got to see his children grow old. His children’s children grow, he lived healthy, always had a roof over his head and food on his plate. He was joyful—and that to me ladies and gentlemen—is a successful day and life. You see that’s what Cigar & Spirits Magazine is all about its about. Living life, being able to share in the camaraderie, to make moments together and to share in this crazy thing we call life, to take the time with a cigar and spirits and be thankful for all the little things that make life worth living. So, let’s raise a glass, puff of our cigar and cheers to one another for being grateful for each day being a gift and a blessing. Cheers! This issue of Cigar & Spirits Magazine is dedicated to my grandfather, Gilbert Salazar. Cheers! Lincoln B. Salazar CEO & Publisher Follow on Instagram

@cigarandspiritsmagpublisher


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LIFESTYLE

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WINTER WEAR AND GEAR ESSENTIALS WORKING YOUR WAY THROUGH SNOWY DAYS AND NIGHTS by Dave Johnson

IN Photo: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 500948167 / Shutterstock.com

the hearts of mankind, winter is a strange season. We are thrilled with the first snow and all the fun that comes with it. Once the seasonal novelty of it wears off—we get sick of it, hate driving in it, detest shoveling it and being stuck inside all day. Despite the downsides, there is still something special about winter’s coziness, blankets, falling snow, winter holidays, jackets, scarves and drinking a stiff, warm beverage. Today we’re going to cover all the winter essentials you’ll need to beat the chill and embrace warmth wherever you can. Cozy means different things to different people, but one thing cozy isn’t is a cold bed. One trouble with winter can be going to bed with sheets that feel like the summit of Mount Everest. That’s why you should upgrade your bedding this winter to something that’s not only comfortable and warm but of high quality.

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>> Flannel Quilt and Shams ($368) as well as their Linen Venice Bedding Set ($419)

>> Glerups Low Boot ($155)

Slippers in winter are a must, because waking up to cold floors is not the way we want to start our day—or end it for that matter. The Glerups Low Boot ($155) are the solution and will keep your toes nice and toasty with its luxurious wool felt and natural rubber sole. These boots will shape to your feet over time, making them really comfy kicks. They come in either a leather or rubber sole—both great— but we love the added convenience of the rubber sole, so you can walk the dog or take out the trash without taking off your favorite slippers. And favorites they will be.

>> BioLite FirePit ($199)

There’s something about fire that speaks to the heart of every man. In winter, building a fire can be an easy way to entertain and heat up an outside event. And our next choice, the BioLite FirePit ($199), has all the bells and whistles to heat any outdoor space in style. The FirePit has several features that set it apart from your average fire pit: an X-ray mesh body that maximizes airflow and viewability, a grill for hibachi-style cooking, a Bluetooth-controlled fan that eliminates smoke and even a phone app that lets you control fan speed for the optimum fire temperature. With the optional Solar Carry Cover ($59), you can easily carry it anywhere while also charging the FirePit’s fan. It’s the fire of the future.

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Photos courtesy of Parachute, Glerups and BioLite.

Our first couple of recommendations are offerings from Parachute: their Flannel Quilt and Shams ($368) as well as their Linen Venice Bedding Set ($419) are highly desirable. Parachute’s bedding is some of the finest we’ve ever experienced. The linens are made with 100% flax and are the perfect starting point for your bed makeover. Because linen is thermally regulating, it’s perfect year-round, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in winter. It also looks as great as it feels. Their Flannel Quilt and Shams are the best warm top to finish your new bed. Their flannel is buttery soft and is perfect for those weekends when you just want to light a fire, sip some coffee, and watch a movie in bed. Parachute’s pursuit of quality, comfort and coziness are unparalleled, and their bedding is worth every penny.


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If staying inside is your jam, you know what it’s like to manage the thermostat. The Ecobee4 ($249) is a smart thermostat that will completely revolutionize the way you heat your home. It connects by Wi-fi and features Amazon Alexa, so it can tell you the weather, adjust temperature remotely by phone app and will learn your home’s energy needs to efficiently heat and cool your abode. It includes one room sensor but it’s compatible with multiple sensors if you really want to use it to its fullest potential. Once you try this, you’ll never use a dumb thermostat ever again.

If you love the outdoors and can’t get enough winter camping, having the right gear is critical. The Kammok Firebelly trail quilt ($279) is an incredibly useful and versatile blanket, perfect for keeping warm on the go. This down-filled, thirty-degree quilt is essentially like a sleeping bag cut in half and turned into a blanket. But it’s more than that. Use it with a sleeping pad and you suddenly have the perks of a sleeping bag with far less weight. If you camp in hammocks, use the attached fasteners to hook under the hammock as an underquilt. You can use it as a throw blanket whenever you need extra warmth, too. On top of all that, it’s water repellant and can store in a stuff sack to save space. It’s the perfect go-to and to-go blanket.

>> Kammok Firebelly trail quilt ($279)

>> Snowpeak’s Flask Titanium ($170)

There’s no better time than winter to pour a glass of your favorite spirits. And the perfect companion to your drink of choice should be Snowpeak’s Flask Titanium ($170). What makes this a fantastic flask is that it’s titanium, which is light, strong and doesn’t add any funky flavors to your favorite drink. The provided carrying pouch is a nice touch as well. If you know you’ll need a drink but won’t have a glass, carry it in titanium class.

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Photos courtesy of Ecobee, Kammock and Snowpeak.

>> Ecobee4 ($249)


ultra-smooth bourbon whiskey

you won’t regret it if you do,

you might if you don’t.

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>> Dynafit Beast 98 skis ($699)

And if you’re looking for high-end ski goggles, we got you. You need the Smith I/O 7 ($230). These are just about the best ski goggles on the market. They have the clearest optics, matched with interchangeable lenses, anti-fog coating and a huge field of view. Smith has done an amazing job creating goggles that instantly spoil anyone who’s ever tried them on.

>> FT Down Jacket by Dynafit ($349)

It’s winter, and the one thing you need more than anything else is a jacket. We think one of the best is the FT Down Jacket by Dynafit ($349). This hooded jacket is warm enough for nearly every winter activity and it’s filled with a water-repellant down that keeps you toasty and dry. The fit is fantastic from top to bottom, keeping close to your body and not letting any warmth leave without your permission. Is there a cold breeze headed your way? Forget about it. It’s also super light and is packable in its own pocket. The FT Down Jacket simply has all the details exactly right.

Winter doesn’t always have to be a downer but with the right essentials and gear, you can really have a lot of fun with it and make it seasonal-special. Looking at this impressive list, there are many pieces that reminded us just how warm and cozy winter can be even when we’re working our way through the challenging snowy days and nights.

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

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Photos courtesy of Dynafit and Smith.

Now that it’s winter, you need some great skis. And if you want the best for skiing down the slopes, you need the Dynafit Beast 98 skis ($699). The Beast 98s are like having the Flash and Superman under each foot. They don’t just slide down the mountain—they fly. Dynafit managed to make a very fast, versatile ski that is super light with the perfect amount of width and stiffness. It’s good for a few different skiing applications but excels at touring and ski mountaineering. Even if you don’t plan to mountaineer soon, these are killer skis for ripping up fresh powder.

>> Smith I/O 7 ($230)


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LIFESTYLE

TRENDWORTHY: ROSE GOLD WATCHES ELEGANTLY VINTAGE AND MODERN AT THE SAME TIME TRENDS COME AND GO, BUT OFTEN TIMES THEY COME FULL CIRCLE. WHAT WAS ONCE POPULAR CAN BE GIVEN NEW LIFE WITH THE EMBRACE OF A NEW GENERATION. THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT THAT VINTAGE IS IN RIGHT NOW, AND THAT IS WHY BRANDS LIKE ROLEX, CHANEL, BREMONT AND PIAGET ARE LOOKING BACKWARD TO BRING TIMELESS STYLES OF THE PAST FORWARD TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF MODERN ARBITERS OF TASTE.

by Amanda Keeley-Thurman

O

ne of these re-emerging trends is the use of rose gold in jewelry, and in particular the demand for rose gold watches has seen a sharp rise in recent years. The two main metal options for fashionable men’s watches has classically been gold or silver; but lately yellow gold has seen a decline as its flashy nature has become viewed as a bit outdated. Yellow gold is vintage, but apparently not vintage enough for today’s trendsetters. Rose gold is what’s up now, and it’s back…way back. This delicate blush-colored metal was first known as Russian gold in the early 19th century when Carl Fabergé, the famed jeweler to the czars, first fashioned this mix of copper and yellow gold metal into statement pieces for the wealthy. Its popularity quickly spread around the world, lasting through the Victorian Era before eventually fading into fashion obscurity. Then in the 1920’s Cartier released the Trinity ring, which intertwined rose gold with yellow and white gold, bringing this precious metal into the fashion forefront once again. The roaring twenties was a time to celebrate excess, embrace opulence and break conventional norms. Jewelers of the time successfully picked up on the trend and incorporated vibrant colors and unique styles in their designs, favoring the warmth, distinctiveness and playfulness of rose gold.

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Yet again, after the crash of 1929 rose gold saw another decline as monochromatic aesthetics took hold for several years, that is, until the beginning of World War II. Wars require metal—lots of it —so metal became diverted predominantly for the war effort. This gave an opening for rose gold to make yet another comeback to the fashion world and it quickly became the jeweler’s choice during those precarious times. Today, men of luxury are finding themselves more attracted to this warm alternative to silver and yellow gold. Pastel colors are already common in dapper, prepstyle clothing popular among men of leisure, so it makes sense that rose gold would be a fashionable complement in the design of men’s luxury watches. The color signifies opulence and spending power in a subtle way that harnesses a vintage and timeless quality that the modern man should appreciate and love. In addition, marketing studies have shown that rose gold evokes feelings of composure and relaxation that seem to be a great appeal in these hectic times. An added bonus is that rose gold tends to look great on everyone, pairing well with most attire and skin tones. Luxury brands know all of this and they are jumping in to provide what the people want; creating pieces that are functional, beautiful and timeless.


CARTIER

cartier.com | $15, 400 The brand that arguably started the rose gold craze in the 1920’s is still making a splash in the market. The new design, Drive De Cartier extra flat watch, has sparked much excitement. Although not completely flat, the crystal crown is a playful cushion shape that follows the form of the beautiful 18K pink gold case. Cartier’s signature style has made its mark in history for over a hundred years and these new designs, coupled with the pink gold and semi-matte alligator ski strap, are a bold statement piece for the modern man of leisure. To top it off the pink gold set is faceted with sapphire, the movement is made in-house, and it is water resistant.

ROLEX

rolex.com | $15,200-$26,750 Rolex’s are classic and collectible, but when it is time to step it up a notch consider the Cellini line for stylish dress watches that will help take any outfit to another level. Known for elegant, yet simple design, the Cellini features in house cast 18k white or Everose gold 39 mm cases hugged by sleek stitched black or brown alligator leather straps. Waterproof and fashioned with elongated Roman numerals and sword-shaped hands, this timepiece will have any man looking at his watch for more than just telling time.

Photos on this page courtesy of Cartier, Rolex and Omega

OMEGA

omegawatches.com | $28,000 Omega has a long relationship with the sea and this maritime legacy is well-expressed through their Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M GMT Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph 45.4 MM. With water resistance to 2,000 feet and helium-escape valve, this watch was made for water. The colors are striking. The polished black ceramic dial and diver’s bezel really pops against the Omega’s Ceragold diving scale and Sedna gold case. Yes, Omega created their own signature metals that are more rugged than rose gold but exude the same beautiful style. The Ceragold is a mix of 18-karat gold with ceramic while their Sedna gold is a unique alloy that blends gold, copper and palladium. Unifying function with style, there is no doubt that somewhere beyond the sea is a man with an Omega on his wrist.

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BREMONT

bremont.com | $15,100 The traditional English style of the Bremont ALT1-C Rose Gold will certainly appeal to those who desire a classic look. The bright white 43 ml. dial, contrasted with the bold black markers and the warm hues of the 18-karat rose gold case, gives this watch an old-school charm with a modern twist. If that wasn’t enough, the Bremont signature Trip-Tick case and water resistant capabilities adds to the watches functionality for a gentleman in this contemporary world.

BAUME & MERCIER

baume-et-mercier.com | $24,500 The shiny black alligator straps and 18-karat red gold that decorate the Baume & Mercier, Clifton 10306, oozes vintage elegance. The silver opaline dial, which simultaneously displays month, weekday and moon phase, adds functional urban spirit. This watch is casual enough for everyday use, yet stylish enough to turn many a head.

piaget.com | $57,000 High on the cool factor is the Altiplano Skeleton watch. This ultra thin watch features the thinnest automatic skeleton movement in the world. The modern industrial look of the anthracite grey skeleton movement is given some added sophistication and warmth thanks to the surrounding 18-karat rose gold case. Putting the cherry on top, securing this work of art to the wrist is the masculine dark gray alligator strap.

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Photos on this page courtesy of Bremont, Baume & Mercier and Piaget

PIAGET


JAEGER-LECOULTRE

jaeger-lecoultre.com | $23,900 The Geophysic Universal Time in pink gold is perfect for the man of the world. Inspiring a jet set lifestyle, a man must only peer at his wrist to see the world right in front of him. The face of the watch appears as a globe surrounded by various global time zones, and features beautiful contrasting colors of the blue sea and pink gold continent to make a truly unique eye-catching piece. The soft pink gold case and brown leather straps adds a subtle elegance that makes it perfect for any adventure.

BULGARI

bulgari.com | $43,400

Photos on this page courtesy of Jaeger-Lecoultre and Bulgari

Inspired by the innovation of Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, the Octo Finissimo Automatic features a unique octagonal shape reminiscent of 310 AD Roman Massentius Basilica. Sandblasted rose gold on the case and bracelet gives this watch a sleek all matte appearance that help make this luxury watch a true standout.

Orange County native, Amanda is a Travel Writer, Family Travel Blogger, wife and mama. She has been writing for Cigar & Spirits Magazine since its debut issue. When she is not jetting around the world with her family and sharing exciting articles on her travel blog HotMama/Travel.com, she is mixing it up nightly as a craft cocktail bartender.

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LIFESTYLE

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Photo courtesy of dpa picture alliance archive / Alamy Stock Photo

LOUNGE LIFE STORIES by Joe Bosso

COMFORT. RELAXATION. RESPITE. That feeling like our challenges and stressors are on hold. Just the right vibe for friends on the same wavelength to effortlessly engage. That’s what attracts us to our favorite cigar lounge. Each establishment has its own personality. It becomes a niche community unto itself. Your go-to lounge is an escape where local flavor and robust tastes are right at your fingertips. Each of the four cigar spots profiled in this issue have put their unique stamp on the lounge life experience. It’s highly recommended you pop in if you find yourself in their neck of the woods. >> Enjoying a holiday season cigar at Casa del Habano Cigar Lounge in Nuremberg, Germany.

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Photo courtesy of Silver Leaf Cigar Lounge

Tampa, FL. Regional Operations Manager: Gaston Rousselot casademontecristo.com/soho Gaston Rousselot can still remember his first cigar. “It was a Romeo y Julieta, and it was marvelous,” he raves. Rousselot was attending school in Miami, and during a visit to South Beach he stopped at one of the tony restaurants on Ocean Drive Boulevard. “I was just kind of intrigued—‘Oh, let me try a cigar and see what all the fuss is about.’ And my goodness, it tasted so good. It immediately appealed to me.” From there, he tried out more cigars, and after a visit to Cuba he became an ardent fan. “Smoking cigars became one of my favorite ways to unwind.” After a time spent working in the hospitality trade, overseeing bars and restaurants, Rousselot was recruited by Casa Montecristo as Regional Operations Manager and now oversees 10 different lounges throughout Florida, Texas and Tennessee. His background in the hospitality business was key in the launch, six months ago, of a new lounge, Casa de Montecristo by Tampa Humidor—Soho. “Because so many of our new spots that have full bars, we’re seeing that people tend to stay longer,” he says. “We’re re-designing our liquor menus and are coming up with cocktails that are exclusive to the company. Our customers really enjoy that aspect of our lounges.” Rousselot describes the layout of the Tampa lounge as “very much in the Restoration Hardware mode” in that it has the look and feel of a modern loft.” The main room features

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plush couches and leather chairs, where up to 25 guests can sit and watch any of the six wide-screen TVs. The bar area can accommodate 10 customers, and even more can sit outside in the covered patio area in front of the lounge. “People can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery, and because it’s in Florida, the patio is open year-round,” Rousselot says. The humidor is stocked with the most popular premium and boutique cigar brands (“everything for the experienced smoker to the newbie”), and the bar menu features extensive wine, rum and whiskey selections. “Manhattans and Old Fashioneds are very big with our guests,” Rousselot notes. In the mornings, he observes, customers tend to treat the lounge “like a Starbucks, they come in with their computers, they have some coffee or espresso, and they do their work.” In the afternoons and evenings, particularly on weekends, things get a little more festive. “The bar scene is very fun and social, but it’s not like a sports bar or anything. It’s very upscale and professional.” Tampa’s burgeoning mix of demographics and cultures brings a wide range of customers to the lounge. “We get a lot of doctors, lawyers and professional people, college kids and tourists,” Rousselot says. “Some of the people have been smoking for years, but we also get a lot of young people who are just getting into cigars. Our staff is always happy to make suggestions. Whatever you want, if you’re into a nice hang, we’re happy to see you, and we know you’ll keep coming back.”

Photo courtesy of Casa de Montecristo by Tampa Humidor—Soho

CASA DE MONTECRISTO BY TAMPA HUMIDOR—SOHO


NEW FROM EL ARTISTA CIGARS

ElArtistaCigars.com

RABBIT AIR

LIVE

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Photo courtesy of Big Star Cigar Lounge

BIG STAR CIGAR LOUNGE MOUNT JULIET, TN Owner: Tony Benken bigstarcigar.com During the past two decades, Tony Benken had become something of a music business legend in and around Nashville, doing record promotion for labels such as Capitol, Warner Bros., Virgin and various indie labels. But after 20 years on the road, he realized that he needed a change, especially once he and his wife started a family. “I thought to myself, ‘What do I really enjoy doing that would keep me in one place?’” Benken says. “I loved racing cars, but I couldn’t make money doing that. But I also enjoyed sitting on my back porch smoking cigars with my buddies. So, I decided to open my own cigar lounge.” Benken scouted the Nashville suburb of Mt. Juliet and noted that, while the town had a few discount cigar stores, the nearest lounge was miles away. After purchasing a space that had previously been the site of a dry cleaning establishment (“It had only been in operation for two weeks; I think the guy went bankrupt”), he set out to create an environment that mirrored “the ultimate living room.” “I wanted a place that was comfortable and laid-back,” he says, “where people could come in, smoke a cigar and watch TV with me.” Comfort is at a premium inside the Big Star Cigar Lounge. Although the space features what Benken calls “an e-bar,” where customers can sit on barstools and smoke cigars while

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working on their laptops, the main attraction is the spacious main room area. “I’ve got 18 plush leather chairs, and there’s other seating, too,” Benken says. “People can stretch out and watch sports or the news on our big-screen TVs. It’s a really nice hang. A lot of nights we’ve got 30 to 40 people, and one night we had over 75 folks in here. It gets pretty busy.” Benken keeps the humidor stocked with premium, handrolled cigars and boutique brands (“I don’t sell gas station sticks”), and he offers customers coffee from the lounge’s K-cup machine. “In the mornings and afternoons, people are generally drinking coffee,” he says. “We’re BYOB, so in the evenings, after dinner, if people want to bring in a bottle of bourbon or whatever, that’s OK.” He laughs and says, “Generally, that’s when the volume gets a little louder in here.” Happily, he observes that there isn’t a typical Big Star patron: “It’s an across the board mix of folks who come in here. Black, white, Hispanic, retirees, college kids—it’s all over the place.” Benken estimates that the clientele is mostly male, but says that a fair number of women are dropping in. “Women are always welcome here, and they don’t have to feel like they’re crashing a boys’ club or anything. Our customers have formed their own community here. If somebody experiences a tragedy, we’re here to help them. And if there’s cause for celebration, we’ll all raise a glass and toast them with a good cigar.”


Photo courtesy of Casa de Montecristo by JR Cigar-Whippany

CASA DE MONTECRISTO BY JR CIGAR—WHIPPANY Whippany, NJ General Manager: Mike Curley casademontecristo.com/whippany Before he joined the Casa de Montecristo team, Mike Curley wasn’t a big cigar smoker. “I was what you might call a ‘vacation smoker,’” he says. “I was working in the grocery business and at Walmart in Texas. I’d light up very occasionally, but I really didn’t know one brand from another.” Needing a change of pace, he took a job at Casa Montecristo in 2011, and then everything changed. “I fell in love with the cigar business and realized that this was what I wanted to do with my life,” he says. “And just as quickly, I went from vacation smoker to everyday smoker, and I found so many different brands that I enjoy. Now I love lighting up, and I look forward to having a cigar.” As General Manager for the Casa de Montecristo lounge in Whippany, New Jersey, Curley has seen the operation change radically from the retail business it once was. “The building has been here for 19 years,” he says, “and it used to sell cigars, clothing and motorcycle accessories— things that guys gravitate toward.” The biggest draw at the location was its massive humidor, measuring 5600 square feet. “People always knew it had everything. You could easily spend hours in there.”

Sports and news are constantly running on the 15 widescreen TVs that are scattered throughout the rooms. “No matter where you sit, a TV is always right there,” says Curley. And the impressive humidor has lost none of its luster. “I would say it’s one of the largest inventories in the world. We have whatever you want to fit your taste.” Curley describes the clientele at the Whippany lounge as “a cross-section of everybody in the area. We have bluecollar workers and CEOs.” But he does notice that there are specific shifts for when people stop in. “In the mornings, we have people who work from home, so they’ll come in with their computers and get stuff done. In the afternoon, people will have lunch or grab a drink, and they’ll have an afternoon cigar. In the evening, it’s more of a party atmosphere. People are unwinding from their day. They’ll still be on their phones, checking emails, but it’s more of a relaxed vibe.” With the addition of the bar, he’s also seen a steady change in the ratio of male to female customers. “Like most places, this used to be more of a male-dominated spot. The bar brings in women—they’ll come in with their husbands or boyfriends. At first, they might be a little intimidated, but then they’ll try a flavored cigar or even a regular cigar. And they find that they enjoy cigar smoking as much as men do, and they can do it in a friendly, welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. I see that more and more every day.”

Three years ago, the space was converted into a large lounge, and it now features two rooms—the Churchill Room and a smaller space. In all, the lounge can accommodate 200 guests. The lounge also boasts a restaurant and full bar. “People can come in, have lunch and smoke a cigar, which is a great way to spend an afternoon,” says Curley. “And in the evening, if you order an entrée, you get a cigar with your purchase.” WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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Photo courtesy of Lone Wolf Cigar & Lounge

LONE WOLF CIGAR COMPANY & LOUNGE Santa Monica, CA Owner: David Weiss.

It’s not surprising that a private cigar lounge located in Santa Monica, Calif., would have a Hollywood-related history. Lone Wolf Cigar Company & Lounge has just that. Two of the lounge’s owners over its long lifespan were Chuck Norris and James Belushi. These days, the lounge is run by a former banker and independent producer David Weiss. Long before it became connected to the movie industry, the Lone Wolf was a historic cigar company. Founded by Sargent E.E. Baracks in 1893, Lone Wolf one of the first tobacco stores on the West Coast. In fact, it is one of the oldest established and still existing tobacco merchants on the West Coast. This turn-of-the-century history can be felt in the lounge’s vintage décor, including a dropped ceiling, metal windows and metal-welded furniture with brown leather accents. Weiss was inspired to create this Old World feel by looking at photos of the store from the late 1800s. The lounge moved in 2014 to its current West L.A. location to a more smoke-friendly building. Weiss, who bought the business back in 2000, was determined to make the lounge a place where customer service is key. His future plans include expanding the brand into a franchise, where cigar

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aficionados—including “lone wolves” who are spending the holidays without friends or families—can call the lounge their home. Lone Wolf is a full-service tobacco merchant, specializing in fine cigars, exclusive and rare cigars, tobaccos and smoking accessories. The lounge hosts regular events, such as the recent Avo Syncro South America Ritmo Cigar Tasting Event, Sherwood Cares Golf Tournament and Montecristo Pilotico Cigar Tasting Event. Encompassing 3,000 square feet, the lounge was designed to create the perfect cigar smoking oasis, with all the details done right, according to Weiss. “People seem to respond to the plan,” he says. “It’s a good place to work, read, watch a game, and entertain friends and colleagues.”

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


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FEATURE

A PORT AFFAIR A TIMELESS WINE GREETS THE FUTURE WITH FLAIR by Julie Harrington Giffin

Photo courtesy of shutterstock.com

>> The Holiday Season and Port Wine are a great pairing.

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I’M NOT SOME STODGY RELIC from a bygone era often associated with Port wine. In fact, quite the contrary, I’m smack-dab in the middle of Baby Boomers and Millennials. This is Generation X. To be more on point, I’m youthful, athletic, fun-loving, humorous, and downright Fabulous with a capital F! Oh, and by the way, I happen to love Port with a capital P. Port wine is far more than just another sweet libation. It’s a sipping adventure that arouses the palate with tales of Portugal’s old world charm and fruitful landscape. Port and all of its fortified glory reigns from the Douro Valley region of Portugal which is also home to its namesake Porto, a vibrant and picturesque coastal community overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The Douro Valley’s bountiful and impressive history of viticulture provides more than just an enchanting terraced landscape, demarcated in 1756 it is the worlds oldest regulated appellation of origin wine region and is classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The color…the aroma…the taste…the finish. Port is rich and complex and every facet is distinctive and seductive. Port wine is made from grapes native to Portugal, and like all wine, it is fermented. The difference lies within the fermentation. Port is fortified by adding a neutral grape spirit which blocks the active yeast and stops the conversion of sugar into alcohol. The result is a highly aromatic and flavorful sweet wine with a higher alcohol content ranging from 19 to 21 percent. The young impressionable Port is then aged which determines the various style of the wine. In short, Port is classified into two distinct categories, wood-aged and bottle-aged. Woodaged Ports mature for a relatively short period in oak barrels. But bottle-aged Ports experience an extended maturation in airtight glass bottles following two to three years in oak casks. Within these two categories, upwards of 10 various styles of Port can be produced with the more notable labels being ruby, tawny and vintage.

RUBY Brilliant in color, Ruby Port is a varietal blend matured for two to three years in oak barrels. Young and exuberant, fruit-forward Ruby Port is informal and less intricate than other styles and are considered widely approachable. They are light in body, possess a berry-spirited character and afford a simple yet enjoyable experience whether served at room temperature or lightly chilled. Cockburn (with a silent “ck” there…) is one of the finest names in Port with more than 200 years in production. The Cockburn Fine Ruby flaunts a lush fruit-forward profile and bursts with red berries on the nose and palate and finishes with a pleasurable tinge of maple.

RUBY PORT CIGAR PAIRING The Arturo Fuente Double Chateau is an excellent choice for this everyday port. It’s a creamy mild to medium strength smoke and has just the right subtleties of earthy spice to compliment this fruity wine. Consistent from start to finish, you’ll want to keep a few double chateaus around while enjoying your bottle of Cockburn Fine Ruby.

TAWNY

Photos courtesy of Cockburn’s and Graham’s

Named for its medium to dark auburn glow, the Tawny Port typically averages five to seven years in casks. Some Tawny Ports are labeled with an age of 10, 20, 30 or 40 years. The age indicator is an average blended amount of time from various years and they are the only approved ages allowed in the Tawny Port style. Tawny Ports are soft and voluptuous on the palate presenting more barrel characteristics such as vanilla, caramel, toffee, and chocolate while the fruit expressions resemble the richness of dates, plums, figs, and dried fruits. Served lightly chilled in its homeland of Portugal, Graham’s 30 Year Tawny Port is backed by a family history of Port production that began in the mid-17th century. Impressive and intense, the complexities of this Tawny Port begin with an aromatic nose of caramel, light toffee, fig and a dusting of orange zest. The palate offers an elevated acidity that softens the sweetness allowing more exposure to elegant notes of wood, caramel, dark fruits, maple, and soft spice.

TAWNY CIGAR PAIRING My Father Flor de Las Antillas is not only a visually beautiful cigar but the sweet nuttiness, creamy leather, hints of spice, nutmeg and soft pepper compliment this spectacular 30-year Tawny Port with absolute perfection.

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VINTAGE Vintage Port can easily be described as “the best-of the best-of the best.” In other words, the best grapes from the best vineyards from the best year. A “vintage year” is declared by the Instituto do Vinho do Porto and historically, this declaration only happens three times over the course of a decade, which yields Vintage Port production at only one or two percent of all Port. Vintage Port is both barrel and bottle aged. It spends two to three years in barrels and an extended period of up to 40 years or more maturing in the bottle. Vintage Port is non-filtered and requires decanting to separate the heavy sediments before drinking. It possesses an elaborate full body of harmonious dark fruits, chocolate, currants, and spices. Critically acclaimed, the Fonseca Vintage Port 2007 is nothing short of elegant and provocative. It is mysteriously dark in color with streaming hues of bluish red, this Vintage Port aromatically explodes with a fruit bouquet that remains true to the palate with added nuances of coffee, chocolate, citrus, and spice.

VINTAGE PORT CIGAR PAIRING An opulent port of this style demands a cigar pairing of similar character. Aromatic and balanced, the Davidoff Winston Churchill is a medium to full-bodied cigar that delivers a creamy oak, mocha, and leather profile with hints of cedar, roasted nuts, and pepper. It is a sophisticated smoke with Churchill’s silhouette embossed on every band and you can take the elegance up a notch with Port in hand.

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Duoro photo: Royalty-free ID 514919401 / Shutterstock.com. Bottle photo courtesy of Fonseca.

>> View of Duoro River, vineyards, villages and hills in Portugal.


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AMERICAN PORT To experience Port in its native land would be the ultimate. But shy of traveling to Portugal and lying a mere 5,600 miles west of the Douro Valley, is the famed Sonoma Valley of California’s wine country and home to the lesser-known, American Port. The Francis Ford Coppola Winery showcases a unique production method on American soil. With over two decades of mastering the art of winemaking, CEO and Winemaking Chief Corey Beck has produced a 100% petite sirah wine for the Francis Coppola Reserve label. The petite sirah grapes, hand-selected from Sonoma’s celebrated vineyards, are a flawless choice in matching the character found in the grapes harvested from Portugal’s Duoro Valley. The wine is fortified during fermentation with Agnesi 1799 Brandy, a small batch brandy launched in 2017 as part of The Family Coppola’s Great Women Spirits Collection. Coppola’s Petite Sirah Port is aged for 24 months in French oak producing bewitching expressions of blackberries, sugared plums, cloves, mocha, and vanilla bean.

AMERICAN PORT CIGAR PAIRING Balanced and smooth, the Rocky Patel 1990 Vintage imposes the perfect influence of caramel, roasted nuts, cocoa, and cedar for an incredible pairing with our featured Francis Ford Coppola American Port. Put your feet up, light up that Rocky, and pour yourself a glass while relaxing with a favorite classic film like The Godfather or Slumdog Millionaire.

PORT CONNOISSEURS AND COLLECTORS The Last Drop Distillers have uncovered an exceptionally rare duo of Tawny Ports from two single harvests from the same estate, a century apart. The 1879 and 1970 Centenario “Old Colheita” Tawny Ports have a maturation of over 147 years and almost 50 years respectively. They are offered together in the rarest of opportunities to experience the history of Port. This highly anticipated release is presented with a certificate of authenticity and availability and limited to 770 sets worldwide. (lastdropdistillers.com) So, take it from “Fabulous Me,” Port with a capital P is poised to captivate the senses with a radiant sophistication for generations to come. Sip after sip, it is an encounter of rich, sweet perfection. And when it comes to pairing, the body of the cigar should match the body of the Port. So, go ahead, play around and experiment with different styles and remember, to fully engage in your Port Affair. Variety is where it’s at.

A special THANK YOU to Albert Chrikjian, owner of Old Oaks Cigar & Wine Company for his pairing guidance. Old Oaks ships nationwide and will seek out the rarest of cigar requests for customers. (oaksliquors.com) Julie Harrington Giffin, known industry wide as Agave Love is a Certified Mezcalier whose marketing, branding and editorial originality is delivered with a charismatic and sophisticated confidence. Inspiring others with her wit of tongue and pen, Julie is influential in encouraging the exploration of life’s more “spirited” pleasures.

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NEW

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VICES

FEATURED PAIRINGS PERFECTO PAIRINGS TO EXPAND YOUR PALATE by Greg Mays

EL ARTISTA CIMARRON IRON FISH MICHIGAN WOODLAND GIN Launching the Cimarron line at IPCPR this past summer, El Artista has previously been known for their Pulita, Puro Ambar and Big Papi lines (the last of which we covered a few months ago in this column). The Cimarron got its name from the beautiful countryside in the U.S. Rocky Mountains. On the outside of the cigar, there’s a pretty straightforward set of familiar growing regions: Ecuador’s Connecticut wrapper and a Dominican binder, but inside the cigar is a bit of a mystery. Dubbed the “T-13 Hybrid,” the filler is a combination of tobaccos that are a bit of a mystery, though Mexico and the U.S. are rumored to be 2 of the contributors. The Cimarron lights with a hot spice on the tongue that’s like a cinnamon/Connecticut paper flavor. The spice continues throughout the cigar, along with some banana and clove notes as well. Strength is mild-to-strong. I paired the Cimarron with a gin that’s bold enough for the task: Iron Fish Michigan Woodland Gin. Sipped on the rocks with a splash of club soda and a lemon wedge, this is a bold gin that starts with a floral nose (especially daisies), and tastes like bold black licorice candy, finishing sweet. Together with the Cimarron, Iron Fish made for a smooth yet bold flavor pairing with intermingling flavors of cinnamon, clove and licorice. SIZE: Robusto 5”x54 | WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade | BINDER: Dominican | FILLER: “T-13 Hybrid” MSRP (cigar): $7.50 | MSRP (gin): $35

FUENTE OPUS X ANGELS SHARE AXE & THE OAK COLORADO MOUNTAIN INCLINE RYE WHISKEY Fuente’s Opus X series of cigars have certainly set the bar high for premium cigar smokers. Known for quality build and impeccable flavors, many pick them up as a celebratory smoking experience. It’s no surprise that an Opus X smoking experience lives up to its reputation: the flavor of aged tobacco, a perfect burn line all the way to the nub. The flavor is spicy. It hits your fore-palate and fades as you exhale, there’s also a touch of earthiness with sweet potato notes followed by tastes of books in an ancient library. The smoke output is wonderful and the pack is medium. I grabbed an equally spicy whiskey to pair with the Opus X: Axe & Oak’s Colorado Mountain Incline Rye Whiskey. A blend of rye, corn and malted barley, Incline Rye has a nose of caramel and black pepper with tasting notes of caramel ice cream. There’s the occasional note of chocolate as well, with a spicy finish in the end. Pairings are often best in one of two camps: when the cigar and spirit complement each other with matching flavors, or when the cigar and spirit fill the gaps for each other, and this pairing is a bit of both. The spice of the cigar matches the spice of the whiskey, but the sweeter notes of the whiskey (caramel and chocolate) serve as a parallel complement to the aged tobacco in the cigar. The interplay of flavors enhances both the cigar and whiskey, and the two pair together perfectly. SIZE: Fuente Fuente 6”x48 | WRAPPER: Dominican | BINDER: Dominican | FILLER: Dominican MSRP (cigar): $35 | MSRP (whiskey): $45

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BALMORAL AÑEJO XO CONNECTICUT ALPINE SUMMIT GIN Balmoral’s portfolio of elite boutique cigar blends includes a premium Añejo XO—or extra old—with a Connecticut wrapper. This praise-worthy cigar was introduced this past summer at the 2018 IPCPR. It is a stellar complement to their existing XO line (with Brazilian maduro wrappers), the Connecticut offers a milder and more subtle flavor profile. On light, the cigar’s wonderful tobacco comes right to the front of the flavors: aged, sweet tobacco with a trace of balsa wood. A beautiful smoke plumes from the cigar with tastes of sweet woodiness. As you breathe through the taste, there’s a faint spice finish, like mulled wine. For a milder smoke that’s still very flavorful, I poured a glad of Alpine Summit Gin straight out of the freezer: a gin that uses corn as it’s distillate (corn equals sweetness), Alpine Summit has a light, piney nose with floral notes, though the taste is dominated by lemon. Distilled with both lemon and orange, this is a nice citrusforward gin that’s in line with standbys such as Bombay Sapphire or Beefeater. It’s great sipped on its own, and really wonderful with a milder, lighter cigar like the excellent Balmoral Connecticut. SIZE: Rothschild Masivo 5"x55 | WRAPPER: Connecticut BINDER: Ecuadorian Sumatra | FILLER: Dominican, Pennsylvanian, Brazilian MSRP (cigar): $9.75 | MSRP (whisky): $33

CHÁRAZO HABANA AMERICAN BARRELS BOURBON Mexican tobacco was once a rare breed in the premium cigar industry, but there’s been a surge in recent years of brands who specialize in Mexican tobacco. We’re seeing some of the major brands adding Mexican tobacco to their portfolios (I’m looking at you, Rocky Patel). The Chárazo brand falls into the first of those categories: a brand that specializes in Mexico-grown tobacco. The Habana line features a Mexican San Andrés binder and filler, and a “Habana” style wrapper. The Chárazo Habana’s tasting notes are sweet tobacco, leather and toasted peanuts at a ballgame. It finishes with a great pepper punch. To pair with the Habana, I grabbed a bottle of American Barrels Bourbon, a newer brand out of South Carolina. Branded with a bold rattlesnake-adorned bottle in the shape of a shotgun shell, this bourbon is equally bold. American Barrels has a tangy orange nose, and a sweet palate with a dry finish. There are all the elements of a good bourbon here: sweet corn, cinnamon spice, citrus and vanilla. A bold American whiskey and a bold Mexican cigar pair together as well as you would imagine: both have sweet notes and spicy notes, with a finish that’s a cool, bright orange. SIZE: Torpedo 6”x52 | WRAPPER: Habana BINDER: Mexican San Andrés | FILLER: Mexican San Andrés Estimated MSRP (cigar): $10 | MSRP (whiskey): $40

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Pairing Spotlight CLUB MACANUDO, NEW YORK CITY by Gavin Murphy, General Manager

The cigar is produced in the Dominican Republic and boasts a complex mix of tobaccos. My favorite part is the Sumatra wrapper. It imparts flavors of earth, spice, wood, citrus and chocolate. The binder and filler are Nicaraguan viso and seco. Upon lighting, one gets a peppery and almost citrus sensation in the mouth. The peppery feeling does not intensify as in some other cigars. The draw on this cigar is fantastic-always nice and easy-no need for a strong draw to get a rewarding amount of cigar flavor. And it stays that way all the way through the stick. This cigar is a solid medium-medium strength, medium body and medium complexity. It is a great morning, afternoon or evening cigar. I recommend it highly. The Bacardi 8 Year Old was originally only available to the Bacardi family members. Try it and you will see why. It has multilayered flavors of almond, molasses, cedar, vanilla and nutmeg. It is composed of a blend of different rums all 8 to 16 years old. The extra aging in white oak barrels (once aged sherry) allows for more contact time with the charred wood so more tannins can diffuse into the rum. This allows for a more flavorful rum that is a deep golden color and full of complex flavor profiles. It is exceptionally smooth with a nice sweet finish-but not artificially sweet-more like dark brown sugar or real Vermont maple syrup. To me it is one of the most complex and flavorful rums in the world. The extra aging of the Sumatran and Nicaraguan tobaccos in the La Gloria Cubana Colección Reserva gives the cigar a unique spicy-sweetness that equals the sweet wood undertones of the Bacardi 8. clubmacanudo.com

ROCKY PATEL HAMLET TABAQUERO SOUTHERN STAR DOUBLE SHOT COFFEE BOURBON CREAM LIQUEUR Based on my totally subjective visits to cigar shops, I feel like Rocky Patel may have the most diverse cigar portfolio of the popular brands. With tobacco from every producing region across their labels, plus different levels of aging and guest-blenders, too, there are cigars for just about every type of smoker in Rocky’s portfolio. The Hamlet Tabaquero is one of those special cigars that Rocky’s produced, bringing in Cuban Tobacco Master Hamlet Paredes to make a cigar that’s packed with flavor all the way down to your fingers. A creamy flavor with chili pepper notes, the Hamlet Tabaquero burns with bright-white Honduran ash. There’s a stellar creamy profile on this cigar and the Corona burns slow and the balance of Mexican, Brazilian and Nicaraguan tobacco is balanced and echoes the rich complexity of Cuban cigars. I paired this creamy Cuban-style cigar with Southern Star Double Shot Coffee Bourbon Cream Liqueur, a North Carolina cream liqueur at 15% ABV. I’d had the bottle in the fridge and poured straight into an Old Fashioned glass to sip. There’s a great coffee flavor that’s supported with the bourbon and cream. For those who prefer a creamier cigar pairing (as I do), like Bailey’s Irish Cream or even Kahlua, this is a delicious sipper with your stick, and the creamy notes of both liqueur and cigar in this pairing tie together the flavors wonderfully. SIZE: Corona 5.5”x52 | WRAPPER: Mexican San Andrés BINDER: Brazilian & Mexican | FILLER: Nicaraguan MSRP (cigar): $8 | MSRP (liqueur): $25

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

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>> Gavin Murphy of Club Macanudo

Photos courtesy of Photo Courtesy of Club Macanudo / Gavin Murphy

La Gloria Cubana Colección Reserva is the first collaboration between General Cigar Company and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo in over ten years. It was worth the wait.


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ON THE COVER

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Photo courtesy of John Shearer

THE WHISKEY AND WISDOM OF BOB DYLAN by Randy Mastronicola

B

ob Dylan is a musical icon. He is one of the most influential and groundbreaking artists in recorded music history. What most people do not know is that he is also a metalwork artist with his own brand of whiskey. The Bob Dylan musical dossier is, of course, legendary. He was an essential guiding spirit of the musical zeitgeist and countercultural movement of the 1960’s. The masterful and socially trenchant lyrics he wrote as a young man-child-poet were revolutionary. Early on, landmark songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’” from this new musical force were picked up on as rallying cries by legions of disenfranchised youth. His career has seen glorious heights and moments that weren’t as glorious. Nevertheless, he has been in rarified air in the pantheon of popular music since World War II. Only Elvis and The Beatles occupy that air space with him. His songwriting and lyricism has cemented him as one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, and those songs will be revered and recorded long after the deal goes down. Bob Dylan’s unmistakable voice and artistic soul have informed his music for over fifty years. He is a creative polymath and his contributions arguably place him beyond any other American in musical history. He has sold more than 125 million records, won numerous Grammy awards, and has been inducted into

the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Nashville Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2008, he was awarded a special citation by the Pulitzer Prize jury for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, and he is the first and only musician to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 2016. Bob Dylan, iconoclast, has always stretched beyond the confinements of any one art form. He has been able to avoid buying into his own early press as the “voice of a generation.” And while he is mainly known for his songwriting, he is also an actor, author, illustrator and renowned visual artist. He has received accolades for his work with water colors and large-scale acrylic paintings since his first public exhibition in 2007, The Drawn Blank Series, opened at the Kunstsammlungen Museum in Chemnitz, Germany. He has had exhibitions in prestigious galleries and museums from that point forward. With all this, some fans may not know that he is also an accomplished metalwork artist. They may also not know he has an award-winning trio of American handcrafted whiskeys— Heaven’s Door Spirits—named after his highly acclaimed and widely covered 1973 song “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”

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METALWORK The iron sculptures Dylan creates at his Black Buffalo Ironworks shop in Los Angeles are brazen and steam punk-ish. The art takes root in found objects collected from farms and scrapyards throughout the country: rusted equipment, children’s toys, kitchen utensils, antique fire arms, chains, cogs, axes and wheels are incorporated into the works. In 2013, the Halcyon Gallery in London mounted Mood Swings, an exhibition that showcased seven wrought iron gates he made in a series of large-scale metalwork. The seven gates were made from vintage iron scraps and hand-welded by Bob D. himself. They are winding, uniquely graceful, and aesthetically keen artworks. According to Dylan on heavensdoor.com, he has always found gates appealing because of the negative space they allow. “They can be closed but at the same time allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow,” he said. “They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways, there is no difference.”

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Tools photo courtesy of Gab Bonghi

Bob Dylan photos courtesy of John Shearer

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Photo courtesy of Gab Bonghi

WHISKEY There is no shortage of celebrity brand ambassadors out there in the spirits universe (insert eye-roll here). Some are legitimately vital to the creation and continued development of their elixirs, others not so much. Spirits connoisseurs are a savvy lot, and seem to know when a company is just slapping a pretty face on an ad and that’s the extent of the celebrity’s involvement. They also take note when a brand has a legitimate “face of the franchise,” like George Clooney or Sammy Hagar. Respectively, their Casamigos and Cabo Wabo tequilas were born from real passion for the liquid. Likewise, Dylan’s affiliation with Heaven’s Door Whiskey is no buzz kill. Heaven’s Door Spirits (Spirits Investment Partners—SIP) is the first brand partnership of any kind for Dylan. This series of blends is the culmination of the art of Dylan, and his partner and SIP CEO, Mark Bushala. The iron creations appearing on the whiskey’s labeling showing the different expressions of the Heaven’s Door whiskey collection is eye-catching. The art is dynamic, and contributes gracefully to the branding. Evidently, this craft keeps Bob Dylan busy. We wondered how long he’s been passionate

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about working and welding in the metalwork medium. He told Cigar & Spirits Magazine, “I’ve worked with it in one form or another for decades. I was born and raised in iron ore country, where everyday you could breathe it and smell it.” In fact, he’s created and given these works to personal friends and family for the past 30 years. Bill Clinton owns one of his pieces. Bushala is the former President and CEO of the heralded Angel Share Brands and owner of Angel’s Envy Bourbon. He went on a mission to connect to Dylan when he learned the artist had registered a trademark application for “Bootleg Whiskey” in 2015. They met through a mutual friend and the idea was born that blending Dylan’s art in with the whiskey’s branding would work well. Bushala felt Dylan had qualities that translated well for a whiskey brand. “He has great authenticity,” Bushala said. “He is a quintessential American. He does things the way he wants to do them. I think these are good attributes for a super-premium whiskey as well.”

“I’ve worked with it in one form or another for decades. I was born and raised in iron ore country, where everyday you could breathe it and smell it.”


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“You have to work out where your place is. And who you are. But we’re all spirit. That’s all we are, we’re just walking dressed up in a suit of skin, and we’re going to leave that behind.”

Photo courtesy of Danny Clinch

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Photo courtesy of Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

SIX CROOKED HIGHWAYS

THE TWISTY PATH OF BOB DYLAN’S CREATIVE JOURNEY by Robbie Woliver

In his iconic “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” Bob Dylan sings about walking and crawling on six crooked highways. That has certainly been his creative journey. Nothing about Dylan is ordinary. BOY FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY Robert Allan Zimmerman was raised in Hibbing, a small Minnesota town that oozed longing for big-city dreamers. A self-taught guitarist, Zimbo, as he was known, played in rock bands in the mid-‘50s like The Shadow Blasters, Elston Gunn and His Rock Boppers, The Jokers (formed in Jewish summer camp) and the Golden Chords, performing at school dances and the 1958 Winter Frolic Talent Competition. In college, he performed in Minneapolis coffeehouses. Then the lure of New York and meeting his folk music idol, Woody Guthrie, took over.

NEW YORK TOWN Greenwich Village was a magnet for creative types, and once there, smalltown Zimbo didn’t waste time becoming enigmatic folkie Bob Dylan. Arriving in January, 1961, he settled into Gerdes Folk City, making his professional debut there at 20, on September 29, 1961. Reviewed by Robert Shelton in The New York Times, Dylan’s life forever changed. In 1962, his now-signature “Blowin’ in the Wind” was introduced at a Folk City open mic by Gil Turner, the club’s MC. That year, Dylan was signed to Columbia Records. Dylan’s road at Folk City took another turn—toward love. There, he met the love and major muse of his life, Suze Rotolo, immortalized with him on the cover of 1963’s Freewheelin’. She inspired his songs like “Don’t Think Twice” and “Boots of Spanish Leather.” It’s also where he and Joan Baez first met. Her “Diamonds And Rust,” chronicles their long love affair.

HIGHWAY 61 In 1963, the crooked highway led Dylan to the Newport Folk Festival, which further solidified his burgeoning folk star status. But two years later that debut was blown out of the stratosphere by one Fender Stratocaster as the iconoclast returned to staid, traditional Newport on July 25, 1965 and performed an electric set, backed by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He repeated this anarchy in the UK to similar mixed results. Sixteen minutes of blistering renditions of songs like “Maggie’s Farm” and “Like A Rolling Stone” changed the course of music history. When the single, “Like a Rolling Stone” was released it became an immediate, unexpected chart-topper. In a sonic blitzkrieg, Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited hit the stores in 1965, and, hello, Dylanmania.

ROLLING THUNDER The mid-‘70s were revival time. The cynical, meditative Blood on the Tracks, influenced by his broken marriage, was released in 1975 to critical acclaim. In ‘76, Dylan returned to Folk City, kick-starting the all-star “Rolling Thunder Tour,” immortalized in the film Renaldo & Clara, in conjunction with the release of mystical, frothy Desire, including the gorgeous goodbye to his wife (“Sara”), and “Hurricane,” about Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the boxing champ wrongly accused of murder. Dylan’s creative peak continued through the ‘80s—earning his first Grammy in 1981 for the gospel-inspired “You Gotta Serve Somebody” and joining Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and George Harrison as The Travelling Wilburys. Re-inspired in 1988, he started “The Never Ending Tour.” Literally. He’s still on the road. That year he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

HONORS The honors kept coming. In 1997, Dylan won three Grammy’s for his 30th studio album Time Out of Mind, a postmodern revamping of American blues, featuring “Make You Feel My Love”; recorded by Adele and Billy Joel, it has become one of Dylan’s most covered songs. As if Grammys weren’t enough, Dylan won an Oscar for “Things Have Changed” from Michael Douglas’ 2004 The Wonder Boys. His book Chronicles: Volume One was a bestseller and the four-hour Martin Scorsese documentary about him, No Direction Home, won both a Peabody and Grammy award. Dylan’s XM/Sirius radio show, Theme Time Radio Hour, premiered in 2006. He received a 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his “profound impact on popular music.” Oh, and then there’s his original artwork. His most current honor, and the one that left him speechless for a while, was the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. He’s done it all. So, what’s next? Whiskey, of course.

WOODSTOCK Dylan survived a brutal motorcycle accident in 1966, on his 1964 Triumph T100. He became reclusive, convalescing in Woodstock, NY, with his wife Sara. He quit touring for the next eight years, enjoying domesticity and writing songs like “I Shall be Released,” “The Mighty Quinn” and countrified material for 1969 ‘s breakthrough, Nashville Skyline. There was a book: Tarantuala. A new band: The Band. And even a now-iconic gig: the Isle of Wight Festival. In 1970, the controversial, mostly cover-song collection, Self-Portrait, was thought to be the end of his ascension. Wrong. Coming out of seclusion, he joined George Harrison’s 1973 Concert For Bangladesh and embarked on an acting career in Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid.

Robbie Woliver is a New York Times best-selling author and awardwinning journalist. He owned the legendary Greenwich Village music venue Gerdes Folk City, and ran the New York, L.A. and Atlanta Music Awards. His musical play Folk City is based on his book Bringing It All Back Home. He currently heads the founding organization for the New York Music Hall of Fame.

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SPEAKING WORDS OF WISDOM Bob Dylan’s lyrics are as literary and revolutionary in songwriting lore as any that have ever been written. Here are a few scattershot thoughts the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature recipient has given us through the years—Bob Dylan, a friend of us all. You can never be wise and be in love at the same time. No Direction Home, 2005

You have to work out where your place is. And who you are. But we’re all spirit. That’s all we are, we’re just walking dressed up in a suit of skin, and we’re going to leave that behind. The Essential Interviews, 2017

Last night I danced with a stranger, but she just reminded me you were the one. “Standing in the Doorway”—Time Out of Mind, 1997

Passion is a young man’s game. Young people can be passionate. Older people gotta be more wise. I mean, you’re around awhile, you leave certain things to the young. Don’t try to act like you’re young. You could really hurt yourself. Independent interview, 2015

I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours. “Talkin’ World War III Blues”—The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, 1963

Strange how people who suffer together have stronger connections than people who are most content. “Brownsville Girl”—Knocked Out Loaded, 1986

Edna Gundersen interview, 2016

It’s not important what other people call you. If you yourself know you’re a fake, that’s tougher to live with. Big Hive Mind, 2018

Whatever you do. You ought to be the best at it—highly skilled. It’s about confidence, not arrogance. You have to know that you’re the best whether anybody else tells you or not. And that you’ll be around, in one way or another, longer than anybody else. Somewhere inside of you, you have to believe that. Rolling Stone interview, 2012

It’s a wicked life, but what the hell, the stars ain’t falling down. “Goin’ to Acapulco”—The Basement Tapes, 1975

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Months after starting a quest for the right aroma, Bushala met up with Dylan with a sample. Dylan responded approvingly to the scent. It had “that sweet, musty smell of a barn.” Heaven’s Door is a collection of three super-premium American whiskeys— Tennessee Straight Bourbon, Double Barrel Whiskey from Tennessee and a Straight Rye Whiskey. The Tennessee Bourbon is a straight bourbon made from 30 percent small grains and comprised of a unique mash bill from Tennessee, aged almost seven years in new American Oak barrels. The Double Barrel Whiskey is a blend of three different whiskeys. The barrel finishing process utilizes hand toasted, new American Oak barrels for a secondary aging worthy of another year’s wait. The third blend—Straight Rye Whiskey finishes in toasted oak cigar barrels, harvested and air-dried in the low-lying mountain region of Vosges, France.

Bob Dylan photos courtesy of Pictorial Press Ltd (Tony Gale) / Alamy Stock Photo

Creativity isn’t like a freight train going down the tracks. It’s something that has to be caressed and treated with a great deal of respect.

Initially, Bushala had to sift through some of Dylan’s remarks about whiskey, like “it should feel like being in a wood structure.” Bob Dylan is a musical genius but lyrically enigmatic, and open to a variety of interpretations at times. Perhaps the wood referred to a church, a railroad car, a barn. Fortunately, Bushala was able to come up with the aroma Dylan was seeking in the glass. He looked at how they toasted the barrels in which the whiskey is aged, and helped hit the right notes on the nose of the whiskey.


HEAVEN’S DOOR OPENS WIDE The inaugural trilogy of whiskey expressions has been so well received, the company is now offering a Limited-Edition 10 Year-Old Tennessee Straight Bourbon. Heaven’s Door is planning to launch a “Bootleg Series” as well. The Bootleg Series will incorporate rare stocks, special blends and unique barrel finishes packaged in hand-made porcelain bottles featuring Bob Dylan’s paintings. Bob Dylan photos courtesy of John Shearer

In 2019, Heaven’s Door will open its distillery and brand experience center in a 140-year-old church in Nashville’s SoBro neighborhood. At the age of 77, Bob Dylan is a most-treasured American icon. His life is art; art is his life. As it turns out, whiskey, wisdom and song are no small part of the equation.

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

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FEATURE

HANDS-ON WINE CELEBRITIES HOLLYWOODERS TO ATHLETES SHARE THEIR PASSION by Elisa Jordan

THE WINE WORLD IS AN EXCITING, expanding universe in which every type of connoisseur is welcome. From the luxury market to brands for the budget-conscious and everyone in between, there is something to suit taste buds of all kinds. With this inclusive environment, a number of new brands have started hitting the shelves at local stores and that includes wines created by celebrities. Those who are passionate about wine come from all types of backgrounds and that diversity is also represented in the celebrity branded market. Different careers, regions and philosophies are represented. As with any marketplace, a celebrity name is enough to attract attention. The key is keeping up that interest and when it comes to wine, only the best will survive. Wine enthusiasts don’t tolerate products that aren’t up to their standards. In some cases, celebrities partner with brands to license their very recognizable—and therefore profitable—names. Oftentimes, however, the celebrity is a passionate winemaker who is deeply involved in the process of creating a bottle.

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Photo courtesy of Wayne Gretzky Estates

We take a look at some brands with celebrities at the helm.


WAYNE GRETZKY ESTATES Wayne Gretzky’s winery and distillery are nestled in the Niagara Peninsula area of Ontario, Canada. The area has been gaining popularity when it comes to growing grapes since the 1950s. A moderately cool climate with lots of sun, the grapes are known for their intensity and exquisite taste. Gretzky grew up in Ontario, so the region was an ideal location to set up his winery. It’s the same region where he learned to play hockey on a backyard rink. He came a long way from home in Ontario. After playing for the Indianapolis Racers and Edmonton Oilers in the World Hockey Association, Gretzky moved to National Hockey League after the WHA folded. During the course of his career, he was the season points leader 10 times and won countless awards and trophies. Today he’s remembered as one of the greatest professional athletes of all times. Now retired, Gretzky focuses on such activities as running the 23,000-square-foot winery and distillery complex in the Niagara Peninsula, tying together his past, his present and his future.

gretzkyestateswines.com

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THE DREAMING TREE There isn’t much that Dave Matthews can’t do. In addition to his popular award-winning music, he loves to draw and write poetry. He’s also achieved creating a brand of wine that impresses even the pickiest aficionados. The love Matthews has for music and wine come together in The Dreaming Tree, his wine that takes its name from a track on his 1998 album Before These Crowded Streets. Matthews’ path to making his own brand of wine had its origins in 2000 when he purchased a vineyard in Virginia. The next step was a few years later after the Dave Matthews Band played an event centered around food, wine and music in California that the idea for The Dreaming Tree was born. Matthews partners with winemaker Sean McKenzie, who has honed his craft by working with wineries all over the world. The collaboration between the men has been as melodic as anything put forth by the band—including winning the gold at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition. Matthews has taken every aspect of the operation into consideration, including the impact on the environment. All labels are made from recycled paper and bottles are lighter weight than average. The thought was if the products weigh less, it takes less fuel to carry them to their destinations. A portion of the proceeds are also shared with such organizations as The Wilderness Society and Living Lands & Waters, to which The Dreaming Tree has donated more than one million dollars.

dreamingtreewines.com

Probably best known for his role as FBI Agent Dale Cooper in the groundbreaking television series Twin Peaks, Kyle MacLachlan has established himself as a top working actor since the 1980s. His other notable roles include portraying keyboardist Ray Manzarek in the 1991 movie The Doors, about the seminal 1960s rock band, and on Sex and the City. To keep up with his work schedule, the MacLachlan family splits their time between New York and Los Angeles but the Pacific Northwest native longed for a connection to his home. The desire to stay close to his roots and family led MacLachlan to combine his love for Washington state and wine. The way he saw it, winemaking and acting had several similarities, including patience, process and creativity. Everything about the venture was a natural fit. By chance, MacLachlan met Eric Dunham, a winemaker based in Walla Walla, and the men started Pursued by Bear on an old-fashioned handshake in 2005. The company’s name is another nod to the world of acting. In Shakespeare’s play A Winter’s Tale, a stage direction reads “Exit, pursued by a bear.” It was perfect. It was theater. It could apply to Washington. And it was funny—it appealed to MacLachlan’s sense of humor. The Pursued by Bear vineyard is located in Walla Walla’s Columbia Valley, which is a hub of winemaking. MacLachlan’s instincts to set up a winery in his native state have paid off. He has the connection to home that he craved, he’s deeply involved in every aspect of Pursued by Bear and his wines have won rave reviews from enthusiasts. Sometimes the past and present come together in a perfect package—or bottle.

pursuedbybearwine.com

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Photos courtesy of The Dreaming Tree and Pursued by Bear

PURSUED BY BEAR


Photo courtesy of Andretti Wines

ANDRETTI WINES If you can think of a car race, there’s a pretty good chance that Mario Andretti has probably won it. During his years on the racing circuit, Andretti established himself as one of the finest drivers who ever participated in the sport. From his earliest years, Mario and his twin brother Aldo would “race” each other around the house. The childhood passion that developed in Italy flourished in the United States after the family immigrated. Now retired from driving, Mario Andretti puts the same amount of passion into his wines that he once devoted to his sports career. The Andretti Winery is situated in the Oak Knoll region of Napa Valley. The ideal climate, coupled with quickly draining soils, produces intensely flavored grapes. Two series of wines are available from Andretti Wines, the Napa Valley Series and the Villa Andretti Series, which reflects his Italian heritage.

andrettiwinery.com

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by Elisa Jordan

T

here are a number of trends happening in the wine market this year, perhaps the most important being that the industry continues growing steadily. That security gives the wine trade a certain freedom and spirit of innovation. The world of wine may very well be on the cusp of a Golden Age. “Advancements in scientific understanding and the application of advanced technology has lead the global wine industry to producing the best wines in the history of the world,” says Gary Horner, senior director of winemaking at Erath (erath.com). Kenny Rochford of West + Wilder (westandwilder.com) agrees. “It’s an exciting time in the industry, wine drinkers are becoming more interested in a broader range of grape varieties,” he says. “Not so long ago, people were only interested in the big guns, like Cabernet and Chardonnay. Now we’re seeing more interesting blends and varietal specific wines, like Chenin blanc, Valdiguie, Riesling and Albariño become part of consumers’ shopping list. Overall, we see a trend towards consumers wanting wines with higher acid, lower residual sugar and brighter flavors at lower alcohols, and pair well with food.” Inclusivity and variety have never been more abundant. Grapes are grown in more areas; prices points have a wider range and more age groups are developing an interest. Rochford also sees an increase in younger wine drinkers, who are “more experimental and less judgmental,” he says. “If it’s good, let’s enjoy it. They also prefer to know a bit more about the company or the people behind a brand.”

THE CALLING Jim Nantz’s career in sports broadcasting spans nearly four decades. He was an athlete while growing up and played a variety of sports in high school and college. During his time at the University of Houston in Texas, Nantz decided to major in broadcasting. His sports background lent itself to his budding broadcasting career and he got his first taping weekend segments for CBS radio. From those early college days, Nantz’s combined interests in sports and broadcasting led him to an esteemed career in journalism. Sports weren’t Jim Nantz’s only interests, though. In addition to his achievements and multiple awards for his work in sports broadcasting, Nantz authored a book, Always By My Side, about his father’s Alzheimer’s Disease. In 2011, he opened the Nantz National Alzheimer Center, also for his father. Soon another passion was about to impact Jim Nantz’s life—his love for wine. A fortuitous encounter at a restaurant brought Nantz in contact with Peter Deutsch, a longtime wine and spirits entrepreneur. In addition to Nantz’s interest in production, both men were keen to create a wine in honor of their respective fathers. A partnership was born and they named their joint venture “The Calling,” after what felt like a new calling in life. The partners wanted to create wines that were high quality but also reasonably priced. To achieve their standards, they source from several vineyards in Sonoma County and work with established winemakers. The Calling has achieved the founders’ goals of creating a great wine at reasonable prices.

thecallingwine.com

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Coly Den Haan, sommelier and owner of Vivovore (vino-vore.com) in Los Angeles, has noticed a similar trend and notes that more women are entering the industry. “Slowly but surely some of the stodginess that follows wine around is being stripped away,” she says. “Younger generations are owning wine as professionals, consumers, and makers. With this comes a breaking of old traditions and exciting new experiments. This not only shows itself in the bottles themselves but also on wine lists, labels, and pairing menus. “One thing I truly love about wine is that there does not have to be rules, wine can do so many things and go in so many directions. Yes, a big red goes with a juicy steak, but a chilled light red is also awesome with a burger. Whites are not the only thing that can be paired with seafood, and so on. Molds are being broken and, in my mind, this is what makes this industry so interesting to be a part of. Let’s put it this way, if it didn’t change, there wouldn’t be a place for me in it.” The changes reflected in age, gender and inclusivity extends to the way wine is viewed in terms of the environment and how more people are changing their diets. “General trends in wine today are, in my opinion, related to this idea of ‘natural wine,’” says Chloe Grigri, general manager and wine pro at the Good King Tavern in Philadelphia (thegoodkingtavern.com). Natural wine is not a technical term—it’s a philosophy, a lifestyle; within the realm of natural wine exists many genres and styles produced throughout the world, for example, ‘skin contact’ or ‘orange’ wine.” Wine is a growing market with new fans discovering their perfect flavor and pairing at a rapid pace. With this increased awareness and demand for vino, the sky is the limit when it comes creativity and taste.

Royalty-free stock photo ID: 217066324 / Shutterstock.com.

Photo courtesy of The Calling

CHANGING THE WAY WE DRINK WINE


TOMMY BAHAMA

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CLAYPOOL CELLARS Les Claypool has long been considered one of music’s finest and most versatile bassists. As the bassist and lead singer for Primus, a band that started in the 1980s out of San Francisco, Les Claypool is known for a funk-inspired sound. Over the years, Primus built a fiercely loyal following with such classic albums as Frizzle Fry (1990), Seas of Cheese (1991), Brown Album (1997) and The Desaturating Seven (2017), among others. In 1994, Claypool and his soon-to-be wife, Chaney, moved to California’s Russian River Valley. As the couple raised their family and put down roots in the area (no pun intended), they eventually began making acquaintances with folks in the wine industry. Not surprising, given its prime vineyard territory. It was through these friends that the Claypools learned about good wine and as time went on, they started playing with the idea of making their own wines.

In keeping with Les Claypool’s philosophy, whether it be music or wine, Claypool Cellars is a fine wine without any pretentiousness. The way Les sees it, he’s sharing his personal collection with other enthusiasts.

claypoolcellars.com

DOUBLEBACK Drew Bledsoe came of age in Walla Walla, Washington, where he was a star on the football field. Under the tutelage of his father, who coached the high school football team, the teenage Bledsoe was already an award-winning quarterback. After college, Bledsoe turned pro when he was drafted by the New England Patriots. After also playing for the Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys, Bledsoe retired in 2007. That’s when Bledsoe finally had time to pursue his interest in making wine. It was an ideal opportunity to combine two of his great loves—wine and his hometown. Bledsoe and his wife, Maura, source their company’s grapes from Walla Walla, an area filled with vineyards. Fortunately for Bledsoe, his childhood friend Chris Figgins, who happened to be in the wine business, consulted on aspects of the winemaking. He also trained the current winemaker, Josh McDaniels. Doubleback now produces world-class cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay that come out of the region that produced a football legend.

doubleback.com

Elisa Jordan is a writer and editor who is inexplicably enrolled in a local college’s fashion program even though she has a career.

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Photos courtesy of Claypool Cellars and Doubleback

The first batch was created in 2007; in 2012, Claypool Cellars hired Ross Cobb and Katy Wilson to refine the taste into a leaner, more delicate wine. The wines still maintain their connection to the Russian Valley but also source from premium vineyards Rice-Spivak, Thorn Ridge and O’Conner.


NEW #1

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FEATURE

THE REAL LIFE DOWNTON ABBEY A Royal Look at Lord Carnarvon and Highclere Castle Cigars by Nick Hammond

A grand estate, a country castle; the perfect setting for a Scotch and a cigar. Our British Brother of the Leaf, Nick Hammond, enjoys exactly that over an instantly recognisable English vista…

H

IGHCLERE Castle has seen its fair share of characters over the years. This magnificent stately pile in the rolling Berkshire countryside has been the traditional seat of the Carnarvons for generations. From here, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, George Herbert, drew up plans to employ Howard Carter for the eventual sensational discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Dignitaries, Heads of State, Royalty and stars of stage and screen have partied and dined here. The world-famous TV show Downton Abbey was filmed here (and returns this Autumn to make the longawaited movie). And now it’s my turn. The sprawling country estate now adds cigar producer to its long and distinguished list of highlights and credits. The Highclere Castle cigar is made by Nicaraguan leaf maestro Nick Melillo under the watchful gaze of the eighth Earl. The pair, along with Adam von Gootkin, CEO of Highclere Castle Cigars, spent time in Nicaragua when researching their blend and agreed that a new line of smokes carrying the Castle’s inimitable silhouette would be a good fit alongside its portfolio of land, stock, property and produce.

>> The Season 3 Cast of Downton Abbey

“Cigars have been smoked at Highclere since it was built,” Lord Carnarvon tells me over a pint in the local pub. It’s not where you’d expect to chat with the local Lord—but we’re here nonetheless after a glorious summer afternoon of tasting and evaluating his new blend up at the castle following a first-class lunch in the dining room. “The 5th Earl and Howard Carter would have pored over maps in the drawing room, the air thick with cigar smoke—and no doubt a decent Scotch at their elbow. Several of my ancestors were renowned cigar smokers, so I guess it’s in the family line, so to speak.” Lord Carnarvon takes a puff on a Highclere Castle robusto, which smoulders quietly into the cooling dusk air. “When I was approached with the idea of having a cigar made just for us, I jumped at the idea. There’s nothing better than enjoying a good cigar with a good friend, either chatting or enjoying a companionable silence. Highclere is the perfect setting for that.” I think to myself that I can’t disagree.

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Photo courtesy of Photo 12 / Alamy Stock Photo NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018


Photos courtesy of Highclere Castle Cigar

After a Champagne reception where I get the chance to engage with both the Lord and his wife, Lady Carnarvon, both of whom are charming hosts, I’m given a private tour of the castle itself. While it’s obviously old and grand, it’s also quite lovely—and somewhere you feel you might actually be able to live (my wife tells me I’ve always had ideas above my station). Such is the all-pervading fame of Downton Abbey, many of the rooms here feel very familiar indeed; the library; the Dowager’s drawing room, which has featured in many scenes featuring the haughty Dame Maggie Smith. These high-ceilinged rooms are beautifully decorated and tastefully draped with age; portrait of a former Lady here, a historic document there; ornaments and memorabilia stretching back centuries. These days, the castle is opened for special parties, filming, and, during certain months of the year, to the general public. The latter raises much needed funds to keep the whole Highclere operation afloat; the farm alone manages more than 2,000 acres of arable land; sheep graze another 1,400 acres alongside the castle; there are a further 1,000 acres of mixed woodland. The lunch—following toasts to Her Majesty The Queen and short speeches from both Lord Carnarvon and Adam Von Gootkin—is a simple delicious fare of rare estate lamb and summer vegetables. As you might imagine, the Lord’s cellar is not to be sniffed at, either.

“The 5th Earl and Howard Carter would have pored over maps in the drawing room, the air thick with cigar smoke—and no doubt a decent Scotch at their elbow. Several of my ancestors were renowned cigar smokers, so I guess it’s in the family line, so to speak.”

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>> Adam von Gootkin (Highclere Castle Cigar Co-founder and CEO) Nick Melillo (worldrenowned cigar maker) and Lord Carnarvon.

And then, for me, the highlight of the afternoon; the chance to spend a couple of hours in contemplation under the great spreading boughs of the ancient Lebanese cedar tree on the lawns. The view from this spot is spectacular, taking in as it does one corner and two sides of the castle, flag fluttering jauntily atop the turret in what little breeze this scorching day can provide. This particular shot is also well used in Downton Abbey. If memory serves me correctly, it’s used in the opening titles. We’re joined here by Steve Johnstone, owner of the Robert Graham chain of cigar and whisky shops in the UK. He’s brought some of his finest independently bottled Scotch for us to enjoy. Reclining in a deck chair with a smoke and a whisky is probably one of the finer ways to spend an afternoon. When you add in a country castle, a Lord and Lady and some helpful waitresses to attend to your top up, it’s pretty much an Englishman’s nirvana. Nick Melillo gets up to say a few words. It’s the first time I’ve met the bearded livewire American, who earned his stripes in the cigar world as one of Jonathan Drew’s lieutenants in Estelí. He garnered a particular reputation for his excellence with tobacco leaf and it’s why he was chosen to blend Highclere’s cigars. “The filler is Criojo and Corojo from Jalapa and Ometepe in Nicaragua,” he tells me as he joins me under the shade of the tree, mopping his brow.

Melillo, Von Gootkin, Lord Carnarvon and I later repair to the local hostelry to sit in the pub garden and continue our discussion. It’s an eccentric mix of personalities, lifestyles, experiences and backgrounds; but that’s what I love about the cigar world. It brings all of them together in a common cause. And as evening falls and this quiet corner of Berkshire breathes out after a blistering hot day, we converse, get to know one another, share jokes and smokes and celebrate the birth of a new cigar baby.

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Highclere Castle cigars have been available to acclaim across the pond for some time. It seems only right that we get to sample their pleasure on these green shores and acknowledge how a cigar made in Nicaragua, from leaves grown in that country, Brazil and America, can carry an English castle’s name and come to share a little of its spirit as they give up their secrets to the flame. Long live the cigar and the people who make and enjoy them.

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.

Photos courtesy of Highclere Castle Cigar

“The binder is Brazilian Mata Fina, finished with the best Connecticut Shade money can buy.”


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FEATURE

CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE'S

by Taryn Paulson

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Photo by Pictures Now / Alamy Stock Photo

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The updated PerfecDraw is the best device on the market for fixing plugged cigars. Excess filler leaf is the main cause for tight drawing cigars. The new PerfecDraw has 4 rows of tobacco pulling barbs that are aligned in rows which enable a more aggressive leaf extraction. The update is also slightly longer and has a hexagon shaped cap to keep it from rolling off your coffee table.

She’s gonna love it! Featuring a blend of pomegranate, raspberry, frankincense and patchouli, the scented Pomegranate Noir scented candle is the perfect light scent for the holiday season. Staying true to Jo Malone’s passion for gift giving, the candle is presented in a signature box tied with a ribbon.

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Photos courtesy of PerfectDraw, Gucci, Deluth Pack, Tom Ford and Jo Malone London

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Deluxe Laptop Backpack in Waxed Canvas

Pomegranate Noir Scented Candle

jomalone.com | $495

GUCCI

GG Marmont Matelassé Backpack

Made in the USA, and guaranteed for life on all hardware and craftsmanship, the Duluth Pack Deluxe Laptop Backpack features a padded protective sleeve for your laptop and high quality YKK zippers built to withstand the elements for decades.

Inspired by an archival design from the 70’s the Gucci Marmont backpack boasts a classic shape with a front zip pocket and multiple interior pockets. Crafted from chevron matelassé leather and treated for a vintage effect, the accessory is enhanced by Gucci’s signature, Double G hardware.

duluthpack.com | $365

gucci.com | $2,190

TOM FORD

Satin Large Evening Bow Tie Made in Italy and 100% silk, the stylish Tom Ford Satin Large Evening Bow Tie is the perfect addition to a sophisticated ensemble. tomford.com | $250

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La Mer

Yves Saint Laurent

Valentino

Tom Ford La Prairie

LA MER

TOM FORD

La Mer’s The Concentrate treatment promotes skin’s natural healing process by soothing visible irritation and reducing the look of redness. The result is flexible, resilient, soft and supple skin.

Tom Ford’s Cromwell Boots provide a sophisticated twist to the traditional hiking boot. Crafted of Italian Burnished Leather and punctuated by brushed brass eyelets and hooks, the Cromwell Boots are available in three separate colors.

The Concentrate

cremedelamer.com | $370

LA PRAIRIE

tomford.com | $1,490

Skin Caviar Luxe Eye

RAG & BONE

Enriched with caviar extract, La Prairie’s Skin Caviar Luxe Eye Lift Cream lifts and tightens the delicate eye area while combatting puffiness, dark circle and dryness.

This classic 40’’ x 80’’ ribbed scarf with contrast color tipping is 100% cashmere making it a both stylish (and warm) addition to any outfit.

Ace Cashmere Scarf

laprairie.com | $350

rag-bone.com | $275

YVES SAINT LAURENT

VALENTINO

Crafted with luxurious pebble-grained calfskin, the Yves Saint Laurent Pebble Grain Leather Wallet is a classic bi-fold wallet designed for lasting use and stylish sophistication.

Made in Italy, the Valentino Garavani VLTN nylon document holder boasts sleek palladium finish stud detailing and two inside zipper pockets.

nordstrom.com | $385

valentino.com | $945

Pebble Grain Leather Wallet

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VLTN Document Bag

Photos courtesy of Valentino, La Mer, La Prairie, Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford and Rag & Bone

Rag & Bone


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David Yurman

REFA

The Art of Shaving

Oribe

Aesop

Shinola

SHINOLA

The perfect tool for the “her” in your life. A platinum 360° multiangular roller that fits over every detail of your face and body for youthful, tight, firm looking skin. The Carat Face Beauty Roller Tool is equipped with rollers that replicate professional deep kneading manipulations.

Handcrafted from American leather, the water-resistant Frame Travel Kit is built to last through years of travel. Featuring a canvas-lined bag featuring a zipper closure with pull tabs and a frame opening for easy access, the Frame Travel Kit is both functional and durable.

Carat Face Beauty Roller Tool

refausa.com | $290

Frame Travel Kit

shinola.com | $295

THE ART OF SHAVING

AESOP

Parsley Seed Antioxidant Grooming Kit A collection of six highly efficacious products to provide a complete facial care regime. Each product contains parsley seed extract and offers significant restorative properties. aesop.com | $300

ORIBE

Signature Shampoo Oribe’s Signature Shampoo is custom-blended from the most exclusive ingredients to silken, detangle and protect the hair for a sleek and shiny result. oribe.com | $145

Pewter Shave Mug and Genuine Brush Achieve the perfect shave with The Art of Shaving Pewter Shave Mug and Genuine Brush. The Pewter Shave Mug Caddy is a two-piece pewter and ceramic mug to be used with shaving soap or shaving cream to create a rich, moisturizing lather. The Genuine Black Shaving Brush generates a rich warm lather by retaining warm water to help soften the beard hair. Both tools work together to achieve a flawless shave. theartofshaving.com | $115

DAVID YURMAN

Roman 18K Gold Signet Ring with Black Onyx The Roman 18K Gold Signet Ring with Black Onyx is a sleek and sophisticated ring that’s 8-13mm in width and undeniably eyecatching. davidyurman.com | $3,700

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Photos courtesy of REFA, Aesop, Oribe, The Art of Shaving, David Yurman and Shinola

REFA


MICALLEF

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Valentino

Duparquet

DaO Detroit

Shinola

Fitbit Sir Jacks

VALENTINO

FITBIT

The Heroes Reflex Sneaker features leather mirror details, reflective fabric inserts and lightweight leather soles for a sporty and stylish look.

Fitbit does it again by creating the lightest metal smartwatch in the U.S. market. The Fitbit Versa offers a comfortable design and a new dashboard that simplifies how you access your health and fitness data.

Heroes Reflex Sneaker

SHINOLA

Canfield Over Ear Headphones From the stainless-steel components, and the integrated padding in the headband, to the interchangeable memory foam lambskin ear pads, the Over-Ear headphones are a revelation in listening. shinola.com | $450

Solid Silver Cookware This stunning cookware will bring out the gourmet beast in you. The artisanal craftsmanship ensures a remarkably even distribution of heat and offers unparalleled beauty to a kitchen. A must-visit online browse to view the array of product offerings. duparquet.com | $2,800

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DAO DETROIT

DaO Fantastic Four Kit Co-founded by former professional football player Willis Marshall, DaO Detroit is an all-natural, plant/hemp-based hair care company. The Dao Fantastic Four Kit provides a transformational hair experience for all genders of all ages and hair types. daodetroit.com | $80

DUPARQUET

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fitbit.com | $200

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SIR JACKS

Six-Ounce Pewter Hammered Leather Encased Hip Flask The six-ounce Pewter Hammered Leather Encased Hip Flask by Sir Jacks is the perfect gift for someone who values masculine design. sirjacks.com | $400

Photos courtesy of Valentino, Shinola Duparquet, Fitbit, Dao Detroit and Sir Jacks

valentino.com | $945

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Brooklyn Butcher Blocks

Swarovski

Parabellum

Brooks Brothers

Crisloid

Melissa Riso

SWAROVSKI

CRISLOID

An ideal gift for any occasion, the 5 x 1/4’’ Swarvoski Eclipse Stylus

For those who love game night, give them a cool backgammon set. The game board itself folds up neatly to make a briefcase holder. Even if someone has never played backgammon, give him or her one of these and they’ll catch the bug in no time.

Eclipse Stylus Ballpoint Pen, Black

swarovski.com | $65

BROOKS BROTHERS Men’s Leather Tie Case

Brooks Brothers’ 15 ¾” x 5 ¾ Men’s Leather Tie Case features removable button snaps, signature fleece lining and calfskin leather. Holding up to two ties, the leather tie case is an ideal gift for the traveling man on the go who values quality, craftsmanship and organization. brooksbrothers.com | $198

BROOKLYN BUTCHER BLOCKS

Brickwork End-Grain Cutting Board These heirloom quality butcher blocks are made in Brooklyn, USA. They’re offered in maple with walnut wood or walnut and cherry wood. The reinforced biscuit joints for add guaranteed strength and durability. Dimensions: 12” x 18” x 2”.

crisloid.com | $400

PARABELLUM Valet Tray

A valet tray is an excellent gift and a refined way to stash pocket stuff. Parabellum offers a wide range of leather products made from bison leather. The tray has snap-lock corners, supple feel, textured grain and saturated color. It’s a handsome and quality valet tray for the tidy man in the house. parabellum | $175

MELISSA RISO MR Pomade

MR Pomade for men is ideal for men of all hair types. The waterbased formula adds a natural-looking shine to hair while providing a medium-strength hold. MR Pomade has Keratin as one of the ingredients which holds 18 different proteins and Beeswax which helps prevent the hair from falling out and keeping the follicle strong. mrbymelissariso.com | $20

thegrommet.com | $270

Taryn Paulson is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, fashion publicist and pilates enthusiast.

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Photos courtesy of Swarovski, Brooks Brothers, Brooklyn Butcher Blocks, Risloid, Parabellum and Melissa Riso

Ballpoint Pen combines style with functionality with this sophisticated two-in-one stylus and ballpoint pen. Glittering with around 400 black and gold-toned Ultra Fine Crystal Rocks, a black lacquered metal barrel, 18k rose gold-plated metal details and a clip showcasing the signature Swarovski logo, the design crystalizes the stylus’ elegance and functionality.

Backgammon Tournament Attaché


AMERICAN BARRELS

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VICES

CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE'S

RATED SPIRITS 90

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WILD TONIC HARD JUN KOMBUCHA MANGO GINGER MSRP: $9.99 | ABV: 5.6% Wild Tonic 5.6% ABV Hard Jun Kombucha is fermented with honey and infused with certified organic fruit, herbs, spices and botanicals. It’s an exotic spirit composed of earthy ginger undertones blossoming into luscious Indian mangos.

HEAVEN’S DOOR TENNESSEE BOURBON STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKEY MSRP: $59.99 | ABV: 45% A unique mash bill from Tennessee, made from thirty percent “small grains.” This smooth spirit is aged nearly seven years in American oak barrels. The evident notes of vanilla and baked bread are enhanced with hints of toasted oak throughout during this luxurious time spent with this bourbon.

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SPIRIT RATING

CARDENAL MENDOZA CARDENAL MENDOZA NON PLUS ULTRA BRANDY MSRP: $990.00 | ABV: 40% This limited reserve brandy, with an average of 50 years, of dark mahogany colors, is sleek and tasty. The aromas offer hints of raisins and plums and are reminiscent of old Oloroso sherry. The spirit is dry and delicate on the palate. The velvety flavors are rich with nutmeg and dried orange aftertastes.


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BELVEDERE VODKA BELVEDERE VODKA X LAOLU SENBANJO 2018 LIMITED-EDITION

SPIRIT RATING

94

SPIRIT RATING

CLASE AZUL TEQUILA CLASE AZUL REPOSADO

MSRP: $28.00 | ABV: 40% Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Laolu Senbanjo has created a striking design for this limited-edition bottle of Belvedere Vodka, purchases of which aid (RED)’s fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. A faint hint of vanilla hits the nose, along with some soft cream notes. This medium-bodied vodka is full and round on the palate, with a rich, velvety texture. Gentle vanilla flavors come through, along with a hint of white pepper and spice. Notes of almond and clotted cream sit alongside almond and Brazil nut in the finish.

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.

CLASE AZUL TEQUILA CLASE AZUL PLATA

FRAPIN COGNAC FRAPIN VINTAGE 1988

MSRP: $79.99 | ABV: 40% Clase Azul Plata, a clear silver tequila, is made from Tequilana Weber Blue Agave and offers a delightfully smooth flavor with a pleasant hint of sweetness. It’s full of body but not too strong with aromas of herb and citric notes. It’s very smooth with a very big mouthfeel and long, often sweet after taste.

MSRP: $179.99 | ABV: 41.5% This beautiful bright orange cognac with yellow highlights is monitored and aged for 25 years in sealed casks as they rest in Frapin dry cellars. The bouquet is very balanced with aromas of hazelnuts, dried figs, apricots and prunes. Followed by wood notes, rancio, wood cigar boxes, and leather. The taste has finesse and complexity with an exceptionally long finish which is typical of distillation over lees.

CLASE AZUL TEQUILA CLASE AZUL AÑEJO MSRP: $74.99 | ABV: 40% Clase Azul Añejo, also known as “Edición Indígena-Mazahua” (Mazahua Edition) due to the bottle design’s tribute to the culture, is an ultrapremium añejo tequila made from Tequilana Weber Blue Agave. Its intense amber color and layered aromas are a result of an extended period of aging. The viscous body shows off a delicate, yet balanced mouthfeel. The nose is layered with aromas of Mexican vanilla, cinnamon, apples and almonds and surrounded by caramel aromas from the slow-cooked agave. With cooked agave flavors with touches of vanilla, caramel, and various woods through the finish.

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GARRISON BROTHERS BOURBON WHISKEY SMALL BATCH 2018

MOUNT GAY BLACK BARREL

MSRP: $79.99 | ABV: 47% This is a wheated bourbon aged three years in slow-growth Northern American custom barrels. It’s a homegrown small batch bourbon whiskey made with the finest Texas corn and Hill Country rainwater. It offers a subtle nose of golden delicious apple-meat and honey with sweet floral verbena, fresh cut grass, saddle leather, cinnamon and honey. Springtime flavors of honeysuckle and orange contribute to a stellar finish with a smoky apple, walnut and cinnamon flair.

MSRP: $33.00 | ABV: 43% Spicy aromas are balanced and smooth with complex notes of toasted wood, followed by fruit. The bold spice is enhanced with tastes of oaky vanilla and sweet caramel. It has a pleasantly warm, medium body with a long finish.

GARRISON BROTHERS SINGLE BARREL MSRP: $105.00 | ABV: 47% The Single Barrel is crafted like the Small Batch 2018 expression but the barrels are selected to be independently bottled. The spirit is highlighted by unique flavors taken from the individual barrel—not a married selection of barrels. The blend is aged three years in slowgrowth Northern American oak, proofed and bottled in Hye, Texas.

BLOOD OATH BLOOD OATH PACT 4 MSRP: $99.99 | ABV: 49.3% The Blood Oath Pact 4 is a union of three well-bred bourbons. The first, an extra-aged 12-year-old bourbon. The second, a rich 10-year-old bourbon. The third a 9-year-old bourbon finished in toasted bourbon barrels. It offers rich caramel, honey and spicy oak, followed with smooth vanilla and warm chocolate undertones from the toasted barrels. The finish ultra-smooth and spicy.

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MOUNT GAY XO MSRP: $48.00 | ABV: 43% This Extra Old embodies wonderful smoky notes of ripe banana, toffee and mocha by way of blending older barrels of predominantly double pot distillates. The aroma features fine whiffs of ripe banana and toast, followed by vanilla pastry and warm spices. The finish is rich, oaky and sharp tasting with a rounded body.

MOUNT GAY 1703 MSRP: $150.00 | ABV: 43% It takes forty-four necessary blends to reach the subtle, perfectly balanced and harmonious final taste. The 1703 aroma has a refined harmony of oaky and caramel notes with a balanced taste of caramel, spec and toast. The body has an exceptional roundness with a delicate finish.


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KOVAL CRANBERRY GIN LIQUEUR MSRP: $35.00 | ABV: 30% This dry gin-based liqueur is macerated with organic Michigan cranberries. The aromas are pungent and offer a pleasant array of bittersweet cranberry, juniper, rosehip and citrus flavors.

KOVAL FOUR GRAIN WHISKEY MSRP: $52.00 | ABV: 47% There is a mash bill of oat, malted barley, rye, and wheat evident in this whiskey. It’s aged in charred new oak barrel from Minnesota for two to four years and has tastes of ripe banana, Tahitian vanilla, caramel, smoke, oak bitters.

THERAPY SMOKE WAGON WHISKEY MSRP: $99.00 | ABV: 57.55% This blended whiskey is crafted at the Nevada H&C Distilling Company. It’s comprised of thirty-six percent rye, four percent malted barley and sixty percent corn—making it a forty percent small grain mash bill. You’ll experience initial notes of hazelnut, coffee and dark chocolate followed by tastes of shortbread and black tea. It’s extremely smooth throughout with rye spice notes of white pepper on the middle and back of the tongue.

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PAPA’S PILAR RUM SHERRY OLOROSO CASK LIMITED EDITION MSRP: $46.99 | ABV: 43% This limited edition created from aged casks adds a unique flavor profile for the Hemingway Rum Company. It builds off the strong base flavors of vanilla, cinnamon, maple, coffee, almond, with hints of port and sherry. This special release has a slight sweetness and spicy finish—imparted by the French Oak smoothness and complexity with a great mouthfeel.

PAPA’S PILAR RUM BOURBON BARREL FINISHED LIMITED EDITION MSRP: $46.99 | ABV: 47.5% This award-winning dark rum is fermented in American Oak Bourbon barrels, allowing for the complex interaction between rum and the once-used Bourbon-soaked staves. The aroma has complex notes of vanilla, coffee beans and honey with hints of toasted almond. With a full flavor viscosity and a warm mouthfeel with almond, pecan, and dried apricot balanced with hints of bourbon and oak. The finish is of growing spice, with a smooth sweetness and everlasting length.


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VIDA TEQUILA VIDA BLANCO

PRAIRIE ORGANIC SPIRITS PRAIRIE ORGANIC VODKA

MSRP: $50.00 | ABV: 40% A truly crystalline and pure tequila. Lots of pepper, and tangy vegetal aspects in the opening scents are followed by sage, dill and pickle brine. Salty, fresh and vivid, showing good acidity upon entry; the mid-palate is almost fat and rich, with green vegetable background flavors. The finish is salty, peppery and almost nutty.

MSRP: $19.99 | 40% ABV This vodka is a farm-crafted spirit using single sourced, vintage corn grown on family-owned, organic Midwest farms. Prairie Organic Spirits distills each batch to taste, rather than an arbitrary number of times. This vodka has a hint of melon and pear on the nose, creamy on the palate and bright and smooth at the finish.

VIDA TEQUILA VIDA AÑEJO

MONKEY 47 SCHWARZWALD DRY GIN

MSRP: $60.00 | ABV: 40% This tequila offers creamy caramel, new leather, cherry-wood and sandalwood scents. It’s appealing to the nose, round and intimate on the tongue and palate, with tastes of melted caramel, butter and white pepper. The toasty finish is mild cheddar and cherry-wood with a sprinkle of peppered brown sugar.

MSRP: $42.00 | ABV: 47% This gin is a complex blend of 47 botanicals from the heart of the Black Forest and India. It’s aged in ex-Bourbon casks for 10 years and features an aromatic blend of sweet lingonberries, hand-peeled citrus fruits, flowers, herbs and pine. The tastes include pepper, chamomile, spruce shoots, honey pomelo, acacia flowers, rose hip and coriander. The finish is rich with a hint of lemon balm.

BIG GIN PEAT BARRELED BIG GIN MSRP: $35.99 | ABV: 47% The Flagship Big Gin (London Dry) is rested in peated single malt whiskey barrels for 4 months. It reveals flavors that are vegetal with Swiss chard and earthy greens. Those gems are followed by a touch of resinous wood and preserved lemon on the nose. Bitter orange & warm spices envelope the mouthfeel. Embodiments of the great outdoors finishes bold on the palate.

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91

SPIRIT RATING

RAGGED BRANCH WHEATED STRAIGHT VIRGINIA BOURBON WHISKEY

BULLEIT BOURBON BULLEIT BARREL STRENGTH

MSRP: $49.99 | ABV: 45% The small batch wheated bourbon is a distinctly Virginia product. Aromatic notes include robust corn with oak and light floral, with hints of buttery brown sugar, cherry vanilla and caramel with strong cinnamon on the front. After adding a spoonful of water, the nose opens the oaky cinnamon aroma. The water brings it a very pleasant almond vanilla, finishing smoothly and with a fresh taste of cinnamon and the grains from which it was made.

MSRP: $59.99 | ABV: 60% This bourbon has a silky medium amber appearance. It offers gentle spiciness and sweet oak aromas that are smooth to the taste buds with tones of maple, oak and nutmeg. The finish is sweet, dry and satiny with light toffee flavor, but with deepened oak notes.

BERTOUX BRANDY BERTOUX BRANDY MSRP: $45.00 | ABV: 40% This Solera-style blend of pot-distilled California fine brandies aged in French and American oak is elegantly aromatic. On the nose, there are notes of candied apricot, orange blossom and honeysuckle, nutmeg and a gentle toast character. There are layers of flavors and luxuriously long finish create very flavorful cocktails with length and complexity.

HIGHLAND PARK 12 YEAR OLD MALT SCOTCH WHISKY MSRP: $55.00 | ABV: 43% The spirit is the heart and soul of the Highland Park Range, with its perfect balance of smoky and sweet notes. It features a glowing amber appearance with a heather honey, fruitcake, winter spices, Seville oranges, aromatic smoky peat. Predominantly driven by firstfill European oak Sherry casks, providing darker natural color and a mature fruity yet smoky character.

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WESTERN SON VODKA

ABV: 40% | Retail: $19.99 Crafted from 100% American yellow corn, Western Son Vodka is column distilled 10x in small batches. Western Son Vodka’s distillation process results in an extremely well-balanced and smooth, gluten-free vodka. It has a clean, mild earthy aroma, and a silky mouth feel with a gentle buttery sweetness, supported by a hint of pepper and subtle praline. Classically smooth and lively finish.


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VICES

CIGAR & SPIRITS MAGAZINE'S

CIGAR BUYER’S GUIDE RATINGS ARE THE AVERAGE BASED ON A BLIND TASTING OF EACH CIGAR BY OUR EXPERT PANEL OF EIGHT CIGAR CONNOISSEURS, WHO TOGETHER POSSESS MORE THAN 100 YEARS OF 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 leave your comments: www.facebook.com/cigarandspiritsmagazine

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@CigarSpiritsMag


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CIGAR RATING

1502 EMERALD

5.5 x 42 Corona Wrapper: Nicaragua Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua, Mexico

CIGAR RATING

6 x 52 Toro Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Binder: Nicaragua Habano Filler: Nicaragua Habano

Tasting Notes: The cigar starts mellow, with a medium profile, with floral and citrus notes and cedar-like, but slowly builds with intensity as layered notes of chocolate, rum, and coffee build to a wonderful finish.

91

CIGAR RATING

AVO SYNCRO NICARAGUA RITMO—AVO CIGARS 6 x 54 Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Binder: Mexico Filler: Brazil, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru

Tasting Notes: A medium to full-bodied mixture of sweet coffee, charred oak, roasted nuts and a hint of chocolate

93

CIGAR RATING

AVO SIGNATURE 30 YEARS—AVO CIGARS Size: Belicoso 6 x 48 Wrapper: Ecuador Binder: Dominican Republic Filler: Dominican Republic

Tasting Notes: The medium bodied blend enthralls the pallet with notes of coffee, leather and a hint of smooth sweetness.

94

CIGAR RATING

BALMORAL AÑEJO XO CONNECTICUT— AGIO CIGARS 5 x 55 Rothschild Masivo Wrapper: Connecticut Shade Binder: Ecuador Sumatra Filler: Dominican Olor, Pennsylvania 41 and Exclusive, Stalk-Cut Brazilian Mata Norte

Tasting Notes: A luxuriously creamy experience that embraces your palate with complex notes of vanilla, toasted caramel and white pepper that finish with a smooth, underlying natural sweetness.

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$218.00

00 90

$10. 6 x 54 AVO Syncro Nicaragua 30 Yrs

89

ARCHETYPE INITIATION—VENTURA CIGAR COMPANY

20

SRP QTY

Tasting Notes: A medium to full-bodied cigar, with a complex profile of warm nutty notes, cedar, dry coca and a thick cherry-

111028

5 x 52 Smash Wrapper: Connecticut Sun-Cured Habano Binder: Indonesia, Sumatra Filler: Connecticut Broadleaf Ligero & Dominican Corojo 97

DESCRIPTION

CIGAR RATING

ALL OUT KINGS SMASH

SKU#

90

SIZE

Tasting Notes: This cigar is a rich semisweet smoke, but with smooth flavors noting toasted wood and nuts. The finish is long and peppery with an enjoyable sweetness.

90

SRP/CIGAR

INSPIRED BY EACH LINE’S COLORS AND THE SYNCRO’S THEME OF ‘FUSION’.

TORO (6 X 54) FORMAT ENCASSED IN ARTISTICLY DISRUPTIVE COLLECTOR’S PACKAGING

IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON. ALL THE THREE RELEASES ARE FEATURED IN THEIR

EDITION PACKAGING EXPRESSIONS, ONE FOR EACH OF THE SYNCRO LINES, WILL ARRIVE

CIGAR RATING

6 x 52 Wrapper: Honduras Binder: Honduras Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua

HALLMARK CELEBRATION. THIS LIMITED RELEASE OF THREE EXCLUSIVE COLLECTOR’S

88

ALEC BRADLEY TEMPUS NATURAL IMPERATOR

THE AVO SYNCRO 30 YEARS COLLECTOR’S EDITIONS WILL CLOSE THE YEAR OF THIS

Tasting Notes: This cigar has a subtle strength, with flavor and aroma that could only be achieved with the blend of Corojo Habano de Nicaragua, long fillers from San Andrés—Mexico and fields from Estelí and Condega in Nicaragua. Honey sweetness and vanilla aroma. Delicate apple fruitiness. Citrus notes. Cedar. Roast aromas define the velvety smooth smoke of the oily leathery wrapper. Floral aromas and some nut.


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CIGAR RATING

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

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

94

CIGAR RATING

BESPOKE SUPER BELICOSO 5.7 x 60 Figurado Wrapper: Brazilian Cubra Binder: Dominican Criollo Filler: Nicaraguan Condega Viso

Tasting Notes: A medium-full bodied cigar with the aromas and flavors of milk chocolate, heavy cream, floral notes cappuccino, fresh cedar, caramel and toffee with a clear taste of the aged tobacco.

91

CIGAR RATING

BLACK CHÁZARO

6.1 x 52 Torpedo Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Negro Binder: Mexico (Rum-infused) Filler: Mexico—San Andrés Negro Tasting Notes: A bold profile of pepper, leather and earth up front, a dark roasted coffee note with an earthy profile. The profile throughout consisted of sweet spice, rich chocolate, roasted almonds and hints of black pepper and leather in the background. The cigar features subtle sweetness, with good notes of anise and a finish with slight a minty-spearmint undertone.

90

CIGAR RATING

BLACK CHÁZARO HABANA 6.1 x 52 Wrapper: Habana Binder: Mexico—San Andrés Negro Filler: Mexico—San Andrés Negro

Tasting Notes: Starts with earthy notes of hay, charred wood and BBQ. With mild pepper taste followed by Oak and fruit notes which add a sweetness for this full volume smoke. Followed by dry leather, savory spices, meaty notes and intensive cedar. A solid medium strength cigar with spicy nut aroma and a peanutty, peppery spice finish.

89

CIGAR RATING

CAMACHO COYOLAR 52 x 6 Super Toro Wrapper: Honduras Binder: Honduras Filler: Honduras

Tasting Notes: This medium to high intensity cigar features a leather, pepper, coffee, and oak flavor profile.

90

CIGAR RATING

CAMACHO DIPLOMA SPECIAL SELECTION 11/18 6 x 48 Wrapper: Honduras Binder: Honduras Filler: Honduras

Tasting Notes: This cigar offers unique flavors and layered complexity. Intense notes of leather, coffee and pepper are flawlessly complemented with rich blasts of cedar and sweet cocoa.

91

CIGAR RATING

CIMARRON CONNECTICUT—TABACALERA EL ARTISTA 5 x 54 Robusto Wrapper: Ecuador, Connecticut Binder: Dominican negrito Filler: Criollo

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

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CIGAR RATING

CIMARRON MADURO—TABACALERA EL ARTISTA 5 x 54 Robusto Wrapper: Mexico— San Andrés Binder: Dominican negrito Filler: Columbian broadleaf and Dominican corojo viso

Tasting Notes: A nice chocolate brown leather smoke with a rich spicy cedar flavor with caramel like undertones and rich earth on the finish.

93

CIGAR RATING

DIAMOND CROWN BLACK DIAMOND—J.C. NEWMAN CIGAR COMPANY 4.5 x 54 Radiant Wrapper: Sun Grown Connecticut Maduro Binder: Dominican Republic Filler: Dominican Republic

Tasting Notes: This dark, toothy robusto burns evenly with an open draw that shows notes of pepper, charred oak and a bit of licorice sweetness.

95

CIGAR RATING

DIAMOND CROWN JULIUS CAESER—J.C. NEWMAN CIGAR COMPANY 5.5 × 43 Corona Wrapper: Ecuador Havana Binder: Dominican Republic Filler: Caribbean/S. A.

Tasting Notes: A nutty, spicy smoke. The aroma is dense and sweet, with some creamy notes on the long finish.

90

CIGAR RATING

EL BATON SUPER PREMIUM—J.C. NEWMAN CIGAR COMPANY 5 x 54 Robusto Wrapper: Corojo, Nicaragua Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: A complex and full bodied hearty smoke with a little spice. It’s bold and potent, featuring hints of oak wood and black pepper. With generous notes of nuts, coffee, spice, raisins, and sweetness cashew, earthy and espresso.

91

CIGAR RATING

HAMLET PAREDES TABAQUERO—ROCKY PATEL 5.5 x 42 Corona Wrapper: Mexico—San Andrés Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Brazil and Mexico

Tasting Notes: A masterful, full bodied cigar with earth and coffee notes.

91

CIGAR RATING

HIGHCLERE CASTLE TORO 6 x 52 Wrapper: Connecticut Shade Binder: Brazil—Mata Fina Filler: Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: This wonderful toro is a silky smooth smoke. There are evident notes of citrus and pepper throughout. The cigar is wellconstructed and balanced utilizing the company’s unique blend of exclusive hybrid seed they developed and callNicadán.

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CIGAR RATING

HIRAM & SOLOMON CIGARS— ENTERED APPRENTICE 6 x 60 Gran Toro Wrapper: Connecticut Shade (Talanga) Binder: Connecticut Shade (Talanga) Filler: Habano Ometepe, Pennsylvania, Paraguay

Tasting Notes: Mild to medium body blend that produces a creamy, silky smoke with sweet notes of white pepper and hints of cinnamon that intensify with a clean finish.

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CIGAR RATING

HIRAM & SOLOMON CIGARS—SHRINER

5 x 42 Petit Corona Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra Binder: Indonesia Filler: Arapiraca, Habano Jalapa, Habano Ometepe, Dominican Tasting Notes: A medium bodied cigar with a unique blend of tobaccos from five different countries. This mélange produces an unparalleled smoking experience with a floral bouquet, notes of cocoa and cedar with a delicate earthy finish.

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CIGAR RATING

HIRAM & SOLOMON CIGARS—VEILED PROPHET 6 x 54 Wrapper: Brazil (Arapiraca) Colorado Binder: Indonesia Filler: Habano Estelí, Paraguay, Ligero Habano Jalapa

Tasting Notes: Masterfully handcrafted by the finest torcedores. This sophisticated cigar, showcasing a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper, which elicits the aroma of cedar, coffee and caramel, finishing with hints of earth and pepper.

88

CIGAR RATING

INDIAN MOTORCYCLE CIGARS MADURO 6 x 52 Toro Maduro Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro Binder: Dominican Filler: Dominican

Tasting Notes: A creamy medium-bodied cigar with notes of caramel, nutmeg, coffee, and some sweetness. The Maduro takes it up just a notch and adds in some notes of leather, earth, and dark chocolate.

91

CIGAR RATING

JOYA SILVER TORO

6 x 52 Wrapper: Oscuro (Ecuadorian Grown) Binder: Mexico Filler: Nicaragua Tasting Notes: A box pressed cigar that delivers a dynamic complexity of fresh spice, chocolate and cherry notes.

93

CIGAR RATING

LIGA PRIVADA 10-YEAR ANIVERSARIO—DREW ESTATE 6 x 52 Toro Wrapper: Oscuro Binder: Mexico—San Andrés Filler: Nicaragua and Honduras

Tasting Notes: This cigar is a bold beast of peppery spice in a robust Criollo capa. Liga Privada at its best.

91

CIGAR RATING

LIGA PRIVADA UNICO SERIE DIRTY RAT—DREW ESTATE 5 x 44 Wrapper: Connecticut Habano Binder: Brazil Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: A medium-full strength cigar with hints of apple, earth and notes of toast, coffee and heavy cream with a cedar and cinnamon aroma. The cigar has a dominant cedar component and a soft creamy finish.

86

CIGAR RATING

MACANUDO M—GENERAL CIGAR COMPANY 6 x 50 Toro Wrapper: Indonesia Binder: Philippines Filler: Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: A medium smoke, blended with the essence of gourmet roasted coffee resulting in a creamy smoke with delicate notes of coffee, cedar & spice.

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MICALLEF

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CIGAR RATING

MICALLEF GRANDE BOLD LIGERO—MICALLEF CIGARS 5 x 54 Wrapper: Sumatra Binder: Ecuador Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: A great full-bodied smoke with a Sumatran wrapper that has balanced spice, and sweet undertones. Its elite-level filler helps create an extraordinary smoking experience.

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CIGAR RATING

MICALLEF GRANDE BOLD SUMATRA—MICALLEF CIGARS 7 x 48 Wrapper: Sumatra Binder: Broadleaf Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: This full-bodied Sumatra cigar has incredible woody and cocoa tones. The strength and balance is expertly crafted with evident spice and nut but not overwhelming in any manner.

94

CIGAR RATING

MI HAVANA KINGDOM VII RERSERVA ESPECIAL 24K GOLD WRAPPED 6.75 x 54 Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Equador Binder: Dominican Republic Wrapper: Habano

Tasting Notes: This smooth 54-gauge perfecto figurado is a medium-bodied smoke with a flavor profile that includes hazelnut, creamy and slight touch of butter.

95

CIGAR RATING

MI HAVANA GORDO SAN ANDRÉS

6 x 60 Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Equador Binder: Dominican Republic Wrapper: Mexico—San Andrés Tasting Notes: This 60-gauge maduro is a full-bodied smoke with a flavor profile that includes spicy, earthy, creamy and cocoa.

89

CIGAR RATING

ODYSSEY MADURO—GENERAL CIGAR COMPANY 5 x 50 Robusto Wrapper: Nicaragua Habano Binder: Honduras Filler: Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: A medium-bodied blend of spicy sweet notes, with a hint of pepper and a cool and mellow core of naturally sweet, aged Nicaraguan tobaccos. A rich and toasty maduro.

88

CIGAR RATING

ONYX RESERVE NO. 2—ALTADIS USA 6 x 50 Toro Wrapper: Blackened Connecticut Broadleaf Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Peru

Tasting Notes: A flavorful cigar with a pleasant sweet aroma. A rich, medium to full-bodied maduro with subtle spicy notes and spades of dark rich flavors that come together in a smooth buttery combination.

96

CIGAR RATING

OPUS X ANGEL’S SHARE—ARTURO FUENTE 5.20 x 50 Robusto Wrapper: Dominican Chateau De La Fuente Sun Grown Binder: Dominican Republic Filler: Dominican Republic

Tasting Notes: A combination of creamy nuts and cinnamon, with balanced, elegant, slightly sweet and cedary flavors that evolves into cocoa notes. Aroma from the wrapper is strong and offers a 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 note.

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89

CIGAR RATING

PARTAGAS LEGEND LEYENDA 1845—GENERAL CIGAR COMPANY 6.5 x 48 Fabuloso Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Binder: Dominican, Honduran Olancho San Agustin Filler: Dominican, Honduran Olancho San Agustin

Tasting Notes: A layered, nuanced collection with pleasant notes of cocoa and earth.

90

CIGAR RATING

PERLA DEL MAR TG MADURO

6 x 60 Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Pueblo Nuevo, La Reina, Condega and Jalapa Tasting Notes: Sweet woody notes, toast and hints of graham cracker make for a tasty smoke. The draw on this short, thick cigar is open and full, delivering substantial amounts of smoke.

91

CIGAR RATING

PULITA 60 ANIVERSARIO—EL ARTISTA TABACALERA

6 x 54 Toro Wrapper: Dominican Negrito Binder: Dominican Criollo 98 Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaraguan, Colombia and Pennsylvania. Tasting Notes: A mild to medium cigar with superb aromas. It has a sweet and peppery spice flavor that leads into a smooth, thick creamy roasted hazelnut and earthy finish.

93

CIGAR RATING

ROCKY PATEL 15 ANNIVERSARY 6 x 60 Gordo Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: An extremely smooth cigar, the 15th Anniversary produces savory notes of cocoa, espresso bean, and spices behind a long sweet finish. Throughout the slow burn expect the intensity to build, inching toward a bold satisfying crescendo.

95

CIGAR RATING

ROCKY PATEL SPECIAL EDITION 6.5 x 52 Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Binder: Double Binder Filler: Nicaragua

Tasting Notes: A medium to full-bodied profile, that produces a rich well-balanced array of savory flavors, greeting the senses with hints of spice, pepper, nutmeg, coffee and a naturally sweet finish.

89

CIGAR RATING

SAN CRISTOBAL QUINTESSENCE ROBUSTO—ASHTON CIGARS 5.5 x 50 Robusto Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua Strength: Medium to Full-bodied

Tasting Notes: Earth, molasses, leather and black pepper are comprised to make this cigar a delicious smoking experience.

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CASA MEXICO

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CASA MEXICO


INTERVIEW

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JIM JACKSON INTERVIEW

C&S Talks Hoops and Cigars With the Former NBA Star and FOX Sports Basketball Analyst by Randy Mastronicola portraits by Ian Bailey

WE HAD THE GOOD FORTUNE to spend a few hours catching up with Jim Jackson in Los Angeles, Calif. recently. Jim’s basketball legacy is intact. He was a two-time All-American, two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and UPI’s National Player of the Year in 1992. He had a stellar NBA career and played in the league for 14 seasons.

Photo by Mitchell Layton / Getty Images

Jim has been carving out a new legacy in broadcasting as well, and has garnered consistent kudos since 2007. His current duties with FOX Sports as a college basketball game and studio analyst, BIG3 game analyst (a 3-on-3 league cofounded by Ice Cube) and NBA studio analyst keep him more than busy. Jim is undoubtedly personable, and draws you in with his quick wit and sharpshooter smile.

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Randy Mastronicola: Tell us about 2018 so far and where you’re headed the rest of the year—college hoops, your involvement with Ice Cube’s BIG3… Jim Jackson: It’s all been great. The culmination of covering Villanova, winning it again, and all we have going on at FOX Sports. Villanova—that was just thrilling to be there, to witness something special again with that team. I rolled right into NBA season, and then being involved with BIG3—Ice Cube’s basketball league was a lot of fun. I was able to view a lot of really good basketball—great basketball. Right now, I have a little break until the college season starts back up. So, it’s time to enjoy life and get some personal travel time for me.

Let’s talk about what’s on tap with college hoops. Which elite teams are likely to go far this season and why? Well, I’ll answer your question with some of mine: Will Duke’s outstanding freshman class lead them to a National Championship? Can Indiana’s excellent freshman, Romeo Langford, lead them back to national prominence? Is this the year Gonzaga breaks through and wins a title? Nevada was last year’s Cinderella story—who’s got next?

Yes, it’s going to make for an interesting season. The Blue Devils [Duke] boast the top recruiting class in the country, with three freshmen who could potentially dominate the top of the 2019 draft. The Kansas Jayhawks have that veteran presence, with returning starters in Udoka Azubuike and LaGerald Vick leading the way. North Carolina [Tar Heels] boasted the best offense in the ACC last year and dominated the offensive glass. The Tar Heels return a NPOY [National Player of the Year] candidate in Luke Maye. They have a lot of punch in their lineup. The Zags [Gonzaga] return three starters from last year’s Sweet 16. The Bulldogs are a team with the veteran experience, and should easily make another Final Four run.

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Let’s switch it over to the new NBA season. Which storylines for the 2018-2019 season intrigue you? Obviously, LeBron going to Los Angeles is the most compelling story going into the basketball season. Can he turn this storied franchise back around and get them back in the playoff hunt? Is there a championship run in the picture this year, or is it next year? These questions and more are surrounding him switching conferences— changing the balance. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Western Conference will shake out Kawhi Leonard going to the Toronto Raptors is impactful, too.


“POST-RETIREMENT IS ALWAYS A TOUGH TRANSITION FOR A LOT OF ATHLETES BECAUSE ‘WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NEXT?’ FOR SO MANY YEARS YOU SPEND YOUR TIME PERFECTING YOUR CRAFT BUT BEING IN BROADCASTING HAS BEEN INCREDIBLE.”

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That’s huge. Yes, now you trade away a superstar—LeBron leaving the Eastern Conference, and that could get Toronto over the hump. That being said, we have to keep in mind Boston [Celtics] with Kyrie Irving coming back. You have Boston, Toronto, the Lakers on the rise, but who can beat Golden State?

They’re a dynasty at this point. Is there a team that’s been under the radar that could sneak up on the league? The Milwaukee Bucks, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way. His game is so dynamic. The Bucks always seem to be missing a piece, but I think with Coach Budenholzer coming in right now, it gives them a different flavor. It very well could happen.

Your successful career transition has kept you connected to basketball. Upon retirement, did you ever just want to take a break from all things basketball? Post-retirement is always a tough transition for a lot of athletes because “What are you going to do next?” For so many years, you spend your time perfecting your craft. But being in broadcasting has been incredible. I’m going into my 12th year, and I’m blessed to be able to continue to do it, to get better at something I view as longterm, continue to grow and expand. Outside of that, real estate is my background. I’ve really ventured in real estate.

So, you’re a budding real estate mogul? I’d like to be. In the mode of Magic Johnson—what he’s been able to do in his career—bringing in your contacts, your connections, and using it to your advantage.

What would you say was your defining moment as an NBA player? When you knew you had arrived…? Probably my third year. The Chicago United Center had just opened, and we went overtime with the Bulls. Michael Jordan wasn’t playing but Scotty Pippen was. Jamal Mashburn went off for 50 points, I had 38, and we won the game. Kind of that moment—that “aha” moment—I realized I can really play the game at this level. I missed most of my rookie year, so it was that game where it really sunk in.

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Translate that to your broadcasting career, a moment where you knew it was a really good fit professionally for you. I started in 2007 with the Big Ten Network. Boy, if I go back and look at some film now, I’ll probably cringe at what I did, how I was rushing through. I would say that moment probably occurred in 2011. I was four years in, and we were covering the Big Ten Tournament. I just felt comfortable. I felt at ease. The games were coming to me a lot smoother. I slowed my tempo down, and it began to feel like second nature, but it took me a while to get to that point.

You’ve been passionate about hoops your whole life, but some might not know you’re a real deal cigar connoisseur as well. Give us a little bit of your cigar story. Back in my early days with the Dallas Mavericks, Ron Harper was a great friend of mine who played for the Chicago Bulls. Of course, we weren’t going to the playoffs often. During their championship run in the early ‘90s, I would stay with Ron and go to those games with him. I wanted to get a feel of what it was like to be in a championship run— to soak in that environment. It was crazy with Michael Jordan, Scottie, and Ron Harper. Those guys smoked cigars. Whether that was post winning a championship, or they didn’t and I was like “they cool.”

That’s some crew to break in with. Big time. I started experimenting with it at the time, and as I got older in the league, that’s when I really jumped in full smoking cigars. It occurred to me, because of those established veterans, they provided a basketball perspective, but lifestyle perspective as well. It’s interesting because a lot of the young guys or guys who I’ve played with are now smoking cigars. Now we all hang out at the same places and have a cigar.

I love most all those places as well. Hudson Books is so under the radar and bohemian cool… Yes, definitely. Old school Greenwich Village. Old school New York City.

It’s that cigar brotherhood and the NBA brotherhood carried forward as well. The beauty about smoking a cigar, other than the feeling of how great it tastes but it’s the ability for us no matter what you do in life, what profession you have, you sit down and you cut the cigar, and you light it and you begin to have a conversation with somebody, and you find a commonality based on the cigar. The next thing you know, you’re in a full-blown conversation for an hour-and-ahalf—between the two people that you never thought would have a connection, and it all started because of a cigar.

You’ve traveled so much as an NBA star and now as a television analyst—tell us about your favorite cigar locale. The best cigar city is still New York. There are so many iconic cigar places where you can go and smoke, have a drink, have something phenomenal to eat. A lot other cities, like Miami, you can get that vibe, too, but New York is still the best.

You smoke a lot of Cubans. Is that the majority of your smoking? I smoke a lot of Cubans. I’m a big Montecristo fan. I love Nicaraguans like Tatuaje and Liga Privada. Drew Estate is excellent. So, it’s Tatuaje for one day, Davidoff the next, you know what I mean? I’m one of those guys that, it’s all based on feel. I have my favorites, of course. I love the Tabernacles. I knew a gentleman who used to work for Drew Estate. Spicy blends. I love to try new sticks. Cigars are like wine. What’s your palate? Do you like medium or mild? Do you like it a little bit stronger? Do you like a really bold stick? Do you like spicy? Whatever you like in a cigar is what you like. I have my go-to’s but I’m open to trying different things. I always tell newbies not to get caught up in labels. It’s all about what you like, and how the experience hits you.

When you go to New York City, which spots do you like to hit? The Grand Havana Room, of course, since I’m a member. I visit a couple of Davidoff stores, SoHo Cigar Bar, Hudson Books, Rooftop Bar at The Peninsula Hotel, Nat Sherman Townhouse is very cool. But you know the best part in New York is when I visit in the summer. At night—wherever I’m at, I just walk the city, light up and enjoy the history there. Walking in New York—that’s the best cigar to light.

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Portraits by Ian Bailey | jupitermediagroup.com Randy Mastronicola is the Editor-in-Chief of Cigar and Spirits Magazine.


EL ARTISTA PAGE 2

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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VICES

THE TWELVE DRINKS OF CHRISTMAS

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On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

A PARTRIDGE IN A SPARKLING PEAR TREE COCKTAIL Servings: 1 person

Festive ingredients • 2 oz. pear vodka • 2 oz. pear nectar (1/8 cup) • ½ oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice (1 tablespoon) • ½ oz. unflavored simple syrup (1 tablespoon) • ½ oz. rosemary simple syrup (1 tablespoon) • Champagne to top • Fresh rosemary sprigs (tree garnish)

Directions Place one rosemary sprig in a tall champagne flute. Combine your favorite pear vodka, pear nectar, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and rosemary syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain over the rosemary sprig until the glass is half full. Top with sparkling champagne and garnish with a rosemary sprig. Enjoy!

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On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

2 TURTLEDOVE COCKTAILS Servings: 2 people

Holly Jolly ingredients • 1 oz. coconut cream • 1 ½ oz. Vodka • 1 oz. half & half • ¼ oz. crème de cacao • Shaved white chocolate rim

Directions Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass rimmed with shaved white chocolate rim. Cheers!

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FEATURED HOLIDAY COCKTAILS 2018


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On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

3 FRENCH HEN COCKTAILS Servings: 3 Holiday Guests

Jingle Bells ingredients • 3 oz. rum • 1½ oz. Kahlua • 4 ½ oz. Advocaat Egg Liqueur • 3 cinnamon sticks (garnish) • Served in a 3 chilled brandy glass

Directions Fill brandy glass ¾ way with crushed ice. Add mixture to shaker with ice and shake vigorously and pour evenly over crushed ice in 3 brandy glass. Add cinnamon stick on top of each glass to intensify the aromas. Happy Holidays!

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On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

4 TOM COLLINS BIRDS COCKTAILS Servings: 4 Party Guests

Frosty ingredients • 2 oz. gin • 1 oz. lemon juice • ½ oz. simple syrup • Club soda • 2 lemon wheels

Directions Pour gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup into a chilled collins glass. Stir, add a few cubes of ice, add club soda to rim, add one lemon wheel in drink and one as garnish on the rim of glass. Abbondanza!

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On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

5 GOLDEN DREAM COCKTAILS Servings: 5 party guests

Holiday ingredients • 1 ½ oz. Galliano L’Autentico • 1 ½ oz. orange liqueur • ¾ oz. cream • 1 ½ oz. orange juice

Directions Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Salut!

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On the 6th, 7th and 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 6 guests a playing, 7 songs a singing, 8 people pouring…

POINSETTIA PITCHER COCKTAILS Servings: 6-8

Happy ingredients • 1 cup of vodka • 1 ½ cups of cranberry juice • 1 bottle of chilled Prosecco White Wine • Orange peels for garnish

Directions In a pitcher, combine the vodka and cranberry juice. Fill with ice. When ready to serve, add the bottle of chilled Prosecco. Fill champagne flutes and add orange peel for garnish. Merry Christmas!

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On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

9 WOMEN DANCING FOR CHOCOLATE COGNAC COCKTAILS Servings: 1 person

Merry ingredients • 1 ½ oz. Cognac • ¾ oz. sweet vermouth • ¾ oz. Amaro • ¼ oz. crème de cacao • Dash of chocolate bitters • Cocktail cherries for garnish • 4 rocks glasses

Directions Fill a chilled mixer 2/3 with ice, add all ingredients except for cherries. Stir for 30-45 seconds to chill drink thoroughly. Drop a king cube of ice into a rocks glass. Strain and pour cocktail. Garnish with cherry. Cheers!

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On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

10 LORDS-A-LEAPING COCKTAIL Servings: 1 person

Cheery ingredients • 2 oz. premium single malt scotch • ¼ oz. Allspice Dram or Pimento Dram • ¼ oz. bitters • ½ oz. fresh lime juice • ½ oz. honey syrup (1 part honey, 1 part water) • Garnish with nutmeg and cocktail cherry

Directions Add all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously, and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg and a cocktail cherry. Happy Holidays!

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On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

11 PIPERS PIPING CHRISTMAS TREE DAIQUIRIS Servings: 1person

Naughty ingredients • 12 oz. thawed frozen limeade concentrate • 2 cups chilled lemon lime flavored sports drink • 1 cup light rum • 12 oz. lemon lime soda

Directions Mix all ingredients, except soda, into a large pitcher. Refrigerate. When ready to serve add soda and pour over ice. Enjoy!

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On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

12 DRUMMERS DRUMMING UP COCKTAILS Servings: 1 person

Nice ingredients • 1-2 oz. strawberry syrup • 2 oz. strawberry liqueur • 1 1/2 oz. vanilla vodka • White chocolate shavings (garnish) • 2 candy canes (drummer’s drumstick and glass rim garnish) • Crushed ice

Directions Crush 1 peppermint stick into very small pieces. Dip chilled martini glass in crushed peppermint candies. Swirl strawberry syrup around the glass base. Add strawberry liqueur and vanilla vodka in shaker cup with ice. Shake quickly and pour into martini glass with shaker strainer. Place second peppermint stick in the cocktail and sprinkle white chocolate shavings on top. Cin cin!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT! 106

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COMISARIO

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INTERVIEW

Photos courtesy of Hiram & Soloman Cigars

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BEHIND THE LEAF

A CONVERSATION WITH FOUAD KASHOUTY AND GEORGE DAKRAT OF HIRAM & SOLOMON CIGARS by Joe Bosso

S

ome cigar manufacturers are a little willy-nilly in how they go about choosing their brand names. Not so for Freemasons Fouad Kashouty and George Dakrat, who operate out of Brick, New Jersey (What are the chances of that?) and christened their cigar company Hiram & Solomon in honor of the Masonic tradition they espouse and the brethren they hold dear.

AS KASHOUTY EXPLAINS, “In our Masonic traditions, we refer to Solomon, Hiram King of Tyre and Hiram Abiff as being the three Grand Masters. Solomon is none other than King Solomon, who is mentioned in the Old Testament as the king who built the first temple in Jerusalem. “Hiram Abiff is the central character of an allegory presented to all candidates during the third degree in Freemasonry,” he continues. “Hiram is presented as the chief architect of King Solomon’s Temple, who was murdered in the Temple he designed by three ruffians as they unsuccessfully attempted to force him to divulge the Master Masons' secret passwords. The themes of the allegory are the importance of fidelity and the certainty of death. So, there’s two Hirams and one Solomon, and we combined them for our name.” Now celebrating their third year in business, Kashouty and Dakrat sat down with Cigar & Spirits Magazine to detail how two guys with no previous experience in tobacco manufacturing took on the big brands and are winning with their “one cigar at a time” strategy.

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Was working in the convenience store world applicable to starting a cigar company? What sort of learning curve did you two have? Dakrat: Basically, the retail business gave us an insight into how to market a product. But figuring out the production side was new to us. We had to figure out manufacturing, costs, all that sort of thing. We started out producing 1,000 cigars and selling them for charity. It was a hobby at first. From there, it grew into a full-blown company with brand ambassadors and distribution centers in Europe, Africa, the U.S., Canada and South America.

Do you have a particular company ethos? How are you different from other cigar companies? Kashouty: As we’re a Masonic-themed cigar company, we’re presenting, to a certain extent, the fraternity itself. Our personal philosophy is to present a quality cigar that matches the caliber, excellence and the history that our fraternity represents. Secondly, by building a personal brand that meets the needs of smokers, we want to build a relationship between us and our customers one cigar at a time. We don’t strive to be famous, but we do want to be elegant and timeless.

How did the two of you meet, and how did you decide to start a cigar company?

What kind of feedback did you get in your early days that was really helpful to you?

Kashouty: Even though we’re both Masons, we come from the retail business, and we met years earlier at a convention in New Jersey. We ran convenience stores, and we became Masons after that. We began talking about starting a cigar company about eight years ago, but we didn’t put it into play till about 2015.

Dakrat: We take customer feedback seriously. At first, we were selling on the internet and through our website only. Price was something we heard about a lot. People wanted our cigars, but they couldn’t afford them. Because we didn’t come up in the business, we didn’t know that we were pricing our cigars too high. We took that to heart and started making the right adjustments. We found that nine to 10 dollars was the sweet spot. Once we priced our cigars better and improved our quality, moving production from the Dominican Republic to Nicaragua, things turned around pretty quickly.

How does the spirit of Freemasonry inform what you’re doing with Hiram & Solomon? Kashouty: Records dating as far back as the mid 1800s describe the pre-meeting tradition where cigars were distributed to the brethren so that they could enjoy a smoke during or after a gathering. This custom is considered a time for brethren to relax, exchange ideas and enjoy the simplicity and fellowship that is the very essence of brotherhood. This is what Hiram & Solomon Cigars is all about. One of our guiding principles is to bring Mason brothers together in the harmony of a good cigar. As my fellow brethren and I would enjoy our cigars together, the discussion would eventually lead to the same realization: There was no kind of accessible cigar on the market for Freemason smokers that carried the square and compass or any other Masonic emblem. Upon coming to this conclusion, the topic of the conversation shifted into countless private meetings. We began talking about the possibility of creating, not only a Masonic-themed cigar, but a quality cigar that would not just physically represent Freemasons all over the world, but contain within it a quality that could match the caliber of excellence that the brethren themselves contain. The dream of creating and proudly possessing such a cigar was never

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Describe how the two of you craft the blend of your cigars. Kashouty: We try to make a cigar that we both like, but we also keep in mind that we’re making cigars for other people. Dakrat: And if nobody else likes them, at least there are two people who do. [Laughs] Kashouty: I prefer a medium-bodied cigar; George likes more full-bodied cigars. Between us, we feel we can offer cigars to most everybody out there. The master blenders at the Plasencia factory will send us 25 to 30 different variations of each cigar to test out. Right now, we have six blends, and each has four different sizes. We’re working on two more blends right now. We try not to duplicate; we want each blend to be distinctive.

How has your company grown over the years? Dakrat: We’re very happy and excited. Things have moved a little faster than we expected, actually. We’re keeping up

Photos courtesy of Hiram & Soloman Cigars

extinguished in our hearts, and each time we held a cigar in our hands we imagined holding a cigar that displayed the symbols of the brotherhood. At the same time, we wanted a cigar that was available for everybody, not just the Masons.


with our growth and making sure that we never lose sight of why people buy our cigars—because they enjoy a good-quality cigar at an affordable price. We don’t do any mail order or website sales anymore. We’re big on social media. We sell to mom-and-pop cigar stores and lounges. We originally had to get over the misconception that our cigars were only made for Masons, which isn’t the case at all. The quality of the cigar is Masonic, but the cigar is for everybody.

You two seem to get along so well, but I guess if you ever have an argument, you can just light up cigars and talk things out. Kashouty: Oh, you know it. We do it all the time. But that just demonstrates our philosophy: Our hope is that that, with the creation of these cigars, we will bring positive experiences to all types of people the world over. Perhaps it will bring brethren closer together, but also it

might inspire a non-brother to learn about Freemasonry and its history. Perchance our experience inspires someone else to follow their dream and never give up. At the very least, we can rest assured that we have provided a consistently tasty, quality cigar that can appeal to everyone’s palate and represent Freemasons all over the world with pride.

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

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LIFESTYLE Photos courtesy of Rabbit Air

RABBIT AIR A CALIFORNIA-BASED COMPANY IS HELPING CIGAR SMOKERS KEEP THE AIR CLEAN by Audrey Pavia

AIR QUALITY IS A CONCERN FOR EVERYONE, and even more of an issue for cigar smokers. If you want to be certain your hobby doesn’t affect the breathability of the air in your home, pause and take note of a fast-growing company called Rabbit Air. Founded in 2004 in Los Angeles, Calif., Rabbit Air has dedicated its time and resources to producing products that improve quality of life by improving the quality of the air. “Our undivided attention and dedication to air purification is why we have become one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S., ranked as such by INC. magazine,” says Edwin Cheung, Vice President of Business Development for Rabbit Air. “Our air purifiers are respectful of the environment; we take pollutants out and leave nothing but clean air in return.” One of the company’s most high-tech products, the MinusA2 air purifier, is designed to not only clear the air of pollutants, but to adapt to and compliment any space in the home.

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According to Cheung, the MinusA2 advanced air purification system removes odors, fine particles, harmful chemicals and allergens. Smoke particles are also trapped by the MinusA2 via the product’s multi-layer filtration system. “The MinusA2’s HEPA filter removes particle pollutants and ash from smoke,” says Cheung. “The filter’s activated carbon absorbs odors and harmful chemical >> Edwin byproducts.” Cheung V.P.

of Business Development for Rabbit Air

Customers and lounge owners love the MinusA2 for how well it traps odors and helps dissipate smoke, according to Chueng.

“More often than not, our customers rave about its ability to absorb smell during and after they are done smoking,” he says. “It creates a stress-free environment for smokers because they are not worrying about how long the smell will linger and possibly affect loved ones.” Chueng adds that customers have stated the MinusA2 helps them smoke longer because they are not exposed to excess smells and lingering smoke. “They can enjoy smoking more often and for longer amounts of time,” he says. The MinusA2 has other benefits in addition to its air purifying abilities, according to Chueng. “The noise level design is second to none,” he says. “It’s created to run quietly and not interfere with your life or that playoff game, while still providing you with the best results possible.” The MinusA2 SAP-780N model is also outfitted with wireless Internet capabilities, allowing you to monitor air quality and control purification through your smartphone, whether you are sitting on the couch or are away from home. Aesthetics are another benefit of the MinusA2, according to Chueng. The product is available with an Artist Series front panel in a number of design choices. Images by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Katsushika Hokusai and Rabbit Air artists are options for customers who want a sophisticated answer to smoky air. Through its 14 years in business, Rabbit Air has become one of the most widely known air purifier makes in the cigar market, according to Chueng. “Rabbit Air has been able to make some very close and dedicated friends,” he says. “A few of those friends include Alec Bradley Cigars, who has worked with us for a year now selling their specially branded air purifiers to all of their loyal clientele and lounge owners alike. They have also made us their sponsor for the Alec Bradley ‘Fresh Air Zone’ at the 2018 IPCPR.” Another Rabbit Air partner and friend is Club Macanudo in New York, renowned widely for offering one the most lavish cigar experiences available. Choosing the best smoke air purifier for your home or lounge is a matter of many factors, including room size, filtration needs, unit cost and filter replacement cost, according to Chueng. For information on these aspects of air purification as well as power consumption, noise level and other products from Rabbit Air purifiers, visit www.rabbitair.com.

Audrey Pavia is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is a frequent contributor to Cigar & Spirits. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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JC NEWMAN

FOUR GENERATIONS AND 123 YEARS OF TRADITION SINCE 1895

ERIC NEWMAN

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Third Generation


JC NEWMAN

Eric, Drew, and Bobby Newman are standing on the rooftop of El Reloj, J.C. Newman’s 108-year -old cigar factory in the Ybor City DREW NEWMAN Fourth Generation

BOBBY NEWMAN Third Generation

National Historic Landmark District in Tampa, Florida. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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NOLET *Cigar & Spirits Magazine February 2018 Issue

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**June 2018 Issue

CRAFTED WITH OVER 325 YEARS O F N O L E T FA M I LY E X P E R I E N C E D I S C OV E R M O R E AT N O L E T S G I N .C O M

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