WON the WEST A TRIP
THROUGH COGNAC SOLE PURPOSE
UP YOUR SHOE GAME
325 Years of Vodka with Carl Nolet
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CEO & Publisher Lincoln B. Salazar Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Winokur Art Director Joe Redmond Editorial Assistant Breahna Wheeler Contributing Writers Lanee Lee Jerry Fisher Amanda Keeley Thurman Randy Mastronicola Kennedy Collier Benjamin Winokur Nick Hammond Dave Johnson Julie Harrington Giffin John Dade Judy Laing Henry Eshelman
Editorial, Production and Sales Office Headquartered at: 1 Columbia, Suite 120, Aliso Viejo, CA (949) 716-9061
To contact us for Questions & Comments email: Customerservice@CigarandSpirits.com
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Cigar & Spirits Magazine @CigarSpiritsMag
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Carl Nolet, Celebrating 325 Years Of Ketel One Vodka
WILD WEST WHISKEY
The Drink of Men Who Lived Hard and Drank Harder
FOR YOUR HOME BAR
20 Spirits Rated
THE LINCOLN LOUNGE
A Spirits Destination to Die For
Carl Nolet, Celebrating 325 Years Of Ketel One Vodka
A Unique Take on Carte Blanche A Baptiste Loiseau by Remy Martin
A TRIP THROUGH COGNAC
CREATE YOUR OWN CRAFT SPIRITS
The Alkemista by Ethan + Ashe
UP YOUR SHOE GAME
How To Get The Perfect Look
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 CIGARS
HIRAM & SOLOMON CIGARS
An Interview with One of the Fastest Growing Boutique Cigar Brands
FOR YOUR HUMIDOR
32 Cigars Rated
WILD WEST WHISKEY
EXOTIC SMOKES: CHEROOTS
Explore This Unique Smoking Experience
UP YOUR SHOE GAME
Diamond Crown Black Diamond
DIAMOND CROWN BLACK DIAMOND
IN PRAISE OF SMALL CIGARS
When it Comes to Cigars, Size Does Matter
UFC CHAMPION CRIS CYBORG
Wild-Eyed Wisdom, Wild Turkey Rye Meets the Archetype Sage Advice
The Cigar Factory Lounge in Simi Valley, CA
THE BUSINESS OF CIGARS
UFC Champion Cris Cyborg
A TRIP THROUGH COGNAC
ONE IN A MILLION
EXOTIC SMOKES: CHEROOTS
Sports Plays for the Ages
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PUBLISHER’S NOTE Life Lessons to Pass Down THROUGHOUT MY LIFE I have received several life lessons, many of which have been passed down from father to son, and today I want to share them with you. You may have heard some of these before, and others may be new to you. Enjoy!
Always pursue someone you perceive to be out of your league, you may surprise yourself. Never have sex with anyone who doesn’t want it as much as you. Never take someone to the movies on the first date. Compliment your love interest on their clothing, shoe, or choice of fragrance. Everyone finds confidence sexy as hell.
Learn to wet shave. Every man should own at least one well-tailored suit. Shave with the grain on the first go around. Each hat you own should serve a purpose. Brush your teeth before you put on your tie. Never wear a clip-on tie. Keep a change of clothes at the office. Always go out in public dressed like you’re about to meet the love of your life. When you walk, look straight ahead, not down at your feet.
Never hit anyone unless they are an immediate threat. Exercise makes you happy; run, lift, and play sports. A small amount of your paycheck should go directly to your savings account every month. Call your parents each week. Give a firm handshake, and always look a person in the eye when you talk to them. Always stand to shake someone’s hand. Discover your passion, and figure out how to get paid for it. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
Cheers, Lincoln B. Salazar CEO/Publisher
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The founding of Hiram and Solomon cigars sounds like it filled a long-time desire to tie a high-quality product to our tradition of fellowship...what are some lessons you learned on the journey from branding to blending to store shelves?
HIRAM and SOLOMON CIGARS By Jerry Fisher
As a Freemason and a cigar smoker, it was my pleasure to meet Fouad (Ed) Kashouty and George Dakrat from Hiram and Solomon Cigars at this year’s IPCPR. Their dedication to the Brotherhood and their brand was obvious as we spoke and shared one of their highly rated cigars. Due to schedules and the hectic pace of the trade show, it wasn’t until a few weeks later that I was able to speak with Ed and George again and get more insight into Hiram and Solomon Cigars.
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Ed: Our initial thoughts when we started this venture were to sell boxes online exclusively to Masons around the world. Five months after launching we got our first call from a retailer in NJ asking about the possibility of acquiring the brand to sell in their cigar lounge as smokers started asking about it. More phone calls from retailers started coming and this forced us to adjust our sails according to the wind. We decided that it would be beneficial for us to stop online sales and instead, focus on growing the brand by having the cigars available to all smokers and not just Freemasons. The Hiram and Solomon Cigars Brand was born. We also discovered an aspect of the business that we never thought about as customers ourselves: the fact that this is a very competitive and price driven market. The retail prices also became an issue as we were priced at the high end of the market.so the quest was to keep the same quality, even improving on it, but with more affordable pricing that appeals to the majority of cigar smokers. We found out that in order to grow the brand and make it a major player in the market, we needed brand ambassadors, who visit lounges in order to educate the retailers and customers alike about the cigars and also to ensure that our cigar boxes are attended to regularly and displayed properly.
When it came to branding, did you always plan to have three distinct cigar profiles that matched the degrees of Freemasonry? George: Not at the very beginning. When we decided to release the first cigar, it was Ed’s great idea to have an Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason as mild, medium and full bodied cigars. We arrived at the idea shortly before we began production, because we had been working many years before that making the cigar without knowing how we were going to do it. That came later at the right time and it made sense to us.
While I’ve sampled all of your cigars, I think that my personal favorite is your newest addition; The Shriner. It starts off mild and then builds into what strikes me as a salted caramel finish. It’s a pleasure to smoke. Ed: It’s a very nice cigar. It was done at the Plasencia Factory in Nicaragua. I actually have a picture of an ashtray with about thirty or thirty five cigars that my partner George and I sampled for the blending of The Shriner. And to top it off, in between cigars we were trying to rinse and reset our taste buds and they kept bringing us those Cuban coffees. I drank ten or twelve cups and I think I was up for about forty eight hours! But the process was great, we’d smoke about a third of each cigar and then tell them we wanted a little bit more of this flavor, less of that, in order to find the right blend. Everyone who placed orders at IPCPR bought The Shriner, we think it’s a great value for the money and the presentation inside the Fez sets it apart.
I can comfortably say that blending is the most challenging, exciting and rewarding aspect of it all, but it is simultaneously frustrating as well. We learned that traditional blending in the past was not as complex as it is today. The market now has many varieties of new tobacco which gives us plenty of combinations to choose from. We need to be able to translate and interpret the expectations of modern day smokers, such as flavor, strength sensations and the level of complexity that satisfies most cigar smokers.
WE’VE GOT A GOOD BALANCE BETWEEN MASON AND NONMASON, BECAUSE YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON MORE THAN JUST THE MASONIC PART OF IT IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH YOUR BRAND AND APPEAL TO MORE PEOPLE.
When you are travelling to local stores, what are the most common questions you get from non-Masons about the Brotherhood and your cigars? Ed: As we travel from cigar lounges to lodges and to big events, we get greeted by many people. Naturally, we discuss the topic of Freemasonry with our cigars. Some of the most frequent questions from non-Masons are: How do you become a Freemason? Do I qualify to join? What happens at the secret meetings? Do you guys really rule the world, and is this cigar business a part of a financial plan to rule the world? But the funniest question usually is - Will you tell me where the treasure is if I buy a cigar? To which I respond, behind every cigar band is a clue to that leads to a map; start collecting them!
How have you seen the Hiram and Solomon brand impact Lodge membership in the cities where your cigars are found? Ed: As soon as we announce a date that we will be at a specific event or venue, the excitement is instantaneous. Messages and texts start pouring in, expressing support and help. This is one more reason for us to be proud of the creation of the Hiram and Solomon Cigars. It gives my partner and me a deep self-satisfaction knowing that since our inception, we were able to place and direct 21 new members in the USA and 11 in the rest of the world to join Lodges where they live. Some of the greatest moments have been when Freemasons tell us they will resume their attendance at lodge meetings after they had stopped going. One of the most important aspects of Freemasonry within local communities is charity, in what ways have worked that into the foundation of the Hiram and Solomon brand?
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Ed: From the very beginning, every cigar and every box we sell includes a donation to The Shriners. We do events at Lodges where a portion of proceeds goes back to the Lodge, and the same for charity events. We have started doing a lot of non-Masonic charity events as well, whether it is for police, golf tournaments, children’s charities, schools or organizations like that. We’ve got a good balance between Mason and non-Mason, because you need to focus on more than just the Masonic part of it in order to establish your brand and appeal to more people. Name a famous Mason or two, current or historical, with whom you would most like to enjoy a cigar? Ed: As we know the list of famous and notable Freemasons that had and still have their mark on this world is extremely long. Two names in particular stick out to me, the first one is Sir Alexander Fleming who discovered the antibiotic property of penicillin. His contribution to the world is beyond imagination and has touched many people’s lives regardless of race or religion. The second is none other than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who composed many magnificent Masonic and non-Masonic pieces such as the Magic Flute and many other soul lifting pieces that inculcate the feelings of humanity, wisdom, patience, virtue, honesty, loyalty to friends and finally an understanding of freedom within one’s self. I would like to add Mark Twain who gave real intellectual enjoyment to millions worldwide, and generations to come. I believe he would add a definite joy to the smoking experience with his character, humor, and sarcasm.
While I may be a bit biased due to the fact that I share a bond with Hiram and Solomon Cigars that goes beyond my love for a great cigar, I can honestly say that the product speaks for itself. The Shriner and The Travelling Man are staples in my humidor now, and I’ve had the opportunity to get plenty of positive feedback from novice and veteran cigar smokers while we sit back and enjoy a leisurely smoke. After meeting and chatting with Ed and George, and witnessing the spirit and passion that they have put into the brand, quality, and dedication to Brotherhood and community, I look forward to seeing what is next for Hiram and Solomon Cigars as they continue in their success and become a staple at more and more local shops.
ETHAN + ASHE
ALKEMISTA By Benjamin Winokur
Alkemista is an all-in-one spirits infusion vessel that enables both the casual entertainer and professional bartender to easily craft and serve unique alcoholic drinks. IF YOU’RE FAMILIAR with the latest craft-cocktail and mixologist craze you know that custom-infused spirits are hugely popular. A new product looks to simplify the art of creating custom-infused spirits for premium craft cocktails, that product is Alkemista.
can be easily removed for serving directly from the Alkemista, and for elegant storage afterwards. The bottle itself is sleek and modern, meaning it will look great whether sitting on your bar or while being used to serve your friends, family, or patrons your personalized infused spirit.
Alkemista is an all-in-one spirits infusion vessel that By Benjamin Winokur “Alkemista’s all-in-one design makes it easy to craft many enables both the casual entertainer and professional different types of spirits and cocktails,” says Carignan. “It bartender to easily craft and serve unique alcoholic lets the creator be creative, the drinks taste amazingly drinks. Combine fresh fruits, spices, a little creativity, fresh, and one’s imagination is the only limit.” and the Alkemista, ordinary alcohol is transformed into extraordinary spirits, cocktails, and bitters. The Alkemista is launching via a Kickstarter campaign on September 29, 2016 and will run for 30 days, during The creator of Alkemista, Jason Carignan, and founder which time the Ethan + Ashe team hope to raise enough of Ethan + Ashe created the Alkemista to enable funds to bring the Alkemista to market in time to be connoisseurs to enjoy better, healthier cocktails at gifted for the holiday season, and will ship soon after. home without the use of chemicals or artificial flavors. The Alkemista Kickstarter campaign will offer early“I realized then that the key to crafting an amazing bird specials, enabling backers to receive significant cocktail was quite literally within the spirit. I began discounts on the product at various levels. to experiment with my own infusions using fresh ingredients, but found it to be a messy, unwieldy Kickstarter campaigns operate under an “all-orprocess, and knew that there had to be an easier way.” nothing” funding model, so if the Alkemista does not Says Carignan. The Ethan + Ashe design team began reach its goal by the end of 30 days, then it may be sketching and creating prototypes, seeking high-quality years before its unique technology becomes available materials to perfect the product. to the public. To help the Alkemista come to life and to bring fresh craft cocktails to a home, bar, or social The all-in-one Alkemista combines the ultra-fine gathering near you, consider donating to the campaign, filtering technology of fine Japanese teapots with the or sharing the information with others. To follow timeless design of a glass liquor bottle. It’s constructed the Alkemista project, be sure to find it on Twitter with lab-quality borosilicate glass and a removable (@ethanashebrand), Facebook (@ethanashebrand), stainless steel infusion filter. Incredibly simple to use, or Instagram (@ethanashebrand), or visit just add fruits, spices, or botanicals to the filter, and then www.ethanashe.com add the base alcohol to the leak-proof bottle to let the flavors and aromas mingle until it reaches the desired level of taste. The filter keeps unwanted particles from entering the liquid during the infusion process and
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About Ethan Ashe Ethan Ashe is a company forged out of the idea of entertaining the finer things in life with good friends. Its team of designers, creators, thinkers, and foodies are dedicated to bringing new home and bar tools to market that help people live a more spirited life.
>> Carl Nolet Jr. Executive Vice President of Nolet Spirits USA
The Nolet family, one of the longest distilling dynasties in the world, celebrates 325 years… Dust. This four-letter word doesn’t usually motivate one to go out and build a billion-dollar enterprise. However, for one young Dutchman it did. “My father told me there were two ways my name would wind up on this,” says Carl Nolet Jr. holding up a bottle of his family’s Ketel One Vodka, in front of a group of visitors at the distillery in Schiedam, Holland. “Either my signature on the label, or by my own finger wiping off the dust if it didn’t sell.”
SPIRITED EXCELLENCE CELEBRATING 325 YEARS OF THE WORLD’S BEST VODKA
It’s a story that’s probably been recounted probably a hundred times. But this year, it has profound meaning as it marks the 325th anniversary of Nolet’s Distillery, the family-owned and operated business that also produces the highly sought-after Nolet’s Gin. To celebrate the momentous occasion representing centuries of hard work, family cohesiveness, and boots-on-the-ground grassroots marketing, the Nolet family has released a limited-edition, one-liter bottle of Ketel One with both Carl Jr.’s and Bob’s, his brother who handles manufacturing, written not in dust, but in copper-colored lettering. For the commemorative edition, the clear glass has been swapped out for a handsome copper matte plating as tribute to the copper pot distillation which is key to creating the brand’s spirits. This American (and/or Dutch) dream didn’t happen overnight. To fully understand the making-of, it requires a look back 11 generations, to the year of 1691 when Joanness Nolet opened the distillery in the same town in Holland in which it stands today. At the time, Europe and the States couldn’t get enough of the Dutch Gin, (known as jenever or genever at the time) which is twice distilled of malt-wine with herbal notes added in a final distillation. Being in the family for seven generations at this point in the late 19th century, the distillery was one of nearly 400 producing jenever out of Schiedam, known as the capital of Dutch gin.
>> Nolet Family Distillery - Front Doors
However, as trends come and go, so did the taste for jenever. London Dry gin, a new style of gin named for the city it was produced in, became the new drink of choice. After World War II, there were only a handful of jenever distilleries in Schiedam left standing. And today, there’s even less. Three jenever producers, including The Nolet Distillery, remain.
By Lanee Lee
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hen 10th-generation Carolus Nolet—the father of Carl Jr. and Bob—took the reins in 1971, the company was a shadow of what it was in its heyday. Producing 40-50 different products in small quantities, from jenever to brandy, with the company’s focus scattered. In contrast, Nolet Sr. stepped up to the plate with laser-sharp vision. During a trip to the United States, he noticed the rise of premium vodka among imbibers ordering martinis made with brands like Absolut and Stolichnaya. Spurred by the fact that his grandfather had opened a distillery in Baltimore, Ohio in 1898 but was forced to close due to Prohibition, Nolet Sr. was determined to bring the family business across the pond once again. He returned home and struck a deal with Corry, his wife. If she bore the responsibility of raising the family, he would rebuild the business by creating the world’s smoothest tasting vodka, specifically targeting the U.S. market. “Growing up, in order to see our dad, my mom would send us off to the distillery on the weekends,” explained Carl Jr. And both sons had fond memories of playing among the stills, helping to shovel coal into the fire. “I love the pot still, that’s where we played on the weekends,” says Bob. “I remember the heat from the fire burning.”
>> Bob Nolet, Ivan Menezes, Carolus Nolet Sr. and Carl Nolet Jr. pose for photos at the Nolet family distillery 325th anniversary celebration. Photo by Ketel One Vodka. >> Hostesses serve Ketel One Vodka Dutch Mules as guests enter the Nolet family 325th anniversary celebration. Photo by Ketel One Vodka.
Tirelessly, Carl Sr. experimented with formulas—even utilizing recipes from generations of Nolet distillers—and distillation techniques. After seven years of locking himself away in the distillery, like a madly-determined scientist, he perfected the recipe. “Our father looked at the marketplace and noticed a void—vodka wasn’t it as smooth as it should be. Smooth is now an overused word. Then, my mom tasted it, “Wow, I can drink this too.” Wow, there are women! A 100 percent of the whole. That’s the family difference,” explains Carl Jr. One of the key elements to Carl Senior’s ‘ah-ha moment’ was combining the heavy-tasting spirit from the antiquated copper pot stills and the lighter, crisper-tasting spirit from the modern-day column distillation. And because part of the solution was found in Distilleerketel #1, the oldest still that hails back seven generations, he named the vodka after it: Ketel One. However, launching the easy-to-drink vodka in 1983 was only half the equation of today’s success story. Dad Carl gave son Carl the ‘name in dust’ pep talk, handed him $27,500 and sent him to the States to turn his creation into a cash cow. Forgoing traditional marketing, the family decided to take the door-to-door salesman approach. With the weight and responsibility of his father’s commission, Carl Jr. went from bar to bar—wearing out countless pairs of shoes in the process—personally explaining Ketel One and training barkeeps across the U.S. on how to serve it. They also applied an ingenious scarcity tactic by selling only three bottles at time to each account. Soon, restaurant owners and bartenders were frantic to keep their patrons happy and would place orders weekly, which led to the impression that it was selling madly because there was a limited amount.
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After seven years of locking himself away in the distillery, like a madly-determined scientist, he perfected the recipe.
Inspired by architecture. Built by masters. The Case Study cigar project pays homage to the pioneering architects of mid-century modernist design. Featuring 26 unique blends of rare, vintage tobacco, each cigar was personally crafted by some of the most respected master blenders in the world. We invite you to leave compromise behind.
© 2016 Ventura Cigar Company. All Rights Reserved.
Ask Carl Jr. what his greatest accomplishment is and he’ll tell you: “the fact that my father trusted me enough, to send me to the United States of America with $27,500 and 26 years later, I’m still sitting in the US with a good return on the investment.” >> Bob Nolet, Carl Nolet Jr., and Carolus Nolet Sr. on the Nolet Family Distillery Bottling Line.
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SCENES FROM THE 325TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE NOLET FAMILY DISTILLERY >> OUR LIFE’S WORK 4-D cinematic projection on the De Nolet Windmill during the Nolet family 325th anniversary celebration. Photo by Ketel One Vodka.
How would you describe each of your sons’ roles in the business? I am extremely proud of the commitment and contributions my sons have made to the Nolet Family Distillery. Carl Jr. is the heart of Ketel One, “pounding the pavement” sharing the story of Ketel One Vodka and our family. He relocated to New York in 1992 to further expand the brand’s growing popularity. Since then, he has established long-lasting relationships that have contributed to Ketel One Vodka’s continued expansion in the United States. His industry knowledge, business expertise, and leadership have been integral to the brand’s growth.
Montecristo. An icon since 1935.
Bob is responsible for building the brand in Europe and beyond. Like his older brother Carl, Bob learned the art and science of the family distilling business and the techniques for making Ketel One Vodka while growing up in the Nolet Distillery. Bob is the soul of Ketel One, making sure that our quality is evidenced in every bottle before it leaves the distillery in Schiedam. From father to son for 11 generations, the craftsmanship of Ketel One continues through the family’s unwavering passion for crafting fine spirits.
A Chat with Carolus Nolet
>> Leon Bridges performs at the 325th Anniversary of the Nolet Family Distillery hosted by Ketel One Vodka. Photo by Michel Porro - Getty Images.
ht blueWe caught up with the spry, brig ily, and eyed 75-year old to talk about fam the future of Nolet’s Distillery.
Lucrecia Valdez Master Roller 36 years of experience
Was it based on interest or simply something you decided that Bob would become distiller and Carl the salesperson/ambassador of Ketel?
>> Diageo Chief Executive Office Ivan Menezes toasts to the 325th anniversary of the Nolet Family Distillery with a Ketel One Vodka martini. Photo by Ketel One Vodka.
I think they fell into these two roles naturally. My sons have a lot of knowledge and experience behind them, having learned our core family values developed by 11 generations of Nolets’ throughout their impressionable adulthood. They have worked in nearly every role at the Nolet Family Distillery, which has provided them with an intricate understanding of how to operate our distillery and create the beautiful liquid inside each bottle of Ketel One Vodka. Today both are involved in growing our company. Carl Jr. always had a knack for words, ever since he was a young boy. I always knew Carl Jr. would succeed in expanding the brand in the United States and Bob would do a great job meticulously overseeing the rest of the world. What accomplishment are you most proud
of and why?
>> Ketel One Vesper Martini cocktail kit on the dining room table at the Nolet Family Distillery 325th anniversary celebration. Photo by Ketel One Vodka.
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>> Proprietors LLC. mixologist Devon Tarby creating Ketel One Vodka cocktails at the Nolet Family Distillery 325th anniversary celebration. Photo by Michel Porro - Getty Images.
I am most proud my family’s future. My sons and I live our history every day. The passion from 11 generations of Nolets, father to son, distilling fine spirits for close to 325 years, has instilled an exciting opportunity for the future. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM
Savoring the Legacy of the Nolet Legacy
Forgoing traditional marketing, the family decided to take the door-to-door salesman approach.
“Ketel One vodka was specially created by Mr. Nolet, the 10th generation family distiller, with this drink in mind. It’s freshness on the nose, the mouth feel and long finish with subtle flavors is what sets Ketel One vodka apart from all the others,” explains Dennis Tamse, the Hollandbased distillery ambassador.
>> Nolet Family Distillery 325th Anniversary Bottle by Ketel One Vodka.
Fast forward to 2001 and it’s obvious that this personal touch paid off. Ketel One had become a million-case selling business in America. In 2008, they partnered with Diageo to handle the worldwide marketing and distribution in a $900 million dollar 50/50 joint venture. Ask Carl Jr. what his greatest accomplishment is and he’ll tell you: “the fact that my father trusted me enough, to send me to the United States of America with $27,500 and 26 years later, I’m still sitting in the US with a good return on the investment.”
THE ULTIMATE MARTINI
By Dennis Tamse DISTILLERY AMBASSADOR Dtamse@nolet.nl
Back in Schiedam, the Nolet distillery is both a step back-in-time and a modern marvel to visit. The visitor center is housed in a historical building with a windmill that is connected with a multimillion-dollar underwater tunnel that allows them to keep up with the demands of distribution, which helps in maintaining the tranquil ambiance of the village. Next door to the distillery is modern art gallery, also run by family, which mounts exhibitions featuring prestigious Dutch and international artists.
Ingredients 1.5 oz. Ketel One® Vodka
Preperation Stir with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a rocks glass over one large ice cube or a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. Note: Can be tailored to personal taste with the addition of olive brine, specialty olives and/or ¼ ounce of dry vermouth (If adding vermouth, decrease Ketel One Vodka by ¼ ounce.)
So, this begs the question. Even after 11 generations of not only making a family business survive but thrive, is it time to cash in and live life in blissful peace on their own island in the Caribbean? “Would we sell it? Ready…one, two three,” as the oldest brother looks to the younger brother Bob. “NO!” they answer together in resounding enthusiasm. And nearly a half-century later, Carl Sr. is still building the family legacy. He, with the help of Bob, recently launched Nolet’s Reserve gin—an exquisite gin with an intensely intricate flavor profile infused with a bevy of botanicals. “He wanted to show off his skills—50 years in the business! He’s the type of distiller that you don’t come across often. Instead of aging in beautiful oak, he used a whole different process of distilling with saffron and verbena—and there’s a heck of a lot more in there, there’s major secret ingredients in there. He wanted to leave something behind that’s unbelievable,” explains Carl Jr. It’s safe to say that he has—in more ways than one. Ketel One fans, let’s all take a moment of silence and gratitude in honor of Corry, Carl Sr.’s wife. As the saying goes, ‘behind a good man is an even better woman’. And Carl Jr. concurs, “Our success wasn’t just what my dad did but how my mom took care of us and the sacrifices she made.” Cheers to the Nolet family for their 325-year dedication to producing fine spirits, including Ketel One, The World’s Best Vodka.
>> Ketel One Vodka Ultimate Martini. Photo by Ketel One Vodka.
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>>Park Avenue by Allen Edmonds Price: $395
first shoe that every man needs is a pair of black, captoe oxfords. Oxfords are identified by their closed lacing construction, meaning that the shoelace eyelets are sewn underneath the vamp (front of the shoe). There are many types of oxfords, but your first pair should be black and as plain as possible. This is the most important shoe to own because it’s the most formal type of shoe you will wear. If you go to a funeral, meet the President, or just want to be respectful and appropriate, this is what you wear. You can even wear this with a tuxedo if you shine it well and give the toecap extra shine. These shoes aren’t versatile, but they will immediately dress up any outfit. My choice in oxford is the Park Avenue by Allen Edmonds, which is everything you need in oxfords and more. Sleek, stylish, comfortable, and perfect, these are Allen Edmonds at their finest. Price: $395. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
TRANSFORM YOUR LOOK:
CHOOSE YOUR SHOES
>>Cornwallis by Allen Edmonds Price: $395
By Dave Johnson
When you buy quality, not only will your shoes look great, but with a little care they should last you a lifetime.
YOUR SHOES CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOUR OUTFIT. MOST MEN FAIL TO REALIZE THIS, OFTENTIMES WEARING SHOES WHICH ARE TOO JUVENILE OR GERIATRIC FOR THEM, CAUSING THEM TO LOOK DISHEVELED. SO HERE ARE SIX SHOES THAT WILL HELP YOU BRING “MANLY” BACK. IF YOU HEED MY ADVICE, YOUR SHOE GAME WILL GO UP A NOTCH AND YOUR OVERALL LOOK WILL BE TRANSFORMED.
Next you should have a bold, statement-maker. No other shoe is more perfect for this than a monk strap. Part swashbuckler, part Wall Street, the monk strap shoe turns heads every time. It forgoes laces for a strap of leather attached by buckles. It typically comes with one or two buckles, but there is occasionally the mythical triple monk out there. Either variety works, but I prefer the double monk for the extra pop. For maximum versatility, go with a medium or light brown, which really stands out with conservative clothes. It will dress up well with casual suits, and can dress down for business casual or even casual for the adventurous man. My choice is the Allen Edmonds St. John’s in walnut. Price: $395.
The first thing you need to know is that with shoes, you really get what you pay for. Stay away from cheap shoes with rubber soles, square toes, and questionable leather substitutes. Instead, invest in your shoes. Buy shoes with quality, well-stitched leather. Buy shoes with welted leather soles, making resoling possible. Try them on in person so they fit well. Choose key colors and styles that give you maximum versatility. When you buy quality, not only will your shoes look great, but with a little care they should last you a lifetime. Almost all of my choices are from Allen Edmonds, a company making shoes in the United States since 1922. They are arguably one of the best, and their quality shows it. Though there are many other fine shoe companies out there, they are my favorite, and you really cannot go wrong with any of their shoes.
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Your next shoe should be slightly less formal. I suggest something dark brown with a little broguing (decorative holes). Dark brown is a great color because it matches well with a variety of clothes. As for style, you have options. You could go with wing-tips which have the most broguing, but I say keep it simple. The more broguing a shoe has, the less formal it is, and your second pair of shoes should still stay in the formal range. So my choice is the Cornwallis by Allen Edmonds in brown. What I love about this shoe is that it’s still an oxford, but with just hints of broguing, making it stand out in both casual and formal attire. This shoe might not shout, but it whispers, “I know how to rock a gorgeous pair of shoes.” Price: $395.
>>St. Johns by Allen Edmonds Price: $395
Now that we have three versatile dress shoes, let’s focus on a few casual options. To me there is almost nothing more perfect than a great pair of loafers. As the name implies, loafers are a casual shoe that can’t be worn with suits. But they still work great for business casual, making them a capable shoe in your wardrobe. There are several loafer styles, but I think the classic penny loafer is your most versatile choice. Other loafers are fine, but they seem too dressy to be worn casually, in my opinion, whereas penny loafers are perfectly at home dressed up or down. And though you may be tempted, avoid putting pennies in your loafers unless you really want to draw attention to your shoes—in which case you better have new pennies and shined, clean shoes! I recommend them in an oxblood or similar color. It’s a red, almost purple, brown that looks gorgeous if done well. And the color matches well with a variety of trousers. My choice is the Lake Forest penny loafer by Allen Edmonds. Price: $395.
>>Lake Forest Penny Loafer by Allen Edmonds Price: $395
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• The next shoe on your list should be a great pair of derbies or bluchers. Stylistically, they are almost identical, and with this shoe, you have a wide assortment of colors, finishes, and materials to choose from. This is a very casual shoe that works great with jeans or chinos for those casual events when you still want to look put together. These shoes really can elevate an outfit and make it sing. There is really no wrong choice of derby, and colorful choices in leather or suede can really stand out. But I still prefer a more traditional brown—with a twist. My choice here is the Leo Plain Toe in dune by Grant Stone. These shoes are more of a natural leather color, similar to Horween Leather Company’s natural chromexcel. It’s light brown with great “pull-up” (lighter color variation when the leather stretches). The coloration really catches the eye. These shoes are gorgeous as well as beefy and are really some of the finest shoes I’ve ever seen. Price: $325.
>>Leo Plain Toe Dune by Grant Stone Price: $325
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• My final choice will be your most casual shoe: sneakers. Granted, these have less versatility, but they are still essential. In recent years, sneakers have been elevated beyond just their athletic origins. Now it’s easy to find fashion varieties with leather uppers. Again many colors to choose from, but I am in love with the Brisbanes by Allen Edmonds in walnut. They go with everything and the leather lattice-work on the sides really distinguish itself from other sneakers. Price: $245. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• The last bit of advice I would offer is to take care of your shoes by using shoe trees, polishing them, and buying more laces. Shoe trees maintain your shoes’ shape when you’re done wearing them. Polishing is obvious, but essential in keeping your shoes looking new. You can find the right polish by purchasing directly from the shoe’s manufacturer. You can buy laces in a variety of colors, giving you optional flair for a cheap price. And learning lacing techniques won’t hurt either.
>>Brisbanes by Allen Edmonds Price: $245
With all the shoe choices out there, it can be quite daunting knowing what is essential to own. Hopefully this guide helped you level up your shoe game. Take it in stride and walk in style.
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Photo Courtesy of Gleidson Venga
architects of incomparable precision in technique and with five-minute rounds exhibiting fierce takedowns, knee strikes, roundhouse kicks, rear naked chokes, and armbars- that not so proverbial place is in the octagon. The eight-sided polygon has erupted as the stage for woman’s pageantry of physical and mental strength. Reminiscent of characters from a dystopian thriller to your feel good romantic comedy, the nicknames behind these fighters carry personal meaning transcending their cage-fighting persona. Cyborg, Alpha, Lioness, Rowdy, The Preachers Daughter, Cupcake and The Venezuelan Vixen, are but a few of the pound for pound, top 15 ranked women in MMA (mmarising.com, July 1, 2016).
FEMME FATALE 2.0 A WOMAN’S PLACE IS IN THE...
Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, comes in as the #1 ranked female (Featherweight 136.1 – 146 lbs.) as a result of her recent UFC 198 performance, which she dominated with a TKO in the first round. Without deliberation, Cyborg is considered one of the most feared female fighters in the industry. Standing 5’8”, 145 lbs., with a 69-inch reach, Cyborg has won 16 of her 18 fights, where all but 2 were by technical knockout. She dons a black kruang in Muay Thai and a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but Cyborg wasn’t always an athlete of the octagon. In fact, it was the handball court where her career as a high-ranking athlete began and where she was ultimately introduced to her future career in MMA. Photo Courtesy of Gleidson Venga
Modern day MMA has evolved from a melting pot of multi-cultural, martial arts. With ever-advancing techniques and personal stamps of style, MMA is the culmination of various disciplines including Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Muay Thai, Boxing, and Wrestling. Sending shock waves through the western world, was the performance by Royce Gracie at the inaugural UFC event in 1993 submitting opponents twice his size with his stunning American debut of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Fast forward 20 long years to the year 2013 and the world would witness the first UFC Women’s event lasting less than 1 round with an armbar submission by “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey defeating Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche. This single event was the catapult for driving women’s MMA into mainstream viewership and the UFC continues to capitalize on this draw by sensationalizing the rivalry between main event women fighters. The most sensationalized rivalry and a match that would break pay per view records is the controversial and much anticipated fight of Rousey vs. Cyborg. A match that has yet to be scheduled and conceivably may never be. “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey with an impressive 12-1-0 record with 10 first round fight finishes, holds the record (men and women) for the fastest UFC Title Fight Submission of just 14 seconds. The former UFC Champion is currently ranked #3 (Bantamweight 126.1 135 pounds) and is ostensibly the #1 pound for pound female MMA fighter in the world.
By Julie Harrington Giffin
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ince her UFC win, Cris continues her focused training and has embarked on a whirlwind tour of appearances, interviews, and even the debut of her own amateur MMA event. She graciously took a moment to offer us a glimpse into her private life, what it takes to become a top UFC female athlete and what she sees in her future. C&S: Many people are unaware that you were a high-level handball player in Brazil. CC: Yes. I played on a nationally ranked team in Brazil. I was a good player in my state and was lucky to be awarded a scholarship to play at the university.
How did you transition from a nationally ranked handball team to MMA? One of my coaches was a black belt in chute boxing. He invited me on several occasions to come to his classes but I wasn’t interested. His persistence paid off and I finally took him up on his offer. He obviously saw something in me that I clearly did not and it stuck!
When did you decide on MMA as a career choice? Unlike many MMA fighters, I didn’t start training at a young age. I was at the university when I attended my first Muay Thai class. I had my first fight after just 6 months of training and I never looked back.
A career in MMA does not allow for much down time since “fight season” is year round. What does your typical training week look like? This last year, there has been no rest. I have had 4 fights in 14 months. Each fight requires a 12-week training camp…I’ll let you do the math.
Describe your typical training day. I train 3-4 times per day. I stay in shape year round, however. when preparing for a fight I have to increase my cardio and really focus on my diet. My first session usually starts at 5:00am with cardio. My last session ends around 9:00PM and is usually grappling. During the afternoon I do striking and depending on how far out we are from the fight, additional strength and conditioning is added.
Photo Courtesy of Larissa Reis
How would you compare your mental conditioning and preparation to that of your intense physical training? I’ve come to discover that fighting is the only sport that is as mentally challenging as it is physically. My mental training and preparation are just as intense as the physical training.
What is your signature move? I am known for knocking people out. I have a 90% KO win ratio, which no other female fighter in MMA can claim.
Your long-awaited UFC fight, and win… This was a huge moment in your career and for your fans as well. What ultimately transpired allowing you to fight in the UFC? This debut was for my fans. I accepted the fight at 140lbs. It was an opportunity to return to Brazil and fight in my hometown of Curitiba for the first time in 10 years. It was not easy getting to 140 lbs. and I now know that 135lbs is not an option for me.
You agreed to fight at 140lbs since the UFC does not have a 145lb weight class. You weighed in at 139lbs. How did you do it? A lot of hard work! I ran almost 50 miles per week and followed a very strict diet from my nutritionist George Lockhart at FitnessVT.com.
What is the makeup of your coaching staff? I have a variety of coaches with specialties covering nutrition, wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, physiology and conditioning.
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What do you contribute to your success as an athlete? Hard work, discipline, and blessings from God. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM
I AM KNOWN FOR KNOCKING PEOPLE OUT. I HAVE A 90% KO WIN RATIO... 34
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Photo Courtesy of Gleidson Venga
Because the way you live matters
Photo Courtesy of Gleidson Venga
WHO IS CRIS CYBORG?
I LOVE ANIMALS!
IF I WERE NOT A FIGHTER, Iâ€™D WORK IN A PET SHOP. 36
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What is your ultimate MMA career goal? I hope to inspire other girls to train MMA. I joined Juliano Prado to co-promote Get Down Fighting and on July 2nd at the YOST Theater I hosted the inaugural Female California Amateur MMA State Championship.
For many young girls you are a role model that they aspire to be like. From your experience leading up to and including your success in MMA, what knowledge can you share with them? It isnâ€™t easy, but it is worth it if this is something you love.
Stepping out of the octagon, who is Cris Cyborg? I am Cristiane Justino and I am from Curitiba, Brazil. I was raised by very supportive parents and had a happy childhood. My mother never worried when I would be gone all day. I was strong and athletic and Iâ€™d always compete in a sporting event and come home with a medal. I have 2 brothers. My one brother Rafael Justino is a Chute Boxe Black Belt and fights MMA. I love animals! If I were not a fighter, Iâ€™d work in a pet shop. I love Brazilian food and black is my favorite colorâ€Śjust look at my nails during one of my fights! My life is very busy and Iâ€™m always training so on the weekends I relax and use this time for my recovery period. Outside of MMA, I dream of having a happy family with a kid of my own one day.
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Photo Courtesy of Gleidson Venga
Meet the maestros behind the masterpieces. With over 300 years of combined experience, the Grupo de Maestros can teach you a thing or two about cigars. Meet the masterminds, hands, and hearts behind the world’s most rare cigar blends, and learn more about their craft at cigarmaestro.com/the-maestros.
incredibly rare opportunity displaying the undeniable focus and commitment in training to become the female champion is shared in a powerful documentary on Cris’ journey to UFC 198. Follow Cris on her website and Facebook page for up to date information on the release of her documentary and opportunities to personally train with Cris at her exclusive Pink Belt Fitness Camps.
www.criscyborg.com www.pinkbeltfitness.com Facebook: Official Cyberneticas Fan Club & Pink Belt Fitness By Cris Cyborg
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. Her wit of tongue and pen is further inspired by her love for training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under the direction of Professor Grant Collins at Optimus Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Laguna Niguel, California. Authors Note: At the time of this publication, Cris Cyborg will be returning to Brazil to defend her UFC title at Fight Night 98 on September 24, 2016 against Lina “Elbow Princess” Lansberg, who will be making her UFC debut. Fight Night 98 results can be viewed at www.ufc.com.
Photo Courtesy of Larissa Reis
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FEATURED CIGARS RATED
ALEC BRADLEY CIGARS SANCTUM 6” x 60 Gordo
WRAPPER: Corojo, Hondruas BINDER: Costa Rica FILLER: Columbia, Nicaragua, Honduras TASTING NOTES: Medium to full bodied cigar. Costa Rican binder has great body, while the Columbian tobaccos add to the great aroma.
ALEC BRADLEY CIGARS AMERICAN SUN GROWN 6 1/8” x 52 Torpedo WRAPPER: Nicaragua BINDER: Nicaragua FILLER: Nicaragua TASTING NOTES: Medium to full in body, a slight sweetness comes through the rich Nicaraguan long-fillers. Hearty and smooth with every draw.
SOUTHERN DRAW CIGARS CODE DUELLO KUDZUDOUBLE OSCURO 6” x 56 Perfecto
WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro BINDER: Ometepe FILLER: Proprietary Nicaraguan TASTING NOTES: Medium/Full bodied and strength. Complex flavors throughout the smooth smoking experience.
Ratings are the average based on a blind tasting of each cigar by our expert panel of ten cigar connoisseurs, who together possess more than 100 years of cigar-smoking experience.
HIRAM & SOLOMON CIGARS TRAVELING MAN
HIRAM & SOLOMON CIGARS SHRINER
6” X 52 TORPEDO
6” X 52
Sumatra BINDER: Dominican FILLER: Dominican
Sumatra BINDER: Nicaragua & Brazil FILLER: Dominican
TASTING NOTES: Earthy with strong hints of nuts, with a toasty and oak finish.
TASTING NOTES: Medium bodied, rich and creamy. Hints of a boquet of flowers, cedar and a cocoa finish.
SOUTHERN DRAW CIGARS CODE DUELLO KUDZUDOUBLE OMETEPE
ALTADIS USA ROMEO Y JULIETA 1875
ALTADIS USA H. UPMANN 1844 RESERVE
WRAPPER: Sumatra BINDER: Dominican FILLER: Dominican
WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro BINDER: Ometepe FILLER: Proprietary Nicaraguan
TASTING NOTES: Medium bodied cigar with a nutty taste along with cedar and wood notes.
WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Hubano BINDER: Nicaraguan FILLER: Dominican
5” x 58 Perfecto
8.5” x 52
6” x 54 Toro
TASTING NOTES: A fuller-bodied smoke. An earthy flavor with salty leather notes.
TASTING NOTES: Medium bodied flavor with a smooth draw. Rich on the palate and long on the finish.
To provide feedback on any of the ratings, or to offer your own opinions on any of the cigars featured, write us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook & Twitter and leave your comments: www.facebook.com/cigarandspiritsmagazine
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J.C. NEWMAN CIGARS DIAMOND CROWN JULIUS CAESER
6.5” x 52
WRAPPER: Ecuador Habano BINDER: Dominican FILLER: Dominican TASTING NOTES: Medium-Full Strength smoke. Decadent flavors include hints of coffee, spice and a soft wood note on the finish.
HOYO & AJ FERNANDEZ HOYO LA AMISTAD 5” x 54
WRAPPER: Ecuador BINDER: Nicaragua FILLER: Nicaragua (Estelí, Ometepe, Condega, Jalapa) TASTING NOTES: Full Bodied and Full Strength with rich tobacco undertones featuring hints of cedar.
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LA GLORIA CUBANA SERIE R ESTELI MADURO 6” x 60
WRAPPER: Connecticut Broadleaf (Maduro) BINDER: Nicaraguan FILLER: Nicaraguan TASTING NOTES: Spicy, Savory & Full -bodied. Combines deep sweetness with leather notes and spice.
ESPINOSA CIGARS LARANJA RESERVA 5.5” x 54
WRAPPER: Brazilian Laranja BINDER: Nicaraguan FILLER: Nicaraguan TASTING NOTES: Medium to full bodied with an underlying sweetness.
EL ARTISTA CIGARS BIG PAPI BY DAVID ORTIZ 6” x 54
WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Habano Claro BINDER: Criollo 98 FILLER: Dominican & Nicaraguan TASTING NOTES: Medium bodied smoke with notes of pepper, chestnut and cream.
ESPINOSA CIGARS ESPINOSA CREMA 5.5” x 52
WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Connecticut BINDER: Nicaraguan FILLER: Nicaraguan TASTING NOTES: Mild-Medium throughout, soft and creamy smoke that rolls across your palate.
VIVA REPUBLICA PROPAGANDA DISINFORMATION
GENERAL CIGAR COHIBA MACASSAR
WRAPPER: Brazilian magico Cubano BINDER: Ecuadorian Sumatra FILLER: Brazil, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua & Pennsylvania
WRAPPER: Connecticut BINDER: Connecticut Broadleaf FILLER: Dominican & Nicaraguan
TASTING NOTES: Rich and creamy full-flavored smoke with hints of spicy cocoa.
CORNELIUS & ANTHONY VENGANZA 5” x 52
WRAPPER: Ecuadorian BINDER: Nicaraguan FILLER: Nicaraguan TASTING NOTES: Starts with a blast of bold flavor. This spice forward blend has a lingering sweetness and a long smooth finish that highlights its bold complexity.
6” x 52
TASTING NOTES: Creamy medium smoke, with hints of wood and spice. Rich flavors are draped in complexity.
5” x 54
WRAPPER: Honduran San Agustin BINDER: Connecticut Broadleaf FILLER: Dominican, Honduran and Mexican TASTING NOTES: Full bodied smoke with hints of cocoa and almonds throughout.
GENERAL CIGAR MACANUDO MAO LIMITED EDITION 2016
5” x 50
WRAPPER: Connecticut Shade BINDER: Mexican San Andres FILLER: Dominican, Nicaraguan and Columbian TASTING NOTES: Medium bodied, mild strength without many transitions. Tobacco forward flavor with supplemental notes of vegetation and earth.
FOUNDRY CIGARS TIME FLIES 5” x 50
WRAPPER: Ecuadoran Habano 2000 BINDER: Nicaraguan FILLER: Nicaraguan TASTING NOTES: Full Bodied, full flavored, hints of dark fruit, spice and earth.
DUNHILL AGED MADURO
WRAPPER: Dominican Maduro BINDER: Nicaraguan FILLER: Dominican
WRAPPER: Ecuadoran Corojo BINDER: Connecticut Habano FILLER: Dominican, Nicaraguan
4” x 54
TASTING NOTES: Medium to full, notes of chocolate, coffee, cedar, and sweet cream.
TASTING NOTES: Flavorful, fuller bodied smoke. Notes of spice, cedar and a hint of cinnamon.
JRE TOBACCO RANCHO LUNA
AGING ROOM SOLERA
WRAPPER: Habano and Maduro BINDER: Authentic Corojo FILLER: Habano and Authentic Corojo
WRAPPER: Dominican Sun Grown BINDER: Dominican Habano FILLER: Dominican Habano
5” x 50
TASTING NOTES: Medium bodied with sweet and spicy notes surrounded by hints of barnyard.
Toro 6” x 60
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4.7” x 52
TASTING NOTES: Subtle sweetness with notes of honey, earth, nuts and spice.
ARTURO FUENTE CASA CUBA Corona 5” x 50
WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Havana BINDER: Cuban-seed Dominican Republic FILLER: Cuban-seed and Dominican TASTING NOTES: Medium with hints of spice throughout entire smoke.
VENTURA CIGAR COMPANY ARCHETYPE STRANGE PASSAGE 5.5” x 50
WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Habano BINDER: Honduras Corojo FILLER: Multi-Country Blend TASTING NOTES: Full-flavored. A multi dimensional, full-bodied flavor profile that transforms throughout the smoking experience—from freshly roasted coffee and aged wood, to an earthy fruit and spice finish.
AVO FOGATA 6” x 54
WRAPPER: Ecuador BINDER: Mexico FILLER: Nicaraguan & Dominican TASTING NOTES: Fuller flavored cigar. Primary notes of cedar, citrus, coffee, salt, and spices.
DAVIDOFF CIGARS YAMASA ROBUSTO
6” x 52
WRAPPER: Hybrid H-2K-CT BINDER: Nicaraguan FILLER: Nicaraguan TASTING NOTES: Medium to full bodied with notes of cedar, honey and nuts.
DREW ESTATE HERRERA ESTELI MIAMI
5” x 50
5 3/4” x 58
WRAPPER: Dominican BINDER: Dominican FILLER: Dominican & Nicaraguan
WRAPPER: Ecudorian Habano BINDER: Ecuadorian Sumatra FILLER: Dominican & Nicaraguan
TASTING NOTES: Flavours of nut, melded with spice, coffee, cedar wood, earth and black pepper notes.
MY FATHER CIGARS EL CENTURION H-2K-CT
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TASTING NOTES: Initially full-bodied and spice forward. Quickly balances with the spice fading into a rich and complex, medium-full strength smoke.
JC NEWMAN BLACK DIAMOND 5 1/4” x 56
WRAPPER: Sun Grown Connecticut Maduro BINDER: Dominican FILLER: Dominican TASTING NOTES: Exceptionally smooth with a pleasant sweetness.
WARPED CIGARS WARPED CORTO 4.5” x 46
WRAPPER: Nicaraguan BINDER: Nicaraguan FILLER: Nicaraguan TASTING NOTES: Medium smoke, a balanced offering of multiple spices and a rich complexity
EXOTIC SMOKES: CHEROOTS RECENTLY, A FRIEND BROUGHT ME A TREAT FROM HIS TRAVELS ABROAD. These tiny green smokes from Myanmar called Cheroots. I have smoked many a stogie in my day, but I had never tried a Burmese Cheroot before. Naturally, I could not wait to light one of these babies up and give it a go! Eagerly, I went to my patio to examine (and smoke) this precious gift. The wrapper was unlike a traditional cigar, with a unique green hue. It almost appeared to be banana or grape leaf. I lit her up, inhaling the complex flavors. Unlike traditional premium cigars, this was light, herbal and even fresh. I was so surprised by its smooth draw and refreshing essence that I wanted to learn more about this style of cigar. I wanted know about the history and the lifestyle of the cheroot.
By Amanda Keeley Thurman
Photo by Nick Fox/shutterstock
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ORIGINS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
The cheroot is said to be the oldest style of cigar, with origins traced back to Asia, and has been long-established in the countries of Myanmar (Burma) and India. Its popularity in this region is mostly likely due to it being an easy and economical way to enjoy tobacco as well as to serve as a convenient mosquito repellent to prevent tropical diseases. In fact, they are so popular that they have been described as “a Burmese facial feature.” Cheroots have also made appearances in Burmese and Indian literature for centuries as well as works by George Orwell and Rudyard Kipling. So it comes as no surprise that many cheroots come from Myanmar. Traditionally, most cheroots are produced in the Shan States in East Myanmar, with leaf plantations being their main cash crop. A ten pack of cheroots typically sells for about $1.20. These little green cheroots are seen throughout the country, but most enjoyed by those in the city. In Inle Lake, the cheroots are known particu-
WHERE CAN I GET THEM TODAY?
Cheroots have some deep seeded roots in history. Luckily, they aren’t relegated to the past. Typically mild smokes, they are perfect for beginners and are affordable to produce and purchase. It is no wonder that cheroot-style cigars continue to be produced all over the world, making access to cheroots fairly simple. If you want to try Burmese cheroots, you’ll have to travel to Myanmar. That is, unless you have a traveling buddy that will bring you some to try. In Lucca and Cava de’ Tirreni, the Manifatture Sigaro Toscano S.p.A company still manufactures historical Toscano brand cigars. Epitomizing the Italian lifestyle, the Toscano has earned international recognition and is now being sold in over 40 countries. In the U.S, if you want real cheroots you need to seek out the Avanti Cigar Company, which produces brands such as Kentucky Cheroot, Parodi, DiNobili, and Ramrod. Inspired by the Italian Tos-
The cheroot is said to be the oldest style of cigar, with origins traced back to Asia, and has been long-established in the countries of Myanmar (Burma) and India.
WHAT IS A CHEROOT CIGAR?
The word cheroot is derived from the French Tamil word for roll of tobacco, cheroute. A Google search of cheroot is flooded with images of rural Burmese women happily smoking giant white cornhusks over bowls, or of Cowboy Clint Eastwood with a tiny brown stick hanging out the side of his mouth. Very different in appearance and culture, yet as it happens, they are both considered cheroots. This style of cigar actually goes by other more familiar names such as Toscano and Cigarillo. In addition, its appearance and flavor vary across cultures and geographical regions.
The cheroot is said to be
Despite the diversity, all cheroots have one thing in common. They are open at both ends during manufacturing and either tapered a slight bit, or not at all, making them very affordable to roll. The most common are thinner than a traditional cigar and do not need to be stored in a humidor.
long-established in the
In Myanmar, the wrapper is made of Tha-nut hpet leaves from the Sebesten tree. Inside is often a complex blend of tobacco, wood chips, dried fruit like banana and pineapple, star anise, brown sugar, tamarind, honey, and rice whiskey, just to name a few. These ingredients yield sweet and fragrant smokes that are known to freshen one’s breath. You can’t really say that about most cigars. The filter is comprised of either dry cornhusks or sugar cane fibers. Both have differing effects on smoke strength. Some brands even change their recipe to complement the season. For those hot summer days, a mild smoke filtered with cornhusks may be preferred, but for those cold rainy days, a bolder smoke filtered with sugar cane fibers would be fitting.
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the oldest style of cigar, with origins traced back to Asia, and has been countries of Myanmar (Burma) and India.
larly for their delicious flavors. In fact, they are so focused on flavor that there isn’t much room for tobacco. Some cheroots from Inle Lake only contain a single tobacco leaf. However, in this region the women are famous for their hand-rolling skills, famously rolling up to 500 cheroots a day, which is about one per minute! Not only are women famous for rolling cheroots, they are also well known for smoking them. They prefer the larger ones that are popular in the countryside or in areas of Mandalay. Also called the whackin’ white cheroot, they have a fresh and sweet aroma that the women enjoy as they sit in social circles, smoking over hand held bowls. In Myanmar, cheroots are a major part of society and frequently enjoyed publically as well as socially. They are often given as gifts for guest during ceremonies.
cano-style, Avanti is the only company making dry-cured cigars in the United States. I was very excited when I first discovered cheroots as I hope this article will make you want to try some yourself. Not only are they a mild relaxing smoke for cigar aficionados, but they are a great introductory cigar for beginners. Plus, it is always more fun to know the back story, because it becomes more than just another type of cigar. Smoking a cheroot becomes an experience of history, culture and lifestyle with every draw.
During the days of colonization, cheroots naturally became very popular among the British. Since then, there have been many variations of this style seen throughout the world. In Italy, Toscano-style cheroots are prevalent. Produced in Tuscany since the 19th century, Toscano cheroots use fermented Kentucky tobacco and are smaller at the foot and head than at the belly and have no binder. Unlike Burmese cheroots, Toscano cheroots are more intense and savory, yet the higher sugar content makes them slightly sweet. In North America, the characteristic style of cheroot is short, brown and rustic. Dating back to the 1800’s, Old Virginia Cheroots are one of the oldest of this style produced in the Americas. Made from American tobacco, Kentucky cheroots are more on the spicy side and flavored with anisette and bourbon. Interestingly enough, these are not the ones smoked by Clint Eastwood in his Western movies. In fact, he was smoking a style of Italian Toscano called Toscanello. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM
WHISKEY By Amanda Keeley Thurman
52 // Cigar Cigar& &Spirits Spirits 52
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
saloon door swings open and a cowboy saunters across the sawdust covered floors, slapping a bullet down on the bullet-riddled bar and gruffly demands a shot of the good stuff. A shot for a shot as the saying goes. The cowboy takes it down in one gulp, wipes his dirty hand over his lips before trying his hand at some Faro. Hopefully tonight will be a quiet one, with the only shots in the saloon being that of whiskey and not of gunfire. This was the Wild West and, as we know (or think we know), whiskey was the drink of men that lived hard and drank harder.
WYATT EARP NEVER TOUCHED THE STUFF. AMUSINGLY, IF YOU STROLL INTO A TOMBSTONE SALOON AND ASK FOR WYATT EARP’S WHISKEY, YOU’LL BE SERVED COFFEE.
HOW RYE WON THE WEST
THE TRUTH ABOUT WHISKY IN THE WILD WEST
With the cultural popularity of the Wild West genre in film and literature, and the advent of ghost towns, perhaps counter intuitively, becoming hot tourist attractions, it is easy to romanticize the rough and tumble days of the old West. Truth be told, nothing is more fun for this writer than sitting in a musty wooden saloon, sipping on Overholt, neat, and puffing on a cigar. I imagine Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday strolling through those double swinging doors and fellow patrons reacting, as I would, with a bit of fear and reverence. These are the fantasies many of us indulge, but the West was truly dangerous and wild – and so was the whiskey. With names like Rotgut and Coffin Varnish, it is safe to say that the whiskey of the old frontier was not the same lovely amber liquid we imbibe today. In fact, modern whiskey drinkers would probably not recognize, and would most certainly dislike, the whiskey of the Wild West. For one, the spirit masquerading as whiskey was actually often a cheap high proof neutral grain spirit colored artificially to appear that comfortable amber hue. Unfortunately, the common whiskeys of the old saloons did not get their color from aging. Their “whiskey” had very high alcohol content, high fusel oil content (bad liquor) and typically used grain, corn or even molasses as a fermentation base. It was often distilled at such a high proof that Natives coined whiskey as “Firewater” because cowboys would pour some over a fire to prove its potency during trades. To color the “whiskey,” ingredients such as burnt sugar or molasses were added, and even stranger, so were old shoes and tobacco. More favorably, Cayenne and red peppers also served as popular additives. In some cases, the spirit that shipped west may have started out as proper whiskey, but in order to expand the supply and increase profits, bartenders had little choice but to mix with water and grain neutral spirits or other curious ingredients. It is no wonder Wyatt Earp never touched the stuff. Amusingly, if you stroll into a Tombstone saloon and ask for Wyatt Earp’s whiskey, you’ll be served coffee.
To be fair, not all frontier whiskey was vile. There was real whiskey available at a price. If a patron came into the bar and asked for “the good stuff,” or “your best whiskey,” they were asking for actual whiskey. Funny enough, the “best whiskey” at this time was not bourbon, despite nostalgia for this era in modern bourbon branding. In fact, many bourbon brands representing the old frontier were founded long after the West was Wild. Rather, the best whiskey came from the East and was rye. Before Prohibition, rye was the most popular grain and produced mostly in Pennsylvania. At the time, Pittsburg produced a whiskey with 100 percent rye grain, called Mongelahela. Today, whiskey only has to contain 51 percent to be considered rye whiskey. The reason rye whiskey was so prevalent in the 1700’s and 1800’s was because the rye grain was easy to grow and could withstand acidic soil and cold weather. It was so popular in fact, that even George Washington distilled rye whiskey at Mount Vernon. He also taxed the other distillers, causing the notorious Whiskey Rebellion, but that’s another story for another time. At any rate, the tax was repelled in 1802 and rye reigned supreme until Prohibition in the early 1900’s.
Whiskey on the old frontier was not sipped and savored. Rather it was taken neat and down the hatch in one shot. If you didn’t do this, you could find yourself in big trouble. If a man was caught ordering a cocktail or nursed his drink, it is told that regular patrons would have dangerously mocked him. According to one such story, a sipper was forced to drink a fifth of 100 proof at gunpoint. Also, it was customary to buy the man standing next to you a drink and you would be questioned heartily if you failed to oblige. On the other hand, refusing an offered drink was never an option, no matter how despicable the spirit. Needless to say, if you wanted to retire in good graces, an evening at the saloon was certain to empty your pockets but mercifully fill your veins with a high-octane analgesic.
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BEST WHISKEY There are many brands today that use images of the West, but this is primarily a result of shrewd marketing because few were actually around 150 years ago. Luckily, for those who want a blast from the past there are still brands from the Wild West era that exist today.
OLD OVERHOLT One of the few rye whiskey brands to survive Prohibition, Overholt was first created by Abraham Overholt in 1810 and continues to be produced today. Old Overholt is 80 proof, aged for three years, and was the whiskey of choice to the infamous Doc Holliday.
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From sweet to spicy to bold, thereâ€™s no shortage of flavorful characters to choose to spend your afternoon with.
Just like Overholt, this whiskey got its name from a real person, Basil Hayden. Only, it was his grandson that coined the brand Old Grandad. One the main reasons that this rye lasted through Prohibition, as opposed to many others, was that it continued to be produced throughout Prohibition. Produced by a pharmaceutical company, Old Grandad Rye was actually prescribed as medicine.
REGULATION AND THE WHISKEY WE SIP TODAY
Although there were quality whiskies being produced during this time, they weren’t profitable for saloon keepers and hence, there was a lot of tampering to make the whiskey stretch longer and wider. Charlatans also jumped on the booming whiskey demand, fraudulently passing off moonshine as whiskey. This resulted in the consumption of very poor-quality and even dangerous spirits. It wasn’t until years later that regulation and quality standards would be imposed upon the whiskey industry. Outraged by the schemers, distillers banded together to enforce standards. The Bottle-in-Bond Act of 1897 required that the whiskey within the bottle be produced by one distiller in one distillery and labeled with identifying information as a way for quality assurance. Later in 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt passed the Pure Food and Drug Act further protected the public from consuming polluted products by having inspections and requiring labeling of ingredients. Finally in 1909, President Taft approved the legal definition of American whiskey, further improving the quality standards. That, my friends, is what led to the refined, complex and tasty spirit so beloved today. Having a nice drink after a long day is like a pat on the back, but downing something like Rotgut would be more like getting a punch in the face. They weren’t called rough and tumble days for nothing. Luckily, we don’t have to endure the same whiskey of the old frontier, but those contemptible spirits are what led to some important regulations. So, the next time you sit down to enjoy that evening libation, sip your whiskey with new appreciation. Feel free to relax into the moment, inhale the aroma a little deeper, and let the smooth spicy amber liquid linger on your tongue a little longer. Better yet, channel your inner cowboy, shoot it right down the hatch, and buy your neighbors a drink. Even if we don’t miss the unsatisfactory whiskeys of the Wild West, it might not hurt to adopt its collegial customs.
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IT WAS SO POPULAR IN FACT, THAT EVEN GEORGE WASHINGTON DISTILLED RYE WHISKEY AT MOUNT VERNON.
DIAMOND CROWN BLACK DIAMOND Emerald (6” x 52) Radiant (4 ½” x 54) Marquis (5 ¼” x 56)
FACTORY: Tabacalera A. Fuente WRAPPER: Connecticut Havana Seed BINDER: Dominican Republic FILLER: Dominican Republic PACKAGED: Box of 20 MSRP: Emerald ($20.00), Radiant ($17.00), Marquis ($19.00)
A STAR IS BORN: A FIRST LOOK AT
THE DIAMOND CROWN
BLACK DIAMOND BY J.C. NEWMAN CIGAR CO.
When a company like J.C. Newman Cigar Co. calls you up to let you know about a new blend that they’re releasing, you tend to listen. This was just the case in the days leading up to the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show where J.C. Newman Cigar Co. unveiled the highly anticipated Diamond Crown Black Diamond cigar line. By Benjamin Winokur
new Black Diamond was released at a special, invite-only event held at Tao Asian Bistro in Las Vegas on Monday, July 25th. The event featured an exclusive tasting opportunity for media and industry professionals to sample the new Black Diamond cigar, the consensus for which was overwhelmingly positive. Spicy, rich and full-flavored, the Black Diamond blew me away with its complex flavors and decadent finish. When asked about the Black Diamond, J.C. Newman President Eric Newman stated “Four years ago the original idea was to create a spot light for the Diamond Crown Classic series Maduro…We even tested it out at the IPCPR show and in the 2013 Toast Across America pack and received rave reviews – but we still weren’t satisfied. We believed the Diamond Crown Black Diamond cigar deserved something new and different.” This was more than just a new blend though, an immense body of work was completed in order to develop the robust and highly complex blend. Working closely alongside Carlos Fuente, Sr. and Carlos Fuente, Jr. they developed a blend consisting of five-year-
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old aged filler tobaccos which were grown specifically for the Black Diamond cigar, on a special four-acre section of the Fuente Farm in the Dominican Republic. Each cigar is meticulously hand-rolled into a Sun-grown Connecticut Havana seed wrapper. “Black Diamond is a unique and contemporary complement to the Diamond Crown line and the branding needed to reflect that. We decided on a black lacquered humidor box protected by a satin lined felt bag adorned with the J.C. Newman crest. The sleek design stays true to Diamond Crown’s sophisticated reputation but with a slight edge.” Stated Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Bobby Newman. The Diamond Crown Black Diamond will be extremely limited in production, and available only to select Diamond Crown Cigar Lounges. A teaser marketing campaign will begin in November, just before the Black Diamond becomes available to the first select Diamond Crown Cigar Lounges on Black Friday.
AVAILABLE BLACK FRIDAY 62
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DEARLY beloved; we are gathered here today to honour and praise an unsung hero of the cigar world. Despite selling huge volumes; despite being the first ‘proper’ cigar many future cigar lovers experience; despite being perhaps the optimum way to fully enjoy the balance and complexity of carefully constructed handrolled blends – the humble smaller cigar gets little more than a nod in its general direction as we overlook it in search of cigars with middle aged spread. These are monsters in comparison; fat, heavy truncheons of sticks, packed with relatively flavourless filler and offering huge quantities of nicotine and smoke. Yet it is they, rather than their slimline siblings, which remain the hot trend.
IN PRAISE of
While manufacturers compete to make ever larger cigars to satisfy this craving in the market, I - in true contrarian style - increasingly embrace the charming and elegant smaller stick. From half coronas to Petit Coronas, Demi Tasse and Panetalas; these are the true pin ups of our times.
They offer grace and delicacy, often a lighter, more refined experience. They are the perfect way to start your smoking day. And they are delicious and satisfying even when time is at a premium.
THE RAGE MAY BE FOR CIGARS OF ORSON WELLES’ GIRTH, BUT NICK HAMMOND BEATS THE DRUM FOR THOSE ETHEREAL BEAUTIES WITH SMALLER RING GAUGES…
“In the blending process, we actually use small cigars called tabaquiados,” says Juan Martinez, Executive President of Joya de Nicaragua Cigars.
By Nick Hammond
The corona is perhaps the perfect size to fully assess the juxtaposition between tobaccos of different characteristics. This is why blenders use it – or a size very adjacent – when testing, rolling and sampling prototype cigars.
“They’re made with a few leaves of each one of the tobaccos that will later make up the blend. We do this to appreciate the true flavours and properties of each leaf individually before combining them in the cigar. “In the end, like any good recipe, the more you have of well balance ingredients, the more you will appreciate each,” he says.
If, say, you have an incredible toothy Cameroon wrapper, it will have a lot of fresh, sweet flavours to impart. The fatter and longer the cigar, the more ‘diluted’ these flavours will become; the large percentage of filler will take over the blend and essentially mask some of those flavours. The wrapper – grown with great love and expense, is basically being wasted. Manufacturers can’t afford to waste good tobacco. Jonathan Fiant agrees. “As I sit and talk on a weekly basis with cigar manufacturers and cigar reps, I have yet to meet one that prefers to smoke large ring gauge cigars,” says the owner of Cigars By Jonathan, a specialist in rare and aged New World cigars. “They produce the large ring gauges because that’s what is demanded by the consumer. At the end of the day, money talks.” Jonathan also agrees that smaller cigars have better tobacco, more often than not. “Large ring gauge cigars are geared towards the value smokers,” he continues. “Sadly, what most large ring gauge smokers don’t realise is, though they are getting more tobacco for their money – they are getting lower quality tobacco. There is no way to stay at the $10 price point with so much tobacco and have it all be high grade premium.” While small machine made cigars sell in their millions, you may also find that smaller handrolled cigars sit longer on the humidor shelves. Indeed, if you’re canny, you can pick up some wonderfully aged smokes for the same price as a brand new production box. Another side effect of the smaller cigar is that it’s less painful buying a box! In comparison to the larger sizes, they are considerably cheaper. Now, I have not the technical capacity, nor the stats-based patience to compile the necessary data, but – it is my inkling that they are, in fact, better value too. Add together the quality of the smoking experience; the length of time you can make a good small cigar last and the ratios of filler and binder to wrapper and I believe you’d come to the conclusion that you’re getting a lot more bang to the buck. Still not convinced? Then read on.
The proportions between wrapper, filler and binder are at their optimum with a smaller stick. You can taste all three elements, on their best behaviour, as it were. Let me explain further.
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WHILE MANUFACTURERS COMPETE TO MAKE EVER LARGER CIGARS TO SATISFY THIS CRAVING IN THE MARKET, I - IN TRUE CONTRARIAN STYLE - INCREASINGLY EMBRACE THE CHARMING AND ELEGANT SMALLER STICK. Smaller cigars and in particular, thinner cigars, look classier than tree trunks. Fact. While one cannot deny a certain sense of gangster thrill in chewing on a fat stogie, it pales into insignificance when compared to the joi de vivre and debonaire aristocracy of waving a lancero airily while making your point. And how do small cigars age? Brilliantly, that’s how. “A Cuban Davidoff 3000 from 1989 has a remarkable strength profile for such a thin (33 Ring Gauge) cigar,” says Eddie Sahakian of Davidoff of London, specialists in rare, aged and modern cigars in the UK. “The prominent notes are cedar, nuts and wood. Spice and pepper does develop in the final third and this is altogether a cigar that works beautifully. A newer stick retains more sweetness, strength and body. It will also have much more nicotine and therefore affect the smoker more.” Jonathan Fiant continues his sermon on smaller cigars. “I personally would rather age a product that contains higher quality ingredients,” he says. “I’ve had great experience with aged smaller cigars. I’ve noticed that of the larger ring gauges in recent years – like perhaps the 2005 La Gloria Cubana Serie R Limitadas – tend to start smoking a little flatter after around a decade, While the smaller ring gauges I have smoked often continue to evolve. Becoming more complex, they seem to maintain their intensity and flavor profile better.”
So there you have it. I rest my case, M’Lord. Next time you’re perusing your favourite shop’s humidor, let your eyes rest on those smaller offerings. Smaller - not lesser. Try something different. And prepare for a whole new world of cigar smoking.
We extend our gratitude to Juan Martinez of Joya de Nicaragua, Cigars by Jonathan, and Davidoff of London. Cigars by Jonathan, www.cigarsbyjonathan.com Davidoff of London; 35 St James’s Street, London, SW1A 1HD, Tel +44 207 930 3079. Nick Hammond is the UK’s premier cigar writer, a winner of the inaugural Spectator Cigar Writer of the Year Award and a regular contributor to cigar publications around the world. He also writes extensively on travel, luxury, food, drink and The Good Life.
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By Kennedy Collier
Winston Churchill once said, “My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.” I couldn’t agree more with the late Mr. Churchill. Cigars and booze demand only one thing from their user: Enjoyment. Too often we think we need to reach to the top of our liquor cabinets and the bottom of our humidors to fully enjoy ourselves as warm summer nights turn to crisp autumn evenings. I want to challenge that notion. It is not about drinking the most expensive spirit or smoking that rare Cuban your friend smuggled back for you. It is about the “sacred rite”. When you sit down with the perfect combination of drink and smoke, the ritual is what matters. My hope is that this pairing will broaden your view of what defines relaxation. First, let’s meet the players in today’s game: The spirit? Wild Turkey Straight Rye Whiskey, boasting a 40.5% ABV, and a mash bill featuring 65% Rye, 23% corn, and 12% malted barley. All for under $25. Not bad, not bad at all. On the cigar end, I’ll be enjoying the new Archetype Sage Advice, by Ventura Cigar Company. This Toro features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, and is composed of a blend of rare, aged tobaccos and is considered to offer a full-bodied smoking experience. As you light up the Archetype Sage Advice you are greeted with flavors of leather and cedar, while cream softly rests on your palate and pepper hits your nose on the retrohale. This medium-full bodied cigar smokes brilliantly with solid smoke production and a damn near perfect draw throughout the first inch. As you get deeper into the first third the leather and cedar start to stand out more. The cream subsides and honey is introduced into the mix. The retrohale is all about the spices. The odd pairing of pepper and cinnamon will make you wonder why this isn’t found in more cigars. The Wild Turkey Rye walks right along with the Archetype Sage Advice. On the nose, it presents fruity aromas and is complimented with sugar and sweet, sweet, caramel. God damn, this rye is smooth and it truly compliments this cigar. The caramel of the rye goes with the honey and cream of the cigar. The spice of the rye works your palate but doesn’t overwhelm it. The second third of the cigar kicks up the strength with earthy and cedar qualities. The pepper retrohale kicks up and matches the spices from the rye. The ritual of pairing great spirits with great cigars differs from each person. It doesn’t matter how you go about relaxing just as long as you do it your way. Take your time with this pairing. Find your favorite smoking spot, put on some music, kick back, and remind yourself that life isn’t going anywhere. P R E C I S I O N , Q U A L I T Y, A N D L O N G E V I T Y D I TA . C O M
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FEATURED SPIRITS RATED CARDENAL SPIRITS RATINGS SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 CARDENAL MENDOZA Brandy Cardenal Mendoza ClĂĄsico is a Solera Gran Reserva Brandy created from a selection of the best holandas (the finest spirit, distilled slowly in alquitaras or pot stills) which are aged in the traditional system known as soleras and criaderas. The Cardenal Mendoza solera is one of the largest in Jerez and consists of barrels seasoned with Oloroso and Pedro XimĂŠnez Sherry. Its appearance is bright, transparent dark mahogany with copper glints. Complex on the nose with chocolate, cherry, leather and toasted creme brulee. On the palate, warming and smooth featuring mocha, fruit and peppery spices before the finish.
40% ABV | $45.00 MSRP | 96 Points
CARDENAL MENDOZA ANGELUS Brandy Using the classic Cardenal Mendoza Brandy as its base, Angelus is made by blending in the essences of natural ingredients, principally bitter oranges, orange peel and cardamom, then ageing the blend in butts already seasoned with Sherry to achieve a perfect balance. On the nose it has fresh, intricate citrus and spiced notes which evoke sweet, tangy aromas of dried fruits. The palate offers an explosion of citrus notes, with lots of orangey bitterness from the bitter oranges, a sophisticated hint of spice and a slight toasted note, all balanced by some sweetness. The finish is seemingly endless.
40% ABV | $49.00 MSRP | 90 Points
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NEW AMSTERDAM GIN Gin The base spirit is said to be distilled 5 times for an unparalleled smoothness before the compound essence of the botanicals are infused with the spirit base. The product is then cut with reverse osmosis filtered water to ensure the liveliness of the botanicals.
BLOOM GIN Gin Bloom Gin is distilled in a traditional copper pot still, overseen by Master Distiller Joanne, and uses demineralized fresh spring water to reduce the spirit to its final 40% ABV.
New Amsterdam begins with subtle citrus peel aromas balanced with a delicately herbaceous juniper edge. The initial sensation is soft and supple, leading to a smooth, medium-bodied palate with a long silky finish.
Lightly floral on the nose, with traditional perfume and earthy aromas, the predominate notes are chamomile, pomelo, and honeysuckle. The palate is slightly sweet with a smooth mouth feel surrounded by a citrus finish.
40% ABV | $15.99 MSRP | 86 Points
40% ABV | $25.99 MSRP | 91 Points
CAORUNN GIN Gin Gin Master, Simon Buley uses a combination of traditional gin botanicals (juniper berries, orange peel, lemon peel, angelica root and cassia bark) along with five wild foraged local Celtic botanicals (all sourced within walking distance of the distillery) to create the unique aromatic and taste profile for Caorunn. Tasting characteristics begin with a soft, sweet aroma and notes of spice. The body of flavor is complemented by Scottish Heather, offering a subtle perfume note with a nuance of honey on the finish.
MONKEY 47 GIN Gin Over a third of the ingredients for this special gin come from the Black Forest and are not what one would call typical gin flavorings. Offering a multitude of flavors and notes, Monkey 47 can be described as floral, spicy, and tangy; Featuring hints of lavender blossoms, clove, nutmeg, almond, ginger, cinnamon and licorice; it remains balanced with notes of bitter orange and lemon zest for a truly inspiring gin.
47% ABV | $45.00 MSRP | 95 Points
3 HOWLS GOLDEN RUM Rum 3 Howls Gold rum is made from 100% Sweet Barbados Molasses. The rum distillate is aged in a combination of American Oak and used Madeira Barrels to give it a unique flavor profile without adding sugar or artificial coloring. Fresh and light with strong hints of caramel and vanilla, this gold rum is wonderful in a mixed drink but smooth enough to drink straight.
40% ABV | $20.00 MSRP | 90 Points
41.8% ABV | $35.00 MSRP | 92 Points
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PUSSER’S “NELSON’S BLOOD” 15-YEAR-OLD NAVY RUM Rum Pusser’s Rum Ltd. bottles, blends and distributes the original rum of the Royal Navy. The blend is made in accordance to Admiralty specifications. For over 300 years Great Britain’s Royal Navy issued a daily ration to the sailors on board ships. The ration was known as the “Tot” and its issue was one of the longest unbroken traditions in the history of the sea. The rum was a special blend called ‘Admiralty Rum” or “the Pusser’s Rum,” that term being a corruption of the word Purser (the officer responsible for the blending of the rum and distribution of the daily “Tot”). The aroma is a burst of classic Demerara with marmalade, marzipan, cinnamon and tobacco. Full and rounded on the body with notes of syrupy spice and fruit, leather, dried sultanas and soft oak. The finish is warm, smooth, long and memorable.
40% ABV | $59.99 MSRP | 96 points
JOHN WALKER & SONS ODYSSEY Scotch John Walker & Sons Odyssey stands proudly amongst the rarest of Scotch whisky blends in the House of Walker Portfolio. Developed by Master Blender Jim Beveridge using Sir Alexander Walker’s hand-written notes, it is a unique blend that captures the spirit of luxury and continues the House of Walker’s passion for whisky excellence through supreme craftsmanship, quality, heritage and innovation. This lavish blend successfully balances hints of fresh citrus, smooth honey, and creamy caramel flavors.
40% ABV $1,100.00 MSRP 97 Points
TEQUILA TAPATIO REPOSADO Tequila A true Mexican classic brand featuring 100% estate-grown blue agave, slow-roasted for 4 days before being fermented with the family’s 75-yearold wild yeast culture and then double-distilled in small copper pot stills and aged for 8 months in used American Oak barrels.
MALINALLI EXTRA ANEJO Tequila The agave used in this spirit is grown in the heart of Jalisco, making it special because of the volcanic soil in the region; resulting in abundant flora that gives the agave its unique herbaceous scent and flavor. Oak-influenced vanilla bean is rampant at the early in-mouth stage; plus, there is a modicum of green vegetable presence as the saltiness subsides. Big vanilla custard flavor is bolstered by green pepper (and oaky resins. Delightfully rich and creamy, without being syrupy. There’s a slight hint of smokiness in the aftertaste and adds a nice finishing touch.
The sweetness of cooked agave is dominant on the palate with herbal and peppery notes complimented by hints of caramel, cocoa, vanilla, and nuts. Very soft and smooth with a spicy finish.
40% ABV | $44.00 MSRP 93 Points
40% ABV | $95.00 MSRP | 94 Points LAGAVULIN 200TH ANNIVERSARY 8-YEAR AGED Scotch Treasured around the world as one of the most special Single Malt Whiskies, Lagavulin is celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2016. Famous for its majestic nose of Hebridean peat smoke, richly textured and complex flavors and its long, sweet and power-driven finish, it encapsulates the passion, heritage and skills that lie behind its crafting. Immediately soft on the nose, this expression begins with clean, faint hints of milk chocolate and lemon and then developing fragrant tea-scented smoke alongside nose-drying, maritime aromas, with subtle hints of cereal. The palate is magnificently full; sweet, smoky and warming with a growing smoky pungency. The transition is charred oak with notes of minty, dark chocolate. The finish is lovely, clean, very long and smoky. Smoothly, subtle minted smoke surrounds chocolate tannins, leaving a late drying note to emerge in time. It’s warming, soft and still smoky with water, not as long or intense now, yet still leaving the palate dry as sweet smoke lingers on the breath.
48% ABV | $64.99 MSRP | 93 Points
HORNITOS BLACK BARREL Tequila Hornitos Black Barrel goes through one of the most unique aging processes of any spirit. Black Barrel starts as a premium, aged Añejo (aged 12 months), then spends four months in deep charred oak barrels to give it rich, smoky flavor and a golden amber color. It spends an additional two months in specially toasted barrels for more depth and distinct complexity. Overall, it’s aged 18 months in three separate American Oak barrels to embark distinct and complex whiskey-like notes. Golden amber in color, the nose is floral with hints of almond. The body is full with a mild finish, leading a light smoky oaky taste, complemented by sweet agave and vanilla before the clean, slightly lingering finish.
40% ABV | $29.99 ABV 89 Points
GEORGE DICKEL RYE Whisky George Dickel Rye is a straight rye smallbatch whisky, offering a 95% rye mash bill. The rye used to produce George Dickel Rye Whisky comes from the best producers around. In order to provide consumers with the smoothest finish, George Dickel Rye is finished by chilling it to exact specifications before being charcoal mellowed. Featuring an Amber/Gold hue, the nose offers notes of unseeded rye bread with a distant grapefruit juiciness on the finish. Fruit notes present upon first taste and then finish with a long, composed spiciness.
45% ABV | $24.99 MSRP | 91 Points
BLADE & BOW WHISKEY Whiskey Blade and Bow is named after the two parts of a skeleton key – the blade shaft and the ornate bow handle – part of the iconic Five Keys symbol found throughout the Stitzel-Weller distillery. These keys represent the five steps of crafting bourbon – grains, yeast, fermentation, distillation and aging. These grew to symbolize the southern traditions of hospitality, warmth and enjoying the finer things in life. To this day, the five keys can be found throughout the distillery. Beginning with a soft nose reminiscent of fresh fruit, Blade & Bow rewards sippers with a delicious hint of dried apricot and ripe pear on entry before melting into a sweet roasted grain taste mid-palate. The finish includes notes of charred oak and warm winter spices.
45.5% ABV | $49.99 MSRP | 89 Points
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WHISTLEPIG THE OLD WORLD RYE LIMITED RELEASE Whiskey In the spring of 2014, Master Distiller Dave Pickerel began a unique experiment on the WhistlePig Farm. After studying the best techniques of the Old World - particularly Scotch whiskies - Dave and the WhistlePig team paired bonds of 12-year-old rye with premium European oak casks - Madeira, Sauternes, Port, Cognac, and Sherry to create this special and unique expression. On the nose you’ll find notes of caramel, vanilla, and winter fruit. The palate offers an expected rye spice followed by apricots, plums, raisins, dates, and honey. The finish is soft dark chocolate, winter fruit, caramel, and vanilla.
HILHAVEN LODGE WHISKEY Whiskey The Hilhaven Lodge is a new whiskey developed in collaboration between spirits company Diageo and Hollywood director (and current owner of Hilhaven Lodge) Brett Ratner. The Hilhaven Lodge features a distinctive blend of three different whiskeys – Bourbon, Tennessee Whisky and Rye Whiskey. The Hilhaven Lodge is rich in candied fruit notes, contributed by the bourbon, and dark brown caramel notes, from the Tennessee Whisky. The mid-palate is full of light spice notes of clove, coming from the aged rye. The finish is long and smooth, with silky notes of lush vanilla, a subtle sweetness and a vibrant oak nuance.
40% ABV | $49.99 MSRP | 90 Points
43% ABV | $117.99 MSRP | 96 Points
Walking into The Lincoln, you may think you stepped into a time machine and found yourself in a cool bar someone built in their garage back in the 40’s. Well, a tidy garage, because The Lincoln has meticulously recreated the era with old-timey design elements like salvaged wood, authentic industrial and automotive accents like stools made from automobile jacks and a wall and ceiling made of hundreds of pounded tin battery covers. There’s plenty of comfy seating inside and a lovely outdoor patio with a friendly community table (re-purposed wood, of course) as the centerpiece.
ROBERTO CAVALLI VODKA
NEFT VODKA Vodka Exclusively distilled from Rapidly, Amato, Pollino, and Askari Rye; the multiple distillation processing method for NEFT Vodka undergoes filtration through special activated carbon-layer filters and the use of the freshest high spring water to guarantee its unique flavor. Very complex on the nose, starting with a big blast of spice; both black & white pepper, star anise, vegetal notes– green bell pepper, asparagus and jalapeno pepper, floral notes of lavender & eucalyptus, stewed dark fruits & lemon oil. The palate is alcohol forward but balanced with a soft, light to medium bodied, slightly viscous mouth feel that offers a caramel/butterscotch/marzipan sweetness followed by a touch of vanilla, honey, toasted hazelnuts, bitter orange – orange pith, and a hint of ground white pepper spice. The finish is medium in length, offering a nice acidity, with a lingering memory of bitter almond.
40% ABV | $58.00 MSRP | 92 Points
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Vodka Meticulously processed, the alcohol is distilled in four columns for the first distillation phase before going into a copper pot still to complete the process. Crystal clear and clean with a gentle hint of citrus, Cavalli Vodka is sweet, soft, and well-balanced on the palate with a medium-bodied structure. There is a hint of mineral and spices which are well-rounded and fade away in the long finish.
40% ABV | $44.99 MSRP | 94 Points
THE LINCOLN LOGS NEW COCKTAIL CULTURE TRENDS IN VENICE, CA By Judy Laing and Henry Eshelman
PERMAFROST ALASKA VODKA Vodka Distilled from fermented potatoes and Alaskan glacier water, Permafrost Alaska Vodka is distilled 5 times to achieve its incredibly smooth palate and high level of purity. Clear, clean and mild are excellent ways to describe this vodka. Offering creamy flavors of meringue, powdered sugar and a soft, mild earthiness.
40% ABV | $55.00 MSRP | 96 Points
you amble to your seat, make sure you check out the extraordinary “diorama” at the back of the room of a 1927 Model A boat-tailed roadster staged behind floor to ceiling glass panes like the carcass of a rare dinosaur frozen in time. But the pièce de résistance is the bar, as it should be. The spectacular 30-foot back bar has 20 different vintage cabinetry pieces, shelving and fixtures – a collector’s dream. But the real reason to celebrate this bar are the kick-ass cocktails made by head bartender and manager Cameron Dodge-White. How do we know? We drank our way through all the specialty cocktails on the menu. As per the old saw, someone had to do it. And we’re glad we did! Cameron’s cocktails are simple and “booze forward”—just the way we like ‘em. You can actually taste the spirits without them being mucked up with a laundry list of curious ingredients. Secondary ingredients in Cameron’s cocktails act as the foundation to highlight the spirit much as a supporting cast focuses attention on the main actor. The cocktails are “welcomingly” drinkable and delicious…witness the fact that we drank all seven of them! Ok, we split the cocktails so it only came to three and a half cocktails each, with plenty of water between drinks.
We started with their Boulevardier, which, thank heaven, wasn’t too sweet or overwrought as it seems Boulevardiers are being made these days. Cameron’s cocktail was perfect, made with Elijah Craig Small Batch 12-Year bourbon, Carpano Antica and orange bitters. The next: Danger Zone…the name is not an overstatement…waaaay easy to drink! Green Mark Russian Wheat Vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit, and a champagne float. The Hot Route: Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, cucumber, lime, watermelon shrub and rimmed with smoked salt. A pungent complement to the smoke of the mezcal… it smells smokier than it tastes and just right. The Old Man & The Floor: El Dorado 8 Year Wooded Demerara Guyana rum, grapefruit, and lime. We could drink this take on a Hemingway daiquiri all day long! Menthylamine: Plymouth Gin, mint, egg, lime, simple syrup, and atomized (yes, he SPRAYS it on top of the froth) Fernet. Don’t worry; this isn’t a cocktail variation for Menthyl amine: A stereospecific cyclohexane compound for organic synthesis and proteomics research. It’s just a bloody delicious cocktail perfect for breakfast, actually, cause you know…egg. The Ol’Horizon: Olmeca Altos Tequila, Aperol, Carpano Antica, and Noilly Prat (note: he uses both sweet and dry vermouth), Lemon bitters. Kind of like a WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM
way (for you) is sometimes really difficult. I always think of reassurance behind the bar in two ways: first, knowing your stuff. Know the products you offer, why, the differences between them, where they are from, etc. Related to that is knowing your classics, and making them the right way. I have seen the truly abominable Old Fashioned and Last Word, and it makes me lose confidence in the bartender. The second part of reassurance, to me, is the second drink. I’ve found that often if a person is unsure of the quality of the bartender they sometimes throw a softball, but if the bartender knocks it out of the park, they might feel emboldened to ask for that go-to, or a lesser called classic. Now, if the bartender nails that too? You just gave that guest a great experience, and now they need no further reassurance, they believe in the skill set.
tequila Manhattan but really its own delectable drink! And finally: Grandpa Cal’s Old Tyme Cure-All: Evan Williams whiskey, Cameron’s own house-made B&B, lemon, cinnamon honey, and Earl Grey. You know what? This really is Cameron’s grandpa’s cure-all for when you’re under the weather but, seriously, you can pretend you are and just savor this drink any time. After we sat down to drink our way through the cocktail menu, we chatted with Cameron Dodge-White. Hailing from Michigan, Dodge-White is booze- forward as well as a forward human being: a direct, straight talker who looks you in the eye and has strong opinions about drinking, cocktail culture and life imbibed.
Q: What do you think is the hottest trend in spirits and cocktails right now? What’s the go-to liquor for you? A: I think Vermouth is going to really start to expand on cocktail lists shortly; it’s a natural reaction to so many years of the “Vodka Martini, bone dry”. It is a vast and interesting category of spirits that at one time were mandatory drinking (and certainly some would say never stopped being, with the Negroni and Manhattan being as popular as ever). Slowly, the bar community has been helping to educate and excite patrons about the possibilities Vermouth can bring to cocktail making. Personally, I basically run on bourbon. There is something about how quintessentially American it is, how flexible and varied; from historic mass produced labels to limited, small batch, over-proofed releases, a bourbon at the end of the day makes me breathe a little deeper. As for behind the bar, I find myself coming to gin over and over. So many unique styles and then brand expressions within those styles make for a massive palette to work with. I’ve been obsessing over Sloe Gin while doing R&D for a solid year.
Have we seen a change in the sort of “kitchen sink” approach to mixology, when you’d see a whole garden on the bar? I’m not sure I’ve seen a huge turn away from the “Garden”. I think that for many places it is part of their identity, they want to be a “Mixology” (with a capital M, mind you) bar, and thus think that having a daunting list of specialty drinks and ingredients available is simply part of the game; certainly if it is a program that is in a cuisine-forward restaurant.
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The largest change I have seen is that as a community in LA, people have really embraced the creation of their own syrups, tinctures, infusions, sauces and slurry. Instead of hoping that, say, each individual strawberry tastes the same, provides the same sugar content, balances a drink the correct way, bartenders have created great purees which they can use to control consistency from drink to drink, and also prevents them from having to put a big jar of whole fruit on the bar. It also helps with speed. You want each drink to be perfect, every time, so any chance you get to meld speed and accuracy, you take it. As cocktail culture has emerged across the US, the public has gotten savvier, more educated and more willing to try new things. That leads to more calls for specialty / proprietary drinks, which will almost always be the most time consuming things to make. It is true that many bar-only establishments have started to whittle down their mise en place, and I mainly think it is a combination of that previous point, and plain good business. Everyone running a program is worried about waste, and fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs spoil quickly. If we focus the cocktail list to have the fewest number of those things as possible, we get a much greater control of inventory and waste. Tell us about your approach to cocktails. What do you make to reassure people, and what do you make to challenge them? I’m a bartender. I don’t consider myself a “mixologist” at all. I like to drink, and I like pretty much everything. The things my style bucks against tend to be the over-produced and the precious. Complication does not equate quality. I like straight forward, booze-forward drinks. If I order a tequila-based cocktail, I want to taste that tequila! Part of my job as a bartender is to let that base spirit speak for itself, let it provide the structure, the frame of the house so to speak, and then find flavors that help balance and enhance it’s natural qualities. I preach balance to my staff constantly: is the cocktail, in one sip, a complete experience? Can you let it roll across your tongue and taste both its individual components and the complete story you’re trying to tell with that drink? Once a bartender starts to develop their palate via tasting, drinking, smelling, of everything, not just spirits, but wine, beer, Amaro, fruits, herbs, everything, they start to understand flavor profiles and how each interact, and now you’re not reaching to find balance, you have a voice in your head that says, “Nope, you need Chartreuse” or whatever that missing link is. Reassurance is a really interesting word to use in that question. It’s apt because we all have our go-to drink that makes us happy, and yet finding a bartender that makes your specific go-to, the perfect
THE LINCOLN 2536 LINCOLN BOULEVARD, VENICE CA 90291 MONDAY-SATURDAY 7PM- 2AM SUNDAY 2PM-10PM 2536 LINCOLN BLVD, VENICE, CA 90291 PHONE: (310) 822-1715
If I want to challenge a guest it goes one of two ways: I ask them what spirit they would like to drink, citrus or no citrus, and what glass they want to drink it from. Then I challenge myself to make something I think they will love, whether it’s a riff on a classic or something I’ve never ever attempted before. The second way is when someone just says “bartender’s choice,” I inevitably end up defaulting to a proper Daiquiri or my version of Corpse Reviver No. 2. Are they difficult to drink? Hell no! Are they oft served improperly? In my opinion, watching someone experience an honest and proper Daiquiri for the first time is hilarious. Blenders tried hard to ruin that drink, but most of the bartenders I know have a special place for it . How is the Lincoln different than other places you’ve worked? I think, however quaint, it’s the soul of the place. We worked tirelessly for a long time to put thought and care into every single detail, every single square inch of The Lincoln and I think that rubbed off. I absolutely have to mention the staff, who are such a great team and genuinely care. They care about the drinks, they care about the vibe, they care about the feedback, about everything. I told [the owners] before we opened that The Lincoln would never be the place with suspenders and bowties, no lab coats or emulsified seaweed foam, with zero pretension or posturing; just people who like each other, like to drink and want to share that with the awesome and diverse community in Venice. LA is so much more than Hollywood or Beverly Hills. There’s more than enough sprawl for a thousand different concepts, but ultimately I think that what neighborhood and community you are in should be taken into account. There is a great automotive history in southern California, and certainly in Venice, and that extends to the people, the idea of working with one’s hands, a mechanic, a painter, a musician, a bartender. I’m from the Midwest and my family is all auto workers. I wanted to create a list and a vibe that captured how gregarious and welcoming those shop crews always were at a weekend barbecue. No one cared what you were drinking, just that you were among friends. Where’s the best place to sit in here? Everyone will tell you the corner tables in the patio, and they are great, but secretly I love the high-top right by the parts room. It offers a full view of the inside space and bar, it’s great for people watching, and you get your own little corner to set up shop in. Why will The Lincoln be my new home away from home? Again, first and foremost, the staff. They want to be there and they want you there too. No eye rolls, no snootiness, just good people and good drinks. The more pragmatic answer might be that we have been very conscious of keeping the price point competitive
(who else is sick of waiting 15 minutes for a $15 cocktail?) and creating a very comfortable and unique space with multiple different seating and communal options for getting cozy with a date or mixing it up with new bar friends. Sadly, we came to the end of our tasting. It was more like a “drinking” because, did we mention we shared SEVEN cocktails?! Let us say that while you can get a recipe for a cocktail, it’s not just the ingredients – which do matter, of course – but it’s the indefinable “hand” that pours and mixes a drink that makes it just so right. That’s why you can order the same cocktail at every bar you go to, made with the same spirits, the same proportions, and as Cameron rightly says, not every one will taste the same. If it’s a fabulous cocktail, you’ll know which bartenders have got “the hand” and Cameron’s got it. A bar can be designed by a star architect or top interior designer (and this one is, in the person of designer and gear head Matthew White, ) but what matters, if a customer is to make a return trip, is what goes on behind the bar. Double props to The Lincoln for its creative design and top bar so put it on your bucket list right now!
Featured Lounge: The Cigar Factory Lounge
AT THE END OF THE DAY By Kennedy Collier
you find yourself driving down most main streets in America you might find yourself amazed at how similar this street is to every other main street you’ve been on. You pull into a nondescript strip mall that could be found anywhere, and within, find a place that makes you feel right at home. There is a place that doesn’t adhere to the “get them in, get them out” business model. This place is The Cigar Factory Lounge in Simi Valley, California. The moment you walk in the door you are welcomed by Michel Mansourati, a man who has been in the cigar business since 2004. You see big leather chairs surrounding big wooden tables. A poker table sits in the back of the store where Michel’s father sits, half smoked cigar in hand. Michel encourages you to sit down, relax, and forget about everything else going on in the world. I sat down with owner Michel and discussed what makes his lounge so special.
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You don’t just sell cigars here. You also have a wide variety of pipe tobacco. Well, I’m a pipe smoker and pipes are making a come back, especially with younger generations. I’m not that old so my generation is getting back into it as well. It is a great smoking experience. Smoking pipe tobacco eventually becomes about collecting pipes and building a nice collection, as well as enjoying the tobacco. I carry a wide range of pipes. Everything from an everyday smoke to really fancy hand made pipes. How often do you hold cigar events? I try to have one a month if not one every several weeks. It all depends on what we have, what is going on and how well the previous event went. We live in a “bedroom community” so this is one of the more exciting places people can visit. They hang out, drink scotch and bourbon, and have a good time.
WHEN YOU FIRST START OUT YOU DO NOT KNOW ANYONE BUT AFTER A WHILE YOU START TELLING COMPLETE STRANGERS EVERYTHING. LITTLE BY LITTLE YOU BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM. When did you come to the United States? I came here in 2004 from Syria to attend school. My mom’s side of the family has been here since the 1970’s. I have three uncles who owned cigar lounges through out Southern California. I started working for them a couple hours here and there until I became a full time employee. I became familiar with different lounges, different clientele, and different atmospheres. How did this cigar lounge get its start? After I finished business school I returned home to take over my father’s business. A couple months later things weren’t going well so we decided to move back to the United States. I decided I would go back to doing what I know best, being a tobacconist. I woke up everyday at 7 a.m. and drove from San Diego to Santa Barbara looking for a place that would fit my criteria. Ten months later I found this place. Why did you choose the cigar industry? What I like most about the cigar business is at the end of the day your work is not just an office. It is another living room. You spend half of your day, hanging out with your friends, smoking cigars and talking about what is going on in your life. You get to make money as you go. There are several cigar lounges in southern California, what separates your lounge from others? Every place has its own characteristics. People like the convenience. They like the atmosphere. It’s just a group of guys smoking and becoming friends. If you know six or seven buddies that you want to hang out with this is the perfect place to be. Connecting with each client is the most important thing to me. Especially in California with all the taxes we have, it is a lot easier for people to buy their cigars online. I have to convince them otherwise. By having a lounge where they can smoke and relax, making that connection justifies
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them spending more than they would on the internet. People want to have a place with a leather chair and a television. They want to be comfortable. It’s just a bunch of guys. It doesn’t matter how I feel about the person, as long as they get along with the room they are welcomed to my lounge. I have customers who buy four-dollar cigars and hang out for five hours, but if everyone likes them they become part of the family. You’re going to get to know these people. I talk to some of them for three to four hours everyday. Eventually, I’m going to know everything about them and they are going to know everything about me. That is the cool thing about this business. When you first start out you do not know anyone but after a while you start telling complete strangers everything. Little by little you build a relationship with them. How would you help someone who doesn’t quite know a lot about cigars? When someone comes in and they don’t smoke cigars regularly it is my job to help them. I find what they are into, what their palate is like, and hopefully get them a cigar they will enjoy. As an owner you have to experiment with a lot of stuff and that knowledge comes in handy. Why should people come to brick and mortar shops like yours? Why should they come to lounges instead of buying cigars online? My saying is, “Buy online. Good luck smoking online.” We try to be as reasonable as we can with our prices. We can never match online prices and that is not our goal. Our goal is to provide an atmosphere for people to come in and enjoy their smoke. That is what they are paying for. They are paying for the leather chair and good company. You are not going to find that online. They are getting a one on one experience with a guy who knows cigars and will know what they like.
With entrance to Cuba becoming more available, how does it excite you as a business owner? I have been dying to go to Cuba. I want to go and visit before it completely opens up so you can get that “1960s feel” of old Havana before it’s full of Honda Civics and Starbucks. That’s just me visiting Cuba as a tourist. As a business owner, before the FDA got involved, everyone was excited. It would have been the next “cigar boom”. Now, no one knows what is going to happen. It is all speculation. We don’t know if Cuban cigars will be under the same scrutiny as non-Cubans. Where do you see your business going? Any future plans? As any business owner, I am always looking to expand. I would like to open another lounge. I am also working on getting a liquor license. It would be a nice complement to the atmosphere. I would like to get a license so you can buy a nice bottle of liquor that will pair nicely with your cigars or just come here, light up your favorite smoke and enjoy a scotch, beer or whatever you like.
Editor’s Note: We thank Michel for opening his shop up to us, and for providing an exceptional place for folks to sit down and enjoy a premium cigar, in a state where such establishments are (an unfortunate) dying breed.
THE CIGAR FACTORY LOUNGE located at
2804 EAST LOS ANGELES AVENUE SIMI VALLEY, CA 930651 online at
CIGARSIMIVALLEY.COM or give them a call at
Seventy-five year-old Jack Nicklaus achieved a hole in one at the 2015 Masters Par 3 Contest.
ONE IN A MILLION:
SPORTS PLAYS FOR THE AGES By Randy Mastronicola
Many romanticized accomplishments exist in the lexicon of sports. The riveting efforts of a world-class athlete fulfilling an Olympic dream, a quarterback carrying a team on his back to a Super Bowl run, or a weak-hitting player smacking a walk-off home run in a World Series game are all worthy of being considered “one for the ages.”
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Additionally, some occurrences during the slog of a sports season are simply quirky in their own right
and remain in our consciousness, too. A singular play becomes indelible when it is a fluke, kind of funny, or simply an unexpected herculean moment, and a myth is built around it. It is a one-in-a-million shot you never saw coming. In no particular order, we present a soupcon of unique and unforgettable plays that will put a smile on your face and put your favorite team’s jersey on your back.
MISSED IT BY THAT MUCH
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick (love ‘em or hate ‘em) are notorious perfectionists, and their competitive spirits are legendary. They were undefeated at 18-0 after running the table through the regular season and playoffs in 2007. Super Bowl XLII seemed a perfunctory step in their destiny to be the second team in NFL history to cap a perfect season with a championship--a feat only the 1972 Miami Dolphins had accomplished to that point. They were wrapping it up against the underdog New York Giants with just over a minute to go, leading 14-10. Enter Messrs. Eli Manning and David Tyree. The Giants stunned the nation when the lumbering Manning (on third down) eluded three sack attempts and desperately chucked it to the wide receiver. Tyree inexplicably pinned the ball against his helmet in mid-air, held on while being tackled, and made one of the most bizarre, game-altering circus catches in football history. The astonishing thirty-two yard “helmet catch” helped Manning finish off the deflated Pats with a game-winning pass to Plaxico Burress and the rest is imperfect history.
Jose Canseco is one of the most infamous baseball players in history. Initially, he was lauded for hitting prodigious homeruns, stealing bases, and seemed on track for a Hall of Fame career. However, he is the player most associated with ushering in “The Steroids Era” in baseball and it remains one of MLB’s blackest of marks. On May 26, 1993, Canseco was responsible for one of the more cartoonish flubs in sports history. Canseco, who was never known for his defensive prowess, was in right field for the Texas Rangers. Indians infielder Carlos Martinez smacked a shot that appeared shy of homerun distance. Canseco seemed to be tracking it just fine. But then he stumbled, and his 240 lb. frame twisted awkwardly at the warning track when he attempted to reel it in. The ball bounced off his noggin and landed over the fence for a homerun. Canseco’s blooper received much national attention and solidified his legacy as a hulking baseball buffoon. Canseco amassed a total of 462 long balls in his career but this play is perhaps the most memorable homerun he had a hand (or head) in. Carlos Martinez would go on to slug a grand total of twenty-five homeruns in his seven-year career.
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GAME (6) OF THRONES
No two words in baseball lore illicit as wistful a memory as “Game 6,” featuring the 1986 World Series matchup between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets. The “Sawx” led 5-3 in the bottom of the tenth inning and were poised to close out the Mets. Finally, the long-suffering Red Sox and their fans would claim throne to their first World Series since 1918. Not so fast. The Red Sox were one out away, but the wheels began to fall off the wagon. The Mets hit single after single, and the floodgates opened. Capping it off, speedster Mookie Wilson hit a ground ball with wicked topspin at rickety first basemen, Bill Buckner. The ball went through Buckner’s wickets, and the Mets would incomprehensibly score the go ahead run. The Amazin’ Mets went on to make come-from-behind history and would ultimately win the series in seven games. Vin Scully’s sublime commentary during this unimaginable moment is one of the most dramatic World Series calls in history. Fortunately, for Red Sox Nation, “The Curse of the Bambino” would be removed in 2004.
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AP Photo/Harry Cabluck
The Pittsburgh Steelers were seeking a way to overcome four decades of football futility. Their opportunity arrived in the 1972 AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Oakland Raiders. The Steelers were about to go down with thirty seconds left to play in a 7-6 game. Quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw a pass to John “Frenchy” Fuqua, but the running back could not quite make the catch. The ball seemingly bounced off the hands of Raiders Safety Jack Tatum (legions swear it was Fuqua’s hands), and it was about to hit the ground. Many believe it did, and the play should have been called dead. Nonetheless, Running Back Franco Harris (and future Hall of Famer) miraculously scooped it up by a hair and ran it in for the game-winner as the clock expired. The Steelers would go on to win four Super Bowls during the 1970’s, and that play is credited as being the trigger.
I GOT YOU BABE
Seventy-five year-old Jack Nicklaus achieved a hole in one at the 2015 Masters Par 3 Contest. Sentimentality aside, this is exactly what superstars are supposed to do: They execute under pressure, and legends are created. Babe Ruth’s disputed called-homerun-shot in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series will attest to that notion. However, there’s no denying Jack on this one. He called it earlier in the day during an ESPN Sports Center interview with Scott Van Pelt. Jack Nicklaus. Eighteen major championships. Golf legend. Wide World
THE IMMACULATE RECEPTION
Without question, this play is regarded as one of the most controversial occurrences in sports history. NFL Films has chosen it as the greatest play of all time.
Neil Leifer Sports Illustrated
cigar & spirits pairing
A Trip Through Cognac
NO BUTTS ABOUT IT
Quarterback Mark Sanchez is generally regarded as a good athlete and an all-around good guy. He was a standout at USC and drafted by the New York Jets in 2009. He led the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons, and was dubbed “The Sanchize” by the New York media. The Jets and the New England Patriots were featured in one of three nationally televised games on Thanksgiving 2012. There were over 79,000 fans in attendance at MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Jets, and over 20 million home viewers watched the game. The Jets were down 14-0 in the second quarter. Sanchez took the snap, dropped back, but turned the wrong way in an attempt to hand the ball off to one of his running backs. Unfortunately, because of his misdirection, no back was there. Sanchez decided to run the ball in an effort to gain positive yardage from the miscue. He ran smack into the derriere of his guard, Brandon Moore. The collision propelled Sanchez and bounced him off the guard’s backside with authority. The impact of the slapstick hit caused a fumble. The ball was picked up by New England’s Steve Gregory, who ran it in for a score. It was one of three fumbles the Jets would commit in a fifty-two second span that would result in three New England touchdowns. The “butt fumble” was one of a mounting series of gaffes by Sanchez that would mar his career.
WALK OFF LIKE A MAN
Most boys have fantasized about hitting a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the deciding game of a World Series for their favorite team. However, a World Series winning walk-off homerun is not that common. Bill Mazeroski (1960 Pittsburgh Pirates) and Joe Carter (1993 Toronto Blue Jays) dramatically beat the odds and remain the only two men in baseball history to have accomplished just that. They are easily two of the most famous homeruns in history, and right up there with Bobby Thompson’s “Giants win the pennant” shot. America’s National Pastime, indeed. (A nod here to Canada as well.) Touch ’em all, Joe and Bill!
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“KEEK” OUT THE JAMS
Two-time Pro Bowler, Garo Yepremian, was a key player in Miami’s perfect season in 1972 and chosen as one of the franchise’s greatest players upon their 40th Anniversary celebration. Yepremian was originally a soccer player in his native Larnaca, Cypress. During an appearance on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, he was asked why he jubilantly raised his arms and celebrated a meaningless extra point in a blowout loss. Yepremian told Johnny Carson he was ecstatic “because I keek a touchdown.” Yepremian’s zany quotient was cemented by one of the most notable plays in Super Bowl history. The Miami Dolphins were leading the Washington Redskins 14-0 in Super Bowl VII. Yepremian trotted onto the field to kick a field goal with a couple of minutes left in the game. Washington’s Bill Brundige blocked the attempt. Yepremian got to the ball before any other player, but did not fall on it to preserve the lead. In a state of panic, he attempted to throw a pass; the ball slipped from his hands, and went end over end straight up in the air. He frantically tried to bat the ball out of bounds, but it landed in the hands of Mike Bass, who ran it in for a Washington score. Nonetheless, the Dolphins held on and secured the Super Bowl victory. When asked by a reporter about the comically chaotic play after the game, Yepremian said, “This is the first time the goat of the game is in the winner’s locker room.”
A fine Cognac and a handrolled cigar. Centuries can’t defeat this pairing. Nick Hammond tries it in the heart of Cognac country. By Nick Hammond
Randy Mastronicola is a freelance writer and certified life coach living in Southern California. He is a frequent contributor to Cigar & Spirits Magazine. In addition to his coverage of the cigar universe, Randy writes about lifestyle, pop culture, food and travel, and entertainment for other media outlets. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM
It’s an incredibly complex Cognac, almost Scotch-like in its amalgam of flavours; rich floral notes; deep leather and subtle spice. TO think this time yesterday morning I was sailing silently across the sloping green vines of Charente. With only the occasional blast of the searing flame of the burner to maintain our leisurely drift, the hot air balloon over great swathes of grape-filled tendrils is a wonderful way to experience the serenity of the Cognac countryside. But 24 hours on, I’ve found yet another way to experience a little of France’s luxury and a lot of its flavour. In the company of the urbane and elegant Alexandre Quintin, I’m comfortably seated in the white-stoned courtyard of Rémy Martin’s exquisite base near Jarnac. And before us on a glass-topped table are; a bottle of newly-released Cognac; four smouldering Havana cigars; two bottles of water; and notepads and pens. This is a pairing of interest for the serious epicure. First cab off the rank is the Punch Serie D’Oro No.2 Limited Edition from 2013. At 5 ½ ins x 52 Ring Gauge, it’s a lovely figurado with a dark, oily wrapper typical of Habanos SA’s Edicion Limitada ethos. And after gently toasting the foot of each of our cigars, Alex – International Ambassador Manager for the house of Rémy Martin – does the honours, and strips the foil and then uncorks the beautiful, golden bottle of Carte Blanche à Baptiste Loiseau. My trip to this delightful corner of France coincided with the launch of this new expression of eau de vix and the night before, I’d been fortunate enough to be seated next to new young Cellar Master, Baptiste Loiseau, to celebrate his first choice from the many thousands of sleeping casks in the Rémy inventory.
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It’s an incredibly complex Cognac, almost Scotch-like in its amalgam of flavours; rich floral notes; deep leather and subtle spice. And the first thing Alex and I notice as our palates warm up alongside the splash of sun in the courtyard is the aged leaves immediately give greater expression to the ‘island malt’ character of this Cognac. I detect definite, if faint, iodine and saline notes; there’s a hot spice as the smoke develops but it’s mellow and in no way overpowering. The smoke is a linear one – consistent and straight and it brings out a dry, sherry-like finish in Loiseau’s creation. As the sun rises in its firmament, we switch out attention to a Ramon Allones Club Allones LE from 2015. This is a stronger smoke from the offset, with orange peel and vanilla to take the edge of its rumble. It accentuates the spicier elements, the leather and the earth in the Cognac. And so our tasting and pairing session continues until Midday comes to the peace of Jarnac. A car awaits to dash me to Bordeaux for my flight. And with a final mouthwash of smoke and spirit, I leave Alex to his contemplations. Rémy Martin is a true house of wonders. I hope before long to be back to explore some more.
>> Tobacco in the New World
efore its initial discovery by European explorers, tobacco was cultivated and smoked by the indigenous people of the Caribbean Islands and areas of what is now South America. It was revered, and held a special place in the lives of indigenous cultures through frequent use in religious ceremonies. Tobacco, in many forms, was often presented as a token of peace or as a gift by the indigenous populations when their lands were discovered by explorers of the New World. With the “discovery” of tobacco in the New World by adventurous explorers such as Columbus (and those who followed) its rise to nobility began. Along with the tantalizing prospect of gold & silver that the Americas promised, it was tobacco in the form of “cigarros” that was said to have been presented to Pope Alexander VI at the Vatican by Royal Ambassadors from Spain. These cigars were given as a gift from the New World and as a part of a peace offering on behalf of the newly formed alliance.
By John Dade
The Business of Cigars…Think about that phrase, and everything it encapsulates for just a moment. Now, what does that mean to you…the reader? I often wonder, how many of my fellow enthusiasts have given thought to the impact our little 6.5” X 52 ring gauge rolls of tobacco have had on our world, its customs, and history? How was it that cigars became unconsciously intertwined in our lives, as well as the lives of those who are not cigar smokers? There is a certain enjoyment to exploring the profound impact cigars have had on our lives. There is a rich history to the world of cigars and luxury tobacco; a history that one can read about, explore and contemplate while actually enjoying a fine cigar. In fact, it facilitates this mental exercise most perfectly. So while I sit here with my favorite spirit and a fine Maduro, I put to paper the musings of this enthusiast for your consideration.
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It’s important to remember, that in the New Americas, our Founding Fathers—many of which were landowners and farmers—were fond of tobacco as well. Many grew tobacco, which at that time was a well-respected and prized crop.
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From there, the enjoyment of cigarros spread throughout the known world, and across the seas – it was just the beginning of the global impact that tobacco would have on the world.
>> “Calle Ocho” in Miami, Florida.
Fast forward to the America’s in the late 1800s, on a small island of the coast of the South Eastern point of America, is the birthplace of what many connoisseurs believe are the finest cigars in the world - Cuba. It wasn’t long before Cuban cigars became what every cigar aspired to emulate, and aptly best. So much so, that one significant person made certain not be caught short of supply of them…but we’ll get to that later. While Cuban Cigars have their place in history, let’s not forget that cigar manufacturing, both hand and machine made had a major impact in the Eastern US job market and economy from the early 1900s onward. Cigar production was big business up and down the Eastern seaboard, employing thousands of workers. Sadly, only a small remnant of those glory days remain today, along the area known as “Calle Ocho” in Miami, Florida. During that wonderful period from the late 1800s through the
Roaring 1920s including the Crash of ’29 onward to the late 1930s, fine cigars were looked upon as a symbol of wealth & status. They were enjoyed by many of the great shakers, movers and builders of American industry including commerce, banking and those commonly known as “underworld” figures; The infamous Al Capone being one such character. Later, as the US climbed its way out of the Depression, even the average Joe could enjoy a cigar on occasion. Although probably not the best quality, which lead to Thomas R. Marshall, the 28th Vice President of the United States under Woodrow Wilson to coin the phrase, ”What this country needs is a really good 5¢ cigar,” during a heated Senate debate. Imagine that poor fellows fate today!
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From the initial offering of rolled tobacco leaves as gifts to the first explorers, to the enjoyment of a good cigar after winning an election or closing the “big deal,” the cigar has earned its place of respect and honor in world history.”
Stogies were even offered as valued prizes during that era in games of chance at many circuses and carnivals, which lead to the now famous and matter-of-fact phrase, ”Close, but no cigar.”
Something worth mentioning, are the many political (and of course business) compromises that were hammered out in those “smoke filled back rooms”, by various well-known politicians and business barons. As for one politician’s passion for the leaf, it was rumored that our own 35th POTUS John F. Kennedy was such a fan of Cuban leaf that he reportedly sent his aide, Pierre Salinger on a mission to round up all the boxes of Cuban cigars he could find (reportedly to be around 1000 H Upmanns) before signing the documents in 1962 initiating the embargo against Cuba which slammed the door or our treasured Cuban puros, and consequentially, remains in effect to this day. On the showbiz side, we had the consummate showman and early Television icon George Burns, who made his ever-present cigar as much a part of his show as his fellow actors. We also had the endearing Groucho Marx and his stogie…waving to and fro, as he strutted along as only Groucho could. Even the literary arena boasted such luminaries as Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain. The former having a now famous and well
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Today we see many of the leading men and action hero types enjoying a good cigar, while saving the world from Armageddon in their movies. Can you say, ”I’ll be back!”
Furthermore, a recent trend inspired by the camaraderie and business image of cigars, is the emergence of a new type of business networking platform where like-minded business men and women gather on a regular basis to network and build business relationships over a good cigar and beverage of choice.
As for the world of sports, it’s almost as much of a requirement to have a couple of fine cigars in your golf bag, as it is to have T’s and a good putter! Some even consider a game of golf, a good drink, and a fine cigar the only way to conduct business.
As the founder of such a business-networking group (The Cigar Night Business Mixer Group), I can personally attest to the benefits of the format, as well as the many inquiries I receive from around the US and internationally regarding our group and its activities.
If at this point, you- my fellow cigar enthusiast, should doubt the influence or respect our humble cigars command, I offer the following proof: Standing as a testament to the role of fine cigars as an “instrument” of business and symbol of accomplishment. Many private cigar lounges across the US and the world often host the icons of business, commerce, entertainment and politics. Two of such establishments, which symbolize the essence of achievement and whose membership consist of the “who’s who” of the world stage- The Grand Havana. There are two Grand Havana ultra-private cigar lounges in the US, with locations in New York (Grand Havana Club) and Beverly Hills (Grand Havana Room). On any given day, the giants of the entertainment world, political arena, business, finance, and of course the cigar world can be spied working on their next big venture or simply relaxing among their peers, un-disturbed enjoying the cigar and spirit of their choice in well-appointed privacy.
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If we look at the business of politics, cigars were front and center as well. One cannot even conjure up an image of England’s renowned statesman Sir Winston Churchill visualizing the cigar that perpetual maintained residence in his hand or mouth. Churchill was such a big fan, that he was said to have smoked up to a dozen cigars a day. Thus, we cigar lovers of today enjoy our favorite “Churchills,” thanks to his penchant for a more substantial sized smoke.
weddings, or to celebrate the birth of a child- whether a boy or a girl, is still a time honored commitment.
know line of cigars named in his honor. And the latter, who once fell asleep smoking his favorite cigar, resulting in a fire, was also know for famously saying, “If there are no cigars in heaven… then I shall not go!”
These twin bastions of the cigar lifestyle, where the global movers and shakers gather, are considered meccas of the cigar world, and are often coveted by those who aspire to become a member, or to be invited to partake by a member. We must also acknowledge the cigar lifestyle magazines (like the one you’re reading now!) that have flourished by catering to the cigar lovers of the world and everything the enjoyment of a fine cigar is all about! In my humble opinion, these literary odes to the leaf have contributed greatly to the education about, and the understanding of the cigar lifestyle. The enjoyment of a fine cigar is ingrained as part of our culture. Even among non-cigar smokers the tradition of offering cigars at
While many things have changed (not necessarily for the good) in our cigar world over the last several years, there is no denying the global impacts that our beloved cigars have had on our daily lives and customs. From the initial offering of rolled tobacco leaves as gifts to the first explorers, to the enjoyment of a good cigar after winning an election or closing the “big deal,” the cigar has earned its place of respect and honor in world history. All one has to do to understand how this came about is to fire up a fine cigar, pour a couple fingers of their favorite spirit, relax with friends, a business associate, or even alone, and feel the world’s tensions drift away with the wafting smoke. Cheers!
John Dade Founder: The Cigar Night Business Mixer Group CigarNightBizMixer@earnware.net WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM
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Cigar & Spirits Magazine October Edition