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editorials MARCH / APRIL 2018

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PERFECT PAIRINGS VILLIGER LA VENCEDORA / GENTLEMAN JACK In more ways than one, this classic American spirit had one cigar’s name all over it.

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PERFECT PAIRINGS YAYABO SERIES 04 THE ADMIRAL / THE TANK FREEDOM TOWER There’s a kegerator in our office. All hands on deck!

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SMOKE ON THE WATER

49

BOAT GUIDE If you’ve ever mulled over the idea of buying a boat, but didn’t know where to start, we’ve got some suggestions for you.

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BOATING GEAR

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BOAT DRINKS

61

AGANORSA

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The cigar smoking boater’s guide to Miami. No matter where you dock, cigars are never far.

Make the most of your time on the water with gear that’ll keep your day safe and your beer cold.

A day on the water is a cause for celebration! Raise your glasses; we’ve got the booze for your cruise.

We went to Nicaragua to give you a closer look at the company behind some of the most distinctive tobacco in premium cigars — and the unusual story of the man who started it all.

Q&A WITH STEVE GHEREBEAN Steve Gherebean on the making of Hand Rolled, a documentary about premium cigars.


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features MARCH / APRIL 2018

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LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

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FEEDBACK

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WHAT’S BURNIN’

68

SMOKING HOT CIGAR SNOB

83

RATINGS

98

CRA UPDATE

LIFE’S A BEACH

100

TWITTER SCOREBOARD

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EVENT COVERAGE 104 PURO SABOR 108 PRO CIGAR 112 THE GREAT SMOKE 114 YAYABO 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY 116 ROCKY PATEL AT BURN 118 VICTOR CALVO AT CASABLANCA CIGAR LOUNGE

120 DAVIDOFF AT CASA DE MONTECRISTO BY PRIME

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MARCH / APRIL 2018

VO L . 1 0 IS SU E 2 www.cigarsnobmag.com PUBLISHER & EDITOR Erik Calviño SENIOR EDITOR Nicolás Antonio Jiménez COPY EDITOR Michael LaRocca SALES & OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Oscar M. Calviño PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Ivan Ocampo ART DIRECTOR Andy Astencio DIGITAL RETOUCHING SPECIALISTS Ramón Santana CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATOR Florin Safner CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Glynn Loope Lenny Rudow CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS David Benoliel Andy Astencio Ricardo Ruiz Dustin Eaton EVENT PHOTOGRAPHERS Jamilet Calviño Cover Photography by David Benoliel www.davidbenolielphotography.com Cover Model - Belu Bergagna Cigar Snob is published bi-monthly by Lockstock Publications, Inc. 1421-1 SW 107th Ave., #253 Miami, FL 33174-2509 Tel: 1 (786) 423-1015 Cigar Snob is a registered trademark of Lockstock Publications, Inc., all rights reserved. Reproduction in part or full without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. Cigar Snob is printed in the U.S. Contents copyright 2006, Lockstock Publications, Inc. To subscribe, visit www.cigarsnobmag.com

(SUBSCRIBE TODAY) - Only $18 for one Year (six issues) of -

- Magazine delivered to you Visit: www.cigarsnobmag.com or write: subscribe@cigarsnobmag.com

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During my early teens, my spare time was split between playing sports, racing my dirt bike, and being on a boat with my stepdad. I remember the first seaworthy vessel he bought; I mention the fact that it was the “first seaworthy vessel” because there were several failed attempts at rehabilitating salvaged boats early on. That first seaworthy one was an 18-footer with a hull designed for lakes, but we went out to sea on this thing. I was about 13 or 14, but I’ll never forget the “you guys are nuts” looks we got from other boaters as we were heading out. As I remember it, conditions were less than ideal — drizzly, gray skies, wind gusts, and excessively choppy seas — but there we were, my stepdad, my brother Chuck and me heading out through Haulover Inlet. If you want to get a sense of what kind of recipe for disaster this was, search for “Haulover Inlet accident” in any search engine; it’s entry after entry of catastrophic failures and epic rescues. There are nastier inlets, to be sure, but Haulover is no joke, especially in an 18-foot lake boat. Thankfully we made it through and slowly graduated to bigger and better boats. That’s why putting together this issue was so much fun for me. We created a travel piece that gives you an almost step-by-step guide to boating your way through South Florida. The idea was to point you in the direction of cigar friendly places you could reach from the water, even if in some cases you’ll have to take a cab or Uber to the nearest cigar shop. We did this over the course of two days and we coordinated with some of our cigar industry friends to come along for the trip (p.33). Thanks to Miami Boat Charters (boatchartersmiami.net) for taking us around on the Seagar Life and to all of the restaurants and bars who hosted us. Special thanks to the Marriott Stanton South Beach (stantonsobe. com) for not only letting us stay there overnight for the travel story but for letting us shoot throughout the property for the photo shoot in this issue. The shoot, titled Life’s a Beach (p.68), features the sexy Argentine Belu Bergagna smoking the Nestor Miranda Collection (miamicigarandcompany.com). Additionally we enlisted the help of expert boating writer Lenny Rudow to give us the lowdown on some of the best new boats on the market (p.49) and Total Wine’s Pablo Estades for guidance on boat friendly drinks (p.58). Finally, our senior editor Nicolas Antonio Jimenez spent a few days with Eduardo Fernández and his team at Aganorsa in Nicaragua (no boats here, though). He came back with an amazing story about how Eduardo went from making a fortune in the pizza business to leading a world-class tobacco operation (p.61). We hope you enjoy this issue and would love to hear any feedback

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you may have about it. Send us an email at feedback@cigarsnobmag.com. As always, thank you for making us part of your cigar smoking ritual. Keep ‘em lit,

Erik Calviño ecalvino@cigarsnobmag.com


FIRST-TIME WRITER, LONGTIME LISTENER The podcast is great! I can’t find a podcast that interviews people in the industry on such a personal level. The interview of Jorge Padrón regarding his father gave us such an intimate view of the beauty of Jose Orlando’s character. The podcast captured rare wonderful moments of Gilberto Oliva that few would know. Finally the interview with Carlito Fuente was the best insight into why Arturo Fuente is building a factory in Nicaragua. We heard moments of his life that made it necessary for the factory to be in Nicaragua. Each of them is saved on my phone to listen to again. I look forward to each episode. Rusty W. Oklahoma City

VIA FACEBOOK

CRITICISM FROM A TOTAL HETEROSEXUAL I have been a cigar smoker for about 25 years now. I’m in Cuba about 10 times a year and acquire my cigars directly from a roller at the El Corona factory in Havana. My favourite is the Cohiba Piramides Extra. I grew up on a tobacco farm. I know tobacco and cigars. I have three issues with your magazine: •

Why the girly photos? Are men really that attracted to skinny, breastless, 6 foot tall angry women pretending to like cigars? I would get rid of them. It’s demeaning to the cigars. And yes I’m totally heterosexual!

Why would anybody want to see photos of total strangers holding/smoking cigars? Seven or six pages of them yet. Cigar Aficionado does the same thing and I could never understand it.

How can you call yourself a cigar publication and ignore (arguably) the best cigars in the world. Yes Cuba!

Things that make me go… mmmmh. Otherwise, keep up the good work. Cheers, Nick E. St.Thomas, Ontario

VIA EMAIL

TOP OF THE HEAP I read three cigar magazines: Cigar Snob, Cigar Press and Cigar Aficionado. All three are directed at cigar smokers and various associated ideas and passions. I just wanted to let you know why I think Cigar Snob is the best: •

A limit on politics (doesn’t matter if you are on the left or right, so thanks!)

Fair and honest reviews on many cigars I can afford

Most importantly, your city coverage. I found a great place in Atlanta from your articles, Los Angeles brought back memories of where I grew up and I have many, many ideas of cities I want to visit!

So again, thanks for a wonderful magazine, I hope it is around for a long, long time! Regards, Dan M. Media, Penn.

VIA EMAIL

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Ask for it by name, In fine cigar stores near you MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

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BLACK WORKS STUDIO RELEASES THE SUMATRA-WRAPPED S&R

product launches, retail promos and other special happenings under the “The 50 Days of Macanudo” banner. Visit macanudo.com/50 for more information. Also use that site to upload photos from events you attend and be entered into drawings for Macanudo merch.

SEEING (INSPIRADO) RED

Black Works Studio announced the release of S&R, a cigar made at the company’s Fábrica Oveja Negra in Estelí, Nicaragua. The product will only be available for a limited time at select retailers, according to a Black Label Trading press release. “S&R is an elegant smoke with complex flavors and a rich, refined finish. This cigar represents a lot of firsts for us,” said James Brown, creator of BLK WKS and partner at Fabrica Oveja Negra. “It is the first BLK WKS cigar to use Dominican tobacco, the first to be a softer medium profile and the first production cigar we have made with a Sumatra wrapper. I find the result to be a perfect combination.” S&R features a Sumatra wrapper with a pigtail cap, Nicaraguan binder, and fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. It’s available in two formats: a 6¾ x 42 Lancero and a 5½ x 46 Corona Gorda — both retailing for $9.50.

MACANUDO’S GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY General Cigar purchased the Temple Hall Cigar Factory in Kingston, Jamaica in 1968. And with it, the Macanudo brand, which was being made exclusively for the British market. So this year, General Cigar is celebrating its 50th year with the Macanudo brand with a slew of activities. There will be

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General Cigar is adding an extension to its popular Macanudo Inspirado line. The Macanudo Inspirado Red features an Ecuadorian Habano ligero wrapper around Nicaraguan tobaccos from Ometepe (aged 12 years) and Estelí (aged five years), as well as Honduran tobacco from Jamastrán (aged 10 years). “As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Macanudo, we created Macanudo Inspirado Red to speak to the brand’s unique ability to adapt to the preferences of today’s cigar lovers. Nicaraguan cigars are hot right now,” said José de Castro, vice president of marketing for General Cigar’s Macanudo brand, in a press release. “With ‘Inspirado Red,’ we show how nimble the brand can be by introducing a unique, Nicaraguan-forward blend to the line, while highlighting the expertise of the torcederos from our cigar factory in Esteli.” Macanudo Inspirado Red, made at STG Esteli in Nicaragua, will be available in late March and come in three formats: a 5 x 50 box-pressed Robusto ($6.49), a 6 x 50 Toro ($6.69) and a 6 x 60 Gigante ($7.49).

SET YOUR LASER LIGHTERS TO “TOAST” Rocky Patel Premium Cigars’ recently announced it’s expanding its selection of branded lighters. Retailers have begun to receive Rocky Patel’s eight new varieties of Laser Lighters, which were unveiled at the IPCPR trade show in July 2017. The “laser” is actually part of the mechanism for triggering a single-flame torch.

After lifting the cap, you use your thumb to break a laser field in a recessed portion of the lighter, which gets the flame going until you close the cap again. Each of the eight new lighters is branded with the name of a popular Rocky Patel cigar line: Royale, Fifty-Five, Special Edition, Vintage 2006, Java Maduro, Java Latte, Java Mint, and Java Red. The lighters retail for $58 and come with lifetime warranties.

MOMBACHO MERCH The folks at Mombacho Cigars have launched an online merchandise store at mombachocigars.com/shop. It offers products like branded cigar accessories, caps and tshirts, but not any cigars. “The Mombacho Brand is growing,” said Robert Rasmussen, Brand Manager of Mombacho Cigars, in a press release. “One of our long term goals is for Mombacho Cigars to be a lifestyle brand and this store is a major step in that direction.” Mombacho has plans to expand its selection of merch. For the time being, the store only ships to the U.S. and Canada.

QUALITY IMPORTERS ACQUIRES XIKAR Quality Importers Trading Company has acquired XIKAR, making the new company the largest accessory supplier in premium cigars. “On behalf of the QI family of businesses,” said Quality Importers CEO Mike Giordano, “We are excited to announce the acquisition of XIKAR, Inc., which marks our largest and most impactful transaction since our inception 18 years ago.” “We at XIKAR are extremely pleased to partner with Mike Giordano and Michael Cellucci at QI to expand the global reach of both companies’ products and services,” said Xikar co-founder Kurt Van Keppel.


C I G A R S O F C H A R AC T E R

MU LTI- L AYE R E D B LEN DS AS CO M P LE X AS T H E M A N H I M S E L F

COM P L EX MAN · CO MP LE X B LENDS TO REFLECT SIR WINSTON’S LIFELONG PURSUIT OF TASTING THE WIDER WORLD, DAVIDOFF’S MASTER BLENDER CRAFTED FASCINATING BLENDS OF AGED NICARAGUAN, ECUADORIAN, MEXICAN AND DOMINICAN TOBACCOS. SO INTRIGUING. ON SO MANY LEVELS.

AVAILABLE AT AUTHORIZED DAVIDOFF DEALERS NATIONWIDE & DAVIDOFF OF GENEVA LOCATIONS MADISON AVE • 6TH AVE • BROOKFIELD • BUCKHEAD • HOUSTON • TAMPA • LAS VEGAS

DAVIDOFFGENEVA.COM


ROYAL AGIO CIGARS JOINS PROCIGAR Royal Agio Cigars, the company behind the Balmoral brand made in the Dominican Republic, announced that it has joined ProCigar, the trade group of Dominican cigar manufacturers which — among other things — hosts the ProCigar festival each year. The company participated as a “Gold sponsor” in that festival this past February. Agio is a family owned company that’s been around since 1904. Its global headquarters is in Duziel, Holland, but the company has been invested in the Dominican Republic since 1990. Its Dominican factory in San Pedro de Macoris produces machine-made and handmade cigars, including Añejo XO and Royal Selection. “We work with a very small, dedicated team to create our unique premium cigars. The carefully-selected pairs working for us in San Pedro de Macoris take great pride in handcrafting our cigars and are true artisans in the craft,” said Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company general manager Francisco Batista. “With Agio becoming an official member of ProCigar, I feel an even deeper connection to the local cigar community and I look forward to sharing knowledge and working more closely together with other manufacturers to help elevate what is already world-leading cigar quality.’’

ROCKY IN THE CUT A new v-cutter is on the way from Rocky Patel Premium Cigars and Colibri. The cutters, retailing for $59.99 on rockypatel.com, will bear the Rocky Patel brand name and be made available in three color combinations: white and red, black and orange, and black and palladium. The cutters will also be available as gift items with box purchases at Rocky Patel in-store events. Two additional patterns will be available exclusively at BURN by Rocky Patel cigar lounges.

CAMACHO RELEASES CANDELA-WRAPPED CIGAR Camacho announced the launch of Camacho Candela Robusto, which the brand says is “built on the chassis of our Original Corojo blend” of Honduran Corojo, but with a green candela wrapper. The cigar comes in one format — a 5 x 50 Robusto — and is manufactured in Danlí, Honduras. “We are extremely excited to bring back this unique and special release,” said Scott Kolesaire, senior brand manager at Davidoff of Geneva USA, in a press release. “The Camacho Candela arrives just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, so spark up this retro smoke and grab some green beer.” Camacho Candela will be available for a limited time, as production is limited to 3,000 boxes of 25. It’ll retail for $8.00 per cigar.

THOMPSON ACQUIRED BY SCANDINAVIAN TOBACCO Thompson Cigar, the mail order cigar company based in Tampa, has been acquired by Scandinavian Tobacco Group, the publicly traded company that owns online retailer Cigars International as well as General Cigar (which manufactures brands like Macanudo, Cohiba, CAO and Toraño, to name just a few). The deal was reportedly worth $62 million.

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E XCE P T IONA L QUA L I T Y C OM E S W I T H AGE

Balmoral AĂąejo XO cigars are the result of an intensive blending process with exceptionally aged tobaccos: an AĂąejo blend crowned with a sungrown Arapiraca wrapper. After blending the cigar, it took another 6 months of aging to marry all its flavors. Let yourself be seduced by notes of cedar wood, cacao, spices and an underlying sweetness.

Torpedo Mk52 | Gran Toro | Rothschild Masivo | Corona | Petit Robusto FT

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www.balmoralcigars.com


Villiger La Vencedora Jack daniel’s Gentleman Jack Among the things that make Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey unique is the process of mellowing the spirit by letting it drip through 10 feet of sweet maple charcoal. In fact, the Jack Daniel’s distillery burns its own wood to create that charcoal for filtration. Years ago, we saw some of this process ourselves during a tour of their facility in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Even smoother than the core Jack Daniel’s line, though, is Gentleman Jack. This next-level whiskey goes through a second charcoal mellowing, making it even cleaner than the original. Receiving a bottle of Gentleman Jack as a gift is enough of a treat on its own, so when we pulled this bottle out of a package that arrived at our office recently, we were ready to celebrate. Then we realized there was more in the package: a box of Villiger La Vencedora, one of the Swiss company’s fuller bodied premium cigars. It was only then that we caught the fact that the bottle had been engraved with the name of the cigars. If only our mailman knew how happy he’d made us. We cracked open the bottle and readied our torches to dive into this pairing.

THE PAIRING Start with the La Vencedora and get about half an inch into it before you bring the Gentleman Jack into the picture. The cigar has excellent balance, with notes of coffee, cocoa, earth and pepper, with just a touch of toasted sugar. It’s medium-plus in strength, and about as big on flavor, with a thick, aromatic, leathery smoke and a wrapper that’ll leave a sweetness on your lips. In a lot of ways, the whiskey is similar, but its sweetness comes from that 80 percent corn mash. It won’t take much of this thick whiskey to coat your palate. Take it in in small sips — not only because you want to keep enjoying it along with your cigar without ending up on your ass. Observe the way the whiskey and cigar mingle over time, each one coming in just at the tail end of your experience with the other. They’re just similar enough that neither is overpowering, but different enough that, in those moments when you can feel them both, the pairing takes on an entirely new character that is related to but much more than the sum of its two parts. It’s like the Vencedora and the Gentleman were meant to be. LOCATION: Marriott Stanton South Beach (marriott.com) MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

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Yayabo Series 04 The Admiral The Tank Freedom Tower

When the folks from Yayabo Cigars showed up lugging a big, heavy box one afternoon, we were a little worried. You know the feeling; a friend approaches you with a gift so big you know you have to react to it enthusiastically — but what are the odds you’ll really be excited about whatever’s inside? Well, it’s thanks to the contents of that box that one corner of the Cigar Snob office has been getting a lot more foot traffic lately. That’s because inside the box was a brand new Yayabo-branded kegerator. This office is starting to get too attractive to our friends in the cigar industry — all they want to do is hang out here and drink our booze! Speaking of which, the kegerator isn’t much good without the keg. The beer scene in Miami has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last several years, and The Tank Brewing is one of the most exciting names in that beer growth spurt. The guys at The Tank (namely owner and cigar industry veteran Carlos Padrón), who also happen to have a cigar lounge adjacent to their taproom, hooked us up with their Freedom Tower American Amber, which is named for a Miami landmark that once served as the Cuban exile equivalent of Ellis Island. As The Tank describes it, the beer “features malty caramel flavors with subtle hints of stone fruit.” Given the Yayabo kegerator this beer would be flowing from, the pairing we’d turn to to celebrate the arrival of our beer was obvious.

THE PAIRING Step 1: Pour yourself a pint of Freedom Tower. Or if you aren’t one of the fortunate few to have a keg of it in your office, have a bartender pour one for you. Step 2: Take a couple of sips of the beer to get a baseline flavor established. Let the beer’s sticky, malty sweetness coat your palate. Step 3: Fire up the Admiral. Right out of the gate you will notice that the cigar’s pepper and earth will cut through the malt with ease. The pairing works like a dream. Not only does it work from a flavor and intensity perspective, but because of the beer’s sessionable nature, you can basically repeat steps 1 through 3 all day! LOCATION: The Ponte Neme Tank Gastro Vecchio Brewing Bar, Ristorante (thetankbrewing.com) Miami (nemegastrobar.com) e Pizzeria (pontevecchiomiami.com) MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

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1968 - 2018

ANIVERSARIO

Francisca ‘Panchita’ Gonzáles, Head of Quality Control, Founding Worker of Joya de Nicaragua and Grandmother of 9.

50 years ago, we pioneered an industry by crafting the first cigars to ever

come out of Nicaragua. Today, we are the most international brand of our country. We are thriving, like never before, thanks to our skillful and resilient people. For us, quality is not an obligation, it is our highest commitment. We are humbled and proud of 50 years of perserverance and success. There’s no better way to celebrate the first five decades of the Nicaraguan cigar industry, than to recognize the people behind it all. Gracias, Panchita.

#JOYA50 @joyacigars www.joyacigars.com

Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca

Chairman & Master Maker Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, S.A.


Smoke on the Water

A guide to smoking your way through South Florida by boat. BY ERIK CALVIÑO / PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDY ASTENCIO


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: the Miami Beach Marina; slow cruising down the Miami River toward downtown Miami; our vessel for the day — the Seagar Life a 32 - foot Pursuit — took us all over town for great food, drinks and cigars

oating is a way of life in Florida. According to U.S. Coast Guard boating records, there were nearly 1 million registered recreational vessels in the state in 2016. For perspective, consider that there were fewer than 12 million registered in the entire United States. I chartered one of those vessels and spent two days cruising around South Florida visiting cigar friendly waterfront bars and restaurants, cigar shops, and even a bait shack with good Cuban coffee. Along with Andy Astencio, the magazine’s creative director and in-house photographer, I would be taking this trip with some of my Miami-based cigar industry friends. Finally, I stayed overnight on South Beach. Well … not on the sand or anything like that. That’s where a drunk, broke tourist would stay. I stayed at a beachfront hotel on the quieter side of South Beach, an area we call South of Fifth.

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DAY 1 A week before we set out on our excursion, I logged on to Miami Boat Charters (boatchartersmiami.net) and reserved two days aboard a 32-foot boat aptly named Seagar Life. And knowing that the trip was to take place on an old friend’s seventy-fifth birthday, I asked him to join us for day one. I was giving the captain a rundown of the day’s itinerary when a black SUV pulled up to the marina. Nestor Miranda, founder of Miami Cigar & Co (miamicigarandcompany.com), and Jason Wood, the company’s VP of sales and marketing, emerged from the vehicle; while it was still midFebruary and snowing in other parts of the country, we were all in summer boating attire. We opted to get our morning coffee at a Miami River institution, the bait shack next to Kiki on the River (kikiontheriver.com). This Greek waterfront dining establishment is one of the hottest spots in town, but that’s not where we

were. Kiki on the River wouldn’t open for another couple of hours; we were at the bait shack. In other words, where the fishermen who supply local restaurants with fresh fish get their bait and early morning snacks on their way out to sea. We tied up to one of the shrimping boats and I hopped from boat to boat until I made it into the shack. This isn’t the kind of place that appears on travel guides, but we needed coffee and there just aren’t many riverside coffee shops. The shack is gritty, kinda rough, and the food options are limited but you can get a perfectly made Cuban coffee or “cortadito” — along with a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich on Cuban bread — to go with your bait. With coffee in hand and about a 30-minute cruise to South Beach, it was time to light up the first cigar of the day with the birthday boy. Jason produced a box of the original release of the La Aurora 100 Años that had been in Nestor’s personal humidor for 15 years. Nestor’s eyes lit up when he saw them. They were from a batch that


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: shrimping boats docked in front of a bait shack near Kiki on the River; the humidor at Casablanca Cigar Lounge; Nestor Miranda smoking at Casablanca; mussels al ajillo at Boater’s Grill; the lounge at Casablanca La Aurora made for Nestor with his name printed on a secondary band. We fired them up and admired the creamy texture of the still-flavorful smoke. It was amazing that after so many years there was still a good amount of flavor left in this classic smoke. This cigar, from this release, and in this corona size, is one of my all-time favorite cigars.

cigars on these driving excursions on the weekend to places like Key West, Naples, and West Palm Beach. During the week Mariana would sell in town and Nestor worked as a liquor rep for Southern Wine and Spirits. Cigars were a side hustle for him. That first year (1989) they sold 80,000 cigars. Today that number is somewhere around 7.5 million cigars.

We were passing Fisher Island when Nestor said, “I remember when we used to sell cigars there,” pointing at the golf course. Back in the late 1980s, Nestor and his wife Mariana would sell cigars out of the trunk of their car. “We used to fill the trunk with cigars and we’d sell bundles and boxes at every cafeteria from here to Key West. We would finish late at night and be home by 2 in the morning. But the whole project was to sell $1,000 on that particular day; now you’re talking about selling $1,000 when a bundle of cigars at wholesale was only $7 and the box was $19.95. You gotta sell a lot of cigars!” That was the beginning of Miami Cigar. Selling

We pulled up to Miami Beach Marina (miamibeachmarina.com) and jumped off to visit the newest cigar shop on the beach. We walked along the waterfront path enjoying what was left of the 100 Años. It’s only about a 10-minute walk from the marina to Casablanca Cigar Lounge (casablancacigar.com). NOTE: There is no relationship between Casablanca Seafood & Grill and Casablanca Cigar Lounge, only a shared affinity for the famous Humphrey Bogart movie. It was still kind of early when we pulled up to Casablanca. They were barely open, but general manager Ray Granja was gracious enough to let us in and show us around. The lounge is spa-

cious and features plush seating as well as large, flat-screen TVs. Additionally, there is outside seating under shade, which makes for top-notch people watching. There are two walk-in humidors — the one on the left for regular production smokes and a glass-enclosed one in the rear of the lounge for the higher-end, limited editions. We sat for a bit and moved on to our next smoke, the Nestor Miranda Collection Connecticut. This Connecticut Shade wrapped cigar is produced at My Father Cigars in Nicaragua, so in spite of its light wrapper, it was an increase in flavor and spice from the 15-year-old La Aurora 100 Años. By now, George G. Kauper, the managing partner of Casablanca Cigar Lounge, had arrived and came over to greet our group with espressos in hand. His timing was impeccable. The Nestor Miranda Connecticut was seemingly purpose-built for enjoying with espresso or Cuban coffee. We chatted some more about Miami Cigar’s history. In addition to their own brands, the company also distributes

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Downtown Miami from the Miami River; en route to Miami Beach; Erik Calviño and Nestor Miranda aboard the Seagar Life; whole fried snapper at Boater’s Grill; Docking at No Name Harbor in Key Biscayne

La Aurora Cigars (laaurora.com.do) as well as Toscano Cigars (toscanocigars.com). Nestor added, “Those companies bring a tradition of making a great product for over 100 years, La Aurora since 1903 and Toscano since 1818. We are truly blessed to have them both in our portfolio.”

We thanked George and Ray for their hospitality and headed back to the boat. When we arrived at the marina, the captain was waiting for us with bottled waters and was ready for our next hop. And it was literally a hop — an island hop. The area we call Miami Beach sits on a barrier island and our next destination was in Key Biscayne, a couple of islands or keys south of Miami Beach. It was now around mid-day. The sun was high as we headed south on Biscayne Bay. With barrier islands and keys on our left and downtown Miami on our right, it was shaping up to be a beautiful way to celebrate Nestor’s 75th. As we got closer and hugged the coast of Key

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Biscayne, we could see Crandon Park and its world-famous golf course and tennis center, then the beautiful waterfront homes, including the home that was once President Richard Nixon’s winter retreat. The sandbar just outside the home’s dock is referred to as Nixon Beach and is jam-packed with boats full of revelers just about every weekend of the year. There were a handful of boats anchored out there on this particular Thursday afternoon. We kept heading south beyond the homes and were now across from Cape Florida State Park and its narrow, mangrove-covered waterways until we came upon No Name Harbor, a favorite spot for local recreational boaters. The tiny harbor is home to Boater’s Grill (boatersgrill. com), a casual restaurant that has been serving South Florida boaters since the mid-1990s. Also accessible by land, this hidden gem serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Best of all, the terrace seating area is cigar friendly. For appetizers, we ordered conch

fritters, fried calamari, and shrimp ceviche accompanied by ice-cold Presidente beer. We followed this up with whole fried red snapper, seafood paella, and grilled churrasco for the carnivore in the group. For dessert, we smoked a Toscanello Aroma Caffè and walked along the seawall back to the boat. The short, coffeeflavored smoke was a perfect complement to the short, post-meal walk. Everyone in the group was stuffed so a decision was made to slow it down on the cruise back north toward the river. We relaxed on the aft chairs smoking and enjoying what was left of the day. A small pod of dolphin cruised along the starboard side putting an exclamation point on the day. It could have ended there and we’d have called this day a resounding success but it wasn’t over yet. Coming back into the Miami River, all the places that had been dormant earlier that morning had now come to life. One of them was The Wharf (wharfmiami.com), an open-air pop-up space


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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The Wharf; The Marriott Stanton South Beach; DJ Nestor on the ones and twos alongside Tony Guerra at The Wharf; Jaya at the Setai, a restaurant housed at a chic Miami Beach waterfront hotel that is part outdoor lounge, part food truck lot, and 100 percent classy free-for-all. We toasted with Nestor’s favorite drink, Chivas 18 on the rocks, and sat for one final cigar. Jason had been saving something special for this moment. He brought out pre-release samples of the upcoming Nestor Miranda 75th Anniversary, a beautifully constructed perfecto loaded with flavor. We were joined by our friend Tony Guerra, The Wharf’s general manager, who had the brilliant idea that Nestor Miranda should guest DJ since it was his birthday. So “DJ Nestor” got up there on the 1s and 2s and did his thing! As the sun went down, we boarded the Seagar Life again and headed back to the marina to drop off Jason and Nestor. We said our goodbyes and turned right back around and headed back to Miami Beach where the captain was dropping me off to spend the night at the Marriott Stanton South Beach (stantonsobe.com). It never fails. A day in the sun and on the ocean drains me, and shortly after checking in at The Stanton, the bed swallowed me. But I awoke a couple of hours later refreshed and ready to Uber to dinner. I was joined by the magazine’s production director, Ivan Ocampo, for dinner at

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Jaya at The Setai (thesetaihotel.com/jaya). The modern Asian cuisine was a stark contrast to the no-frills seafood grill we’d enjoyed earlier. Maybe it’s because of what I do for a living or because of where I live, but I am just as comfortable in this luxurious, fine dining setting as I am hopping along shrimping boats for a ham, egg and cheese sandwich. Having said that, the food and service at Jaya is off-the-charts good. We started with a combination of dim sum offerings and salads. My favorites were the har gau (steamed shrimp dumplings) and the Thai beef salad. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a more flavorful steamed shrimp dumpling; just outstanding. We continued the idea of shareable plates for the entrees and ordered the Peking duck, pad Thai, and the pork belly. It was much harder to pick a favorite here as all three were world-class. Each one is a classic dish that you can have almost anywhere, but they’ve been elevated to another level thanks to the quality of the ingredients and the technical expertise of chef Vijay Veena’s team.

The night was cool and clear and we decided to walk back to the hotel enjoying one final smoke. I’d stashed a couple of the Nestor Miranda 75th Anniversary perfectos for this very purpose. It

was a fitting way to end this extraordinary day.

DAY 2 After a good night’s sleep at the Marriott Stanton South Beach, the sound of knocking could only mean one thing: ROOM SERVICE! I’d heard about the Crunchy French Toast with fruits and light syrup and had been dreaming about it. Just enjoying the cereal-crusted French toast with a view of the beach as the sun was coming up was worth the price of admission. Although winters on South Beach are mild to say the least, the water was still too cold for a Miami boy to go for a swim. But there was a small group of tourists who disagreed with my assessment and were headed to the beach early. They turned left to head out to the sand; I turned right and hit the spa for a massage. I met back up with Ivan and Andy, this time at Miami Beach Marina as the Seagar Life was docking to pick us up for day two. I had made plans for my brother Charlie Lopez, VP of sales for Yayabo Cigars (yayabocigars.com), to join us. The day’s itinerary included a cruise along the beach. For those of you not following along


PUNCH SURGEON GENERAL WARNING: Cigars Are Not A Safe Alternative To Cigarettes.

REAL CIGARS. NO JOKE.

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: a portion of the Miami Beach skyline; Duffy’s Sports Grill; a statue outside Duffy’s; Cigar Cigar, a popular North Miami Beach cigar lounge on the map, all of day one was spent in and around Biscayne Bay and we never went out to sea. Today was to be different. The plan was to exit the bay through Government Cut, which is where the large cruise and cargo ships go out to sea, and head north along the beach. Then re-enter the Intracoastal Waterway at Haulover Inlet, where we’d keep heading north on the Intracoastal toward Hollywood and stop along the way to check out some cigar friendly spots and meet up with more cigar industry friends. Charlie brought an assortment of Yayabo Cigars, including the aptly named Admiral, a boxpressed, flavorful, medium to full strength blend. Released at the 2017 IPCPR trade show, the maritime-themed cigar has been an instant hit for Yayabo. In addition, he brought the Doña Diana and the Yayabo Renovation. He also brought along an unbanded petite corona that was calling my name. That little corona packed a pretty

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good punch. If the coffee and French toast had not done enough to wake me up, this thing certainly did. At this point we were cruising along the coastline just off Miami Beach at a pretty good speed and I was reminded of some things to consider before smoking cigars on boating excursions. If you plan to smoke cigars on a boat, don’t forget to pack a good torch and make sure it has a full tank of butane before going out; well-appointed cigar shops along the water are few and far between. We made it up to Haulover Inlet and entered the Intracoastal Waterway. We turned north past the Haulover sand bar. Just like the aforementioned Nixon Beach, this is another sand bar where boaters congregate on weekends. During low tide these sand bars are exposed and act as little temporary islands of fun. As much as I wanted to anchor here for a bit and jump in the water, we had planned to meet up with another cigar

industry friend at our next destination. We pulled up and docked at Duffy’s Sports Grill – North Miami Beach (duffysmvp.com). As we walked up to the outdoor seating area, Miguel Pinto and Victor Calvo, Jr., both of Victor Calvo Cigars (victorcalvocigars.com), were waiting for us at a large, shaded table with two pitchers of beer, one amber and one light. The cold beers and shade were heaven sent. As were the appetizers of sesame-crusted ahi tuna, crispy calamari, and mozzarella sticks. The menu at Duffy’s is just as varied as the appetizer order implies; it has elements of basic bar food like mozzarella sticks and potato skins alongside dishes that lean more upscale, like the ahi tuna or the lobster bisque. When a restaurant tries to be all things, they usually fall flat on their face, but Duffy’s has pulled that off without losing its identity as a sports bar. And the fact that they offer so much shaded, waterfront seating for


CIGARS & BOATS: PRO TIPS LIGHTERS Purpose built, outdoor lighters are ideal for boating. I like the Xikar Stratosphere II, Blazer CG-001, and the Vertigo Storm. These are singleflame torches that are wind-resistant and have durable covers that protect them from splashes. In the case of the Stratosphere and Vertigo, we’ve tested them by submerging them for 20 seconds and they both made it through (there’s a video titled “Cigar Snob Labs” on our YouTube channel). Or you can do what many others do; bring a cheap, tri-torch lighter that you don’t mind ruining and go to town.

CUTTERS

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: from the bow of the Seagar Life; A sailboat on Biscayne Bay; Miguel Pinto, Charles López, and Erik Calviño on the way to Cigar Cigar cigar smokers means I’ll be back before long. The beer continued to flow and before long we were smoking again. This time Miguel handed out the Victor Calvo Cincuenta, sometimes called VC50, in the toro format. The pressed, medium strength cigar is covered with a beautiful, reddish brown wrapper. The smoke was rich and creamy and a good complement to the Founder’s All Day IPA I had switched to. Usually pairing an IPA with a cigar can be kind of dicey, but this IPA isn’t overly piney or citrusy and it allows the cigar’s rich, creamy pepper to balance it out. After lunch, we hopped into Miguel Pinto’s convertible and took a short ride over to his cigar shop in North Miami Beach, Cigar Cigar & Company (cigarcigarmiami.com). Miguel is one of the funniest guys you’ll meet in the cigar business and the interesting thing about his place was that the shop regulars were all sort of like him. From the moment we walked in, they were busting balls about the cameras, the magazine, the girls in the magazine, the boating attire we were in, the more fashionable attire Miguel was in … you name it, they ragged on it. We didn’t stop laughing from the moment we set foot in the place. As for the cigar lounge, it offers a comfortable space where you can work, watch TV, and drink (they offer beer and wine);

and the walk-in humidor is stocked with a great selection of mostly boutique cigar brands mixed in with some of the major brands that everyone recognizes. We could have stayed at Cigar Cigar the rest of the day, but we had to keep moving. Victor Calvo Jr. and Miguel graciously drove us back to Duffy’s and we set off on the next leg of the adventure. Back on the Seagar Life, I decided it was time to give the Yayabo Doña Diana its day in the sun as we kept heading north on the Intracoastal. The Doña Diana is a medium strength blend named after Diany Perez, the company’s owner. Working alongside her husband Alex, she manages the company’s tobacco growing operation while he heads up the cigar factory. Like so many of the vertically integrated cigar manufacturers, they started as tobacco growers and leaf brokers and 5 years ago decided to expand into cigar making. Today, they produce cigars under their own brands as well as making private-label cigars for several large distributors. We arrived at Diplomat Landing, which is the marina across from the Diplomat Resort on Hollywood Beach. We jumped off the boat and onto an Uber for a quick run to a couple more cigar shops. First up was Royal Cigars , located inside The Village at Gulfstream Park. This small

The Palió cutter is ideal for boats because the guillotine blade slides on plastic, not metal. The only metal in the cutter are the blades which can easily be cleaned to prevent corrosion. If you are a fan of the Xikar Xi and want to stay with it, bring the plastic version aboard as opposed to a metal one. For one, metal cutters are heavy and can damage the gelcoat of a boat when dropped. This will cost you money or enrage a charter boat captain. Second, the more you expose metal to saltwater, the harder it is to avoid corrosion. If you must bring a metal cutter along for the cruise, here’s a way to prevent corrosion. After a day on the water, I put a couple of drops of olive oil in the cutter’s release button opening and let it run through the interior of the cutter. Why olive oil and not WD-40 or 3-in-One oil? I use olive oil because I don’t want any of the harsh chemicals from the other oils to drip onto my cigar and eventually in my mouth, not to mention the strong smell that accompanies these oils. Plus there is never a shortage of olive oil in my home; I imagine other cooking oils will work just fine.

ASHTRAY If possible, bring along an ashtray can like the one made by Xikar. You can put it in one of the boat’s cup holders and use it as a windproof ashtray and cigar holder.

SMOKING When smoking cigars on a boat, be mindful of wind direction and your cigar; if you aim your cigar into the wind it’ll smoke itself before you know it. Remember that cigars are to be enjoyed in the right conditions. Trying to smoke a cigar while bouncing around on a speeding boat is just not that fun. Wait until you’re slow cruising or until you get to where you’re going.

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The American Airlines Arena from the bay; the Triple B burger at Bristol’s Burgers; Brickell City Center from the Miami River; Xavier’s Cigar Lounge in Hallandale Beach; Bristol’s Burgers

shop features a tight but well maintained walk-in humidor and an espresso bar. Royal Cigar seems to have been designed to cater to the Gulfstream crowd that wants to pick up their smokes and head to the track, which is only steps away from the store. We picked up some Camacho Ecuador BXP and made a beeline for the track only to find that there were no races or simulcasts going on while we were there. So after walking around Gulfstream smoking our Camachos, we hopped back in a car and headed to one more nearby store before returning to the marina. Xavier’s Cigar Lounge (xavierscigarlounge. com), just up the road from Gulfstream Park, has a very different feel. This neighborhood shop’s selection is heavy on boutiques and rather than having all of the cigars in one humidor, they are split between cabinet humidors along the walls and a small, cedar-lined, walk-in humidor toward the rear. The front of the store is furnished with worn couches as well as armchairs with a pivoting table for those who wish to use the lounge as a place for work. We picked up a few smokes and hit the road back to the Diplomat

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Landing where the boat was docked and where we had a dinner reservation. When we finally sat down at Bristol’s Burgers (bristolsburgers.com) for dinner, we were drained. We needed water, beer, and food ASAP. They sat us at an outdoor table toward the end of the terrace so our cigar smoke wouldn’t bother other guests. Their selection of beer was a solid mix of major brands and well-known craft brews, as well as a couple of local favorites. When we first walked up to Bristol’s from the street, we gawked at the smoker and wondered what sort of goodness would emerge from this smoldering beast. So when we spotted smoked chicken wings on the menu, we pounced. They were great; wings are typically fried, sometimes grilled, but hardly ever smoked, so this was a welcome change of pace. We also ordered the mac n’ cheese tots and loaded fries, which were instantly devoured. When you’re at a place with “burgers” in the name, you can’t sidestep. We ordered the Triple “B”, which is their custom blend 7 oz. burger with crispy Nueske’s bacon, Bourbon-bacon onion jam, and the third B is

blue cheese. It’s pretty serious. We also ordered the Bristol’s burger, which is covered with this homemade cheddar cheese whiz that absolutely explodes with flavor. Also in the “outrageous” category was the crispy chicken sandwich; the super crunchy fried chicken was perfectly complemented by the spicy mayo and dill pickles. I know it’s a place known for the burgers, but I might have liked the chicken most of all! The sun was now dropping fast as our journey was winding down. We lit up the Yayabo Admiral with a cup of coffee on the terrace at Bristol’s and prepared to head back down the Intracoastal and back to our normal daily routines. I couldn’t help but smile while reflecting on the last 48 hours. I’d given an old friend one hell of a birthday treat, acted like a tourist in my own city, stayed in a great South Beach hotel, and smoked excellent cigars throughout. As we pulled slowly into the marina, I had that last-minute impulse to turn back around and keep the party going, but this wasn’t a movie. I bid farewell to the Seagar Life and promised myself I’d do this again soon.


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1. Casablanca Cigar Lounge

DAY 1

10

Suite160, 500 South Pointe Dr., Miami Beach casablancacigar.com

5

2. Casa De Montecristo by Prime Cigar

9

& Whiskey Bar

6

1106 S Miami Ave. #202, Miami miami.primecigar.com

3. Absolute Cigar Shop 22 SW 8th St., Miami absolutecigarmiami.com

4. Village Humidor

8

14 7

11

13 1

900 S Miami Ave. #174, Miami thevillagehumidor.com

5. Deco Drive Cigars Lincoln Road 414 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach

4

3 2

decodrivecigars.com

6. Deco Drive Cigars Ocean Drive 1446 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach decodrivecigars.com

MIAMI

7. SMOKE SHOP II - Downtown 130 SE 3rd Ave., Miami

8. Bayside Cigars 401 Biscayne Blvd. S129, Miami baysidecigars.com

9. Española Cigar 409 Española Way, Miami Beach espanolacigar.business.site

RESTAURANTS & BARS 10. Jaya at The Setai Miami Beach 2001 Collins Ave., Miami Beach thesetaihotel.com/jaya

11. The Wharf Miami

KEY BISCAYNE

114 SW North River Dr., Miami wharfmiami.com

12. Boater’s Grill Restaurant 1200 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne lighthouserestaurants.com

OTHERS 13. Miami Beach Marina 300 Alton Rd., Miami Beach miamibeachmarina.com

14. La Coloma Marina 201 NW S River Dr., Miami

15. Marriott Stanton South Beach 161 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach marriott.com

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12

15 MIAMI

BEACH


1 Moffet St

FLORIDA

2 8

NE 209th Tr

1

RESTAURANTS & BARS FLORIDA

95

NE 199th St

7. Bristol’s Burgers

13

1

W Di

juniperonthewater.com

10. Point Royal

11

3555 S Ocean Dr., Hollywood pointroyal-fl.com

Point E Dr

vd ayne Bl

17850 W Dixie Hwy., tunasseafoodrestaurant.com

12. Beach Bar at Newport Pier beachbarnewportpier.com

Maule Lake

1 826

826

174th St

6 NE 163rd St

Bysc

North Miami Beach

NE 35th Ave

1

11. Tuna’s Seafood Grille

S Ocean Blvd

dlin

g Ba y

NE 186th St

NE 186th St

1975 S Ocean Dr., Hallandale Beach

16501 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach

856

Du m foun

9. Juniper On The Water

856

y

yardhouse.com

SOUTH ISLAND

856

xie H w

601 Silks Run #1490, Hallandale Beach

n ou

A1A

856

NE 18th Ave

8. Yard House

GOLDEN BEACH

4

3460 S Ocean Dr., Hollywood bristolsburgers.com

CENTRAL ISLAND

ry Dr

EC

duffysmvp.com

Byscayne Blvd

3969 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach

N Count

NORTH ISLAND

NE 203 Rd

Ives Dairy Rd

ke

NE 213 St

Collins Ave

luckycigar.com

9

826

14

Collins Ave

2910 SW 30th Ave., Hallandale Beach

HIGHLAND LAKES

I sl e s

Clu b

HIGHLAND GARDENS

tr y

5. The House of Lucky Cigar

en

d

GOLDEN ISLES

NE 30th Ave

NW 21th St

SW 11th St

cigarboxinc.com

E Dixie Hwy

19575 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

GULFSTREAM PARK RACING AND CASINO

S Ocean Blvd

HALLANDALE BEACH

858

3

La

1

95

4. Cigar Box

6. Duffy’s Sports Grill

Hallandale Beach Blvd

FLORIDA

SW 8th Ave

xavierscigarlounge.com

858

5

1

858

7 10

d

Hallandale Beach

d

G ol

800 E Hallandale Beach Blvd. #11,

Country Club Ln

Hallandale Beach

Dixie Hwy NE 1st Ave

501 S Federal Hwy. #1405,

3. Xavier’s Cigar Lounge

Fos ter R

NW 8th Ave

2. Royal Cigars

SW 30th Ave

14490 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami Beach

DAY 2

HOLLYWOOD SOUTH CENTRAL BEACH

Atlantic Shores Blvd

NE 14th Ave

1. Cigar Cigar and Company

Pembroke Rd

Layne B lv

95

12

NE 163rd St

A1A

909

OTHERS OLETA RIVER STATE PARK

13. Turnberry Isle Miami 19999 W Country Club Dr., Aventura turnberryislemiami.com

NE 151 St

14. Oleta River State Park 3400 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach floridastateparks.org/park/Oleta-River

NE 146th

1

A1A

FIU BISCAYNE BAT VAMPUS

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SPECIAL SECTION WHETHER YOU’RE FISHING, WATER SKIING OR JUST LOOKING TO SOAK UP SOME SUN, HERE’S OUR GUIDE TO BOATS, GEAR AND DRINKS YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE THE MOST OF A DAY ON THE WATER.

Sea Ray Sundancer Fly 400

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ON YOUR OWN BOAT, YOU ARE TRULY THE MASTER OF YOUR DOMAIN. WHEREVER ELSE YOU MAY CHOOSE TO RELAX — RESORTS, BARS, CLUBS, EVEN GOLF COURSES — THERE ARE RULES THAT RESTRICT YOUR BEHAVIOR AND MAY CAUSE CONSTERNATION. BUT ON YOUR BOAT, YOU SET THE STATUTES AND YOU ISSUE THE DECREES; YOU DECIDE WHEN TO TAKE A DIP AND WHEN TO DRAW; AND YOU CHOOSE WHETHER TO REACH FOR THE FROSTY BEVERAGE OR THE BULL’S EYE AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT. OH, AND DID WE MENTION THAT YOU’LL BE MAKING ALL THESE CHOICES IN THE LAP OF LUXURY? IF YOU WANT TO INDULGE IN THE FINER THINGS IN LIFE, A BOAT OR A YACHT IS THE ULTIMATE PLACE TO DO SO. WE’VE IDENTIFIED SOME TOP CHOICES FOR YOU TO CONSIDER IN FOUR MAJOR BOAT CATEGORIES, RANGING ACROSS THE BUDGETARY SPECTRUM.

- BY LENNY RUDOW -

BOW RIDER - BAYLINER VR4

$23,000

If a sporty runabout matches your style and a boat that costs less than a new car matches your budget, the Bayliner VR4 will be a top pick. It offers comfy seating fore and aft, a swiveling pedestal-mounted bolstered helm chair, and inserts allow you to turn the entire bow and/ or stern areas into huge sunpads. Optional ski tow pylons and wakeboard towers let you rig the boat up for serious watersports, and the huge integrated swim platform with a telescopic ladder makes reboarding a breeze after taking a dip. Added bonus: the back of the transom has contoured backrests molded in, so when you anchor out at Party Cove you can kick back, use the swim platform as a lounger, and dangle your feet in the water. Standard features ensuring fun in the sun include a 120-watt stereo with iPod/MP3 input, six cup holders, in-deck wakeboard/waterski storage, a 12V outlet, and tilt steering. Plus, the package includes a single-axle trailer with a swing-away tongue for easy garage storage. The boat is available with either a 115-horsepower Mercury FourStroke EFI outboard engine, or a 200-horsepower Mercury sterndrive with an Alpha 1 outdrive. With the outboard you can plan on cruising in the mid- to upper-20s and will reach the 40-mph range at top end. If you get the more potent stern drive, you’ll feel your hair whipping in the wind at speeds in the 50-mph range. Either way, the boat offers neck-snapping acceleration and sporty handling. When we checked this model out, however, the thing we found most surprising was construction quality. Even though this is a relatively inexpensive boat, it’s all-composite (unlike Bayliners built in the past) and comes with a limited-lifetime structural hull warranty. We also like that Bayliner finishes the boat in eye-pleasing two-tone gel coat with options for blue, black, white, and gray.

18’0” LONG, 7’6” WIDE 2,822-LBS. FUEL CAPACITY 33 GAL.

For more information, visit bayliner.com.

CENTER CONSOLE - GRADY-WHITE FISHERMAN 236

$100,000

Center consoles have always been known as fishing machines, but these days they’re that and a whole lot more. Case in point: the Grady-White Fisherman 236. Along with all the angling goodies, this boat has a stand-up head inside the console, a bow seating area with fold-away backrests plus an optional filler cushion to turn it into a sunpad, fold-away transom seating, swim platforms on either side of the outboard engine, a cockpit freshwater shower, a Bluetooth-enabled stereo system with four speakers, and eight drink holders. Watersports lovers can opt to also have the boat outfitted with a ski tow pylon. The angler in you will be more interested in the four gunwale-mounted rod holders, the 15-gallon insulated livewell, the raw-water washdown, and the 338 quarts of insulated fish box capacity. Like most center consoles, the aft deck is kept wide open and clear to maximize fishing space, and you’ll even discover toe rails along the sides of the cockpit so you can lock your feet onto the deck when fishing in rough seas. Rigged with a Yamaha F300 four-stroke outboard, the Grady-White Fisherman 236 has its best cruising economy right around 30 mph, where it gets three miles to the gallon. And at wide-open throttle, the boat can hit 46 mph. Another important aspect of this boat’s performance is its seakeeping abilities. During our test run we felt that the variable-degree deadrise hull, which starts off with an extremely sharp V shape at the bow and tapers back to a 20-degree V-angle at the stern, did a great job of splitting open the waves. While this boat is priced at the upper end of the market for its size, one more important thing to note is that Grady-White boats as a rule retain their resale value much better than most brands. As a result, in the long run you recoup much more of the initial investment than you do with other boats. For more information, visit gradywhite.com.

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23’7” LONG, 8’6” WIDE 3,900 LBS. FUEL CAPACITY: 115 GAL.


EXPRESS - TIARA SPORT 38 LS If you want to wow the marina with the hottest, newest express on the water, the Tiara Sport 38 LS can’t be beat. This boat is unique in two big ways: it’s the first Tiara ever to run on outboards, and it’s the first express we’ve ever seen to have a rotating aft deck. Yes, rotating. In the cruising position the aft settee and dinette, which take up most of the cockpit area, face forward. Flip a latch, give the settee a shove, and the entire unit plus the deck it sits upon spins around 180 degrees to face aft, so you can gaze out over the water.

$500,000 38’1” LONG, 12’6” WIDE 16,500 LBS. FUEL CAPACITY: 331 GAL.

Another unusual touch for this type of boat is the inclusion of a bow cockpit. Rather than expand the cabin to create more of a cruising appeal, Tiara chose to keep the emphasis on the great outdoors and dedicated most of the bow to a large C-shaped settee with fold-down armrests and cup holders. That keeps the cabin svelte, but there’s still room down below for a forward berth, a hanging locker, and a fully enclosed stand-up head with a shower. Note that this cozy cabin also has color-changing RGB lighting, so you can (ahem) enhance the mood belowdecks, if you so desire. One of the ways Tiara manages to fit so much into such a small cabin area is by eliminating the galley. But don’t worry, the boat’s ability to accommodate overnight jaunts or entertain a crowd is ensured with an outdoor galley integrated into the back of the helm station seating. It features a sink, a refrigerator, a 120-V outlet for your blender – daiquiris, anyone? – and an optional integrated electric grill. The grill adds $2,325 to the boat’s cost, but we think you’d have to be nuts to get the boat without it. Unlike many express boats which blur the line between boat and yacht, the Tiara Sport 38 LS also has speedboat-like performance. Triple Yamaha F350 V-8 outboards produce a blistering 55.6 mph top speed, and even at a mellow 4500 rpm cruise, the boat zips along at over 40 mph. For more information, visit tiarayachts.com.

CRUISER - SEA RAY SUNDANCER FLY 400

$790,000

Whether you want to be able to spend days at a time secluded from the real world or thrown down the party gauntlet with a few dozen friends, the Sea Ray Sundancer Fly 400 fits the bill. This cruiser is more yacht than boat, with touches like real chestnut cabinetry, zoned air conditioning and heating for every room, a full galley inside plus the option to add an outdoor galley with an integrated electric grill, a helm station with multiple LCD displays and digital controls – plus joystick control for docking – and a massive flying bridge for the ultimate in views of the water. Since the boat is designed for both cruising and entertaining, it’s laid out for maximum socializing during the day and maximum privacy once the sun goes down. There are three different distinct social areas. The first is found on the flybridge, which has seating for nine people and a (optional) wet bar. The second is the boat’s cockpit, which has an L-shaped settee with a dinette table in the center and options for either a refrigerator or an ice maker. And the third is in the salon, featuring two center-facing settees, an audio system with Bluetooth and media inputs (zoned speakers are found throughout the boat), and an LED flat-screen TV with Blu-ray. When it’s time to retire for the evening, belowdecks you’ll find two staterooms. The forward master has a queen berth, a 24” LED television, a hanging locker, and if you opt for the two-head version, its own private bathroom with shower. The second stateroom has twin beds which can be converted into a larger single berth, plus a settee which converts into yet another berth. Powered by twin 480-hp diesel inboard V-drives, the Sea Ray is no slouch when it comes to performance. Cruises across the bay will take place at just under 30 mph, while burning around 30 gallons per hour. More importantly, they’ll take place in utter luxury.

40’0” LONG, 13’6” WIDE 33,693 LBS. FUEL CAPACITY: 334 GAL.

For more information, visit searay.com.

LENNY RUDOW IS THE PRESIDENT OF BOATING WRITERS INTERNATIONAL, SENIOR EDITOR AT DOMINION MARINE MEDIA, AND ELECTRONICS EDITOR FOR BOATUS MAGAZINE. RUDOW IS AN ALUMNUS OF ST. MARY’S COLLEGE OF MARYLAND, WESTLAWN INSTITUTE OF MARINE TECHNOLOGY, AND THE SEA SCHOOL. HE BOATS AND FISHES AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE ON THE CHESAPEAKE BAY AND IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN. MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

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YOU’LL NEED MORE THAN A BOAT TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME ON THE WATER. HERE’S SOME GEAR THAT’LL MINIMIZE HASSLE AND RISK — NO SUNBURNS OR SHARK ATTACKS FOR YOU! — WHILE MAXIMIZING THE FUN TO TAKE A DAY AT SEA TO THE NEXT LEVEL.

RUFFWEAR FLOAT COAT ruffwear.com

$79.95 Your dogs might love to swim, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the option to float. The Ruffwear Float Coat can fit all sorts of dogs, features reflectors so you never lose sight of them and includes a rugged handle to help you lift your best friend back into the boat.

VINEYARD VINES MEN’S TECH BACKPACK vineyardvines.com

$125.00 This ultra-light polyester backpack has wide straps, ribbed back pads and a waist strap, so you’ll be as comfortable as possible carrying your gear around. There’s also a case you can put over it to shield contents from the rain or spray. It even fits most 15-inch laptops, so you don’t have to limit the use of this bag to your boating trips.

OLUKAI KINONA SANDAL olukai.com

$75.00 Some of us at Cigar Snob swear by OluKai sandals. These in particular are built for comfort and designed to not mark up your boat with those nasty black streaks. The leather is also waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about how they’ll look or whether they’ll fall apart after repeated exposure to the elements.

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GARMIN INREACH EXPLORER garmin.com

$449.99 Fun as it may be, being out on the open water always comes with some risks. This Garmin gadget keeps you connected to your land-bound loved ones with text messaging and a GPS, both of which Garmin says will function from any spot at all on Earth. You can also easily trigger an SOS if things get too hairy.

PELAGIC DEEP SEA HYBRID SHORTS pelagicgear.com

$66.00 These shorts are just plain cool. When you wet them new patterns appear. I mean… really. What’s not to love about that? Resist the temptation to “accidentally” spill your drinks all over them. The shorts also have five pockets, which is crazy handy since waves make tabletops dangerous homes for your valuables.


MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

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SPYDERCO TUSK FOLDING KNIFE WITH MARLINSPIKE (C06TI) spyderco.com

$399.95 This multi-functional tool is tough as hell, with a handle machined from two slabs of titanium that house two great blades. One is a plain edged blade, while the other is a steel marlinspike that’ll help you loosen knots and tighten or unscrew shackles.

YETI TUNDRA 110 yeti.com

$499.99 This particular cooler was designed with rafting in mind, but it’s great for any kind of boating adventure. Like other Yeti products, this thing is built to last and keeps your cold stuff cold for an absurdly long time.

SHARKBANZ 2 sharkbanz.com

$69.00 We’ve come a long way since Adam West’s Batspray. The Sharkbanz 2 uses magnets (Yeah, bitch! Magnets!) to disrupt sharks’ electroreceptors and send them swimming away. Sharkbanz says the result is a sensation kind of like having a bright light in your eye. Which doesn’t sound all that bad. We must not taste so good.

COSTA HINANO SUNGLASSES costadelmar.com

$189.00 The Hinano is a flower that’s found in French Polynesia, but there’s not much flowery about these shades. This is no-nonsense eyewear with polarized lenses, high-grip temple tips and ultra-comfortable nose pads. Comfort and function — you never want to have to think about your sunglasses when you’re enjoying the water.

56 | CIGAR SNOB | MAR / APR 2018

COLUMBIA MEN’S PFG SUPER TERMINAL TACKLE LONG SLEEVE SHIRT columbia.com

$50.00 Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is a rating system that refers to how much of the sun’s damaging UV rays make it through the fabric. This shirt has a UPF rating of 30, which means only a thirtieth of the UV rays penetrate the shirt. That’s what you’re looking for for a long day on the boat if you don’t want every move you make to hurt the next day.


WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including N-nitrosonornicotine, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer, and nicotine, which is known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov. WARNING: Cigar smoking can cause lung cancer and heart disease.

MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

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SEÑOR RIO AÑEJO TEQUILA

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Tequila is a great option for anybody who wants to bring a spirit onto the boat. It won’t stain the vessel, and a great quality añejo tequila should be clean enough to not leave you feeling too messed up the way some whiskeys would when combined with a hot sun and choppy water. Señor Rio Añejo is aged at least a year in oak casks and made from estate-grown agave, so you know it’ll be as consistent as possible batch to batch.

Don’t be put off by its name and color; guys can drink Rosé too! Especially on a boating excursion, far from land and the judgmental eyes of fellow cigar smokers. The blend is 40% Pinot Meunier, 35% Pinot Noir, and 25% Chardonnay. The aroma of jammy cherries and berries and velvety texture make this a great complement to whatever savory items you’ve brought along on the water. The Champagne-style wine has a hint of smokiness and spice, so keep that in mind when you’re looking for cigar pairings.

This is a sipping tequila, meant to be enjoyed slowly. A great alternative if you enjoy pairing your cigars and your adventures with brown spirits. Fun fact: If you look around, you might be able to get your hands on Señor Rio cigars.

The first thing you do when you step aboard is put the bottles of Pannier on ice. Let them sit in your cooler until you get to the sandbar or until things have slowed down enough to uncork this beauty. Remember to always be mindful of glass bottles while on a boat.

ALWAYS REMEMBER TO DRINK AND BOAT RESPONSIBLY. 58 | CIGAR SNOB | MAR / APR 2018

Naturally, it’s always hard for us to resist turning to Cigar City for beer recommendations. One of Florida’s favorite brewers, Cigar City’s products reflect the Latin, tropical character of its Tampa home and the region at large, with beers like Jai Alai IPA and Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale. The beer drinkers among you will want something sessionable for extended boat trips, and at 5% ABV, Invasion fits the bill. Golden copper in color, the beer’s flavors of citrus, mango and caramel are delivered in a refreshing package that’s welcome on long, hot days. It’s light on your palate and pairs well with whatever it is you pack or catch. Bonus: Cigar City is part of a trend of breweries offering great beers in cans, which happens to be the ideal vessel for boating brews.

This feature is the result of collaboration between Cigar Snob Magazine and the fine folks at Total Wine & More (www.totalwine.com). We’d especially like to thank Kendall General Manager Pablo Estades for his guidance and counseling, without which this feature would have never made the cut. Thank you.


MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

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EDUARDO FERNÁNDEZ TOOK A PIZZA FORTUNE AND BECAME A WORLD-CLASS TOBACCO GROWER. NOW HE’S READY TO TAKE HIS CIGAR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL. - BY NICOLÁS ANTONIO JIMÉNEZ / PHOTOS BY RICARDO RUIZ MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

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he looks tired and disinterested, unwilling to come over and pose for a photo. Still, we want the shot, so we have a young employee at the factory drag her over to a wall, where we figure the uniform pattern of the bricks will juxtapose nicely with all the curves and wrinkles of her saggy body. She’s not exactly the most beautiful bitch you’ve ever seen, but she’s Aganorsa’s bitch and they’re proud to show her off. So much so, in fact, that Warped Cigars has commemorated her by naming a cigar for the Aganorsa bulldog: Guardian of the Farm. She’s the first one to greet you when you drive through the gates, even if unenthusiastically. Then again, maybe she’s just tired from all the guard-dogging. After all, she’s got a lot on her plate keeping watch over Estelí’s sleeping giant.

THE SECRET IS STILL IN THE DOUGH “We’ve been labeled the sleeping giant,” said Aganorsa founder Eduardo Fernández after a tour of his factory and some of his farms. “In the sense that we have this great leaf, great capacity to produce it, yet we don’t make that many cigars and we’re not well known. But that’s going to start changing.” Especially if you’re just a casual smoker, you can be forgiven for not knowing who Eduardo is. For starters, while his cigar business is vertically integrated, its names are a little confusing. You see, Aganorsa is an agriculture conglomerate. Among many other things, it’s one of the largest growers of premium cigar tobacco in Nicaragua. Eduardo sells most of his harvests, then produces cigars at his Estelí factory, Tabacos Valle de Jalapa, S.A., (or TABSA for short) and at his Miami factory, Tabacalera Tropical (which he bought in 2002 from cigar legend Pedro Martín, who continued to work as a blender and tobacco broker for Aganorsa after the sale). Some of those cigars are made for clients who run some very successful boutique brands, while others end up in his own cigar portfolio under the Casa Fernandez and JFR family of brands. Yes, it’s a little confusing, which is part of why the company is moving to streamline the branding for its farming and manufacturing under the “Aganorsa” banner. Like Eduardo said, things are going to start changing.

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Eduardo Fernández built a business on the integrity of his main ingredient, Aganorsa tobacco.

Still, even absent changes, this is a celebrated cigar maker. Case in point, this magazine’s list of the Top 25 Cigars of 2017 included three cigars made at the company’s factories: Casa Fernandez Miami Aniversario Serie 2015 (No. 2), Sindicato Miami Edition (No. 14) and San Isidro by HVC (No. 15). The first two are made at Tabacalera Tropical, and the last is made at Tabacos Valle de Jalapa. The story of Eduardo’s journey into tobacco and cigars is unlike that of just about any other cigar maker. While so many other Cuban-born cigar men cite long family histories on tobacco farms or extensive careers that started in Havana factories, Eduardo, who arrived in the U.S. at 10 years old and eventually settled with his parents in Ft. Lauderdale, attended a boarding school in Connecticut and later graduated from the Wharton School of Business.

tional banking. He lived there 10 years before being transferred to Miami. Throughout, Eduardo knew he had an entrepreneurial itch that needed scratching. He, along with his brother Leopoldo, finally got to scratch when they saw an opportunity in Spain. “When I lived in New York, I used to eat a lot of pizza because there was almost a pizza on every corner. You would always eat a slice. Spain was and still is a very traditional, excellent food experience, but fast food was just appearing. So we seized the opportunity. I felt like Hernán Cortés. I burned my ships and sold my house. I lived in Pinecrest, which was an up and coming area [in Miami] with a very good school district. I sold my car and went to open a pizzeria in Madrid.”

“I was right next to the Connecticut valley,” he said of his boarding school days. “So often I would see the buses of tobacco pickers — mostly Puerto Ricans — going to pick tobacco. Little did I know at that time — I was 14 to 17 years old — that that would be my life’s calling down the road.”

To say that Eduardo “opened a pizzeria” is an understatement. His and his brother’s company, Telepizza, introduced the concept of the pizza delivery chain to Spain in 1987. Within 10 years, the company had opened 300 stores. They went public in 1996, becoming the first restaurant company on the Madrid Stock Exchange. By 1999, shares of Telepizza were up 990 percent from their initial offering.

After graduation from Wharton, Eduardo ended up in New York to pursue a career in interna-

“We were a huge success,” he said. “Domino’s Pizza, we beat the hell out of them. They all


“Nicaragua has the resources and it has the human capital to deal with [the normal problems of a farming operation]. In Cuba, it’s a problem of allotment and bureaucracy,” said Jacinto. “If I’m a farmer and I need to use a fertilizer or some product like that now, there might not be product available immediately. Maybe they’ll get it to me in two or three days. But by the time it gets to me, the crop is destroyed. The conditions are right for Nicaraguan tobacco to be the best in the world. Tobacco is a shortcycle crop. You plant it and about 45 days later, you’re harvesting. If you don’t give the plant what it needs in those 45 days, it’s not going to come out right.”

Soil is tilled the old fashioned way on Aganorsa farms.

came thinking big and that they could conquer us, and they were just not able to. Still, the business exists. I learned marketing there. We used to work 17 hours a day because everything happened very quickly.” Eduardo sold stock in Telepizza and went into an early retirement, settling back into the financial world and later moving to London. When he got tired of reading stock prices, he contemplated whether this was how he wanted to spend the rest of his days. “I was 48. I had always liked farming. From early on, when I was kid, I always cut grass and planted trees and I had a nursery. I even looked at that business early on in Davie, outside of Ft. Lauderdale.” As you might have figured, though, his plans for a new career in agriculture became much bigger than South Florida plant nurseries. The idea of a future in farming had been swirling in his head for a while. Ever the long-term planner, he’d visited Central America to scope things out well before Telepizza even went public. Costa Rica wasn’t for him. Most places were too far from the ocean, he says, and the Costa Rican people are, by and large, too “aloof” for his liking. But Nicaragua… Even in Estelí, you’re never too long of a drive away from the sea, and the people made him feel a bit more at home. What’s more, Nicaraguans needed help in rebuilding their country, so they were receptive to the idea of foreign investors. As he made his way around the country to get the lay of

the land and scope out opportunities, he met Nestor Plasencia. “He said that tobacco was great business. He introduced me [to the idea that] it’s very Cubanesque and that the soils of Nicaragua were first class. That to me was very important.” When the time finally came for Eduardo to move forward setting up shop in Nicaragua, he knew he would need more expertise behind the new venture than he could bring to the table. Rather than look for talent in Nicaragua, he went to “the source”: Cuba. Eduardo sought talent specifically from Vuelta Abajo, the famed Cuban tobacco growing region. He also found Cubans in Nicaragua who had been working on contracts through the Cuban government. Among them was Jacinto Iglesias, who has now been the general manager for Aganorsa’s farming and production for 10 years.

After learning the hard way that it’s best to own the farm yourself rather than contracting farmers to grow for you exclusively, Eduardo began to invest heavily in farmland, and his team of Cuban experts went to work ramping up production of the tobacco that would later become the foundation of his company’s identity. Other growers in the region took notice, wondering who was growing all this tobacco on land worked by Cubans. The cigar industry behaves a bit like a high school cafeteria sometimes, and as word spread of these farms and the fact that nobody in Estelí was buying all that tobacco, some even speculated that it was being sold to the Cuban government. “We used to have a saying,” said Eduardo, recalling his pizza days in Spain. “The secret is in the dough.”

“I got to Nicaragua in 1997 and I started working with another company on the island of Ometepe,” said Jacinto, who is an engineer specializing in resistance to disease. “And, coincidentally, in 1998, I meet Eduardo. I’ve been working for Eduardo since January 1999. We started in Jalapa planting covered tobacco.” In 1999, though, the Cuban government forced Jacinto and other tobacco men to return to Cuba rather than stay in Nicaragua. So he and others found ways off the island to return to Nicaragua and Aganorsa. By the end of 2001, Jacinto was back in the saddle in Estelí, this time totally disassociated from the Cuban government.

Jacinto Iglesias is one of the Cubans who joined Eduardo in Nicaragua and brought their old techniques with them.

MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

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These days, the secret is in Aganorsa’s Criollo 98 and Corojo 99. In particular, Aganorsa’s Corojo 99 is among the most recognizable aromas in the cigar industry. Its signature sweetness is unforgettable and its aroma cuts through a room full of smokers so you always know when someone’s lit up around you. But when you do smell it, it’s not necessarily burning in a Casa Fernandez cigar.

TESTED IN THE FIGHTING ARENA It seems like any time you walk through a really great cigar factory, you notice something different about the way its owners have chosen to do things. Some quirk or nuance that lets you know the people who built the place didn’t just follow a paint-by-numbers guide to making cigars. In the case of Casa Fernández, it didn’t take me long to find that quirk. As is the case in most every factory in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, cigars are made by pairs of rollers. The first, the buncher, prepares the filler and binder to go into a mold, where it sits a while — usually several hours — before being opened back up by the buncher’s partner, who applies the wrapper.

“Eduardo has really extended the luxury of letting me root through his entire business,” said Dion Giolito (right) of Illusione Cigars.

than leaves and fractions of leaves. And they weigh each stogie more than once. Cigars are weighed at least twice: once by the buncher and once by quality control. A select few are weighed three times. “We pay attention to the weight. We have one customer, Dion Giolito… When that cigar goes to his store, I imagine him always at the counter weighing the cigars,” said Eduardo. Dion was in the room for the interview. He nodded his head as if to say, “You know me too well.” “And he gives me a call as well [if a cigar’s weight is off],” Eduardo continued. “Which is good! He’s the final control. To us, weight is extremely important and I’m extremely sensitive to it.”

wAt Aganorsa’s factory, every bunch is weighed before going into a mold. The bunchers at Casa Fernández, I realized, went through an extra step. It’s quick, but it’s there. Every time binder is applied to the filler, that bunch is placed on a digital scale to ensure it’s the right weight before it goes into the mold. At most other factories, cigars are weighed in bundles of 25 or so. If your bundle weighs what it should, there’s always a chance that one cigar’s a little overfilled, another a little underfilled. Not here. Aganorsa weighs every single cigar. It’s a system that was put in place by Cuban master and Aganorsa master blender Arsenio Ramos, who blended by weight rather

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Dion has a special stake in the weight of the cigars. As the founder of Illusione Cigars, he’s relied on Aganorsa tobacco to help set his product apart from everything else on the market. And it’s worked. Illusione is one of the most highly regarded boutique brands in the business. It’s the name behind Fume D’Amour, Rothchildes, and many more. On this trip to Estelí, Dion was — among other things — checking in on production of OneOff, a revival of a brand that had a cult following in the early 2000s and was recently acquired by Illusione. “It’s a real special relationship that a brand like mine has with Aganorsa and Eduardo,” Dion said. “Eduardo has really extended the luxury

of letting me root through his entire business. He’s really entrusted a person like me to be able to go look at pilones and tobacco. That’s 90 percent of what I do here — just making sure that the tobacco, from the quality standpoint that I look for, makes its way to the galera floor. Having that ability and access to be able to put my hands on any and all of his tobaccos is a rare opportunity for a person like me in this business.” Dion isn’t alone in having access to that tobacco. Eduardo has managed to put together a group of clients who all — despite not having their own factories — are recognized in the cigar world for having real credibility on cigars and tobacco. Also on the factory floor during my visit was Nick Melillo, who launched Foundation Cigars in 2015. “Having lived here in Nicaragua since 2003 and not being on the sales and distribution side, it was very important for me to express my love for Nicaragua. So I really wanted to make a blend that was a hundred percent Nicaraguan and a brand that really expressed the heart and soul of what Nicaragua was to me, but also the Nicaraguan people,” said Nick, who had previously worked for Drew Estate as a blender and tobacco purchaser. “I had purchased a lot of tobacco over the years from Aganorsa, and so I was very familiar with the tobacco. I knew in order to make a hundred percent Nicaraguan cigar, the key to that was going to be the wrapper. Having a Nicaraguan wrapper is not an easy thing because of the sun exposure and the land. Wrappers are usu-


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ally coming from Ecuador, from Mexico, from other parts of the world, and I knew that the team here at TABSA and Aganorsa had been working on growing wrapper for many, many years. For me, it was the best wrapper for El Güegüense, the Wise Man, that I was going to launch. So that was crucial.” Credible, familiar faces like Dion’s and Nick’s — as well as Eduardo’s son Max, who plays a major role in managing the day to day operations of the factory — give the factory a feeling of familial collaboration. These are all people who not only respect one another, but enjoy each other’s company. Other Aganorsa clients include Viaje, Warped and HVC, all well respected brands releasing acclaimed cigars. As we sat around a long table to enjoy a roasted whole hog (naturally, an Aganorsa pig; remember that they do more than tobacco) with Eduardo, some of his team and a number of his private label clients (including a small delegation from a factory in Moscow), it was clear that he is looking for partners he can treat like family. He’s observed that these people can not only be trusted with access, but also that they fit in with a seat at the table… whether for a blending session or a Cuban feast. SIDE NOTE: This might have been the best Cuban-style lechón I’ve ever had. “People prove themselves in the fighting arena, which is the marketplace,” said Eduardo. “With their vision, we make the best cigar in their profile. Some take that opportunity and take it to another level with their vision. To me that’s a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Because I’m not the only guy in the world who knows how to do something well. Other people bring a lot to the table. “I love that people take our leaf and do something with their own vision. I take pleasure in people making our leaf even more beautiful, even more expressive. That, to me, is an accolade.”

THE BUSINESS OF TRADITION Moving forward, Aganorsa is poised to tell its story and earn even more accolades for cigars that bear its own name. The tobacco, as Eduardo puts it, has its own identity. “We sell Aganorsa leaf. We don’t sell tobacco leaf,” he said. “It has a personality, it has a name, it has a backing to it, a culture behind it, a vision. To us it’s extremely important.” Whatever you call it, Aganorsa is churning out

66 | CIGAR SNOB | MAR / APR 2018

Preparing Aganorsa tobacco for curing in an Estelí barn.

a whole lot of it. All together, the company’s 1,000-plus acres of Nicaraguan farm land in Jalapa, Condega and Estelí produce 13,000 bales of tobacco. To give you a sense of scale, that’s enough for them to sell off about 85 percent of their harvest and still have enough for their own factory to make 20,000 cigars every day. “We’re not one of the huge factories. We’re boutique-ish,” Eduardo said. “We aim to do things right, not just produce massive numbers of cigars. Our trajectory is to keep growing, but always have quality in mind. [José Orlando] Padrón taught me that … It’s not just about producing cigars. It’s producing great cigars year in year out.” “Eduardo is a good friend of my family’s. He had a good friendship with my father, and many of the people who work with him are also good friends of ours. It’s a good thing he’s here in Nicaragua,” said Jorge Padrón of Padrón Cigars. As the company works to build its name recognition among smokers, Terence Reilly, who recently joined the Aganorsa team on the sales and marketing side after a long tenure at Quesada Cigars, will play a pivotal role. “We have a great selection, but there’s that signature flavor that permeates all of them to varying degrees,” Terence said. “So that’s what I think is our focus, is to express that flavor profile in different ways. We’re for a certain smoker that enjoys Nicaraguan tobacco with a clear Cuban influence. If you’re into other profiles, that’s great, but you’re probably not going

to be into what we’re doing.” Pedro Martín died in 2010 and, when I visited Nicaragua for this story, Arsenio Ramos was ill in Cuba. By now, Eduardo has soaked up enough knowledge to walk, talk and act like a genuine tobacco man himself. “Nobody’s born with knowledge. You have to acquire it, in tobacco especially. Tobacco teaches you because every year is different. Things behave differently, people behave differently, so you have to adjust and that knowledge takes time to acquire. Maybe five or six years ago, things started really coming together.” As Eduardo moves into a new chapter for Aganorsa tobacco, he can look confidently back on the plunge he took in the late ‘90s and know that it paid off. And that might be the most incredible thing about this company that showed up relatively recently considering it’s so damn big in the premium cigar tobacco space. Eduardo left pizza delivery and international finance for a much quieter life in a much quieter place. And despite his having caught lightning in a bottle all over again, Eduardo still talks about it as the quiet retreat of a business he was looking for in his early retirement. “My vision grew to do things the old-fashioned way,” he said. “I don’t experiment with new tobacco or new flavors. [The idea is] to do what was done for hundreds of years in Cuba. If I can do that, I’m the happiest man in the world.”


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67


TOP LOST AND WANDER Bloomingdale's Boca Raton PANTS LOST AND WANDER Bloomingdale's Boca Raton EARRINGS & HAT Encore Plus


CORSET VICTORIA BECKHAM Encore Plus BLOUSE RE:NAMED Bloomingdale's Boca Raton PANTS RAMY BROOK Bloomingdale's Boca Raton


SWIMSUIT SINESIA KAROL Encore Plus PANTS SINESIA KAROL Encore Plus JACKET ELIE TAHARI Bloomingdale's Boca Raton EARRINGS Encore Plus


TOP CELINE Encore Plus PANTS ROBERTO CAVALLI Encore Plus EARRING BAUBLEBAR Bloomingdales Boca Raton SHOES BOTTEGA VENETA Encore Plus


TOP RAMY BROOK Bloomingdale's Boca Raton SHORTS SHOW ME YOUR MUMU Bloomingdale's Boca Raton EARRING AQUA Bloomingdale's Boca Raton


TOP ADRIANA DEGREAS Encore Plus

PANTS RALPH LAUREN Encore Plus

BRA TOP CHANEL Encore Plus

SHOES TOM FORD Encore Plus


DRESS HAUTE HIPPIE Bloomingdale's Boca Raton


TOP RAMY BROOK Bloomingdale's Boca Raton PANTS GERARD DAREL Bloomingdale's Boca Raton SHOES CHANEL Encore Plus


MODEL

BELU BERGAGNA WILHELMINA MIAMI PHOTOGRAPHY

LIMITED EDITION www.limitededitionmanagement.com PRODUCTION

IVAN OCAMPO iocampo@cigarsnobmag.com PRODUCTION ASSISTANT

JAMILET CALVIÑO jcalvino@cigarsnobmag.com WARDROBE STYLIST

JENNA DEBRINO www.limitededitionmanagement.com ASSISTANT WARDROBE STYLIST

AMANDA MILLER HAIR AND MAKE-UP ARTIST

ADRIAN COELHO www.limitededitionmanagement.com LOCATION

MARRIOTT STANTON SOUTH BEACH www.marriott.com

PANTSUIT HALSTON Bloomingdale's Boca Raton

CIGARS NESTOR MIRANDA COLLECTION www.miamicigarandcompany.com


82 | CIGAR SNOB | MAR / APR 2018


54 cigars MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

83


LANCERO Fuente Fuente Opus X

$ 2 7.00

)

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C

)

92

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Lancero 7 1/2 40 Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

J Grotto Silk

$ 7.99

)

H O N D UR AS

)

91

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Lancero 7 1/2 40 Ecuador Indonesia Nicaragua & Honduras

Balmoral Añejo XO

A smooth and flavorful blend finished with a golden colored wrapper and topped with a neat pigtail. This consistently well-constructed cigar delivers a medium bodied profile of cedar, pepper, and coffee with a touch of sweetness.

)

$ 12.95

)

91

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Lancero FT 7 40 Brazil Dominican Republic Brazil, Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

)

Southern Draw Rose of Sharon

)

90

) )

89

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Covered with a slightly rustic-looking wrapper and finished with a perfect fantail. This wellmade lancer has a unique flavor profile with notes of oak, sweet pepper, and a touch of licorice. Provides a flawless draw and burn.

$ 9.35 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Lancero 6 1/2 40 Ecuador Nicaragua Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

Cornelius & Anthony Cornelius

N I CA R AG UA A light, soft-pressed lancero covered with a supple wrapper and finished with a tight pigtail and a covered foot. Delivers a balanced profile of nuts, vanilla, pepper, and cream complemented by a touch of wood. Mild to medium bodied.

$ 13.50 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Lonsdale 6 1/2 42 Ecuador Ecuador Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

La Barba Red

USA Opens with intense pepper and oak, which settles to incorporate hazelnut and a touch of sweet cream. This medium strength Lonsdale consistently draws and burns well producing an excellent smoke output.

$ 8.80

)

H O N D UR AS

)

89

84 | CIGAR SNOB | MAR / APR 2018

Superb construction and balance. This medium to full strength lancero is covered with a rich, reddish, light brown wrapper with a velvet feel. Draws perfectly and produces an excellent output of thick, aromatic smoke with notes of cedar, cinnamon, and soft spice.

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Lancero 6 1/2 40 Honduras Honduras Honduras

A thin lonsdale covered with a supple, reddish brown wrapper with excellent oils. Delivers a profile of nuts, pepper, cinnamon, and bitter coffee complemented by notes of dried fruit on the finish.


MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

85


GRAN TORO

)

Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Maduro

)

92

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

$ 20.70

N I CA R AG UA No. 4 6 1/2 60 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

AVO Syncro Nicaragua

)

$ 11.90

)

92

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Special Toro 6 60 Ecuador Dominican Republic Peru, Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

)

Rocky Patel Special Edition

)

91

) )

91

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Large and perfectly box-pressed. This medium strength blend produces an abundant smoke output with a clean profile of cedar, walnut, leather, and cream complemented by a ripe fruit sweetness on the finish. Consistently provides a perfect draw.

$ 11.50

N I CA R AG UA VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Sixty 6 60 Ecuador Nicaragua Nicaragua

Plasencia Alma del Campo

Producing an abundant output of thick, aromatic smoke, this medium strength blend has a core of mocha, almonds, and vanilla cream balanced by a soft pepper note in the background. Well-made and finished with a clean, supple wrapper.

$ 19.00

N I CA R AG UA VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Madroño 6 1/2 58 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

Florida Sun Grown

A beautifully constructed, thick cigar with a highly aromatic blend producing notes of toast, walnut, wood, and sweet pepper complemented by a smooth, creamy texture. Covered with a clean, reddish brown wrapper.

$ 15.00

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

90

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Toro 6 60 Brazil Honduras USA & Nicaragua

Toraño Vault TM-027

Consistently well-constructed and flavorful, this medium strength blend produces flavors of sweet cedar, soft pepper, and earth accompanied by an herbal note on the finish. Covered with a clean, milk chocolate colored wrapper with minimal veins.

$ 7.00

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

88

86 | CIGAR SNOB | MAR / APR 2018

Flavorful and ultra-smooth, this medium strength blend is loaded with notes of chocolate, earth, and soft pepper accompanied by a cinnamon and tanned leather aroma. Draws and burns flawlessly leaving behind a solid, compact ash.

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Gordo 6 60 Mexico Nicaragua Nicaragua

Opens with flavors of earth, pepper, and espresso, which are soon accompanied by a more subtle nutmeg, raisin, and cocoa. This thick, medium strength cigar is covered with a dark, reddish brown wrapper with some prominent veins.


MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

87


TORPEDO

)

EP Carrillo Selección Oscuro

)

92

$ 8.55

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Piramides Royal 6 52 Mexico Ecuador Nicaragua

)

AJ Fernandez Last Call Maduro

)

91

$ 6.00

N I CA R AG UA VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Flaquitas 6 46 USA Nicaragua Nicaragua

La Galera Maduro

A slim torpedo covered with a dark, toothy wrapper with a coarse texture and finished with a covered foot. Provides a perfect draw and leaves behind a solid, tight ash. Medium plus strength with notes of cocoa, pepper, sweet espresso, and a touch of earth.

$ 6.50

)

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C

)

91

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Cortador 6 1/4 52 Mexico Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

Hugo Chairman

An ultra-flavorful blend with a profile of sweet black tobacco, molasses, and espresso balanced by cedar, pepper, and a touch of earth. This medium strength blend is covered with a dark brown, toothy wrapper.

$ 12.00

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

90

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Torpedo 6 52 Mexico Brazil Nicaragua

Cavalier Genève

Sweet and earthy flavors are complemented by wood, intense pepper, hazelnut, and raisin. This medium strength torpedo is covered with a dark brown, neatly applied wrapper with only minimal veins.

$ 9.50

)

H O N D UR AS

)

90

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Torpedo 6 54 Mexico Nicaragua Nicaragua

)

Gurkha Royal Challenge Maduro

)

87

88 | CIGAR SNOB | MAR / APR 2018

Flawlessly made and full flavored out of the gate. The initial intensity mellows to reveal flavors of chocolate, soft pepper, and coffee complemented by subtle notes of wood and dried fruit. Produces an excellent smoke output.

Covered with an exceedingly dark wrapper with a coarse feel, this medium to full bodied blend delivers a core of oak, soft pepper, and earth accompanied by cinnamon and nuts. Consistently provides a good draw.

$ 9.46 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Torpedo 6 1/2 53 Ecuador Honduras Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

N I CA R AG UA Delivers a black pepper blast at the onset accompanied by earth, dark cocoa, and strong espresso. This medium to full strength torpedo draws well and leaves behind an even burn with a somewhat flaky ash.


MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

89


TORO

)

Rocky Patel Twentieth Anniversary Natural

)

92

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Toro 6 52 Honduras Honduras Honduras & Nicaragua

Villiger La Meridiana

H O N D UR AS Highly aromatic and flavorful, this consistently well-constructed, box-pressed toro is cloaked in a clean wrapper with good oils. Produces an excellent smoke output with notes of coffee and cocoa complemented by pepper, leather, and a touch of cream.

$ 10.50

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

91

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Pressed Toro 6 54 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

LFD Reserva Especial

Beautifully box-pressed and covered with a dark, reddish brown wrapper with excellent oils. This medium strength blend is rich and smooth with a core of oak, earth, and pepper complemented by notes of sweet espresso and cocoa.

)

$ 9.50

)

90

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Toro 6 54 Ecuador Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

Casa Fernandez Miami

Produces an excellent output of thick, aromatic smoke with notes of wood, pepper, nuts, and cream complemented by a rich caramel sweetness. This medium strength blend is covered with a slightly rough-looking wrapper with prominent veins.

$ 9.56

)

USA

)

90

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Toro 6 54 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

)

Victor Calvo VC50 Cincuenta

)

90

Medium plus strength with a core of cedar, earth, pepper, and spice complemented by a hint of molasses. This well-constructed toro is finished with a clean, supple wrapper with a velvet feel. Draws and burns beautifully and leaves behind a solid, compact ash.

$ 9.00 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Toro 6 1/2 54 Ecuador USA Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

Karen Berger Habano

N I CA R AG UA An impeccably constructed, neatly pressed toro finished with a clean, supple wrapper with minimal veins. Flavorful and aromatic with a profile of earth, sweet pepper, and cream complemented by notes of leather and coffee.

$ 10.00

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

89

90 | CIGAR SNOB | MAR / APR 2018

$ 12.00

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Toro 6 52 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

Box-pressed and finished with a good-looking, milk chocolate brown wrapper topped with a somewhat sloppy head. This medium plus strength blend is loaded with notes of wood, leather, and spice accompanied by a touch of mustiness.


TORO N I CA R AGUA VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Series 3000 6 50 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

92

)

Balanced and complex, this full strength blend opens with a heavy dose of pepper, which settles to incorporate notes of cinnamon, milk chocolate, and a hint of dark cherry. Wellconstructed and covered with an oily, reddish brown wrapper.

)

Curivari Reserva Limitada

$ 7.00

Oliva Serie G

$ 6.12 Toro 6 50 Cameroon Nicaragua Nicaragua

N I CA R AGUA Toro 6 52 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

90

)

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

)

Montecristo Epic Craft Cured

$ 15.75

Well-constructed and covered with a clean, light brown wrapper with minimal veins. Delivers a balanced and smooth profile of cedar, cinnamon, and vanilla accompanied by a soft pepper note on the finish. Draws and burns perfectly.

91

)

A consistent and flavorful blend with a medium bodied profile of cedar, soft pepper, and walnuts balanced by a hint of cocoa powder on the finish. Draws and burns beautifully while producing an excellent output of thick, aromatic smoke.

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

)

N I CA R AGUA

Espinosa Alpha Dawg

$ 9.20 Short Churchill 6 48 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

90

)

Opens with a shot of pepper joined by notes of caramel, earth, coffee, and leather with a touch of citrus on the finish. This medium to full strength toro is covered with a highly aromatic, medium brown wrapper with good oils.

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

)

N I CA R AGUA

CAO La Traviata Radiante 6 52 Ecuador Cameroon Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

Gran Habano La Conquista

$ 8.50

H O ND U R AS

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Gran Robusto 6 54 Nicaragua Nicaragua Costa Rica, Colombia & Nicaragua

87

)

A thick toro covered with a light brown, neatly applied wrapper with minimal veins. This medium plus strength blend has a profile of wood, pepper, and hay accompanied by a sweet, mint note on the finish.

89

)

Finished with a toothy, reddish brown wrapper with good oils. This medium bodied toro delivers a smooth flavor profile of earth, soft pepper, and almond cream accompanied by a hint of hazelnut.

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

)

N I CA R AGUA

)

$ 5.89

MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

91


TORO

)

Perdomo 20th Anniversary Maduro

)

92

$ 9.00

N I CA R AG UA VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Epicure 6 56 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

The Tabernacle

$ 11.50

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

91

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Toro 6 52 USA/Connecticut Mexico Honduras & Nicaragua

)

Romeo San Andrés by Romeo y Julieta

)

91

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Covered with an exceedingly dark and toothy wrapper with a coarse feel. This ultra-consistent blend delivers a medium plus strength blend with notes of intense pepper and earth accompanied by bittersweet chocolate and black coffee.

$ 9.55 Toro 6 54 Mexico Nicaragua Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

Joya Black

N I CA R AG UA Beautifully constructed and neatly wrapped in a dark brown wrapper. Draws and burns exceptionally well, leaving behind a perfect ash. Medium plus strength with smooth earth and pepper complemented by dark chocolate and a touch of ripe fruit.

$ 7.96

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

91

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Toro 6 52 Mexico Nicaragua Nicaragua

Affinity Maduro

Super smooth and flavorful with a medium bodied profile that delivers loads of earth, pepper, and dark chocolate balanced by notes of cedar and black cherry. Consistently well-constructed, providing a flawless draw and burn.

$ 8.30

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

90

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Toro 6 54 Ecuador Nicaragua Nicaragua

PDR 1878 Capa Madura

Delivers an easy draw and produces an abundant output of medium bodied smoke with notes of earth, pepper, and charred oak complemented by a touch of molasses. Finished with a dark, toothy wrapper.

)

$ 6.00

)

88

92 | CIGAR SNOB | MAR / APR 2018

Flavorful and complex, this well-balanced blend delivers a core of earth and dark chocolate complemented by notes of oak, pepper, and touch of raisin sweetness. This pressed cigar is covered with a dark brown wrapper with minimal veins.

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Toro 6 52 Brazil Dominican Republic Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Topped with a neat pigtail and covered with a dark brown wrapper with an intense aroma of sweet hay. Produces a high smoke output with notes of wood, pepper, and cocoa with a touch of oil. Medium plus strength.


MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

93


ROBUSTO A. Fuente Añejo

$ 10.80

)

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C

)

93

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

No. 50 5 1/4 50 USA/Connecticut Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

)

Camacho American Barrel-Aged

)

91

$ 11.00

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Robusto 5 50 USA/Connecticut USA/Connecticut USA & Honduras

)

San Lotano Requiem Maduro

)

91

N I CA R AG UA VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Robusto 5 52 Mexico Nicaragua Honduras & Nicaragua

)

Extremely dark and finished with a toothy wrapper with a coarse texture. This boxpressed offering delivers a full-flavored profile loaded with notes of bitter cocoa, oak, pepper, and intense black coffee accompanied by a soft leather aroma.

$ 9.50

)

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Robusto 5 52 Mexico Dominican Republic Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

Four Kicks Maduro

N I CA R AG UA A flawlessly constructed, pressed robusto covered with a clean, dark brown wrapper with only slight veins. This medium plus strength blend draws easy, producing a profile of earth, soft pepper, bittersweet cocoa, and a touch of ripe fruit sweetness.

$ 10.65

)

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C

)

90

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Robusto Extra 5 1/2 56 USA/Connecticut Nicaragua Nicaragua

)

Diamond Crown Black Diamond

)

89

94 | CIGAR SNOB | MAR / APR 2018

Flavorful and highly aromatic, this well-constructed robusto produces an abundant output of thick smoke with notes of oak, earth, vanilla bean, and a touch of bitter espresso. Finished with a dark brown wrapper with a coarse feel.

$ 8.00

La Palina El Año 1896 Oscuro

90

Superb balance and complexity. This medium to full bodied blend has a core of sweet cedar, cinnamon, soft pepper, and cream complemented by a rich, leather aroma. Consistently well-constructed and finished with a dark wrapper with excellent oils.

Densely packed and covered with an oily and toothy, dark brown wrapper. This flavorful blend has a complex core of bittersweet chocolate, roasted nuts, black pepper, and earth complemented by a touch of spice on the lips.

$ 19.00

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Marquise 5 1/4 56 USA/Connecticut Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

This thick, dark robusto is covered with an oily and toothy wrapper with prominent veins. Delivers a medium strength profile of bittersweet cocoa, charred oak, and a touch of sweet pepper complemented by an aroma of leather and soft spice.


ROBUSTO VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Robusto Grande 5 1/2 54 Ecuador Indonesia Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

Robusto 5 50 Cameroon Dominican Republic Brazil, Cameroon & Dominican Republic

Aging Room Solera Corojo

$ 7.65

D O MI NI CAN R EPUBLIC VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Festivo 4 3/4 52 Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

91

)

Topped with a neat, tight pigtail, this wellconstructed robusto is cloaked in a reddish brown wrapper with only slight veins. Medium strength with a profile of cedar, rich pepper, and ripe fruit complemented by notes of tanned leather.

91

)

Covered with a good-looking, light brown wrapper with a sweet, nutty aroma. This wellmade robusto starts soft and builds up to a medium bodied profile of wood, almonds, bitter cocoa, and a touch of cinnamon.

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

)

La Aurora Preferidos Platinum Cameroon

$ 9.4 4

D O MI NI CAN R EPUBLIC

91

)

A beautifully constructed, thick robusto covered with a clean, aromatic wrapper with sheen. A balanced and flavorful core of nuts, cedar, and pepper complemented by a subtle touch of butterscotch. Produces an excellent smoke output.

)

N I CA R AGUA

)

Pappy Van Winkle Tradition

$ 21.60

Highclere Castle

$ 1 4.00 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Robusto 5 50 Ecuador Brazil Nicaragua

90

)

Consistently well-constructed, this medium strength blend produces an excellent smoke output with a core of wood, nuts, and pepper complemented by sweet cream and leather. Finished with a beautiful, golden colored wrapper with sheen.

)

N I CA R AGUA

Cohiba Blue

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Robusto 5 50 Ecuador Dominican Republic Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

89

)

A flavorful blend with notes of chestnut, pepper, oak, and a touch of citrus. This medium plus strength blend is finished with a somewhat brindled-looking wrapper. Draws and burns well, leaving behind a slightly flaky ash.

90

Gurkha Ediciรณn Limitada 2001 Aged Cabinet

$ 7.50

D O MI NI CAN R EPUBLIC

Robusto 5 1/2 50 Honduras Honduras Honduras, Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

)

Rich and creamy with a balanced profile of cedar, nuts, and sweet pepper accompanied by a soft, leather aroma. This blend is consistently well-constructed and covered with a reddish brown wrapper with a soft, supple feel.

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

)

D O MI NI CAN R EPUBLIC

)

$ 10.2 9

MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

95


CORONA Tatuaje Black

$ 10.00

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

92

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Corona Gorda 5 5/8 46 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

Aladino

$ 6.50

)

H O N D UR AS

)

92

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Palmas 6 43 Honduras Honduras Honduras

Debonaire Daybreak

Well-balanced and flavorful, this medium strength blend has a smooth core of earth, soft pepper, and coffee complemented by a hint of caramel and notes of dried fruit and spice. Consistently draws and burns exceptionally well.

)

$ 11.53

)

91

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Corona 6 46 Ecuador Dominican Republic Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

Undercrown Sun Grown

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Covered with a soft, supple wrapper with minimal veins, this mild to medium strength corona delivers a profile of vanilla, sweet cedar, and soft pepper balanced by cream and honey. Draws and burns perfectly.

$ 8.20

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

91

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Corona 5 5/8 46 Ecuador USA/Connecticut Nicaragua

My Father Cedros Deluxe

Ultra-consistent and flavorful. Delivers a medium strength profile of cedar, earth, and pepper balanced by vanilla cream and a touch of ripe fruit. Draws and burns perfectly while leaving behind a solid, compact ash.

$ 9.25

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

90

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Cervantes 6 1/2 44 Ecuador Nicaragua Nicaragua

PDR El Criollito

Opens with a burst of pepper that settles to incorporate itself along with notes of cedar, coffee, cocoa and a touch of cream on the finish. This well-constructed, medium to full strength blend is covered with a beautiful, chocolate brown wrapper.

)

$ 7.25

)

90

96 | CIGAR SNOB | MAR / APR 2018

Impeccably constructed and covered with an oily, brass colored wrapper topped with a slightly pointed head. Delivers a perfect draw and produces an excellent smoke output with notes of pepper, earth, and coffee accompanied by a touch of cinnamon.

VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Corona 6 48 Ecuador Mexico Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Covered with an oily, milk chocolate colored wrapper with some prominent veins. Delivers a core of nuts, wood, and coffee complemented by leather, cream, and a hint of cinnamon. Produces an excellent smoke output.


MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

97


tunity has been through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Under the previous President’s tenure, when these regulations were initiated, this very agency put in writing that if the FDA regulated cigars in the fashion proposed, 50 percent of the industry could be wiped out. Under the new management of the SBA, regional roundtables have been held throughout the nation, and the industry is using these forums to tell the story again.

Why the premium cigar political machine can never be turned off. The threat is permanent.

here are certain dates and benchmarks in the trilogy of the federal war on cigars that stand out. April 15, 2011 was the day the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act was introduced in Congress, which marked the first time the premium cigar industry went on offense to use the political process to protect itself against unprecedented bureaucratic threats. There was another such moment on February 27, 2018. On that winter day in Washington, D.C., premium cigar manufacturers and community tobacconists descended on the capital to tell the story of handmade cigars to the new leadership of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Cigar Rights of America and the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association joined forces once again, to convey the message once again, but to a new audience. Carlito Fuente, Robert Levin, Jorge Padrón, Rocky Patel, and tobacconists Craig Cass and Greg Zimmerman told this unique story after weeks of preparation; a story not of tobacco, smoke or legal intricacies, but one of passion, culture, small business, and a skilled sector of artisans who don’t deserve bureaucratic treatment of historic proportion. It’s about discerning adults, gathering in the sanctity of local shops, lounges, homes, on golf courses, at weddings, or to celebrate a momentous life event. It’s a story that doesn’t involve lawyers — it involves artists and local merchants. They left the meeting with relief that it was over, and yet, this was just the beginning — again. This is why the political machine can never be off. That same

98 | CIGAR SNOB | MAR / APR 2018

week, industry notables such as Litto Gómez and Bobby Newman again traveled to D.C. to continue the advocacy effort that began in 2011 — and that can never stop. The legislative initiative that began on that April day in 2011 has resulted in the development of a congressional coalition that heretofore never existed. While not a majority, to amass over 140 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 20 members of the U.S. Senate is a testament to the time, resources and commitment retail tobacconists, manufacturers and consumers have made to building a new political future for premium handmade cigars. They are our new voices of reason, and a platform for advocacy to the Administration and to bureaucracy. In fact, industry leaders have been “dropping everything” for one-day visits to Congress, in the effort to advance legislation calling for a premium handmade cigar exemption in this all-too-cumbersome political environment. But this is a threefront war — Congress, the President’s Administration, and the courts. Literally hundreds of meetings and briefings have taken place, and by my count, in recent weeks, there were over 20 hours of conference calls, hundreds of emails, grassroots calls and pleas to congressional offices, all to work toward the protection of the simple enjoyment of a great cigar. Sounds ridiculous, when you put it in this context. Let’s see — national security, decaying infrastructure, education, jobs and the economy … and enjoying cigars. It’s like that old SAT question, “Which one doesn’t fit?” While the industry awaits a court decision, the message has to be told and pleas have to be made in many more offices and agencies of our government. Of recent note, a wonderful oppor-

In Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, Louisiana, Kentucky, and more to come, community tobacconists and manufacturers have been appearing to provide testimony on the threatening nature these existing and proposed federal regulations can have on local cigar shops, many of which have been passed down from generation to generation. Manufacturers like Christian Eiroa have told the story, and boutique makers of small batch cigars will soon be testifying as well. Then, just of late, the FDA has initiated a new process, specifically to address the premium cigar regulatory approach. This too will be an opportunity to clarify the harm these rules will have. There will be a call for public comment on questions about what is truly a “premium cigar” (yes, our government is still grappling with that question), “usage patterns” of our cigar brethren, and whether premium cigars should be exempted from regulation. You can bet our detractors will be vocal on these matters, and our Cigar Voters will need to be equally as vocal. Groups such as CRA and IPCPR will be formalizing specific responses, but we will need “our public” to be as loud as the opposition. Company owners such as Dr. Gaby Kafie, M.D., of Kafie Cigars has already started preparing his response to such issues, from his professional perspective and as a cigar maker, to explain why premium cigars are different. Dozens will join him by going on the record. The point here is, the machine can never be turned off. As I once told a group of local retail tobacconists, “politics is now in your job description.” You see, the swamp of Washington is an ever-changing anomaly. While the entrenched bureaucracy never changes, the leadership of agencies and those seats in Congress are in a constant state of change. In seemingly constant election cycles, chronic staff turnover, and personal and special interest agendas, the threats will never truly go away, even if the industry wins (on any point) in the current environment. Because each election year (2018, 2020, and so on) can present an entirely new slate of challenges and opportunities to protect this passion we all share — a solemn moment, with a great cigar.


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The cigar world is on Twitter and we aim to keep track of who’s leading who. The following is a scoreboard of the cigar world’s most relevant Tweeples. The list is sorted by number of followers and broken into groups: Top 20 Twitter Cigar Companies & Reps, Top 10 Twitter Retailers, Top 10 Online Cigar Tweeps, Top 3 Twitter Cigar Organizations, and Top 3 Cigar Radio Twitter accounts. If you have the numbers and belong in one of these groups, stand up and be counted! Set us straight via Twitter @cigarsnobmag.

TOP CIGAR COMPANIES (sorted by Twitter followers) Rocky Patel @RockyPatelCigar......................................... Drew Estate Cigars @DrewEstateCigar............................. Padron Cigar @PADRONCIGAR......................................... CAO International @CAOCigars......................................... Alec Bradley Cigars @AlecBradley.................................... Jonathan Drew @JonathanDrew1..................................... La Flor Dominicana @LFDCigars....................................... Camacho Cigars @camachocigars................................... Pete Johnson @TatuajeCigars........................................... Ashton Cigars @ashtoncigar............................................. Xikar Inc @XIKARinc......................................................... La Gloria Cubana @lagloriacubana.................................... Miami Cigar Co @miamicigar............................................. Punch Cigars @punchcigars............................................. Nick Perdomo @PerdomoCigars....................................... Nat Sherman Intl. @Nat42nd............................................. Ernesto Padilla @PadillaCigars......................................... AJ Fernandez Cigars @ajfcigars........................................ La Palina Cigars @La PalinaCigars.................................... Avo Cigars @AvoCigars.....................................................

30338 29385 25347 24285 21683 18949 18600 18257 16708 16469 14454 13971 13689 13292 13242 12360 12157 11919 11782 11191

TOP CIGAR ORGANIZATIONS CRA @cigarrights............................................................. 14199 IPCPR Staff @theIPCPR.................................................. 7589 Tobacconist University @tobacconistU............................. 4653

TOP CIGAR RADIO Cigar Dave Show @CigarDaveShow................................. 11620 Smooth Draws @SmoothDraws....................................... 4450 KMA Talk Radio @KMATalkRadio...................................... 2839

SOME OF OUR FAVORITE TWEETS, MENTIONS, AND RANDOM SOCIAL MEDIA GOODNESS.

TOP CIGAR RETAILERS & REPS Mulberry St. Cigars @MulberryStCigar............................. Cigar Hustler @cigarhustler.............................................. Famous Smoke Shop @FamousSmokeShop...................... Cigar Row @CigarRow..................................................... Jeff Borysiewicz – Corona Cigar Co @CoronaCigarCo....... Cigar Inn @CIGARINN....................................................... Michael Herklots–Nat Sherman @MichaelHerklots............ Cheap Humidors @cheaphumidors................................... Palm Desert Tobacco @palmdsrttobacco......................... Lindsay Siddiqi @TheCigarChick.......................................

14377 12264 12099 8983 7216 7009 6916 6055 5671 5539

@domenicovacca via Instagram Cigar Snob editor @nicolasajimenez took me to meet Jorge Padron, at his Little Havana headquarters. When you make quality handmade products, you share vision and philosophy even if products are different.

TOP ONLINE CIGAR TWEEPLES David Voth–Sex, Cigars, & Booze @SexCigarsBooze......... Cigar News @CigaRSS .................................................... Cigar Events @CigarEvents............................................... Stogie Boys @StogieBoys ............................................... Cigar Evaluations @CigarEvaluation................................. Robusto Cigar Babe @RobustoBabe................................. Cigar Inspector @CigarInspector ..................................... The Stogie Guys @stogieguys........................................... Tom Ufer @cigarsmonkingman.......................................... Barry Stein @barry2guys.................................................

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162802 14949 14518 9873 9818 9598 8648 8548 6863 6219

@isabellagazquez via Instagram Tú solo quieres quererme cuando tú quieras, tú solo quieres quererme y en primavera, pero yo no soy Pinocho, que el corazón tiene de madera.


SCORE SOME BLONDIE AND KUBA KUBA FOR YOUR NIGHT TIME RAIDS IN THE CIT Y DRE WE S TATE.COM MAR / APR 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

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that we want to leave people with. We titled the movie Hand Rolled because we want to put an emphasis on the human element.

WITH

Have you come across non-smokers who are not crazy about the idea of putting the emphasis on the more romantic aspects of cigar making? Absolutely. I think the reason we find people like that is because they don’t know about that aspect of it. They’re like, “Oh my God, why would you do a documentary on cigars? And especially a positive one?” You start telling them how many people are involved, what the process takes and you show them a little bit of footage of the farm and talking to rollers, their whole mood and idea changes at that point. It’s a result of growing up in a culture where you’re taught tobacco’s terrible and we want to eradicate it from the planet and all the products are the same whether it’s cigarettes or cigars or vape or hookah or whatever it is.

What have been some of the more surprising experiences you’ve had making the documentary? We have interviewed some of the greats of the industry, but we also talked to the farm workers. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I wanted to get truthful statements. We talked to five ladies. Obviously it’s laborious work, but each and every one of them told us that if it weren’t for the tobacco industry that was there, if it weren’t for the folks that treated them well — they had clinics to go to when they were sick — they would have nothing. So for us that was really surprising, because I expected them to be critical, but none of them were really critical about it. They all said, “This is something that we need in our town and we need this to survive.”

Excluding things you had smoked before all this, what are some of the standout cigars you smoked during production? That’s a tough one. There’s just so much awesome stuff out there. When we were in Nicaragua last year, we randomly met Nick Melillo of Foundation Cigars. Since then we’ve gone out to visit him in Connecticut and film with him for a while. His Tabernacle is one of my favorites. Also in the course of just randomly meeting people, I’ve had a couple of KSAs in the last year, which I never thought I’d get my hands on. Those are pretty awesome. And we’ve had some pretty rare Tatuajes that we’ve gotten to smoke with Pete.

How did this whole process change your perspective on Cuba? Even if you’re not talking about Cuban cigars, it’s difficult to have this conversation without talking Cuba.

What can you tell me about the people who are producing this film and your background as it relates to cigars? How did you all get into this? My partner Jesse and I have been commercial filmmakers for a while. We wanted to do a documentary and thought, “What’s something we’re passionate about? Let’s see if there’s anything out on that.” We have a few passions in common like coffee, bourbon, and cigars. We saw, “Dude, there’s literally nothing on the cigar world, that’s of high quality.” We went to the IPCPR trade show in 2016 and met a few people, shook a few hands and got a feel of whether this would be well received; it seemed that it would be, so that’s where it took off.”

When you first started to bounce this idea off people in the industry, what was some of the initial reaction that you got? The IPCPR let us come in (at the 2016 trade show) and even introduced us to some of the manufacturers. Everyone we talked to thought it was a good idea. Especially Pete Johnson. He was ecstatic. Others got on board, but he’s certainly the first.

What’s the concept for the film and how has it changed since you started?

We interviewed a guy named Joel Wilbur and I think he said something that encapsulates how I feel about this. He said, “The best and worst cigars I’ve ever smoked are Cubans.” The way we want to show Cuba in this film is that, definitely from the historical side, they’re a giant. And from the product side, they have some of the best in the world. But on the production side, it seems like the quality has decreased over the years. So I think the commentary we’re going to go with will be something along the lines of we want them to come back to their roots. We’ve been hearing reports from a lot of consumers about how a good portion of their boxes, whenever they get Cubans, are just unsmokable. We’ve had numerous people tell us the tobacco seems like it’s still green in the box. So coming from outside the industry, we initially had really high regard for Cuban cigars. Before we started the film, I’d only smoked a couple myself. I remember really enjoying the process and it was a special occasion, but I’ve had several in the past year that I stop smoking a third of the way through because it was a hassle more than anything. We’re not trying to poopoo them or badmouth the Cuban industry, but at the same time when you hear story after story after story of quality control issues, it’s really kind of a bummer.

What does the timeline look like on production?

In 2016, we were focused on the FDA because it’s what everybody was talking about. As things mellowed from there over the last year and a half, and we actually started production, we were like, “Let’s do something that’s going to actually be interesting after 2016, after 2017, after this whole FDA hype is resolved.”

We hope to be finished with post production by July and have it out for people to watch. We’d like to screen the film first for manufacturers as a thank you to some of the people who have been involved with the process.

If somebody watches this and all they get out of it is that a cigar is a completely different thing than a cigarette, then we’ve done our job. That’s sort of the feeling

THIS INTERVIEW WAS CUT FOR LENGTH. LISTEN TO THE WHOLE CONVERSATION AT CIGARSNOBMAG.COM/PODCAST

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PHOTO BY: Dustin Eaton / DLE Photography


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EVENTS

RANCHO SANTANA

PURO SABOR FESTIVAL Nicaragua

The annual Nicaraguan cigar festival kicked off with attendees exploring Granada, then crossing over to the Pacific coast to enjoy the Rancho Santana beach resort, where they were treated to an equestrian show and dinner at an area museum. From the second day on, guests were in Estelí, where they were split into groups for visits to various cigar factories and farms (at companies like Joya de Nicaragua, Padrón, Oliva, Plasencia, and many more), in-factory lunches, cigar rolling lessons and factoryhosted dinners.

Cigars at the ready to greet guests at Rancho Santana

The third night of the festival ended with the famed “white party,” which included dinner, dancing and a tribute to the late José Orlando Padrón and Gilberto Oliva, Sr. Perhaps the biggest news of this festival was made during a lunch at the El Buen Vecino farm, where Carlito Fuente Jr. made an appearance and announced his plans for a new Estelí factory called La Bella y La Bestia. For information on the next Puro Sabor Festival, visit www.nicaraguancigarfestival.com. Guys just want to have fun.

Anielka Ortez Flores and Indiana Ortez

WELCOME DINNER AT MUSEO DEL CONVENTO DE SAN FRANCISCO

Fred Vandermarliere, Eduardo Sandino Aguilar, Jeff Nolen, María José “MJ” Morales, Mario López and Nick Zaglifa

Gastón and Aldo Rappaccioli

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The Dominicans were out in full force!

Lilibeth Sarmiento, Andre Carusio, Andre Milchteim, Branlis Infante, João Granado and Luís Omar González

Daniel Barrios, Alicia Montiel and David Kone


FIELD AND FACTORY TOURS

Liana Fuente, Manny Iriarte, Felix Mesa and Carlito Fuente

The professionals at work at Tabacalera Oliva

Fresh out of the Joya de Nicaragua factory tour

Learning how to roll

Blending his very own cigar

DINNERS

Fred and Guido Vandermarliere and Dr. Martínez Cuenca and Juan Martínez

Miguel Pinto, Victor Calvo and Anthony María

Laura and Claudio Sgroi

A.J. Fernández and Selim Hanono

Janny, María and Pepín García

Serge Lysak, Steve Gherebean and Jesse Mariut

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FIELD AND FACTORY TOURS

At the Plasencia Cigars factory in Estelí

A Plasencia pilón

Jorge, María, Orlando and Lourdes Padrón

Get ‘em while the gettin’s good!

La Gran Fábrica Drew Estate

GALA DINNER AT DREW ESTATE

Plasencia takes 2017 Cigar Snob Cigar of the Year!

María Fernández, Yessenia Toruño and María Eugenia Romero

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Karen Berger

Jorge Rubín de Celis, Lili Wang and Alejandra Reznicek

Party time

Joel and Pam Lackey, Justin Scott, Olga Cherapanova and Dave McMullen


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EVENTS

RIVER CRUISE & TABACALERA DE GARCIA TOUR

PROCIGAR FESTIVAL Dominican Republic

After a couple of days enjoying Casa de Campo, the world-famous Dominican resort, lovers of Dominican Cigars enjoyed great food, great parties and tours of factories and farms. The Cigar Snob delegation went for tours at Tabacalera de García, Davidoff, General Cigar, and the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation.

Sean Knutsen, Dan Murphy and Tim Swail

Myrna Cambero, Isis Lawrence and Yasemin Ozoncul

The event also included plenty of beach time, spirits tastings, pairing seminars (including one featuring Davidoff The Late House and Glenfiddich) and even a bit of skeet shooting. The festival was punctuated by a blowout gala party and live auction to raise money for charities in the Dominican Republic. For more information on next year’s festival, visit www.procigar.org. Carolys and Brandon Thompson

David Podber, Erich and Silke Rittler and Charles Berry

TRADITIONAL DOMINICAN DINNER PARTY

The General Cigar team plus Albert Montserrat (center)

Rob Norris, Joe Fernández and Ernie Watson

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Lidiana, Carlos Jr. and Rosa Fuente

Guido Vandermarliere and Jamilet Calviño

Guillermo León and Michelle Franco de León


DAVIDOFF FIELD TOUR

Klass Pieter Kelner leading the tour

Susanne Minder and Sara Tio

WHITE PARTY AT MONUMENTO DE LOS HEROES DE LA RESTAURACION

Carlos Menacho, David Pérez and Ernesto Pérez Carrillo

Fabián Barrantes and Jessica Lynn Gibson

Nicole Casanova, Michelle Marcelino, Karla Días, Flora Breton and Stephanie Peralta

Pedro Rodríguez and Alexander Macaluso

Rita Guagliardo, Patricia Alba and Karla Gil

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CHATEAU DE LA FUENTE & CIGAR FAMILY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

Patrick Díaz, Phil Lenton, Kerry Knight and Ozhen Arsenous

Carlos “Carlito” Fuente, Jr.

José Antonio Paiewonsky, Roel Goudsmits and Fernando Baez

GALA DINNER AT CENTRO ESPAÑOL

Miss Rep. Dominicana Universo and Francisco Sanchis

Hostos Quesada, Oriana Veloso, Michael Herklots and Kurt Kendall

Justo Rico, Osiris Lago, Philip Zanghi, Hemanth Sureddi and Jared Ingrisano

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Yezamary Montoya, Luís García, Aldo Mauricio Pimentel and Indiana Ortez

Rafael and Alina Nodal

Nirka Reyes, Bismarck Abud and Jane García


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EVENTS THE GREAT SMOKE West Palm Beach

This event gets bigger and better every year. In its twelfth year, Smoke Inn’s marquee bash was hosted at the South Florida Fairgrounds. There was live music, great whiskey, a ton of cigars and — perhaps most importantly — the opportunity to share a good time with the cigar industry and smokers from all over the country.

From right: Abe Dabadneh, his dad Raji, and a friend

The ACID Crew

Lucas and Suzanne Donelson

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Charlie Boettiger, Rick González, David Chance, Patrick O’Shea and Kevin Donahue

Hector Feijoo, Tony Batallan, Victor Mesa and Alex Hernández

Danny Madson, Charles Fay and Jason Ferrari

Quismet Fernández and Rob Bauman


Luís Camiero, José Díaz, Johan González and Eric Caraballoso

Carlos Escalona, Valentina Lara and George Rami

Joaquin Saladrigas, José Ortega, Janny García and Josef Joudeh

Robert and Nicole Deroy

Oliver Hyams, Alex Rhyme, Susan Georgiou, Brad Winstead and Les Mann

Julius Bolton and Joey Bravo

Terence Reilly and Paul Palmer

Eric Sturz, Dawn Cagno, Yvonne Villota and Scott Petrunick

Jill Barr Loope, Bianca Melone and Glynn Loope

John Mailander and Albert Sosa

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EVENTS YAYABO’S FIRST ANNIVERSARY Estelí

Yayabo Cigars celebrated its first anniversary with an intimate gathering that featured caballo bayo, a typical Nicaraguan-style buffet featuring all sorts of items like chicken, beef, tamales, yucca and fried cheese. Of course, Yayabo’s founders having Cuban roots, the party wouldn’t have been complete without a Cuban-style lechón, or whole hog.

Alex Basulto and Ramón Adato

Sancho Oset García and María José “MJ” Morales

Bélgica Suarez, Gustavo and Marlen Plasencia

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Alex Basulto, Diany Pérez and Charles López

Javier Figueroa, Nestor Andrés Plasencia, Charles López, Gustavo Plasencia and Erik Calviño

Boston Jimmie, Melvin Bossman Robinson, Camilo Iriarte and Jorge Luís Rodríguez

Nora Mejia and Ricardo Pintor

Noemi Velásquez Rugama and Dionisio Fernández

Dianne Vita, Diany Pérez and Boston Jimmie


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EVENTS ROCKY PATEL’S BIRTHDAY AT BURN Naples

Burn by Rocky Patel was a natural location for a celebration of the man himself, Rocky Patel. An exclusive VIP reception featuring hors d’oeuvres and spirits was held from 5 to 6 p.m., after which the main event was enjoyed by a full house of guests enjoying Rocky Patel cigars and a live band. Mark Weissenberger, Nish and Rocky Patel, Erik Calviño, Nimish Desai and Hamlet Paredes

Britteny and Ryan Hathaway

Cathy Wynne and Mike Manley

Maria Pappas, Elisa Ross and Rudy Ambrosi

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Dre and Ari Cross

Christopher Mey, Hemanth Sureddi, Justo Rico and Marcos Bajtos

Jeff Gill and Ramsy Hendel

Beth Kleinnert and Amy Nail

Rocky Patel and Tracy Boykin

Cory Garber, Angie McConnell and Rob Van Patten


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EVENTS VICTOR CALVO AT CASABLANCA CIGAR LOUNGE Miami

A packed house of cigar fans convened at Casablanca, a South Beach cigar lounge, for cigar specials and samples of Gorgeous Vodka. Victor Calvo and Victor Calvo, Jr. were both on hand to greet guests and present their cigars. Check out the travel story in this issue for more on Casablanca and the Calvos! Ray Granja, Miguel Pinto, Victor and Victor Calvo, Jr.

Phil Fuentes and Eve Soldaieva

Alain Sassine, Sofía Jerez and Jessica Gilroy

Anthony Maria and Jorge E. León

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Jorge Molina, Oscar and Danny Benedit, Victor Calvo, Jr. and Camilo Iriarte

Craig Hill and Mario Palacios

Mauricio Hanono, Miguel Pinto, Andy Santana and Aaron Zeigler

Erica and Alvin Cishnie

Rafael Raad, Fadi Chater and Sabrina Sassine


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EVENTS DAVIDOFF CIGARS, GLENLIVET SCOTCH AND ART Miami

Davidoff and Glenlivet teamed up for an event in which Casa Montecristo by Prime, one of Miami’s premier cigar bars in the heart of the Brickell neighborhood, was transformed into an art gallery when Davidoff brought in artist Julio Aguilera to exhibit his work. Davidoff teamed with Glenlivet to offer specials on cigars, Scotch tastings, and raffles for attendees. Much of the Davidoff Cigars team was on hand to celebrate.

Reynaldo Palmero and Chelsea Wells

Carlos Escalona, Carlos Incle, Shiah Goldberg and George Rami

Danny and Natalia Namnum

Moshie Cosicher, Cesar A. Lopez and Joe Baz

John Methvin and Sean Knowles

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Caela Forman and Robert Ferrara

Rick Nazir, Doug Puckett and Skip Franzese

Shwetha and Rahul Gupta

Carlos Escalona and Omar Buergo


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EVENTS DAVIDOFF AT NEPTUNE Miami

Davidoff hosted a great event at the Neptune Cigar SuperStore in Miami near downtown Dadeland. There were special deals on Davidoff cigars, a Macallan Scotch tasting, and a live band to entertain a packed house of cigar lovers. Luz Normand, Carlos Escalona and Lola Chorak

Vicky and Adalberto Ruíz

Adrian Lopez and Ben Díaz

Ibis Lu and Mari Mena

CIGAR SNOB PODCAST

LISTEN NOW cigarsnobmag.com/podcast 122 | CIGAR SNOB | MAR / APR 2018


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A Good Day, Starts with...

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Distributed Exclusively by Oliva Cigars 124 | CIGAR SNOB | MAR / APR 2018

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nub.café

Profile for Cigar Snob Magazine

Cigar Snob Magazine March April 2018  

We took a boating tour South Florida's cigar friendly spots and brought along cigar industry friends. We went even deeper into the topic of...

Cigar Snob Magazine March April 2018  

We took a boating tour South Florida's cigar friendly spots and brought along cigar industry friends. We went even deeper into the topic of...

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