Cigar Snob Magazine May June 2019

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editorials MAY / JUNE 2019

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FIVE TO TRY: AGED RUMS 28 ZAFRA MASTER RESERVE 21 YEARS / OLIVA SERIE V MELANIO 29 OPTHIMUS 25 YEARS MALT WHISKY FINISH / CASA CUBA 30 BACARDI GRAN RESERVA LIMITADA / DIAMOND CROWN 32 FOURSQUARE RUM 2005 SINGLE BLENDED RUM / AJ FERNANDEZ MADURO 34 CLEMENT X.O. RHUM AGRICOLE / LIGA PRIVADA NO. 9

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DESTINATION – NEW ORLEANS

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WHAT MAKES AN AMERICAN RUM?

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AMPARO EXPERIENCE

104

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We visited distilleries, drank with sharks, and took a cocktail tour of New Orleans. Come along with us to the Crescent City for a few days of music, shellfish, cigars and good times.

Booze beat journalist Wayne Curtis explores the question of what defines the emerging category of American rums and whether geography is as significant as it once was in the global rum landscape.

Immersive theater is the latest way that the Bacardi and Arechabala families are making the case that they — not the Cuban government — own the name “Havana Club.”

MONEY MAKER Chris Moneymaker turned the poker world on its head when he qualified for the World Series of Poker in online play and ended up winning it all in real life. Sean Chaffin sat with him to talk poker, celebrity and cigars.


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features MAY / JUNE 2019

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LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

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FEEDBACK

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WHAT’S BURNIN’

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SMOKING HOT CIGAR SNOB

85

RATINGS

RUM DIARIES

102

TWITTER SCOREBOARD

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EVENT COVERAGE 106 MIAMI OUTBOARD CLUB PIG ROAST CHALLENGE FEATURING OLIVA CIGARS 108 DOWNTOWN CIGAR BAR’S 4TH ANNIVERSARY FEATURING ESPINOSA CIGARS 110 ISLAND JIM AT SMOKE INN WELLINGTON 112 CIGAR FAMILY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION DINNER HOSTED BY ULTIMATE CIGARS 114 SABOR HAVANA RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK DINNER FEATURING EL GALAN CIGARS 116 CIGAR SHOP OF BIRD ROAD FEATURING STEVE SAKA OF DUNBARTON TOBACCO & TRUST 118 MIAMI MEGA HERF CLIP & SIP CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT 120 100 YEARS OF BENTLEY FEATURING DAVTIAN CIGARS 122 COHEA ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT FEATURING OLIVA CIGARS

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VO L . 11 IS SU E 3 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 SPECIALIST Ramón Santana CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATOR Florin Safner CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Wayne Curtis Sean Chaffin CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS David Benoliel Andy Astencio Neil Stoddart EVENT PHOTOGRAPHERS Jamilet Calviño Ramón Santana Cover Photography by David Benoliel www.davidbenolielphotography.com Cover Model - Isabelle Cutrim 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

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This is one of those issues that you circle on the calendar as equally difficult and unabashedly fun to publish. Rum is one of those spirits that has been on the cusp of being the next big thing in the U.S. market for at least a decade, but has yet to go through a Bourbon-like explosion. That’s likely a painful pill to swallow for rum distillers, distributors, and their investors, but for us rum-loving cigar smokers, it’s a beautiful thing. You see, part of the fun of being into something like rum, whisky, wine, and cigars is the discovery. When a category, as they’re referred to in the liquor trade, blows up like Bourbon or Scotch, the number of bogus brands you find on your journey takes away from the experience. That doesn’t mean your journey is over; it just means you’ll have to do a little more research and at times use some street smarts to separate the wheat from the chaff. In doing my research for this issue, one of the resources that proved most helpful was a wonderful book titled “And a Bottle of Rum” by Wayne Curtis. It’s my second time reading it. The book does a deep dive into the fascinating history of the rum trade as well as explaining why each country’s rum style is the way it is. Not by coincidence, we ran an article written by Mr. Curtis about American Rum on p. 55. I also leaned heavily on my friends in the liquor business for advice and direction. You know who you are; I can’t thank you enough. Their invaluable input went into a breakdown I wrote featuring five highly regarded, aged rums from five different countries called 5 to Try – Aged Rums on p.27. That recurring section is a collaborative effort with our friends at Total Wine & More, headed up by Pablo Estades. Thanks Pablo. The responsibility of tasting all of these excellent rums and pairing them with the right cigar is something I took very seriously and I stand behind every one of those pairings, albeit a bit wobbly. The parallels between rum and cigars are innumerable, especially as it relates to Cuba. Cuban rum distillers, just like cigar makers, left the island when their businesses were nationalized and re-established in countries with climates and growing conditions similar to their native Cuba. And then there are the brands that, due to their global brand recognition and the U.S. embargo towards Cuba, exist in a confusing duality. The similarities are remarkable but think about this; imagine how different the rum or cigar landscape would look if these dual brands were consolidated into singular global brands. The market-share pie chart would look quite different. And how those brands’ ownership and distribution rights get divvied up will be the most interesting thing to watch from this side of the fence. One such story is playing out as we speak with the Havana Club Rum, and our own Nicolás Antonio Jiménez wrote about it and the immersive theatrical production that brings that tale to life in a piece called Cuban Spirit on p.59. And on the amazing set of that theatrical production is where we shot the photo shoot for this issue titled Rum Diaries on p.70. Thanks to the models and our crew for pouring your heart and

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soul into this. Thanks to George Cabrera and Michael Sheehan for allowing us to use the set. Thanks to the cast and crew of The Amparo Experience for coming in to work on your day off to help make this happen. And to retired South Florida news anchor Bob Mayer for letting us shoot his pristine ’57 Thunderbird, also Luis Fiallos for connecting us in the first place. And finally, a huge thank you to the team at Altadis USA for getting behind this project with the excellent new Trinidad Espiritu. And there’s more great content in the issue like our New Orleans travel story on p.39, a Q&A with poker superstar Chris Moneymaker on p.104, and of course our ratings; we rated 48 cigars starting on p.85. Always remember that you can follow us on most social media platforms under @cigarsnobmag and you can tell us how you feel about what we do here via: feedback@cigarsnobmag.com. Enjoy the issue, smoke great cigars, and at least to follow along with this one, drink good rum!

Keep ‘em lit,

Erik Calviño ecalvino@cigarsnobmag.com



MY FATHER

TORO

NUMBER

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“THE ART, TRADITION, AND STYLE OF CUBA.”

305.468.9501 | MYFATHERCIGARS.COM

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THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES Great magazine. One of your subscribers gave me his copy and I learned so much even after one issue. As a potential subscriber, I wanted to give you some feedback, though. By the looks of it, the magazine seems to cater to women’s interest, more so than men. And while I realize you would want to attract any number of subscribers, I find I lose interest in magazines that give up print space for a women’s pictorial layout, rather than to the subject matter itself. I share this because if I saw your March/April 2019 magazine on a store shelf; well, it looks like a women’s fashion magazine instead of displaying movers and shakers from the industry whom I would be interested in seeing rather than some girl smoking a cigar who has nothing to offer readers with interest of the industry. You know, I can pull up a picture of a pretty girl anywhere/anytime but the feature cover and articles detract from the subject matter for me when I really pick up your magazine to learn about cigars and service providers. Anyway, just food for thought from a potential subscriber. It’s really a beautiful magazine and I commend you.

Les Deerfield Beach, Fla. via feedback@cigarsnobmag.com Glad you enjoyed the magazine, Les. And thanks for the feedback! Gotta say, this specific take on the photo editorials and the female models in the magazine was a first for us. In any case, rather than quibble over whether the models are more appealing to men or women, it seems like the more important issue is this: in the end, we’re a cigar lifestyle magazine, not a cigar trade magazine. Of course, some of the lifestyle thing means content that’s about the cigars and the people who make them, but there’s more to it than that. Our goal is to create a magazine that reflects the kinds of conversations smokers — usually men — want to have at their neighborhood cigar lounges. That’s cigars, but it’s also sports, culture, booze, travel and women. Stick around, though! There’s plenty of cigar talk around here and we think you’ll like all the other stuff too.

AND NOW FOR OUR PARTING RECOMMENDATIONS... Hope all is well. Just wanted to drop a quick note to tell you thanks for the magazine. I always appreciate your letter from the publisher. Also, I recently discovered the Cigar Snob podcasts and have enjoyed the interviews as well as the “remembering” episodes. Thanks again

Todd M. Charlotte, NC Via feedback@cigarsnobmag.com Glad you enjoyed the magazine and found the podcast! Make sure you let friends and fellow smokers know about it. Maybe share your favorite episodes on social media. The more the merrier.

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PLASENCIA AND DAVIDOFF OF GENEVA SINCE 1911 LAUNCH EXCLUSIVE CIGAR There’s a new cigar for you to check out at Davidoff’s flagship stores. The Plasencia Cigars for Davidoff of Geneva Since 1911 is a limited-edition belicoso (6 x 52) made by Plasencia Cigars in Estelí. Effective May 2, the cigar will be available for sale exclusively at Davidoff of Geneva Since 1911 flagship stores in the United States, and online at us.davidoffgeneva.com.

Both cigars come in Robusto (5 x 50), Toro (6 x 50) and Grand Toro (6 x 58). The AF2 comes in an additional 5 1/2 x 42 Corona option. All the cigars are packaged in 20-count boxes and range in price from $8.50 to $10.50 per cigar.

THREE JOYA DE NICARAGUA 4 X 32S SHIP

The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro made with tobaccos aged seven years or more. Production is limited to 300 boxes of 20 cigars. “We are honored to partner with Davidoff of Geneva Since 1911 to share the ideal combination of flavors and blends that perfectly represent both of our brands, in one savoring cigar,” said Nestor Andrés Plasencia, CEO of Plasencia Cigars, in a press release. “Plasencia Cigars for Davidoff of Geneva Since 1911 symbolizes the commitment of both brands to serve and provide consumers with the highest quality products in the industry.”

EMILIO CIGARS RELEASES AF1 AND AF2 Emilio Cigars announced the release of AF1 and AF2. Both cigars are made in Estelí, Nicaragua at Fabrica Oveja Negra. “I am very excited to have these cigars hitting the market,” said James Brown, owner of Fabrica Oveja Negra and Black Label Trading Company. “The AF1 & AF2 are classics that have been given the Oveja Negra makeover in appearance and flavor. Both are medium bodied with the AF1 highlighted by the rich, earthiness of the San Andrés wrapper and the AF2 is more spice forward with a Ecuador Habano wrapper.” The AF1 is a Mexican-wrapped blend with a Nicaraguan Habano binder and Nicaraguan fillers. The AF2 is a similar blend, except that the wrapper is Ecuadorian Habano.

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Three tins — each containing a different Joya de Nicaragua 4 x 32 cigar — have begun shipping to retailers nationwide. The blends shipping in that format: Antaño 1970, Joya Black and Joya Red. In all, this makes 27 varieties of 4 x 32 tins in the Drew Estate distribution portfolio. Joya Red is wrapped in Nicaraguan Habano, the Joya Black features San Andrés Maduro wrapper, and the Antaño 1970 has a Criollo wrapper. “Antaño has been the favorite JDN blend for Americans for over the last 15 years,” said Joya de Nicaragua president Juan Martínez, “and consumers will love being able to enjoy a quick smoke in this blend. As we say at the factory, sometimes you’re so busy you don’t even have time even to smoke a machito, but there is always time for a mini Antaño. Also, for those who need a quick smoke and enjoy a medium body profile cigar, we have two great options - Joya Black and Joya Red minis - both providing a lot of flavor but without the robust fullness of an Antaño.” Jaya Red and Joya Black tins retail for $13, while the Antaño 1970 tins carry a retail price of $18.

ALAN RUBIN ACQUIRES LARS TETENS BRANDS Alec Bradley founder Alan Rubin announced his acquisition of Lars Tetens Brands, which will now be solely distributed by Alec Bradley. “Lars has always intrigued me,” Alan said in a release, referring to Lars Tetens, the founder and namesake of the company Rubin acquired. “His guerilla marketing, unique products and creativity inspired me while I was coming up in this business. 15 years ago I searched Lars out, just to meet with him. I couldn’t make this story up if I tried. We scheduled some time to sit down for a cigar at a shop one night - we set the time for 11pm. Waiting, waiting, waiting, finally, at 2am, Lars shows up and tells me to join him, he wanted to make me lobster mac & cheese. Ummmm, ok, sure - this was the greatest lobster mac & cheese I ever had! Anyway, we ate, smoked cigars and talked until about 6am like we had known each other forever. We became quick friends and stayed in touch since then.” Alan continued, “Lars brings tremendous energy and excitement, as well as a product line that Alec Bradley doesn’t have in its portfolio. This partnership allows us the opportunity to bring the Lars name back to prominence where it belongs.”

CIGAR SNOB HITS AIRWAVES Excuse the shameless plug, but we have some news over here. Cigar Snob’s publisher Erik Calviño and senior editor Nicolás Jiménez have been hosting a radio show. It’s called The Draw and it airs Monday through Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m. on South Florida’s 1210 AM The Man. On Tuesdays, Erik and Nick are joined by cigar lover, renaissance man and friend of the magazine Carlos “Carluba” Rodríguez. The crew talk cigars, sports, news and whatever else happens to be on their minds. You can listen live on the radio, stream the live show on 1210TheMan.com, or subscribe to the show in podcast form on Spotify ( just search for “The Draw 1210” and our show should come up).



CASA CUEVAS TO RELEASE LIMITED-EDITION LA MANDARRIA Casa Cuevas is bouncing back from a breakin at its Miami warehouse with a limited edition cigar whose name is a reference to the crime that took place earlier this year. In February, thieves broke into the Casa Cuevas headquarters’ humidor, getting away with more than 25,000 cigars, including half the company ’s inventory of Limited Edition Flacos, according to a recent release from the company.

6 x 52 Toro that Cuevas says will be the company’s first full-bodied, full-strength offering. Production will be limited to 500 20-count boxes and the cigars will retail for $12 each.

ALTADIS ANNOUNCED TRINIDAD ESPIRITU AND SPECIAL EVENT TOUR

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“The original Trinidad cigar brand was used exclusively for dignitaries and diplomats as gifts,” said Brad Winstead, Altadis’ head of consumer marketing, in a press release. “Fifty years later, we’re celebrating the venerable brand’s half century anniversary by taking adult smokers back to the late ‘60s-early ‘70s era — which many consider the ‘Golden Years’ of cigars.” The cigar – a Nicaraguan puro — is being released in a nationwide tour of events (kicking off in June in Miami) that feature Latin music, cocktails, and domino tournaments. Those events will also feature an event-exclusive lancero expression of the cigar called “Fundador” (7 1/2 x 40).

Now, in its first product announcement since the event, Cuevas says it is ready to release a new product at the IPCPR trade show this summer. La Mandarria (Spanish for sledgehammer, which is how the thieves got into the building) is an Ecuadorian Habano-wrapped

laboration with A.J. Fernández.

Altadis U.S.A. is introducing the Trinidad Espiritu, a cigar that’s born out of a col-

Outside of those events, the cigar will be available in four vitolas: Robusto (5 x 52), Toro (6 x 52), Belicoso (6 1/8 x 52) and Magnum (6 x 60).




AGED RUMS FIVE AGED RUMS FROM FIVE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES: ONE FROM PANAMA AGED 21 YEARS AND MATURED IN BOURBON CASKS, A SOLERA-AGED 25-YEAR-OLD RUM FROM THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, A LIMITED EDITION PUERTO RICAN OFFERING FROM ONE OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN SPIRITS, A COMPLEX RHUM AGRICOLE FROM MARTINIQUE, AND FINALLY A CASK-STRENGTH POWERHOUSE FROM BARBADOS.


ZAFRA MASTER RESERVE AGED 21 YEARS

PANAMA

Arabic, although there is debate over whether it comes from zafar meaning “harvest” or sa’ifah meaning “gathering time.” Either way, the word comes to the Western languages along with the spread of sugar cane itself, thanks to the Arab conquest and influence throughout the Mediterranean. Eventually, sugar cane and the word for harvesting it make the first trip from the Canary Islands to the New World via Columbus’ second voyage to Hispaniola (Dominican Republic & Haiti). Today, the word zafra not only means harvest or harvest time, but in slang it is also synonymous with financial windfall and good times — the Spanish version of “living high on the hog.”

WHAT’S IN THE BOTTLE? When Gardner Blandon, co-founder of Zafra Rum, set out to create this world-class spirit, he enlisted the help of a renowned Cuban “maestro ronero” who could expertly employ timetested Cuban rum methods. This required only aging in American oak barrels and using singleaged rums as opposed to solera-aged rums. The result is that the 21-year age statement on the bottle means that the rum in the bottle is 21 years old, not a combination of ages averaged out to 21. To meet the American oak barrel requirement, Zafra selected Bourbon barrels so that the rum is aged in Bourbon casks from its first day of aging until the day it is bottled. The difference is noticeable from the moment you nose the rum. The “Bourbonesque” quality is unmistakable.

PAIRING NOTES ZAFRA HAS A PROFILE THAT LENDS ITSELF TO BEING PAIRED WITH JUST ABOUT ANY MEDIUM-BODIED, FLAVORFUL CIGAR. HAVING SAID THAT, THE WAY THAT THE RUM’S BUTTERSCOTCH, VANILLA, AND OAK ARE SO ELEGANTLY AMPLIFIED BY THE OLIVA SERIE V MELANIO IS A THING OF BEAUTY.

MIXER FEVER-TREE GINGER BEER

TASTING NOTES

40% ALC. BY VOL.

On the nose, Zafra 21 is loaded with notes of butterscotch, fruit, oak and spice. The oak and spice on the nose are like a combination of Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry and give this rum a unique and intriguing quality. In the mouth, the Sherry characteristic really kicks in, giving it a beautiful balance of dry, oaken Sherry flavors along with rich toffee, vanilla and a touch of banana.

WHAT’S IN A WORD? The word zafra is one of those rare, ubiquitous words that shows up in vocabularies all over the globe, and while not always spelled exactly the same, it always has the same meaning: harvest. More specifically, it refers to the sugar cane harvest or harvest time. The word comes from

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Oliva Serie V Melanio

A tasty summertime cocktail will make you look like the well-traveled, cultured, rock star of the pool party. The hack is to use a premium mixer to give your easy cocktail a pro taste. Try a simple cocktail by mixing Zafra with Fever-Tree Ginger Ale 1-to-1 on the rocks. To kick it up a notch, go with Fever-Tree Ginger Beer and Zafra, this time 2 oz of the rum to 1.5 oz of ginger beer on the rocks but squeeze the zest of an orange peel into the drink, rim the glass with the rind, then drop it into the drink. Boom.


OPTHIMUS 25 YEARS MALT WHISKY FINISH DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

dream of getting into the sugar cane and rum business rather than go back to his native Spain. By 1874 he started OLIVER, a company dedicated to growing sugar cane and producing rum. He found success quickly, though it was short-lived. During Cuba’s War of Independence (1895-1898), Oliver’s plantation, processing plant, and distilling facilities went up in flames. Like many small sugar plantation owners at the time, the Olivers moved back into the urban areas and took jobs in larger, more stable companies. The Oliver family dream of producing world-renowned rum would lie dormant until another revolution. After Fidel Castro and his “barbudos” forcibly took power in Cuba on January 1, 1959, and began stripping away freedoms, nationalizing businesses, and rapidly executing dissenters by firing squad, Cubans started fleeing their homeland in droves. By 1963, several members of the Oliver family sought refuge in the Dominican Republic, where they reside to this day. Juanillo Oliver’s dream, which lie dormant since 1898, was taken up by his great-great-grandson Pedro Ramón L. Oliver almost a century later. Upon unearthing documents and recipes from the original OLIVER company, Pedro Ramón started Oliver & Oliver International in 1993 with the goal of making the world’s best rum.

PAIRING NOTES THE OPTHIMUS 25 CALLS FOR A CIGAR THAT CAN STAND UP TO THE HEAT AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SWEETNESS. WHILE THIS RUM DOES WELL WITH SOME OF THE LESS PEPPERY AND EARTHY NICARAGUAN CIGARS, WE FOUND THE CASA CUBA BY TABACALERA ARTURO FUENTE IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC TO BE THE IDEAL DANCE PARTNER FOR THE OPTHIMUS 25 MALT WHISKY FINISH. THE CIGAR’S PROMINENT CEDAR AND CINNAMON FLAVORS ARE COMBINED WITH THE RUM’S CARAMEL AND CITRUS IN PERFECT HARMONY.

PLUS ONE RELICARIO RUM SUPREMO

TASTING NOTES The nose on the Opthimus 25 Malt Whisky Finish is bold and assertive with notes of distillate accompanied by hints of maple syrup, orange peel, and subtle oak. On the palate the rum enters with a medium body and a balanced attack of oak, pepper, citrus, and sweet caramel on the long, lingering finish. There is a good bit of heat but it is offset beautifully by the rich sweetness.

43% ALC. BY VOL. THE ORIGIN STORY Juanillo Oliver arrived in Cuba in 1868 as a young member of the Spanish military fighting in the Ten Years’ War. By the time he had fulfilled his military service, Oliver chose to stay in Cuba, start a family, and follow his

Casa Cuba

Named after an old reliquary found in the Dominican Republic containing old bottles of classic Dominican rum, Relicario Supremo is a light, flavorful rum distilled from native Dominican sugar cane. The company produces two versions, the Relicario Superior, with rums up to 10 years of age, and the Relicario Supremo, which boasts a combination of rums up to 15 years of age.

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BACARDI GRAN RESERVA LIMITADA

PUERTO RICO

employ the bat as the logo. In the Bacardís’ native Spain, the bat was a symbol of good health, fortune, and family unity. The idea of establishing a memorable visual device to represent a brand was ahead of its time and incredibly effective as everyone in Cuba, regardless of education level, could just ask for the rum with the bat. To this day, there’s a bat on every bottle of Bacardí.

PROBLEM SOLVING 101

40% ALC. BY VOL. THE BAT SYMBOL Well before the Caped Crusader started sporting a bat on his chest, Bacardí emblazoned the winged mammal on every bottle. After developing his rum recipe, technique, and equipment mastery over the course of 10 years, Don Facundo Bacardí Massó started a small rum distilling operation in Santiago de Cuba in 1862. He had figured out a way to consistently produce a light rum using a specific local yeast strain for fermentation and perfected the use of American oak barrels for aging. The technical innovations developed by Don Facundo are the stuff of legend, but it was his wife Doña Amalia who, after seeing an abundance of fruit bats in the rafters of the distillery, suggested that the company

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More than a rum producing family, the Bacardí family has been most adept at solving difficult problems. From the company’s inception, when Don Facundo solved the puzzle of making rum lighter and more refined, to Emilio Bacardí Moreau using his status as a businessman during Cuba’s War of Independence to covertly liaise between the independence movement headquarters in New York and the field commanders in the hills outside of Santiago de Cuba, the family has never been afraid to push the envelope and solve problems that others could not. One of the more interesting solutions came on October 28, 1919, when the U.S. Congress passed the Volstead Act, otherwise known as Prohibition. Famously, the act made it illegal to make, transport, import, export, or sell alcohol in the United States. Most liquor companies destroyed their inventory but not Bacardí. Enrique Schueg, Don Facundo’s son-in-law and at the time the head of the company, announced the sale of 60,000 shares of the Bacardí US Bottling Company. Immediately after the sale, he closed down the company and gave each shareholder a case of rum per share as compensation. Not a drop of Bacardí was wasted.

PAIRING NOTES YOU CAN APPLY THIS RULE OF THUMB WHEN PAIRING JUST ABOUT ANY ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE AND A CIGAR; IF THE SPIRIT HAS AN ABUNDANCE OF FLORAL NOTES IT WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY ENJOY THE COMPANY OF A CONNECTICUT SHADE CIGAR. BEYOND THAT, IT’S A MATTER OF FINDING WHICH CONNECTICUT SHADE WORKS BEST WITH THE BOOZE. SO WE LAID OUT A SELECTION OF MILDER CONNECTICUT SHADE SMOKES AND SET ABOUT SMOKING AND DRINKING. THE DIAMOND CROWN’S ALMOND, SPICE, TOAST, AND RICH VANILLA CREAM EMERGED AS THE IDEAL MATCH FOR THE BACARDI GRAN RESERVA LIMITADA. AMAZINGLY, THE SMOKE ALMOST ENTIRELY ELIMINATES THE RUM’S ALCOHOL FROM THE PALATE AND TRANSFORMS THE BROWN SUGAR NOTES TO A RICHER CARAMEL. IN TURN, THE CIGAR’S TOAST AND ALMOND ARE ELEVATED TO A STARRING ROLE WHILE THE VANILLA AND SPICE ARE RENDERED ALMOST UNDETECTABLE.

PLUS ONE BACARDÍ AÑEJO CUATRO AGED 4 YEARS

TASTING NOTES A boozy, floral nose complemented by more subtle notes of oak and fruit. This rum is medium bodied and brings plenty of brown sugar, cinnamon, alcohol, and dried apricot on the palate, finishing with a long, oaky finish with more of the floral characteristic from the nose.

Diamond Crown

Bacardi’s recently retooled set of brands, which includes the Gran Reserva Limitada on the high end, received a new product on the introductory end, the new Añejo Cuatro (4 years old). Depending on your taste and budget, the rum sits somewhere in between sipping rum and mixing rum, easily acceptable in both.


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FOURSQUARE RUM 2005 SINGLE BLENDED RUM

BARBADOS

to bigger premises as the business expanded, but still only focused on blending, bottling, and distributing. That was until the mid-1990s when Richard Seale, the family’s fifth generation in the rum trade, worked with his father to purchase and renovate a bankrupt sugar factory. The 8-acre property became Foursquare Rum Distillery and today houses every facet of the business under one roof. By distilling their own rum rather than purchasing in bulk, they can ensure higher levels of quality and purity. In 2016, Foursquare Rum Distillery was named Rum Producer of the Year at the International Spirits Challenge in London.

TASTING NOTES The Foursquare Rum 2005 is bottled at cask strength, so hitting it with a couple of drops of spring water helps unlock some of the aromas and flavors. The nose presents a lovely combination of spice, nutmeg, and zest with a rich toffee and vanilla characteristic showing through. This rum is ultra-complex and full-bodied on the palate, with flavors that come in waves of spice, lemon zest, and vanilla followed by oak, chocolate, and ginger with an extremely long, spicefilled finish. It tends to be dry up front with a welcome sweetness on the finish giving it a wellbalanced attack.

RECEPTORS AND JUST TURNED THEM OFF. THAT WAS UNTIL WE ARRIVED AT THE AJ FERNANDEZ BELLAS ARTES MADURO, WITH ITS STRONG PEPPER, EARTH, AND BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE BACKBONE. THIS DARK, BOX-PRESSED CIGAR MADE IN NICARAGUA NOT ONLY STOOD UP TO THE FOURSQUARE BUT ALSO MANAGED TO COMPLEMENT IT. AFTER DRAWING ON THE BELLAS ARTES MADURO, THE RUM’S OAK AND TOFFEE WERE ELEVATED TO A MORE PROMINENT ROLE AND STAYED ON THROUGHOUT THE LONG, SPICY FINISH. THE CIGAR’S PREVIOUSLY DOMINANT BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE FLAVORS WERE TRANSFORMED TO MORE OF A CARAMEL COVERED NUTTINESS. FINALLY, SINCE THE RUM IS BOTTLED AT CASK STRENGTH, YOU CAN SPEND ALL DAY PLAYING AROUND WITH THE DILUTION TO CHANGE HOW THE PAIRING REACTS.

PLUS ONE R.L. SEALE’S FINEST BARBADOS RUM

AJ Fernandez Bellas Artes Maduro

59% ALC. BY VOL. THE SEALE FAMILY BUSINESS In the early 1900s Barbados Excise Law did not allow consumers to buy directly from distillers, so Reginald Leon Seale started a rum distribution business. He would buy rum in bulk, blend it, and bottle it under his newly created R.L. Seale mark. His business thrived and when others failed, he’d scoop up their portfolios and continue growing his business. Twice the company relocated

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PAIRING NOTES THE BALANCED AND COMPLEX INTENSITY OF THIS RUM DEMANDS AN EQUALLY INTENSE AND FLAVORFUL CIGAR; THERE ARE NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT. IN THE PROCESS OF WRITING THIS SECTION, SEVEN VERY WORTHY, FLAVORFUL, HIGH-SCORING CIGARS FELL BY THE WAYSIDE AT THE HANDS OF THIS SPIRIT. LIGHT THE CIGAR, START ENJOYING IT, AND AFTER A SIP OF THE RUM IT WAS AS IF SOMEONE WENT INTO YOUR FLAVOR

Don’t be off-put by this uniquely shaped and possibly gimmicky-looking bottle. This is the rum that put R.L. Seale on the map and is a serious representation of a classic Barbados rum. In the mouth the spirit is light but delivers spice, banana, and vanilla with a subtle hint of citrus.


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CLÉMENT X.O. RHUM AGRICOLE

MARTINIQUE

ty of the rum available in the market is distilled from molasses, a by-product of the sugar refining process, but not rhum agricole. The term rhum agricole, which is French for ‘cane juice rum,’ originated in the French colony of Martinique but is now commonly used to identify any rum made in the same style and using free-run cane juice. In Martinique, the term originated as a way to differentiate their agricultural rum from the by-product based industrial counterpart, rhum industriel. But they didn’t stop at just naming it different. Because Martinique is a French colony, the island’s spirits fall under the French appellation d’origine controlee or controlled designation of origin. The AOC, as it is commonly referred, started off as a way to certify French wine’s geographic designation but today it certifies and sets the rules for a number of French agricultural products including wine, cheese, meat, honey, and yes, rhum agricole. The rules for Martinique rum, as set forth by the aforementioned, dictate how and how much sugar cane can be grown, how the juice must be extracted, and how the rum must be distilled. It is a port of strict rules and regulations in an otherwise guideline-free storm of an industry.

DR. HOMÈRE CLÉMENT

42% ALC. BY VOL. RUM VS RHUM AGRICOLE In the United States, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, otherwise known as the TTB, defines rum quite broadly as any “spirit distilled from fermented juice of sugar cane, sugar cane syrup, sugar cane molasses, or other sugar by-products.” The majori-

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It was 1887, the peak of the sugar crisis, that brought Martinique’s once thriving sugar industry to a screeching halt. The first “nonwhite” graduate from medical school at the University Paris, Dr. Homère Clément purchased a 43-hectare sugar plantation that was in bankruptcy. The growth of sugar beets as a source of sugar and the increasing availability of cheaper South American sugar had brought about the widespread demise of Martinique’s sugar plantations. Clément purchased Domaine de l’Acajou with other plans. He named it Habitation Clément and put the planters back to work growing and harvesting sugar cane with the purpose of producing a refined spirit. He set about to mimic the great Armagnac distillers he admired while studying in France and in the process created the spirit that is now known globally as rhum agricole.

TASTING NOTES A unique expression with an elegant bouquet, this rhum agricole opens with a complex pro-

file featuring refined and delicate dried fruit, vanilla, spice and a distinct vegetal note. On the palate the spirit is light but well-structured with mature flavors of raw sugar cane, caramel, and a touch of roasted nuts.

Liga Privada No. 9

PAIRING NOTES A DRY AN D RE FI N E D S PI RIT S UC H AS TH E C LÉM E NT X.O. B RI NG S SOM E C HALLE NG E S WH E N IT COM E S TI M E TO PAI R WITH A C IGAR. FROM AN I NTE N S ITY AN D BODY STAN DPOI NT YOU WOU LD TH I N K THAT A CONN ECTIC UT S HADE WRAPPE D, M I LD C IGAR WOU LD B E TH E PLAY B UT I N FACT IT I S QU ITE TH E OPPOS ITE. IT TU RN S OUT THAT A RIC H, DARK C IGAR I S TH E B E ST COM PLE M E NT TO TH I S RH U M AG RICOLE. TH E LIGA PRIVADA NO. 9 WITH ITS DE E P PE PPE R AN D B ITTE RSWE ET C HOCOLATE B RI NG OUT A PREVIOU S LY S U BTLE NOTE OF CARAM E L AN D PU S H E S IT TO TH E FRONT I N A DE LIC IOU S AN D BOLD WAY. TH E NOTE LI NG E RS ON YOU R PALATE LONG E NOUG H THAT TH E N EXT DRAW OF TH E C IGAR B RI NG S EVE N MORE CARAM E L. WH E N YOU R PAI RI NG CAN AFFECT BOTH, TH E S PI RIT AN D TH E C IGAR, YOU KNOW YOU’VE DON E SOM ETH I NG RIG HT.

EDITOR’S NOTE WE PARTNERED WITH TOTAL WINE & MORE (TOTALWINE.COM) TO PUT THIS FEATURE TOGETHER AND PABLO ESTADES WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN MAKING IT HAPPEN. THANKS, PABLO.


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© Christian Hinkle / stock.adobe.com

CRAFT DISTILLERIES, TIKI COCKTAILS AND PLASTIC SHARKS. THERE’S NO PLACE FOR DRINKING LIKE THE BIG EASY. BY NICOLÁS ANTONIO JIMÉNEZ / PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDY ASTENCIO


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter; the dining room at Shaya, an Israeli restaurant on Magazine Street; a steamboat on the Missisissippi; [bottom] the entrance at Mayan Imports

ny excuse. Any at all. Some people look for reasons to return to New York. Others have a favorite Caribbean island they go back to again and again when they want to get away. Me? I will take any excuse I can get to go back to New Orleans. So when we huddled up at the office to settle on a destination for this Rum Issue’s travel story, I got excited. If the theme was booze, New Orleans had to be on the short list. Before we’d ruled out the other locales, I was chomping at the bit, bringing together my scattered to-do list of New Orleans bars, restaurants and music venues that had been recommended to me over the years. There was no way we’d get to it all, but then that’s part of what’s great about New Orleans.

MAGAZINE STREET After arriving in the Big Easy, I hopped into an Uber with our art director Andy Astencio — who was visiting New Orleans for the very first time — and headed to Magazine Street after dropping luggage off at our hotel on Canal Street (B on Canal, which was an affordable option in a central location). Our first stop was a Magazine Street restaurant I first visited about a year before this trip and had been thinking about ever since: Shaya (shayarestaurant.com). The first time I ate there, Shaya was in its last few days as the subject of a heated legal dispute between two star chefs:

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John Besh and the restaurant’s namesake Alon Shaya. The two partners had split and were locked up in a fight over the rights to operate a restaurant under the “Shaya” name. Though you might have assumed otherwise, Besh’s restaurant group retained those rights and still operates Shaya, while Alon went on to open a restaurant called Saba a mile away. Whichever of these two Israeli restaurants you visit, you’re in for a treat. Yes, you read that right. Incredible Israeli food in a town where practically nothing is kosher (and neither is everything on these two menus). Shaya was named the Best New Restaurant in the U.S. in the 2016 James Beard Awards, at which time Alon Shaya was the chef running the place. With Saba, he took his talents a stone’s throw to the west. At Shaya, which I’d liked so much the first time around I couldn’t resist, we went with a hummus topped with lamb ragú and crispy chickpeas, a chicken schnitzel sandwich, a lamp kafte, and a chocolate babka with vanilla gelato. The thing that really impresses you here, though, is the pita, which is made fresh on a constant basis and replenished for as long as you still have stuff to scoop up with it. It’s fresh, subtly flavorful, and the perfect vessel for all the rest of the deliciousness at your table. If it’s easy to overeat in New Orleans — and good God, is it easy to overeat in New Orleans — it’s just as easy to walk off all your bad decisions. Andy and I walked up and down Magazine Street, a stretch of boutiques,

restaurants, bars and other businesses that runs east to west, parallel to the Mississippi River, cutting through the mostly residential area between the French Quarter and Audubon Park. If you’re around here and prefer a restaurant experience that’s more in line with the New Orleans tradition you probably came to the town for, check out Atchafalaya or (if you can get a table) Commander’s Palace. Slim Goodies Diner is also a great option for breakfast in this neighborhood. Having gotten a meal in, it was time to bring this trip into alignment with the Rum Issue and drop into a distillery. About half a mile south on Tchoupitoulas Street is NOLA Distillery, a bar and craft distillery that reopened at the start of 2019. It had first opened with the slightly different name “NOLA Distilling,” closed after a few years, and was later bought by HS Beverage, the Las Vegas-based spirits company that owns


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: The lounge at Mayan Imports on Magazine; a statue of Joan of Arc, New Orleans’ unofficial patron saint; Bayou Rum at Dos Jefes Cigar Bar; the bar at NOLA Distillery; Dos Jefes Cigar Bar

Hierarchy Vodka and two products under the Hustler brand. NOLA, however, is their first venture into distilling their own spirits. The distillery is known for its vodka made from Louisiana sweet potatoes and its rum made with Louisiana molasses. If you do visit, though, perhaps the most unique thing you can try is their Pirate’s Code Rum, which is aged one year in spent Jack Daniel’s American oak barrels. The bar’s not doing anything all that fancy, but there’s an ample cocktail menu and they’re generous with their booze in those. We headed back up north to Magazine Street where we strolled, stopping at a few places to buy gifts for our families (this is a much better area for that than the French Quarter) and eventually heading into Mayan Import Company, a cigar shop and lounge with two locations (one here, another in the French Quarter). Mayan Import has an excellent selection of cigars, ranging widely from the big staples to a number of smaller boutique brands. Regulars hang out, smoke, and share drinks they’ve brought from home on the

stoop out front as well as in the lounge inside the shop. One of those regulars was Derrick Melder. When he’s on the clock, he’s a cop. Off duty, though, he’s a fixture in the New Orleans cigar community, putting together events and acting as a cigar culture ambassador of sorts through his Cigar Syndicate lifestyle brand. We smoked cigars and drank from several bottles of rum he’d brought along with him to share with fellow smokers. Some of the rum was Cuban; after some passionate but respectful back and forth that turned to our divergent perspectives on the Cuban government (especially its hospitality and luxury goods monopolies), we hugged it out and made plans to keep the smoking and drinking going a short walk away at Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar in the West Riverside neighborhood. Dos Jefes embodies a lot of what I love about New Orleans. An excellent selection of spirits that might be reserved for a swankier place or a better dressed crowd flows for an easygoing mix of local cigar bar veterans, college students and travelers. Live music in the corner. And a food truck out on the curb serving some of the best tacos I’ve had in years (check out @TaceauxLoceaux on Instagram when you’re in town). The cabinet humidor offers a limited selection, but then this is a cigar bar, not a retail tobacconist.

What they do have is top-notch. I was pleased to find a wide array of offerings from Fuente, Padrón, Oliva and Plasencia. “Cigar culture in New Orleans used to be that it was something people did in their backyards,” Derrick said as we dug into the tacos he treated us to, insisting we try one of each. “This place here, Dos Jefes, was one of the only places where people could come and smoke comfortably [outside their homes]. Fortunately, this area wasn’t affected by Katrina, so we were able to come up here after the storm and rekindle a lot of those moments. It’s one of the only places that still has live music every night of the week. And no matter when you come, you can still smoke indoors.” Dos Jefes was grandfathered in when the mayor of New Orleans enacted a smoking ban in the city — a shocking development to many smokers, especially those who know just how big a role hand rolled cigars play in the history of this town. “We had some of the oldest cigar factories,” Derrick said. “Punch had a factory right up here on the river in the 1800s. We had Jackson Square Cigar Company, we had La Belle Creole ... all of those were brands they were blending right here in New Orleans and selling them to the rest of the country. We have always had that cigar culture here.”

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Old New Orleans Distillery; a mojito at NOLA Distillery; Crescent City Cigars; Cigar Factory New Orleans; jambalaya at Coop’s Place; rum samples on the Old New Orleans Distillery tour

FRENCH QUARTER When the late Anthony Bourdain was asked in a CNN interview to name the one U.S. city where people should travel to eat, he answered unequivocally. “In America, there might be better gastronomic destinations than New Orleans, but there is no place more uniquely wonderful,” he said. “With the best restaurants in New York, you’ll find something similar to it in Paris or Copenhagen or Chicago. But there is no place like New Orleans. So it’s a must-see city because there’s no explaining it, no describing it.” If you ask me (and we’ll pretend you have), that’s not just true of New Orleans’ food. You could eat fast food from national chains throughout your visit and still run into constant reminders of the simple fact that you are undeniably in New Orleans. From the music to the accents to the art to the architecture, this is an incomparable place. Nowhere is that more true than in the French Quarter, the city’s world-famous historic district. We started the second day with a casual breakfast at

Oceana Grill, a sprawling (by the standards of this historic district, at least) casual eatery with breakfast staples that often feature Cajun or Creole twists. Imagine a large breakfast diner or even a Denny’s, except the food is better and you can get crawfish in your omelette. What’s more, they’ve got a nice courtyard you can opt for if it’s not too hot and humid to eat al fresco. After breakfast and coffee, we walked along Conti toward the Mississippi to get smokes at Cigar Factory New Orleans. “This company started in Las Vegas 32 years ago,” said general manager Alex Monsanto. “They moved to California, where they started a factory, but the taxes there forced them to move to New Orleans 20 years ago, and so we’re celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Cigar Factory New Orleans with a special cigar.” The factory’s 20th Anniversary cigar features fillers and binder from Nicaragua wrapped with Brazilian Arapiraca in a short salomon format. Alex says this is the blend the company’s founder used to make for himself to smoke before he brought it to their twodecade celebration. Whichever of their blends you smoke when you’re here (they only sell their own cigars), Cigar Factory New Orleans offers a unique environment for cigar smoking. Bring a cocktail in from the outside and enjoy a cigar

just feet away from both the huge front windows (that keep you feeling like you’re still in the thick of the action in the Quarter) and the rollers who are busy manufacturing the inventory that will eventually replace what you’ve just bought. This is a legitimate cigar factory. Walk up to the rollers’ tables and take a closer look. You might even learn something! Walk a few blocks north on Decatur, and you’ll hit one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city: Jackson Square. It’s built on the site where Louisiana became a U.S. territory in the Louisiana Purchase. Covering a square block between the waterfront and St. Louis Cathedral, the site served as a public square for a large chunk of the city’s history. As the name suggests, the park prominently features a statue of a horse-mounted Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans and America’s controversial seventh president. Once you’re done with the requisite Jackson Square photo op, take some time to hang out in and immediately around the park. Because of the foot traffic, this is where you’ll usually find the highest concentration of buskers. That recommendation might sound strange if you’ve never been to New Orleans; this city’s buskers could get residencies in your town’s jazz clubs. In fact, Grammy-nominated Trombone Shorty got that name

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that’s a favorite among Cubans) that I wish we’d had room to try, but it’s on the to-do list for my next visit. Next up: an Uber ride north to Old New Orleans Distillery (oldneworleansrum.com). It’s one of the oldest craft rum distilleries still operating in New Orleans, and though the facility isn’t huge, you can tell as you go through their tour (you can book online for $15) that the people who work here are passionate about rum and sharing their work and their history. It’s an excellent experience, especially if you’ve never taken a deep dive at a distillery — complete with a tasting of their unaged distillate and almost everything they bottle. In the end, Andy and I fell in love with their 1718 Tricentennial Blend (named for the year New Orleans was founded), which is described on the Old New Orleans site thusly: “a composition of our polished distillate soaked in cherry staves and finished in Madeira barrels. This rum has notes of morning dew, honey, and vanilla. The Madeira barrels were home to Verdelho grapes, imparting a golden hue to the rum.”

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Smoke On the Water might have the largest selection of cigars in the French Quarter; Beachbum Berry’s Latitutde 29 (left) is a destination for tiki cocktails like the ones below

balaya that any time I spent not eating it was spent wondering whether I could get away with expensing a second bowl. You know… for the photos.

when he was leading bands and parades with his instrument on New Orleans streets at five years old. In our short visit, we saw people on the street who left me wondering whether I’d just heard the next big thing. Move toward the water and there are plenty of other views to take in. The Mississippi River winds through the city, creating opportunities for steamboat rides, river photos, or just a change of scenery while you drink your morning coffee from Café Du Monde (although those beignets are a little messy to eat on the go). After a quick scan of The French Market (it’s not nearly as interesting or worthwhile as similar markets in other towns), we made our way to Coop’s Place (coopsplace.net). It’s a small tavern that is always — absolutely always — full, but the line outside the door moves pretty quickly because they do a good job of serving people quickly and turning over tables. This is one of my favorite spots for jambalaya, which even a lot of locals will tell you is some of the best in town. Specifically, you’re here for the Rabbit & Sausage Jambalaya. It’s hot (as in spicy), it’s hearty, and it’s unlike any pub food you have in your town. We chased the jambalaya with some fruity rum drink that I honestly can’t remember the name of. It might have had strawberry in it. The truth is I was so into the jam-

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A running theme that regular readers might have caught onto in our travel stories: the hunt for decent Cuban coffee. Our time in the French Quarter took us to Manolito, a Cuban bar and restaurant near the corner of Decatur and Dumaine. It’s tiny, and being in there felt a lot like being in a Havana paladar (one of the independently run eateries that dot the map of that city). The verdict? Pretty good! Not great. Not a cup of coffee I’d go back to if I were in Miami. But good enough while on the road! We also had an incredible frozen daiquiri without having realized this place has been written about on liquor.com as having perhaps the best frozen cocktails in the country. Manolito also serves family-style ropa vieja (shredded, stewed beef

By the time we got through our tasting, we were feeling pretty good. Old New Orleans was generous with the samples! But the drinking wasn’t over; we went directly from the distillery to the back patio of a restaurant called Jewel of the South, where we met with author Wayne Curtis (whose piece on American rum appears on p. 55 of this issue) for a mini cocktail tour of the French Quarter. Wayne says he had no interest in writing about booze when he got into it, but after more than a decade as a New Orleans resident and loads of freelance bylines under his belt (with all the research that has to have entailed) we couldn’t have asked for a better guide to give us a well-rounded view of the area’s cocktail scene. Jewel of the South is a charming, small restaurant that — as the name suggests — oozes Southern hospitality. The patio in the back feels like it could belong to a family home (if you forget about the wait staff and the hostess at the entrance). I started with the Sherry Cobbler (Palo Cortado and Amontillado sherry with orange and quince paste), which was easily my favorite cocktail of our stay in this town. From there, I moved on to the Brandy Crusta (Remy 1738 Cognac, Pierre Ferrand Curacao, maraschino liqueur, and Angostura Bitters). Having formulated our plan of attack for the rest of the night, we joined Wayne on a walk to Bourbon Street. It was about 6:30 p.m. by then and the revelers were already pouring into the streets. Jazz Fest was starting the next day and loads of out-of-towners were working hard to get into the spirit of things. We made a wild, hard shift from the subdued charm of Jewel of the South to the Bourbon Street’s Tropical Isle (at the corner of Bourbon and Orleans). The bar — which seems like it was designed to make you feel like you’re at a pool party in a young boy’s fish tank — is every kitschy, unpretentious, awesomely low brow thing you want from the Bourbon Street bar that invented the hand grenade. On this visit, though, Wayne made sure to treat us to a Shark Attack.



CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The bar at Erin Rose, where there are also some killer po’ boys; just some of the artifacts at the National WWII Museum; music fills Bourbon Street at all hours

New Orleans. Smoke on the Water’s ownership has a cigar bar by the same name in Weston, Florida, and their New Orleans shop has the best selection in the French Quarter. Having had our fill of cocktails, we treated Wayne to an Oliva Serie V Melanio nightcap in the small patio out back and talked tobacco as a bit of a palate cleanser.

“It’s a drink, but it’s also theater,” he said. As far as I could tell, the recipe was roughly two parts ice, two parts red stuff, one part stuff that gets you drunk. The bartender made all the noise she could while she mixed all the stuff together before finally coming in with the garnish: a plastic toy shark that first swims at you (meaning the bartender waves it in your direction menacingly) before finally diving into your newly mixed red, icy, boozy stuff.

LET IT RAIN

Did I have a new favorite drink of the trip? No, I definitely did not. But it was the most fun to order. And while I didn’t enjoy the three or four sips I drank before chucking my Shark Attack, I enjoyed the hell out of walking around the rest of the night with my toy shark poking out of my shirt pocket. It was the perfect accessory for the next stop on Wayne’s tour: Arnaud’s French 75. Wayne described the place as “an oasis of civility” amid all of Bourbon Street’s debauchery. Actually we skipped drinking there because the bar isn’t known for its rum cocktails, but we did go to the adjacent Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum, which is named for the woman who opened the restaurant in the French Quarter in 1983. Many years before, she had had a 22-year reign as queen of Mardi Gras balls. That’s a record, as I understand it, but it’s not totally clear to me what sort of power comes with all that. The museum above the restaurant features displays containing more than 24 over-the-top Mardi Gras Costumes. Among them are 13 that were used by Wells and four that were used by her father, Count Arnaud (whose title was “local and honorary” according to the

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museum). How do I get people to call me a count? These people had it figured out. And they clearly enjoyed themselves in these outfits. Even now, many of them have signs of wear. A muddy train or some torn fabric. There’s no partying in these things and keeping them in pristine shape. We excused ourselves from the museum and made one last cocktail stop at Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29. Jeff “Beachbum” Berry is the author of books, articles and other works related to cocktails, especially of the tiki variety. And the bar at Latitude 29 is a home to some of the most fun-looking and well-crafted cocktails we’ve ever tasted on one of these junkets. My favorite: the Navy Grog (Jamaican and Demerara rums, perfumed with allspice and laced with lime and grapefruit). That night ended with a cigar at Smoke on the Water, right around the corner from Cigar Factory

Having covered a lot of ground the previous two days, we had hoped to spend our last full day in New Orleans taking it easy on both the hectic bouncing around from place to place and the drinking. As it turned out, we didn’t have much choice. That next morning, the weather forecast predicted a torrential downpour and that’s precisely what we got. When you’re in New Orleans, you spend a lot of time walking around the city. But if you really need to stay indoors for long stretches — and especially if you need to be active enough to get a travel story out of your time here, your options are a bit limited. The rain really got going halfway through our breakfast at Willa Jean in the Central Business District, so we took our sweet time with the meal. I had a hangover bowl: braised short rib, grits, caramelized pearl onions, crispy garlic and a poached egg. It was exactly what I needed after a day on which I drank more than I might normally drink in a month. Given the heavy rain, we hailed an Uber for what would otherwise have been a 10-minute walk to the National WWII Museum, which is up against the Pontchartrain Expressway. It’s incredible how little


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usual staples. This is the neighborhood lounge you want to come to to shoot the breeze with fellow smokers. It’s more hangout than retail, and it’s nice to have that kind of spot available to you when you’re a traveler.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Raw Deal playing at 30/90 on Frenchman Street; Peche Seafood Grill, a casual concept by the chefs behind Cochon, among others; The sprawling lounge at Don Leoncio Cigars on Canal

of what has to have been the most pivotal event of the last century. You could spend hours here — and we did, but even after a few hours we felt like we’d rushed it for the sake of this piece.

you ever hear about this place until you’re actually in town. Maybe because when people travel to New Orleans, they’re thinking more about beads and crustaceans than they are about museum exhibits. But this is the country’s official WWII museum, and it’s one of the most impressive history museums I’ve ever visited (this was my second time here). The six-acre campus is home to more than 250,000 artifacts — from patches to airplanes and everything in between — and close to 10,000 personal accounts of not only the fighting that took place during World War II (the exhibits go into detail on the tactics, weapons and even the politics of the war), but also the way that the war affected life for everyone who remained in the States. And while it’s obvious enough how the museum treats the question of who the good and bad guys were, part of what makes the place so powerful is that it doesn’t shy away from the parts of that history that don’t look so rosy for the United States and the Allies. From lost battles to the treatment of black soldiers to the moral stain of the Japanese internment camps, the museum sucks you right into the nitty gritty

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From the museum, we went to lunch at Pêche Seafood Grill, another James Beard Award-winning restaurant by the same restaurant group behind the even more celebrated Cochon. Peche is a more casual seafood concept, but the food is nothing to sneeze at. The rustic seafood dishes here — like, for instance, my baked drum, served in a cast iron skillet with mushroom broth and calas — feel simple even when you know they’re not. It’s that feeling of seeing the rustic presentation, thinking “I wonder if I could do this?” and then taking your first bite only to realize you don’t stand a chance. The fish was cooked perfectly and the broth was so flavorful I found myself scraping my fork around in the skillet every few minutes after I was done just to see if I’d missed anything. Ready for the first cigar of the day, we headed to Crescent City Cigars — back to the French Quarter — where Armando Ortiz has been holding court since 1998. When he first came into the cigar game here, he says there were more than a dozen tobacconists in the French Quarter. Today, there are far fewer, and he’s one of those who survived the end of the cigar boom, the economic impact of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the recession and the smoking ban. His lounge’s plush chairs always have butts in them now, though, and his walk-in humidor has 300 or so facings that include boutique brands as well as the

We walked five minutes north to Cuban Crafters, a name that’s familiar to us in Miami as belonging to one of the area’s superstores. Their New Orleans cigar bar, though, is a whole other concept. The much swankier lounge is complemented by a bar with a selection of top-shelf spirits (especially Scotch). We had our fix of Cuban coffee and chased that with a Daiquiri (not the frozen kind, but the kind God intended) and enjoyed a cigar in the lounge. While Cuban Crafters’ Miami store offers almost anything you could hope to find, the New Orleans store only carries the brands they make for themselves, so if you’re not familiar with their products, you will be by the time you leave. We’d done a lot of walking, much of it in the rain, so we headed back to our hotel room and got cleaned up for our last meal in New Orleans. Along the way, though, we made one last cigar stop at Don Leoncio Cigars on Canal Street, which has got to be the single most Dominican place in Louisiana. From the merengue music playing over the speakers to the dominoes and baseball banter, Andy and I felt like we’d been transported to Santo Domingo. Dinner was at Paladar 511, a hip Italian fusion joint just east of Frenchman Street in the Marigny District, a quick walk from the French Quarter. We sat at the bar, which gave us a view of the hyperactive open kitchen, and split two pizzas. The first had lamb sausage, garlic confit, pine nuts, red pepper and tzatziki dollops. The second was egg, bacon gruyere and collards. Neither ordinary, both exceptional. Finally, we walked over to Frenchman, where you’ll find what has got to be some of the best live music bar hopping anywhere in the world. We spent most of our time at a club called 30/90, where a band called Raw Deal was bringing down the house with a blend of funk, blues and R&B. Just like that, it was over. I left New Orleans with more things added to my to-do list than I ticked off, and my next opportunity to head to the Big Easy can’t come soon enough.


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TIMELESS SUPREME Boxed pressed Nicaraguan puro.

1.800.MY.CIGAR www.natshermanintl.com Site limited to smokers 21 years of age or older. 54 | CIGAR SNOB | MAY / JUNE 2019WARNING: Smoking cigars regularly poses risks of cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx and esophagus similar to smoking cigarettes. ©2019 NAT SHERMAN INTERNATIONAL, LLC NSI448


As the lines between geographically-defined rum styles blur, can U.S. distillers carve out an identity for themselves?

Š Viacheslav / stock.adobe.com

by Wayne Curtis

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um is the most malleable of spirits. It’s a liquid shape-shifter that can vary by region and culture, from the full-bodied double-retort pot still rums of Jamaica to the grassy agricoles of Martinique to the crisper, drier rums of Puerto Rico. Add to the family another style, one just now getting more attention: American-style rum, crafted by distillers across North America who’ve been exploring different profiles for the past decade or two. But does an American-style rum exist? If so, what defines it? “I’m curious about American-style rum in that I’m not certain what it is yet,” says Tim Russell, the owner of Maggie’s Farm Rum in Pittsburgh. “I’m not certain American rum knows what American rum is yet.”

All rums made on American soil may be called American rums; on that, everyone seems to agree. But how much that matters is subject to debate. American rum has been feeling its way forward for a while now. Phil Prichard, who launched Prichard’s Rum in 1997, was among the first who set out to make and market an Americanstyle rum. “We spend almost every waking hour attempting to define the American rum, versus what we refer to as the tropical types of rum,” Prichard told me in 2004. ”We stake our claim on producing an authentic American rum.” His early advertising featured the “Spirit of 1776,” the iconic 1891 painting of three bedraggled Revolutionary musicians marching beneath a tattered flag. Not a beach umbrella in sight. Prichard was the second rum distiller to open in the craft-spirits revival, and he’s been joined by many others since. (This past spring, I counted at least 217 American distillers now producing rum.) And rums made in America have been marked not only by impressive volumes, but by a wide variety of styles.

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Maggie’s Farm Rum is made at Allegheny Distilling in Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District. Founded in 2013, it’s the first commercially available rum made in the state since Prohibition.

All rums made on American soil may be called American rums; on that, everyone seems to agree. But how much that matters is subject to debate. Indeed, rums have been moving away from simple place-based categories (Barbados, Jamaican, Puerto Rican), in part because changes in recent decades have muddied once distinct variations in styles, and changes in production have trended toward a certain homogenization. As a replacement for place-based rum descriptors, there’s been a quiet push toward a classification based on production methods. Most notable is the “Gargano classification” created by Luca Gargano, a rum importer based in Italy. His categories range from “pure single rum” (made entirely in a pot still) to “industrial rum” made entirely in a modern column still, with subcategories for rums made with blends of the two, as well as for fresh-pressed sugarcane rums. This approach acknowledges that geographic styles are no longer as well defined as they once were and that the source material

often comes from global commodity markets, making locally based sugarcane varietals less of a factor in flavor. “Caribbean rum should now be called ‘Caribbean-style rum’ because the islands now don’t grow their sugar anymore,” says Erik Vonk, founder and head of Richland Rum in Georgia. “The sugar is no longer truly originated in the Caribbean and doesn’t have Caribbean terroir. The distilleries are still located there, and that’s it.” For his part, Vonk doesn’t emphasize American rum in marketing his product so much as “single estate rum” — he stakes a claim on being the only American producer who grows his own sugarcane specifically to make rum. Is there an identifiable flavor profile of rums made in North America? “American rum doesn’t come from the same cultural experience and tradition of the Caribbean, so it does have a different flavor and taste,” says Maggie Campbell, CEO and distiller at Privateer Rum in Massachusetts. Some of that difference may come


ultimate goal is to produce world-recognizable rum that is clearly Arizona, clearly American and most importantly unique,” says co-founder Gary Ellam. Elevation, climate and water can each have an impact on production, resulting in flavor variations that can range from subtle to immense. But within that range, one bit of loose consensus is often heard in discussions of the flavor profile of “American-style rum.” Simply put, it’s that these often have more of a whiskey profile than traditional West Indian rum. It’s less sweet tasting, and carries over more of the oak from the barrels.

[American rums] often have more of a whiskey profile than traditional West Indian rum. It’s less sweet tasting, and carries over more of the oak from the barrels.

not just from tradition and attitude, but also from latitude. Northern production, Campbell says, may contribute to a different flavor profile, thanks to both different fermenting and aging conditions. “Cooler climate fermentation and cooler climate aging can lead to a higher purity of a flavor, with a bit more delicacy and a bit more definition,” she says. “Warmer climate rums are going to have softer flavor definition — more mingled, ethereal flavors that blend together.” Rums made by Montanya Distillers in Colorado are distilled and aged at 8,900 feet. The impacts are wide-ranging, including a lower boiling point that has an impact on distillation and the local climatic conditions that affect barrel aging. “Temperatures in mountainous climates fluctuate daily and allow the flavors in the barrel to meld differently than they do at sea level,” says owner Karen Hoskin. Elgin Distilling in Arizona, founded in 2014, works with elevation, aridity and heat as part of their rum production process, resulting in their award-winning Regalo de Vida Gran Rum. “Our

“Style-wise, they tend to be a little bit drier,” says Campbell at Privateer. “Americans are used to a lot of oak, and the big bold flavors of bourbon are common. I also see a lot of people getting into rum from whiskey backgrounds, myself included.” Most Caribbean rums also age in ex-bourbon or rye casks, and so, what’s the difference? Beside climate, there’s intent. While it’s not uncommon for West Indian rum makers to add a small amount of sugar to smooth the rough edges and add mouthfeel, many United States craft rum producers are quick to publicly eschew additives and stress the relative dryness of their product. “I often refer to ours as ‘a whiskey drinker’s rum,’” says Nathan Greenawalt of Old Sugar Distillery in Madison, WI. “Ours is heavily oaked and unsweetened [and has] got all the wonderful flavors from oak and caramelization that people like in whiskey, without the graininess.” Greenawalt says he designed a rum around what he liked in a spirit, even if he had trouble finding examples before he started production. “I don’t care for spirits that are too buttery and silky — they taste like glycerin to me,” he says, noting that he finds this in some Barbados rums. “If I had to give a description of American rum, it would be oaky and unsweetened and a little rough around the edges, like ours.”

Erik Vonk at Richland says that his rum tends to come off the still with a sweeter-tasting profile naturally, as it’s made from cane syrup rather than molasses. Molasses has more unconverted sugars, which he says results in “more fruity notes, more elements typical for agricultural rums.” Yet he strives to tame this with his choice of cooperage. “What may give it an Americanized character is by our using new American white oak barrels, similar to what bourbon makers do. That makes a big difference and can make a rum that is closer in flavor to a bourbon.” While American rum may be emerging as the missing link between sweeter, Caribbean-style rums and the dry, tannic bourbons loved by many Americans, it’s still evolving and finding its place amid the melting pot of craft rum styles cropping up almost daily — from the new agricole rums being made from Louisiana sugarcane, to the high-ester, dunder-inflected rums increasingly arriving on the market (from Roulaison Distilling Co. and Wigle Whiskey, among others). “Like most everything American, I believe that the style takes the best from all of the world and melds it into an indefinable, but yet immediately recognizable profile,” says Ellam from Elgin Distilling. “It is our belief that we are honoring tradition, yet moving past that with innovations in fermentation, distillation, aging, blending and bottling.” “We’ve never marketed our product directly as ‘American rum,’” says Tim Russell at Maggie’s Farm. “But if someone tells me they don’t like rum, it’s usually an opportunity to tell them why ours is different from whatever they got sick off of in college or some situation like that.” Russell suggests that innovation and change may be among the more notable qualities of American rum. “Taking innovative steps on rum while trying to maintain tradition is important to me,” he says. “I suppose that’s what would make us an American rum.”

Wayne Curtis is a freelancer whose work you can find in Imbibe, The Atlantis, The American Scholar and Bon Appétit, to name just a few publications that have benefitted from his deep knowledge of booze (he knows and writes about other things, too). Wayne is also the author of the book “And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails” This piece was published in Distiller (distilling.com) in January 2019.

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Havana Club’s immersive theater performance takes you through a Cuban rum family’s compelling story of loss, exile and legacy. BY NICOLÁS ANTONIO JIMÉNEZ

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t’s dark. I’m near the middle of a huddled group that’s swaying rhythmically, side to side, as you would when you’re keeping your balance on a boat in choppy waters. Each of us has a hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us, which — together with the song that some are singing — leads us to almost involuntarily synchronize our swaying. Just as I was getting sucked into the sound of waves steadily lapping up against the side of a boat, I realize that the guy in front of me, on whose shoulder I’ve placed my right hand, is being gently comforted by his wife. He’s crying. He probably never imagined that a theater production built around the story of a rum brand would put him there, but in this scene from The Amparo Experience — an immersive show created as part of a push Bacardi is making with its Havana Club brand — Juan Gil had been transported south to the Florida Straits and flung back in time nearly 30 years to the day that he made his way to the United States in what’s now known as the Mariel Boatlift. The journey in the play takes place long before that, but when your life makes a hard pivot on the open water, those sounds always take you back to your own journey.

The background The right to call a rum “Havana Club” is at the heart of a heated legal and historical dispute that serves as an avatar for the bigger conflict between the Cuban government and those who say that government took everything from them. Before diving into The Amparo Experience and the current campaign behind the Havana Club that’s made in Puerto Rico, it’s worth taking a moment to review the brand’s Cuban roots. The Havana Club rum produced in Cuba is the one that probably comes to mind when you hear that brand name. Like so many other brands that have been produced in Cuba since before the Castro revolution — not just in rum, but in other product categories, including cigars — the brand has a history of expropriation by the state. The Arechabala family’s company, Jose Arechabala S.A., started making rum on the island in 1878 and first registered the Havana Club name in 1934. By the time Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement began making its way across Cuba, Havana Club rum had become a national symbol for glitz and celebration. The revolution rode into Havana and took power, interrupting New Year celebrations in the wee hours of January 1, 1959. By the end of 1960 the Cuban government had nationalized $25 billion of private property owned by

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The Arechabalas started making rum in Cuba in 1878 and registered the Havana Club name in 1934.

Cubans (about $190 billion in today’s currency). And among all that property was the Arechabalas’ entire operation. Unlike the Bacardis, who had set up manufacturing in Puerto Rico in time to fall back on that when the revolution came, the Arechabalas were left with nothing but their recipe and a U.S. trademark.

...we now have two spirits industry juggernauts duking it out over who gets to use the name “Havana Club.” That trademark was registered in the U.S. to the Arechabalas until 1973, when it lapsed. According to the family, this was because Javier Arechabala, the attorney in the family, had been unable to renew the trademark. Javier had a decent excuse; he hadn’t gotten out of Cuba, as he was still a prisoner of the Cuban government. In any case, the Cuban government had begun selling rum under the Havana Club name abroad (primarily in Russia and Eastern Europe) the previous year and it pounced on the opportunity to

take the American rights to “Havana Club” out from under the Arechabalas’ noses. And that’s exactly what the Cuban government did. But as long as the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba was in place, there wasn’t much that the Cubans could do with that brand other than sit and wait for a massive market to open up 90 miles away. In 1993, French beverage company Pernod Ricard joined the Cuban government to create a 50-50 state-run venture called Corporación Cuba Ron. Pernod Ricard is the corporation behind Beefeater, Chivas Regal, Absolut Vodka, Jameson, The Glenlivet, Malibu, and Ballantines, to name a few brands in their portfolio. All of which is to say that the Cubans had partnered with a powerhouse in the spirits world, and just as the regime was looking for ways out of the economic catastrophe that was just beginning on the island. Known as Cuba’s “special period,” this was a stretch of extreme poverty following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The modern conflict over the Havana Club name begins in earnest in 1994, when Bacardi obtains naming rights from the Arechabala family and


sells close to a thousand cases of Havana Club rum in 1994 and 1995. Pernod Ricard takes Bacardi to court and wins three rulings. But then in 1998 Congress passes legislation that keeps the Cuban government from making claims to trademarks it expropriated.

Little Havana neighborhood. When Team Enterprises — the branding firm behind just about all of Bacardi’s major campaigns, including The Amparo Experience — was ready to go all-out with the concept, they went to the theater production group Broadway Factor.

There’s more to the story, but here’s where things stand in a nutshell: we now have two spirits industry juggernauts duking it out over who gets to use the name “Havana Club.” But forget about the law for a moment. Where do you stand? What if the government took everything your family had built over generations and then claimed your brand for itself? What if you had to watch from exile as that government shipped bottles of rum made with the equipment that belonged to you and bearing the name your family made iconic?

“We get a phone call from Team. They had performed two one-nighters — one here in Miami and one in New York City — to try to see where this would go,” said executive producer George Cabrera, who created Broadway Factor along with William Fernández, Jim Kierstead and Deborah Ramírez. “I remember when we had our first meeting at the Bacardi offices. We’re going through this whole play ... My eyes were watering because it was something that was near and dear to my heart. I knew we would have been the best production company to assist in making the show happen. From there it just, it just took off. It just took off.”

What if you had the recipe? What if you still had friends in high places who could help you breathe new life into your family’s legacy? Is the brand tethered to a place? Or is it tethered to its owners? Can any government really nationalize a legacy? What does it mean for one of these rums to be “the real Havana Club?”

How they’re telling their story I’ll be up front about my position here. Why be coy about it? Cuba’s Havana Club rum is effectively manufactured with slave labor using stolen equipment and a name that doesn’t belong to the people who are profiting from its sale. And Pernod Ricard is a party to it all. That’s where I stand. The thing is, though, that you don’t have to agree with any of that. The point of The Amparo Experience is for you to dive into the Arechabala family’s story. It’s a crash course on their perspective and, ultimately, their and Bacardi’s case in the dispute over which is the “real” Havana Club. “One of my life’s missions is to tell the story of Cuba, and that comes from a very personal place,” said playwright Vanessa García. Her parents were born in Cuba, where one of her grandparents did time as a political prisoner. Her father died at 50 never having returned to Cuba. “The lens that is pointed at Cubans has always been from the outside and therefore unclear and inaccurate. And so I felt immediately when I started to research the Arechabala story that this was a story that told all of our stories and that was able to stand as universal to the Cuban experience.” The Amparo Experience that audiences are seeing in downtown Miami now evolved from much smaller productions in New York City and Miami’s

Your Amparo journey starts on a high when you’re greeted at an intimate bar offering a handful of cocktails that feature Havana Club rum (which I won’t bother clarifying or qualifying since you know where I stand on which is the real deal) — more on the cocktails later in this piece. A team of lively bartenders brings the crowd of roughly 80 people into party mode when Roberto Torres, a singer whose music is in the nostalgic playlists of everyone in Cuban Miami, enters the bar with a microphone to mingle with the audience while leading you in a singalong of his greatest hit, Caballo Viejo. Here’s a translation of some of the lyrics.

A horse is put out to pasture because he’s old and tired but they don’t even realize that a tied up heart, when the reins are released, turns into a wild horse And if old horse finds a chestnut filly his heart is unstrung; he’ll ignore the bridle and he won’t obey the bit, and false reins won’t stop him. When the song is through, Roberto instructs people to make note of the color of the pin they got when they checked into the show. Each color corresponds to a character in the Amparo story; you’ll be meeting and following that character around the building, from set to set, experienc-

ing the Havana Club story from that perspective. All the stories begin with a series of 1950s New Year’s Eve parties at Havana’s Club Náutico. You get to know a number of characters like Amparo and Ramón Arechabala (the couple at the head of the company and the center of the story), singer Margarita María Mendoza, and distillery employee Antonio. When I say you get to know them, I mean that you’re walking through the club with them, they’re pouring you drinks, asking you questions, telling you their stories in corners of the room where only you can hear them over the music. That is, until the music stops and the shit hits the fan in 1959. From then on, the story shifts from feel-good romance — complete with a rom-com meet cute — to harrowing communist revolution roller coaster, complete with jail cells, extrajudicial executions and violent strip searches. And you’re right in the middle of all of it. It’s as intense a story as you’ll ever experience, and perhaps the only time you’ll see people literally weeping as they experience a branding firm’s campaign for a rum client. And all that is happening in at least five different ways throughout the show as audience members and the cast see their stories intersect and diverge. As I went through the story a second time to experience a new character’s perspective, I was struck by just how daunting it must have been to achieve the depth in each of these storylines that’s necessary to have audiences actually in it. The characters don’t just vanish, after all. There’s always an audience — if not you, then someone else. “On one level it’s like writing horizontally and vertically at the same time,” Vanessa said, “which means you’re going across time and then through the depth of each person’s story. You’re writing 23 stories at one time that all intersect because if you followed any one of those characters, they each have an entire arc — beginning, middle and end.” The script was written with the immersive nature of the show in mind, but that doesn’t mean that bringing it to fruition in real time and space was an easy task. “I love puzzles,” said director Victoria Collado. “The challenge is always making sure that the timing is correct and that you [the audience member] don’t feel the mechanism. The challenge is making sure that the actors understand the machine and then get the freedom to play within that machine. Because the last piece of the puzzle is the audience. And that is a variable that changes every single night.” The Amparo Experience is designed to run smoothly even if it has to contain some unexpected chaos. That chaos is bound to come any

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The Amparo Experience takes you on an emotional rollercoaster, from the elation of New Year’s Eve in pre-Castro Cuba to the panic brought on by the revolution’s arrival in Havana.

time you involve the audience in a show. Take that baseline risk and then factor in that members of the audience, who are going into this show after two or three cocktails and are being served additional shots by the performers during the play, have a personal, deeply emotional connection to the source material. For instance, audience members are split into groups at a pivotal moment in the play. Castro sympathizers to this side of the room. Everyone else to that side. What do you do when someone in the audience won’t abide standing with the revolution, even if only for the sake of letting the story progress? Or more intense still, what do you do when (and this is a thing that actually happened according to the Amparo cast) it turns out that one of the audience members is in a jail cell with an actor playing a real-life Cuban who that audience member knows from their shared time as political prisoners in the ‘60s? If you’re too young to have lived what the Arechabalas did, how real can actors make a memory you inherited from older generations? If you lived it, at what point does a scene become a flash-

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back you can reach out and touch?

The Cuba connection Practically everyone involved in The Amparo Experience has a personal connection to Cuba from lived experience. But for most, that experience looks very little like that of the characters they’re writing, directing or portraying in the show. “Everybody that has worked on this show has a very personal tie to the story because it’s what our parents went through, what our grandparents went through leaving Cuba. I was born there and I left the island when I was nine years old,” said Bertha Leal, who plays the young Amparo Arechabala (whereas Susana Pérez plays the older present-day Amparo). “My dad is still on the island, so I still have a very deep connection to the story of exiles and living in exile and having to start over from scratch, which I think is really what The Amparo Experience is about — becoming an immigrant and taking the thing that was taken from you with you to start over again and in a new country.”

Having been born in Cuba also means that Bertha is among the cast and crew who have personal experience with the Cuban government’s Havana Club as household name rum. “I’m sure that this is not something that would be very fun for Bacardi to hear, but for me it’s never been about selling rum,” she said. “It’s never been about selling something. It’s always been about just exposing the truth. I grew up in Cuba with Havana Club being the Havana Club, I always knew, which was the one that was made in Cuba. Starting to work on this project, it was like hearing for the first time there was no Santa Claus. I mean, I was basically listening to them tell me everything you believed about Havana Club has been a lie. To hear, ‘Oh no, that’s something that the government has fed you and it’s not real’ was huge.” The Arechabala story is one that ought to sound familiar to cigar smokers. When the Castro regime nationalized everything, that “everything” included cigar tobacco farms, factories, and brand names that today — like Cuban Havana Club — are sold just about everywhere but the


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do Amparo, which is a show about a family who lost it all and had to start over and did not give up… That’s his story.” That the people behind the play have such a personal connection to Cuba and the pain of exile helps make it all the more powerful with Cuban American audiences. After I saw the performance for the first time, I spotted Juan, the guy from that boat scene who’d been crying while my hand was on his shoulder. We’d each just ordered cocktails at the bar in The Amparo Experience Rum Garden (again, we’ll get to that in a bit). “Hey. Kind of weird, but my name is Nick and I’m writing something about all this for Cigar Snob. I’m also the guy who had his hand on your shoulder in that one scene. Would you mind if we talked for a bit for this article?” It can be uncomfortable asking people for their help in working what’s clearly an intense, emotional moment of theirs into your work. Juan didn’t hesitate, though. “Come with me. I have a story to tell you,” he said. Bertha Leal (right) plays the title role of Amparo Arechabala in The Amparo Experience.

United States. That affected not only the owners of brands and farms, but also the workers, who were doomed to less promising futures in the cigar industry (if any at all) when it shifted into the hands of a state-run monopoly. The Oliva Cigar family was among those that lost everything in Cuba. Marcela Paguaga is the granddaughter of the late Oliva patriarch Gilberto Oliva, Sr. and she plays singer Margarita María Mendoza in The Amparo Experience. “Cigars have a huge part in my life. From a young age I remember the cigar talk, I remember the smell. It’s one of my favorite smells in the entire world,” Marcela said. “My grandfather always had a cigar in his hand. If it was lit, if it wasn’t lit, he always had one until his last day here. I walk into bars or lounges or restaurants, and if there’s a cigar humidor I go to see who they have. Do they have Olivas? I have this pride, because he worked so hard for it that it makes me smile every time I see them.” Marcela doesn’t come from a family of distillers. But she did grow up with people who know what it means to make a living from the land, selling a product that takes its deep, personal meaning from the fact that it tells a family’s — and even a country’s — story. In fact, the Oliva story runs through armed political conflict in two different countries, as Gilberto, Sr.’s cigar journey was among those affected by the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Still, Gilberto, Sr. had a reputation for not complaining, and as a result, Marcela says she never heard much from him about his struggles.

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In the end, booking the Amparo gig brought her closer to her grandfather’s stories, even after his death.

That the people behind the play have such a personal connection to Cuba and the pain of exile helps make it all the more powerful with Cuban American audiences. “I don’t know if it’s a Cuban thing or if it was just my grandfather, but he never talked [about] the bad. At least to us, he never spoke bad about Cuba or the bad things he had to go through. It was always, ‘I went through this and it taught me this.’ When he was eight years old, he was really sick. That didn’t stop him; it showed him that he had to work harder. When the revolution happened and he lost everything, he went out and he started over. I would hear these stories. I lost him a month before booking Amparo. I remember booking Amparo and kicking myself saying, ‘Why didn’t I sit down and ask more and learn more?’ So I sat down with my grandmother and I sat down with my mom and I said, ‘You guys need to tell me more stories. You need to tell me what he went through.’ I think hearing those stories and hearing those connections and then being able to

Juan told me all about the pivotal time in his life that he’d been sucked back into as we swayed to the sound of waves in the show. He was ninegoing-on-ten when he learned that not only were he, his brother and his parents going to leave Cuba on the Mariel Boatlift (along with about 10,000 other Cubans who made the same journey from April to October 1980), but that he couldn’t say a word about it to anyone, lest someone try to sabotage his family’s escape, be it out of spite or out of some perverse loyalty to the revolution. He remembers being in school as a young boy, where teachers would strike fear into students, warning them that if their parents spirited them away to the United States, they’d be headed to a place where the streets were crawling with gangsters waiting to shoot you and your parents would become criminals. Eventually, it was time for him and his parents to leave. The idea was to get a cab at Juan’s grandmother’s house. They’d been found out by the neighborhood Castro loyalists, who had come out to the street to throw rocks and anything else they could hurl at Juan and his family as they walked the few blocks to his grandmother’s. “My dad’s friends formed a circle around us. My brother and I were protected by my dad’s friends, who took the brunt of it,” Juan said. He remembers seeing his grandmother and singing the tangos she loved to share with her grandkids for what would be the last time for many years. He remembers the long car ride from his home-


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town of Sagua La Grande, Las Villas to Havana. He especially remembers sitting with his younger brother on the car ride, and he gets choked up as he tells me about the moment he saw his brother realize he might never see his family and friends again. He remembers the fear that his parents’ records would reflect they had university degrees and were too valuable to the revolution to be allowed to leave. He remembers the relative kindness of the government agent who allowed his mother to keep her wedding ring. He recalls the tent camp he and his parents stayed in for several days in Cuba before managing to get on a boat, and the fact that his parents never slept at the same time — because who knew who else was in that camp with them? He tells me about the 50 passengers who ended up on the boat with him and his family. About half the people were making their way to reunite with family in the States, whereas the other half had just been let out of Cuban prisons as the Castro regime saw the boatlift as an opportunity for a purge.

The Amparo Experience makes use of craft and the communal experience of the cocktail bar to tell and draw you into the Havana Club brand story before and after the play. And he laughs as he recalls his arrival in Key West, after four days of not peeing. A nurse who examined him on his arrival pressed down on his bladder. He suddenly felt a very American sense of urgency. It’s a lot to think about. Imagine what it is to have it all come rushing back as you’re huddled with a crowd of strangers. It might sound like it would ruin a date night with your wife, but Juan sounded like he was ready to buy two more tickets. Not long after I met Juan, I went through the show again, this time following a new character. My new perspective on the story brought me into one of the more intense and uncomfortable scenes in the script. As you join one of the characters for their attempt to board a flight out of Cuba, armed guards forcibly split your group along gender lines. Men to one side. Women to the other. Violent, even sexually abusive airport searches ensue. Again, it would be impactful no matter who was

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Between the rum, the rhythms and the captivating story, The Amparo Experience comes after all your senses and emotions.

behind the play. The fact that this is associated with a rum brand leaves no doubt that this issue is personal to the Arechabala and Bacardí families. Of course they hope they win your loyalty in the rum war. But if that were all they wanted, they’d hit you with more rum. Instead, they’re coming at you with some hard truths. So hard, in fact, that I couldn’t help noticing another audience member who’d been shaken to the point of tears. Figuring that that had worked out for me with Juan, I went ahead and asked Kristen Sabina for an interview. Kristen was born in the States to a Cuban father. Like so many Cubans in Miami, she has political prisoners in her family tree and grew up with the stories of the trauma that brings. “I work in advertising, so it’s very difficult for me because in part this is my career, which is to tell a story about a brand. This controversy [in branding] is very rare, but overall you’re always digging for the story behind the brand. You don’t invent a story,” Kristen said. She added later in our chat that she felt conflicted about the show at times. On the one hand, maybe because she’s in advertising, she’d brought a healthy dose of cynicism to the play since it is motivated, at least in part, by a push to sell rum. When a story is that important and personal, how can you not worry that it won’t be told in good faith? On the other, the people behind The Amparo Experience told a powerful story that had clearly moved her. “I don’t know, maybe I almost feel like you’re more critical [if you’re Cuban]. When you’re

Cuban you’re already looking for the flaw,” she said. “But I love it. I think it’s been a beautiful experience.”

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Of course, not everybody who buys a ticket to The Amparo Experience has a direct connection to Cuba. Non-Cubans are finding a lot to connect to here as well. “People that don’t have the connection to Cuba have walked out really understanding what we went through,” George said. “The majority of the people who are not Cuban who have gone are able to connect it back to their history in some form, whether it’s Venezuelans or Nicaraguans, et cetera. They’ll say, ‘Wow, this is our story too. My family went through this. My relatives went through this.’ A lot of people from other countries see themselves living the same situation in their homeland.” The story is personal to Bacardi as well, if that makes any sense. Still family owned, the Bacardí family doesn’t have to work too hard to tell a compelling brand story like the Arechabalas’. They’re a perfect steward of this rum history because they share so much of it and have made that history a part of their company’s culture. “In about November of 2017, we were taking a look at our Havana Club brand that we’ve actually had since the ‘90s, and we really started a more national heavy push,” said Chris Ha, Bacardi’s North American brand manager. “The idea behind it was that we really wanted to showcase one of the things about this brand that’s different from a lot of the others. Its

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greatest asset, but also its greatest challenge, is the story that it comes from. It’s a very, it’s a very long and complicated story.” What they came up with was the “Forever Cuban” campaign, which made use of the tag line, “Forced from home. Aged in exile. Forever Cuban.”

of vanilla, I get a lot of pineapple. It’s lovely. With the Clásico you start getting into more oak and what we describe as stone fruit. A lot of apricot.” The rum was made to be as close as pos-

“There is one named Bertica,” said Bertha, “which has my same name, but it only happens to have my name because Gio’s mom’s name is Bertha and he named it after her. Still, I’d say Bertica is my favorite.” When Gio’s family left Cuba, Gio’s mother Bertha hid some cash in her shoe. That tidbit was incorporated into the play; one of the characters stuffs cash into a shoe in preparation for a flight out of Cuba.

“What we were trying to instill was that although we’re not technically made within Cuba anymore, our roots are 100 percent still Cuban for various reasons — and those reasons you actually learn through The Amparo Experience,” Chris said. “So The Amparo Experience was actually something that stemmed from that campaign.”

The cynic in me wants to say that I’m just being a sucker. That I’ve bitten — hook line and sinker — on an elaborate heartstring-tugging marketing ploy to win me over as a loyal Havana Club drinker by appealing to my son-of-exiles sensibilities.

Chris, a native of Canada who doesn’t have a personal connection to Cuba, noted that while the Arechabala story takes time to tell, in the end, anybody can understand the pain that comes from being on the losing end of a theft. “I’m one of those people who didn’t totally understand the story until about three years ago,” he said. “And once it was told to me, I truly resonated with it. We were so dead set on being able to tell the story properly. If you created your own lemonade stand one day and it was successful, then somebody came in there, kicked you out of it, and sat down to sell it for themselves, how would it make you feel?”

A taste of what’s real Powerful as the Arechabala story is, tales of exile have never been in short supply in Cuban Miami. What sets this family’s story apart from the rest is the rum. How does it compare to its communist Cuban counterpart and what sets it apart? “What makes Cuban rum Cuban rum? What defines that style, right? It’s a dry rum,” said Gio Gutiérrez, Havana Club brand ambassador for the United States. ”And when I say dry, it’s that it’s not overly silky or sweet, doesn’t linger on your tongue and your palate.” With that broad characteristic in mind, Havana Club is double aged, in keeping with the original Arechabala family recipe. That means that rather than taking distillates aged for various amounts of time and blending them right into the bottle, the aged rums are blended into new barrels, where they age for up to three additional months, allowing the components to marry. The result is a more mellow, elegant rum that comes in two varieties: Havana Club Añejo Blanco and Havana Club Añejo Clásico. “With our Blanco, that rum is tropical,” said Gio. “You get bananas in there, you find some hints

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here is that The Amparo Experience makes use of craft and the communal experience of the cocktail bar to tell and draw you into the Havana Club brand story before and after the play.

Today’s Havana Club — a modern take on of pre-revolution design

sible to the product the Arechabalas were making from the 1930s until their flight from Cuba. As I mentioned earlier in the piece, The Amparo Experience — especially the period right before the show starts and after the show’s over — serves as a showcase of cocktails featuring Havana Club rum. Gio had a hand in developing those menus as well. “I wanted something for everyone,” Gio said. “I wanted to showcase the rum in different ways. So we have something like an Air Mail that was light and bubbly. We have a cocktail with coffee in it, which is the Havana Café; so the inspiration there was ‘What is Cuba in a glass?’ and for a lot of people it’s rum and coffee. You have a cocktail that was first made at El Floridita in the ‘30s using the original rum. And that is the Havana Especial. That is a cocktail that was named for the railroad line that took tourists that would go from New York down to Key West before you took a steam boat to Cuba. I grabbed that recipe and I tweaked it for today’s palate. We simplified, we didn’t get crazy molecular and modern. They’re drinks you could make at home.” There are other cocktails on the menu. The point

But then I remember that so many of the people who experience and are moved — even shaken — by this play have, in some form or another, experienced the darkest sides of Cuba up close. They know what it is for something to be Cuban. Maybe that’s a prison cell. A neighborhood mob casting stones at children. On this side of the Florida Straits, the distant gaze of a grandfather who tells the same stories about his lost country year after year as if to ensure the inheritance he’s leaving you won’t fade when he’s not around to keep his own memories vivid in the next generation’s minds. Plus, some things don’t even need to be Cuban to be Cuban. The most Cuban thing I own is a tattered paperback copy of “Mark Twain, Cronista de su Época.” Mark Twain’s not Cuban and this collection of his writings wasn’t printed there. But knowing that I was an American journalism student, my friend Harold Cepero, then a youth leader with Cuba’s Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), gave it to me as a gift when I had lunch with him in La Habana Vieja in 2009. He liked Twain’s rebellious, free, prototypically American style, and he figured I probably did too. I was turned away from the airport in Havana when I attempted to go to Cuba again later that year. It was and might always be the last time I set foot there. Harold and MCL founder Oswaldo Payá were assassinated by Cuban government agents who ran their car off the road, causing a fatal crash, in 2012. These audiences know what’s real. Whatever’s in those bottles, one thing’s certain. It’s Cuban.


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H O N D UR AS Covered with a velvet smooth wrapper with only minimal veins. This balance and flavorful blend opens with prominent notes of roasted almond, deep pepper, earth, and oak accompanied by a rich, creamy texture. Medium strength.

$ 10.00

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Toro 6 54 Ecuador Ecuador Nicaragua

Crux Limitada Redline

N I CA R AG UA A beautifully produced, pressed toro covered with an impeccable, paper bag brown wrapper. Draws and burns exceptionally well producing up front pepper and oak complemented by a touch of vanilla sweetness and cream.

$ 11.99

88 92 | CIGAR SNOB | MAY / JUNE 2019

N I CA R AG UA

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

Toro 6 50 Nicaragua USA Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

N I CA R AG UA This good-looking, box-pressed toro is covered with a milk chocolate colored wrapper with a velvet feel. Draws perfectly and delivers a core of wood, earth, almond, and sharp pepper complemented by a rich creaminess on the finish.


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TORO Mi Querida

$ 10.45

N I CA R AGUA Loaded with flavors of dark chocolate, espresso, deep pepper, and a touch of earth delivered by a rich, creamy smoke. This medium to full strength blend draws and burns perfectly while leaving behind a solid, compact ash.

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

Ancho Largo 6 52 USA/Connecticut Nicaragua Nicaragua

91 Punch Diablo

$ 7.19

N I CA R AGUA An ultra-flavorful blend with a core of sweet earth and pepper accompanied by more subtle notes of oak, dark chocolate, and a hint of maraschino cherry on the finish. This medium to full strength blend is covered with a dark wrapper with a coarse feel.

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

Scamp 6 1/8 50 Ecuador USA/Connecticut Honduras & Nicaragua

Perdomo Estate Seleccion Vintage Maduro

$ 12.50

N I CA R AGUA Intense notes of bittersweet cocoa, black American coffee, and deep pepper complemented by an underlying earthiness. Draws and burns exceptionally well and produces an output of thick, highly aromatic smoke.

91

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Imperio 6 54 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

90 El Galan Maduro

$ 9.65

N I CA R AGUA A consistently well-made, thick toro covered with a dark brown, slightly reddish brown wrapper. Delivers a rich profile of roasted almonds, leather, earth, and pepper joined by a touch of cream on the finish.

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

Toro 6 54 Brazil Nicaragua Nicaragua

Southern Draw Jacob’s Ladder

$ 10.4 4

N I CA R AGUA Opens with strong and somewhat sharp peppery flavors which settle to incorporate notes of oak, leather, espresso, and a touch of raisin. This toro is consistently well-constructed and covered with a neatly applied dark, oily wrapper.

90

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Toro 6 52 USA Ecuador Nicaragua

89 CAO Amazon

$ 10.50

H O ND U R AS Covered with a beautiful, dark, oily cover leaf and finished with a unique, winding pigtail. Medium to full strength with a core of intense earth, oak, and pepper balanced by a black currant sweetness on the lips.

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

Anaconda 6 52 Brazil Nicaragua Brazil, Colombia & Dominican Republic

88 MAY / JUNE 2019 | CIGAR SNOB |

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TORO Tatuaje Negociant Monopole

92

$ 11.00 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

No.3 6 1/4 48 Ecuador Mexico & Nicaragua Nicaragua

Davidoff Aniversario

A beautifully balanced and flavorful toro covered with a glistening, shade grown wrapper topped with a neat triple-cap. A profile of soft earth and pepper accompanied by notes of toast, coffee, and cedar with a rich, buttery sweetness on the finish.

$ 25.40

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No. 3 6 50 Ecuador Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

H. Upmann Connecticut

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Silky smooth and exceptionally well-balanced with a profile of almonds, cedar, and toast accompanied by a soft, sweet spice note on the finish. Produces an excellent smoke output and leaves behind a compact, light gray ash.

$ 8.94

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Toro 6 50 Ecuador Dominican Republic Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

La Galera Connecticut

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Superb construction and flavorful profile. Covered with a clean, light brown wrapper with minimal veins and topped with a maduro cap, this medium strength blend has a core of pepper, oak, and sweet spice accompanied by a rich, leathery aroma.

$ 6.40

90

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El Lector 6 54 Ecuador Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

Henry Clay War Hawk

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Consistent and smooth with a profile of wood, spice, and vanilla complemented by a hint of orange zest. Features superb construction and a beautiful, golden colored wrapper. Medium bodied and leaves behind a compact, white ash.

$ 8.00

90

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

Toro 6 50 Ecuador USA/Connecticut Honduras

Cohiba Connecticut

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Produces an abundant smoke output with a core of wood, cinnamon, and soft pepper balanced by a touch of sweet cream and honey. Impeccably constructed providing a perfect draw and an even burn leaving behind a compact ash.

$ 21.99

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N I CA R AG UA

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

Toro 6 1/2 52 Ecuador Mexico Brazil, Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Delivers a profile of oak, soft spice, and hazelnut balanced by notes of vanilla cream and leather. This well-constructed, mild to medium strength toro draws perfectly and burns evenly while producing an excellent smoke output.


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BALMORALCIGARS.COM MAY / JUNE 2019 | CIGAR SNOB |

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ROBUSTO Casa Fernandez Arsenio

$ 7.99

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Robusto 5 1/2 54 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

Rocky Patel Sungrown Maduro

91

An ultra-flavorful and well-balanced blend covered with a dark, oily wrapper showing a bit of tooth. This full strength robusto has a profile of sweet cedar, soft spice, and espresso complemented by a touch of cream on the finish.

$ 9.65 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Robusto 5 50 USA/Connecticut Nicaragua Nicaragua

La Aurora 1985 Maduro

N I CA R AG UA Covered with a dark brown, toothy wrapper, this soft-pressed blend delivers tons of cocoa, espresso, and earth complemented by a subtle raspberry note on the finish. This medium strength blend consistently draws and burns perfectly.

$ 5.75

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Robusto 5 50 Brazil Nicaragua Nicaragua

Micallef Grande Bold Nicaragua

90 89

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

554N 5 54 USA/Connecticut Nicaragua Nicaragua

A flavorful blend covered with a dark and somewhat coarse-textured wrapper. Flavors of wood, pepper, and dark roast coffee combine with notes of roasted nuts and leather complemented by a rich, creamy texture.

N I CA R AG UA Delivers a flavor-packed profile with pepper and charred oak accompanied by notes of earth, espresso, and a background hint of minerality. This medium to full strength robusto is covered with a dark, oily wrapper and leaves behind a solid, chalk-white ash.

$ 19.25 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

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

Partagas 1845 Black Label

89

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

$ 8.25

Diamond Crown Black Diamond

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N I CA R AG UA

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Opens with flavors of oak, spice, and molasses balanced by a note of over-ripened fruit in the background. Medium strength and covered with a dark, spotted wrapper with excellent oils. Draws well and leaves behind a slightly flaky ash.

$ 8.2 9 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Clasico 5 1/4 54 USA/Connecticut Dominican Republic Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C A thick robusto covered with a dark brown, almost black wrapper with good oils. Delivers a core of sweet earth, espresso, bitter chocolate, and oak complemented by roasted nuts on the finish. Draws well and leaves behind a compact ash.


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ROBUSTO Oliva Cain F

$ 7.15

92

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550 5 3/4 50 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

Arturo Fuente Magnum R

A smooth and powerful blend covered with an even-colored, medium brown wrapper with only slight veins. This full strength robusto delivers a rich profile of cocoa, roasted almonds, and deep pepper along an excellent draw and burn.

$ 8.00

91

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R 52 5 52 Ecuador Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

Balmoral Serie Signaturas Dueto

91 90

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Delivers a substantial and balanced dose of cedar, nuts, cinnamon, and soft spice along an excellent draw and an even burn. This medium strength blend is finished with a thin, light brown wrapper with sheen.

$ 9.90 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Robusto 5 50 Nicaragua Nicaragua Brazil & Nicaragua

Warped Serie Gran Reserva 1988

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Impeccably constructed and balanced with a blend of soft red pepper, cedar, hazelnut, and a touch of sweetness in the long, creamy finish. Provides a perfect draw and delivers tons of thick, aromatic smoke. Medium-plus strength.

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

Robusto 5 1/2 50 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

Cohiba Blue Clasico

N I CA R AG UA Covered with a brown paper bag colored wrapper with a soft, supple feel. This medium strength blend delivers notes of sweet cedar, leather, roasted nuts, and cream with a prominent pepper heat throughout. Superb construction.

$ 9.49

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Rothschild 4 1/5 50 Honduras Honduras Honduras, Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

Gurkha Marquesa

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C An attractive robusto with a profile of up front spice, wood, and coffee balanced by a background note of sweet cream. Consistently draws and burns well leaving behind a solid, compact ash. Medium bodied.

$ 8.00

87 100 | CIGAR SNOB | MAY / JUNE 2019

N I CA R AG UA

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

Robusto 5 52 Indonesia Nicaragua Nicaragua

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Opens with a blast of sharp pepper, which settles to incorporate notes of hazelnut, black coffee, and a touch of anise. This medium strength blend provides an open draw and an uneven burn, leaving behind a flaky ash.


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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 @PadronCigars............................................ CAO International @CAOCigars......................................... Alec Bradley Cigars @AlecBradley.................................... La Flor Dominicana @LFDCigars....................................... Jonathan Drew @JonathanDrewArt.................................. Camacho Cigars @camachocigars.................................... Ashton Cigars @ashtoncigar............................................. Pete Johnson @TatuajeCigars........................................... Xikar Inc @XIKARinc......................................................... La Gloria Cubana @lagloriacubana.................................... Punch Cigars @punchcigars............................................. Nick Perdomo @PerdomoCigars....................................... Miami Cigar Co @miamicigar............................................. Ernesto Padilla @PadillaCigars......................................... Avo Cigars @AvoCigars..................................................... La Palina Cigars @La PalinaCigars.................................... Nat Sherman Intl. @Nat42nd............................................. AJ Fernandez @ajfcigars..................................................

32855 31282 27090 25288 21133 19667 19216 19044 17468 16729 14758 14442 12967 12869 12859 12282 11722 11710 11675 11538

TOP CIGAR ORGANIZATIONS CRA @cigarrights............................................................. 14602 IPCPR Staff @theIPCPR.................................................. 7981 Tobacconist University @tobacconistU............................. 4621

TOP CIGAR RADIO Cigar Dave Show @CigarDaveShow................................. 11574 Smooth Draws @SmoothDraws....................................... 4392 KMA Talk Radio @KMATalkRadio...................................... 2329

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

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

13808 13674 11614 8309 7380 6657 5516 5300 5167 4421

@debonairecynthia via Instagram Like what you do and enjoy every second of it. #IndianMotorcycle #IndianCigars #cigars #cigar #cigarsnob #cigarlife #cigarlifestyle #cigarian #cigarsociety #cigarworld #cigarlover #luxurycigars #cigarluxury #luxury #lux #cigarsnoblife #cigaroftheday #dominicanrepublic #tobacco

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

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149559 15438 14631 12390 10189 8871 8811 8442 8106 6578

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MAY / JUNE 2019 | CIGAR SNOB |

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Atlantis resort. The event included a field of amateurs and some of the best players in the world.

WITH Chris Moneymaker stunned the poker world and ushered in a new era in the game when in 2003 he became the first person to win the Main Event at the World Series of Poker after qualifying in online play. INTERVIEW BY BY SEAN CHAFFIN

This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the WSOP. I caught up with Moneymaker in the Bahamas to discuss cigars, his poker life, and life on the road playing cards.

Can you tell me about your first cigar? Where did you first light up and what was that experience like? I don’t remember where it was, but I do remember basically wanting to die because I inhaled the hell out of it. I was a cigarette smoker back then and it was in high school, probably 18 years old I guess. I do remember inhaling the hell out of it because I didn’t know any better. If you inhale a cigar it’s not going to turn out very well. It’s not the most pleasurable experience. Cigars are not supposed to be inhaled like that. So my first experience with a cigar was not very good. I got a mouthful of ... whatever it is when you don’t cut your cigar right. We didn’t know any better. And then I took a big puff and inhaled, and it was just not a very fun time.

Hopefully after that you figured out how to make it a more pleasurable experience. Obviously once you figure out how to cut it properly and how you’re supposed to smoke, it becomes much more enjoyable. I like having a cigar when I have wine. It’s a really good mix. I’m not educated enough to know the difference between a really good cigar and a bad cigar. I can tell you what cigar tastes terrible. I’m not a big fan of sweet cigars. I like a really big, round, earthy cigar. I don’t like flavors of fruits or anything like that. But if you were to go buy me a Cuban versus another type, I’m probably not going to be able to tell you the difference between the two. But I do know that just sitting out on the patio and having a conversation with a glass of wine and cigars is always really enjoyable. It’s a nice way to relax, it’s my form of meditation. I also usually smoke cigars when I play golf out in California. We’ll get there a couple of hours early and we usually walk about three or four miles before, and smoke a cigar and just talk and have a good time. We’re always smoking cigars on the golf course.

Do you have a favorite brand for those trips to the West Coast or for some smoking on that patio?

PHOTO: Neil Stoddart

I used to smoke a bit more and it was always Cohiba. Those are the ones I knew, so they’re the ones I always went to. Also I know that there are Cohibas that are Cubans and Cohibas that aren’t Cubans. I somehow got my hands on some Cuban Cohibas. I couldn’t tell the difference, but when you’re smoking them they’re supposed to be so much better.

This Platinum Pass/Players Championship really took the poker world by storm with both recreational players and pros in 2018 and early 2019. You’ve probably played more cards in the last year than you’ve played in a long time. Can you describe this whole experience crisscrossing the country for something like this? Moneymaker. Even many who don’t play poker on a regular basis know the name. It’s become synonymous with the poker boom in the 2000s, when every other TV channel was airing some kind of poker tournament or high-stakes cash game. Chris Moneymaker’s rise from $86 online qualifier to 2003 World Series of Poker champion and winner of $2.5 million helped make poker a sensation with repeats on regular rotation on ESPN. The game moved from the basement or casino back room to the bright lights of a television stage – and that growing popularity was attributed to the “Moneymaker Effect.” He made the dream of an amateur beating the pros a reality. Throughout 2018, the poker champ from Knoxville, Tennessee, crisscrossed the country as part of the Moneymaker Tour. His sponsor and where he won that initial qualifier, PokerStars.com, hoped to make the regular Joe dream a repeat performance. The company offered $86 tournaments for the shot at a Platinum Pass, which gave these lucky players a $30,000 package that included a $25,000 entry into the PokerStars Player Championship (PSPC) in the Bahamas at the

104 | CIGAR SNOB | MAY / JUNE 2019

When they developed this tournament, we didn’t really know what we were going to do with it. But when they developed the Moneymaker Tour I was excited because I love those events. Anything under $500 price points, I’ve got a ton of fans and it’s going to be exciting. Everybody’s going to have more fun than take it so serious.

And that’s been a big trend in the game, trying to bring the fun back to poker, right? Yes, it’s nice. At Stones Gambling Hall [near Sacramento, California] for example, I think we had probably 20 people go out on the back porch and were just all smoking cigars. That’s where I’d go out and smoke usually. So we took 20 of the players and they had a smoking room out there. We smoked cigars and hung out after we busted the tournament, which is no fun. It was nice to sit out there and hang out. But the tour itself was incredible – going from stop to stop and seeing all these people who had never played poker before or were new to poker or haven’t


played poker in years, and come out and play in this event. It was incredible. This was the first tournament I’ve played in 15 years where no one complained, which is pretty weird and rare in the poker world.

Let’s shift to your World Series of Poker Main Event win in 2003. Beyond the money, how did that change your life just on a day-to-day basis? You’re not a movie star or a pop singer, really just a regular guy and now there is so much fame involved. How often do people recognize you or ask you to pose for pictures? Obviously it changed my life significantly. I said it wasn’t going to, but it had to. When you have basically an effect named after you, it’s going to change your life whether you like it or not. So I quit my job like eight months later and my home life is obviously different than what it would have been if I hadn’t won. I think my home life is pretty normal. It’s basically getting up in the morning, taking the kids to school, picking them up, and taking them to all their different practices and games. Just a normal life – putting them to bed and doing the same thing over again. In my everyday life at home, I’m not doing pictures or a whole lot of that kind of stuff. Once I hit the road then that all changes. It’s essentially like I have two different lives when I’m at home versus while on the road. When I’m on the road, I know that I’m going to be in a casino. If I’m in a casino I’m going to be doing a lot of pictures, a lot of autographs, a lot of interviews, and when I’m at home I’m just a dad.

With so much time at casinos and at the tables, do you still get a lot of joy from playing cards? Oh yeah. Especially this year. For me it woke me up to the fact that we’re very privileged in what we get to do. Handing out these passes and seeing people cry, and how excited they get from the fact this is a bucket list item for them, it really wakes you up to the fact that I get to do this for a living. How cool is that? Obviously as you do it over time you become a little bit numb to it, but I definitely still enjoy playing poker. I don’t think I play poker as much as I did in the past, but I still play a lot of poker. I was playing a $220 Sit and Go with fans last night. Tyson Apostol from “Survivor” was playing and everybody was having a good time.

Have you ever had any strange requests from players or fans? I guess it depends how you quantify weird. I’ve had people pull up and ask for an autograph at my house while my kids were playing in the driveway, which is weird.

Did you still sign something for them? Yeah. I didn’t like them pulling up in the driveway, but yes I signed it for them. I get a lot of fan mail asking to sign different things, sign different body parts.

I have to ask what body part. It’s not really strange, but a bunch of them were boobs.

So it’s like you’re really a rock star? I don’t sign that many boobs. My wife likes this comment, but the problem with being a poker rock star is it’s mostly dudes. Sometimes they’re boobs, but they’re not really the boobs you want to sign. But boobs are few and far between. Sometimes you get random stuff in the mail, where someone has a million pictures of you and wants you to sign them all and send them back to them. And it’s like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know this many pictures existed of me.’ You come across some weird things here and there, but for the most part everybody’s pretty normal.

Okay, back to poker. The growth of the game slowed a bit after the federal government basically shut down online poker in 2011. But in recent years, there seems to have been a rebound. Is that what you’re seeing out there as you’ve traveled on the Moneymaker Tour? Yeah for sure. Obviously in 2003, we had this really good-looking guy win the tournament and exploded the game, but the growth was never going to be sustainable. We were growing so fast, but eventually it had to stop. You can’t just continue on that uptrend forever. It had to plateau at some point, and then obviously we plateaued. Not only did we plateau, but we had Black Friday, which took a lot of the advertising dollars out of the market. And when you take the advertising dollars out of the market, a lot of the recognition or a lot of the buzz

kind of goes away and that that void is filled by things such as Esports or Daily Fantasy Sports or sports betting or whatever. We had a void where there wasn’t a whole lot of poker advertising or poker marketing going on, especially in the U.S. It had gone more overseas. You have Brazil, India, China – all of these are really emerging markets and growing really fast. The European market really matured over those years and if you were to travel to the European Poker Tour, you’d see the numbers are growing over there. Just in the U.S., it obviously looked like poker ‘died.’ Now with states starting to regulate and starting to legalize, and sports betting definitely gets the gambling talk going, people were getting back into poker. People tried the DFS [Daily Fantasy Sports] or tried Esports, but if you’re 21 it’s really hard to play video games. I’m not very good. I’ve tried to play Fortnite with my son. I’ve tried to play all these games. I’m just better at poker. Poker is more interesting to me. So I think just with the advertising coming back into the market, you’re getting buzz again and with Twitch you’re seeing people get back in the game. The difference between now and 10 years ago is players are more knowledgeable. There are so many more resources out there where people can learn and come into the game prepared.

When not playing poker or representing PokerStars, do you have any other business interests you’re involved in? I’m a little bit in the cannabis business. That and crypto are the two things I really follow. I’ve got a small share in CBD [a chemical compound found in cannabis plant and used to treat a wide range of health issues without the euphoric effects associated with THC] oil business and then I’m looking at potentially doing something in the whiskey business. You buy barrels of whiskey and you hold them for four years, and they buy them back from you. Or you can just keep them and rebrand them to create your own whiskey brand. You pay like $800 for a barrel of whiskey and it sits there, and they give you $1,600 in four years.

We could possibly see Moneymaker whiskey? It’s got a nice ring to it. I don’t know. We’ll see.

Back to gambling. I know you’ve been a pretty regular sports bettor. What’s your involvement with PokerStars’ betting brand BetStars? I’ve been working with the BetStars for two years and love it. It’s fun. They asked me to offer insights and analysis, and make picks. Between myself and Jason Somerville we’ve been doing that going on a year and a half, and I imagine now that PokerStars has partnered with the UFC, there’s going to be a lot more UFC content coming out from PokerStars doing analysis and picks. Obviously BetStars will be on the forefront of offering different opportunities within the UFC platform and I think PokerStars just signed a deal with the NBA to offer a platform there. It’s definitely something I want to be involved in. I have a meeting in about two hours with the higher ups at PokerStars and I’m sure a lot of that’s going to be discussed – some of the things I want to do and that’s definitely high on my list. That includes being involved in creating content and being involved in getting the word out about those services. We also have a fantasy site. It’s only in four states right now, but it’s something I want to push as well.

Lastly, what are some things you have planned for 2019? My goal for 2019 is to really work on my social media and get a YouTube channel going, and maybe do some vlogging and things like that. Look out for my social media stuff hopefully going into 2019. I’m getting old to start that, but I’m young at heart. The game keeps you young and it seems especially for PokerStars, that’s where a lot of things are going. I imagine myself going that way, and trying to get into that. I saw a really cool camera the other day that I want, so I’m going to give it a shot.

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.

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EVENTS MIAMI OUTBOARD CLUB PIG ROAST CHALLENGE FEATURING OLIVA CIGARS Watson Island, Fla.

The Miami Outboard Club (mocmiami.com) was the site of a no-holds-barred pig roast competition where 17 teams vied to be this year’s champion. Cigars were provided by Oliva Cigars. There were drinks, plenty of roast pig and fixins to go around, and activities for kids. The pigs were judged and awarded in three categories: Best Looking, Best Crackling Skin, and Grand Champion. In spite of having 17 worthy pigs, Team La Porca Nostra swept all three awards!

La Porca Nostra Team

Carlos and Ela López

The Judges

Erick Martínez and DJ Angel

Ashlene Thomas, Bernie Rodríguez and Albert Sosa

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Juan and Maricel Ilioulos, Gabriela Castillo and Sergio Binsavale

Juan Machin and Mickey Florido

Javier and Lisbet Gorguis


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EVENTS DOWNTOWN CIGAR BAR’S 4TH ANNIVERSARY FEATURING ESPINOSA CIGARS Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Downtown Cigar Bar celebrated their fourth anniversary in a big way. Similar to last year’s event, Espinosa Cigars was chosen as the featured cigar to commemorate the celebration. The Macallan Single Malt Scotch Whisky was there pouring some of their finest spirits, and there was a live performance from none other than South Florida’s favorite funkadelic band - Bamboo Taxi. An assortment of food trucks were also on hand providing the grub. Start planning to attend the fifth!

Isa and Eddie Ortega

Janette and Randy Ibarra

Rafael Vargas, Ziwei Mao and Johnny Gómez

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Erik Espinosa, Alfredo Cruz, Ozzie and Osvaldo Gómez

Gristina Girard and Eloy Estrada

Ozzie and Barbie Gómez and Ciro and Maggie Rodríguez

Sasha with David Hayden

Jerry and Annie Pasantes

Lissette Collar and Ana Hoyas

Mark Symes, Tineke Hansma and Cristina Ojeda


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EVENTS ISLAND JIM AT SMOKE INN WELLINGTON Wellington, Fla.

This evening at Smoke Inn Wellington was the culmination of a special month-long promotion. For every box of Island Jim Cigars purchased, including the Leaf by Collection and Island Jim, customers received a raffle ticket towards a chance to go fishing with the yellow sunglass legend himself, Island Jim Robinson. In addition to a variety of box purchase specials, there was also plenty of food, drinks and music. Just another day in paradise.

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EVENTS CIGAR FAMILY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION DINNER HOSTED BY ULTIMATE CIGARS Ft. Lauderdale

There’s no denying Moe Sohail of Ultimate Cigars knows how to host a party. Just over 40 guests made it to this special dinner in Fort Lauderdale at Valentino’s Cucina Italiana benefiting Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. The dinner was served in the main dining room in a family style setting and then the party continued outside to the covered patio where all the guests enjoyed the best dessert you could ask for, an Arturo Fuente Cigar.

Glorimar Silva and Berta Bravo

Malcolm MacInnes and Scott Jones

Rob Morgan

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Cynthia Fuente Suárez, Chef Giovanni Rocchio and Moe Sohail

Lisa and Bryan Weinstein, Cynthia Fuente Suárez, Anthony and Grizel DiSorbo, Maria Scarola and Moe Sohail

Jordon McCarty and Curt Watkins

Alan Goldfarb, Jamilet Calviño and Cynthia Fuente Suárez

Meagan Amber and Alan Siegel

William Lemonier, David Marder and Nick Raineri


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113


EVENTS SABOR HAVANA RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK DINNER FEATURING EL GALAN CIGARS Doral, Fla.

Another spectacular Ruth’s Chris Steak House dinner at Sabor Havana in Doral, this time with El Galan’s Felix Mesa. Each person received a cigar three-pack, including one Vegas Del Purial lancero, Cigar Snob’s 2018 No. 3 Cigar of the Year. The other stars of the evening were the Ruth’s Chris ribeyes and filets and the healthy pours of Woodford Reserve Bourbon.

Jorge Valdés, Félix Mesa, Magela Montoya, Michael Bulnes and Aquiles Legra

Eli Borlado and Magela Montoya

José Barrera, Jorge Reyes, José M. Díaz, Sergio Robles and Yasser Pichardo

Gus Martínez, Juan Rodríguez, Fernando Martínez and Robert Singer

Frank Sotero, Jorge Reyes and Andrew Hernández

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Jorge Valdés, Helen Meneses, Musa Wassar and Ernie Paredes

Félix Mesa and Eduardo Delmonte

Julio Morales and David Delancy


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EVENTS CIGAR SHOP OF BIRD ROAD FEATURING STEVE SAKA OF DUNBARTON TOBACCO & TRUST Miami

Steve Saka, owner of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust and Cigar Snob’s 2018 Cigar of The Year, Sin Compromiso, made his first appearance at the Cigar Shop of Bird Road. The evening kicked off with a dinner of smoked brisket, potatoes, and coleslaw catered by one of the shop’s regulars, Luis Prieto. Besides the feast, there were box specials, raffles, and a cigar bunching and rolling presentation by Steve Saka.

Steve Saka and Luís Prieto

Jorge Juárez, Mike Sainz, Steven Gueits, Cruz Juárez, and Rudy Marty with Steve Saka (front)

Diana Ramírez and Nicholas Monti

Erick Ojito and Miguel Galiano

Gustavo Bello, Juan Damas and Ivens Auchet

John Díaz and Alfredo Gómez

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Steve Saka

Steve and Peter Hernández


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EVENTS MIAMI MEGA HERF CLIP & SIP CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT Miami Shores, Fla.

The first ever Miami Mega Herf Clip & Sip Charity Golf Tournament hosted by the 305 Cigar Divaz was held at the historic Miami Shores Golf & Country Club. Some of the sponsors on hand were Drew Estate Cigars, Cohiba Cigars, Casa de Montecristo by Prime Cigars, Cuban Crafters, and Old Forrester Bourbon, to name a few. 305 Cigar Divaz

Jennifer Nichole and Keisha Wilson

Dennis Assaf and John Nedvidek

Lui Mahal, Aldo Faradaz and Valdy Alba

Tanya, Angela Lewk, Tanya Smith, Jordan Solaro, Yanay Jordan and TW Smith

Ervin Thompson, Darryl Ragland, Debra Brown and Jones Moore

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Harris Safra and Steve Casalino

Michael Pugh and Michael Celluci

Peter Berntsen and Joel Capin

Marc Smith, Deon Washington, Avery Washington and Ken Duncan


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EVENTS 100 YEARS OF BENTLEY FEATURING DAVTIAN CIGARS Tyson’s Corner, Va.

Bentley celebrated its centenary year in business and Davtian Cigars was there to be a part of the celebration. The event took place at Bentley of Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, where guests previewed the new release of the Bentley GT. The showroom was packed with Bentley owners and admirers of the iconic luxury brand. While previewing the cars, attendees learned more about Davtian Cigars from its founder, David Davtian.

CIGAR SNOB PODCAST

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EVENTS COHEA ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT FEATURING OLIVA CIGARS Miami Lakes, Fla.

City of Hialeah Educational Academy charter school held its annual golf tournament benefiting its athletic dept. at Shula’s Golf Club in Miami Lakes. With over 80 players on hand, everyone enjoyed an ample selection of Oliva Cigars along with beer and spirits. And although no one made a hole in one to win a Ford Mustang on one of the par 3s, the Shula’s steakhouse award-winning hamburgers that were eaten afterwards were a nice consolation prize.

Jonathan Martínez, Nelson Pena, Albert Sosa, and Jasmani Cata

Albert Sosa and Carlos Álvarez

Kevin Fricke with HEAT dancers

Eddy Liu, Kristian Cata, Carlos Álvarez and Jaz Cata

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Ricky Prieto, Jorge Yara, Mario Inestroza and Ramón Díaz

Jesús Castro

Robert Requena, P.J. Lehmann, and Chris Merlo

Denis Brenos, Fabian Hernández, Mishal Potel and Tony Fernández


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CELEBRATING TWENT Y YEARS OF ACID CIGARS

its high time to break free and enjoy your best life and Delve into the beautiful tradition & culture of a premium handmade cigar like no other. ACID CIGARS are a ritual ďŹ lled with emotion, learnings and the freedom to explore. Experience ACID.

EXPERIENCEACID.COM @EXPERIENCEACID 124 | CIGAR SNOB | MAY / JUNE 2019

#ACID20