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p. 99

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editorials NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

41

5 TO TRY: OLD WORLD WINE Five wines: a traditional Barolo from the very heart of the region, a Ribera del Duero from the area’s highest elevation vineyard, a Bordeaux from Saint-Émilion with a distinct style, a 20-year-old tawny Port, and a classic Hungarian dessert wine from Tokaj.

42 2013 PIRA BAROLO VIGNARIONDA 44 2011 VALTRAVIESO VT TINTA FINA 46 2015 PETIT-FIGEAC 48 OFFLEY 20-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORTO 50 2013 CHATEAU MEGYER TOKAJI

52

Q&A WITH CHEF THOMAS KELLER Thomas Keller is one of the world’s most celebrated chefs. He sat with us to talk about food, cigars and his role in Davidoff Chef’s Edition.

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69

CINCO DÉCADAS

99

BOOK IT

You can’t tell Nicaragua’s cigar story without Joya de Nicaragua. As the company celebrates its fiftieth year, we look back at the resilient company’s origins and its close ties to Nicaragua’s roller coaster history.

The lines spilled into the halls on June 14 at the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City. Players nursed their beers, necks craned to the TVs and betting boards above. Some of the race book’s regular handicappers were annoyed their regular space had been invaded by newbies. But these new bettors weren’t there to bet on thoroughbreds or greyhounds.


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features NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

16 18

LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

22 26

WHAT’S BURNIN’

FEEDBACK

BRAND BREAKDOWN 26 CHINNOCK CELLARS PRESSOIR 27 LA GALERA 1936 BOX-PRESSED 28 DANIEL MARSHALL RED LABEL 30 SINDICATO PARTICULARES 32 FSG BY DREW ESTATE

34 36

ESSENTIALS: S.T. DUPONT LA GRAND

56

SMOKING HOT CIGAR SNOB

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

LIVE FOR THE RENAISSANCE

77 104

RATINGS

106

EVENT COVERAGE

TWITTER SCOREBOARD

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LOS CAIDOS AT CLUB MACANUDO DAVIDOFF DINNER AT SABOR HAVANA DAVIDOFF DINNER BY ULTIMATE CIGARS NESTOR MIRANDA’S 75TH AT CAVA CIGARS ROCKY PATEL AT CASA DE MONTECRISTO BY PRIME CAMACHO CIGARS AT CAVA CIGARS TAMPA CIGAR BASH OLIVA AT DOWNTOWN CIGAR BAR SUDS & STOGIES FEATURING PLASENCIA HALLOWEEN AT INDUSTRIAL CIGARS


TRUE STORY.

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NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

VO L . 1 0 IS SU E 6 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 WRITERS Sean Chaffin CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS David Benoliel Andy Astencio EVENT PHOTOGRAPHERS Jamilet Calviño Brandon Frakes Alyson at J Amado Photography Cover Photography by David Benoliel www.davidbenolielphotography.com Cover Model - Uliana Malyshko Cigar Snob is published bi-monthly by Lockstock Publications, Inc. 1421-1 SW 107th Ave., #253 Miami, FL 33174-2509 Tel: 1 (786) 423-1015 Cigar Snob is a registered trademark of Lockstock Publications, Inc., all rights reserved. Reproduction in part or full without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. Cigar Snob is printed in the U.S. Contents copyright 2006, Lockstock Publications, Inc. To subscribe, visit www.cigarsnobmag.com

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

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

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Recently I’ve spent time re-reading old Ray Bradbury science fiction with my son for entertainment and marveling at how incredibly on-point Bradbury was in predicting things like virtual reality, automated homes, automated banking, earbuds, and omnipresent surveillance to name a few. That’s the surface stuff that I think we all see when we read his work, but what’s really striking are his predictions on society and the average American life. In Fahrenheit 451, written in 1950, Bradbury presents us with an oppressive society where books are forbidden for their potentially uncomfortable or revolutionary content and therefore burned. In the book, we are lulled into complacency and comfort by an interminable stream of entertainment accessible at all times through “the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight,” and “wall TVs”. I can’t help but think of my kids, with their waterproof earbuds in the shower. Or of myself getting ready for work every morning with the TV on. Couple that with our apparent inability to communicate with one another, at least in part because we are each living in our own little private world of electronic comfort, and it starts to look like we’re on our way to a version of the dystopian picture Bradbury painted. So why bring this up in the pages of Cigar Snob? Because I believe that social activities that provide opportunity to turn off the electronics and have real, personal interaction and conversation are the key to stemming the tide against our march toward Bradbury’s darkest predictions. Cigars are our most effective weapon in this fight. Are they 100 percent good for your health? Of course not. Then again, neither are hamburgers, pizza, or becoming an antisocial automaton. Our final issue of 2018 is a smorgasbord of goodness starting with the photo shoot titled “Live for the Renaissance,” where we shot the sensual Uliana Malyshko smoking the new Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro (p. 56). Thanks to Drew Estate for their support during that shoot and to our production team for making it come to life. Another year in the books and this crew never ceases to bring the magic issue after issue. Back in early October I had the pleasure of joining the Davidoff crew for an amazing dinner at The French Laundry where I sat down with Chef Thomas Keller for a Q&A session (p. 52). Chef Keller was heavily involved in Davidoff ’s Chefs Edition project and after speaking with him for an extended period of time it’s easy to see why. He has a way of describing the smoking experience, from the texture of the smoke to the aromas coming off of it, that is at a level seldom seen in someone who works outside of the cigar business. Thanks to Chef Keller and the entire team at Davidoff and The French Laundry for making this happen. 2018 marked 50 years since the founding of the most Nicaraguan of cigar brands, Joya de Nicaragua. Our

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senior editor Nick Jiménez and I collaborated on an article spanning the company’s history through founding, political turmoil, and its bright future (p. 69). Thanks to Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca & Juan Martínez for their time and support throughout the process. S.T. Dupont’s amazing new Le Grand lighter was the focus of our Essentials feature (p. 34). Total Wine & More’s Pablo Estades was again instrumental in putting together the 5 to Try with an emphasis on Old World wine (p. 41). Sean Chaffin, a journalist with loads of experience covering gambling, wrote a wonderful piece about how the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on sports betting affects you and how you can improve your odds at the sportsbook (p. 99). Thanks for the great work Sean! Finally I want to thank you, the reader, for continuing to make us part of your cigar smoking passion. I hope you have a happy and healthy 2019 full of great times and excellent cigars. Keep ‘em lit,

Erik Calviño ecalvino@cigarsnobmag.com


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FIRST TIME WRITER, LONGTIME LISTENER Hey guys, I just wanted to say I love the Cigar Snob Podcast. It’s the best cigar podcast on iTunes. I have learned a lot about cigars while listening. I started with four cigar podcasts and deleted all the rest because they were horrible! Kudos to you. I take notes on cigars I would like to try; the next cigar I will order will be Los Caidos. That is a great cause that I want to support. BE SAFE, BE YOU, BE HAPPY, most of all, BE BLESSED

Keith W. via Facebook That’s a helluva string of compliments, Keith — all of them appreciated. The podcast is a new format for us, but we’re enjoying every minute of it. Glad you are, too.

I’M JUST HERE FOR THE SWAG What’s up? Just wanted to let you know that I listen from Chicago and think your guys’ Cigar Snob Podcast and magazine is awesome!!! How would I be able to get one of those cool lookin’ Snob shirts?? You guys Rock. Much Luv, Fuerte Abrazos to all Cigar Snobs!!!

Carlos L. via Facebook Thanks for listening, Carlos! We’re working on making those shirts more widely available. Stay tuned!

DIGITAL GET DOWN Just FYI. After a lot of back and forth with PixelMags and Apple, I finally got a refund on my unobtainable subscription, and have reupped on Issuu.com instead. I’m hopeful that it works better there. You produce a great magazine, but getting it electronically has not been so easy! Keep up the good work on the publication.

Jeff L. via feedback@cigarsnobmag.com Jeff, we can’t tell you how much we appreciate the commitment! Unfortunately “the man” has decided to make life a little more difficult for the cigar world in places like Apple’s newsstand and Facebook. Where there’s a will, though, there’s a way.

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MY FATHER CIGARS

305.468.9501 | MYFATHERCIGARS.COM

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VENTURA SHIPS ARCHETYPE MINISERIES

Ventura Cigars announced that the Archetype Mini-series is shipping to American tobacconists. The line includes three cigars (Crystals, Curses, and Cloaks) and made its debut at July ’s IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas.

San Andrés binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. According to a Davidoff press release, the four-country blend is “sophisticated, complex and flavourful.” Production of the cigar is limited to 9,300 boxes. In addition to the cigar, Davidoff is introducing a limited edition Year of the Pig ashtray. Only 300 of these aluminum pieces were made. It ’s a sleek design inspired by what a Davidoff release described as “the Pig ’s voluptuous curves.” While we at Cigar Snob don’t tend to think of porcine curves as “voluptuous,” we can kinda see what they’re getting at. In any case, it’s an attractive, minimalist ashtray that’s sure to turn heads. MSRP is $395.

FLORIDA SUN GROWN LIMITED EDITION TRUNK PRESS TORO SHIPS

All the cigars are made in a 5x50 format and feature Nicaraguan fillers and binders. The Crystals feature sun grown Habano wrapper. Curses has Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. Cloaks features Broadleaf, and is the only box-pressed Robusto in the line. All these cigars carry an MSRP of $9. “We invite Archetype enthusiasts to be sure to check out all three cigars in the miniseries,” said Ventura GM Michael Giannini in a press release. “If you enjoy Archetype, you’ll relish Crystals, Curses, and Cloaks. And if you haven’t tried an Archetype cigar yet, the mini-series is a great place to start. Like a good story, you can always go back to re-read the beginning.”

DAVIDOFF YEAR OF THE PIG CIGAR AND ASHTRAY 2019, the Chinese zodiac’s year of the pig, is nearly upon us, and Davidoff is marking the occasion, as they always do, with a corresponding limited edition cigar and accessory. The $39 cigar is a pigtailed 6x54 Gran Toro featuring an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper,

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in growing, harvesting and curing, right here in America.” The Florida Sun Grown Limited Edition Trunk Press Toro is packaged in 10-count boxes with an MSRP of $157.99 per box.

CIGARS INTERNATIONAL HAS A NEW DALLAS SUPER STORE The Dallas-Fort Worth area got a whopper of a new cigar shopping destination when Cigars International opened a store there. This is the company’s fourth retail store and its first outside the company’s home state of Pennsylvania. The shop is located in a mixed-use development called Grandscape in The Colony. Craig Reynolds, president of Cigars International, said in a press release, “Given that the handmade cigar category was built on the kinds of personal interactions that can only be had in-store, our new location gives cigar lovers a unique venue for experiencing the camaraderie of fellow smokers. Our stores are meant to complement the traditional cigar shop experience and enhance the cigar lover’s appreciation for handmade cigars.” At more than 7,000 square feet, the store is sure to become a destination for area smokers looking for massive selection. That selection is housed in a 2,500-square-foot glass-enclosed humidor that is the main feature of the space.

Drew Estate announced that Florida Sun Grown Limited Edition Trunk Press Toro has shipped to Drew Diplomat retailers. The cigar features Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Mexican binder, and fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras, and — naturally — Florida (from the Florida Sun Grown farm run by Jeff Borysiewicz of Corona Cigar). In a press release issued by Drew Estate, FSG’s Jeff said, “The entire FSG Farm Team here in Clermont, Florida is excited to see cigar enthusiasts be able to enjoy something so special that we take great pride

As if all that weren’t enough, the store is also home to a bar and a Club Macanudo lounge, not to mention the array of accessories you might imagine would be available in a shop this big. “The design of the Super Store mimics that of a curing barn,” according to a Cigars International release. “The rectangular shape and shades on the sides of the building represent the characteristic look of the Northeast’s iconic tobacco sheds, and the truss work is a design element that was carried over from two of Cigars International’s other stores.”


DREW ESTATE SHIPS THIS YEAR’S PAPPY VAN WINKLE TRADITION RELEASE The Pappy Van Winkle Tradition — which honors Julian Van Winkle, founder of the legendary Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery — has shipped to retailers nationwide in coordination with the release of the distillery’s coveted Bourbon and Rye. The annual release from Drew Estate brings one of the most revered names in whiskey into the world of premium cigars. The Tradition features an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper, Indonesian binder, and fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. ”The Pappy Van Winkle Tradition is an ultra-complex cigar that honors the history and craftsmanship of the Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. We chose to age these cigars an additional year for this release, as Willy Herrera wanted to amplify the smoothness,” said Drew Estate founder Jonathan Drew in a press release. The cigar is available in five formats: Coronita (4 x 46), Robusto Grande (5 ½ x 54), Toro (6 x 50), Belicoso Fino (5 x 50) and Churchill (a 7 x 48 available exclusively at Drew Diplomat spirits retailers). 10-count boxes range in price from $145.97 to $245.97.

DAVIDOFF CHEF’S EDITION NOW AVAILABLE Davidoff announced the launch of its second installment of Davidoff Chef ’s Edition cigars, which are the product of collaboration with some of the most renowned chefs in the world: Thomas Keller, Alvin Leung, Klaus Erfort, Heiko Nieder and Shaun Rankin. The elite group has earned a total of 12 Michelin stars. “In bringing together the creative powers of international kitchen pioneers with Davidoff ’s cigar visionaries in the Dominican Republic, we intended to create an extraordinary cigar experience inspired by flavours from the four corners of the world,” said Davidoff CMO Edward Simon in a press release. “These highly acclaimed Chefs and Master Blenders, whose mission is continually to push the boundaries of taste, have truly excelled in creating a blend and experience second to none.” The cigar, which is made in a Toro format, draws inspiration from the five chefs’ home countries (Germany, Switzerland, the United States, Great Britain and Hong Kong) as well as the Dominican Republic, according to Davidoff, which describes the smoking experience as “multi-layered and exquisite, rich and deep in flavour. Liquorice, oakwood, Szechuan pepper and leather give way to the warm intensity of coffee, cumin and chocolate with sweet, spicy undertones and culminate in end notes of eucalyptus and spice.” The cigar features Dominican wrapper, Mexican binder, and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Production is limited to 5,000 boxes, which are available only at Davidoff Flagship stores and select Appointed Merchants. Turn to p. 52 for an interview with Thomas Keller of The French Laundry. 24 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018


TORPEDO

CHINNOCK CELLARS PRESSOIR COUNTRY

Honduras

WRAPPER

Mexico

BINDER

Honduras

FILLER

Nicaragua, Honduras

PRICE

$ 11.00

Brian Chinnock Owner

Tell us about the wine side of your business. Chinnock Cellars is a winery that’s been around for 39 years. We make Cabernets and Merlots from our small Napa Valley winery. The cave where we store the wine is at my house in Atlas Peak in Napa Valley. What was your path into the wine business? Back in college I was making wine with a chemistry professor at Texas Tech University. Texas Tech is in a dry county, so making wine in a dry county at a dry school is an excellent thing as a college student. In my freshman year I got into it working with him at the lab for different wineries that were emerging in the Lubbock area. I fell in love with it. After college, some of the other guys in that group at the wine lab decided to start a little winery north of Dallas in the Red River area. Did that for about four years and failed miserably, then decided to go to Napa Valley to make some good wine out of good grapes instead of really crappy wine out of crappy grapes. What was your first move when you got to Napa and how did you end up in cigars?

AVAILABLE IN 2 SIZES

Just getting to know people in the area. Asking winemaker friends what I should try to grow and getting the connections going. And then aging wine is a very long process. You’re talking about at least three years, especially in red wine.

I got into the cigar business because of the uncanny parallels. Ten years ago, I met my buddy Carlito Fuente and he invited me to go down to Bonao and see the fields. On our way to the Dominican, we had to go through Miami. We were on Calle Ocho and I walked into this little shop called El Titan de Bronze and met Sandy Cobas, the owner. Delightful lady. We sat for probably eight hours and I was just astonished. I said, “I’ve got the bug. I want to make my own cigars.” At the time, Willy Herrera was working for Sandy. He helped me blend our very first cigar. We were drinking wine with Sandy and once we started going we found tobaccos with a white pepper note that really went well with Cabernet. The flagship cigar in your portfolio now is Terroir, which has a lot of those characteristics. Terroir was a special cigar I asked Willy to help me with before he left ETB when Drew Estate stole him away from me and made him a superstar. I said, “I want something that transitions. I don’t want this white pepper spice all the way through. I want it to change on you.” It starts with this big white pepper spice in the beginning and transitions to these creamy, nutty notes in the middle, then a white pepper spice bomb at the end. It was a hit right away. So where does Pressoir fit into the Chinnock lineup? Pressoir was designed to go with a port wine or coffee. I know a lot of people smoke it with coffee in the morning. In the beginning, it was back then a much stronger cigar. We have since tweaked the blend over the years and made it not as full bodied. It’s still our highest strength cigar, even more so than the Terroir. So there’s Terroir, Cremoir and Pressoir. Clearly these are all French brand names. Where does Pressoir come from? I don’t speak French. I wanted to do a box-pressed cigar and it turns out that the device that winemakers in France use to press the grapes is called a pressoir. I asked my French buddy and that was that.

SWEET

Toro 6 x 52

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CHOCOLATE

NUT

EARTH

CREAM

WOOD

COFFEE

SPICE

Torpedo 6 x 52


LA GALERA 1936 BOX-PRESSED

EL LECTOR COUNTRY

Dominican Republic

WRAPPER

Ecuador

BINDER

Dominican Republic

FILLER

Dominican Republic

PRICE

$ 6.20 - $ 8.20

Jose “Jochy” Blanco

Owner

Jochy, for a long time you were behind the scenes of a lot of popular brands, but that has started to change and you’ve become more of a public figure. How does that change sit with you and how much harder does that make your job? It’s a lot harder because normally in the past I did not travel. I was focused on the farm, focused on the factory. Now I have to also be a little more focused on some travel, but it’s interesting. We had to make a change because the FDA situation pushed us to have our own brands. It’s a different world. I like it. I’ve found really good people in the market, good retailers, good friends. It went from not existing to a brand new brand to being in… How many retailers now? A little more than 500. But it’s not the quantity that matters. What impressed us is the reception of the consumer and the reorders form the stores. That for us is the main point because it tells us that the consumer loves the product. We’re trying to do a great cigar at a reasonable price. We are really vertically integrated and that helps. Tell us about your family’s history in tobacco. My grandfather was a grower. My father founded Tabacalera Palma, the factory, in 1936. Hence the 1936 Box Pressed. That’s a good segue into the 1936 Box Pressed. What sort of smoker would you say this cigar is for?

AVAILABLE IN 5 SIZES

TOP 3 SHOWN

Chaveta 5 x 50

Cortador 6 1/4 x 52

El Lector 6 x 54

It’s an easy cigar for almost every smoker. The taste

is totally clean, medium, with a lot of flavor. Of course, experienced guys will know that it’s a great cigar, but I think that a new smoker will enjoy it also, because the tobaccos… New smokers, normally they like more mild cigars. These cigars, a good smoker will know and feel that it’s a medium cigar. The tobaccos are well fermented and really aged. That helps the cigar to be very clean, which helps a new smoker enjoy it also. The 1936 Habano has Ecuadorian wrapper, Criollo 98 binder, and the filler is Piloto and Criollo 98. What we did in this blend was to mix tobaccos of the same varietals, but from different farms in different regions. Why did we do that? In La Canela, we produce Criollo 98. We also produce Criollo 98 in Jacagua. Same seed, same tobacco, same treatment, a little bit different taste. La Canela is a little stronger, more peppery. Jacagua is a little less strong, more flavor, and more sweetness. So blending those same seeds from different microclimates helps us to create this great cigar. You had all this time making cigars for other brands and then there’s this transition to focusing on La Galera. How do you let smokers know about the history of the company and communicate your expertise in tobacco? Some of that is in the branding. The names came from the factory. La Galera is the heart of a cigar company. It’s where the magic happens, where we make all the cigars. Then all the sizes have names related to the galera, like Chaveta, Cortador, Pegador, Bonchero, Lector. So we tried to transmit to the consumers the factory side. We’re also trying to teach our sales people what we use, the means of everything, so they continue that education. What’s it been like actually being on the road and seeing people’s response to your cigars in real time? Something I like about being on the street is seeing the satisfaction on the faces of the consumers when they try the cigars. They tell us about the cigars and the quality and how they are surprised about what we’re making. My last trip was to Texas. Especially in Dallas, I was surprised at how people enjoy and love cigars. Texas is a really great state for cigars. It’s incredible. And the taxes are low. It’s a really friendly state. And, of course, I love the ribs and sausages there.

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CHOCOLATE

NUT

EARTH

CREAM

WOOD

COFFEE

SPICE

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GIGANTE

DANIEL MARSHALL RED LABEL COUNTRY

Dominican Republic

WRAPPER

Nicaragua

BINDER

Nicaragua

FILLER

Nicaragua

PRICE

$ 8.60 - $ 10.60

Daniel Marshall Owner

People associate it with your humidor products, but there’s also that gold cigar. I remember seeing Steve Harvey recommend it to Jerry Seinfeld saying matter-of-factly, “It’s gold!” I loved that! It was a nice surprise when it happened. Jerry Seinfeld answered, “I want one. I’m a pimp!” What’s your background and how’d you get into this? My father’s dream was to take his family sailing from Marina del Rey to Tahiti. We did this when I was 10 and I fell in love with the ocean. I said, “I’m going to build a boat and sail around the world. I have to start saving money.” When I found and bought the boat I was 18 years old. Happiest guy in the world.

AVAILABLE IN 7 SIZES

TOP 3 SHOWN

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He sent one up that had been broken. He said, “If you do a good job copying this I’ll give you an order.” I copied it, I brought it back, and he gave me a $250,000 order. I went to Papa Joe, as I called my girlfriend’s grandfather, and said, “You were right. But now I don’t know how to make so many of them.” And he said, “Well, now we have to set up a factory.” So we went to Costa Mesa and took over Quicksilver’s first factory, which was super fun for a surfer. That was in 1982. And then there are your cigars. Tell us about how you got into that. From 1993 to 2000, I met the greatest cigar legends of our time. You become buddies and have an opportunity to taste a lot of different brands. I was always looking for the benchmark cigar. And people would say, “Marshall, you make the best humidors. Where’s your cigar?” So I decided to make a limited collection to put into some of the humidors. I asked my buddy Manuel Quesada, “Any chance you could make me some cigars?” And he said, “For you, I’ll do it.” He could not, in 1996, make enough for himself. Nobody could make boxes, but that wasn’t a problem for me. So we made cigar boxes that looked like humidors. Manuel would send me 5000 black labels a month and we would trade. He said, “You make me special packaging for our cigars. We have a plan to make a special limited cigar. Make them in black lacquer.” Fifteen years later, I’m at Nat Sherman in New York and someone asked me to sign a box. I said, “That’s Quesada 40th Anniversary. Why would I sign that?” Turns out our name was printed on the bottom because we had made it 15 years before! The Red Label is made with five-year-old Nicaraguan tobaccos and the cigar is aged a year after being boxed. We’re limited by time (because I insist on aging the cigars that extra year) and the supply of quality tobacco, because I don’t want to use anything but the best.

SWEET

Robusto 5 1/2 x 52

Torpedo 6 1/4 x 54

I was dating a wonderful woman. Her grandfather had built one of the first life insurance companies in Santa Monica. He would always ask about this boat. He thought it was the craziest idea. One evening, he escaped from his guests to smoke a cigar. He said, “Danny come here. I want to hear the latest with the boat.” And this is what changed my life. He gave me great encouragement. I said, “How do I thank him for that? He loves those cigars.” I went to Dunhill, bought him three cigars, made him a three-cigar case in teak wood, which is what I was making my boat out of, and brought it to him two weeks later. He said, “I really like this. If you want, take this to Dunhill. I’m convinced they will buy it and you can set up a factory, sail around the world; you can really do it all.”

He was right. When I finally got an audience with the buyer, the question was, “These cigar cases are OK, but can you make a humidor?” I said, “What’s a humidor?”

Gigante 6 x 60

CHOCOLATE

NUT

EARTH

CREAM

WOOD

COFFEE

SPICE


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DELICIOSO

SINDICATO PARTICULARES COUNTRY

Nicaragua

WRAPPER

Nicaragua

BINDER

Nicaragua

FILLER

Nicaragua

PRICE

$ 7.80 - $ 8.95

Jim Colucci

President/CEO Where did Sindicato come from? I wasn’t at the meetings when they formed it, but a group of retailers formed Sindicato because they had gotten tired of building brands for the two big major corporations. They felt that what was happening to them was that they would build up these brands in their retail stores and the price would drop from the bottom, you know? These same brands started appearing in the big catalogs or online at heavily discounted prices. They decided that maybe it was about time they had a couple of their own brands that they built nationally instead of doing private labels for a couple of guys who have their own private label brand. They decided, given the strength of their numbers, that if they built their own brands, they could be price protected, be of great quality and sell at a good value to the consumers. They weren’t trying to make big number brands. They wanted a quality product made by quality manufacturers. That’s why we went to Casa Fernandez. For Particulares and Sindicato, we knew that in Eduardo Fernandez we had a guy who had quality tobacco from Nicaragua and he made us three great cigars. He made Sindicato Natural, Sindicato Maduro, and Particulares. He also makes our bundled brand, Casa Bella. Did having a cigar made by Aganorsa for Sindicato do anything to change or enhance the relationship?

AVAILABLE IN 7 SIZES

TOP 3 SHOWN

Robusto 6 x 52

Delicioso 6 x 54

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Cesenta 6 x 60

Particulares is a brand Eduardo has owned since 2002.

So we went to him and asked him if we could take over the distribution of this brand. When he agreed to do this with us, I repackaged the brand and I investigated the brand and looked deeply into its origins. I found that it has a long history of Cuban heritage. It was the first factory that Alonso Menendez purchased in 1933. When he purchased the brand and the factory, he got another brand that wasn’t being used called Montecristo. In 1935, he needed money to buy the H. Upmann factory and sold Particulares to Partagás, which belonged to the Cifuentes family. So it’s got some history in it. We’ve got a great relationship with Eduardo. It creates a great relationship with the retail members of Sindicato because they feel like Eduardo is a true partner with them. And he’s created a great brand for us with Sindicato. Our biggest selling brand is our bundle, and it’s all thanks to the quality tobacco we get from Aganorsa and his manufacturing people. How would you describe smoking Particulares to the person who has never had it? The unique thing about the cigar is the shade grown Corojo wrapper. So it’s got this beautiful appearance because of being shade grown. It has a mild look to it, but it’s a three-quarter strength cigar with great flavor, and spice. I love it. My favorite is the Corona, which is a fantastic cigar. Do you have any favorite pairings with the cigar? At night, I’ll go to the back yard, sit outside, look at the lake, and have a Particulares with cognac. What have you learned about what sorts of smokers are drawn to your brand? I think we’re pretty lucky to be considered by a lot of people to be a boutique type of cigar. Especially the stuff that’s made by Aganorsa. Now, as far as what we get out of NACSA, that cigar is meant for most smokers; the guy who likes an Ecuadorian Connecticut Affinity. We’re lucky that our retailers, because they have a stake in the company, will recommend it. But we sell at more non-member retailers than member retailers, and they recommend it too.

SWEET

CHOCOLATE

NUT

EARTH

CREAM

WOOD

COFFEE

SPICE


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TORO

FSG BY DREW ESTATE COUNTRY

Nicaragua

WRAPPER

Brazil

BINDER

Honduras

FILLER

USA, Nicaragua

PRICE

$ 11.50 - $ 15.00

Jeff Borysiewicz

Owner, Florida Sun Grown

Willy Herrera

Master Blender, Drew Estate Some people might never have been exposed to FSG. Tell us about this project, where it began, and what challenges you’ve faced reviving cigar tobacco in Florida. JB: Florida Sun Grown is a tobacco project we started in 2013. We didn’t invent this whole thing. We resurrected it. Cigar tobacco hasn’t been growing in Florida for 150 years, and what I really focused on is that Florida had two primary types of tobacco. One was the shade grown, which was Sumatra seed, which was competing against Connecticut, and then the other was what the Cubans came over for, which was the Cuban seed, and the Cuban tobacco. During the Spanish American War, there was a lot of uncertainty about the future of Cuba. These tobacco farmers came over who were traditionally selling their tobaccos to the factories in the United States. They knew they needed to do something because there was a blockade on Havana Harbor. So they went to Ybor City and ended up in a place called Fort Meade. They had a 350-acre tobacco plantation. That is a tremendous amount of tobacco. This was done in 1895, ‘96, ‘97, ‘98, when the war was brewing and when the war was occurring.

AVAILABLE IN 4 SIZES

TOP 3 SHOWN

Toro 6 x 52

Belicoso 6 1/4 x 54

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Robusto 5 x 54

So there’s a very long intertwined history between Florida, Cuba and tobacco. I’m trying to keep that history alive. Our target yield is between five and six

thousand pounds of tobacco. That’s not a whole lot, but it is a whole lot of work. There’s a reason nobody is growing cigar tobacco in Florida anymore. It’s because it’s impossible to make money. You’ll lose money. We want to do it where we have a brand that’s available on a national level. That’s where we partner with Drew Estate and Willy Herrera and the skills that these guys have in Nicaragua. It’s one thing to grow tobacco and cure it, but you can mess this up at every step of the way. Let’s say these guys ferment a pilón that’s got too much water, too much heat. You don’t realize that that could be $400,000 worth of tobacco gone. If you’re growing tobacco, you never want to get cocky. Drew Estate committed early to FSG. What’s it been like to blend with FSG and how did you land at the current blend? WH: Man, it was a lot of going back and forth with Jeff, a lot of trips to Orlando to smoke samples. When I first joined Drew Estate, 85 percent of the tobaccos I was working with at Drew Estate were new to me. I hadn’t worked with those tobaccos in my family’s factory in Miami. With FSG it was the same thing. It was a new tobacco, I had never worked with it, I didn’t know how it would blend with other wrappers, other binders, other fillers, so it was a lot of trial and error. We were trying to target a certain profile based on what Jeff and his team were looking for. So it was just make blends, smoke them. If it was OK, we would put it on one pile and if it was bad, we get rid of it and start all over. So it was just creating blends, testing and tweaking until everybody thought, “This is great.” JB: This was brand new for anybody to work with and that was one of the biggest challenges. Because you can put it in a pilón and wonder, “Do I treat it like Corojo grown in Nicaragua? Do I treat it like Broadleaf grown in Connecticut?” This is where things can get expensive. Fermentation on all these tobaccos is different. Anybody who had worked with this stuff is dead. The industry hasn’t had a new leaf to work with in a long time, but Drew Estate took that challenge and perfected the fermentation process for FSG.

SWEET

CHOCOLATE

NUT

EARTH

CREAM

WOOD

COFFEE

SPICE


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ESSENtIALS t the risk of too aggressively tooting our horns here, consider for a moment how valuable a recommendation from Cigar Snob can be to a cigar or cigar accessories company. In light of that value, we have a lot of people ask us to try out their products. Lighters are no exception. We have seen it all in the accessories department. With that in mind, we knew we had to set some room aside in the magazine when we first got our hands on the S.T. Dupont Le Grand lighter. We knew because, from the first time we used it, we were all looking at each other with looks on our faces that screamed “Holy shit. This is cool!” When you think of S.T. Dupont lighters, chances are that you think of the iconic Ligne 2 design. It’s a simple rectangular design, with a long wheel running up and down one of the corners of the lighter. Flick the wheel with your thumb and a soft flame emerges, along with the satisfying CLING sound that cigar smokers all over the world know to mean “someone in this room knows a good lighter when he sees it.” There are other designs, of course, like the Défi Extrême (a more rugged line) and the slim MaxiJet line of torches, but that Ligne 2 and its CLING are hard to ignore as the brand’s calling card. The Le Grand, however, is something special. It closely resembles a Ligne 2, although it’s got a slightly larger chassis. At first glance, that might lead you to the conclusion this was the inferior lighter … until you see what’s under the hood. Flick that wheel with your thumb and you’ll get a wide, bunny-ear style soft flame that’s perfect for lighting cigars indoors. When you put your thumb back on the wheel and slide it up toward the flame, your soft flame will suddenly give way to a single torch. A soft flame and a torch all in one simple package with seamless functionality. “When I started at Davidoff, I would tell everyone here this thing was badass and we needed to get behind it,” said Jennifer Loria, the S.T. Dupont brand manager at Davidoff, which has sole distribution in the U.S. market. “It’s still functional. It’s not gimmicky; it’s something you’ll reach for on a daily basis.” If lighters were cars, the Le Grand would be that

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S.T. Dupont Le Grand Lighter

S.T. DUPONT LE GRAND BLUE SUNBURST

$1,586

one machine on the lot that was less flashy, less showy, but still drew crowds of enthusiasts who understand what’s inside. Though it isn’t flashy in appearance, there’s a price associated with the incredible engineering that goes into making this two-in-one function happen (to say nothing of the solid brass chassis and overall build quality you know you can expect from S.T. Dupont). “In terms of price point, adding new styles

brought the price point to a lower threshold. What you have now in terms of the entry point would be the brushed palladium, with an MSRP of $1,064,” said Jennifer. The lighter is also available in polished palladium with black, sunburst blue, or yellow gold with sunburst brown lacquered panels, as well as a polished palladium option whose surface has a sort of stippling pattern. The most expensive of those is the sunburst brown, which carries an MSRP of $1,695.


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HOLIDAY

THE HOLIDAYS ARE RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. WE COMPILED SOME OF THE COOLEST ITEMS WE’VE COME ACROSS OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS. IF THERE’S NOTHING HERE FOR THE CIGAR LOVERS IN YOUR LIFE, YOU HAVE WEIRD FRIENDS, SO TREAT YOURSELF!

GROWLERWERKS UKEG 64 STAINLESS growlerwerks.com

$149

MARK AND GRAHAM - THE BOND COLLECTION markandgraham.com

Keep a half-gallon growler’s worth of beer cold, fresh and carbonated with this mini keg. Durable stainless steel and excellent insulation make this the perfect vessel for the drinker who won’t sacrifice quality for a beer-soaked adventure.

Overnighter - $399 / Travel Pouch - $139 Folded Wallet - $89 / Leather Charger Roll Up - $49 Utility can look stylish, too. Made from soft leather with a camo print, this set is inspired by the style of James Bond. Whether it’s daily use items like the wallet or the overnighter, you’ll get durability and design worthy of 007 himself.

MYCHARGE UNPLUGGED 8K mycharge.com $60 Cords? We don’t need no stinkin’ cords! As long as you have a cell phone capable of wireless charging, this is far and away the most convenient way to charge your phone on the go, whether you’re on the road or just sick of hunting outlets to keep your phone alive while you hang out at your neighborhood cigar lounge.

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SEAN CHRISTIAN MINI COPPER COGNAC LEATHER CASE sccases.com

$180 Sometimes your pockets just aren’t the right place to keep your cigars on the go. For those times, carry your stogies in style. The premium hand-stitched leather makes it a respectable way to carry your premium cigars, and there’s storage for the tools of the trade.


BOVEDA BUTLER SMART SENSOR bovedainc.com

$20 You want to check on your humidor, but you don’t want to open and close it all willy-nilly. That’s where Boveda has come in with this brilliant sensor that uses Bluetooth to beam up to 10 days of data right to your phone, so you can always keep tabs on your cigars. The device will also send you alerts when temperature and humidity need your attention.

RON BARCELÓ IMPERIAL PREMIUM BLEND 30 ANIVERSARIO ronbarcelo.com $99 The rum is delicious — sweet enough to bring balance to a peppery cigar, with enough of a boozy kick to stand up to any stogie. It’s also syrupy enough that it lingers on the palate while you smoke. Tailor made for pairing! And since this is a gift guide, it bears mentioning that it is packaged gorgeously. Don’t bother with wrapping.

OLD NEWGATE ROAD BY KEITH SCRIBNER penguinrandomhouse.com

$27 We don’t put very many books in our gift guides. It’s not that we don’t read — it’s just that books so seldom feel like they have a place in Cigar Snob. But Old Newgate Road is a rare novel that puts you in the tobacco fields of northern Connecticut. Cole Callahan spent his youth here, but bolted when his own mother was murdered by his father. Thirty years later, Cole returns to the family home, where he finds his father suffering from dementia. It’s a moving, suspenseful story set against the backdrop of an iconic tobacco valley. A must-read for Shade and Broadleaf lovers alike.

ÜLLO WINE PURIFIER ullowine.com

$80 It’s an aerator, but this gadget is more than that. It’s designed to restore your wine’s natural taste by capturing sulfites, so your experience of the bottle is exactly what the folks at the vineyard intended.

CASIO EDIFICE EQB900DB casio.com

$320 This sporty solar-powered watch connects to your smartphone, but not in that overbearing way that so many smart watches do. Instead, it gets online to make sure time settings stay accurate and eliminates the need for clunky watch button operation. Less really is more.

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A TRADITIONAL BAROLO FROM THE VERY HEART OF THE REGION, A RIBERA DEL DUERO FROM THE AREA’S HIGHEST ELEVATION VINEYARD, A BORDEAUX FROM SAINT-ÉMILION WITH A DISTINCT STYLE, A 20-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORT, AND A CLASSIC HUNGARIAN DESSERT WINE FROM TOKAJ.

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PIRA BAROLO VIGNARIONDA you taste an aged Barolo, with its softened tannins and beautifully balanced acidity and sweetness, you instantly understand why it’s considered the “king of wines”.

NEBBIOLO

TASTING NOTES Explosive and complex on the nose with a bouquet loaded with berries and tobacco. In the glass, the wine is deep garnet with that classic Barolo brick color on the edges. On the palate the wine is expectedly tannic with high acidity balanced by elegant, mouth-watering notes of juniper, tobacco, ripe cherry, and a touch of oak.

Davidoff 702 Series - Signature 2000

Castello di Serralunga d’Alba overlooking Pira’s vineyards

2013 PIEDMONT / ITALY he king of wines, the wine of kings; Barolo has a special place in Italy’s wine spectrum. Generally speaking Barolo is praised for its high tannins and age-worthy structure. Always produced from 100% Nebbiolo grapes, the region’s wine tends to take its time in developing. It’s not uncommon to hear devotees of “traditional” Barolo recommend that you store the wine for 10 to 15 years before even considering an attempt to drink it. But the payoff is there; when

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But what if you don’t want to wait THAT long? What if you believe that aging wine is for other people? You want to walk into Total Wine & More, pick up a highly rated bottle of Barolo, and enjoy it that night with a braised short rib pappardelle. Except for the short rib, that’s exactly what a group of like-minded, forwardthinking Barolo producers set out to do in the 1980s. The group commonly referred to as the ‘Barolo Boys’ used more modern methods than their traditional parents and neighboring wineries. The resulting wine, while critically acclaimed and a financial boom to the region, set off what the press termed the “Barolo Wars.” The award-winning documentary, Barolo Boys: The Story of a Revolution, captures the essence of the “wars” perfectly. So where are we now? Where does this particular wine sit on the modern-to-traditional spectrum? In my opinion Cantina Luigi Pira has found the sweet spot. The family updated the winery in the 1990s but kept their focus on expressing the best of Barolo without sacrificing its natural characteristics. What you get in the end is a traditional Barolo with its strong tannins and acidity that softens enough to enjoy after 5 years but develops into something truly special in 10 to 15. The family’s consistent execution of this risky balancing act is the reason we chose the 2013 Pira Barolo Vignarionda.

Rocky Patel Vintage 1990

Camacho Connecticut BXP

PAIRING NOTES THE PIRA’S MOUTH-WATERING ASTRINGENCY COMBINED WITH ITS DELICATE SWEETNESS BEGS FOR A CIGAR WITH A SLIGHTLY DRY AND ELEGANT NATURE. IDEALLY YOU’D PAIR THIS WINE WITH A SMOKE THAT ISN’T OVERLY HEAVY OR PEPPERY AND MOST IMPORTANTLY IT SHOULD HAVE A CLEAN FINISH. YOU CAN ALMOST DO NO WRONG BY CHOOSING A CLASSIC CONNECTICUT SHADE WRAPPED CIGAR WITH THIS WINE, BUT TO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL YOU’LL NEED TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE. THE DAVIDOFF 702 SERIES, THE ROCKY PATEL VINTAGE 1990, AND THE CAMACHO CONNECTICUT BXP.


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VALTRAVIESO VT TINTA FINA ATTACK OF THE CLONES In the case of Valtravieso you’ll notice they don’t mention Tempranillo by name on the bottle. Instead, they are a little more specific by naming Tinta Fina as the grape. Tinta Fina is a Tempranillo clone; therefore this wine is still very much a Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero. It is not uncommon, albeit confusing, for Spanish wineries to call Tempranillo by their clone name. So any time you read Tinto Fino, Tinta Fina, Tinto del Pais, Tinta de Toro, or Ull de Llebre, you are still drinking Tempranillo.

TEMPRANILLO

black cherry, balsamic, and cassis on the nose with a slight hint of coffee. In the mouth the wine is medium- to full-bodied with wellintegrated alcohol and good tannins. The flavors are complex and with excellent sweetness. On the palate there are intense and long-lasting flavors of Luxardo cherry, cocoa, and blackberry.

Fuente Fuente OpusX

Oliva Serie V

My Father Le Bijou Box-Pressed

THE WINERY 2011 RIBERA DEL DUERO / SPAIN THE VINEYARD Situated at an altitude of almost 3,000 ft above sea level, Valtravieso’s vineyards benefit immensely from this privileged perch. At this altitude the grapes have a longer ripening process, which results in more intense flavors and more balanced acidity. The contrast between the sunny days and cool breezy nights compounded by the rugged, rocky soil make for ideal conditions to grow Tempranillo grapes.

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The building that houses the winery is an architectural gem that was purpose built with the goal of making exceptional wine in an efficient and consistent manner. The modern, minimalist designed, straight building belies the rustic, rocky landscape that surrounds it. And the modern elements don’t stop at design as the winery employs cutting edge winemaking technology and modern methods to produce their award-winning range of wines. But while technology and architectural advancements are noticeably present, Valtravieso’s over 70 hectares of vineyards surround the winery, much like a classic French chateau.

TASTING NOTES An exceptionally complex wine that manages to stay approachable. Loaded with notes of

PAIRING NOTES THE WINE’S CONSIDERABLE BODY AND INTENSITY GO VERY WELL WITH CIGARS THAT YOU WOULD DESCRIBE SIMILARLY. THE JAM AND CHERRY NOTES ARE INTENSE ENOUGH AND THE STRUCTURE PERSISTENT ENOUGH TO STAND UP TO JUST ABOUT ANY FULLBODIED CIGAR YOU THROW AT IT. WE LOVED THE WAY THIS WINE TASTED AGAINST THE FUENTE FUENTE OPUS X’S CEDAR AND CINNAMON CORE. THE OLIVA SERIE V AND THE MY FATHER LE BIJOU, BOTH WITH THEIR STRONG CHOCOLATE AND SMOOTH PEPPER BACKBONE, WERE ALSO EXCELLENT COMPANIONS FOR THE VALTRAVIESO VT 2011 .


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PETIT-FIGEAC

48% CABERNET SAUVIGNON 20% CABERNET FRANC & 32% MERLOT

wines from the Mèdoc, Bordeaux blends from Saint-Émilion tend to lean more on Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes while employing Cabernet Sauvignon sparingly. But if you’ve been paying attention, or sneaked a glance up to the varietal percentages for the Petit-Figeac at the top of the page, you’ve noticed something’s not quite right. We’ll get to that in a second.

TASTING NOTES A forward, assertive wine with a long-lasting finish. This dark, ruby red colored wine shows aromas of fruitcake and plum complemented by a hint of cedar. Tannins are silky smooth with well-balanced acidity; this wine has a noticeably fresh mouth feel. Medium-bodied on the palate with an elegant profile of ripe red fruit, currant, and a balancing touch of minerality.

La Aurora Hors D’Age 2017

THE FIGEAC STYLE Chateau Figeac is a Premier Grand Cru Classé set in the northwest corner of Saint-Émilion alongside the famed Cheval Blanc. This part of the appellation has a more sandy-gravel soil than the rest of the region’s predominantly clay soils. So with a terroir that is more akin to those of the Mèdoc, the grape profiles end up closer to those of Mèdoc giants like Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Latour, and Chateau Margaux, to name a few.

Davidoff Winston Churchill The Late Hour

Aging Room Pura Cepa

THE SECOND WINE

2015 SAINT-ÉMILION / FRANCE THE REGION The Saint-Émilion region, on the “Right Bank”, is Bordeaux’s oldest active wine-producing appellation. The village of Saint-Émilion is known almost as much for its ancient architecture and Roman ruins as it is for its magnificent wine. The region is also one of Bordeaux’s largest wineproducing appellations and boasts a very particular wine style, even among other Bordeaux regions. Unlike the Cabernet Sauvignon heavy

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Thierry Manoncourt, the family patriarch who passed away in 2010, was a wine visionary whose influence on winemaking was felt well beyond the gates of the stately chateau he loved. In 1945 he introduced the concept of a “second wine”, the first to do so in the Right Bank. He called the wine La Grange Neuve de Figeac and made it from the less successful plots in the vineyard. In 2002 after reacquiring a 1.6-hectare vineyard, which had once been part of Figeac and sold long ago, he reincorporated it into the main chateau by 2006 and started producing Petit-Figeac from that vineyard. In 2012 Petit-Figeac replaced La Grange Neuve de Figeac as the second wine from Figeac. It was originally conceived as a stylistic introduction to the chateau’s premier wine and while it most certainly accomplishes that, today Petit-Figeac has a fervent following all its own.

PAIRING NOTES THE PROFILE OF MODERN DOMINICAN CIGARS WITH THEIR RICH CEDAR, BAKER’S SPICE, AND CARAMEL SWEETNESS FIT THE 2015 PETIT-FIGEAC’S RIPE RED FRUIT AND CURRANT LIKE A GLOVE. AT THE TOP OF OUR LIST WAS THE LA AURORA HORS D’AGE 2017; IT’S BOLD AND MEATY WITH A DELICATE FLORAL NOTE ON THE FINISH THAT REALLY COMPLEMENTS THIS BEAUTIFUL BORDEAUX. IN ADDITION, THE WINSTON CHURCHILL – THE LATE HOUR’S INTENSE WOOD AND SPICE WAS ALSO AN EXCELLENT PAIRING. FOR A NICARAGUAN ALTERNATIVE, REACH FOR THE AGING ROOM PURA CEPA AND ITS CORE OF CINNAMON, WOOD, AND NUTS.


LIGHT UP THE SCENE You earned it.

91

91

94

Perfected over 152 years, yours to enjoy now. #LightUpYourSoul

PlasenciaCigars.com

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OFFLEY TAWNY PORTO into a messy trade war. The upshot of it, from a wine perspective, was that the English could no longer buy French wine.

FORTIFIED

action was in producing your own Porto wine. The brand’s profile grew but it wasn’t until the arrival of Joseph James Forrester as a partner in the 1830s that things really started to take off. Forrester was the first to chart the Douro River and the surrounding valley, an accomplishment that brought him acclaim and the title of Baron de Forrester. His contributions to Offley and the Port wine business are immeasurable.

TASTING NOTES

CITY OF PORTO

20 YEARS OLD DOURO / PORTUGAL The history of Port is a fascinating tale of a style born out of necessity, opportunity, and ingenuity. Wine had been an important export for Portugal since the establishment of the Kingdom of Portugal in 1143. But back then they were exporting mostly ‘red Portugal’, a very light red wine from the Minho region. Porto or Port wine didn’t become what we know today until several hundred years later. What had already been a long and fruitful trade relationship between England and Portugal was ratcheted up significantly in 1667 when the French and English got

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The English merchants in Portugal seized the opportunity and started shipping Portuguese wine up to England from Viana do Castelo where they had been set up to export mostly grain, fruit, and oil. The problem with that was that the wine they were exporting was too light and acidic for the British consumer. They were used to drinking Bordeaux. The merchants set out to find heartier wine farther inland and found just that in the upper Douro Valley. The picturesque vineyards on steep, rocky hillsides employing an impressive system of terraces were producing wine of exceptional quality. They started shipping wine by boat down the Douro River to the city of Porto near the coast. From here the wine would set sail to England bearing the name ‘Vinho do Porto’ or Port Wine. So although the wine was from the upper Douro Valley more than 50 miles inland, it took the name Porto, after the city from which it departed to England. Now the problem was that the wine was spoiling during the lengthy sea voyage. So to help the wine keep during the voyage to England, they would add a small amount of brandy to the wine, to “fortify” it. As this practice became more common, it developed into a style where they were adding the brandy before the wine had finished fermenting. By doing so, the partly fermented wine was sweeter, stronger, and more to the liking of the English consumers. Before long, the demand for it was so high that all of the producers were fortifying their wine this way, and Port as we know it was born.

OFFLEY Established by William Offley as a London wine merchant in 1737, Offley soon realized that the

Delivers an intense aroma of plum, vanilla, and cinnamon while on the palate there is sweet fruit, caramel, and a hint of orange. The feel is delicate and smooth with well-integrated alcohol.

Liga Privada T52

Diamond Crown Black Diamond

Espinosa Crema

PAIRING NOTES TH E OFFLEY 20 YEAR OLD TAWNY PORTO I S LI KE LY TH E MOST FLEXI B LE WI N E WE’VE EVE R PAI RE D WITH. WE S I M PLY COU LD NOT FI N D A C IGAR THAT DI D NOT PAI R WE LL WITH TH I S PORT. TH E TH RE E THAT STOOD OUT AS PARTIC U LARLY I NTE RE STI NG WE RE TH E LIGA PRIVADA NO. 9, DIAMON D C ROWN B LAC K DIAMON D, AN D E S PINOSA C RE MA.


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CHATEAU MEGYER TOKAJI

2013 TOKAJ / HUNGARY Unless you are of Hungarian descent or really, really into sweet white wine, your eyes rarely wander to the shelf of Tokaji in your local Total Wine & More. The truth is that while Sauternes, Ice Wines, and Rieslings are excellent in their own right, the list of Tokaji fanboys throughout history is long and distinguished — King Louis XIV of France, Beethoven, Liszt, Voltaire, and even Napoleon III just to name a few. Tokaji makes prominent appearances in literary classics like Goethe’s Faust and Bram Stoker’s Dracula thanks

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ASZÚ / 5 PUTTONYOS

to writers’ love of the nectar. So why hasn’t Tokaji’s popularity endured into the 21st century? We don’t have the space to get into the litany of geopolitical catastrophes that conspired against this finest of sweet white wines, but know that the kingdom of Hungary lost about 75 percent of its territory after World War I, was occupied by Germany for a stretch in the 1940s, and became a Soviet-influenced socialist republic until 1989. Things are a little more stable now and Hungary has been a member of the European Union since 2004 but as it pertains to the global wine market, Tokaji’s got some catching up to do.

have it after your meal, enjoy this wine as your dessert, not with a dessert. Sweet on sweeter doesn’t make anything better.

ASZÚ

Casa Fernandez Miami Aniversario

Tokaji is produced in a variety of styles but the one that has been blowing people’s minds since the 1500s are the Tokaji Aszú. This is the sweet nectar of the gods that is made from individually handpicked grapes that have botrytised to a precise point. Botrytise is the scientific term for the noble rot that occurs when dry conditions follow wet conditions in the vineyard, causing a type of mold to grow on the grapes. This mold or fungus causes the grape to be partially raisined, thus concentrating the sweetness. During harvest, the picker inspects each cluster of grapes and picks only the ones at the desired level of rot. This is an incredibly work-intensive process, which explains the high prices paid for Tokaji. The level of sweetness in Aszú is measured in “puttonyos” from 3 to 6; anything higher than 6 is called Aszú Eszencia. Because of their high sugar content, a bottle of Tokaji Aszú can last up to three weeks after it has been opened so long as you reinsert the cork. Unlike most wine corks, these are designed to be reinserted easily, but are still snug enough to create a seal. The wine is served chilled between 52° and 60° F.

TOKAJI & FOOD Although sweet wines are often called dessert wines, the term is misleading because it makes you believe you should enjoy this wine with dessert. In fact, this and just about all sweet white wines are always better with food. There is no better food pairing for Tokaji Aszú than foie gras. It’s as if God himself conceived one for the other. That seems ludicrous considering what geese are put through to make foie gras, but you get the idea; they pair extremely well together. If foie gras is not your jam, pair this wine with cheese — the richer or stinkier the better. But if you must

Herrera Esteli

Vegas del Purial Gran Reserva

PAIRING NOTES AT 14.5 PERCENT OF RESIDUAL SUGAR, THE CHATEAU MEGYER TOKAJI ASZÚ IS SWEET, BUT NOT CLOYING. THE NOTES OF HONEY, ORANGE, AND APRICOT ARE BALANCED BY A SUBTLE ACIDITY THAT MAKES IT AN IDEAL PAIRING FOR CLASSIC, CUBANESQUE CIGARS FROM NICARAGUA. WE COULDN’T GET ENOUGH OF THIS WINE ALONGSIDE AN HERRERA ESTELI, CASA FERNANDEZ ANIVERSARIO 2015, AND THE NEWLY RELEASED VEGAS DEL PURIAL LANCERO.

EDITOR’S NOTE WE PARTN E RE D WITH TOTAL WI N E & MORE (WWW.TOTALWI N E.COM) TO PUT TH I S FEATU RE TOG ETH E R AN D PAB LO E STADE S WAS I N STRU M E NTAL I N MAKI NG IT HAPPE N. THAN K YOU.


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as well as the texture and the viscosity of the smoke is very important to me. But a mild cigar is my preference because it doesn’t interfere with my palate too much. Because of what I do, I want to make sure I don’t have a cigar hangover.

WITH Thomas Keller is one of the world’s most celebrated chefs. He sat with us to talk about food, cigars and his role in Davidoff Chef’s Edition.

I hadn’t thought of that element where you need to worry about your palate just being completely washed out by a very strong cigar. So these types of cigars that are very clean and light on the palate probably work perfectly. I think Davidoff has done a great job at giving people a quality cigar that they can enjoy at different times of the day. You have this craving for a cigar — at least I do — and I want that satisfied with something that is smooth, that has a bit of leather to it, a bit of chocolate to it, these different tones, some acid, and that richness that you get from the viscosity of the smoke. So I think these types of cigars really answer that craving that I have.

I’m always fascinated by how eloquently chefs describe a smoking experience. When you’re describing a cigar, it very much sounds like you’re talking about a dish. Anything that has flavor and texture to it is really important. Everybody has a different experience. There really are no right or wrong descriptions about what you’re feeling about food, wine or a cigar. The aromas are very important in food and wine as well as in cigars. I talk about the viscosity of the smoke. It’s very important in wine, it’s important in sauces and other things that we do. What is the viscosity that we’re looking for? That texture element that’s going to coat the tongue or sometimes cleanse the tongue as well. We talked about acid and things that complement flavor profiles. I look for all those elements in a cigar as well as in wine. There are all those same flavor profiles, the same nuances, the same joys, the same pleasures in drinking a glass of wine, eating a beautiful dish or smoking a wonderful cigar.

Yeah. You can go too far in richness in food, you can go too far in nicotine in cigars, and you can go too far in alcohol in wine. So finding that right balance is something that chefs like yourself can speak so eloquently to. That’s why I really love being in this project. I was really honored to be invited. I never really considered something like working with a cigar manufacturer, and certainly Davidoff has a very high reputation and is recognized around the world as a premium cigar producer. So when Susanne Minder invited me, I was like, “Wow, this is interesting.” I had to think about it for a little while. I didn’t respond right away. I was trying to think about how I would interact with other chefs in developing something that we don’t normally develop. We don’t blend tobaccos. But the more I thought about it, the more fascinated I became with it. And not only did I agree to do it, but we had a wonderful time bonding through the process. And of course we were mentored all along the way, which was a wonderful thing too because it gave us an opportunity to learn about cigar making.

I was down in the Dominican Republic when you guys visited. What part of the cigar making process from the seed to the cigar surprised you the most?

Let’s begin with the question that starts most of our interviews. Do you remember your first cigar? My father smoked cigars. He was in the Marine Corps, so he was the typical man who loves cigars when they got down to the last inch and a half. He loved chewing them as much as he loved smoking them. So I don’t really remember my first cigar, but it had to be something my father was smoking at the time. We didn’t have a lot of money. We were a modest middle class family. He was probably smoking Te-Amos or something like that out of Tampa.

So as you started to grow in your cigar smoking, what did you start enjoying? When I started smoking more or less seriously was when Cohiba became the popular brand and everybody was after the Cohibas. So that was my first experience with what I think would have been a quality cigar. I like a cigar that is easy to smoke in the morning, in the afternoon and the evening. I want a cigar that I can be committed to because it gives me an opportunity to really enjoy the flavor profile as it develops through the smoking process. I like the texture of it — the texture of the tobacco

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Cooking is a very easy equation and I kind of relate that to cigar making as well. Cooking is about ingredients. So for a chef to get the best ingredients possible is one of our primary goals. The second is execution. Execution has to do with our ability and our skills to make that food into something that elevates your experience, but doesn’t necessarily interfere with what it is. We don’t want to change how the beef tastes. We want to accentuate it, we want, in a richer form, to express its flavors more than it would be in its natural state. That’s our job and execution is about skills. It’s about equipment, it’s about tools, all these different things that are represented in a skill level. When you think about cigars, it’s kind of the same thing. We have the raw ingredient and we have to make sure that tobacco plant is cultivated in a way that’s going to produce the best possible leaves. Now you’re talking about agriculture. In the same way that we deal with food, it changes every year, so you have to be able to modify and adapt your behavior and your processes to the product that’s produced in that agricultural year. Tobacco is different because you have this fermentation process over a long period of time. Typically in food we don’t do that. We deal with it in the moment that it’s ripe or the moment that it’s harvested, the moment that it’s caught, the moment that it’s slaughtered. So the fermentation process to me was the most


fascinating because it’s something that was new to me. To think about taking tobacco leaves and the way it’s fermented and aged over the course of years and how it develops texture and richness during that process was certainly, I think, the most compelling part of the cigar making that I enjoyed.

lifetime thing because you’re only young once. And they’re all compelling and they all drive you to dedicate yourself to your craft of cooking or being a restaurateur or being a doctor or being a lawyer, whatever the award comes from. Which one do I find the most rewarding? There are three. I talked about Michelin. To be the first American chef to receive three Michelin stars in the United States, that’s a pretty good thing. That’s once in a lifetime as well. But the things that are a little more gratifying are to have won the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur from the French government for representing or exemplifying the culture of France, that was a great award. And to have the opportunity to receive that from president Sarkozy was certainly a true honor, but I chose to receive it from Paul Bocuse who has been a mentor to so many chefs around the world for so long. It was just a really gratifying moment for me and a really special moment to actually have Paul Bocuse pin the medal on my chest and to have friends and family around. That’s a recognition that I would never have dreamed of, to win an award from a different country. I think the other one was representing the United States at the Bocuse d‘Or and winning silver in 2015 and coming back in 2017 and winning gold. That’s a real sense of national pride for me. It really speaks to the efforts of a true team and a number of individuals who were involved in that. But being able to stand on the podium with the team and hoist our flag above everybody else’s for the first time ever was extraordinary. So those three things have probably been the most gratifying moments in my career in terms of awards.

We spoke a bit earlier about how you smoke, but where do cigars fit into your life? After a big award? After a great dinner party?

You described elevating a raw material into food; the same thing happens in cigars. So they’re not changing that tobacco by fermenting it, they’re bringing out its qualities. It’s very similar to what you’re describing. There are three natural processes that I enjoy very much that are very similar. So you think about fermentation of the leaf. That helps establish those nuances, those flavor profiles, that texture. Wine making is very much the same way. So you think about taking grapes and fermenting them, pressing them, putting them in a bottle and letting that age. And the other one is cheese. And I think people really forget about cheese. Cheese is also an agricultural product that changes every year depending on the milk that the cows are delivering. How the aging of it develops whether you’re inoculating it with blue cheese or you’re washing it with armagnac or you’re aging it for 6 or 12 years. Those three processes — cigars, wine and cheese — are kind of similar. You need to put it in the position where it’s able to evolve on its own, whether you’re fermenting tobacco, aging wine in a bottle, or producing cheese in a cave somewhere.

You’ve won many awards as a chef. Which stands out? Which made you really go home that night and, when you stood in front of the mirror, you thought, “Man, you really did it.” That’s a good question. I always have to remind myself and I remind my staff that we receive awards for what we did yesterday. Somebody wants to give you an award, it’s about what you’ve done previously. That’s a wonderful thing and it’s great reinforcement of your culture, your philosophy, your consistency in what you do, and it’s just a wonderful thing. But we also have to realize that we have to think about what we’re doing today and never rest on our laurels. We received three Michelin stars last year. It means that we have the responsibility to the Michelin guide, which is over 100 years old and has identified some of the greatest chefs and greatest restaurants in the world for the past 118 years, we have a huge responsibility to make sure that we uphold the reputation that’s given to us by the guide. We have a huge responsibility to uphold the reputation of everybody else who’s received a Michelin star because now we’re in that family, so it’s a great burden and something we have to remind ourselves of every day. Just because we won Michelin stars last year doesn’t mean we’re going to win them again this year. Many awards come once in your life and those are wonderful as well. Being chosen as one of the rising star chefs by Food & Wine 33 years ago, that’s a once-in-a-

For me, you know, there are basically three opportunities that I really enjoy smoking a cigar. One is on the golf course. There’s this wonderful connection with nature, with tradition, with colleagues, and to be on the golf course and smoking a cigar, there’s just something that I really enjoy about that. It also calms me down so I’m not so speedy on my swing.

The cigar is always better if you’re playing well, too. But it’s a nice opportunity for me to enjoy the cigar because golf is a commitment in time as well. It’s not a sport that you play in an hour or two hours. It’s four or five hours. So I like that opportunity to really dedicate a large section of time to just myself and smoking a cigar reminds me of that because it is a commitment to an hour, sometimes an hour and a half depending on where I am — if I’m on a golf course, maybe I smoke three cigars. It also gives me opportunity at other times to sit with friends and have a wonderful glass of wine or a beautiful tequila and just sit and relax. Sometimes there’s conversation, sometimes there’s not. Where there isn’t conversation, you’re engulfed in this aroma and this feeling of luxury, really, and that’s what it’s about. Cigar smoking for me is luxurious because of the amount of time that it takes. Here at the restaurant, it extends the guest experience and I think that’s wonderful because when people come to a restaurant like The French Laundry, we can offer them a way to extend their dinner and extend their time here. They come out in the garden and they can be able to smoke a wonderful cigar and those nights are just beautiful out here. They can enjoy a spirit or even just enjoy each other and have a cigar. So those are the three opportunities for me to be able to smoke a cigar. Two of them are very luxurious in the amount of time that’s committed and the people you’re with, and of course the guest experience is about that sense of luxury as well.

Yeah, it kind of closes out or finishes that experience, which speaks to your philosophy on restaurants and a great dining experience. I think the longer our guests can be here, the better, because they’re having this different moment in time and it’s a luxury to be able to come to a restaurant like The French Laundry. We want to give them that experience whether it’s through the food, though the wine, through the spirits, or through our cigar program.

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

NOV / DEC 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

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DRESS FOR LOVE OF LEMONS Love Shack LACE BOLERO GUY LAROCHE Encore


BLAZER JEAN PAUL GAULTIER ONE PIECE CONTEMPO CASUALS BOOTS ALEXANDER WANG


willy herrera drew estate master blender

As Master Blender of Drew Estate, this selection of cigars reflect on the personal journey I’ve embarked on to craft blends to satisfy my tastes, my curiosities, and above all else – my creative passion for blending cigars that I’m humbled to share with you. Follow me on Instagram @herreraesteli and learn more about the journey we share together. ~ HABANO BR A ZILIAN MADURO MIAMI NOR TENO

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WWW.DRE WE S TATE.COM T HE REBIR T H OF CIGARS

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ONE PIECE HOUSE OF CB SHOES MANOLO BLAHNIK


BLAZER JEAN PAUL GAULTIER ONE PIECE CONTEMPO CASUALS BOOTS ALEXANDER WANG


THIGH HIGHS AGENT PROVOCATEUR

ONE PIECE LE MYSTERE Bloomingdale’s


TOP SEEK TOP LF Delray Beach BOTTOM LA PERLA


DRESS LOVE SHACK SHOES MANOLO BLAHNIK


TOP & SKIRT AGENT PROVOCATEUR


ONE PIECE SKINNY GIRL


ONE PIECE LA PERLA


MODEL

ULIANA MALYSHKO PHOTOGRAPHY

LIMITED EDITION www.limitededitionmanagement.com PRODUCTION

IVAN OCAMPO iocampo@cigarsnobmag.com PRODUCTION ASSISTANT

JAMILET CALVIÑO jcalvino@cigarsnobmag.com WARDROBE STYLIST

JENNA DEBRINO www.limitededitionmanagement.com HAIR AND MAKE-UP ARTIST

LUCIA ABUIN www.limitededitionmanagement.com LOCATION

VIZCAYA MUSEUM AND GARDENS

TOP LOVE SHACK SKIRT GIVENCHY Encore

CIGAR HERRERA ESTELI BRAZILIAN MADURO www.drewestate.com


The Epic Archetype Saga Continues...

Introducing

venturacigar.com

#archetypecigars

@venturacigar

/venturacigar

WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including tobacco smoke, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov. Smoking cigars causes lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy. 68 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018 WARNING: Cigar smoking can cause lung cancer and heart disease.


YOU CAN’T TELL NICARAGUA’S CIGAR STORY WITHOUT JOYA DE NICARAGUA. AS THE COMPANY CELEBRATES ITS FIFTIETH YEAR, WE LOOK BACK AT THE RESILIENT COMPANY’S ORIGINS AND ITS CLOSE TIES TO NICARAGUA’S ROLLER COASTER HISTORY. - BY NICOLÁS ANTONIO JIMÉNEZ & ERIK CALVIÑO Above: Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca and Juan Martínez at the Joya de Nicaragua factory

NOV / DEC 2018 CIGARofSNOB 69 Photos |courtesy Joya de |Nicaragua


he history of premium cigars in Nicaragua might be best understood as a narrow reflection of the broader history of that country from at least the 1960s on. And though many of Nicaragua’s cigar manufacturers and tobacco growers have embraced Nicaragua as the core of their identities, no brand’s path has been more tightly intertwined with the country’s than Joya de Nicaragua’s.

tually crossing over to Nicaragua, where they found an abundance of tobacco-friendly microclimates. But their vision might not have come to fruition all that quickly without the foundation laid by the Nicaraguan government.

Joya celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, marking the milestone with its Cinco Décadas cigar (the name, for those of you who are still this rusty with your Spanish, means “Five Decades”) and, more recently, the release of a coffee table book about the company’s story.

THE TWO MOST NOTEWORTHY PIONEERS OF THE MOVEMENT TO BRING PREMIUM CIGAR TOBACCO TO THE REGION WERE SIMÓN CAMACHO AND JUAN FRANCISCO BERMEJO...

As Nicaragua fights through a new wave of political turmoil, Joya de Nicaragua remains one of the cornerstones of the country’s premium cigar industry. How it got here, what the brand represents, and where it is poised to go in the future are all things that have been top of mind for the company as they celebrate their first half century.

SEIZING OPPORTUNITY, WEATHERING STORMS No matter where you are, Cuba is a nearly inescapable character in any cigar story. While tobacco had been growing in Central America well before the seismic effects of the Castro revolution, Cuba’s misfortune laid the literal and figurative seeds for Estelí to mature into a Central American cigar capital. At the time of Castro’s Revolution, premium cigar tobacco was practically alien to Nicaragua. But in the early 1960s, as the prospects for a future in Cuba became bleaker, Cubans began to look away from their island for places similar enough to those they knew that they could put their skills to work. Finding familiar settings can be important to anyone, but to a tobacco grower, that’s everything. If the climate and the soil aren’t right, you’re lost. In Central America — primarily Nicaragua and Honduras — Cuba’s tobacco men found friendly terroir. The two most noteworthy pioneers of the movement to bring premium cigar tobacco to the region were Simón Camacho and Juan Francisco Bermejo (who, as the story goes, was primarily responsible for smuggling the first Cuban seeds out of Communist Cuba and into Central America). They began growing tobacco in Honduras, even-

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Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza was ruthless. But, like so many ruthless dictators, he was shrewd and an opportunist. In the early ‘60s, Somoza took an interest in the prospect of premium tobacco growing in Nicaragua.

“There was a guy named Roberto Martínez, who by the way happened to be a relative of mine,” said Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca, the current owner of Joya de Nicaragua. “He was working very closely with [Somoza] and he was in charge of the relationship with the Inter-American Development Bank, or the IDB. He took the bank an idea. ‘Why don’t we finance some of the efforts of Cubans coming to Nicaragua, fleeing from Cuba because of what is happening there, and support them so that we can push the industry in Nicaragua?’ And that’s how it all started. You know, through that effort, Roberto was able to convince the president to have that special program and that special program meant that anyone who applied for funding for any production project of tobacco would get a couple of years moratorium — so they wouldn’t have to pay immediately, they would pay from the third year on and with a very low interest rate. So that’s how everything started.” The tobacco industry push was part of a Somoza initiative called INFONAC and it actually did more than make financing available. It was critical in the exploration of Nicaragua as a tobacco producer, spurring the effort to figure out which parts of the country made sense for farming. Bermejo and Camacho were among the first Cubans to capitalize on Somoza’s desire to pick up

the pieces of Cuba’s tobacco brain drain. “They were very entrepreneurial guys,” Dr. Cuenca said. “In spite of not having been in Nicaragua before. They went to the bank and said, ‘I tested some seeds in Jalapa, I tested some seeds in Estelí, I’d like to apply for the credit.’ And the credit was granted to them and that’s how they started planting tobacco in Jalapa.” Bermejo and Camacho went full speed on developing their tobacco business, with their first legitimate harvest coming in 1963. They were sending samples of their tobacco (there still wasn’t much cigar production happening) all over the world. Business was doing well and Nicaraguan leaf was making hay of the fact that cigar factories outside Cuba no longer had access to Cuban tobaccos due to the U.S. embargo. Bermejo and Camacho’s business grew rapidly, but as with any good tobacco story, the curveballs were incoming just as things felt like they were at their best. The future depended on whether Nicaragua’s tobacco pioneers could hit them. One of the first of those curveballs came when Tampa’s demand for Nicaraguan tobacco began to dry up around 1967. What had been a burgeoning tobacco growing and processing operation with a novel product and a reputation for quality was faced with a choice: adapt or drown in the debt they were still paying off to the Nicaraguan government. The solution seemed obvious enough: if there wasn’t any demand from clients who would buy the tobacco and turn it into cigars, Camacho and Bermejo would become cigar makers themselves. And so Nicaragua Cigar Company, the precursor to Joya de Nicaragua, was born, shipping its first box of cigars bearing that name in 1968 and becoming the first of the Nicaraguan premium cigar factories. Of course, nobody was out of the woods. They never are. In the 1970s, Nicaragua was shaken twice: literally in 1972 by an earthquake that destroyed most of historic Managua and then figuratively in the lead-up to 1979, when the Somoza dictatorship was brought down by the Sandinista rebels. The old guard of Nicaraguan cigar making all have their stories. For Joya’s part, the mid1970s were a golden era. At the factory’s peak, it had 600 workers producing 9 million cigars a year. For perspective, consider that today Joya de Nicaragua has 330 employees producing about 5 million cigars a year. Even at the highest high for the company, a dark cloud loomed over Joya. When Somoza visited the Richard Nixon White House in 1971, he was offered a Joya de Nicaragua cigar. Apparently,


rights to another company after his ouster. It had changed hands a few times among U.S. distributors, but Joya de Nicaragua eventually found its way home (with a million-dollar price tag). With the company in the hands of people committed to its success and rights to the Joya name back where they belonged, Joya de Nicaragua entered the current chapter of its story.

TRAVELING CIGARS AND TALKING WALLS

Employees at Nicaragua Cigars S.A. (which would later become Joya de Nicaragua) participate in a pro-Somoza rally outside the factory in the ‘70s.

the White House sommelier had been shopping for stogies in Vegas when he came across and was deeply impressed by the brand. He brought the cigars back to D.C. and they ended up taking the place of Cubans as a permanent fixture in the lineup of items offered to official guests of the White House. Somoza didn’t have a clue. Maybe Bermejo and Camacho didn’t either. Regardless, sitting across from Nixon and hearing his remarks about the cigars that were being made right under Somoza’s nose seems to have gotten the wheels turning in the strongman’s head. One of the people in the room with Nixon and Somoza was Dr. Cuenca’s future father-in-law, who had a role as Somoza’s right-hand man at the time of the Nixon meeting. According to Joya’s book, Cinco Décadas, that’s how Dr. Cuenca heard the story of Somoza’s private reaction to Nixon’s telling him some of the world’s best cigars were being made right under his nose. Despite his government’s role in financing Joya, he had no idea. And now he wanted a piece. In typical Latin dictator fashion, Somoza returned to Nicaragua and leveraged the company’s outstanding debt to the government to strongarm his way into some of Camacho and Bermejo’s shares in the company. A year later, he’d gone from a 50 percent stake to owning the company outright. The two Cubans were forced out completely, with Bermejo growing tobacco and making cigars in a number of other countries and Camacho cementing his legacy in the

premium cigar world by heading to Honduras and founding the Camacho brand now owned by Davidoff. Thanks to the free rein Somoza had at Joya de Nicaragua in the absence of its founders, by the time the Sandinistas came around and turned the political situation in Estelí on its head, Joya de Nicaragua had become a symbol of not only the capitalism that the rebels abhorred, but of Somocismo itself. The Nicaragua Cigar Company facade, to this day, still sports some of the bullet holes from those rough days in Estelí, which was a Sandinista stronghold. The factory was set on fire by Sandinistas, bombed by Somoza-loyal pilots, nationalized by the new communist government, confronted with a U.S. embargo and then given to the workers as a form of reparations when that new government became yet another old one. When that happened, the workers turned to Dr. Cuenca, an economist and businessman who they knew from his government role promoting trade, for guidance. When the worker-owned model proved unsustainable, a group of those workers asked Dr. Cuenca to buy the company. After securing funding from investors, he agreed to take on the seemingly impossible task of leading the factory into some kind of stability during a 12-month “rental” period. The company changed its name from Nicaragua Cigar Company to Tabacos Puros de Nicaragua in 1994, after which point Dr. Cuenca made it his goal to get back the rights to use the Joya de Nicaragua brand name in the U.S., since Somoza had managed to sell those

Through all of the turmoil and change that Joya have faced, the cigar portfolio has also evolved with the times. For a while, Joya only had one brand, the Joya de Nicaragua Clásico. It was their first brand, and while it’s still around, there’s a good chance that even veteran smokers have never tried it because it isn’t available in most of the U.S. market. Today, that blend features an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and fillers. The same goes for Joya’s second brand, Rosalones. That cigar is more readily available in the European market. Those legacy brands haven’t been pushed too hard in the States because, over the years, Joya de Nicaragua has carved out a niche among smokers who appreciate a more full-bodied, full-strength smoking experience. “In Europe, where they’re not as accustomed to full strength, Rosalones plays the role that Antaño 1970 might in the U.S.,” said Ariel López of Joya’s marketing team. The Rosalones is a Nicaraguan puro with an Habano wrapper. Joya has addressed some of the demand for medium or mild cigars with the addition of Joya Silver, Cabinetta, Black and Red. The cigar that defines Joya de Nicaragua nowadays is the Antaño, a Nicaraguan puro featuring a Criollo wrapper that Joya describes as registering a 5 out of 5 on strength. The name means “yesteryear,” and while it’s a perennial favorite of smokers who love potent stogies, some of the most exciting work Joya de Nicaragua does commemorates milestone anniversaries. Specifically, there’s the Cuatro Cinco (which was created for Joya’s 45th anniversary as a limited edition that made Cigar Snob’s list of the Top 25 Cigars of 2014 and then tweaked to make it possible as a regular production cigar that made Cigar Snob’s list of the Top 25 Cigars of 2015) and the Cinco Décadas, which was released in July at the IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas to mark the company’s fiftieth year.

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The Cinco Décadas, a Nicaraguan puro (Joya hasn’t released blend details beyond that), launched in two formats: a 7 x 50 Churchill and a 6 x 54 Diadema. Packaged in 10-count boxes, production for the first year was capped at 50,000 cigars total (25,000 each vitola). Of course, making great cigars doesn’t mean much if you can’t sell them. Where before there had been tumult and a seat-of-the-pants style of management by government cronies, Dr. Cuenca brought stability and business acumen to Joya de Nicaragua. He understood where Joya needed help, and in 2008, he identified an unusual partner who would become integral to the Joya story.

The Joya de Nicaragua Factory facade prior to some recent renovations. A section of the original wall remains to show the building’s battle scars.

“So it was 2008 when, one day, I call Jonathan Drew to my office,” Dr. Cuenca said. “At this point, he wasn’t what he is today. So I said, ‘J onathan, I have something I want to discuss with you. What would you think if I told you that I’m looking into the capacity that you have as a marketing guy to help me in bringing in Joya de Nicaragua to the U.S. market exclusively, because in the rest (of the world) I have my own distribution arrangements?’ He jumped out of the seat he was in. ‘I can’t believe it! Are you serious, Dr. Cuenca?’” “And that’s how we started,” Dr. Cuenca continued. ”Thinking about a dream. Ten years later, I can say that it hasn’t been that dream, but it has been very, very good building a long-term loyal relationship between two companies with two very different identities, but with a common purpose: to bring quality cigars to consumers so that they will enjoy Nicaragua. So he’s part of this story. He’s part of what we are celebrating in this 50th anniversary.” In a foreword for the Cinco Décadas book, onetime Drew Estate President and current owner of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Steve Saka wrote of his experience with the negotiation of the Joya-Drew Estate partnership, “Of all the ‘deals’ I have done, it is by far my favorite, not only because of the historic nature of forming a partnership between the upstart, disruptive Drew Estate and the much heralded, venerable first

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THE NICARAGUA CIGAR COMPANY FACADE, TO THIS DAY, STILL SPORTS SOME OF THE BULLET HOLES FROM THOSE ROUGH DAYS IN ESTELÍ, WHICH WAS A SANDINISTA STRONGHOLD. factory in Nicaragua, but more so because it laid the groundwork for a relationship that would go way beyond the business between us.” If there’s an odd couple in the premium cigar world, the Joya-Drew Estate partnership is it. The straight-laced, traditional Nicaraguan sensibilities of Joya de Nicaragua make them a perfect complement to Drew Estate’s New York-born hip hop identity and creative approach to cigars. It stands to reason, too, that the relationship has helped inject some edgy youthfulness into the Joya de Nicaragua business model. Today, Joya de Nicaragua is still in the same factory that it occupied at that 9-million-cigar peak in the ‘70s. The one that has seen bullets, bombs, fires, dictators, exiles, and (more recently) the

reignition of decades-old political feuds that drove a new generation into the streets to protest Daniel Ortega’s regime. You know all those sayings about walls that can tell stories? The walls at Joya actually do, as they’ve been there observing all the ups and downs, guarding the one thing that has been there all along. “The Estelí of today has nothing to do with the Estelí of 10 years ago,” Dr. Cuenca said during an interview that took place weeks before the start of mass protests throughout Nicaragua, which have since died down some, “let alone the Estelí of 50 years ago. Construction is going on everywhere in Nicaragua. But if there is a place where things are really moving very fast, it’s Estelí. While Nicaragua has had a 40 percent unemployment rate for years, there is zero unemployment in Estelí. It’s the only city in Nicaragua that has zero unemployment. In fact, we always have concern about the limitations, and that’s one of the constraints of our growth as an industry because you have to prepare more people who can be rollers, who can be bunchers, who can run companies in the cigar business in Estelí, because there is a lack of it. If there is something in these 50 years that we want to recognize, it’s that tobacco changed completely the profile of Estelí, Jalapa, Ocotal.” Some of the people at Joya de Nicaragua have grown up with and been protagonists of that evolution in Estelí. In 2008, Dr. Cuenca was contacted by the wife of actor Dean Jones, who is best known for his roles in Disney films made in the ‘60s, ‘70s and


‘80s. He’d fallen ill and, while he was in the hospital, she’d come across a box of Joya de Nicaragua Clásicos that Dean had been given by director Norman Tokar during the filming of 1972’s Snowball Express. The box was still sealed. The rarest of finds.

This box was given to actor Dean Jones in 1972. It eventually found its way home to Joya de Nicaragua in Estelí.

Dean Jones’ wife didn’t want any money for the cigars, Dr. Cuenca said, but he made the exchange worth her while. Once in possession of the cigars, he convened Joya de Nicaragua’s leadership and revealed the treasure he’d gotten his hands on. Among the group was general manager Leonel Raúdez. Having started his career in tobacco on the Joya factory floor at age 15, he knows his stuff. And he was skeptical that opening this box of cigars would reveal anything worth smoking. “I don’t think you’re going to see anything there,” he said. “Too many years, hasn’t been kept correctly.” Dr. Cuenca responded, “You wanna bet?” The group agreed to light a single cigar, pass it around and replace it with a new Clásico. The rest of the group smoked the cigar, pleasantly surprised that it was as good, Dr. Cuenca said, as the day it left the factory. Leonel didn’t have to admit he was wrong. His face said it all. Meanwhile, Alberto Martínez, Joya’s chief of quality control, was fixated on the bottom of the box. A tear made its way out onto his face. Francisco Bermejo had assigned every roller a number. Those numbers marked boxes containing cigars made by their respective rollers. As Dr. Cuenca recalls, Alberto explained his emotions to the group. “It brought me some memories. You know, Dr. Cuenca, this number — this is the number with which I was baptized in this company. So it means these cigars that are in this box were all rolled by me.” Fully 38 years after Alberto’s cigars had left his hands, they’d come right back to him at a new Joya de Nicaragua.

74 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018

Tobacco curing in a Joya de Nicaragua barn.

There’s new blood at Joya too, with Dr. Cuenca’s 35-year-old son Juan Martínez adroitly running the company as Joya’s president since 2013, armed with fresh ideas and a lifetime of institutional knowledge. Juan has been the driving force behind some of Joya’s more modern new brands, like Joya Red, Black and Silver (which sport Criollo, San Andrés, and Ecuadorian Habano wrappers, respectively), medium-strength cigars which have served to open Joya’s appeal to a new crop of smokers who might not be drawn to powerhouses like Antaño. Joya Black took the No. 12 spot on Cigar Snob’s list of the Top 25 Cigars of 2016.

When asked about what he sees in the future of the company he bought back in 1994, Dr. Cuenca points to the one thing that must always have seemed uncertain: the future itself. “I am 71 years old now, and I want to see 100 years of Joya de Nicaragua. I want to see that in the next 50 years, rather than struggle to be in the market, we are consolidating these 50 years with quality product that helps us get to the 100-year mark. I might not see it, but there are many people who are going to see it. My son, grandson, granddaughters. Juan is running the company and I’m sure he’s going to see it, just as I’m seeing the first 50 years.”


NOV / DEC 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

75


76 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018


54 cigars

LIGHTER: Brizard & Co.“Sottile” Lighter - Zebrawood (brizardandco.com) LEATHER CASE: Sean Christian Mini Copper Cognac Leather Case (sccases.com)

NOV / DEC 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

77


GRAN TORO

)

AJ Fernandez New World Puro Especial

)

92

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

$ 9.50

N I CA R AG UA Gordo 6 58 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

)

El Galan Reserva Especial

)

91

$ 7.00

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

Obesos 6 60 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

Camacho Coyolar

Soft-pressed and covered with a dark, clean wrapper with a velvet feel. This medium-plus strength blend delivers flavors of earth and smooth pepper accompanied by cocoa, oak, and dark roast coffee. Produces an excellent output of thick, aromatic smoke.

)

$ 9.50

)

90

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

H O N D UR AS Titan 6 60 Honduras Honduras Honduras

)

CAO Flathead Steel Horse

)

90

A smooth and earthy blend complemented by notes of black pepper, molasses, cocoa powder, and charred oak. This medium-plus strength gran toro is covered with a dark brown wrapper with a velvet feel.

$ 9.39 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Apehanger 5 1/2 58 USA/Connecticut Brazil Honduras, Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

La Galera Habano

N I CA R AG UA This flavorful blend is covered with a dark, oily wrapper and finished with a unique, flat head. Delivers a core of intense earth and espresso complemented by notes of dark chocolate, wood, and smooth pepper.

$ 7.00

)

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

)

90

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

El Lector 6 54 Ecuador Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

Brick House Maduro

Opens with a blast of sweet cedar and red pepper. These flavors continue throughout the smoke, joined by notes of cinnamon, tanned leather, and almond cream on the long, lingering finish. Medium strength with an easy draw.

$ 7.20

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

88

78 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018

An ultra-flavorful blend with a profile loaded with rich chocolate, roasted almonds, and caramel balanced by smooth pepper and charred oak. This well-constructed, large cigar consistently produces an excellent smoke output.

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

Mighty Mighty 6 1/2 60 Brazil Nicaragua Nicaragua

Covered with a dark, slightly coarse wrapper, this mild to medium strength gran toro has a core of earth, wood, and sharp pepper. Draws and burns exceptionally well while leaving behind a solid, compact ash.


NOV / DEC 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

79


@JOYACIGARS #JOYA50 80 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018


GRAN TORO Oliva Serie V Melanio

$ 15.06 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Double Toro 6 60 Ecuador Nicaragua Nicaragua

N I CA R AGUA Madroño 6 1/2 58 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

91

)

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

)

Plasencia Alma del Campo

$ 19.00 This well-balanced blend is covered with a beautiful, milk chocolate colored wrapper with minimal veins. Medium bodied with a core of smooth earth, pepper, and roasted nuts accompanied by notes of tanned leather, light coffee, and sweet cream.

92

)

An exceptionally balanced blend with an ultrasmooth profile of roasted nuts, cocoa, wood, and a touch of spice complemented by a subtle hint of caramel. This thick, pressed gran toro is firmly packed and finished with a supple wrapper.

)

N I CA R AGUA

Casa Cuevas Habano

D OM I NI CAN REPUBLIC

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

Gordo 6 60 Ecuador Nicaragua Colombia & Nicaragua

91

)

Covered with an oily, reddish brown wrapper with only slight veins, this medium strength blend delivers a core of wood, soft pepper, nuts, and rich cream. This gran toro is consistently well-constructed providing a perfect draw and an even burn.

)

$ 8.40

Rocky Patel Tavicusa

$ 11.30 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Sixty 6 60 Mexico Nicaragua Nicaragua

USA Titan 6 60 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

XO 6 60 Brazil Ecuador Brazil, Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

89

)

Opens with intense notes of red pepper and wood that are later joined by nuts, tanned leather, and a touch of cream. Produces a good output of wispy, aromatic smoke along an easy draw.

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

)

Gurkha 125th Anniversary

$ 9.99

D OM I NI CAN REPUBLIC

90

)

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

)

Casa Fernandez Reserva Corojo

$ 9.6 8

Loaded with flavors of sweet cedar, soft pepper, and roasted almonds complemented by a rich, creamy texture to the smoke. This medium strength blend is covered with a thin, chestnut brown colored wrapper.

90

)

A beautifully built gran toro covered with a clean, impeccable wrapper with an even, milk chocolate brown color. Draws perfectly and delivers a profile of black pepper, earth, and wood complemented by a touch of almond cream.

)

N I CA R AGUA

NOV / DEC 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

81


TORO

)

HVC Ediciรณn Especial 2018

)

93

$ 9.10

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

Toro 6 52 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

Davidoff Nicaragua

$ 18.80

)

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

)

92

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

Toro 5 1/2 54 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

Rocky Patel Sun Grown

Flavorful and beautifully balanced with a profile of cedar, earth, nuts, and soft pepper complemented by a rich, long lasting cream. Consistently well constructed producing an excellent output of thick, aromatic smoke.

)

$ 8.65

)

92

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

Toro 6 1/2 52 Ecuador Ecuador Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

Espinosa Habano

H O N D UR AS Creamy and ultra-flavorful with a profile of milk chocolate, soft pepper, roasted almonds, and cedar complemented a rich, tanned leather aroma. This medium bodied blend consistently delivers an excellent draw and burn.

)

$ 7.25

)

91

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

N I CA R AG UA No. 5 6 52 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

)

Perdomo Habano Sun Grown

)

91

Heavy doses of pepper and cream are joined by cedar, cashew, spice, and coffee. This medium strength blend produces an excellent smoke output along an easy draw and an even burn. Finished with a clean, milk chocolate colored wrapper.

$ 8.25

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

Epicure 6 54 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

Aging Room Quattro F55

A thick, well-constructed toro covered with a clean, good-looking wrapper with a silky feel. This blend delivers a core of earth and pepper complemented by notes of oak, roasted nuts, cinnamon, and a hint of coffee.

$ 10.70

)

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

)

89

82 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018

Impeccably constructed and covered with a nearly flawless wrapper and topped with a neat, round head. This flavorful, medium strength blend has a profile of sweet cedar, roasted almonds, and rich cream accompanied by notes of leather and soft pepper.

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

Quattro 6 54 Indonesia Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

A flavorful box-pressed toro covered with a somewhat speckled, reddish brown wrapper. This medium strength blend has a profile of red pepper, sweet cedar, and a hint of caramel along an easy draw and a sharp burn.


NOV / DEC 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

83


84 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018


TORO Sin Compromiso

$ 1 7.45 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

No. 5 Parejo 6 54 Mexico Ecuador Nicaragua

N I CA R AGUA Toro 6 54 Brazil Mexico Nicaragua

91

)

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

)

AJ Fernandez Bellas Artes Maduro

$ 10.00 A beautifully constructed blend covered with an impeccable, dark brown wrapper with a slightly gritty texture. Draws and burns perfectly while producing an excellent output of thick smoke with notes of earth and smooth pepper joined by dark chocolate, spice, and sweet espresso.

92

)

A thick, lightly pressed toro covered with a beautiful, dark brown wrapper with excellent oils. The blend is well-balanced and complex with flavors of bittersweet chocolate, oak, espresso, and smooth pepper complemented by a touch of earth and vanilla bean. Medium plus strength.

)

N I CA R AGUA

Tatuaje Cojonu 2003

N I CA R AGUA

Toro 6 1/2 52 Ecuador Nicaragua Nicaragua

91

)

Covered with a dark brown wrapper with a gritty texture, this medium to full strength toro has a core of earth, mocha, and smooth pepper complemented by a touch of caramel on the finish.

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

)

$ 1 4.00

Archetype Axis Mundi

$ 12.4 3 Toro 6 52 Ecuador Indonesia Nicaragua

91

)

A flavorful blend with a core of earth, oak, and molasses complemented by a pepper note that opens strong and settles considerably. The finish is long and smooth with a touch of sweetness. Medium to full bodied.

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

)

D OM I NI CAN REPUBLIC

Glandon Family

$ 9.25 Matthew 6 54 Mexico Nicaragua Nicaragua

90

)

Flavors of red pepper, molasses, and charred oak are accompanied by more subtle notes of bittersweet cocoa and raisin. This medium-plus strength blend is consistently well-constructed and finished with a clean, dark brown wrapper.

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

)

N I CA R AGUA

Perla del Mar Maduro

$ 6.50 Perla G 6 1/4 54 USA/Connecticut Nicaragua Nicaragua

89

)

Perfectly square-pressed and covered with an exceedingly dark wrapper with a velvet feel. This medium bodied smoke delivers flavors of wood, earth, and black pepper accompanied by a hint of dark cocoa and bitter black coffee.

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

)

N I CA R AGUA

NOV / DEC 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

85


TORO La Aroma de Cuba

$ 6.25

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

93

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

Monarch 6 52 USA/Connecticut Nicaragua Nicaragua

Leaf by Oscar Sumatra

$ 9.50

)

H O N D UR AS

)

92

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

Toro 6 52 Ecuador Honduras Honduras

Oliva Series O

Covered with a smooth and velvety textured wrapper, this medium strength blend delivers a core of wood, soft spice, and roasted nuts complemented by cinnamon and sweet pepper on the finish. Produces an excellent smoke output along a flawless draw.

$ 7.18

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

91

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

Toro 6 50 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

)

La Flor Dominicana Reserva Especial

)

91

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

) )

90

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

)

Covered with a beautiful, reddish brown wrapper with a velvet feel. This medium strength blend produces an excellent output of heavy, aromatic smoke with notes of cedar, nuts, and caramel complemented by soft pepper and a creamy finish.

$ 15.75

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

Toro 6 52 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

Alec Bradley Prensado Lost Art

)

89

Consistently well-constructed and balanced. Delivers a rich and creamy profile with notes of roasted nuts, soft pepper, and cedar joined by an aroma of tanned leather. This medium strength toro draws and burns perfectly.

$ 9.50

Montecristo Epic Craft Cured

86 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018

Beautifully balanced and complex with a core of roasted almonds, caramel, and soft pepper complemented by notes of milk chocolate and cedar on the finish. Draws and burns perfectly producing an excellent output of thick, aromatic smoke.

Smooth and woody with flavors of cinnamon, vanilla, and cedar complemented by a soft pepper note in the background. This medium bodied toro is covered with a reddish brown wrapper with beautiful oils.

$ 10.95

H O N D UR AS VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Gran Toro 6 1/4 52 Honduras Honduras & Nicaragua Honduras & Nicaragua

A good-looking, pressed toro covered with a clean, light brown wrapper with minimal veins. Opens with soft, subtle flavors of nuts and cedar that grow in intensity and incorporate notes of cinnamon, and light pepper. Medium-plus strength.


NOV / DEC 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

87


LANCERO

)

AJ Fernandez Bellas Artes

)

93

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

Lancero 7 38 Nicaragua Nicaragua Brazil, Honduras & Nicaragua

Nat Sherman Sterling

Impeccably balanced and complex, this softpressed blend delivers a profile of pepper, cedar, and savor accompanied by notes of cocoa, roasted nuts, and a hint of vanilla cream. Consistently draws and burns beautifully. Mediumplus strength.

$ 18.55

)

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

)

91

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

Super Lancero 8 38 Ecuador Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

La Aurora 107

Creamy and beautifully balanced with a profile of cedar, almond, soft spice, and black coffee. This long lancero is consistently well-made providing a flawless draw and even burn. Mild to medium strength.

)

$ 7.76

)

90

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

Lancero 6 7/8 40 Ecuador Dominican Republic Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

Saga Golden Age

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Rich and flavorful with a profile of sweet cedar, soft red pepper, and cinnamon accompanied by an aroma of tanned leather in the smoke. Consistently draws and burns well while producing an excellent smoke output.

$ 9.4 8

)

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

)

90

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

Lancero 7 40 Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

Aladino

Beautifully constructed and topped with a neat pigtail, this medium strength blend has a core of cedar, red pepper, and subtle earth complemented by a touch of caramel sweetness on the finish. Medium strength.

$ 7.00

)

H O N D UR AS

)

89

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

Elegante 7 38 Honduras Honduras Honduras

Protocol Themis

This medium strength blend opens with a profile of wood, pepper, and earth complemented by notes of cocoa and citrus. Covered with a somewhat toothy wrapper with slight veins, this lancero leaves behind a white, compact ash.

$ 10.50

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

88

88 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018

N I CA R AG UA

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

Lancero 7 1/2 38 Ecuador Nicaragua Nicaragua

A good-looking lancero covered with a silky smooth, light brown wrapper with only the slightest veins. This medium-plus strength blend delivers a core of intense pepper and cedar complemented by a touch of vanilla cream.


NOV / DEC 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

89


PERFECTO

)

Davidoff Diademas Finas Limited Edition 50th Anniversary

)

92

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

Diadema 6 3/4 50 Ecuador Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

)

Nestor Miranda Collection 75th Anniversary

)

92

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

Salomon 7 1/4 57 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

)

La Aurora Preferidos 1903 Edition Double Barrel Aged

)

91

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

Doble Figurado 5 54 Ecuador Dominican Republic Brazil, Cameroon & Dominican Republic

)

Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Décadas

)

91

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C An impeccably constructed perfecto finished with a supple, light brown wrapper with excellent oils. This well-balanced, medium strength blend has a core of cedar, cashew, and cream complemented by hints of oak and cinnamon.

$ 19.00

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C A large, impeccably constructed perfecto covered with a clean, milk chocolate colored wrapper with excellent oils. This complex blend cranks up the pepper and earth at the onset and is quickly joined by notes of creamy butterscotch, cedar, and tanned leather.

$ 22.50

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Opens with a balanced blend of oak, red pepper, and cinnamon that develops to incorporate notes of cocoa, cedar, and touch of rich caramel on the finish. This beautifully constructed perfecto is covered with a reddish brown wrapper with sheen.

$ 19.99

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

Diadema 6 54 Nicaragua Mexico Nicaragua

Saga Blend No. 7

Beautifully constructed and covered with an oily, reddish brown wrapper. Strength ramps up to a medium to full toward the midway point while producing an excellent smoke output with notes of cedar, black pepper, earth, and cream with a hint of ripe fruit on the finish.

$ 7.49

)

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

)

88

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

Perfecto 6 1/4 54 Brazil Dominican Republic Honduras & Nicaragua

)

Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum 12 Years

)

87

90 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018

$ 36.00

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

A well-constructed blend covered with a light brown wrapper with a somewhat course texture. This medium strength perfecto delivers a red pepper blast at the onset later joined by notes of wood and black coffee.

$ 10.40

N I CA R AG UA Hedonism 6 58 Ecuador Nicaragua Nicaragua

Topped with a tightly curled pigtail and covered with an attractive, reddish brown wrapper with minimal veins. This blend delivers a core of bitter coffee, caramel, and sharp pepper accompanied by notes of wood and tanned leather in the aroma.


NOV / DEC 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

91


CORONA Mombacho Liga Maestro

$ 9.96

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

92

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

Hermoso 6 46 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

The Wise Man

$ 9.90

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

92

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

Corona Gorda 5 5/8 46 Mexico Nicaragua Nicaragua

Joya Silver

Beautifully constructed and covered with a dark, oily wrapper with some tooth. This flavorful and balanced blend is loaded with notes of dark chocolate, smooth pepper, and rich cedar accompanied by a touch of ripe fruit sweetness. Medium-plus.

$ 6.30

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

91

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

Ultra 6 6 1/4 46 Ecuador Ecuador & Mexico Nicaragua

Long Live the King

A soft-pressed corona covered with a tasty, reddish brown wrapper with a velvet feel. This medium-plus strength blend has a profile of cedar, red pepper, and baker’s spice balanced by rich milk chocolate, cinnamon roasted almonds, and a hint of leather.

)

$ 11.00

)

91

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

The Heater 5 3/4 46 Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Nicaragua, Peru & Dominican Republic

Todas Las Dias

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Opens with rich flavors of sweet cedar and pepper which settle to incorporate notes of caramel, leather, and spice. This medium strength blend is covered with a thick, reddish brown wrapper and topped with a cropped pigtail.

$ 11.95

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

90

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

Thick Lonsdale 6 46 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

El Borracho

Loaded with intense flavors of bittersweet chocolate, espresso, earth, and pepper complemented by sweeter notes of currant and ripe fruit. This dark, well-constructed blend consistently produces a superb smoke output.

$ 11.00

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

88

92 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018

Flavorful and complex, this medium-plus strength blend opens with a combination of sweet cedar and pepper joined by notes of citrus, leather, and almond complemented by a rich, creamy texture. Consistently well made and finished with a reddish brown wrapper.

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

Edmundo 5 1/2 52 Mexico Nicaragua Nicaragua

A consistently well-constructed, box-pressed corona covered with a dark brown wrapper with minimal veins. This medium strength blend has a core of charred oak, earth, and dark chocolate accompanied by a hint of ripe fruit and espresso.


NOV / DEC 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

93


ROBUSTO Asylum Straight Jacket

$ 7.3 8

)

H O N D UR AS

)

91

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

Robusto 5 50 Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua

)

L’Atelier Identite Melange Special

)

90

$ 9.00

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

No. 1 4 7/8 50 Ecuador Nicaragua Nicaragua

)

San Pedro de Macoris Brazil

)

89

Covered in a dark brown wrapper with excellent oils, this medium to full strength blend opens with an intense dose of pepper and oak, which quickly settles to incorporate notes of caramel, citrus, and a touch of cinnamon roasted almonds.

$ 5.50 VITOLA: LENGTH: RING: WRAPPER: BINDER: FILLER:

Robusto 5 1/8 52 Brazil Dominican Republic Brazil & Dominican Republic

La Flor Dominicana 1994

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Firmly packed and covered with a dark brown wrapper with slight veins. This medium bodied blend produces an excellent smoke output with notes of roasted nuts, charred oak, and soft pepper complemented by a touch of bittersweet cocoa on the finish.

$ 8.10

)

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

)

89

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

Conga 5 52 Mexico Dominican Republic Dominican Republic

Fratello Bianco

Opens with a shot of pepper and wood later joined by more subtle notes of baker’s spice, ripe fruit, and toasted walnut. This medium to full strength blend is consistently wellconstructed and covered with a dark, reddish brown wrapper with a somewhat coarse feel.

$ 9.50

)

N I CA R AG UA

)

88

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

III 5 56 Mexico Dominican Republic Peru, USA & Nicaragua

Cimarron Maduro

Dark and thick with a slightly toothy wrapper and a profile of earth, pepper, and soft spice complemented by a subtle hint of espresso. This medium strength blend is firmly packed and produces a good smoke output leaving behind a solid ash.

)

$ 7.20

)

88

94 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018

Flavorful and balanced with loads of nuts, smooth pepper, and cedar complemented by earth, tanned leather, and hazelnut. Draws and burns well producing an excellent output of thick, aromatic smoke.

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

Robusto 5 54 Mexico Dominican Republic Colombia & Dominican Republic

D O M I N I CA N R E P UBLI C Smooth and mild flavored with subtle notes of wood, spice, and a hint of sweetness. This consistently well-made robusto is covered with a neatly applied, dark brown wrapper with a somewhat coarse texture.


NOV / DEC 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

95


98 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018


A LOOK INSIDE THE EXPANDING WORLD OF SPORTS WAGERING AND HOW THE SUPREME COURT BOOSTED BETTING - BY SEAN CHAFFIN -

NOV / DEC 2018 | CIGAR SNOB |

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he lines spilled into the halls on June 14 at the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City. Players nursed their beers, necks craned to the TVs and betting boards above. Some of the race book’s regular handicappers were annoyed their regular space had been invaded by newbies. These new bettors weren’t there to bet on thoroughbreds or greyhounds. After several years of challenging the federal law banning sports betting outside Nevada, New Jersey had won and now its efforts were coming to fruition. Even Philadelphia 76ers legend Julius Erving was in attendance in the Borgata. Only days earlier in a ceremony at Monmouth Park racetrack, Gov. Phil Murphy put $20 on Germany to win the World Cup and $20 on the New Jersey Devils to win the Stanley Cup. But that day at the Borgata was different. These were the first sports bets in Atlantic City, the aging hub of Northeastern gambling, which once was the only place outside Nevada to gamble legally. As the moment neared to take action, bettors lined up armed with dollars. Some would certainly put a few bucks on the Eagles to repeat as Super Bowl champions. Others dropped a few bucks on the Jets or the Giants or a baseball parlay. And as players waited to get to the window, Dr. J himself placed the first wager – $5 on the Eagles to bring home the Lombardi Trophy again. After retrieving his ticket, he added with a smile: “Dilly, dilly!” Since sports betting will become more prevalent and continue to grow, I spoke with some gamblers, industry insiders, and experts about how we got here, where the industry’s headed, how big-time and recreational bettors operate, and even some advice on how to bet that next C-note.

THE BATTLE New Jersey began its fight in 2011 when citizens passed a referendum allowing sports betting at racetracks and Atlantic City casinos. A year later, then-Gov. Chris Christie signed the state’s first sports wagering bill. Several leagues sued the state, arguing that New Jersey violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which was passed by Congress and signed

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into law in 1992. PASPA was sponsored by then-New Jersey senator and New York Knicks forward Bill Bradley. State attorneys argued that the law violated the principle of states’ rights and that allowing legal sports-betting exemptions in only a few states (namely Nevada for sports wagering and Montana, Oregon, and Delaware for certain types of sports lotteries and parlays) was unconstitutional. PASPA, in essence, specifically exempted state sports wagering schemes to those a state conducted between 1976 and 1990. New Jersey argued that PASPA, which prohibits “state-sponsored” sports betting, violated the Tenth Amendment because it “commandeered” New Jersey’s legislative authority by effectively requiring it to maintain unwanted state-law prohibitions on sports betting. At first it didn’t go well. The state lost at every level, but in May New Jersey’s big bet paid off. The Supreme Court ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional and, like most gambling, sports wagering became a state issue.

DR. J HIMSELF PLACES THE FIRST WAGER – $5 ON THE EAGLES TO BRING HOME THE LOMBARDI TROPHY AGAIN. AFTER RETRIEVING HIS TICKET, HE ADDS WITH A SMILE: “DILLY, DILLY!” “The problem arose because Congress passed a ridiculous law,” says I. Nelson Rose, a gaming attorney, professor, and author of Gambling Law in a Nutshell and GamblingandtheLaw.com. “The Court said Congress telling New Jersey that it could not change its sports betting laws was exactly the same as if it had an agent in the state legislature commanding the state to only enact laws that the federal government wanted.” Several other states are considering the issue or have introduced legislation including Cali-

fornia, New York, Michigan, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Illinois, and others. With eyes on added tax revenue it’s a good wager that more states will be opening up the betting windows. And while leagues initially fought New Jersey in its efforts – even going as far as to demand a 1 percent “integrity fee” – they are some of the biggest beneficiaries of the new betting frontier. “Even though the professional and collegiate sports leagues fought this case to the Supreme Court, they are the immediate big winners,” Nelson says. “Even without their proposed 1 percent of handle integrity fee, leagues and teams benefit from a tremendous boost in interest in any sport that anyone can bet on. Which means broadcasters of those games will also be able to charge more for commercials.”

THE PROFESSOR A native of New Jersey, Professor Shine (not his real name) is in his 40s. An investor and business owner, Shine is also a regular sports bettor and is a regular Tweeter about his gambling endeavors. While the new legal venues in his home state will attract more wagerers, Shine believes it will take a few years for them to create competition with offshore sites and local bookies. He’s been betting for 30 years and makes 20 percent of his income picking winners. Shine is serious about wagering and offers some insight on how professionals wager. He categorizes bettors into four categories: pros, rounders, smart recreational players, and “for fun” recreational gamblers. “A pro bettor in my book has to have at least a $150,000 bankroll for only betting,” he says. “Anything between about $15,000 to $149,000 one can be considered a rounder – sharp but might be in bankroll building mode. Less than that are rec bettors and it depends on the individual how serious they are or how interested they are in getting better.” While football season may be the biggest betting season, Professor Shine seeks out most of his action during college basketball season as well as the NBA and MLB – games with longer seasons. He mixes in some other sports, but has lower expectations. Longer seasons bring more consistency. And while bowl games have become watered down in recent years, Shine takes that part


over information and statistics – lining up that next wager and prognosticating games. That includes interacting with other handicappers. Beyond Twitter, Whale Capper has built a media presence around his picks and hosts the Deep Dive podcast. His website and social media not only offer his picks and outlook on games, but also track his results.

PHOTO CREDIT: DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images

“Posting picks on Twitter has been an excellent way to network and meet other likeminded people, learn handicapping angles, pick up tips on sports I don’t cap myself, and just have fun,” he says. “Putting together a website and recording a podcast have been a great way to engage a following and share some of the important stuff that I’ve learned. I do it so people who are new to this, people who are eager to improve, can pick up some of the knowledge and hopefully win in the long run.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks at the Monmouth Park Sports Book June 14, 2018, his state’s first day of legal sports betting.

of the season very seriously – offering some nice plays for savvy bettors. “All teams have played their entire schedule and they are who they are,” he says. “Early season it is more of a guess. Teams like Alabama and Georgia we know are elite, but others aren’t so clear. I know much more during bowls than after three or four games. I always take bowl season seriously as the entire season is in and there are plus-EV [expected value] bets available in those matchups. “I have modest goals for the NFL and NCAA football as the seasons are short. One can have a great angle that may profit over a period of time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go 5-9 in one season. Variance is obviously more prevalent in shorter seasons.” The Professor offers some advice for those taking their first trips to the betting windows. Those looking to take it seriously and hoping to make a few bucks should steer clear of information made public by sportsbooks or provided from sports media or self-proclaimed “pro” bettors. The reason? That information is already figured into betting lines and books aren’t in the habit of giving out information

that can hurt the bottom line. All new or inexperienced bettors should also avoid touts, companies paid to offer bettors winning selections. Many fudge their records, he says, and it’s almost impossible to determine if the person selling the information is actually a winner – so save those dollars. For success, take it seriously and study. “Get as good as you can at learning statistics and probability math,” Shine says. “You don’t have to be an expert, but a new bettor should understand why things like trends with small sample sizes are most likely worthless information. Most serious bettors are always trying to find an edge so it takes up a lot of our waking moments thinking about betting in general.”

THE WHALE For Whale Capper (a pseudonym and his Twitter handle), sports betting is not just a little action on a game. It’s a pastime that brings people together. While it may be betting, it’s also a hobby. For the 36-year-old engineer from Long Beach, Calif., when he’s not at work and or with his family, Capper pores

Capper’s been betting in offshore and in Las Vegas for 15 years and it’s unlikely the new law will change that right away. While California has yet to go through with legalization, he also notes that sportsbooks overseas can offer better lines and lower vig – and American books will eventually have to adjust to attract more of those players. What’s an average week look like for him during football season? • Sunday night/Monday morning – Checks opening lines and compares them to the lookaheads (lines posted on games in advance) to see how Vegas adjusted power numbers. • Tuesday – Updates his database and numerical models to help find initial sides and totals that may have perceived value. • Wednesday – After studying the angles and researching weather and injuries, Capper places bets for the week. He then records the podcast, talking about what led to his picks. He watches the market the rest of the week and hopes for the best on Sunday. When he first started, Capper ran hot and cold and now seeks more consistency with better value selections. In a standard week with 11 plays, 7-4 is good and 8-3 is great. “New bettors shouldn’t expect to get rich,” he says. “Have a goal like ‘I’d love to break even and have fun’ when first getting started. Emotional swings can ruin you when you’re inexperienced. Sometimes winning by luck is interpreted as you have a skill when you probably don’t. The sooner you learn managing your bankroll and figure out what sports

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to focus your time and energy on, the more successful you’ll be.” Despite all his efforts and interest in the industry, Whale Capper still views his betting as entertainment – simply a way to have some fun during a game. “Betting on sports makes being a sports fan more fun in my opinion,” he says. “I can’t imagine watching or caring about the NFL at all if it wasn’t for the handicapping component. As long as you set reasonable goals and maintain discipline in bet sizes, it can be a very rewarding experience.”

THE TEXAN Obviously not every state will be jumping on the legalization bandwagon. Betting on sports has long been a popular pastime for many Americans. The American Gaming Association estimates that $150 billion a year is wagered illegally on sports betting. That includes players using their neighborhood bookie or unregulated offshore sites. Texas is probably one of those states that won’t be allowing sports wagering anytime soon. Despite the most popular form of poker (Texas Hold’em) bearing its name, casinos are illegal and there looks to be no change in that any time soon. That doesn’t stop Texans from booking bets – and the Supreme Court decision won’t have an effect on that. Redd Johnson (a pseudonym) is in his 60s and lives in the Dallas area. A longtime bettor who is financially stable and socked away quite a bit of money, his story is typical for many. Johnson uses a local bookie, but also an overseas site for some prop bets. But gone are the days of meeting a shady guy on a street corner to put some money on a big game. Bookies have gone high tech and Johnson’s bookie offers a website that even features live betting as the game proceeds. On an average weekend, Johnson bets about $100 on college games and depending on how he does, another $100 on Sunday and mixes in some live betting on Sunday and Monday nights. “My largest win for a weekend was $600,” he says. “I consider myself a small-time sports gambler, and $600 was a fun weekend. I’ve never paid the book except once in three years. I do my homework and never get greedy. It’s entertainment to me.” Along with betting, Johnson also plays daily

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fantasy sports for about $50 a week. Two years ago, he just missed a $100,000 payout when a touchdown was called back due to a penalty. He believes legal sports betting would be huge in the Lone Star State – with those currently doing so illegally and those not betting now – and the tax benefits could be used to fund education and teacher raises.

THE AMERICAN GAMING ASSOCIATION ESTIMATES THAT $150 BILLION A YEAR IS WAGERED ILLEGALLY ON SPORTS BETTING. THAT INCLUDES PLAYERS USING THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD BOOKIE OR UNREGULATED OFFSHORE SITES. “I think most folks like me gamble on sports for the excitement of rooting for a team, player, or a certain score,” Johnson says. “Winning money is of course an adrenaline boost. Most folks have a favorite team, but like to have a reason to root for another. Gambling gives us that reason. And by the way, I never gamble on my favorite NFL team. I get a rush from just watching.”

THE FUTURE With the new landscape, sports betting becomes a major part of a growing gambling economy. No longer are legal bettors confined to casinos in Nevada and Atlantic City. Casinos line the eastern seaboard and numerous other states from Oklahoma to Alabama to California. Mobile betting is also growing – making wagering that underdog or parlay easy. The state of New Jersey recorded $158 million in legal wagers by the end of August – with mobile wagering still not yet in full force. Beyond the entertainment aspects of sports wagering, Chris Connelly sees much more – game results as an investment. He owns Con-

trarian Investments, a Las Vegas hedge fund that uses computer models to identify teams that are overvalued or inflated and then bets against them. The firm’s investment strategy is to risk 5.5 percent of its initial bankroll per wager. The company started out well with initial investors, Connelly says, seeing solid results. However, after some scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission trading was suspended to meet SEC mandates. “As they say the pioneers catch the arrows,” Connelly says. “We are finally in a position to focus strictly on business as we have handled all compliance obstacles. I’m looking forward to producing solid results for the full season.” Sports entity betting has been legal in Nevada since 2015 with pooled money functioning similar to a mutual fund, only used to bet on games rather than invested in Google or Union Pacific. With the new legalization push in many states, only time will tell if other jurisdictions will follow and legalize these types of investment pools. Another consideration is if there are enough investors willing to risk money on sports betting. Another question, of course, is whether these types of firms can earn a big enough return on investment as opposed to traditional investing. While heavily involved in the industry, Connelly sees the U.S. sports betting industry progressing slower than some might expect over the next decade. “Ultimately, we will end up with the current model Europe has in five years,” he predicts, “with country-wide wagering becoming socially acceptable, and mass marketed with increased liquidity and unique options such as in-game wagering at stadiums.” One thing’s a lock – sports betting is a big money proposition and plenty of bettors are happy with the new world of wagering. If you’re hitting those betting windows or booking some action on your phone, study up and good luck!

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions. He is also the host of the True Gambling Stories podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, TuneIn Radio, Spotify, Stitcher, and other platforms.


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

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

31749 30415 26347 24823 21260 19306 19223 18791 16998 16826 14692 14266 13248 13091 13053 12198 11932 11719 11675 11318

TOP CIGAR ORGANIZATIONS CRA @cigarrights............................................................. 14534 IPCPR Staff @theIPCPR.................................................. 7853 Tobacconist University @tobacconistU............................. 4657

TOP CIGAR RADIO Cigar Dave Show @CigarDaveShow................................. 11612 Smooth Draws @SmoothDraws....................................... 4402 KMA Talk Radio @KMATalkRadio...................................... 2490

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

TOP CIGAR RETAILERS & REPS Mulberry St. Cigars @MulberryStCigar............................. Famous Smoke Shop @FamousSmokeShop...................... 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.....................................

13888 12718 11866 8539 7269 6775 5689 5372 5340 4439

@toscanocigars via Instagram “A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his/her freedom” -Bob Dylan Today, we thank all those brave men and women, from all walks of life, who have put their own safety ahead of anything else, in order to preserve and protect our freedom. Thank you to all those who have served in the United States Armed forces.

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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153952 15186 14620 12426 9998 9310 9160 8575 8236 6675

@remarkable_liz via Instagram Strong women only scare weak men. Are you afraid? #misscigarbeauty #SmokingNow #Tobacco #LifeStyle #LadiesWhoSmoke #CigarBabe #Smoke #SmokeCigar #sigaro#fashion #CigarLover#Botl #SotlMafia#CigarPorn #Sotl #love#ootd #puro #havana


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

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EVENTS RETURN OF LOS CAIDOS AT CLUB MACANUDO New York City

The charity-based brand launched by Steve Zengel in 2015 to honor and raise funds for fallen first responders announced its return to market at the posh Club Macanudo in midtown Manhattan. The private, invitation only event featured hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and Los Caidos cigars. For more information on how you can support Los Caidos visit: www.loscaidos.com Steve Zengel with Guests of Honor Joan Dincuff and Beth Dincuff Charleston

Darrin Twitty, Robert “Max” Twitty

Anthony Velez and Rigo Licona

Steve Weiler, Maureen Mahlman and Kevin Devlin

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Rob O’Driscoll, Katie Marley, Steve Zengel and Dan Heth

Rick Martínez, Sean Christian and Angel Santiago

Steve Zengel and Rob O’Driscoll

Joe Heaton, Steve Zengel, Colleen Heaton, Mike Heaton

PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Wexler


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EVENTS DAVIDOFF DINNER AT SABOR HAVANA Doral, Fla.

About 50 guests enjoyed the best of both worlds as Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse brought the kitchen to the cigar lounge and served a full dinner to a lounge full of smokers. Sabor Havana transformed their retail space into a pop-up restaurant, where guests savored excellent steaks followed by great Davidoff cigars.

Frank Sotero

Scott Judd, Steven & Gus Martínez and Troy Prichard

Robert Singer, Adrian Hernández and John Cartaya

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René Rubio, Ángel Travieso, Jonathan Alfonso, Jeff Stone and Raúl Estrada, Jr.

Jorge Valdés

Jorge Reyes toasts to the tomahawk.

Andrew Hernández, David Delancey and Noel Rodríguez

David Morales, Darion Pokemon and Frank Sotero


EVENTS DAVIDOFF DINNER BY ULTIMATE CIGARS Ft. Lauderdale

Moe Sohail of Ultimate Cigars hosted a wonderful dinner featuring Davidoff Cigars on the terrace dining area at Valentino’s Cucina Italiana in Ft. Lauderdale. On the evening’s menu were generous portions of New York strip, pan-seared snapper, and shrimp fusilli. Davidoff’s own Carlos Escalona, Jeff Stone, and George Rami were on hand to offer four of Davidoff’s finest cigars for dessert.

George Rami, Moe Sohail, Carlos Escalona and Jeff Stone

Nick and Lissette Nanavichit

Ed Reynolds, Stephan Cole, Chef Giovanni, Ron Roberts, Malcolm Mac Innes and Moe Sohail

Michael Minor and Carlos Escalona

Jimmy Guinta and Colleen Daly Guinta

Moe Sohail, Chelsea Bressler, Ali Bolad and Kelly Kayce

Rob Morgan and James Caris

Jordon McCarty and Steve Day

Curtis Watking and Prixi Swissa

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EVENTS NESTOR MIRANDA AT CAVA CIGARS Miami

One of Miami’s new cigar hotspots invited Nestor “The Most Interesting Man in Cigars” Miranda for the release of his 75th Anniversary line. A record number of cigar boxes were sold, with each customer receiving a Nestor Miranda humidor with the purchase of each 75th Anniversary box. Attendees also were treated to sushi and complimentary valet service which is always a nice touch. Héctor Paz, Nestor Miranda, Ángel Aguayo and Danny Delgado

Jorge Cruz-Bustillo and Nestor Miranda

Joseph Segura and Daniela Campos

Danny, Clara, Michelle and Oscar Benedit

Robert Singer and Rocío Montoya

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Daniella Pérez and Andy Marrero

J.P. Wrves, Orlando López, Nestor Miranda and Aquiles Carmona

Dr. Carrillo, Laz Guzmán and Gervasio Baez

Betty and Santiago Aragón


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EVENTS ROCKY AT CASA DE MONTECRISTO BY PRIME Miami

Rocky Patel, the cigar rock star himself, was in Miami for a wonderful evening event at Casa De Montecristo by Prime. As usual, Rocky autographed all box purchases throughout the night and schmoozed it up with everyone in attendance. In addition to the cigar specials, there was also a limited rum tasting to lubricate everyone’s palate along with all the great cigars. Dave Bullock, Ryan Leeds, Erik Calviño, Peter Berntsen, Rocky Patel, Shiah Goldberg and José Morel

Rocky Patel and Il Young Choi

Juvitza Herrera and Michael Shitrin

Ronald Wilson, Ron Kinnear and Nicolas Bussenius

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Brent Bardales, Peter Berntsen, Danny Jiménez, Drew Ridley and Moncy Blanco-Herrera

Daniel Casanas, Leif-Erik Huide and Marc Bonorino

Mark Weiner and Jack Devaney

Hugh Quin and Ryan Paylor

Sebastian Desauguste, Dominique Siby and Ari G.


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EVENTS CAMACHO CIGARS AT CAVA Miami

Cava Cigars was the site for yet another excellent evening of cigars, food and friends — this time featuring Camacho cigars. One lucky raffle winner won a trip to Honduras to visit the famed Camacho Cigar factory. In addition to the prizes, Brugal was in the house with a special tasting of their 1888 Gran Reserva rum.

George Rami, Ángel Aguayo and Carlos Escalona

Carlos Escalona and Michael Pino (Winner of trip to Honduras)

Laz Guzman and Ray Casais

Johana Campo for Brugal’s 1888 Ron Gran Reserva

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Gustavo and Ashley Rosales

Joe Mazloom, George Rami, Alan García, Joshua Zepeda, Jorge Pita, Jr., and Carlos Escalona

Mailyn and Adrian Miguel

Elaine del Toro and José Benítez


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EVENTS TAMPA CIGAR BASH Tampa

One of the year’s best cigar events took place this October at the Pepin Distribution Center in the beautiful city of Tampa. Going on its ninth year, Tampa Cigar Bash once again treated guests to a bounty of premium cigars from the industry’s top manufacturers to go along with plenty of excellent food and drinks. The party was sizzling this year, with great music and entertainment keeping the herf upbeat throughout.

Olivia and Emily Mei, Alex Mocyunas and Mike Howe

Larry and Roberta Rowe

Zach Speers and José Ortega

Marilyn Hough, Jon Oliva, Dalonde Clark and Mike McKinney

Ian Hummel and Allan Buelvas

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Richard Choate, A.J. Duvio, Gene Dupuis and Vincent Margiotta

Brittany and Kevin Dodge

Gary Garbelman, Richard Bloss and Dave Bryant

Nelson Boronat and Robert Caldwell


Christopher Mey, Nish Patel, Hamlet Paredes and Dave Bullock

Hector Pires and Robert Hernández

Bob MacDonald, Erik Espinosa, Jr. and Erik Espinosa

Matt Hayes and Melissa Novak

David Bishop, Jeffrey and Greg Smith

Josef Joudeh and Zak Medwin

Kevin Casey and Yandy López

Jack Toraño, Rick Rodríguez and Zack Moore

Jaime Flores and George Margioukla

Mike Rosales and Robert Holt

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EVENTS OLIVA CIGARS AT DOWNTOWN CIGAR BAR Ft. Lauderdale

Fans of Oliva Cigars were treated to an evening of specials on Oliva classics like Serie V, Melanio, and Nub among others at Downtown Fort Lauderdale’s favorite cigar bar. In addition to the deals, every Oliva Cigar box purchaser received a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label – The Jane Walker Edition. The bottle commemorates women’s achievements and features a female version of the famous striding man on the bottle.

Christine Crews and Oscar Calviño

Ozzie Gómez, John Maylander and Erik Calviño

Rudy Mayor and Taylor Lipman

Alexander Varkas and Ted Dowding and Daniel Lawson

Mark Kokonas and Chris Callahan

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Laura Day-Rebollo and Carlos Rebollo

Miguel Fernández, Michelle Velázquez and Ben Abraham

Jenn Vanhorn and Alex Hinson

Meggan and Joe Bell


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EVENTS SUDS & STOGIES FEATURING PLASENCIA CIGARS AND THE TANK Denver

Emily Zangen, Carlos Padrón and Gus Fernández

PHOTO CREDIT: Alyson at J Amado Photography

The Great American Beer Festival held an after-party at Tap Fourteen’s rooftop beer garden featuring Plasencia Cigars and TANK Brewing that was rocking. Guests enjoyed live music and beautiful views of the Denver skyline, all while enjoying the Plasencia Reserva Original, great brews (including Tank’s gold medal winning La Finca Miami) and food from chef Josh Bonazza.

CIGAR SNOB PODCAST

LISTEN NOW cigarsnobmag.com/podcast 120 | CIGAR SNOB | NOV / DEC 2018


5

CIGAR COMPANIES COMPETING TO BE 2018 LECHÓN CHALLENGE GRAND CHAMPION A. FUENTE – OLIVA CIGARS – VILLIGER CIGARS – ESPINOSA CIGARS – AJ FERNANDEZ SAMPLE THE COMPETITORS’ LECHÓN, VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE, AND ENJOY HORS D’OEUVRES, TOP-SHELF BEER, WINE, AND SPIRITS. YOU’LL EAT, DRINK, DANCE, AND SMOKE WITH A VIEW OF BISCAYNE BAY AS THE TEAMS COMPETE FOR CHARITY.

VIP $150

at Hotel InterContinental Miami

YOU MUST BE 21+ TO ATTEND

• Xikar travel humidor containing 20 PREMIUM CIGARS • Xikar Xi cutter • Xikar torch lighter • Access to the Villiger/Gentleman Jack Hospitality Suite with OPEN BAR till close • 2 special VIP cigars • Additional Lechón Challenge swag • Waitresses bring you your lechón tastings without having to leave your spot • 3 raffle tickets ($10/additional ticket)

GENERAL ADMISSION $100 • Xikar travel humidor containing 20 PREMIUM CIGARS • Xikar Xi cutter • Xikar torch lighter • 1 raffle ticket ($10/additional ticket)

COMPANION/NON-SMOKER TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE

www.lechonchallenge.com

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EVENTS INDUSTRIAL CIGAR HALLOWEEN PARTY Frisco, Tex.

Industrial Cigar Co. was selected as one of Tatuaje Cigars Unlucky 13 retailers this year and they threw a costume party that was spooktacular! The theme of this year’s Tatuaje Monster Series Dress box was “The Bride” so a Frankenstein-themed wedding party was definitely in order. Each guest received a custom laser-etched cigar coffin commemorating this year’s party. Over 100 cigar lovers in full costume were in attendance smoking and dancing the night away. Unfortunately there wasn’t any bloody wedding cake left over.

Back left to right: Brandon Frakes, Ale Frakes, Andrea Castro, Nathan Frakes, Front: Dave and Beglije Frakes (the Bride and Groom)

Ron Hancock

Eliot Hamerman and Sonja Denholm

Kayla Parker

Kerri Simpson, Nathan Frakes & Dave Simpson

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Aaron Klause and Dave Frakes

Kathleen Berry Borunda


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Profile for Cigar Snob Magazine

Cigar Snob Magazine November December 2018  

In the last issue of 2018 you'll find a Q&A with Chef Thomas Keller, an in-depth editorial on the 50 year history of Joya de Nicaragua, and...

Cigar Snob Magazine November December 2018  

In the last issue of 2018 you'll find a Q&A with Chef Thomas Keller, an in-depth editorial on the 50 year history of Joya de Nicaragua, and...