Wednesday, December 31, 2014

William Church Syrah 2012 Columbia Valley Wine

Well since this is the last post for 2104, I thought something special might be kind of nice to write about. I'm a White Zinfandel kind of person, but most of my adult life I've been searching for a red wine that suites my odd palate. The quest has been long, and some times tedious, but a few weeks ago at a William Church Winery event held at The Cork & Tap my goal was achieved and the life time quest was over.  

Since I'm  not a wine expert, I'll only pass along my experience with this wine and won't try rating it. I'm just a person that enjoys a glass, or bottle, of wine now and then. 

This William Church Syrah 2012 Columbia Valley Wine starts in the glass with a big, fruity bouquet reminiscent of sweet, yet tart blackberries. Sipping this Syrah, it was light, smooth and slightly sweet, with a fruity, dusty, spicy finish. There was a slightly tart finish, but there was no bitterness and it left a pleasant aftertaste on the palate. 

Like I said, this is the first red wine that I have honestly liked. In fact I liked it so much that I brought a bottle home after the tasting. But, with all this said, it ends up as my #2 red wine. I'll post a review of my #1 red wine, also produced by the William Church Winery, in the next few days.

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe From Roast House Coffee

Over the past two years Ethiopian coffee has became one of my favorite coffees to brew. Today we look at another Ethiopian Yirgacheffe From Roast House Coffee. Sipping coffee brewed from these light, City roast, beans the first thing that comes to mind is the word "complex". Let's take a look and see why.

Dry, the beans gave off a fantastic aroma mix of toast and pecans. Once the beans were ground and wet from the pour-over, the aroma was sweet, spicy and fruity. The aroma changed again once the pour-over was complete. From the cup the brewed coffee aromas were buttery, with light sweet and spicy hints. 

Sipping the hot brew the first sips were brisk, light and bright with a clean mouthwatering mouth feel. As the coffee cooled in the cup, the coffee became smoother as acidity dropped a bit.

Through the temperature range there were flavor notes that would best be described as sweet and sour. There were flavor nuances of sweet stone fruit, caramel, nuts and a hint of lime. 

So now you know why I say "complex". Within each phase of the grinding and brewing process there were new aromas, plus flavor shifts from the cup. 

Overall this Ethiopian Yirgacheffe From Roast House Coffee produced a clean cup free from defects, with a balance that matched the flavor profile. If you've never tried Ethiopian Coffee, you're really missing out on a treat. 

Rated 92

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Buck Naked Stog-E Disposable E-Cigar

Buck Naked Stog-E Disposable E-Cigar
To tell you the truth, I'm having a good time reviewing these E-Cigars and puffing on this Buck Naked Stog-E Disposable E-Cigar is no exception. 

This Stog-E is covered with a durable Colorado Claro colored wrapper that tough enough to be chewed on and held between your teeth allowing hands free operation without causing any wrapper damage. There is a bit of a difference with this E-cigar, the head is made from a softer plastic so it feels more like chewing on a real cigar.

Size wise, the Stog-E measures about 6 x 46, close to a Toro in size, and it weighs in right at 1.3 ounces, (an average Toro cigar weighs in around .6 of an ounce for a comparison).

The e-cigar produces ample amounts of vapor with flavors that  are reminiscent of a mild cigar. There were notes of rum, brown sugar, fermented tobacco, and a bit of oak. Overall the mild flavors were pretty good. 

Again, reviewing this 1800 puff e-cigar has replaced over two packs of cigarettes and it's still going strong. So, not only has it payed for itself already, there are the added health benefits and I can have cigar-like pleasure in places where I can't smoke a real cigar. 

You can pick these up from Famous Smoke Shop for $14.45 each or if you purchase a 12 pack they're only $11.67 each and that's a deal. With my smoking habits each Stog-E should replace 4 -  5 packs of cigarettes and that's a win-win in my book!

Rated 9.7

Monday, December 29, 2014

Portland House Whole Bean Coffee By Portland Roasting

Portland House Whole Bean Coffee By Portland Roasting
Since I'm always looking for coffee to review, I plucked this Portland House Whole Bean Coffee By Portland Roasting off the shelf at a local super-market the other day.

Once the bag was open the medium, city +, roast beans had a pronounced aroma of toasted almonds and rich tobacco. I found the same aromas were present once the beans were ground.

Several cups were sampled for this review using my normal pour-over ratio of .6 oz. of ground coffee to 10 oz. of water. Doing the pour-over the wet grounds produced a nice aroma with notes of sweet caramel and toast. 

Once brewed the coffee had a hearty aroma of earth, toasted almonds and caramel. The first hot sips were brisk and clean with a slightly wine like finish. As the coffee cooled a bit the mouthfeel became creamy smooth with a slightly tart aftertaste. 

Through the temperature range there were flavors of caramel, toasted almonds, smokey tobacco, earth and a bit of tart grapefruit. 

This Portland House Whole Bean Coffee By Portland Roasting, brewed into a semi-complex cup of coffee with no defects and a clean cup. 

Rated 92

La Aurora Ecuador - Mid Atlantic Exclusive

La Aurora Connecticut Ecuador - Mid Atlantic Exclusive
Well here we go, this is review number five of six. Five of six, that sounds more like a Borg designation than a cigar review, but this is one of the new release cigars from La Aurora Cigars, the Mid-Atlantic exclusive Corona. These new Coronas are a copy of the Preferido line  in every way, except size. 

Covered with an oily, seamless, nearly vein free, Colorado Claro colored Ecuadorian wrapper, this Corona looks good before you even light it up. It's packed well full length and there's a nice amount of fine sandpaper like tooth. From the foot there are notes of sweet fermented tobacco. After the triple cap is clipped the slightly firm cold draw has flavors of oak and honey. 

Once the foot is toasted and burning there are initial mild bodied flavors of cream and fruit. As the razor sharp burn moves up the body there are other flavors of white pepper, caramel and light hint of leather.

This Corona gave me forty-five minutes of smoking pleasure and finished in the medium body range with a spicy sweet cream flavor mix.

With the mild/medium body and the sweet creamy flavors the La Aurora Ecuador Mid Atlantic Exclusive Corona is my kind of breakfast cigar!

Rated 93

There are six different wrappers in this release making this the fifth in a six part series. The last review is coming soon. La Aurora Cigars are distributed by Miami Cigar and Company.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sumatran From Roast House Coffee

Sumatan From Roast House Coffee
About a week ago I had the opportunity to visit Roast House Coffee and spend about an hour talking coffee and roasting with owner Deborah Di Bernardo. It was an informative session and I walked away with several coffee samples to review. For the first review I chose their medium roast Sumatran.

Even from the bag, this coffee had big, full bodied aromas of cocoa, nuts and coffee. Once the beans were ground and wet from the pour-over the aromas of flora, cocoa and beef steak nearly filled the room.

Once the pour-over was complete the first hot sips were smooth and syrupy with a hint of bright acidity that lingered in my mouth. The cupped aroma was earthy, with a noticeable amount of spice. 

While the Roast House Sumatran has complex body characteristics, there were sweet and spicy flavors of cinnamon, pecans and cocoa with an underlying hint of earthiness. 

This whole bean Sumatran From Roast House Coffee, brewed into a flavorful and complex cup of coffee. The medium city roast seem to have brought out flavors and a bit of complexity not found in the caramelized versions I've reviewed. Well done Roast House Coffee!

Rated 93

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Nestor Miranda Collection From Miami Cigar and Company

I had the chance to smoke these three cigars in the new Nestor Miranda Collection from Miami Cigar & Company, early this summer and have since smoked several more of each. These are nice cigars and if you haven't tried them yet you really should!

Blue Label
Construction of this cigar is top-of-the-line. The Colorado Claro colored wrapper is nearly vein free and is rolled on with seamless skill. There is also a tight fitting triple cap to top every thing off.

Cold aromas feature sweet tea from the foot and the free cold draw tastes a bit like chai tea. With the first puffs the mild bodied smoke has a mellow sweet cream flavoring. The cream is soon followed by toast, caramel, leather, oak and some mild black pepper. In the final third there is a medium bodied finish of cream and brown sugar.

Rated 93

Green Label
This firmly packed cigar is wrapped in a seamless habano wrapper that contains only small veins and it's topped of with a triple cap. From the foot there is a sweet tea aroma while the firm draw tastes like white pepper and ripe tree fruit.

As the medium bodied cigar burned there was a nice flavor mix consisting of sweet tea, white pepper, oak, caramel, ripe tree fruit, rich fermented tobacco and a toast with brown sugar finish. A one point in time the smoke had a dry red wine type finish. I don't find that in a cigar very often, but I like it.

As this Green Label burned, it was a bit wavy, but it never needed correction and gave me a full fifty-five minutes of smoking pleasure.

Rated 92

Nestor Miranda Collection (Red) Maduro Robusto Cigar
Red Label
Overall this cigar was great. Construction of this firmly packed cigar was top-notch from head to foot. The maduro colored wrapper was practically vein free, the seams were all tight and there's a triple cap to top it off.

Cold, there were notes of coca from the foot and the free draw had notes of spicy fruit. Once toasted and burning there were medium bodied flavors of black pepper, fruit, peat, anise, dark chocolate, charcoal and toast. The cigar finished in the full bodied range with a pleasant mixture of fruit, charcoal and cocoa. It was a pretty tasty cigar. While burning, it produced a large volume of smoke with a semi-dry finish and it had a sweet lingering aftertaste.

The burn was sharp full length, but the forty-five minute smoking time left me wanting a bit more of this cigar.

Rated 92

The King Is Dead - Broken Sword by Caldwell Cigars

The King Is Dead - Broken Sword by Caldwell Cigars
I've wanted to try cigars from the Caldwell Cigar Company for some time now, I just hadn't found any. Last month the Cigar of the Month Club package from Cigar Train was packed full of Caldwell Cigars. For my first review I chose to smoke The King Is Dead, Broken Sword. 

This Broken Sword is 5 x 40 and it starts with fantastic construction. It's covered by a seamless, nearly vein free Colorado Claro colored wrapper and finished off with a pig tail cap. From the cold foot there's a mild sweet tea aroma and the free draw has notes of buttery, spicy cedar.

Once the foot is toasted and burning, the cigar there are mild bodied flavors of sugar in the raw, toast and caramel. You'll see this cigar also produces a nice volume of smoke from both ends. In the second half it moves into the medium body range and the flavors take on more of an earthy balance with nuances of oak, earth and barnyard.

After fifty minutes the flavors shift again and the cigar finishes with notes of sweet caramel mixed with toasted oak. It was a darn tasty finish.

For a first experience with a Caldwell Cigar Company cigar, it was a good one!

Rated 93

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

San Isidro Labrador's Roast By Directo Caffè

San Isidro Labrador's Roast By Directo Caffè
Shade grown in the Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountain range of Ahuachapán, El Salvador this San Isidro Labrador's Roast By Directo Caffè brewed into one of the most complex cups I've ever sipped. Let's dive into this roast a bit more...

Once the bag is open a full bodied aroma of cocoa, coffee and earth hit the nose from several feet away. Both ground and wet from the pour-over the ground coffee had a sweet aroma of caramel and pecans.

After the pour-over is complete, this coffee really shines. The first sips were both sweet and tart, with a brisk yet creamy mouthfeel. There were flavors in the first sips of sugar, grapefruit, pecans, chocolate and smokey sandalwood. As the coffee cooled a bit there were some heavier earthy flavor nuances, yet it was still sweet but tart, and refreshing. 

This San Isidro Labrador's Roast, is roasted Full City+, it produced a clean cup with no defects and was a real pleasure to sip. 

Directo Caffè states they are a "true farm-to-table coffee business", plus they have an informative website. Take some time and check it out!

Rated 92

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Java Delight French Roast Whole Bean Coffee

Java Delight French Roast Whole Bean Coffee
Just to fill the gaps, I grabbed some Java Delight French Roast Whole Bean Coffee from a local supermarket the other day. It's a SuperValu Inc. product and there's no blend or roast information at all on their website.

The only information I have about this blend is from the store's coffee display. It's listed as: A rich and smooth dark roast with complex flavors. Well, let's find out of that's true...

From the bag the whole beans have an aroma of nuts and earth with a hint of cocoa. The beans look dry and most dark roasts I've reviewed are covered with an oily caramelization so I'm not really sure what I'll find here. 

Once the beans are ground in my hand grinder, the coffee produces an aroma of toasty ripe fruit. and wet the coffee gives off a toasty, stone fruit aroma. Doing the pour-over itself the wet coffee gives off a fruity, chocolate aroma.

Sipping the hot coffee, it's bright and tart, with a bold dusty charcoal flavor note. As the coffee cools a little, a toast flavor rises to the top, with a hint of sweet tree fruit and a smooth, syrupy mouthfeel develops. The aftertaste leaves a charcoal note on the palate with a hint of salt. 

At first I'd thought the bold charcoal flavor was a roasting defect, but for the most part it went away as the coffee cooled leaving a clean cup.

Rated 87

Friday, December 19, 2014

La Aurora Connecticut Corona - Mid Atlantic Exclusive

Well here we go, this is review number four of the new release from La Aurora Cigars, the Mid-Atlantic exclusive Corona. These new Coronas are a copy of the Preferido line  in every way, except size. 

Starting with a seamless wrapper this cigar just keeps getting better and better. The cigar is packed well full length and Claro colored shows only the finest of veins. A triple cap nicely tops off this good looking little cigar.

From the cold foot there are notes of spiced tea while the free cold draw has a sweet and spicy taste.

Once the cigar is toasted and burning there are initial mild bodied flavors of sweet cream mixed with sugar. As the razor sharp burn moves up the body other flavors of oak, toast, caramel and leather join into the mix. After forty-five minutes this Corona had a surprising finish as the strength unexpectedly and quickly moved in the medium/full range. Just to flaunt its power, the final flavors from this cigar are a mix of leather, sugar and oak. I didn't expect these flavors or the strength in the finish, but I did enjoy it and I bet you will too!

Rated 93

There are six different wrappers in this release making this the forth in a six part series. The other two reviews will be coming down the pipe soon. La Aurora Cigars are distributed by Miami Cigar and Company.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Stash Premium Green Tea

Cold blustery days like yesterday are great days for a cup or two of tea. Tea seams to warm my cold. old, bones from the inside out, so I brewed up a cup of Stash Premium Green Tea.

After a three minute steep, this Stash bagged tea brewed up a slightly cloudy, light yellow-green liquid in the cup. 

From the cup the tea was naturally semi-sweet with light, earthy flavor notes and a refreshing palate wash. The tea left behind a nutty, salty after tastes that lingered for several minutes.

Overall this Stash Premium Green Tea brewed a nice cup and I look forward to finishing the box. 

Rated 8.5

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tryst No. 2 Robusto E-Cigar Kona Coffee

Tryst No. 2 Robusto E-Cigar
Today we review another E-Cigar, the Tryst No. 2 Robusto in Kona Coffee flavor. To tell you the truth, I'm really enjoying these E-Cigar reviews and here's why...

The Tryst No. 2 Robusto is about the size of a Robusto cigar, but it's shaped like a torpedo with the end clipped. I've found this shape makes this E-Cigar a bit harder to hold between my teeth while typing. It's the Colorado Claro colored wrapper, in this shape it seems a bit slick and I loose my grip on it once in a while. 

Weight wise it comes in at 1.1 oz. While that's  bit heavier than a real cigar, it feels enough like the real thing that I find myself puffing on it and not inhaling. 

Again, after the better part of two days, the wrapper shows no signs of wear and the unit is still going strong. The box states it's the equivalent of eight cigars, so i'll probably get a couple more days of part time smoking. Just an estimate, but it's already saved me about two packs of smokes so it will more than pay for itself. 

This unit is Kona Coffee flavor and I can actually taste the coffee, plus sugar in the vapor. It's pretty tasty. Another big point is the draw and vapor volume. The No. 2 produces the most vapor and has the easiest draw of any E-Cigars I've tested so far. 

Overall I've been really impressed with this Tryst E-Cigar. It has a durable wrapper, great flavor and it produces a huge volume of vapor. Famous Smoke Shop sells these in 12 packs for $152.99. If it's really the equivalent of eight cigars, which I think it will be, that means a 12 pack equals 96 real cigars making this Tryst No. 2 Robusto E-Cigar a real deal!

I would just like to add, I'm not looking for a cigar replacement, but I like E-Cigars because I can smoke them in places where I can't light up a real cigar, plus they contain American made e-juice.

Rated 9.6

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cameroon AA Colorado Maduro Coffee By Milton Made

Cameroon AA Colorado Maduro Coffee By Milton Made
This Cameroon AA Colorado Maduro is my first attempt at a coffee review so please bare with me as my skills are honed.

Yesterday, the coffee I ordered from Milton Made arrived along with several samples. For years now I have wanted to try making coffee with a French Press so I ran out and picked up a Mr. Coffee French Press and grinder.
Tonight the house was empty so I decided to give the French Press a try and, let me tell you I am happy that I did. Once the beans were ground they had the perfect maduro aroma that a fine madruo wrapped cigar has. There were notes of chocolate, nuts, and it was slightly sweet.

While the coffee was steeping I pulled a La Herencia Cubana Oscuro Fuerte Salomon from the humidor, put a match to it and sat down to pound out one of the five cigar reviews that I'm currently behind on.

The coffee in the cup had a nice little oil slick going on top that looked inviting, so I took my first sip. All I could say was "wow"! This was hands down the best tasting coffee I had ever drank. The flavors from the coffee were a perfect match to the flavors from the cigar; I couldn't have picked a better pairing. Surprisingly, the coffee was light on the tongue and heavy on the palate sitting there nicely between sips and mixing well with the smoke from the cigar.

Overall, this coffee was fantastic there was no bitterness at all and it was totally non acidic. In the past I have ground my own beans, mainly from Starbucks and a friend I worked with, but nothing has ever came close to this. @BaristaOnDuty is a top notch roaster and all I can say is, give his products a try. I am sure you will be as impressed as I was.

Hario Canister Ceramic Coffee Mill

Hario Canister Coffee Mill
Well with prompting from @BaristaOnDutY I ordered an inexpensive burr grinder, the Hario Canister Coffee Mill, a few days ago.

Nearly everyone in the house has been ill this week and I think it caught up with me, but the Hario canister coffee mill finally arrived and I had to give it a test drive.

Before going much further there are a couple of things I should mention. The only words on the box or in the instructions printed in English were, "Hairo Cansiter Coffee Mill", every thing else was in Chinese. Great! It actually made me laugh out loud though. But that wasn't so bad, all that was need to get the grinder working was place the rubber grip to the jar's bottom, remove a cork inserted into the lower grinder opening and install the handle. Kid stuff, right? While installing the handle, I figured out how to adjust the grind. You do this by turning a wheel up or down on the crankshaft. OK that's not so bad, but there are no marks or indicators, it's all trial and error. Luckily it only took one adjustment to get a proper grind for a pour over. I think it's a little course, but it wasn't to bad. It took about one minute to grind enough beans for a cup.

Well my water was hot, the coffee was in the filter and I was ready to roll. I should mention that while I was pouring beans into the grinder one fell on the counter, which I promptly ate. I do that all the time, but today it was a mistake since it completely overloaded my taste buds for who knows how long.

So I did my pour over anyway and I noticed a big difference right of the bat. For the first time my coffee actually developed bloom on top. But wait, there's  more, on this pour the filter didn't clog before the drip was done. The filter plugging has always been a problem when using coffee processed in the blade grinder. So my guess is with the blade grinder there were too many fines, or dust, being produced which clogged the paper filter.

Like I mentioned earlier, I had eaten a bean so there was no way to really compare the coffee flavors from the blade grinder to the burr grinder, but I am sure this Sumatra Red Badger was a bit more robust and picked up some spice that I didn't taste before.

There are problems with this budget grinder, no marks to ensure repeat settings, no English instructions, and I don't think the hopper will hold enough whole beans to grind for a press batch. I paid $42.00 for this grinder off of and so far I think it was the right choice.

Rated 8.5

La Aurora Broadleaf Corona - Mid Atlantic Exclusive

La Aurora Broadleaf Corna Cigar - Mid Atlanic Exclusive
Welcome to review number three of a new release from La Aurora Cigars, the Mid-Atlantic exclusive Corona. These new Coronas mimic the Preferido line every detail, except size. 

With every cigar I smoke, this new line of La Aurora Coronas get better and better. This Broadleaf cigar is covered by a thick, oily, Oscuro colored wrapper, with tight seams and a few smaller veins. Checking the cold aromas of this firmly packed stick, there are notes of toasted cocoa from both the foot and the free cold draw.

Once the triple cap is clipped and the cigar is burning the first medium bodied flavors are a mix of mild black pepper with cocoa. For a Corona, this stick is a real smoke producer. As the razor sharp burn moves up the cigar there are other nuances of brown sugar, toast and caramel. In the second half the burn gets a bit wavy, but doesn't need a correction plus there are flavors of raisin, charcoal, more caramel and chocolate. The cigar finishes it's 50 minute burn with full bodied flavors of sweet charred brown sugar and chocolate. It was a really tasty finish!

Overall this was a great cigar. It had great construction, flavors and burn time. If you are lucky enough to find these at your local B&M, don't pass them up.

Rated 94

There are six different wrappers in this release making this the third in a six part series. The other three reviews will be coming down the line soon. La Aurora Cigars are distributed by Miami Cigar and Company.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Flor de Oliva Gold Toro

Flor de Oliva Gold Toro
Here's another nice budget stick I had the opportunity to smoke a couple days ago, the Flor de Oliva Gold Toro.

Construction of this Gold Toro was what you'd expect from a $10.00 stick. It was firmly packed full length, the claro colored wrapper is rolled on in seamless fashion over the long Nicaraguan fillers, it contains only the finest of veins and it's topped with a triple cap.

From the cold foot there were mild notes of toast to the nose and after punching the cap, the firm draw had a toasted nuts flavor. After toasting and lighting the Gold, the first mild bodied mouthfuls of smoke tasted like sweet cream. As the sharp burn moved up the cigar there were other flavors of spice, nuts, sugar, caramel and toast. In the final third the flavor changed drastically, there were notes of hay followed by lots of tongue burning red pepper. I was into the cigar fifty minutes, but at that point, I was done. It probably would have lasted another fifteen minutes. 

My guess is, that with a bit more humidor time the pepper will probably go away, at least that's what I've found in the past with peppery claro colored cigars.

Still with a fifty minute burn to the band this cigar is a deal. You can pick these up in bundles of 20 for only $47.50 and Neptune Cigar.

Rated 88

January Contest

Well here it is, the first contest of 2015!

This month Cheap Ash Cigar is giving away a Colibri Slice Double-guillotine Cigar Cutter. MSRP on this item is $65.00

For this contest, simply subscribe to our new mailing list and you will be entered to win this Colibri Slice Double-guillotine Cigar Cutter. This cutter has been used, but only enough to review (it's cut about 10 cigars), and it includes the original gift box. 

Here's a big bonus, if you entered the Year End Contest, you're already entered in this contest!

The contest ends 1/31/2015 and the winner will be notified via email. Good luck!

This won't be a high-volume list, probably only one per month and maybe a special announcement here and there. 

Subscribe to our mailing list

Past Winners

Year End Contest: Chase Abernathy
Christmas Contest: Bob Langmaid

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Davidoff of Geneva announces its most luxurious Flagship Store to date in iconic lower Manhattan - New York City

Davidoff Cigars

Davidoff of Geneva announces its most luxurious Flagship Store to date in iconic lower Manhattan - New York City

Basel/New York, November 2014 – New York will welcome a new “Davidoff of Geneva - since 1911” Flagship Store at the newly renovated Brookfield Place in late spring 2015. Situated on the Hudson River across from the World Trade Center site, Brookfield Place is set to transform lower Manhattan as a premier destination for world-class luxury retail and best in class dining.

Inspired by Davidoff’s operations in the Dominican Republic, the new “Davidoff of Geneva - since 1911” Flagship store will feature 3 distinct areas covering nearly 2,000 square feet. The luxurious retail space is highlighted by a one of a kind walk-in humidor resembling a tobacco curing barn. The stunning humidor will be adorned with modern touches of copper and glass accompanied by walls built of vintage grey wood.

“Davidoff of Geneva - since 1911” Downtown will also host a lounge full of ambiance for its customers to relax. The lounge will be decorated with Polibio Díaz’s photography series made in New York last fall. Polibio Díaz is the second Dominican artist, who visited the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in collaboration with Davidoff and its art program; the Davidoff Art Initiative.

The exclusive “Light Forest” chandelier is a creation by Ontwerpduo and is symbolic of the tropical flowers found in the Dominican Republic. As a final element, the exterior of the store will feature a 40’ tall “Davidoff of Geneva – since 1911” facade of onyx and lights, cementing “Davidoff of Geneva -since 1911”s footprint in lower Manhattan.

Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, CEO and Member of the Board of Oettinger Davidoff AG, says: “Our mission is to delight and surprise our global consumers worldwide by delivering unique brands and unrivalled retail experiences. The new Davidoff Flagship Store in New York marks an ambitious new direction for Davidoff offering a complete experience from the expertise of the craft to the enjoyment of the product– following our philosophy “Time Beautifully Filled.”

“We are very excited to add this new and spectacular Davidoff Flagship Store which will be our 3rd Flagship in the Big Apple. We congratulate our “Davidoff of Geneva - since 1911” New York City retail team and are delighted to showcase an extraordinary portfolio of premium cigar brands and
accessories. Whether shopping for accessories from the sales floor, for the best cigars in the U.S. from our humidor to take home or to stay and enjoy in our welcoming lounge, this space will provide the ultimate luxury cigar experience to all who visit,” says Jim Young, President Davidoff of Geneva North America.”

A Century of Davidoff
Henri Davidoff, who emigrated from Kiev to Switzerland at a time of political unrest, opened his first
store in Geneva in 1911, laying the foundations for today’s worldwide network of 65 Davidoff Flagship Stores. Henri’s son, Zino Davidoff, learned the trade from the ground up. He resided for several years in Central and South America to deepen his knowledge. In 1930, he returned to Switzerland and thereafter successfully managed the business over four decades. Zino Davidoff transferred the family business to the Oettinger Group in 1970.

Davidoff appeals to connoisseurs all over the world who seek to embrace the art of living and pleasure. The premium brand Davidoff stands for a culture of conscious enjoyment and reflection in today’s hectic world. Davidoff learned over the years that time is the ultimate luxury. Zino’s pleasure in this was the starting point for the global brand of Davidoff, a brand that connects people all around the world. A brand that fills the unforgettable moments in life with the joy and pleasure of elegance and beauty – “Time Beautifully Filled.”

About Davidoff Art Initiative
Davidoff support contemporary art and artists in the Caribbean, the Davidoff Art Residency program
provides Dominican and Caribbean artists opportunities to participate in leading residency programs
worldwide. Through this program, emerging and mid-career Dominican and Caribbean artists can
develop their skills, make connections within global artistic networks, earn exposure for their work, and share their expertise with others in the visited regions.

About Oettinger Davidoff AG
The CHF 1.2 billion Oettinger Davidoff AG with over 3,500 employees around the world, traces its roots back to 1875 and remains family owned to this day with two distinctly different businesses: one that is focused on FMCG distribution in the Swiss market and one dedicated to the core business of producing, marketing and retailing premium branded cigars, tobacco products and accessories. The premium branded cigar business include Davidoff, AVO, Camacho, Cusano, Griffin’s, Private Stock, Zino, Zino Platinum and Winston Churchill Cigars. The Oettinger Davidoff AG is anchored in a strong “crop-to3 shop” philosophy, having pursued a vertical integration from the tobacco fields in the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua to the worldwide network of almost 70 Davidoff Flagship Stores.

225 Liberty Street
Store No 126
New York, New York 10281

Media Contact:
Oettinger Davidoff AG
Corporate Communications
Hochbergerstrasse 15
CH – 4002 Basel
Tel.: + 41 61 279 36 36
Fax: + 41 61 279 36 00
E-Mail: | @Davidoff_Cigars |

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Knockout Tobacconists TOC Only Round 5

Here's another cigar that came from Little Smoke, held at Northern Quest Casino last summer, The Knockout TOC, Round 5, 6x60 cigar.

This Knockout is a pretty good looking stick. It's covered with a thick, toothy, and oily Maduro colored wrapper. For such a hearty Connecticut Broad-leaf wrapper it's relatively vein free and it's rolled on with seamless skill.

Checking the cigar cold, it was packed well full length, with notes of fruit and graham cracker from the foot, while the free cold draw had nuances of mulled red wine.

Once burning the first medium bodied puffs were pure cocoa. After a few minutes, flavors of spice, toast, molasses and caramel joined in with the chocolate. 

Around the mid-point the 60+ ring "burn demon" I quite often deal with showed up, the wrapper split and the burn needed two big corrections. Bummer. 

I was however able to smoke through the burn problems and in the final third it even out a bit. Also in the second half there were more flavors of toasted oak, wet campfire and bit of black pepper. The Knockout TOC Round 5, finished it's seventy minute burn with a tasty, full bodied mix of burnt mocha.

Overall it was a great tasting cigar, but I wish it had been a smaller vitola to perhaps escape the burn problems. 

Rated 89

Friday, December 12, 2014

Starbucks Christmas Blend Whole Bean Coffee

Starbucks Christmas Blend Whole Bean Coffee
I picked this Starbucks Christmas Blend Whole Bean Coffee up on a whim while shopping the other night and boy did I pick a real winner.

When the bag was first opened, I was hit with an aroma rush of nuts, coffee and cocoa. Once the Vienna roast colored beans were ground in the hand grinder, a slightly fruity aroma took over.

I brewed this using my normal pour-over ratio of .6 oz of coffee to 10 oz. of water.

From the cup the Christmas Blend was bold yet sweet, with a smooth, slightly syrupy mouthfeel and a cleansing palate wash.

The full bodied flavors had notes of pecans, stone fruit, cocoa, toast with an underlying hint of spice. It was quite tasty.

Overall this Starbucks Christmas Blend Whole Bean Coffee brewed into a nice cup of well balanced coffee. 

Rated 92

Thursday, December 11, 2014

CAO Earthquake

CAO Earthquake Cigar
I've had this CAO Earthquake, from Cigar Train, tucked away in my humidor the past few months. I published a quick review on this cigar a back in may, but it really deserves more. So, let's do it!

The Earthquake is covered with a hearty and oily Maduro colored wrapper. Sure there are a few smaller veins in the wrapper, but it's rolled on seamlessly and it's topped by a nice triple cap. 

From the cold foot and free draw there are notes of sweet fermented tobacco mixed with hints of red wine. 

Once the foot is toasted and burning the Earthquake produces plumes of medium/full bodied smoke with big, flavorful notes of cocoa and tobacco.  As the fairly even burn moves up the cigar there are other flavors of brown sugar, leather, red wine, and charred oak. The seventy-five minute burn has a long full bodied finish with my favorite Maduro flavors, "burnt mocha". Very tasty indeed! 

In my quick review this CAO Earthquake earned a 92 rating. I enjoyed this cigar again so much that it's being bumped up to a well deserved 93. If you run across this cigar, I say, "grab one, or two or ..."!

Rated 93

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

One Life E-Cigar

Here's another six part series of reviews, but this time I'm switching gears a bit and reviewing E-Cigars. I know you're thinking "E-Cigars, what's up with that"? Well, E-Cigars fill a couple needs for me. One, I can smoke an E-cigar while I'm working, meaning fewer smoke breaks. Second, it means fewer cigarettes, and I really do want to stop smoking those.

I've been puffing and chewing on this One Life E-Cigar for the better part of two days now. The E-Cigar itself measures about 5.25" x 40 ring, about the same size as a typical Corona. Checking the weight on my coffee scale it comes in right at 1 oz. (an average of a few Toro's in my humidor weigh in at .6 oz. each), so that's not so bad. It's light enough to hold in my mouth as I sit here typing away. The end cap and wrapper are pretty durable, so far hours of holding this stick between my teeth hasn't caused any visible damage. 

Flavor wise this stick does have a mild "typical" cigar flavor. When you take a puff the vapor tastes like a mix of raw sugar and fermented tobacco. It's close enough to an extra mild cigar that it fits the bill for me. It has has a fairly easy draw but I personally like a bit more vapor from an E-product. 

The package says this One Life E-Cigar will give off 1500 puffs. I don't puff count these, that's better handled by a machine, but I've used it several hours and it's still going strong. Overall it's a pretty good unit. The best thing about this stick is the price. Famous Smoke Shop sells this E-Cigar for only $14.45 per stick and I think that's a great price.

Again, I'm not looking for cigar replacement, but this One Life E-Cigar lets me enjoy a cigar-like experience at times when I can't smoke a cigar. 

Rated 9 out of 10

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

La Aurora Corojo Corona - Mid-Atlantic Exclusive

Welcome to review number two of the new exclusive "Mid-Atlantic" release from La Aurora Cigars. These La Aurora Corona's mimic the Preferido line in wrapper, binder and filler. 

Here's another nice cigar, the La Aurora Mid-Atlantic Release Corojo Corona. This cigar is covered by an oily, nearly vein free, Colorado Claro colored Corojo wrapper. The cigar has seamless construction and it's topped with a triple cap. It's a nice looking, well constructed cigar. 

The cold draw's a bit firm, but OK and it has nuances of sweet fermented tobacco as does the foot. Once the foot is toasted and burning the first medium bodied flavors are a mix of mild black pepper, toast and leather. As the straight burn line moves up the body, an oily gloss begins on the wrapper, plus there are other flavors of brown sugar, earth, anise, spicy cedar and raisins. After fifty-five minutes the cigar finishes with in the full body range with flavors of earth and molasses. 

Nice flavors, nice construction, nice burn time, nice cigar! 

There are six wrappers in this release so this is the second of a six part series. The other four reviews will be coming down the line soon. La Aurora Cigars are distributed by Miami Cigar and Company

Rated 93

3rd Annual Legends Of Fire Black & White Event With CAO Cigars

Legends Of Fire Black & White Event With CAO Cigars
Last night Paula and I attended the 3rd Annual, Black & White event hosted by the Legends Of Fire cigar lounge at Northern Quest Casino. The event featured Rick Rodriguez of CAO Cigars and some fine Bourbons, from Knob Creek, Basil Hayden's, Booker's and Baker's.

Each person in attendance received two CAO Cigars that aren't available to the public: Rick Rodriguez's personal blend, and the un-released Kid Rock, "Rock N Rolled" cigar. 

I smoked Rick's private blend cigar and found it reminiscent of the recently reviewed Flathead 450 Sparkplug in flavor, but it had a bit more kick at the end. It was pretty darn tasty. 

There were great drinks, good food, a huge chocolate fountain, a photo booth and lots of prizes given away throughout the night. Even I won a box of CAO Nasty Nutcracker cigars for being the first person called on to remember that Rick was once part of La Gloria before taking the lead at CAO.

I forgot to ask Blake or Brittney how many tickets were sold, but there was a great turnout and overall they put on another fantastic event! 

Davidoff Winston Churchill Cigar Range Has Officially Been Revealed

The new Davidoff Winston Churchill cigar range has officially been revealed at a pre-launch event on December 8, 2014 in New York

Basel, December 9, 2014. Davidoff announced the renaissance of a line of cigars bearing the name of and befitting the world’s most iconic cigar aficionado – Sir Winston Churchill.

Sir Winston Churchill was a man who was the very embodiment of “Time Beautifully Filled”: a man
who revelled in a varied life with its many experiences. A man of many layers and many dimensions. A man whose many facets added up to a personality which set him apart. Davidoff Cigars share the
same values. These qualities are reflected in this elegant multifaceted Winston Churchill range of
cigars from Davidoff. For these reasons, it is fitting that they bear his name and seal.

The aim was to craft this new range of exceptional cigars as uniquely diverse as the man who inspired them. The Davidoff Masterblenders have embraced and accomplished an exciting challenge: blending cigars of a complex character with a rich mixture of fine qualities drawing on and harmonising the tobaccos of Nicaragua, Mexico, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. The Great Man’s persona, the trait of character, was the inspiration for the chosen formats.

“We feel sure that Sir Winston would have enjoyed sharing one of these exceptional cigars which
surely do justice to one of the most celebrated cigar lovers in history: The Aristocrat, The Artist, The
Commander, The Raconteur, The Statesman, The Traveler – these are cigars of character,” said
Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, CEO of Oettinger Davidoff AG.

Randolph Churchill, Sir Winston’s great-grandson said: “A great cigar was Churchill’s favourite
travelling companion and, whether he was being Statesman, Commander, or dinner party guest, he
was rarely without one. As a descendent of American pioneers, through his mother Jennie Jerome of
New York, and of aristocratic British military figures - the Dukes of Marlborough - through his father, he knew the significance of history and the value of time. And he always had time for a cigar.”

This exclusive cigar range from Davidoff is composed of a new characterful blend. It is crafted with
tobaccos coming from four different countries. It took time, patience and perseverance to create these fine cigars, and to deliver these exceptional blends with the complex character and refined
sophistication aficionados would expect from Davidoff. The blend maintains the expected refinement
and elegance of a Davidoff cigar, while pushing particular palate stimulations and flavours further.
Strength of the blend is medium to full body with a wide palette of exciting flavours and aromas. The
cigars are adorned with a beautiful shiny and oily wrapper with a slight reddish touch. Due to the
different Seco tobaccos, the cigars deliver an excellent, even burn and a firm white ash.

Davidoff Winston Churchill cigar range has officially been revealed

Piloto Mejorado Seco (Dominican Republic)
Piloto Seco (Dominican Republic)
Hybrid Olor/Piloto Seco (Dominican Republic)
Esteli Seco (Nicaragua)
Condegas Seco (Nicaragua)

Negro San Andres (Mexico)

Ecuador Rojiza (Ecuador)

The Davidoff Winston Churchill cigar range

Petit Corona (41 RG x 4 ½ )
The Winston Churchill Petit Corona is the shortest cigar in the range. Due to the smaller RG and the
size, this cigar feels stronger and delivers less pronounced flavour nuances in the body. Beautiful
pepper flavours together with dark coffee and toasty notes are dominating. Available in boxes of 20
Petit Corona cigars.

Robusto (52 RG x 5 ¼ )
The strength is slightly decreased and the flavors are more overt. The complexity of the cigar is more amplified and the flavours more pronounced. Leather with dark coffee flavours take a front role with a creamy aftertaste. Available in boxes of 20 Robusto cigars.

Churchill (47 RG x 6 7/8 )
In this majestic format, the aromas are more pronounced, the flavours are multiple and the nuances of the different tobaccos are more independent. The body of the cigar is very present, and the mouthfeel smoke delivers beautiful flavours of chilli pepper and cedar wood in the beginning, leather and roasted flavours in the second third, and finishes off with creamy and nutty notes. Available in boxes of 20 Churchill cigars.

Toro (54 RG x 6)
Carrying the largest ring gauge in the Winston Churchill range, it is a grand cigar, from the first spicy, leathery, woody notes through the creamy, sweet influences of the Mexican binder to the final
triumphant mix of flavours, courtesy of the Nicaraguan filler tobaccos from Esteli and Condegas.
Available in boxes of 20 Toro cigars.

Launch and availability
Davidoff has created its new Winston Churchill packaging with the utmost care and attention. The
wooden cigar boxes have been lovingly crafted in an elegant white design showcasing the iconic
silhouette of Sir Winston Churchill.

The Davidoff Winston Churchill cigars will be available to cigar aficionados at selected Appointed
Merchants in the US, starting in February 2015, and at Depositaires/Davidoff Flagship Stores
worldwide from March 2015.

Media Contact:
Oettinger Davidoff AG
Corporate Communications
Hochbergerstrasse 15
CH – 4002 Basel
Tel. +41 61 279 36 24 | @Davidoff_Cigars |

Monday, December 8, 2014

First Contest Winner Gets The Loot and Other News

Bob Langmaid, winner of the first Cheap Ash Cigar, giveaway showing off the loot. 

Congratulations Bob! 

Thanks to everyone that entered! 

Speaking of Contests, there may be two more before Christmas. 
There's a new email list on the site, it might be a good idea to subscribe for email only announcements. 

CAO Flathead Sparkplug 450

In the spirit of tonight's Black & White Event at Legends of Fire, which Rick Rodriguez of CAO Cigars will be in attendance, I thought I'd do a full review of one of my favorite small sticks, the CAO Flathead Sparkplug 450. I actually picked this cigar up on my last visit to Legends of Fire. 

I reviewed this back when I thought "quick reviews", were the way to go. Now, I think my old quick reviews really suck so I'm going to fix a few of them. 

Looking at this CAO Flathead Sparkplug 450, it's covered in an oily, stout, Maduro wrapper. The cigar has seamless construction and there are practically no veins visible. The cigar is box-pressed and packed tight, so tight you'd think the draw would be plugged, but again the draw was free and easy. It does have the "Flathead", while the foot is closed with a nice little pig tail finish. I don't clip the foot, so there is no cold draw flavors, but once the cigar is on fire, the first puffs of full bodied smoke are chocolate and mild black pepper. Also this cigar makes smoke, lots of smoke! As the slightly wavy burn moves up the cigar there are other flavors of leather, toasted nuts, dark chocolate and charcoal, plus the wrapper leaves behind a nice aftertaste on lips. 

The burn self corrected by the second half and after seventy-five minutes the cigar finished with a great tasting  mix of charcoal, cocoa and leather. I should also mention there here hints of mild pepper full length, just enough to give it a nice spicy kick. After the cigar was done and I was making my final notes, I noticed the cigar left behind a nice aftertaste that reminded me of horehound candy

Overall I really like this cigar and it's packaging. If you're a Maduro fan, I bet you'll like it too! You can pick these up at Famous Smoke Shop for only $81.99 per box of 20.

Rated 94

Davidoff Art Initiative Announced

Davidoff Art Initiative Announced

New Artist Studios in Altos de Chavón, La Romana, Dominican Republic
Engel Leonardo as the Next Artist for the
Davidoff Art Residency Program
And Tilting Axis as the Recipient of the New Davidoff Art Grant
New Artwork On View in the Davidoff Collectors Lounge by Artist Quisqueya Henríquez

Davidoff International Art Residency Studios in Altos de Chavón

Basel, Switzerland/Miami Beach, Fl., USA, December 8, 2014 – Oettinger Davidoff AG, the worldwide leading manufacturer of premium cigars, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, presented the new artist studios for the Davidoff International Art Residency and announced during Art Basel in Miami Beach the next Dominican artist to take part in the Art Residency and a new recipient of Art Grants. These programs are part of the Davidoff Art Initiative, which was launched in 2012 with the mission of supporting contemporary art and artists in the Caribbean and Dominican Republic and fostering cultural engagement between the Caribbean region and the rest of the world.

As Associate Partner of Art Basel for the third consecutive year, Davidoff Cigars operated a VIP hospitality lounge in the Collectors Lounge as well as an outdoor lounge in the Botanical Garden. "Once again, we return from Art Basel in Miami Beach with new experiences, new contacts, new friendships, and perhaps most importantly, having further solidified the visibility and reputation of our brand in the eyes of cultural aficionados from all over the world," said Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, CEO and member of the Board of Oettinger Davidoff AG. "There is really no event quite like Art Basel Miami Beach, with its enormous attendance from North America, South and Central America, Europe and even Asia, and its vast press coverage. In this important and intense gathering of high net-worth individuals and opinion-makers, it is heartening to know that the Davidoff Art Initiative now counts as one of the most innovative and respected art initiatives, not only in our own industry, but among luxury lifestyle brands worldwide."
Davidoff International Art Residency Studios in Altos de Chavón

New Artist Studios for the Davidoff International Art Residency
In collaboration with Altos de Chavón School of Design, the International Art Residency will host the first five international artists at the newly built residency facilities in La Romana, Dominican Republic, from January 18 to April 5, 2015. They will work in new, custom-built artist studios designed by Adolfo Despradel, Director of Planning and Design, Costasur Dominicana S.A. at Altos de Chavón School of Design, the country’s leading institution for art and design education. The maquette of the new studios was on view in the Davidoff Cigars Lounge in the Botanical Garden at Art Basel in Miami Beach.

Nominated by a global network of art professionals and selected by the International Advisory Council, the five artists in the inaugural group represent a diverse range of artistic practices and backgrounds. They are deeply interested in engaging with the social and cultural fabric of the Dominican Republic.

The five artists are: Alia Farid (b. 1985, Kuwait/Puerto Rico), Nuria Montiel (b. 1982, Mexico City, Mexico), Cathleen Mooses (b. 1982, Chicago, IL), Mathilde Rosier (b. 1973, Paris, France), and Soledad Salamé (b. 1954, Santiago, Chile). In addition to pursuing their own work during the residency, the artists will have opportunities to engage with the Dominican cultural community, as well as with students and residents of Altos de Chavón and the neighboring region.

Davidoff Art Residency in Beijing, China
Engel Leonardo will be the sixth artist to take part in the Art Residency. He will be in residence at the Red Gate Gallery Residency in Beijing, China, from May 1 through June 30, 2015.

Engel Leonardo, Antillas, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

Engel Leonardo (b. 1977, Baní, Dominican Republic) works across sculpture, installation, site-specific interventions and ready-mades to address issues related to climate change, nature, traditional crafts, architecture and popular culture of the Caribbean. “This residency program will allow me to do research about the production of objects in China, from traditional craft practices to industrial objects of mass production,” said artist Engel Leonardo. “Industrialization, globalization and the integration of international trends have significantly impacted the local lifestyle and traditions of the Caribbean, and they have altered the physical environment as well. My research will be documented through drawings and photographs that will create a taxonomy of Chinese objects to be compared with the imported objects typically used in the Caribbean.”

Davidoff Art Grants 
Davidoff Art Initiative has selected Tilting Axis as the recipient of the next grant. Tilting Axis is a regional meeting based in Barbados aimed to promote the exchange of artists and professionals working within the visual arts communities across the wider Caribbean region. Tilting Axis: Within and Beyond the Caribbean – Shifting Models of Sustainability and Connectivity will take place from February 24 - 25, 2015 in Barbados.

Davidoff Limited Art Edition 2014 by Quisqueya Henríquez
The first Limited Art Edition cigar boxes were launched during Art Basel in Hong Kong in May 2014. These editions were also available in Davidoff’s Lounge inside the Collectors Lounge at Art Basel in Miami Beach.

 Davidoff Collectors Edition 2014, artwork by Quisqueya Henríquez. Courtesy of the artist.

Featuring original commissioned artwork by the important acclaimed Caribbean artist, Quisqueya Henríquez, two Limited Edition cigar cases were produced, and stocked with custom-made cigars blended exclusively for the edition. In addition, the artist was invited to create a limited run of fifty Collectors Edition, which include the special edition of cigar case, as well as an original artist’s print from the series of images developed for the project. Part of all sales generated by the Limited Editions are dedicated to supporting the Davidoff Art Initiative.

Furthermore, building on the success of the special-edition collaboration, several new works by Quisqueya Henríquez were on view in the Davidoff Collectors Lounge at Art Basel in Miami Beach, from December 3 - 7, 2014. The artist presented an intervention in space that included the design of the walls as an inseparable part of the artwork on view. Henríquez explores stereotypes related to race, gender and cultural conventions. Humor, parody, deconstruction and appropriation are some of the approaches that she has used to explore different media including collage, video, photography, installation and sound.

Curator Amy Rosenblum-Martin said, “Although Quisqueya has been described as neo-Dada, her true passion lies in how a process or activity can turn into art and as public participation gives meaning to that work, making the cliché one new paradigm.”

Media Contacts
Oettinger Davidoff AG
Corporate Communications
Hochbergerstrasse 15
CH – 4002 Basel
Tel. +41 61 279 36 24 | @Davidoff Cigars |
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