Saturday, March 10, 2012

What the hell is Snus?

As I mentioned a the post few days ago, I have been smoking far less. As much as I still love smoking cigars, my work schedule now does not permit a the 20 minute purito smoke break every day. My cigar smoking is usually when I am out drinking with the guys (location permitting, and we are on track to be as screwed here in Costa Rica as the rest of the world).

I had tried Swedish Snus for the first time about a year and a half ago at the Punta Cana Poker Classic 2010 when a Swedish guy that was at my table offered me some. At first I treated it like dip, and I did not want to swallow. In fact, another guy at the table tried it and had to make fold his hand and make a dash for the head, so I was all the more cautious. It was good, but I had plenty of cigars and was doing plenty of drinking.

Then the London trip came about in late January of last year.  It was cold and windy, especially at night, and smoking in the frigid air was brutal. This time snus played a whole different role. Before I left for home, I was give several can/tins... I started smoking less, and when I ran out, I bought more.

Snus is a variation of chewing tobacco that is processed differently than what I had seen in the United States. Although the presentation seems similar to dip, it is spit-less and obviously lighter. Apparently this is because it is dry cured as opposed to fermented, however in my opinion- whatever they do creates an excellent product. My father chews Red Man (owned now by Swedish Match) and by brother chewed Kodiak, and I can assure you that it is quite different (positively).

Snus is placed in the upper lip, and the portion sizes are much smaller and very subtle. In fact, I would say the portion is so discreet that most people have no idea that I have one in.

Dip style chewing tobacco usually brings about thoughts of mint flavorings, and there is snus that shares those flavors, however there are so many variations and other flavors that it is really incredible. It has been interesting finding a handful of ones that I prefer. I will go into that a little later.

I have bought from a couple places, both online, however I have been very happy with Snus Central. Snus Central not only has an excellent online store, but they also have lots of information on their .org site including news and an online forum. People tend to get a little 'snus crazy,' like the thread What's in your mouth right now?, but the forum is helpful and everyone seems well-intentioned.

Snus comes generally in a small tin/container (called a dosa in Swedish) usually made out of plastic. There are three main ways the tobacco will come inside the tin; loose, regular portion, white portion. I prefer the white portion as it is the cleanest looking, and it just is what I prefer. Many brands have added a great feature to the design which is a small 'ashtray' compartment on the top. This makes disposing of a used portion inconspicuous if you are not near a trash bin.

In terms of portions, I have tried all three and some of their variants. Loose snus is the same thing that we find in the portion snus, but it is 'loose' in the tin and you need to form a portion using your hands and fingers. I do not mind this style of snus, however it fails to offer the covert advantages that snus can offer. Next you have the regular portion where you will find a bunch of small bags of tobacco; usually 24 to a tin. These are fine, but compared to the white portion they look more rustic and a bit less refined (even though the tobacco inside is essentially the same). The white portion is just that; 'white.' because the bags have not been stained by the tobacco [yet]. Swedish Match wite portion also come in a start portion and each bag is like a little wedge that fits perfectly between the upper lip and the gum. In my opinion, swedish match's white portions (and there are many) tend to be my favorite.

My favorites thus far have been (all by white portion and by Swedish Match); Göteborg’s Rapé, EttanTre Ankare, and Röda Lacket. Ettan and Tre Ankare have a similar tobacco taste, however Röda Lacket has a slight fruit essence and  Göteborg’s Rapé has an herbal undertone that they claim is of bergamot orange. However, I every time I order I get a couple tins of something new.

If you have an interest (or need) to smoke less, and would like an excellent alternative, be sure check out Swedish Snus (not Camel or Marlboro which I have also tried), and see what you think.


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Cigar Hunting in San Jose Costa Rica - 2012 UPDATE

It has been about 5 years since I have written about the situation of cigars in San Jose (Cigar Hunting in San Jose Part 1 & Part II), Costa Rica, however I consistently get site visits to those pages and questions about the current state of affairs. Although I have been on a hiatus from writing on my blogs (here and I am going to try to get back into the swing of things and felt this would be a good follow-up post.

On a personal note; over the past five years my life has been a bit up-rooted both personally and professionally. Although I still love cigar smoking, I have gone from smoking two or three (or more if drinking) a day to three to four a week. I have also picked up wonderful addiction to Swedish Snus (I will write more about that later). My taste for snus came about on a work trip to London. On my trip to England there were two factors at play, 1) law does not allow you to smoke inside most any buildings, and 2) it was bitter cold at that time of the year. Smoking outside was  flat-out painful. By the time I finished my cigar, the cold had eaten my buzz and chilled me to the bone. Ironically, I found Snus to be a great alternative to lighting up in the frigid air of The Old Smoke.

Over the past fives years there was quite a bit of movement in the world of cigars in Costa Rica. Five years ago there was an Official Habanos distributor and a variety of small cigar brands popping up. Some lines doing a better job then others, but there were a bunch (mostly white-label attempts). We have seen a bit of a revolution on both fronts. Most of the small brands have fallen to the wayside and a new Habanos distributor has moved in and taken a aggressive and positive approach to the distribution of Habanos in Costa Rica.

First, talking about the cigars produced in Costa Rica you will still find a variety of brands here, however the quality has taken a wrong turn and the number has declined. From what I have heard, access to the quality prime material has become increasingly difficult. The top brand made in Costa Rica, Don Benigno Cigars, continues to be the premium cigar it always has been, but it is far above the rest. Things, however, are ever-changing, and if you hear of something new be sure to let me know so I can check it out. Some of the brands are so small that they often stay unknown even in a small community like Costa Rica.

Moving forward to the subject of Habanos (i.e. real Cuban cigars) in Costa Rica.... There was a bit of the changing of the guard over the past fives years. The previous distributor of Habanos lost their contract. There was plenty of rumor floating around as to what happened, and I heard both sides of the story. I think fault probably lands on both sides, however the result is the same; We have new representation for Habanos in Costa Rica, and this is not a bad thing.

Look for this sticker before at retail outlets.
There is a team of partners, Cruzcanela Exclusive Tobaccos, that have taken over here and are very in tune with the idea of keeping fakes out, and in making it easier to identify authorized dealers in Costa Rica. They have instituted a numbering system, that only authorized retailers will hold. You can compare the number they display with their website to make sure that the dealer is who he/she says he is. Although this system is not perfect, this is a great step in combating the rampant falsification of Cuban cigars in Costa Rica. I applaud these guys for taking on this approach as opposed to accepting the status-quo.

The team has opened up a store front in San Jose (specifically in Rohrmoser east of the United State Embassy). It is an official Casa del Habano. This is not the first time that we have seen this done in Costa Rica, but the location and the approach seems to be spot-on. The only complaint I have heard is that parking is not easy... but then again, welcome to Costa Rica.

According to their website, they have a VIP room, lockers, a bar restaurant, and of course a cigar store stocked full of Habanos. This should be a unique destination for nationals and tourists alike. Check out this link to their Photo Album-  the place looks great. I have got to check this place out.

One thing to keep in mind is that Habanos are top-of-the-line cigars, and they are not cheap (but good cigars are rarely be cheap). This is not a location to visit if you are looking for $1 cigars. If you are going to invest in some, be prepared to pay.

All of this good news, of course, has it's catch- there are still TONS of fakes in Costa Rica. Many of the same things as have wrote about before and more. For real Habanos, there is number one rule world wide- DO NOT BUY CIGARS ON THE STREET. Follow that rule, and you will eliminate a good percentage of the problem, however be sure to also make sure that your retail outlet is numbered. If you ever have any issues with one of their retailers, I am certain that the team at Cruzcanela would prefer to hear about it. As for other Costa Rican cigars, feel free to try what is out there, and let us know if you find something interesting- however you can never go wrong with a Don Benigno.

If you are looking for Cigars in San Jose, Costa Rica (and even many of the beach areas), the good news is that you will not have a problem finding them. So investigate and enjoy... and be sure to treat yourself.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cuban Cigar documentary that has "heart and soul"

Cigars: The Heart and Soul of Cuba and James Suckling bring the heart and soul of Cuban Cigars to your screen.
I enjoy documentaries, and I love cigars. Although  this seemed like a match made in heaven, I had my concerns going into the screening of this documentary; could it be a load of regurgitated dribble, or worse [like so many other documentaries about Cuba] a semi-political aberrational view of the Cuban reality-  fortunately Jame's approach portrayed neither and created an excellent film that nearly anyone should enjoy.

James Suckling
James Suckling's is someone I knew very little about before hearing about this documentary, however reading more about his history and accomplishments as a journalist I have come to the conclusion that this guy has 'it' figured out. Who would not love this guy's job? Wine SpectatorCigar Aficionado Europe... if we thew in Playboy centerfold photographer into the CV and I would say this could round out just about the best career ever; but even without that I can still proclaim that he has quite the life.

James and his film Cigars: The Heart and Soul of Cuba, although little awkward from time to time, deliver with a vibrant and accurate tour of the Cuban Habano and the Cubanos who create it. This visually enchanting journey is a pleasure for anyone with the slightest interest in the subject of tobacco or Cuba. 

For beginners; the films veraciously teaches the entire process in a superb format using the traditional Spanish words supported by actual shots of process. And for those that are well versed in the subject (or self-proclaimed expert like myself ;) ) the film's the interviews, personalities, and cinematography transport you on a nostalgic pilgrimage to one of the most intriguing place on Earth and the mecca of the Cigar-world. 

If you have the opportunity to view this film I am certain that you will come away knowing more about, or, at the very least, feeling a better connection to, Cuban cigars and the heart and soul that goes into their creation. 

For more information about the film:


Monday, July 19, 2010

La Flor Dominicana

A friend gave me this one the other day; it was pretty good. I am going to give it another shot and see if it is consistent...

I have no clue on the vitola or the price, but it was a fairly full flavored for the size.

Let' see how round two goes!

-TC Keith

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Habanos Hernandez: A Good & Tasty Costa Rican Cigar

One of the nice things about living in Costa Rica is that it has developed a cigar culture that did not exist before. Not only do we have access to the most Cuban cigars, but also there are a variety of cigar factories and brands produced right here in Costa Rica.

Some are better than others- but there are really 4 categories in my opinion; Bad, Smokable, Good, and Great. Unfortunately most of the cigars are in the first two categories, and only one is in the last (that I have found); however it is always a pleasure to find another good cigar.

Habanos Hernandez is defiantly one of these good cigars.

I received an email from a nice couple here in Costa Rica that have been working on the development of their cigar brand, and they asked me to give it a try. As things are here in Costa Rica, in the end we knew several people in common, and I gladly looked forward to trying their cigars.

The presentation that I saw was crisp with that simple elegance I prefer.

All of the cigars has a similar construction and blend, however for the sake of the review I used the Extra Robusto.

The cigar was lightly rolled, but was not missing material. It's wrapper was light and delicate with an attractive shine.

The cigar was a smooth cigar with an easy draw. I expected it to be a little stronger for it's ring gauge (52), however it was not that it lacked strength, rather it was just a lighter smoke; easy on the throat and lungs...

It has a light aroma and a natural flavor. The nut, wood and spice characteristics came through from the first puff and carried through until the end. I am happy to report there was none of that damp-earthy flavor that I despise.

The burn was even and consistent, and I did not have to relight it.

Habanos Hernandez is one of the cigars that exceeds the run-of-the-mill reputation that has defined many of Costa Rica's other cigars.

Their website is growing so check back often. For more information visit them at:

Habanos Hernandez (Extra Robusto)
Overall Score: 90/100
Flavor: 85/100
Construction: 90/100
Presentation: 95/100


Monday, August 11, 2008

Kentucky's Black Patch Cigar :: An American Surprise

Although I have a small blog, a good number of people send me cigars. I will be honest- if I can not write something good, I choose not to write. SIDE NOTE: I do have a couple more reviews pending.

Nevertheless, I welcome the cigars- I like to see what is happening out there. Several months ago I got an email about Black Patch Cigars, that included some tobacco grown in the USA. I am not talking about Connecticut seed wrapper, I am talking about actual "Kentucky Broadleaf ligero."

I was quick to show interest in this cigar because to my knowledge I have never seen or tried this type of tobacco. Eric, the marketer, distributor and perhaps inventor of this cigar, was kind enough to send me a handful of cigars that I received when I was States-side... importing cigars to Costa Rica is a painstaking and expensive process.

The actual cigars looked good. Simple construction, attractive wrappers, and a clean smell when unlit. I smoked a couple after my return, and I was immediately impressed. It is not that they are the best cigars that I have ever smoked, maybe not top 10... remember I smoke A LOT of cigars... but this cigar was a total surprise and a real treat.

There are two things I despise about most non-Cuban cigars 1) a damp grassy flavor, and 2) an aftertaste; Black Patch Cigars have neither of these. They were really clean.

I reviewed a Classic Toro... at least that is what I think it was. It was an easy smoke. A great draw, clean taste and a very even burn. All of the cigars including the Toro has a special tang that is accounted for in the True Cigars Puff Chart as spice. Some of the other noticeable flavors that I noticed were wood and peat.

Just slightly less then a medium smoke, it was easy on the lungs. I did not experience any discomfort inhaling the normal bit I take in. Again, this is not characteristic for many non-Cuban cigars that try to compensate a lack of aroma with added strength. The aroma was light, but not pungent.

The ash was light and flaky- maybe even weak, however I kept a good inch on the cigar after I lit it and I did not lose it. It's simple construction gave it this characteristic that reminded me of cigars I smoked rolled in super-small productions.

This is a cigar than any proud North American should try. As I always say, tobacco is something distinctly American (in terms of it coming from the New World), but to have a cigar with some North American leaves in it's blend, it is even a more unique experience. Kind of like that first sip of bourbon or corn whiskey- maybe it is not the best tasting thing you have ever tried, but it is good- and it is ours.

For more information you can visit their website: Black Patch Cigar Co.

A "thank you" to Eric, and I wish him the best of luck.

Black Patch (Classic Toro)

Overall Score: 87/100
Flavor: 80/100
Construction: 90/100
Presentation: 90/100


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Smoke In Style at Bogies Cigars In Homewood, IL

Back in November on a trip up North I was invited by my uncle to a project meeting with a few friends of his where they were discussing the development of a Cigar Shop and Smoking Club. The group was charged up to move pretty quick, but I saw the project a long way off. I was wrong...

Last month when I went back, we went to visit their creation and I was absolutely impressed. Their vision was beautifully realized in the warm and classy way that they had sketched out on paper just a few months before.

Located in a strip mall, part of their plan, you see a few neon cigar signs (including an elaborate one of their logo). From the outside, you might be deceived into thinking that you are entering a run of the mill corner smoke shop, however once you go through the door the experience changes.

You are greeted by fine wood humidors, and an island in the center with some additional display cases and the cash register; a unique layout that feels more open and less like a retail store. Behind the island they are staffed with several of the most attractive smiles you will find in the Chicago-land area. This, being only half of the place, already feelt unlike most of the cigar shops that I have visited; enticing and chic, but not at all pretentious. They nailed it.

Beyond the island in the center is an inviting Moorish arch (Casablanca-esque) that goes into the other half of their location; their smoking lounge. The layout is simple, on one side you have luxary seating and on the other you have a coffee bar (with bar seating) and their "Premium Humidor" with their top-shelf cigars and private cigar lockers that are available to a limited number of clients.

The seating is laid out well and allows for multiple groups to converse independtantly on plush leather chairs. In addition there is a 4-top which would let someone eat or work comfortably on a laptop. The bar seating is ample and comfortable (but no Keith-style drinks unfortunatly).

The Casablanca feel contines with murals representing some memorable scenes from the movie framed by more of the distinctive arches. And, of course, they have a well place large screen television that does not pollute the character of the space.

The smoking club experience was right on. The air extractors were realativly quiet, the ceilings were high, and the ambiance posh. It was well staffed, but did not feel one bit like a bar or restaurant. They were attentive, but not pushy- and who can complain about an attracitve woman cleaning your ash tray.

Beyond the experience, which is nothing less than 5 star, their selection is very complete. They carry all of the top brands as well as a good variety of fair priced cigars. Although I am a BYOC guy, I selected a Joya De Nicaragua Torpedo (Belicoso?) for my father- one of my old favs.

My experience at Bogie's Fine Cigars was a great in every way. It was especially satisfying to see the vision of the owner's become a reality. Anyone in the Southeast Illinois / Northwest Indiana area that enjoys cigars should definalty pay them a visit.

Bogie's Fine Cigars
17816 Halsted St
Homewood, IL 60430-2012
(708) 798-4914


UPDATE: July 26, 2008

Cigar Review has a piece related to Bogie's Grand Opening including some photos of the store. Although it appears to be a couple months old, I just heard of it now:
Bogie's Fine Cigars & Smokehouse Holds Grand Opening

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Cigars In Liberia Costa Rica

I wanted to re-post this earlier True Cigars entry regarding cigar shops in San Jose. Someone asked about Liberia.

Cigar Hunting In San Jose, Costa Rica
July 18, 2006

Thanks for the question, and feel free to email me.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Puros Don Leon :: Cigar Review

Overall Score: 75/100
Name: Don Leon Size: Esplendido
Origin: Costa Rica Construction: Hand(?)
Purchased: N/A Price: See Website
Smoked: Living Room Accompanied by: Old Parr 12 (Scotch)

Some months back a nice fellow by the name of Lynn contacted me about blogging his cigar on my site. He offered to drop off the cigar next time he was in San Jose, and some weeks later he stopped by and dropped me a sample.

At first glance, I saw a well built cigar with a flawless wrapper- dark in color. It did not appear to be rolled too tight, so I knew the draw would be easy; easy draw is a plus for me.

I did not waste any time, and I opened one up. I had a hard time distinguishing the seco from the ligero, but that might just be part of the blend. It was rolled slightly different that I have seen many other cigars, the leaves were slightly more curled, but since it did not appear to be rolled to tight, that did not affect the draw.

For my review, I smoked the Espendido, a 6 inch by 50 ring cigar. I unique vitola that is like the uncommon Cuban "double." The cigars smoked well, proper coning, no significant runners.

Every smoke had a sense of peat in it, and when the smoke first hit the tougue, a tickle of spice come through. "Earthy," would be the term I use to explain this cigar, but do I mean earthy, not grassy. A strong woody flavor mixed with significant hints of roasted coffee passed through my pallet with every draw.

The smoke was thick and less pungent than many Nicaraguan cigars. Overall the cigar lacked aroma, but this was not a show stopper. No overheating, and no relights. The wrapper, although delicate, complimented the cigar well by burning evenly.

Overall, I enjoyed them. And, for being a 100% Costa Rican cigar, I was surprised and happy smoke it.

For more information on Don Leon Cigars, visit their website:

Lynn is a real gentleman, and I appreciate his effort with this cigar in Costa Rica.

Don Leon (Esplendido)
Overall Score: 75/100
Flavor: 50/100
Construction: 95/100
Presentation: 80/100

Saturday, September 08, 2007

True Cigars Puff Chart (TCPC)

I love Scotch, in fact, it is hands-down my favorite spirit. One of the sites that I have visited I saw a Tasting Chart (or Spider Chart) for the variety of malts. I liked it a lot, and thought about how that could be applied to cigar tastings. I have decided to use a similar chart, when appropriate.

The characteristics that I use are: Honey, Berry, Nut, Wood, Peat (earthy), Coffee, Cocoa, and Spice. These are the most common tastes that I have found related to cigars. The scale goes from 0 to 10. See the example below.

I hope that this will help readers visualize my comments a little better.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Culebra Cigar Review in Cigar Aficionado

My latest issue of Cigar Aficionado came in today, and after a quick scan I recalled a post I made a couple of years ago about the culebra cigar vitola, you can check that out here. With the possible exception of the tobacco pipe I wrote about, culebra cigars are one of the "funner" (is that a word?) cigars I have smoked...

Find Cigar Aficionado's review of the Partagas Culebra in the October issue. Click here for a preview.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Could RUSH be right about the CIGAR TAX?

I will admit that I am not a Rush fan. I am too moderate. But, to be totally honest, I could care less about most radio personalities. From time to time I do, however, catch a transcript. A caller, in the link above, is calling the proposed cigar tax a conspiracy against Mr. Limbaugh. Please. I hope that call was in jest- or perhaps from someone drunk. Actually, that sounds very much like the type of thing that I might propose when I am drunk.

To Rush: Let's be honest here, this will not pass with the Dem-power alone, so get on the horn an use some of that power to protect US smokers. If you do this for the US cigar smokers, I will owe you. And if you ever make it to San Jose, I will open my door and feed you the best cigars you have ever smoked and try to drink you under the table (or under the bar, as I do not have a table in my house just a 3 meter bar) with some of the finest Scotch south of the Rio Grande.

For once we do agree: This luxury tax is asinine.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A New Cigar Tax?

Cigar tax proposal threatens US retailers, Latin American countries

The rich may not care...
The upper-middle class may smoke less...
The middle class may stop smoking cigars...

Large cigar retailers may suffer...

Small cigar retailers WILL suffer...
Latin America's opinion of the States WILL NOT improve.

This is a time for the US Lawmakers to think outside the box, and ponder how this decision may affect their hard working constituents and regional partners.
I wonder how many members of Congress smoke... I wonder how many will stop smoking if this passes.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I am not virgin to Venezuelan cigars anymore

Venezuelan cigars... Well, I busted my cherry last night- and I was impressed.

Less herby than Nicaraguan or Dominican, strength of a Honduran, and unique spice that tickles the tongue. This is a good cigar.

Review forthcoming.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Bush's Ban On Cuban Cigars in 2004, Just Plain Stupid

Wow... I bumped into this insightful observation, and I was in shock. It is pretty short, and worth the read.

I will be the first to admit that I do not keep up with US laws as they come and go, but this one is a real shocker. Apparently in late September of 2004, a law went into affect that not only makes importation of Cuban merchandise (including cigars) illegal, but EVEN buying them abroad is illegal. I am speechless. This is the stupidest waste of time I have seen since the $12 million sting operation to arrest Tommy Chong (of Cheech and Chong fame) and 55 others for selling glass pipes.

I am not going to go into all the other things that US Government should be doing, because we all know what is going on, rather I am going to ask a few questions. Drop your morality here, and just think legally:
  • Is having sex with a prostitute in Canada illegal for a US citizen?
  • Is smoking a marijuana cigarette in Amsterdam illegal for a US citizen?
  • Is drinking a beer at age 16 in Austria illegal for a US citizen?
  • Is consensual sex with a 15 year old in the Czech Republic illegal for a US citizen (not from South Carolina)?
  • Is driving 100 mph in the United Arab Emirates (where they allow it) illegal for a US citizen?
I understand some of these laws are state laws, but I am making a point.

The "land of the free" needs to look the word "free" up in the dictionary, because that "freedom" is the rationale they use to send the "brave" into battle. Let us smoke in peace.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bringing Cuban Cigars Back To the US

DISCLAIMER FOR US CITIZENS: The information contained in this post is for entertainment purposes only. Any use of this information in violation of any US federal, state or local law is prohibited.

I received this message a few days ago:

From: Jim in Tampa

Subject: great blog sir!

I want to congratulate you on your excellent cigar blog. Particularly useful to me was your recommendations on reliable shops in San Jose to purchase cuban cigars as I plan to visit next month for the first time.

This may be a dumb question, but I'm sure you have other readers who may be curious about this as well;

Is the matter of bringing back cuban cigars from CR to the US as simple as taking the labels off of them? Is it better to bring them on carry on or checked in luggage? Please let me know your opinion on bringing back a few cuban cigars to the US in the safest and most discreet way.

keep up the excellent blogging!


Jim in Tampa


Thank you for your kind words about the blog. I will try to expand the Costa Rica Cigar Hunting information in the future. I have often thought about adding a section specifically dealing with all of the cigar stores and dealers in San Jose- but I do not want to make too many enemies in the city where I am living... Good to hear that you are coming to Costa Rica for a visit, it is a great travel destination.

On the subject of bringing Cuban Cigars back the the Unites States; no- not a dumb question at all. I have not touched on this information before, and, although I have never looked for it before online, I have not read about it online much either.

Indeed, you initial assumption is correct, it can be as simple as just taking off the rings, but there can be a little more to it. I have seen many people bring Cuban Cigars back to the US from Costa Rica, and other locations, and I have some tips to make the most of the process.

First of all, you will need a travel humidor, or an empty cigar box(es). This of course will depend on how many cigars you would like to bring back. However, if you are going to make the investment in trueHabano cigars, I recommend that you take care of them in the proper conditions. This is something that people do not often plan for, and I have heard some horror stories of cigars drying out, wrappers cracking, or worse.

Now that you have the proper conditions to stow your cigars, you need to think about what you will be buying. I stress this part, because depending on where you go you will have a great variety to choose from. For cigars that you plan to travel with, go for the gold- spend more than you normally would and pick up some super-stars (Like aCohiba Siglo IV or Sublime for example). In addition, most locations will let you inspect and smell the cigars before you buy them- do not be shy. Make sure that the cigars smell fresh, and are not overly dry.

After you have purchased the cigars, you will have to remove the rings. Some shops will help you do this, but it would be at your own risk no matter what they say. Depending on your manual dexterity you might want to do this yourself. However you choose to do it if, make sure you make a map so that you know what is what. You might be surprised how similar two different robustos might look.

It is not necessary to throw the rings away. If you take them off with the right amount of care, they can be put back on, but if it is a matter of damaging the rings or the cigar wrapper, you know what to do. Before you leave home take a decent quality envelope with you. By decent quality I mean one that is not easy to see through. You could also use a "tri-folded" piece of paper inside the envelope. While in Costa Rica, you can send the envelope back home for less than a dollar. Any hotel will help you get the appropriate stamps and post your letter. It may take a couple weeks to arrive.

You can put the rings back on using white glueor a glue stick. Use another cigar from your collection to get the proper location set, and be very conservative with the glue. Put a 'dab' in the same spot where the dry glue is and paste the cigar ring to itself.

Traveling into the United States with "un-ringed" cigars from Costa Rica should not be an issue, as several of the local factories sell "un-ringed bundles." Be sure to declare you "Costa Rican Cigars" on your customs declaration form, as you are required to declare all tobacco.

Enjoy your trip to Costa Rica, and be careful when you go cigar hunting.



DISCLAIMER FOR US CITIZENS: The information contained in this post is for entertainment purposes only. Any use of this information in violation of any US federal, state or local law is prohibited.

I am not a sell-out, but I am an Amazon Affiliate.

I have been a loyal Amazon customer for some time. I love their site, I love their selection, and the one time I had a problem the sorted it out like the pros that they are.

I have not only books and DVDs from them, but plenty of other items (I have a jump box in Miami, and the items make here to Costa Rica without incident). I will recommend some of the books and items that I have purchased that have served me well. Although I can not stand by every product they offer, based on my experience I can stand by the company.

I will eventually add an Amazon search like you see above on the left. In addition, you will notice that the recommendations, plus some other related items, will have links- all of these links are affiliate links. If my blog encourages a purchase, and Amazon offers what you need at the best price, please buy it through the link provided.

My next post will be the first like this.



Saturday, May 19, 2007

Djeep Lighters - Disposable Lighters For Cigar Smokers

Have you ever heard of Djeep Lighters?

Until recently I had never heard of Djeep, then several months ago when we were entertaining at my house a lighter "stayed" after everyone else had left. It caught my eye. It was unique. Although disposable, the lighter have a nice look and feel. More importantly, it was very very reliable. Long story short, I was in love.

I was looking for a place to buy another Djeep lighter- and immediately arrived at the their website. Djeep is a French company that focuses only on disposable lighters. They offered much more than the simple black one that I found- they have a large variety of colors and designs... kind of like "Zippo meets Bic."

The website is very interactive, including a "build your own lighter" feature (very cool). Distributors, however, are not listed. I contacted them via the website, and was impressed with the timeliness of the response, but, let down by the news; they do not have a distributor in Costa Rica.

Further searching revealed that they seem to have solid US distribution (which doesn't help me right now). So for those of you in the US, get out and pick one up.

My further searching did reveal an interesting endorsement; WikiHow's "How to Properly Light a Cigar." I have never been one on the whole "25 step ritual" of cutting and lighting a cigar, so this 3 step process seems accurate to me. Nevertheless, it was the opening paragraph that talks about Djeep lighters:

Djeep lighter is probably the best of the disposable lighters, as it has an adjustable flame, and the flame is very steady, and does not flicker or smell bad like some of the cheaper lighters, which use foul smelling gas in their lighters.
Source: WikiHow
Although the photo looks like a fake Cohiba Cigar, the writer nailed it with this Djeep comment. This lighter is by far the best disposable lighter I have ever used, and I highly recommend it to cigar smokers.

In today's world, there are certain disadvantages to carrying nice/expensive lighters- for me Djeep is the answer.


For more information see: Djeep

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

US Funds To Buy Cuban Cigars

These was some obvious sarcasm in my rant Habanos, the dictator's choice! from a couple years back, but his appreciation for a fine cigar has come up in the news again and this time it is way more serious.

Some of the things that the colonel is accused of sound pretty bad, but "US Funds to buy Cuban cigars..." I will let you decide.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Chicago-land's 8 to 8 Cigar Shop Rocks!

If you are in the Chicagoland area and want to check out a hell of a cigar shop swing by 8 to 8 Cigar shop in Villa Park. Although the guy running the show didn't appear to be serious cigar smokers, they provided all of the conditions to please us die-hard smokers.

I was absolutely impressed with 8 to 8 Cigar Shop. This was a very large square foot free standing store with a HUGE variety of cigars. In addition, they had a small coffee area, and much to my liking, a good selection of hookah shisha. I picked up 3 - 50 gram boxes on a nice 3 for 2 special. The shop was laid out well, and it looked good with wood cabinets, tile, and pub like green walls. If I was to have one complaint, it would be a ventilation issue, but I am sure the place was not designed for a 40 person crew all smoking cigars.

Prices seemed reasonable and fair, but i must again harp on the selection- it was great. From good to bad, from humidors to shisha, they had a little bit of everything.

I arrived at the cigar shop just by chance on my recent trip back to the US. My uncle heard of a cigar night/poker event held there, and we were to meet up with some friends of his that are looking at opening a Cigar Lounge and Shop. Very sharp groups of guy, I will be keeping my ears open about the project.

The event was sponsored by Camacho and had specials, free food, and a poker tournament that "prized" the top 3. The nice people at Camacho put on a nice event. I will be doing a review of a Camacho cigar soon. Probably a 65ish cigar on my scale.

Again, anyone in the area should give this cigar shop a spin.


For more information:
8 to 8 Cigars
302 E. St. Charles Road
Villa Park, Illinois 60181
Phone: (630) 993-1234