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

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Nice Cuban Cigar Article on CNN

This is from a couple weeks ago, but it is a nice short read if you have not seen it.

Very accurate... other than, in my opinion, the "strict quality control in factories" part near the end

Enjoy the read,


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

R.D. Gomez Cigar Review

Overall Score: 78/100
Name: R.D. Gomez Size: Torpedo
Origin: Honduras Construction: Hand
Purchased: N/A Price: See Website
Smoked: Porch Accompanied by: Glenmorangie 10

The name Gomez alone is a good start for me. It is a family name on my wife's side- but let me get back on track. A distributor from the Western part of the US contacted me sometime back asking if I would be interested in reviewing their cigars.

From the onset, I laid it out frank- I can be rough- however, fearless, they sent me the cigars. I have been working on this document for a while, and apologize to the R.D. Gomez distributors for my lateness.

I smoked a sample of robustos and piramides/torpedos that were noted as “Reserves.” The robustos had both a proper and maduro wrapper, and the reserve had only the proper wrapper. No problem by me, I am over the whole maduro thing as you know.

The presentation of these cigars is sharp. Well constructed, simple ring, and an attractive wrapper. The Reserves come with a cedar band.

All of the cigars drew well, one was probably drawing "too well," but it didn't get too hot- but it did burn fast.

The blend was very similar from cigar to cigar. I opened up a robusto and a reserve, and noticed that there was a good amount of short filler in the robusto. The reserve had full leaves throughout. The robustos did not smoke as equally as the reserve, but it was not unmanageable. I only needed a "catch up" light once or twice per cigar max.

The aroma was a little flat but they have a nice spicy flavor. It was not mild, but not as harsh as many other cigars from Honduras. I especially noticed that there was almost no aftertaste.

I saved one cigar for several months in a special humidor that I have for long term cigar storage. Although they claim the cigars are aged for three years, I feel that the tobacco may have been a little premature because this last cigar I smoked surpassed the others in all areas. It's flavor was much smoother- and the "almost no" aftertaste went to even less. The aroma was still not at a level that I prefer, but time can not really help that.

My overall impression was that this is decent cigar. It was not a high-end cigar, but it is not carrying a high-end price tag either. I would defiantly recommend some added time in the humidor to let it mature, but for a reliable smoke at a good price, you can not go wrong. In addition, go with the reserve if it is available.

R.D. Gomez Reserve (Piramide/Torpedo)
Overall Score:
Flavor: 50/100
Construction: 95/100
Presentation: 90/100
TC-Keith, TrueCigars.Com

For more information, visit:

Monday, January 01, 2007

Upcoming Cigar Reviews

I have a couple of pending reviews that I will be publishing in the next couple weeks...

1. R.D. Gomez Cigars -This is a cigar from Honduras, that off the line was a little premature for me, but after some time in my humidor, it became a decent smoke for a very fair price.

2. Marina Maco Cigars - I bumped into this cigar by a reverse link into my site. I have only sampled the first one, but for a non-Cuban cigar... watch out Miami... this is a smooth cigar that may end up as my #1 cigar rolled in the USA.

I hope everyone had a great Holiday season. I look forward to sharing these upcoming reviews.