What Are Tobacco Beetles and How Do You Fight Them?

What are cigar beetles?

It’s a day like any other day—or so you think. You head to your humidor to grab a stogie; you haven’t had one in a couple weeks, and it’s time for a nice long, languorous smoke. You open up your humidor and you stumble backwards in horror.

They’re so tiny you may not see them; in fact, you probably don’t. They’re only about the size of a pinhead. But you do see the damage they’ve created. There are holes in your cigars where the tobacco beetles have burrowed. You might see them crawling on your stogies or the insides of your cigar box. Whether you see them or not, your reaction is revulsion, panic, and outrage. Are your precious cigars ruined?

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Best Cuban Cigars of 2013

It's true, we're seriously late with this year's lists. In the beginning, when we realized we missed the schedule, we were planning to just skip 2013 best of's and start afresh in 2014. But given the number of emails we received asking us to publish the top 5, we had to reconsider our position. So here it is, our selection of best Cuban cigars of 2013.

The list is composed of cigars that we smoked in 2013 (the box codes are mostly recent, 2012-2013, with one exception). Most of them are not recent releases and we picked the cigars that showed the highest consistency throughout the year. The Montecristo No. 4, for example, didn't make it to the list because it seriously lacked consistency both in terms of flavor and construction.

1. Hoyo de Monterrey Grand Epicure 2013 Limited Edition

Hoyo De Monterrey Grand Epicure 2013 Edición Limitada

This Hoyo de Monterrey seems to be a very successful edicion limitada. 2013 was a good vintage for LE's, as I hear the Punch Serie d'Oro No. 2 also smokes very good at the moment (review coming soon). This is how DrFever describes the Hoyo Grand Epicure LE 2013:

It is a lush, rich, creamy and extremely flavorful smoke. Every puff offered something different. It was extremely complex and had incredible depth to the flavors. The blend was always changing featuring chocolate, coffee, sweet cedar, leather, caramel, vanilla and mild pepper with hints of orange peel and dried fruit.

2. Partagas Serie P No. 2

Partagas Serie P No. 2

Partagas Serie P No. 2 is the Cuban torpedo that had the highest grades in 2013. The competition is rude in this segment, since both H. Upmann No. 2 and Montecristo No. 2 received really good praise too.

3. Trinidad Robusto T

Trinidad Robusto T

I've smoked 6 of Trinidad Robusto T's throughout 2013 and they have been very good: perfect balance, great complexity and no harshness at all. I still can't understand why in the world would Habanos SA discontinue such a wonderful smoke. I also noticed that, surprisingly, the ones that I smoked this summer seemed somewhat less complex to me, perhaps there's no use to age them further? I'm afraid it's the last time they make it to the top 5.

4. Bolivar Coronas Gigantes

I've had multiple opportunities in 2013 to dedicate 100 minutes to this impressive churchill. A friend gifted me a box of these in 2009 and thankfully there were no construction issues so far. It's a very special cigar to me because it was the very first cigar review on this blog, back in 2007. I guess it's time to update it, stay tuned.

5. Ramon Allones Specially Selected

Ramon Allones Specially Selected

Well, I'm really sorry for being somewhat predictable but the RASS remains (at least for us) the most consistent regular production cigar. It's the cigar I turn to, for the past 7 years, when I need something good and reliable.

What were the best Cuban cigars that you smoked in 2013? It's probably not that easy to answer this question in July 2014, but still, give it a try in the comments area below.

Riverside Lounge House Blend

Riverside Lounge House Blend

Origin : NicaraguaRiverside Lounge
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Habano Ecuador
Filler : Nicaragua Corojo 99
Binder : Nicaragua Criollo 98
Hand-Made
Price : ~$6

The Riverside Lounge House is a little place you’ll find in Louisville, Kentucky. If you enjoy a relaxing environment with low ambient lighting and a strain of jazz playing in the backdrop, you would probably feel right at home there. At the Riverside Lounge House, you can enjoy a local craft beer, good company and conversation, and your favorite stogie. Riverside also makes their own cigars, and they were kind enough to send me a sampler of their house blend.

Read the full review of Riverside Lounge House Blend...

La Vérité Vintage 2008 : L’Esprit de Vérité

Tatuaje La Vérité Vintage 2008 Esprit de Vérité

Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : La Estrella Habano Criollo (’08)
Filler : La Estrella Habano Criollo (’08)
Binder : La Estrella Habano Criollo (’08)
Hand-Made
Price : ~$15 each

The La Vérité (the truth in French) project, developed by Pete Johnson, is an unusual undertaking using only tobacco from Pepin Garcia’s La Estrella (the star in Spanish) farm in Nicaragua, using only a single crop from a given year. The vintage concept is similar to wine, each vintage being significantly different from another. As far as I remember, one was even able to buy "futures" of the La Vérité series. To my knowledge, these cigars were relased in 2008 and 2009, while the 2010 release was delayed and still hasn't hit the shelves (correct me if I'm wrong).

The 2008 first size, La Vérité, is a 7 x 47 Churchill and is the commanding ship of the entire project. This vitola was available in boxes of 10, 25, 50, and master cases of 100. The second, L'Esprit de Vérité, is a 5 x 50 Robusto that is blended to be a lighter smoke. It was only available in boxes of 10 and 25. I think these are still available at some retailers, but of course at higher prices than initial MSRP (at least $15 per stick).

Read the full review of La Vérité Vintage 2008 : L’Esprit de Vérité...

Por Larranaga Petit Corona

Por Larranaga Petit Corona

Origin : CubaPor Larranaga
Format : Petit Corona (Mareva)
Size : 129 x 16.67 mm (5 1/8 x 42)
Hand-Made
Price : 10-12 GBP (UK prices)
More info about purchasing Por Larranaga cigars...

The Por Larranaga Petit Corona is a hand-rolled Cuban cigar and this particular vitola is one of three readily available in the UK.

Cigars are frequently referred to as "sticks" and in the case of this one, that is quite apt. The construction is rustic, to say the least, giving the Larranaga a very gnarly appearance. However, the construction is also excellent, with no hint of the wrapper coming loose at any stage. The cap is a particularly solid construct, visibly consisting of several layers which hold out well following a hole being punched.

The visible, surface unevenness is mirrored during the burn, resulting in a crooked yet robust ash stack. There is unevenness internally also, with a couple of firm areas - plugs - which need firm but careful pressure, all round, to loosen the draw.

Read the full review of Por Larranaga Petit Corona...

La Flor Dominicana Chapter One

La Flor Dominicana Chapter One

Origin : Dominican RepublicLa Flor Dominicana
Format : Chisel (box-pressed)
Size : 6.5 x 58
Wrapper : Brazilian Ligero Oscuro
Filler : Dominican Republic
Binder : Connecticut Broadleaf
Hand-Made
Price : $11 each
More info about purchasing La Flor Dominicana Chapter One...

The La Flor Dominicana – Chapter One attracted a lot of attention at the 2013 IPCPR Convention, and is the first cigar from the brand to be blended by Antonio Gomez, Litto Gomez’s son. If you’ve seen his name online, it may be because he’s in charge of the social media pages for the brand. He’s done a lot of different duties with the company, and in fact lists his position on Facebook as “A Work in Progress.” I decided to check out his first cigar, and I can definitely say that he’s going places.

Read the full review of La Flor Dominicana Chapter One...

Best 5 Duty-Free Airport Cigar Shops

Duty Free Airport Cigar Shops

Looking for a great way to save money on cigars? The next time you’re traveling, head over to a duty-free cigar shop while you’re waiting at the airport. At duty-free shops, you can purchase cigars which are tax-exempt, and you can also access a selection that you might not be able to at home. This is also a chance to browse through regional and limited cigar releases. Not all duty-free cigar shops are on par with one another though; some are excellent, while others are not. Here are 5 of the best duty-free shops. Know another duty free shop with a great selection? Tell us about it in the comments area!

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Gurkha Ancient Warrior

Gurkha Ancient Warrior

Origin : Dominican RepublicGurkha
Format : Torpedo
Size : 6 x 54
Wrapper : Brazilian
Filler : Dominican
Binder : Costa Rica
Strength : Medium to Full
Hand-Made
Price : $6.90 each
More info about purchasing Gurkha Ancient Warrior cigars...

Construction

Launched for the 2005 IPCPR, Gurkha’s Ancient Warrior is still one of their most popular cigars on the market. This medium strength stick is cloaked in a super dark, oily Brazilian wrapper. The wrapper leaf is flecked with numerous raised veins and a bit of tooth. The length of the six-inch stick is plump and nicely rolled with no soft spots. The tapered cap cuts cleanly with my Colibri Slice cutter, leaving behind no shards of filler tobacco.

Read the full review of Gurkha Ancient Warrior...

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