Buying cigars in Brussels, Belgium

Le roi du cigare, Bruxelles

Update (Aug 2014): Following my second trip to the Belgian capital I added two more places to the list of cigar shops in Brussels. During my stay I met Robert, a beer fanatic and cigar aficionado, so stay tuned for some beer-related content in the coming weeks and months.

Brussels is another European capital that is definitely worth visiting (in fact, I think all of them are!), especially if you like good food. Indeed, whereas Amsterdam doesn't have much to offer in this field, Belgian cuisine is one that I really enjoy. A lot of dishes contain beer and cream, thus being rather heavy but delicious. They are especially good in winter. Oh, and I almost forgot Belgian ales, which are simply the best in Europe the world.

This being said, I also made sure to find a couple of cigar shops so that you don't have to waste time locating your favorite cigars when you're in town. The first one (pictured above) is called Le Roi du Cigare (Cigar King) and it has the Habanos Specialist label. It's located in the East of the City Center (the center being the Grand Place, probably the most beautiful place in Europe) at 25, Rue Royale (Google Maps >). It features a nice walk-in humidor with a wide choice of Cubans and non-Cubans. I noticed that the non-Cubans are mostly the same in those European shops - some Ashtons, some Davidoffs, as well as Macanudos. You won't find many boutique cigars in these shops. You're not here for non-Cubans anyway, am I right? Le Roi du Cigare lists all of their prices online (the page is in French, click on a brand to see all vitolas, prix unitaire means unit price), this is pretty useful. As far as I know cigar prices are regulated in Belgium, so you'll find the same rates across other shops.

Tete d'Or: a cigar shop in Bruxelles

Chances are you’ll hang around the Grand Place quite a lot. In this case, you simply have to stop by Tête d’Or (golden head) and have a look at their offerings (Google Maps >). The walk-in humidor stocks quite a wide selection of Cuban cigars as well as some surprisingly interesting non-Cuban sticks, including Tatuajes. The owner is friendly and obviously knows his stuff about cigars. In fact he was smoking one when I came in.

Davidoff Cigar Shop in Brussels

Another shop that I missed during my previous visit is the Davidoff B&M, located on the Place du Grand Sablon (Google Maps >). Plenty of expensive cigar accessories and a walk-in humidor (pictured above) that showcases cigars from the Davidoff group (Davidoff, Avo, Griffin’s, Camacho...) and also features a moderately large selection of Cuban cigars. The place is really classy. If you’re in the area, make sure you discover the Marolles district for an authentic Bruxelles experience.

Walter B, Bruxelles

The last shop is called Walter B and, as far as I remember, the man that you can see in the picture above is the owner. The place is smaller, but you will still be able to find the Cuban references you are looking for. Walter B is located West of the Grand Place (82, Quai aux Briques, Google Maps >). Plenty of nice sea food restaurants near this shop.

As usual, if you live in Bruxelles and/or know some other good places to buy/enjoy a cigar, please share them in the comments below.

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.

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!

Click here to read the full article...

Buying cigars in Munich, Germany

Where to buy cigars in Munich?

I've been to Germany several times now, but never had an opportunity to visit Munich before this month. It is often said that Munich, along with Berlin, is one of the most interesting German cities and I was quite eager to spend a long week-end in Bavaria. I confirm that most of what one might hear about Munich is true: it's a beautiful, rich town with friendly people, gorgeous monuments (almost all of them were rebuilt after the WW2, which is simply impressive) and plenty of the world's greatest beer (only Brussels can play in the same league when it comes to beer). One piece of advice I can give you is, when you grow tired of endless pints of dunkel and German taverns, do yourself a favor and visit the lakes around Munich - the nature is astonishing.

Munich boasts several well known cigar shops in the city center and the one I prefer is called Pfeifen Huber, located on Tal 22 (a very short walk from the Viktualien market: Google Maps >).

Pfeifen Huber - a cigar shop in Munich

Quite an institution (the shop exists since 1863), Pfeifen Huber has a beautiful walk-in humidor with a wide choice of both Cubans and non-Cubans as well as a vast selection of pipes / pipe tobacco and spirits. Jens (pictured below) is very friendly and knows his stuff about cigars, don't hesitate to ask him for advice.

Jens

If Pfeifen Huber is closed or something goes wrong, you can also pay a visit to Dallmayr (located on Marienhof : Google Maps >), which I found inferior in terms of advice and choice (no walk-in humidor). Another cigar shop worth mentioning is Zechbauer (Google Maps >), but unfortunately it was closed when I was passing by. All the shops mentioned in this article are in the same area, so you can easily visit all three of them. Enjoy your time in Munich and feel free to add more cigar-friendly places in the comments area below.

“Lunette C” Cigar Holder Winners

Lunette C Cigar Holder

Last week we ran a giveaway for two hand-made cigar holders for golf carts crafted by Mark from the Small Batch Innovator company. We've had some great response and here are the two winners:

  • Rick S
  • JohnH

Please get in touch with us to claim your prize, don't forget to include your shipping address.

Many thanks to Mark and those who participated, stay tuned for more contests in future!

Buying cigars in Athens, Greece

Where to buy Cigars in Athens

Today I am bringing you another short travel report with a focus on cigars. In November I spent a few days in Athens, Greece and thoroughly enjoyed my stay. The weather was marvellous (+15 C on average) and there were very few tourists (as far as I know in the summer the city and the main attractions like the Acropolis get quite crowded).

Athens turned out to be a very pleasant city, especially if you enjoy ancient ruins. Quite a few nice bars and restaurants, just make sure you read some reviews before venturing in - the only time I didn't, I found myself in a shady taverna with a waiter who obviously didn't know his maths since he wanted me to pay x 2 the menu prices. The magic word "police" seemed to calm him down though.

As for cigars, I found one shop with a good selection and it was right next to the central square (Syntagma or Parliament square). It's called Miamis (Google Maps >).

Miamis - cigar shop in Athens

The place features a nice walk-in humidor, a decent choice of both Cubans and non-Cubans and friendly managers. If you find yourself in Athens, do not hesitate to source your cigars in Miamis.

Miamis Cigar Shop

Happy New Year 2014!

Happy New Year 2014!

Dear Readers,

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support since 2007.

We're wishing you and your family a happy new year 2014 filled with joy and prosperity.

Denis & CigarInspector.com team

Cigar Release: 601 La Bomba Warhead

601 La Bomba Warhead

Espinosa Premium Cigars is proud to announce they will be introducing a limited edition cigar for their full bodied 601 La Bomba line called "Warhead" at IPCPR this year. This is the first time the 601 La Bomba line is offered with a Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper. The Warhead measures 6 1/2 inches by 54 ring and is semi-box pressed with the familiar fuse-like pig tail that is found on the 601 La Bomba line. "Although the wrapper is different, we are using the same powerful blend as the rest of the line." said Erik Espinosa.

Warhead is limited to 2,000 boxes of 10 and the packaging is inspired by several themes in the World War II era. When unraveled, the foot band on the cigar is revealed to be in the form of a bomb. This "bomb" features nose art or aircraft graffiti, which was common in this era. Most prominent is the shark-face which is a reference to the Flying Tigers, the 1st American Volunteer Group, who would paint the shark-faces on their military aircrafts.

The 601 La Bomba line was first introduced in 2011 and is considered to be one of the strongest cigars in the market.

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