Buying cigars in Madrid

In 2009, I spent my Christmas holidays in Madrid, Spain. Not only this is a very beautiful city, but it also has a couple of places that might interest cigar aficionados. Spain consumes more cigars than any other European country. This is why almost every tobacco shop (estanca) has a basic selection of Habanos (Partagas Serie D No. 4, Montecristo No. 4, Cohiba Robusto...) stored in decent conditions. However, some of the shops have a walk-in humidor. I visited two of the most famous cigar shops. Fortunately, they are located close to each other, next to the Bilbao metro station.

Jesus showing me his best Cohibas

Cava Cardenal Cisneros (Google Maps >) has a huge walk-in humidor and a very complete selection of both Cuban and non-Cuban cigars. Jesus, the owner, speaks English and will happily show you what he's got. I purchased some Partagas Serie D No. 3 LE 2006 and the new Regional Edition from Ramon Allones. This is the shop that I truly recommend.

Out of curiosity, I went to the other shop, Cava de Magallanes (Google Maps >), located just a few hundred meters away. There's also a walk-in humidor (which seemed slightly over-humidified to me), nobody was able to speak English though (make sure you carry a pocket dictionary if you're on a visit, English-speaking people are rare birds). However, I was able to purchase a few of Vegas Robaina Maestros.

And if you want to smoke a puro straight away, there is a Vips (sort of cafe-shop-restaurant) on the plaza Glorieta de Queveda which has an indoors smoking area, quite comfortable.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

We wish you a very happy new year 2010, full of success and achievements! Thank you for your continued support and keep on reading the blog, just like in 2009 we'll make sure to bring you quality cigar-related information this year.

Meet the Smoking Hot Cigar Chick!

Hello everyone, I hope you all are having a great Sunday. As usual on this day of the week, no long in-depth posts or reviews, just sharing the good stuff. You probably have seen videos and pictures of beautiful women smoking cigars. However, quite often these women do not know much about cigars, besides the fact that it helps them look sexier. A few days ago I stumbled upon a blog held by a woman who knows more than most men about our favorite hobby. It's called Smoking Hot Cigar Chick and is definitely worth a visit. You can watch one of her reviews, concerning the Oliva Serie V, below. Enjoy.

Top Cuban Cigars of 2009

Trinidad Robusto T

It's the middle of December and here comes the list of the best Cuban cigars of 2009. I had no problems selecting the #1, but the competition for positions 2-5 was quite tough.

  1. Trinidad Robusto T. This is an example of how a Cuban cigar can live up to the expectations. What an amazing cigar!
  2. H. Upmann Magnum 48 LE 2009. For the immediate pleasure and for its ageing potential, the limited edition from H. Upmann gets the #2 spot.
  3. Ramon Allones Specially Selected. As consistent as last year, this robusto keeps a place in the top 5. Still a solid box purchase.
  4. San Cristobal de la Habana Oficios. My discovery of the year - I fell in love with this vitola.
  5. Partagas Shorts. Properly aged, this is one of the best petit coronas the Cuban terroir has to offer. Unbeatable price/quality ratio.

I decided not to include very limited releases as well as regional editions in the above list as these cigars are hard to get.

The disappointment of the year, you will probably agree with me, is the Montecristo Open.

I am curious to hear your experiences. What Cuban cigars did you enjoy in 2009?

CigarFriendly.US released


A good friend of ours, Sboyajian, has been working on a website that would list cigar-friendly locations across the United States. The project has been released lately as a beta version and I find it good-looking and easy to use. So far, only around 70 locations are available but I'm pretty sure that with time this will become a valuable resource. Since the quality of the site depends on the users' activity, I am inviting you to add your favorite locations in your state.

Click here to be taken to the CigarFriendly.Us website

Top Non-Cuban Cigars of 2009

Tatuaje Noella Reserva 2009

Today we bring you the list of the best smokes of 2009. They are not necessarily released in 2009, it's just the finest among the cigars we smoked this year. This list is a group project, based on opinions of several dozens of aficionados from different cigar forums and Twitter.

  1. Tatuaje Noella Reserva. With its extremely rich flavor profile, this beauty from Pete Johnson tops our 2009 list.
  2. Padron 1926. This great classic is the only blend that was among our top 5 cigars of 2008.
  3. Padron 45. Another Padron, this 2009 release encountered a great success despite its high price.
  4. La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial. Blended for Ashton by DPG, the Edicion Especial is clearly superior to the regular La Aroma de Cuba production.
  5. DPG My Father. This cigar uses Don Pepin's own tobacco and seems to please a lot of aficionados this year.

Runners-up: El Triunfador, Ashton VSG, Padilla Miami.

Flavor and Construction Poll Results

Here are the results of our recent polls:

Construction results

Flavor results

As you can see, we can draw one major conclusion from these numbers: although the majority still thinks that Cuban cigars taste better on average while suffering from construction issues, there are more and more people who say that the quality depends more on the specific producer and not on the country of origin.
I am confident that 5 years ago the results would have been completely different.

Do you own luxury cigar accessories?

Do you own luxury cigar accessories?

You are probably aware of the fact that there are loads of different cigar accessories on the market, fitting every cigar budget – from cheap $10 lighters to limited edition humidors that can cost tens of thousands dollars.

When I was contacted by a company dealing in luxury cigar accessories, called Cigar Luxuries, I asked myself what role the accessories played in the smoking experience. Personally, I own a quite expensive cigar lighter (gifted), but my other gear is rather low-end (I’ve got a basic cutter and an ashtray that I got for free at an event). As you can see, I did not invest much in the cigar accessories (I did, however, invest in Riedel wine glasses because they are so classy – I wonder how they compare to the Degustazione wine glasses from Cigar Luxuries, but that’s another story).

Do you own luxury cigar accessories?

Do you own luxury cigar accessories?

Cigar Luxuries offer high-end cigar accessories and glasses made from 24% lead crystal, designed by renowned Italian specialists and crafted by artisans in Italy. What immediately strikes the eye is their ingenuity – these are not just cigar holders and whisky glasses, they are especially crafted to preserve flavors (the cover in case of the cigar holder) and allow you to hold a cigar and the glass at the same time. I haven’t tried using the glass, but it sure looks cool.

Of course, these gadgets have a certain price tag that will seem excessive to some aficionados. Whereas I would not probably purchase one for myself, I would certainly consider gifting it to a smoking friend or colleague.

What about you?

How important it is for you to own expensive, stylish, beautiful cigar accessories?

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