Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

In this short message I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. This was a great year and I am confident that the next one will be even better despite the current economic situation and smoking bans :) God bless you and your family.

Denis AKA Inspector

PS We've got some cool stuff planned for the next year, stay tuned! Thanks for your continued support.

Photo credit: Toni Blay

Top Non-Cuban Cigars of 2008

Oliva Serie V Torpedo

To continue our "best cigars of the year" series, here goes the list of top non-Cuban cigars of 2008 (you can see the best Cuban cigars of 2008 here). This time, it is a group project - I did a simple survey among my followers on Twitter. The results were as follows:

  1. Oliva Serie V. It got the most votes and I completely agree on the fact that this is one of the best non-Cuban cigars I smoked this year.
  2. Rocky Patel Decade. Exceptionally elegant. Again, this one would be on my own top 5 list as well.
  3. La Riqueza. I definitely have to familiarize myself with Pete Johnson's cigars... It seems like La Riqueza line is the one that really deserves some attention.
  4. Cubao. Can't imagine a "best of" list without Don Pepin Garcia's creations. Cubao finished in front of DPG Blue which also got a decent score.
  5. Padron 1926. This Nicaraguan classic is still a great smoke.

Runners-up: Rocky Patel Sun Grown, Ashton VSG, Illusione, Cruzado, Tatuaje Taino & Noella.

What are your non-Cuban cigars of 2008?

Top Cuban Cigars of 2008

Ramon Allones Specially Selected

Well, it's that time of the year. People are buying gifts, students are getting ready for their exams and cigar blogs are publishing their top & best lists. This is the first time we are doing this, hope you enjoy it.

  1. Ramon Allones Specially Selected. This must be the best Cuban cigar of the moment. Everytime I need a great smoke I can count on, I reach for a RASS, as well as many other smokers that I know. Let's hope they will manage to maintain high quality standards.
  2. Cohiba Seleccion Piramide. It is simply the most delicious cigar I smoked this year. Too bad it's a limited edition...
  3. Montecristo No. 2. Another torpedo. Thanks to better quality control, these are once again reliable and flavorful.
  4. Montecristo Petit Edmundo. Combines looks, flavor and drive. A must-try for real men :)
  5. H. Upmann Magnum 46. This cigar is completely different, but also earns its place in my rating. Elegant & perfectly balanced, this is the best corona gorda of this year.

Please add your favorite Cuban smokes of 2008 below. Non-Cuban top list is coming soon, stay tuned!

Pairing cigars with chocolate?

Pairing cigars with chocolate

We often discuss what is the best way to pair cigars with a drink. For my part, I've found a lot of different combinations that I like - they are red wine, cognac and port (as well as variations of port such as banyuls or riversaltes). There is less information however about pairing cigars with food. The House of Grauer has created the concept of chocolate and cigar combination and introduced the "Aficionado Collection" which is supposed to enrich the ties between the cacao bean and the tobacco leaf. Thierry at Grauer was kind enough to send me a sampler of the chocolates - I tried the pairing out.

This is definitely a high-end product. The chocolates are 'grand cru', which means that they originate from delimited geographic areas (similar to wine labels). The products are crafted and wrapped by hand. Of course, the good life comes at a certain price, the 'petite aficionado collection' (110 g, 14 pieces) is sold at $65.

A leaflet that comes with the box guides you through - it actually indicates what strength and flavor profile of a cigar should be paired with different chocolates. I found that the indications worked for me - for example, I really felt that French Organic Bee Pollen chocolate gave a lot of roundness to my full-bodied smoke (it was a Montecristo Edmundo) whereas Italian Lime (a chocolate stick filled with lime) acted as a counterpart because of its acidity - a very special experience.

I feel that it can be a nice gift idea to somebody who is a seasoned cigar smoker. I had a lot of fun reading descriptions for different chocolates and trying to detect what resulted from those pairings. A special product for a special moment.

You can browse and order the chocolates at the House of Grauer website.

Disclaimer: this is not a paid review.

Key cigar people on Twitter

I've been using Twitter for a few months now and I don't regret getting started. It's a really good tool to meet new people who share your interests, to get answers to your questions in real time and to discover interesting content. I also like the fact that it's running in the background and you don't have to follow it closely. In this post I would like to feature key cigar people on Twitter that I've been following for a long time and whose updates have been useful. For all those interested in cigars, I highly recommend following these people. If you're a regular Twitter user and you're not on the list (I physically couldn't include everyone that I'm following - currently around 170 users), please leave a comment with your profile link below.

Update: here's a new list of cigar people on Twitter.

Slow loading? We’re working on it.

This post is to let CigarInspector.com readers know that there might be some degraded system performance these days, which will result in slow loading time. No need to worry - we are doing some technical upgrades this week (upgrading to the latest WordPress version, configuring Google Ad Manager...) but hopefully this won't last long.
Thanks for your patience and understanding.

L’Aficion du Havane

Today, I would simply like to write a few words about a club of people passionate about their common hobby - cigars.

L'Aficion du Havane

L'Aficion du Havane was created in 1994 in Nimes (Southern France) and counts 38 as of today. They just get together and enjoy good food, good wine and good cigars, mostly Habanos. Have a look at the picture and you will notice that about 1/3 are women cigar smokers - this is really cool. They've already been 3 times to Cuba and it seems like these trips have become a good tradition. Keep it up!
(Many thanks to Guy Buscéma (president of the club) for sending me the information.)

Is there a cigar club in your hometown? Tell us more about it.

Launching a Cigar Websites Directory

CigarDir.com

A short note to let you know about the new cigar websites directory that can be found at CigarDir.com. We created it in order to list all the cigar-related websites out there that are worth visiting (for example, we won't be accepting any "cheap cigarettes" links). If you know or own one, feel free to submit it - it's absolutely free and no reciprocal link is required (although it will be appreciated).
Thanks!

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