The Cigar Inn
18 years ago, the Sakih brothers: Billy, Gus and Bass, decided that it was time for them to turn one of their life’s passions into something that everybody could enjoy. That passion of course being cigars. But they didn’t want to put up an ordinary, everyday brick and mortar retail outlet. They wanted to build an experience. The true New York Cigar Experience.
Cigar Inn (web), located at 1016 Second Avenue (between 53rd & 54th), New York, NY 10022 is the premiere hot spot for all cigar aficionados residing in the metro area, or just passing through. From their always fully stocked retail space to their lounge which is sponsored by none other than Cigar Aficionado Magazine, the atmosphere of this top shelf establishment is one of a first class operation.
I have had the honor of speaking with Billy in regards to writing this review, and he was a wealth of knowledge, a gentleman and a businessman who spoke more highly of his customers than I have ever heard any other do. He truly wants to make his clients happy, giving them the very best he can in a cigar smoking experience.
The Sakih brothers appreciation of their customers has been immortalized in a very unique way at the The Cigar Inn! They decided to commission an artist who came into the facility every day for 3 months, and discreetly took pictures of the regulars of the Cigar Inn/Cigar Aficionado Lounge. The Sakih brothers then had the artist paint a 4 foot high mural that stretches all the way around the retail area of the store depicting over 350 of Cigar Inn’s patrons happily enjoying their cigars and conversations with other aficionados. Quite an amazing accomplishment, not to mention an incredible display of gratitude.
Expert cigar advice, a top notch environment, and some of the very best sticks available… that is what you can expect when visiting the Sakih brothers at The Cigar Inn. And speaking of incredible sticks, onto our review of The Cigar Inn House Blend…
A family of three vitolas (a Gran Robusto, a Toro and a Gigante) constructed of Nicaraguan and Honduran long filler, a Honduran binder and a Peruvian Oscuro wrapper. Rolled and then aged for months before shipping. Very appealing to the eye and nose.
It was decided to make this cigar the house brand of Cigar Inn in a slightly different way than is most often the case. Usually a brick and mortar vendor will contact one of the big boys in the industry and buy a blend that they like, having their own label slapped on and voila – house brand. By this method, tobacconists tend to have very similar private labels as other stores due to them all fishing in the same pond. Granted, there is a whole lot of flexibility in their decision on what to use, but in general the best combinations of strain, priming and region are already spoken for and the “scraps” are left to make the best of.
Not the case with the Cigar Inn House Blend. The story behind this cigar is as follows: Three gentlemen came to an event thrown by Cigar Inn at their lounge. These men sat back and enjoyed the festivities of the evening with a very special surprise in tow. A bag of cigars that they brought from their own private factory.
Upon being introduced to Billy, they presented these exclusive sticks to him along with contact information, and the cigars were put into storage and it was back to business as usual... A few weeks later Gus found them and called Billy asking him what the deal was with the cigars. Billy explained, but Gus said to come to the store right away to check them out. As it turns out they were FANTASTIC, and the brothers decided on the spot that this was to be their House Blend.
Normally my Father and I conduct our reviews by smoking the same cigar and comparing our opinions. We handled this review a little differently. First off, we recruited a very close friend and brother of the leaf, Neal Kent. An avid cigar smoker and member of several cigar clubs, Neal was more than happy to assist us in our endeavor. We each chose a vitola, enjoyed these fine smokes, and talked about the qualities we observed and experienced. We then each did our own write-up on the vitola that we chose. And on to the reviews…
The 5 x 60 Gran Robusto, reviewed by Nick, Sr., $8.00 per stick
“No matter how you slice it... this 5 X 60 is a worthwhile encounter.
Impressive was its pre-light aroma and feel. Its texture and oily sheen only heightened my expectations upon applying the torch.
Its first impression proves itself through the lighting phase... and in spades! Noting that this rolled then aged tobacco (prior to shipping) should not disappoint, I proceeded into an eye opening first draw. A brief 5 minutes "in" AND the stick transitioned into a tasty "cool breeze". The taste encompassed familiar cedar, apple and oak memories. The spice and texture elements simply captured my attention. Just delightful!
Even burn and a solid ash really enhanced the overall experience.
Oh, by the way, remember that "oily sheen" already heretofore mentioned... that very tasty oil enlightened this experience by settling on my lips. Delicious!
Twenty minutes to an hour into it, the draw and flavors improved to a point I did not think possible! Almost like a Rolls Royce driving experience/taste!
Not amazingly, I did not want this cigar smoking experience to end!!”
– Nick, Sr.
The 6 x 56 Toro, reviewed by Neal, $8.00 per stick
“The cigar was beautiful to hold and its pre light wrapper aroma was intoxicating. It was a spicy sweet scent that begged to be held under the nose. This fat toro, was oily, a beautiful dark brown and silky texture with no soft spots...
Construction. No soft spots, perfect burn and held its ash.
The sweet spice so wonderfully enjoyed pre-light continued during the first inch. The cigar produces copious amounts of light grey smoke with a firm ash of similar color. It gives a very smooth finish and when paired with Oban 14 created a creamy long finish, with a pleasant tingle at the front of your tongue... It is a subtle sweetness that is reminiscent of those root beer barrel candies. Quite enjoyable. The cigar seemed to have a bit of extra aging to it as the flavors blended nicely throughout the experience. The cigar developed quickly from light and stayed consistent to the nub.
I think we have all taken our cigar out of the box well in anticipation of the allotted smoking time. We hold it, gesture with it, occasionally sniff it, all with the hope of moving the clock faster to the light up time. This cigar added a new element. The pre-light was as enjoyable as smoking it. So, instead of noting how long the cigar burned, it becomes how long you held it. I hope to have more of these in the box,,, SOON. “
The 6 x 60 Gigante, reviewed by Nick, Jr. $9.00 per stick
As we all agreed, regardless of the vitola we were bowled over by the incredible pre-light aroma of this blend. I tried like heck to place the addictive smell but just couldn’t put my finger on what is was. Perhaps hints of maple… regardless, it was fantastic and made it very hard for me to be patient in my waiting to light this Gigante. The construction was flawless, with very few veins and an oily, silky sheen that added to the already awesome aesthetics of the Cigar Inn House Blend.
Upon putting fire to foot, the stick immediately opened up to reveal its semi-sweet profile. Volumes of smoke cascaded through the stick carrying with it not only its lightly sweet undertones, but also a fantastic earthy/woody quality that hugged the pronounced tobacco flavors. Even a touch of citrus was detected.
This profile carried right to the end, with a cool smoke and a firm light grey ash. At times there were brief hints of heavy cedar, coffee and as mentioned in its aroma, maple. The finish was long and creamy with a slight lingering of flavor on the palate. VERY pleasant! This was a fantastic smoke. Without question the best house blend that I have ever had. It ranks way up there with the premium sticks on the market today.
The conclusion was a simple one to make. We all loved this cigar. A fantastic blend coming from fantastic people at a fantastic establishment! This is a stick that you have to try.
Here’s Wishing You A Long Ash!
The Tollaficionados (+1)