Alejandro Robaina dies at 91

Alejandro Robaina

Today is a very sad day for the cigar industry. The legend of Cuban cigars, Alejandro Robaina, died Saturday at the age of 91.

HAVANA — Cuban tobacco grower Alejandro Robaina, an international symbol of the island's cigar-making prowess, died Saturday. He was 91.

Cuban state television announced his death, and the state tobacco concern Habanos SA, which produces the Robaina brand cigar, said on its website that he was the "victim of a somber illness."

The only Cuban grower with a cigar brand named after him, Robaina traveled for decades as an unofficial global ambassador for the island's stogies. Into his final days, he could be found smoking cigars in a rocking chair on his front port in San Luis, in westernmost Pinar de Rio Province.

He worked the fields in Vuelta Abajo, Cuba's most-famous cigar-growing region, where Habanos — a joint venture between the communist government and Britain's Imperial Tobacco Group PLC — produced Robainas.

Born in the town of Alquizar on March 20, 1919, Robaina began working his family's fields from the time he was 10. He remained in Cuba when that land was nationalized after the revolution that toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista and brought Fidel Castro to power on New Year's Day 1959.

Robaina became famous for the top-quality tobacco he helped produce and was honored numerous times by the Castro government.

"He left an indelible mark on the history of Cuban tobacco," Havana's Radio Reloj reported.

There was no immediate word on funeral arrangements.

Copyright Associated Press

Cigar of the Week: Don Pepin Garcia Blue

Among the cigars that Pepin Garcia produces under his own name, the Blue Label must be one of the most popular and consistent. With a Nicaraguan oscuro wrapper, this puro is positioned as a full-bodied cigar with strongly expressed spicy flavors.

Don Pepin Garcia Blue Label Fundadores

Where to get it?

DPG Blue Label cigars sell for less than $9 per stick, depending on the vitola, especially if bought by box. Check out the prices here.

Whisky Review: Bowmore 12 Year Old

Bowmore 12 Year Old

Here is a monthly whisky review, written by Martin from WhiskyCritic.com. Enjoy!

They don’t come much older than Bowmore (which, on a side note, means Great Reef); receiving their licence in 1779, they are the oldest distillery in the Islay region.

The 12 year is the standard installation of the Bowmore range, and as such is the one most commonly found in the cupboards of your average whisky drinker. The distillery has earned a good name throughout its existence, producing several varieties which have all been praised for the well-rounded, smoky, peaty character.

If you enjoy Laphroaig, you will quite likely enjoy Bowmore as well – in fact, it has, on more than one occasion, been referred to as a sweeter version of Laphroaig (by me, anyway!) as they share many of the same characters, but the Laphroaig has a slightly more overwhelming smokiness.

The fact that it is sweeter than Laphroaig means that Bowmore doesn’t necessarily need water (for the purpose of this review, I drank it neat), however you can add a drop or two with a clear conscience. If you don’t like too much smoke hitting your nostrils, you may be best off serving this particularly single malt in a tumbler.

Eye: A classic golden.

Nose: Immediate smokiness upon first setting your nose to the rim, followed by a well balanced mix of heather-honey, dried apricots, liquorice, iodine and tar. I’ve heard a couple of enthusiasts report a hint of citrus, which went past me.

Taste: Once again there is no arguing with the smokiness, and the balance of the flavours is nearly perfect. The initial smokiness and tar flavour is mellowed beautifully by the mouth-watering sweetness of apricot and honey; the liquorice is brought out chiefly upon swallowing, which also bring back further smokiness, while the sweetness of apricot lingers patiently at the sides of your tongue.

If I were to summarise my opinion of this whisky, the only thing I could say is that everyone should have one in their collection. Not only is it a classic, and one of the best known brands out there, but absolutely delicious. I suppose I should mention its price, too (keep your hat on for this one): you can pick it up from about £22/$35! What are you waiting for?

My Father Le Bijou 1922 Petite Robusto

My Father Le Bijou 1922 Petite Robusto

Origin : NicaraguanMy Father Cigars
Format : Petit Robusto
Size : 4.5″ x 50
Wrapper : Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan
Hand-Made
Price : $7 each
More info about purchasing My Father Le Bijou cigars...

The My Father Le Bijou 1922 is an extension of the My Father line which was created by Jose Pepin Garcia’s Son Jamie to honor his father Pepin. Well Pepin created the Le Bijou himself to honor his father, Jamie’s grand father. Le Bijou means The Jewel and the 1922 is Pepin’s father’s birth year. It is a good looking cigar. The wrapper has a dry matte finish to it and it looks like a carved piece of dark wood. This is another cigar that sports 2 cigar bands. They are ornate, and beautiful, and large which is odd looking on this petite robusto as most of its length is covered up by the two bands. Though dual bands have become a bit of an annoyance for me lately as they have become more commonplace; on a positive note the bands on the Le Bijou always come off very easily and I have not had one yet that damaged the wrapper. Because this vitola is so short and the bands are so large, you really need to remove one if not both of the bands before you smoke it. Again, annoying but not too much so since they do come off easily.

Read the full review of My Father Le Bijou 1922 Petite Robusto...

Dual Review: Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story

Arturo Fuente Short Story

Arturo FuenteOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Perfecto
Size : 4 x 49
Wrapper : Dominican Republic
Filler : Dominican Republic
Binder : Dominican Republic
Hand-Made
Price : ~$6 each
More info about purchasing Arturo Fuente Hemingway cigars...

Today we've got the first dual review in our series of 6.

Joe K: Early on in my cigar smoking, Arturo Fuente’s Hemingway line sparked my interest with its diverse shapes and shades coupled with consistently positive mentions among various members of the cigar community. Making it a point to acquire and try at least one of each vitola, I began with the highly acclaimed Work of Art Maduro. Finding it enjoyable, I wasted no time in taking the second step along that journey with the equally reputed Short Story Natural.

Stephen: It was the first nice weekend of the year. Temps in the 70s and I was heading to the park for a walk. I thought what a perfect time to try another one of these fantastic cigars. I have smoked 3 in total.

Read the full review of Dual Review: Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story...

“Thanks for subscribing” – April results

If you have been paying attention to the latest updates, you didn't miss the secret link and entered the contest (as promised, we did it early in April). One lucky reader just won a Colibri Firebird cigar cutter, and the winner is... john*melt***@hotmail.com! Congrats, and check your mailbox for an e-mail from us.

Didn't win this time? Remember, we've got another 3 prizes to give away. So, if you're not a subscriber yet, head over to this page and read more about the contest! And don't forget to check out CheapHumidors.com who are generously sponsoring this contest.

Long ashes!

Cigar Reviews of the Week #89 (Apr 10 2010)

Welcome to our weekly reviews selection.

Navarre

Reviewed by Brooks at   The Smoking Stogie

Brooks reviews the only French puro available, Le Navarre. He did it blind and found some typical Cuban flavors. Curiously, when I tasted it I didn't come to the same conclusion.
Read the full review here...
Check out my review of the Navarre...

Dirty Rat by Drew Estate

Reviewed by Jacob at  The Cigar Nut

Let's just hope we'll see this cigar on sale one day.
Read the full review here...

Cigar contests at Toasted Foot

Everybody knows Cigar Inspector is your source for cigar contests. However, we've got a serious competitor! :) Toasted Foot gives you a chance to win a 50-count humidor, and this is only the first of their 3 April contests. You really have to check it out.

Elogio Habano Torpedo

Elogio Habano Torpedo

Origin : NicaraguaElogio cigars
Format : Torpedo
Size : 6.13 x 52
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : $149 for a box of 24

Elogio cigars are a boutique brand that comes from a small factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Carlos Garcia Pereda is the master blender for Elogio, and he is the grandson of legendary Cuban tobacco grower and cigar maker, Alejandro Robaina. Carlos learned his trait in the Pinar del Rio region which can be considered one of the best of Cuba. The Elogio Serie Habano has tobacco from the Condega, Jalapa, and Somoto regions of Nicaragua. The cigar comes in several sizes: a 7 x 48 Churchill; a 5 x 50 Robusto; a 6 x 42 Corona Extra; a 5 x 32 Petite Corona; and the featured 6.13 x 52 Torpedo.

Read the full review of Elogio Habano Torpedo...

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