Former cigar factory worker finds jobs for ex-collegues

Hav-A-Tampa closed by SCHIP

Here is a very real example of how the SCHIP cigar tax has actually affected people. Because of the drastically increased prices due to the new tax, a Florida-based cigar factory, Hav-A-Tampa, was forced to close its doors in April 2009, leaving 500 workers jobless. I would not post about this for the sheer news of a closed plant or jobs destruction - we all know very well that this kind of thing is happening daily, in the United States and all around the world.

What I would like to tell you about is how the employees reacted - more precisely, one of them, Ron Russell. Instead of immediately looking for another job, he started a simple community website, Hav-A-Tampa Job Portal, where he listed profiles of his fellow ex-collegues who wanted to participate. Russell says he has already found 30 jobs. I am sure his initiative will pay off and Hav-A-Tampa employees will integrate businesses that will appreciate their skills.

You can read the full article at

Cigar Reviews of the Week #70 (Aug 29 2009)

A couple of brand new cigar blogs for your Saturday reading pleasure (might be a good idea to subscribe as well!):

Cu-Avana Maduro

Reviewed by Matt at  Smoking & Talking

This new cigar blog is written by Matt and Jed. Cu-Avana is a very good value cigar according to Matt.
Read the full review here...

Partagas Black Label Magnifico

Reviewed by Will at  Regular Guy Reviews

Extremely flavorful and a good value - Will places this Partagas in his "best of" list.
Read the full review here....

Habanos & Hermanos

We've got a new sponsor here at - check out Habanos & Hermanos! They carry the leading brands such as Tatuaje, Rocky Patel, Joya de Nicaragua, CAO & Avo.

2 Free Cigars for new CRA members

I just received an e-mail from Brian Berman, the Director of Membership at CRA (Cigar Rights of America). As you probably know, this is a non-profit organization that aims to protect freedom of cigar enthousiasts in the United States. A lot of cigar bloggers, cigar tweeple and well-known cigar manufacturers are members - this is the only nation-wide organization of this scope that I know of.

Starting today, all new members (as well as those who renew their membership) will receive two cigars specially blended for CRA from a range of premium manufacturers including Ashton, Fuente, Rocky Patel and Camacho. You will only need to pay $5 for shipping.

Cigar Rights of America website

Beginner’s shisha kit giveaway!

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about hookah. As there have been a few comments on that post we figured out some of the readers might be interested in this whole shisha thing and, together with Nima from, decided to offer one lucky participant a chance to win a set of a hookah with some nice tobacco. Here's what you can win:

Beginner's shisha kit

That's right, a perfect starter's kit including a junior shisha and some quality tobacco - ready for smoking straight out of the box.

This is a very easy contest and all you have to do is subscribe to newsletter using the form below:

Then, just leave a comment on this post saying that you entered. In exactly one week we will randomly select one winner who will receive the package. That's a great opportunity if you are looking to learn more about shisha!

Good luck and don't forget to check out the website, they are doing a great job selling hookah and accessories.

Note: contest open internationally. You must be of legal age to smoke.

Guest Review: H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon

H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon

Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 52
Wrapper : Cameroon
Binder : Nicaragua
Filler : Dominican/Nicaraguan/Peruvian
Strength : Medium
Price : ~$5 each
More info about purchasing H. Upmann Cameroon cigars...


Scent of Wrapper : Cedar.
Scent at Foot : What else but Cedar.
Appearance : Nice color, nicely rolled and packed tobacco.
Wrapper : Medium to Dark Cameroon wrapper looked tasty.
Feel : Compact.
Tongue : Cedar with a bit of hay.
Flavor on Draw : Earthy.


Taste : Really nice flow of Cedar and spice.
Flavor Changes : Not noticeable until 2/3 into the smoke—the flavors of the Cameroon started in and were very enjoyable—a smooth and rich flavor.
Strength : A steady Medium smoke throughout the entire cigar.
Feeling : I have always enjoyed this line and was accustomed to the Belicoso -- the Robusto size was OK but I remembered the Belicoso to have a little more flavor in it.
Scent of Smoke : Cedar.
Heat on Fingers and in Mouth : No.
Draw : Draw had a bit of a tug to it--Not Bad—should have let it rest for a few weeks maybe.
Finish : Cedar and a bit of salty taste at the nub.
Other Aspects of the Cigar Smoking Experience : I was not impressed with this smoke like I was with the Belicoso –maybe the size difference and the resting time may have been reasons for this review not to be as good as I was anticipating.
Make any notes beyond what you noted already : I may have out grown these smokes as my tastes have become more accustomed to the newer lines out today. I still enjoyed it and would recommend to anyone that has not tried to give it a whirl...

I would rate this cigar as a "Good Cigar." 7/10

La Aurora Preferidos No. 2 Maduro

La Aurora Preferidos

Origin : Dominican Republic
La Aurora CigarsFormat : Perfecto
Size : 5 3/4 x 52
Wrapper : 8 year Brazilian Matafino
Filler : Piloto Cubano (DR), Bahía and Cameroon
Binder : Piloto Cubano (DR)
Price : ~$10 each
More info about purchasing La Aurora Preferidos cigars...

La Aurora Preferidos were first available in perfecto size and were named "1903 series" as supposedly it was in 1903 that Don Eduardo Leon Jimenez started producing this vitola. Now, there are so many editions of the Preferidos that it's very easy to get lost. According to the La Aurora website, there are now 8 editions/blends, each one available in several sizes. Some of those come in very beautiful tubos, however the one I am going to review was not tubed. I suppose (I am pretty sure rather) that it belongs to the original 1903 series. The cigar, 5 3/4 x 52, sports a Brazilian maduro wrapper with mostly Dominican tobacco.

Read the full review of La Aurora Preferidos No. 2 Maduro...

Cuban Stock Extra

Cuban Stock Extra

Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : TorpedoCuban Stock
Size : 6.25 x 52
Wrapper : Dominican Corojo
Filler : Dominican Republic
Binder : Dominican Republic
Price : ~$6-7 each
More info about purchasing Cuban Stock cigars...

Background Info

This blend was designed this year (2009) and is said to be as good as Cuban cigars were in the 80’s. Manufactured by Cuban Stock Cigars (previously known as Crown David). The tobacco used in these cigars is said to be grown in soil that was transplanted from the Pinar Del Rio region of Cuba.

Read the full review of Cuban Stock Extra...

Cigar Reviews of the Week #69 (Aug 22 2009)

As usual, we are bringing you our weekly selection of nice cigar reviews:

Oliva Master Blends 1

Reviewed by Brooks at  The Smoking Stogie

A very limited edition cigar, make sure you check out the pics.
Read the full review here...
Read our review of the Oliva Master Blends 3...

We The People Belicoso

Reviewed by Walt at  The Stogie Review

This blend was just introduced at the 2009 IPCPR by El Titan de Bronze.
Read the full review here....

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