Cigar News of the Week #7 (Jan 9 2010)

There have been a lot of things happening this week in the cigar world, here's what you might have missed.

Cigar Aficionado releases their Top 25 list

Highly controversed, the list crowns the Padron No. 45 Family Reserve. Not many Cuban cigars on the list, I found only three - Cohiba Siglo V (#2), Partagas Serie P No. 2 (#10) and the new Partagas Salomon that we are yet to try (#17). Wondering why the CAO La Traviata didn't make it to the list? Here is a possible explanation... As Jon Huber from CAO Cigars said, the list should rather be called "Top 25 Cigars of the First 10 Months of 2009".
And, of course, this overview of the events would not be full without Jerry's reaction to the release. interviews Jesus Fuego

If you are not familiar with Jesus (and even if you are), this is a very interesting interview. Good job Rob!
Listen to the interview...

Garo Maduro

Garo Maduro

Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : Alto / Toro
Size : 6 x 50
Wrapper : Brazilian
Filler : Piloto Cubano
Binder : Dominican
Price : $135 for a box of 25
More info about purchasing Garo cigars...

Garo Habano Cigars was introduced, as a brand, in 1996 by Dr. Garo Bouldoukian. To quote the Garo Habano website:

“Garo Habano products have enjoyed a devoted following. Smokers everywhere have praised the quality, consistency and smoothness of our cigars. The company has continued to utilize the finest, most carefully selected tobaccos, the most skilled and passionate rollers, and the most time-honored methods of fermentation and aging throughout our history. The result is a cigar with the same quality, taste and impeccable construction today as in 1996. No shortcuts, no excuses.”

It’s a brisk day in the dead of winter. Agent 24 is in the outdoor smoking lounge ready to embark upon another thrilling mission. After time spent running “Black Ops” for Santa Claus and training in art of the cigar, I am happy to be back and ready to tackle a new year of cigars.

Full disclosure: The Garo Habano cigars I am reviewing were given to me by the manufacturer. Only after acknowledging that my reviews would remain unbiased and honest, did we come to an agreement for the series of reviews. I remain committed to giving an open and honest review.

Read the full review of Garo Maduro...

Cuban Crafters Medina 1959 Miami Churchill

Cuban Crafters Medina 1959 Miami Churchill

Origin : USACuban Crafters
Format : Churchill
Size : 7 x 50
Wrapper : Sumatra
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Price : $214.99 for a box of 25
More info about purchasing Cuban Crafters Medina 1959 cigars...

Thank you to Cuban Crafters for providing me with a sampler to try.

The cigars are rolled by a team of 10 rollers in Miami, rather than at Cuban Crafters' main facility in Nicaragua. This line seems to be the most premium offered by Cuban Crafters and has earned some nice reviews around the web, so I was looking forward to giving them a try.

Read the full review of Cuban Crafters Medina 1959 Miami Churchill...

CAO: The Real Campaign

CAO International have just released the news about their next advertising campaign and I think it's a brilliant idea. The campaign will feature real cigar aficionados and CAO fans - YOU can participate and win a year's worth of CAO cigars if you are selected. Isn't that cool?

Nashville, January 7, 2010: CAO, one of the world’s foremost premium cigar manufacturers, announced today that it will debut a new ad campaign in the January/February issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine.

With the tagline “CAO REAL,” the cutting-edge cigar manufacturer will roll out a series of ads that will feature actual CAO cigar enthusiasts, further reinforcing the emotional cord between the sought-after brand and its consumers. “We’ve always maintained that the success of our brand was and still is consumer-driven,” stated CAO Director of Lifestyle Marketing Jon Huber. “The ‘Real’ campaign is our way of paying homage to our loyal customers and saying ‘thank you’ for your ongoing support. Throughout the coming year, we will essentially be holding an open casting call for CAO loyalists across the country to become the next star of the ‘Real’ campaign. We will be accepting photos, letters, emails, and videos via our website at Candidates that are selected will receive a year’s worth of CAO cigars and will be featured in our ad as seen in Cigar Aficionado magazine.”

Link to the campaign page

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.

Camacho Liberty 2009

Camacho Liberty 2009

CamachoOrigin : Honduras
Format : 11/18 roll (~ Toro)
Size : 6 x 54
Wrapper : Habano
Filler : Honduras
Binder : Honduras
Release : 2009
Price : $100 for 5 cigars
More info about purchasing Camacho Liberty cigars...

Every summer since 2002, Christian Eiroa releases a special summer cigar in the Liberty brand. The Camacho Liberty 2009 was released in July of 2009, and only 40,000 of these were made. The filler and binder are grown in the Eiroa’s farm in Jamastran, Honduras. For those lucky enough to have a cigar from each release, this would be an interesting comparison among all of them. This is my first experience with the Liberty brand.

Read the full review of Camacho Liberty 2009...

Tatuaje’s New Logo

Tatuaje New Logo

Tatuaje's website has recently been updated with a new logo, direct consequence of a lawsuit with Altadis. Whereas it's definitely more complicated than the fleur de lys (it looks like an elvish rune to me), I am fairly sure that with time it will become easily recognizable by every cigar aficionado. What do you think?

New Year Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everyone for participating in our new year giveaway.

The winner is Richard, who chose a Zippo Blu lighter. The item has already been ordered from Amazon, he should receive the prize shortly.

Stay tuned for more contests in 2010!

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