Category: Buying Guides


New Cigars in the News

H. Upmann Legacy “Special Edition Wood Mold Gift Set”

h upmann legacy cigarsFORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Cigar enthusiasts can now experience the remarkable heritage of one of the most trusted premium cigar brands with the limited edition H. Upmann Legacy Special Edition Wood Mold gift set, coming soon to Famous Smoke Shop. Each 10-pack of H. Upmann Legacy Toro premium cigars comes set in a rustic wooden cigar mold featuring the H. Upmann logo engraved on the front with a retail price of $75.00.

Traditionally, cigar rollers used these wooden molds after the tobaccos were bunched together and wrapped in their binder leaves to compress the cigar to its shape and form.

“Owning an H. Upmann Legacy Wood Mold is to own an important part of history.” said Janelle Rosenfeld, VP of Marketing, Altadis U.S.A. ” This traditional wooden mold gift set will surely impress and delight long after the cigars have been enjoyed,” she added. Continue reading

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

xikar ex windproof

Xikar EX Windproof

If “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” could the same be said for cigar lighters? Maybe, but like cigars, the tools for igniting them are almost as multitudinous as bird species. For the purposes of this post we’re going to focus on the most popular jet lighters used for lighting cigars, as well as how and when to use them. From single jet designs like the XiKAR EX Windproof lighter, to lighters with special tools, like the Vertigo Golf lighter with its built-in divot tool, to the Vertigo Intimidator with its four jets and futuristic design, there’s a torch lighter for every cigar lover. Continue reading

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

buying cigars

We can’t all throw money around like Rocky! Get more for your cash when buying cigars with these helpful tips.

We all do it. When buying cigars, we leaf through the catalog or dissect the website looking for a deal. Open emails that scream about savings of 50, 60, 70% or more on great cigars, then pore over the coupons to find out which deal saves the most cash while bringing home the most cigars. Inside all of us is a hardcore cigar value hunter – which, I assume, is why you’re here as well. But even the most budget-conscious among us is willing to drop a little extra coin now and again for a “good” cigar. But are we really just burning up money that could be better – or more smartly – spent?

In a word, “yes.” Continue reading

John Pullo

Author:

This is not his picture, nor does John even have a beard. Interestingly, his Social Security number is all ones. All we can say is "You will know him by the mullet he wears."

perdomo 10th anniversary cigars

Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne is one of the most popular Nicaraguan cigars on the market today.

This is an article about Nicaraguan cigars. It’s not about Cuban cigars, Dominican cigars, or cigars from any other country, for that matter. If you look at the brands that have been scoring some of the highest marks these days, the Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne cigars, or the My Father Le Bijou 1922 cigars, for example, they are produced in Nicaragua (primarily in Estelí), using a decent dose of Nicaraguan tobaccos in their blends, or a mix of Nicaraguan and other tobaccos.

my father le bijou 1922 cigars

Nicaraguan cigar lovers looking for a high-end, complex blend should try the My Father Le Bijou 1922

One of the reasons Nicaragua is so ideal for growing great-tasting tobacco is that the geography and climate are very similar to Cuba’s. The cigar tobacco growing region has three valleys – Estelí­, Condega, and Jalapa – each with its own unique soil and minerals, which respectively impart their own distinctive flavor to a cigar’s blend when properly fermented and aged. Continue reading

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

history of gurkha cigars

The history of Gurkha cigars shows off a rich tradition of making high-end premium cigars

If you’ve smoked cigars for more than a week, chances are you’ve heard about Gurkha Cigars in the cigar lounge. Gurkha specializes mainly in high-end premium cigars the likes of which are bought by the most affluent of Maharaja presiding over his kingdom, yet Gurkha also offers lines for the every day smoker that are out-of-this-world incredible for the price. But there’s always a story behind a name, and that’s where your resident smarty-pants (me) comes in. Behold the history of Gurkha Cigars! Continue reading

Jonathan DeTore

Author:

My job here is pretty simple - I write stuff, I post stuff to Facebook, and I take it to the house consistently at the weekly slam drunk contest. I do it all while sipping on a fine glass of cognac at my desk (don’t tell my boss), and wearing cashmere slippers. Let’s just say "The Hef" has nothing on me.

buying cigars online

Famous Smoke Shop offers both a world-class B&M cigar lounge as well as an industry-leading online retail site.

Buying cigars online is the more common means for purchasing premium cigars, rather than buying them at your neighborhood brick & mortar tobacco store. Some cigar smokers buy exclusively online for price, selection, and convenience, while others prefer the experience of a store where they can see the product “in-person.” Then there are those who buy their cigars both online and at their local tobacconist. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages to both. Continue reading

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

boutique cigars

Aging Room Quattro f55 cigars are terrific boutique cigars that brought home one of the industry’s highest honor for 2013 beating out lots of the big guys.

When we think of boutique cigars, a ton of thoughts race through our minds fumbling for an answer as to what “boutique” actually means. This made my job of pointing out the top 10 boutique cigar brands a royal pain in the butt. However, in the great office debate of 2014, we came to agree that boutique is more about the high quality of the tobaccos used, unequivocal flavors presented via an artfully executed blending and rolling process, and size of the company in comparison to the rest of the industry. Continue reading

Jonathan DeTore

Author:

My job here is pretty simple - I write stuff, I post stuff to Facebook, and I take it to the house consistently at the weekly slam drunk contest. I do it all while sipping on a fine glass of cognac at my desk (don’t tell my boss), and wearing cashmere slippers. Let’s just say "The Hef" has nothing on me.

Gary Korb

Cigars and humidors are like horses and saddles. We associate them as a dependent set, but you don’t need a saddle to ride a horse, and you don’t need a fancy wooden humidor to store cigars. There is one catch, however: You and the horse will survive without a saddle, but your cigars won’t survive without some form of humidification. For the purposes of this post, I’m talking about wooden desktop cigar humidors, not coolerdors, tupperdors, or other makeshift storage units. Continue reading

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

Marvelous Maduros
Baccarat Rothschild
CAO Gold Maduro RobustoCarlos Torano Signature Robusto
La Aurora Escogidos Robusto
La Gloria Serie N Glorioso
Nub Maduro 464T
Perdomo Grand Cru Robusto
Saint Luis Rey Serie G No. 6
Alec Bradley Tempus Terra Nova
Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Robusto 

A Short Primer on Maduro-Cured Tobaccos

By Gary Korb

Spanish for “ripe,” when you think of a “maduro cigar” one of the first words that comes to mind is “dark.” And that’s the idea. The longer tobacco leaves are fermented, the darker they get. Note that there is no specific “Maduro” leaf, as there is say, a “Corojo” or “Criollo” leaf. Cigar smokers who think maduro cigars are strong will be surprised that this extra fermentation process actually makes the leaf milder and most often sweeter, as well. This natural sweetness is the result of exposing the leaves to extra sunlight during the growing period. Moreover, the leaf essentially “tans,” becoming darker, and also produces more oils. For this reason, the leaves used for curing most maduro wrapper are taken from the top two-thirds of the plant. Suffice it to say, the strength of full-bodied maduro cigars is due more to the filler used, like ligero, than the darkness of the wrapper.

The secret to getting good Maduro leaf is dependent on one of several fermentation processes based on what the Master Blender wants to achieve in terms of color, flavor and strength. Connecticut Broadleaf, Habano (Cuban seed),
and Mexican-grown Sumatra are the most commonly used leaves for fermenting and curing Maduro. However, as you can see by the list of cigars featured in this month’s sampler, Brazilian-grown leaf has become a staple for its thickness, oily sheen and spicier character.

So how does a maduro leaf attain its dark color? One technique is to ferment the leaves longer at a much higher temperature, generally around 150-degrees, rather than the average 110-degrees used to ferment “Natural” wrappers.

Some blenders use a method called “cooking.” During this process, the leaves are placed in a steam chamber that can reach temperatures as high as 180-degrees or more. As a result, the leaves not only attain an even darker color, they’re also milder in flavor. This is one way to produce “Oscuro” wrapper, the darkest and often the oiliest of maduro leaves.

There is also a third “shortcut” method which most veteran Master Blenders detest. This process involves using dyes and sugar to darken and sweeten the leaf. If you notice some stain on your fingers or lips, the wrapper was most likely made using this process. It may even be a well-made and flavorful cigar, but once the cat’s out of the bag, it’s a buzz kill for a lot of cigar smokers.

It’s likely that you’ve had at least a few Maduro cigars by now. That said, if you haven’t had the pleasure of smoking a well-made cigar with a naturally fermented maduro wrapper, you’re missing out on some marvelous smokes.

*Price is a sale price, and subject to change.

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

torpdedo cigars
601 Blue Label Maduro Torpedo
777 By Jesus Fuego Belicoso MaduroAlec Bradley Family Blend T11 Natural
Alec Bradley MAXX The Curve Natural
CAO MX2 Beli Maduro
Gispert Belicoso Natural
La Aurora Preferidos Connecticut #1
Mi Barrio El Billetero Dark Natural
Montecristo White #2
Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve Torpedo MaduroOliva Cain 654T MaduroOliva Serie O Torpedo MaduroOnyx Reserve Belicoso # 2 MaduroRomeo y Julieta Reserva Real #2St Luis Rey Serie G Belicoso Dark Natural*Price is a sale price, and subject to change.

Tapered Head Heaven

By Gary Korb

In case you haven’t noticed, the cigars in this month’s Buying Guide sampler are all tapered head cigars, also referred to as “Figurados.” A figurado is also identified by its non-straight-sided shape, which is why they are given names like Torpedo, Belicoso, Pyramid, Diademas, Perfecto, and Double Perfecto (tapered at both ends). Not surprisingly, the names of these frontmarks originated in Cuba. Since figurados are commonly rolled to wider ring gauges, they naturally offer more flavor and complexity. Moreover, by design, the atypical tapered head is intended to concentrate the smoke as it passes through the head’s narrow pathway. The narrower you make the cut, the more concentrated the smoke, whereas the wider you make the cut, the thicker the smoke.

To the novice, Torpedo cigars, Belicosos, and Pyramids look identical, but there is a difference. Torpedoes have a rounder tapered head with a body that’s a little thicker in the middle (traditionally bulged),
a flat foot, and are normally about 6 to 6? inches in length. Belicosos are generally about the same length as Torpedoes, but have a much sharper head. Pyramids share the same pointed head as Belicosos, but the body tends to flare out to a wider ring at the foot. Of course, frontmarks are named at the discretion of the manufacturer. For example, the Mi Barrio “El Billetero” is a Belicoso with a fancy name. Most Pyramids (or Piramides), are labeled as a “No.2,” like the legendary Montecristo No.2.

Figurados are often higher in price, too. One reason is the extra tobacco used in the cigar. But it has more to do with the skill required to roll them properly, which is why figurados are only assigned to the factory’s most experienced tabaqueros. If you’re a regular cigar smoker and have never smoked a figurado, you’re really missing out on some marvelous cigars.

Tip

How to clip a figurado

V-cutters tend to be the most effective way to clip tapered head cigars. Here’s why: For one, the V-cutter clips the head of the cigar leaving a cleft-shaped cut. It should be deep enough to give you a good draw, too. A standard double or single blade cutter will also do the trick, but if you cut the head too far down, the wrapper could unfurl, and there’s little hope for repairing it. Cut it too short and you may have a draw problem. That said, if you prefer using a double blade cutter, here’s a fool-proof way to get a good cut: Open the cutter and lay it flat on a table. Place the head in the middle of the cutter, clip it, and test the draw. The first clip will probably be too short. If so, repeat the process, take another draw, and see if it improved. It usually takes about two or three cuts to get the cigar to draw well, plus, you’ll keep the wrapper intact. This also allows you to customize the amount of smoke you want to draw through the head.

Xikar VX Cutter

 

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.