If you’ve ever had the opportunity to meet him, chances are you’ve noticed it too. Whether he’s talking to customers or retailers – anybody, really – Rocky Patel exudes a genuine passion for premium cigars. And that’s pure Rocky: the hardest-working man in the cigar business; a guy who logs more than 300 days on the road a year, yet still relishes the opportunity to travel the world and putting his cigars in the mouth of his consumers. Continue reading
OPERATOR: Hello, Cigar Order Hotline. How may I help you?
OPERATOR: Certainly. Can you tell me what cigars you’ve been smoking?
OPERATOR: I see. Those are machine-made cigars.
CALLER: What does that mean? Continue reading
It’s happened to everyone who smokes premium cigars – the bad burn caused by poor cigar construction. Whether it’s the cigar going out on you too fast, canoeing, or the wrapper coming undone, a bad burn is one of the most frustrating things that can happen. Since a bad burning cigar requires so much extra work, maybe a better word would be “irritating.” Often times, you’ve spent so much time getting the cigar to straighten out, you don’t even remember how the darn thing tasted.
There are several factors that contribute to a bad burning cigar. Some of these I’ve touched on in past articles. For example, it could be the wrapper was too delicate, too thick and oily, or just an inferior quality or poorly cured leaf. Other factors can be a wrapper leaf that’s too dry, which tends to cause the leaf to unravel. It could also be due to poor rolling. Either the bunch wasn’t rolled carefully enough, or during the bunching process some of the binder, which aids in the burning of a cigar, got tucked into the filler. The result is a canoeing cigar, because there’s nothing in those spots to help the wrapper along. Continue reading
AS AN AVID CIGAR SMOKER you’ve probably heard a lot about FDA regulation of premium cigars. The fact is that earlier this year, the Federal Drug Administration was given the authority to regulate tobacco products. According to a recent report from Cigar Rights of America (CRA):
In the July 7 Federal Register, FDA restated its authority to issue regulations deeming ‘other tobacco products’ to be subject to their domain [when the legislative intent was cigarettes and smokeless products]. They further stated ‘The scope of the proposed rule deeming cigars to be subject to FDA’s jurisdiction that was previously included in the Unified Agenda is being broadened to encompass products that meet the statutory definition of tobacco product.
Therefore, unless action is taken quickly, the FDA plans to start their new timetable for such regulations this coming October.
Fortunately, House Bill H.R.1639, the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act, was introduced. This bill seeks to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to clarify the Food and Drug Administration’s jurisdiction over certain tobacco products, and to protect jobs and small businesses involved in the sale, manufacturing and distribution of traditional and premium cigars. At last count H.R.1639 had at least 45 co-sponsors in The House. Recently, added support of the bill is due to the fight not only from CRA and The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR),
but from concerned citizens like you who have taken the time to write your representatives in Washington.
Thankfully, another major hurdle was cleared when co-sponsors Senators Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R) of Florida. introduced S1461, the companion bill to HR1639. S1461, like HR1639, seeks to separate cigars from cigarettes and other tobacco products in order to keep them safe from FDA regulation. Like The House version of this bill, it is called the “Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2011.”
Should the FDA regulation include premium cigars under their umbrella here’s what will happen:
- You’ll pay extremely higher prices for premium cigars.
- Flavored cigars will disappear.
- New blends would be subject to inspection, testing, and approval by the FDA, virtually tying the hands of manufacturers.
- Cigar box artwork will be disfigured by health risk warning labels.
- Marketing of premium cigars and in-store tasting events would be muzzled, nor would cigar stores be permitted to have walk-in humidors, and finally…
- NO MORE MAIL-ORDER CIGARS
And that’s just for starters.
Please contact your U.S. Senators today! The last thing you want is the FDA having a say in how your favorite premium cigars are blended, imported and sold. In the meantime, we will continue to keep you updated on any further developments about these bills that come our way.
Cigar retailers including Famous Smoke Shop desperately need House and Senate support for and co-sponsorship of HR1639 and S1461 respectively, and we need you to urge them! It’s the best thing you can do today to help save your cigars from being regulated by the FDA; and believe me, as if government wasn’t big enough already, the last thing you want is the FDA having a say in how your favorite premium cigars are imported and marketed.
Right now is the perfect opportunity to tell your Senators about how FDA control of cigars will affect you as a consumer. To do so, simply follow these steps.
- Go to IPCPR’s Legislative Action Center
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and on the right side of your screen, you will see a text box for entering your zip code. Enter it and click “Go.”
- On the next screen, you will see your two U.S. Senators and under them you will see a pre-fab letter you can use or edit to add your own wording.
- Finally, preview your message, and if it’s satisfactory, click the “Send Message” button.
Luckily, Congress is listening to us. We have a great opportunity to nail this one down, so don’t delay, and pass this blog on to your cigar smoking amigos.
A few days ago, while admiring the cigars along the Famous Smoke Shop retail store shelves, a colleague of mine said, “There are just too many cigars.” As I continued to browse, I thought about all the cigars I’ve smoked over the years, yet there were still a decent number of them I hadn’t smoked, and I wondered if I ever would. Then came this email from a customer with the subject line, “cigar bucket list,” which inspired me to write this post:
I have a list of eight cigars I’m looking for and wondered if you carried them…
- Liga Privada No. 9 by Drew Estate Parejo Oscuro
- Ashton Cabinet Vintage #10
- Padron 1926 40th Anniversary Torpedo
- Davidoff Millennium Blend Lonsdale
- Benji Menendez Partagas Master Series Majestuoso
- Montecristo No. 2 Torpedo
- Fuente Fuente Opus X Reserva D’Chateau
- Padrón 1964 45th Anniversary Series “A” Double Corona
Now there’s a nice, tasty list if I ever saw one, and there are several cigars on it that I still haven’t gotten around to. Experienced cigar smokers will not only recognize the brands in the list, they’ll also recognize them as being pretty pricey, too. Well, why not? After all, it IS a cigar bucket list.
So, I went back into the store and began poking around, this time paying a little more attention, and realized that I had smoked about 95% of the cigars, by brand mostly, at least once. (I even felt a little sense of accomplishment.) So, I looked at the much bigger list of the cigars on our website, combined that with some web surfing, and finally came up with my own cigar bucket list. Since everyone seems to like Top-10 lists, here’s mine, in alphabetical order.
- Arturo Fuente Añejo Reserva No.77 Shark
- Ashton Estate Grown Vintage 20 Year Salute
- Cohiba Behike BHK 52 (Havana)
- Davidoff Special C Culebras
- Diamond Crown Maximus #2
- Fuente Fuente OpusX BBMF Maduro
- Hemingway Classic Sun Grown
- Padron Family Reserve 45th Anniversary
- Padron Family Reserve 46th Anniversary
- Partagas Serie P No.2 (Havana)
Since I don’t plan on dying anytime soon, the list will continue to grow. Along the way, I’m sure I’ll get to savor most of them and knock them off the list.. In fact, there’s one cigar I was going to put on the list – the Room 101 #305 – but thanks to a recent visit to our offices by Christina Eiroa (of Camacho Cigars),
he just happened to have a box of 101s with him. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get lucky and one or two more will fall into my hands by the good graces of another manufacturer, but I won’t hold my breath.
So, now I turn the list over to you. What cigars would you put on your cigar bucket list? Please be my guest by putting your own cigar bucket list in the comments box.