Tobacco Farming Part 4: Initial Fermentation, from the Curing Barn to the Pilones

Reading Time: 4 minutes Nick Perdomo explains the laborious, yet critical tobacco curing and fermentation process. Enter the curing barn where the newly-harvested tobacco leaves are separated by type and tied into bunches (or “hands”) for drying. When the leaves are ready, they are made into pilones, or “piles” for their first fermentation. Heat in the pilon is carefully monitored until the hands reach optimum temperature, and though there’s much more to do before they become cigars, the leaves are just getting warmed up.

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Growing Up Tobacco – A Tribute to a Consigliere

Reading Time: 7 minutes Sal Fontana spent 62 expletive-ridden years in the cigar business. These are his stories, as told by friend, co-worker, and mentee, Christian Eiroa.

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What’s all the Hype about Small Batch Cigars? Are they worth it? You bet they are

Reading Time: 4 minutes Small batch cigars have become one of the most popular interests among cigar smokers for their use of rare and vintage tobaccos. As a result, many manufacturers have jumped on the small batch bandwagon. “In this time of ‘one size fits all,’ it’s good to know that there are cigars that are not mass-produced by big corporations, where the quantity is often more important than the quality,” says Boutique Blends President, Rafael Nodal, who explains why these unique cigars are well worth having in your humidor.

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Keys to the City: Houston

Reading Time: 6 minutes Houston is a melting pot of cultures, and much more, according to Rocky Patel, who takes us to one of the Lone Star State’s most fascinating cities. Houston has become the homeof restaurants that cater to practically every domestic and foreign cuisine, making it one of the nation’s best destinations for foodies. Join Rocky as he points out some of his favorite eateries, including Houston’s finest hotels, and cigar lounges.

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Tobacco Farming Part 3: Growing, Aging, and Blending

Reading Time: 6 minutes This month, Nick Perdomo describes in precise detail what it takes to produce the richest tasting tobacco plants. Like most things, it’s not as easy as it looks, nor is it cheap; but it you do it right, the rewards are priceless. Working with cooperation with the weather, using some old school smarts, a little modern technology, and excellent timing, every decision is critical for producing a harvest that’s worthy of becoming premium handmade cigars.

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Substance and Style: State of the Art

Reading Time: 3 minutes In this month’s installment of Substance and Style, Cigar maker Ernesto Padilla asks readers to imagine looking back through family photos 20 or 30 years from now, and ask themselves this question: What do I want to see? Do you want to see yourself drinking an Angel Tears IPA, wearing Crocs, Capri pants and a Scooby Doo t-shirt? Or do you want to see something timeless and classic?

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The Truths Of Risks & Rewards

Reading Time: 6 minutes Last month, we reviewed the unique selling proposition, ideation and the suit of armor needed to protect your “next big thing.” So are you now ready to put it all on the line for the sweet taste of success? Xikar's Kurt van Keppel has some time in the aircraft with this part of the process – and he'll walk you through it, so you don't have to feel the pain.

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“Just a Friend” A Monthly Column by J. Drew

Reading Time: 4 minutes Jonathan Drew shares the story of how one tory and one song unlocked a whole different meaning for him, and a room full of friends: “finally all together in one place sharing cigars, drinks, hamburgers – and the stories of our lives.” JD drops some wisdom on why we, as cigar smokers, are so often referred to as a “brotherhood” – it's what cigar smoking is all about, that’s what life is all about – camaraderie, friendship, love for our brothers and sisters.

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All in the family: Music, Cigars, and a Grammy

Reading Time: 6 minutes Want to know what it’s like to attend the GrammyAwards? Boutique Blends president, Rafael Nodal does. In 2009, his stepson, Marco (better known as “INFAMOUS”), received three nominations and won a Grammy for producing Lil' Wayne's Rap Album of the Year: “Mr. Carter.” Having attended the ceremonies that year with his wife Alina, Rafael describes, with deep parental pride, what he calls “a night to remember.”

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Boutique is in the heart

Reading Time: 5 minutes At what point does a “Boutique Cigar Company” lose its roots and become a “Corporate Cigar Company”? Jonathan Drew answers that the same way he answers, “When does a person become old?” It's defined in the person's heart, their attitude and, in this case, perception. Go behind the scenes of Drew Estate Nicaragua & Cigar Safari for a look at how they do things: much differently.

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