September 23, 2017

Diesel Grind Toro (6 x 50)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
Diesel Grind, a line sold by Cigars International and also distributed by Meier & Dutch is now joining the General Cigar portfolio. The cigar was showcased at this year’s 2017 IPCPR Trade Show.

Diesel is a brand that is made by AJ Fernandez and has been in the Cigars International/Meier & Dutch portfolio for several years. Since both business units are owned by General Cigar’s parent company Scandinavian Tobacco Group, the transition of the Diesel Grind line on the surface was quite easy. As a part of the transition, Diesel Grind will now become a brick and mortar exclusive.

Diesel Grind features a Nicaraguan binder and filler and is wrapped with a Habano leaf. The cigars will be offered in three sizes in 20-count rustic wooden boxes. The cigar is described as a powerful, but smooth smoke. The cigar is positioned as a value-priced cigar priced from $5.99 to $6.99.

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Tabacalera Fernandez)

Vitolas Available
Robusto: 4.88 x 50 ($5.99 SRP)
Toro: 6 x 50 ($6.49 SRP) REVIEWED TODAY
Torpedo: 6.12 x 52; ($6.99 SRP)

The cigar is well made and has an average feel in the hand for a cigar of this size.

The cigar is a medium to dark brown and well made. The test draw after cutting the cap was a bit firm. The initial flavors were a sweet, very tangy orange citrus, caramel, with a light black coffee base. The black pepper was very good and rated at an 8. 

2 inches in (29 minutes) the citrus notes seem to be morphing into a sweet cedar. The caramel notes are now more of a dry cocoa flavor. There also seem to be brown sugar notes with a touch of butter. The cigar has changed from a sharp, tangy citrus to a sweet cedar with dry cocoa. It turned much darker. The pepper remains very good. The cigar is medium bodied and leaning toward medium to full bodied. The finish has the flavor of the dry cocoa and black coffee with some lingering black pepper. 

With about 2 inches remaining (54 minutes) I no longer had the dry cocoa notes. The cigar sort of reverted back to the beginning stages with a tangy orange citrus with orange peel flavors which gave the cigar some bitterness. The caramel notes are still there to help with the sweetness but it is somewhat down at this point. The pepper remains very good. There is a nice black coffee base. The cigar is medium to full bodied now. The finish is much sweeter now with caramel notes. 

The cigar lasted 1 hour 19 minutes. It stayed on the previous track with the bitterness from the orange peel increasing. You still had the orange citrus and caramel notes but the orange peel bitterness was the lead flavor. The pepper remained very good and the finish was unchanged. This cigar started out like a world beater but changed after a couple inches and started to lose steam with me. While this is a decent AJ cigar it would not be considered my favorite but at this very good price point it should be given a shot. 

Score: 89

September 20, 2017

Important Communication about Stolen Cigars

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 — Miami, FL- On August 8, 2017, a truck containing a full load of Drew Estate premium handmade cigars was stolen in the greater Miami area. An active investigation into this theft is ongoing and involves numerous law enforcement entities. The specific cigars stolen include Tabak Especial Dulce Robusto and Undercrown Shade Belicoso.  If anyone becomes aware of these cigars being offered for sale by non-Drew Estate authorized suppliers or being offered for sale by any suppliers at below wholesale list price, please inform Drew Estate immediately by calling Glenn Wolfson at (786) 581-1800.

September 17, 2017

Partagas 1845 Extra Fuerte Robusto (5 1/2 x 50)

Video review HERE.

In the five years since its launch, Partagas 1845 remains one of the most successful brands in the handmade cigar category. Today, the collection’s three distinct blends have been completely updated with deeper, richer taste profiles, and modernized with a new look and feel. Each of the three Partagas 1845 lines continues to pay homage to the heritage of Partagas by featuring the hallmarks of the brand – the finest, hand selected tobaccos, meticulous construction and an exquisite array of flavors.

Andres Maturen, brand manager for Partagas said, “Within the Partagas portfolio, the 1845 franchise stands apart for its ability to bridge the brand’s rich heritage and symbolism with contemporary influences. We’ve continued along this path by reimagining Partagas 1845 with a modern lens. The new Partagas 1845 blends give a nod to the brand’s storied history while delivering added complexity and more competitive pricing to resonate with discerning smokers of today.”

The newly-revamped lines will be offered at lower price points than the original Partagas 1845 lines, and will ship in mid-August.

The newly-blended Partagas 1845 Extra Fuerte strikes an intricate balance between intensity and complexity. This is a full-bodied cigar that features a blend of aged ligeros from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, with a Connecticut Habano binder and aromatic Olancho San Agustin wrapper. A smoke for the initiated, Partagas 1845 Extra Fuerte is available in four sizes and packs a punch with a dynamic array of roasted coffee overtones.

Gigante – 6 x 60; SRP per cigar is $7.69

Churchill – 7 x 49; SRP per cigar is $7.39

Toro – 6.5 x 45; SRP per cigar is $6.99

Robusto – 5.5 x 50; SRP per cigar is $6.49 REVIEWED TODAY

The cigar is a dark brown and well made with no visible veins. It has an average feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was firm but workable. The initial flavors were a bit odd. They were a sweet combination of honey and caramel. There were buttery notes and black pepper rated at a 7 1/2. 

About 1 1/2 inch in (20 minutes) the flavors are still very sweet but they are changing. Now you have milk chocolate, brown sugar with butter, caramel, and a light black coffee base. The pepper is still good. The finish is one of caramel with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar remains very sweet with light coffee notes. The cigar is medium to full bodied.

A little over 2 inches in (38 minutes) the flavors are the same but the caramel notes are pretty much the lead flavor followed by the milk chocolate. The caramel notes are very sweet and very prominent. There remains a touch of buttery notes. The brown sugar ties it all together and makes the cigar sweeter. The coffee base remains very light. The cigar is still medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged. 

Just past the midpoint, at the band (53 minutes) the cigar is full bodied. The flavor notes are unchanged. The only thing that is different at this point is the cigar is full bodied.

The cigar lasted 1 hour 17 minutes. Pretty good for a robusto but it was, after all, 5 1/2 inches long. Here in the final stages the chocolate notes went from milk chocolate to straight chocolate. There were still caramel and brown sugar notes. The black coffee became very elevated giving the cigar a firm base. The cigar is very full bodied now. The finish is still caramel and now there are chocolate notes also. The lingering black pepper remains good. This was a pretty good cigar and the price point is unbeatable. The only negative I have is the coffee notes did not get to a good level until the last inch or so. The cigar is very sweet and enjoyable. Give these a try HERE.

Score: 91

September 16, 2017

Todos Las Dias Toro by Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust (6 x 52)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
Todos Las Dias is Steve Saka's Nicaraguan puro line. The cigar is described as limited in production. In a press release announcing the line, Saka explained background on the name and how it ties into the project:

Todos Las Dias is my personal Spanglish translation meaning “All the Days.” The workers at Joya de Nicaragua often cringe at my casual butchering of their mother tongue, but in my opinion cigars are far more than a grammar lesson to abide, they are the physical manifestation of a feeling and of an experience. TLD embodies the classic bold flavors that represent the heart of their soil’s peppery tobaccos and the labor of their always working hands. For me, this spicy Nicaraguan puro reflects no pretentious airs or any of that ‘notes of pencil lead with a hint of fennel’ nonsense. It is an honest, hardworking cigar intended to be smoked by men who know what it means to be a cigar smoker and never give a damn about what others think.”

“It is a supple, sungrown Cuban Seed capa which encapsulates its intricate tripa recipe of rich Jalapa and Esteliano tobaccos. From the first puff, there is no doubt of the origin of this cigar or that it is intended solely for the seasoned cigar smoker. What I love about this liga is that it builds; so many stronger blends start off super peppery and robust only to mellow out as you smoke them. Whereas the Todos Las Dias does just the opposite; it begins smooth and then escalates in strength and body, it almost lulls you into false sense of security. It is a much heavier liga than you will have realized until you go to stand up afterwards.”

For the formal launch, Todos Las Dias will be available in four sizes: Half Churchill, Robusto, Toro, and Double Wide Belicoso. Each of the four sizes will be available in ten-count boxes priced from $10.45 to $12.45 per cigar.  The packaging is slightly different from the limited launch from 2016 – most notably the gold coloring on the bands has been replaced by white.

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Joya de Nicaragua SA)

Vitolas Available
Half Churchill: 4 3/4 x 48 (SRP $10.45)
Robusto: 5 x 52 (SRP $11.45)
Toro: 6 x 52 (SRP $12.45) (REVIEWED TODAY)
Double Wide Belicoso: 4 3/4 x 60 (SRP $12.45)

The cigar is very well made and has no visible veins. It is a dark brown in color and has a nice feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were a nice orange citrus with some vegetable-rooty flavor, cream, a touch of brown sugar and a massive amount of black pepper which I rated at a 9. There is also a touch of black coffee at the base. These are the initial flavors. The cigar has the flavors and "feel" that it will be a full bodied cigar but it's too early to make that call now.

1 1/2 inch in (29 minutes) the citrus notes are matched or almost overwhelmed by the massive amount of black coffee notes. They have really made a surge. The pepper has toned down a touch. The brown sugar is more noticeable. There are still the vegetable notes. The cigar is medium to full bodied and moving up. The finish has a lot of coffee notes also along with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. 

Around the midpoint (47 minutes) the citrus notes are taking on a cedar flavor. There are now unsweetened dark chocolate notes. The brown sugar gives the cigar some sweetness but not the dark chocolate. The pepper remains very good and the black coffee is still very elevated. The finish has a flavor of sweet cedar and dark chocolate with the lingering black pepper. The cigar is full bodied at this point. The cigar is rather dark noted with the dark chocolate and black coffee but it has enough sweetness to balance it out. 

With about 1 1/2 inch remaining (1 hour 10 minutes) the citrus notes are back on the front end. There are still massive amounts of black coffee. There are still unsweetened dark chocolate and brown sugar notes. The vegetable-type flavor is still also around and has been throughout the cigar. The finish is more of a dark chocolate flavor now. The cigar is still full bodied. 

The cigar ended at 1 hour 24 minutes. The flavors were about the same as the last segment. This was a full bodied cigar with nice flavors. I would call it fairly dark noted. The black coffee and unsweetened dark chocolate are quite prominent. The citrus, sometimes cedar, is the initial flavor at draw but the dark notes quickly take over. The brown sugar give the cigar a nice amount of sweetness. This was a good, powerful, flavorful cigar. Get this cigar HERE.

Score: 92

September 15, 2017

ITG Brands & Premium Cigar Division, Tabacalera USA group, Donate Another $50,000 to Hurricane Disaster Relief

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      
September 15, 2017                                                                     

ITG Brands & Premium Cigar Division, Tabacalera USA group,
Donate Another $50,000 to Hurricane Disaster Relief

GREENSBORO, N.C. – For the second time in two weeks, Greensboro-based ITG Brands and Fort Lauderdale-based premium cigar division, Tabacalera USA, are donating through their affiliated foundation $50,000 to the American Red Cross for hurricane assistance.

This time it is for disaster relief in Florida for those affected by Hurricane Irma.

“We were touched by the devastation, loss of life and disruption in Houston and many other Texas locations with Hurricane Harvey,” said ITG Brands CEO David Taylor. “This time, Hurricane Irma hit closer to home.”

Javier Estades, head of premium cigar operations in the U.S., added, “We know that the American Red Cross is working around the clock helping those in need, and we are pleased to provide financial support.” Fort Lauderdale-based Tabacalera USA’s divisions include Altadis U.S.A., Casa de Montecristo (with cigar lounges in Florida), and JR Cigar. “Fortunately, our cigar manufacturing facilities in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic were not severely impacted.

“We have seen the damage close up,” Estades said.  “Our offices here in Fort Lauderdale and our distribution center in Tampa were forced to close for several days,” Estades said. “Fortunately all of our employees are accounted for, though many have been affected personally by Hurricane Irma.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends and colleagues throughout the cigar industry who have been impacted, and for all Floridians and others touched by this devastating storm,” he said.

September 10, 2017

CAO Amazon Anaconda (6 x 52)

Video review HERE.

I did this review while on vacation in Ocho Rios, Jamaica at the Couples Sans Souci Resort. I have done other review from this location. The onsite location was the Martini Bar.The weather was clear and hot! The views are spectacular. Now, on to the review.

It started with CAO Amazon Basin, continued with Fuma Em Corda and now, the CAO Amazon trilogy reaches a crescendo with Amazon Anaconda, a new limited edition cigar made with the rarest tobaccos known to man.

Ernest Gocaj, the Indiana Jones of the cigar world, took his final trip to the wilds of Brazil in 2013. This time, the natives presented him with a hearty wrapper leaf they call Bahiano Habano which is used for the first and only time in CAO Amazon Anaconda.

Grown in the fertile Bahia region of eastern Brazil, the Bahiano Habano wrapper yielded a leaf that was dense, compact, and extremely flavorful. Ernest spent several years working with the local farmers, teaching them special agricultural practices to improve tobacco yield and leaf quality. In the end, Ernest purchased only the ligero leaves from the highest stalk position on the plant to ensure that the true rich and robust flavors of the Bahiano tobacco came through on Amazon Anaconda.

Blender/ambassador Rick Rodriguez said, “This was the first time that the blending team and I worked with the Bahiano wrapper, and we devoted a couple of months just to leaf selection. Only the very best leaves were chosen and that shows right away, not only in the look, but also in the flavor of the cigar. It’s got a very unique, earthy taste, with notes of leather and espresso. There’s no doubt in my mind that the fans of CAO are going to wild for this blend.”

Bringing the CAO Brazilia trilogy to a stunning conclusion, the Brazilian Bahiano Habano ligero wrapper is supported by a blend made primarily of Bragança and Fuma Em Corda, the primitive, Brazilian tobaccos that also appeared in the trilogy’s previous releases. A Nicaraguan binder ensures an even burn, while Colombian and Dominican leaves enhance the blend, maximizing the exotic flavor of the Brazilian filler leaves.

CAO Amazon Anaconda is a once-in sale only at cigar shops, and when the cigars hit retail next month, they will sell out in an instant. Anaconda is handcrafted in Honduras, packed in rustic wooden boxes and are only available in a 6 x 52 Toro. The cigars will sell for $10.49 per cigar, and a 20-count boxes will cost you $209.80. That is, if you can find them.

The cigar looks rustic with a single vine wrapping around the cigar from the base of the cap downward about 1 1/2 inches. It has a nice feel in the hand. Here is a terrible shot of the foot, but trust me, it's dense.

The test draw after cutting the cap was great. The initial flavors were a sweet, rich orange citrus and blackberry preserves. Quite a combination. There was also butter and lots of brown sugar. There was black pepper which I rated at 7 1/2 to 8. The cigar is very rich and sweet right from the start.

About 1/2 inch in (11 minutes) you can add cinnamon to the mix of flavors. There are a lot of sweet notes popping in this cigar right now. The blackberry notes give it lots of depth but if you let the flavors linger long enough you will get some light black coffee notes at the base. The cigar has ample sweetness and plenty of richness. Great so far.

About 2 inches in (28 minutes) the flavors are just as they were. Lots of bold sweet notes with richness. A really good overall combination of flavors. The finish has a lot of blackberry notes with sweet cream and brown sugar. The cigar is medium bodied at this point.

At the midpoint (40 minutes) add chocolate notes to the mix. The chocolate notes are really coming out and the other notes are just slightly behind in intensity. The pepper remains very good. The cigar is still medium bodied. You might call it a low grade medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged and very nice.

With about 2 1/2 inches remaining (1 hour) there have been no changes since the last segment. I would call the cigar medium to full bodied. The cigar is still very rich and sweet. The cigar is rather dark noted but not overly so. The finish is unchanged. The cigar seems to be the best parts of the Amazon Basin and the Fuma Em Corda with the addition of the Brazilian Bahiano Habano ligero wrapper.

The cigar lasted 1 hour 20 minutes. The flavors continued very much as they were to the end. This is a pretty consistent cigar after the midpoint. I loved the flavor combinations. My only complaint is this is probably a one and done cigar. I do not expect to see any more after these sell out. I loved the citrus and blackberry combination, along with the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, chocolate, and black pepper. Quite a list of flavors and you will get them all. These should be on your must try list and they may be hard to find but if you do grab them quickly. They will not be around long. I thought so much of the first one I sampled I pre-bought a box. They are not expected to ship until mid-October but they are worth the wait. Great cigar and a definite must try. You can pre-order them HERE.


August 31, 2017

ITG Brands & Premium Cigar Division, Tabacalera USA group, Donate to Houston Disaster Relief

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Greensboro-based ITG Brands and Fort Lauderdale-based premium cigar division, Tabacalera USA and their affiliates, are donating through their affiliated foundation $50,000 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey-related assistance in Houston and other affected areas.

“We have been touched by the devastation, loss of life and disruption this natural disaster has wrought on Houstonians and many other Texans,” said ITG Brands CEO David Taylor.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all who live and work in all areas affected by this disaster, especially for our own employees and trading partners in Texas and elsewhere.

Head of Tabacalera USA, Javier Estades added, “We know that the American Red Cross is working tirelessly to help those in need, and we are pleased to provide financial support.” Tabacalera USA’s divisions include Altadis U.S.A., Casa de Montecristo (with four cigar lounges in Houston), and JR Cigar.

August 30, 2017

Drew Estate Announces Herrera Estelí DeSocio for Alliance Cigar

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 — Miami, FL – Today, Drew Estate announced the release of Herrera Estelí DeSocio, an exclusive vitola manufactured for Alliance Cigar, a premium cigar wholesale distributor based in New York.

The Herrera Estelí DeSocio is a 6 x 60 vitola featuring an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Honduran binder, and filler from Nicaragua, presented in 10 count boxes with an MSRP of $8.60 per cigar. Willy Herrera, Master Blender of Drew Estate stated, “I’ve been asked consistently over the years at events across the nation to blend a larger ring gauge Herrera Estelí. The opportunity and challenge of bringing out the unique set of flavors in a large format cigar took many trials and this DeSocio takes the Herrera Esteli blend and unparalleled smoking experience to a whole new level.”

The DeSocio series was inspired by the maternal grandmother of Tom Sullivan, Founder of Alliance Cigar, and pays homage to the family’s heritage. Tom Sullivan states, “The DeSocio collection of exclusive sizes of my favorite brands is something I’ve always wanted to do, and now with the addition of the Herrera Estelí DeSocio I am excited to finally add a vitola from my favorite Drew Estate brand. My working relationship with Drew Estate began in 1997 and the addition of the Herrera Esteli ‘DeSocio’ helps us mark and celebrate our 20-year anniversary of friendship and mutual business success.”

From Drew Estate Connecticut Barn Smoker, where Jonathan Drew’s theme was “family”, he stated, “The Sullivan family and Alliance Cigar are true friends and for 20 years have been a strategic partner of DE at every level.  The Herrera Esteli ‘De Socio’ is a special cigar and beautiful concept which honors family and heritage. Tommy is a tobacco man, who has helped many in the premium cigar manufacturing community grow and better themselves. It's great to give something of value back to our Brother Sully. I know you are reading this my brother, and I want to personally thank you for 20 years of solidarity and partnership."

Fans of Herrera Estelí are encouraged to download Drew Diplomat, the official mobile application of Drew Estate, which is now available in the App Store for iPhone®, and iPod Touch® and on Google Play™ for Android™. For more information head to

About Alliance Cigar

Founded in 1997, Alliance Cigar is a national wholesale distributor focused on all major premium imported cigar brands as well as today’s most sought after boutique brands and limited editions. Alliance Cigar is family owned and operated and is nationally recognized for its unparalleled customer service and loyalty. For more information contact ;Tom Sullivan at p: 800-328-1001 or go to:


Founded in 1996, Drew Estate is one of the largest and fastest growing cigar companies in the world. Under their mantra “The Rebirth of Cigars” Drew Estate has disrupted the premium cigar industry by creating a raw authenticity that has engaged cigar enthusiasts with iconic brands, unique tobaccos, and distinctive blending styles that attract new and old seasoned cigar enthusiasts. Their Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Nicaragua produces more premium cigars than any other single factory in the world, producing a variety of brands including ACID, Liga Privada, Herrera Estelí, Herrera Estelí Norteño, Isla del Sol, Kentucky Fired Cured, MUWAT, Larutan by Drew Estate, Nica Rustica, Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented Cigars, Tabak Especial, Undercrown, and Java by Drew Estate.

General Cigar Honors Industry Legend Benji Menendez

General Cigar recently held a private reception at the IPCPR trade show to honor cigar industry legend Benji Menendez for his many contributions to the company and to thank him for his ongoing support.

General Cigar President Régis Broersma said, “Our relationship with Benji Menendez has continued long after his retirement from the company. To this day, he is a trusted advisor, mentor and friend to all of us in the General Cigar family. It was truly an honor to have Benji and his lovely wife Margarita with us at IPCPR this year and we look forward to continuing to work with him, to soak up the wisdom he so freely shares.”

“General Cigar is my extended family and I am grateful that they have never forgotten me. I am looking forward to doing more things with the company. I hope I can help in some small way to spread the word about the fantastic cigars they make,” said Benji.

In Spring, 2018, Benji Menendez will appear in a very special event series for Partagas. Additional details including event dates will be announced in early 2018.

Benji Menendez retired from his position as General Cigar’s vice president of premium cigars in 2014. His career spans more than 60 years in the handmade cigar business and his contributions to the category are too numerous to mention.