Monthly Archives: July 2014

Can you smoke high quality cigars on a budget?

With all the talk of economics and jobs, cigar smokers simply want to find gems on a budget.  After all, our passions shouldn’t suffer just because of bad times, should they? I’ve always stood by the premise of a good smoke is a great experience, no matter the cost, but my tastes as evidenced by this blog have showcased a personal demand for higher priced cigars. 

Quality doesn’t always justify the higher cost, but so far my experiences have been positive.  That being said, I’ve never found problems smoking inexpensive hand rolled premium cigars, because the overall experience has been wonderful.

With the average cost of a cigar in your traditional Brick and Mortar being between $7-$10, we and the difference in online vs  BM prices, we figured we’d aim a little lower for the budget conscious, because I refuse to sacrifice flavor for price.  In short, I won’t smoke tasteless, inexpensive cigars just because I’m on a budget.

A few of the cigars on this list bring the flavor, along with great construction while not being average blends from the multitude of companies out there who make cigars. In short, according to my taste, they’re all winners.PInar Del Rio 1878 Reserva Capa Oscuro

First up, Pinar Del Rio – 1878 Reserva Dominica Capa Oscuro.  A solid cigar with excellent construction and two types of corjoo filler  to provide a spicy experience followed by nutty notes.  Leather on the palate followed by creamy, medium finish

large_brickhouse-toro-single-prod-shotNext  up, BrickHouse – I’m a fan of the toro here, but also the Mighty Mighty Maduro.  Neither cigar is extremely complex, but they’re solid flavors.  Leather and cedar on the Toro with a medium to full finish while the Mighty Mighty boasts coffee and cocoa flavors.  This is actually an old blend from JC Newman Cigars, makers of Diamond Crown.

If you want a real treat, you can look hard enough online and find a vendor who sells Alec Bradley Seconds in either the Tempus or the award winning Prensado blends.  I’ve smoked way too many of both and they’re just as good as the firsts, same draw, same excellent construction, but you’re paying around $2.50 a bundle with no fancy box or band, rather than $9 or more online or in the BM.

Bahia Icon – was a solid blend I had a box of recently.  Full flavor, Bahia Iconplenty of leather and peppery spice with a medium to full finish, the Gran Robusto will give you a good, solid hour of cigar break downtime without disappointing on flavor or putting a major dent in your budget.

Oh, it just dawned on me because I’ve smoked both of these cigars out of samplers and enjoyed them. Alec Bradley American Classic and American Classic Sungrown.  Both cigars come in at under $5 a cigar. The original American Classic features mellow leather and spice notes while the Sungrown is a good expression of sungrown wrappers.

Nothing in this list is overly complicated, but will deliver an experience cigar smokers enjoy.  Downtime, a great conversation starter, or something to pair with your favorite libation while you relax in a passion shared by many others.  What’s on your budget friendly list?

The characters in my upcoming paranormal romance Burning for Derrick are also avid cigar aficionados, often filling their humidors with expensive stick and inexpensive gems alike.   Look for Burning for Derrick coming from Ardent Books soon!

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Strength – Trends in Cigar Smoking

Have you noticed more and more cigar makers are adding or expanding their lines to produce stronger cigars?  Not just in nicotine content but flavor?

The market’s demands are changing and from what I’ve been seeing over the last fifteen years of being a cigar smoker is that the customer seems to be demanding bolder flavors, more power and strength which leads to a new challenge for makers.

I’ve been watching the makers of more mild blends like Davidoff and Davidoff NicaraguaMacanudo bring out more intense lines.  Davidoff with their Nicaragua Puro, Macanudo making their mark with a bolder  extension also.

Punch did something about three to four years back by introducing the Uppercut, a spicy white pepper bomb that left me wondering if I’d been drinking after I’d finished my cigar.  Incidentally, I had been drinking herbal tea at the time, but wow was that cigar a kicker.  Yes, other flavors were present but the white pepper hit first.

Joya De Nicaragua initially had one of the strongest cigars on the market, the Antaño 1970, then followed it up with the Dark JdN Dark CorojoCorojo Antaño.  Both were really tasty but I had to be in the mood for the original, and having smoked too many too close together of the Corojo, I made myself sick from too much nicotine one evening.

I remember my first really strong cigar about twelve years ago.  The Rocky Patel Edge. It came in natural and maduro and both cigars were very well priced at the time though it became tough to tell the difference between the maduro and the natural because both had seriously dark wrappers.  I smoked one of those the entire day and I was done, or I could smoke two of something else and be fine.  Yes, a lot of flavor but what a powerhouse cigar it was back in the day.  For me, Mr. Patel set off a trend that we didn’t see gaining momentum until about six years ago when companies like La Flor Dominicana and Joya De Nicaragua started coming out with stronger cigars.

Let’s be honest, the new trend has brought a lot of gems with it, but so will any trend in most industries.  The emergence of so many new boutique cigar makers like Tatuaje and Illusione have spurred the bigger boys like Altadis and Swedish Match to develop unique cigars to hold the public’s interest.  That’s another article though.

Overall, I do enjoy the trend in strength and the higher reaching heights cigar makers are heading toward to create something unique for our palates, but what do you think?  Can the strength be too much?

The characters in my upcoming paranormal romance BurningMax_in_Laris_400x400 for Derrick are also avid cigar aficionados, often filling their humidors with expensive stick and inexpensive gems alike.   Look for Burning for Derrick coming from Ardent Books soon!