Category Archives: Cigars

Hechicera by Sotolongo Cigars; Cigar review

hechiceraHechicera by Sotolongo Cigars was announced in early October, 2013. The company was created by Grace Sotolongo and Christian Eiroa of CLE Cigars.  A Maduro blend was announced at the 2014 IPCPR and on July 31st, 2014, Grace Sotolnogo revealed that she had the company effective immediately. The Hechicera brand is owned by CLE Cigars and Chrisitan Eiroa has said that the “concept” of this brand was being retained.

The translation of Hechicera means a female sorceress, who has the ability to captivate and enchant those around her with her beauty and charm.

The Nicaraguan Puro blend is available in four vitolas: 5 1/2 x 44 Box Press (MSRP $5.95), 4 1/2 x 50  (MSRP $6.95), 6 x 52 (MSRP $7.95) and a 6 x 60 (MSRP $8.95) All vitolas are available in boxes of 10.

I purchased several of the 6×52 vitola from different local tobacconists for this review. I paired the cigars with water while performing the review.

The Hechicera’s wrapper is a medium brown in color with prominent veins and visible seams. The cigar is firm to the touch and has a mild tobacco aroma coming from the wrapper leaf. The cigars have a finished foot that emits a rich, fragrant berry scent. The cigar’s cap is well formed and smooth.

The pre-light draw is easy with no resistance at all. I also picked up on that rich berry flavor at this point.

Getting into the meat of this cigar, the first third brings a rich, savory tobacco flavor on my palate and a sharp spice sensation to the back of my throat with a milder spice in my sinuses.

The second third of the cigar brings a stronger tobacco flavor on my palate and the spice strength in my sinuses also picks up. There is a long lingering finish and I can feel a bit of a nicotine buzz at this point.

The final third really kicks this cigar into high gear with a lot of sweetness and strong tobacco flavors. The spice sensation remains the same in my sinuses. I really feel this cigar comes into its own here at the end.

The cigar burns very well throughout the smoke with an even, scalloped edge. The cigar’s ash is firm and tight with a thin carbon ring. The ash initially falls off after about an inch and a half. The cigar also produces a tremendous amount of smoke with each puff.

I would classify the Hechicera as a full bodied, medium to full strength cigar. It is an absolute pleasure to smoke and has quickly become one of my favorite cigars. On a scale of 100, I give the Hechicera a 92.

Only time will tell if this brand sticks around but for now, I recommend to pick some of these up at your local shop if you come across them.

Montecristo Espada; Cigar review

espadaThe Montecristo Espada is one of the latest releases from Altadis. This Nicaraguan Puro is beautifully packaged in suede covered boxes of ten and is available in three vitolas: Guard: 6 x 50 (SRP $11.75), Quillon: 7 x 56 (SRP $12.50) and Ricasso: 5 x 54 (SRP $11.50).

The Espada’s tobacco blend is comprised of a Nicaraguan Shade Grown Jalapa wrapper that surrounds a Nicaraguan Jalapa binder and a filler mix of Nicaraguan Ometepe, Jalapa and Condega filler leaves.

Before I could actually see the cigar’s wrapper, I had to remove the majority of the bands. In addition to the typical band you would find near the cigar’s cap, there is a foot band and a large, perforated middle band with the Espada name and logo. This middle band was quite a challenge to remove on all three of the samples I smoked. While the bands are just for aesthetics and don’t affect the review of a cigar, the removal was cumbersome and I was worried about wrapper damage as I removed them.

The Shade Grown wrapper is tan in color, has a few prominent veins and visible seams. The cap is well formed and the wrapper has a faint tobacco aroma. The finished foot gives off a sweet, earthy tobacco scent. The cigar itself is firm to the touch and has an average weight.

After clipping the cap, I found a slight resistance to the draw and a faint berry flavor coming from the filler.

The overall burn of the Espada was scalloped but even. The cigar had a medium sized carbon ring and a firm, slightly flaky gray ash that initially dropped off at about an inch in length. The cigar produced a good amount of satisfying smoke with each puff.

The first third of the cigar revealed a mild spice sensation as I passed the smoke through my sinuses. There were mild tobacco flavors on my palate and no finish to speak of.

The second third had no change to the spice sensation but, the tobacco flavors increased slightly and there was a mild finish on my palate.

As I moved into the final third, the peppery spice was consistent on the exhale while I picked up on some richer tobacco notes and there was a medium, lingering finish.

Overall, I would have to say that the Montecristo Espada is an average smoke with mild to medium strength and mild to medium body. For the suggested price point I would have liked something with more complexity in the flavor profile. On a 100 point scale, I am rating this cigar at an 82.

Antillian Cigar to distribute four cigar brands


Antillian Cigar Corporation, owner of the popular cigar brands Sosa, Underground and 60 by Sosa, is happy to announce that it will be the exclusive U.S. distributor for The Cigar Cork, Arandoza Cigars, Headlines Cigars and Doña Nieves Cigars.

“We are excited to bring these boutique brands under the umbrella of the Sosa family,” stated Arby Sosa, creative director and sales manager for Antillian Cigar Corp.  He explained, “With this being the year of our 50th Anniversary, the Sosa family looked at the cigar landscape and realized that ‘strength in numbers’ is the future.  Why did I choose these brands to distribute? If you know me, you know I’m a simple guy.  Each product had something different and interesting to offer, and I believe this collaboration with innovative concepts will allow all of us to remain competitive in this business.”

Under this arrangement, the Antillian Cigar sales staff will bring The Cigar Cork and the Arandoza, Headlines and Doña Nieves cigar brands to market while each company will continue to focus on its own product development, brand expansion, and manufacturing.

About Antillian Cigar Corp:

The Sosa cigar tradition began with Don Juan Sosa, a small tobacco grower in the fertile Taguasco region of Cuba at the turn of the century. By the 1920’s, his farm had become one of the largest tobacco-producing haciendas in Cuba. Over the next 30 years, Don Juan’s son, Arturo, and grandson, Juan, manufactured cigars for sale in Cuba and abroad. In 1964, Arturo and Juan opened their first factory in Miami, FL.  The factory closed in 1980 and moved operations to the Dominican Republic. In 1996, Juan B. Sosa began with the Fuente family and manufactures various lines of cigars of out the Fuente factory.  Today, the legacy of quality, handmade cigars made in the Cuban tradition continues with master blender, Juan B. Sosa, alongside his wife, sons and nephews. 

About The Cigar Cork:

The Cigar Cork is a patent-pending division of Maine Lobster Steamer, LLC, a registered 100% Veteran Owned Company.  The Cigar Cork is a re-usable cigar humidification/flavoring system that stores and humidifies cigars in an airtight pressurized tube designed to give you years of use.  Each closing of the Cigar Cork tube reseals and pressurizes the tube ensuring an unsurpassed cigar preservation environment.  Each tube can fit up to a 7 x 60 cigar or hold smaller cigars. 

About Arandoza Cigars:

Arandoza Cigars is owned by Robert Arango and makes the Red, White and Blue Label cigar lines out of the La Zona factory in Nicaragua.  The wrapper used for these cigars is Habano, Habano Oscuro and San Andreas Capa Negra and will be available in 9 sizes.  The strength of these cigars is medium to full-bodied. 

About Headlines Cigars:

Headlines Cigars is owned by Dee Aguasvivas and Ulises Delgado.  The cigar is a 100% Dominican cigar using Andullo tobacco and made out of the Tabacalera Real Tamboril.  The wrapper used is Pennsylvania Seed and Habano Oscuro grown in the Dominican Republic.  It will be available in 6 sizes, and the strength of this cigar is medium to full-bodied. 

About Doña Nieves:

The Doña Nieves brand of cigars is made in Nicaragua in the factory of El Galan owned by Felix Mesa.  It is a medium to full-bodied cigar.  The wrapper used is Habano and will be available in 3 sizes.

H. Upmann’s The Banker; Cigar review

bankerThis week I am reviewing one of the newest cigars from Altadis, H. Upmann ‘s The Banker.

I’m also adding something new, starting with this review. I’ll be assigning a numerical value from a 100 point scale for each cigar I review going forward.

From the cigar’s website, the story about The Banker is as follows:

“In 1844, German bankers Carl and Herman Upmann traveled to Cuba where they created an exceptionally unique cigar. They securely locked it away in their vaults to be gifted to their most important clients.” The website goes on to say that this blend has been resurrected in today’s “The Banker”.

The Banker’s tobacco profile is comprised of an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder and a mixture of Nicaraguan and Dominican filler tobaccos.

The Banker is available in three sizes: Annuity (52 x 6”), Arbitrage (56 x 7″) and Currency (48 x 5 ½”).  MSRP for The Banker is $7 to $8.40.

For this review, I received several of the Annuity vitola from the manufacturer.

When you first look at The Banker, you really can’t see very much of the wrapper leaf. The cigar’s band and foot band anchors a large sheet of white paper that has the cigar’s logo in gold. Once you remove the two bands and white paper, you’ll see  a third band and the medium brown color of the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The cap is a well formed triple cap. The cigar is firm to the touch and has a sweet, earthy aroma. The cigar’s foot is finished and has a sweet, berry scent.

Clipping the cap, I take an easy pre-light draw and pick up on some berry notes.

Once lit, the cigar has an even, scalloped burn. It develops a thin carbon ring and a tight gray ash that falls off after about an inch and a half. The smoke produced with each puff has good volume.

Moving into the first third of the cigar, I find that there is a very strong spice sensation in my sinuses. On my palate, I pick up on woody tobacco and some bitterness on the finish.

The second third of the cigar again has strong spice sensations in the sinuses. The bitterness on my palate subsides and is replaced by a very heavy tobacco flavor.

The final third of The Banker is similar to the second with the addition of a rich, long finish.

H. Upmann’s The Banker is one of the better cigars I have smoked from Altadis. I would consider it a medium strength, medium bodied cigar. Smoking it was an enjoyable experience and on a scale of 100, I would give The Banker an 86.

Drew Estate unveils “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera” for Barrister Cigars

HerreraDrew Estate Tobacco Co. announced today the release of the first “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera”, a concept cigar by Willy Herrera. Made at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in extremely small batches, the Tienda Exclusiva line is specially crafted for one retailer per release, with only a few releases scheduled per year. The inaugural “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera” blend was produced for the owner of Barrister Cigars in Union, New Jersey, David Mallow, following the 2013 New Jersey Cigar Festival.

When asked about the blend, Willy Herrera responded from Estelí, Nicaragua: “This was one of the blends that I was working on through 2012 and 2013. David smoked it at the Festival and kept coming back for more. Eventually, he smoked every cigar I had brought, which I thought would be enough for the entire week! I knew he loved the blend and it felt right assigning it to him for my first Tienda Exclusiva.”

David Mallow, owner of Barrister Cigars, said that, “the ‘Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera’ is a truly beautiful project that I am honored to be involved with. It’s no secret that Willy is one of the most talented tobacco blenders out there, and we can’twait to have the cigar in our humidor.”

As stated previously, every “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera” blend is a limited quantity production cigar made at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. Jonathan Drewnoted, “I recommend you don’t sleep on this one. These are one and done. Willy has a lot on his plate right now as Master Blender of La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. As I’ve said before, ‘Boutique is in the Heart’ and Willy has spent so much time creating and experimenting with blends. We have some real gems out of the blends he has worked on. Now, it’s time to get them into production.”

The “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera” for Barrister Cigars is packed in 10-count boxes and will sell for $12.00 MSRP per cigar, plus applicable state taxes. They will be offered for sale on September 2nd from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM at a Barrister Cigars event in Union, New Jersey, with Willy Herrera and Jonathan Drew hosting the event.

In the meantime, enter the “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera” giveaway for your chance to win the first box of this Tienda Exclusiva release, signed by Willy Herrera. Enter at
About Drew Estate, Inc.

Founded in New York City in 1996, Drew Estate has become one of the fastest
growing tobacco companies in the world. Under their mantra “The Rebirth of
Cigars”™, Drew Estate has led the “Boutique Cigar” movement by innovating new elements to the tobacco industry with their unique tobaccos and blending styles that have attracted new and old cigar enthusiasts. In their Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, the Nicaraguan headquarters, Drew Estate produces a variety of brands such as ACID, Herrera Estelí, Kentucky Fired Cured, Liga Privada, MUWAT, Natural, Nica Rustica, Tabak Especial, UnderCrown, and Java by Drew Estate.

The Guayabera Lady Foundation and the Fuente family proudly announce the 3rd annual “Havana Nights”

The “Fuente Family Affair” event hits South Florida this October 25, 2014

Miami is no stranger to amazing events. But few are charged with such a powerful message and such a dynamic group of supporters. The Inaugural Havana Nights – “A Fuente Family Affair” event was held in 2012. The fete was unforgettable to many, as it was also one of the largest fundraising events held for the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation.  With great pleasure is the announcement of the 3rd Annual Havana NightsA Fuente Family Affair presented by Hublot, taking place Saturday, October 25th, 2013 from 7PM-1AM at Neo Vertika located at 690 SW 1st Court, Miami, FL 33130.

Presented by The Guayabera Lady Foundation, this event is being held to support the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation and promises to be bigger and better than last year; with an outstanding array of entertainment, Bacardi cocktails, libations and live music. As if that wasn’t enough, guests can enjoy a raffle and silent auction featuring a huge selection of luxury items as well as unique collectibles all donated by supportive sponsors all over the map.


The event is once again being hosted by the “World Renowned” Guayabera Lady, Mrs. Berta R. Bravo.  Beloved by many, and recognized for dressing many notables, Berta again welcomes everyone to attend the festivities and reminds: “it’s all for a wonderful cause.”

Expected guests will include: local VIPs and celebrities, cigar aficionados from across the country, city officials, and supporters from various walks of life that will make for an entertaining and fulfilling evening of great music, great food and great company.   Don Carlos Fuente Sr. will present.

Tickets to the gala are $125 per person and $200 per couple. To pay by credit card please log onto – or you may call: 786-287-6664.

Checks must be made payable to The Guayabera Lady Foundation and mailed to:  The Guayabera Lady – Attention:  Havana Nights – 4832 S.W. 72nd Avenue, Miami, FL. 33155. Suggested attire: Black and red “Guayabera Chic” in honor of Carlos Fuente.

Please follow us via social media on Face book, Twitter and Instagram using hash tag #HavanaNightsMia


The Cigar Family Charitable Foundation is a 501(c) (3) charitable non-profit organization. The foundation’s mission is to provide a significant humanitarian impact to communities in the Dominican Republic resulting in a better quality of life to those who experience a lack of education, poor access to health care and nutrition and who have little or no sustainable employment. CF-CF in 2001 the Fuente and Newman families created the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. The Foundation partnered with Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral (IDDI), a Dominican based nonprofit organization that for the past 30 years has been fighting poverty by providing training and skills necessary to make a positive change for those living in both urban and rural regions of the Dominican Republic.

Leccia Tobacco Luchador; Cigar review

Luchador filterI have to start out this review by mentioning that I have enjoyed every cigar that Sam Leccia has had a hand in. I liked the Nub, both as a concept and as a cigar. I also thought the Cain series was excellent.

This time around, Sam has his own company called Leccia Tobacco and Luchador is one of his new blends.  I have a handful of his Black and White lines for a future review. This Luchador was a single that I picked up while browsing one of my local tobacconists.

The first thing that catches your eye on this cigar is the band. Using a background of an ornate Mexican flag, the leather mask of the Mexican wrestler or “Luchador” is prominently front and center.

While most people would automatically think of Mexican wrestlers on TV, the cigar’s band immediately reminded me of an old Angel TV episode titled “The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco”.

Quite a few cigar shops across the country had some fun with this cigar, doing events on Cinco de Mayo.

Anyhow, back to the review.

The Luchador’s blend is comprised of a San Andres wrapper which surrounds an Equadorian Habano binder. The filler tobacco is a blend of Pennsylvania Ligero, Honduras Ligero and Nicaraguan tobacco from the Ometepe region.

The cigar is available in four vitolas: El Hombre – (5×54),  El Castigo – (6×60),  El Guapo – (6×50) and  Loco Perfecto – (6×58).

Looking at the cigar, it has a well formed cap with a small pigtail. The San Andreas wrapper is a dark brown color. There are some veins present and you can see visible seams.  A rich tobacco aroma emanates from the wrapper while an earthy scent comes off the foot of the cigar.

The cigar is firm to the touch and once clipped, has an easy pre-light draw.

After I torch the cigar and take a few puffs, the first third develops a sharp spice sensation with rich tobacco notes and a long finish. The Luchador produces a great amount of satisfying smoke and has a firm tight ash.

The second third brings even stronger tobacco flavors with notes of espresso. The long, lingering finish has a little bit of a bite on my palate.

Finally, the last third of the cigar brings some interesting changes. Most notable was a very spicy tingling on my palate. Surprisingly, the tobacco notes smoothed out along with a diminishing of the spicy sensations during the exhale.

Once again Sam Leccia has come up with a great cigar. I would classify it as full bodies and medium to full strength. It has some complexity that keeps you engaged during the entire smoking experience. I enjoyed this cigar and would happily recommend Luchador to fellow cigar smokers.

Nat Sherman 1930; Cigar Review

1930The Nat Sherman 1930 was released in the 2nd quarter of 2013 just in time to debut at that year’s IPCPR trade show. It is a blend comprised of a Domincan wrapper and binder that surrounds Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos.

The cigar is available in five vitolas: Corona (5 1/2 x 42), Corona Grande (6 x 46), Rothschild  (4 1/2 x 52), Gran Robusto (5 1/4 x 54) and Inmenso (7 x 56). All five sizes are packaged in boxes of 24.

The samples used in this review came from the manufacturer.

The oily, medium brown Dominican wrapper shows a few veins and has a rich tobacco aroma. The foot’s scent is slightly sweet and fruity.

The pre-light draw had a slight resistance and more of the sweet, fruity flavor.

The first third of this cigar starts off mildly, had a razor sharp burn and a thin carbon ring. There was a mild tobacco flavor on my palate and no perceptible spice sensation on the exhale.

The second third brought forth an increase in tobacco flavors and an expected peppery spice sensation on the exhale. The long, lingering finish also grew in flavor and coated the inside of my mouth.

The final third gave me a complexity of flavors that I really enjoy when smoking a cigar. In addition to the base tobacco flavor, I found coffee and chocolate notes on the finish.

I would place the Nat Sherman 1930 in the medium body and medium strength category. Smoke time was about an hour of very enjoyable smoke time.

The Nat Sherman brand is not prevalent in my area but, when I come across them, I will certainly pick some up to put in rotation.

A.J. Fernandez Cigars proudly unveils A.J. Fernandez documentary

image004Click image to view mini documentary

A.J. Fernandez Cigars, recognized for creating some of the most acclaimed cigars in the industry proudly unveils a 13 minute documentary which went live today and can be seen on the home page of their website at:

A.J. Fernandez, who has blended consistently highly rated cigars, is documented in a way that gives the viewer just a glimpse of the passion and expertise which has led many to consider him a tobacco prodigy.

Kris Kachaturian, Managing Partner of A.J. Fernandez Cigars said: “I have always stated that A.J. Fernandez will be known as a legend in the cigar industry in only a few years. I felt it was important to take advantage of the present time to document our journey. For those who are not able to visit our factory, we present them with this documentary which will bring the factory to them.”

Public Works, an award winning boutique creative agency based out of Denver, Colorado spent a week at the factory in Nicaragua and created a very unique documentary. The film is composed of beautiful cinematography, music, time lapse photography, education, and history in a way which communicates the A.J. Fernandez Cigars story in a very soulful manner.

The documentary is being announced on the heels of A.J. Fernandez’s unveiling of his latest brand, New World, which was created along with his father Ismael Fernandez who recently joined A.J. Fernandez Cigars after his retirement from the Plasencia family.

To view the documentary please visit:

About A.J. Fernandez Cigars:

A.J. Fernandez Cigars is based on the rich tradition of the Fernandez cigar legacy. A.J. Fernandez now produces unparalleled, hand-rolled cigars in Estelí, Nicaragua which have garnered numerous top ratings and acclaim from cigar publications and consumers alike.  Today A.J. Fernandez continues the family tradition as he oversees production and manages day to day operations in his factory in Estelí.

Follow A.J Fernandez Cigars on Social Media here: Facebook: AJ Fernandez Cigars, Instagram: AJFCigars, Twitter: AJFCigars

Visol Cigar Accessory review

Lighter and CutterLast month, I received two products that every cigar smoker needs: a lighter and a cutter.

These accessories are from a company called Visol that makes smoking and bar accessories for men and women.

I have since used the cutter and lighter exclusively for about a month and can now render a well informed opinion on them.

First up is the Visol Dobrev III Triple Jet Flame Cigar Lighter.

The lighter sent to me had a chrome finish although Visol also offers a lighter in matte black. It consists of a solid, all metal body that weighs in around a third of a pound. Certainly this is a bit heavier than other lighters I have used but it seems to be able to put up with some abuse and still perform well.

To use the lighter, simply flip up the top covering the triple burners and ignite by pulling down on the front button. The triple flames are adjustable by a well thought out lever that flips up from the bottom of the lighter. This allows you to adjust the flame without any other tools to fumble about with.

The lighter also has a built-in 7mm punch. The punch is mounted flush in the back of the lighter and swings out when needed. I don’t use a punch on many cigars but, this punch functioned well and would be handy if you didn’t have any other cutting tool available.

The lighter is refillable and I did have to refill it once during my test period.

The dimensions for the Visol Dobrev III are approximately 1 ½” wide by 3” high by ¾” deep. It fit well in my hand and performed flawlessly each time.

The MSRP for this lighter is $50.

The second accessory is the Visol Axe Glossy Black & Stainless Steel finish Cigar Cutter.

This cutter can handle up to a 56 ring gauge cigar. It is spring action and is also a bit heavier than my normal cutter. I weighed this lighter and it came in at just about 3 ½ ounces. My normal cutter is just under 2 ounces.

The Visol Axe is made up of two brushed chrome handles and a composite glossy body.

The blades were super sharp and made clean cuts on all of the cigars I smoked in various ring sizes.

The MSRP for the cutter is $55.

All in all, I was very impressed and satisfied with the performance of both these products. They are very attractive and well constructed. I feel they would make a great gift for yourself or a friend who is looking for a matching set of cigar tools.