Category Archives: Cigars

Black Abyss for JR Cigars; Cigar review

abyssThe Black Abyss is a brand-new handrolled premium cigar crafted by José “Jochy” Blanco for JR cigars. The cigar is handmade at Tabacalera Palma in the Dominican Republic.

Black Abyss is available in four vitolas: Banshee – (5 x 50), CERBERUS – (6 x 60), Hydra (6 x 52 (torpedo)) and Wraith – (6 x 52). The cigars are sold in boxes of 20.

I received one cigar of each size for review purposes from the manufacturer. I smoked all but the 6×60 for two reasons; 1) I really don’t care for that size and 2) I don’t think 6 x 60 is a good representation of a cigars blend.

The blend for the Black Abyss is comprised of a San Andres Maduro wrapper, a Coroji binder and a combination of Cuban Seed Criollo 98/Olor/Dominicano/Piloto Cubano fillers.

The Maduro wrapper is dark brown in color with minimal veins and visible seams. I picked up on aromas of sweet tobacco and hay from the wrapper and earthy, sweet aromas on the finished foot with slight amount of ammonia. The cigar had a smoothly applied cap and was firm to the touch.

I clipped the cap and gave the cigar a pre-light draw. There was some resistance to the draw and a raisin flavor from the filler tobaccos.

During the first third of the Black Abyss, I felt a strong peppery spice sensation in my sinuses during the exhale and mostly basic tobacco flavor with a slightly bitter finish on my palate.

While in the second third, the spice sensation remained the same and the tobacco flavors became stronger on my palate with a longer, lingering finish.

The final third of this cigar had a much stronger spice sensation that tingled my nose on the exhale. On my palate there were strong notes of pepper and tobacco that coated my palate. The finish was strong and lingering.

The cigar developed a firm, tight white ash that lasted a good 2 inches before falling off for the first time. The burn line was even with a thin carbon ring. The Black Abyss produced a good amount of satisfying smoke.

I would consider this cigar to be medium to full strength and full bodied. It had excellent qualities and flavors and I enjoyed the smoking experience. On a 100 point scale, I would rate this cigar as a 90.

La Aurora 107 Maduro Lancero aka “Bow Tie”; Cigar review

bowtieThis week, I am reviewing the La Aurora 107 Maduro Lancero, nicknamed the “Bow Tie”. It is a regional release to the Southeast of the US. It was chosen by by Miami Cigar and named the Bow Tie because their Southeast rep, Austin Baker almost always wears a bowtie.

I received the samples for this review directly from Miami Cigar & Co.

The blend is comprised of a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, a Dominican Corojo binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler.

The CT Broadleaf wrapper is a dark brown in color, shows some veins and is rustic in appearance. I can smell a rich, sweet tobacco aroma from the wrapper and a sweet fruit scent from the finished foot of the cigar. The cap of the lancero sports a short pigtail. The cigar is firm to the touch.

The pre-light draw is firm and has a sweet fruit flavor as well.

I must admit that the La Aurora 107 is one of my favorite cigars and I was very much looking forward to smoking this maduro blend.

Once I light the cigar and take my first few puffs, I am immediately hit with a big peppery blast in my sinuses. In comparison, on my palate, there is mellow tobacco and a sweet flavor on my lips from the wrapper.

Moving into the second third of the cigar, the pepper sensation in my sinuses seems to mellow a bit but, it does linger for quite a bit. On my palate, in addition to the mellow tobacco, I pick up on some bitter chocolate notes.

The final third of the cigar seems to pull a 180 and I pick up on a mild, smooth sensation in my sinuses and sweetness with a faint peppery flavor on my palate.

The burn on this cigar was slightly scalloped but even. There was a thin carbon ring behind the tight, white ash. The ash dropped for the first time at around the 1 ½” mark. The cigar produced a good amount of smoke that had an aroma of dry hay.

I would classify the La Aurora Lancero Maduro as a medium to strong, full bodied cigar. My smoking experience with the cigar was excellent and very enjoyable.

On a 100 point scale I give this cigar a 92.

La Aurora to donate 11 cents for every picture received via social media in support of the fight against diabetes

La Aurora celebrates 111th Anniversary with their “Become part of the family” campaign. All the money will be donated to the “Patronato de Lucha contra la Diabetes de Santiago de los Caballero.”

ADSOne picture, eleven cents: #LA111th. La Aurora turns 111 years old today and wants to celebrate with all the smokers in the world, inviting them to toast with Guillermo and Michelle León in celebration of such a special date. That being a reason to celebrate is also a reason to “give back.”  The company has announced a target to collect funds for one of the social programs supported by La Aurora. For every picture received by the brand’s social media, 11 cents will be donated to the Patronato de Lucha contra la Diabetes de Santiago de los Caballeros, a local institution that fights against diabetes disease. La Aurora will also use all the pictures received to adorn their tabaquería, in the factory, in an effort to make everyone feel part of La Aurora Family. The campaign “Become part of the family” invites everyone to have their own picture hung in La Aurora’s facilities and we want to fill it all!

La Aurora is a family and we want to invite all our friends from all around the world to join our family on this very special day in which we accomplish 111 years of history,” said Guillermo León, president of La Aurora. “We want to share the joy of this celebration with all our employees, our International distributors, the tobacco shops and with all smokers and friends, with a double challenge. We aim to fill the factory walls with the pictures of so many friends and make a generous contribution to the research of such a cruel disease as diabetes.”

The hash tags that will be used to collect the pictures, on Twitter, Face book ( and Instagram are #LA111th.

La Aurora’s commitment is to keep everyone informed about their progress and the evolution of the factory walls. Become part of the family…

About La Aurora Cigars

La Aurora is the original cigar factory in Dominican Republic. Its master craftsman roll the best quality premium cigars since 1903, 111 years ago today. Located in Santiago de los Caballeros, the premium cigar capital of the world, La Aurora is a family owned company headed by Guillermo León, a fourth generation tobacco artisan, and is a symbol for all the Dominican people.

About the Patronato de Lucha contra la Diabetes

Between 8% and 10% of the global population is affected by diabetes, a disease that has turned into a world health problem, as it is not about social or economic level to develop it. Till now, there has been no programs to prevent and educate people about the fight against this disease in Dominican Republic nor to help people affected by it. Known as the “Epidemic of the century”, this disease has no cure and its treatment costs are very high. The Patronato de Lucha Contra la Diabetes de Santiago is a NGO created to help and service people affected by diabetes with poor economic resources in Cibao Region.

Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars announces new National Sales Manager

Duran logoThe cigar industry has been abuzz recently with major brands making major changes. Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars is no different.  The company has now added Miguel Schoedel (previously at Toraño Family Cigar Company) as their National Sales Manager. Duran is also announcing the hiring of another former Toraño territory manager, Frank Cuden.

These new talent acquisitions are seemingly only the beginning of what’s to be a major growth spurt for Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars. After the unveiling of the super-premium Roberto P. Duran Cigar, Neya, and Baracoa cigar brands at the 2014 IPCPR, Roberto feels it is now time to add a little muscle to the sales force to coincide with the companies continued expansion.

Miguel Schoedel was a stand-out component within the sales team at CAO. He spent the last four years with Toraño Family Cigar Company, where he was promoted to National Sales Manager.

Roberto P. Duran said: “I am very happy with the growth of Roberto P Duran Premium Cigars and with that growth is the need for top notch personals to help carry the brand forward. Miguel Schoedel is a perfect fit for our company as he comes with a stellar resume. He is tireless and as passionate about tobacco as I am. I am also very happy to announce the hiring of respected industry professional, Frank Cuden, who will strongly bolster our ability expose our brands throughout the U.S. market. “

Miguel Schoedel said: “I feel that the back bone of the industry is still the family owned cigar companies. I have made my 11 year career working for families like the Ozgeners, Toraño’s, and now very proudly joining the Duran Family. What makes Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar Company special is the fact that the company owns its factories, encompassing cigar rolling and processing to also having its own wrapper plantation, which is great. We are led by Roberto P. Duran a man that has 23 years of cigar industry experience from the markets of Cuba, Hong Kong, Germany and Canada. Roberto P. Duran and Azan cigars breathe authenticity; in an industry that of late is being taken over by corporate and industrial cigar companies.”

Miguel Schoedel will oversee the sales force while maintaining his home base in the Mid-West Region. Frank Cuden will manage South-East.

Roberto P. Duran began his life’s work in his homeland of Havana, Cuba where tobacco grabbed a hold of him, and never let go. Supervising the production of cigar manufacturing in Cuba was only the beginning as he later went on to assemble and managedistribution of all Cuban cigar brands for Asia at The Pacific Cigar Company Ltd. The creation of Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars has given Roberto the platform to introduce a brand of cigars that offer the same quality, construction, and detail which he exceeded from those he supervised while in Cuba. Roberto P. Duran’s brands include Azan Cigars, Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar, Neya, and Baracoa.

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




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, 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 be in attendance.

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 Suarez Fuente.

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

Sponsors include: Hublot, Robb Report, Sushi Sake, Sweet Treats by Marta, Cigar Snob Magazine, and Coca-Cola


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.


Joya de Nicaragua’s Joya Red; Cigar review

Joya photoAnnounced in early June of this year, the Joya Red is the latest release from Joya de Nicaragua. Marketed as a milder blend compared to other Joya’s and at a lower price point, I get the sense that Joya de Nicaragua s going after the casual smoker who perhaps enjoys a cigar on the golf course.

This Nicaraguan Puro’s blend is comprised of a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan Binder and filler tobaccos from the Estelí, Jalapa and Condega regions.

The Joya Red is presented in four vitolas: a Short Churchill (4 ¾ x 48), a Robusto ( 5 ¼ x 50), a Toro (6 x 52) and the Cardinal ( 5 ½ x 54). They are sold in boxes of twenty.

I received the cigars used in this review from Joya de Nicaragua.

Taking a look at the cigar, the Joya Red’s wrapper is tan in color with prominent veins and barely perceptible seams. The wrapper’s aroma had notes of leather and tobacco. The cap was well formed and neat. The finished foot had an aroma of sweet berry and earth.

The cigar was mostly firm with a few soft spots and felt very lightweight in my hand.

After clipping the cap, the pre-light draw was easy with no resistance and had a sweet flavor with a hint of raisin.

The first third of the cigar has a very mild sensation in my sinuses in comparison to the peppery tobacco I picked up on my palate. The finish on the first third was a little on the mild side.

During the second third, there was an increase in the spice sensation as I exhaled and some rich coffee notes and a lively pepper sensation on my tongue.

At the end of this smoke, the spice sensation remained the same in my sinuses while the flavors on my palate changed to a rich tobacco with a medium lingering finish.

The Joya Red burned evenly and had a thin carbon ring. The white ash held its shape very well with only a slight flake. The ash dropped for the first time after 2 inches of growth. The cigar also produced a good amount of smoke.

Overall, this mild to medium strength, medium bodied cigar was very enjoyable and I would smoke this line again.

On a 100 point scale, I give the Joya Red an 88.

General Cigar acquires Torano brands


General Cigar Company today announced the acquisition of the Toraño Family Cigar Company brands. This acquisition will strengthen General Cigar’s market position and enhance the company’s product mix to deliver greater value and innovation to its retail customers and consumers. It will also allow General Cigar to further expand its exceptional portfolio of leading brands by offering opportunities within the company’s international footprint, while presenting significant growth potential in the domestic market.

Spanning almost 100 years, Toraño Cigars has a vast history that encompasses every area of the cigar industry, from growing to manufacturing, to ultimately the creation of their own brands.  Production of Toraño’s portfolio including the popular Exodus, Reserva, Casa Toraño, Vault and Master Collections will remain unchanged.

Dan Carr, president of General Cigar said, “The acquisition of the Toraño brands represents an opportunity for us to strategically expand our portfolio. Our companies have been intertwined for over 50 years and I look forward to working with Charlie Toraño on plans to celebrate the upcoming centennial and to carry forward the vision, passion and innovation that is synonymous with the Toraño name while also leveraging our resources to bring even greater excitement and reach to our trade partners and consumers.”

“There is a long-standing and proud history of partnership between General Cigar and Toraño, dating back to my family’s exodus from Cuba. There is no other company that I would rather have continue my family’s legacy, and I look forward to seeing the Toraño brands prosper under General Cigar’s expertise,” said Toraño president Charlie Toraño.

The transaction will take effect on September 11, 2014.

About Toraño Family Cigar Company

Headquartered in Miami, Toraño Family Cigar Company was established as a leaf growing company in Cuba and spans over four generations. Following the Cuban revolution, the Toraño family grew tobacco in the Dominican Republic and later began manufacturing handmade cigars across Central America. Since the 1990s, Toraño developed its own portfolio of brands, best known for having complex blends featuring tobacco from many different countries of origin and taste profiles.


About General Cigar Company

General Cigar Co. is the leading manufacturer and marketer of handcrafted cigars for the premium market. Committed to delivering cigars of the finest quality, General Cigar’s skilled artisans produce Macanudo®, Cohiba®,  La Gloria Cubana®, Partagas®, CAO®, Punch®, Hoyo de Monterrey®, Excalibur® and several other leading premium brands in the company’s Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan factories. In addition, the company cultivates proprietary tobacco which is used exclusively in its blends and has a dedicated R&D practice that develops new varieties of tobacco and revitalizes vintage seeds. General Cigar also operates Club Macanudo®, a cigar bar in New York City. In 2010, General Cigar entered into a joint venture agreement with Plasencia Group.  Based in Richmond, VA, General Cigar sells through tobacconists nationwide and exports select products to 62 countries. For more information, please visit

® Macanudo, Cohiba, La Gloria Cubana, Partagas, CAO, Punch, Hoyo de Monterrey, Excalibur and Club Macanudo are registered trademarks of General Cigar Company.

General Cigar hires Sam Leccia and acquires brands


Luchador filter








General Cigar Company is excited to announce today they have hired Sam Leccia as “Cigar and Blend Specialist.” General Cigar has also acquired the Leccia Tobacco Company cigar brands, as part of the Foundry Tobacco Company, and will market and distribute the Black, White and Luchador lines, effective today.

Sam has built a strong reputation in the premium cigar category through his non-traditional approach to cigar making and brand building.  He is best known for developing contemporary blends that put a unique and exciting spin on the tradition of premium cigars. In his new role at General Cigar, Sam will continue to develop his brands while leveraging the company’s vast tobacco resources, premium cigar blending expertise and creative talent. He will also bring new, innovative products to the premium cigar market.  As an ambassador for his brands, Sam will continue on his quest to share his passion for premium cigars with retailers and consumers across the country.

Dan Carr, president of General Cigar said, “I am impressed with what Sam has achieved.  He broke into the industry, worked tirelessly for years, and made a name for himself by developing interesting cigar brands.  Sam will provide additional creative talent to complement the expertise of our existing team, enabling us to build on the success of his and our current brands. I look forward to his contributions in helping us accelerate our plans for Foundry Tobacco Company, and to the personal perspective he will bring to our entire brand portfolio.”

“To say that I am thrilled to be joining General Cigar Company is a gross understatement,” said Sam Leccia. “Even before I began my career in this business, I experimented with different tobaccos to create new flavors and smoking experiences. Having creative freedom, access to the resources of General Cigar, and the ability to work with the company’s master blenders and tobacco experts is like a dream come true. I’m beyond excited for the opportunity to take my passion for this business and my love of delivering the unexpected and put them to work for General Cigar.”

About General Cigar Company

General Cigar Co. is the leading manufacturer and marketer of handcrafted cigars for the premium market. Committed to delivering cigars of the finest quality, General Cigar’s skilled artisans produce Macanudo®, Cohiba®,  La Gloria Cubana®, Partagas®, CAO®, Punch®, Hoyo de Monterrey®, Excalibur® and several other leading premium brands in the company’s Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan factories. In addition, the company cultivates proprietary tobacco which is used exclusively in its blends and has a dedicated R&D practice that develops new varieties of tobacco and revitalizes vintage seeds. General Cigar also operates Club Macanudo®, a cigar bar in New York City. In 2010, General Cigar entered into a joint venture agreement with Plasencia Group to expand its leaf growing and processing expertise and increase its access to tobacco.  Based in Richmond, VA, General Cigar sells through tobacconists nationwide and exports select products to 62 countries. For more information, please visit

® Macanudo, Cohiba, La Gloria Cubana, Partagas, CAO, Punch, Hoyo de Monterrey, Excalibur and Club Macanudo are registered trademarks of General Cigar Company.

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.