“Smoked Up” No.98

It has been a few months since my last “Smoked Up” and a lot has been going on since then. Through a chain of good and not so good events, I am now an official homeowner! I closed on the house a month and a half late, so that itself was a headache and involved a few sleepless nights. Got the house and was planning on remodeling it while living in the current house. That plan went to hell in a hand basket in no time and had to move into the new house “under construction”. Things have finally started settling down at the new house, but there are many things I want to still do to it. I just have to prioritize projects versus finances.

I had planned on going to the 2015 IPCPR trade show in New Orleans a few weeks ago seeing it was really close to home. But with me pouring money hand over fist into a new home, it wasn’t financially possible for me. A few manufacturers reached out to me and sent me some samples of their new cigars and now that things have settled down, I will be trying to get out a review or if possible two a week.

This issue of “Smoked Up” will be more of a “quick hit” of a portion of the cigars I had in my absence on here, with a few thoughts of them. Sorry for the lack of posts over the last few months and thanks for sticking around with NTA.


Island Jim No.2
Island Jim No.2: Got this cigar a Tinderbox that moved out of a mall and into their own location with a cigar lounge and actual bar. That’s a great thing to see in these days of indoor smoking bans and other legalities. If you are ever in Mobile, AL stop by the Tinder Box. The cigar was pretty good, had nice medium to full flavors of a white pepper, charred wood and cocoa among others. A good smoke, but a bit overpriced at $11+ for me.


Leaf by Oscar Sumara
Leaf by Oscar Sumatra: I have head lots of good things of this cigar and finally got my hands on one at the previously mentioned Tinder Box. I got to sit down and enjoy this cigar, just wished the bar was open or had a cup of coffee to enjoy with the smoke. The whole protective leaf idea threw me off and didn’t realize till a bit into it, I wasn’t supposed to smoke it! Once I removed it, the cigar got a lot better and more manageable as the protective leaf kept ashing on me! Great smoke, just waiting for the maduros to come back in stock as I heard they are even better.


Regius Red Label
Regius Red Label: I don’t buy too many boxes of cigars. But this cigar will most likely make my top cigar list of 2015; so I got a box. The 10ct boxes make them easier on the wallet, seeing they are about $12.50/each. The Red Label is an “ok” smoke if you ask me, I think their core line is better though. I had a get together with a handful of my local BOTLs one evening and passed a few of these out. Every one agreed it was a pretty good smoke. The price is about right I believe, but its not a cigar I could afford to smoke on a regular basis.   
Read the rest of this entry »

2015 IPCPR Announced New Releases

I have been extremely busy over the last two or so months. I have not been able to sit down and have much quality time with many cigars to be able to review any. Truth be told, I have purchased a bigger house and I wanted to give it a number of “upgrades” before we moved in. It went from remodeling, then moving; to remodeling while moving; then to just move. There were many 14+hour work days between my job and the house remodel. We finally got moved, but not fully moved in. There are boxes everywhere and its a task in itself to figure out how we want everything to be.

I gathered up a bit of down time the last few days and thought I would produce a list of the cigars that are currently scheduled to be released (plus a some already released) at this year’s IPCPR Convention in New Orleans, LA. I was hoping to make it to the show to do some reporting, interviews etc… But with the purchase of the house and its numerous upgrades/remodel, it will not be financially possible for me to go. Although I will be there Friday afternoon and maybe Saturday to hang out with a few friends amongst some other activities scheduled around the convention (I live close by). 
Read the rest of this entry »

Ezra Zion Releases New Cigar “All My EX’s”

Ezra Zion Cigar Company announces the release of it’s newest cigar All My EX’s!

All My EX's

“We are constantly trying to challenge ourselves in our blending. The next cigar has to be better than the last.” said co-owner Kyle Hoover. “All My EX’s is a blend that we’ve been working on for over a year to perfect.”


All My EX’s is produced in Tabacalera Aromas de Jalapa factory, owned by close friend Noel Rojas. 
Read the rest of this entry »


Roberto Duran Premium Cigars, doing business as Duran Cigars, one of the fastest growing boutique cigar companies, will unveil a line extension for the Neya F-8 Ligero Typhoon during this year’s IPCPR in July.  The new size will be 7 x 70 and aptly named ”Big Jack” after Jack Torano, the company’s representative.


Robert Pelayo Duran, owner of Duran Cigars, said this of the decision, “As we all know, Jack Torano has a larger than life personality, so I figured that it was a natural fit to name the Neya F8 7 x 70 after him.  He (Jack) had been pushing for the bigger size because there is a growing segment of cigar consumers that enjoy not only a full-flavored cigar, but a larger sized cigar as well. We look forward to presenting the “Big Jack” and feel that this new vitola will really impress those looking for the ultimate in size and strength.”


“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have a cigar name inspired by me, but what better cigar than the Neya F8 7 x 70.  The Neya F8 has been a smash hit for us.
Read the rest of this entry »


Hialeah Gardens, Florida (May 28, 2015) – Pure Aroma Cigars Inc. proudly introduces its new line Flor de D’Crossier Selection No. 512. The No. 512 designation commemorates the location in Costa Rica where D’Crossier Cigars were first crafted in 2008. The No. 512 consists of Dominican and Costa Rican filler with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The No. 512 is available in six vitolas, in pre-punched cellophane, packaged in a specially designed cedar-lined tin.


Package Count: Box of 20 and 15 Cigars

Flavor: Medium Bodied

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder:  Costa Rica / Sumatra

Filler: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic



Hialeah Gardens, Florida (May 28, 2015) – Isaias Santana Diaz of Pure Aromas Cigars Inc. has partnered with Erik Espinosa of Espinosa Cigars to distribute his lines of D’Crossier Premium Cigars. “Santana is a very driven man; a true craftsman, with a real commitment to keeping cigar traditionalism alive with his blends and packaging.  We have a bond of friendship and mutual respect that transcends the cigar trade having spent countless hours together, working trade shows, events and on each other’s blends” says Espinosa.


“Erik has been in the cigar business for 20 years and has been successful at every level.  I believe that this relationship will make my lines available where they have yet to be seen or experienced.  I believe this partnership will be reciprocal, with Erik opening some doors for me at Pure Aromas and I opening a few for him” says Santana.

Established in 2006, Pure Aromas Cigars Inc., are made in Costa Rica and currently has four core lines (Golden Blend, L’Forte, Imperium Class Vintage and Presidential Collection) with several new products in store for the 2015 IPCPR in New Orleans.

Joya de Nicaragua to release Cuatro Cinco “Reserva Especial”

• The new super-premium cigar from Fábrica Joya de Nicaragua.

• Inspired by the overwhelming success of Cuatro Cinco Edición Limitada.

• A modified recipe using grade A filler tobaccos aged in vintage oak barrels.


Estelí, Nicaragua – In 2013, during its 45th anniversary, Joya de Nicaragua released Cuatro Cinco – Edición Limitada, a beautiful cigar containing 100% Nicaraguan fillers and five year old ligeros aged inside vintage oak barrels. is Limited Edition exhibited a unique, seductive avor and enchanting aroma that captivated consumers worldwide and sold out in just a few short weeks. The ecstatic response from around the globe and our consumer’s desire for more, encouraged us to create a cigar as special as Cuatro Cinco Edición  Limitada, only this time on an on-going basis.

Joya de Nicaragua proudly announces the release of Cuatro Cinco – Reserva Especial, a carefully modied recipe containing a unique and exceptional selection of barrel-aged Grade A llers and a beautiful silky shade-grown habano wrapper from the legendary Jalapa valley. Distinct from the Limited Edition, it also incorporates a carefully selected volado dominican binder.

Rolled exclusively by our most experienced torcedores, this exceptional medium-to-full body cigar will continue to captivate consumers, with its rich Nicaraguan complexity, subtle woody and sweet avors and a velvety nish. Dr.Alejandro Martínez Cuenca, chairman of Joya de Nicaragua expresses: “This blend is a superb milestone for our factory. It’s a cigar worthy of lighting to celebrate your own extraordinary achievements and special moments.

Unlike the Limited Edition, Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial will be produced in small quantities on an on-going basis in four new and unique vitolas, all so-box pressed and presented in 10 count boxes: To r p e d o 6 x 52 ($12.50*), To r o 6¼ x 50 ($11.50*), Doble Robusto 5 x 56 ($10.50*) and a Petit Corona 4½ x 46 ($8.00*). The cigar will also be distinguished by the silver details on the main band and a light silver secondary band instead of a gold one, which was unique to the Edición Limitada. (*MSRP prices for USA)

The initial batch will start shipping in the last week of June 2015 to selected members of the Drew Diplomat Retailers program. It will be available to all Drew Diplomat Retailers later this year’s IPCPR tradeshow and convention in July.


Drew Estate Unveils Second “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera”

Miami,  FL  –Drew  Estate  announced  today  the  release  of  the  second Tienda Exclusiva by  Willy  Herrera” blend,  a concept  cigar  by  Master  Blender  Willy  Herrera.  Made  at La  Gran  Fabrica  Drew  Estate,  this release is  a  small batch,  specially  crafted  cigar produced  for  Riverside  Cigars  in  Jeffersonville,  IN.    Riverside  Cigars  will  begin selling  this  “Tienda  Exclusiva”  cigar  at  a  release  event  scheduled  for  July  11th, 2015,  during which  Willy Herrera  will  be  in  attendance  to  discuss  the  unique  blend.


The  blend  features  an  Ecuadorian  Habano  wrapper  and  binder,  and  Nicaraguan fillers.  The  cigar  is  presented  in  a  6  3/8  x  46 corona  larga vitola,  and  will  be packaged  in  10ct  boxes.  The  cigar  is  a  limited  edition  release  with a  limited  number of boxes  being produced.  The  new  release will  sell  for $13.50 per  cigar,  plus applicable state taxes.

When  asked  about  the  new  blend,  Willy  Herrera  responded  from  Estelí, Nicaragua:  “I’m  very  excited  about  the  second  “Tienda  Exclusiva”  release. I spoke with  Jeff,  the  owner  of  Riverside,  to  get  a  feel  for  his  customer’s  smoking  profiles. I’m  really  happy  with  the  outcome  of  this  cigar.  This  blend  is  a  medium-bodied, full-­flavored  spicy  stick!”

As  mentioned  previously,  the  “Tienda  Exclusiva”  cigars  will  be  available  for  sale at  Riverside  Cigars  beginning on  July  11th and  will  be  sure  to  sell  out  quickly. The  cigars  will  be  available  in  store  as  well  as  via  phone  order.

Davidoff Announces 2015 Golden Band Awards Nominees


Davidoff Cigars to honor its Appointed Merchants with the Golden Band
Awards in New Orleans, LA
Ultra-Premium Cigar Brand will introduce a new Award and honor top merchants
PINELLAS PARK, FL, JUNE 9, 2015 — Davidoff, the leading luxury premium cigar brand, announces the Fourth Annual Davidoff Golden Band Awards Show nominees, honoring those Appointed Merchants who best embody the Davidoff standard of excellence. The Fourth Annual Awards show will be part of an exclusive Davidoff event on July 19th at IPCPR in New Orleans, LA.
This year, Davidoff will introduce a new category, “Best New Appointed Merchant“, which will honor the newest members of the Appointed Merchant network based on the first twelve months of sales and implementation of the brand’s programs. In conjunction with the announcement, the Golden Band Awards website has been revamped featuring this year’s nominees.

“The Davidoff Golden Band Awards epitomise the success of the brand which has been based on decades of close and longstanding partnerships with trusted merchants. Davidoff has a long history of cooperation with its family of retailers to help them expand their businesses, and to discuss best practices. They successfully contribute towards the increased growth of the Davidoff brand,” says Jim Young, President of Davidoff North America .

“The Golden Band Awards provides us the opportunity to say thank you to our Davidoff Appointed Merchants not only for their partnership, but also their support, enthusiasm and commitment to high standards,” emphasizes Richard Krutick, Director of Marketing for Davidoff USA.   
Read the rest of this entry »

Sosa Cigars Announces Imperio Cubano Miami

Antillian Cigar Corporation, also known as Sosa Cigars, has been celebrating 50 years of making cigars. As part of their celebration, they are rolling out a campaign where they are “returning to their roots” and reestablishing cigars that made them who they are in the cigar industry today. With that in mind, they have decided to return their well-known brand, Imperio Cubano, back to Miami.

Imperio Cubano was a brand the Sosa’s made at their Miami factory in the 1990′s. Once Juan B. Sosa went to work for the Fuente Family in 1998, the manufacture of Imperio Cubano transferred as well. From 2000 until now, Imperio Cubano was being made in small batches, mainly for McClean Cigars in Virginia, Sosa Family Cigars in Orlando, Don Roman Cigars in Miami and for our Internet customers.The Cameroon blend for McClean Cigars will continue to be made at the Fuente Factory #4 under the name Imperio Cubano Cameroon.

Now, Imperio Cubano is returning to Miami. Mr. Santiago Cabana, a living legend master blender, and Arby Sosa have been working to re-create the original Imperio Cubano Miami blends. After 6 months, they believe that not only have they mastered the blends, but made them even better through the Santiago Cabana Factory in Miami. Mr. Cabana is so excited about the project that he is personally rolling many of the cigars.

Imperio Cubano Miami will come in 3 sizes: Torpedo, Robusto and Toro in Natural and Maduro. The Natural uses an Ecuador Connecticut seed wrapper, and the Maduro uses the San Andres Capa Negra wrapper. The binder is Dominican and the fillers are Dominican, Nicaraguan and Peruvian. M.S.R.P. for Imperio Cubano is between $10.00-$16.00 and will be limited to 50-75 shops for 2015