Meet the Ash-holes: Charlie

Smoking at my in-laws' house

My Cigar History

Oddly, I don’t really remember my first cigar. I started smoking cigars at 19 when I was in college. I started off with drug store cigars. Garcia y Vegas, stuff like that. I moved on to Romeo y Julietas and Macanudos from there. When I left that school and came back home, my uncle had started to smoke cigars on a pretty heavy basis, and I learned of the Tinder Box in Waldorf, MD from him. That is where my cigar education really started. My work schedule provided me with every other Friday off. With money burning a hole in my pocket, and having most of my friends away at college, I started going up there on my Fridays off, and spending 3, 4, 5 hours sitting in the shop, and talking with the owner and head tobacconist, Jeff Lustig. I’d buy a handful of sticks, sit down at the counter, and smoke and pick his brain. He’d invariably go into the humidor, pull out a stick, and then school me on everything about this stick. I quickly ramped up from Punch, Hoyo de Monterrey, and CAO Gold to Ashton VSG and Padron Anniversary. After a year of buying a couple sticks at a time, I purchased my first humidor from Jeff. A beautiful Montecristo Pyramid box that held around 300 cigars. A week later I bought my first full box: Onyx Reserve Mini Belicosos.

I kept on trying new cigars, probably irritating Jeff and his crew with the question “What new stuff do you have?” Then, in April of 2006 a new cigar shop opened closer to home, co-located at the Tiki Bar. I walked into the shop a couple weeks later, and asked the guy behind the counter if they were hiring. He told me “We have all the security we need for right now.” I guess he thought I wanted a job as a bouncer because of my size. I told him “No, no. I want to work in here.” He asked me about my knowledge of cigars, I told him, and a few minutes later I was the first tobacconist at the Tobacco Barn. I relished the opportunity, and totally immersed myself in this part-time job that was really a full-time passion. I began keeping 3 cigar journals (a different one for each of the big three countries), and I worked to turn over the stock, bringing in new and different cigars, and expanding our shop’s presence and trying to build a loyal following. I met some great people along the way, and added some of them to the staff. I signed up for Twitter in February 2007, and in the summer of 2008 I started following a bunch of great cigar people, and met some more great cigar people that way. It got me even more determined to start up this site to share my experiences and knowledge with the cigar community.

Me with Pete Johnson
Me with Pete Johnson at the Tatuaje Monster release at W. Curtis Draper in Washington, DC.

My Personal History

I’m a 29 year old web designer living in Maryland. I got engaged on Christmas Eve 2007, and will be married to my wonderful, understanding-of-my-cigar-habit fiancĂ©e May 30, 2009 in Orlando. Both my father and father-in-law are cigar smokers which can’t be beat.

Besides cigars, I enjoy golf, reading, and watching movies. About the only thing that rivals my knowledge of cigars is my knowledge of The Simpsons. And I’m a devoted Mac fan.

Favorite Brands: Ashton VSG, Camacho, Don Pepin Garcia, Fuente, La Flor Dominicana, La Riqueza, Oliva, Padron, Perdomo, Rocky Patel, and Tatuaje.

My Cutters: Palio Burlwood (my day-to-day carry cutter) and a Xikar Xi2 in black.

My Lighters: Zippo with a Z-Plus insert (carry lighter), Porsche Design PD3, and a Tatuaje Lotus table lighter.

My Humidors: 100 count CAO America, 100 count cherry Cuban Crafters, two 48 quart Rubbermaid coolerdors, and a 24 count Craftsmen Bench travel humidor, all holding around 400 cigars at the moment.

Other: Carlito’s Stogie Nubber, an alligator skin two finger fake case, and a silver three finger case with a flask as the third finger.

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Guys, we enjoy reading your reviews on-line. You have been gracious enough to feature some XIKAR products in the past and we appreciate the plug. Thank you.

I want to send you some XIKAR samples of our great windproof lighters and some other designs for consideration. Please send me your mailing address.

Thank you.
Bob Moreno
Director of Marketing

Hi There,

I hope all is well. I represent spirits brands and wanted to send you more information on an upcoming cigar event.

Can I please be provided with an email address?



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