CAO Italia CIAO (Robusto)

CAO has one of the most extensive lines of cigars on the market today. Most of them are very affordable and there is quite a spread of flavor profiles in their line up. The CAO Italia was one of the first cigars I tried from CAO some years ago. I didn’t particularly care for it and pretty much gave up on the CAO lines. Some time afterwards, I grabbed a Brazilia GOL and really enjoyed it. So the Brazilia saved CAO in my eyes. I was given the chance to review the Italia by CigarsCity recently and at first I was not too enthused about reviewing the cigar. But I bit the bullet and figured maybe my previous experience with the cigar was a fluke, so I went ahead and gave it another go.


CAO Italia 4

Cigar Stats

Size: 5×56

Vitola: Robusto

Wrapper: Honduras grown Habano Maduro

Binder: Honduras

Filler: Italian (Benevento), Nicaraguan, Peruvian

Price: $5.10*   
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“Smoked Up” No.92

I hope everybody had safe and happy holidays. Things are finally slowing down here enough for me to get to work on NTA. Our Christmas was pretty good, Satori racked up on toys as she must have been on Santa’s good list!




I did get another tattoo the first of December. I had thought about the design, I am sure many of you will recognize, for quite a while. I was a bit skeptical  on going through with the tattoo until I did some research on it and this is what I found:

This Cherry Blossom represents the ever-changing seasons that are experienced
throughout one’s lifetime as well as the concept of a short, yet beautiful life.
The tattered leaves this blossom bears signify the storms we have weathered
together as a family and those we have yet to weather.  Finally, the intact and
unblemished core of this blossom represents the unfaltering and un-moveale
nucleus of our family unit.

With that being said and the struggles I’ve been through in my past life and recent past family life, this was a no brainer. I got this tattoo done at the Due South Tattoo Expo by the amazing artist Azha Sanders. I will be getting quite a few more by her in the near future.



I am composing my 2014 Cigars of the Year and it will be out on Tuesday. I was trying to get it out before then, but with a lot going on with the family, I didn’t have much quality time to devote to the list.


Cigar Views

Black Label Trading Co Salvation

Black Label Trading Company Salvation: I have enjoyed quite a few BLTC cigars as they each have their own unique flavor profile and not two are alike. The Salvation has a somewhat spice start to it with an earthy, leathery and cedary core. Most Black Label Trading Compay Cigars are in the $9-13 range. This is the uppermost area of my “sweet spot” price and pushes the limit as wether its a good value or not with me. It was an interesting smoke, but not something I would smoke on a regular basis as the price is a bit on the steep side.   
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(Miami, Florida) November 25, 2014— A.J. Fernandez Cigars, known for producing consistently highly rated cigars will introduce a limited batch of New World Connecticut cigars for a one-night only sit down dinner event taking place at the world famous “Cigar Inn” located in New York City.  Event will take place on Monday, December 1, 2014 at Cigar Inn located at 1016 2nd Ave. NY, NY 10022.

 New World Conny

New World which was collaboration between A.J. Fernandez and father Ismael Fernandez has been received with rave reviews. To celebrate the success of New World, A.J. Fernandez Cigars and Cigar Inn will partner for a limited seating dinner event featuring a course meal by Rothmann’s Steakhouse. The exclusive event will also feature a premium whiskey pairing hosted by Gentlemen’s Jack to introduce the unveiling of the New World Connecticut.  Cigar Inn is one of the most notable cigar shops in the nation and boasts the only Cigar Aficionado endorsed cigar lounge.


The New World Connecticut to be introduced at the event will be a Robusto 5 1/2 x 54

Wrapper: Connecticut Shade U.S.A.

Binder: San Andres Mexico

Filler: Nicaragua, Brazil   
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Hialeah Gardens, Florida (December 5, 2014) – Erik Espinosa of Espinosa Premium Cigars proudly announces the release of The Backroom Series, an Espinosa Lounge Exclusive.  The Backroom Series will feature cigars exclusive and limited only to Espinosa Lounges.

Its first release, “The Alibi”, is a secretly blended, 6 x 48, Small Churchill, wrapped in a dark Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper.  The Alibi is made at Erik Espinosa’s own La Zona Cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.

The Alibi Cigar

Said, Erik, “My guys have been pushing me to get some limited and exclusive stuff out there.  I have been waiting for the right time and never at the expense of our core lines, which remain our company’s priority.”  Added Erik, “At the end of the day, we are cigar makers, it’s what we love to do.  This gives us a chance to be creative and an opportunity to further showcase our factory, La Zona.”   
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“Smoked Up” No.91

It has been a few weeks since the last “Smoked Up” was out. Since then I have been pretty busy at work and home with not a whole lot of free time to spare. Work has been busy with us getting things ready for Black Friday and the holiday selling season that’s upon us. At home, I have been getting the house decorated, cleaned etc.. for the holidays. Most of my free time has gone into putting up my thousands of Christmas lights. My daughter loves them and it keeps me out of trouble doing them. I have about 5,500 up right now, with plans and materials to put up over 1,000 more! My house looks like Christmas has thrown up on it!


I won’t be putting in the weekly news this time due to the lapse in issues of “Smoked Up.” Most of the recent cigar news can be found on the sites listed on the right listed under the “Friends of NiceTightAsh” column. I won’t put up all of the cigars I smoked during the last few weeks; just the ones I jotted notes of on.



Davidoff Melenium

Davioff Melenium Blend: This cigar is in my top 5 (or so) Davidoff cigars. It had great flavors that were a bit more than the core line of Davidoffs. It was not as mild, but more of a solid medium bodied cigar with some dark wood notes that paired well with a few fingers of some Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon. Worth the price? Possibly so on a special occasion.


Ave Maria Crusader

Ave Maria Crusader (Robusto): I had one of these a while back and couldn’t remember how it was, so I figured why not give it another go. It wasn’t no award winner, but a solid medium bodied smoke. Had somewhat smooth woody notes with a nice creaminess that appeared here and there. This would be a good morning smoke accompanied by a cup of light to medium roast coffee.    
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“Smoked Up” No.90

Looks like the hot weather in 2014 is a thing of the past. The temps have been dropping into the low 40s at night and peaking at around 70s during the day. I love this type of weather, but don’t like the cool nights. I started work on my “smoke shack” with my heater, tv, laptop area etc…. I do this once a year to combat the cold due to I have to smoke outside. One day I’ll have a smoking room!


Cigar Views

 Ezra Zion Tantrum PA

Ezra Zion Tantrum PA: I really enjoyed the first release of the Tantrum, but the size had me wanting more than it could offer. Then, the PA Limited Edition was released in a larger (longer) size and I was thrilled to see a sample of if on my doorstep. This cigar was one of the best cigars I have had all year. I won’t go into too many flavor details as I am going to do a full on review of it next week. But this is one cigar I suggest to search out over many other LE cigars this year.  
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Drew Estate Announces “Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve” Premium Handmade Cigars

Miami, FL Drew Estate announced today their exclusive manufacturing agreement with Pappy & Company, as well as the new “Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve” premium handmade cigar. This new cigar will be produced at Drew Estate’s Estelí, Nicaragua factory and is being made in partnership with Pappy & Company. Pappy & Company is the family-owned merchandise division of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, producers of legendary whiskies including Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.


The “Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve” cigar will be a long-filler, premium cigar made totally by hand in very small batches at Drew Estate in Estelí, Nicaragua.
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“Smoked Up” No.89

The last week or so has been one of the best I have had this year. I spent the better part of the last week in the Mississippi River Delta Swamp. I was with about 14 close friends on our yearly “man trip”. We camp, hunt, fish etc… all in the delta swamp woods. There was a good bit of beer and liquor *cough cough moonshine cough* consumed as well as a number of cigars. It was tough to catch a good pic of most the cigars due to the campfire reeking havoc on the flash on my camera phone. All an all it was a great trip even though we didn’t get much luck in the hunting and fishing area. It was just good to get away from civilization for a while and relax.


Cigar Views


Isla Del Sol Churchill

Isla Del Sol Churchill: Yeh, every now and then I will smoke an infused cigar; but not too often. We were sipping on some peach ‘shine and this sugar/flavored tip cigar actually paired well with it. Not too strong of a cigar as the ‘shine over powered it in flavor. Overall not a horrible cigar, but for the point in time, it was pretty interesting
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Emilio Cigars Releases Mia Dora

Mia DoraGary Griffith of Emilio Cigars announced today yet another addition to the ever-growing portfolio of cigars available through the House of Emilio.


Mia Dora is produced by AJ Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua and features an Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan filler and binder.


The Robusto and Toro are available in 21 count boxes, and the Coronita comes in a 40 count box.  The boxes are embossed in gold, while the cigar bands feature a theme dedicated to the town of Ascoli Piceno in Italy, birthplace of the ancestors of the love of Griffith’s life, Dora.


Interested retailers should contact their House of Emilio sales representative for additional information.


Lakewood, Colorado (October 29, 2014) – Cigar Dojo, the social cigar app, is rolling out the all-new Loyalty & Rewards Program for brick & mortar cigar shops. With the Dojo’s huge install base and active community of cigar lovers, the new feature will take the Cigar Dojo app to a whole new level.

The Cigar Dojo Loyalty & Rewards Program is the 1st-ever viral cigar rewards program for brick and mortar cigar shops. With this new feature, users will be encouraged to purchase at their local cigar shop, incentivised by prizes that are completely customized by each and every shop in the program. As the customer earns points, they will create a viral “buzz” on social media for participating cigar shops. And best of all, the program runs itself. Cigar shop owners no longer need to create hand written notes to track rewards or purchase expensive point of sale equipment.

This is a huge win for both the customer and the retailer! Customers will enjoy the ease of use and social aspect of this new feature, while shops benefit not only from the simplicity, but also gain exposure with the first-of-its-kind viral component of the Cigar Dojo Loyalty and Rewards Program.   
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