“Smoked Up” No.87

Last week was the busiest weeks that I have had in my “new” job title over the last year and a half at Lowe’s. I hated to do it, but I got started setting the Christmas items three or so weeks ago and got a good head start over the other stores in the area. My crew and others really puhed through an got it done fairly quick. In fact, we were about a week or more ahead of many of the other stores. Well, the store in Metairie, LA (just outside of New Orleans) is one of the top 20 volume stores for Christmas items in the company. There were some issues there and they needed help getting set up bad. The district supervisor asked for me & one of crew to go over and help them last week. At first I was leery, but with all expenses paid plus unlimited overtime, I jumped at the chance. It was long 11-12hour days. We worked hard, ate good, just didn’t sleep as good. I wanted to hit up a few B&Ms in the area, but most were closed or closing by the time I got done eating and such after work. I did swing by Crescent City Cigars on the way home and grabbed a few new sticks to try. I was trying to get a review in at the hotel, but with a bull-jiving no smoking policy and sketchy wi-fi it was not going to happen. After it was all said and done, I got about 15 hours OT, so this next check will be quite fat!

On an even better note, my friend has made it home from the hospital then physical rehab home! Its been a long three months for her, but she is “back to normal”. She will never be 100% due to her coma and near death experience. I joked around with her saying it was good to have her back, the every Saturday drives and gas cost was started to hurt. There are friends that we all have that we would walk through hot coals to the end of the earth for, and she is one of them. Again, I would like to personally thank everyone who kept her and her family in your thoughts and prayers over the last few months.

Cigar Views

Davidoff Special T

Davidoff Special T: In the spring I would start my Sunday with a Davidoff cigar and a cup of coffee out on my shaded back patio. That occasion was demolished by the Summer heat and humidity. The once cool spring mornings turned into hot and humid mornings. The days are getting cooler and with me having some errands to run on Sunday morning, I decided to end my Saturday with a Special T and some Cafe Bustelo. There were notes of a sweet and creamy woody note that had a light amount of white pepper as well. Over all a nice smoke that was almost too light for the coffee pairing, but I made due with what I had and enjoyed it a good bit.  
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Duran Logo

(Miami, Florida) October 9, 2014— Roberto Pelayo Duran is proud to announce that Jack Toraño of the Toraño cigar family will now oversee sales in Florida and the Caribbean for Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars. This announcement comes only days after the announcement of the hiring of Miguel Shoedel and Frank Cuden.


Jack Toraño spent 3 years with Toraño Family Cigar Company as Director of Marketing until its acquisition by General Cigars.


Roberto Pelayo Duran said: “Jack Toraño was an integral part of Toraño Family Cigar Company and we are ecstatic to have him on board at Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar Company. Jack is very well known as he has travelled extensively and his popularity, charisma and four generations of tobacco heritage will go very far in helping us expand our brand.”


Jack Toraño said: “I wanted to take the time to find the company that matches my vision. I am excited to be working with Roberto Pelayo Duran who is as passionate about cigars as I am. Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars is truly a boutique cigar company which owns its tobacco fields and creates their own cigars. The fact that we will be involved in everything from tobacco field all the way to the valued customer is what brought me here. Roberto Duran is creating a stellar team and I am happy to call Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars my new home.


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 manage distribution 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.

For more information about Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars, please visit www.Robertodurancigars.com. For media inquiries and interviews, please contact Creativas Group at info@creativasgroup.com or 305.968.2384.



Miami, FL)- October 8, 2014–One 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 (https://www.facebook.com/LaAuroraCigars) 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…   
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La Palina Black Label Now Available Nationwide

La Palina Black Logo

Black Label is the newest addition to the La Palina portfolio. The line made its debut at the 2014 IPCPR show. Black Label is being rolled in the Dominican Republic and is presented in boxes of 20.

The La Palina Black Label is a cigar for those in search of a rich blend with complex flavor. A Brazilian grown Bahiano wrapper amplifies filler and binder tobaccos from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. This full-bodied blend has an undertone of spice that is sure to grab your attention. Notes of fruit and cocoa linger on the palate and ensure this cigar a place in any connoisseur’s collection.

“I am proud to be able to offer this exceptional blend. The Black Label was another labor of love for La Palina.” -Bill Paley


Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Wrapper: Brazil Binder: Dominican Republic and Nicaragua

Filler: Dominican Republic and Nicaragua


La Palina Black Label will be released in 4 sizes: Gordo / 6 x 60  Toro / 6 x 50 Robusto / 5 x 52 Petit Lancero / 6 x 40


Camacho Criollo Robusto Tubo

Camacho recently came out with their “Bold is Back” campaign with some reblending of their core line of cigars. One of those cigars is the Criollo and that is the cigar I will be taking a look at in this review.

This cigar review is sponsored by Cigarscity.com and I am very thankful for their sponsorship of this and a few other upcoming reviews. Check out their site, their prices are comparable to the “big named” online retailers with friendly customer service and fast shipping.



First Looks

The first noticeable aspect of the cigar is quite obvious; its a tubo. The yellow metal tube is bright, bold and very noticeable over other cigars with their brown tobacco hues blending in from box to box on the shelves. The bold color draws your eye to the cigar whether you choose to purchase it or not, it gets your attention. The tube provides a few plus factors with the cigar. The main one is that its a great protection device for the cigar. Not everybody wants to tote a 5ct travel humidor to the golf course or out on the boat fishing. The tube allows you to put the cigar in your pocket, golf bag, tackle box etc… without fear of it being mangled. It also holds humidity inside the tube so you don’t have to worry with that factor either. I am not sure how long it will hold humidity stable, but the outer atmosphere will play a big issue in that (heat/cold). One drawback I have found with tubos is there is a good chance that mold can form inside them if stored sealed in your humidor. I found to take the cap off the tube and store the cigar that way in your humidor until you are ready to travel with it. Then, screw on the cap and away you go! The airflow helps regulate the humidity in the tube and stops mold growth.

The cigar itself is far from a beauty queen. The wrapper is not as smooth as most cigars, the double cap is deeply applied, but not the cleanest applied cap I have ever seen, but I have seen a lot worse. The wrapper has a slightly darker than a medium brown hue to it with a few veins here and there. Some are larger and thicker than others, but none seem to look to cause any construction issues. The cigar has an overall solid feel to it and is fairly light in the hand. The wrapper has a light hay note with dabs of a black pepper in the mix. The foot aroma has hints of nutmeg, hay and a slight spiciness to it.

Camacho Criollo Tubo 1

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“Smoked Up” No.86

Finally a break in the hot weather here in the south! I am glad it is here and hopefully the heat is out of the forecast the remainder of the year. The nights are nice and comfortable, so when I am not hanging out with my daughter, I have been trying to get some cigars in. Cooler weather also means I can get in more in-depth cigar reviews. I have been slacking in that department over the last few weeks mainly due to the heat & humidity.

I have a new site sponsor, CigarsCity, who has graciously gave me a few cigars to review. Those reviews will be out in the upcoming weeks as well as some others I have been wanting to get out. Many thanks to CigarsCity for their support of NTA. So show them your support and check out their site. Their prices are comparable to the other “big named” online retailers.



Cigar Views

Romacraft Atlatl

Romacraft Atlatl: I got this cigar a year or so at a Romacraft event. I tucked it away saving it for a cooler day to enjoy. Friday night was just that night. The temperature broke into the 70s and was a fine time for a cigar. Being a lancero feind, this cigar is the right size for me that night. The flavors were not as bold as I figured it would be. I got a little bit of a light wood and even lesser herbal notes. Not much that really wow’d me with the cigar and it almost disappointed me to an extent. I had higher expectations for it, it just didn’t do much for me.  
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“Smoked Up” No.85

You ever get in one of those “funks” where you don’t want to do too much of anything? Well, that has been my case for the last week or so. I got several projects that I want and need to get done… But just haven’t had the gumption to get them done. I haven’t enjoyed many cigars over the last two weeks (hence why there was no “Smoked Up” last week). The weather has been a possible cause as every afternoon a summer thunderstorm either rolls through or threatens to, in which causing the humidity to sky-rocket and not good cigar enjoying weather. None the less, I am back at it hoping to get a lot done over the next few weeks.

My friend whom had the medical issues, has been doing quite well over the last few weeks. When I came to see her this past weekend she surprised me with her showing off to me how she can walk now without assistance. She is talking a lot more and gathering her memory more and more each time I go to see her. She is still on a feeding tube with a trach in, but they will be out in a few days. They are saying she will be out of the home in a few weeks, which everybody is looking forward to.

Oh, and my ankle healed up quite well after I unintentionally kicked the wasp nest. I got my revenge on them with wasp spray killing those mean things that I didn’t need stinging my daughter. I also took a map gas torch to the nest I knocked down. #crispy


Cigar Views


JdN Red

Joya de Nicaragua Red: Joya de Nicaragua was once known for their powerhouse cigars. They have been out powered by quite a few new companies in the strength department. But, not too many can match flavor and power like JdN can. The newest line is called “Red” and it is not a powerhouse when it comes to body as compared to the Antona. This cigar had nice flavors of a cocoa with interesting herbal and floral notes as well. A hint of a black pepper appeared on the finish, but was short lived. Towards the latter part of the cigar, I noticed a bit of a citrus zest in the smoke that made this cigar just a bit more interesting. All from a great draw, even burn and overall good construction. I would consider this a strong medium bodies cigar.   
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General Cigar Hires Sam Leccia and Acquires Brands


Richmond, VA — 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.

Leccia Black

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.


Hialeah Gardens, Florida (September 17, 2014)

Sarsaparilla was very popular drink in the old west and was often believed to be a remedy for a number of health conditions. Sarsaparilla remains popular to this day because of its distinct and complex flavor.

Eric Guttormson, AKA Master Sensei, owner and operator of the popular Cigar Dojo app, has collaborated with Erik Espinosa from Espinosa Premium Cigars to create a cigar that pays homage to the warm, full, complex flavor of the old-west Sarsaparilla.

Sarsaparilla Cigar

Sensei’s Sensational Sarsaparilla is a 5.5″ x 52 Belicoso cigar that is draped in a gorgeous San Andreas maduro wrapper and filled with a secret blend of some of the most flavorful and interesting tobacco you will ever smoke. Sensei’s Sensational Sarsaparilla is a full-bodied, complex cigar with just enough strength to balance the intense flavors.  
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Richmond, VA — 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.