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.
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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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
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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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.
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.
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.
Summer is finally winding to an end. The days are not as hot and the nights are a tad bit cooler. I can’t wait till the nights when I can sleep with the windows open and enjoy the cooler evenings. Although the summer is ending, the humidity isn’t. With that being said, even though the nights are not as hot, the humidity doesn’t help with my evening cigar enjoyment.
I would have enjoyed a few more cigars this week, but a self-induced injury occurred to me the first part of the week. I was out mowing the yard and saw a wasp fly into a cedar bush. I really hate wasps as they are pretty mean and I don’t want my daughter getting stung by them as she loves to play outside. I grabbed my wasp killing spray and gave the bush a nudge with my foot where the wasp went in. Little did I know, I wasn’t only nudging the bush, I was nudging a wasp nest the size of a softball! The nest had about a dozen or so wasps on it and at least four or five lit my ankle and lower leg up. I ran out of spray quick, then headed to the store to get more and came back and reeked havoc on the nest with two cans a blazing. After it was all said and done, I counted 15 dead wasps on the ground. So I was lucky to only get stung by four or five! My ankle and calve swelled up and made it hard for me to walk. Missed some time from work because Benadryl makes me sleepy. The sleep also stopped my cigar enjoyment this week as well as getting this installment of “Smoked Up” until today.
CAO Flathead Camshaft: This cigar has been resting for about a year (or possibly more). I like the box press toro size of it a it made a good “road trip cigar.” The ash held tight via the square press and 54ring gauge and never jounced loose even with the rough suspension of my 4×4 truck. Started out fairly stout with dark earth, leather and cocoa. But around half way, I started loosing it for the cigar. It started to fuzzle out and lost some of it flavor strength. To the point at which it was almost bland to me. I really enjoyed this cigar when it was fresh, but aged it seemed to have lost its lackluster.
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ANTILLIAN CIGAR CORP. TO DISTRIBUTE THE CIGAR CORK AND ARANDOZA, HEADLINES AND DOÑA NIEVES CIGAR BRANDS
“We are excited to bring these boutique brands under the umbrella of the Sosa family,” stated Arby Sosa, creative director and sales manager for Antillian Cigar Corp. He explained, “With this being the year of our 50th Anniversary, the Sosa family looked at the cigar landscape and realized that ‘strength in numbers’ is the future. Why did I choose these brands to distribute? If you know me, you know I’m a simple guy. Each product had something different and interesting to offer, and I believe this collaboration with innovative concepts will allow all of us to remain competitive in this business.”
Under this arrangement, the Antillian Cigar sales staff will bring The Cigar Cork and the Arandoza, Headlines and Doña Nieves cigar brands to market while each company will continue to focus on its own product development, brand expansion, and manufacturing.
About Antillian Cigar Corp:
The Sosa cigar tradition began with Don Juan Sosa, a small tobacco grower in the fertile Taguasco region of Cuba at the turn of the century. By the 1920′s, his farm had become one of the largest tobacco-producing haciendas in Cuba. Over the next 30 years, Don Juan’s son, Arturo, and grandson, Juan, manufactured cigars for sale in Cuba and abroad. In 1964, Arturo and Juan opened their first factory in Miami, FL. The factory closed in 1980 and moved operations to the Dominican Republic. In 1996, Juan B. Sosa began with the Fuente family and manufactures various lines of cigars of out the Fuente factory. Today, the legacy of quality, handmade cigars made in the Cuban tradition continues with master blender, Juan B. Sosa, alongside his wife, sons and nephews.
About The Cigar Cork:
The Cigar Cork is a patent-pending division of Maine Lobster Steamer, LLC, a registered 100% Veteran Owned Company. The Cigar Cork is a re-usable cigar humidification/flavoring system that stores and humidifies cigars in an airtight pressurized tube designed to give you years of use. Each closing of the Cigar Cork tube reseals and pressurizes the tube ensuring an unsurpassed cigar preservation environment. Each tube can fit up to a 7 x 60 cigar or hold smaller cigars.
About Arandoza Cigars:
Arandoza Cigars is owned by Robert Arango and makes the Red, White and Blue Label cigar lines out of the La Zona factory in Nicaragua. The wrapper used for these cigars is Habano, Habano Oscuro and San Andreas Capa Negra and will be available in 9 sizes. The strength of these cigars is medium to full-bodied.
About Headlines Cigars:
Headlines Cigars is owned by Dee Aguasvivas and Ulises Delgado. The cigar is a 100% Dominican cigar using Andullo tobacco and made out of the Tabacalera Real Tamboril. The wrapper used is Pennsylvania Seed and Habano Oscuro grown in the Dominican Republic. It will be available in 6 sizes, and the strength of this cigar is medium to full-bodied.
About Doña Nieves:
The Doña Nieves brand of cigars is made in Nicaragua in the factory of El Galan owned by Felix Mesa. It is a medium to full-bodied cigar. The wrapper used is Habano and will be available in 3 sizes.
Steve Parker, owner of Lone Star State Cigar Co. located in Allen and Plano, Texas, announces the release of the SP3.
The SP3 is blended by Ezra Zion Cigar Company exclusively for Lone Star and will only be available through their retail locations.
“We hit up the Ezra Zion boys to do something special for our shops. I told them the profile we wanted and what our customers were purchasing most from their blends, and they hit it out of the park for us.” said Parker.
The SP3 is a Nicaraguan puro. Wrapper is a gorgeous dark corojo laid over a blend of tobaccos from several valleys in Nicaragua. It will be available in 3 sizes: 7×48 churchill, 5×50 robusto, and 46×6 corona. Due to contractual obligations, the factory of origin and total production numbers will remain undisclosed. Prices will range from $6.50-$7.50 depending on vitola.
“It’s an honor to be asked to make a house exclusive. Steve is a good friend and fellow Texan, so it’s a thrill to do a project with him.” stated Chris Kelly.
The SP3 is named in homage to Stephen Parker III, the owner’s son and namesake. It will be released at two launch events scheduled for September 4th and 6th at the Allen and Plano locations respectively. Events begin at 5pm.
“Making a cigar as a tribute has a long tradition in this industry. We’re glad we could be a part of a project that represents a Father’s love for his son.” added Kyle Hoover.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
I not only enjoy cigars, from time to time I enjoy a pipe as well. I have been dabbling with the enjoyment of a pipe for a few years now. Recently on Aristocob’s YouTube page, I found out that CVS Drugstore had all of their tobacco products on clearance. Most were at 75% off already as they will be tobacco free by October. I heard they were getting out of the tobacco business and was looking forward to grabbing up any pipes they had there when the clearance started. I did such thing, but looked like I was beat out by others. I did walk out with a Missouri Meerschaum pipe for $1.82! I’ll be back tomorrow to see if they have any cheep pipe tobacco left to smoke during my upcoming camping/hunting trip. So if you are looking for a cheep knock-around pipe, check out CVS quickly.
A few years ago, I bought a Xikar Xi3 Titanium Nitrade cutter that I absolutely loved. The price was a bit landish, but other than that, I had no complaints with it. I took it camping with me last year and somehow, it never made it back home. I searched all my gear bags for it with no luck. Since then I have been using cheap $5 plastic cutters that worked ok for about two or so months before they got dull. I kept two at the house and one in the truck. Some how, I misplaced all three over the course of the past week. I was heading to a buddy’s to smoke with him when I realized this and didn’t have time to search for any of them. I stopped at a B&M on the way, grabbed a smoke and a cheap cutter. The cutter was cheaper than I would have liked, but that’s all they had at the time. The darn thing didn’t even cut through a 48ring cigar before it gave up on me!! Morale of the story: stick with what you know will work and don’t buy uber-cheep cutters!
Black Label Trading Company Morphine: Back in late 1999 was the last time I can remember me ever being on any Morphine. The name of this cigar has a lot of attributes that it needs to live up to. I was expecting a jaw dropping, amazing, kick in the pants smoke. Although it was tasty, it was nothing that wowed me very much for the $11 price tag on it. Had flavors of a dark cocoa and mixed woodsy notes all that were a med-full strength. After halfway, a black pepper note arose, but never got too out of control. The draw was on the tighter side of things as I find that common with many lanceros. With about 3/4 through the cigar, a large void appeared and immensely affected the burn and drawn some. Not a bad smoke, but for the $11, there are better lanceros (many are cheaper priced).
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To think, I was looking forward to this summer! I was tired of the cold of the winter and dreaming of the summer. The dog days of summer are here and now I am looking forward to the fall! Cooler days means more outside cigar smoking, a few hunting and camping trips. Most of my cigar enjoyment of the past week was inside and not much outside as it was very hot and muggy outside. I was hoping to get a review in on Sunday, but a family occurrence came up and family first!
My friend is doing quite well and has improved quite a bit. She is a lot more active, remembers people and has more control of her muscle movements. She is not talking as of now, but can respond with head shakes. She finally was awake enough to see, recognize and acknowledge me this weekend. That alone was a great burden off from out of the back of my head as I thought her memory would be gone. She was moved to a physical therapy rehab place yesterday. With that being said, she is going to “make it” and will need a few months of rehab to train her muscles to function “normally.”
Thanks to everybody who has kept her in your thoughts and prayers over the last few weeks. It means a lot to her, her family and I.
Viaje Satori Arya: With the Viaje Satori being one of my all time favorite cigars (the Zen specifically) I was excited yet perplexed at the new smaller size. To me,this is a petite robusto, but its claimed to be a robusto at 48×4.5″and I like the size itself. The cigar was pretty darn tasty and I enjoyed it fresh with no age; which is odd for many Viaje LEs. I got some nice cocoa, slight pepper, some creaminess and a bit of spice here and there. I was drinking a Monster Java Kona Blend drink that eased off the pepper and slight spice, added to the creaminess as well as added a bit of sweetness to the cocoa. Will this new size take over as my favorite size? Yes and no. Yes because the size in itself was nice to enjoy on a warm summer’s evening. But no, seeing I have a box and a half of the original release Satori Zen still! I save the Zen and smoke on my daughter’s (Satori) birthday in February every year. But I can see myself grabbing a handful or three of these as they are smoking slightly better fresh than my previous experiences with the Zen size right off the shelf. I think they will age well, but possibly age quickly and muffle out faster than the Zen.
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