La Aurora is pleased to announce that the La Aurora 1962 Corojo and the La Aurora 1987 Connecticut are now in stores. La Aurora is celebrating their 113 years in existence. These two blends are dedicated to the years in which they began working with the types of wrappers used on each.


The La Aurora 1962 features a corojo wrapper, from the Cibao Valley in the Dominican Republic, wrapped over an Ecuadorian binder, and fillers from the Cibao Valley and Nicaragua. The La Aurora 1987 sports a Connecticut shade grown wrapper, over a Dominican binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers.
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MBOMBAY KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka

If you never heard of the Mbombay Tabak cigars, you must not be on any form of social media. They are very active on instagram, facebook & twitter while posting their pictures as well as reposts of other people enjoying their cigars. Mbombay offers six lines of cigars each rolled in Costa Rica. The Vintage Reserve’s tobacco is aged 3 years longer than their other tobacco. Its available in two sizes, a 5.5×46 petite perfecto and a 6.5×46 “Nikka”.
Size: 6.5″x46

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Deas Florado 2002

Binder: Ecuadorian Havana

Filler: Dominican and Peruvian

Country of Origin: Costa Rica

Price: $12*   
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Suriel Day & Night

Uriel Suriel, founder of Suriel Cigars, has been a close friend to the Kelner family. If the Kelner family name does not ring a bell, think Davidoff as Henke Kelner is the blender to the famed Davidoff line of cigars. His son, Hendrik has been in the cigar industry for 25 plus years and is the master blender for Suriel Cigars. Suriel cigars are made at the Kelner Boutique Factory, which is around two years old, in Santiago, Dominican Republic. The cigars have been reported to be aged at least one year before setting foot on a store’s shelves.


Size: 5×52

Vitola: Robusto

Wrapper: Brazil

Binder: Dominican Republic

Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Peru


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Foundry Tobacco Company Announces Plans for Growth

March 3, 2016 Foundry Tobacco Company (FTC) is expanding. The maverick cigar company has added two sales brokers and a brand manager to drive growth of its innovative portfolio of cigars.

FTC has hired Taven Johnson and Stephan Mayer of C.H.I.M.P., a broker agency, to represent the companies brands in AL, DC, GA, MS, KY, MD, NC, SC, TN, VA and WV, effective today. As two of the nationals leading cigar sales brokers, Taven and Stephan have built some of the most successful boutique cigar brands in the market today, and are poised to deliver increased distribution of the Foundry Tobacco Company brands. Over time, the plan is to increase Johnson and Mayers territories to additional geographies across the U.S.

In addition, Justin Andrews has recently been hired to support Michael Giannini, creative director, in leading the day-to-day operations of the company. Prior to joining Foundry Tobacco Company, Justin served as vice president of Lou Rodriguez cigars.
This is an exciting step in the development of Foundry Tobacco Company, said Giannini. The addition of these players to our team will allow us to deliver increased flexibility in tailoring programs to retailer needs and the ability to deepen the support of our brands on both the retailer and consumer level.

To mark its expansion, Foundry Tobacco Company is offering retailers a special discount on its popular Bolivar, Ramon Allones, Compounds/Elements and Musings and value-priced Chilling Moose lines for the month of March. Retailers who purchase five boxes will receive a sixth box free.



FTC_Ramon Allones

For more information on the Foundry Tobacco Company portfolio, please visit

CAO Steel Horse Will Welcome Two New Vitolas

CAO Steel Horse is launching two smaller-format smokes — Handbrake (4.5” x 50 – SRP per cigar is $6.99) and Roadkill (5.5 x 54 – SRP per cigar is $7.00) will be available at retail beginning next week.

A spin-off of CAO’s wildly-popular Flathead line, Steel Horse is wrapped in a proprietary Connecticut Habano Grueso leaf and features a four-country blend. Made with a signature flat-head top, Steel Horse was released in 2015 and is known for its easy-smoking flavors of leather and spice.



Shawn’s 2015 Cigars of Year

2015 was one of the most “interesting” years for me in all of my 35 years. It started out fine and dandy, a few months in my family was basically forced to find another home. That nightmare turned into a Godsend as we found a larger house in a better neighborhood at a deal (way better than what we were paying). Other issues arose whether it was work, family or health it all started pilling up on me to edge of a mental breakdown. Once things started settling down, with help of family and friends, I started many improvements to the new home and my mental stability improved over time. With all that being said, NTA (and cigars in general) took a spot on the backburner as I was getting my life back in order.

I didn’t get to smoke as many cigars in 2015 as I did in 2014. There are many many cigars I wish I could have enjoyed, but 2016 is a new year and I hope to broaden my cigar experiences. I have many reviews I have to get done and I apologize to anyone who sent me cigars for review who are awaiting the review; they are on their way!

Over the last few years, the making of my Cigars Of The Year list was quite a task and usually took a few weeks or so of thinking and trying to remember the cigars that stood out that year. My camera on my phone and instagram were handy tools for the list. This year I used the same spreadsheet format from last year with the names of the cigars I smoked with a 0-5 rating in .25 increments. I don’t use ratings in my reviews as I just describe the flavors, experiences of the cigar and whether I like it or not. Remember, taste is very subjective and what I like, you or another cigar reviewer may totally hate. That’s one of the beauties of cigars, variety.

I wish I could do a list composed with all 2015 new releases, but my list is composed from all the cigars I smoked in 2015. There are quite a few new releases that I couldn’t or didn’t get ahold of that I wanted to. Many were not sold locally, sold only online or money was tight at the time of release. I like to support the local shops, but in 2016 I will have to venture more into online ordering to be able to try more new cigars. I made a plan to try to smoke as many new cigars or cigars that I would normally pass up this year. I was fairly successful at the plan in 2015, but there are still quite a few I wished I would have tried. My “variety plan” worked out so-so. There were a few cigars that I usually pass up that I tried that were fairly tasty and a few I know why I passed them up in the past.

Enough of all the chit-chat, this is my list of my favorite cigars smoked in 2015. They are in no particular order, except my Cigar of the Year.

Runner Ups
AVO Synchro Avo Synchro Nicaraguan – This cigar was one I strayed away from as I don’t care too much for many AVO’s regular line of cigars. Their LE lines have been more of a hit for me as the LE10 is one of my favorite all time cigars. I compared this to the Davidoff Nicaraguan as it was a cigar that was made out of the box in the company’s typical line of cigars. In fact, I like it more than the Davidoff Nicaraguan as it was a bit more smoother and a little better price.   
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“Smoked Up” No.99

Getting back into the rhythm of things here at the new house. There are still things that need to be done here, but time, money and patience is one of the barriers of my projects. None the less, I have been smoking more due to the weather has been pretty “decent” at night with temps from 70s-80s instead of mid 90s. Got to try a few new (to me) cigars recently (that didn’t make this issue) that I really enjoyed that may or may not make an appearance on this year’s cigars of the year list.


Cigar Views

Don Benigno

Don Benigno: Costa Rica is not a country you usually associate with cigars, but that is where the Don Benigno comes from. I tried this cigar a few weeks ago and thought it would go great with a cup of chicory coffee. This time, I did try it with said coffee and it paired quite nicely. The oak, roasted nuts and a slight black peppery spice all paired nicely with the chicory coffee. There was no flashing lights with this cigar, but it was a good smoke with a subtle complexidity that kept me interested in it. For the $7 its a pretty good upper medium bodied smoke with a matching body strength and very good construction.  
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Ezra Zion Releases “Blending Sessions”

From Ezra Zion:

If you’ve ever wanted to know what we smoke in our off time, now you know. We smoke samples from the hundreds of blends we’ve created over the years. In fact, if you came over for a BBQ, these are what we’d smoke all day!


We thought it would be the coolest thing ever to pull back the curtain–or in this case open the door to the Ezra Zion Humidor Vault–and share these cigars with you.

Few things to note before you order:

1. These are blending session cigars not regular production cigars. They haven’t been in a cigar press as long. They are done on the fly to taste the tobacco combinations and flavors. A few may have a wavy burn or an open draw. Some might even have a rough cap or foot. It happens when you’re down and dirty in the throws of blending. Just smoke it. You’ll like it. It’s not about ascetics; it’s about the tobacco!

2. No two orders will ever be the same. We have Corojo, San Andres Maduro, Habano, Connecticut wrappers, and a lot more. Cigars of all shapes and sizes. These are the ultimate mystery sampler–much like blending is. That’s the fun of it to us. You get to smoke something that will never be available again!

3. You may get something you recognize. Before they were Ezra Zion cigar releases, they were blends! Mixed in here are samples from just about every cigar we’ve ever put out to the public.

MBombay Offers A Chance to Attend one of Cigar Aficionado’s Big Smoke

Palm Desert, CA: In an effort to provide Aficionados & Aficonadas a cigar Experience to
remember, Bombay Tobak is offering a Drawing for 5 Tickets each to either Big Smoke Las
Vegas or Big Smoke New York! The Deal…. BUY ANY 3 Mbombay cigars at any MBombay
Retailer, receive a Raffle Ticket to enter the Drawing… SIMPLE! Seek an MBombay Retailer near you by visiting


MBombay is a Nationally Distributed Brand of Boutique cigars that incorporates Sophistication,  Complexity, & Harmony of Flavors in their tobacco blends. Offering 5 different lines, their vitolas are truly unique in their smoking Experience… a definite must try for all cigar lovers!

This “Big Smoke Promotion” will start on September 1, 2015 and run through October 23, 2015 for the Las Vegas, NV Venue, and through November 12, 2015 for the New York Venue. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to attend one of the Cigar Industry’s most sought after events!

“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.   
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