Archives for : February2014

Epicurean AG Armando Gutierrez Vintage 2007

Epicurean AG Armando Gutierrez Vintage 2007

Epicurean AG

Wrapper: Colorado Habano grown Jalapa

Binder: Double binder Honduran and Jalapa

Filler: Jalapa and Condega

Size: 5 X 56 Trajabador

Acquired: Sample courtesy of House of Emilio

I had the pleasure of meeting Epicurean brand owner Steve Ysidron a few years ago at a cigar event and later had the privilege of hanging out with him and hearing all about his history in the cigar industry.  Steve has been in the cigar industry since the late 1980’s when he worked alongside his father and the Fuente family.  Down the road, Steve decided to create the Epicurean brand.    The Epicurean AG Armando Guiterrez Vinatge 2007  is a limited edition cigar with only 700 boxes of each of the five sizes being made.  This cigar was inspired by Steves Cuban grandfather, Armando Gutierrez.

Looks wise this is a very appealing cigar.  After removing the cellophane you have a beautiful medium brown cigar and a band that reads “AG” and Epicurian(misprinted due to translation).  Continuing down the cigar, you have a cedar covering with a brown ribbon foot band.  After removing the cedar covering from the band down, you see a medium brown wrapper leaf that is slightly toothy and has a medium oil sheen to it.

Flavor wise this is an amazing stick.  The wrapper, binder, and filler tobaccos compliment each other so well in this cigar.  The initial flavors that greet you are that of strong wood, primarily cedar notes, as well as a light cocoa flavoring.  As I smoked this cigar the cocoa notes definitely increased and were joined by a slight nuttiness as well as a light and pleasant bitterness.

Construction and burn on this cigar was spot on.  This cigar smoked well and only required one small touch up that I will blame on the wind that was present whilst smoking.

Buy it again?  Definitely.  I am continually impressed by the products that come out of the Epicurean brand.  Quality, consistency, and flavor in every stick.   As with many great limited edition cigars, stock might be a little on the hard to find side, but ask your local shops that carry House of Emilio products if they can get a hold of any for you.

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Bodega logo
Los Angeles  – February 20, 2014 – Bodega Premium Blends @BodegaCigars today announced their support of ICON MANN™ and the 2nd Annual pre-Oscar event.  ICON MANN™ is the leading lifestyle media company “championing the accomplishments and positive dialog surrounding the Diaspora of Black men.” Their impressive list of luminaries span from Award-winning actors/directors/musicians to Fortune 500 businessmen including numerous premiere Cultural Artistes, Media Moguls and Technology Entrepreneurs.

One of the many goals of ICON MANN™, according to its founding partner and CEO, Tamara N. Houston is to “recognize men from multiple countries and a wide array of industries who are using their tremendous professional success to advance the lives of others, be it communities, or nations in some meaningful way.

ICON MANN™ does not specify how this is done or have allegiance to any specific organization for their participation. ICON MANN™ only mandates that our men are involved to great affect so that the measure of success throughout the Diaspora is synonymous with one’s philanthropic commitment.”

ICON MANN™ pre-Academy Awards (Oscar) celebratory dinner will mark the inaugural relationship between the two. Comments Rob Mariani, BPB co-founder, “Bodega’s Reunión Aperitvo and Digestivo blend combination marries itself perfectly to ICON MANN’s very essence: Culture and Fellowship.”

“We are extremely pleased to be ICON MANN’s companion partner for this Oscar event”, stated Bodega Premium Blends’ CEO Gino Domanico aka @Cigar_G. “The cigar industry is like no other. You are not divided by race, religion, social status or political views. Cigar enthusiasts share a bond that is second to none.  We’re proud to be associated with these leaders of change”, adds Domanico.

Bodega Premium Blends ( is a Boutique Brand focused on offering only Premium, hand rolled Cigars. BPB’s mission is Investing in your Life’s moments.


ICON MANN™, a lifestyle media company with a purpose; to positively change the global dialog surrounding the Diaspora of Black men. Being the best at what you do places you on the list. How you consistently pay-it-forward puts you in the room.
Gary A. Griffith
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Leccia Logo

Leccia Tobacco to release “Luchador” this coming Cinco de Mayo

(Miami, FL) February 26, 2014— Sam Leccia, President of Leccia Tobacco,is looking to put the cigar industry in a  headlock with the announcement of his latest blend, “Luchador”. Following up on the success of his much anticipated comeback with the highly acclaimed Leccia Black and White cigar blends, Leccia is looking to add a little spice and flair with his latest release.

Luchador, which translates to “wrestler” in Spanish, is an exotic five-country cigar blend hand crafted in Nicaragua, consisting of some unique tobaccos.  A Mexican San Andreas Wrapper leaf surrounds a habano binder leaf grown in Ecuador. The filler consists of viso from Esteli, Nicaragua with ligero from Pennsylvania, USA and Jamastran, Honduras.   Centering the blend is a distinctive tobacco from Ometepe, Nicaragua.

Ometepe is an island formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua in the Republic of Nicaragua. It is the largest volcanic island inside a fresh water lake in the world. The Luchador blend uses three tobaccos grown in volcanic soil:  the Ometepe, Habano and San Andreas. The soil in these regions is so rich that little to no fertilization is necessary.

Sam Leccia said: “I wanted to create something fun, yet different and exciting. With Luchador being a combination of exotic blends and flavors with a Mexican wrapper, I thought it was time to tap into my childhood fascination of Mexican pro wrestling. Fun branding aside, the Luchador is a seriously unique blend that goes from sweet to spicy in 0 to 60.”

The Luchador brand will appropriately and officially launch on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th, 2014) with multiple cigar events being held throughout the U.S. Luchador will come in four sizes: El Hombre 5×54El Guapo 6×50El Castigo 6×60, and the Loco Perfecto 6×58. They will come in boxes of 21 cigars each donning the iconic luchador mask.

Sam Leccia, the rebel child of the cigar industry and President of newly formed Leccia Tobacco Company, released the highly rated Black and White cigar lines. Leccia Tobacco is distributed by Torano Family Cigar Company. For more information please

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Press Release: Drew Estate & Corona Cigar Company Announce “Drew Estate Lounge”

Drew Estate & Corona Cigar Company Announce “Drew Estate Lounge”


Miami, FL, February 11, 2014: Drew Estate announced today their plans to open the first official “Drew Estate Lounge” at the Corona Cigar Company Sand Lake, FL location. This momentous news was met with much excitement from both the Drew Estate and Corona Cigar camps.

When asked to describe his relationship with Drew Estate, Jeff Borysiewicz, owner of Corona Cigar Company, said, “Since the infancy of both Corona Cigar Company and Drew Estate, Jon, Marvin, and I have not only had a close business relationship, but a long personal relationship built on trust, respect and an incredible passion for all things cigars. Drew Estate and its entire team, both in the U.S. and Nicaragua, are incredibly talented and we are proud of our long standing relationship with them.”

The Drew Estate Lounge in Corona Cigar Company’s Sand Lake headquarters is currently being remodeled with a significant but undisclosed investment, featuring an entirely new full liquor bar area, complete with an incredible selection of Bourbon, Single Malt Scotch, Dark Rums and Cognac.

Two new community tables will add additional seating and a place for cigar enthusiasts to gather with fellow aficionados. Drew Estate and their stable of cigar brands will be tastefully displayed throughout the lounge via custom art, custom furniture, unique ashtrays and other eclectic items that Drew Estate’s Nicaraguan artists will create.

In addition to the branded Drew Estate Lounge, Corona Cigar Company will be working with Drew Estate creating a series of unique, limited edition, lounge exclusive offerings of Liga Privada, Undercrown, Natural, Tabak Especial, Nica Rustica and Herrera Esteli cigars, available in summer 2014.

Drew Estate co-founder and namesake, Jonathan Drew, had this story to tell about the first time he met Borysiewicz: “It was 3 A.M. on some random day in 1999 when Jeff Borysiewicz walked by our little factory in Estelí, Nicaragua and saw us working, prepping the boxes for the release of the “Natural by DE” line. Half the factory had no roof; we were drinking borrowed iced tea while we placed bands on each cigar ourselves. Jeff told me that he respected our hard work and humility. We probably should have jumped him for his cash to finish up the factory roof! Hahahahahahahaha… well, the rest is history.

When asked why Drew Estate chose Corona Cigar, Drew Estate co-founder Marvin Samel said that, “I consider Corona Cigar Company to be Drew Estate’s home away from home. Every December, Jonathan [Drew] and I get together with Jeff [owner of Corona Cigar], his wife Tanya, their family, store manager Angel, his extremely talented staff, and consumers for a year-end celebration. It is here that I tend to become most nostalgic and emotional, reconnecting with consumers who have returned to this annual event for over 10 years now.”

Marvin continued, “What a way to end each year, surrounded by family and friends who have embraced our mantra, ‘The Rebirth Of Cigars’, from the beginning! The fact that Corona has the largest selection of Drew Estate products cemented our decision that Corona Cigar Company’s Sand Lake location would become the very first Drew Estate Lounge.”

To stay up to date on the progress of the first Drew Estate Lounge, visit

DE Logo

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Press Release-Cigar Federation/Ezra Zion Cigar: The Collective



Cigar Federation announces the release of it’s first cigar The Collective.

The cigar was blended by Ezra Zion Cigar Company and manufactured in the Casa Fernandez factory in Miami, Florida.

“New media has changed the cigar industry dramatically in the last few years. We feel it has started a second cigar-boom, especially in the boutique arena. We wanted to make a cigar that would pay tribute to that and The Collective project was born.” noted Kyle Hoover.

“Smoking this cigar is a completely interactive experience. By scanning the QR code on the band when you light up will allow you to smoke the cigar with us via video. You’ll hear all about how the cigar came to be, the blend, the process. It’s like we all came over to your house, raided beer from your fridge and lit up the cigar with you.” said Chris Kelly.

The Collective is a micro-batch project and features a San Andres Cafe Claro wrapper over binder and filler of Nicaraguan. Total production is 250 boxes of 20. The Collective comes in one size, a 52×6.25 prensado box-press.

“We pulled out all the stops when we blended this cigar. The Collective features a wrapper leaf that has never been used. We kind of invented it. We call it a San Andres Cafe Claro. Obviously, there are a lot of cigars that use San Andres, but our processing of the leaf is what makes it unique. The filler contains a substantial amount of the ultra-rare medio tiempo leaf. It’s very expensive filler leaf, but it had the flavor we wanted and took the cigar into the stratosphere.” added Hoover.

The Collective is a full bodied, medium strength cigar. Flavors include chai tea, sweet woodsy notes, dark leather, hints of anise, and an ultra-clean finish.

“When the Ezra guys sent us some samples of this blend to try out, it blew us away. When they told us they wanted to do it to highlight the new media contribution to the cigar industry, we were honored! As a reviewer, TV host, and all around cigar geek, it’s nice to have someone take the time to recognize your efforts, and with a great cigar no less.” said Rob Rasmussen, Cigar Federation co-General Manager.

“As a General Manger of Cigar Federation I can tell you that we will continue striving to innovate and not be bound by conventional ways of doing things. All of the things that make the cigar lifestyle awesome, we will continue to include in Cigar Federation. We refuse to be stereotyped. We refuse to be censored. You don’t put baby in a corner!” added Logan Lawler.

The Collective is available exclusively on the Cigar Federation Online Cigar Store. Pre-order of The Collective will be made available to Cigar Federation members on February 10 at 3pm CST. The Collective will be made available for sale to the general public at the Virtual Herf launch party on February 18 at 7pm CST on Cigar Federation.

For more information visit Cigar Federation.

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Press Release: Drew Estate and Royal Gold Cigars Announce NIRVANA

Drew Estate and Royal Gold Cigars Announce NIRVANA

DE Logo


 Miami, FL, February 5, 2014: Royal Gold Cigars has partnered with renowned cigar manufacturer Drew Estate for their latest premium, hand-rolled cigar release, NIRVANA CAMEROON SELECTION. The new cigar features a luscious, light-brown, Rosado wrapper grown in the Eastern province of Cameroon, Africa.

The wrapper is grown by small farmers who, when it’s time to cure the tobacco, clear an area of land and construct a rustic curing barn. This completely natural process translates into a leaf almost devoid of disease and also produces some of the best tasting Cameroon leaf in the world. The origin of the Cameroon seed varietal is Sumatra Indonesia, which has been grown in Africa for over 60 years.

The balance of the blend consists of fillers from Nicaragua, specifically Jalapa and Estelí, along with a portion from the Jamastran region of Honduras. The binder is San Andreas tobacco from Mexico.

When reached for comment, Drew Estate co-founder Marvin Samel responded from their Miami office stating that, “the beauty behind the Nirvana blend is the combination of Cameroon wrapper and Nicaraguan filler leaves. Cameroon leaf is from Africa and is known for its sweetness and a natural sweet spice taste. Blending the strength, body, and richness of the Nicaraguan tobacco with the Cameroon allows a nuanced & layered depth to really come through. This is not an old fashioned mild Cammy. Quite the contrary.”

Co-founder and company namesake Jonathan Drew stated, “Nirvana is extremely important to Drew Estate Tobacco Company for a variety of reasons. First, Nirvana will join our product lineup as one of only two brands that we produce for strategic partners. Second, our relationship with Alex Goldman is akin to that of a brother. When he hurts, we hurt. When he succeeds, our hearts are filled with pride.

The brand Nirvana is a long-term relationship that begins with the Cammy Selection. Testing and experimenting with different blends, different algorithms of leaf and concept – is the beauty of creation. We have a lifetime to learn together. Nirvana will be that common space and bond between DE and Royal Gold. We will deliver something beautiful that proves itself over time. We are in no rush.”

The new NIRVANA line is offered in five sizes, including a 6×46 Corona Gorda, 5×52 Robusto, 6×52 Toro, 6×54 Torpedo, and finally a 4×44 size called the “Silencio”. The line will be available exclusively through Royal Gold Cigars distribution network. The first shipment of NIRVANA will be shipped in unique, limited edition, wooden display boxes featuring beautiful silk screen graphics.

The cigars are produced at Drew Estate’s La Gran Fabrica in Estelí, Nicaragua. The facility currently produces 95,000 hand-rolled cigars per day, without the assistance of any machines. The factory is known for their other highly-praised lines, including Herrera Esteli, Liga Privada, Undercrown, ACID Cigars by Drew Estate, and many more.

When asked about the new partnership with Royal Gold Cigars and Drew Estate, company president Michael Cellucci shared his excitement. “We have worked with Alex (Goldman) for years and have always been close friends. This new venture allowed us to collaborate on a project we are both proud of and both committed to.”

Royal Gold Cigars president Alex Goldman stated that, “When I started Royal Gold at the beginning of 2013, my vision was to work with the best blenders and factories in the world to create our brands. Of course, Drew Estate was right at the top of the list. The talent and creativity of the Drew Estate team, combined with all the resources that Royal Gold, its parent company, and my own history in the cigar business, allowed us to create a truly special blend. The limited nature of the Cameroon wrapper will not allow us to produce all the cigars that we feel the market will demand, but you can be sure that neither Drew Estate nor Royal Gold will trade quality for quantity – we will keep the production limited to ensure the best possible product is delivered to our consumers. Both the Royal Gold and Drew Estate names and logos appear on the packaging, and as such we will always stand behind the quality of this product. This is just the first brand of what I hope will be a long term collaboration between Royal Gold Cigars and Drew Estate”

Nirvana_Cameroon_Singles Nirvana_Cameroon_Selection_Box1

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Black Label Trading Company: Lawless

Black Label Trading Company: Lawless

Black Label Trading Co Lawless

Wrapper:  Ecuadorian Habano Rosado

Binder:  Nicaraguan

Filler:  Nicaraguan

Size: 5×54

Price: $9.00

Acquired:  Sample provided by Black Label Trading Company

One of the perks to writing a cigar blog is that you are always learning about new cigars.  When the people over at Black Label Trading Company contacted me about reviewing some of their cigars I jumped at the opportunity.  Having not heard of them before and not have seen any of their cigars in my local shops I was anxious to try what they had to offer.  I was not disappointed.

The first cigar I chose to smoke from their generous shipment was the Lawless.  The Lawless features an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and filler leaf.

The appearance of this cigar is sleek and simply put, badass.  The wrapper of this cigar is medium brown in color and has a high oily sheen to it.  The Lawless features two bands, the first being an oversized traditional band in a black and white color scheme.  This band has the letters “B” and “L” as well as the words “Trading Company.”  It also features a skull wearing a crown located dead center on the band.  The foot band has the same black and white color scheme and reads “Lawless.”

Flavor wise this cigar is great!  Upon first lighting you are hit with some very strong wood notes with the primary one being cedar.  A few puffs in and a very nice chocolaty creaminess starts to develop.  These flavors stay true and strong throughout the entire smoke.  About a third of the way into the cigar, you start to pick up a bit of saltiness on the sides of your tongue.  This unique saltiness compliments the wood and cocoa notes excellently.

The burn on this cigar was exceptional.  No touch ups were needed while smoking.  The ash was firm and white with some brown colorings mixed in.

The big question, buy it?  Yep, honestly I wish I had some more of these to smoke right now.  The flavor profile of this cigar is fantastic it features some very unique flavors that work excellently together.   All in all, this is an excellent cigar!  Hopefully some of my buddies who own or run my local shops will read this and go ahead and order some.

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