Archives for : May2014

Epicurean Gonzo Santeria

Epicurean Gonzo Santeria

Gonzo Santeria

Wrapper: San Andres

Binder: Double Binder San Andres and Jalapa

Filler: 2009 Nicaraguan Jalapa and Condega

Size: 5x 42 Ruca

Price: $10.00

Acquired: Sample courtesy of Epicurean and House of Emilio.

Coming to you courtesy of our friends at Epicurean and House of Emilio we bring you the Epicurean Gonzo Santeria.  As we have mentioned in our previous reviews of Epicurean products, brand owner Steven Ysidron is no newcomer to the cigar industry.  Steven has been involved with cigars since the late 80’s and does some amazing things with aged tobacco.  The new Gonzo Santeria follows this path with some excellent tobaccos from 2009.

The Epicurean Gonzo Santeria is available in three sizes, The Ruca (5×42)-$10, the Heina (6×52)-$11, and the Padrino (6×60)-$12.  Being that this cigar uses aged tobacco, production is somewhat limited.  There will be 150 boxes of each size of the new Gonzo Santeria produced, each with 50 cigars per box.  I did speak with Steven a few days ago and he mentioned that he is currently searching for some more aged tobacco to make another 100 boxes.  We have our fingers crossed that he can get his hands on some.

On to the looks!  First thing you notice is the dark and slightly oily San Andres wrapper that adorns this cigar.  The wrapper leaf has minimal veining and a slightly toothy look.  Following the wrapper I notice that the Gonzo Santeria is a box pressed cigar and has a very neatly done pig-tailed cap.  All of the sizes in the Santeria line are box pressed.  The band has a similar color scheme to that of the original Gonzo with a black background and red and white lettering.  The band reads, “Gonzo Santeria, Vintage 2009, Aged Four Years, Esteli Nicaragua.”  Similar to the other lines, the side of the band reads, “ By Steven Ysidron.”

There is just something that age does to tobacco that makes it taste so damn good.  Much like many of Epicureans other lines, the flavor of the Gonzo Santeria is off the charts.  Upon first light the primary flavors that greeted me were that of nuts, cocoa, earthiness, and a unique raisin flavor.  Also notable is that this cigar is an extremely creamy smoke.  About midway into the cigar a pleasant bitterness begins to join the other already present flavors.  The Gonzo Santeria finishes with some strong wood and oak notes.  Overall this was a very enjoyable smoke with excellent flavors.

Construction was pretty much perfect, the cigar lit quickly and maintained a steady burn throughout the smoke.  Ash was firm only falling when ashed and the smoke was thick.

Buy it?  As we said in the original Gonzo review, go get it now!  This is an excellent cigar made by someone who is skilled in using aged tobacco in their cigars.  Every cigar I smoke from the Epicurean line is pretty much spot on and possess a unique and very enjoyable flavor profile.  I smoked it until it burnt my fingers, then I smoked it a little more.  Epicurean Gonzo Santeria, find it, buy it, smoke it.  Then let us know what you think.

 

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Herrera Esteli Limited Edition 2014 Lancero

Herrera Esteli LE 14’ Lancero

DE Herrera Esteli Lancero

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Honduran

Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: 7 ½ x 38

Price: $12

Acquired:  Sample courtesy of Drew Estate.

I have been a fairly big fan of the Herrera Esteli line ever since it’s release.  I make a special trip about once a month to the only shop around me that carries them to pick up my monthly allotment.  Naturally when I got the email from Drew Estate that they were sending out samples of the new Herrera Esteli LE 14’ lancero, I was thrilled.  A great stick that I already love now being made in one of my favorite sizes?  Sign me up!  The Herrera Esteli lancero will be a limited edition release, production is set at 2,000 boxes of 15 for a total of 30,000 cigars.

DE Herrera Esteli Lancero close up.

Looks wise, this is a very nicely done lancero.  The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is a nice light medium shade of brown that has very minimal veining.  The new Herrera Esteli sports two bands, the first being the traditional red, white, and gold Herrera Esteli band that reads, “Herrera Esteli By Drew Estate.”  The second, lower band is black and gold and reads, “ 2014 Edicion Limitada.”

Get ready to ride the train to flavor town!  The flavors in this cigar pair excellently together making this one hell of an enjoyable smoke.  As you first light the cigar you are greeted with some strong wood notes, primarily that of cedar.  There is also the smallest bit of spice present at the beginning of this cigar.  About a quarter of the way in you definitely start to notice more of a pepper note developing.  During the smoke you notice that this cigar is overall, very creamy.  In the last quarter of the Herrera Esteli lancero you pick up on some slight leathery notes as it draws to a close.  Overall, this is an excellent cigar with an amazing flavor profile.

The construction category is one of those categories that a lancero is either going to fair well in or just be terrible.  I am very pleased to announce that of the two sticks that I smoked, construction was dead on.  The burn was tight, even, and did not require any touch ups.  The smoke was full, thick, and white.

So should you buy it?  Did you read the review?  Yes! Yes! Yes!  This is an excellent cigar that is put together very well.  The flavor profile is nothing short of amazing while showcasing the excellent construction that Drew Estate is known for.  Find them, buy them, and smoke them before this limited edition is all gone.  We would also like to say a huge congrats to Willy for being named “Master Blender” of Drew Estate.

DE-Willy

 

 

 

 

 

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Drew Estate Names Willy Herrera as “Master Blender”

Drew Estate Names Willy Herrera as “Master Blender”

DE-Willy

Miami, FL, May 15, 2014: Drew Estate announced today that Willy Herrera will become the “Master Blender” of Drew Estate, effective immediately. Herrera was originally recruited by Drew Estate to create a signature brand illustrating his Cuban heritage and “Cubanesque” blending style. After working with him over the past three years in Nicaragua, Drew Estate determined he was suited to lead their blending team. This represents a major change for Drew Estate, marking the first occasion where someone of Cuban descent has held a top-level position at the company.

Herrera’s new responsibilities will place him at the front and center of Drew Estate’s blending team, which will allow him to channel his passion and energy into creating new blends and maintaining Drew Estate’s current signature blends.

Herrera’s talents were honed over the eight years of “on-the-job training”, running the El Titan de Bronze factory in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, Florida. His responsibilities at El Titan de Bronze included tobacco purchasing, production, blending and quality control.

Jonathan Drew, company co-founder, had this to say about Herrera:

“Authenticity is the key factor that originally attracted the DE shareholders to Willy. I personally know the challenges and skill set necessary to lead a premium cigar factory at all stages of development, fifteen employees to fifteen hundred. Willy has the main ingredients, passion, humility and confidence to achieve great results. It is important for me to clarify that Willy is not in charge of running La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. His position is a newly created, specific role – built around his greatest talent, Master Blender.

We intend to challenge Willy in expanding his blending universe, from Liga Privada to Kentucky Fire Cured. This will not be easy for him. Willy will report directly to me, and I am not an easy person to work for. I am very demanding and require absolute excellence when it comes to creativity.”

Willy Herrera stated that, “my passion and love for Nicaragua has grown immensely over the past three years. I lived in Nicaragua while we blended our Herrera Esteli line and, during that time, really got to know the people at the factory. I grew to love the country, especially Estelí. This is an incredible opportunity, and it’s a dream come true for me to become “Master Blender” of a global company as well respected as Drew Estate. There are many people who have believed in me along this journey, especially my family.”

Due to Drew Estate’s decision to appoint Herrera as “Master Blender”, they have also decided to bring the new “NORTENO by Willy Herrera” line into production at Drew Estate, as opposed to Joya de Nicaragua, where it was originally to be produced. Additionally, this will allow Joya de Nicaragua to focus on production of the MUWAT Kentucky Fire Cured line, which is currently backordered, along with the new Joya de Nicaragua products to be released at IPCPR.

The “NORTENO by Willy Herrera” line will debut at the 2014 IPCPR tradeshow in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a formal press release will follow with more information about that project.

About Drew Estate:

Founded in New York City in 1996. Drew Estate has become one of the fastest growing tobacco companies in the world. Under their mantra “The Rebirth of Cigars”TM, Drew Estate has led The “Boutique Craft” movement by innovating new elements to the tobacco industry with their unique tobaccos and blending styles that have attracted new and old cigar enthusiasts. In their Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, the Nicaraguan headquarters, Drew Estate produces successful brands such as ACID, Herrera Estelí, Java by Drew Estate, Kentucky Fired Cured, Liga Privada, MUWAT, Natural, Nica Rustica, Tabak Especial and UnderCrown.

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Bodega Premium Blends Reunión Aperitivo

Bodega Premium Blends Reunión Aperitivo

Bodega Reunion Aperitivo

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Claro

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: Toro 6×52

Price: $10

Acquired: Sample courtesy of House of Emilio/Bodega Premium Blends

Bodega Premium Blends was founded by three friends and is run by Gino Domamico, also know as Cigar_G on Twitter.  The company currently has two cigars available, the Bodega Reunión Aperitivo which we are reviewing today and the Bodega Reunión Digestivo.   The Reunión Aperitivo is available in 10 count boxes and is also available in a split box (10 of each) with the Digestivo.  Bodega Premium Blends lines are distributed by House of Emilio.

The Bodega Reunión Aperitivo hits high in the looks department.  The Nicaraguan Habano Claro wrapper is a light to medium shade of brown and has minimal veining.  The cigar is topped with an excellently done triple cap.  The artwork on the band is bright and vibrant featuring shades of red, gray, purple, and silver/chrome.  The main band reads “Reunión” with a tree in the background, while a secondary band reads “Aperitivo” and “Bodega” in a smaller font below.  The mix of design and the color scheme of the bands work very well together and make the cigar stand out in any humidor.

Flavor wise this cigar hit on all cylinders!  As I cut and took my first draw of the Bodega Reunion Aperitivo I was instantly greeted with some strong earthy flavors.  These flavors developed well throughout the cigar as well as some strong wood notes that developed a few puffs in.  About a quarter of the way through this cigar a sweet citrus like flavor as well as a nuttiness began to appear.  Once I reached the half way point I also began to detect some hints of cocoa as well as the slightest bit of pepper to it.  The flavor profile finished strong and was enjoyable throughout.

Burn wise I did run into a small burn issue. I had to touch up a few times to keep the cigar burning even, a small issue and nothing that would put me off from purchasing this cigar. I will mention that I was smoking this cigar at night and there was a rather large amount of moisture in the air.  The smoke was full and white.  I will mention that this cigar did have a very pleasant aroma while burning.

To sum things up, this is a great cigar.  The Bodega Reunión Aperitivo features a complex but well-balanced flavor profile that is always a big plus for us.  Their entry into the cigar market with a $10 price tag is a bit on the higher side, but the cigar is well worth the cost.  So, should you try it?  Definitely, hit up your local shop for one today, and if they are not carrying them, tell them it is time to hit up House of Emilio for an order.

Bodega logo

 

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Drew Estate Announces Exclusive Distributorship of Tsuge Pipe Company

Drew Estate Announces Exclusive Distributorship of Tsuge Pipe Company

Tsuge logo

Miami, FL, May 2, 2014: Drew Estate and Tsuge Pipe Company Ltd. have announced a new strategic alliance between the two companies with news that Drew Estate will become the exclusive distributor of Tsuge in the United States and Canada. Drew Estate will begin selling the Tsuge line at the 2014 IPCPR show in Las Vegas, Nevada in July 2014. Drew Estate entered the pipe market by releasing a line of custom pipe tobacco blends at the 2013 IPCPR tradeshow, and this new announcement stands to cement their involvement in the premium pipe and pipe tobacco market.

Started in 1936 by Kyoichiro Tsuge, Tsuge Pipe Company and the Tsuge family have a rich history of craftsmanship. Prior to making pipes, the Tsuge family were Samurai swordsmiths for hundreds of years. Kyoichiro Tsuge started making pipes around the turn of the century and, as a company, Tsuge has mastered the art of pipe making. Tsuge draws from the traditions of Italian and Danish pipe makers, having trained with world-renowned pipe maker Sixten Ivarrson, and has added unique touches of Japanese artisanship along the way.

Tsuge is best known for their renowned “Ikebana” line of handcrafted briar pipes. The “Ikebana” collection features Tsuge’s highest quality work, retailing for up to multiple thousands of dollars. Tsuge is also known for their machine-made line of briar pipes, which features unique shapes and metals. This portion of Tsuge’s pipe collection is a more affordable option compared to the “Ikebana” line.

When reached for comment, Drew Estate president Michael Cellucci stated, “I have been a fan of Tsuge’s incredible pipes for many years. We approached Tsuge about distributing their pipes in the United States and Canada, and they were receptive of the idea. Drew Estate’s efforts in the pipe tobacco market have proved to be successful, and we hope to channel this success into representing the Tsuge brand in the United States and Canada.”

Jonathan Drew, co-founder of Drew Estate, commented from his Miami office: “One of the most honored moments of my life was when Sab Tsuge, president of Tsuge, came to our third meeting in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan dressed in a formal black kimono and accepted our proposed deal to grow the Tsuge brand in North America together.

Mario Takeyama, Executive Director of Drew Estate Solution Lab and Head of Marketing, my dad ‘Bait Fish Gary’, and I shared a unique experience of eating a loach fish together with Sab Tsuge, Hiro Mitsui, Lars Ivarrson, his daughter, Nanna Ivarrson, and 10 of Tsuge’s top Japanese resellers at Komagata Dojo restaurant in old downtown Tokyo. We listened to stories and history; Mario Takeyama’s family is from Asakusa town where Tsuge has their factory and headquarters. The bond between Mario and Sab Tsuge was evident throughout all of our meetings and illustrates the global direction of Drew Estate.”

Drew Estate representatives will be stationed at the Tsuge booth at the upcoming Chicago Pipe Show, being held at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois on May 3rd and 4th, 2014. If you would like to speak with Drew Estate representative about this news, please visit the Tsuge booth.

About Drew Estate:

Founded in New York City in 1996. Drew Estate has become one of the fastest growing tobacco companies in the world. Under their mantra “The Rebirth of Cigars”TM, Drew Estate has led The “Boutique Craft” movement by innovating new elements to the tobacco industry with their unique tobaccos and blending styles that have attracted new and old cigar enthusiasts. In their Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, the Nicaraguan headquarters, Drew Estate produces successful brands such as ACID, Herrera Estelí, Java by Drew Estate, Kentucky Fired Cured, Liga Privada, MUWAT, Natural, Nica Rustica, Tabak Especial and UnderCrown.

About Tsuge:

TSUGE has paved the way of the Japanese pipe making with Kyoichiro who dedicated his life to pipes. The global brand TSUGE continues to step forward as a bearer of smoking culture in the future. Pipes of the TSUGE brand are made with infinite passion and excellent techniques of the craftsmen. The unparalleled beauty and quality have attracted pipe lovers around the world.

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CIGAR STATION OF SPRING HILL, TN JOINS HOUSE OF EMILIO MASTER RETAILER FAMILY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2014
CIGAR STATION OF SPRING HILL, TN JOINS HOUSE OF EMILIO MASTER RETAILER FAMILY
Cigar Station
Nathan McIntyre, House of Emilio National Sales Director announced Thursday that Cigar Station, Spring Hill, TN will be joining the House of Emilio Master Retailer program.
“Chuck Horvath’s store is dedicated to the boutique cigar industry.” McIntyre stated. “He has done a masterful job of building a business with boutiques in a small community. He is a great owner with a great palate, and has supported the small manufacturers in this industry for a long time. It’s an honor to do such great business with him.”
Horvath added, “My store has been carrying House of Emilio since September 2011. I can’t say enough or express how much I appreciate the support I have received from Gary Griffith and Nate McIntyre. They have truly made me feel like I’m part of their family. They have attention to detail and have helped me become a better store owner. Their cigars speak for themselves and to me, are some of the highest quality cigars I’ve been able to smoke through my 30 years of smoking. I can’t express enough how much I love these guys and what they have done for me.
 
Cigar Station is located at:
 
5075 Main St. #A1
Spring Hill, TN 37174
Gary A. Griffith
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