Monthly Archives: July 2017

“Carlito? Irv CigarBroker.”

fuente ash

Tonight I’m smoking an Opus X.  Which one I haven’t the faintest idea.  It fell out of one of the many bags in my humidor as I was looking for something to smoke while I wrote this article.  I spent several hours with a very dear friend of mine this afternoon and we smoked a couple of cigars together.  Good smokes.  Good conversation.  So I thought I would indulge in a cigar I don’t often light up.  The Fuente cigars are gifted to me from a shop owner in Indiana.  He’s a Fuente fanatic.  So tonight I smoked the Opus X to taste the difference.

I will say, this cigar I’m smoking is delightful.  Smooth, a bit of spice, creamy, and satisfying.  No this isn’t a review, nor will it morph into one.

I met Carlito at the IPCPR this year, the day before the show officially opened – the day all the vendors were setting up.  In fact, as I walked the convention center hall, I really didn’t think he would be around.  But lo.  As I nonchalantly passed the Fuente booth, I noticed a familiar face.  I asked a woman close by, if that was indeed, Carlito.  “Yes, it is,” she politely responded.

You see, I had a goal at this show – to meet Carlito.  So, without hesitation, I confidently walked up to him and said, “Carlito?  Irv CigarBroker.”  He looked at me and produced a huge smile.  We shook hands and completed our meeting with a bro hug.  

fuente irv

This, after he drilled me a new asshole via FB for a satirical article I wrote about the FDA a few months back. He was a perfect gentleman.  So, I had to get this introduction out of my system.  I wanted to hear his comeback to meeting me.  And I was impressed.  Yet, I was not surprised at his reaction at all.  I was relieved.  

I left the booth feeling right.

So, for now, I will continue to smoke his cigar, enjoying the cool night air knowing that I did the proper thing – both times.


“El Borracho” or The Drunk.

eb cigar


Dapper Cigar Co.  Cubo Maduro.  Cubo Claro.   El Borracho.  Stop.

Wrapper.  San Andrés.  Binder.  Nicaraguan.  Filler.  Nicaraguan.

Production Manager.  Raul Disla.  Esteli.

eb ash.jpg

Ash.  Impressive.  Colors. Shades of gray, white and black.  Length.  Long.  Construction. Tits.  Draw.  Superb.  Smoke.  Creamy and voluminous.  Burn.  On point.  Bouquet.  Lusty. Body.  Full.  Head feel.  Woozy.

Taste.  Thick.  Savory.  Umami.  Deep, dark chocolate (no sugar).  Woodsy.  Lilt of spice.

Sizes.  Robusto (5 x 50), Edmundo (5 ½ x 52), Toro (6 x 54).

Price.  $$$.

Owner.  Ian Reith.

eb abstract

Weather.  Humid.  Temperature.  86°.

Lunch.  Portillo’s burger.  Coke.

Decision to rep.  Conundrum.   


Cigar Art. What is the brand name?

Sm cover 2

Singer & Monk is a new cigar.  The IPCPR advertised it so.

Singer & Monk is a made up name.  The owner told me so.

Singer & Monk is an exquisite blend.  My palate told me so.

Singer & Monk is a unique cigar.  The blend told me so.

Singer & Monk is a complex cigar.  My experience told me so.

Singer & Monk has excellent construction.  The ash showed me so.

Singer & Monk has a near perfect burn.  The ring showed me so.

Singer  & Monk is full of flavor surprises.  The taste proved it so.

Singer & Monk is a medium-bodied smoke.  My head felt it so.

Sm middle

Singer & Monk is a cigar with panache.  The finish was so. . . .

Singer & Monk sparkled with zing.  Its spiciness confirmed it so.

Singer & Monk has a place on the shelf.  The above determined so.

Singer & Monk is associated with Cigar Art.  The card said so.

Singer & Monk comes in Connecticut and Habano.  The site said so.

Singer & Monk has a good price.  The under $10 retail says so.

Singer & Monk is da bomb.  And it ain’t just so so.  

Singer & Monk is a sexy cigar.  Irv CigarBroker said so. 

Sm sexy end

Cigar boredom can be exhilarating.

julia roberts

It would be hard to believe, but is it possible to get a bit “enough” of Julia Roberts?  Yes.  

Would it be even harder to consider the fact that you might get tired of your favorite cigar?  Yes.

So give your palate a break and try something new.  It’ll be refreshing and you just might like the change.

Is Julia still one of the top stars on the planet?  Yes.  Is her smile so delightful that men still swoon when she’s seen in fashion magazines and on film?  Yes.  Is Hugh Grant still scratching his head?  (Opps!)  

But when you travel on the path least traveled, you are in for an adventure.


That’s what the fashionistas did when they decided to capitalize on the popularity of Iris Apfel – the “Muse of New York.” (The Guardian*).  The 9os something former owner, with her husband, Carl, of Old World Weavers, “whose reproductions of antique fabrics became essential accessories for the smartest households until the Apfels eventually sold the company and retired,” has become the “it” woman of the 21st-century fashion world.

Psst. “To give some measure of their success: Old World provided curtains, furniture and drapes for the White House through nine presidential administrations.  As a result, the Apfels live a gilded uptown life in a Park Avenue apartment with ‘a possible Velasquez’ on the wall.” *

iris in garb

But it was her fabulous, eclectic wardrobe that made her what she is best known for.  She had no problem wearing “a coat of multicoloured rooster, duck and fowl feathers by Jean-Louis Scherrer from 1962, (or) an orange jumpsuit by Geoffrey Beene from the early 80s.” *

Without this becoming a mini-biography, the fact is – Iris is one of the hottest models there is out there today.  And all because she looked at what fashions she liked, bought them, and sash-shayed around town with elegant aplomb.  Like a true New Yorker, Apfel does a great one-liner. One of her best is: “When you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else.”

So why smoke the same cigar like everyone else?  Why do anything like anybody else? Get out of your trashtray and light up a different brand.  It just might make you the talk of the lounge.


Cattle Baron Cigars and The New Yorker?

cattle baron cover.jpg

July 24, 2017.  The New Yorker.  July 12, 2017.  Cattle Baron.  That’s the day I went to visit the Cattle Baron booth at the IPCPR’s convention.  The cigars are made for Bryan Mussard, a real cattle baron.

I don’t remember all the details.  The history.  The raison d’être.  I was concentrating on the cigar.  Manufactured by De Los Reyes in the Dominican Republic, it’s a mild to medium-bodied cigar.  Tasty.  And backed by passion. I’m smoking it now at the Patio Cigar Lounge (Open 24/7).  The robusto size, or as Mussard prefers to call it – The Stockyard.  There are others, The Cowboy, the Bull, the Trail Boss, and the “Little Doggie.” I’ve had the others.  The Stockyard is the one that lassoed me.  The flavors are a bit nondescript, but caramel, toasted coffee, and, oh yes, a little barnyard –  do come to the fore.  (I had to throw that in.)  Construction is good.  The burn admirable.

cattle baron marley

Ah, so many cigars.  So many dreams.  So many ideas floating all around me.  Does this guy need a cigar? Nope. He’s making a good living breeding livestock.  Question is, can he made a side-living “breeding” cigars?

“What’s your plan to market your cigars,” I asked staring him straight in the eyes.  “Shows like this, advertising, submitting reviews.”  Inside I cringed.  That ain’t gonna make it, Cowboy.  No disrespect intended.  It is what it is.

But just like the current issue of The New Yorker, some are good, some not so good.  This week’s issue has a caricature of Trump on the cover.  Bland.  Overdone. Like the wrapper on this one.  I’m guessing Ecuadorian Connecticut.

The editorial content?  There are a few page stopping stories, like in “The Critics” section titled, “Stir it up: The battle over Bob Marley,” by Hua Hsu.  Solid.  Interesting.  Well researched.  Like a filler should be.  Written by Mr. Hsu, it has its own lilt.  As a blend would, according to the tastes of Mussard.  

cattle baron korenBut what keeps the interest?  The binders.  The cartoons. Like the one by Koren, a legend in the business.  Even if the reader just skims through the magazine, at least the illustrators of humor keep it all together.  They define the magazine – they always have, think Peter Arno.  The binder defines the blend – think?

Mussard didn’t make the cigar, just like the editor of The New Yorker, David Remnick, didn’t make the magazine. Both just approved the “ingredients.”  They compiled the ideas and put them together for the final product. Hoping to please.  

Next week, Remnick will ok another issue.  In time Mussard will approve another blend. So the cycle goes on.  Each hoping that what is produced will gain the attention of the consumer.  So enjoy them.  Read it.  Smoke it.  Savor them.  Now git along!


A Broker Pains 1000 words.

irv fed up

The actual Chinese expression “Hearing something a hundred times isn’t better than seeing it once” is sometimes introduced as the equivalent to  “A picture paints a thousand words.”  The rather apocryphal origin is that it is a real Chinese proverb – “One picture is worth ten thousand words.”  The actual origin may have originated in an ad for the Piqua Auto Supply House of Ohio.  “The December 8, 1921, issue carries an ad entitled, “One Look is Worth A Thousand Words.” Another ad by Frederick Barnard appears in Printer’s Ink in the March 10, 1927, issue with the phrase “One Picture Worth Ten Thousand Words,” where it is also labeled a Chinese proverb.  The lyrics of the song “If,” by Bread (1971) start out, “If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can’t I paint you.”  Ah, the purity of romanticism.  J’dore!  or should I say, Wǒ xǐhuān ( 我喜欢)?

Regardless of the source of the expression’s etymological birth, what does the reader think the above photo is depicting about this cigar broker’s (writer’s) current experience?  Hmmmm?

Shall we start with No 1. . . ?





Getting Stoned in Vegas.

stoned cover

Cigars were everywhere in Vegas.  At the show.  The casinos.  The bars.  Outside.  I couldn’t get away from the wafting smoke save for my hotel room.  It’s why I was there – to be enveloped in the industry.  And indeed I was.

But also while I was there at the Flamingo, each day as I left to go to the convention, I passed a shop just as I exited from the Spa elevators to my right – Karma and Luck.  I was oddly intrigued at what it was offering for sale.

Small Buddha statues, stones of various mineral compositions, and a vast array of sparkling, very alluring jewelry, delicate chains, and even clunky beads on leather strings.  Each day I would pass by and sometimes the shop was closed so I was able to peer in without being disturbed – minus the glow of the halogen glister that made the contents of the store pop!

This ritual went on for several days until Thursday afternoon.  From the tram, as I came closer to the shop I turned the corner to head for the Spa elevators and there it was.  I was stopped in my stride as if an invisible force field held me back from moving forward by a small, sparkling, splash of color that adorned a small cross.  Had it been there all along?  

I gazed at its dazzling, vibrant blues of all shades – sky, indigo, powder, baby, steel, cerulean, dodger, Persian all mixed into this marvelous display of nature that I would later find to be opal.  


I gently lifted the cross from its display perch but did not remove it.  I only held it in the palm of my hand.  The sales person saw my interest and came over to me.  “Do you like it?”  I said nothing.  Then oddly I heard myself saying,”The colors are speaking to me.” She smiled.  “May I see it,” I asked?  And without hesitation, she gently took the cross and placed it on my fingers.  The vibrant colors had a pull that I cannot explain.  “I’ll have to give this some thought,” I said as I handed it back to her and left the store.

I caught an elevator – green arrow up –  and quickly walked to the room where my wife and son were getting ready for the evening’s dinner at Delmonico’s in the Venetian.  I changed my clothes and slipped on a more comfortable shirt, jeans, sandals, a spritz of Light Blue and off we went.  But as we were walking through the halls I revealed to E that I had found a treasure.  Coming off the elevator, the crowd was naturally pushing me back, but we navigated our way to the right where I proudly showed E the cross.  “It’s beautiful,” she remarked.  The sales lady, recognizing me, came over and it was as if we were huddled around a newborn – gazing, commenting, and “oohing and ahhing, “ our visual pleasure and delight.

It was not a difficult decision.  “I’ll take it.”  The rather heavy set, but flawlessly dressed woman whisked it away and immediately, but deftly, slid the cross and chain into a lighted stone bowl.  And with another rod of the same material outlined the edges of the vessel producing a subdued whine.  “I’m blessing this for you” as I’m sure I  must have returned her comment with a somewhat quizzical stare.  “No.  You take it out.  Only you can touch it now.”  I placed it on a soft pillow of cotton and she put everything in a box and closed the lid.

In the meantime, E was going through a wide variety of all kinds of minerals, quartz and tumbled stones.  She came upon one that caught both our eyes – magnetite.  We both became fascinated not only by its appearance, but by its purported metaphysical properties such as it “enhances intelligence, mental stability, logic, analysis, creativity, memory, and psychic development.  It can help you tap your own latent mental talents and abilities and is a powerful protection stone, and is very grounding.” (  The later property intrigued me the most.  

We picked out our favorite shapes both coincidentally resembling the tip of the fang of a sabre-tooth tiger and away we went for steak and potatoes.

As we walked to the Venetian and located the restaurant, I asked E if I could have my stone from the bag.  She gladly gave it to me and as I held it in my hand, the silken surface and its weight created a certain calm into my consciousness.  As the group gathered and began to order drinks, I tightened my grip on the stone.