Category Archives: Cigar Reviews

Another Momofuku Noodle Bar?

rg trio

Not much to go on here.  But oftimes that’s what makes a raw review so interesting and fun.   Its a brand called  RG Cigar.  The wrapper is Ecuadorian Habano, the binder and the filler are both Nicaraguan from Esteli.  Already it sounds dull, but let’s give it a chance.

The cigar is created by a new kid on the block – Fabricio Ramirez.  Now he may be famous in his country, but not here.  Not yet anyway.  He suggested I try the black label because he claims that it is the strongest.  That begs the question, does that mean the others, there are three are not so strong?  

The draw is just right.  The construction is flawless.  It burns evenly and the volume of smoke is creamy and satisfying.  The ash a powdery gray.  Which leads me to believe that the tobacco has been fermented just right.  The flavors are nondistinct.  No apple wood, cotton candy, or hickory.  But I will say that it has a barnyard lilt combined with a very earthy carry through.

rg cigar

It’s not a bad cigar overall.  One dimensional up to this point and from what my experience tells me that isn’t going to change much.  Which really isn’t all that bad, either.  Sometimes a cigar can twirl so many flavors on your palate that the smoker becomes confused and just plain frustrated.  I’m not at all frustrated.  

The smoothness is consistent without a hint of bitterness.  Which in this case speaks well for a good balance that I’m enjoying tremendously.  My tongue is not burning at all.  So he was right.  I usually have two cigars to compare them with each other for consistency.  Unfortunately, I only have one.  So this is my first impression and that’s all you’re going to get.  I’m pleased.  Pleasantly surprised, too.  If this really is his first crack at it, I believe he may have a future in this crazy business.  Momofuku a culinary brand established by chef David Chang in 2004 with the opening of Momofuku Noodle Bar.  It wasn’t supposed to work – but it did.  Maybe we have another Chef Chang in our midst?


Her Passion is Passion.




“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”  –  When Harry Met Sally.  Passion.


“You and I, it’s as though we have been taught to kiss in heaven and sent down to earth together, to see if we know what we were taught.”  – Doctor Zhivago.  Passion.


“In vain I have struggled.  It will not do.  My feelings will not be repressed.  You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”  – Pride and Prejudice.  Passion.


“Here’s looking at you kid.”  – Casablanca.  Passion.


“I was looking up . . . it was the nearest thing to heaven!  You were there.”  – An Affair to Remember.  Passion.


“Soul meets soul on lovers’ lips.” – Prometheus Unbound.  Passion.


“What do you want?  You want the moon?  Just say the word and I’ll throw a Lasso around it and pull it down.” – It’s a Wonderful Life.  Passion.


“I’ve fallen in love.  I’m an ordinary woman.  I didn’t think such violent things could happen to ordinary people.” – Brief Encounter.  Passion.


“All hopes of eternity and all gain from the past he would have given to have her there, to be wrapped warm with him in one blanket, and sleep, only sleep.  It seemed the sleep with the woman in his arms was the only necessity.” – Lady Chatterley’s Lover.  Passion.


“It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.” – Lolita.  Passion.


“You don’t have to do anything for me.  Oh, except whistle.  You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve?  You just put your lips together and blow.” – To Have and to Have Not. Passion.


“In my opinion, the best thing you can do is find someone who loves you for exactly what you are.  Good mood, bad mood, pretty, handsome, what have you.” – Juno.  Passion.


“I love you.  You complete me.” – Jerry Maguire.  Passion


“I have a million things to talk to you about.  All I want in this world is you.  I want to see you and talk.  I want the two of us to begin everything from the beginning.” – Norwegian Wood.  Passion.


“Love is too weak a word for what I feel – I luuurve you, you know, I loave you, I luff you, two F’s.” – Annie Hall.  Passion


“I’m also just a girl standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” – Notting Hill.  Passion.


“Everything I’ve ever done, I’ve done for you.” – Great Expectations.  Passion.


“I look at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world.” – Having a Coke with You.  Passion.


“I do love nothing in the world so well as you – is not that strange? – Much Ado About Nothing.  Passion.


“Her love was entire as a child’s, and though warm as a summer it was fresh as spring.”  Far from the Madding Crowd.  Passion


“When you love something, it loves you back in whatever way it has to love.” – A Separate Peace.  Passion.


“I’m not a smart man . . . but I know what love is.” –  Forrest Gump.  Passion.


“Do I love you?  My god, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches.” – The Princess Bride.  Passion.


“We Love the things for what they are.”  Hyla Brook.  Passion.


“And when one of them meets with his other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy.” – The Symposium.  Passion


“I’ve never had a moment’s doubt.  I love you.  I believe in you completely.  You are my dearest one.  My reason for life.” – Atonement.  Passion.


“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.” – Winnie the Pooh.  Passion.


“Love is Passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without.  If you don’t start with that, what are you going to end up with? – Meet Joe Black.  Passion.


Love.  Emotional Emersion.  Endearment.  Longing.  Sensual Satisfaction.  Kisses.

Passion.  A Dominican cigar that is just waiting for you to enjoy, to experience, to fall in love with.  Conceived by Asquena Martinez Calderon who knows the true meaning of what it is to share her genuine, undeniable – Passion.


A Midnight Special.

Midnight special

“Welcome to the Midnight Special!”  Al Green.  1974.  Damn.  So sleepy.  Listening to the concert recorded live “at KRCL Studios in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Damnnnnnn.  

Applause is one of the greatest highs anyone can experience.  Though, just recently I read in W Magazine’s  article, “The New Royals,” the Classic Shirley MacLaine says, “”Applause was nice, But I liked the silence of the audience better.  The silence means Oh, my!  You have my rapt attention.”

Hiram & Solomon’s gets both.  The cigar with panache.  I was smoking a  Master Mason toro and it wowed the crowd (me) and held me in ecstatic exultation.  The cigar never quit.  Take it away Ethel!

There’s no business like (cigar) business like no business I know

Everything about it is appealing, everything that (the FDA) will allow

Nowhere could you get that happy feeling when you are stealing that extra bow.”

“Gonna love you, baby.”

“Clap your hands with me!”

“I’m so tired of being alone,” but that ain’t no problem if you be H & S’s cigars.  

This Master Mason is a spicy, tender cigar with all the straight-faced elegance of “Rapture,” by Blondie.  First to rap on an MTV Video.  Memorable.  Gorgeous.  So damn sexy.

Why Green’s show in 1974 went down in history is the same reason Woodstock will forever be in the minds of anyone who appreciates culture, class, and music.  Yes, class!  

Or Tobacco.  Blanco, David.  He’s the mastermind here.  The Producer, like “The Producers.” (1967).  The 2-time Tony Award-winning 2001 smashzilla closes three days after its sixth anniversary (which was April 19), following 33 preview performances and 2,502 regular performances at Broadway’s St. James Theater.  (Playbill).

Then six years later, Al Green’s smash performance in Utah of all places!

Then, ah, one, two, three, ah, ah four, five, six, sev . . . oh, hell, several years later Hiram & Solomon hit the shelves.  Just got word that the cigar is now also available in France, Germany, Belgium, Lithuania, Denmark, and Sweden.

Of course, there are smiles and miles of tobacco leaves that may knock Mel Brook’s and Thomas Meehan’s golden run by decades and may even put distance between Green’s epic performance in Utah.

Vanity Fair writes about Meghan Markle “on the sudden glare of the spotlight that comes with being Prince Harry’s Girl.” (October 2017).  A split second when compared with what Blanco blended.

Don’t get a big head, Blanco.  People’s expectations are searing your palate.  So what’s on stage for next season?  Smash hits are rare.  Utah or Broadway or maybe Atlanta???  Al Green is a f*cking legend.  Your legacy will take time.  But the two guys from H & S, Ed and George, they, now . . . now they got it live!  

A variety of cigars that’ll make your head swim.  Oh, for Pete’s sake, you want all the details?  Go to a cigar blog.  Look it up!  I’m the color man.  John Madden.  

“I’m so in love with you.”

Gooo Eddie!  Goooo Georgie!  Gooooo Davey!


Raw Review of Stardust by Isabela.


  • First Impression – Orgasmic
  • First Draw – Flooded with flavors
  • First Pause – Awe
  • First Full Draw – Creamy, Abstract, Dazzling
  • First Emotion – Heavenly Bliss
  • First Insight – $$$$$$$$
  • First Relaxed Moment – “How was it for you?”
  • First Musical Interlude – Styx
  • First Dreamy Moment – “I am representing this brand.”
  • First Second Full Draw – Sweet Jesus
  • First Thought of Complexity – Indescribable
  • First Disappointment – Extraordinarily limited (100 boxes)
  • First Stardust – Miracle blends still exist
  • First Burnt Fingers – Isabela’s Stardust   

Distinguishing a great cigar.

great cigar

These words are being written down longhand as I’m thinking through them while I making my way from the garage.  This overwhelming feeling was engulfing me as I was wasting my life scrolling through Facebook in the garage.

It was almost a physical sensation that crept into my conscious id, an almost physical, alien assimilation that there is a foolproof way to know whether or not I like a cigar.  And it was – if I may re-use a phrase from AA – a moment of clarity!  A solid realization.

Do you know what that way was?  Do you know what I uncovered as I was mindlessly scrolling my life away?  Wait for it.   I never paid any attention to the cigar I was smoking.  I never once thought of the cigar.  Everything about it was a crystal clear concatenation of cigar characteristics that were rolled together to make this serendipitous, faultless smoke a part of me.

great cigar full

That cigar was the perfect fitting, hand-made Caraceni suit fashioned from the most luxurious fabric ever sewn together from Vicuña wool.  I had discovered the unbeaten trail that veered away from all that pretentious, descriptive verbal bullshit that no one believes anyway and found myself an option where I would be free from ever having to write a sanctimonious cigar review again.  I knew I had stumbled upon the Holy Grail of appraisals because I tasted no friction of spice, tinges of leather, earthly essence of the forest floor, moth balls, cherry licorice, and wooden, non-sulphurated match head sticks.  

I had just found the most complete cigar that was so sensuously satisfying that my emotions welled up inside of me.  I felt warm liquid at the corners of my eyes.  Freedom. Oh, how I relish the crest of a creative conclusion.  Without having to say so.


Guerrilla Flavors by Isabela.

isabela colors

Sixty ring gauge cigars were supposed to be a fad.  Instead, they have become one of the most popular sizes.  I find them to be too much girth to handle comfortably in my mouth. And the cigar has a tendency to turn sour due to the huge amount of filler.  Worse, the cigar becomes boring.  

Except for one.  Recently I took on a line that offers a 60 ring gauge that by-passes all the aforementioned negatives mentioned above – The Guerrilla by Isabela.  Yes, I rep it.  And yes, I offer many other cigars with a 50 plus 10 ring.  So before the other manufacturers get their panties in a wad, I always offer all my cigars to the customer – but I just keep my opinion to myself.

isabela tree

Why is this one different?  Flavors.  There are so many changing piquancies that explode on your palate, some evolving slowly rumbling past what you think you’ve just experienced, others popping in a contrapuntal, erratic symphony indicative of the works of Austrian composer Alban Berg taking on the bursts of eruptions like fireworks in the middle of the street during a Chinese New Year’s celebration.

Some flavors sizzle, some scatter, some entice, some entrance, some mesmerize, some surprise, some hypnotize, some appear, some disappear with such rapidity it is impossible to grasp them.  I defy anyone who is true to their palate to deftly paint a canvas of what they are experiencing that is coming from this simple, barber pole of aged tobacco.  Guerrilla makes Jackson Pollock’s White Light (1954) appear to be a study of columns and straight lines.  It is an overt prism of an erotic experience that even Helmut Newton could not duplicate.  It would be inconceivable for even the great John Updike to conjure up the right words on the page to limn the whirling mixture of flavors – sweet, savory, umami, bitter, delectable, and embarrassingly sexual that this cigar offers.

isabela gorillaNo, this is a treat beyond your imagination. There is only one way for you to trip on this cigar and that is to light one up.  A psychedelic ride that rivals the symbolic surge (“Star Gate”) through space at the end of “2001: A Space Odyssey” to arrive back to this earth without telling someone else where you think you’ve been.

(Cover photo by Bobby Doherty)



“She’s a Leidy.”

leidy final cover

How do I describe an indescribable cigar?  The word itself, “indescribable” is defined in the dictionary as “too unusual, extreme, or indefinite to be adequately described.”  So do I bother?  Or do I give it all I’ve got to draw you into this heavenly experience?  I wrote notes, of course.  “Box pressed.  Excellent draw.  Spicy introduction.  A frappé of flavors. Mellow.  Creamy.  Elegant bouquet.”

leidy working

I have been very anxious to try this blend.  I’m still in the dark as to what tobaccos are used.  It’s made in the Dominican Republic.  Factory unknown.  I met the woman who is responsible for this delightful experience by sheer coincidence.  

As she wrote, I will paraphrase – of all the millions of people I could have met on FB, I meet you.  Kinda throws me into the famous scene in “Casablanca” when Rick is alone, bottle next to him, a strained expression on his face when he slams his fist against the table and says, “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”  But the meeting between myself and Leidy is one of joy, not melodrama.  An auspicious beginning.

leidy packI received the samples of the cigar, Reina del Nilo, with the help of an individual who lives in the Dominican and we arranged the drop.  A few days later, an envelope was delivered to my address.  I opened it immediately when I returned home and was transfixed by its whimsical presentation, especially when I unfastened the latch on the box and was met with a golden bow made of textured ribbon, an introduction card, and a poem.  Yes, I said a poem.

Leidy is passionate about cigars, but she is also taken by her sensual desire for words.  A match between us, I might add.  And she combines them with grace.

I took one cigar out of the five-pack and inspected the stick and was enthralled by its beauty – borrowed perhaps from the woman who created the cigar.  I was hoping for the best and I was visually met with the highest of quality.  I could not hold my curiosity in any longer.  I could not abstain from sharing this moment.

The toasting was our first meeting, and the draw was the sensuous satisfaction of heart-pounding excitement.  A fresh, autumnal sprinkling of spectacular flavors – though none distinct, save for the spice, met our passionate embrace.  Solid construction.  Perfect draw.  An even burn.  Medium bodied.  Nobel?  Again I go back to Bogie’s best when at the end of the film he walks on the rain-soaked tarmac saying to Louis, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”


Cocoa?  The bravery of bitters entered into the sweet, exotic, née erotic experience.  To quote Jahausa in “The Medicine Man,” “Ah, a beaut.”  Smiles, laughter, wide eyes – a bit of a romantic interlude that is no longer a secret.

leidy cigar

The glue is the spice.  Subtle umami seasoning is intertwined with those essences I cannot find the words without sounding foolish.  Yes, it is difficult to review a cigar with such a rush of minuscule molecular atoms banging against each other to produce this one curious blend.

Indeed, Leidy is delicate, as are her cigars.  I have never met her, but I can assure you that I am not far from the truth.  She is gracious.  Her heart is filled with a special spiritual lilt.  As I continued to enjoy this cigar, I cannot but think of her.  She has indeed infused her character into the tobacco leaves.  A miracle?  Or an inevitability? Her prowess I would guess.  An occasional drip of a single drop of water from the recent rain, splatters on the concrete, as do the flavors over and over and over again on my palate.  I am fortunate to enjoy this tinseled treasure.  I do not believe her cigars have yet to arrive in the United States – save for the one smoked by this “American Writer.”

tut ashThe matte that is produced draws me deeper into the arduous task of giving you, the reader, a tiny taste of this surprising blend.  If I have at least brought the Reina del Nilo to your attention, then perhaps my review is complete.

But the only way for you to gain entry into this world of fantastic flavors is to do what I have done.  I hope you get that chance.  I’ll do what I can to make that possible.