Category Archives: Cigar Reviews

Contemplative Cuban Cigar Chatter.


Listen.  I’m smoking a Cuban cigar in the PRESTO Cigar Lounge  (Open 24/7).  Listen. Toastycaramelwithatingeoflicoracemmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmcardamonmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmredflakepeppermmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmroughgroundexplosionofspicemmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmtanninmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Eyes closed.



Aged Oliveros Gold Series Bourbon

irv and olivaros


5 3/4 x 50 Box of 10

Strength: Mild Bodied

Origin: Dominican Republic

Wrapper: Colorado Claro

Shape: Straight

Flavor: Bourbon

Found.  In my desk drawer.  The office was to be painted and I had to clear the place out.  During the excavation, I find this cigar relic at the back of the center drawer and since it had been sealed in a glass tube, I figured it would be fine to smoke. 

I could not find reliable resources when it was released.  Regardless, it’s been hidden away under no special conditions.   No humidification.  Nothing.  Zero.  Taken care of like an old pencil.

So today after I cleaned out the drawer, I decided to give it up to the gods of fire and exorcise its spirit of who knows how many years and see what it had to offer.   Being of the bourbon-flavored species, this was obviously given to me and I simply stashed it in my drawer – and forgot about it.

But when I did release it from its “cigarphagus” believe it or not, the cigar was delicious. I will give it full marks for flavor, subtleness, and draw.  It was a perfect smoke from what I could tell never having one before.

I was with my son when I smoked it and I was so surprised that it still had some kick to it despite the conditions it had been stored.  I heard myself saying to him, “Damn, this is a good cigar.”  Now it could be my taste buds are shot, but I won’t go to that extreme.  I’m taking into consideration the entire history of the cigar and while it may have been stressed it still had a lot to offer.  My son and I headed for lunch.

I parked the car and I secured the cigar between my windshield blades and the windshield so I could continue to smoke it when I got out. When I did relight it – adding to its already stressed condition, the cigar held up and continued to give me an enjoyable, almost whimsical experience.

So maybe it was curious luck, being in the glass tube, whatever, but this is proof positive that all the cigar aficionados out there that are so quirky about having their cigars in perfect conditions should take note – chill.


Invictus Redux.

invictus band

Invictus is a short Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley. The word is Latin for unconquered.  It was written in 1875 and published in 1888 in his first volume of poems.”  (Wiki)  It is a poem that centers around the human spirit.  Too much detail will spoil the thoughts that emerge from reading it slowly.  


Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.


In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.


Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.


It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.


Invictus is also a cigar brought to light by Nimmer Ahmad.  Even before I put a torch to it, I could tell it had something.  The flavor of drawing on the unlit tobacco is delightful.  I can only imagine what it will taste like once the leaves begin to give off their intended mix of essences.  It is a cigar that centers around what nature can produce.  But just from what I experienced, this review is over for now.


My Bolivar. Just Enjoy it.


I was tidying up the humidor today and I ran across what I thought was an Armonías – a new special release size Bolívar Cigar with a standard band C, with an additional Regional band for Asia Pacific (Asia Pacifico).

Referencing Halfwheel “The Armonías is a massive 7 1/4 (184mm) x 57 salomón vitola, but that’s really not the intriguing part. (This was}: the cigar was limited to 2,008 boxes of eight with pricing set at 8,888 CNY, about $1,300 USD in July 2008. But those boxes aren’t your typical cigar box.”

Suspicion began to build.  I was a bit flummoxed.  Where’d I get it?  I receive a lot of cigars and rarely can I remember each intricate detail about its acquisition.  So I did a what any self-respecting cigars broker would do – conduct more research.  

First off it is Cuban.  But it ain’t no rare find.  How’d I discover that?  EVERY Bolívar has underneath the word “Habano” the country of origin – Cuba.  Every single one.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a Petit Edmundo (which I’ve had and it is to diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieee for), or a luscious Edición Limitada – every single standard Bolívar band C has CUBA embossed directly below.

My heart was on the oak floor, still pumping and making a bloody mess.  I could feel its sadness, it’ disappointment, its sorrow, the gloom that it popped out of my chest cavity. Tears began rolling down my cheeks into the ensuing mix that made ketchup on a Chicago-style hot dog look palatable.

The pain began to replace misery with common sense – It’s a F*@K^*G cigar. Ssssnaaaanapppp out of it!

I did.  Seconds passed.  Bless you, Rev. Schuller, I have “Boucebackability!”

So what do I do now?


Smoke it!


Remember the Ashes.

ashes to ashes

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return.”

I will post again Sunday.

Why this post?  

It this inimical environment, it is crucial that we take the time out to reflect on what is important and what is not. 

e project cigar

I’m smoking a cigar manufactured by Connshade in the Dominican Republic.  Dean Parsons, of Epic Cigars, Created Project E.  A delightful cigar (6.5 x 54) with a San Andres wrapper, an Indonesian Sumatran binder with filler tobaccos from the DR and Nicaragua.

What sets this cigar apart is its unique band design made from another leaf.  The letter E is stamped out leaving the empty triangular remnant which is then applied to the cigar.  The essences of oak, coffee, bitters, nutmeg, and cream are reminders of what man can create from God’s warehouse.

But we must also keep in mind that this cigar is – as we all are – ephemeral.  And what was once real will disintegrate be it used or not.

Breath deep
The gathering gloom
Watch lights fade
From every room
Bedsitter people
Look back and lament
Another day’s useless
Energy spent

Impassioned lovers
Wrestle as one
Lonely man cries for love
And has none
New mother picks up
And suckles her son
Senior citizens
Wish they were young

Cold hearted orb
That rules the night
Removes the colours
From our sight
Red is gray and
Yellow white
But we decide
Which is right
Which is an Illusion

Confusion is real.

Immortality is the Illusion.

Songwriters: JUSTIN HAYWARD  Nights In White Satin lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, T.R.O. INC.






Juan to Passion to MOMIX.

Pole Dance - Steven Ezra.jpg

MOMIX is a company of dancer-illusionists based in Washington, Connecticut, founded in 1981 by choreographer Moses Pendleton. MOMIX developed out of work Pendleton did for a celebration of Erik Satie at the Paris Opera in 1978.” (Google)  Impressive.

asquenaPassion was blended for Asquena Martinez Calderon by Juan Carlos Céspedes in the Dominican Republic and was made to duplicate the deep emotional bond she has with tobacco.


“After ten-years absent from their amazing spectacle, Opus Cactus is back again bringing the landscape of the American Southwest to life with Pendleton’s signature illusionistic style. With dynamic images of cactuses, slithering lizards and fire dancers, Opus Cactus is a show designed to dazzle and delight every member of the family.”

I found out about Moses Pendleton from my wife, who saw the performance in Arizona. She was introduced to his work by our niece.  I immediately looked him up on the internet and what I witnessed was some of the most imaginative choreography ever produced. The lighting was stunning, the movement to the point of thinking so far out of the box, the enclosure is invisible and only the strange remnants of Pendleton’s inventive imagination remain.  What if I said, “Uh, uh.”



Juan is an incredible blender and has taken his ideas into another dimension of tastes, flavors, essences, and extracts.  Yes, he only uses tobacco, this natural gift, in such a way that he can create and match subtle feelings.  I’m sure that is why Asquena chose Juan to be the arrow to hit her target – Passion.

MOMIX and Passion ignite moments of happiness and joy you will want to tell everyone about.  And now to know that these miracles have joined, the reason for living expands.  There will always be shards of the unknown floating through the ether that will be revealed if only we remain curious.  They become phantasmagorical moments that should never be missed.   Otherwise, you will reach the end of your life without the thunderous fury of delectable discoveries.





While I was brain cleansing in the DR a few months ago,  I was able to stroll around with a sparkling smooth interior cranium.  I had a lot of room to place ideas, move things around once they entered, and was able to open my eyes to new cigars.  While I was there,  I finally met up with Juan Carlos Céspedes.  

We met at the hotel I stay at while I’m in the Dominican and he was wise enough to bring along an interpreter, Yeni – and a lot of cigars.  Lots.  We met.  It was refreshing and relaxing to finally have a face-to-face conversation with Juan via Yeni.

I had a lot of questions and one of the first was whether or not he set up to distribute in the United States?  I got the impression that he has his papers in order but sans distributor.  Not good.  But I didn’t care at this point because I had yet to try all his cigars. From the corner of my eye, I could see he took special care to have his samples neatly arranged for a professional presentation.  Wise man.

He and I talked about where they are made, what factory they are produced in, types of tobacco used, available sizes, and certainly price.  Always price.  He could have a great cigar, but if his costs are too high – he’s not in contention.  Period.

So I picked out one that he had been mentioning via text messages.  It seemed like that would be the proper protocol for starters.  But I had so many questions I barely took the time to notice the cigar.  But I will say this, my attention soon became aware that this sample was not your ordinary attempt at fame but rather an exquisite example of his blending prowess.  (In fact, I just finished a review for that cigar which will soon be published.)

We talked for about 90 minutes.  Then, as I tend to want to continue to move on, we quickly went over the other samples he brought.  Those will be smoked later and my comments will follow.

Yeni and Juan seemed to be so happy as they left (and I really did have another appointment that I needed to get to).  So I looked at the array of cigars Juan left on the table in front of me as their car pulled out of the parking area talking about what I shall never know.


It wasn’t until I was settled back home in the United States that I even considered lighting up another one of his other samples.  But I knew which one it would be. It, what shall I say, is his signature cigar.  The brand’s name is simply – XO.   I had asked Yeni what the XO stood for and to be honest, I never received a clear answer or didn’t pay attention. Though to me it didn’t matter.

A few days went by and when I had some free time I went to the PRESTO Cigar Lounge (Open 24/7) to try an XO.  The first dry draw was laser clear.  The tobacco aroma at the clipped cap intrigued me even more.  Oils.  Perfect construction.  Proportional swirls.  Tobacco rolled in order.  Now all I had to hope for was that once the flames singed the leaves and I drew in the resultant smoke – the cigar would arouse my senses.  And it did.

I’m going to dispense with the descriptions of its nutty caramel lilt that sprang onto my palate, slathering creamy smoke within my mouth, and the absolutely perfect balance of the essence of tobacco and civet cat coffee.  It was an exhilarating smoke.  Its bouquet brought me back to where I was on the white porch across the driveway from the hotel in the Dominican Republic.  I felt the warm humid air fill my soul once again despite the 38-degree temperature here.  My vivid memory was able to draw upon the past experience of just a few months ago.  Remember my cranium was wiped clear in the land I love and was primed for absorbing all that surrounded me without the kinetic confusion of work, cars, sales, numbers and thoughts of cigars.

Shit!  Another hopeful.  It takes a wow factor for me to consider a cigar to represent.  The one I smoked while we were at our meeting seemed to veer in that direction.  But I was in La-La Land then – I’m here now.  USA.  Taxes.  Work.  I just hoped that the remaining samples would be as sensuously satisfying.  And I knew I would only smoke them after my return. And that time was now.


Yep, the XO has it – as certain women do (you gotta read into this ok?).  Elinor Glyn, the socialite, and novelist defined the meaning of It: “To have “It”, the fortunate possessor must have that strange magnetism which attracts both sexes.  “It” is a purely virile quality, belonging to a strong character . . . There must be a physical attraction, but beauty is unnecessary,*” to move ahead and become a radiant luminary.  

(Come closer to the screen, I’m whispering here.)  But you know something –  in the entire, sparkling, segmented and seismic cigar firmament – I  believe I’ve discovered another  “It”.

*(The Telegraph)