Podcast 2 show notes 2-23-15
What’s going on today?
Another near miss on bad weather in Birmingham. The Procigar festival is going on this week in the Dominican Republic at Casa de Campo Resort. The is the annual festival of Dominican Cigar makers open to the public. It is a great week of parties, cigars and fellowship with fellow cigar enthusiasts.
Quite a few updates on the Cuban Embargo today.
What am I smoking today? Alec Bradley Nica Puro
It is Alec Bradley’s first Nicaraguan puro.
The Nica Puro marks the first Alec Bradley cigar crafted with all Nicaraguan tobaccos.
Medium-bodied, well-balanced and rich, the Nica Puro is everything a Nicaraguan cigar should be. It all starts with an extensively fermented Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, bold yet balanced core of Nicaraguan long-fillers secured by a Nicaraguan binder. Flavors include leather, cocoa, nutmeg, toast and roasted nuts
Nica Puro received a 90-point rating, but many people say this should have been much higher. “Rich notes of leather and raisin make this dark and oily cigar a solid performer. The draw imparts copious amounts of lush, flavorful smoke.”
fun fact: the 1685 on the band represents the founding year of the city of Esteli, Nicaragua
What Cuban Cigars am interested in trying?
For the most part I think what’s available today is as good or better than most Cuban cigars. With that said I am interested in trying some of the more rare releases from Cuba. The regional blends and seasonal releases are going to be fun to try once they are legal in the US.
Cuban Embargo Updates
A bill proposing to lift the more than 50-year-old trade embargo against Cuba has been introduced into the United States Senate.
S.491, known as the Freedom to Export to Cuba Act is sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, with five co-sponsors joining on: Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyoming; Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan; Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona; Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois. The bill was introduced yesterday, read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
The bill comes on the heels of S.299, which was introduced on Jan. 29 by Sen. Flake and has already gathered 14 co-sponsors, including all five senators listed above. There is a corresponding version in the House of Representatives as well.
While the full text of the bill has not been posted yet, it would effectively remove all legal barriers that currently prevent Americans from doing business with Cuba. It does not repeal portions of law that address human rights or property claims against the Cuban government, which were part of the Helms-Burton Act passed in 1996, and which state that a complete lifting of the embargo is dependent on Cuba holding free and fair elections, if political prisoners are released and the country guarantees the rights of workers and free speech.
In a statement issued yesterday, Sen. Klobuchar said that “it’s time to the turn the page on our Cuba policy; fifty years of the embargo have not secured our interests in Cuba and have disadvantaged American businesses by restricting commerce with a market of 11 million people just 90 miles from our shores. There are many issues in our relationship with Cuba that must be addressed, but this legislation to lift the embargo will begin to open up new opportunities for American companies, boost job creation and exports, and help improve the quality of life for the Cuban people.”
The bill has already garnered the support of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, with Devry Boughner Vorwerk, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Cargill and Chair of USACC saying that passage of the bill “will enable our agriculture sector to work in partnership with Cuba and the Cuban people, develop a meaningful trading relationship and create jobs across many sectors of our own economy.”
Agriculture has been one of the central motivators of relations with Cuba this year, as H.R. 635 seeks to promote American agricultural and medical exports to Cuba.
Interesting info from the cigar world this week:
Bellatto/Caldwell/Sears Add Holly Braille to February Releases
A week after announcing three releases for the series formerly known as Impromptu, Bellatto/Caldwell/Sears decided to do another impromptu. Robert Caldwell 5×50 999 cigars Tobacco/Tobacco/Habano Ecuador Rich Bold Smooth Sweet
The cigar is actually a reference to a Justin Timberlake song with caldwell changing the last part from “holy grail” to “Holy Braille.” Holy Braille is the fourth of the February releases from the trio joining Buck 15, Silent Shout and Supreme Creme 2015. The series used to be known as Impromptu. These are cigars slated for other projects that were left to age for one reason or another and pulled into this project.
Pope of Greenwich Village Unveiled
The Pope of Greenwich Village, the Drew Estate creation that’s the latest addition to Smoke Inn’s Microblend Series.
Marvin Samel and Jonathan Drew were scheduled to be the guests at The Great Smoke VIP Dinner, the event where a new cigar has been unveiled for the past several years. At the time, neither side said much about the cigar, though Abe Dababneh, proprietor of Smoke Inn, said it would be a 6 x 40 corona vitola.
This week, Drew Estate issued a press release with details of the new cigar. The blend uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper with a Connecticut stalk cut habano binder and Brazilian Mata Fina and Nicaragua fillers. Willy Herrera created the blend, and in via a press release said that the cigar will appeal to fans of Drew Estate’s other maduro blends, including Undercrown, Nica Rustica, MUWAT, and Liga Privada.
Altadis U.S.A. Trinidad Lost Blends
It is a small batch of cigars tucked away in the depths of the company’s cedar room that are now ready to be released to the public. The Trinidad Lost Blends will be heading to stores in late March or early April, with a blend of a Java Island shade grown wrapper, a Dominican Olor binder, and a filler blend of Dominican Olor, Dominican Piloto and Connecticut broadleaf tobaccos.
A press release issued by the company describes the blend as rich and powerful, with notes of sweet spice, roasted nuts, rich tobacco and decadent caramel. The cigars are being released in two vitolas, a 6 1/8 x 54 belicoso and 5 3/4 x 52 Salomon. $15 price range is expected. Each size is packed in a rustic-looking 50-count wood box similar to the one pictured.
4 cigars to try
1) Medium – Full Body Cigar – Davidoff Winston Churchill
In 2007, Davidoff launched the brand named after noted cigar smoker, Sir Winston Churchill.
It was to be the first non-White Label cigar rolled at the Cigars Davidoff factory in the Dominican Republic, Churchill’s grandson was brought onto help promote it and the premium brand took a variety of inspirations from the late British prime minister’s life.
The brand is now Davidoff Winston Churchill, formally party of the Davidoff White Label family, although with an all new band featuring a prominent silhouette of Churchill over the Davidoff logo.
In addition to new packaging, the blend is completely different now using an Ecuadorian Rojiza wrapper, a Mexican San Andrés negro binder and five filler leaves: Dominican piloto mejorado seco, piloto seco and a hybrid olor/piloto seco, and two leaves from Nicaragua: seco from both Condega and Estelí.
four sizes: Churchill (6 7/8 x 47), Petit Corona (4 1/2 x 41), Robusto (5 1/4 x 52) and Toro (6 x 54).
Davidoff is marketing the many faces of Churchill: the aristocrat, the artist, the commander, the raconteur, the statesman and the traveler.
It’s medium-full, stronger and more intense than the Davidoff Nicaragua
Pricing is lower than the original Winston Churchill blend, which is being discontinued. The three larger sizes will also be offered in four-packs, while the Petit Corona can be purchased in five-packs.
2) Mild Creamy Cigar – Perdomo Reserve 10th anniv. Champagne
It delivers the rich layers of complex flavors but offers a mellow, mild-bodied profile.
triple-fermented Connecticut shade wrapper.
Experts say: nuances including rich tobacco flavors, hints of coffee, creamy undertones, and a subtle sweetness, almost like honey.
3) Something off the beaten path – Alec Bradley filthy Hooligan (St. Patty’s Day)
Same exact long-filler core of the 90-rated Alec Bradley Black Market, the Filthy Hooligan comes in a vibrant green, seamless Candela wrapper.
Limited-edition St. Patty’s day release, only 2,000 boxes.
4) Something for the Ladies – Tatiana Groovy Blue
Tatiana has recently become one of our top-selling flavored cigars. It is hand-rolled in the Dominican Republic, made with Dominican fillers grown from Cuban-seed, Indonesian wrapper. The packaging and enticing flavors make this flavored smoke a great change of pace. The taste is smooth, mild and mellow, with a nice aroma.
other Tatiana flavors available:
Cherry – Smooth and mild with aroma of sweet ripe cherries.
Chocolate – Milk chocolate flavor with mild tobacco. Great with a cup of coffee!
Cinnamon – Infused with cinnamon and sweetness, a holiday favorite.
Fusion Frenzy – A fusion of sweet, natural aromatic fruit flavors. Very enjoyable!!
Groovy Blue – Berries soaked in vanilla, with acacia honey and cognac.
Honey – Combination of sweet natural honey and fine tobacco. Pleasantly aromatic.
Night Cap – Vanilla over Marcona almonds, Cafe Arabica and cocoa.
Rum – Sweet rum flavor with hints of molasses and spice, a delicious mild cigar.
Sweet Euphoria – Infusion of aromatic dried fruit with a pinch of pixie dust!
Vanilla – Blend of sweet natural vanilla and premium tobacco, the best selling flavor!!
Waking Dream – Vanilla cream, Piedmont hazelnuts and single malt whiskey.