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Archive for December, 2010

H. Upmann 2000 Millennium

21 Dec

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As I sit outside on this cold and wet December day, I’m reminded how good we really have it in Southern California. I know I won’t get much sympathy from our Northern and Mid-Western readers when I complain that I’m suffering through blustery 50-degree weather outside to bring you this review. Yeah, I know. We’ve got it pretty good.

But whatever your weather, one sure way to warm yourself this season is with a great cigar. And that’s just what I’ve got here, in the H. Upmann 2000 Millennium (6¾x46).

Photo of H. Upmann 2000 Millennium Cigar

H. Upmann 2000 Millennium (6¾x46)

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Partagas Limited Reserve Decadas #4

18 Dec

I rarely get to use the word “magnificent” in a review. Delightful? Sure. Remarkable? Absolutely. But magnificent? Not so often.

The origins of this one of the two Partagas Limited Reserve Decadas #4s in the Sasquatch-a-dor are mysterious to say the least. Of the few things I can be sure, I know that the rare Cameroon wrapper was laid down in 1996, and aged at least 10 years before rolling (hence the “Decadas” demarcation). Given that, it’s probably also safe to say that it has been in storage in its shiny glass tubo for 4+ years, resisting temptation, and perfectly protected from the drooling of its various owners that whole time.

Until today.

Photo of the Partagas Limited Reserve Decadas #4

Partagas Limited Reserve Decadas #4 (7¼x48)

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Posted in Churchills, Dark Natural, Full Reviews

 

Cigar Sasquatch Cryptids: Flor de Oliva Torpedo

14 Dec

Today I introduce a new category of cigar review on “The ‘Squatch,” and that is the “Cryptid.” From the greek kryptos meaning “hidden,” these are cigars that exist outside the realm of the well-known and universally accepted catalog of “good” cigars, but which are, nonetheless, premium longfiller cigars of excellent quality in construction and taste.

These non-canonical cigars may have plain-looking bands (or no bands at all), they may be sold in bundle packs instead of boxes, you may have even heard of them, perhaps seen them on the bottom shelf or spotted them in an on-line brand list. Like any mysterious creature, they can be a little unnerving, even downright scary, most of us eschewing them in favor of better-known brands. But the Cigar Sasquatch embraces these mysterious creatures, and will assist you in confirming or “proving” their status as REAL Cryptids (the ones worth smoking), and separating them from the “Hoaxes,” the ordinary junk which truly belongs on the bottom shelf. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cigar Sasquatch Special Edition: Graycliff “Fresh Rolled”

12 Dec

Cigars are as unique as the people who enjoy them, and every once in a while, you run into one (a cigar or a person) that defies categorization. On a recent trip to the Bahamas, a member of the Cigar Sasquatch team was privileged to visit the Graycliff cigar factory in Nassau, and sample their fine goods. Among the many treasures he returned with was a small handful of freshly rolled cigars, hand-made while he watched. These are the Graycliff Fresh Rolled.

Cigar production in the 21st century is like manufacturing in almost any other industry, at least in certain aspects. Separation of job functions is central to efficiency, and a visit to a cigar factory may expose you to strippers, bunchers, rollers, and the famous torceadors, along with dozens of other functionalities. And of course there are inspections at almost every step in the process.

In the case of the Graycliff Fresh Rolled, these many functions are consolidated into one person, in this instance, a gentleman named Maurice.

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Posted in Dark Natural, Figurados, Full Reviews, Natural, Special Edition, Torpedos

 

Cigar Sasquatch Special Edition: Cigar Etiquette for the Holidays

09 Dec

As I relax with a cigar before heading out to one of the many holiday parties that I, like most of us, will be attending this season, I can’t help but look forward to the herf which will no doubt take place sometime before the end of the affair. The holidays are a time for celebrations, and for so many, that means enjoying a great cigar and a perfectly-paired beverage to compliment the warm company of friends, family, and colleagues. For some, the cigars enjoyed around the holidays are the only cigars they’ll smoke all year, and to those people I offer my condolences. But whether you’re a regular herfer, or a once-a-year man, there are a few customs and traditions of etiquette that should be observed while enjoying cigars this season.

Cigar etiquette in general has been a matter of discussion among practitioners for years, even centuries. Zino Davidoff, perhaps the second most influential cigar man of the 20th century, wrote famously on the subject, giving us a healthy list of “Dos” and “Don’ts” for cigar smoking. Some of them have become canon for cigar lovers world-wide, such as his suggestion that a puff a minute is a fine pace. Additionally, he advocates allowing the cigar do “die a dignified death” by letting it to go out on its own, rather than mashing it into the ashtray. Others of Davidoff’s guidelines seem to speak to his position as a cigar manufacturer, such as only smoking a cigar about half-way. He does, however, advise against “chain-smoking” cigars, suggesting a 15-minute hiatus is sufficient.

Other admonitions of general cigar etiquette fall into one of two related categories, first, those that emphasize not putting cigar smokers into a negative light among those who don’t appreciate the art, and second, those that remember that cigar smoking is a gentlemanly pursuit, and that we practitioners should conduct ourselves in a manner befitting our gentlemanly natures. These include certain courtesies about where and when to smoke, whether to ask questions about what others are smoking, and the importance of not offending others with the smell of smoke on the clothes or breath.

There is ample fodder for discussion of cigar etiquette readily available on the web, but for our purposes, allow me to enumerate a few guidelines to assist you, the gentle reader, in enjoying your holiday cigars. First, never ask to try someone else’s cigar. You wouldn’t ask to kiss his wife, and you shouldn’t ask to try his cigar. If someone asks you, politely decline, but if you’re so inclined (and equipped), feel free to offer him a fresh one from your stash. The exchange of (unlit) cigars is highly encouraged, but a polite effort should be made to ensure that the cigars given in exchange are of similar quality. If you’re offered a very fine cigar, and only have an average one to offer in exchange, do not decline his generosity outright; offer yours proudly, but with the simple caveat, “I don’t want to take your last great cigar.” If he’s a gentleman, his offer will no doubt stand, but remember that reciprocity of giving is always gentlemanly, so do not hesitate to return his generosity with a fine cigar in the future. On a related note, keep extra cigars on your person for just such occasions.

I live by the long-standing Sasquatchism, “Never apologize for your smoke cloud floating over me in the herf. It is I who should be thanking you.” Likewise, I won’t apologize to you, nor will I seek your thanks, but I will endeavor, inasmuch as it is reasonable, to not negatively affect your enjoyment of a cigar with my smoke cloud, and would appreciate the same in return. Feel free to inquire what cigars your fellow herfers are smoking, and to ask how they are enjoying them, but refrain from offering judgments about the cigar in any way, other than to remark that you may have enjoyed one in the past. If the opposite is true, under no circumstances should you mention it, or criticize him or his cigar.

With regard to the mechanics of cigar smoking, make every effort to ensure your ash drops into an ashtray. This is doubly important when smoking indoors. If your ash misses the ashtray, don’t make a big production about it, but do your best to tidy up as quickly and unobtrusively as possible. And finally, keep your ideas about the proper way to cut, light, smoke, or otherwise enjoy a cigar to yourself. Make your cutter, matches, and torch available to those who may wish to use them, but only give advice on the “hows” and “whys” where it is openly sought.

I for one do not presume to contend that any rule of etiquette is universally applicable, customs and traditions being as diverse as the many cultures of the world. What counts for courtesy and propriety varies widely, but what is universal is that politeness and etiquette do exist, no matter where you are, and their conventions should be followed, as well as possible. And when in unfamiliar environs, I find it best to remember this simple precept: Actions based on respect for your fellow man—cigar lover or otherwise—will always find a home in polite society.

Until next time, this is the Cigar Sasquatch saying, “Love what you smoke, and smoke what you love.”

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Posted in Special Edition

 

Rocky Patel The Edge Lite Toro (6×52)

07 Dec

“Why would anyone bother smoking a mild cigar? It’s flavor we want, and with it comes strength! So if you want a cigar with loads of flavor, you’re going to have to smoke something strong.”

The above statement is not merely hyperbole. It symbolizes a prevalent ideal in cigar making, one that is embraced by cigar smokers the world over, and that is this: Flavor = Strength. Or to be more accurate, that strength is a requisite of flavor. Like love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other. And while that statement is total hogwash, it shows us that the true Holy Grail of cigars is a mild cigar with lots of flavor.

Enter The Edge Lite. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cigar Sasquatch Special Edition: Holiday Gift Guide

04 Dec

Holiday Gift Guide

If you’re anything like me, you get asked one question countless times every holiday season: “What do you want for Christmas?” I also hear a lot of, “I don’t know what to get you, you always get anything you want for yourself.” And while that may be true, I’m forced to ask myself, is it that hard? Sure, I understand. Men are difficult. We’re complex in our simplicity. We’re independent, but love to be a part of the team, we’re rugged, but relish in our creature comforts, we’re predictable in entirely unpredictable ways. But with a little guidance, holiday gift giving—and receiving—can be the joyful and stress-free experience it should be.

No one who has a cigar lover on his or her Christmas list should ever have to ask “What do you want for Christmas?” I can run down the list of guys in my herf and name their top three cigars at three different price tiers, and I can also probably tell you which retailer has the best prices for each of them. But unfortunately our wives and girlfriends, mothers and sisters probably don’t know anything about cigars, and wouldn’t have a clue where to buy them or how much to pay. So this guide is not so much for the cigar lovers out there reading this, but rather, for the ones who have to shop for us. Translation: Men, forward it to your ladies.

The best thing about cigars as gifts is, you can never have too much of a good thing. I never once opened a gift of Montecristos and thought, “This is great, but I’ve already got a box of these.” It’s the ultimate answer to the question, “What do you give to the man who has everything?” Answer: More of what he loves.

Stocking Stuffers

Single cigars are a great treat for the holidays. But if you’re going to buy a single, make sure it’s something special. Most of us have a brand or blend we’ve never bought for ourselves because of the ridiculous price tag. Padron Family Reserve #45 comes to mind. But if you’re not comfortable spending $30-$40 on a single cigar (if you can find it in a single), I suggest going with something big, like the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Masterpiece.  At 9 inches long, it’s certainly an “impact gift,” but with singles readily available at B+M retailers for $18-$22, (and less on-line), it’s a great gift at an approachable price.

Accessories make great stocking stuffers too. The Xikar X8 Carbon Fiber Cigar Cutter is as stylish as it is functional, and with a lifetime guarantee, it’s a step up from the throw-away cutters on the cigar store counter. And most of us have a cigar torch (or two), but this holiday season, set the torch down and grab a handful of Davidoff Giant Cigar Matches. At under $4.00 for a box of 40, they’re probably the cheapest thing you’ll ever find with the name “Davidoff” on them, and are far more reliable than most cigar torches.

5-Packs

Everyone loves a 5-pack. They’re affordable, available, and we can usually get exactly the brands and blends we want. But for this holiday season, think variety, not just in blend, but in size and shape. If your cigar buddy always gets himself the same robustos time and time again, upgrade him to the torpedoes. The Romeo Y Julieta Belicoso is only a few dollars more for a 5-pack than the venerable Bully in the same blend, and makes a thoughtful and impressive gift. Or for an elegant option, the Oliva Serie V Lancero is a highly-rated cigar in the Cuban tradition, delivering loads of flavor in a slim package that most cigar lovers wouldn’t normally buy for themselves.

Boxes of Cigars

Box-quantities of cigars are the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. In one package, you can give hours of satisfying pleasure and enjoyment, and show yourself as a truly thoughtful gift giver. But a word or caution: Make sure it’s something he’s going to love. Now’s not the time to try him on a new blend or to throw something against the wall to see if it sticks. Every cigar lover has a favorite blend, and if you don’t know what it is, just ask! If he’s anything like my cigar buddies, he’ll be happy to tell you all about it. Chances are he even knows where to buy it at the best price.

If you find that the cigars you’re planning to give as a gift are a little out of your price range, shop around. Many retailers offer first-quality premiums in bundle packs that save money in packaging and shipping. I for one don’t care if my Excalibur #1 Maduros come in a box or a bundle pack, as long as I get them. Or for the Cohiba lovers in your herf, consider downsizing to a box of Cohiba Pequeños, small cigars that offer 20 or 30 minutes of great Cohiba flavor, at an affordable price.

And the best thing about giving boxes of cigars, if you’re lucky, your grateful recipient may just thank you with the first cigar from the box!

Holiday gift giving shouldn’t be stressful or difficult. With a little planning, and some advice from our resident Cryptozoological Cigar Lover, you’ll have more time to spend doing what you love, and celebrating the season with friends and family. And that’s about the best holiday gift I can think of.

Until next time, this is the Cigar Sasquatch saying, “Love what you smoke, and smoke what you love.”

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