Archive for March, 2012

Vote “NO” on California Proposition 29!

20 Mar

California tobacco taxes are some of the worst in the nation. It seems every cigar lover I ever speak to already knows that. And now, a ballot proposition comes before the voters on June 5th which would raise state taxes on cigars and pipe tobacco by 73% (you read that right… 73%)!

Enough is enough! This proposition will drive jobs from California, strapping hundreds of small businesses already struggling with one of the nation’s weightiest tax burdens, while doing absolutely nothing to to resolve the state’s $200 billion (that BILLION, with a “B”) budget problem.

This is a voter proposition, so it’s no good calling, writing, and emailing your state representatives. To do your part to prevent this taxation nightmare, first register to vote (the deadline is May 21st, but don’t wait), and Vote “NO” on Proposition 29 on June 5th. Finally, share this information with everyone you know, and encourage them to do the same.

For more information, visit, and spread the word: NO on 29!

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Posted in Legislative Issues


Illusione 888 Claro

17 Mar

Blender: Don Gioliti/ Arsenio Ramos
Maker: Fabrica de Tabacos Raices Cubanas
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Candela
Flavors:  Wood, vanila, cocoa, sweet
Draw/Volume/Strength: -1 / -1 / 2
Rating: 9.2

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and we’re surrounded by clichés: green plastic top hats, novelty green beer mug-shaped glasses, vulgar green T-shirts, shamrock shakes, and the greatest atrocity of them all… green beer. St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious observance commemorating the man who brought Christianity to Ireland, and it has deteriorated into an over-commercialized farce, an excuse to drink excessively, and a chance to make a mockery of Irish culture.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with excessive drinking. In fact I do it all the time. But I do take exception to the bastardization of iconic Irish symbols for the sake of commercialization. And I also take exception to the kinds of stupidity commonly seen around this holiday, and people taking leave of their good senses. Seriously, green beer?

Photo of Illusione 888 Claro

Illusione 888 Claro (6¾x48)

But I’m not one to swim upstream. Even in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day has become a sort of national celebration of the culture of the Emerald Isle. So drink up, and and put on a stupid hat, but instead of ordering a green beer, call for a Guinness or a dram of Jameson, and reach for green cigar. And in this case, the green is no novelty.

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Posted in Candelas


La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial

03 Mar

Blender: Don José “Pepin” Garcia
Maker: My Father Cigars/ Ashton Distributors
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Flavors: Citrus, mature tobacco, spice → white pepper, minerals
Draw/Volume/Strength: +3 / +3 / 4
Rating: 8.9

It’s been said that Don Pepin is the best cigar roller in the world. I’ve appreciated his work previously in La Riqueza, the Tatuaje Cojonu 2003, and the 601 Habano (and by extension, the My Father line, which was technically blended by his son Jaime, though rolled at the same factory). The La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial is a line extension of the brand owned by Ashton.

The core of La Aroma de Cuba is a rich, spicy, complex flavor, and the Edicion Especial, or “EE” as it’s commonly known, is no exception. Replacing the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper of the original is a thick, oily Ecuadorian Habano leaf. The balance of the blend is Nicaraguan like the original, though whether any other differences exist, is unclear.

Photo of La Aroma de Cuba EE Edicion especial

La Aroma de Cuba EE #55 (5¾x55)

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Posted in Dark Natural, Robustos