Archive for the ‘Toros’ Category

Sucker Punch

01 Apr

Maker: General Cigar
Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero
Binder: Cameroon
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Flavors: Wood, White Pepper, Butter
Draw/Volume/Strength: -1 / +1 / 3+
Rating: 9.0
Where to Buy: Famous Smoke Shop

“There’s a sucker born every minute.”

On April first, it’s a good idea to take a look at this classic expression. The great showman and circus promoter PT Barnum is often credited with the above statement, but this is probably a misconception. It was most likely said by a contemporary of Barnum’s named David Hannum, in critique of Barnum and his customers. The reality is, Barnum was far more egalitarian, and appreciated his patrons, from whom he derived his fortunes.

“Be kind to your customers,” he said. “Politeness and civility are the best capital ever invested in business.”

Photo of Sucker Punch King Hit cigar

Sucker Punch King Hit (6x54)

He was also known to have promulgated a number of great hoaxes in his time, but we can’t let history’s lens distort contemporary views of that sort of thing. These were the ways of a circus and side-show promoter in the mid-1800s. By most accounts, Barnum was an honest, honorable, and upstanding man. He was an advocate for the abolishment of slavery, he supported African-American suffrage, and even founded a hospital. He was also an early supporter of temperance… but we won’t hold that against him.

Regardless of Barnum’s views, there are a lot of gullible people out there. In the modern context, they take the form of conspiracy theorists, alarmists of various kinds, and people who follow click-bait links on the internet. Most of them are good, honest people, who just take the world at face-value. A better phrase to use these days is, “There’s a scammer born every minute.”

The all-new Punch Sucker Punch from General Cigar is no hoax. It’s the real deal. The classic Punch cigars are known for bold, in-your-face favors, and no small measure or power, but Sucker Punch comes in with a little more finesse, more of a jab than a knock-out blow. The cigars are exclusive to Famous Smoke Shop.

The blend features a bold Nicaraguan filler core, with a surprising Cameroon binder, finished in a gorgeous, tawny-hued Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper. I chose the King Hit, a beefy Toro shape (6×54). The construction is impeccable; the roll is rock-solid, and the wrapper is absolutely seamless.

First tastes are buttery and smooth, with a dose of white pepper over a base of toasted, woody flavors. The draw is a hair tight of even (-1), producing an ample smoke volume (+1) of moderate strength (3+). By mid-way, the pepper quiets down a notch, and the flavors settle nicely into a core of walnuts and wood. The burn is straight for the duration, and the flaky white ash holds to about an inch. Flavors remain consistent throughout, darkening slightly in the final moments, before a semi-sweet, mellow finish. It smokes to a 1-inch nub in about 90 minutes.

This is a very interesting cigar. As a Punch, you expect a ton of fresh tobacco tastes, with a big, earthy Honduran terrior. Sucker Punch comes in from the left, with a Nicaraguan ligero core providing rich flavor and approachable strength, balanced against an unexpected Cameroon binder, providing a remarkably smooth texture, and just a hint of subtle sweetness. I rate it 9.0. It’s remarkably flavorful cigar, and while it’s fairly one-dimensional, it’s a great dimension, and a pleasure to smoke. Sucker Punch is sure to excite the newer cigar lovers in your herf, but it will also keep the veterans guessing.

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

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Posted in Natural, Toros


Thurman Thomas Hall of Fame

23 Feb

Maker: General Cigar
Filler: Dominican
Binder: Dominican
Wrapper: Dominican Natural and Maduro
Flavors: Natural: Vanilla, wood, nuts, leather, herbs. Maduro: Dark Chocolate, tangy-sweet, wood, earth, black pepper, herbs.
  Natural: +1 / +2 / 3, Maduro: 0 / +2 / 3
Rating: Natural: 9.2, Maduro: 9.2

They say the most important element in comedy is timing. I endeavor to apply a certain topical relevance to my reviews, and bring them to you when the timing is most appropriate. Unfortunately this isn’t always possible.

I’ll admit, I did receive these cigars in adequate time to bring them to you in a topical and timely manner, but as regular readers will note, I’ve been on a little forced hiatus lately. Faced with the decision to wait until a more suitable time or to bring them to you now, I opted for the latter: these cigars just won’t wait.

Photo of Thurman Thomas Hall of Fame Natural and Maduro cigars.

Thurman Thomas Hall of Fame Natural and Maduro Cigars (6x52)

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Frank Llaneza 1961

07 Feb

Blender: Frank Llaneza
Maker: Altadis
Filler: Nicaraguan/Dominican
Binder: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Criollo
Flavors: Earthy, espresso, caramel, tangy sweet
Draw/Volume/Strength: 0 / +1 / 4
Rating: 9.1

Look down at the cigar in your hand. Is it Cuban? If not, chances are you wouldn’t be smoking it if it weren’t for Frank Llaneza.

The current issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine lists their top 25 cigars of 2011. Eight of the top 10 contain Nicaraguan leaf (the other two are Cuban puros). There are three Nicaraguan puros, and three other cigars which are Nicaraguan in filler and binder, with a wrapper of another origin. So to say that Nicaraguan tobaccos made a strong showing would be to put it lightly. No other tobacco growing location even came close. Not Honduras, not the Dominican Republic, not even Cuba.

Photo of Frank Llaneza 1961 cigar

Frank Llaneza 1961 Double Magnum (6½x54)

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Posted in Dark Natural, Toros


CAO Brazilia Chango

21 Jan

Blender: Fidel Olivas
Maker: CAO Fabrica de Tabacos
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca
Flavors: Fresh herbs, white pepper spice, tropical earth → floral, semi-sweet, wood, coffee beans
Draw/Volume/Strength: -1 / 0 / 4
Rating: 9.0

The CAO Brazilia Chango is available here.

There was a time when cigar makers wouldn’t advertise the fact that their cigars contained Brazilian tobaccos. In fact, when Tim Ozenger of CAO first brought the idea to dealers prior to launching the Brazilia line in 2001, they told him to avoid saying it was Brazilian. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the tobacco. In fact, Brazilian leaf has been a mainstay in non-Cuban cigars since the early days after the embargo. The issue was one of branding: Would cigar smokers embrace Brazil.

Thankfully, Ozgener didn’t listen to the nay-sayers, and Brazilia became one of CAO’s best performers.

Photo of CAO Brazilia Chango cigar

CAO Brazilia Chango (6½x50)

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Posted in Maduro, Toros


Diamond Crown Julius Caeser

30 Oct

Blender: Carlos Fuente Sr., Carlos Fuente Jr., Stanford Newman
Maker: Tabacalera A. Fuente
Filler: “Central American”
Binder: Not Available
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Cuban-Seed
Flavors: Citrus, cedar, wood, chocolate → floral/ herbal, nuts
Draw/Volume/Strength: 0 / 0 / 3
Rating: 9.3

Julius Caeser Newman emigrated to the Unites States in 1888. Known as JC (the “Caeser” added on Ellis Island by an immigration officer who decided young Julius needed a middle name, and who also presumably misspelled it), his particular version of the American Dream involved a long apprenticeship in cigar rolling, finally selling his first 10 wheels to grocers around his family’s Cleveland, Ohio home. He was 20 years old.

Today, J.C. Newman Cigars is the oldest family-owned premium cigar maker in the US. To honor their founder and Great-grandfather, the company released the Diamond Crown Julius Caeser in 2010. These cigars were originally only available at select Diamond Crown Lounges around the country. It has since become available at a few on-line retailers. After an exhaustive search, I located a retailer who carried the Julius Caeser, but circumstances being what they were, it sat in the Sasquatch-a-dor for about 9 months– not intentionally, I just didn’t get around to it. You see, aging this cigar for 9 months would be a pointless gesture. But more on that in a bit.

Photo of Diamond Crown Julius Caeser cigar

Diamond Crown Julius Caeser Toro (6x52)

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Posted in Dark Natural, Toros


CRA Exclusive from Casa Fernandez

13 Jul

There is a war going on to take away your rights! The enemy is well-funded, highly influential, and fights dirty. And they’ve been successful, too.

Do you realize that there are cities in California in which you cannot legally sit in your own back yard and smoke a cigar? Are you aware that the FDA is currently working to take over the regulation of cigars and tobacco across the country? Do you realize that the enemy’s ultimate goal is nothing short of an outright ban of tobacco across the country?

Thankfully there’s an army fighting for you. In our American history, there have been many instances during which citizens literally took up arms against the government to contest the usurpation of rights or the raising of taxes. Maybe you’ve heard of a few. Fortunately, these armed rebellions are a thing of the past, but the fight remains, and the enemy will be satisfied with nothing less than absolute victory.

Photo of CRA-exclusive cigars from Punch and Casa fernandez

CRA-exclusive cigars from Punch and Casa Fernandez

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Warlock Toro

08 Jun

Time to get with the program.

After a brief hiatus, the Cigar Sasquatch is back, and boasting a whole slew of new cigars to share with you. You know, it’s a funny thing about tobacco. The more we have, the more we seem to want. I chalk it up to nicotine. It’s not pretty, but there it is. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that cigars are trending stronger and richer. What used to pass for “strong” or “full-bodied” ten years ago now are generally considered medium at best. They almost seem quaint by comparison to today’s powerhouses. There are obviously exceptions to this, but for the most part, strong is the new medium.

Altadis, the mega-conglomerate with dozens of brands to its name and perhaps hundreds of individual frontmarks, has gotten with the program in a big new way. And I’m happy to say they’ve gotten on board the Nicaraguan train as well.

Warlock Cigars are a brand-new line in the Altadis stable, blended by the capable hands of Omar Ortez. These Nicaraguan-made beauties feature a mix of Nicaraguan and Dominican longfillers, a Nicaraguan binder, and a slick, shiny Ecuadorian Cubano wrapper. All of the vitolas of this line are 54-ring with the exception of the Corona at 44. I selected the Toro (6×54); the roll is solid, and the wrapper is dripping with oils, with some pronounced veins. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Dark Natural, Toros


Tasty Tuesday: Dark and Mysterious

08 Feb

This edition of Tasty Tuesday features three dark and slightly mysterious cigars from various sources. Two are chocolaty Maduros, the third, a rich Habano, which was interestingly darker than the two Maduros. Two of them feature some component of hearty Mexican tobaccos, and they all have at least a portion of Nicaraguan longfillers. I do enjoy Nicaraguan longfillers. Read the rest of this entry »


Oliva Connecticut Reserve Toro

25 Jan

I apologize in advance for what you’re about to read.

I’ve got this friend who likes to compare just about everything to a turd sandwich. Yes, you read that right. It usually goes down like this:

Me: “The mashed potatoes at that restaurant are delicious!”
Him: “Yeah, well you could put that much gravy on a turd sandwich, and it would probably be edible.”

Another variation goes like this:

Me: “The cigars are okay, but for a buck-fifty each, it’s hard to complain.”
Him: “Yeah, well I can get a turd sandwich for a buck-fifty, but that doesn’t mean I want to eat it.”

Ignoring the obvious question of, “Who sells turd sandwiches for a buck-fifty,” I have to admit, most of the time he’s got a point. So borrowing from his little nugget of colloquial gold, allow me to state the following:

“You could wrap a turd sandwich in a Connecticut Shade wrapper, and it would probably be smokable.”
Fortunately, that’s not what we have here.

Photo of Oliva Connecticut Reserve Toro

Oliva Connecticut Reserve Toro (6x50)

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Macanudo Cru Royale Toro

15 Jan

The reviews I prepare for you, the gentle reader, are not done blind. Certain reviewing authorities do provide blind ratings in an attempt at parity, although I would argue, many of those authorities can most certainly spot the classic or highly-noted cigars, bands on or off. My cigar buddies often wonder aloud whether I can name a cigar based solely on taste, or identify the growing region or nation of origin without the benefit of advance knowledge, but I assure them, I could name any cigar in the Sasquatch-a-Dor without its band in three tries or less, without having to smoke it, just based on appearance. So any such challenge would have to be conducted truly blindly, as in blindfolded. As I’m not inclined to permit them to commence pulling cigars at random and lighting them up for me to sample under a blindfold, they’ll have to go on speculating about my tasting prowess.

But one thing I can say for certain is, I would never have guessed this cigar.

Photo of Macanudo Cru Royale Toro Cigar

Macanudo Cru Royale Toro (6x54)

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Avo #2

11 Jan

“I don’t know anything about art, but I know what I like.”

Most of us have heard that famous quotation, and I must admit, many cigar lovers echo that sentiment whole-heartedly. They’ve got a few cigar brands they know and love, and they stick to them religiously. There are a number of reasons for this. A new cigar smoker may be afraid to try something new for fear of running afoul of a cigar that’s too dark, too big, or too strong for his fledgling set of skills. I remember what it was like as a young Sasquatch, standing in the walk-in humidor at the mall, physically intimidated by the big scary monsters on the shelves. But as we grow out of those fears, many of us still tend to stick to our core cigars, now because of frugality—we know what we like, and we don’t want to waste time or money on some unknown stick that turns out to be a piece of garbage. And finally, there’s something to be said for simple brand loyalty. Ask a Coke lover, “Is Pepsi okay?” and you’ll quickly get a sense of what I mean.

Photo of Avo #2 Cigar

Avo #2 (6x50)

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Posted in Full Reviews, Natural, Toros


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 »


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.


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.”


CAO La Traviata Radiante (6×52)

30 Nov

La Traviata cigars by CAO were blended to recreate the taste and aroma of Cuba. The blend is offered in 5 vitolas, all featuring Nicaraguan and Dominican longfillers over an aromatic Cameroon binder. The wrapper is a lightly veined, oily Ecuadorian Habano leaf, with a handsome sheen and a beautiful EMS color. I selected the Radiante, a gorgeous Toro (6×52). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Dark Natural, Tasty Tuesday, Toros


Tasty Tuesday: Famous Exclusive Sampler

17 Aug

For this edition of the Tasty Tuesday Sampler, I present reviews of three cigars exclusive to Famous Smoke Shop. Most retailers have house-brands, and Famous is no exception, but Famous also has an impressive selection of cigars from major manufacturers made exclusively for and available only at Famous. I selected one house brand and two manufacturer brands, which include natural, dark natural, and maduro cigars, in Churchill, Toro, and Torpedo vitolas. They are the Final Blend Churchill (7×50), the Alec Bradley Overture Toro (6×50) and the Rocky Patel Cuban Blend Natural Torpedo (6×52). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Churchills, Dark Natural, Figurados, Maduro, Natural, Tasty Tuesday, Toros, Torpedos


Tasty Tuesday: Brick House Toro

29 Jun

Brick House Cigars are a new blend from J.C. Newman Cigar Company, and are rapidly becoming one of my favorite modestly-priced premiums. This resurrected brand was made to honor the heritage of the original Brick House brand, a Cuban puro made for Julius Caesar Newman and the cigar company he founded in 1895. It’s a Nicaraguan puro, and features a hearty blend of all Cuban-seed tobaccos wrapped in a toothy Havana “Subido” wrapper.

The construction of the Toro (6×52) is rock-solid. The roll is Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Natural, Tasty Tuesday, Toros


Cigar Sasquatch- Tatuaje Cojonu 2003

26 Jun

Cigar lovers, by their very nature, also often delight in the other gustatory pleasures, including fine foods, beers, wines, and liquors. The Cigar Sasquatch is no exception, and I’ve been privileged recently to experience a number of pinnacle moments in my life as a foodie and connoisseur of fine spirits. In the span of less than a month, I enjoyed the finest steak I’ve ever eaten, the best Bloody Mary I ever drank, and the finest and most expertly prepared piece of bacon (yes, bacon) I’ve ever had (not coincidentally, in the same meal, I also ate the best flapjacks I’ve ever had, too).

I also recently ate the spiciest food I’ve ever eaten. Read the rest of this entry »


Thirsty Thursday: The Cigar Lover’s Guide to Fine Spirits

24 Jun

Nothing goes better with a great cigar than a great beverage, and I’m often asked what the best beverage is to drink with a cigar. The traditional alcoholic beverages to pair with cigars are brandies, whiskeys and rums, or if you prefer a non-alcoholic beverage, a delicious cup of coffee. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Cigars pair well with beverages with rich, vaporous, aromatic qualities, or that offer flavors that balance or enhance those of your cigar. But certain cigars are better suited to certain beverages, and vice versa. So how do you decide what to drink and when? Allow me to offer a few suggestions.

Winston Churchill is credited with having been the first notable cigar smoker to regularly dip his cigars in brandy or port. While I don’t necessarily recommend this practice (to each his own) Read the rest of this entry »


Cigar Sasquatch- Olor Fuerte Magnum

12 Jun

It’s a gloomy June day as I write, and it occurs to me that June Gloom is winter’s last throes, its final goodbye before a long hot summer. In deference to winter, I reach for the Olor Fuerte Magnum, a big, beefy, dark cigar befitting a blustery winter day.

We have a love/hate relationship with summer around here. Of course it’s hot, though not a shot as some places. And it’s windy too, but not as windy as elsewhere. And it’s either humid, or it’s dry, though there are plenty of drier and more humid places around, as well. No, we don’t have the worst of anything, but we take everyone else’s worst and make it our own.

But it’s not all bad, either. Summer is a time of many Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Dark Natural, Full Reviews, Toros


Cigar Sasquatch- CAO Gold Corona Gorda

22 May

The topic of today’s discussion is change. It was the early Greek philosopher Heraclitus who first comment thoughtfully on the concept of “flux” by saying, “Everything flows; nothing remains.” In this case, “remains” can be interpreted as “remains the same,” so we are left with the notion that the only thing constant is change.

How true this is. The most timeless, the most enduring of man’s creations, the Great Pyramids, have changed from the time they were built. The mountains, the deserts, the forests of the world are not the same, even from season to season. Even the very foundations of the earth are ever-changing. Climbers are standing on the summit of Mt. Everest even as I write this, and beneath the snow and ice, it grows taller year after year.

And today we welcomed into the world a new life, a first child born to dear friends. The changes that the new mother and father will experience in the coming months and years are only a shadow of the changes that this newborn child will experience in the world over her lifetime. With any luck, she’ll live to see personal jet-packs, flying cars, and the colonization of Mars, but more likely than the realization of our own fantasy future, she will see changes we couldn’t possibly imagine. Considering this child has a high-likelihood of seeing the 22nd century, I’d say unimaginable change is a guarantee.

So what does this have to do with cigars? Everything. And nothing. Every cigar you’ve ever smoked has been a microcosm Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Full Reviews, Natural, Toros