Sunday, December 15, 2013

I Am Clearly A Slacker

So its been just over two months since my last blog post and its taken me two weeks to finish this post!  Its been a bit crazy around the Scottsdale/Phoenix Metro Area. Of course been able to try most of the stuff that was ordered from the IPCPR show back in July. I am not going to bore you with everything that I smoked since my last post of September 29th.

I was given the opportunity to test, a new cigar brand call Azan.  Azan is the brainchild of  Roberto Duran, a long respected figure in the cigar industry, who has held several positions with Pacific Cigar Company Ltd. The brand Azan is actually an old, privately owned Cuban brand that was started by a Chinese immigrant and who is also an ancestor of Durans wife. The brand disappeared after the Revolution, when Fidel Castro nationalized the cigar industry, and was reintroduced to the United States at this years IPCPR as a Nicaraguan brand.

I received one each, from Gabriel Pinares at Captiva PR, of the Burgundy Short Robusto and the White Label Robusto. There is also a third blend, a Natural Maduro.  That is a fantastic cigar, which I purchased shortly I learned of the brand through various cigar publications and I continue to enjoy this paricular blend . In the Phoenix Metro Area you can find the Azan line, except the Burgundy, at Ambassador Fine Cigars in Scottsdale Arizona.

The Burgundy  is priced at $3-4 per stick, which is perfect for cigar smokers on a budget, and was designed to be a daily smoke or go to cigar.  I used a punch on this and found the cigar to burn evenly with a fairly tight ash, with an even burn that required no touch-ups. Unfortunately I did not care for this cigar I found it one dimensional, lacking complexity

The White Label, is priced in the $6-8 range which I consider, to be the sweet spot as far as price point.  The binder, filler and wrapper of this cigar is higher grade of tobacco than what is in the Burgundy.  The difference in the tobacco is clearly evident as is companies commitment to quality construction. This cigar is much more complex than the Burgundy with notes of  pepper, cocoa with some caramel in the first 2/3 of this cigar. The final third the sweetness begins to fade, pepper and some earthy notes appear on the finish.  Since smoking the cigar for review, I have also purchased more of this cigar, and it is now in my daily rotation.


October was a good month to be a Cigar Smoker in Phoenix, Fox Cigar Bar kicked it off with its second annual Foxtoberfest that included visits from Eddie Ortega, Rafael Nodel from Oliveros/Swag and Aging Room, Clint Aaron of 262 Cigars, Matt Booth from Room 101, Wes Thornton from Crowned Heads Four Kicks and Terrance Reilly from Quesada, Lito Gomez from LFD Cigars and Jose" Hurricane" Ortega from My Father Cigar all made appearance. Some went as far as creating a special blend for this event.

November was equally exciting as Janny Garcia, Peter Johnson, Jose Ortega,  KC Johnson and Dan Welsh (from L'Atelier and New Havana Cigars)  made their way to Phoenix.  They were in town primarily for an event at Ambassador Cigars that is destined to become an annual event here in the Phoenix Metro Area.

Fine Ash Cigars held a private, invite only, meet and greet for about 20 of their friends and I was honored to have received an invite.  Rosie and Sam, know how to throw an event and with the help of Eric and Jamie Parkinson, of Smoke Boutique Cigars, and Joel Schwartz of Trendsetters Marketing Group, this gathering was a huge success.

December 4th, in NYC, the Nat Sherman Townhouse hosted the launch party of Bodega Premium Blends. I also received an nvitation to the launch and would have loved to have been there but previous commitments precluded me from attending.

Bodega Premium Blends was started by four friends from Canada Gino Domanico, Ron Plante, Stephane Barjolin, and Rob Mariani. The first release is their signature line called the Reunion and is manufactured in Nicaragua.  The distribution of this cigar is thru House of Emilio, a company that I am vaguely familiar with and I am also writing a "monthly column" for their website. and you can read my posts here

Until time, #KeepATightAsh

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