Spotlight Brand: Drew Estate Smoking Monk
Specifically made to pair with craft beers.
A Cigar Master's Ode to Ale
The Smoking Monk from Drew Estate brings something completely new to the rolling table. These handmades are specially blended and subtly infused to pair with specific styles of beer. With 5 unique blends in all, including the flavorful American IPA, the dark & richly nuanced Porter, and the smooth, bright Hefeweizen, each cigar variation enhances the flavor and experience of your ale, and vice versa. A fun, fresh way to enjoy a beer and a stogie, this collection of 25 is a dream come true for all craft brew gurus who pull double duty as cigar enthusiasts.
Cigars and beer... great alone but even better together, and with these exciting blends from Drew Estate, you're about to care about the pair more so than ever before!
American IPA – Medium-bodied with a zesty flavor profile of citrus, spice, and slight smoky finish.
Porter – Well-balanced, medium-bodied blend filled with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and caramel.
Q & A: Winter & Your Humidor
During the winter months, my humidor always needs constant attention. Any tips?
1/07/15 | by BC of Chicago, IL
The winter months can be brutal on your humidor; there’s simply no way around it. So instead of letting your investment go to waste, here are a few tricks we’ve picked up for the years. First off, find a good location for your humidor. Make it isn’t sitting next a heating vent that propelling dry air through the room. If you can, it might be best to keep your humidor in the basement for the winter. Sure, it’s out of site but the added moisture will make upkeep easier. Secondly, make sure to keep a spray bottle near by loaded with distilled water. A few quick sprays of distilled water and quick wipe of a new sponge will do wonders. Lastly, avoid opening it unnecessarily. You’re going to want to make sure whatever humidity is in there, remains in there. And in a few short months, everything will be back to normal.
Review: Warped Flor Del Valle
Flor del Valle by Warped Cigars
It’s easy to get wrapped up with how good these cigars look. The packaging and bands are top notch and the cigars show off an impeccable construction. But like most seasoned enthusiasts, I’ve been burned by all these attributes before only to fall victim to a lackluster blend. This is not the case Flor del Valle.
Produced at the Casa Fernandez factory in Nicaragua, this blend packs a ton of flavor with all the balance you’d expect from high-priced stick. Slight hints of cedar and honey are detected up from while a light spice and earthy note hit you on the finish. The only knock I can find on this blend is that they’re a little pricey. But as soon as you fire one up, you’ll know its well worth it.
Article: The Insider: Ring Gauge
One evening while digging through the humidor in search of an after-dinner smoke, the wide variety of cigar shapes and sizes inspired me to elaborate a bit on the topic. Today, there is everything from a slim and elegant Panatela to a massive 7.0”x70 Gordo available. If you really take things to the extremes, you can find vitolas with a ring gauge starting as small as 18/64ths all the way up to 80/64ths of an inch. If you are unfamiliar with how cigar ring gauges are calculated, the dimension for the diameter is equivalent to 1/64ths of an inch. Therefore, a standard robusto size is 5 inches in length with a ring gauge of 50/64ths of an inch.
For those who prefer their cigars to be around the popular 50 ring gauge, there are a number of standard options available, depending on how long you prefer to enjoy the cigar. The Rothschild, robusto, toro, belicoso, torpedo, Churchill, and double corona sizes are all typically within the 48 to 52 range. So if you’re looking for a shorter smoke, the Rothschild or robusto are viable options. Those who are looking for a long, leisurely cigar for a day out on the golf course should reach for a Churchill or double corona. The happy medium between the two would be a toro, a tapered capped torpedo, or a belicoso.
Up until the recent influx of large ring gauge cigars, as a response to the demand within the American market, a 7.0”x50 Churchill was considered a hefty smoke. Throughout the history of premium cigars, smaller sizes were the norm, and most ring gauges fell within the 34 to 48 range. Even Winston Churchill’s cigar of choice, although 7 inches in length, was just a 47 ring gauge. The corona, lancero, panatela, and lonsdale are popular sizes that feature varying lengths yet small ring gauges ranging from around 34 to 42. In terms of their performance as compared to other sizes, thinner cigars tend to burn hotter and faster and provide a more prominent flavor from the wrapper due to less filler tobaccos counterbalancing the wrapper’s characteristics. Therefore, the quality of the wrapper leaf is even more important when blending a corona or lancero. These are also more difficult to roll, which can add to the cost of production.
Reacting to the big ring gauge craze throughout the industry, countless manufacturers have introduced a size to their portfolio commonly referred to as a gordo, or double toro. These will generally fall into the realm of a 58 to 64 ring gauge, leaving ample room for filler tobaccos. In this case, the wrapper to filler ratio is in favor of the fillers and the burning tip is exposed to more air. This results in a slower, cooler combustion and makes the strength and flavor more dependent upon the makeup of the filler tobaccos. But don’t be fooled; larger ring gauges do not mean the cigar will be stronger or more full-flavored. Another popular large ring gauge vitola is the double perfecto size, which usually clocks in at around a 60 in the middle and tapers off to a point at both the head and foot. The allure here is that the gradual change in the diameter provides a unique complexity not offered in standard vitolas.
Cigars made during Cuba’s heyday using the same tobaccos were offered in various sizes to present different smoking experiences in terms of strength and flavor. Today’s manufacturers producing cigars for the American market will often tweak their filler tobacco ratio in accordance with the size being rolled in order to provide the most consistent flavor and strength profile for that line. Although each size will undoubtedly produce a slightly different experience, it is safe to conclude that the size and shape of a cigar should be chosen based upon personal preference and what the enthusiast deems is the most enjoyable and comfortable.