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Spotlight Brand: CAO Flathead

Celebrate some good old-fashioned American nostalgia.

Inspired by 1950’s muscle cars and pin-up chicks, CAO Flathead is a fitting tribute to the USA. CAO brand manager Ed McKenna says of the line, “Rick Rodriguez and I were talking about the great people we’ve met at CAO events across the country and about the conversations we’ve had with didn’t take us long to realize that the conversations were always about the same things: cigars, cars and girls.” 

Boasting a unique, squared off head and a box meant to mimic an engine block, Flathead is like nothing you’ve seen before. This dark beauty starts with a well-fermented Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper sourced from top-quality tobacco leaves. Under the hood, you’ll find thick and chewy Nicaraguan and Dominican long-fillers secured with a Connecticut Habano seed binder. Prepare the palate for notes of earth, black pepper, and cocoa that culminate beautifully into a full-bodied experience that lingers long after you finish. Enjoy great billowing clouds of smoke through the whole experience. Plus, the removable box lid doubles as a one-of-a-kind art piece that you can treasure forever.

#3 Cigar of 2015 - '95' Rated by Cigar Aficiondao

Q & A: Shaggy Foot?

What is a shaggy foot and what is its purpose?

10/16/13 | by WD of Salida, CO

​​You may have a cigar you’ve seen at a shop or in our catalog that looks “unfinished” at the foot. Sometimes, we’ll even have clients who receive them in samplers and call to complain a “damaged” cigar. To simplify it, “shaggy foot” cigars are when the filler tobaccos hang out of the foot protruding from underneath the wrapper like Tabak Especial by Drew Estate. This practice started decades ago in Cuba and adds a layer of complexity to the blend. Instead of tasting all three components of the cigar, you start off with tasting just the filler tobacco. As the cigar burns down, all three components start to burn in unison presenting a whole new flavor to your palate. The “shaggy foot” concept can also be done when the wrapper of the cigar hangs past the fillers as well like with the Man O’ War Puro Authentico. With this method, you get to taste the wrapper prominently when you first light the cigar as opposed to the fillers.

by Sean G

Review: Tatuaje 10 Year Anniversary

Bryan Tatuaje 10 Year
Belle Encre (5.4”x48, Perfecto): Full disclosure: I’m not a big Tatuaje fan. Don’t get me wrong, the cigars are made with supreme tobaccos, construction, and an incredible attention to detail. After going through a big Tatuaje phase two years ago, it’s hard for me to get excited about another blend from this brand. With Tatuaje 10th Anniversary, I was peer-pressured into picking one up. Immediately upon lighting it up, I knew this was something different; something special. While the perfecto isn’t normally my size of choice, any enthusiast will enjoy this straight down to the nub.

Bon Chasseur (5.4”x52): I found this size to be where the blend really shines. Even on both sizes, once you light it up, you can tell how much time and effort went into fermenting the perfectly even Nicaraguan tobaccos. Strong notes of coffee, earth, leather, and spice provide a thick, chewy smoke that saturates your palate in the best way possible. After enjoying cigar after cigar for my profession, this blend was a breath of fresh air and one of the finer cigars this reviewer has had in a while.
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Article: The Insider: Nicaragua Travel Advisor

When it comes to cigars, like any other hobby people are extremely passionate about, everyone has a bucket list.  For a wine aficionado, it may be visiting the vineyards in Southern France. For a golfer, it might be playing 18 holes at St. Andrew’s. For a cigar enthusiast, the ultimate experience is to take a trip to cigar country to witness firsthand the slow and patient process of cigar making, from seed to finished product.  While a visit to Miami’s famed 8th Street neighborhood may be as close as most cigar lovers get, nothing can match an excursion to the lush fields and numerous factories in the Dominican Republic or Honduras. But for this author, Nicaragua is the Mecca of premium cigars and tobacco. With four unique growing regions, each producing tobaccos of distinct quality and taste combined with factories which manufacture some of the highest rated and most sought after brands, there is simply no substitute.  So how do you get there?

Despite economic growth, Nicaragua is still very much “third world,” and navigating the roads, language, and culture is difficult. We recommend booking with a dedicated operator that specializes in cigar tourism.  We get many inquiries made through our expert staff tobacconists, and the operators we most often recommend are and Cigar Safari is operated by Drew Estate, while Cigar Tourism is operated by Cigar Journal Magazine. Both provide a behind the scenes tour of the farms, cigar production, and even box making, with ample time to relax with some of your favorite smokes. Many can be sampled fresh off the table. For those that wish to brave the journey on their own, many factories in northern Nicaragua regularly welcome guests for tours, including Tabacalera Fernandez, Plasencia, Drew Estate and a host of others.  I have shepherded many groups of cigar enthusiasts through Nicaragua and the takeaway for folks is always the same: utter amazement at how much work goes into making a single cigar. For over one hundred years, the process has been largely the same, and the romance and care of the art of cigar making is awe inspiring, like watching a painter with a canvas.  Seeing the process first hand changes the way you look at and enjoy cigars- permanently. 

Be it with a structured operator and itinerary or a trip of your own creation, Nicaragua has a great deal to offer in addition to cigars. Stops in historic Granada or San Juan del Sur (one of the world’s top surfing destinations) are a must for added days either before or after your cigar adventure! 

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