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Places & People

Cigar Magic

Cigar Magic 1March 23rd, 2017

It's been my experience that cigar people are some of the nicest I've ever met, and that ‘cigar magic’ happens whenever they come together to enjoy ‘the leaf’ with one another.

A fairly short time ago, I once again saw this truth in action. A friend of mine is a blender and brand owner. Her name is Paula Hernandez, and she owns Paula Cigars. Over several months and visits at Cigar and Tobacco (a shop & lounge in Berlin, Connecticut), I’ve also became friends with Ray, the shop owner, and some of his patrons.

Until last year, I hadn't known Paula or Ray. But over the course of 2016, one cigar at a time, our relationships formed and grew. And now, as with so many other ‘brothers & sisters of the leaf’ I’ve met, Paula and Ray seem like old friends.

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The Old Havana Cigar Bar in Trinidad and Tobago

Old Havana Cigar Bar 1October 13th, 2016

About two months ago, I was trying to organize a cigar get-together for a bunch of my fellow cigar loving friends, or what we call hanging out – a lime.

I called a friend with the hopes of getting together with him for a smoke, and he told me that he had heard of a new place opening – a cigar bar! I was immediately intrigued. The place is called Old Havana, and I was immediately impressed by it upon my first visit.

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RIP Martin Gastanaga, AKA Skullsucker

martinMartin Patrick Gastanaga (49) died May 14, 2016 in a tragic motorcycle accident. Martin lived a life of great adventure, excitement, love and laughter. Born June 24, 1966 in Reno, Nevada, Martin was proud to be a fourth generation Nevadan. He spent his childhood in Lake Tahoe, moved to Reno in high school and graduated from Reno High in 1985. He attended UNR but got sidetracked opening his first business, Aztech Cyberspace (which later became Twelve Horses) with his dear friend Jay MacDonald. He held various positions in the technology industry, and was most recently employed with Renown Medical Center.

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A Woman’s Perspective on the World of Cigars

AWPOTWOCOctober 6th, 2016

I began smoking cigars almost three years ago. I'm sure the way in which I got started isn't uncommon. I was driving home, and wanted to relax after a particularly long and exhausting day at work. Then, I saw something. It was sign that said ‘Cigar Lounge’. Something just clicked in me. I pulled in.

I walked into the lounge, my heels clacking on the dark wood floor and my laptop in hand, quietly sat down, and ordered a coffee. But I’m an adrenaline junkie. So I looked at the humidor. It was scary and exciting all at once. I ventured in, and immediately fell in love. The humidity in the humidor made my curls three inches bigger, but I took my time. After forty minutes, I had picked my cigar.

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Heavenly Hand-Rolled

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Heavenly Hand Rolled 1Who are these beautiful women?

Cigar aficionados, please allow me to introduce you to the Cigar Angels! Headquartered out of Portland, Oregon, the Cigar Angels is the most beautiful and unique group of women to offer hand-rolled cigars and first-class cigar concierge services.

Formed in early 2015, and the brainchild of Head Angel Ruth Rosebery-Wegner, the Cigar Angels has since taken the cigar culture in Portland by storm, and can often be found hosting events ranging from charity fund-raisers and golf tournaments to weddings and luxurious dinner parties.

Each Cigar Angel is individually trained to provide the best personal service as hostess, cigar roller or cigar concierge, and all are skilled at introducing your guests to the world of cigars. Their knowledge and beauty are sure to leave a lasting impression.

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2016 IPCPR Wrap-Up

IMG 54791The 2016 IPCPR in Las Vegas was probably the most spectacular yet. Vendors and retailers were literally everywhere. It was a great thing that we decided to cover all four days, or we would have missed several interviews with more popular vendors on the floor.

The most encouraging aspect of the show was the overwhelming response of the vendors and retailers to the FDA information seminars. There was standing room only, and some people had to wait outside because the room was at fire marshal capacity.

As for the FDA, the language of its new guidelines, which force manufacturers to get approval for anything released after Feb. 15, 2007, is so vague that a lot of the industry is concerned about what exactly the guidelines mean. At best, it’s the FDA trying to get deeper into the pockets of the industry. At worst, it’s an aggressive attempt to destroy the industry as we know it.

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Where To Smoke In San Antonio

If you’re like me, and neither smoke in the house nor have the disposable income to convert the garage or basement into a ‘man cave’, the weather is eventually going to force you to find a place to smoke. Fortunately for me, there are several in San Antonio.

Where To Smoke In San Antonio 1Starting with the ‘elephant in the room’, The Humidor (now Club Humidor) has a shop downtown in the Menger Hotel, the flagship store on San Pedro Avenue, a location at the Shops at Stone Oak, a very nice store at Huebner and Vance Jackson, and the store on Thousand Oaks – the last mentioned being my personal choice on most occasions, as it is closest to my house. Run for years by the Rumbo family (who were up for a Davidoff award at last year's IPCPR), The Humidor is a great example of a brick-and-mortar cigar store.

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Day Two - IPCPR Top 10

More 'Top 10' impressions, courtesy of Cigar Weekly's 'on-the-floor' Jeff Slatton (jefslat), from the second day of the (2016) International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers 84th Annual Convention & Trade Show. Have a look!

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A Cigar's Tale V

An article by Nathan Hale with Rob Hahn of HaVé Cigar Company

A Cigars Tale V 1“Start The Journey!” That’s not only the motto on the band of every HaVé cigar, but also something Rob Hahn has personal experience with.

Rob currently owns and operates a cigar shop, factory and cigar rolling school. As a matter of fact, while we were talking, he was actually rolling cigars. Now, this all sounds like a lot of work (and something that may make you cringe to think about any person running). But Ron is doing exactly what he loves and wants to do.

Rob retired years ago. When he did, he was ready to do something else – something he loved. He wanted to make cigars. Within a matter weeks of making that decision, Rob was on his way to, of all places, Alamogordo, New Mexico.

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Day One - IPCPR Top 10

Cigar Weekly's own Jeff Slatton (jefslat) offers up his 'Top 10' impressions from the first day of the (2016) International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers 84th Annual Convention & Trade Show. Savor the moment!

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How I Became A L.O.L.A. (Lady of the Leaf Aficionado)

How I Became A L.O.L.A. 1I began smoking cigars in 2007 when my dear friend, Eric, introduced me to a divine Maduro by Rocky Patel. I am a very social person, and I love the camaraderie of cigar culture. The folks who are drawn to cigars like to engage in deeper conversations and in exchanging ideas rather than trivial small talk. Every cigar smoker I have met in my eight years as a L.O.L.A. (Lady of the Leaf Aficionado) has been an educated, well spoken, thoughtful person. Each of these individuals has also maintained a type of laid back cool and zest for life unique to cigar people. Hang around a few of us, and you'll see what I mean.

A fine cigar is a living, breathing work of art, and it is to be savored like anything of similar caliber – be it wine, coffee, chocolate or food. Cigars are a labor of love. From the skilled farmer who grows and cures the tobacco, to the master blender who lovingly chooses leaves for just the right balance and flavor profile, to the torcedor who ensures perfect construction, and finally to you and me (consumers who treasure that smoke like a wide eyed kid at Christmas), it's all about love. Cigars are like relationships. They must be treated with respect, maintained and cared for in order to retain their qualities.

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