New Year, New Cigars

February 3, 2017
Posted in: Cigars

We hope you had a very happy New Year and start of 2017. And that you were able to enjoy a good cigar while toasting to all the possibilities and hope a new year can bring. For many of you, the end-of-year and holiday celebrations probably depleted your home humidors and you’ve now got some space to fill. We’ve collected a few recommendations of new cigars for 2017 that would make great additions to any empty humidor space you might have. You can also ask to try these varieties out at your local shop. Enjoy!

New Cigars

A. Flores Serie Privada Maduro

Cigar Aficionado has already begun praising this new option, rating it highly with 93 points. The brand, also known as Abraham Flores, is making a name for itself and this option makes it clear why. With notes of coffee, cocoa, and vanilla, this rich cigar is smooth and sweet with a hint of spice.

Olivia Master Blends III

Olivia is not a new name, of course, but this particular blend has benefited from better growing methods recently. And the taste is something to behold! Although these are a somewhat limited run, you should be able to find a box or two to round out your collection. You’ll enjoy rich tobacco and coffee with earthy flavors and spicy cinnamon. It’s a winning combination sure to be enjoyed all year.

Cigars New to You

This cigar isn’t new in 2017, but it may be new to you. And it’s worth exploring this year. It’s the Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9. From two Americans with a factory in Nicaragua, Drew Estate puts out premium cigars that are not produced in large quantities. Their cigars have a refined look and the No. 9 is very rich, with notes of coffee and chocolate. You are sure to enjoy it.

You may also want to explore the Sam Leccia line if you haven’t enjoyed it just yet. They only put out 4 cigars a year, but you can’t go wrong with any of them. The Desnudo (meaning naked – it has no band or cellophane on it) boasts a medium to full flavor profile with cocoa, spiced rum, and oak. It makes a great pairing with a Guinness or hot chocolate on a cold winter night.

Image source: Flickr user Harold Hollingsworth

Planning Your New Year Celebration

December 31, 2016
Posted in: Cigar Smoking Tips

The eve of 2017 barrels toward us and that means parties with friends, good food and of course – champagne. It just wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without a glass of bubbly as the ball drops in Times Square. What some don’t know, though, is that cigars and champagne can make an excellent pairing if you pick the right flavors. So don’t put away your favorite smoke on NYE. Instead, toast the start of 2017 with some excellent champagne as you enjoy a smooth cigar and start the year off on a high note.

Tips for Pairing

Generally when we think of pairing liquor and cigars we all go for the brown liquors – whiskey, bourbon, cognac, etc. Because champagne is a much lighter drink, it’s important to keep this in mind when selecting a pairing.

If you have an expensive bottle of champagne waiting to pop save it. The strength of a cigar will quickly overpower the delicate notes of high-end champagne. Instead, bring out champagne that is more middle-of-the-road: good flavor, dry, and a reasonable cost.

To go with the milder alcohol, you need a milder cigar, too. Without the weight of a strong whiskey, a bold cigar will overpower everything and you won’t be able to really enjoy the champagne. Instead, try a cigar that is well balanced. Not too bitter or strong, with milder flavors such as oak, light spice, nuts, or a little sweetness. A cigar that has a smooth and creamy taste to it will go very well with champagne.

If you have been aging any cigars, these will usually pair well, too. As many cigars age they develop a smooth, mild yet complex flavor. A perfect fit for bubbly. So long as the cigar has not lost its flavor with age, buying one that has had months to enhance its flavor in a humidor is an excellent choice. If you don’t own a humidor, or haven’t been aging some cigars at home, just stop by your local cigar shop and they will be able to select a perfect smoke for your New Year celebration.

Image source: Flickr, Maman Voyage

Cigars Make Great Gifts

December 16, 2016
Posted in: Cigars, Colorado

It’s all happened to us at some point – the last-minute shopping rush. From packed parking lots to even more packed stores, doing last-minute holiday shopping is a high-stress event and one usually followed by a stiff drink at the bar. If you have a friend or family member who enjoys a cigar every now and then or cigars on a more regular basis, then we have some easy gift ideas for you. What’s even better is that you can stop by Cigars on Sixth, or your local store, and relax while you shop. What better way to enjoy some holiday cheer?

Buying Local

Walking into a cigar shop is truly the best way to buy cigars as a gift. Not only do you get a personal touch from the owner or employee, but also you can smell and sometimes sample the product. Cigar shops aren’t going to be crowded and it’s a unique atmosphere to experience if you haven’t shopped in one before. From the handsome boxes to the unique aromas, being able to see and smell the product is a special treat.

If you are buying for a family member and aren’t a smoker, simply turn it over to the store proprietor. You can name a price range you are comfortable with and trust that they will point you in the right direction. If you can provide any taste information (what they like to eat or drink, when they like to enjoy a cigar, etc), that will help the cigar shop select something your gift recipient will really enjoy. We are always happy to make recommendations for every price point and gift-buying need and while you are here you can take a tour of Colorado’s best cigar bar.

Buying Online

For those who may not be able to access a shop easily, there are certainly online options. Of course, be sure to check that delivery will happen well before the holiday. But you should find that most places can accommodate quick shipping unless you are purchasing a very rare or unusual cigar. You may wish to check out JR Cigar, but keep in mind that if you wish to order a more expensive cigar it’s best to shop local to make sure the integrity of the cigars were preserved in appropriate humidors over time.

However you purchase cigars this season, we hope you enjoy the process and know that whoever receives them will be delighted.

Image source: Flickr, torbakhopper

Cigars to Try for a Happy Thanksgiving

October 28, 2016
Posted in: Cigars

Well, maybe not happy if you don’t like the game outcome, but the cool crisp breeze of fall is in the air (or maybe it’s already freezing where you are!) and that means chilly nights with a warming bourbon and a smooth cigar on the back patio. Fall ushers in all sorts of iconic images – gourds, squash, jack-o-lanterns, and cornucopias on tables. You can probably already smell the idea of Thanksgiving and feel the long, deep nap that will come after the most satisfying meal of the year. With the searing heat of the summer a distant memory, it’s time to pull out those full-bodied cigars and enjoy them anew this season.

A good cigar is a top priority after Thanksgiving. Think of it as the perfect nightcap or a pleasant closure to a day full of feasting and food decadence. We’ve put together a list of some fuller-bodied and stronger cigars to enjoy at the end of your day, so be sure to fill the humidor before the holiday arrives. Blink, and it’ll be here!

Intemperance BA XXI Avarice

Intemperance is the first release from the new RoMa Craft Tobacco Company and is produced in Esteli, Nicaragua. The quality is high in this brand with this particular cigar showing off a solid medium to full-bodied flavor. This rich cigar is bursting with flavor and is a must-try for someone looking for a crafted smoke. Perfect to pair with a homemade craft cocktail.

Hoyo de Monterrey Edición de Cumpleaños 150

This cigar was created by the label to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the brand. Made in the factory in Honduras, this cigar boasts a fine aroma of tobacco, earth, oak, and sweet dates. The pull adds flavors of rum and espresso on top of a light pepper. An excellent choice to pair with a dessert drink after your feast.

Crowned Heads La Imperiosa

Crowned Heads works with small batches and their attention to detail has resulted in many highly-rated cigars. Also from Nicaragua, this cigar is a true full-bodied blissful smoke, offering up notes of earth, leather, fruit, and a spicy red pepper.

Aging Room Quattro F55

The Aging Room offers about 14 different cigars with an eye to making a product that appeals to consumers looking for complexity. The Quattro F55 has topped many best-of lists, beating out Cuban cigars regularly. It’s a luxury cigar – bold and full of tobacco, earth, chocolate, and coffee aromas all on top of a fine spice blend. This would be a real treat for a festive day.

Authentic Cuban Cigars

We’ve written before about the ways to travel to Cuba now and the difficulty of getting cigars back. However, that has all changed. If you want to make your Thanksgiving holiday special and can get to Cuba (or can send a friend on this most important trip), then you are in luck! Previously you could only bring back $100 worth of cigars. Under the new federal policy, you can bring back as much as you can carry! Now that is something to celebrate.

Image source: Faith Goble user, Flickr

Image source: Michael Ivanov user, Flickr

Ushering in Fall with Classic Flavors

September 16, 2016
Posted in: Cigars, Colorado

You know it’s fall when the words “pumpkin spice latte” start coming from every direction. Even though we are still technically in Summer, those three little words are already filling thousands of cups at your local Starbucks. For better or worse, the idea of pumpkin spice anything is here to stay. And the depth of that seemingly innocent spice blend has finally reached the world of cigars.

Pumpkin Spice Cigars

Technically, it began last year with General Cigar Co. introducing a new flavor as part of their CAO Flavours line. And you guessed it, pumpkin spice! The pumpkin curiosity continues this year with Sutliff releasing a blend of Burley, Virginia and black Cavendish pipe tobacco that now has those well-known spices mixed in. 4 Kings also sells boxes of cigarillos to try if you’re curious about this fall flavor, but don’t want to make any commitment.

The pumpkin spice trend is probably best left to delicious pie and coffees, but if you’d like to bring a little fall special to your regular cigar enjoyment, we suggest pairing a robust tobacco with a pumpkin ale.

Ale Pairings

Cigar City Brewing – they produce Good Gourd, an imperial pumpkin ale full of hearty pumpkin flavor and Ceylon cinnamon, Zanzibar cloves, nutmeg, and Jamaican allspice. Choose a cigar with similar spicy flavors – cinnamon, vanilla – but make sure they are on the mellower side. You want the robustness of the tobacco without competing flavors.

New Belgium – Colorado’s own makes the Pumpkick which tastes like cranberry sauce. Not exactly a pumpkin ale, but it’s a mild tart flavor reminiscent of turkey dinner and sure to pair well with a smooth, slightly sweet tobacco.

Tommyknocker – Another Colorado favorite, this brewery offers their Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest ale that tastes like pumpkin pie and a campfire rolled into one. With medium spiciness and the heft of molasses to lend the smoke flavor, this ale works well with a lighter to medium bodied tobacco.

Schlafly – A true pumpkin ale. It tastes just like you imagine – beer mixed with delicious pumpkin. Apparently the Missouri brewing company uses butternut squash to capture the true essence. On the refreshing side, this ale pairs will with a warm, spicy cigar on any fall day.

Image source: Mike Mozart user, Flickr

Cigar Nostalgia

August 5, 2016
Posted in: Cigars

If you’ve seen any episode of Mad Men, you know that smoking (and I am talking about cigarettes as well as cigars) used to inhabit a very different lifestyle. From a smoke break in an office, to another over dinner and drinks; our relationship to smoking (back before we knew the entirety of the risks) has changed dramatically in a short span of time.

Cigars and the way we enjoy them hasn’t changed quite as much as cigarettes. Since cigarettes are available most everywhere, from grocery stores to corner stores and bars, their prevalence makes them more accessible and generally requires less discerning knowledge. Cigars, however, are not readily found behind a bar. And what might be available at your local convenience store is largely not high quality. No, cigars continue to have a certain allure, sophistication, and mystery around them. From understanding all of the different varieties and quality, to sourcing a good local cigar shop, the process of enjoying a cigar is closer to what our parents and grandparents experienced.

Vintage cigar advertisements are one way of enjoying the past cigar experience, from their bold design and clear message, to their appeal to the women enjoying a cigar now and then, too.

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Cigars had a stronger hold in past popular culture, from advertisements to television shows and movies, and although that influence has diminished over time (and regulations prohibit certain activities so as to not encourage young people to indulge), cigars remain a steady stronghold with smoke connoisseurs of all kinds. There is something very satisfying about building a relationship with your local cigar shop, enjoying unusual finds and limited varieties, and meeting people who share a similar passion for tobacco.

Image source: Double-M user, Flickr

Image source: Roberlan Borges user, Flickr

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Women and Cigars

July 8, 2016
Posted in: Cigar Smoking Tips

Though you might not see as many women coming in and out of cigar shops, that doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoying the smooth flavor. You’ve probably seen photos of Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, and Demi Moore with a cigar. Or maybe you just remember Elaine from Seinfeld, kicking her feet up in the office chair with a cigar in hand. Whatever your memory, more women are enjoying the fine quality of cigars today and are a burgeoning market that cigar makers are trying to attract.

Some brands, like Avanti, are offering flavored cigars, decorative tips, smaller stogies, and other cigar novelties to attract clients after a certain aesthetic. While that might be what some are after, most cigar smokers (men and women alike) will enjoy the traditional flavors of cigars and will want to forego any added flavors that might disguise the quality of the tobacco. We’ve compiled a few tips for our women readers who may be curious about cigars, but don’t know where to start.

Start with milder flavors – A full-bodied smoke might be a bit too much for a new smoker, so ask your tobacconist to recommend something with lighter tobacco flavor.

Choose several – Options are the key! Don’t settle on one cigar and buy a lot. Instead, choose several so you can try and explore different flavors and textures. This is a fun process and one you should enjoy. Even consider a sampler of the month club to have lots of options.

Be cost savvy – Don’t go for the super expensive cigars when you’re first starting out. Learn the types and flavors with more mid-level options and figure out what you like before you shell out the big bucks.

Ask for tips – Don’t be afraid to ask your local store for tips on lighting and smoking. It’s an art and any good shop should be more than happy to make sure you have the best experience possible.

Be sure to stop by our shop with any questions and we hope to see more women cigar aficionados coming through our doors.

Image source: Pam loves pie user, Flickr

How to Mix Hot Summer Weather and Cigars

May 3, 2016
Posted in: Cigar Smoking Tips

When the summer sun starts to burn in the afternoon and the temperatures climb higher every day, enjoying a nice cigar is generally not the first thing that comes to mind. Hot weather and hot smoke can make things uncomfortable, but don’t worry. We are here to provide some tips on keeping things cool this summer so you don’t have to put the humidor away until autumn.

Fresh Eats – This might seem obvious, but keeping any barbeques or summer picnics light on food fare is a good way to go. While you likely won’t be smoking while eating, consuming good flavors before a nice, relaxing smoke can make the heat a little less intense. Try a cold gazpacho, olives, and smoked fish for a lighter meal that will work with most tobacco flavors. Or, if you opt for burgers, steak, and barbeque on the grill, be sure that you pair it with a robust cigar afterward. Much like a heavy meal needs a full-bodied wine, a strong-flavored cigar is a must after a big meal.

BBQ and Cigars

Photo by Letizia Barbi, flickr

Drinks – We’ve talked about pairing cigars with winter cocktails before, but the summer weather doesn’t always lend itself to sipping on warm liquor unless you are looking to sweat out all the alcohol. Instead, opt for some of these lighter drinks that will still hold up to the tobacco flavor:

Mint Julep – A summer classic that brings cooled bourbon to the table with fresh mint.

Mint Julep and Cigars

Photo by Jeremy T. Hetzel, flickr

Negroni – A longtime favorite to pair with cigars, a negroni offers some cool gin with a twist of orange.

Photo by Mario Bonifacio, flickr

Photo by Mario Bonifacio, flickr

Iced Coffee – Opt for a strong concentrate over lots of ice with a dash of cinnamon or vanilla.

Iced coffee and cigars

Photo by Boo Lee, flickr

IPA (India Pale Ale) – the bitter hops can withstand most any strong cigar and complement the tobacco flavor well.

IPA and cigars

Photo by Rick McGirr, flickr

Of course, if none of this is working and the hot sun won’t relent, you can always embrace it with a lawn chair under a tree and a nice fan pointed at your legs. After all, some of the best cigars come from places that are hot and humid year round, so enjoy that cigar this summer and be ready to make a breeze if Mother Nature won’t supply one.

Larger-than-Life Humidors

April 26, 2016
Posted in: Cigars

Humidor rooms around the worldOur clients know how important the humidor is, especially in difficult climates like high-altitude Denver. To keep the integrity of the tobacco in place and to preserve the life of the cigar, an expertly controlled humidor is a must.  Most shops have humidors that are large enough to walk in, but what about the largest humidors in the world? If you’ve ever wondered where you can go get lost in the aroma of fine cigars, then these places are for you.  

London

The Wellesley Hotel boasts not only Europe’s biggest humidor, but also a “cigar sommelier” named Giuseppe Ruo who can suggest a perfect bourbon and cigar pairing for an evening at the hotel. Ruo personally sources the cigars from private collectors, auctions, and small businesses to stock the humidor with over $2 million worth of high-end cigars.  With a temperature below 20 C and a humidity level of 65 – 71 at all times, this humidor excels at being one of the world’s greatest. Handmade leather furniture, warm dark wood, and commissioned tobacco leaf paintings top off this luxury experience.  

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 

You likely know of Cigars International, a website with the largest internet catalogue for cigars in the US.  In order to store their very large stock, Cigars International uses a 49,000 square foot humidor, nestled inside an even larger warehouse.  Although customers cannot walk through this humidor, it is still impressive.  

Düsseldorf

The Capella Bar at the Breidenbacher Hof hotel also lays claim to the largest walk-in humidor in Europe. Winner of many awards, just like the Wellesley, you may just have to try both and see which seems larger-than-life to you. The Capella Bar sports leather floors, wood paneling, and an extensive range of Cuban and Dominican cigars. The extravagant design rivals any cigar lounge.  

Florida 

If you ever have the chance to hang out with Michael Jordan (one can dream, right?) then be sure to get an invite to his cigar-friendly home that is equipped with state-of-the-art humidity and air equipment, not to mention a cigar-friendly theater. This may not technically be a humidor, but if cigars are ok throughout Jordan’s house, who are we to argue? 

Tips for Traveling to Cuba

April 29, 2016
Posted in: Cigar Producing Countries

Map of cuba cigar tour

Many cigar aficionados are making plans to travel to Cuba now that the travel restrictions lessened between countries. The thought of smoking a freshly hand-rolled Cuban cigar in Havana is quite the temptation, but how easy is it to check that box off your lifetime achievement list? Below are a few tips to get you started on planning a visit to Cuba.

Getting to Cuba is still a bit tricky and requires specific travel purposes, but if your Cuban adventures fall into one of the twelve categories, then you can enjoy the sights and smells (of fantastic tobacco!).  Previously, most American tourists had to travel with a group for educational purposes. Now, an individual can travel under the same restrictions, but with far greater ease. For example, you can plan a trip around meeting Cuban citizens, community centers, and schools to educate yourself on the culture, but all of these adventures can now be unguided (no tour group fees!). You just have to complete a form to declare your solo trip educational.

Flying into Cuba is about to become much easier, too. Charter flights used to be the only way a US citizen could fly in, but with the recent aviation agreement American Airlines, Jet Blue, Spirit Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines will all submit buds to become direct carriers to the island. If you are looking to go this summer, a charter flight is still the main way to go, but if you can wait these other carriers should have flights soon. So save some of those frequent flyer miles!

If taking a cruise is more your style, then you are in luck. On May 1, 2016, a Carnival owned ship takes its maiden Cuban voyage from Miami – the first in over 50 years. All of the same travel restrictions apply, but this could be a more financially feasible option for some.

Cash is king. While some shops take debit and credit cards, most do not. Swapping your cash for the local currency is the way to go for an easier adventure. Additionally, AirBnB is operating in Cuba and provides a better experience of the local culture (adds to the educational requirement) and the opportunity to meet and befriend local citizens. Plus, cell service and internet are spotty at best so while you are disconnected from your Instagram account, take in the local sights and meet new friends the old fashioned way. With private homes in over 40 cities, the choices are expanding every day.

Finally, the rules on Cuban cigars remain the same – a US citizen can bring back cigars totaling $100 in value. While a box is likely to run you about four times that amount (or more), you can still return with Cuban cigars to enjoy here in Denver.  Plus, you can enjoy as many as you like while in Cuba and have a unique cigar experience to come tell us all about.

If you are serious about traveling to Cuba this summer, check out Expert Vagabond and the US Department of the Treasury for up-to-date information and traveler tips.