Monday, August 29, 2011

How To: Shipping Cigars

One of my favorite parts of smoking cigars so far has been the community of people I have met. In the 2 months since I started smoking, I have had the wonderful opportunity to trade cigars with a couple of guys. Trading allows people to share their favorites (or share smokes only available in their region) and in general is just a fun thing to do with good people.

Every time a trade comes up, people ask "How do I ship the cigars?" (I know this, because this was my first question as well).

Here is how to ship cigars in a trade:

Method 1: Cheap and Easy. - Great for common trades.

  1. Pick out the cigar(s) you want to ship. For shipping purposes, cellophane wrapped is very helpful, as it can protect the cigar from rubbing on things and hurting the wrapper.
  2. Get a Humidipak to throw in the package. These will keep the cigars moist during shipping. Shipments can get cold when on airplanes, which dries out smokes quickly, so this is important.
  3. Put the cigars and the Humidipak in a ziplock bag and get as much air out as possible.
  4. Wrap that in bubble wrap (or other packaging material)
  5. Stick in an appropriate box. I like to use the USPS flat rate shipping boxes (small size fits 5 cigars with ease).
  6. Ship them.

Method 2: More Protection, More Cost. - Good for higher end smokes that need protection or back and forth trades with friends. (Also makes a great Cigar Bomb gift!)

  1. Pick out the cigar(s) you want to ship. For shipping purposes, cellophane wrapped is very helpful, as it can protect the cigar from rubbing on things and hurting the wrapper.
  2. Pick up a good Travel Humidor of appropriate size.
  3. Throw in a Humidipak for simplicity.
  4. Put this in a box with appropriate shipping material.
  5. Ship them.

Deluxe Travel Humidor /w hygrometer and cutters.

For added fun, throw in a fun note, an extra like a spare set of cutters that you like, etc. Anything to make the experience even better for all parties involved. If you are in a trade and someone bombs you with some extra smokes, be sure to pay that forward, everyone loves an extra smoke here and there!

Disclaimer: Please check your state and federal laws before shipping tobacco products.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: Man O' War Special-Edition Figurado Image

From last night.

  • Price: ~$8-10 (Got it in a trade on /r/cigars)
  • Size: 7.1" x 58 (ring changes throughout the cigar)
  • Wrapper: Habano (Ecuadorean)
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Time to completion: ~115 minutes

Smoking Experience:

Oh what a night. This week has just been one of those weeks; lets just say I was happy to see Friday night arrive. When 5pm hit, I hopped in my car, went and picked up my favorite gal, and we met up with some friends at happy hour. We hung out for a while, had a few drinks, and just relaxed. Around 7 we decided we were over the bar we were at, so we headed down to what is quickly becoming one of my favorite smoking spots. It is at the end of a pier and overlooks the Waikiki Skyline.

Before leaving for the apartment, I asked my girlfriend to throw a few smokes into my travel humidor, and one of the ones she grabbed was this monster. The Man O' War Special Edition Figurado. It is a monster at 7.1" long at a ring size of 58 at its widest point (and maybe mid 40s at its lowest). The shape is the most unique attribute of the cigar, and while I thought it was a gimmicky at first, I ended up liking what it brought.

Lighting the cigar is a breeze because the end is a small ring size. It quickly opens up to the full 58 ring size and over time tapers back down. The burn was even for the most part, although it did get uneven once or twice, but this is probably becasue of the wind blowing from a single direction and me not rotating the cigar properly when smoking.


This cigar was packed full of flavor, no doubt about it. The flavor intensity changed with the ring size of the cigar, and for the most part was just a nice nutty tobacco flavor. The smoke was harsh at times, but not necessarily unpleasant. Despite the length of the cigar, it seemed to burn hotter than I care for, but again, it wasn't bad, just different.

I think the major downfall of this cigar for me is that it was just sort of one note. The burn time was almost 2 hours, but it was pretty much slight variations of the same flavor for all 2 hours, it was almost too consistent. I would have been equally as happy with a cigar half the size because the flavors didn't develop the way they do in other cigars.

Overall it was a good cigar, it was just lacking that "wow" factor that I expect from special edition cigars. I definitely look forward to trying some other MOW cigars in the future.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: Acid Kuba Kuba - My First Cigar

  • Price: $12 (from a cart outside a Casino...yea, I over paid)
  • Size: 5" x 54
  • Wrapper: Cameroon
  • Filler: Nicaraguan (flavor infused)
  • Time to completion: ~65 minutes

Smoking Experience:

The Acid Kuba Kuba. My very first cigar. I was in Las Vegas for the first time at 25 years old. I was up a few hundred dollars after winning a small NL Holdem tournament at the Golden Nugget and taking down some cash at a 1/2 NL game. As I headed back to meet up with my family on our last day there, I walked passed a cigar cart out side of the 4 Queens Casino. I stopped to take a peak at their selection (I had no clue what I was looking at) and a guy came up and asked me what I liked. I told him I had no idea. I told him I have never had a Cigar, I don't smoke cigarettes, but wanted to give one a try. He looked at me, asked how much I felt like spending, and told me he had a Cigar he could guarantee I would enjoy and would make me come back for more.

The gentleman handed me an Acid Kuba Kuba. He cut it for me, showed me how to light a cigar, explained how to smoke and enjoy one, and sent me on my way.

I headed over to The Chicago Brewing Company inside the casino, grabbed a beer, had them turn on the Heads Up poker championship, kicked my feet up and lit this baby up. I was in Vegas baby, and this is how I wanted to remember it.

From the start, this cigar has a lot of flavor. The infused tobacco has a nice sweet flavor with herb undertones that last throughout the cigar.The flavors intensify towards the end, but really they just get better. The smoke is rich and smooth, and the cigar had a nice uniform draw the entire time I enjoyed it. This was my first and only flavored cigar so far, and is still one of my favorites.

This was my first cigar and I had no idea what to expect, so I likely under appreciated the flavors as they were all new to me. I am excited to give this smoke a second shot once I have a more experience under my belt.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: Arturo Fuente Magnum R Rosado Sungrown Vitola 54

Arturo Fuente Magnum R Rosado Sungrown Vitola 54

  • Price: ~$13
  • Size: 6 1/4 x 54
  • Wrapper: Sun Grown Ecuadorian
  • Time to Completion: ~75 minutes

Smoking Experience:

This smoke came as a nice break from a LONG and fantastic day. I had spent the day training in Krav Maga for the first time. So after 5+ hours of intense physical training, I really needed to kick back and relax. Some friends and I met up to have some drinks, smoke some cigars and play poker. This is basically heaven for me.

The cigar construction was fantastic, the draw was smooth and even, and the burn rate was consistent. It did go out on me about 3/4 of the way through, but in the cigars defense, I set it down and walked about for about 5 minutes or so while I got another drink and chatted with some friends.

I also won the poker tournament that night, so it was an amazing day.


This was a mild flavored cigar, but it was nice. It had a creamy nutty taste with some earthy undertones. My drink wasn't the best pair for it by a mile, so I'm sure i'm not doing the flavors much justice, but it wasn't bad at all. Towards the end of the smoke there was a noticeable sweetness to the smoke, but nothing overwhelming. This has been the best of the mild cigars I have smoked, and one I would smoke again without question.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: CAO Brazilia

  • Price: ~$5
  • Size: 5 x 56
  • Wrapper: Maduro (Oily Dark Brown Brazilian)
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Time to Completion: ~70 minutes
Smoking Experience:
I went to a movie with my girlfriend last night, and we got home around 11:30p or so and I wanted a cigar, so we decided to drive up to a nice lookout on a mountain near our apartment. We sat out and chatted while looking over the city skyline. I enjoyed this fantastic cigar and she smoked some nice hand rolled cigarettes that she made for the first time a few days ago.
The cigar had a nice rich smoke right from the start. It burned slow and even the entire way through. It got a little hot in the last 1/4 which is to be expected, but the rest of it was just perfect.

It has an almost chocolate flavor in the start, I was kind of surprised (Im new to this, so it was a nice surprise). After a few puffs that flavor gave way to the flavor of the wrapper and it had a nice almost nutty taste. I very much enjoyed it. It had A LOT of nice flavors. Some woody, some smokey, but none really took over the experience. It was a nice mixture in every puff.
I would highly recommend this smoke. It was fantastic.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review: Sancho Panza Valiente

Image from Cigars International

  • Price: <$5
  • Size: 5.5" x 44
  • Wrapper: Connecticut
  • Filler: A blend of Honduran, Nicaraguan and Dominican
  • Time to completion: ~45 minutes

Smoking Experience:
After a long day at work, I wanted to head down to the pool with my wonderful girlfriend and have a quick smoke. I had some more work to do in about an hour, so I couldn't spend a lot of time down there, so I reached into my humidor, and pulled out this little guy. We headed down to the pool deck, and I lit up.

Unlike the maduro version of this cigar, the burn on this was smooth and steady. This could be due to the moisture content of the cigar, or a difference in the wrapper, im not really sure. The draw was pretty typical, and overall it was a pretty decent quick smoke on a cool night.

The first 2/3 of this cigar were very mild and sort of boring. It wasn't a -bad- smoke, it was just very one note. It had a woody taste for the majority of the cigar, but in the last 1/3 there was a sort or sweet undertone. I was actually about to put the cigar down and walk away when it hit. I was down by the pool with my girlfriend and she had stood up to head back to our apartment (as was I) but the new flavor caught me by surprise, so I sat back for a few more minutes to see how it developed. The ending was the best part of the cigar as the flavors intensified, but overall the cigar was average. It certainly didn't have that same memorable flavor intensity that it's maduro wrapped partner had.

Side Note: I very much like the box-press style of these smokes, especially at the smaller size, they seem to light and burn a bit more consistently than some others i've had.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review: Sancho Panza Double Maduro (La Mancha)

  • Price: <$4
  • Size: 5.5" x 44
  • Wrapper: Oscuro
  • Filler: A blend of Honduran, Nicaraguan and Dominican Piloto Cubano leaves
  • Time to completion: ~40 minutes

Smoking Experience:
The first 1/4 of the cigar burned hot and fast, but was somewhat mild. Once a little ash built up, the burning seemed to slow down and cool some which allowed a lot more flavor than the first part of the cigar.

A mild start, but once you get about 1/3 in it has a nice pepper taste. Its not harsh, but there is a nice build up of flavor. The flavor lasts until the end, and it gets a bit smokey in the last 1/3. The pepper aftertaste last for a long time after the smoke was completed. This cigar packed a lot of punch for such a small package. 

Downside: The construction was lacking something. I dont know if it was just dry (it shouldn't have been, it was purchased a few days ago and sitting in the humidor at 70% since). Maybe my cutters are just dull, but they sort of tore the outer wrapper. It didn't effect the smoke, but was just something to note.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Review: Cuban Crafters 40 Count Humidor

Cuban Crafters 40 count Mio Cherry Wood Humidor
Outer Shell: Cherry Wood
Inner Liner: Spanish Cedar
Capacity: 40

I picked up this humidor as a my first after picking up more than a few sticks and needing a place to keep them. I wanted something cheap (so I could buy more cigars) but also wanted something that looked good. The quality of the humidor is very good for the price (around $40). The seal is good, the top is heavy, and the overall build feels strong.

The humidor comes with a puck style humidifier, but for simplicity I went with a Drymistat Tube. An analog hygrometer is also included, and after a salt calibration, it has help up nicely.

Overall it seems like a great buy for the price, but is quickly filling. I guess the advice to pick which size humidor you need...then double it holds true.

Review: Romeo Y Julieta Medallas De Oro 1875

Smoking while looking over the Waikiki Skyline.

  • Price: ~$8
  • Size: 6.5" x 44
  • Wrapper: Connecticut
  • Filler: Dominican
  • Time to completion: ~90 minutes

Smoking Experience:

Some friends and I were out celebrating one of them getting a new job, and after some drinks, we decided to take a walk down to the peer and have a smoke. The cigar was a bit dry for my taste, but burned well. There isn't really a lot to say about it.


This is a very mild smoke. It isn't unpleasant, but can be underwhelming at times, especially when compared to power houses like the Macanudo Maduro Vintage. Overall,I enjoyed the experience, and may smoke this cigar again, but would do so when I want a mild cigar.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: Macanudo Maduro Vintage ‘97

  • Price: ~$12
  • Size: 6 “ x 54
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf (1997 vintage)
  • Filler: Nicaraguan, Brazilian, and Dominican long-filler blend
  • Time to Completion: ~70 minutes

Smoking Experience:

I had planned a nice cigar night with the boys, but due to some unforeseeable circumstances, we had to call it off. I wasn’t about to let that stop me though. I headed out to hunt down the perfect cigar for the night, and this is the cigar my local cigar shot recommended. This was not a unanimous choice among the staff, and I was warned that the last 1/3 might get a little rough, so I headed home, went out to my pool deck to relax under a nice cool Hawaiian night and lit up.

The cigar lit well, burned evenly, and had a nice even draw. Once a little ash built up, the burn cooled a bit and the flavors really came out. The smoke lasted about ~70 minutes before I put it out (it had another 15 minutes of burn time left – but the taste was too strong at this point).


This cigar had fantastic maduro flavors. Smooth and sweet from the start. Nice creamy smoke with slight woody undertones and even some chocolate flavors. The first 2/3s are very smooth. Around the last 1/3 of the smoke there is a dramatic change; it’s almost like smoking a whole new stick. It gets spicy, and it gets there fast. Had it been on its own, it would have been nice, but with the significant contrast from the first 2/3 it was a little unexpected. I put out the cigar with about 1 inch left on it.

Side Note:

The cigar comes with a metal band on it. A few people have asked about it, and its just a metal cigar band to hold the cigar with, but it has a twist. The band only fits properly when the cigar is properly humidified. If the band is really loose, the cigar is too dry.