Marc’s Picks: Bolivar Presidente Swiss Regional Production 2013

I was having a chat with Marc of CigarOne.com fame recently, and we were talking about what cigar i should smoke. I’ve been smoking a lot of “regular rolls” lately: mainstays such as the HDM Epic #2, PSD4 and Cohiba Robusto. Nothing really interesting has come across my smoke palette recently, until Marc suggested the Bolivar Presidente Swiss Regional Production 2013. I said why not, always willing to take a punt on the recommendations of a fellow Brother of the Leaf.

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When it arrived, i was intimidated by the size of the thing. I’m no stranger to large cigars, of course, but it’s always striking to see one up close, especially from a brand like Bolivar that isn’t well known for its large vitolas. A robusto extra, 54 ring gauge, and 150mm long, that’s a huge amount of tobacco.

It’s easy to mess up the roll for a large cigar. I’ve seen my share of large Cuban cigars that were either underfilled, or not rolled tightly enough — both will cause problems for the burn and the draw of the cigar. But not the Presidente: it had the perfect amount of firmness, and just by touching the cigar, i knew that this was going to be a good smoke.

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Cohiba Lanceros LBT OCT 09

This post could otherwise be titled, “The best cigar i’ve ever smoked but never reviewed on My Cigar Blog… until now.”

I’ve had Lanceros’ quite a number of times over the years, but never in a situation where it would have been suitable or possible to do a proper review. People will give them to me at herfs and parties. Or at after dinner events, over drinks and good company. Or i would find myself out and about somewhere, i’d walk into a cigar store, pick up a Lanceros then smoke it as i continued whatever i was doing. In all these situations, the cigar was purely for enjoyment, i didn’t have a camera with me, and i wasn’t taking notes.

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Thus, after more than a dozen years, such a long and lovely love affair with this most elegant of Cuban cigars, i never wrote about her.

Yes, all other cigars are male. This one, the Lanceros, is a female. Not just any lady, but Amanda Seyfried type of beautiful.

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Hoyo de Monterrey Grand Epicure EL 2013

It was an excellent herf: a good bunch of people, a good restaurant with good food, and an outstanding offering of cigars. Nothing much else could have been better.

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Kevin Shah‘s new place, “Holy Smoke”, opened a few weeks ago. Themed after the cigars he loves so much, the decor of the place is amazing: there are a couple of Harley Davidson’s lying around, and the walls are packed with cigar memorabilia — rare prints, cigar photographs, and old Habanos brand labels. It’s like being transported into world’s most obsessed cigar den! Check out the photographs of the place (FB album).

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Arturo Fuente in ASIA!

There are very few cigars brands that i smoke outside of the Cuban marques. This is not to mean that non-Cuban cigars are bad or poor. This just means that i rarely have the chance to smoke non-Cubans and from the small sampling that i have tried, i only really like a few. It’s a matter of opportunity and taste, that’s all.

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The two non-Cuban brands i have had the pleasure of sampling extensively have been the Padrons and the Arturo Fuentes. You’ll find a good number of reviews for both here on My Cigar Blog (Padron reviews | Arturo Fuente reviews).

Padrons i am able to purchase whenever i want at great prices and selection at WTF, a local divan. But Fuentes have been elusive, and when available (locally, the Habanos Lobby Lounge has a good selection), tend to be very expensive.

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Cigar Technique: The Finger Roll

IMG_9084 - Joy Villa, firestarter

There are several techniques a person needs to master in order to ensure they obtain maximum enjoyment from their cigar. They are:

  1. The Cut
  2. The Light
  3. The Draw
  4. The Finger Roll
  5. The Denouement

One of the chief gripes i get from friends and through readers of My Cigar Blog concerns the consistency of their cigar. Why does the cigar taste good in the beginning, then taste bad towards the end? Why does the cigar “canoe” (burn unevenly)? Why does the cigar get hot in my hands? Why does the cigar taste like ashes? Why does the smoke burn my lips/palate?

The answers to these questions lie in the 5 techniques above. The one most often overlooked and misunderstood is #4 — The Finger Roll.

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