Archive Page 2
December 23rd, 2012 by Aizuddin Danian
Recently concluding a large project at work is as good a reason as any to really break out something special. I was visiting one of KL’s best humidors the other day, the Habanos Lobby Lounge, Federal Hotel, and stumbled across a really old box of 10 year old HDM Particulares in coffins. It was an amazing find, there is a story behind the HDM Particulares coffins.
The original HDM Particulares Grand Coronas were produced in 1980 and quickly discontinued in 1987 due to lack of popularity. Those came with the classic HDM maximus band, in boxes of 5 sticks, and did not come in their own coffins. Habanos SA flirted with the idea of bringing back the Particulares in the early-2000s, and even released a EL version with coffins in 2000 (extremely rare cigar nowadays). Premium dark rosado wrappers made the HDM Particulars EL 2000 a very sought after cigar. Then in 2002, a batch was made to bring them back into regular production. The plan to was eventually canned, but the batch made in 2002 were released anyways, and have turned out to be every bit as rare of the EL 2000 version. The 2002 batch sport the new standard HDM band and come in their own coffins.
Continue reading ‘Hoyo de Monterrey Particulares (OSU OCT 02)’
December 8th, 2012 by Aizuddin Danian
We’ve all been there. Sometimes you just get a cigar that can’t be smoked, its plugged. The draw is devilishly hard, smoke volume is low and the extra effort it takes to draw leads to poor technique and subsequently harsh and bitter flavours. It happens. Premium Cuban cigars are 100% made by hand, and there will be some unavoidable variables that lead to construction consistency.
Not all cigars get turned to ash. Some just get thrown away.
It’s rarer nowadays; ever since Altadis, the Franco-Spanish tobacco giant bought into Habanos SA to the tune of 50% ownership in 2000, the quality control techniques Altadis transferred over have been a boon. Before then, Habanos SA didn’t use modern technology to QC their production (amazing how such amazing cigars were still produced consistently), but since then equipment such as draw testing machines have come into the picture and a good sample of every batch of cigars is tested before boxed and sold.
And still we get cigars that are difficult smokes every once in a while. I would estimate prior to 2002 before some of the new techniques became widely used, between 5-10% cigars smoked would have “issues”. Since then, perhaps 1-2%.
Continue reading ‘Saving a plugged cigar, a how-to guide’
December 2nd, 2012 by Aizuddin Danian
Recently, i was invited to the Habanos Lobby Lounge by Kevin Shah for a cigar tasting. He had just returned from the United States after attending the cigar event of the year, Cigar Aficionado’s Las Vegas Big Smoke. He had a bucketload of cigars he needed tasting, and i was more than happy to oblige. Never having a chance to attend a Big Smoke, this was probably the next best thing! Thanks, Kevin, you’re a champ!
The Big Smoke is a place where the cigar companies that market to North America get a chance to show off their latest and greatest cigars. Of course, Cuban cigars are missing from the mix due to the embargo of Cuban products in the United States. But just about everyone else was there: the Alec Bradleys, the Padrons, the Fuentes and many others, new and old, some who are coming to their umpteenth Big Smoke, and others coming for their first. A target rich environment, if there ever was one, for a distributor such as Kevin Shah searching for new products and brands to bring to Malaysia’s shores.
Continue reading ‘Kevin’s Little Big Smoke, a review’
November 20th, 2012 by Aizuddin Danian
This contest was over pretty early, thanks to a really lucky guess by KevinP! Congratulations! Please email your shipping address to me, and i’ll get your prize on it’s way to you.
It’s been great fun keeping this blog, 9 years on strong now. The secret sauce is in the passion — i love cigars, it’s been a great hobby for me for so many reasons, and it’s constantly got something new for me to discover. I’ve made countless friends over a cigar. I’ve sealed business deals over a cigar. I’ve even had love over a cigar. And of course, all my readers here on My Cigar Blog — it’s great to be able to share “the good life” with all of you.
So many highs, it’s been quite a journey. May it long continue, cheers!
November 18th, 2012 by Aizuddin Danian
When the Montecristo brand of Cuban cigars was introduced in 1935, it was listed as a super-premium brand. The Rolls-Royce. The Michelin Star. The Cohiba. Made with the choicest tobaccos, under the watchful eye of Alonso Menéndez, it was a great smoke. Montecristos produced from the 1970s such as the rare Montecristo “B” are collectible cigars now, and will punch a deep hole in your wallet if you go hunting for them.
It’s apt, in a way, that the best selling Cuban cigar, the Montecristo #4, carries the name of such a prestigious brand. Habanos SA doesn’t release any production numbers, but it’s estimated more than 20 million #4s are sold and smoked worldwide every year. That’s a staggering number of cigars, approximately 8% of the total output of the island.
The attraction of the cigar lies in several areas. The first of course is the familiarity with the Montecristo brand. For those in the know, the brand has a distinct flavour profile that is widely loved — woody, medium floral notes, with a burst of dark tea and vanilla spice. For those who are new to Cuban cigars, the name Montecristo is a stroke of branding genius: name your cigar after a wildly popular fictional character, and not just anyone, but a character whose personality oozes charm, power and charisma. No way in hell the cigar isn’t going to do well with that type of name recognition. So if you don’t know anything about Cubans, and don’t want to fork out the premium for the Cohiba (Cuba’s other ubiquitous brand), then you’re likely to choose Montecristo.
Continue reading ‘Cuba’s #1 Cigar: Montecristo #4 (ABR 2011)’