Back during those halcyon days when I first took up cigar smoking as a serious endeavor I did not put too much energy into figuring out how I was going to store my extra stogies. And, in truth, there wasn’t much of a need for an elaborate humidor since I didn’t keep many cigars on hand.
Inevitably, my stock of cigars grew. A few years ago I purchased my first honest-to-goodness humidor. It was a cheap thing though, something that is really only good for protecting remote controls from the basic instincts of the adolescent Labrador. Fortunately that is the only function I can find for that humidor nowadays.
After a couple of months trying to regulate the humidity level in a substandard humidor I decided to bite the bullet and buy a cigar humidor; not a remote control humidor or an extraneous junk humidor, but a cigar humidor.
Setting out on the task of purchasing my first big guy humidor I had a couple of needs to fill.
- Storage Space: It had to be be big enough to hold about 100 cigars. This is enough to get me through a month with a couple of sticks to spare.
- Aesthetics: Pleasing to the eyes but not garish. Ideally, the humidor would have an elegantly simple design to it.
- Dividers: This could be in the form of a tray or one of those pressure fitting dividers or, ideally, both.
- Safety: Mainly to keep the prying hands of my young cousins out of my humidor.
I also thought it would be nice (and look good) if the lid was partially made out of glass. This way I could peek into my humidor without having to open it and disrupt the climate.
During my search I happened upon a number of stylish humidors but there was just something wrong with each of them. The color may have been a little light, no glass top, no shelf, or, what was really a sticking point for me, those humidors were just too expensive. Then I happened upon a great looking humidor with a fair price: the Pompeii Humidor at Famous Smoke, which you can see on the left side of this post.
As you can see it is a beautiful cigar humidor. It has a hygrometer installed in the front, a lock (with a tassel no less!), a tray and a divider. Plus it holds up to 100 cigars. Personally, I put my important (read: expensive) cigars on the tray so that whenever I peer through the glass I get excited about smoking another cigar.
I have had this cigar humidor for a while now and I have no complaints. It’s perfect for where I am at in my cigar smoking career and it is also a pretty good conversation piece. Even when the situation necessitates the purchase of another, much larger, humidor I will always have a place for this one.
Well, there you have it. You now know which humidor I use how about telling us which humidor you use.
Alright, I know, we’re two weeks into the new year, a new decade even, and the time for Top 10s has passed. Well, you’re going to have to make room for one more because I have done one as well.
What follows is my Top 10 most memorable, enjoyable, amazing cigars that I smoked last year. I decided to make my Top 10 all about the highest scoring cigars that I smoked but, rather, the cigars that scored well and were special to me for some reason or another. Price is a small consideration in this list but quality is what is most important.
And now I humbly submit to you my Top 10 Cigars of 2009.
This cigar is awesome. I only gave it 89 points but, once you consider the price point, it’s a steal. For less than $4.00 (if you buy a box of 30) you will get a little bomb of flavor.
The Perdomo Reserve 10th Anniversary Maduro Robusto is a fine cigar. Medium bodied with chocolate and earthy flavors. Maybe not enough complexity but a joy to smoke nonetheless.
I was walking through a local cigar shop, saw this cigar at what turned out to be a hefty markup (thanks to the California taxes, I’m sure) and decided to pick it up. After all, it was the top cigar at Cigar Aficionado in 2008. And it is good but not mind blowingly good. The Casa Magna Colorado Belicoso has spice, wood and nuts as the main flavors. Definitely worth it considering the price.
A torpedo, the CAO L’Anniversaire Maduro Belicoso, was a wonderful blend of earth and chocolate. Loads of flavor and enough complexity with this cigar to make it very enjoyable. I have been meaning to pick up some of these again and now that it’s officially in my Top 10 I don’t see why I shouldn’t.
I started out smoking the Gran Reserva line of Fuentes and because of that they will always hold a special place in my heart. Even though I don’t consider the normal Fuente line to be anything special anymore this one was a home run for me. I loved everything about it.
When I smoked the Man O’ War Ruination Robusto No. 1 I wasn’t expecting a whole lot. The original Man O’ War line was a fine cigar and I was thinking I was going to get something along those lines, maybe a little better. Boy was I wrong. Yeah, it was full bodied but it had a lot of flavor and depth to it as well; something I thought was lacking from the original line.
The Tatuaje Miami Reserva J21 is simply a great cigar. Tons of complex flavors from beginning to end with this one. Need I say more?
The Padron Anniversary Series Monarca is a special cigar. Tons of full bodied flavor oozes from this cigar. If only the second half had been as good as the first half I bet this cigar would have been my favorite cigar of the year. And, ironically, it was the first cigar I smoked in 2009. Nothing like starting off with a bang!
This cigar, the Fuente Fuente Opus X Belicoso XXX, received my highest score this year with 96 points and the only reason why it’s not going to be number one is because of the price. $26.00 is a lot to pay for a cigar that is less than five inches long but you have to give the Devil its due with this one. It really is a special cigar and its flavor profile matches up with what I like extraordinarily well.
Smoking the Camacho Triple Maduro 50/4.5 was Heavenly for me. This is the one cigar that I go back to as often as I can and, even though I gave a higher mark to the Opus X, that is why it’s my top cigar for 2009.
Like everything that Camacho makes, it looks good. No discernible imperfections and it is evenly packed. I am smoking the 50/4.5 vitola for this review. What makes this cigar different from most other cigars is that it uses maduro tobacco for the wrapper, binder and the filler. Take a look at the Camacho Triple Maduro page.
It starts out really spicy and then things settle down. Spice, wood, some sweetness, earthiness and cocoa all blend wonderfully together. It’s a full bodied cigar that has a great draw and an even burn.
I had smoked a couple of these before and I have a couple more in my humidor, so I’ll be doing a complete review of this cigar in the next couple of months. Based off of what I have already experienced from this cigar I can safely say that it is awesome. The Camacho Triple Maduro has tons of flavor, a lot of strength, and its fundamentals are spot on. If you can, pick up some of these.
Alright, I’ve got to admit that I have been wanting to smoke an Opus X for a very long time but, since the price is so exorbitant, I had resisted the urge to splurge. That, as you will see in the following review, was a mistake. By the way: A big thanks to Cigars Direct for this cigar.
Frankly, when you have a cigar that costs as much as this you expect greatness. And yet, the wrapper is anything but great. There are a couple of holes in the wrapper and there are also a couple of stretch marks as well.
Beyond that, however, it is great. Very oily, rich color to it, and the cap looks perfectly constructed, which, based off some of the other torpedoes I have seen, is no small feat. It’s tightly packed.
Length: 4 5/8″
Ring Gauge: 49
Wrapper: Dominican Republic
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Frankly, my dear, I no longer give a damn about the wrapper because the first few puffs have been sublime. Loads of spice and leather are evident on my tongue and through the nose. Perfect draw and definitely full bodied. Wow!
There may be a hint of licorice in the background, which adds nicely to the complexity of this cigar. There is also a magnificent toasted flavor. Everything is just going swimmingly with this cigar.
It’s amazing just how alive the flavors are. Tons of billowing, creamy smoke. Smoking this cigar is making my mouth water. This has got to be one of my all-time favorite cigars because I hate putting it down. I just can’t wait for the next puff! The only drawback I can think of with this cigar is that it is so short. It fits my tastes perfectly and it is definitely one of my top favorites.
It was a great night full of amazing food, out-of-this-world bourbon and surprisingly good cigars (I like Punch cigars but they just seemed significantly better Thursday night. I’m sure it had something to do with the setting.). Here is what I had at The Cellar:
Evan Williams Single Barrel – The world’s only vintage-dated Single Barrel Bourbon and is one of the world’s most acclaimed whiskeys. The first American Whiskey ever to win The Spirit Journal’s Whiskey of the Year award.
Elijah Craig 18 yr. old – The oldest Single Barrel Bourbon in the world at 18 years, Elijah Craig Single Barrel is a rare marvel of whiskey-making.
Parker’s Heritage 27 yr. old – Simply one of the oldest bourbons on the market. This smooth spirit features silky and sweet nose with hints of caramel and vanilla. The taste is amazingly balanced and smooth…sweet without being too sweet…and dry without being too dry!
The Cigars – Punch
The original Punch cigar was created in 1840 by a Cuban cigar manufacturer named Manuel Lopez. In an effort to attract the British market, he named the cigar after Mr. Punch, the cantankerous half of the Punch and Judy puppet shows.
Punch Champion Natural – bold, full-bodied taste with a wrapper that is Ecuadoran Sumatra. Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Dominican (Piloto Cubano). Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf. 90 pts cigar insider.
Punch Rare Corojo Magnum – these cigars are made with extra rich, dark Sumatra wrapper leaves that are grown in the mountains of Ecuador. Medium to full bodied. 92 pts cigar insider smooth, earthy, slightly sweet flavors of clay, charcoal, stewed meat, and raisins.
Dinner – By Executive Chef David Kelser
Seared Ahi Tuna served under a spicy Mango salsa and fresh micro greens
Ratatouille veloute with Pesto croutons and crème fraiche
Slow roasted Short Ribs over herbed Polenta and Shallot-Thyme Jus
Chocolate-Espresso soup with Vanilla Ice cream, Fresh Berries and Pistachio crisp
I was lucky enough to have a man from Heaven Hill’s Distillery at my table – an entertaining fellow who I am extremely jealous of. Wouldn’t it be great to have a job selling such amazing libations as the ones we had? Of course it would!
My favorite cigar was the Punch Champion Natural. It’s a perfecto with a good amount of kick to it. My only regret is that I smoked it first because I am certain it would have mixed much better with the older bourbons. As far as regrets go this is but a pittance. The cigar definitely belongs in the 91-93 point range.
Everyone at the table was great. They were all extremely accomplished men and the stories and jokes they told were a lot of fun. Before I continue with my Saturday I need to thank my professor, John Jackson, for inviting me. That cigar dinner was a great way to cap off my birthday. Thanks JJ!