Category Archives: Cigars

Cigar Maker Interview: Part Two with Patrick LeFils of Common Roots

If you missed the first half, shame on you!  But, you can find it here.

We’re continuing with our humble guest, Patrick LeFils of Common Roots Cigars.

feliz-2

6. I see you’re now selling cigars through one of the larger distributors. How did that deal work out and has it impacted production? How many cigars do you produce annually?

We have always sold through Cigar International from the start. It is with them, that Common Roots star
ted. We are forever grateful. It allowed us to develop our new lines directed to brick and mortar stores. As for the amount of cigars we make I prefer not to answer that. However, I will say we have doubled production from when we started a little over a year ago.

7. What got you into smoking cigars?

A gentleman and a good friend, John Peters. He is the owner of the Tinderbox in Daytona Beach, FL. He came to a Chef’s Association meeting 13 years ago and introduced me to my first premium cigar. My first premium cigar was a Fuente 8-5-8. I am still a customer of John Peters and our friendship still grows every year.

feliz-by-common-roots8. Do you do anything different in the production of your cigars that sets you apart from other makers? (this is not designed to denigrate anyone, but to show how you are excellent)

The most important thing we do is purchase the best tobacco. The tobacco to me is the most important part. We use some of the best tobacco grown. With that the blending process is easy. I relate the blending process to the 5 mother sauces in the culinary world. There are some standards, but once you know the standards you can make variations using those standards.

9. Who are Common Roots smokers?

Our Common Roots family is a diverse group. It is in this diversity that we celebrate the ideas and concepts that ougl-ocscuror family members bring forward. With this we find our strength and common interests. We get this by enjoying cigars and fellowship.

10. Outside of the Common Roots blend, would you care to give a shout out to cigar makers and blends that you enjoy?

There are many cigars I enjoy outside of my own. Guille Pena, Carlos Sanchez, Karen Berger and Arby Sosa all make fine cigars that I smoke on a regular basis.

 

Connect with Patrick on Facebook.
Find out more at their website.

Cigar Maker Interview Part One: Patrick LeFils of Common Roots

Back in 2015 I had the chance to connect with Patrick LeFils on Facebook to talk about his new blend, Common Roots.  The original release was a mild to medium, all day vitola that could be enjoyed on a regular basis.  The construction was superb as was the taste profile. I’ll have to get some more (need pictures) and put up a review, but for now, fast forward a year later.

We sat down and talked briefly about Common Roots, the future of the cigar industry and a few things.   Mr. LeFils is a humble, open man, like many of the cigar makers I’ve met over the years, and is a credit to the industry.

common-roots-gold-label-oscuro


1. First I’d like to know about the Common Roots brand, what was your purpose in creating this cigar?

The Common Roots brand was created from the roots up. As a chef and rancher i wanted to develop a cigar line that could meet a diverse audience, focusing on the working class. We wanted to meet the quality, price and craftsmanship
that is ask of us from our diverse family.

2. When I first smoked the original release of Common Roots, I found them to be a wonderful, all day cigar. Do you make a stronger cigar?

Cigars by Common Roots - something to unite all who share the same passion!
Cigars by Common Roots – something to unite all who share the same passion!

We have several new cigars that meet those who prefer the full-bodied experience. Our much anticipated Gold Label is a oscuro wrapped cigar is a prime example of a full-bodied cigar. Here at Common Roots however, we don’t associate the full-bodied experience with bitterness. Our Gold Label, although full-bodied will be smooth and rich.

3. What inspired you to become a cigar maker?

I have been involved in the industry for some time at different capacities. As a chef and rancher I always have enjoyed working with my hands. Also as a chef i enjoy creating different flavors and textures. With these two passions combined the cigar industry was a natural fit. I myself have built boxes, blended and am now learning to roll. It is very important to me to be able to participate directly with every part of our Common Roots process.

4. What have you thought of all the changes in the cigar industry? How has that impacted your business?

Well as any cigar manufacturer, I am not pleased with what o

c-r-gold-label
Common Roots Gold Label

ur government is doing to our way of life. It is something that will affect all who are involved with the cigar industry. It saddens my heart as someone who had limited means to start in this industry, that those who follow will find it almost impossible. As someone who pushed together every red cent to create a cigar and continually producing that cigar, it will now be extremely difficult to move ahead as the government takes more money out of my pocket. I am very hard headed however, so we will continue to push forward.

5. You’ve gotten a lot of well deserved good press quickly, how has that made you feel?

I always try to be myself in this industry. It is hard as a company to admit failures and shortcomings. Our company is an open book. It reflected in the family members who we meet in smoke shops, around town and on social media. Without our family members, such as yourself, it would be difficult to meet our failures and enjoy our small victories. There is a song by Tim McGraw entitled “Humble and Kind”. A good portion of that song is an anthem here at Common Roots Cigars.

Stay tuned for part two of the Common Roots Interview coming in a few days!

Connect with Patrick on Facebook.
Find out more at their website.

 

Olivia cigar event at Highland Cigar Company

Oliva display at Highland Cigar Company
Oliva display at Highland Cigar Company

I arrived a little early to scope things out and see what deals were going on. Loving the V and Melanio as a rule, I couldn’t wait to try the master blend I was gifted.

Starting off with a spicy Nub Habano, the flavors are medium and the spice light on the 460. I was stoked to try these when they came out years ago and they are still good now.

There was a large crowd and, a lot of sportsball going on.  I ended up following the Nub Habano up with the Melanio V churchill, because the flavors melded well together with the beer I had that night.

Cigar Review: PROPIO Léon by ACC Cigars

This is a fun review, because I did it in three parts in a video!  This is another release from ACC Cigars – you remember my interviews with Max Myers.

Part Two:

And Part III:

This honestly is, as much as I hate to betray my beloved Platinum (he already got me to betray it with the Tres Maduro haha) at LEAST up there as a favorite of mine.

For other reviews:
Don Cervantes Masterpiece Platinum

Don Cervantes Tres Maduro

Don Cervantes Masterpiece Gold

More about ACC Cigars

Boutique Blends G5 by Rodrigo Cigars

Hola Amigos!

That’s how George Rodrigo, head Amigo at Rodrigo cigars greets his customers.  And I’ve gotta say, I’m glad to be an amigo here.

Rodrigo G5Rodrigo 5X56
The prelight draw coated my mouth with chocolate raisin flavored air.  I suspected this new blend was going to be interesting.  So far, only a few cigars have I had, gave raisin notes – more  likely were dark fruits.
The initial draw is good. Cigar is a little harder than I expected but presentation has no major veins or flaws. Sweet but pronounced wood flavors start the palate off along with almost milk chocolate?
The construction is solid with a mostly even burn.  The line had to be corrected once but after that, it burned well.    The first third showed strong white pepper but that dissipated as the cigar burned down to the second third.
The final third, that’s where that red chili pepper taste emerged, a smokiness that was not boring.

Cigar Spot in Birmingham, MI!

That’s right, you read that correctly.  A cigar bar, aptly named Churchills is located in downtown Birmingham, Michigan.  I don’t know the area very well, but I was out there yesterday for a speaking engagement and upon finishing, decided I’d find a local spot.

IMG_3620One of the women I had talked to had told me she knew a few spots, but this one was probably the one still opened at this hour.  It was after 10 PM when we were heading out.

After a short drive from my hotel, she dropped me off.  I walked in to this rather large space, sort of like Highland Cigar Company, but arranged more with tables and booths, rather than couches.  I have only the one photo of the place, as it was late and I was sleep deprived.

Huge leather chairs decorated the place, along with a sizeable walk in humidor.  It looks more or less like an Ashton sponsored cigar bar.  Decorated with Ashton artwork and ashtrays, a premium selection of Davidoff cigars, among others, the place carried a varied clientele, even at that late an hour.

I sat down and perused the extensive drink menu.  Settled on Founders IPA and a glass of bourbon to finish with while the staff cut and lit my cigar for me.

I was left in relative peace – fine for a newcomer in my current mental state, but for the waiter coming by to tend to my drinks.

Awesome spot overall.

Cigar Review – Nestor Miranda Danno One Life Edition

Nestor Miranda Danno – a Nicaraguan blend with a broadleaf wrapper and pig tail cap.   The cold draw produces flavors of light dark fruit with something mellow, maybe spice?  The wrapper looks a little rough, few IMG_3578veins.  Very dark chocolate color. 
The first few puffs start off with wood flavors-the dark fruit is definitely present along with muted spice. Not that power heavy stuff one gets from cigars from My Father factory.   In fact, I tasted plum on the initial few puffs.
Hints of leather appear along with a stronger sense of black pepper. This is just the first third. It actually paired well with the Laughing Skull beer (IPA) I had that night with it.
Starting the second third, the flavors give way to wood and the spice takes a back seat. The burn was slightly uneven.
The wood notes grow slightly in intensity. The smoke is cool. I was surprised at the construction.  If you’ve seen my rants on FB or twitter, you’ve seen that a number of cigars close to this size I’ve smoked have been duds, a disappointment considering they’re coming from some of my favorite makers.  Regular sizes (Toro, proper Churchill, etc) smoke just fine.
IMG_3579The final third is a mellow version of all the previous spices, chocolate and balanced bitters bonus the deep wood from earlier.  The burn line self corrected. Overall, a well made, tasty release with plenty of complexity from Nestor Miranda.

Cigar Review: Ava Maria George

Ava Maria George’s – starts off with leather and pepper followed by strong baking spice. The cigar has an even draw,producing gray clouds of smokeAva Maria. Around the end of the 1st third the coffee flavors pick up. I expect them to intensify along with the mellowness of the cigar.

The second third brings forth sweet coffee and wood nights, not quite cedar.

The spice returns on the final third – only more intense on the baking spice notes.
Interestingly enough, I found this while researching this cigar.
Ava Maria 2“I find it to be a cigar that has a wonderful strength. Because it’s not overpowering, but it’s not mild.”

– Manuel Quesada (Fonseca)  So that’s cool.  And Mr. Quesada is right.  It has a good strength that doesn’t overpower.  Usually for a cigar of this color leaf, I tend to avoid them, thinking there is way too much wood, but this cigar did not show that at all.  It held more balance in the end.
An even burn with plenty of smoke, gray ash and solid construction made it one I’ll want to have more of in my humidor.

Cigar Review: EP Carillo La Historia

EP Carillo has been making waves in the cigar industry ever since the release of La Gloria Cubana.EP Carillo La Historia

La Historia is no exception.  A firm, light brown wrapper graces the cigar with very few veins.

Starts off with solid wood and Cocoa flavors with light leather in the mix. The first third was consistent until I tasted dark roast coffee flavors.

Next came the nuttiness.  More like an almond sweetness danced beautifully across my tongue and the cigar started to burn unevenly.  A light touch up with matches helped but not much until the final third of the cigar.

La Historia employs a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan long-fillers.  That explains where teh sweetness comes from, and the spice, along with the gentle balance this cigar has.

I pulled off the bands and continued smoking.  I was surprised by light wood flavors and the fact that this cigar didn’t clash with the IPA I had at the time.  An excellent smoke.