We recently did an interview with Max Myers of ACC Holdings, the owner that produces Don Cervantes Cigars. This brand is making a debut in the US on the West coast sometime in November, starting with the Bay Area (lucky me!) and if you have the opportunity, make sure to pick up a few sticks.
First off, let’s set the scene. I met Max at The Occidental in San Francisco hoping to get a quiet spot for an interview for Pure Indulgence. That sort of happened. Thank goddess for a quality mic. Anyway, I ordered the Chateau Souverain 2009 Merlot.
First off, the wine.
This Merlot starts off with fruit with just enough tannins though I prefer more. It’s a light bodied yet easy drinking merlot that reminded me of velvety smooth refinement perfect for the cigars which I were about to smoke. With a medium finish, the wine is clearly a winner.
It gets better.
I lit up the Don Cervantes Masterpiece Platinum, a maduro wrapped cigar that has been fermented for almost a year and aged another 7-10 years (depending on variety of breed within the cigar) before rolling. The proper care of the tobacco makes a huge difference in all aspects of the cigar and it’s blatantly evident in the Masterpiece Platinum. Upon lighting the cigar, I noticed instantly pleasant aromas of tobacco and spice that welcomed themselves without being overly aggressive. The En Tubado bunching method of rolling cigars makes for an impressive picture but more importantly, a tight ash that holds well enough together that the cigar can literally stand on ash. I’ve only done this with the NUB cigars as they’re short and stout. A tight white ash compliments the look by holding onto the cigar for at least an inch if not more.
Flavor profile on the first third developed into a little more complexity as the cigar burned. It had an easy draw compared to the Tres Maduro (review to follow) also by Don Cervantes. The cigar paired beautifully with the Chateau Souverain such that the flavors of both the cigar and wine melded together to enhance my experience and enjoyment of both.
During the last third of the cigar, hints of pure cinnamon appeared, adding a delightful taste to the deepening chocolate and cocoa taste of this cigar.
Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll be discussing more wines and returning to Don Cervantes cigars to discuss their cigars. I hope to have pictures soon and when the interview with Max Myers goes up on Radio Dentata you’ll be the first to know!
With all the new bullshit legislation coming down on cigar and pipe smokers, we’re left looking at each other with unlit vitolas in hand, stress on our shoulders and a crumbling economy. The problem has become so bad that many retailers are scrambling to find new ways to generate revenue -ways which are ultimately going to drive away business.
One of the shops I’ve visited has a policy whereby customers must purchase $25 worth of merchandise in order to enjoy ONLY two hours with one other person in the shrunken smoking lounge. They shrunk the lounge to make more room for product that’s NOT cigar/tobacco oriented.
This policy took effect recently and has already shown itself to be harmful. Many of the regulars have stopped coming to smoke there and will find other places to hang out, if those places can be found. In San Francisco, we’re limited to the Occidental, 850 Montgomery Cigar Bar and that’s it.
Things continue to worsen. The bar around the corner has a sign up in the “smoking” section that says no cigars, no pipes, no weed ya’ll. I agree on the latter but the former two? I’m a cigar smoker, a pipe smoker and now will be taking my money elsewhere as I search for a cigar friendly place to relax.
In the first case, I understand the need to generate revenue in a brick and mortar store located in state with high as hell tobacco taxes. Legislation has shut down many of the businesses that support cigar and pipe smokers, leaving less revenue on the table. This may all seem like whining from a minority group but the last time I checked, this was AMERICA.
In ultra liberal California I’m no longer allowed to smoke cigars on the community balcony. So far the manager has said shit about me smoking my pipe on the front steps.
So what is the answer for shops with shrinking revenue? Even with unlimited funds I couldn’t justify going to a shop every day to smoke and having to spend a minimum amount, which makes it seem like I’m carrying the shop. And the feelings a lot of folks have expressed have been less than stellar.
This cigar starts off with lighter aromas and flavor than the Patel Bros. and the Decade. With a dark brown wrapper that provides medium flavors of earth and espresso, the draw is tight but there is plenty of aromatic smoke.
I’d say for fans of RP cigars, start off here before hitting the Edge. It’s not an ass kicker of a cigar but it’s definitely delicious 🙂
Thanks to Timothy Wong of Rocky Patel for the smoking experience! Be sure to check out the interview we did with him on Pure Indulgence
Once a cigar smoker begins to expand their palate and get away from Macanudo, they’ll invariably find their way to Arturo Fuente. The Fuente line as I’ve mentiond before is a great line for beginners as well as more experienced cigar smokers due to price and quality.
Typical of the Arturo Fuente Churchill cigars are soft flavors of cream from the cameroon wrapper with hints of spice. The construction is superb. A nice tight ash holds well for about an inch before dropping off.
A thick light gray cloud of smoke billows from the cigar, helping the newly accustomed cigar smoker relax and ponder the hard work put into the cigar by the Fuente Family. Medium in finish, the cigar is consistent all the way to the last third where the flavor changes slightly and warms up a bit. The Arturo Fuente Churchill wil last about anhour and a half.
I do reccomend Arturo Fuente’s cigars as a way for beginners to experience the finer pleasures of life.
With a beautiful eye catching Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, the Rocky Patel Decade is a blast of flavor from one of the newer voices in the Cigar Industry. Rocky Patel’s attempt to create a cigar commemorating ten years in this business is one that doesn’t disappoint. Not as full bodied as the Patel Bros, but just as tasty, the Decade starts off with a pleasing aroma of coffee. Flavors that linger on the palate include light earthiness that carry all the way to the nub.
Plenty of smoke emits from this finely constructed cigar. I won’t bother mentioning the glowing reviews this cigar gets but they are present for a reason.
I’m beginning to see some of the trademark tastes of these cigars and the others I smoke. More on that later.
This tiny vitola packs a lot of flavor as did the Work of Art from the Hemingway Line by Arturo Fuente. The Perfecto shape signifies a skilled roller as does the one inch ash that clings after being lit. Notes of sweet cedar compliment a medium finish that lasts all the way to the nub.
I will be honest, this being the first one I’ve smoked, it burned a little hot. Paired with water, the Arturo Fuente Short Story was a little bitter on the prelight but had delicious aromas and a consistent taste just as it’s little brother, the Work of Art.
For new cigar smokers, this is an excellent way to get into a new habit that promotes relaxation, good flavor and only takes roughly 30-45 minutes of time. Once you try the Short Story you’ll quickly find yourself wanting more. Pair with a sweeter bourbon such as the Four Roses
One of the newest cigar makers the industry at the time when I first picked up smoking cigars was Rocky Patel. He’d left his career as a lawyer and found a much better following and probably more success in the cigar industry by making his own cigars. Most folks probably know him for the Edge, a full flavored vitola only for “professional smokers.” Quality on these cigars was astounding and the price was unbeatable.
Shortly after the release of the Edge, Patel launched the 10 year and 12 year blends which were an instant hit due to consistent flavor and great rankings from Cigar Aficionado. Personally I tend to like the 12 year 1990 in a Churchill form for maximum smoking pleasure.
I had the opportunity to try out the Rocky Patel Patel Bros yesterday and I have to say it’s a wonderful stick. A gorgeous dark maduro Pennsylvanian broadleaf wrapper adds flavor and power to this unique Nicaraguan binder and filler. The cigar starts off with robust, spicy and somewhat overpowering flavors that meld into dark roasted coffee notes.
The second third of this cigar mellows even further with toasty earth and mild spice while allowing a perfect draw throughout. The ash held on for about a half inch, indicating flawless construction. A medium to full finish on the palate reminded me of the Casa Magna blend, only a little more complex.
For those interested, this is the first cigar released that was a collaboration between Rocky and his brother Nish. The two for some time wanted to create a special cigar and this is definitely one that continues the legacy of Rocky Patel.
We’ll cover this cigar and a little more about it on an upcoming episode of Pure Indulgence, found only on Radio Dentata. Don’t forget that we did have the opportunity to speak with Tim Wong of Rocky Patel for almost an hour and as soon as the podcast link is up, you’ll find it first here!
This is definitely a treat of a cigar for those who want something extra special in their humidors. At just over four inches, this 35 minute smoke packs a ton of flavor. Great construction with a tight white ash that held firm. The taste was smooth and silky, but not as sensual as the Padron 1964. Still a treat, especially when paired with Glenfiddich 12 year.
On June 16th the event at Grants kicked off with music, alcohol provided by Shakers Vodka and of course Pete Johnson himself, showing up to help work the register, talk to fans about his cigars and of course smoke. Pete’s an amazingly open man and a lot of fun to talk to about a TON of things.
Of course the Grants Burlesque Cigar Girls were on hand smoking in more than one way 😉
I picked up a four pack consisting of the la riqueza no 2, cabaiguan robusto, el triunfador and the Havana VI Nobles. I also scored a few petite tatuajes. Those little smokes are FULL of flavor (Thanks Reggie) for their size. I was also able to purchase one of the red tubed Tatuajes I’ve yet to smoke but had Pete sign.
As I said, the man is full of knowledge about the cigar industry. His journey into this world will be covered in a future interview on Pure Indulgence, complete with tasting notes about the Espirite de Verite(sp) I smoked the next day.
Owner Joe Barron kept it fresh with dope tunes he spun from his personal eclectic collection while the folks form SHakers poured martinis. I did a review here
I’m still waiting on a few pics from Mason 😛
There was a lot of fun had, the shop was packed and I think many more people know about Grants AND the tasty Tatuajes.