Since the time of cheap Algerian cigarettes when I was living in Tunisia (roughly $3 a packet for “European” brands) i have gone back to the luxury and enjoyment of fine cigars. I remember trying my first real cigar at my 18th Birthday when a family friend brought around a box of Ritmeester 5’s that at the time were making me and all my friends feel like fat cats #likeaboss. Since then it has been the odd montecristo or Villiger here and there. That was until i realised how luck i was to live a hop skip and a jump from Baranows Cigar Lounge in Hawthorn. A veritable treasure trove and homage to all great cigars, not to mention the place looks and smells fantastic. This is what i’ve been smoking lately, as part of my saturday Cigar and Coffee tradition.
A melange of coffee bean and vanilla flavours, and quite smooth. These 4 inch cigars are my fallback when there’s nothing else in the humidor and are quite inexpensive. I always keep a box around as a backup.
San Lotano Oval Petite Robusto ($21)
A cigar that was recommended to me via the Baranows twitter account, its oval shape intrigues me. I’m not sure what it adds to the cigar, but the end result is quite pleasing. Hints of oak, spice and a feel of chocolate. It’s also a nice size for a good hour of enjoyment. The San Lotano tasting packs at Baranows are also a great way to explore the brand or as a gift(roughly $100 i think)
Nub Maduro 464T ($24.50)
This is by far my favourite cigar of the past 6 months, at first I picked up this cigar from Baranows for its shortness thinking it would be great to have with a coffee down the road at Mario’s. Wal Baranow quickly pointed out that “this baby is full of smoke”, and he was right. Don’t be fooled by its shortness it is packed nice and tight with Nicaraguan tobacco and is a treat to smoke. Spice and chocolate notes fill your mouth and a hint of moist leather. This has been my regular over the past few months and smashes the misconception with first time cigar smokers that Cuban is best.
Cohiba Corono Especiales
When i said there is a misconception that “Cuban is best” i might have jumped the gun a bit, there are some fantastic cuban cigars! What better way to demonstrate this point than with the cigar that Fidel Castro used to smoke. The Cohiba Corona Especiales, a much smaller guage of cigar than what i’m used to and a bit longer at 6 inches. This cigars is very very fine. First created in ’63 these cigars were for Castro, high level government officials and as diplomatic gifts, they have a wonderfully clean flavour with typical Cohiba flavours of cocoa, dark chocolate, light oak and vanilla. They are an absolute joy to smoke. For a communist, Fidel knew how to roll.
If you’ve had some cheap Romeo y Juliet cigars form the 7/eleven, get to down to Baranows or your local cigar merchant and have a chat to them, they will point you in the direction you want to go, and with a few hits and misses you will begin to find some amazing and diverse cigars. Case and point Nicaragua!