Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente King B Saturday, Dec 29 2007 

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Sungrown Rosado
Filler: Dominican
Size: Belicoso 6.0″ x 55 ring

Finally, I feel well enough to enjoy a good cigar. So I figure it’s time to catch up on some reviews. I was hoping to get a review done in December. I managed to sneak it in at the wire. I’m starting with a top shelf cigar from CigarsDirect.com

Here is yet another hard to find Fuente cigar. One begins to wonder why so many of their smokes are “hard to find”? But I’ll leave it at that before I end up running off on a tangent. The King B is a handsome looking Belicoso. Hidden beneath a cedar sleeve with a black ribbon on the foot is a beautiful Sungrown Rosado wrapper. Reddish brown in color, the wrapper has a few veins running through it but is otherwise unblemished. There is a story that has been recounted in several places where Carlos Jr. tells the story of the King B and how it came to be as well as how it got it’s name. It is apparently named after an old tavern in Yarbor City that his father used to frequent. The Tavern is gone now but will be remembered for a long time now that this cigar bears its name. Carlos Jr. also said the reason for making this cigar in this shape was because he felt the Chateau Fuente line was in need of a pyramid. Maybe I’m mistaken, but I thought the Cuban Belicoso (only available in a sungrown wrapper), which has been around longer than the King B, was part of the Chateau Fuente line so I’m not sure why he thought they didn’t have one. Don’t suppose it matters so on to the smoke.

It’s been my experience that cigars wrapped in a cedar sleeve tend to have that cedar take a prominent place in the aroma and flavor of the cigar and it was no different with the King B. The aroma was predominately cedar with a solid tobacco undertone both pre-light and when it was burning. The tapered head clipped nicely and the foot took the flame perfectly. The burn was excellent. Fuente cigars always score big in the construction department. The have very well put together cigars. The ash was firm and well formed and the cigar produced clouds of thick white smoke. The King B starts off very cedary with a slightly sweet spice on the finish. The cedar was always present but as the smoke progressed the cedar mixed with earth and a bit of black pepper. I found this to be a medium bodied smoke. The flavors are pleasant and fairly smooth making it an accessible and enjoyable smoke for most cigar smokers. I really like the Belicoso shape and while this was a very good cigar, my personal tastes put my preference with the Fuente Cuban Belicoso. I find the Cuban Belicoso to be a slightly more robust cigar with more interesting flavors. Plus it is a little easier to find than the King B, but only a little easier. The King B is certainly worth a try and if your tastes tend to gravitate toward medium rather than full bodied or mild cigars than you may find this cigar to be a favorite.

Get yours at CigarsDirect.com: Arturo Fuente King B

Rating – B+

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A Contest for you Cigar Reviewers Thursday, Dec 20 2007 

If you like to write about your cigars surf on over to Cigar Inspector. They are holding a cigar review contest. I believe it will end on or around the 14th of January. I hope I’m over this cold in time to do a review for it. You can win a very nice ST Dupont X-Tend lighter if your review is selected as the winner.

The Unplanned Break Thursday, Dec 20 2007 

I, being a man of questionable judgment, take a voluntary break from smoking cigars at least once a year.  I usually do this around July or August and the break lasts about 30 days.  I have talked about this break before here.  This year, I have had an unplanned and involuntary break thrust upon me by an almost comical and unbelievable series of maladies that have befallen me.  I owe a big thanks to my children and the daycare they attend for this unwelcome hiatus.  It started in mid November and has stretched up to this day and I am still not well enough to have a smoke.  First I was hit with a small cold that developed into one of the worst and most painful sinus infections I have ever had.  No sooner did I start to get over that before my son brought home a lovely little GI bug that had me dry heaving for hours after my stomach finally emptied.  The effect of that bug lingered in the form of an annoying but seemingly harmless cough.  Harmless that is until it turned into a case of bronchitis that has been having me coughing up a lung for the past two weeks.  I feel like I am finally on the up swing, but am still coughing pretty regularly.  Thanks to some cough syrup with Vicodin that the doc gave me, I am at least getting some good sleep.

Anyway, this month long battle with illness has gotten me way behind on cigar reviews.  Both the reviews I’ve committed to for CigarsDirect.com and the cigars I wanted to review from my own collection.  On the bright side of all this, once I am able to smoke again, I have a line up of what should be some stellar cigars to smoke.

Appalachian State Makes History Saturday, Dec 15 2007 

As an App State grad I couldn’t be prouder of my school’s football team. The Appalachain State Mountaineers just made history tonight by winning their 3rd, that’s right… 1, 2, 3 … 3rd National Championship in a row in football. They played a great game against the University of Delaware and thanks to a somewhat unusual good game from the defense, they allowed 30 something points in each of the previous playodff games, App State dominated the game and won by an impressive score of 49-21. Three Championships in a row has never been done before at this level (FCS, formerly 1-AA) of college football.

RESPECT YOSEF!!!!

Go App State!!! Wednesday, Dec 12 2007 

Appalachian State University

My Alma mater tries to win its third National Championship in football this Friday. It is the highest level of college football in which you can win a legit national championship. Appalachian State plays Division I football in the FCS subdivision (formerly 1-AA). The BCS (1-A) isn’t a real championship. It is a beauty pageant where computers tell people who to vote for to decide a winner.

Any way… No one has ever won three national championships in a row at this level of college football so this will be history in the making. The Delaware Fighting Blue Hens (Hens? Is this an all girl school?) are in for a genuine @$$whooping. The Mountaineers are having chicken for Dinner Friday night in Chattanooga. I tried as hard as I could to get tickets, but it just proved to be too expensive. All the students bought up the tickets which are all $20 face value. They were selling for upwards of $150 to $200 a ticket on the auction sites. In the end it was just to expensive so I’ll have to cancel my hotel reservation and make plans to watch it at home. Disappointing for sure but I am still excited to see the game.

Go App!!!!!!!!!!!

Support Your Local Tobacconist Friday, Dec 7 2007 

My house (which contains two young children that attend daycare/preschool) has had a rough time with illnesses in the past few weeks. I myself was hit by two bugs in a row and that has put me way behind on my cigar reviews. I feel I am on the upswing but it may be a week or so before I get another review done. This got me to thinking what I could do on the blog in the mean time because the interval since my last post has been a bit longer than I usually like it to be. I have been reading all my favorite bogs while I’ve been under the weather. Cigar Jack has been running an interesting feature on his blog in which he reviews cigar manufacturers’ websites. It’s an excellent idea and I have enjoyed reading the articles. His recent post about the Perdomo website indirectly sparked a bit of inspiration for this post to help fill the void until I can smoke again.

Internet Cigar Retailers and the Local Brick & Mortar Tobacconists.

The business of selling cigars over the internet is a big one. There are a large number of HUGE internet cigar retailers that move a lot of product for the cigar manufacturers. That’s because there are a lot of cigar smokers out there who hit the internet looking for a good price on their favorite smokes. And why not? Right? Everyone likes to save a buck. Most of us aren’t rich enough to go blowing money without pause or concern, and the fact is a lot of rich guys are rich because they know how to save (and spend) money. The fact is the best prices on cigars are almost always to be found on the internet. The internet vendors have a lot of built in advantages over the local B&M shops. Often people can purchase cigars and avoid large local tobacco taxes. They have huge humidors that can house enormous selections and they have the audience to support such diversity in product. That large audience also leads to large volumes of sales which in turn earn the internet vendors leverage with the manufacturers to get price breaks and exclusive lines made just for their businesses. All things that help them keep prices down, and selection up. There is also a convenience factor with ordering online. These are all things the little local shop has a hard time competing with. I would ask that you not forget about your local shop and give them your business whenever possible.

I’m not trying to vilify the internet vendors. The internet vendors are great. They provide us with access to cigars we may otherwise be unable to get. There are times when you are going to buy online. The reasons are varied and I won’t enumerate them all here. Everyone’s reasons may be a little different. Maybe you don’t have a local shop to go to. Well, then you need the internet guys and God Bless them for being there for those of you in that situation. A prime example for me is CigarsDirect.com. Obviously I use them. The God of Fire cigars I posted pictures of in an earlier post were purchased from CigarsDirect. My local shop will most likely never have God of Fire in stock, nor Opus X much to the owner’s frustration. CigarsDirect is great for that hard to find stuff. My local also doesn’t stock Padilla because they don’t sell well but I like some of their lines. To get that stuff I have to go online. I am not suggesting we should stop using internet vendors. Internet vendors and local tobacconists can co-exist. Like I said, I’ve used online shops in the past. I’ll use them in the future. I am just asking that you not forget local tobacconist. Give them your business whenever you can even if it means paying a little more. Here’s why…

Your local cigar shop is selling you more than just a cigar, or cutter, or humidor, etc. You’ll notice above I said you will often find the best prices online. What I did not say is that you’ll find the best deals online. In my opinion. your best deal is most often at your local shop. How’s that you wonder? You can get your favorite cigar cheaper online you say? That may be true but in my opinion it’s not necessarily the best deal and here is why.

When you buy a cigar at your local cigar shop you are getting a lot more than just a cigar. You are also [usually] getting a place where you can go to sit and smoke and enjoy your cigars. Even before these smoking bans started sweeping the country it was hard for a cigar smoker to find a place in public where he could go to smoke a cigar. [I could write five pages on the hypocrisy of allowing cigarettes and not cigars but that’s not what this article is about]The local cigar shop has always filled this function nicely. In a lot of cases it does so especially well. If you have a really good local shop there is often a TV with a game on and a fridge in the back with some drinks in it. Combine that with a comfortable chair or cushy leather couch and you’re on cloud nine. Sounds good right? But wait there’s more! If you call now and mention this TV offer we will throw in… Sorry. I think Billy Mays, the OxyClean guy possessed me for a moment. But you do get more than just a place to smoke. You get a whole community of cigar smokers and experts to talk and interact with. A lot of local shops have a group of “regulars” that hang out around the shop. That combined with what is hopefully a knowledgeable staff in the store combines to make a great community of guys and gals that you can socialize with and discuss cigars with. One of the greatest aspects of this hobby is the social component. Cigar smoking and collecting is a very social activity, especially if you want it to be. I have spent many a Wednesday night at my local shop smoking cigars a shooting the bull with the great guys who frequent the place. We watch sporting events, and talk about cigars, women, family, work, politics, spirits, food, etc, etc., etc… You get the idea. It’s just a great time. That is what, in my mind, justifies paying a slightly higher price for my smokes. I want to send as much of my business to my local shop as I can, because I would hate to lose it. I want to make sure that I do my part to keep that place there so I can continue to enjoy the friends and community that it provides. The great thing about these communities that build around these shops is that they are so easy to become a part of. Membership to the club is open to anyone who wants to come in and take a seat. Cigar smokers are some of the friendliest and most accepting people I know. When I started hanging out at my local shop, I didn’t know anyone there. I just showed up one night, sat down and joined in the conversation. Years later I still go out there most weeks (two kids since I started going there has made me a little less of a regular attendee) and enjoy the company of guys I now call my friends.

I glossed over it a bit when I started talking about community, but the staff of the cigar shop is another big part of this. A shop with a friendly knowledgeable staff should not be taken for granted. In fact, you should make a point to make use of them. Talk to the staff and get to know them and let them get to know you. They are on the “inside” of the industry. They often have lots of news and background info on the different cigars and manufacturers that is fun to hear about. Also, if they get to know you and what you smoke, they can often help point you in the direction of some great cigars that you may have never otherwise discovered on your own. The staff of your local tobacconist is a great resource and one that you should take advantage of. The face-to-face service they can provide you while you are in their store really is valuable. The guys working at my local shop have even introduced me to some of the sales reps for the manufacturers. Those guys are great to talk to as well. Sometimes they’ll even hand you some free swag or cigars after talking with you. I have been lucky enough to become friends with some cigar reps. I really enjoy talking cigars with these guys. They know their stuff and are full of great stories.

Frequenting my local cigar shop has enhanced my enjoyment of cigars and this hobby in an almost immeasurable way. The same could happen for you. I hope I’ve shown how you really do get more than just a cigar with the money you spend with your local tobacconist. That’s what makes the price a good deal. Keep those favorite online vendors bookmarked. You’ll need them on occasion. Just be sure to go out to your local shop, buy and cigar, sit down and light up. Don’t get too wrapped up in what the price of the cigar is. What you get for that extra dollar you spend on the cigar is money well spent. In fact, it may be the best deal on a cigar that you’ll find.

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