2012 Basketball Challenge Monday, Mar 12 2012 


It is time for CIgars Direct’s annual bracket challenge and there are some great prizes again this year.  Just click the link below…

Prizes this year:


Place Product Retail Cost
1st 2011 Ltd Ed. Fuente Story Humidor – Red Sycamore $2299.95
2nd 2011 Opus X Fuente Charity Box $1199.95
3rd Opus X Double Robusto Box of 42
4th Opus X Robusto Box of 29
5th Anejo No. 77 “The Shark” Box of 20
6th VSG Wizard Box of 37
7th Padron 1964 Torpedo Natural Box of 20
8th Hemingway Classic Box of 25 $257.95
9th Casa Magna Diademas  Box of 22 $241.92
10th Opus X Perfecxion X 1992 Rare Estate Reserve 3 Cigars $99.95

Eddie Abbott – A True BOTL Sunday, Jan 16 2011 


This past Friday the cigar community lost one of the truly great Brothers of the Leaf.  Eddie Abbot was taken from us far too early after a battle with a brain tumor.  Eddie was a beloved husband and father as well as a beloved member and friend to the guys of and cigar lovers in general.  He was a proud father who took every chance he had to brag on his kids and was a truly generous soul.  He made friends of everyone he came in contact with.  Proof of that was evident to all the guys who got to know him on the cigar forums.  Most of us never got a chance to meet him in person, a few were blessed to have met him and spent some time with him.  I only knew him on the forum, but I still consider him a friend.  He was one of the most generous Brothers I’ve met.  Eddie loved good cigars and I know he really enjoyed a good Opus X cigar.  He even loved to share them with his fellow BOTL whenever he had a chance.  If you were ever lucky enough to be surprised by one of his generous “cigar bombs” chances are there was an Opus in there for you to enjoy.  Today is an unseasonably warm day after an extended bitter cold snap here in NC.  I think that this warm day is courtesy of Eddie so that I could have an opportunity to go outside and enjoy an Opus with him because I am sure he is up in heaven smoking one with me now.  I’m smoking this 4 year old Opus X Super Belicoso in honor of Eddie.

Rest in peace Eddie.  You are going to be missed, and may God bless you and your family.  My prayers are with you and them.

IPCPR 2010 Wednesday, Aug 18 2010 


So last week was the cigar industry’s big trade show down in New Orleans. All the Manufacturers get together to show off there new wares for the next year. It looks like there is a lot of interesting new stuff that will be coming to market soon. So Items of particular interest to me are:


Pete Johnson is adding some to the original Brown Label line which he hasn’t done in a while outside of the once every three year new vitola for the Cojonu extension. He is added a new size, the 7th to the standard and Reserva lines which I believe is a corona gorda. The standard will have a corojo wrapper and the Reserva will have a broadleaf wrapper. There will also be a Petite Cazadores Reserva and the Petite Tatuaje Reserva. I look forward to trying all of these.

Drew Estate

The Dirty Rat that we have all heard so much about, and that some have been lucky enough to have tried already should be available soon. I have heard a lot of great things said about this cigar. I am anxious to give one a smoke.


Dion has a limited release on the way called the Singulare Phantom.  Production was limited to 1000 boxes of 15 so this will be very limited.

There is a bunch more news and revelations that came out of this years show.  Some of the other blogs actually had feet ont he ground at the show and provided excellent coverage of the events and products.  If you haven’t seen them use these links below to check it out and get up to speed on all the new stuff….

The Stogie Guys had excellent coverage of the event:

Stogie News: IPCPR Trade Show Preview (Part 1)
Stogie News: IPCPR Trade Show Preview (Part 2)
Live Updates from the IPCPR Trade Show (Day 1)
Live Updates from the IPCPR Trade Show (Day 2)
Live Updates from the IPCPR Trade Show (Day 3)
Stogie News: More Tidbits from the IPCPR

The Smoking Hot Cigar Chick Made the trip as well:

Photo Updates From IPCPR 2010 in NOLA
Returning Home from IPCPR 2010
In NOLA for IPCPR 2010

The Stogie Review reports on the part of the show every red-blooded American male wants to know about:

Women of IPCPR (2010)

And there is plenty more to be found out there in the cigar blogsphere if your interested.  Just click around and you’ll find it.

Smoke a DPG Series JJ Today Thursday, Jul 22 2010 

Photobucket is doing a wonderful thing.  If you smoke a Series JJ today and take a picture and then submit that picture to their email address they will make a donation of $20 to the American SIDS Institute in honor and support of a fellow BOTL who lost his little boy to SIDS three years ago.  Please click this link to get all the details and find out where to send your photo.

Anti-Tobacco Zealots; We told you so! Thursday, Jul 1 2010 


Today a new Federal Tax on Tanning went into effect. The new tax is part of a health care reform bill that put a 10% tax on the use of tanning beds. Tanning beds have now been lumped in with tobacco, alcohol, gambling and the other sin taxes. All you anti-tobacco zealots and all the apathetic people who didn’t see the prohibitive taxation of tobacco as a big deal; for those you that fall into those categories and love to go to the salon to get your “base tan” started for the beach season… WE TOLD YOU SO!

When the latest wave of tax attacks came after tobacco and in particular cigars, lots of cigar enthusiasts including myself railed against the injustice of it and warned everyone that once you open the door for this kind of regulation and taxation it won’t be long before the government starts to come after the luxuries you like to enjoy. Today just proves us right. Now the nanny state has declared your tanning habit as unhealthy and it starts with this 10% tax. Now the door has been opened and the spot light has been shone on the tanning industry. Next the states will join in with the taxes and then it won’t be long before some health care advocacy group starts calling for regulation of the tanning industry and then all the fake bake lovers out there will be singing the same song we cigar smokers have been singing for the past few years.

Come on over and take a seat on the couch with us. There is plenty of room and we will be joined by more groups still. It is easy to see what’s next. All you fitness fanatics who love your dietary supplements. Get ready. You are probably next to get hit by increased taxes and then someone will have the bright idea to expand the FDA to regulate all those supplements. Then all your protein shakes and thermogenic pills will disappear from the shelves under the weight of government regulation.

Welcome to the club….

MarchMadness 2010 with Friday, Mar 5 2010 


It is College Basketball Fans’ favorite time of the year. is once again holding its annual NCAA Tournament Bracket contest. See the details below to find out how to sign up and get entered. The prizes are amazing as always. These guys know how to do a contest and this is always one of the biggest of the year.  Here’s what you could win…


Place     Product
1st          2009 Opus X Fuente Charity Box – 22 Count
2nd        Opus X Fuente Fuente
3rd         Anejo No. 77 “The Shark”
4th         Padron 1926 Serie No. 35 Maduro
5th         2009 Don Carlos Edicion de Aniversario Box
6th         Ashton Aged Maduro No.30
7th         La Flor Dominicana Ligero Salomones
8th         Hemingway Short Story Box
9th         Partagas Sabrosos
10th       La Flor Dominicana Mysterio
11th       Opus X 1992 Rare Estate Reserve Robusto Tin
12th       Ashton Variety Sampler

Click on over to to get all the details and to sign up.

What’s New… Tuesday, Aug 18 2009 


So now that the IPCPR show is over, everyone is a buzz about all the new stuff on the way.   Details from the show have been posted about all over the blogs and forums so no need to rehash it all here.  These are merely the tidbits I saw that interested me the most.

Cain by Sam Leccia and Oliva.

    I am very interested in this cigar. I have heard very good things about it and the fact that it is about 99% ligero is always intriguing. I also find it interesting that Sam has decided to provide a lot of detail about the cigar and its blend with the cigar. A brochure is to be included with each box spilling all the details a cigar enthusiast could want about the cigars. Very cool.

Tatuaje (all of it).

    This bullet should come as no surprise to anyone.   There is the Black Tubos, the Verocu Tubos, the Drac, the La Verite, a ton of interesting new Tatuaje swag.  Pete has obviously been busy and of course that hasn’t escaped my notice.

Illusione Nosotros.

    Dion’s collaboration with Drew Estate.  After trying the Liga Privada T-52 and seeing first hand that Drew Estate could blend a good traditional cigar, I have become more excited about this little project.

Drew Estate Liga Privada T-52.

    I was able to smoke this gem before it was unveiled at the show.  You can read my review here.  I am looking forward to trying the final release and see if they managed to preserve or improve upon the pre-production blend I was able to sample.

Those are the highlights I am most interested in.  There is probably some more stuff I haven’t heard about yet that I am sure I could easily add to this list.   What are you most excited about?

Avo’s 83rd Birthday – Compañero Dinner Monday, Apr 6 2009 

My local cigar shop, Empire Cigars, hosted a dinner on Avo Uvezian’s 83rd Birthday tour.  The event was held in downtown Raleigh at Sullivan’s Steak house.  It was an amazing event and a real bargain to attend.  Everyone got dinner, wine, dessert, and 4 free cigars.  The food was amazing.  If you click the picture of my signed menu below you can see what we had.  I went with the Filet which I believe the majority of the men in attendance chose as well.  What’s better than a good steak with cigars?


Of course it was Mr U’s birthday celebration so of course there was Birthday cake. (more…)

NC Smoking Ban Update Wednesday, Mar 18 2009 

I received the following communication from a local retailer today. The legislation I wrote about a couple weeks ago is up for a vote to become law. The letter below describes what you can do to help make your voice heard if you disagree with the proposed smoking ban.

To all cigar lovers of North Carolina,

A bill has been proposed in our state to greatly limit your ability to enjoy a cigar in a public place. The bill is HB 2, and will prohibit smoking in all restaurants, bars, and even private clubs. In this email is a link to the official web site of the IPCPR (International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers). We have set up the site to empower consumers so they may contact their legislators with ease.

Once you click on the link, simply enter your zip code and you will have access to write your own letter or use one of the templates included. The process is quick and easy, and you can visit the site frequently. I urge you to speak up and let your voice be heard. Our liberties are being taken from us. Our right to enjoy a legal product as adults could be compromised.

I thank you all for your support and your time on this critical issue.

Stop the Smoking Ban in NC!

Here is the link to the IPCPR.

I am beginning to think with all the bans and bailouts and general socialization of our society it is time to rename our country to the “Socialist States of America”, or “The United Nanny States”……

March Madness with Thursday, Mar 5 2009 


It is time once again for the best College Basketball Bracket contest on the web. is once again holding its annual NCAA Tournament Bracket contest. See the details below to find out how to sign up and get entered. The prizes are amazing as always. These guys know how to do a contest and this is always one of the biggest of the year.

This year’s prizes are AMAZING! Take a look…

This Year’s Prizes:

1st Place 2008 Opus X Charity Box – 22 Countretail value: $999.95
2nd Place is a sealed box of Opus X Robustoretail value of $839.55
3rd Place a sealed box of Hemingway Between The Lines… retail value of $799.95
Place a sealed box of Arturo Fuente Anejo #77 “Shark”retail value of $575.95
5th Place a sealed box of Padron 1964 Anny Torpedo Natural…retail value of $319.95
6th Place a sealed box of 2006 God Of Fire Robusto Tuboretail value of $184.75
7th Place a sealed box of Hemingway Short Storyretail value of $139.99
8th Place a sealed 1992 Rare Estate Opus X Robusto Tinretail value of $94.95
9th Place a sealed box of Padon 1926 Serie Sampler Maduroretail value of $74.95
10th Place a $50 Gift Certificate toward any purchase on Cigarsdirect.comretail value of $50.00

They need at least 100 players to make the contest valid and give everyone a shot at these cigars, so be sure to sign up and fill out a bracket. Entry is Free and you can fill out up to two brackets, so you’ll have two chances to win. The most important date to mark on your calendar is March 15th which is selection Sunday. Once the field is released you’ll be able to fill out your brackets. Get all the details for the contest including how to sign-up by visiting’s March Madness Page by clicking HERE.

I also recommend signing up for their mailing list. Just enter your email address into the field on the top right of the any page at  Besides getting email alerts on the Contest, you’ll get alerts on awesome sales and specials on cigars.

Good Luck!

NC Making Another Run at a Ban Wednesday, Mar 4 2009 

North Carolina Law Makers are making another run at a public smoking ban for the tobacco friendliest state in the union. A bill to ban public smoking passed a North Carolina legislative committee Tuesday March 3rd with bipartisan support although some Republicans balked at what they view as government meddling in the business of restaurants and bars.

In 2005 and in 2007 legislation for smoking bans were defeated in the state. This latest bill still has another committee to get through before it gets put to a vote. The bill, if ultimately passed will ban smoking in the workplace, restaurants and other public places. I was unable to find any more detailed information so I don’t know what (if any) exemptions or potential loopholes this latest ban may contain.

The Twisted Stogie – Culebras Thursday, Oct 23 2008 

I have always been intrigued by the Culebra Cigars.  They are a unique sight, 3 small cigars twisted together.  I always wondered what the point was.  What is the history behind this style of cigar?  I came across this short video with James Suckling and David Savona of Cigar Aficionado.  In it they talk about the history of the Culebra while enjoying the new Partagas Culebras. Click Twisted Cigars to watch the video.

Most Culebras are meant to be taken apart and each stick smoked individually.  I have seen one example however of a Culebras that is made to be smoked as one cigar.  It is rolled in such a way that it allows you to smoke all three cigars at once.  It is made by Don Francisco Cigars in East Brunswick NJ.  Here is a photo:

Note how the tips of all three cigars are bound together. This will allow you to smoke them simultaneously or if you’d rather smoke one at a time all you have to do is remove that binding on each end.

Stogies & Bogies Friday, Sep 12 2008 


The link between Cigars and Golf is a long standing one.  Golf is a great game that lends itself to the enjoyment of a fine stogie while out enjoying a beautiful day on the links.  As the Anti-Smoking (anti-fun) Zealots get more and more of their socialist Smoking Bans enacted across the nation, the golf course has become one of the last havens outside the home for cigar lovers to go to and enjoy a smoke.  That is why the Stogies & Bogies event being held in the Chicago area next year makes so much sense.  If you like Cigars, Golf, and fine Wine & Spirits you’ll want to check out this event.  Here is the press release about the event.  Check out their website for more info and to get tickets at


Cigar enthusiasts in Illinois have lost the freedom to enjoy a stick with their favorite beverage or after a good steak.  Chicago is no longer home for a consumer cigar show.    In fact about the only place you can still smoke a cigar is at a golf course.  Monster Productions, Inc. (MPI), an event production company based in Roselle, Illinois, is addressing these inequities by hosting Stogies & Bogies – a smokin’ hot cigar show and golf event with a 1920’s theme. Curbing prohibition for one day, the event will feature multiple show sessions with two ticket options:  show attendance only, or a combination golf / show package.  Consumers can choose to spend the entire day or a portion of the day!

This unique event will take place on Thursday, June 11, 2009 at Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook.  Golfers of every skill level will savor a fine cigar on the beautiful course at the Willow Crest Golf Club located in Oak Brook, enjoy a buffet meal before golfing, and attend the Show following their choice of morning or afternoon shotgun golf.  Golfers will also have the opportunity to win a new car in the Hole-In-One Contest sponsored by Biggers Auto Group.

Whether consumers choose to golf or just attend the show, all ticket holders will enjoy fine wine and spirits, sample the luscious cuisine of local restaurants, check out the latest in cigar and golf accessories, and walk away with samples from the finest cigar makers.  Cigars can be enjoyed with a favorite beverage at the Speakeasy Lounge or on The Patio.

Stogies & Bogies tickets are limited, and went on sale September 1st.  For more detailed information, or to purchase tickets, visit the event website, or contact Pam Lohman, Event Manager, at 630.351.3976 ext 226. A portion of ticket sales will benefit GiGi’s Playhouse, Down Syndrome Awareness Centers located throughout the Chicago area.  Monster Productions, Inc. is a member of CIGAR RIGHTS OF AMERICA


Casanova’s Latest Masterpiece Wednesday, Jul 23 2008 

If you remember a while back I posted about a gentleman with an amazing talent.  His name is Brad Casanova and he is an amazing wood worker and a cigar enthusiast.  He has created several carvings of cigar bands for his own personal collection.  Well, he was recently commissioned by Camacho Cigars to create a carving of the Camacho Corojo 10th Anniversary cigar band which was to be hung at the Corona Cigar Company in Orlando, FL.  This is what the band looks like…


He has completed the carving and his new masterpiece is hanging on the wall at the Corona Cigar Co. now.  You can see pictures of his amazing work on his blog.  Just surf on over to Casanova Cigar Carvings and check it out.  You’ll be amazed by this piece and by the many other incredible works of art he has created.

Fantastic work Brad!

The Roundup Has Begun Friday, Jun 6 2008 


Keepers of the Flame have posted the first in a series of side by side reviews of the entire Padron Series of cigars. This first installment is of the new 7000. The Padron 7000 Natural and Maduro are compared side by side with contributions from Brian at Stogie Review and Doc of StogieFresh. It’s a great read and a great start to this project. Head on over and check it out, and keep an eye out for my contributions to this projects as well.

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