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LCoigavrser - No. 6 - Magazine Davidoff Nicaragua PrimerosCuba: DrinksItalian Mothjeibteostregional evereditions Tohfetehveoslmuotkioenrfrom 2005to 2015 The change VeguerosBlind Tasting Mañanitas,Gordos: 6x60! CigarsLover.cEomn|tMrageaTztainiepeamdp1ooss,

EDITThe Team EditorialEditor: CigarsLover Magazine is taking a huge step with issue number 6: after Luca Cominelli all the new segments we introduced in issue number 5, we decided to go further and offer an English version of the magazine. This will Authors: allow us to broaden our readership and to include a larger demographic of Paolo Topa aficionados. Michel Arlia We came to this decision after only 5 issues, knowing very well that there are international magazines with an eminent and remarkable Giuseppe Mitolo history behind them. Nevertheless, we want to follow our path: making a magazine written by smokers for smokers, realizing it Mirko Fabbian with all our heart and passion, and keeping it totally free. Giovanni Bolzonella From this issue, CigarsLover Magazine has started to perform some blind tastings, which consist of tasting cigars whose bands have been removed. Graphic Desgner: As a result of this, the smoker ignores the brand of cigar he is smoking and is able to give an objective and unbiased review. For each cigar, samples Mario Amelio are tasted by various people, making the final evaluation an accumula- Collaborators: tion of several opinions. The aficionados who participate in this project Aaron Reddy are not only Italian, but are also from different countries. This means Alessandro Bonisoli that the evaluations we obtain are based on different habits and cultures. Roberto CanziEnglish Version: We have always dedicated some space to alcoholic and non-alcoholic pairingsRachelle Mauleon with the cigars we have reviewed. From this issue on, we will delve deeperAaron & Nicole Reddy into libations, dedicating more space to pairings and including more cocktails and spirits. We have started a new section: “Drinks”. The Austrian barman Chris Glenn will assist us by providing extraordinary recipes, easily prepared at home. Never smoke a cigar without knowing the perfect pairing again! In CigarsLover Magazine we will continue to review a vast array of cigars, encompassing all countries and brands associated with them. The novelties will always be given importance because we believe that the real aficionado is constantly looking for the “perfect cigar.” Every cigar we try and review, even if it’s not available in Italy, has to be con- sidered as an added value in order to recognize what the world of cigars has to offer and what the novelties and the international trends happen to be. “The passion moves us”2 There are interactive links. The underlined words contain a link.

INDEXIndexRating: How to read scale of evaluation ............................. 5The evolution of the smoker ................................................ 6The Bands: The whole color of tobacco ................................... 8Davidoff Nicaragua: Primeros ................................... 12Xikar: Travel humidors ........................................... 14Vegueros: Back to the future ........................................... 16Sensorial Experience: Hearing ........................................... 20Blind Tasting: Gordos ...................................................... 22Christian Glenn: Color and fantasy for the perfect mix .... 28Drinks: Mojito ................................................................... 30Mojito: All the tips to make it in the best way .......................... 33Trami beer: Craft in the mud ............................................... 34Cigar-beer pairing: “Saslong” (Porter) ................................. 37Ramon Allones: The history of an innovative brand ............. 38Ramon Allones: Reviews of the current whole line ....................... 40Habanosommelier: When pleasure distills emotions .......... 42Regional editions: Italy ............................................................ 46Antico Toscano: Cur rent production VS vintage ........... 52Vintage: La Corona Cazadores ................................... 56Maradona: A Cohiba for “El Pibe” ........................................... 58Big Smoke ........................................................................... 60Vocabulary ................................................................... 62Sections ......................................................................... 63 | Magazine 3

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RatingHow to read scale of evaluationThe reviewed cigars are presented in a evaluation in hundredths. This is to give an accurate evalua-tion to every cigar, so they can be located inside of a large scale of value. The points that are given to thecigars are the average results that are taken both from the smoked examples and the different smokers.95-100: excellent smoke. The cigar has all the components that distinguish a remar- kable smoke: intensity of the aromas, balance, complexity, finesse, evolution, quality of construction, post-smoke persistence and a constancy of the production. 90-94: great smoke. The cigar shows numerous qualities of excellence, but not quite showing them to the maximum. It’s nonetheless a cigar that proposes a high level of satisfaction. 85-89: good smoke. The cigar has considerable qualities of a high level, also having some slight flaw in the parameters of the evaluation. It’s nonetheless a recommended cigar with a high rate of satisfaction. 80-84: decent smoke. T he cig ar convinces in par ts, shows both qua- lity and flaws inherent to the different parameters of the evaluation. It’s nonetheless a cigar to smoke with appreciable continuity. 75-79: mediocre smoke. T he cig ar shows more f laws than are beara- ble for a satisfying smoke. The parameters of the evaluation are leaning more to a lower level and the smoke is generally not recommended. 70-74: meager smoke. The cigar proposes numerous flaws throughout the arc of the parameters of the evaluation. The merits are not eligible if not in a ludicrous way and marginally, the smoke is classified as absolutely not recommended. cigars with really good quality/price ratio. We defenitely recommend the | Magazine 5

By Michel Arliathoughts The evolution of the Smoker“ N ”othing is as constant as change. (Charles Darwin)The slow smoke has always had some stereotypes that cha- symbol of plutocracy. If you go back in time by some 30racterized it over time. The cliche that the aficionado has to years, the typical aficionado was identified as a gentlemannecessarily have a certain age, ideally 40 and above, or a certain with a high social status: a banker, an aristocrat, a diplo-level of financial access are radicated in the common sense. mat, an intellectual, a businessman. A person that could invest time into pleasure which takes up hours, and did-These stereotypes are not completely unfounded. n’t have a problem spending money of a certain amount.Cigars have always been an emblem of prestige, a In those past years it was also necessary to have 6 | Magazine

some connections, for the simple fact that the cigar approach to the cigar has changed. The mystic objectwasn’t as commercialized as it is today. only selected for a few has become an attraction in which everybody can participate without feeling out of place.This is why the aficionado needed to be someonewith a high social status. Sure, a lot of the stereotypes have survived starting with the clothing, but this is another discussion. TheNormal people couldn’t enjoy the luxury of spen- dress code for certain events, for example an eventding a lot of time to smoke a cigar, even if the desire that imposes a wardrobe which suites a cigar smo-was there and vivid. The fear of entering a cigar shop ker. An affirmation of this type represents a sort ofwithout having the slightest idea of what to ask, equa- “restoration“ tendency, capable to rather push the afi-tes to the sensation of being ridiculed, which for cionado away, than to pull him closer into this world.some could almost be surreal. All this was too much. Today, everybody can enjoy a cigar, independent ofNot even the media was able to change this stereotype. wealth. On the other hand, it’s important to recuperate theOften the non-cigar smoker associates this passion with concept of the handling of free time, lowering the rhythmeccentric people, such as famous personalities in show of the modern life, the necessity to distance oneselfbusiness or the wealthy, with pictures of a cigar in-between from the frantic feeling that surrounds us. All this is thetheir lips, a glass of champagne in hand and beautifulwomen by their side (maybe on a yacht). Smoking a cigarin a locker room and celebrating an NBA title with acigar are part of this stereotype and certainly not helping.In the last 20 years this scenario has changed, or betteryet, it is decreasing or disappearing entirely. This is because itis getting easier and easier finding cigars at the tobacco stores.All this has created a strongly competitive market, whichhas made it possibile to offer a cigar at a reasonable priceand thus making it more attractive for the majority of theconsumers because of its accessibility. This has made it a loteasier to try to be a part of this magical world of the cigar.Another factor one cannot leave out is the evolutionof the communication systems, forums and blogs ofthis sector. The newbie nowadays is more informedthan in the past. Easily finding the answers to his own essence of said idea, which lays at the base of the conceptquestions and other pieces of information as well: of the slow smoke, leaving aside the essential keystone.considerations, methods of conservation and frui-tion, tastings and news, makes it possible to go through For the rest, the social status of the person neverthe newbie status quickly and with more agility. The mattered to the cigar. | Magazine 7

Slow attitude The bandsAcuradi The whole color of tabacco By Paolo Topa 8 | Magazine

The band represents an iconic image for the con-temporary smoker, influenced by different factorsincluding the marketing operations of a brand andtheir need to distinguish themselves from others.In the past, cigars didn’t have this accessory. They werejust packed with the origin label. In 1830, Gustave Bock,head of a Cuban cigar firm, came up with the revolu-tionary idea to introduce a recognition system for cigars,in order to avoid counterfeiting when exported to theEuropean continent. His idea was simple and very closeto our modern copyright:put a paper band with his while the simplest are Montecristo (actually on the pathsignature on each cigar of modernization), Sancho Panza and Vegas that no one could steal his work. From It’s important to note the most recent trend, which that moment on, the is to include a second band to recognize “Limited band became a necessary Editions”, “Regional Editions”, “Reserva” and “Gran element to distinguish Reserva”, in order to give more prestige and exclu- one cigar from another. sivity to the product. Some Caribbean producers Some people believe are including even a third label to the foot of thethe band has a second, more practical, aim: pro- cigar, in order to add another layer of protection.tecting smokers’ gloves. In this context we cancompare the band with the “Smoking” – born as asmoking jacket aimed to preserve gentlemen’s clothing.Nowadays, producers give special attention to theband. On one hand we find Cuban bands, traditional andsimple – however, in the last years Cuban producers are onthe path to modernization. On the other hand, Caribbeanproducers have been investing a lot on the artistic aspectsof this element. Bands have become even more impres-sive, colourful, elaborate, and with elements in relief. Onthe image level, an attractive band creates more of animpact on the consumer as well as adding another ele-ment of design to the packaging. Several brands havebecome famous thanks to marketing strategies that star-ted from the identification element of the cigar: the band.Among the most original bands we can find are ArturoFuente’s Opus X, Don Pepin Garcia’s Flor de las It is very interesting to note the fact that even thoughAntillas (made with pastel colours) and Ashton’s San paper is the norm, recently other materials have beenCristobal (known as Paradiso in Europe because of introduced: Pitbull uses a woolen yarn while Don Pepinthe contrast with the same Cuban brand). In regards Garcia adds a satin band at the foot of the cigar. Theseto Cuban bands, the most unique and artistic ones are are two clear examples of brands that want to breakHoyo de Monterrey, Bolivar and El Rey del Mundo, free from tradition and set their products apart from | Magazine 9

Slow attitude The bands A cura di The whole color of tabacco others, a need felt by several producers. Sometimes is glued onto the cigar and it is better to wait for the cigarit is possible to find bigger bands, like Alec Bradley’s to heat up in order to remove it with greater ease. After“Black Market”, that cover almost all the entire cigar. the cigar heats up, use two fingers, moving the band in different directions in order to remove it without inflicting damage on the cigar. Be very careful, if this method isn’t effective after two or three movements, it’s best to wait a bit since the cigar is far more important than the band. The last aspect of the band to take into consideration is the psychological one: are we sure that this identifi- cation system doesn’t mislead us when it’s time to value the quality of a cigar? How much can a prestigious band or two bands influence the judgement of a cigar? ForAnother aspect to take into consideration is thefight to counterfeiting. Almost immediately after theintroduction of bands, counterfeiters have been able toperfectly copy the bands of some of the most iconicCuban brands starting with Cohiba and trickling downto Montecristo and Partagas. Recently, the best anti-counterfeiting system is the one adopted by Cohiba’sBehike line and has been extended to other productionsof the same brand such as the Piramide Extra and the newRobusto Supremo El 2014. This system includes a holo-gram that is not easy to copy. It is clear that even thoughtechnological instruments are different the aim has alwaysbeen the same since the nineteenth century: protect the this reason several professional tastings have been orga-brand. Unfortunately, the war is still going on, indeed. nized, referred to as Blind tastings, and their specific aim is to remove the influence of a particular band’s presence.In the world of bands, colourful, artistic and unique ones However, the second question that comes to mind is: whathave created their own collectors market; here, people try would a cigar be without its band? In Australia, for exam-to discover different kinds of bands, from the rare ones ple, it is compulsory to replace the original bands withto the most historically relevant ones and to those with generic band on all cigars, in order to homologate theman important artistic design. Some smokers store them to on the market avoiding the presence of other damagingremember their smoking experiences while others try to products. The consequence of this decision, however, hasre-use them in an artistic way by creating objects or pictu- been the collapse of sales, demonstrating that the cigarres used to decorate their smoking rooms. The question also evokes an image where packaging plays a role andis: what is the best way to protect the band? Remove it adds to the consumers’ desire to enjoy a satisfying pro-before starting to smoke is not the best option. The band duct: here lies the meaning of the band. 10 | Magazine

Davidoff Nicaraguaduels Primeros By Luca CominelliCountry: NicaraguaLine: NicaraguaSize: cepo 34 x 105 mm (4-1/8”)Price: 4,5 € | 5$Box: 6 cigarsYear: 2014 12 | Magazine

The Primeros from Davidoff are cigars of small dimension, which translate into a quick smoking time.They are sold in small curated tins: the tin has a raised picture of the cigar and once you open it, you will findthat the cigars are covered with a white plastic sheet, used to protect the six Davidoff Nicaragua’s inside.The Primeros are available in two different versions: “Natural” and “Maduro”. The difference is in the wrapper leaf:a Nicaraguan leaf for the Natural version and a Sumatra wrapper cultivated in Mexico for the Maduro version. Thetwo versions differ only from the wrappers: the filling is composed of tobacco that originates from Nicaragua andthe Dominican Republic while the binder comes from Ecuador. In spite of this difference, the smoke generated bythe two cigars are diverse, increased by the fact that the wrapper on cigars with these dimensions represent a relevantpercentage of the quantity of tobacco used. It can happen that in the boxes the colorations may differ: sometimesthe wrapper has a closer tonality to Colorado Natural MaduroThe wrapper has a “Colorado” tonality and is smooth to The wrapper is rough to the touch. The cold drawthe touch. The cold draw presents slightly roasted present tastes of barnyard, while there are hardlynotes (coffee). any aromas detected. The opening is strong with a pleasant taste and releases The opening is pleasant and develops notes of cocoa andvegetal notes, barnyard and light spices. In the first part herbs. The first part releases vegetal and rich cocoa notes.the cigar develops nutty and earthy aromas: the strength The base of the aromas is sweet, while the strength isis a little over the medium (3.5/5). Continuing, the smoke slightly over the medium (3.5/5). Continuing, the cocoaadds spices to the palate (white pepper), with some sharp takes the lead with a hint of spices (white pepper) in thespicy peaks. There is a light, but pleasant bitter note in the after taste. Balsamic notes come to the palate as well.background. The last part of this cigar turns earthier, with The strength is lifted to a medium high (4/5), whilenut and spices (black pepper this time) in the after taste. the last part of the smoke develops some unpleasantThe finale develops roasted notes (coffee). bitter notes. The aroma intensity of this Primeros is excel- In comparison to the Natural version, the variety oflent, same goes for the persistence. This small cigar aromas are less ample. It shares the same level ofpresents a respectable aroma bouquet and some strength and intensity of the aromas, which results inchanges of the aromas are even perceivable develo- an overall fulfilling smoke. The last third develops someping a sort of evolution. The smoke is well balanced. bitter notes. The results is a rather unbalanced finish.85Overall evaluation:/100 83Overall evaluation: /100 13

Xikarrutborioclsa Travel humidor By Luca CominelliCountry: U.S.A.Line: Travel humidorsCapacity: from 5 to 80 cigarsPrice: from 20€ to 99€ (from 25$ to 100$) 14 | Magazine

Xikar: Travel humidorTravel humidors are becoming more and more popular the use of plastic and foam. Contrary to what manyand have quickly spread among aficionados. people believe, these humidors are completely hermetic and this characteristic makes them extremely suitableWhat is the secret? to store cigars. Foam is often seen as something whoseIt is just the fact that the price for a small hermetic humi- smell can damage cigars, and this can sometimes bedor, able to shockproof cigars, is definitely affordable. true. In the specific case of these travel humidors, you might get this impression when you open them for the first time, but if you leave them open for a couple of days any smell of plastic or foam will disappear and later you will be able to use them without any problem.These objects are really simple in themsel-ves: the casing is made of shockproof hard plastic,which conveys the impression of a great solidity.The joint that allows opening and closing the humi-dor is made of steel and guarantees it long life.The molded high density polyurethane foam in theinterior allows placing cigars in a stable and safe way.Obviously, there is also a humidifying element whichhas to be replenished with some drops of distilledwater in order to maintain the ideal relative humidity.In larger models you can also find a pressure valve, whichis fundamental if the humidor suffers from a suddenchange in pressure (for instance after a flight or an excur- Our opinion about these products is certainly positive.sion into the mountains). If the valve is absent, it mightbe temporarily difficult to open the humidor because of They are very comfortable and resistant and provide athe change in altitude. Moreover, these models are usually simply perfect conservation of cigars. Besides, they areprovided with a practical handle which transforms humi- excellent for beginner cigar smokers, as they are very easydors into a real travel cases. Instead, smaller models are to manage. Then, when the needs change and the smokersprovided with a lace which allows carrying them easily. want to store more cigars, they can buy a larger humi-Many smokers are reluctant to use these devices because dor and limit the use of travel humidors to their originalof the materials they are made of: the lack of wood and function. | Magazine 15

Veguerostaste Mañanitas, Tapados, Entretiempos By Luca Cominelli e Michel Arlia16 | Magazine

Vegueros: Back to futureVegueros is a brand created in 1997 and discontinued in (but they will also be available in petacas). Another piece2012. The launch of the three new cigars brings the brand of news is concerning the band, which has been comple-back to life. tely redesigned and looks much different from the old one.All the three new Vegueros have a “new” packaging: they All the three sizes are small and these cigars was born asare commercialized in aluminium boxes of sixteen pieces quick and good value smokes. Mañanitas 84/100 Size: cepo 46 x 100 mm (4”) - Price: 3,6 € “Mañanitas” are cigars with a pointed cap and, as a result, they can be defined as “small figurados”, suitable for a quick smoke. They look good from an aesthetic point of view: the wrappers have a “colorado” tone, they are oily and well stretched. The filling results to be correct to the touch. The pre-lit cigar lets us perceive rich vegetal notes. The first puffs are savoury and give off intense vege- tal notes, coherently confirming what had been previously observed. The first part develops toasted aromas and a spicy aftertaste (black pepper); the smoke is “creamy”. As the cigar burns on, there are lingering toasted notes, accompanied by an intense nutty aroma. The strength is medium-high (4/5) during the whole smoke; nevertheless, unfortunately, hints of ammonia can be perceived to the nose. On the whole, the Mañanita gives rise to an intense and full-bodied smoking. This small cigar lasts around 30 minutes, with a medium-high fortaleza which makes it suitable for when you have just a little time available and you are looking for a satisfying and full-bodied smoking.Tapados 84/100Size: cepo 46 x 120 mm (4,7”) - Price: 4,6 € Among the three new Vegueros, “Tapados” are the least appealing ones. The wrap-pers have a “colorado claro” tone, are not very oily and present some defects.Some ribs are visible and don’t feel like they contain a generous amount of filler.The pre-lit aroma is floral. The first puffs develop toasted flavors. The cigar aftertaste is deli-cate and pleasantly spicy (green pepper). The second third is nutty and the aftertaste is slightlysweet. In the last third the spices increase their intensity, with a few spicy peaks reaching thepalate and enhancing the organoleptic sensations. As far as the flavor is concerned, the cigarturns to a slightly savoury aftertaste. The strength is medium (3/5) during the whole smoke.Overall, “Tapados” turned out to be the Vegueros which are readier to be smoked, but to the nosethe ammonia is still perceivable. The aromatic scale is fair, but not excellent; the second third isundoubtedly the most convincing one, as it is able to produce a good aromatic intensity. | Magazine 17

Veguerostaste Entretiempos By Luca Cominelli and Michel ArliaCountry: CubaVitola: Petit EdmundoSize: cepo 52 x 110 mm (4,3”)Price: 5 €Box: 16 pz (metal tin)Year: 2014 18 | Magazine

It is necessary to have a lookat the packaging: the cigarswe tried came from the samebox, but seem to be hapha-zardly thrown together as thecolors don’t match up. In fact,the wrappers are all differenttoned. Attention to detailsseems to be absent. Among the new available vitolas, Entretiempos is the one which was built with the greatest care from an aesthetic point of view. Also, if we consider the quality of the wrapper, we get the impression to have a product of superior quality: it is well stretched and oily, while the filler is homogeneous to the touch. Smoking notes shows that this product isn’t comple- tely ready to be smoked yet. We will certainly try it again in a while, to test possible improvements. 8 5Overall evaluation: /100 Strong points: creaminess and price/quality relationship The pre-lit cigar gives off vege- The last third surprisingly turns to Weak points: hints of ammoniat a l a n d s l i g h t l y s p i c y n o t e s. vegetal notes, with a hint of whiteThe lighting emanates notes pepper accompanying each puffof carob, nut and an after ta- in a rather convincing way. Theste of light spices (white pepper). strength keeps on the same level (4/5), but, unfortunately, it is possi-T he fir st third brings to the ble to perceive a smell of ammonia.palate roasted aromas, while thespicy aftertaste is still perceivable. The burning was not perfectly even, while the draw didn’t present any pro-The smoke is dense and plea- blem. The ash had a medium firm pack.sant; the strength is medium (3/5). On the whole, Entretiempos haveDuring the second third, the roa- a “creamy” fresh flavour and a cer-sted aromas are constant, but the tainly wider aromatic scale than theintensity of the spices increases con- other two new sizes of Vegueros. Itsiderably. The strength also increases, is possible to smell (and sometimesreaching a medium-high level (4/5). taste) a hint of ammonia, whichAlcoholic pairing: Gin lemon 19Non-alcoholic pairing: colombian Coffee

slow attitude Sensorial experience ByPaoloTopa Hearing It is said that people who put their cigar near their ear do so because they want to find out the way cigars have been stored. There’s a belief: if the cigar makes a strident sound while pressed between the thumb and the index finger, it means it’s too dry and as a consequence, not ready to be smoked. This is completely wrong. First of all the degree of conservation is valuable throu- ghout other two senses: touch and sight, which give the right “sensations” concerning the cigar. Secondly, in this specific case, hearing is not a good judge of the situation. Furthermore, there is an additional factor to consider: pres- sing too much with the thumb and index can cause a tear in the wrapper. A broken wrapper means problems with the combustion and the possibility that the wrapper peels off, jeopardizing the draw. You definitely don’t want this to happen, especially to a cigar that you have yet to light up. Another issue to consider is what you hear during the smoke. A light crackling sound during every puff,It’s not easy to consider hearing as one of the five exactly in correspondence to a camp fire. Some peoplesenses giving value to a cigar. believe this is a signal that the tobacco is too dry and is in relation to the poor humidification of the cigar. Among all the other senses we have, hearing is defi-nitely the least useful sense when it comes to cigars. We believe that the interpretation above is related to the natural combustion of the cigar. In order to proveBut be aware: the aim of this article is to underline our assumption, we tested both humidified and dryhow hearing could be misleading if you truly want cigars and we proved that the crackling phenome-to use it during your smoke. non is not correlated to humidity or dryness at all.Have you ever seen a smoker bring a cigar near his We need to add just one more thing: the hearing isear before lighting it up? misleading and American actors’ behaviour doesn’t correspond to reality. In all likelihood you probably have. You may havecome across this gesture when watching movies; If you really want to hear something during your smoke,it is an expression of the attention given to a particular then switch on the stereo and listen to your favouritechoice of cigar, although in reality it doesn’t really music!happen like this. 20 | Magazine

Oversize me!duelsBy Luca CominelliGordos: 6 x 60 Foto: Aaron ReddyFor the first CigarsLover “blind tasting” we chose contribute to the cigars blend or strength, however, it isa specific shape, with a generous size: the “gordo.” necessary for an even burn throughout the smoke. These cigars measure 6x60, that is to say they are6 inches long (152mm) and have a 60 ring gauge. We tried 13 different cigars of this size. There are no Cuban cigars of this type; therefore, the manufacturingWe wanted to try this type of cigar to understand if countries involved in the “blind tasting” were Honduras,their characteristics can satisfy the modern smoker. Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Unites States. Given their size, the amount of tobacco which is used T he questions we would like to answer arein these cigars is considerable and this leads to and the following: because of that, in order to get that perfect draw with • does the great amount of tobacco hold in thesean even burn, the amount of volado used in these gordos provide a fuller body and a richer flavour?cigars isfar greater than normal. Before we go any • Is the general complexity of the cigar directlyfurther, we’d like to remind the reader that “volado” related to the amount of tobacco used? leaves are the ones taken taken from the bottom • In the following pages we will try to answer these que-of the plant. This part of the tobacco plant doesn’t stions with our international team of tasters. 22 | Magazine

Blind Tasting: Gordos 6 x 60Blind tasting reviewers: Aaron Reddy (U.S.A.) Luca Cominelli (Italy) Roberto Canzi (Italy) Michel Arlia (Switzerland) Giovanni Bolzonella (Italy) Paolo Topa (Italy) Alessandro Bonisoli (Italy) Giuseppe Mitolo (Italy) Bono Vidakovic (Kosovo) Foto: Alessandro Bonisoli Leccia White - U.S.A. 91/100 Size: cepo 60 x 152 mm (6”) - EUR: - | USD: 9$ Wrapper: Africa - Binder: Ecuador - Filler: Nicaragua and Dominican R. With strength a little above the average, it has a remarkable complexity and aromatic intensity. It starts out slowly but as time persists, the cigar gives rise to a well balanced and smooth smoke. Very creamy. The aromatic bouquet of this cigar is very broad and rich, capable of providing many sensations: spanish cedar, fine spices (white pepper), roasted notes of diffe- rent types (especially coffee and cocoa). There are also walnut and earthy aromas. The second third is perhaps the least successful but the first part has a wide aromatic bouquet and a medium-low strength, which is able to maintain a good balance: its power lies in its aromatic range. The last third is the best part: complexity, intensity and balance are combined to give a unique feeling of satisfaction. | Magazine 23

duels Oliva Serie V Double Toro - Nicaragua 90/100 Size: cepo 60 x 152 mm (6”) - EUR: 8€ | USD: 8$ Wrapper: Nicaragua - Binder: Nicaragua - Filler: Nicaragua With medium to high strength, it develops a good evolution. The aromas are intense and the aromatic palette is broad. A smoke with a remarkable complexity. There are many flavors and they are well recognizable. In the first third, there are white pepper and cedar wood with spicy peaks and echoes of licorice. As the cigar is smoked, it evolves into coffee beans and roasted notes, always accompanied by a good amount of spices. The final third develops into aromatic herbs, but also a slight bitterness that fits between the spices, awakening the smoke between puffs. The persistence and the aromatic intensity were above average in compari- son with the cigars we evaluated. This is synonymous with quality and satisfaction. The performance was excellent, both in terms of the smoking mechanics and the stability of the smoke. Asylum 13 - Nicaragua 90 /100 Size: cepo 60 x 152 mm (6”) - EUR: - | USD: 7$ Wrapper: Nicaragua - Binder: Nicaragua - Filler: Nicaragua This cigar is the surprise in this blind tasting, capable of winning the prize for best product as far as quality and price are concerned. The strength is a little over the average. The smoke is complex, balanced and creamy. The evolution is g ood and the aromas are par ticular and ample. The good points are the intensity of the aromas (notable) and the post-puff persistence, leaving aside the finale of the smoke. While smoking, the aromas change from bitter cocoa to earth, from spices (pink pepper) to diverse nutty undertones (hazelnut and almond) with hints of honey. The real strong point of this cigar lies in the balance of the sweet and sapid fla- vors, which, especially in the second third, creates a creaminess of high quality. The strength of the nicotine is well proportioned. The least brilliant third is the finale, where the bitter sensations and the loss of the overall finesse makes this cigars lose those two points, neces- sary to win against the competition. The evolution in this cigar was superior than the average of the other cigars tested.24 | Magazine

Flor De Selva Tempo - Honduras 88/100Size: cepo 60 x 152 mm (6”) - EUR: 8,5€ | USD: 10$ Wrapper: Honduras - Binder: Honduras - Filler: Honduras The strength is medium. It’s a well balanced cigar and develops a good aromatic complexity.The aromatic palette is fine and the smoke is satisfying. The first part reveals wood (cedar), honey and nutty flavors with points of vanilla. Increasingflowery aromas are detected. Wood and almond flavors alternate each other in the finale. Thebackground is sweet.Alec Bradley Black Market - Honduras 88/100Size: cepo 60 x 152 mm (6”) - EUR: 8€ | USD: 9$ Wrapper: Nicaragua - Binder: Sumatra - Filler: Honduras and Panama A medium body and well balanced smoke. The persistence is great. The aromatic palette is rich and has a good complexity. It starts with cocoa and spices (white pepper). Continuing the smoke, there are nutty, earthy fla-vors, with hints of incense detected. The second part develops aromas of almond, leather andherbs. The background stays peppery with a sweet base.La Aroma De Cuba Valentino - Nicaragua 88/100Size: cepo 60 x 152 mm (6”) - EUR: 8,5€ | USD: 10$ Wrapper: Messico - Binder: Nicaragua - Filler: Nicaragua It’s a medium to full body cigar and it presents a broad intensity of aromas. It starts off very spicy (black pepper) but the flavors advance ripe fruits, cocoa, earth and roastednotes. Cocoa and herb notes are apparent in the final third.Cain Daytona 660 - Nicaragua 87/100Size: cepo 60 x 152 mm (6”) - EUR: 10€ | USD: 7$ Wrapper: Nicaragua - Binder: Nicaragua - Filler: Nicaragua A stick with a medium strength. Balanced and of subtly complex. The evolutionis conserved, but the aromatic palette is ample. A very creamy cigar. It starts off fairly spicy (pink pepper) and continues with nutty aromas and with somepeeks of vanilla. Continuing, wood and cocoa change back and forth. The last part developsroasted and leather notes, with a sweet | Magazine 25

duels Casa Magna (Colorado) - Nicaragua 87/100 Size: cepo 56 x 152 mm (6”) - EUR: 5€ | USD: 7$ Wrapper: Nicaragua - Binder: Nicaragua - Filler: Nicaragua Well balanced and medium body. The aromatic palette is not very rich but it is consistent. The start is slightly spicy (pink pepper) with hint of herbs. Moving forward with the smoke, there are perceptible roasted (coffee) and leathery note. The background remains slightly spicy. The base is sweet with some nutty flavors in the end. Miami Reserva Titan - U.S.A. 86/100 Size: cepo 60 x 152 mm (6”) - EUR: - | USD: 11$ Wrapper: Nicaragua - Binder: Nicaragua - Filler: Nicaragua Medium to full body. The aromatic palette is limited, but the smoke results well structured and the flavors are balanced. It starts off very spicy (black pepper). It releases notes of wood (cedar) with a sweet background. This smoke is creamy and in the final part an earthy flavor appears, with the spices back in full throttle. San Lotano Oval Connecticut - Nicaragua 86/100 Size: cepo 54 x 152 mm (6”) - EUR: 7,5€ | USD: 11$ Wrapper: Ecuador - Binder: Nicaragua - Filler: Nicaragua e Honduras A medium body cigar, which presents a limited evolution. The intensity of the aroma is good. The particular feature of this cigar is its oval form. The opening releases flavors of herbs. Advancing with the smoke, some woody (cedar) notes come through to the palate, with flowery and spicy hints in the background. Sometimes sugary peeks are perceptible. The background is sweet. The final part becomes roasted and the herbs get back on the palate. My Uzi Weighs A Ton XXL “Tempus” - Nicaragua 84/100 Size: cepo 60 x 152 mm (6”) - EUR: 9€ | USD: 11$ Wrapper: Messico - Binder: Ecuador - Filler: Nicaragua e Brasile Medium to full body. The aromatic palette is limited and in the second half the cigar gets bitter. The cigar starts with notes of cocoa with spices (black pepper) in the background. It continues with rich notes of herb, wood and incense. The second half changes to an earthy tone and a strong bitter vein appears.26 | Magazine

Gurkha Cella Reserve Kraken - R. Dominicana 83/100Size: cepo 60 x 152 mm (6”) - EUR: 14€ | USD: 14$ Wrapper: R. Dominicana - Binder: R. Dominicana - Filler: R. Dominicana Medium body. Not a very complex cigar with a limited aroma intensity. It releases note of hay in the beginning. Settling into the smoke some nutty, woody and earthynotes appear. There are some spices (white pepper) present in the background. The finale addsnotes of herbs to the smoke.Padilla Reserva Maduro Double Toro - Nicaragua 82/100Size: cepo 60 x 152 mm (6”) - EUR: - | USD: 9$ Wrapper: Messico - Binder: Ecuador - Filler: Nicaragua The strength is medium to full. It presents a very limited aromatic palette. The last partresults in an unbalanced smoke, with a strong bitter vein, covers the whole aromatic palette.The beginning is sapid and roasted (coffee). The smoke develops woody notes and spicy peeks.The aromas are rustic and continue into hints of nuts and earth. The final third is very bitter.Our toughts: 6x60 yes, but...The overall results of this blind tasting gave us some thoughts. First, we have to say that all the cigars smoked received a scoring between 82 to 91, with an average scoreof 87. This means that all these “Gordos” are not just something created to impress smokers, orto follow the “big ring gauge fashion,” but are actually quite good smokes! Even if we found these sticks better than expected, there are still some unfavorable aspects to talk about. First of all,almost all the reviewers said that they would have preferred a smaller version of the cigars, mainly because the dura-tion of these cigars in normally around 2 hours. In some cases reaching the end of the smoke was tough, especiallywhen the flavors of the cigar didn’t change too much, and also because a larger ring gauge isn’t so comfortable tohave between the | Magazine 27

drinks Christian Glenn By Michel Arlia Color and fantasy for the perfect mix From this issue on, CigarsLover Magazine inau- gurates an important partnership with Christian Glenn, an international cocktail pro. Chris will show us his best recipes and the tricks of the trade to prepare amazing mixed drinks, obviously aimed at pairing them perfectly with our cigars. Chris was born in 1975 in Oahu, Hawaii, but grew up in Vallejo and in San Diego, both cities in California. In 1991, he decided to move to Europe and relocated to Austria, obtaining citizenship two years later. Chris, as everybody calls him, started his career as a barman in quite an unusual way. In fact, the reason that drove Chris to come to Europe was not his passion for wine and food, but one for music: his band was actually discovered by a record label from Vienna and he wanted to cultivate this passion and take up a music career. In the end, his progress in this field didn’t keep up with his expecta- tions and Chris decided to abandon his dream. He decided to follow his second passion, for food and wine, obviously starting with some auxiliary jobs. His first experience was in an Argentinian restaurant, where he learned how to work and prepare meat. His career really took off when he was working as an apprentice chef in Vienna’s “Guest Club.” This particular restaurant turned into a lounge bar during the night, something that set it apart from others. From the kitchen windows, Chris could get a glimpse of another type of clientele compared with the ones that the restaurant had at daytime: younger and more che- erful guests who were more willing to have fun. It was in that moment that he started to think about new ways of approaching those types of people. 28 | Magazine

Christian Glenn: Color and fantasy for the perfect mixIn that period Chris and his friends often hungout at “Schulz American Bar” (which was oneof the best Austrian bars ever in the 90s, inspi-red by Munich’s Schuhmann’s Bar). During oneof the many nights Chris spent there, the barowner presented him with an interesting pro-posal “I like your shoes, you’re perfect for ourstyle. Why don’t you work as a barman?” Chriscouldn’t pass up this opportunity so he star-ted to learn the tricks of the trade under thesupervision of an authentic guru. The first mile-stone of his career had finally been achieved!From that moment on, Chris has beentravelling around Europe, working inMunich (“Schuhmann’s Bar”), in London(two Michelin starred “Sketch”), in otherbars in Vienna and Austria and thenin Widnau “Cuba Club”, Switzerland.In 2001, he won first prize in the “Classic Cocktails”category in “Barkeeper Austria” - thanks to histhree different versions of the White Russian -and also second prize in the European CocktailCompetition with gin (Blue Gin Reisetbauer).From 2010 to 2012, he was “gourmetEditor” for the food magazine “Oscar’s,”(Liechtenstein). His specialties are Pipeline’s,White Russian’s, Martini Cocktails, Gimlet’sand obviously... Mojito’s! Would you like totry his cocktails in person? If so, head on overto Widnau (Switzerland) and you can findhim at “Cuba Club” or at “Paul’s Restaurant.”But if you want to prepare an amazing coc-ktail, Chris can give you the perfect advice! Do you feel like drinking a Mojito? Hereyou can find his recipe. And so, ready, steady,go: light your cigar and make your cocktail! | Magazine 29

Mojitodrinks The caribean glamour By Paolo Topa30 | Magazine

Mojito: The caribean galmourThe recipe of the Mojito is certainly one of the most Exactly as its inventor, the name Mojito has quite ainteresting ones: it wasn’t created by any famous profes- blurry origin: someone says that it comes from “mojo”,sional barman neither in a European lounge bar nor in a kind of popular seasoning made with garlic and citrusa New York skyscraper. In fact, it was invented almost fruits, while someone else believes that the name comesby chance in “La Bodeguita del Medio”, a “bodega” in from the word “mojadito”, meaning “wet” in Spanish.Havana which was frequented by Ernest Hemingway. According to a third hypothesis, “Mojito” derives from the word “Mojo”, the term that is used to indicate the spell in Santeria. The original Cuban Mojito is a refreshing drink with a relatively low alcohol content which is drunk during the whole day. One of its key points is the use of “hierba buena” (and not of mint), a variety which is very difficult to find in Europe and which is characterized by smaller leaves and a less persistent flavour. It is also important to keep in mind that cracked, and not crushed, ice should be used in order to enhance the mix of ingre- dients to the utmost.The person responsible for creating one of the mostfamous cocktails in the world is Attilio de La Fuente, abarman known for his ability to spend hours mixing ingre-dients and alcoholic drinks with creativity for his cocktails. Obviously, there are several variations of the originalSome people claim, instead, that the Mojito was inven- Mojito, but only one is considered possible by Cubanted by Angelo Martinez, but still in the same Cuban bar. people: the “Mojito Criollo”, which has Angostura bitters added at the end of the mix. It is said thatThe historical period during which it became popular was Hemingway loved to drink a Mojito prepared withthe American Prohibition (1920-1933), when the crowd two different types of rum (light rum, aged for threeof tourists in Cuba mostly came from the United States years, and dark rum, aged for at least seven years).in search of strong emotions (that is to say, gambling,alcohol and beautiful women) and with their wallets full There are many other versions of the Mojito, most ofof money. which come from Europe. | Magazine 31

Mojitodrinks The caribean glamourSome people like to add small pieces of lime peel, some N. 1 (the dry note of the cigar is well balanced with theothers decide to mash the ingredients so strongly that the marked acidity and the slightly bitterness of this ver-mint leaves are shredded (and the cocktail gets a slightly sion) or a Cohiba “Maduro 5” Genios (the drink willbitter flavour). The most creative version is certainly the nicely match with the ripe fruit nuances of the cigar).“Baxaichito”, invented in Genoa at the end of the 90s.It is based on the “mashed” Mojito recipe, but it substitutes Would you prefer something that does not comemint with basil and it is then served not in a normal glass, from Cuba? but in a terracotta pot. Many people consider this versioneven more refreshing than the original recipe from Cuba. The best idea could be trying a “Opus X” by Arturo Fuentes (Perfexcion n. 4) for the spicy nuances ofWhich are the best pairings with a cigar? CigarsLover this “Dominican puro” that perfectly blends with theMagazine recommend trying the original version with a refreshing taste of the Mojito. Other convincing alternati-Romeo y Julieta “Churchills” or with a Partagas “Series ves might be a My Father “Lancero” or a Davidoff “PuroE N. 2”. In the first case, the cigar will accompany the d’Oro” Notables. Both of them are very aromatic cigarscocktail, while in the second case the Mojito will ade- with strong personalities and with the perfect amount ofquately refresh the draw of Partagas. Do you prefer the strength to be successfully paired with the cocktail createdEuropean “mashed” version? Try to smoke a Montecristo in “La Bodeguita”. 32 | Magazine

MojitoAll the tips to make it in the best way By Christian GlennRicetta: - 12 mint leaves - 2 teaspoon of cane sugar - 1/2 lime juice - 5cl Havana Club 3y Rum - Soda Take a tumbler glass: squeeze thelime and add preferably white canesugar and mint. Then, gently mashthe mixture with a small muddler,paying attention not to shred themint leaves. Fill up the glass with cra-cked ice (neither whole ice cubes norcrushed ice) and add white rum andsparkling soda water (if soda is notavailable use sparkling water instead).Garnish with fresh mint leaves anddrink with two straws, so that youcan sometimes pick some cane sugarcrystals from the bottom of the glass.CHRIS’S SUGGESTION: mintleaves should only be bruised to avoida slightly bitter taste on the | Magazine 33

interview Trami Beer By Paolo Topa Craft in the mugThere has been a steady rise in the attention that con-sumers are giving to the artisan beer breweries of Italy,to the point that their number today is significant. Theirquality, without a doubt, surpasses that of commercia-lized beers; it is also interesting to note their price toquality ration. The pairing of beer and cigar is an adven-ture, more so in the summer, where refreshing onespalate becomes a necessity. We talked about it with NicolaTrami, a passionate smoker and Responsible Merchantof the Birrificio Artigianale “Fratelli Trami” ( - a reality in constant expansion and alre-ady a point of reference in Italy for high quality beers. 2) What is your philosophy in creating a beer?1) How was the brewery Birrificio Artigianale Our taste. We don’t give regard to what is mar-“Fratelli Trami” born? ketable, instead we take into account our own personal tastes in drinking when we create a beer. WeThe brewery was opened on december the 18th in 2010. will never produce a beer, which doesn’t reflect ourThe project started on easter 2009, when my brother taste, only because the market and the trend request it.talked to me for the first time about the idea of a brewery,throwing away the premise, which was up to this point 3) Regarding other artisan beers from Italy, I’ve notedonly a simple passion. All this started some 15 years that your productions have a particular aftertaste thatago, with a kit for making beer at home. As the years is very unique. How did you get to this result? went by we were able to perfect the technique, thanksto taking different courses as well as tasting updates. We wanted beers that give emotions and would be34 | Magazine

www.birratrami.itremembered in time, that’s why we wanted a product with is it only produced in that period of the year?a well determined character. Of course, the use of particu- The IPA is an Anglo-Saxon inspired beer, which islar hops make it so that the persistence is well accentuated. characterized by a massive use of hops and, traditio- nally, with a discreet percentage of alcohol. In our case,4) You are also exporting. You told me that one of we kept the amount of hops, underwriting the aromasyour biggest satisfactions was to ship to the home- of fruit and rhubarb and giving it that resinous of beer: Germany. How was the beer of We deviated from the percentage though: we didn’tthe Fratelli Trami welcomed? want to go overboard with the alcohol, mostly because this beer is destined for the hottest period of the year.Exporting our beer to Germany gave us a remarkablesatisfaction, more so that it is rightfully regarded as the refe- 7) I know about the numerous prizes your beersrence point for the breweries’ panorama. Distributing our have won in the past years. Do you want tobeers wasn’t easy, but the feedback was definitely positive. list the more important ones? The Made In Italy is always attractive in foreign countries Our most important prize was won last year, where thebut it comes with its pros and cons. The Italian beers “Streif 2012” was regarded as the best Italian beer in itsare regarded as “creative” and the German consu- category. Winning the gold medal with this beer wasmer seems to like beers that have character and are incredible, also because after years of absolute domi-recognizable, going outside of the German norm. 5) The selection of the main ingredients is, what Ithink, the base of your success. How does the sele-ction of the ingredients work? Do you also uselocal ingredients? The selection of the main ingredients is done through aseries of tests that are conducted on a small installation forproduction, different than the one used in the factory. Forus, the quality remains the main principle of our production.There are no local ingredients used at the moment, if not inminimal quantities. The Italian market is currently “lacking” nation, the historical and well-established breweries gotin specialized malt, but fortunately it is being worked on kicked off the podium. We also won the silver medalboth for the malt and especially in regards to the hops. for the “3-Tre” and the bronze medal for the “Groste”The adaptability to our climate and our soil is very impor- in the 2012 edition of Beer of the Year. In anothertant so that the result of the product is 100% indigenous. important contest, on a national level, we managed to get first and second place at the Italian Championship6) During the summer, you produce a summery of Artisan Beers with the “Cold de Serf ” and the “Granbeer modeled after the IPA (Indian Pale Ale) Risa,” respectively. All these accolades made it possibletypology. What are its characteristics and why that we were able to affirm ourselves on a national level | Magazine 35

Trami Beerinterview Craft in the mugin a short period of time after the birth of the brewery,allowing us to compete on par with the historical brewe-ries. It is, in some ways, the fountain for our inspiration.8) What are the objectives that you wantto reach in the future? The brewery has some projects for the next years: first ofall, to add a shop to the brewery so we can serve our beers.The added locality would give us ulterior possibilities tocultivate the beer culture. The other project is to developan agricultural agency so that we can cultivate our primeingredients directly, to obtain, in effect, a beer at “zero-kilometers.” The first can be viewed as a mid/long termproject, the second - for obvious reasons- requires longerperiods of time, but sooner or later we’ll also succeed inthis way. 36 | Magazine

Cigar-beer pairing: pairings“Saslong” (Porter) with a 5,6% ABV. “Porter” beers are usually not as dark and impenetrable as “stout” beers (which they still have a strong affinity with); they usually have a slightly higher ABV and are generally less bitter. The recommended serving temperature for “Saslong” is 10-12°: in these conditions, the aroma- tic bouquet expresses itself at its best, enhancing intense notes of cocoa and, above all, of coffee. The flavour lingering in the mouth is the strong point of this beer: the roasted notes are har- monious and pleasantly linger on the palate, leaving an all-encompassing fulfilling bitterness. In our opinion, this beer is suitable for the end of a meal, accompanied by a tiramisu, which it optimally pairs with. Which kind of cigars can be smoked with “Saslong”? We decided to propose some pairings based on “asso- nance”, able to compete boldly and equally with the beer. • Bolivar “Royal Coronas”: generally sweet and toa- sted, this cigar is able to produce interesting cocoa aromas and has a perceived strength of 3,5/5 points. • San Cristobal de La Habana “El Principe”: the smallest cigar of the brand magnificently paired with the aromatic scale of “Saslong”, espe- cially for the assonance of the beer with a roasted“Saslong” is a “porter” beer which draws inspiration coffee aroma perceivable in the central part of the cigar.from England and is really particular and aptfor a highly qualitative union. • “La Aroma del Caribe” (“La Aroma de Cuba” in the USA) “Belicoso”: able to produce a marked sweet-Exactly as all the other products of the F.lli Trami brewing ness with intense aromatic hints of cocoa and, the name “Saslong” comes from a piste, spe-cifically from a ski slope in Val Gardena, Italy, where • Davidoff “Momentos”, from the “Puro d’Oro” line:some races of the Alpine Ski World Cup take place. this vitola is suitable for a quick but aromatically intense, fine and perfectly balanced smoke. Also in this case theIt is a high fermentation dark beer with ruby gla- “porter” will prove its ability to create a perfect harmonyres, able to produce a dense and lingering head and with the cigar. | Magazine 37

tobacco history Ramon Allones By Giovanni Bolzonella Cigar reviews by: Luca Cominelli The history of an innovative brand Michel Arlia Paolo TopaThis very popular brand in the world of Cuban Besides being the most important brand of the group,cigars was founded by the Spanish brothers Antonio Ramon Allones was also the first one to introduce theand Ramon Allones, who were natives of Galicia concept of a “premium cigar.” He was also the first oneand already owned the brand “La Eminencia”. to present decorations, representing the colourful“La Eminencia” is a manufacturing centre which unlu- logo of the brand on its boxes, that is to say introdu-ckily did not get to live on; nevertheless, it is useful to cing first the “vistas” and then the other “habilitaciones”know that many of the concepts which make Cuban on the cedar wooden boxes. This was because, accordingcigars so popular all over the world originated there. to his opinion, the box had to convey the value of itsThis small plant was born in 1848, in “Anima 129”, in content, a very modern concept which can somewhatHavana. Within these walls, Ramon promoted some be considered as a precursor of modern marketing.extraordinary innovations which deeply influenced the Moreover, Ramon is said to be the first one to commer-manufacturing industry of Cuban cigars. A few decades cialize 25 cigar boxes and then, in order to distinguishlater, his brother Antonio launched another brand that is himself from the competitors who imitated him, he wasstill present nowadays: “El Rey del Mundo”, which alre- also the first one to create the famous box with threeady existed at that time, but lacked the prestige for which layers, which in turn was later imitated by other brands:it would be known after Allones family’s intervention. we are obviously talking about the renowned 8-9-8. 38 | Magazine

known Ramon as the protagonist of some of the protests, which took place at his time. In fact, he headed the coali- tion of Cuban producers who fought against the abuse of power of American tobacco companies - took place in the second half of the 19th century. Actually, in that period, many manufacturers were forced to sell, close their com- panies or run away from the island. In the first decades of the 20th century, after a few vicissitudes and after esta- blishing itself on the cigarette market, the brand was sold to other producers, among which we can name Cifuentes, Pego y Cia, owners of Partagàs, and the English Frankau S.A. In those years the headquarters were also moved to Calle de la Industia, where they are still located today. Nowadays, all the “vitolas” Ramon Allones are entirely handmade with the finest tobacco from Vuelta Abajo and its ligadas are well known for their strong and robust taste, as the current production demonstrates. The regular production unfortunately consists of only three vitolas: the “Small Club Corona”, a Minuto (42 x 110) which has been regularly produced since the times preceding the Cuban Revolution. The “Specially Selected”, a Robusto (50 x 124) which has been produ- ced since 1980 and is really appreciated by aficionados. The “Gigante”, a Prominente (49 x 194), which was made with the size of a Double Robusto (50 x 184) until 1976.As if all this wasn’t enough, Ramon, together with GustavoBock, is said to be one of the first ones to introduce the While the regular production of Ramon Allones isuse of the band, as a statement of their unquestiona- very limited, there have been plenty of regional edi-ble origin and a way to add extra value to the product. tions released by Habanos SA all over the worldConsidering all these innovations, we can undoubtedly since 2005. Including the releases expected in 2014,claim that, thanks to his clever use of the lithograph, we can estimate around 30 regional editions, mostRamon was a marketing pioneer. Curiously, we’ve also of which are dedicated to the European market. Also this brand, as many others, has been “exported” over- seas and employed for Caribbean manufactures which are not from Cuba. In fact, not everybody knows that in Honduras there is a company of the same name, which produces premium cigars for the General Cigar | Magazine 39

taste Ramon allones “Gigantes” 92/100 Size: cepo 49 x 194 mm (7,6”) - Price: 15,5 € The “Prominente” from Ramon Allones is one of the most traditional Cuban cigars, for many smokers areal testimonial of the quality of the tobacco from the big island. Aesthetically, it presents a “colorado” wrapper, made without a flaw. The first third is dominated by nuttynotes and the general aromas are the typical ones of the Ramon Allones brand. The strength is medium-low (2/5). The puffs highlight sweet flavors and are balanced by the characteristically smooth woody notes.The second third turns to heady notes of dried fruits with light spices in the background. The strengthstays on a medium-low level (2/5), while the taste continue to be sweet with a noteworthy overall finesse.The last third brings back the nutty aromas and then turns into a roasted ground, with an increasing strength(3/5). The finale brings notes of cocoa to the palate, intense and rich. Altogether a cigar which has to berespected: the evolution of aromas are well consigned in the three thirds and the smoke is incredibly creamy.Strong Points: evolution - Weak Points: slow beginning Alcoholic Pairing: Franciacorta Rose - Non-Alcoholic Pairing: Bitter Orange Ramon allones “allones superiores” 89/100 (LCDH Special Edition 2010, still available) Size: cepo 46 x 143 (5,6”) - Price: 8 € Aesthetically, it presents a wrapper with a “colorado maduro” tonality. The construction is good. The cold draw presents woody notes. The first third starts with light spices and it releases aromas of cocoa and earth,with peaks of vanilla. Continuing, it develops fine woody notes. The strength is medium (3/5). At the start of thesecond third, the cigar releases earthy notes, with spices in the after-taste. Progressing, nutty, woody and coffee notesappear, with the strength staying constant. In the final third, the earthy flavors take the lead; herbs also come through.Overall, a cigar which develops a big aromatic palette. The evolution is notable. The only flaw isthe unchanging strength, which translates into a smoke that isn’t completely satisfying. Strong Points: complexity of aromas and a good price/quality relation - Weak Points: Unsatisfactory FinaleAlcoholic Pairing: Champagne - Non-Alcoholic Pairing: sparkling water with lime 40 | Magazine

ramon allones “SmaLL club coronas” 88/100 Size: cepo 42 x 110 mm (4,3”) - Price: 7 € small one of the house of Ramon Allones presents itself slightly box pressed, dressed with a beautiful“Colorado” wrapper and a shiny gold band. In some sticks the draw was more open than the average. The first third develops nutty and woody notes. The strength is a little higher than the medium (3.5/5). The base ispredominantly sapid, but there are sweet undertones perceptible. The aroma intensity is noteworthy,same goes for the amount of smoke produced. In the second third the aromas stay the same, but thestrength increases, carrying itself to a medium-high level (4/5). The aroma range becomes finer, espe-cially on the nose. In the last third the spices are added (black pepper), which become the mainaroma close to the finale. The finale is satisfying and very spicy. The post-puff persistency is excellent.Flavors are the most interesting part of this Ramon Allones, pleasant and very satisfying in their mix of sapid/sweet.The variety of the aromas is not the most ample, but this small cigar is very intriguing,full of flavor and satisfying. An excellent quick smoke. Strong Points: quality and intensity of the aromas - Weak Points: limited complexity 88/100 Alcoholic Pairing: Prosecco - Non-Alcoholic Pairing: Lemonade Ramon allones “specially selected” Size: cepo 50 x 124 mm (4,9”) - Price: 10,9 € The cold draw of the Robusto from Ramon Allones presents flavors of leather and ripe fruits. The first third releases woody flavors of cedar, leather and ripe fruits. Continuing, there is also a perceptible, pleasantcoffee note. The strength is medium (3/5). In the second third the smoke continues in a lively fashion, adding cocoato the palate. The ripe fruits move to the background. Sometimes, there are perceptible peaks ofhoney. The smoke is ample and covers the palate. The strength increases to a medium-high (4/5).The final third continues with the same aromas as well as strength. Overall, a cigar with ample and intense aromas, with a rather limited evolution. The productionconsistency presents a problem: there are some excellent ones and some others are mediocre. Strong Points: aroma intensity - Weak Point: production consistency Alcoholic Pairing: Single Malt - Non-Alcoholic Pairing: Chinotto | Magazine 41

interview Habanosommelier By Paolo Topa When pleasure distills emotions who was chosen to represent Italy in the International Habanosommelier Contest 2013, in Havana - he achieved an exceptionally relevant position. 1. First of all, explain to us something more about your job: how did you become a Habanosommelier and, in detail, what does it consist of ? I am basically a journalist. Nevertheless, after beco- ming “catadore” in 2006, I accepted the opportunity that Andrea Vicenti (president of Diadema Spa and Italian importer of habanos cigars) offered to me in order to engage in this competition after over- taking elimination round with other candidates. It’s important to reaffirm that the Habanosommelier has been an acknowledged professional figure for many years, but unfortunately not in our country. For instance, in Spain it’s not uncommon to find a Habanosommelier in luxury hotels and in Michelin starred restaurants. 2. Last years’ experience in Cuba must have been the crowning glory of your career. Tell us more about your participation, especially about how you were challenged and confronted by the other competitors coming from countries around the world and about the intricacies of the XII edi-Habanosommelier is a new way of experiencing haba- tion of this contest organized by Habanos S.A.nos cigar tasting by pairing them with spirits and wines,a kind of dynamic research for the perfect combination. Specifically, the preparation was very hard because thereIf up to today the sommelier has been (and still is) a isn’t any formula for training. As a consequence, you havepoint of reference in rating and reviewing alcoho- to know everything about the cigar and the ways of ser-lic drinks, the Habanosommelier goes further, trying ving it. That’s the reason why all other competitors, withto find the perfect bond between the pleasure of the exception of the Cuban one, were playing it by ear.the (rigorously Cuban) “slow smoking” and the har-mony of a single malt, of a “Franciacorta” wine 3. Who forms part of a Habanosommelier jury?or of a “Champagne” and, why not, of a beer. What pairing did you present to the Havana compe- tition? What are the strong points that allowed youHere, we speak with Marco Tonelli, an Habanosommelier to reach the fourth place in the final classification?42 | Magazine

Habanosommelier: when pleasure distills emotionsThe jury is constituted by former participants of the compe- the pleasure of smoking. If we want to give some exam-tition and leading figures in the world of Cuban cigars. As a ples, I would say that the dry note typical of Montecristopairing, I chose the Italian grappa Segnana Solera selection. pairs with a Franciacorta, while a Cohiba, one of the “Siglo” series, combines better with an aged Champagne.4. Finding a convincing pairing is never easy, especiallywhen you’re just an aficionado and not a professionalof cigars and spirits. What are the most importantrules that every aficionado should always keep inmind if he wants to get at least a satisfactory result?He has to find the strong point. If a cigar is com- 7. I often feel like having a stout/porter beer and Iplex, it’s better if “the glass” combines with it never know which type of habanos is the best pai-subtly, without competing too much in complexity. ring. What would you recommend for this kind of5. The cigar/single malt pairing is one of the most dark beers, which aren’t normally too strong, but arecommon ones, but you often hear that the high ABV sharp and lingering from the aromatic point of view?can, in some way, make the cigar and drink com-pete with each other. What do you think about that? The problem with beers is that its bitter notes don’t always go harmoniously with cigars. If I had to chooseFor a pairing, unless you are at the end of a din- between a porter and a stout, I would prefer the for-ner composed of certain food and wines, I rarely mer, but the best pairing with a beer is the “lambic”.recommend a spirit. The cigar already produces alot of heat inside the mouth and the alcohol con- 8. Let’s go into details: I’m going to describe a smokingtained in spirits would only intensify this sensation. situation and I would like you to give us some advice so that we could actually experience each single situation.6. One of the best pairing that we can find is proba-bly between a habanos and an Italian Franciacorta A. First situation, smoking an El Rey del Mundoor a French Champagne. What are the differen- “Choix Supreme” on a Sunday morning, afterces between these two renowned wines and which breakfast: what would you pair it with? types of cigars best pair with each of them? Cigars vary so much from box to box that it’s difficultAnd why not a Trento Doc? Bubbles are excellent with cigars. to draft an aromatic characterization. There are plentyThose types of wine are served chilled, the carbonation of exceptions, as the dry and dried fruit notes ofcleanses the palate and the acidity is high: all this enhances Montecristo or the spicy note and strength of the | Magazine 43

Habanosommelierinterview When pleasure distills emotionscazadores by Romeo Y Julieta. El Rey del Mundo “Choix Any recommendation? Supreme” is one of the most difficult cigars to classify. It depends on what you have eaten and drunk for din-I don’t agree with those who talk about its floral aroma ner, otherwise giving any advice makes little sense.because it is hardly perceivable once the cigar has beenlit. Personally, I would define the “Choix Supreme” an Let’s suppose you’ve had a beef and pork barbecue witharomatic cigar, therefore, I would choose an aroma- abundant Sangiovese wine, it doesn’t matter whether ittic coffee, probably from Leonardo Lelli coffee shop comes from Tuscany or Emilia given that, in my opinion,in Bolonia. I could also opt for the Ethiopian coffee this wine constitutes the perfect pairing with grilled meat.Sidamo, made with a moka pot, or a chocolate flavouredIndian coffee Plantation, made with a Neapolitan flip pot. I would say that at the end of the meal we could hazard a vintage Porto, which has been aged for at least 15 years.B. Second situation: after a business lunch witha Montecristo “Petit Edmundo”. You want to If we can’t avoid the spirit, my choice could fall on a nonhave a good coffee... what should you order? peaty whisky (the barbecue has already provided enough smoky sensations). An old Macallan, an even older Glenfarclar or a Japanese Karuizawa 1973 would be perfect. D. Last situation: a summer afternoon on the terrace with a H. Upmann “Magnum 46” and a piece of 70% dark chocolate. Does it suggest anything to you?Hoping that the “Petit Edmundo” has aged pro-perly, which is not so common, I would go for aPlantation or a Brazilian coffee, Daterra or Sul deMinas Pergamino, made with an espresso machine.C. Third situation: Saturday night, a good din-ner with friends. You light a Partagas Series E Of course, that we have to create this situation as soonN. 2 and you are undecided about what to drink. as possible! 44 | Magazine

Favourite cigars line: Arturo Fuente Opus X.Favourite pairings: Wine or Armagnac.“A good cigar is a magic carpet ride. It really transports you to another realm of consciousness, a better one.” - Silvester Stallone -

Regional editionstaste Italy Introduction of Paolo Topa Reviews by: Luca Cominelli Michel Arlia Paolo Topa46 | Magazine

Italy is not known as a purveyor country of habanos as Spain, France, Switzerland and United Kingdom are.Nevertheless, since 2005 we have had six Regional Editions with their vitolas, the packaging used and the brandas instruments of these kind of commercial operations, and have been very often in the forefront. Amongthe first four Regional Editions issued in 2005, two are reserved for Italy and the other two for Switzerland.2005 - Punch “Superfinos” (42 x 110) It is a “minuto” offered in two different editions. In 2005, it was offered in a box of 50 pieces (just 300 boxesmade). The cigars were dress with a second band which reported just the written “Edicion Regional”, lea-ving out the country of production. This was the first Regional Edition ever, issued at the same time as Punch’sRobusto, produced for Switzerland. In 2007, Habanos S.A. issued the same packaging but with a second per-sonalized band with the name “Italy.” In this latter case the availability was broader, 2,000 boxes were made.2005 - Ramos Allones “Seleccion Suprema” (46 x 143) It is a “corona gorda”, nowadays very rare and wanted. It has a second band on which there is the genericindication “Edicion Regional”. The production was limited to 500 boxes (SLD) of 25 units.For this reason it was sold out immediately. 2008 – El Rey del Mundo “Torpedos” (52 x 140) It is a particular figurado or, more specifically, a campana for which were issued two different packaging:the prestigious version (276 made) in 50 units and an ordinary version (1,020 made) of 10 units.The 50 units’ box quality seems superior than that of the 10. 2008 – Punch “Diadema Extra” (55 x 233) This Edicion Regional had a long story: it arrived to the Italian tobacco shop only in 2010, mainly because of thedelays caused by the golden paper which covers each cigar. It is said that the first production of this paper hadbeen mysteriously lost while the second one couldn’t be used by the torcedores because of a manufacturing defect.However, this is the biggest cigar (233 mm of length) released for Italy. It was issued in 1,020 boxes each one of 10units. Nowadays, after four years of its effective release, the edition has doubled its value on the collecting market.2011 – La Esception “Selectos Finos” (38 x166) This is another main production for Italy, 2,000 boxes made of 25 units each. For the first time HabanosS.A. revitalized a brand that was discontinued in 1989. This cigar was addressed to the biggest enthu-siastic cigars lovers, a decision that was in contrast with the big “cepos’ trend”. This specific kind ofcigar wasn’t successful among the Italian consumers but it was appreciated in the foreign collecting mar-kets. It’s worth noting that in 2013 the Italian importer decided to sell a jar with a capacity of 30 SelectosFinos in combination with two boxes of the same edition. The result was 200 jars selling out in a few days.2012 – Por Larranaga “Small Robustos” (52 x 102) This is the most ordinary Regional Edition issued in Italy, as it is a Petit Robustos without any particular characte-ristics. It was released in 2,000 boxes of 25 units each and it is relatively affordable, costing just 7.60 euros each.2014 - Ramon Allones “Short Perfecto” (50x127) Not yet | Magazine 47

taste punch “superfinos” 83/100 Size: cepo 40 x 110 mm (4,3”) The cigar belongs to the first Italian regional edition (2005), which has been followed by a second one in 2007. Aesthetically its wrapper is smooth and has a “colorado” tonality. To the touch is homogeneous. Floral flavours are present when the cigar is raw, while the opening is spicy (white pepper). Once it’s lit up, it develops nutty and earthy notes. The persistence is good and the background is slightly sweet. The smoke is dry. The strength is medium (3/5) despite the nine years of ageing -relevant for a small size cigar like this one. In the last part, spices are marked, following every single puff. The strength increases (4/5). In general, the aromatic palette is limited and this makes the cigar monotonous. However, the persistence is good and the cigar is sufficiently satisfying. Strength points: satisfying smoke Weak points: limited aromatic paletteRamon Allones “Seleccion suprema” 87/100Size: cepo 46 x 143 mm (5,6”) In regards to construction, we are in front of a very well made cigar: aesthetically it’s significant,the nice band still stands out on a stretched and vigorous head despite the years. Raw, various wood notes are detected. The opening is direct and develops toasted coffeenotes and woods. The first third continues on with these flavours, in addition we can feel avegetal background and white pepper, completing a satisfying aromatic mixture. In this phasethe smoke is dry. The second third changes to fruity and earthy notes, maintaining coffeeand wood, while the aftertaste remains vegetal. The last third develops roasted (coffee) andearthy notes. The strength is consistent all along the smoke and it is classifiable as medium (3/5).Overall, it is a cigar to try, thanks to its aging and the good burn. It is also an interestingcigar on a collective level. Strength points: smoking, complexity Weak points: a bit bitter in the end48 | Magazine

El rey del mundo “torpedos” 89/100Size: cepo 52 x 140 mm (5,5”) Aesthetically is well made. The wrapper is a smooth, and has a “colorado maduro” tonality.To The touch is homogeneous and generously filled. Raw, it smells like cedar while the opening emits pleasant sour notes. The first third is very“creamy.” Fruitiness and spices (white pepper) mark the aftertaste. Aromas are suave but theafter puff ’s persistency is complex and long. Continuing with the smoke it develops woodnotes. The strength is low (2/5). The second third keeps the same aromatic palette and thestrength slowly increases (2.5/5). In the final third, the aromatic intensity increases as well as thestrength (3.5/5). Sour notes are more noticeable and goes with the fruity aroma and sweetness.In general, this cigar is a typical “El Rey del Mundo.” Complexity is good and consistency isremarkable. Its aromatic intensity is balanced and the cigar is perfect either for a morningsmoke or an after meal smoke. Strength points: consistency and quality Weak points: unlimited aromatic intensitypunch “diademas extra” 87/100Size: cepo 55 x 233 mm (9,2”) Aesthetically it’s impressive: the wrapper is slightly rough and porous. Raw, it smells selected wood, hazelnut and sweet flavours. The opening is slow and boring.The cigar, given its dimensions, starts with a tight draw and the amount of smoke is very nar-row. The first third develops mineral notes, aged wood and a little leather aroma come to thepalate. The four years of aging were necessary to mix the “liga”: it’s not rough and the har-mony is perfect. The spices are in the background and the aromatic blend is at the same timeoriginal and complete. The second third opens with a little bit more smoke in the mouthand a consequent evolution of flavours and smells: hazelnut, increasing of spices (pink pep-per) while the wood becomes dominant. Fruity notes are on the way. The strength is fixed,low (2/5). The final third is a mix of significant pepper notes, good intensity of wood andcitrus fruits. The aromatic intensity is remarkable in this part. The strength is medium (3/5).In general, this cigar is downgraded by its dimensions that are more for a collection ratherthan for smoking. However, the aromatic mix is persuasive and varied, balanced with a tinyintensity and a strength which is good for longer durations. Try it, at least once. Strength points: evolution and complexity Weak points: smoking mechanic and lack of rhythm | Magazine 49

La Esception “Selectos Finos” 91/100 Size: cepo 38 x 166 mm (6,5”) Raw, you can detect flavours of wood and hazelnut, with vegetal aromas and sweet notes. The first third confirms the raw analysis, underlining soft wood, brush and hazelnut flavours. The smoke is doughy and the texture is good. After 2 centimeters you can start detecting differences: roasted notes and fresh mint. Flavours are between salty and sweet, while the aroma mixture seems already completed (remember that we are talking about a 2011 cigar). The strength is medium (3/5), the aromatic intensity is good and the equilibrium is great. The second third is characte- rised by the growing aromatic intensity and the general delicacy. Wood is stronger, green pepper taste even more marked while hazelnut becomes weak. More moderate are both brush and toast flavours. The after puff persistency is highly marked and it underlines the good quality of the tobacco. Sweet flavours are still in equilibrium with the salty ones, in perfect harmony with the increased strength (3.5/5). In the last third, the spicy taste combines perfectly with the rest of the aromatic palette. The smoke is less fresh but it gains in intensity. The balance of the aromas makes this cigar a treasure. Brush flavours come back, closing the aromatic circle of this enjoyable parejo. In general, it is a complete and complex cigar, with a really good aromatic evolution. Excellence is a marked characteristic of this cigar as well as the equilibrium all along the smoking. Some limits of this cigar could be combustion problems and relights, however, this La Esception is successful. Strength points: quality and aromatic fineness Weak points: sudden putting outspor larrañaga “small robusto” 87/100Size: cepo 52 x 102 mm (4”) The texture of this “Petit Robusto” is good. The wrapper has a “Colorado” tonality.Raw, it is possible to detect the leathery and vegetal notes. The first third is sweet, markedby cocoa and caramel. The smoke is creamy and aroma is intense. It is a little bit different fromwhat the aromatic palette of brand is known for. The second third changes to vegetal notes,cocoa flavour is maintained while hazelnut is added. The final third opens up with earthiness,together with aromatic herbs. It is possible to detect some bitterness. The strength is medium-low (2.5/5) at the beginning and it becomes medium for the remainder of the smoke (3/5).After two years since its release, it is quite a different: less unripe, consequently more balanced,but also less salty and satisfying. Considering the quality-price ratio, we recommend it.You just should to be a bit patient and let it rest for a bit of time. Strength points: structure Weak points: bitter in the last part 50 | Magazine

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