Friday, 22 August 2014

Cigar tasting @ KirjaClub - Bespoke Cigars


The largest cigar club/private lounge in Helsinki, the KirjaClub, was honored to host a cigar tasting presented by Jeremy Casdagli from Bespoke Cigars. During the event, we received a great brief on the history and philosophy behind the brand and the Casdagli family.


The cigars sampled at the event were of a great blend of tobacco from various sources blended together by no one else than  Hendrik Kelner Jr of the famous Kelner family of Master blenders at the KBF factory, Santiago, Dominican Republic. We had the pleasure to smoke the Bespoke Grand Cafe and Cotton tail. Both very good cigars. 



I intent to write more about the brand and the cigars in the future, so this is just a little teaser of the upcoming. Good things are worth the wait. Meanwhile visit www.bespokecigar.com for more info.






Thursday, 21 August 2014

Review - Toscano Classico - 90/100

 
It is time for my first review of the Toscano cigars - one of many more to come. Previously i released a post on the Toscano cigars and their history. If you missed it, here is a link:

http://www.worldofcigarsblog.com/2014/06/toscano-tradition-and-history-since-1818.html

Now, to the review: Toscano Classico

The Toscano cigars (including Classico) are a tradition by itself. The cigar is a slim, uniquely shaped perfecto (open from both ends). and has a dark, rustic wrapper filled with lumps and veins. It has been hand rolled to the same shape for nearly two centuries and i don't even start comparing it to any other cigars reviewed here so far.

The cigar is completely made of Kentucky fire cured tobacco and gives out a musty, earthy and sweet tobacco fragrance when unlit. When lit, the first draws (although very tight) reveal a flavor profile matching the initial fragrance - musty, sweet tobacco with some spice and pepper on the tongue.

The draw quickly opens up after just a few draws and reveals the full nature of the cigar. With a great consistency throughout the cigar, the flavor profile is that of mentioned above, slightly developing in body and strength towards the end (medium to full). The finish is peppery.

The bottom line? Absolutely a cigar worth experiencing. A great reminder of the old world, where cigars were a bit more unique and did not have that shiny, immaculately smooth looks.

The rating here is a bit tricky. Parts to the cigar, parts to the experience - just because i feel like i have to rate it to fit the form of the previous reviews. Not to mention, that i felt like Clint Eastwood in one of his spaghetti western movies. Yep, he smoked Toscano Cigars.


Origin : Italy

Wrapper : Italian fire cured Kentucky
Binder : No binder
Filler : Italian and american fire cured Kentucky

Points: 90/100

Friday, 8 August 2014

Review - Xikar Purotemp humidity monitor


I have been using the Xikar PuroTemp™ wireless hygrometer system in my cabinet humidor for a month now and liked it very much. I currently have only one remote sensor in there, but want to get 2 more to measure on different spots in the cabinet. After getting those, i can monitor the whole cabinet with all three sensors feeding the same base unit on my desk!

Base unit

The PuroTemp measures the temperature as well as humidity, both with programmable alerts available and come pre-calibrated with accuracy of RH: +/- 2% Temperature: +/- .1 °C.

My electronic humidifier's calibration was a bit off and i trusted the PuroTemp readings in order to re-calibrate it. Looks fine now. When i get the two additional sensors, i will be able to adjust the air flow configuration to even up the fluctuation of humidity levels throughout the large cabinet.

Remote sensor (hot days caused the temp to jump up)

The PuroTemp does not release you from applying a proper means of humidification to your humidor but at least with it you can make sure you are doing it right. A great tool to measure and control the proper conditions for your precious cigars.

Already available in USA, international release date is later in August.

Monday, 4 August 2014

HUMID OR NOT HUMID, THAT IS THE QUESTION - Proper humidification of a humidor

Proper humidification is easily one of the most discussed and debated facets of proper cigar care. And, as with any debated subject, there is a multitude of misinformation making its way to the unwary cigar connoisseur. Luckily, XIKAR has spent the time and effort to research the best way to provide your cigars the perfect humidification, and innovative ways to monitor the situation inside your humidor.

The traditional approach: Oasis sponge

The first step in protecting your cigars is bringing the humidor itself to the proper humidification, called 'seasoning'. During this process, the cedar wood of the humidor soaks in the humidification to reach a balanced microclimate inside the box. This can be done quite simply by placing a jar of XIKAR's Crystal Clear Humidification. Many people will say that this process can be sped up by wiping the inside of the humidor with a wet cloth. Do not do this! Humidity must be introduced slowly so as not to cause the cedar to swell or crack. Instead place the humidification jar inside the humidor for 2-3 days, until your hygrometer reads 65%-70%.

Crystal Clear (Xikar)

Crystal humidifier (Xikar)
After this is done, it is safe to place your cigars inside the humidor. Most will recommend you monitor your cigars with a digital hygrometer, and after you purchase a digital hygrometer, many will suggest that you need to calibrate the hygrometer to 70% via what is know as a "salt test".

This test involves creating a controlled environment that is a perfect 70%RH via a sealed climate and saltwater solution. However, XIKAR does not recommend the salt test as it has been found to be inaccurate when performed in anything but the most precise way. It is truly amazing the variables which can play a factor when determining the humidity of any environment, and thus render your salt test calibration invalid. Below are only a few of the factors which can affect the humidity of a given area:

-Temperature
-Size of microclimate or salt test area
-Strength of the airtight seal
-Impurities within the saltwater solution
-Ratio of salt to water within the saltwater solution

PuroTemp by Xikar

Any one of these variables can cause the calibration of a digital hygrometer to be inaccurate and thus, XIKAR has done away with the need for calibration at all! Instead, you will find XIKAR's PuroTemp™ Hygrometers have already been calibrated to lab grade reliability, ensuring that you always have the perfect picture of just how your cigars are resting. For more information on proper humidification, check out XIKAR's educational video here: http://bit.ly/1rLkwUR


Thursday, 31 July 2014

Review - Xikar Allume lighter


When reviewing top quality lighters, it is sometimes difficult to make any relevant comparisons between them. They have the flame (torch or normal), they have an ignition button (or wheel), they have the tank and that's it. Two quality lighters usually are very similar in many ways. Then, it comes down to the design and execution.

The new Allume lighter from Xikar is a small but sturdy little lighter. It has a single torch, which is very powerful. Also, the whole lighter has a feel of solid quality. despite the small size, the fuel tank is sufficient enough for normal use. The Allume lighter is very compact and easy to carry in any size of a pocket. The flame adjustment wheel is large enough to be handled without any issues and the side ignition button is very practical. All combined in an affordable and beautiful package. All in all, the Allume is an excellent lighter on the go. Definitely my current choice of lighter to carry with me.

The original Xikar Allume comes in Tuxedo Black, Stealth G2, Crush Orange, Imperial Purple, Riot Red, Steel Silver, Alpine Pearl and Electric Yellow finishes. Plenty of choices to pick your favorite!


Xikar is planning to expand the Allume series also with a double and triple flame versions with the size of the lighter increasing along with the number of flames.

more information http://xikar.com/products/lighters/allume/



Friday, 11 July 2014

CUTTING A LONG STORY SHORT

“How would you like your cigar cut?” A question anyone might hear when visiting their local tobacconist. Most of us might have that instinctual answer of 'straight cut' or perhaps even a punch, but the options available are actually quite varied. While countless designs exist, there are four basic cuts to choose from and each carry their own unique benefits and history.

The most popular cut is the straight cut, or guillotine, due to its straightforward design, ease of use, and ability to cut almost any cigar you may decide to smoke. Allowing the fullest draw and greatest flavor, you get all the smoke a cigar can produce. While its simple design may look easy to operate, but there are some pitfalls when using this cut. First, you must be sure not to cut off too much of the wrapper. This could result in the wrapper (the most important part of the cigar) to unravel. Using a Xikar cutter for example, one method to a perfect cut is to place the open cutter flat on an even surface such as a table. Next, place the cap end of the cigar inside the cutting area and close the cutting shears. This will guarantee the perfect amount of cap is cut off the cigar. Also, having a sharp blade and cutting quickly will help to avoid cracking the wrapper.

Straight cut

Of similar function are the cigar scissors, but even more benefits can be realized. While the size of cigar able to be cut is limited by the construction of your guillotine cutter, the cigar scissors have no limit. Also, they are more easily able to be sharpened allowing for a lifetime of use. Using a sharp pair of cigar scissors can decrease the amount of power needed to gain a clean cut through a cigar, but they do require an additional amount of finesse.

Cigar scissors

One of the oldest cuts in existence is the V-cut, producing a small diamond shaped slit through the cap of the cigar. Commonly referred to as a 'cats eye' or 'wedge cut', the V-cut gained popularity in the 1920's  as many people preferred smaller, short filler cigars. The V-cut makes a wedge shaped cut which restricts the draw, less so than a punch, but enough to really concentrate the smoke. Also, it prevents small pieces of loose tobacco from going astray. A sharp blade is critical to the effectiveness of a V-cutter, as it has a high propensity to pinch the cigar cap, causing damage to the cigar wrapper. Xikar produces a high quality VX V-Cutter which has a unique inverted blade preventing the pinching of the cap.

V-cut

Lastly, one of the newest cuts to come into fashion is the punch cut. Coming in various sizes, the punch cut has a circular blade which can be twisted into the cigar cap for a small and clean opening which concentrates the cigars flavors. The biggest benefit of the punch cut is that it is nearly impossible to damage the cigar cap. Also, if you decide that the punch cut does not provide enough draw, you can still apply a straight cut to the cap and create a larger opening.

Punch

Monday, 23 June 2014

Toscano - Tradition and history since 1818

The Italian made Toscano cigars are an unique blend of history and refined smoking experience of today. They are made from 100% fire cured Kentucky tobacco and rolled into a unique shape. While waiting for my reviews, why not read a bit about them below.


The Myth of Toscano cigars

The birth of TOSCANO® cigars is linked to a casual and extraordinary event that has its roots in history and legend. In 1815 a bale of sun-cured tobacco left out to dry in the open air was caught in a violent summer downpour. Undeterred by their misfortune, the artisans running the tobacco factory in Florence soon came up with a new solution: utilize the watered-down tobacco to produce discount cigars for the Florentine common folk. What they were entirely oblivious to at the time, however, was that the rainwater had caused the tobacco to ferment, creating an unparalleled, brand-new and unique flavor that soon won the heart of every Italian across the social spectrum.

The downpour of 1815 gave rise to a legend that to this day bears the world-renowned name of Toscano cigar. The Toscano cigar is a way of life, an Italian recognizable symbol anywhere and by anyone. With nearly 200 years of history, it is inextricably linked to the development of Italy and its people, becoming a true icon of Italian-made products.


Cigar manufacturing

Cigar manufacturing was located principally in Florence for almost 130 years. But in the post-war period, the “stortignaccolo” (a nickname meaning approximately “crooked cigar”) was definitively transferred from the chief city of Tuscany to the factories in Lucca and Cava de’ Tirreni. The principal factory in Lucca was located, up until June 2004, in a building that was previously a convent for Dominican nuns. From then on, production was transferred to a more modern and functional facility, in the outskirts of Lucca, in a location named Mugnano.

The Tuscan “sigaraie” in Lucca

Toscano's 40 rollers are fundamentally important for the production of the Italian cigar; their work has remained virtually unchanged for over 200 years, and often it is an art that is passed down from mother to daughter.  In the past, they represented a symbol of the female emancipation process, fighting to achieve civil and social rights.


An 18 months’ apprenticeship is necessary to become a roller. Only after this period of time can a roller make a cigar unassisted.


This is how Toscano cigars are made – though the process could be referred to as hand-crafting.

  1. The roller wets her fingers in the bowl containing corn glue and then spreads the glue on the wooden board. This ensures that the Kentucky half-leaf, which has been flattened and positioned on the damp surface, clings to the wood.
  2. With the end of the knife, the woman cuts the outline of the cigar wrapper (profile). The veins of the leaf must be parallel to the rolling axis to prevent them creating any resistance, and to ensure that the wrapper does not open during cigar drying.
  3. The roller takes a bundle (filaments) of fermented tobacco from the “cloth-like” boxes, weighs it to ensure that it contains the right amount of tobacco, combs it, and arranges it to create a cigar of the right shape and consistency.
  4. After having formed the filler (with the binder), the roller, holding it tightly, places it on the profiled wrapper, lifts the tip of the lower edge of the wrapper, and starts rolling the leaf that will enclose the filaments, diagonally and upwards. It is very important not to create too much tension when closing the wrapper, in order not to make a cigar that is too tight or too densely packed, which would not permit an optimum draw.
  5. The ends of the barrel, which are irregular and asymmetric, are placed on a hand-operated guillotine to be cut. This operation gives the final shape.


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Now Available: Davidoff Colorado Claro


Celebratory moments come few and far between in life. That is why they deserve to be filled beautifully. And our Colorado Claro cigars provide the perfect accompaniment with which to celebrate. Whether it’s with friends, or in a delightful moment of quiet indulgence, the Davidoff Colorado Claro Series is the essence of time, and celebration.

Produced in very small quantities, this Davidoff series features a very rare wrapper that makes all the difference in taste on some of our most popular formats: a sun-grown Connecticut Ecuador wrapper reminsicent of the Cuban varietal – dark, reddish-brown in appearance – producing a stronger taste.

TIME IS THE ULTIMATE LUXURY
FILL IT BEAUTIFULLY.

WRAPPER, Connecticut Seed, grown in Ecuador
BINDER, Dominican Republic
FILLER, Dominican Republic

FORMAT, SIZE
Special ‘T’, 6” x 52
Special ‘R’, 4 7/8” x 50
Double ‘R’, 7 1/2” x 50
Short Perfecto, 4 7/8” x 52
Aniversario No 3, 6” x 50