Thursday, 4 December 2014

Sincere apologies!

Hello all,

i would like to present my sincere apologies to all of you for not being able to post here more often in the past few months. There simply has not been enough hours in a day to allocate any to write here. my job and family are keeping me extremely busy, and as i do not have any extra sleeping hours to sacrifice, i have had to put writing aside for a while.

Please, be assured, that i am not going to stop writing completely and will take a more active approach whenever i again have the time to do that. Please, visit my site time to time to see if any new content has appeared or follow me in facebook to keep updated.




Friday, 31 October 2014

Cigars on the go - About travel humidors

 
Traveling with cigars can be a challenge. How do you keep them humidified? How do you protect them from damage? Common methods used in the past included wrapping the cigars in bubble wrap, newspaper, or even socks. Luckily, cigar smokers now have better options with near indestructible travel cases.

The best cigar cases, commonly known as 'travel humidors' are made out of ABS plastic. ABS plastic is an excellent material for protecting cigars due to multiple properties:

  • Heat Resistance: ABS plastic can withstand lasting temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius.
  • Impact Resistance and Toughness: ABS Plastic is one of the toughest plastics on the market, and twice as strong as the common plastic polypropylene.
  • Odor-Free: ABS Plastic is odor-free, and will not affect the quality of the cigars.
  • Buoyancy: ABS Plastic will float, making it great for trips to the lake or ocean.


When choosing a travel humidor, it is best to choose one made from ABS plastic and has a tight seal, which is necessary to ensure proper humidity. Often times, the cases will come with a built in foam humidifier, although you can always add your own humidification as well. This tight seal can also cause some difficulty when traveling via airplane, as the pressurization can make the case difficult to open. Look for travel cases that have a pressure release valve which will counteract this problem, or simply leave a piece of the cigar's cellophane sticking out of the case when you latch it shut. Both of these methods will promise that you can still access your cigars after you have arrived to your destination.


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Flame on! Choosing the Right Butane



Before lighting  your cigar, before even choosing how to light your cigar, you first make a very important decision; what kind of fuel to use in your cigar lighter. The choice seems simple, but further investigation shows just how much choosing the right fuel can affect your cigar smoking experience.

If you light  your cigar with a torch or a soft flame lighter, chances are that you are fueling your lighter with butane. This odorless, pressurized gas is perfect for lighting cigars due to its relatively inexpensive cost and ability to have no affect on the taste of the cigar, but while there are many choices of butane in the market, not all are the same. In fact, making the wrong choice can severely hamper your ability to light a cigar in the future!

When browsing butane choices, you will notice that many claim to be refined two, three, or even five times. Refining is an industrial process of removing impurities from a material, in this case removing the impurities from the butane gas. It makes logical sense that the more you refine a material, the cleaner, or more pure, that material gets.  However this is not the whole story, although many producers will try to sell it to you as such. The refinement is only as good as its end result, the amount of impurities left after the refinement process. This number is usually expressed as PPM or Parts Per Million. This final number is the one you want to look for. For example, a butane with impurities of 15 PPM is cleaner than a butane with impurities of 30 PPM.

You may ask yourself, "Does 15 PPM more of impurities really make a difference? Especially if I can save some money?!" The answer is a resounding yes. The problem with a cheap and impure butane comes after filling your cigar lighter, some of which are quite expensive. An impure butane will, over time, leave residue and particulate within your cigar lighter. Many of the mechanisms within a quality cigar lighter are small and very liable to get clogged with this residue, causing the lighter to cease operation. The most likely place for the impurities to cause problems is within the burner, which is responsible for transporting the butane to its ignition point. Without a steady, regular flow of butane gas to the ignition, you will have very little chance of a consistent flame!

magnified look at impurities

more magnified impurities

It is easy to see how choosing a cheap, impure butane can actually cost you more money over time. In summary, when choosing a butane to fuel your lighter, look for the number of impurities per million on the can and avoid being trapped by the marketing gimmick of "Refined 5 Times!".
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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

Xikar teaser


I am proud to inform you, that starting from July I will have the opportunity to test and review many new and noteworthy products from Xikar.

The final selection of products is not yet 100% confirmed, so you will just have to stand by (sorry). Also the schedule is a bit vague at this point.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Introducing La Colmena from Warped


June 9th, 2014 (Jupiter, FL)

Warped is proud to introduce the addition of their second Miami line, La Colmena or “The Beehive”. La Colmena is rolled at the esteemed El Titan de Bronze factory in the heart of Little Havana, Miami under supervising eyes of factory owner, Sandy Cobas.

La Colmena’s inspiration was drawn from the custom rolled cigars most famously associated with the top torcedors from Cuba. As with custom rolls, a single master roller is responsible for the entire production from start to finish, and with keeping with this tradition, only (1) level 9 torcedor will be responsible for each of the vitolas offered in the La Colmena portfolio, rolling only 100 cigars per day. A classic pigtail and covered foot will accompany each cigar, available in 10ct boxes.

“We’re very excited about the release of the La Colmena line. It gives us a chance to showcase something different in the industry, a profile that hasn’t been seen in awhile and of course offering it in true sizes, it’s just something that you are intrigued by. This marca is special for me. It was 15 years ago as a child when I remember my father getting his first bundle of custom rolls from a friend just back from the island. No bands, no box, just a name of a roller and beautiful bundle of cigars wrapped in a ribbon. It’s just something I have had in my mind for quite some time and it was finally time to get it done.”

La Colmena will debut at the IPCPR in July

Vitola’s Offered:

Amado No. 36 - 6 x 36 – MSRP $12.50 by Raf

Amado No. 44 – 5.5 x 44 – MSRP $14.50 by Reynaldo

Monday, 9 June 2014

Review - Islay Whisky Snus - barrel aged by Conny Andersson


Here is a small side step from cigars. Swedish smokeless tobacco - snus - is a form of ground tobacco which is usually consumed under the upper lip. Today, it comes in forms of loose tobacco and portions (pouches).

The Islay Whisky Snus by Conny Andersson is a prime example of a great product which is manufactured honoring the traditions of snus manufacturing. Usually the Swedish snus today is done from all kinds of different leftover parts of tobacco, but not the Islay Whisky Snus. It is 100% leaf combining tobacco from

      Jalapa, Nicaragua
      Ometepe, Nicaragua
      EstelĂ­, Nicaragua
      Lancaster PA, U.S.
      Keta Ho, Ghana
      KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

According the traditions of manufacturing Swedish snus, the tobacco is left to sweat in the heating chamber instead of  pasteurizing it. Pasteurization is, however, an effective and quick process and has advantages in mass production. The time consuming perspiration, which is used here, was the way that all Swedish snus was produced until 1981. By sweating the tobacco, you get a cleaner and more pure tobacco flavor in the finished snus.

The Islay Whisky snus tobacco is then stored in old whiskey casks from the island of Islay in Scotland. This is a process that is sometimes used to infuse also cigars. This adds an extra dimension of flavor to the tobacco. After that the tobacco is flavored with  a hint of Conny Andersson's favorite whisky  from Islay - From the same distillery that has provided the casks.

The flavor profile of the Islay Whisky snus is very earthy and malty, adding a tone of oak from the barrels for aging and salt form the manufacturing process. The moisture of the tobacco is right on and the nicotine levels will make your head spin. Just the way i like it!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Review - Siglo Oval Horse ashtray



Celebrating the year of the horse (2014), Siglo accessories has produced this beautiful ashtray. Made of fine bone china, it is truly a pleasure for the eye - worthy of your finest cigar (or four)

The design is clearly Oriental. Intense red ornaments surrounding the white, translucent center with the styled calligraphy of "horse", separated with a gold lining. Simply gorgeous!


The one and only ashtray on my patio.

Please, check out the Horse ashtrays (oval also in blue) and other exquisite cigar accessories at Siglo Accessories 


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

June 2014 newsletter sent: New exciting things - stay tuned!

Just sent out the June 2014 newsletter to subscribers. Please subscribe! Below you can find the text from the letter. The complete letter you can find HERE


"I am thrilled to update you on some exciting things already done and to come in the next few months on WorldofCigarsBlog.com!  
I have been vigorously working to create a visualization of my reviews - cigars, ratings, origins. I am also currently building a visualization on the flavor profiles of the reviewed cigars to be used as a reference when comparing cigars and trying to find new cigars which would match your preferences. Work is still in progress. You can access the visualizations HERE. 
I am also pleased to announce upcoming cooperation with Xikar. This cooperation will result in a look at many cigar accessories Xikar has to offer. We will also be publishing useful and interesting articles about the cigar culture, advice for the smokers and stories behind the business. Products featured and article subjects are still open. 
I will also take a step aside from cigars in form of a snus review - the Islay Whisky Snus by my friend Conny Andersson. 
You can find a list of the upcoming reviews at the bottom of the left sidebar on www.worldofcigarsblog.com 
Thank you for your support! Keep reading!"
Cheers,
Mikko

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Room 101 Payback - BIG RINGS. BIG FLAVOR. BIG VALUE - AVAILABLE NOW


Check out the latest from Room 101:



"My comrades, we find ourselves living in the day and age of what I will refer to as the era of the engorged cigar. A cigar cannot be “too big” these days. This phenomenon reflects what is intrinsically ‘MURRICA, and a true value at the same time. We have calibrated some of the most exquisite Nicaraguan Tobaccos to rest within these oversized vessels comfortably, deliciously and then made easily accessible to the everyday aficionado."

"Over the past few years the Room101 Brand has come to be a success in a myriad of dimensions. Now I propose we give back to those that helped get us there in the first place. The cigars in this series are priced well below where they should be. This is Payback of a different sort – my payback to you for the support and dedication over the years."

Available in the USA.


WRAPPER: NICARAGUA
BINDER: NICARAGUA
FILLER: NICARAGUA



ROOM101 IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF CONSPIRACY, INC. ©2014, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.