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The Mistresses of Mi Querida

The Mi Querida (right) and Mi Querida Triqui Traca from Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust

Mi Querida literally translates to “my mistress” in Spanish. These cigars had been on Carl’s and my radar for years, and on our wishlist as a new addition to the shelves since January or even before. The Mi Querida enjoys a reputation among aficionados as a cigar for insiders. Everyone has had a Liga Privada. Make no mistake, they are top shelf cigars, but they are commonplace now. If you’ve spent time with a Mi Querida, you are a member of another tier of cigar enthusiast.

These are the darling blends of master blender Steve Saka, the former chief executive officer of Drew Estate Cigars, creator of the original Liga Privada blends, and now the creative mind behind the cigars of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust.

Overcome with excitement at the arrival of these amazing new cigars to our humble shop, we couldn’t wait to see how they would be received by our guys and gals. I asked one of our VIP’s, Kevin George Berger, long time aficionado and well-respected member of the Tallchief Cigar Circle, to smoke one of each of the two Mi Querida lines and give us his thoughts. What came back were a few quotes I couldn’t wait to share.

Guest Reviewer: Kevin George Berger

Before I get to Kevin’s experience, here is the quick blend breakdown, according to Dunbarton T&T.

Mi Querida (blue label):
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Flavor Profile: Full Bodied

Mi Querida Trique Traca (red label)
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Flavor Profile: Extra Full Bodied

After sampling the original blue label blend, Kevin wrote to me saying that the experience of this cigar brought to mind “the spring of a man’s life; The honey sweet innocence and discovery of new love; the journey of new experiences.”

Wow! Well said Kev.

I couldn’t wait to hear what thoughts would come out after smoking the much stronger and fuller bodied Triqui Traca (red label).

“The red label is the autumn of a man’s life! Appreciating the rich spice and mystery life has to offer, and yet the sheer joy in the anticipation of a known bliss yet to come! The Triqui Traca is an older mistress. More discerning, more wise, more mysterious less playful, she takes her time and knows what she wants. Less sweet for sure but has a complex and satisfying array of delicate spice. She is confident in her femininity and realizes it’s powers. Miss Red Label is a mistress for sure, but also, a remarkable woman worth spending time with!”

I challenge anyone reading this to translate the full experience of a cigar in a more beautiful and more relatable way that Kevin did here. Special thanks to our friend Kevin George Berger.

If you have yet to try Mi Querida, please come see us at the shop, as they are special cigars. And if you want to participate as my next blend review interviewee, I would love to talk to you! Hit me up, and as always…

Keep coming back!

-DP

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The Boys Head to Vegas

Every year, the Premium Cigar Association hosts the largest gathering of premium tobacco professionals in the world. The PCA Trade Show is open only to member organizations, but their membership is vast. The PCA provides its membership with resources, information, and legal muscle in the fight against the government restriction of premium tobacco. Its Political Action Committee exists to fight unreasonable and burdensome regulations, and help create a business environment where small premium tobacco businesses can thrive. For these reasons, Tallchief Cigars stands with the PCA as a member company. This also means that Carl and Dave will be flying to Las Vegas next week on a pilgrimage the PCA Trade Show.

We do run a cigar shop and website. But we were smokers first. The opportunity to experience a PCA show would have been just a dream to us not long ago. So we plan to bring at least some of that experience to you, the Tallchief Cigar Circle.

The massive Convention Center will be filled with cigar companies large and small. There will be everything from the mega-blockbuster release that everyone has been waiting for, to the tiniest boutique brands desperate to get their cigars into the hands of smokers. And from them all will come free samples by the dozens. So look for the treasure chest of new and unknown smokes upon our return. We plan to share.

We also plan to document the experience a bit, so if you are a cigar nerd like us, make sure you follow our social media accounts from July 8th to the 12th.

Keep Coming Back.

DP

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Why I Will Never Question The Price of a Cigar (Pre-Tax)

Courtesy: Adobe Stock

Depending on the State or Province you buy your premium cigars in, the price of your favorite stick has likely been inflated by State and Federal taxes. New York State is one of the worst offenders in this regard, and its 75% tax on premium cigars is not even half of what our friends in Ontario, Canada have to pay to the provincial government in order to enjoy a fine cigar. This is a travesty, but if we put taxation aside, I think it’s incredible that premium cigars are not more expensive than they are. When you consider everything that goes into producing each handcrafted smoke, it’s frankly amazing that they don’t all cost $40 or $50 a stick.

Premium cigars are meant for more than just smoking. They are made to be admired like the pieces of immersive artwork that they are. The next time you light up, take time to appreciate the texture of the wrapper, the weight of the cigar in your hand. Have a taste of the cigar prior to cutting, and see if you can identify flavors the wrapper leaf might contain. Take your time. Respect the craft of premium cigar making and the craftsmen that create them. Immerse yourself and pay some attention to the details. Because when you do, I believe you’ll see the true value in the experience of a premium cigar, and realize that you paid only a fraction of what that experience is actually worth to you.

It has been said that 200 pairs of hands are needed to create and deliver to your hand the cigar you are now holding. What do you think it pays to be a farm hand in the tobacco fields of Nicaragua? I know that Padron, Perdomo, Oliva, My Father, J.C. Newman, etc. do their very best to provide a good life for their employees, but it is still Nicaragua, and farming is still very hard work.

Consider that the tobacco in your cigar might have been harvested years ago, perhaps even a decade. Consider the amount of care and the number of people it took to look after that crop for all of that time. Consider your favorite cigar, the one you’ve smoked dozens of times and it always has that same taste. How is that possible? It’s a plant, grown in the earth, and there are people so skilled that they can create a blend for a cigar, and then continue to reproduce it for years and years. Do you know how to do that? Because I sure don’t. But some do, and they deserve the admiration and respect of the one receiving the fruit of their knowledge, hard work, and craftsmanship.

The more time I spend around cigars, the more I’ve learned about what it takes to produce and distribute them. When I consider all of this, I think it is absolutely incredible that you or I can have the experience of a premium cigar for $8, or $10, or $14. The next time you hear someone at your shop complaining about the price of a cigar, perhaps you will consider politely helping them see why that view is ignorant and ridiculous.

Keep Coming Back.

-DP

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The Padron Series

Episode 2 – The Little Hammer Story

In the first installment of this blog series, we talked about the unique position that Padron Cigars holds in the cigar industry and in the hearts and mouths of many cigar smokers world wide. The story of how Padron Cigars was born has been told many times, and for me, it added an even deeper appreciation for the brand, the cigars, and the hobby itself.

Jose Orlando Padron was born in Cuba, and fled to Miami in 1962 during the Revolution. During that time, Cuban refugees were given resettlement money in the form of a government check. Orlando said that every time he cashed that check, he felt like a burden on this wonderful country that gave him a chance at a new life. He was determined to make his own living and support his family with his own labors. 

One day, a friend at the Cuban Refugee Office, wanting to help Orlando realize this dream of self reliance, asked Orlando if he had any carpentry skills. Orlando said yes, so the friend gave him a little hammer. Orlando began taking any job he could find, and saving his money. With nothing but his hands and the little hammer, Orlando managed to save $600 and used that money to start Padron Cigars in 1964. 

Jose Orlando Padron never forgot the lesson of the little hammer, and you’ll find the image of a hammer on almost every box and cigar band that comes out of his factory to this day.

Episode #3 of the Padron Series Coming Soon!

Keep coming back.

-DP

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The Padron Series

Padron Cigars is considered a staple in any cigar shop. The Padron family are cigar royalty, and their products are at the very top of any honest ranking. Take a moment and Google Cigar Aficionado’s top 10 cigars of 2021. I’ll wait…

…You see what I mean? Their cigars are unquestionably excellent in flavor and construction, and they are undeniably Padron. They have a flavor essence that runs through each and every cigar, such that a seasoned smoker can easily identify a Padron cigar by taste alone. The construction is so consistent it’s mysterious. What do they know at Padron that other cigar makers do not? How is it possible that their cigars never fail? Never. An open draw and an even burn every single time.

I think it is their cigar making prowess that contributes significantly to this air of mystery and prestige that sets Padron apart from the rest of the industry. Many other cigar companies, to their credit, will do the usual retail song and dance of special pricing for this or that occasion, buy X get Y free, enticing buyers with new releases or free swag. Padron does none of this, because they know they don’t need to. They know that their cigar is superior. They know that every shop in the country needs to carry all of their stuff, and that their Padron customers will not be happy with anything else. No discounts, no giveaways, no sales gimmicks. The cigars are that good, and they know it.

There’s more to say about Padron, so check back in a couple days for Part 2.

Keep coming back.

-DP

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Blackbird Cigars

If you’ve been through our shop in the last few months, you’ve probably heard of Blackbird Cigar Company. Back in January, Carl and I traveled to Las Vegas for the Tobacco Plus Expo, a huge premium tobacco convention, in search of something awesome and new to bring into the shop. We have so many discerning cigar enthusiasts in the Tallchief Cigar Circle, and our guys know a good cigar. We all hit the mother lode with Blackbird.

With this brand, the first impression is a good one. This company knows how to market a new product. Check out their website, you’ll see what I mean. And not only do the cigars smoke well and taste great, but the presentation is just as good. Much like the Camacho model, each line has its own bright color, and is immediately identifiable. On the shelf in our humidor, the lineup of brightly colored boxes with the badass scratch font does a great job of drawing attention. I am convinced that these cigars would sell well in any shop, but they have certainly caught fire in ours.

Five of the six premium cigars in the Blackbird lineup.

Six different offerings make up their premium lineup, and each blend is as unique as the next. For a mild option early in the day, there’s the “Finch” Sumatra and the “Jackdaw” Connecticut, both are mild but complex in their own ways. The “Unkind” Cubra is a medium plus, with one of the most unique flavor profiles I’ve had in while. But for my palette, the “Crow” San Andres is a dart to the center of the bullseye. The extra dark San Andres wrapper and Nicaraguan tobaccos bring a ton of body, and rich notes of chocolate and earth.

I could go on to describe the “Rook” Sumatra, the “Cuco” Criollo, but I think I’ll just let you smoke them and decide for yourself which blend is the one for you. Aside the six box lines, there is also the “Nest”, a double maduro bundle cigar which smokes like a $10 stick. Many have found that the main complaint with budget smokes is the construction. The makers of Blackbird Cigars wanted to produce a budget cigar that tastes great and won’t fall apart the way that many cigars in its price range do. The “Nest” is an incredible value.

For the first time, Blackbird Cigars are now available for shipping on our website as well as in store! Blackbird Cigar Co. is still a relatively small company, and we are the first shop in the area to discover them, and therefore the only shop in Western New York where you can get them. Order a box online, or stop into the shop and let us know which line you want to try first!

Keep coming back!

-DP

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CAO Bones

  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Connecticut Shade
  • Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Dominican
  • Vitola: Chicken Foot (Robusto) 5×54
  • Tasting Notes: Dark Sweetness, Nuts, Coffee, hints of Vanilla

THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE CIGAR!

As you may have heard me say before, I am a huge fan of Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers. The combination of savory and sweet darkness, the toothy, rustic appearance, the beautiful near-black color…I could go on.

Every palette is different, but my palette is build for Broadleaf. That said, I also find much to appreciate in other types of leaf, including Connecticut Shade. Mild, velvety to the touch, producing creamy smooth smoke. So when I read the blend breakdown of the CAO Bones and saw that it held a Connecticut Shade binder (a somewhat rare use of this type of leaf) beneath a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, I was obviously intrigued.

I swear, one can actually taste both leafs at once. Vanilla from the Connecticut Shade, and the tell-tale dark sweetness of the Connecticut Broadleaf. While CAO calls this a full-bodied smoke, I found the Robusto, or Chicken Foot as they have titled this vitola, to be full in complex flavor, but medium in body at most. This combination of full dark flavor in a milder to medium body can be very hard to find, but is exactly what I have been after.

As ones palette develops, one finds one goes through phases lasting many weeks or months at a time, where the specific smoking experience the palette craves will change. After a 50-ring-rocket phase, I have found myself gravitating toward milder cigars and larger ring gauges, and I have found that in the CAO Bones Chicken Foot. While very dark in appearance and in flavor, the large ring gauges (the Toro, Robusto, and Churchill are all 54 ring) mellow out the blend to a perfect medium.

May is CAO Month at the World Famous Tallchief Cigars Humidor and Lounge, and we would like to extend that promotion to our online customers as well. So use the coupon code BONES to save an additional 10% on any box of CAO Bones. This offer will only be good until the end of May, so get yours today.

Keep Coming Back!

-DP

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Drew Estate JAVA

Rocky Patel’s infused line, made in partnership with Drew Estate.

Every now and then I do get the urge to try something that is flavored, because (not to toot my own horn) I smoke so many good cigars that I need something just for the palate cleanse before getting back into the money sticks. I am a guy who loves his coffee, so if I am going to try something infused, there are a number of coffee flavored cigars on the market that use premium tobaccos. Tabak by Drew Estate comes to mind. But in my experience working in cigars shops in Western New York for a decade now, Java has consistently been the most popular in the coffee category.

I am a maduro guy, so I tried the Java Maduro first. This cigar is very sweet and has strong notes of mocha with a bit of coffee to it. in a blind tasting, I might call this a chocolate cigar before I would call it a coffee cigar. Great as a dessert smoke. I know that the Mint variety also has many fans, though I couldn’t bring myself to try it…yet.


The ‘Latte’ was next, which is the variation with the Connecticut Shade wrapper, and I loved every bit of it. It was mellow, smooth, buttery and creamy and it really helped you not only taste the natural coffee flavor of the cigar, but it also helped add to it a little bit. I loved the Java Latte for a gimmicky break from my usual smokes. It’s nothing I’d have every day, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a great dessert cigar like it’s cousin, the Java Mint. I’d try it if flavored smokes are your thing, or if you’re bored with your current selection.

Don’t forget that all Rocky Patel cigars, and that includes Java, which was made by Rocky Patel in partnership with the infused cigar giant Drew Estate, are still available to you at an additional 10% off of our already low prices. Just make sure you use the coupon code ROCKY10 at checkout!

Keep coming back! -DP & CB

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Rocky Patel LB1 Toro

Cigar Name: Rocky Patel LB1

Company Website: https://www.rockypatel.com/
Strength: 3/5
Vitola: Toro (6.25 x 52)
Origin: Honduras
MSRP: $11.00 Our Price: $9.25
Wrapper: Nicaragua

The LB1 has a wonderful wrapper. The shade of this cigar wrapper just screams “classic.” Sometimes I think Maduro wrappers look really intimidating or just comically dark, but this is a cigar you could hand to anyone and instantly, they would think that this is how a cigar should look. And the Toro vitola is the obvious choice to complete that feeling.

The smoke and flavor from this cigar can be best described as toasty. This cigar profiles as a perfect medium-body cigar; not too heavy, and certainly not light, with just enough kick to give mild cigar smokers the notice that this one is a step up from what they are typically used to. On top of the toast, there are notes of coffee laced throughout this cigar, with some slight earthiness, but not too much. The toasty smoke is one of my favorite types of smoke; the nice, moderate strength combined with the aromatic smoke that you can taste on the inhale creates a really nice flavor that is enjoyable when it comes in a medium body. Nothing about this cigar was overpowering at any point in the experience, and a great draw provided lots of flavorful and billowing smoke. I really have grown to like this one.

The burn from this cigar was even and measured throughout and it did not require touching up or maintenance after the initial light. This cigar was well-built and did not give any hint of poor construction at any point; there was no threat of unraveling or uneven burning or anything of that sort. All in all, the LB1 is a wonderful cigar that is offered in so many different sizes that it is suitable for anyone of any experience level. It’s a perfect medium body with no excessive spice or kick to it, making it an enjoyable smoke for anyone who comes across this one. I’d recommend giving it a try.

This Cigar is an in-store-only exclusive, so hurry in while we’ve still got ’em. And don’t forget that our entire selection of Rocky Patel cigars now listed online is available to you at an additional 10% off if you use the coupon code ROCKY10 at checkout!

Happy smoking!

CB

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Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero

  • Strength: 4 / 5
  • Size: 5 x 50 Robusto
  • Origin: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $194.00/box of 20
  • Our Price: $154.88/box of 20
  • Wrapper: San Andres

It is hard to find a cigar brand with a portfolio as vast and wide-ranging as Rocky Patel Cigars. Since their beginning in 1996 as Indian Tabac Cigar Co., Rocky has put an emphasis on fresh ideas, new fuller blends, and bold packaging. These ideas carried through to 2003 when the decision was made to change the name of the company to Rocky Patel Cigars, centering the brand on Rocky himself.

Then, in 2015 a match made in the stars came to fruition. Hamlet Paredes, widely considered one of if not the greatest master roller Cuba had ever seen, left Cuba in 2015 when the embargo was eased. Rocky immediately brought Hamlet into his cigar family. This cigar, the Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero is a result of that relationship.

This cigar has everything I look for in an after-dinner smoke. It’s full, rich smoke leaves nothing to be desired. It has strength and spice, and I find notes of earth, dark cocoa, and coffee. The San Andres wrapper is a staple of many of Rocky’s darker blends, and it is used to full effect in this cigar.

Stop by the shop to try one, or click here to buy a box! And as a special gift for checking out this blog, use the coupon code ROCKY10 at checkout for an additional 10 percent off any Rocky Patel products.

Keep coming back! -DP