Cigar Blog 101

Cigars and cigar aficionados discuss their favorite cigars, humidors, cigar accessories and more.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Humidor Maintenance and Care

The storage of cigars has now reached a new level for some and the trend can be likened to wine cellars.

There are home builders that are now incorporating, a portion of a residence, built to specifications, as a cigar humidor that can store hundreds of cigars, exacting humidification systems, reverse osmosis, special cedar walls and shelving, and sensors that will maintain the temperature and humidity levels 24 hours a day.

The “collection” of cigars the selection of a particular cigar for an occasion, morning, afternoon, and/or evening, is very similar to the desires of a specific wine for an entrée. You can liken this to a personal humidor, holding as few as 25 cigars, but it too must have your attention at least monthly.

To dispel a myth, that of a white haze which may appear on your cigars in the open box or humidor, that are out of cello. There is nothing wrong with these cigars, and a light wipe with a soft cloth will remove it. This is a natural occurrence from a naturally grown product.

By contrast, if you notice mold, bluish in color, in your humidor, then your humidity is far to high. If this occurs, it is doubtful that the cigars are smokable.

Regarding the humidor with mold: remove all cigars, then with 50% alcohol 50% water solution, wipe down the wood making the wood slightly damp, with a toothbrush clean all the corners. Then leave it open for several days.

Once you have re-prepared the interior, check the gauge(s), and then cigars can be placed inside. Although this exercise seems extreme, from room size to individual humidors, it is necessary.

By Al Remp, product specialist and trainer, Thompson Cigar.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Proper Cigar Storage Tips

Storage of cigars is extremely important, and there are many possibilities. However, first and foremost, consideration of a humidor is always recommended.

The action that is optimum is to maintain the proper humidity of this very fragile product. If you have a humidor, it has a gauge(s) to alert you of the temperature and humidity levels. Ideally 68-70 F and 68-70 relative humidity, is the norm.

All cigars in a humidor will remain firm, not too soft (too much humidity) or too hard (lack of humidity), if you are watchful, and dependent on the amount of opening per day.

Another point, if you own a humidor, you should rotate the cigars from top to bottom and bottom to top.

If you do not own a humidor, then storage of your costly purchase, your brand that is your favorite could become suspect for dryness. However, one tradition through the years is to keep cigars in zip-lock Bags (double with sponge); stored in the crisper of a refrigerator; a mason jar; ammo box; and many others. But please check your cigars at least monthly for freshness.

Another discussion always develops- cigars kept in their cello tubes or out of the cello for storage. An opinion, and only an opinion is that cello tubes may not accept humidity. From some, they recommend removal of the cello so that all cigars will accept slight moisture, as needed. My personal experience in my humidors is that my cigars seem to “marry” all the components of wrapper, binder, and filler making my “collection” as I like them, out of cello.

Next: More on Storage.

By Al Remp, product specialist and trainer, Thompson Cigar.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Winner Announcement - Thompson Cigar Company and Jos. A. Bank Sweepstakes

PRIZES: 1 winner will receive one (1) $2,500 Premium Cigar Package from Thompson Cigar and one (1) $2,500 Luxury Wardrobe from Jos. A. Bank Clothiers.

Thompson Cigar and Jos A. Bank have teamed up for this exclusive sweepstakes.

We are pleased to announce the winner of this contest:

Michael W. Tebow from Port Orchard, WA.

Congratulations Michael!

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Trying different cigars

You have arrived at a decision, that brand “x” has that great pleasure, each cigar, each box, and a certain shape are all perfect for your taste.

You buy a box and store brand “x” in a humidor to maintain the freshness. Then a friend comments on your selection and tempts you to examine- “other cigars”, even though you are set knowing you have a favorite brand. Your friend says-“you must try this cigar.”

The four components will be your guide, plus your brand will be the ultimate test, by comparison.Try not to look at appearance. Try not to clip and taste. Try not to comment on aroma or a listen to a comment by a nearby person on the aroma. Try not to test for construction as to hard or to soft. You will do all four without thinking and we hope that we have brought this to your attention as a guide.

Note the comments conversations, surrounding a cigar. I know other consumable products have similar actions, but the cigar smoker is a friend indeed. They enjoy the discussion.

By Al Remp, product specialist and trainer, Thompson Cigar.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Al Remp Interview - DogWatch Social Club Herfcast #57

Bob McDuffee, co-host of the DogWatch Social Club Herfcast, says his interview with our very own Al Remp has changed the way he "will smoke cigars from now on."

Visit their site and download the new episode - #57. Bob and Dale are very entertaining and the hour-long cigar review podcast is growing in popularity. The interview with Al lasts about 24 minutes. Bob and Dale also answer some listener questions review their cigar of the week.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Victor Sinclair Cigars Training

Every month, Al Remp of Thompson Cigar hosts representatives from different manufacturing companies to help train our employees about their products. Last week, we were joined by Charlie Creekmore, Senior Vice President of Victor Sinclair Cigars.

Charlie is a great guy to sit down and talk with. He is a former Merchant Marine with great stories of the high seas. He started in the cigar industry during the boom years with a cigar label company and later moved to Victor Sinclair.

Charlie was visiting Thompson to talk about the Don Rafael and Victor Sinclair brands of cigars. We look forward to his future visits. Thanks, Charlie.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What happens when cigars split and unravel after lighting up?

Another Cigar Blog 101 reader asked this question in response to Al Remp's post on Cigar Wrappers.

Steve asked:
"I have been running into a problem with my cigars lately, I keep my humidor at or about 70/70, with a couple of degrees variance. What's happening after lighting up, the wrapper is spliting and unraveling, or just breaking off in pieces.. Any ideas what this is an indication of, ???"

Here's what Al has to say:
First thought - are all cigars in your collection experiencing the same problem? If so, the guage is not accurate - buy a digital guage, and raise the humidity level for several days.

Second, if it is one specific brand - then they were not in prime condition when purchased.

Third, are you removing the cello tube before placing cigars in your humidor?

Finally, there are still lots of possibilities for the problem, please let us hear from you again.

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Update: Old Cigars Question

We received an answer from our Canadian reader about our solution to his old cigars question: "I have just discovered a box of Partagas cigars which I purchased about 3 years ago while visiting Cuba. They were not the "tubular" variety and so have dried out somewhat. Is it possible to restore the humidity back into the cigars?"

Al Remp, our resident cigar expert gave them this advice one month ago.

The result?
Reader responds: "Muy bueno Senor. Thank you very much for the information. The cigars are healthy again and I am now going into the back yard to smoke one!"

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Time Should Decide What Shape of Cigar to Smoke

When shape (size) is right for you, knowing you have a favorite brand, will be impacted by the amount of time you would have to fully enjoy the taste. An example:

If the start of your day is rushed, then perhaps a Panatela (6 x 38) or a Corona (5.5 x 42), which will be a mild to medium body, with a fine coffee will awake the senses.

As the day moves on, or if this is your preferred time of the day to smoke your brand, then Robusto (5 x 50) or Lonsdale (6.5 x 42) may offer that pleasure, with full body. As the day ends, and it is your time for relaxation, and given you have your brand, a shape may well be a Churchill (7 x 47), or a Torpedo (6.5 x 52) of a full body type.

There is another consideration, and that is having a “collection” of brands, which depending on the time of day you best enjoy your cigars, is very common for cigar smokers.

Next time-With cigars “variety is definitely the spice of life"

By Al Remp, product specialist and trainer, Thompson Cigar.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

CAO Cigars event at Thompson Cigar Store

Tim Ozgener, Vice President of CAO Cigars, visited the Thompson Cigar Store today for an in-store event. Tim's father, Cano A. Ozgener, started the company in 1968 making and selling high-quality pipes. They later moved to selling humidors and finally, in 1994, they introduced the world to the CAO brand of cigars.

Tim recently started his own blog at the CAO website called Ozblog. Read about CAO's latest promotions and company happenings. His posts reveal a passion about his job and his company. Definately add it to your list of blogs to read every week.

As for the cigars his company makes, Tim says CAO cigars provide "diversity in taste and consistency in excellence".

Tim was in Tampa to promote CAO Gold and CAO Italia. Also on display were their exclusive "Sopranos" brand as well as others. Thanks for stopping by and spending time with our customers, Tim.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Cigar Wrappers - by Al Remp

The variety of wrappers, to complete that portion of the “making of a cigar” to assure appearance and taste, is by brand needs, and consumer appreciation for that special cigar experience. The variety is enormous, but each type selected has a purpose.

They are-Grown by country:
U.S.A.-Connecticut Shade
Connecticut Broadleaf
Dominican Republic-Connecticut Seed
Sun or Shade Grown
Honduras-Connecticut Seed, Corojo, Maduro, and Candela
Nicaraguan-Connecticut Seed, Rosado, Maduro
Indonesian-TBN, Sumatra, Candela, and Maduro
Ecuador-Connecticut Seed, Sumatra Seed
Brazil-Mata Fina, Baja, Maduro, Arapacara
Costa Rica-Maduro

Not to confuse you, but only to enlighten you when you see certain wrappers by a country, as information and knowledge. Each cigar, when created selects wrappers from a specific country, that the manufacturer knows of its desired affect based on seed, climate, to a finished product. At no time will a manufacturer select the three components wrapper, binder, and filler without a great amount of historical knowledge, as to the desired affect for a unique experience by you-the ultimate decision maker.

Next time-Shape of Cigars.

By Al Remp, product specialist and trainer, Thompson Cigar.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

U.S. Marines enjoying Thompson Cigars

For many years, Thompson Cigar has provided free cigars to U.S. soldiers deployed throughout the world. We ran across these photos on a blog owned by James McCauley, Corporal, USMC, and asked his permission to reprint them here at Cigar Blog 101.

Corporal McCauley's squad leader, Sgt. Taylor, wrote to us while the unit was in Iraq. We sent them a large box of various cigars and the photos McCauley published speak for themselves.

Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines is an infantry unit that has seen lots of action.

"My unit made the news on a number of occasions due to our constant firefights with insurgents and IEDs that have taken 22 Marines' lives from my company alone," McCauley said. "With all that going on, it was a break to relax at our base and smoke a Thompson Cigar."

Semper Fi, Corporal...

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Shapes and Sizes of Cigars

Perhaps an area of the manufacturing that, coupled with the selection of a blend that is sometimes confusing, is the variety of shapes and sizes. There are 21 standard shapes and sizes that have and are offered. However, there are new shapes and sizes being created daily.

Why so many? Quite simply it is the manufacturer and/or brand owner’s desire to offer his cigar with the traditional shapes and sizes, plus a different presentation, to establish brand recognition and awareness.

The most popular shapes and sizes:
Robusto 5 x 50
Corona 5.5 x 42
Churchill 7 x 47
Lonsdale 6.5 x 42
Toro 6 x 50
Panatela 6 x 38
Torpedo 6.5 x 52

Additional shapes and sizes, some from history being offered:
Culebras- 3 small cigars twisted together, but smoked seperately Perfecto- Two tapered ends
Belicoso- 6 x 54
Magnum 9 x 50
Cordial 5 x 30
Pyramid 7 x 36/54
Diademas 9 x 52
Unusual offerings-various sizes:

Next time-When Shapes or sizes is right for you.

By Al Remp, product specialist and trainer, Thompson Cigar.

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