In getting this blog going, I’d like to make a few shout outs for some cigar-resources and blogs already out in cyberspace.
These are some various (mostly cigar-related) blogs and whatnot run by some good friends and acquaintances in the cigar world. Each and every one of them have their own styles, their own individual aspects and backgrounds that they’re able to bring to the cigar world. Some may be more active than others, but all have influenced the cigar world and me myself in one way or another over the years (and hopefully they all continue to do so in the future). I think mostly all of these guys I’ve been able to trade cigars with, and even share many good cigars and drinks and great times with in person as well – they’re all good friends. Whether their reviewing styles match up with your own palate/choices or not, these guys are some true “brothers of the leaf”…
- The ‘Dirty’ Ashes: http://thedirtyashes.wordpress.com/ – this is a great blog solely on cigar reviews by a good local friend here in Canada, Art Sanchez. Similar to most of us, myself included, he follows the “usual” cigar-review format (pre-light inspection, first-, second-, and final-thirds, as well as a final impressions). His pictures are great (including his nicely manicured hands!), and the flow of his reviews are very clear, concise, and all-encompassing.
- Nino’s Flying Cigar: http://flyingcigar.de/ – this is a well-known blog that’s been around for many years and run by Nino Muñoz out of Germany, my Spanish/German conquistador friend-slash-adoptive-uncle-slash-das-German-curmudgeon. A very insightful fellow. Like him or hate him (as recently some do unfortunately, out of some online spite lately over the upcoming Min Ron Nee encyclopaedia update / v 2.0), he’s brought a wealth of insider’s-views and knowledge to the online Cuban cigar world. From great write-ups to some awesome photo spreads, he’s recounted us for years about some amazing cigar experiences while travelling the world and going to wonderful places with varying gastronomic experiences, as a recently retired (lucky bastard!) former banker and porter from Lufthansa Airlines. Though some of his own personal posts have taken a backseat lately to the posts of some other close friends of his during his blog “retirement”, this blog has an extensive archive and wealth of knowledge from over the years, and hopefully will continue to be around for many, many years yet.
- The Cuban House of Cigars: http://www.cubanhouseofcigars.com/ – this online blog / review site is the work of another good friend, Simon, as well as with Antonio (the manager for LCDH Montreal). Simon’s put together a great blog and cigar review webpage here, in cohorts with LCDH Montreal as a business venture as well. Though he’s just a young buck (don’t touch his hair!), he’s definitely got a way with words, and they’ve put up some great cigar reviews and some insightful looks into the events and special goings-on of a wonderful LCDH that we all love to go to (great staff, and an awesome lounge – something that’s a rare occurrence in today’s non-smoking bylaw environment in Canada). Simon’s a great guy, an old-soul in that kiddo (loves good jazz and other music too!), and his blog is one that’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Also, I’d like to mention few other resources here, mostly that I’ve become knowledgeable of (and also usually become personal friends with) through the cigar community at-large as well. From coffee to book-learning, these are some great folks as well. Now, I’m specifically not going to mention cigar retailers here. There are lots of lists around the internet for that, so I don’t need to rehash about how or where to buy cigars online – there’s some great various primers out there, mostly on the various cigar forums on the internet. But these are some great resources to also save the bookmarks for…
- Friends of Habanos forum [FOH]: http://www.friendsofhabanos.com/forum/ – the FOH forum is a damn fine one. It’s the only cigar forum that I waste my precious time on! Run out of Australia through an online cigar vendor, the FOH forum itself has an amazing cigar community attached to it. A great place for respectful discussions of nearly all kinds, it’s run without the vitriol or “flame wars” that some online forums can unfortunately suffer from. Be sure to check out FOH’s YouTube channel here for some great video cigar reviews – even if they are hilariously disfunctional sometimes! And as long as Rob keeps my PSP list regularly stocked, I’ll be a happy camper, whether Ken (lovingly?!) regularly refers to us as “seal bashers” or not!
- Canadian Cigar Forum [CCF]: http://canadacigarforum.com – while only around for a few years, the CCF forum is a great one too. Obviously Canadian-centric, it’s another great group of guys and gals. While I’m not personally a member of this forum, I’ve met a number of the members from it at local events (as Canadians from FOH and CCF frequently get together locally), and it’s a stellar group as well.
- Cuban Cigar Website: http://www.cubancigarwebsite.com/ – one of the best resources on the internet for information, measurements, pictures, years-of-availability, and packaging explanations for Cuban cigars, bar none. The information presented here usually far surpasses even that which Habanos S.A. releases through its own “official” channels. Started back in 2006 or so by Trevor Leask, it’s mostly being run lately by Alexander Groom (some awesome blokes from Australia). A number of items that could previously only be found in the Min Ron Nee book “An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigars” can also be found here, through a co-operative arrangement (very useful if you don’t happen to have a copy of that tome). CCW for years has been the most kept-up-to-date and authoritative resources around on Cuban cigars – just phenomenal. Please, as a member of this community, please also remember to donate to help with the costs of running this non-commercial / non-profit and invaluable resource, and to keep it around for years yet.
- Yul Cigars: http://yulcigars.blogspot.ca/ – one of the best Cuban price-list resources around, for those travelling to the island. Run out of Montreal by another great BOTL, this list is fairly regularly updated / accuracy-checked and is pretty much the most comprehensive of MSRP-style prices at the state-run stores in Cuba (be it LCDH stores, Caracol outlets, factory shops, etc.)
- Habanos S.A.: http://www.habanos.com – well, they make the cigars we all love (well, they’re the distribution conglomerate anyways), so their webpage sometimes does come in handy for information and size format particulars. More of a marketing tool than information resource, the English needs interpretation to comprehend, but they still are a resource that’s out there. Their warranty-seal barcode checker is accurate about as much as a rookie weatherman, but it is a neat party favour.
- Rocketfuel Coffee: http://www.rocketfuelcoffee.com/ – my wife and I love Lisa’s custom joe blends. A great sister-of-the-leaf as well. You really get some amazing coffees for a great price with some inexpensive shipping. If it’s not Cuban coffees (Cafe Serrano or Cubita) in my cup, generally it’s one of Rocketfuel Coffee’s blends – the Jamaican Blue Mountain, the pure Hawaiian Kona, and the Konakazee blend (Kona and expresso beans) are all awesome. While I’m not mentioning cigar-related vendors here specifically, I’m mentioning this due to a cup of Lisa’s coffee being a perfect pairing (if you’re not having rum other other booze) to compliment a great cigar.
So, there’s a few of my most used and respected online resources and such. Obviously, by no means is this anywhere near all encompassing or comprehensive. And, if I neglected to mention a particular blog or webpage, in no way is this meant as a slight or negative – it’s just that the above have the “flavour” that best matches my wants and needs, and are some of both my most used, as well as the generally most respected within the cigar community.
Hopefully, some of the above can come of some use to you, if you weren’t aware of them before.
[September 12th, 2014]