It’s the time of year that I get really excited to see the nominations for
Cigar Journal Cigar Trophy Awards. 

The products listed provide a short-list indicating
what other cigar enthusiasts are enjoying.
I’ve used this list to determine which cigars I should purchase  at my local tobacconist.

Click on the link below to vote for your favourites!

The Categories for Cigar Trophy 2019
BEST BRAND (by origin)
BEST CIGAR (by origin)
BEST VALUE (by origin)
BEST ACCESSORY
BEST LOUNGE

CUBA

Best Brand Cuba
Bolívar
Cohiba
Montecristo
Partagás
Trinidad

Best Cigar Cuba
Bolívar Belicosos Finos
Cohiba Siglo VI
Partagás Maduro No.1
Quai d’Orsay No. 54
Trinidad Vigia

Best Value Cuba
Fonseca
José L. Piedra
Saint Luis Rey
Sancho Panza
Vegueros

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Best Brand Dom. Rep.
A. Fuente Hemingway
Ashton Virgin Sun Grown
Avo Syncro Nicaragua
Balmoral Añejo XO
La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero

Best Cigar Dom. Rep.
A. Fuente Magnum R Vitola 52
Davidoff Winston Churchill The Late Hour Churchill
Diamond Crown Julius Caesar Toro
Gurkha Cellar Reserve Prisoner
La Aurora ADN Dominicano Robusto

Best Value Dom. Rep.
Aging Room Solera
E.P. Carrillo Encore
Kristoff Cameroon
La Flor de Ynclan
La Galera Connecticut

HONDURAS

Best Brand Honduras
Alec Bradley Medalist
Camacho Criollo
C.L.E. Connecticut
Plasencia Cosecha 146
Rocky Patel Twentieth Anniversary

Best Cigar Honduras
Eiroa The First 20 Years 54×6
Flor de Selva Maduro Grand-Pressé
Kafie 1901 San Andres Five Forty Six
Leaf by Oscar Corojo Toro
Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 Toro

Best Value Honduras
Aladino
Camacho Corojo
Corrida Honduras
Flor de Copan Classic
Villa Zamorano Reserva

NICARAGUA

Best Brand Nicaragua
Alec Bradley Nica Puro
La Flor de las Antillas
Perdomo Habano (outside US: Nicaragua) Bourbon Barrel Aged
Oliva Serie V
San Cristóbal (outside US: Paradiso) Quintessence

Best Cigar Nicaragua
Joya Silver Corona
Liga Privada No.9 Corona Viva
My Father La Opulencia Toro
Padron 1964 Anniversary Series Exclusivo Natural
Plasencia Alma Fuente Generación V

Best Value Nicaragua
A.J. Fernandez New World Cameroon
Brick House Maduro
Gilberto Oliva Reserva
Joya Black
Nica Rustica

OTHER COUNTRIES

Best Cigar Other Countries
Atabey Brujos (Costa Rica)
Casa Turrent 1901 Robusto (Mexico)
Corrida Brazil Toro+ (Brazil)
Tatuaje 15th Anniversary Habano Rosado Belicoso Fino (USA)
Vegas de Santiago D8 Robusto (Costa Rica)

BEST ACCESSORY

Boveda Humidity Control Packs
Cigar Oasis 3.0 Humidifiers
Colibri Quasar Desktop Cigar Cutter
Vertigo Big Buddha Lighter
Xikar Step Cigar Ashtray

BEST CIGAR LOUNGE

Aficionado Room Cigar & Whisky Lounge, Warsaw
Cohiba Atmosphere, Buenos Aires
Gentlemen 1919, Paris
Kempinski Cigar Lounge by Zechbauer, Munich
The Cabinet Cigar & Whisky Lounge in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur

Vote now:

“Year after year, the Cigar Trophy Awards are bestowed on cigar manufacturers and other actors in the cigar world for excellent performances.
And each year we turn to you to make the decision about which products most deserve this appraisal.

The winners are decided in a two-phase process.
In the first phase – from June 4 thru 16, 2019, consumers propose the possible candidates for the various categories. In the subsequent voting phase (June 19 thru 26, 2019), you determine which of the candidates from the shortlist should be chosen as winners”
Cigar Journal

MOMBACHO CIGARS
ANNOUNCES THE OPENING OF A

EUROPEAN WAREHOUSE IN GERMANY

Mombacho Cigars S.A. recently announced it will start serving the European market through a warehouse based in Dusseldorf, Germany.

“In the last two years we saw a tremendous growth in Europe and now, with the support of PasionPuro’s team, we have a bonded warehouse in Germany to better serve our European partners in their respective markets. We’ll be able to ship cigars to the countries where we already have a presence and the new ones opening soon, faster and with a lower cost of shipment” said Claudio Sgroi, President and Master Blender of Mombacho Cigars.

“We strongly believe, that boutique manufacturers with high market potential are getting faster and more efficient distribution within the European Union (EU) by using a warehouse in the union territory. There is still paperwork to do, but comparing to an import from Nicaragua, it is much faster and cost effective to get Mombacho within the EU. The European market is fragmented into 28 different countries, each with their own laws and regulations, besides the EU Big 5 (UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy); there are 23 smaller markets. To be able now to ship from one EU-warehouse to another EU-warehouse easily, makes it more attractive for smaller distributors to take Mombacho into their market”, said Tuan Hung Ma, owner and CEO of PasionPuro.

The new warehouse will receive the first shipment before the end of June 2019. Mombacho Cigars are already distributed in Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Italy; the company plans to open Spain, Belgium, and Luxembourg before the end of 2019.

Mombacho will welcome US retailers at the IPCPR in Las Vegas at the booth #2867 and both Mombacho & PasionPuro will be present to welcome every European distributor at booth E.30, Hall 4, at Intertabac in Dortmund.

ABOUT MOMBACHO CIGARS
Mombacho Cigars S.A. is a “totally made by hand” cigar company established in 2006 that entered the US market in 2013. The international interest in Mombacho has grown rapidly and Mombacho Cigars are now available in 14 countries around the world. Mombacho produces all of its cigars at its factory in Granada, Casa Favilli, where over 30 members of the Mombacho Family work.

GRANADA, NICARAGUA. – (June ……, 2019).

Mombacho Cigars Screen Shot
Photo Credit: Mombacho Cigars

 

Park Inn by Radisson / YYC Calgary Airport. 

Parking: abundant outside parking.
Front Lobby: Easy Check-In. Debbie made the check-in process a joy.
Convenience Store: soon to be replaced with a breakfast area.
Elevators: close to check-in area.
Room: King Studio Suite with open floor plan.
All suites include:

  • 37-inch flat-screen HD cable TV
  • Airport view
  • Alarm clock/radio
  • Coffee facilities
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hair dryer
  • Individual climate control
  • Ironing & ironing board
  • Kitchenette with full-size refrigerator, microwave, stove, dishwasher, pots and pans, and cutlery
  • Work desk with ergonomic chair

The Bed Area: Super-comfortable King-Size mattress with soft linens. It’s really quite high to get into, so if you’re short like me (5′ tall), be prepared to have to lift yourself into bed. But once you’re in there, you’ll get an amazing sleep!
One of the things I noticed is that even though the hotel is right below the airline flight-path, never once did I hear an aircraft approach.
This hotel has really good sound-proofing.

The Wash-Room Area:
Park Inn YYC Calgary Washroom Shelves Cosmetics Tidy
Full-length mirror on wall behind the door is perfect for make-up application and/or touch-ups.
This is a big plus when compared to hotels that put the full-length mirror in the hallway where there is little to no light. Anyone who considers make-up application as “Zen” time will really appreciate the placement of the full-length mirror in this hotel room.

Sink area is really large; plenty of room for blow-dryers & personal grooming items.

Having the shelves in the corner is helpful for both the user & the hotel housekeeping staff.
Instead of leaving all the cosmetics & hair-care products on the counter, move them to the cupboards.
This allows housekeeping to clean the sink area without having to move ones personal grooming items.

The tub is quite shallow but this is great for those unable to take large steps to get into the tub or the shower.
There’s 3 full safety-bars which are helpful for getting out of the tub after a bath or shower.
The shower has excellent water pressure, so there’s no issues for anyone with long hair rinsing out their conditioner.
Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Lotion & Soap are all supplied.

The Kitchen Area:
Park Inn YYC Calgary Kitchen FullThe King Suite has a full kitchen area that is exceptionally well equipped with pots, pans, cutlery, serving plates & glasses.

There’s a full size microwave, dishwasher & fridge.
This kitchen also has a built-in cooktop. You could stay an entire week and never have to have a meal outside your hotel room.

Point of note: if you’re a light sleeper who can hear the fridge running – not to worry, there’s a switch inside the fridge where you can just turn it off until wake-time. Of course, be aware of what you have in the fridge as items will not be as cold – but it’s a trade-off for light sleepers.

The Work Area:
My favourite part of this hotel room is the size & functionality of the workstation. The desk is super-long with easily accessible plug-ins.

Park Inn YYC Calgary Work Station Desk

 

Park Inn YYC Calgary Bulletin Board

Another feature in this well-appointed room is the “Bulletin Board” … nice touch!

Kind of old-fashioned, but comes in handy for notes you choose to leave for your traveling partner … or yourself.

For instance, you’re attending a trade show & you’ve picked up a memo for a download.
You can post it on the bulletin board and attend to that task when you’ve got time.
Bulletin Boards make it easy to remember tasks at a glance!

The Coffee Station

Park Inn YYC Calgary Coffee Ceramic CupTo their environmental credit, the Park Inn YYC Calgary Airport chooses to not use coffee pods, opting instead for the classic drip coffee pot.

And oh, I do love a ceramic cup for coffee in the morning!

The Park Inn slogan is:
“Good Stay. Good People. Good Price”
… and they really do live up to it!
On the subject of “Tipping”
When it comes to showing appreciation, I tend to distribute my “tip budget” really evenly. Everyone, including restaurant servers, get – on average – a $2 tip.
That rationale gives me the budget option to leave a $2+ tip each for hotel housekeeping & maintenance.
These are often the overlooked people, getting little more than an “atta girl” or “atta boy” for all their efforts.
Yet, they are among the hardest working of all hotel staff.
For instance, I once dropped a diamond earring which fell into the sink drain.
Maintenance had to spend a lot of time getting it out. That’s when I really began to appreciate those often un-seen “behind the scenes” hotel employees who also deserve to be tipped for their efforts.

… In summary – for a comfortable hotel stay in Calgary, I highly recommend the Park Inn by Radisson – Calgary Airport for a great stay at a great rate.

Park Inn – Calgary YYC Airport

 

181122 The Spirit of Edmonton Banner

It’s Grey Cup Week in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada!

Kicking things off at the Westin Hotel in downtown YEG (airline call-letters for Edmonton) was the official
“Spirit of Edmonton Kick-Off Celebration!”

This event goes from 2pm – 2am Thursday Nov. 22 to Saturday Nov 24.18. and is restricted to ages 18+

For a mere $10 cover charge, you’ll gain entry to one of the hottest spots for all the Grey Cup Party action!

There’s live entertainment with bands playing every genre of music imaginable. And they really get attendees dancing!


Another cool experience at Spirit of Edmonton 2018 is the MojoPhoto Booth. 

Get your friends together for a photo in front of a backdrop of stadium seats.

181122 Spirit of Edmonton Mojo Photo Wall
You type in your own caption with either your name or nickname
… and the guys from MojoPhoto …181122 Spirit of Edmonton Mojo Photo Desk

… will turn it into a personalized trading card for you.

181122 Spirit of Edmonton Mojo Photo Val
This is a big hit with tons of people lining up to get their personal trading card keepsake. Check out their website: mojo photo

Lots to See & Do at Spirit of Edmonton event – Westin Hotel
Not only is there a huge party room at Spirit of Edmonton 2018, there’s also local & national celebrities broadcasting from the site.

We met up with Toby & Warren from 100.3 The Bear

 

181122 Spirit of Edmonton 100.3 The Bear with Toby & Warren

and visited the SKOAL tobacco booth …181122 Spirit of Edmonton Skoal Booth

Plus, the Spirit of Edmonton organizers thought of everything – including a Coat Check for $2 and a very reasonably priced snack bar to help you get through the night!
All in all, it’s a great time with football fans from all across Canada.

From the Spirit of Edmonton Website:
The Heat is Here! Are you ready for the biggest party of Grey Cup weekend?!

Our doors will be open at the Westin Edmonton from Thursday, November 22nd – Saturday, November 24th between 2:00pm – 12:30am daily.

  • Live Bands – featuring Sideline 12, Mourning Wood, Chronic Rock, and our headliner Spoiled Rotten!
  • Live Entertainment – featuring CFL Cheer Teams and more!
  • Live DJ!
  • Surprise Appearances!
  • The return of our mascot, Sociable!

For additional updates and all the latest during Grey Cup weekend, follow us on Instagram @spiritofyeg and Twitter @spiritofyeg.
Follow all the excitement via Twitter, Facebook & Instagram
@mojophotoca
@GreyCupFestival
@spiritofyeg

The Westin Hotel Edmonton
Spirit of Edmonton
100.3 The Bear YEG
mojo photo

I’m on a 5-day road trip to Las Vegas.
That means stopping into restaurants unique to their city.
One such restaurant is Cajun Phatty’s in Billings, Montana.

Cajun Phatty's table with food
Photo Credit – Cajun Phatty’s

When I saw the sign advertising Louisiana Specialty Foods, I wasn’t sure if it was a restaurant or a specialty food store, but had my fingers crossed it was a restaurant.
Sure enough, I was soon chowing down on some really amazing food.

Shrimp & Grits - Cajun Phatty'sI had one of the House Specialties:
Shrimp and Grits. Shrimp with Andouille Sausage in a rich New Orleans sauce on top of cheesy Southern Grits.
Price was very reasonable – $14.50.
The portion was generous with the majority of the bowl filled with delicious cheesy grits and topped with generous servings of both the done-to-perfection shrimp & the Andouille sausage.

I added take-out Red Beans and Rice for a mere $3 to serve as my lunch on the road Saturday.

The service was amazing. The crisp, green salad showed up within minutes, followed not long after by the entree.

Throughout the meal, the server made sure everything was going good by visiting my table regularly … it was as much a nice social visit as a was a sustenance visit!

The other thing to like about this restaurant is they serve ice-cold Coca Cola in glass bottles. Nice touch! 180607 Cajun Phatty's menu p1

Some of the other dishes that get a lot of attention are:
Appetizer: Fried Alligator Bites.
Greens: Muffaletta Salad: Romaine, sweet bell pepper, red onion, Black Forest Ham, Mortadella, Salami, Provolone, Muffaletta Olive Mix, pepperoncini, homemade croutons & shaved Parmesan cheese tossed with Italian Dressing … a meal in itself.
Entree: Crawfish Étouffée: Crawfish in a rich and creamy gravy served over rice with toasted, buttery French Bread.
or try the Pork and Sausage Jambalaya: Cajun/Creole slow cooked pork and Andouille sausage in a rich and rustic tomato stew served over rice with toasted, buttery French Bread.
Dessert: Cajun Phatty’s Famous Fried Bread Pudding topped with Praline Sauce.

I can’t wait to get back to this restaurant to try everything else on the menu!

Here’s what the Cajun Phatty’s has to say about what they have to offer:

“Located in Billings, Montana, you will find an authentic menu of Louisiana favorites! Owned and operated by actual Cajuns, this food truck turned restaurant is training its customers to say “Ça c’est bon” one bowl of Gumbo and one Shrimp Po Boy at a time! Come on down and find out for yourself what all the ruckus is all about!

“You all have probably heard of or even ordered a bowl of Gumbo at a great steak house or soup specialty restaurant, but was it really just “good soup”?

Here at Cajun Phatty’s, we strive to represent our Cajun culture with authenticity and stick to the family owned recipes our founders grew up on.
Gumbo is more than a hot broth and rice (its all about the roux y’all).

And we apply that thinking to all of our menu items and the ingredients they require to be the best and most authentic.

Being in Montana means that sometimes we have to call home for the best ingredients! Much of our seafood comes from back home.

Our menus are updated regularly, so come back often and download a copy for you to drool on… I mean order from! Dine in or Take Out!”

2564 King Ave West Ste. F
Billings, MT — 59102
(406) 281-2820

Monday — Thursday
11am — 8pm
Friday — Saturday
11am — 9pm
Closed on Sunday

Cajun Phatty’s Louisiana Specialty foods

On CTVReginaMorningLive, where I’m the resident Sommelier, we talked about the upcoming 2018 running of the Kentucky Derby and the happy coincidence that it lands on Saturday May 5 … the same day as Cinco de Mayo!

Cocktails enthusiasts around the world are concocting a variety of beverages to honour that alignment.
Here’s our contribution with a Mint Julep Mash-Up that combines Bourbon, Tequila, Chocolate Bitters, Lime and Mint leaves:

180502 Mint Julep Set product onlyMint Julip Mash-Up
2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
1 oz Patrol Silver Tequila
Chocolate Bitters
1 dozen Mint Leaves
2 Key Limes – sliced
Teaspoon of Brown Sugar
Splash of Water
Ice

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves to release the oils.
Slice 2 Key Limes – add them to the mint leaves & muddle.
Using a dropper, add 3-10 drops of Chocolate Bitters (suited to your taste).
Add Brown Sugar … or for a lighter sweetness, an ounce of Simple Syrup.
Pour in a splash a water, give it a stir and filter it into a glass filled with ice & garnished with mint leaves.
You can also add a caramelized lime slice to the garnish.

To caramelize the lime, drop a pinch of brown sugar on top of the slice and give it a quick blast from a kitchen torch.
Personally, I use a torch-style cigar lighter as I prefer the size and the flame output.

The Mint Julep Mash-Up is a an amazingly smooth, refreshing beverage with wonderful aromas of chocolate, fresh mint, caramel and vanilla.

If you’re in Regina SK, you can find Ms. Better’s Bitters /Chocolate at Blush Beauty Bar.
Good quality torch lighters are available at numerous locations … I got mine from Jade Smoker’s Corner in the Value Mall.

Blush Beauty Bar

CTVReginaMorningLive

Since August of 2015 I’ve been a weekly contributor to Smooth Draws Radio Show.
Friday January 20, 2018, the driving force of the show, Gary Laden, passed away and it’s been heartbreaking.

Gary will always have a place in my heart.

I started listening to his broadcast, then called Cigar Guys Radio Show, basically from its inception.

The 1st time I called into the show was in April of 2015.
The Cigar Question of the Week was:
“What do you like to pair with cigars?”

I wanted to get his take on a Brad Paisley interview in Cigar Aficionado, quoting this from the pages of that issue:

“His (Paisley’s) band members tend to enjoy the cigars while sipping a fine whiskey, or a glass of wine.
But the nondrinking Paisley has his own favorite beverage when savoring a cigar …

“If you have a Yoo-hoo with a cigar, it’s like a s’more,” Paisley enthuses. “Anything chocolate is fantastic. A hit of chocolate takes the bite away. A chocolate milkshake with a cigar? That’s just decadent. Grape juice is good, too. Anything thick and sweet is pretty cool. I think I’d like port, if I did that.” … from Cigar Aficionado

Gary thought that was great input and I thought Gary was great for being so open-minded about cigars & pairings.

Cigar Guys Radio Gary Val IPCPR2015When he learned I’d be working with Daniel Marshall at the Daniel Marshall Cigars and Humidors booth during the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) show in New Orleans that July, Gary came by the booth and that’s where I had my 1st of many photos taken with him.

A couple of weeks after #IPCPR15, I asked Gary if I could do a Twitter #CigarHerf to correspond with the show broadcast.
He loved the idea and couldn’t wait to get a global ‘herf started every week.

 

Gary would send me the script and I’d tweet the content, with corresponding pictures of the hosts & the guests – of which there were many, but some of the 1st were Jose Blanco, Oscar Rodriguez, Mike Bellody, Nick Perdomo Jr., Fred Rewey, Jerry Garrett, Sean Williams & Enrique Sanchez Icaza.
#RelaxAndEnjoy.

Gary would also do features & contests with cigar accessories like Xikar & Boveda Inc. to help novice & experienced cigar enthusiasts better understand options available to them.

I’d categorize all the segments & photos that made up the show.
There was Doc’s Diversions and #SmoothDraws-University that brought together great educational aspects of cigars, like Jorge Armenteros of Tobacconist University.

And who didn’t love the ever popular “Long Ash or In The Trash” where the hosts would give their opinions on super-fun themes that Gary would present?!
All the Smooth Operators had fun casting their votes on the topic throughout the weekend.
Recently the panelists expanded to include Smooth Operators, with long time listenere Bob Langmaid being the first.
Gary was always looking for way to get the fans onto the #SmoothDraws MainStage.
A totally generous man.

Gary created a segment for me to talk about wine & spirits and was always eager to try a new “dram” … a word he found particularly endearing.
The segment we did for Canadian Whisky gave Davin de Kergommeaux’s book “Canadian Whisky – The Portable Expert” a boost in on-line sales throughout the U.S.A.
It was those behind the scenes experiences that made the show so exciting & gave me a sense of purpose.
I will forever be grateful to Gary for seeing the big picture.

We were part of Whiskies Of The World #ATL, where Gary, Nicholas, Adam myself & others from the #SmoothDraws Team would host the Cigar & Whiskey pairing event.

Gary was one of the 1st radio celebrities in the United States to honour World Whisky of the Year winner Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, enjoying an in-studio tasting with John Stegenga & Alan Friedman.

Gary warmly welcomed everyone to the studio, whether they be cigar people or whisky people … like Raj Sabharwal.
“Doc” loved Scotch … and he loved Canadian Whisky.
He found a new favourite when Raj brought in Stalk & Barrel Whisky for the in-studio tasting.

I’ll always be grateful to Gary for making the show diverse, yet keeping it related to the #Cigar lifestyle, which he loved.
And he fought for #CigarRights … supporting the mandate of Cigar Rights of America and International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR).

He completely embraced every aspect of the cigar lifestyle, working tirelessly to secure interviews from influencers of that lifestyle, including Reinhold Widmayer from Cigar Journal to Darren Cioffi of Cigar Smoking World Championship fame and Franca Comparetto of Cigar Sense.
Every interview brought new insights to great cigar experiences, illustrating the never-ending optimism that cigars bring, like the journey of Hamlet Paredes & Rocky Patel Premium Cigars.

And, of course, there were the hundreds of followers – the #SmoothOperators, who tuned in from all around the world.
Gary loved each and every one of you, truly embodying the cigar-lifestyle mantra of us being one big cigar-happy family.
Gary was especially fond of being able to meet so many of you at the various LIVE remotes the Smooth Draws Radio Show did.
He’d even get on the phone to talk to fans in other countries, like Kenneth Rosal & Mike Simpson in Canada.
Gary also enjoyed seeing & hearing from Nigel Baird from the U.K. … whose cigar & accessory collection astounded him!
Every single Smooth Operator was important to Gary, and to name a few … Vern Coleman, Wes Smith, Travis Burne, Ricardo Nascimento, Nathan Caliendo, Craig Graydon, Jerry Vogler Jr, Jeff Botl, Gerald McIntyre, Lloyd Bunce, Don Stuike, Cliff Wilson … and so many more!
Gary would have loved to have visited each of the 44 States & 24 Countries that had Smooth Operators tuning into the show to meet all of them personally.

#SmoothDraws just kept getting bigger & more successful over the years, with Nicholas Syris, William Cooper, Michael “The Burner” Turner & CigaRobbie coming on board as hosts through the history of the show.
Their expertise, cigar knowledge & stellar reviews had a big impact on all the #SmoothOperators.
The #SmoothDraws #CigarHerf was a global meeting place for everyone to ‘herf on Saturday. Jenny Hatton was brought on-board as one of the #CigarHerf coordinators.
Coordinating the phone calls behind-the-scenes was Adam Heffner, followed by Jay Finch.

Gary especially loved having his adored wife, Susan Fidelholtz Laden, with him in-studio, as well as behind the scenes of the show.
His friendship with executive producer Chad Potier serves as an inspiration to how cigars can bring people together in unexpected ways.
#Shenanigans!

Gary, myself and all the Smooth Draws team, did so many things cigar-related, and we bonded over many premium cigars.
I visited Atlanta on a several occasions for some great fellowship & event attendance.
We traveled as a group to Nicaragua for our inaugural #PuroSabor experience in 2016.
The very 1st night aboard the Lake Managa cruise, we were able to meet Eric Newman of J.C. Newman Cigar Company, who later came on the show for a 2-part interview about the history of his cigar company.

While in Nicaragua, Gary particularly enjoyed the visit to Flor de Caña Rum … and who can blame him? It is really a fun place to visit and perfect for picture taking, with the Flor de Cana Train!

The following year, Gary & Nick did the Smooth Draws Radio Show show from the Plasencia Cigars Factory in Nicaragua.
A ground-breaker in cigar radio!

Whenever I was around Gary & the Smooth Draws Team, I always had my camera ready, to capture and archive, various cigar & cigar lifestyle photos to have on hand in case we needed them for the show.
This week, during Nicaragua’s #PuroSabor18, some of our friends & #SmoothOperators like Rod Zdebiak & Tomz Cigarz, have been posting fantastic photos of their experience … and I’d think – “that’d be a great shot to include during the #SmoothDraws #CigarHerf” … only to remember that the show I’ve been a part of for over 100 weeks has now changed forever.

Recently a new segment was introduced on the show.  It was called: Legends of the Leaf. It was intended to profile the producers of cigars & such.

I think Gary Laden should be bestowed the honour of the Greatest Legend of the Leaf.
He dedicated his life to cigars and brought great joy to so many.
Truly a legend.
Always Remembered.
Never Forgotten.

Gary Nick Will Chad Susan