Much like a family reunion, the Premium Cigar Association trade show provided a great opportunity to network with all of the cigar producers, cigar reps and accredited cigar media again for another year.

Among my favorite people with whom to visit during the PCA2018 trade show were the marvelous Tanya & Jeff Borysiewicz.
Jeff, Tanya & their team at Corona Cigar Company won the coveted Davidoff Appointed Merchant of the Year / Golden Band Award in 2018.
Seeing the joy from them both was one of the highlights of the entire show. It was terrific being part of the Davidoff White Party!

So, what does it take to be the best Cigar shop? Be the best people.
The Borysiewicz’s are tireless. Jeff will spend day after day at the trade show talking cigars & tobacco with everyone who has an interest.
He brings the coolest props, too … check out these great tobacco leaves:

photo credit: Val Bradshaw
photo credit: Tim Brown

As a proud American, President & Founder of Corona Cigar Company, Jeff Borysiewicz believed it was possible to bring cigar tobacco farming back to Florida
In 2012, Corona Cigar Co. purchased a 20 acre plot of land and in 2013 they planted their 1st test crop of Cuban seed Corojo and they were on their way to growing great tobacco.
The result is FSG: Florida Sun Grown … a star of the cigar trade show in 2018.

photo credit: Val Bradshaw

And just like an FSG will always put a smile on your face … so do the Borysiewicz’s with their zest for life & their commitment to cigars.

photo credit: Val Bradshaw
photo credit: Val Bradshaw

Jeff has time for everyone, including man’s best friend!

It was also nice that Jeff took a little time to swing by the @CigarHerf booth where we shared a few laughs and some wonderful cigar camaraderie!

Photo Credit: Tim Brown

Florida Sun Grown

https://www.coronacigar.com

July 2018. I arrived in Las Vegas late in the afternoon after a completely almost-uneventful drive from Denver.
As always, the 1st place I head is one of my favourite Cigar Lounges of all time – En Fuego Cigars & Lounge on W. Sahara.

As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I stay at the Sahara Las Vegas is because it’s within walking distance of En Fuego!

If you’re looking for a casual, comfortable place to enjoy a cigar, En Fuego is the place for you.

En Fuego Cigars & Lounge has lots of comfortable seating, friendly staff and an extensive selection in the humidor.
If you’re looking for something unique, try one of En Fuego‘s Custom Blend cigars.

En Fuego Cigar Lounge has an in-house Master Cigar Roller who makes a variety of sizes and blends of cigars.

Master Roller Don Antonio has been both a vital part and a star attraction at En Fuego for many years.
His cigars are legendary.
Every cigar that goes through Don Antonio’s expert touch is perfect, with quality tobacco and impressive wrapper leaf.

En Fuego Custom Blend cigars come in a variety of sizes, but, as usual, I went with my favourite size … the Panetela.

Much like a Lancero, it takes a special touch to ensure a Panetela is rolled just right.
If you’ve ever tried to “roll your own” premium cigar, you know what I’m talking about.

A panetela can range in size anywhere from 5″- 7.5 inches.
The ring gauge can go anywhere from a 34 to a 38.

It’s an easy smoke that will give you an hours worth of relaxation!

En Fuego
https://enfuegolasvegas.com/cigars/#signature

Don Antonio = Master Cigar Roller at En Fuego
https://enfuegolasvegas.com/cigars/#signature

328 W. Sahara Ave
Las Vegas NV 89102
(702) 384-9262

This year Spirit of Toronto offered a unique tasting experience by inviting participants to receive a tasting kit accompanied by a Zoom session.
We registered for the”Whisky & Sherry” option which sold out within a couple of hours.

A couple of weeks prior to the Zoom session, we received the “Spirit of Toronto 2020 Whisky & Sherry Kit”.

Four Scotch Whiskies, tightly packed in a keepsake wood container, accompanied by a tasting mat & a pipette.
We were able to purchase branded Glencairns at an additional cost.
All-in, with FedEx shipping, it came to about $250.00.

Was it worth it?
I’d say yes.

Shipping alone was $45.00 and the glasses were well-priced for a box of 6.
So, for ease of math, the whisky clocked in at about $150.00 for 4 drams, for an average of 37.50 per pour.

It took the group, led by Regis Lemaitre, about 2 hours to go through the tasting. So, that’s $75.00/ hr … not a lot of money to pay for solid whisky education & the opportunity to taste the following:
Linkwood 1992. 48%
Glen Moray 1994. 56.7%
Glen Scotia 19y. 59.6%
The Macallan 8yo – made for the Italian market.

These were very special offerings and I considered myself fortunate to be able to taste a bit of each.
The pipette was a nice touch, giving everyone a chance to experience what a controlled drop of water can to do enhance or subdue a dram.

Spirit of Toronto Whisky & Sherry Tasting Kit

The actual Spirit of Toronto event has been re-scheduled for Oct 15, 2020.
I’d attended in 2014 and consider it one of the best whisky experiences in North America.

http://www.spiritoftoronto.ca

One of the things I love best about Skye Cafe & Bistro is that everyone involved is passionate about living on the prairies.
It starts with their commitment to local , organic, Made-In-Saskatchewan ingredients with seasonal creations adorning the plates in the restaurant.
Even when the seasons change, Skye Cafe & Bistro offer their loyal clientele special events during Regina’s chilly winter season.

This evening we enjoyed a 5-course Seafood Dinner.

Lobster Roll:
Cucumber wrapped Lobster & Avocado with baby greens.

Artfully presented, the Avocado & Lobster are cocooned within a cucumber roll, with the baby greens & aioli providing color & depth to the dish.
The Avocado & Lobster is a match made in heaven.
I also love how Chefs Milton & Louise manage to surprise us with caviar, too!

New England Style Clam Chowder
Puff Pastry Shell

Milton is a Magician with this dish! First of all, as mentioned, the aromas are astounding yet subtle. The flavors are mesmerizing. This is a true testament to the skill of the chef when the soup finishes to its perfect pastry bowl, from starting like this:

Every step in the kitchen is carefully orchestrated to ensure each dish is a masterpiece.

But equally masterful is the ambiance of the dining room.
Allow me to talk about mood & setting.
Fur Elise aka Bagatelle No. 25 by Beethoven, is playing gently in the background.

I’ve always loved this piece of music. It’s one of the few classical pieces I learned to play on the piano. Checking Wiki, maybe now I understand why I have an affinity for this particular piece of music.
Since childhood I’ve believed in the power of 27. As I grew into adulthood, I came to appreciate how 27 can either help you or haunt you.
It’s always helped me.
Fur Elise was composed 27 April 1810.
Talk about karma.
Thanks, Skye!
& Wikipedia!

Back to the excellent music selection during the Seafood Dinner at Skye Cafe & Bistro.
There have been studies done regarding the effect music has on food & wine.
In this case, it truly does provide an emotional & an olfactory journey.

Ha! I have to laugh. The couple sitting next to me … and I apologize for eavesdropping … but he said to her “I hope you don’t like the Chowder” to which she replied “I do like it!”
… I’m sure he was hoping he might be the fortunate recipient of an extra bowl and I can’t say I blame him!
This soup transcends any pre-conceived notion of chowder. It’s in a class by itself.
So delicious … and like my neighbor said: “The pastry is amazing!”

Sea Food Trio
Garlic butter poached Tiger Prawn.
Crispy Oyster with roasted pepper aioli.
Salt Cod croquette accompanied by lemon aioli & crispy capers.

I probably sound like a broken record, but I cannot state clearly enough how much of a role “aroma” plays in the enjoyment of this Seafood Dinner.
I was just served the Seafood Trio and it’s like being right by the ocean.
It’s almost like I’m catching a hint of saltwater that’s so common when visiting an ocean coastline.
Yet, here we are, in landlocked Regina SK Canada … giving thanks to Skye Cafe & Bistro for finding a way to make this Seafood Dinner true to its natural habitat.

OMG. I just took a bite of the crispy oyster!
Milton! Louise! How did you do this? How did you take it beyond seafood?
The seasonings are a triumph!
Accompanied by equally triumphant Crispy Kale with Crispy Capers, it’ s a joy to experience.
Every restaurant in the world should serve this!

Salt Cod. Love it!
I love it even more when reminiscing about my trip to Portugal a few years ago.
It was there that I walked into a supermarket to find myself surrounded by dried, salt-laden cod piled high in giant bins.
Cod. In a region more typically known for other kinds of fish. Like sardines.
Upon return to my hotel, I asked the concierge about the blindingly white fish I saw at the supermarket.
That’s when I learned that Portugal prides itself in their legendary “1000 ways to prepare Salt Cod”
Well, Portugal might have half a millennium of experience with Salt Cod, but there’s no doubt that Skye Cafe & Bistro found a way to make it its own in the most delicious way!
We’re lucky to have this restaurant in #YQR.

Sea Food Paella
Mussels, Shrimps, Scallops, Clams, crispy Snapper & Calamari
Saffron Rice.

I can’t even begin to describe this dish. It’s a seafood-lovers dream!
Tender Calamari. Succulent Lobster. Clams! Mussels! Scallops!
The variety of seafood & shellfish in this dish goes on and on … on a bed of fluffy, saffron-rice. Skye Cafe & Bistro uses only the finest saffron and it totally shines in this Paella.

Dessert
Lemon Saskatoon Berry Tart
Here’s where Skye brings it all home. The Saskatoon berry is a Saskatchewan mainstay and Skye likes to keep it local … so it’s the perfect end to a perfect evening.

… prior to Skye’s 5-course Seafood Dinner, Milton Rebello and Louise Lu gave me a tour of the Skye Kitchen.
The size of the area where all the food is prepared is very interesting.
It’s relatively small, considering the size of the restaurant seating are.
But most impressive is how it’s incredibly quiet. Really quiet.
For someone like me, who spent years in the restaurant business and remember most kitchens as a place of clanging & banging & chatter at various decibels … this one is serene to the point of being spiritual. Meditative. Zen-like.
This is one of the things Milton & Louise consciously aspired to … a quiet kitchen.
It’s an oasis.

While in the kitchen, I was fortunate to have Milton offer me a taste of the Clam Chowder.
For anyone who’s done sensory training, you’ll know what I mean when I say the entire soul of that soup was captured even before it hit my lips.
The aroma was astoundingly subtle and the flavors matched the aromas.
Subtle, yet full bodied without being overpowering.
It’s the kind of chowder that once you’ve tasted it – you want another bowl very soon.

Louise & Milton are also very proud of the ceramics she creates for Skye.
Let’s face it, how many restaurants create not only the culinary but also craft the vessels upon which they are served?!

The world – and particularly Regina #YQR – is lucky indeed to have Milton & Louise grace us with their culinary expertise, creativity, artistry and friendship.
Like they say:
At Skye, There is no Limit!

http://www.skyecafeandbistro.com

Yes. I guess I am a super-taster, I replied to Ben.

I didn’t even know there was such a thing until a few years ago when a wine friend, Barry C. Smith, asked me how I felt about tea & coffee
Cannot drink tea all all. Coffee, I only started drinking in my 40’s and now, in my 60’s I don’t mind it, but I still don’t drink very much of it.
With that answer, he suggested I was a Super-Taster.

Scent & aroma appreciation has always been at my core … but rarely in a negative way.
Even scents that others find putrid, I find curious.

There’s only been one time in memory where scent shocked me. I was walking through a department store where the fragrance department had just launched Versace’s “Blonde” (Donatella’s deal). Its premise was 3 basic scents, one of them, I learned later, being tuberose.
As I walked toward the fragrance counter where the scent had been sprayed in vast amounts, it was like I’d hit a wall. I had to change direction until the scent diminished.
It was freaky, because I’ve long been a huge fan of perfume – spray tons of it every day – but never that one. After that experience, I sympathize with people who say they’re allergic to perfume.

While attending the Society of Sensory Professionals Atlanta GA conference Oct 2016, one of the speakers asked each of the 700 or so participants to pick up the small white strip from within the small, sealed holder at each seat in the room and place it on our tongue.

I almost died!
and was gagging when she asked over the speaker system:
“How many of you hate me right now?”
… my arm shot up, but was very surprised to see that only a handful of people in the room did the same thing.
The speaker went on to explain what that horrible compound was and why only a few of us were affected by it.
I can’t remember what it was called, but from what I’ve read since that experience, it’s pretty safe to say it’s the “bitter chemical called 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP)”
“Testing a person’s sensitivity to a bitter chemical called 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) is a more definitive way to determine if he or she is a supertaster; non-tasters can’t taste PROP, but supertasters can and really don’t like its bitter taste! Average tasters can taste it too, but its bitter taste is not strong enough to bother them.” – Scientific American.

Frankly, I just want to forget that experiment every took place, but that will never happen.
Scent / taste memory can last forever … I can still recall that taste/ aroma to this day.
So, I guess I tested positively/ was informally ID’d, for Super-Taster status

It’s important to note that 1 in 4 people are Super-Tasters.
1 in 4 are non-tasters. The other 50% of the population are average tasters.
At this stage in life, I don’t have all the characteristics attributed to super-tasters, but at various points in my life, I certainly did.

Taste is only part of it. Taste is 80% smell. As a child, there was only a handful of foods that I would eat – the aromas of which still give me great comfort.
But, at the time, my family attributed my fussy eating habits more to texture than taste or aroma.
For instance, I couldn’t eat mashed potatoes until my late teens.
Forget cabbage – wouldn’t go near that … which was unusual considering I’m Ukrainian.
But I loved borscht, home-made chicken noodle soup and good ol’ basic bologna sandwiches.

The other important consideration is I’ve always had a really good nose for scent.
My 1st memory of scent appreciation was when I was about 8 years old.
After a visit to the dentist for a filling in a front tooth, Mom bought me a “Kiddle Kologne” doll in “Violet” … a cute little doll with long, purple hair housed in a replica of a perfume bottle. I loved that doll above all others; couldn’t get enough of the aroma!

But I also work at it … to maintain that taste & olfactory skill.
There’s exercises I do to keep my nose calibrated for scent recognition and my brain active with scent memory & vocabulary. 
I practice every day with foods found in the grocery store, in the pantry and during masterclasses & with personal experience, for wine, whisky & cigars.
There’s a whole section of books about taste buds & molecules in my personal wine-library.
Aroma & flavour are 2 things that we should never take for granted.
They truly are gifts to be enjoyed with every whiff & every bite.

Why Taste is all in the Senses
Find Out if You’re a Super-Taster. Scientific American

See. Sniff. Swirl. Sniff. Taste.
Those are the standard steps for wine & spirit appreciation.
Actually, mostly people just do the swirl. sniff. taste.

But one should always look at the liquid in the glass.
You can often see identifiers when you contemplate the liquid – the color, the rim, the centre of the liquid.
This may give you clues about its past and prepare you for what you might taste.

I always Sniff before doing a swirl.

There’s this thing called cork taint and if you swirl wine -(especially) but sometimes spirits that use a natural cork as well – there’s a chance you could bury some aromas that cork taint gives off, so I always do a slight sniff before the swirl to ensure the liquid isn’t “corked”.

The Swirl is essential to wine, as it gives the liquid a chance to release even more aroma.
Some people say it’s unnecessary in whisky or spirits … other’s say it helps the liquid to “wake-up” after its long rest in the bottle.
I swirl everything. I like releasing as much aroma as possible.

Taste.
Take a small amount of liquid in your mouth, swish it around … I recommend “chewing it” … get that liquid on every flavour receptor, and then swallow.
Pay close attention to what’s happening on your palate and throughout your olfactory / nose … all kinds of tastes & aromas will show up.
If you’ve prepared yourself for their friendly assault, it can be a fascinating experience. one which enhances the tasting experience immeasurably.

But that’s the key question … how does one prepare for wine, whisky, spirits & cigar sensory appreciation?

I’m WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) L3 Sommelier so I’ve had years of lessons, experience & practice developing / refining my nose & palate.
I am always learning something new, so here’s a few of the things I’ve learned along the way.

Let’s start with dedication.
Like the old saying goes:
“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Practice!”

For instance, take a few minutes each day to pull a few spices from your pantry and practice smelling them.

Start with common aromas, like cinnamon, clove & ginger, for example.
Make it a game with your friends / family.
Have them put a bit of each of those spices into an unmarked glass vessel – even a Glencairn or ISO Standard Tasting Glass would work.
See if you & they can identify those aromas successfully every time in a blind nosing.

When I host Sensory Appreciation classes, I’ll use flavourings like lemon, vanilla & coconut.
Common, simple scents, really.
To try it at home, put a dab on a strip of paper, mix them up without having them come in contact with each other and see if you can name it when you take a whiff of each aroma-laden strip.

Class participants were always surprised when they could name a couple of them (blind) but might get stumped on one, usually saying “I know what that is, I just can’t name it” … that’s part of olfactory memory – being able to recall & name what you smell.

Vanilla is an interesting one because there’s many forms of it.
There’s regular baking Vanilla, Madagascar Vanilla & Vanilla Bean.
Each smells different.

In time, your nose and palate will get accustomed to the training and your olfactory memory will improve.

When I started dedicated wine, whisky & cigar appreciation, I was one of those people who went all-in with the aroma kits, like Le Nez du Vin, etc.
They are very impressive kits – great conversation pieces – and they can be one of the best ways to fast-track all aspects of appreciation.

When people ask me if they should spend several thousand dollars on nosing kits like I did, I recommend they try the “home school” method first.

If a person doesn’t practice using what they already have in their fridge or pantry, then they have to ask themselves how likely it would be for them to use a nosing kit often enough to justify the expense.

It doesn’t take long before practice becomes habit and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a better sniffer with a stronger appreciation for wine, whisky, spirits & cigars.

It’s important to give credit where credit is due.
WSET kick-started my wine & whisky journey, but there have been many influences along the way, so I want to say THANK YOU to a few:

Diane. Francois. Daniel. John. Lisa. Tim. Graham.
Diane is my dear wine-friend. She & her husband made sure we passed WSET L3 by hosting “blind wine-tasting” events at their home for our class.
I’ll be forever grateful for her unwavering help & support throughout our friendship.

Francois was our WSET Instructor and he opened my eyes to the wonderful world wine & spirits. He was a true ambassador for those commodities … always reminding us to never try to insist what people should drink or how they should drink it; just share ideas.
His immortal words “Always spearmint, never peppermint” … can you guess which grape/ wine he’s talking about?

Daniel. John. Lisa.
I met each of these wonderful people through the Wine Scholar Guild and our friendships have endured for years.
Many thanks to each of them for their lessons & love of the vine.
Lesson on Wine Acidity from Lisa: “count the number of times you swallow after that 1st sip of wine”

Tim is a true whisky connoisseur, so it’s no surprise our friendship developed through our meeting at the Nth and has grown throughout the years.

Graham has a long history in the wine & especially the whisky world.
He’s introduced me to stellar wine & whisky that I otherwise might never know.

Franca Comparetto.
Franca is the brain-power behind Cigar Sense. I’m an analyst on its cigar tasting panel.
Franca has taught me so many things about cigars … but I remind myself of these words every day since I first heard her say:
“Aromas never show up alone”
Truer words were never spoken. Aromas are fleeting. You have to be quick to pick them out and sometimes you have to isolate the dominant one. Especially with cigars!
With liquids you can usually go back to the glass; the aroma is usually still in there.
Cigars – that’s a different story. Often that one aroma is at only one point in the cigar.
That’s part of why I love cigars so much. They’re complex & fascinating … and I’m grateful to Franca for all that she’s taught me along the way.

Gary Laden, Susan Fidelholtz Laden, Nic Syris, Will Cooper, Chad Potier, Yvonne Ramee & the entire Smooth Draws Cigar Radio Show team.
Gary has since passed, but I owe him & the team a debt of gratitude for letting me be the Director of Social Media / Sommelier for the show.
3 years, for 2 hrs every Saturday – including the morning of my daughters wedding! – I was handling the Twitter & FB posts, as well as my contribution to the wine & spirits segment for Smooth Draws Cigar Radio.
The things I learned about cigars during that time was astounding. Unlike many of the cigar shows, Gary not only maintained the website but he actually wrote a 2hr script every week so the show was always very well orchestrated.
Learning about the leaf from key cigar stars, personalities, producers & enthusiasts every week gave me a solid foundation for all aspects of cigar appreciation.

Gary Vaynerchuk.
It would have been about 2008 when I started watching his Wine Library videos.
One of them was about using grocery items – ie:  jam/ preserves – for nosing practice.
It made sense.
For instance, one of Cabernet Sauvignon’s classic identifier is Blackcurrent/ Cassis.
But, how many of us live in areas where Blackcurrent is readily available so we know what it smells like?
I was grateful for his suggestion to just “smell the jam.”

Charlie
My daughter & the love of my life. I’m so proud of her accomplishments and she’s proud of mine. She’s the reason I continue to grow and learn. She’s the reason I work.

… and to everyone else who’s come into my life through our shared love of the leaf, the vine & the grain … Thank You! Your friendships mean the world to me.

WSET Wine and Spirit Education Trust
Cigar Sense
Wine Scholar Guild
Wine Library TV

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