Robbie Burns: Born: 25th January 1759
He wrote poetry & enjoyed Scotch Whisky until 21st July 1796

Robert Burns: National Poet of Scotland.
In 2009, Robbie Burns was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish TV.
Robbie Burns Day is celebrated worldwide  at the end of January.

Let’s talk Scotch Whisky
Scotland is split into 5 whisky producing regions:
41 Distilleries in the Highlands
50 Distilleries in Speyside
 – which is within the Highlands.
To quote my good friend George Grant of
Glenfarclas Scotch Whisky … every Speyside is a Highland …
but not every Highland is a Speyside.
13 Distilleries in Lowland
best known from this region would be Auchentoshan
03 Distilleries in Campbeltown
they’ve got Springbank.
08 Distilleries in Islay
revered by Peat-heads who seek out the smokey aroma’s & expressions of Islay Scotch Whisky.

 Let’s take a look at a few different Scotch Whisky expressions:

Robbie Burns NAS – No Age Statement
Isle of Arran Single Malt Scotch.
Isle of Arran – 7th largest Scottish Island.
Population 5,000.
American Oak ex-Bourbon casks.
Finished in ex-Sherry hogsheads.
“The Color is described as that: of Ayrshire Sunshine”
“A true drop of Liquid Poetry”

 AnCnoc 12yo
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Very approachable in both aroma & flavor.
A malt with an excellent price point & taste profile.
Great for people new to whisky & appreciated by experienced drammers.

Balvenie DoubleWood 12yo
Highland Single Malt
Matured in American ex-Bourbon Casks
Finished in Sherry Casks – which can impart more sweetness, dried fruits, depending on the type of Sherry cask.

Why do distilleries choose to mention the different casks used for maturing their whisky?
A lot of the flavour of whisky comes from the oak casks in which it rests until it’s bottled. There’s a big difference in the type of casks used for Scotch Whisky … both in price and in flavour profile.

American Oak used for 1st fill Bourbon Casks are
valued at about $150.00
 impart flavours of light vanilla, coconut and toffee.
French Oak / Barriques are smaller than American casks and are valued at over $1500.00.
French oak has a different grain and imparts vanilla & caramel flavours.

When you consider the price differences in American vs French vs European oak alone, that means the type of cask used will influence not only flavor, but the final price to the consumer.

 Highland Park 18yo
Orkney Single Malt

Highland Park is one of only a handful of distilleries that still retains a traditional malting floor.
Highland Park turns each batch of malt by hand.  It’s a physically demanding, time-consuming process.
Think about it …  shoveling grain. All day.

Highland Park 18yo will have a slight peatiness to it.
Peat is that smoky characteristic sometimes found in Scotch whisky.
The Orkney islands, home of Highland Park, have an abundance of sweet, heathery, peat.
Peat is used to heat the barley so germination can take place, changing the starch to sugars which can be distilled.
Subsequently, the smokiness from the peat imparts a smoky flavor into the liquid.

Lagavulin 16yo
Islay (pro: eye-LAH) Single Malt
Massive smokey – peat aroma & flavours.
Nose: Peat
Palate: Peat
Finish: Peat
Iodine overtones. Brine-iness / Salty.
Meaty and woody-like oak influence.

 So, on January 25 remember to raise a dram to Robbie Burns.
Recite some poetry and enjoy the warmth of fine Scotch Whisky.




When it comes to Thanksgiving Dinner, choosing the wine is actually pretty easy.
I let my guests enjoy 2 wines, a Riesling and a Pinot Noir. Both are very pleasant on the palate and pair well with a variety of foods.
One of the things you want to keep in mind with any food pairing is “sauce”.
You want to pair the wine with whatever sauce is on the table.
There’s usually at least 3 sauces on any Thanksgiving table … gravy, cheese sauce and a sweet & tart Cranberry sauce.

This year, I’m going with a Lingenfelder Riesling. It’s light, refreshing and has the right amount of acidity to take on some of the fatty components of the gravy drizzled over the mashed potatoes, turkey & stuffing … as well as the cheese sauce often used for Brussels Sprouts.
For the red … I picked up a nice Pinot…

View original post 231 more words

val-bradshaw-black-white-valbradshaw-copy Partagás. by Val.
is among the oldest brands of cigars in the world.
It was established in Havana in 1845 and
 is still produced in Cuba for Habano’s SA, the Cuban state-owned tobacco company.

On September 16th, 2016, Cigar Journal announced that Partagás was voted “Best Brand – Cuba” … winning the Cigar Trophy award for 2016!
Partagás History

Don Jaime Partagás y Ravelo was the son of Jaume Partagás, a tailor, and Teresa Ravelo.
In 1831 he immigrated to Cuba.
Upon arriving in Havana Don Jamie started working  for Lloret de Mar businessman, Joan Conill.

After a few years, he branched out on his own, and in 1845 established his factory:
La Flor de Tabacas de Partagás.

A strong businessman, Don Jaime owned many of the best plantations in the Vuelta Abajo tobacco-growing region of Cuba.
As a result, he was able to select the finest tobaccos to be found on the island.
This led to Don Jaime’s “Partagás” cigar having the flavour & aromas that kept people coming back & made the brand incredibly successful.
It is suggested that Don Jaime Partagás y Ravelo was a curious man, experimenting with various methods of fermenting and aging tobacco.

Another of Don Jaime’s claims to fame is he’s credited with installing one of the first “lectors” to read to & entertain the cigar rollers as they worked, a practice which continues today.

Before and after the Cuban revolution, the authentic Cuban-produced Partagás was, and remains, one of the most sought-after and highest-selling cigars in the world.”

Partagás cigars are full flavoured.
Once you’ve tasted a Partagás,
the experience will be burned in your memory.
This is due to their earthy aroma & taste, which comes from the
filler & binder tobacco found in Vuelta Abajo.
Vuelta Abajo is a region unique in the world of tobacco & of Cuban tobacco
as it is the only zone that can successfully
grow all types of leaf: wrapper, binder & filler.

You can get  Partagás cigars in a variety of shapes & sizes, like the Lusitania.
Partagas Lusitania VB.jpeg
… but, according to “The World of the Habano” Partagás is probably the best known for the Serie D No 4, a robusto that dates back to the 1930’s.
Partagas serie d no4.jpg

Congratulations to Partagás on winning Cigar Journal’s
Cigar Trophy 2016
“Best Brand – Cuba”

Cigar Trophy Award 2016. Cigar Journal



Other nominees in the “Best Brand 2016 Cuba” category were:
Cohiba. Montecristo. Ramon Allones. Trinidad.
And the winner is: Partagas.

Cigar Journal. Cigar Trophy 2016

In 1998, Cigar Journal embarked on a series of awards to recognize exceptional Cigars, Cigar Brands and over-all service to, and for, the Cigar Lifestyle.

In 2013, to their credit, Cigar Journal turned the voting over to the consumers, ushering in a whole new era of “Cigar Trophy Awards”.

Starting in late spring of every year, Cigar Journal readers & followers submit their recommendations, followed by voting from all around the globe.

Cigar Journal editorial staff continues to decide on a few illustrious categories, honouring Cigar companies with distinction for extraordinary cigar art, charitable projects, cigar advocacy groups, cigar ambassadors and the ultimate: Lifetime Achievement Award.

On September 16.16, the Cigar Trophy Award winners were announced.
Here are the results:

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST BRAND 

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST BRAND from CUBA:

Nominees in the Cuba category were: Cohiba. Montecristo. Partagás.
Ramon Allones. Trinidad

Nominees in the Dom. Rep. category were: Davidoff Winston Churchill. Gurkha 125th Anniversary. La Aurora 107. La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero. Quesada 40th Anniversary

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST BRAND from HONDURAS:
Nominees in the Honduras category were: Alec Bradley Black Market. Camacho American Barrel Aged. Flor de Copan. Flor de Selva. Rocky Patel Twentieth Anniversary

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST BRAND from NICARAGUA:
Nominees in the Nicaragua category were: CAO Flathead. Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco RE. Nub. Perdomo Double Aged 12 Year Vintage. San Cristobal (Paradiso)

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST BRAND from the USA:
Nominees in the U.S.A. category were: Casa Fernandez Miami.
El Primer Mundo Liga Miami.El Reloj El Ocho. La Palina Family Series Miami.
Tatuaje Reserva

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST CIGAR

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST CIGAR from CUBA: 
Nominees in the Cuba category were: Bolívar Belicosos Finos. Cohiba Behike BHK 56.
Cohiba Siglo VI. Partagás Serie D No. 5. Trinidad Vigía

Nominees in the Dom. Rep. category were: Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Belicoso. Ashton Symmetry Sublime. Davidoff Escurio Gran Toro. La Bohème Encantador La Scala. La Flor Dominicana La Nox

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST CIGAR from HONDURAS:
Nominees in the Honduras category were: Alec Bradley Sanctum Robusto. Camacho Connecticut Robusto. Flor de Selva Tempo Maduro. Leaf by Oscar Maduro Toro. Rocky Patel Twentieth Anniversary Rothschild

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST CIGAR from NICARAGUA:
Nominees in the Nicaragua category were:  A.J. Fernandez Enclave Salomon. El Centurion H-2K-CT Toro. Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Exclusivo Maduro. Perdomo Double Aged 12 Year Vintage Epicure Sun Grown. Tabaquero by Hamlet Paredes Toro

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST VALUE

Nominees in the Dom. Rep. category were: A. Flores Gran Reserva. Kristoff Ligero Maduro. La Aurora 1495 Series. Macanudo Inspirado Black. VegaFina Nicaragua

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST VALUE from HONDURAS:
Nominees in the Honduras category were: Camacho Ecuador. CLE Connecticut. Dunhill Heritage. Villa Zamorano. Rocky Patel The Edge

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST VALUE from NICARAGUA:
Nominees in the Nicaragua category were: A.J. Fernandez New World. Brick House.
Cain Daytona. Joya Red. Perdomo Small Batch 2005

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST MEDIUM FILLER:
Nominees in the Medium Filler category were: Flor de Cano. Perla de Calvano. Quintero. Quorum. Toscano Originale

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST ACCESSORY:
Nominees in the Best Accessory Category were: Cigar Traveller Lighter To Jet Flame Converter. Daniel Marshall Treasure Chest Humidor. Davidoff Duocut Double Blade Punch Cutter. Palio Cutter

Cigar Trophy 2016 BEST CIGAR LOUNGE:
Nominees in the Best Cigar Lounge category were: Ashton Cigar Bar, Philadelphia.
Club Macanudo. New York City. Jack’s Cigar Bar & Lounge, Rotterdam.
P.G.C. Hajenius, Amsterdam

Cigar Trophy OUTSTANDING ART 2016:
This award was not part of the public vote.

Cigar Trophy 2016 CHARITY & COMMUNITY:
This award was not part of the public vote.

Cigar Trophy 2016 AMBASSADOR:
This award was not part of the public vote.

This award was not part of the public vote.

Cigar Trophy Awards 2016

#Cigar Boxes are fascinating.

I recently acquired several cases of some pretty interesting Cigar Boxes, from the days when you could still get a good 10 cent Cigar.

Let’s take a look at this vintage box from El Roi-Tan.

El Roi-Tan Top
El Roi-Tan Cigar Box Top

Top of the El Roi-Tan Cigar Box states the sticks are Mild Cigars.
Blue Stamp: Series 123 Class E 50
Impressive Crest including not one, but 2 Unicorns!



El Roi-Tan Bottom
El Roi-Tan Cigar Box Bottom

Bottom of the El-Roi-Tan Cigar Box:
Factory No 1898, 12th DIST. Pa.
“The Cigars herein contained were manufactured to retail at more than eight cents each and not more than fifteen cents each and are so tax paid.”
… looks like selective taxes were added to bring the cost per stick up to $1.50 each!

What I really like about this box is the inside top & bottom.
These people knew how to market their product.

The Cigar That Breathes” utilizing lettering that represents a slight gust of wind.
An “Easy Draw” is something every Cigar Aficionado hopes for from their stick.
The Hole in the Head” is classic!
No Biting off Ends” … who needs a cutter when you’ve got a Rio-Tan Cigar, right?
… and look at all those clouds of tasty #CigarSmoke!

Roi-Tan inside base and lid
Roi-Tan: Inside Top & Bottom


There’s the stamped reminder at the bottom of the box:”Time to Re-Order Roi-Tan” … just in case the Tobacconist wasn’t sure if it was the right time or not.






Encyclopedia of Smoking and TobaccoAccording to Arlene B. Hirschfelder, author of “Encyclopedia of Smoking & Tobacco“, in the 1990’s only a few companies sold most of the Cigars in North America.
Five (5) companies controlled 95% of the market in the United States.

One of them was Consolidated Cigar, who at the time, owned Roi-Tan, as well as Antonio y Cleopatria, Backwoods, Dutch Masters, El Producto,
La Corona & Muriel.

                                              Roi-Tan, popular in the 1930’s…

According to the History of Cigars, competition was strong in the 1930’s which led to radio show sponsorships, partnerships with sports stars & celebrities … and contests:

1931  Radio is a hot fad with the public. PHILLIES, WHITE OWL, ROBT. BURNS, FLOR DE MANUEL, CREMO, LA PALINA, DUTCH MASTERS, X-TEDDY, ROI-TAN, LUCKY STRIKE and other brands of cigars and cigarettes sponsor radio programs, mostly music and comedy-variety shows.

1931  CREMO cigars gives away a “car-a-day” in a successful ad campaign.
With assistance of singer Sophie Tucker, ROI-TAN will conduct a similar campaign in 1939.

Roi-Tan… a decades-old Cigar Company by the 1960’s. 

Fast-Forward to the ’60’s and Altadis, through their website, had this background on their history, including that of Roi-Tan Cigars …

Gulf & Western acquired Consolidated Cigar in 1968. 

The company entered the premium, hand-made cigar business through the formation of the Cuban Cigar Brands division in the Canary Islands.

Pepe Garcia, a major Cuban manufacturer whose factory in Cuba was nationalized by the Castro regime headed the division and expanded it by acquiring Moro Cigar Co. and its Primo Del Rey trademark. 

In 1983, Golf & Western sold Consolidated Cigar Corporation to five of its senior managers.
Sixteen months later, the company was purchased by MacAndrews and Forbes, the holding company controlled by Ronald Perelman.

Mr. Perelman installed Theo Folz as President and CEO in August, 1984.
Theo was “born” in the cigar business, and under his leadership a new structure and culture began to emerge. Corporate politics were replaced by an emphasis on product quality and humanism.

In 1986, he acquired the assets of the American Cigar Company, which included the Antonio y Cleopatra, La Corona and Roi Tan cigar brands.

Early in 1993, the company was repurchased by MAFCO Holdings Inc., Ronald Perelman’s personal holding company. Because of the previous positive relationship between the two companies, management transition was smooth, and there were no changes in personnel, responsibilities or company direction. In August, 1996, Consolidated Cigar Corporation began selling shares to the public. 

Then, in January, 1999, the company entered a new and exciting phase: Consolidated Cigar was purchased by Societe Nationale D’Exploitation Industrielle des Tabacs and Allumettes – SEITA, the former French tobacco monopoly. The merger of SEITA and Consolidated resulted in the world’s largest cigar company and positioned Consolidated Cigar to be a truly global company in the 21st Century.

In December 1999, Consolidated Cigar Corporation / SEITA entered into an agreement with Spanish tobacco giant Tabacalera S.A.
This new tobacco company was named ALTADIS, S.A. ALTADIS stands for Alliance Tobacco Distribution.
As a result of this merger, Hav-A-Tampa was brought into the fold and new facilities were added.

The new enterprise became the world’s largest cigar company with over 7,000 employees worldwide.
In September 2000, the parent company purchased 50% of Habanos S.A., owner of most of the Cuban trademarks in the world and franchiser of the Casa del Habano shops.

The final merger, resulting in today’s company, was completed in early 2008 when Altadis S.A. merged with Imperial Tobacco, headquartered in the UK.

Today, Altadis U.S.A. operates production facilities in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida.
The company also has production affiliations in Mexico, Brazil and Holland.

What an interesting history for Roi-Tan Cigars!
That’s your Cigar Box story for today.