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Newsletter / ISSUE 1 | AUGUST 2020

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FOREWORD

I am very happy to present our first newsletter!


Developing quality products is essential but alone it is probably not enough to contribute to the sustainability of our beautiful industry. Spreading a genuine culture is also a must to ensure long-term richness and stability. This is what we strive to do, besides delivering tasting enjoyment through our cigars.


In this newsletter, our objective is to share quality content and interesting commercial, technical and cultural news.


Of course, we love it when you sell and buy many of our Nicarao, La Ley, La Preferida and Furia cigars – and we need your full support for that! – but our vision is also to share the culture and the knowledge. That’s why this newsletter was created.


Working together hand in hand – creators, distributors, retailers and aficionados – will ultimately make sure we develop a vibrant, stable and interesting community.

I hope you enjoy the content like you enjoy a good cigar! And to make it even more enjoyable, please do contribute! All contributions are welcome.

We would love to hear your thoughts.

Enjoy!

Didier HOUVENAGHEL


NICARAO ESPECIAL


The NICARAO ESPECIAL is a special cigar for us. Not surprising, you will say, as it has the name. But really, it is especially special.

Besides distinguished and minimalistic lines, the NICARAO ESPECIAL blend reveals a rich and refined character. And the condition of its creation clearly creates a singular atmosphere around it.


Created originally in 2006, the NICARAO ESPECIAL illustrates three small steps – apparently not so important – but actually essential in the cigar-making process. Throughout it, some seemingly minor procedures are in fact crucial in producing a product of special quality.



Three main areas have been revisited and upgraded to create this NICARAO ESPECIAL:


1. Better leaf selection in the field – Leaves are selected from specific plots in the fields, taking into account the microclimatic differences and other local specificities. This really improves the final richness of the cigar blend.


2. Finer leaf classification – With more precise categories, leaves receive the optimal fermentation levels, making the final cigar blend more refined in aromas and more consistent over time.


3. Longer leaf aging – One additional year of leaf aging makes the cigars moderately aged. In the tasting it insures a very stable balance of the cigar blend and the start of elegance and harmony.


Medium- to full-bodied, the NICARAO ESPECIAL blend delivers a rich combination of aromas, tastes and mouthfeel. The aromatic spectrum is powerful yet subtle and complex. The flavour diversity and intensity evolve and progress throughout the tasting.


Delivering character, balance, and richness, the NICARAO ESPECIAL is a genuine classic for sophisticated aficionados looking for a dynamic and enjoyable sensory experience.


The NICARAO ESPECIAL charms and seduces discerning palates.


But what is the objective of producing cigars? To enjoy them, right? So, let’s stop talking and start tasting. 😊


(The Nicarao Especial was presented and declared Best Cigar at the Cigar Underground Festival in 2007.)


Specs:

- Boxes of 21 cigars / Vertical presentation / Cylindrical body / Individual cellophane / 6 vitolas

PRONOUNCED VEINING


Veins of wrappers should be moderately developed so that the leaves may show their full beauty. Also, the good veining of filler leaves will give structure and character to the cigar. Furthermore, optimal veining is needed by the plant for its biological function and will have a positive influence on the structure and taste of the cigar.


Besides the variety of black tobacco used, the main causes for strong veining are:

- the height of the pinching out of the apex bud: the lower this is, the fewer leaves the plant will have. The same quantities of sap will therefore circulate through fewer leaves, with a consequent thickening of the veins.

- the leaf position: the highest leaves have heavier veining than the lower ones.

- the leaf’s exposure to the light: greater intensity and duration of sunlight produces stronger veining resulting from a more abundant flow of sap.

AFICIONADO'S CORNER


What could be the reason(s) for irregular burning? When the cigar goes out all the time or when it starts to burn on the side.

Thanks, and cheers.


Karl L. from Bayreuth, Germany


Irregular burning classically means a cigar that goes out too often or that is clearly burning ‘on the side’. Some tasters might like to relight often but a cigar that goes out often reveals an issue in its combustion capacity. In addition, burning advances or delays somewhere around the cigar highlight a clearly detrimental differential burning.


Both effects are generally considered problematic and, when intense, will deeply alter the tasting and the enjoyment for the taster.


Possible reasons for inadequate combustibility of both leaf and cigars can be:

- Poor leaf fermentation, resulting in inappropriate chemical content and thus difficult combustion.

- Too bad a cigar draw, the cigar being too packed or twisted (both rolling problems), which thus restricts the air flow and access to the burning point.

- Too high a degree of cigar water content during the tasting (probably above 15%).


Differential cigar burning ‘on one side’ might be caused by the following reasons:

- A strong air flow over the cigar during the tasting.

- Uneven rolling, resulting in wrong leaf disposition inside the cigar

- Unfortunate cigar lighting.


Generally, well-rolled cigars with optimally fermented leaves burn evenly and regularly. During the selection of their cigars, aficionados should pay attention to both the leaf and rolling qualities of the cigar: cigars that are too empty and too packed should be rejected. Cigars showing signs of possible draw issues should be avoided.


Promising cigars show a homogeneous and solid structure and texture, being a balance between a firm body and soft leaves.


The taster should also pay attention and, if necessary, turn the cigar to naturally rebalance the burning. Should the problem persist, relighting the recalcitrant part – with or without a beneficial cigar purge – often restores order.

PHOTO OF THE ISSUE

Ensarte or preparing the leaves for the drying process in curing barns


Using a needle, workers pass a thread

through the stems of the recently harvested green leaves. When linked together, the leaves are then placed in staggered rows over thin bars,

the baraderas, to form hanging groups called cujes.


Physical and chemical changes will occur during the drying.


Leaves will dry and become yellow and the brown.

RETAILERS’ HIGHLIGHTS

ALDO PUNCIONI


The House of Cigars

Cannaregio 1035, 30121 Venice, Italy


Most people know me as Smoking Moses. Years ago, I wrote The 10 Commandments of Cigars, describing the 10 most common mistakes made when starting smoking cigars. On the cover, I was dressed like biblical Moses. Since then, people have called me Moses. And I also have a long beard.


I try to transmit my love for cigars to all my customers. A good cigar is a good cigar, no matter its origin. I give my customers the opportunity to choose between the best product portfolio available. But it is difficult to give everyone the perfect advice; it depends on the moment, personal preferences and the emotions. So, I do my best, because the pleasure of a cigar tasting already begins in my shop.


I’m a big fan of all DH Cigars, but the Nicarao Exclusivo Don Rafa really touched my heart. Absolutely incredible, it has a perfect balance between body and power; intense from the beginning, complex, rich, creamy, elegant and with a great evolution. Every time I have it in my hands, I associate it with some of the most important moments of my life.


I love cigars for mainly two reasons. With the relaxation of the cigar tasting I’m able to have time for myself, leave the entire world and forget problems and routines. A cigar allows finding time and disconnecting from the universe. Also, when entering a cigar lounge, you leave out a lot of ‘things’ – job, religion, political faith, nationality, etc. Inside, we are all the same, sharing the same passion without prejudice or social barriers. This is something magic!


Too many people smoke cigars with little awareness and knowledge. I try to give people a key to properly understanding what they are doing, teach basics to beginners and try to open the eyes of the more experienced. With three irreplaceable friends, we founded the Venice Cigar Club to discuss and share our opinions about cigars. We listen to other ideas and develop better critical sense. People with passion love to know more. Education is, in my mind, the best way to work for the future of our industry. Education, education, education …


The House of Cigars

Cannaregio 1035, 30121 Venice, Italy

+39 346 3270310

info@houseofcigars.it

www.houseofcigars.it

Smoking_Moses on Instagram

FABIEN CARLO


La Maison du Cigare — Carlo et Troussart

161 rue Haute-Wez, 4030 Grivegnée, Belgium


The word ‘cigar’ represents an entire world for me, and also for my family, which has been involved in the business since 1903. Personally, cigars for me are more than 30 years of passion, and also a best and indefectible companion.


Cigars also represent people. Many great people share the same enthusiasm and passion to produce the best cigars possible with never-ending creativity, imagination and commitment. Didier is one of these! For decades, I have been open-minded and always eager to discover what planet Earth and its magic terroirs can produce. Sometimes I find a new pearl!

If I were a client in my own shop, what would I like to think? ‘This shop is a cigar paradise, and what nice advice I had to taste that cigar! I found my favourite one! And Fabien is my new retailer! 😊


Not being a fan of the large ring gauge, my favourite DH Cigar would definitely be the La Ley Mareva. La Ley is certainly Didier’s most successful blend. If talented to smoke slowly, you can even keep it lit for one hour. La Ley Mareva offers an intense, balanced and complex panel of aromas that reaches my personal flavour. And, as a good cigar should be, you can sometimes even burn your fingers, so difficult is it to leave it in the ashtray. I am dreaming of a Lancero format with this blend. 😊


What do you think is key for the future of our industry? Education! Teach and share passion to retailers and consumers. The more educated the consumers are, the more the industry will strive to produce better cigars. The industry should also be more focused and involved in the European the legal regulations and try removing cigars from the definition ‘product of tobacco’. With success, retailers and consumers will have more freedom of communication, the organisation of events and have a better image to the people. Who can imagine buying a cigar in a grey box or without a band?


So, dear friends from the cigar community, come to Liege in Belgium and let’s have a smoke and a talk!


La Maison du Cigare

Carlo et Troussart sprl

161 rue Haute-Wez, 4030 Grivegnée, Belgium

+32 (0)4 342 52 81

www.maison-du-cigare.be

contact@maison-du-cigare.be

NICARAO ESPECIAL TORO 6 x 52 — L 152mm — Ø 20.64mm

NICARAO ESPECIAL LIGA ID

A medium- to full-bodied cigar (#6½ to #7 fortaleza), the Toro reveals a richness of aromas and tastes, with some nice hints of noble Central American spices. Throughout the tasting, the Toro evolves with woody and animal fragrances, moving towards pleasant toasty notes. Besides the aromatic progression, the cigar remains remarkably well-balanced throughout the tasting. The ash is also nicely white and compact. This structure and colour reflect a nice quality of construction and of combustion. A must-try!


TASTING NOTES

BLEND – Nicaraguan puro (wrapper, binder and filler) with a rosado to rosado oscuro colour wrapper from Jalapa

AGEING – Moderately aged leaves from 2½ to 5½ years (one additional year of ageing than standard market leaves)

AROMAS & TASTE – Aromatic depth and well-rounded richness. Woody, spice, animal, toasty and sweet

STRENGTH – #6½ to #7 fortaleza – A medium- to full-bodied cigar

PROGRESSION – A pleasant and marked evolution

COMBUSTION – Easy and complete

ASHES – Solid, compact and white



ESPECIAL TORO In the mouth ...

Look: Rosado slightly oscuro (Brown)

Fortaleza: 6.5/10 – Medium to full

Aromas: 8/10 – Rich and intense

Taste: 7.5/10 – Sweet and savoury

Mouthfeel: 7.5/10 – Round and elegant

Flavour Balance: 9/10 – Perfect balance

Flavour Finesse: 7/10 – Bouquet information

Flavour Vitality: 8/10 – Concrete ageing potential

Flavour Progression: 7/10 – Good evolution

Tasting Time: 1 to 1.5 hours


And to play with pairing ...

Here are some of the best pairings we experimented with for you during the writing of this newsletter. Like all pairings, they are personal and emotional, but always enjoyable to try.

• Short drink: Ron Plantation Original Dark (Barbados and Jamaica, 40%; 160 g/hL AA)

• Long drink: A good classic Mojito (not too much sugar, please!)

• Non-alcoholic: Pu-erh tea (careful, not too much infusion)



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