Category Archives: cigars

La Aroma de Cuba

la aroma de cuba cigar

One of the most classic blends you’ll commonly see represented in the cigar world is La Aroma de Cuba, available from Holt’s in 9 unique sizes, as well as a variety of cigar samplers. LADC is an amazingly tasty cigar and very affordable – ranging from just $5-8 for a single smoke.

Being comprised of Nicaraguan tobacco, LADC cigars are rich and woody, with notes of black pepper that give way to a wonderful palate of peanuts, almonds and sugar cookies. This is a cigar that is perfectly balanced between sweet, spicy and creamy, and in this price range, these would be the perfect cigar to fill your humidor with as their flavors are approachable and satisfy many cigar-smoking preferences.

double rum old fashioned

I paired the La Aroma de Cuba with a drink that I invented just for this pairing: a Double Rum Old Fashioned. This is a sweet and citrusy drink that adds an acidic and smooth element to the pairing, and this is a drink that’s so familiar and tasty that it would easily be enjoyed by most drinkers.

Double Rum Old Fashioned

in an old fashioned glass, add:

  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 2 dashes of orange bitters
  • 1/2 oz spiced rum
  • stir well, and fill glass with ice
  • add 1 1/2 oz aged rum and stir again until cold
  • garnish with a lemon twist
Thanks to Holt’s Cigar Company for sponsoring Simple Guy Stuff. 
Enter the promo code SIMPLE at check out and receive a complimentary 10% discount on your purchase! Discount is available online only. Certain exclusions apply. Offer expires January 31, 2018 – cannot be combined with other coupon codes.  Limit one discount per customer.​

Ashton Cabinet

The Ashton Cabinet is a luxury cigar, both in its build and flavor profile. Its tobaccos are aged 4-5 years and it results in a flavorful, mild profile with touches of citrus, honey, cashews and cedar. The Ashton Cabinet is one of hundreds that are available to order from Holt’s Cigar Company.

I smoked the Ashton Cabinet in the #7 size, which measures 6 ¼ inches (length) by a 52 ring gauge (thickness). It’s solidly built with a smooth, creamy wrapper with tasting notes of black pepper and nuts. While the overall strength level and flavor profile of this cigar is quite mild, there is a nice, balance selection of flavors to enjoy as you smoke it through.

I paired the Ashton Cabinet with a cocktail that’s easy to make: the Black Manhattan. Consisting of 2 oz whiskey (rye or bourbon preferred), 1 oz Averna, 2 dashes of bitters and a cherry garnish, the Black Manhattan turned out to be an excellent companion to the Ashton, as both share a prominent and complementary flavor profile. Averna, an Italian amaro (Italian for “bitter”), is a rich and flavorful collection of herbs and citrus that complemented the Ashton so well, I was pretty shocked.

Together, the Aston Cabinet from Holt’s and a Black Manhattan are excellent companions. The intermingling of the nutty and citrus notes and the excellent quality of the cigar ensured a long and pleasant pairing experience.

Thanks to Holt’s Cigar Company for sponsoring Simple Guy Stuff. Enter the promo code SIMPLE at check out and receive a complimentary 10% discount on your purchase! Discount is available online only. Certain exclusions apply. Offer expires January 31, 2018 – cannot be combined with other coupon codes.  Limit one discount per customer.​

Ashton Virgin Sun Grown (VSG)

ashton vsg

Ashton Virgin Sun Grown (or VSG) is a central blend in the acclaimed Ashton portfolio. For more than 30 years, the Ashton brand has been a favorite among lovers of premium, handcrafted cigars. VSG debuted in 1999 and is renowned for a smooth, but potent profile of aged Dominican tobaccos beneath a succulent Ecuador Sumatra wrapper leaf. Holt’s Cigar Company hosts a phenomenal selection of cigars online, perfect for any cigar lover looking to purchase and taste every available variety of Ashton VSG.

As I fired up the blend, an enticing profile of cedar, espresso and dark chocolate showered my palate with creamy Dominican spices and a luscious complexity. Ashton cigars are blended and handcrafted by the legendary Fuente family in the Dominican Republic. The family’s patient aging of select tobaccos truly distinguishes VSG with iconic flavor.

I was particularly drawn to the cigar’s format, a VSG Illusion, which is 6 ½ (inches) by a 44-ring-gauge (thickness). The long, somewhat slender shape provides ample room for savoring a wealth of tasteful transitions, from the beginning puffs down to the nub.

ashton vsg and rum

I paired my cigar with a “new” rum from Bacardi: Havana Club Añejo. Although Havana Club has been around for quite some time when you consider its historic Cuban origins, Bacardi has introduced the blend to the U.S. by distilling it in Puerto Rico to work around the ongoing Cuban trade embargo.

The rum’s natural sweetness merged elegantly with VSG’s creamy spices and bold, woody aromas. I highly recommend that fans of rum and cigars indulge in the luxurious combination presented by Bacardi and Ashton, a pair of classic, world-renowned brands. A supremely satisfying experience awaits!

Thanks to Holt’s Cigar Company for sponsoring Simple Guy Stuff. Enter the promo code SIMPLE at check out and receive a complimentary 10% discount on your purchase! Discount is available online only. Certain exclusions apply. Offer expires January 31, 2018 – cannot be combined with other coupon codes.  Limit one discount per customer.​

Sensor Push

sensor push cigars

Cigar lovers everywhere seem to be locked in a battle of always trying to keep their sticks at just the right temperature and humidity. From humidors to coola-dors to tupper-dors, smokers know that too little or too much humidity will lead to unpleasant smoking or worse, critters like tobacco beetles.

Up until now, I’ve used a digital hygrometer to read the humidity in my humidor, and it’s been very unreliable. Lately, it’s stopped giving me a readout at all for some reason. Hygrometers, both digital and analog, require regular calibration, and ultimately, I’m too lazy to do all that….but I love my cigars to be well cared-for.

sensor push cigars

Now, I’ve discovered a device that does what I need, and allows me to be as paranoid at monitoring my moisture levels as I want: Sensor Push. A small self-enclosed device that is just set-it-and-forget-it, Sensor Push gives you temperature and humidity readings on an app in your smartphone. Each sensor retails for $50 at Amazon and you can use as many as you’d like.

Setting up a Sensor Push device is easy: open their free app, then tap “add device.” Hold your sensor up to the screen, and it conpairs. It connects with bluetooth from the device to your phone, so as long as you’re within 30-50 feet of your sensor, it’ll constantly send data to your phone. If you’re not close enough to the sensor, though, it stores data up to 20 days while it waits for your phone to be back in range.

Sensor Push has also introduced a wifi gateway for $100 that allows you to monitor temperature and humidity from anywhere you have internet. It’s not required, but if you’re away from your sensor a lot, you may want to consider it.

sensor push charts

(Click to zoom).

I’ve been using 2 Sensor Push devices for the last 2 weeks, one in my humidor and one in my living room. I’ve been really happy with the data the app provides, especially compared to my old junky hygrometer (which consistently reported the wrong humidity). Above are some screen shots of the Sensor Push app at work, just click to view the image in high-res. Note that on my humidor sensor, I’ve set a range of temperature and humidity I want it to remain at. If my humidor drops below 58% humidity, it warns me with a notification.

As a cigar smoker who lives in a desert climate, Sensor Push is proving to be invaluable in the both accuracy of its data and the long-term outlook of using the device. The company says battery life is 1-2 years and calibration is basically never required.

Rocky Mountain Cigar Fest 2016

rocky mountain cigar fest 2016

My coverage of Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival in Denver is now live at Cigar and Spirits Magazine. Check out the summary of the event here, and here are some individual brand profiles:

As a bonus for Simple Guy Stuff readers, here’s an interview I did with Willy Herrera of Drew Estate about his upcoming cigar blend releases:

Old Henry Cigars

Old Henry Box Filtered Downsized

Holt’s Cigar Company, which is mostly a mailorder outfit unless you’re in the Pennsylvania area, has their own line of cigars: Old Henry, which are available exclusively from them. If Old Henry isn’t a familiar name to you, it wasn’t to me either. If, however, you pop the hood on these stogies (or simply look on the bottom of the box), you’ll notice a very familiar manufacturer behind them: the Garcia family.

If that’s not ringing a bell, the Garcia family blends cigars of their own brands, including My Father (Cigar Aficianado’s cigar of the year last year ) and Flor de Las Antillas (cigar of the year in 2012), then they also blend the Tatuaje family of cigars, and occasionally some others, too (like this one). Based out of Esteli, Nicaragua, the Garcia family has a good reputation for blending great cigars, and these Old Henry blends are no exception to the rule.

I got to try the “Best in Show Assortment” of Old Henrys, which includes 2 each of Pure Breed, Old Henry, Maduro, and Gold Label blends, all in Toro size (6×52), packed in a cedar box. These retail at $5.50 each for the last 3, and under $6.50 for the Pure Breed. The Best in Show Assortment will run you $29.99 from Holt’s.

Old Henry Closeup Filtered Downsized

Each of these blends are spicy (as Nicaraguan tobacco tends to be), a bit oily, and very well-built. Here are some distinguishing characteristic of each one:

Pure Breed. Medium-full bodied; medium strength. Nicaraguan tobacco in a Ecuador Sumatra wrapper. Smokes sweet and spicy with quite a bit of earthy flavor in the wrapper. Flavor profile is the most complex of the bunch and varies between spice, earth and pepper throughout.

Old Henry. Full bodied; medium strength. Nicaraguan tobacco in a Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper. A spicier experience, plus cream and leather. Highly flavorful, yet the strength is very manageable.

Maduro. Full bodied; medium-full strength. Nicaraguan tobacco and Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper. Similar to the standard Old Henry in spice, but more chocolately and wet overall.

Gold Label. Medium bodied, medium strength. Nicaraguan tobacco and Ecuador Connecticut wrapper. The lightest blend of the bunch, but just barely lighter in its profile. Still plenty spicy though also creme brulee, vanilla and cinnamon notes.