Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Who is Cigar Media? & My Thoughts on TPE

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

PREAMBLE

I don't Facebook much. I don't comment. I barely post. It's just not my cup of posturing douchebags. I like Twitter. Why? The posturing douchebags fly by quicker. Maybe. Mostly, I like Twitter because of blog traffic. I would not social media at all if I wasn't trying to get eyes & ears to see & hear me/my project(s)/this. Or maybe I'd just trollolol from time-to-time. Hard to say. Never can tell.

I'll admit to silently lurking around Facebook, though. Because of info moving slower there; because of it's being a more static even stagnant platform in comparison -- it's easy to check-in & catch up on what have you. Here, I'll be sharing my thoughts on two topics there which seem recurring. I shall keep it ever-so-brief[ish].

WHO IS CIGAR MEDIA?

This is a meta-thought which is apparently garnering some steam. It seems the underbelly of another less recent thing -- "does anyone care what cigar reviewers say?" Lemme field that: yes. I can statistically prove my own readership & can only hope people aren't spending time on shit they don't care about. To what extent they care & what it is whoever means by "caring," is any one's guess. It's also not an answer to the question. The answer, again, is simply yes.

Now let's look at WHO IS CIGAR MEDIA? Or it's more pointed cousin "Is _______ even cigar media?" Dunno... do they create enough cigar content to have it said of them that they create cigar content? It's a simple question to answer, really. Any mud smeared on the lens is, in fact, bullshit & not mud at all. Go ahead, smell it. Taste it to be certain. Note: a more interesting & subjective query is "are they GOOD cigar media?" I believe these two very separate questions get somehow confused.

Is Kaplowitz Media. cigar media? Well, it ain't a linguistics blog with a focus on etymology & w/ some fun crossword puzzle chatter thrown in. If it were, & it almost was, I'd probably be even more broke than I am rn. In a recent Kaplowitz Radio Ep (161, look for it HERE) I talked about a sentiment posted by someone in the cigar media to their Facebook. It essentially read that no one should discuss trade shows they don't attend. Or groups that run these shows of which they are not members.

I didn't always create predominantly cigar-centric content (GOOD stuff, to A a hanging Q). For a good while, back when I wore a younger man's clothes, I wrote about boxing (among other things; pro-writer & all. | lots of comedy*). Boxing used to have a literary flair to it which was par excellence. A. J. Liebling, Jack London, Bert Sugar, Ernest Hemingway, George Plimpton, Norman Mailer, & more -- all lent their pens & tongues to pugilism's canon. The popularity of the sport soared.

Then, the sentiment began to arise that these voices should be negated because they weren't fighters. Some were amateurs, some hobbyists, some not at all, but none were REALLY fighters**... what the fuck did they know & who the fuck cared what they had to say? Boxing journalism & literature is now mainly relegated to under 5min videos of out-of-context one-punch KOs with a DMX soundtrack blaring up-on ahead. Maybe that's where cigar media wants to go? Also, boxing is dying a long death by many accounts.

Perhaps the caregiver in me is attracted to near-dead things? So dryly regurgitate press releases & pay membership dues, & attend trade shows. Because that's just gotta be real as it gets. & if it ain't real we don't want it. Although this ideal is both in-arguably false within the context of this writing, as well as it is in the real world wherein we back politician's motives as if they were kin. Or cram our fat middle-aged bodies into NFL Jerseys to cheer on teams we were never part of. Or, well, you get it. Not a lot of call for "real," irl. 

THOUGHTS ON TPE

There's a show happening as I type this, actually. A TRADE show. No, I am not in attendance HOW VERY WELL DARE I. It's the TPE 2020. & it is all the rage. It's hot hot hot, & happening at the right time of year -- as opposed to the cold cold cold PCA nee IPCPR, happening at the wrong time of year. Even though it lacks the protective rallying (and oft losing) arm of the PCA. See, it's just a trade show, nothing more. 

It's also (just) a trade show, the TPE, one that features exhibitors of cannabis, its sober cousin CBD, vape,  & "discount tobaccos" which all bring the PLUS to the Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE). You know, all those things the premium cigar industry has been telling anyone who'll listen have nothing to do with us -- For years! We are not of them. They are not of us. The premium tobacco industry -- of which I maybe shouldn't write about or have the right to -- if I'm not even media. & I've never rolled a cigar. Nor worked in a Nicaraguan factory. Who's to say? Seems odd fits all 'round, no?

I can say, it feels a lot like I give a lot of my effort & creative process over to premium cigars. So I got that going for me, which is nice. The effort puts pancakes in front of my son at the table. Who knows, maybe the ring writing itch will continue to demand scratched -- & I'll find my way back there. Although I hate the video medium & suck at editing & am trailing off now into thoughts of 90second cigar reviews, bright flashing colors and ah, fuck it.

Thanks for reading. Would you like to know where we get the word 'effort' from? It's interesting & you can email me at kaplowitzmedia@mail.com if you'd like me to tell you.

FOOTNOTES

*Comedy written is often done-so by something called a humorist, which is a person not funny enough to be a comedian.

**I just wanted to let you know that Ernest Hemingway once forced Ezra Pound into a pair of boxing gloves so that he could clobber him. Apparently.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Tabacos de la Cordillera by IGM Cigars Corona Cumbres in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Tabacos de la Cordillera
by IGM Cigars 
Corona Cumbres

WRAPPER: Costa Rican
BINDER: Costa Rican
FILLER: Costa Rican

FORMAT: Corona (644)
ORIGIN: Costa Rica
STRENGTH: Medium

WEBSITE: www.tabacordilleracr.com

NOTES:
Bamboo | White chocolate | Pistachio. Quite the driving leafy herbaceousness w/ wobbly floral attachment. Quite rare primaries -- bamboo (somewhat live) & definite pistachio (somewhat green). An exotic lemony pale spice array underlines a white peppercorn kicker which is somewhat drying at times. Structurally, some pine flows in to lend delineation come the 2/3. Suede makes a nice addition to clay earthen underbelly.

Lacks some balance till about the 1/2, when cream comes fully in. Lacks too in some undertones, as the middlings are lendings from above & below. Back-door complex & nicely nuanced in a non-traditional manner as described in mids. The aroma is a sweet tropical selling-point; that's thru the nose, too. 

Smooth even draw. Flawless burn-line slowly & I mean s l o w l y builds oily-dense ash. Excellent construction/combustion all-'round. Big & I mean B I G smoky-smoke out-put nicely culminates that excellent aroma into room-note. Summation: a lil different, quite calm, a slight kick to stave boredom. Not perfect, but a happy smoke.

FINAL GRADE: B
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Cuevas Reserva Natural by Casa Cuevas in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Cuevas Reserva Natural
by Casa Cuevas

WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Connecticut
BINDER: Havana
FILLER: Dominican, Nicaraguan, USA

FORMAT: Robusto (552)
ORIGIN: Dominican Republic
STRENGTH: Mild-Medium

WEBSITE: www.casacuevascigars.com

NOTES:
Salted caramel | White pepper | Lemon curd. "... Both lemon curd and lemon pie filling have a similar, bright citrus flavor but curd is richer and more intense." - www.tastesoflizzyt.com. Undertones bring depths of cocoa butter, pale floral-fruity notes, and driving cardamom. Under-belly is chicken coop & suede earthiness.

Crisp & lush delivery. Structured well, clearly & cleanly delineated. Sweet creamy yet never cloyingly-so. Supreme balance w/ even umami triggered -- a rarity in a more mild profile. Deeply nuanced & nicely complex. Smooth, with a pleasant attention-retaining kick. Ends crisply after a dense sweet/sour finish of excellent length.

Burns on an even line, predominantly. There is a slight jagged hiccup once or twice, each self-correcting quickly. Ash doesn't flake but does crack in the 1/3; pretties up afterward. Draws quite well. Cap & shoulder pull down a tick and need a teeth-trimming. Seams hold, no hard/soft spots or much softening at all. Very smoky-smoke out-put culminating in a lovely room-note of primary & under-belly notes.

FINAL GRADE: A-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Kaplowitz Radio EP162 Postshow "Pizza Proposition"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"



I talk pizza toppings & a shitty Nick Cave flick from over a decade ago. I also experiment with hat/shades combinations. thx 

POWERED BY ILLUSIONE: www.illusionecigars.com
More Kaplowitz Television info: https://bit.ly/2RUhWNB

::: very :::

Drunk Chicken Cigars Original (DCO) in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Drunk Chicken Cigars
Original (DCO)

WRAPPER: Mexican San Andres
BINDER: Ecuadorian
FILLER: Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Double Toro (660)
ORIGIN: USA
STRENGTH: Med. Full

WEBSITE: www.drunkchickencigars.com

NOTES:
Black pepper | dark chocolate | compost. Pepper acquires a molasses-y red flake thru the nose, on the draw it stays a smooth robust black peppercorn. Dark chocolate has a bit of a semi-sweet vanilla addition tick. Compost is a component of the driving earthiness that sees a lush leathery oily attachment. A cola vibe. Anise, some.

Nice balance. Straight-forward delivery with some (particularly earthen) nuance. Moderately complex & subtly-so for the cigar's weight. Finish is a long-legged melange of bitter-sweetness. Aroma shows a mesquite thing not apparent on the draw -- if it were, the structure would be enhanced nicely. As it is, the delineations bleed a bit. Purging at the onset of 2/3 & 3/3 abates a charcoal entry.

Burns on a teeny self-correcting wave, slowly. Lots of 'baccy takes lots of time. In the 1/3 the top-leaf wants to lag. Ash builds quite well. Draw is perfect gate-to-wire. Roll holds rolled; seams & cap stay good. No hard/soft spots.  A somber, meditative thing w/ 'nuff oomph & interest to stave off tedium quite well.

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Monday, January 27, 2020

disILLUSIONE dePROGRAM Vodcast "OneOff" (Audio Only)

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"



You can watch this episode here: https://bit.ly/2Rx9AMJ Welcome to The Society. We talk about the OneOff blend, wet palates, & the proper care of jeans.

Illusione Cigars: www.illusionecigars.com 

::: very :::

disILLUSIONE dePROGRAM Vodcast "OneOff"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"



Welcome to The Society. We talk about the OneOff blend, wet palates, & the proper care of jeans. IN TECHNICOLOR. 

Illusione Cigars: www.illusionecigars.com

::: very :::

Kaplowitz Radio EP162 "Very, Very"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

I talk about cigars, Kaplowitz Media, & the etymology of "very." thx OH! & I smoke a Room101 Farce. Almost forgot... I also give fraudulent advice re: humidor care. k thx



More Kaplowitz Radio info: https://bit.ly/37c68MR

::: very :::

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Friday, January 24, 2020

Cuevas Reserva Maduro by Casa Cuevas Cigars (Preview)

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

I take a quick first look-see at the Cuevas Reserva Maduro by Casa Cuevas. thx



::: very :::

Chaffiot Collection Cigars Original Maduro in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Chaffiot Collection 
Original Maduro

WRAPPER: Nicaraguan
BINDER: Sumatran
FILLER: Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: Nicaragua
STRENGTH: Medium-Full

WEBSITE: chaffiotcollection.com

NOTES:
Leather | black currant | cedar. Patent leather, shiny-rigid. Black currant is black currant altho it's also somewhat/times prunes. Cedar is spiced, scorched-some & a bit lacking. This is all spun off a darkly-bitter/sweet tobacco core. A soy sauce umami trigger steers the undertones. Too there is: black licorice, cola, an out-front pepper-spice. Cumin, smoked paprika, black pepper.

Smokes hot, temp-wise. This amplifies the peppery sensation via body. Charcoals a 1/2-tick in quickly arriving 3/3. Nicely nuanced in a dried compost chocolate barnyard underbelly. This extends to the rather short-lived finish; a bit sharply-so. Not much complexity beyond that. All I've listed insofar as flavor notes are really ebbs & flows inherent to that 'baccy core.

Very smoky out-put with a cherry aroma I'd love to have tasted on the draw. Draw? It's a tick hesitant here & there. Sometimes a bit hollow. Burn-line is even, save for a large wonk at mid-point which requires a re-touch. Ash grows a bit flaky. The thing, it bears repeating, smokes hot & fast. Structurally, back to profile, a greater cedar would have made a kinder bracing than did pepper/charcoal. Not harsh, per se, but also not easy.

FINAL GRADE: B
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Kaplowitz Media. Social Media News

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"
Then I was like. "WTF, a press release fresh out of nowhere?!"
I demand press releases of forthcoming press releases.
& w/ that began a bit of Twitter fun I indulged in yesterday. A couple notes as to this post: I'm not editing the tweets (much), just moving them here. I tweeted all this shit pre-coffee after a night of insomnia. Also, follow Kaplowitz Media. on Twitter >>> twitter.com/KaplowitzMedia

*
*        *

Kaplowitz Media. protocol clearly states that three business days prior to receipt of press release, a press release pertaining to said press release be sent. Please format all press releases in a manner easy for Kaplowitz Media. to copy/paste & pass off as actual content. -Mgmt

ADDENDUM failure to do so will see any forthcoming related reviews 'dinged' in their final grade. This will mean a 143 rating for an average cigar (using a 100 scale) will be officially deemed a sub-par 126.

ADDENDUM to ADDENDUM in the interest of fair grading, numbers can be added back to said final grade for reasons such as cool hats. At times, these extra numbers will be in the form of letters, crude sketches, or stories about the 1970s.

The exact query protocol will be outlined in a press release I am drafting currently. Expect a press release shortly pertaining to that future press release's release. Make sure to email kaplowitzmedia@mail.com for inclusion.

When emailing, please send request in the form of a Google Doc & include "Kaplowitz Media. Press Release Inclusion" in the subject line.

Responses will only be drafted to media entities who attend trade shows.

Ever the critic, I deem this thread a 163 on a 100 point scale. Some points being deducted for lack of complexity & occasional soft spots. However, the wet fence post note in the 2/3 was quite intriguing.

Please ignore "points points" NEW GRADE: 159.

*
*        *

Thanks for checking out how clever I am. But there's more to this than that. Be sure to follow Kaplowitz Media. on Twitter. Again:

twitter.com/KaplowitzMedia Why, because LOOK AT THAT FUCKING CONTENT and also, Kaplowitz Radio will shortly be stepping away from Facebook & its kin, including Instagram. thx

::: very :::

Regina Cigars Honduran Collection Veni Sancte Spiritus in Review

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

Regina Cigars
Honduran Collection
Veni Sancte Spiritus

WRAPPER: Sumatra
BINDER: Undisclosed
FILLER: Undisclosed

FORMAT: Toro (pig-tail | closed foot)
ORIGIN: Honduras
STRENGTH: Medium

BLENDER: Oscar Valladares

WEBSITE: www.reginacigars.com

NOTES:
Lemony earthiness | white pepper | a floral aspect. Bright & dusty. There's a stogie cardboard whisper to the undertones. A bit of table sugar. Cardamom mixes w/ dandelion/chamomile; an herbal tea vibe. Sandy underbelly... some terra cotta then white dirt, a.k.a. kaolin. Mineraly. Salty.

Lacking in complexities &/or nuance. A straight-forward thing out on a mainly pleasant line. Dries the palate some in an astringent manner. An abbreviated sweet floral earth finish. A bit of chicken coop residue on short legs. Tastes like a poker game -- particularly its cards.

Very nice smoke out-put, which culminates in a muted room-note of further dusty top-notes. Dead-even burn-line. Tight ash. Excellent draw. Tight seams, stoically affixed cap & shoulder, zero hard/soft spots. Construction & combustion operate flawlessly, really. Would be actually quite nice over cards, dominoes, chit-chat, etc. It comes up short in an event all on its lonesome -- but would make for a nice accessory to a good time.

FINAL GRADE: B-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Notes on Notes "On Balance"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

Balance. I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who first tweeted, "Bitches love #balance." & ol' Honest Abe was never truer. But what is this "balance?" This is a very important question, as balance is cited in cigar reviews almost as often & darn near as vaguely as is "complexity." The thing is, as with complexity, balance can mean several things -- can be achieved several ways -- and found to be lacking in just as many. Also, it is a prerequisite of positive complexity, as without balance, complexity is a jarringly helter-skelter cacophony.

Here's a message I sent a brand owner earlier today (1/17/2020) regarding a question they had stemming from my review of their cigar: "I'm thinking a better marrying of over & undertones. At times, it was almost like smoking two diff cigars. In interior design, there's a thing called cross-pollination. A red pillow on the beige chair, a beige pillow on the red chair. That sort of thing, but between primary & secondary flavors. Make sense? It's a form of balance, I imagine."

Balance. Funny, because I was just then set to pen this article. Kismet! That question which ultimately touched on balance, again, what this article is about... You following any of this? GOOD. You're doing great, hon. How else is balance measured aside from the aforementioned rather rarity?

A very much more popular way a lot of popular sticks miss the balance mark is in FLAVOR | STRENGTH that being when one (typically/popularly strength) lurches out in-front of the other. Nic-bombs, you see, are imbalanced drek, by strict definition. #sorrynotsorry Transversely, a cloyingly sweet body with a pencil neck geek strength, while less of an affront --- still outta weirdly outta whack.

Ever smoke a 5-country blend and only taste the characteristics of a singular origin leaf? That ain't balance. That's also a waste. Why round up the good shit from say DR, Honduras, Costa Rica, and USA -- only to find success in highlighting the Nicaraguan component? (I point that hypothetical finger at no one in particular, just to say.) Basically, balance here is in the allowing of varying leaves to be seen. Think primings | fermentations, as well.

More often than not, when I PERSONALLY cite cigar profile balance or lack thereof, I am speaking to this final take on the topic: primary tastes. Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami. Then there's the flavor not taste of pepper... Flavor v. taste maybe needs its own Notes on Notes or... lemme lift this from somewheres I forget wheres... "Flavor refers to the smell and to the texture of food, as well as the taste of food. Taste refers to the actual connection of the tongue and taste buds in the mouth to recognize the basic tastes of sweet, sour, bitter salty and umami."

K
[digression leading to final paragraph]
(As I do grow weary.)

Without balance? Hectic, lurchy, spastic, clamorous. Unsettl(ed/ing). Ultimately shy of enjoyable. But is this the end? & if it is the end, the end of what tf exactly? Regardless, balance is nothing without structure. As it is a component of that. Maddening, ain't it? Read this: Notes on Notes "Broad Across the Tongue" ((( link ))) it's my first Notes on Notes entry & it seems now that the snake has eaten its tail. Oh, wow.

::: very :::

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Kaplowitz Radio EP161 Postshow "Two Links"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"



Here's one link: Programming Note: https://bit.ly/3awAkVe that's a link to two wonderful podcasts. EP161 of KR "Sorry, Mrs.W" & the latest disILLUSIONE dePROGRAM "The Laughter of Melillo"

Wanna donate and/or support KM? Here's another link to where ya can do that: https://bit.ly/38w9xqn thx

::: very :::

Chaffiot Collection Cigars Original Connecticut in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Chaffiot Collection
Original Connecticut

WRAPPER: Ecuadorian
BINDER: Sumatran
FILLER: Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: Nicaragua
STRENGTH: Mild/Mild-Med.

WEBSITE: chaffiotcollection.com

NOTES: 
Clotted cream | White peppercorn | Vanilla bean. Undertones to those: a forward dusty citrus, lemony cleansing goodness which cleans the sweet softness well. A bit of baggy dusty coffee (heavy on cream&sugar). A tick of cardamon; hint of white ginger. Spices & citrus live on the corners of the tongue. Nuttiness builds via progression from out of the cream.

Nicely fleshed out and well structured. Good balance. Some nuances in its creamy depths but no true complexities beyond that. Although there is no shortage of notes. Not very subtle for as mild/mellow as it is. Rather a whispered aggression which ultimately isn't a turn-off... a purposeful delivery. Finishes in a candied lemon on lengthy legs which end a bit fusty. 

Burns very well. Evenly & at a moderate pace. Draw is superb. Smoke out-put is notable in volume, culminating is a suede floral room-note. Some dandelion is present on the retro-hale. Cap & seams are flawless. Zilch hard/soft spots. A classic Connie with just a bit Nicaraguan more. Very nice. Excellent, really.

FINAL GRADE: A-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Monday, January 20, 2020

disILLUSIONE dePROGRAM "The Laughter of Melillo"

The Society.
"Deep in your mind."





We talk about eggs, burgers, & cereal. Also, we love bacon. & FUCK YOU, JOE BUCK.

More disILLUSIONE dePROGRAM info: https://bit.ly/2NLjYOC

::: very :::

Kaplowitz Radio EP161 "Sorry, Mrs. W."

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"



Mike & I discuss the PCA trade show, shitty websites, & shittier mailing lists. It's all ::: very ::: negative. I even read a depressing poem.

More Kaplowitz Radio info: https://bit.ly/37c68MR

Programming Note

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

Because of some funky scheduling, Kaplowitz Radio EP161 & disILLUSIONE dePROGRAM will each post a bit later than usual. Still today (Monday 20th) but a tick later. 

Of course, you can be alerted immediately by visiting https://bit.ly/30y1gzm and subscribing to Kaplowitz Radio via any of the many podcast catchers listed therein.  Or, how about this? --


Maybe even leave a rating and/or review. 
Talk at ya later. thx

>>>

ADDENDUM: Unfortunately, we will not be able to bring you a new disILLUSIONE dePROGRAM ep till Thursday (23rd). 23 is an interesting number. We probably won't talk about it on the show.

Kaplowitz Radio EP161 will air later today. thx

ADDENDUM TO ADDENDUM: a new disILLUSIONE dePROGRAM will post shortly! It is ::: very ::: important to SUBSCRIBE. I'm tired. yw

RESULTS:
Kaplowitz Radio EP161 "Sorry, Mrs. W."
disILLUSIONE dePROGRAM "The Laughter of Melillo"

::: very :::

Friday, January 17, 2020

Drunk Chicken Cigars Fat Hen in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Drunk Chicken
Fat Hen

WRAPPER: Habano
BINDER: Ecuadorian
FILLER: Dominican, Ecuadorian

FORMAT: Shorty Torpedo (460)
ORIGIN: USA
STRENGTH: Med./Med, Full

WEBSITE: www.drunkchickencigars.com

NOTES:
A bracing mahogany wood within a maple syrup sweetness. Black & red peppers, mainly thru the nose, fall in a molasses sweetness to the palate. A tick of cumin, dash of smoked paprika. Undertones are a good bit less structured than primaries. Predominantly leathery earth, a bit dryly. Perhaps somewhat hollow...

... A sweet trickling-down into that earthiness. A manure melange. A can of cola. An in/out up/down fruity chocolate. A bit of a berry tart sourness comes into the second-half. None of it fully entrenches. The lengthy finish is structured as fine as the overtones and leaves a sweetly spiced woodsy bit which ends quite clean. Complex but up-top only; nuanced but underneath only where it lacks in delineations.

Smokes somewhat fast even for 4", maybe a tick understufft, but no hard/soft spots. Open draw. Very smoky but sans a room-note beyond an almost sharp 'baccy. The construction holds but does soften-some. Bun-line is dead even gate-to-wire. Let's just call it a cruise-control performance. Let's just call it an interesting stick that definitely didn't lay an egg. Unique paths find new obstacles, but going off-road is still fun.

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Chatting w/ Sebastien Decoppet of Cavalier Geneve Cigars

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"



Chatting w/ Sebastien Decoppet of Cavalier Geneve Cigars about breaking into the US market, a look-see at the Euro version, pipe-smoking, & MORE...

LINKS:
(reviews)
Cavalier Geneve White
Cavalier Geneve Black II
Cavalier Geneve Black (USA Exclusive)
Cavalier Geneve Black (USA Exclusive) (Podcast)

More Kaplowitz Radio info: https://bit.ly/2tk39n3 

::: very :::

Tabacos de la Cordillera by IGM Cigars Tucan in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Tabacos de la Cordillera 
by IGM Cigars Tucan

WRAPPER: Costa Rican
BINDER: Costa Rican
FILLER: Costa Rican

FORMAT: Robusto closed-foot
ORIGIN: Costa Rica
STRENGTH: Mild-Medium

WEBSITE: www.tabacordilleracr.com

>>>

NOTES:
Pillowy soft. Sweet w/ a short peppery kick thru the nose. Oily in the mitt & mouf. A goop melange of sweetness, really, a tick cloyingly-so. Cocoa butter, white chocolate, nougat. Whipped. Then white pepper ground finely. Cardamom, white ginger. Lacking in delineation but somehow lively & not flat in structure. A piling on of sweet notes. Oils are leathery and lend a neat savoriness.

Quite nuanced, lacking in any other complexity. Overtones bleed into undertones but underneath it all is a fungal quality that envelopes a sweet profile in umami goodness. The finish is long and simple sweetness, cloying as mentioned; not a clean end but a pleasant one. Earthiness, a clay thing, begins steering at the 1/2.

Burns on an even line, at a moderate pace. Grows oily ash which fails to stack well. Draw is a tick of squish. Build softens via progression, but evenly & doesn't further hamper the tugs. Nice smoke out-put culminates in a sweety-meaty manner, pleasantly. Pleasant. Mild-mannered. Accompanied with coffee to cleanse barnacles, it's almost exceptionally pleasant. Fantastic AM smoke, as part of a balanced (cuppa Joe) breakfast of champions.

FINAL GRADE: B
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Kaplowitz Radio EP160.5 w/ Mike

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"



A pop-up episode introing Mike as my sometime co-host. You know Mike! He's no stranger to Kaplowitz Media & Radio. We talk about what I touched on in EP160, namely the PCA | TPE stuffs.

More Kaplowitz Radio: https://bit.ly/30m8PJp

Maya Selva Cigars Villa Zamorano in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Maya Selva Cigars
Villa Zamorano

WRAPPER: Sumatra
BINDER: Honduran
FILLER: Honduran, Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Corona
ORIGIN: Honduras
STRENGTH: Medium

WEBSITE: www.mayaselvacigars.com

>>>

NOTES:
Ever drink a Creamsicle float? It's orange soda poured over vanilla ice cream. Now sprinkle some dirt on top & sip it in an over-stufft leather chair in a wood-paneled room. That's fairly the experience here & it's a nice one. There are undertones of malty cocoa butter, butterscotch, white pepper. Suede underbelly.

Not a huge amount of structure, but does avoid being flat. Not complex, transitional, nor particularly nuanced(but some). A kindly sweet taste to stick in your smoke-hole. Lingers well there on a sweet & zesty finish. Well-rounded & nice-balanced. Body is well ahead of flavor, lushly-so. Posh, really... w/ a nice tingle on the tongue.

Built quite well. Draws smooth & burns even. Grows dense ash. Seams & cap assemblage hold firm. Zero hard/soft spots or softening of pack via progression. A set it and forget it offering which plays happily on the palate. A pleasant acquaintance beats a friend in need any ol' day.

FINAL GRADE: B
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

"Take it Easy on That CEE-gar, Baw." LSU College Champ Joe Burrow & Teammates Celebrate in Smoke

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"


This is not about the big game last night. It can't be. I was watching old episodes of Antiques Roadshow while the kids were playing. This is about the way LSU celebrated its win over Clemson & therefore, their National Championship. More precisely, this is my take on takes thereof. Also, I give a fresh take at the end. All for free. What a deal! 

Glynn Loope, Executive Director of Cigar Rights of America, tweeted out the very first tweet I saw this morning. It was a link to a story containing the lead-in of: "LSU's post-national championship win celebration was almost cut short by police." Loope captioned the tweet w/ "LSU Players Threatened With Arrest After Smoking Cigars"

Ross Dellenger then somehow popped into my Twitter world, & I say somehow because I had yet to learn he's apparently a writer for Sports Illustrated. His tweet read: "Joe Burrow sucking on a cigar and blowing smoke into the air while exiting the #LSU locker room is a thing that has happened." That captioned a pic destined for the viral gif-hood it shortly achieved. 

Then, after this, I brewed a pot of coffee & lit a cigar. Puttered around the house a bit. Experimented (unsuccessfully) with wearing a blanket instead of a robe. It's wet & cold in the Pacific Northwest. I guess I also thought a bit. Lettuce work backward from all the above...

You can "OK, Boomer" me all you want (although I'm Gen-X) but Dellenger's "a thing that has happened" lilty faux irony tone is hackneyed junk. Unless he specializes in hackneyed junk, then his voice remains strong -- as does mine, similarly. Meaning he does worse than fail as a reporter here. Not only does he voice an opinion, but said opinion remains shrouded in what I read as an eye-roll. Maybe I make too much of it. Maybe I make too much of him. It looks like most of his work is digital. As if (liltingly) *eye-roll*

Then we get to Loope. If you read the article he shared, & I did not but did skim, it wasn't so much an almost arrested thing. In fact, if this counts as almost arrested, I cannot imagine the staggering number of times I was almost arrested. It looks like somebody spoke to someone, then somebody backed away slowly & left the boys to their celebratory smoke sesh. Also, I've been "almost cut short by police" probably even more than almost arrested. I truly shudder to think. 

So what did happen then? A sports team celebrated a championship victory in the time-honored tradition of lighting cigars. They did this in a smoke-free facility while hovering around the ages of 21. They did this while being filmed (Joe Burrow looks ridiculous a la a kid wearing his dad's suit). The coach, whose name I don't know, even gleefully said to Burrow this post's title: "Take it easy on that CEE-gar, Baw." Jesus, I hope the kid read Cigar Aficionado's recent on-line masterpiece on how eating a bit of sugar helps if you get sick from smoking.

In short, this a win for our industry. Perhaps it's hard to see that because PCA and the like don't give us much by way of experience there. But it is a win. Or is it? Maybe it's just another sports team celebrating with fat cigars -- maybe it's just as if nothing has ever really changed. Maybe it's as if sometime in the near future the aggressively loud minority waging tobacco war will simply fold quietly into history. 

::: very :::

Kaplowitz Radio EP160 Postshow "Partnered Up"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"



In this EP160 Postshow, I drop a bit of news re: Kaplowitz Radio & my new co-host, Mike Weinstein. Mike is no stranger to Kaplowitz Media, as a matter of fact, not long ago we recorded "Cavalier Geneve Cigars Black Series (USA Exclusive) Review w/ Mike Weinstein (Podcast)" LINK > https://bit.ly/381jo7f

FULL PODCAST:
Kaplowitz Radio EP160 "Flame & Gesture"
https://bit.ly/2R5Dg2c

Kaplowitz Television info: https://bit.ly/2ZUtnrW

this episode is POWERED BY illusione cigars:
www.illusionecigars.com

::: very :::

Monday, January 13, 2020

Regina Cigars Honduran Collection Raphael in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Regina Cigars
Honduran Collection "Raphael"

WRAPPER: Maduro
BINDER: Undisclosed
FILLER: Undisclosed
BLENDER: Christian Eiroa

FORMAT: Toro
ORIGIN: Honduras
STRENGTH: Med. Full

WEBSITE: www.reginacigars.com

>>>

NOTES:
Creamy milk chocolate, cereal grain forward rich earthiness. Nice sweetness. Good pepper-spice kick, smoothly -- white & black pepper. A bit of red. Cumin, paprika. Spices play softly in the creaminess. Undertones are sweet/creamy aspects of calmly bright dense earthen core... nougat, caramel, coffee (heavy on cream & sugar).

Traces of orange blossom honey. Not quite a melange but not quite not. Peppers hold just 'nuff delineation. Barnyard & chicken coop for the underbelly. Savory comes in at the mid-point via a thick leather & its oils. Really quite nice, lends even more to the already full-ish amount. Not super-complex but kindly-so & staves off boring flatness. Excellent nuance as the notes entrench & a bit of salt is added to sweet.

Burns mainly even outside of a slight 1/3 puckering which self-corrects. Rolled quite firm, & softens just a hair & evenly via progression. No hard/soft spots per se. Excellent draw. Very smoky both active & passive -- offering a pleasantly sweet meaty earthy aroma. A bit muted by dustiness which comes onto draw notes in the 3/3. A candied lemon comes in then, as well. Excellent balance throughout. An attainable & enjoyable thing, this.

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Kaplowitz Radio EP160 "Flame & Gesture"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

You can listen to Kaplowitz Radio at most places you catch your podcasts. Spotify, Google & Apple Podcasts, etc. Or press play below:



I talk brands pulling out of the PCA trade show, Joaquin Phoenix, and read some Billy Collins poetry.

More Kaplowitz Radio info: https://bit.ly/2sG7dOl

::: very :::

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Finish vs. End | Cigar Smoking 101 w/ Kaplowitz

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"



I talk about "finish" & "end" for about "5mins." 

I'm smoking the Cavalier Geneve Black Series II in this. 
Here's the review of that: https://bit.ly/30bjvdE

This was originally slated to be a written "Notes on Notes." It instead became [see title]. Still, it travels somewhere twixt & will appear in both indexes. thx 

::: very :::

Friday, January 10, 2020

Cavalier Geneve Cigars Black Series (USA Exclusive) Review w/ Mike Weinstein (Podcast)

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"



Mike & I lend an audible look-see to the Cavalier Geneve Cigars Black Series (USA Exclusive) offering. It's a pair of thumbs up!

My written review: https://bit.ly/309nCXR

::: very :::

A Case for Self-Regulation in the Premium Cigars Industry

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"
"To head someone off at the pass or to cut someone off at the pass means to prevent someone from accomplishing something, to forestall an event, to intercept and redirect someone. Synonyms for these idioms that may be found in a thesaurus are ambush, block, thwart." - grammarist.com

& just like that & sans delving into legislative particulars, Tobacco 21 was signed into immediate federal existence December 20, 2019, as part of a $1.4T spending parcel; state rights be damned. Although possession enforcement is actually up to the state. It's a falling of dominoes... states have been passing 21 legal age minimums one-by-one for some time -- now -- BOOM.

But the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) will have you believe it is all some shade of a victory. They consider this legislature to be 'clean' -- sans anti-tobacco provisions. Basically, it coulda been a lot worse, according to them. Whew! However, this only holds water if 21 was the last falling domino. The ultimate goal of the dark nanny forces. It isn't. There are still others... bills looking for 25, & a full ban of online sales just to name a couple. The ultimate goal? Prohibition, perhaps. An idea/l with a lengthy history of success, I must sarcastically say.

Many in the cigar media are irate this was not fought harder against by PCA, Cigar Rights of America (CRA), et al. Worthy of mention is that these fine orgs. have an absolute pitiful record in fights. So much so, that I cringe when I hear them ask for money. Imagine you were an advertiser with Kaplowitz Media., now imagine you came to me feeling it wasn't bearing the fruit you'd hoped for. Now, imagine I countered your concern by asking you for more of your marketing money. That. Tho that isn't what this is about.

Perhaps then, like any miserable yet responsible parent or spouse, we wisely choose our battles. Nothing wrong with that & furthermore, I can see PCA's point to an extent. My issue is far more with how they/we fight than when/why. That is where we lose & also where we must learn from those losses. But how do we know, firstly, what we as an industry should fight? Here's where my plan kicks off... & oh... I have a plan...

It is time for the premium tobacco industry to form
a SELF-REGULATORY ORGANIZATION 

"A self-regulatory organization (SRO) is an organization that exercises some degree of regulatory authority over an industry or profession. The regulatory authority could exist in place of government regulation, or applied in addition to government regulation. The ability of an SRO to exercise regulatory authority does not necessarily derive from a grant of authority from the government." - Wikipedia

Who would be in this org & by whose grace? Dunno. I'm more of an idea guy; but represented therein should be every aspect of the industry, seed to shelf; as well as consumers & media. & now how should we/they fight? The answer is "to intercept and redirect someone," from the quote at this thing's onset. To intercept & to redirect mean different things than to defeat, but I feel in this context will end in more Ws than previously experienced since Ronald Reagan hawked Camels.

NONE of us want kids smoking our cigars. Kids. Here is a chance to do away with 18+ being an adult. While this is true, it ain't at all valid. Think 'legal age.' That being 21. Welcome to steadfastly not wanting anyone under 21 to smoke our wares. It's not that bitter a pill to swallow financially -- as very little of that demographic buys premiums anyways. Here's the most dynamic action our SRO takes. So dynamic an action, it requires a new paragraph.

[With the security of the knowledge that what we posit most likely will fall on deaf ears, anyways.]

We publicly, loudly, clearly ENDORSE 25. Calm down, there ain't many more paying smokers 22-24 years of age. That's how you head prohibition off at the pass. You become an ally to legislators, one in lock-step uniformed strides. You give an inch to take (keep) (most of) a mile.

You do not fight societal whims turned legislative actions by being, in their eyes, the tantrum-throwing brats suffering from affluenza they envision us to be. YOU CIS WHITE MALE SWINE (sarcasm, again). You play the hand you're dealt, not the one you wish for. This is the toughest bitterest pill for many & it is the biggest reason we continually lose.

What else can our SRO tackle? How about packaging? Say a brand wants to wrap their cigars like candy. That should not be allowed. Or at least harrumphed heavily (publicly) "some degree of regulatory authority."

"But I want to." I am sure you do. "I should be able to do what I want, it's a free country." You are in a regulated sector of such. See: tantrum. Think less Alpha, chrissakes. Inches & miles, inches & miles. How about our hypothetical proposed Organization saying you shouldn't do a line of skateboards because it looks, just maybe, like you're shooting a tick young. Or is plain packaging a thing you really want to hasten along?

Advertising? Glad ya asked. Here's a link to the Kaplowitz Media. media kit: https://bit.ly/2NaPYeG I mean that's what ya meant, right? yw

::: very :::

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Tabacos de la Cordillera by IGM Cigars Kalavera Yellow in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Tabacos de la Cordillera
by IGM Cigars
Kalavera Yellow

WRAPPER: Costa Rican
BINDER: Costa Rican
FILLER: Costa Rican

FORMAT: "Gordito" (556)
ORIGIN: Costa Rican
STRENGTH: Mild-Medium

WEBSITE: www.tabacordilleracr.com

>>>

NOTES:
Dusty, sandy. Creamy, dryly. Lays broad on the tongue sans delineation, although a tick-bit of citrus does perk it up some. Cocoa butter, white pepper, ginger, hay -- all form a melange around a pale maybe greenish 'baccy core. Suede and lemonade become the featured notes, coming on in the 2/3 & remaining on the finish. Ends with a salted terra cotta thing 'tween puffs. Moderate legs.

That saltiness is on the retro-hale & accompanied there with a mineral lilt. Nice list of notes in length, but a lack of structure leaves it ultimately bland. While calm, the notes do waver a bunch. A whispered cacophony.. Not complex. Not nuanced. Mostly just there hanging around loitering in a predominately sweet manner w/ growing sour kicker.

Burns on a neat line and grows quite decent ash. Smokes at a somewhat quick clip. Moderate smoke out-put doesn't give much aroma... almost curiously-so. Muted/muffled. Draws well but at times a bit hollow. If not puffed often, it seems to want to peter out -- which leads to that fast smoke-time. Kindly 'nuff profile. Rather pedestrian.

OK. A pine coffee table, lacquered. A ray of sunlight from a window highlighting its dust. Someone sprays Lemon Pledge on it... then walks away without wiping it off. (3/3.)

FINAL GRADE: B-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Cavalier Geneve Cigars Black Series (USA Exclusive) in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Cavalier Geneve Cigars
Black Series (USA Exclusive)

WRAPPER: San Andres Negra
BINDER: Arapiraca
FILLER: Honduran, Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Robusto pig-tail
ORIGIN: San Judas Tadeo, Honduras
STRENGTH: Med. Full

WEBSITE: www.cavalier-cigars.com

>>>

NOTES:
Sultry. Crisp. Kinda a weird combo, that. Patent leather & smooth black pepper. Dark chocolate shavings, a bit waxily. Undertones are a high-flying espresso, lemony twist, thin sarsparilla & thinner molasses. Underneath is dried compost piled in a barnyard. The delineation is at once splendid & also vague. Structurally sound, but of indistinct notes. Nutty woodsy? Big void there.

A tick watery. A bit imbalanced in its bittersweet bias & even that is tilted toward bitter... savoriness is lacking. Pepper-spice dials a lil too far back outta the gate. A dark mineral lilt fills in. Lacking nuance but making up in some nice complexities. Just feels like it needs some more meat on its bones. Room-note carries a bit of tar in it. That hits the draw past mid-way. Becomes a bit diesely. The profile is very much a caricature of the American palate; perhaps drawn w/ the wrong ink (tobacco).

Burns on a decent line. Grows excellent ash. Draws a hair spongy/hesitant. Smoke out-put, particularly active, is bigly -- which makes the aforementioned bitter >>> sweet lack of aroma seem odd. Burns at a nice even pace. There is a mild soft-spot just past the 1/2, but rest of build is quite nice -- seams, cap, etc. A quite serviceable stick, however lacking to a critical eye.

FINAL GRADE: B
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Kaplowitz Radio EP159 Postshow "How Kap Got His Groove Back"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"



In this dimly-lit Kaplowitz Television thing, I vow #KM will be staunchly even stiffly CIGARS ONLY for 2020 & give some further insight as to what the year will bring for Kaplowitz Media.

Full podcast: Kaplowitz Radio EP159 "Wrestling & Tears" https://bit.ly/2ZRZHMe

Kaplowitz Television info: https://bit.ly/2ZUtnrW

Al Goldstein: SCREW, CIGAR

"Have you Kaplowitz'd too-day?"


Al(vin) Goldstein was a smut-peddler par excellence and of no small infamy within even those particular circles. His New York Times obituary reads for all eternity: "a cartoonishly vituperative amalgam of borscht belt comic, free-range social critic and sex-obsessed loser who seemed to embody a moment in New York City's cultural history: the sleaze and decay of Times Square in the 1960s and ‘70s." Another critic (and ain't everyone one) decreed him to be, "a hairy, sweaty, cigar-chomping, eczema-ridden fatso."

Mr. Goldstein was born in 1936 Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The proper amount of time afterward, he went on to serve the good ol' USofA in the Army as a photographer. Then at Pace College, he interviewed Allen Ginsberg. Was also a photojournalist -- Jacqueline Kennedy on a 1962 state trip to Pakistan and Raul Castro -- for which he spent several days in a Cuban jail. Then, bit the publishing bug...

SCREW was established 1968, in its inaugural issue he promised subscribers "never to ink out a pubic hair or chalk out an organ ... we will apologize for nothing. We will uncover the entire world of sex." A perchance keen observer surmised: "raunchy, obnoxious, usually disgusting and sometimes political." Writ one Will Sloan, "Goldstein was the first journalist to seriously review porn films. Had he not written a rave review of a low-budget film called Deep Throat 'I was never so moved by any theatrical performance since stuttering through my own bar mitzvah,' it would never have become a hit at New York’s World Theater, would never have been targeted by the vice squad, would never have spawned a First Amendment cause célèbre, and might not have led to the modern porn industry."

Then, Bitch Magazine "takes women out of politics and puts them back on their back where they belong," National SCREW (1976-1977), National SCREW (1977), Death Magazine (1979), SCREW West (1979-1980) "Where can I get laid in San Francisco? What's the best swinger's club in Los Angeles? How do I find all those out-of-the-way Pacific Coast nude beaches? And what are those bawdy brothels outside Las Vegas really like?"

Wrote Mr. Gary Korb in his 5 Things I Wish I Knew About Cigars Before I Began Smoking: "My earliest cigar education came not from a cigar store sales clerk or a cigar-smoking friend, but from a little-known, short-lived newsletter called CIGAR. It was published during the early 1980’s by porn king, Al Goldstein, of SCREW magazine fame who had almost as much of a penchant for cigars as he did for sex. Within its pages each month I learned about cutting cigars, lighting, wrapper leaves, humidors – the whole schmear. Al was definitely on to something, but his timing was way-off. Interest in premium imported handmade cigars was still little or nil, so he put the kibosh on the newsletter. Less than 10 years later, Cigar Aficionado magazine premiered, marking the dawn of the 90s Cigar Boom and became the cigar smoker’s bible."

"Cigar smoking is not just a part of life, it is everything." Said Goldstein in CIGAR's initial editorial -- he then sadly lost a good portion of said everything, to the tune of some $200,000 1980s USD via the ill-fated/timed venture -- after a mere four issues. Another fast-forward & to flesh out this bony bio: he died on December 19, 2013 at 77 years of age in a nursing home in Brooklyn, having carpe'd more diems and assorted other unmentionables than maybe you and I together.

>>>

"... and might not have led to the modern porn industry." OK, but what if Goldstein's CIGAR did that, but for that industry? Would a void then not be left to be filled by one Marvin Shenken (Cigar Aficionado) something like a decade later? Say what you will about the current state of CA, & I have, there is little doubt the publication steered the industry through the 90's boom and somewhat even till today. What if Al Goldstein was at that helm instead?

... I say cigars would have a far less general population acceptance, not that there's an awful lot of that now. But I feel it safe to say the lifestyle would have retained its seedier roots; its more behind-closed-doors mystic. Might have continued below the radar, avoiding the legislative bullshit we face as an industry today. For one. "Kids smoking cigars? Never. That's for gross old men." Ah, what might have been. "What thoughts I have of you tonight, Al Goldstein." In a riff off of Ginsberg's A Supermarket in California; as Tobacco 21 is in place for roughly a week at the time of this writing. 

Chrissakes, if yer old enough to SCREW, why can't you CIGAR?

::: very :::

NOTE: this is a re-working of a previously posted thing. 

Monday, January 06, 2020

disILLUSIONE dePROGRAM "Well, That's Garbage"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"



We talk cigar lounge etiquette, pet-peeves, & Ricky Gervais.

More disILLUSIONE dePROGRAM info: https://bit.ly/2QPQQ9D

Kaplowitz Radio EP159 "Wrestling & Tears"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

You can listen to Kaplowitz Radio at most places you catch your podcasts. Spotify, Google & Apple Podcasts, etc. Or press play below:



In this episode, I talk Tobacco 21, End vs. Finish in tasting notes, smoke a Debonaire Maduro cigar, & get the willies while looking at a pic of Shel Silverstein. thx

More Kaplowitz Radio info: https://bit.ly/2sG7dOl

Friday, January 03, 2020

Thoughts on the Cigar Aficionado Top 25 of 2019

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

Now that some dust has settled on Cigar Aficionado unveiling their 2019 best-of list, with the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Maestro having won the one-spot -- now that I've talked about it here & there & already -- I feel it's time for a definitive assessment. Where else but in the written form can you so well write for the ages & assemble terrible sentences such as the previous? Here's what I got...

I should say that this is not an examination of the cigars on the list. It's instead an examination of the list itself & the publication which posits said list. Since prior to the unfurling of the Top 25, I noted less than an average amount of buzz pertaining to the then-forthcoming news. In years past, there seemed significantly more 'handicapping' of what was to come, both by media & consumers. Now that we know the numero uno, I don't see a lot of buzz surrounding it, either.

Also what I've noticed & bitched about during 2019 is something which figures heavily here & which I'll break down further... that being Cigar Aficionado's apparent swing to more nascent cigar smokers -- a thing that flies in the face of 1/2 its name. This is on display via rudimentary articles posted online & shared thru social media platforms, seemingly to attract the noobs -- not retain the more seasoned smokers.

There's a series on how to spot 'fake Cubans.' Other articles on how to cut, light, & ash a cigar, how to store tubos, & "Should I Remove the Band on My Cigar While Smoking?" There is more, but the gist is hopefully got. I suppose you can say, & maybe rightly-so, that this is needed content in order to keep up with the blogs. Problem is, blogs do it better & CA is supposedly (again) for aficionados. What/whoever those are.

You can also say that CA needs, like any biz, to expand its scope. The best way to do this is to welcome new smokers, therefore readers, to the fold. But what about welcoming new Aficionados instead? Doesn't that seem nicer? Also, I mentioned blogs but won't again. I want this to be more of a print media assessment. To that end, what we got?

>>>

Cigar Snob has the tits & ass niche covered, altho 'covered' might be misleading in that context. Cigar & Spirits seems to try at... something. Cigar Press still chugs along (I think?) being the edgy teenager addition to the adult table. Cigar Journal actually fucking does what I wish CA would & this is probably why CA won't. Let's throw Robb Report in, too. Why? Because I think they've taken a B I G chunk of luxury lifestyle interest from Cigar Aficionado. You know, silly-pricey watches, pens, cars, & other tools of over-compensation.

& there you see where Cigar Aficionado is at. Mostly. Add to this sitch that they run on ads which cost an arm & a leg. This is of particular interest because it prices out boutiques. Their review prerequisites also eliminate those teeny companies. I think this is the heart of the matter. "Aficionados," whom I'm comfier calling seasoned smokers, are gravitating toward the boutique market. Thusly directly away from Cigar Aficionado. These boutiques have zilch voice in print media, CA specifically.

CA, at the end of the day, is right where they were cornered into, & willingly-so. It works for them, their advertisers, and also for newer smokers who like to feel better about themselves than they perhaps should. But that, in truth, begins well before they buy their first copy. That begins when they read all about cigars online before they smoke a month's worth of time. They hit the ground running & never look back. Also, they never learn to learn from their own experience & are maybe 'doomed' to miss the expert mark. It's a critical thinking personal experience thing which they lack.

Lack. "But why the lack of buzz, Kap?" you may ask. Simply, it's because people pick up new hobbies all the time -- & put them back down almost as often. So maybe CA ain't sitting so pretty, with a new fickle audience & while further alienating the more steadfast crowd. Also, they're a fucking magazine, mostly. Good luck to all magazines -- they sure need it. I just don't think websites are a fad. Media paying less attn. to the 25 is just them/us knowing their/our audiences.

In closing & in exception to the rule posited above, it sure was nice to see Warped on the list at #3. It'd be a great 2020 if the folks choose to reply to my emails sometime in the next 363 days or-so. I had zero luck units in '19.

::: very :::

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Gran Habano Cigars Blue in Green in (Redux) Review

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

Gran Habano
Blue in Green

WRAPPER: Nicaraguan Connecticut
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan & Costa Rican

FORMAT: Corona (644)
ORIGIN: G.R. Tabacalera Unidas, Honduras
STRENGTH: Mild-Medium

>>>

NOTES:
Lemon-filled donut topped w/ powdered sugar. Sunlit earth. High, bright, mellow. White pepper & ginger bring the pepper-spice calmy in. Undertones are floral whites/yellows. A toasted herbaceousness refreshes. Cream rounds off the corners, fills the middles. A thin caramel cocoa butter complexity flows in at the 2/3. Underbelly is earthen w/ a citrus lilt. Very clean throughout, and after.

Finishes with a salty addition to caramel alongside sweet/sour suede. Softly rich. Nicely complex & nuanced as well. Notes dig deep into the creaminess & display well there via a neat bracing. Quite delineated. Excellent structure. Tangy floral & pepper-spice bits pick up on the retro-hale, stick to the tip of the tongue. The aroma is a sunny field of wildflowers & sounds like Tom Petty. Spiced lemony kicker.

Burns on a bit of a runner-threat and conical ash till quieting after the 1/3, tho less-than perfectly. A hard clump of bunching gets smoked thru, fixing the aforementioned woes. Draws smoothly. Ash grows well if not slightly airily. VERY smoky cigar; mild cumulous clouds sit densely in the air. Oily. Pack softens a half-tick via progression, not hampering anything. Voluptuous & sweet as a farmer's daughter. 

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

First review: Gran Habano Cigars Blue in Green - Cigar Review by Kaplowitz > https://bit.ly/2SR6xjP

::: very :::

NerdFuel Coffee Tractor Beam in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

NerdFuel Coffee
Tractor Beam

ORIGIN: Central & South American, Indian
VARIETAL: C&C: Arabica, India: Robusta

PROCESS: undisclosed
ROAST: Medium-Dark
BREW METHOD: Pour-over

WEBSITE: nerdfuel.com

NOTES:
A high dusty bitterness w/ nigh zilch acidity. Like, could you be more Robusta? Grainy af. Dry earth. half-tick baggy & 3/4 tick rice starchy. Eyeballs sharply with cloudy depths. Dark. The nutty bouquet is there on the slurping too, alongside some dark chocolate shavings. A musty brightness sets in. I'm puzzling out acidity v. brightness. I'm sensing a high sharp note.

The cup cools into an ashy note sip which spreads on the back of a hardwood. A bit of black pepper slurps then. Whispered threats. A high octane & bitter brew in the sheep's clothing of muffled dust & earth. Finishes watery on the palate. The balance is OK. Complexities, what are there, are hectic. Nuance is there but at the same time lacking.

FINAL GRADE: B -
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Illusione Cigars Epernay 10th Anniversary D'Aosta in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Illusione Cigars
Epernay 10th Anniversary D'Aosta

WRAPPER: Nicaraguan
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Toro (650)
ORIGIN: Fabrica de Tabacos Raices Cubanas S. de R.L., Honduras
STRENGTH: Medium

WEBSITE: www.illusionecigars.com

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NOTES:
"Epernay? You mean Eper-YAY!" - me. Structure. The better way to build a burger. Gothic architecture. This review comes with a reading (audio/video) list*. Complex delineations up-top, cushy nuances down-below. Top: an interesting wood play of applewood & cedar braces apple butter, car-a-mel, & cocoa butter sweetness. Malty. A floral essence... chamomile.

Pepper-spice hoists that deal & w(h)ets the palate: white pepper with a citrus zing salivates on the finish. Clove, a tick of horseradish. C R E A M. Also suede & leathery oils. Underbelly: Sunlit earth, a hint of terra cotta. The aroma culminates in a room-note of all the previously stated bits, all in a bit fusty manner.

Smoke out-put is heavy & kind. Burns on a straight line; grows an inch easy ash, slowly. I like to use semicolons to prove I have some college. Draw is sans complaint. I like to use words like 'sans' to prove I have too much college. No hard/soft spots. Cap & seam assemblage hold perfectly. Balance. It's all about balance. Dances on the tongue like a ballerina -- & yes, I speak from experience.

FINAL GRADE: A+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

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*disIllusione deProgram "A Better Burger" (Podcast)

disIllusione deProgram: The Official Illusione Vodcast "Epernay"

::: very :::