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And there it is...what else matters. Truth.

5 days, 9 hours ago on Swisher International Acquires Drew Estate

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Gracias El Brooksie. Thanks for taking the time to review. Now sit down with a cup of espresso and just enjoy the rest!

Cheers

Skip

2 months ago on Intemperance EC XVIII Humility (Prerelease)

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Bullshit. I will be the first one to stand up and correct a real, random quality issue. a) production hasn't ramped up and our overall prices haven't gone up you have no idea what the fuck you're talking about b) no one smokes more RoMa than me at all levels of production and aging and I simply do not put cigars on the market with construction issues. Period. c) tunneling comes from a fast burning core or over-humidification of the outside leaf, I can't speak to the latter, but the former is absolutely not possible. Thank you for your anonymous post.

2 months, 1 week ago on Aquitaine Venus Gets September Release Date

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How much is a full box of LFD Small batch?

3 months, 1 week ago on RoMa Craft Tobac Prepares Neanderthal for Release

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Thanks Adam

3 months, 1 week ago on RoMa Craft Tobac Prepares Neanderthal for Release

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Smaller count boxes actually cost more per cigar.

3 months, 1 week ago on RoMa Craft Tobac Prepares Neanderthal for Release

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While Claudio will disagree, I think the 77 rating is a fair personal assessment of the cigar halfwheel smoked at the time.

Tierra Volcan is a much different product, more biased toward the US preference for big flavor and medium nicotine.

We have searched for tobaccos together and I can attest to their critical eye when it comes to selecting only the best. I can also vouch for Claudio's talent in the blending process and in managing quality on the production floor.

We wouldn't be partnering with the Mombacho team if we were not 100% aligned and fully supportive of their work.

We are all very excited that Tierra Volcan has finally made it to the US and are looking forward to a long and developing relationship with our friends from the North.

A word of warning, however, DO NOT try to go toe to toe with these guys drinking whiskey and beer. It is a losers gambit that will only result in you dwelling in the hurt locker for a few days.

3 months, 3 weeks ago on RoMa Craft Tobac Gains U.S. Mombacho Cigars S.A. Distribution

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With all of the shallow, ego and hype driven things going in in the business it is great to see perseverance to cause and ideals and tradition pay off. Jon and Mike set themselves on a path a few years ago and have stayed true to their mission. I have never smoked a bad cigar with the Crowned Heads mark and I am very much looking forward to buying a box of these. It is easy to support people that you feel are moving this business forward, and even easier when they are producing something unique, differentiated and worth every dollar. Hats off to My Father and the entire Crowned Heads team.

5 months ago on Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2014 LC550

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The packaging is brilliant. Looking forward to trying one

6 months, 4 weeks ago on Skeeterz (Prerelease)

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I always enjoy seeing the perspectives of the different new media sites and established magazines compiled into a single list; it's one of my favorite halfwheel entries of the year. It is great to see so many of the new guys receiving recognition for doing things the right way. Believe me, as fulfilling as this business is, there are much easier ways to make money if that is your primary goal.

It will be easy for the established guys to sit around their conference tables with their highly compensated Presidents, Vice Presidents, National Sales Managers and Marketing teams and discount the results. However, they would better served if instead they asked themselves what they need to do better in 2014.

If this list had existed twenty years ago, it would have been dominated by guys like Fuente, Carrillo, Gomez and Ozgener; a few years later Patel, Eiroa, Johnson, Giolito, etc. when most of these companies were small they were hyper engaged with consumers and retailers. For the most part, they did what these new companies are doing. They focused on quality, they innovated, they built relationships with customers one at a time.

As I commented not the Davidoff Company of the Year post, we need the big companies to succeed. The ecosystem does not survive without them. Likewise, whether they realize it or not, they need the smaller companies to keep them from becoming complacent and to keep the subculture engaged.

As the new media and social media dynamics continue to change the industry, you will see the bigger companies either innovate and progress or engage in more anti-competitive behaviors to stay ahead of the little guys....but one thing is certain, just like Cigar Aficionado created a sea-change in this industry in the early 90s, this site and the others reflected in this list are doing e same now, twenty years later. No amount of large media marketing buys, no amount of made-in-China slick packaging, no sales team can reverse the fact that consumers are more informed and have been exposed to consistent top quality cigars at fair prices....they know when you take short cuts in production to increase your margins. They know what a good cigar should cost. They expect engagement.

Evolve or die.

9 months, 2 weeks ago on 2013 Awards: The Consensus

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Awesome. Any idea what they will look like. Function is there, if the form is there too I will definitely be buying a few

9 months, 2 weeks ago on Press Release: Next Generation Humidifiers from Cigar Oasis

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Thank you for recognizing the Intemperance BA XXI A.W.S. IV as the #16 cigar on your list this year. We are very honored to have been included.

9 months, 2 weeks ago on 2013 Awards: halfwheel 25

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When you said that the top cigar was the thickest, I automatically assumed it was the CroMagnon Femur. Imagine my disappointment.

9 months, 2 weeks ago on 2013 Awards: halfwheel 25

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Thanks guys for the recognition. Esteban is a very humble man, but his pride was obvious and well earned when I shared this with him this morning.

At the end of the day, that is what it is all about. It is what it is, a few guys' opinions. There are more than three dozen sites posting end of year lists and they are no less, no more, but all of them generate discussion and debate. They motivate people to talk about what is being done well and what can be done better. They promote and invigorate a ver important core consumer group for our industry. They provide a distributed form of recognition for people like Esteban and ourselves that let's us know that our hard work is appreciated.

Thank you for everything you guys do to promote this industry that I love. Keep up the hard work and let the haters hate.

9 months, 2 weeks ago on 2013 Awards: Factory of the Year

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Thanks for the recognition guys, it means a lot to a small company like us to be recognized for the hard work and sacrifices it takes to do what we've done in a few short years.

On Davidoff, I can completely see this from your perspective. I've always had mad respect for the quality of their work and their dedication to both the art and science of making cigars. A few years ago I wondered if they hadn't lost their way along with a number of other big companies. What I mean by that I felt that they desperately needed to escape the 90s. Then they bought a few great companies and brought some new talent on board. Still, the changes weren't apparent. This year, it was obvious and refreshing. The changes go deeper than fancy packaging and slick marketing. The objective quality of their products are unparalleled, even if they aren't to your subjective tastes. There are legit game changers at work in that company and I, for one, am excited to see the momentum continue into 2014 and beyond.

I say these things as a longtime cigar consumer and cheerleader for the overall business. When a company as large and established as Davidoff innovates we all benefit. Company of the Year, well deserved recognition.

9 months, 2 weeks ago on 2013 Awards: Company of the Year

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I had a chance to smoke one of these with Arsenio Ramos at the factory in Esteli. Amazing. Worth every penny.

10 months, 1 week ago on Illusione Ships Singularé 2013 Rose Croix

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This picture doesn't make it any easier to pick him out of a lineup. =)


Do you post the other pictures somewhere else?

10 months, 3 weeks ago on Portraits: Nestor Andrés Plasencia

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This picture doesn't make it easier to pick him out of a lineup. =)

10 months, 3 weeks ago on Portraits: Nestor Andrés Plasencia

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Great idea. Well executed. Keep doing what you do.

10 months, 4 weeks ago on HALFWHEEL X Sean “Casper” Johnson (L’Atelier Imports)

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Respect. I don't have the patience to smoke one. Thank you for taking the time to post a thorough and thoughtful review. In the end, taste is subjective. Some people find it contentious when another doesn't agree with their opinion, but I generally do not. For what it is worth, this cigar is an exact replica of the Mandible. As you mentioned, we used the same high quality tobacco and process to make it. There isn't any obvious reason why the flavors would differ. For that reason, I think this is a good case study in how the physics involved in smoking a cigar affect the flavors. David 'Doc' Diaz certainly knows the science better than I, but in general, I know that good tobacco contains low levels of sulphur. When a cigars smolders, due to insufficient oxygen, the sulphur in the ash tries to inhibit the process and it contributes a sharp metallic bitter taste, much like the the sense of sucking on a copper penny. Perhaps this is increased in an extremely large cigar where airflow, despite an open draw, is not sufficient, is too abundant or is uneven. I would also think that the constriction of relatively your small punch concentrates the negative byproducts into a small tunnel that becomes increasingly problematic over five hours. Thanks again for posting the review, Esteban enjoyed it immensely.

1 year ago on CroMagnon Femur (Prerelease)

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Thank you for sharing Brooks. I couldn't have explained it better myself.

Esteban and I are very excited about this new phase for Nica Sueno. With the additional capacity coming online, you can expect more news like this in the future!

1 year, 2 months ago on Nica Sueño Prepares Releases for Blue Havana Cigars

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Given the amount of Jalapa, I was really surprised how much I loved this cigar. I forgot what I was smoking and had one of those, 'wow this is good' moments. Definitely worth picking the Robustos up before it is gone.

1 year, 2 months ago on Toraño Exodus 1959 Finite 2013 Robusto (Prerelease)

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Thanks for taking the time to review and photograph CRAFT 2013. You guys put a great deal of effort into the content you present and a lot of attention to detail in the way you present it.

There is a reason why so many people, like myself, visit the site each day. Any time you put information about what we are doing out there a lot of people will see it. We appreciate this immensely.

As everyone knows, taste is subjective. What I can tell you is that the time, effort, skill and care that has gone into this project is extensive. We set out to make a limited edition cigar that was a) limited for a reason and b) worth the price tag.

In the end, we are very proud of what we do every day here at Nica Sueño and extremely proud of the La Campaña de Panamá Soberana. I hope everyone of our loyal customers have the opportunity to buy one and judge for themselves.

Also looking forward to the 90+ Redux Review after you get ahold of a retail version of his amazing cigar. =)

1 year, 4 months ago on CRAFT 2013 La Campaña de Panamá Soberana (Prerelease)

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Thanks for taking the time to smoke the cigar and take notes. I always love reading the bullet points.

Charlie had a similar observation about the number of vitolas, so I wanted to say a few things about this (with a few fun facts for the data heads): 

-It is important to note that 85% of the 108k cigars we have in the escaparate at Nica Sueno are the core line vitolas. So it is fair to say that the super-majority of our production is the core line.

-Historically, the distribution of production is 20.8% Intemperance BA XXI, 19.9% Intemperance EC XVIII, 25.2% for the CroMagnon and 25.1% for the CroMagnon Aquitaine. "Limited Editions' represent only 9.1% of our production, but they are produced consistently every week.

-With the exception of the Craft liga, which will be produced in 'small-batch' fashion each year in a different blend/vitolla, every cigar we make is regular production. The 'Limited Edition' vitolas referred to above are not 'batch' cigars, but are more accurately referred to as low-volume production cigars outside of the core line.

-Why do we do this? A few reasons. First, we wanted to incentivize/reward customers for attending our events, but we do not believe in discounting (eg. Buy 3, Get 1 Free) our core line. We offer our retailers the opportunity to purchase cigars outside of the core line for events. Second, this is one of the advantages of owning our own factory. We dictate daily production and are able to add new sizes that we believe are interesting. aka 'because we want to'. Third, these sizes give us a tool to use to help retailers compete. PodmanCigars.com, Riverside, Tower and R. Field have all been loyal supporters of the line and expressed an interest in acquiring the right to sell certain sizes exclusively. We believe it strengthens the bond we have with these retailers and allows them to generate sales outside of their walk-in traffic. It also makes these sizes available to consumers who can not make it to an event. Lastly, it allows us to 'market test' demand for new vitolas in the core line.

-As you know Nica Sueno SA is a different entity than RoMa Craft Tobac LLC. Esteban Disla and I have moved into a new facility. We are in the process of renovating the building and expanding our capacity from 300k cigars/year to 1.3M cigars/year. While the production of RoMa Craft Tobac cigars will increase to about 500k cigars/year, the remainder of the capacity at Nica Sueno will be utilized to make cigars for other companies. We have already begun production of private label brands for two retail stores, and are actively working on two more. We have also talked with other large brands about producing line expansions and new ligas for them here. The conversion of our old facility into a space for pre-industry (fermentation) and the process excellence we have developed in the last three years are game changers in terms of our ability to support these efforts.

In short, we are in this business for the long-term. We believe our vertical integration provides us with strategic differentiation that we try to exploit at every opportunity in order to increase value to our consumers. At the same time, we have always been and will remain focused on quality over quantity, substance over style.

I recently posted this question on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=539504729440975&set=a.296458993745551.73448.287596937965090&type=1

In our minds, it is the question every retailer should ask themselves as the walk the floor at IPCPR and every consumer should ask as they browse the humidor. It isn't about big or small, necessarily. It isn't about mega vs. boutique. In the end it is a question of value in a hyper-competitive environment. Where is it derived? Who delivers it?

One more thing, we will have bands on the CroMagnon and Aquitaine cigars at the trade show barring any extraordinary logistic issues. I have been told that the band makes the cigar taste better. =)

Skip

1 year, 4 months ago on CroMagnon Mode 5 (Prerelease)

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He has some Atlatls too....

1 year, 5 months ago on News: Intemperance A.W.S. IV Lonsdales Released

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Give Jimmy a call and get some! Free Shipping, (412) 834-1400 < For a good time call!

1 year, 5 months ago on News: Intemperance A.W.S. IV Lonsdales Released

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Thanks for the kind words Chas. I received them exactly as you intended.

We appreciate your support and if you need anything just let us know.

1 year, 6 months ago on A Visit to Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.

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@djshalifoe Definitely brother! BTW I will trade you 4 boxes for that box. =)

1 year, 6 months ago on A Visit to Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.

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Yes, you missed something:

"@SethsHumidor 3 FT now and two PT."

1 year, 6 months ago on A Visit to Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.

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Juan Carlos Javier is a good friend, thank you for the comparison.

1 year, 6 months ago on A Visit to Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.

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I'm here! (But those pictures were taken months ago)

1 year, 6 months ago on A Visit to Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.

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Thanks JD....you know we wouldn't be where we are without your help. I appreciate your mentorship and your friendship brother.

1 year, 6 months ago on A Visit to Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.

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Slobberknockers 7.5 x 56

1 year, 6 months ago on A Visit to Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.

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@rhossick thanks brother. We only make about 25-30k cigars per month with our current team. #craft

1 year, 6 months ago on A Visit to Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.

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@SethsHumidor 3 FT now and two PT.

1 year, 6 months ago on A Visit to Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.

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The key word here is 'propose'. The Congress, not the President, levies taxes....yet everyone seems to blame Obama instead of Focusing on their Congressman.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.

1 year, 6 months ago on President Obama to Propose Increased Tobacco Taxes

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I am not sure they speak those languages in Kentucky either... @jeffmouttet @cigarsource :)

...but this is awesome....it's like Chuck D and Loretta Lynn had a baby.

1 year, 6 months ago on Press Release: Drew Estate Unveils “Kentucky Fire Cured” Line Extension to My Uzi Weighs a Ton

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Thank you, as always for taking the time and care to review our cigars.

For the record, we made 126k cigars last year (we did not make CroMagnon or Aquitaine for 6 months) and will make about 275k this year at Nica Sueno.

=)

1 year, 7 months ago on Intemperance BA XXI The Intrigue

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This is an amazing piece of work Brooks.

1 year, 7 months ago on A Visit to Plasencia Cigars S.A.

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Thanks Brooks and Charlie for keeping people updated about what we are doing at RoMa Craft Tobac.

As you elaborate, A.W.S IV is a new size in the Intemperance line (6 1/2 x 44, Lonsdale). It will be available at events featuring Intemperance cigars in the same way that the Slobberknocker, Atlatls and Mode 5 is available at CroMagnon and Aquitaine events.

At some point all of these sizes will either be added to the line, or will be available on a continuous basis at a select retailer. For example, the Atlatls and Slobberknockers are available at events and at http://www.podmancigars.com.

The meaning of A.W.S. IV will be revealed in our first print media advertising campaign. Hint: They are the initials of the subject of the campaign.

On the grind...more to follow.

Skip

RoMa Craft Tobac

1 year, 8 months ago on Intemperance Lonsdale Coming from RoMa Craft

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@Jonathan Drew Tru dat.

1 year, 9 months ago on 2012 Awards: The halfwheel 25

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@SteveSaka Word.

Also, UF 4 made my list this year. MF 13 last year. If the UF 13 is the love child of these two...I want some!

http://havacigar.blogspot.com/#!/2013/01/chief-havas-top-12-cigars-of-2012.html

Skip

1 year, 9 months ago on 2012 Awards: The halfwheel 25

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@Cigar Guy If you check the Excel spreadsheet, many of the cigars are not new. This is based on the lists produced by 53 other sources, some list only new cigars, but many list their favorites from the year.

 I do share your concern in that we have no plans to produce 'new' lines next year. We plan, instead, to focus on producing our core lines consistently and getting the production levels up to support many more retailers. As such, would we be 'penalized' in the year end lists? 

Perhaps. Either way, I really enjoy reading all of the year end lists, including halfwheel. In particular, I appreciate the time and effort Charlie puts into calculating this 'consensus' list that attempts to collate the lists from the other sources. 

The fact that all three of our core lines made at least one of the 53 lists means a great deal to us. It is a huge validation of the effort we put in every day to deliver the best possible cigars to the market at the best possible price. 

It is also huge for us that our factory, Fabrica de Tabacos Nica Sueno (Nica Sueno SA) was #10 on this list. Our brands get alot of mention in social media, but it isn't as widely known that our little factory is our own. Also, it is great for all of our people to be recognized for the work they do every day to produce, what I believe are, some of the highest quality cigars being made in the world. 

Skip Martin

RoMa Craft Tobac

Nica Sueno SA

Viva Nicaragua! Viva Nica Sueno! Viviendo el Sueno.

1 year, 9 months ago on 2012 Awards: The Consensus

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@Charlie Minato @TylerAllbright My partner from Nicaragua will be with us in the states at that time. If we can arrange it, we should do something at Elite if 17th - 18th.

1 year, 10 months ago on Announcement: Holiday Party at Tobacco Grove

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@Holman Thanks for saying so. They aren't for everyone, but we like them. =)

1 year, 10 months ago on CroMagnon Atlatl

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One of my favorite cigars this year. I've gone through a box of 10 in less than a week.

1 year, 10 months ago on Four Kicks Mule Kick

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@Capttrips No problem brother. We will have bands soon.

1 year, 11 months ago on CroMagnon Atlatl

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Thanks for taking the time to photograph and record your thoughts while enjoying this cigar. We are glad you enjoyed them.

We appreciate your comments on our engagement and the quality of the cigars coming our of Nica Sueno.

We are still learning and growing, but I can tell you honestly that everything we do is to build a foundation for a cigar company and brands that will be around for a long time. As cliche as it might seem, for us, this is about honoring the craft and the traditions of the people that have come before us.

Thank you!

Skip and Mike

1 year, 11 months ago on CroMagnon Atlatl

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