So if you have been following my writings, you would have already read about the best ways to pair up single malt scotch and fine cigars. While single malts have a reputation has being the more elegant and smoother libation, blended scotch is by far the most popular. 90% of whisky that is produced in Scotland is blended and makes for a much more complex beverage. Lets match up some of the world's best blended Scotch with some great smokes.
These pairings will be slightly different then with single malts. With single malts, Scotch produced in the same region will produce similar flavors, so its easier to match up a cigar with the region. However, each blended Scotch will contain several different flavor profiles, so you will need to know which regions make up that particular bend. Lets take the most sold blended Scotch in the world, Johnnie Walker.
Each line of Johnnie Walker is a different blend, so each one will match up with a different smoke. Johnnie Walker Black and Double Black are known for their heavy, peaty flavor. I would go with a cigar that has a great smokey taste to it, such as the Kentucky Fire Cured by Drew Estate or the Leccia White. The Johnnie Walker Gold is known to be sweet and smooth, similar to single malts from Speyside. I would go with either a smooth sweet maduro, such as Ashton, or even an Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva. The new Platinum label seems to be a bit difficult. It contains flavor characteristics of both a sweet Speyside and a peaty, smoky Islay Scotch. Best to go with maybe a full body Nicaraguan maduro such as the Padron 1926.
Johnnie Walker Blue is a completely different beast. Its viewed as the best blended Scotch in the world by some, and by others a complete waste of time. Be that as it may, it holds a reputation as one of the best Scotch whisky’s you can find. It is smooth yet incredibly complex. It seems to be a combination of all three single malt flavor profiles; sweet, smooth, and peaty. Not one flavor is too pungent but they come together to form a magnificently well-balanced blend. The only cigar I think of to accompany this is a Davidoff Millennium. Medium to full bodied yet smooth and balanced.
Next on my list is one of my personal favorites: The Famous Grouse. The Famous Grouse is a blended that is a mixture of single malt scotch from The Highland Park and The Maccallan. It is perfectly balanced and combines the slightly peat flavor of the Highland Park with the fruity and sweet taste of the Maccallan. I recently drank this while smoking the new Monte by Montecristo and found the pairing quite delicious.
Now, lets finish up with what I call the miscellaneous section. Here there are two different products I’m going to pair up, but neither of them can be strictly defined as Scotch. The first is the famous Japanese single malt whisky, Yamazaki. Although not made in Scotland, it is by most considered Scotch style whisky in that it shares its characteristics more with scotch than Irish, Canadian, or American whisky. Yamazaki recently won the worlds best whisky award. The 12 year old is quite similar to Speyside Scotch, with sweet fruit flavors and a smooth wood finish. I find a good Cameroon wrapper pairs up well with this smoke, so a Partagas or an Arturo Fuente Hemingway would be a great choice.
My last entry will be a new an unusual whisky that my roommate introduced me too. It is called Campfire By High West. It’s actually a triple blend of straight rye, straight bourbon, and blended malt Scotch whisky. It may be one of the first drinks of its kind. It’s amazingly complex that starts off sweet, peaks with a spice, and then ends smooth and smoky. This is a perfect match for a complex Nicaraguan smoke. My personal choices would be the Cain Daytona or the Oliva Serie V.
Hope you guys find my pairings to your liking and keep reading for more interesting match ups. Also if you have any ideas for future pairing articles, message us on Facebook!
Pairing fine Scotch and cigars is a worldwide institution. They go together like salt & pepper, Mario & Luigi, and cheeseburgers with fried eggs. Is that last one just me? Well, you should try it. Anyway, the point is that both Scotch and cigars represent elegance, relaxation, and a taste for finer things. They are both heavily reliant on age, proper timing, and the right combination of ingredients to make a great blend. A person’s preference for Scotch and cigars vary with their individual pallet. While some like a more powerful blend, with a mix of intense spice and smoke, others prefer a more mild combination that emphasizes its smoothness and age. By containing similar flavor notes and their natural correlation with the “lifestyle”, it only makes sense that cigars and Scotch would make quite the pair. Yet the true question is not why they pair well, but how to pair them.
Single malt Scotch, is a Scottish whisky (the whiskey spelling is really only used in Ireland and the U.S.) that is made from only one distillery and utilizes only malted grain. The main flavor characteristic of a single malt Scotch is its best and worst quality. Being from only one distillery, a single malt scotch will contain only the flavors found in that particular area. The benefit of this is that if you have a particular quality you really enjoy, say sweet or fruity, you can find a scotch that truly emphasizes this flavor on its own. The downside, however, is you do not get as many complex flavors as you would with a blended.
In my poor attempt to keep this brief I will only be talking about the three main regions that are famous for their whisky. The first is known as Highland whisky. Just like cigars, Scotch flavors differ depending on different environmental factors such as humidity, climate, and water. Most Scotch from here is considered medium to light with a smooth, dry, and slightly floral taste. Some famous brands of Highland single malt are Oban, Dalmore, and The Macallan. Due to its mild to medium body and array of flavors, Highland single malt Scotch goes well with a number of cigars such as the Warped Flor de Valle, the Davidoff Aniversario, or the La Palina Classic.
Speyside is a region located at the top of the Highlands and it houses the largest amount of distilleries in the country. Some of the world’s most famous single malts are made here, and they have made the region a haven for Scotch aficionados. These brands include Balvenie, Glenfiddich, and Glenlivet. Speyside whiskys have been known to be sweet and smooth, with a nice mix of honey and vanilla notes. When aged, they can produce a more dry fruit taste with a tad of spice. I would go with a nice, sweet maduro for this region. My personal favorite pair up is an Ashton Maduro with Glenlivet 18. A true maduro should be mild, rich, with a natural sweetness. Other suggestions would be the Avo maduro, or the Perdomo Double Age 12 Year Vintage, which is actually aged in whisky barrels.
The last main region for single malts is Islay, also known as “Whisky Island”. It has a population of only 3,500 people, yet houses eight major whisky distilleries. Scotch from Islay is known for its peat flavor. Peat is a dark brown soil that is heated up and used to dry out the malt. It creates a natural smoky taste. Islay Scotch is usually ranked as the strongest, with intense flavor and a good amount of spice. Some famous Islay brands are Lagavulin and Bowmore. For these libations, I highly recommend a stronger, flavorful smoke. An Opus X would go nice, as would a My Father, or a Liga Privada T52. Choose a cigar that combines strength, intense flavor, but is also exceptionally smooth.
Well that’s all I have for single malts, but check me out next time to see what I match up with some of the best-blended scotch and even some Japanese Scotch. I know, if it's from Japan it can't be Scotch blah blah blah, but just read the article and then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Cheers!
So you are thinking about taking up pipe smoking? Well, you’ve come to the right place! You may not know this, but JR Cigar has a tremendous selection of pipes that can easily rival any pipe shop. Some of you may assume that a company called JR Cigar would not be in the pipe business-that’s understandable. If I went into a store called JR Pants, I would probably think they didn’t sell shirts. Does that make any sense? No? … I didn’t think so, so let us move on.
For those of you that have never experienced this hobby, it is a completely different style of enjoyment. Pipe smoking is an art that requires thought and dedication: the rituals of loading your pipe, then lighting and tamping to produce a wonderful smoke, take patience and practice. However, once mastered you are in for a top-quality smoking experience like no other. Not to mention, your choice of smoking blends are endless, and unlike a cigar that ends up in an ashtray, a fine piece of briar is a collectible item that will remain with you for a lifetime.
A (very)brief history:
In the early part of the last century, pipe smoking was the norm- men actually considered their pipes to be part of their haberdashery. Tobacconists would fit the shape of the pipe to complement a gentleman’s face structure and choice of clothing. Many high-class clothing stores carried pipes, not only for smoking pleasure but also as a distinct fashion statement.
From the 1930’s right through the 1950’s, many young men started smoking pipes when they entered college. This was their way of saying, “Now I am an intellectual college lad.” Oh, how wonderful it must have been for these fraternity brats, clad in cardigan sweaters and bow ties, to stand around the piano with pipes in hand, gleefully singing their school’s theme song. Now let’s fast forward to 2015: these same guys’ grandkids are trying to figure out how to pay off a $200,000 student loan and still be able to afford a top-rated stick that has subtle hints of charred wood, balsamic vinegar, and nutmeg. Boy have times changed!
While pipe smoking was fairly common throughout the 1960’s and early part of the 1970’s, its prevalence seemed to decline with all but the loyal hobbyists. People were simply not sticking with the hobby; It suddenly became a lost art, (especially amongst the young, who were often jeered, and found it more increasingly difficult to find friends that didn’t belong to a Chess Club).
I have a guess as to why these numbers dwindled. People were buying the wrong types of pipes and filling them with shitty tobacco. Years ago, even the cheapo pipes and tobaccos were made better than those being made up until recently.
However, I’m happy to report that all of that has changed. Today, pipe manufacturers are producing some exquisite works of art -many that are very affordable. In addition, the vast selection of pipe tobaccos are better than ever.
Knowing that the pipe industry is once again in a renaissance, JR Cigar is packed to the gills with some of the greatest pipes and smoking blends on the planet. With names like Savinelli, Tsuge, Erik Nording, Molina, Dr.Grabow, and Peterson, (just to name a few), this is the perfect time to either start your journey, or give pipe smoking a second chance.
Baseball and cigar smoking have gone hand in hand since good old Abner Doubleday invented the sport! Starting from the late 1800’s and until the early 1970’s, the stands were filled with boisterous characters with stogies in mouths, screaming at a bad call, or cheering on the home team. Unlike modern times, a fellow could enjoy puffing his favorite stick in any ballpark in the land it was a very acceptable, and often appreciated, form of fandom.
Being passionate about Americas Pastime, starting as a (fat) kid, I watched all the great old films, and documentaries about the game. During any camera pan, it seemed that every fan in the stands was wearing a big hat or fedora, an ugly suit, or sport jacket (depending on the era) and puffing away on their smokes.
Baseball and cigars are very nostalgic to me. My father was both a die-hard New York Mets fan his whole life, and quite the connoisseur of shitty machine made cigars. As a child, I sat with him as he watched just about every televised game in his favorite beat up lounge chair, clad only in boxer shorts. I have vivid (and disturbing) memories of him puffing away on his green dog rockets for all nine innings, and screaming bloody murder at our black and white Sylvania TV. Why was he cursing? Because even though they ain’t great today, the Mets really stunk badly in the 1960’s. In addition, being an angry, frustrated Jew his whole life, he always needed something to complain about, so his beloved Met games kept him suitably miserable.
The Bambino, Babe Ruth, always comes to mind, when I think of cigars and baseball. Those images in the newsreels of him winking and schmoozing with the fans with a big Cubano sticking out of his mouth were priceless to me. Everyone knew that the Babe certainly enjoyed the “good life” – beautiful young women, fancy cars, swingin’ nightclubs, shitloads of good food and booze, and of course, his beloved cigars, that were always part of his post-game persona.
Underneath the grumpy façade, my dad was really a good person, and he took me to Shea Stadium on many occasions to see his Mets get their asses kicked (most of the time). As a young boy, I have fond recollections of walking into this giant cathedral and smelling the combination of fresh cut grass, the snap of the bats during batting practice and that echoing PA system announcing the starting lineups. Just looking at numbers on the back of jerseys and quickly referring to my scorecard to see my favorite stars who I had formerly only seen on a grainy Sylvania now in the flesh, was truly an unforgettable experience that I still cherish today.
As the game progressed, and nightfall and big lights illuminated the stadium, the crowds began roaring with every pitch. The smell of cheap cigar smoke began wafting through the air; including the stinker dad was smoking. To me, this was the total essence and beauty of baseball.
Sadly, when I go to a game today, I am one of the many victims of our smoke Nazi bureaucracy that has taken away the privilege to smoke at almost all ballparks. Not all is lost though, because many of the minor league parks (that I attend) have grassy picnic areas in the outfield where a fan can go enjoy a smoke without the (tree hugging) douchebag sitting six rows below asking you to put it out.
I will always be a baseball fan, and I will always love cigars, but boy have things changed. Many find spending $200 for a ticket and sitting- smoke free, while eating Sushi a fun part of the sport. Me, I would rather go back in time, sit in the cheap seats, pig out on hot dogs and beer, and savor a nice dark Hoyo Governor. Just me and dad blowing clouds and cursing out the Mets … That, my friends, is what baseball (still) means to me!
Our brave men and women of the United States armed forces serve this nation with distinction and honor. They are selfless in their goal for freedom, and committed to making tremendous sacrifices for the protection of this great country. They are Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, National Guard, Reserve Units, and Coast Guardsmen, and on a more personal note, they are our parents, spouses, siblings, friends, and neighbors.
Defending our freedom is a full time job and an often-painful one for these brave and committed men and women. They work long hours and spend holidays, birthdays, and other milestones far from loved ones, many in dangerous locations like Iraq, Afghanistan or wherever else they are called to duty.
One thing remains the same, whatever branch of service they honor; these troops swore to uphold the highest traditions of the United States military, knowing their sacrifice could include paying the ultimate price.
They are the best America has to offer.
This year May 9 to May 17, is officially Armed Forces week. This is a time of celebration, and recognition. A time to honor those who serve, or have served our country with their unyielding devotion to protect our core values as written in our Constitution.
At JR Cigar, our customers have the right to purchase and smoke whatever they want. They can live wherever they want, and speak their mind without the fear of repercussion from an oppressive government that tells you how to think.
JR Cigar as always, thanks our troops for defending these unalienable rights that make us the envy of the rest of the world.
For this, and all of the other great things that they do, we will be honoring Armed Forces Week by running another fantastic promotion where we will be donating even MORE great premium cigars to our troops.
This is nothing new for us though, along with shipping cigars to just about every remote base in Iraq, Afghanistan, and wherever troops are deployed, we will always continue to honor our 10% military discount for soldiers, veterans, and life-saving first responders.
Armed Forces Week, like every other day of the year, is a chance for us to make our warriors happy by giving them the opportunity to kick back and relax with a top-quality smoke after a hard day defending our freedom.
The outpouring of thanks that we get from America’s finest for giving them such a simple pleasure, chokes us up with emotion and makes us want to stand up and salute!
One of the joys of being in the Cigar Biz for more than a quarter of a century is the fact that I have had the opportunity to smoke just about every premium cigar ever made. I must admit though, today it is getting harder to keep up with the workload. It seems that with every stick that is retired to the ashtray, a new one is hitting our store shelves. (I’m happy to report that our beloved industry is in the midst of a major Renaissance!) The majority of these are limited production, independently owned cigar companies making “boutique” cigars. Unlike a large cigar company with a myriad of brands in its portfolio, the boutique cigar will have just a handful of vitolas, all under a single brand name. If you don’t do your homework, this Small Batch invasion can be very perplexing, but discovering new brands is what makes this centuries old hobby so much fun!
Not to be outdone by all of these new kids on the block, one of the major players in the industry, Altadis USA has three new cigars that continue to redefine the company’s once conservative, mainstream profile. Today, we are going to take an in depth look at all of them. I’m excited! Are you?
For those of you not familiar with Altadis, they are responsible for many of the world’s most renowned brands including Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann, and Trinidad. In fact, these guys have been cranking out great cigars since 1918. Over the years, Altadis U.S.A. has grown into one of the largest cigar manufacturers in the world and has gained access to the best tobacco leaves from growers worldwide. Today, they are always poised to create new brands that will accommodate the ever-changing tastes of the modern smoker, and so far, they are off to a great start. So let us a take a close look at the latest goodies that Team Altadis has to offer.
Romeo y Julieta RYJ
Altadis USA released the RyJ by Romeo y Julieta late in 2013. Not exactly a new brand, but, since some of you may not have been fortunate enough to smoke one, and it is their first Nicaraguan Puro, It certainly warrants another look.
RyJ by Romeo y Julieta utilizes a Nicaraguan Corojo Jalapa wrapper that is silky smooth and milk chocolate in color. A double binder from the Estelí & Jalapa valley growing regions in Nicaragua and a vintage blend of 2010 Nicaraguan long-fillers completes package.
But how does it taste you ask?
Let’s go to the video where are very own, the lovely Nick Libretti, better known as the #CIGARchitect will give you an in depth review of this beauty.
H. Upmann Golden Nicaragua
The legendary H. Upmann brand, established on Cuba in 1844 one of oldest and most reliable marques in the industry has just gotten a major face-lift!
Set aside to age in cedar since 2012, this brand new offering is now a coveted treasure featuring the very best that Nicaragua has to offer.
Full-flavored and literally overflowing with rich, sweet and spicy flavors, H. Upmann Golden Nicaragua features a lustrous Cuban-seed wrapper grown in an area of Jalapa that receives early-morning sunlight, and afternoon shade from the adjacent mountains. The binder—also Cuban-seed tobacco—is grown in the Estelí area where the natural cloud cover allows just enough sun to result in full and robust flavor without any harsh or bitter notes. This blend of double-fermented leaf from Estelí, Jalapa, and the small La Comia farm is finished with just a touch of Honduran tobacco to round out the cigar into a truly luxurious experience befitting the Upmann name.
Now it’s time for you to light up a stogy, grab some popcorn, and sit back and relax as our vivacious and adorable Nick Libretti, #CIGARchitect extols the virtues of this stunning stick.
Romeo y Julieta Star Crossed Dark
When fashioning the original Romeo y Julieta Star Crossed, Altadis USA set out to create a bold bountiful medium-bodied premium stick that captured the essence of this legendary brand while still offering some luxurious nuances for the modern smoker. Now on the heels of this bestselling offering, we are proud to introduce the Romeo y Julieta Star Crossed Dark. The idea for this venture came to us because we wanted a Romeo that utilized one of the hottest wrappers out there, the” Ecuadorian Habano”. Our resident experts in conjunction with the nice folks at Altadis felt this beautiful leaf would perfectly compliment the Star Crossed line! A lot of time, effort, and sampling went into choosing the perfect mixture of top quality tobaccos to earn the title of Romeo Star Crossed Dark, and boy did we find the winner! This new cigar is more robust than the original, and it literally blew us away with its sweetness and smooth, well-balanced flavor profile. An aggressive Romeo is what we wanted and it is exactly what we got. More importantly, we also think this is exactly what you want. We challenge you to experience the Dark, and enjoy what we think is one of the finest Romeo Y Julieta’s ever created.
Our resident Romeo, the sexy #CIGARchitect Nick Libretti,nearly jumped off his balcony after smoking this Dark gem. Just listen to his passionate review!
Where can you get all three of these top-quality smokes? Right here at JR Cigar your one stop shop for all of your smoking needs! And for hours of entertainment, and cigar knowledge, including interviews with many of the big players in the industry, be sure to follow the #CIGARchitect, and crew, on our sensational YouTube channel!
In this blog, I get to talk about two of my favorite pastimes, premium cigars and drinking beer! When done together (pairing) it is the ultimate in relaxation and enjoyment. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting on the porch, beer in hand, and smoking a stogie. In my case, it’s even more enjoyable when my neighbor Shirley is outside washing her car in a bikini. I’m sorry, now that the weather is getting warmer, I just cannot get that picture out of my head! Crap … Is it getting warm in here. …. Where was I? Oh, yeah!
When you read about pairings, it’s mostly about wine, or the hard stuff such as cognac, brandy, Scotch, and bourbon. Any of which when consumed in abundance, may have you waking up on your neighbors front lawn with your eyebrows shaved off and your slacks missing. However, that’s another (embarrassing) story, and if the Weinstein’s happen to be reading this blog, I sincerely apologize!
A beer and cigar pairing denotes classic Americana, it also screams pickup truck, cowboy hats, and titty bars, but let us discuss the more refined element of this science.
The idea behind a cigar and drink pairing is to compliment both flavors. For example, a heavy dark ale may overpower a light Dominican cigar while a full-bodied Nicaraguan may overwhelm a delicate summer wheat.
This ritual of pairing is a heck of a lot of fun, but it could pose a slight challenge. In the last few years, so many new small breweries have set up shop, while simultaneously, the cigar industry is booming with tons of brand new, top-quality big name, and boutique cigars. It certainly has been a Renaissance for both industries.
Some pairing basics:
Beers fall into two main categories—ales, and lagers. Ales tend to be richer, heavier beers. They are often, darker, unless they are pale ales, which tend to be slightly lighter in taste. Because ales tend to be stouter, they can easily take over your palate unless you pair them up with a stronger cigar. If you choose a dark ale, pair it up with a full-bodied cigar like our Rocky Patel Fire, or the very popular Don Diego Fuerte by Omar Ortez Cigars. A pale ale would flourish with a solid medium-bodied cigar such as the famous Padron Family Reserve Cigars, or perhaps one of our old classics the H.Upmann 1844 Reserve.
Getting a little more specific. A porter ale will often feature heavy syrupy, or chocolate notes, therefore a full-bodied maduro with dark rich complex flavors will make the ideal combo. The popular Black Abyss, and La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black, would be two outstanding choices to accompany this type of brew.
Lagers, unlike ales, tend to have a mellower flavor, and are usually lighter in color, but once again, there are exceptions to the rule. Dark lagers can be very complex, while remaining considerably smoother in body than your typical ale. When pairing a mild cigar, a lager is definitely the way to go, since the clean taste of the beer won’t overpower your palate. For lagers, consider a cigar with a natural or light EMS wrapper, and a milder blend of filler and binder leaf. Ashton, the original Macanudo, and Montecristo Classic are three premium gems that pair superbly with an ice cold, golden lager.
While these recommendations give you a good reference point, it is important to note that every smoker’s palate is unique, and taste is very subjective. The best way to figure out the right pairings for you is to experiment. That along with getting completely shit-faced and doing a face plant in the avocado dip is all part of the fun! But seriously folks, My Uncle Maury would settle for nothing less than a can of Schlitz and a White Owl Invincible · Who the Hell are we to judge. One man’s Filet Mignon is another’s Triple Whopper with cheese.
So while sitting back with an astounding maduro Robusto, that was rich, sweet and loaded with zesty notes of sweet spice and cocoa, (more about that later), I began thinking about how many new premium cigars crafted by up and coming stogy rock stars have hit the scene in just this past year alone. That would be a bad thing if all these new sticks were crap, but these new young guns are cranking out some real quality products. Some might say that we are in the midst of a new Renaissance in the tobacco industry. Skeptics would disagree, claiming that the market is over-saturated. Just follow any internet cigar group and watch this endless battle rage on. At one point, Padron was a new company, and so was Arturo Fuente and Drew Estate, just to name a few. New brands provide energy into the market, a breath of fresh air, and they keep things new and exciting. In addition, it keeps the older established companies on their toes so they can never rest on their Laurels, (Or Hardy’s for that matter)! Best of all, it boosts the economy, both in the countries of origin, and right here in the States.
Therefore, I say, (for what it’s worth) keep bringing on the goodies; you just can’t have too many great cigars to choose from!
Speaking of new cigars, we have a real top-quality gem that is making a lot of (good) noise in the industry.
The Congress Cigar Company and its leading brand, La Palina, had its beginnings when Samuel Paley emigrated from Ukraine in the late 1800s.
Arriving in Chicago, Sam started his career in a local cigar factory as a lector. That person reads either fiction or popular current event stories to the rollers to break up the monotony, and to keep them from slapping a moist wrapper leaf on a co-worker's head for sipping his espresso too loudly.
His interest in the tobacco industry steadily grew, and Sam devoted his personal time to studying cigars, the nuances of their blending and the tradition of their manufacture. His employer eventually recognized his diligence, and Sam was promoted to roller and then blender.
In 1896, Sam opened a cigar shop of his own in Chicago with an adjacent factory that he named Congress Cigar Company. Their first product was La Palina, in honor of his wife Goldie Drell Paley. Sam was a turn-of-the-century master artisan and would sit in the window every day rolling cigars.
His dedication and skill made the brand a household name and it shared a spot among the best smokes of the day. Sadly, when Sam retired in 1926, his beloved La Palina retired with him.
Bill Paley, a third generation cigar maker, learned an important lesson about quality from his grandfather’s proud history with La Palina and Congress Cigar. Those values would guide the Paley’s for the next three generations and would take Bill Paley back to his roots, and the resurrection of this once famous brand.
This iteration isn’t just some run-of-the-mill remake of an old brand looking to make a quick buck, Paley set out to create some edgy modern nuances to super-charge the classic original recipe.
La Palina cigars are available in two incredibly tasty varieties!
La Palina Classic La Palina Classic cigars are medium-to-full-bodied, earthy, smooth, and brimming with a perfectly balanced combination of sweet and spicy goodness, thanks to its mouthwatering blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan long fillers, a silky Ecuadorian binder, and a deep and oily Brazilian Habano seed wrapper.
La Palina Black Label
This amazing premium handmade is wearing a lovely seamless Brazilian Habano wrapper that is black as coal, and glistening with oil. Underneath reside some of the finest aged Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers held together by a bold and zesty Ecuadorian binder.
Being a huge maduro maven, I chose the La Palina Black Label Robusto to smoke while writing this blog. If you will kindly revert to the very beginning of this story, I believe I suitably described its magnificent flavor… I’ll bet you guys were going crazy trying to figure out what I was smoking! No? … Oh, well!
Anyway, whether you smoke the Classic, Black Label, or both, rest assured, you are in for a very special treat!
Yes, JR has joined the vaping revolution. We even have a whole (growing by the week) section of top-quality E-Cigs, juices and accessories.
In the past decade, the electronic cigarettes and e-liquid industry has grown exponentially. Each year the market triples; more and more people make the switch to vaping as an alternative to smoking. No ash, no tar, no second hand smoke, and no smell are just a few of the obvious benefits of vaping. As you read on, you will find out why these basic reasons to start vaping are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg!
Today, I consider myself an avid vaper, but I didn’t start this popular hobby to quit smoking. Quite the contrary, I simply, got tired of burning holes in my car seat from smoldering cigar ash falling between my legs while commuting to and from the office. Therefore, until I got work where an ashtray was readily available, I started buying those little disposable gas station gizmos to give me a pseudo tobacco fix, and to end my frequent trips to Manny, Moe, and Jack to buy those overpriced car upholstery repair kits.
Yep, it was that simple! However, I soon realized that this shit tastes “pretty damn” good, and I slowly began taking this newfound hobby to higher levels of expertise to capture the ultimate in taste. Heck, everyone starts out with that first drugstore dog-rocket before fully appreciating a great premium stick.
I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but my collection of high-tech vaping gear and liquids has grown to compulsive proportions. In fact, there were times that I have chosen greasy fast food over a top-quality restaurant to allocate more funds for a fancy device, or several bottles of premium e-liquid … This is also one of the many reasons that I am divorced, and never re-married!
Some claim that electronic cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smoking. On the other side of the spectrum, so-called experts claim that the long-term effects of vaping are unknown. Then there are the advocates of the hobby that swear switching from stinkies (cigarettes) to vaping has given them cleaner lungs and more energy.
Personally, I have never smoked cigarettes, (only cigars and pipes). I do vape every day. Sadly, at the ripe old age of 60, I find myself out of breath just reaching for my toothbrush. I firmly believe that is because I sleep only 4 hours a night, I’m older than dirt, and haven’t had a vegetable since 2006. Therefore, until I get back to my old healthy ways, the jury is out for me on the invigorating benefits of vaping … Or anything else for that matter!
However, I digress …
E-cigarettes are devices that contain a nicotine-based liquid that is vaporized, slightly inhaled, and then blown out of your pie-hole. Some fully inhale this juice, but vaping is similar to smoking a cigar or pipe where the best and most fulfilling taste remains on your palate, not your lungs. So why inhale, it just defeats the purpose of vaping?
These new E-Cig devices come in various forms of high-tech complexity, that allow you to control the amount of wattage, voltage and even build your own coils. For the sake of time, I will cover all of that stuff later.
Whether you are a novice, or highly committed to the latest technology, some basics to the hobby apply to everyone.
Now for some …Vaping 101:
The main components of your standard e-juices are propylene glycol and vegetable glycerol, and then a multitude of flavorings are added, along with varied amounts of nicotine ranging from 0% to 24% or above. The result is some amazing concoctions that are unique, aromatic, and delicious!
The Device or Mod
This selection is almost endless, models range from standard pens to high-end, multi-adjustable devices, many of which that all allow for upgrade, and there is always the perfect mod for everyone’s budget and level of expertise.
Inside the device is a battery, (some are built in, and some you have to buy separately) a heating element of some sort, and a cartridge, tank or atomizer that you put your liquid into. These liquid delivery systems come in many shapes and sizes, and hold varied quantities of juice. There is also a huge segment of hobbyists who like to drip. Instead of using the conventional method of vaping through a tank, they prefer specially designed atomizers in which you consistently add a few drops of liquid at a time until you get dry hits. Then the same process is repeated. Purists feel they get a cleaner taste using this method. Once again, I’ll cover that aspect of the hobby when I begin my highly informative series of blogs on this popular topic.
Now that you have gotten the very bare basics of vaping, you are probably wondering why JR Cigars, a tobacco shop, is committed to selling all this stuff.
Do we want you to quit smoking cigars? … Hell, No! … Please, just calm down, take a puff of your stogy, and I’ll tell you why!
Aside from our desire to capture a new market for those who only vape, we also think that this hobby adds another very enjoyable, and tasty alternative to just smoking cigars and pipes.
With so many delicious top-of-the-line juices and devices on the market, many that look as elegant as an imported smoking pipe, we think it’s the perfect marriage!
For yours truly, vaping has certainly not distracted me from my love of the leaf. If anything, I appreciate cigar and pipe smoking more. Because I have added a completely new dimension of palate pleasing flavors to thoroughly enjoy, along with a neat collection of cool looking gadgets to enjoy them in!
Even for the most hardcore traditional smokers who are skeptical about this unique hobby, I recommend that all of you try vaping at least one time. Heck, just like me, you may end up loving it!
On March 20, 2015, we celebrated the official grand opening of our new JR Cigar store in Mooresville, North Carolina. While it was already open for business, this was the real-deal fancy ribbon-cutting ceremony—quite the momentous occasion considering it was our first grand opening in more than 15 years! In attendance were JR CEO Rob Norris, members of the Mooresville Chamber of Commerce, JR Mooresville general manager Joanna Wilkinson, executives from the Altadis USA sales team, and all of the store managers from our other JR locations.
The beautiful Mooresville JR Cigar location opened its doors to a huge crowd amounting to an estimated 1,000 people visiting the store over the festive grand-opening weekend.
For those not familiar with this area, Mooresville, NC, is located on picturesque Lake Norman just a few miles north of Charlotte along Interstate 77. Known as “Race City USA,” it is the home to many of NASCAR’s most prominent teams as well as some of the nation’s top businesses…now including us!
JR Cigar Mooresville is 5,714 square feet of stogie heaven, and certainly one of the most modern and beautiful tobacco shops on the planet. Home to 650 brands (and growing), with everything from affordable bundled cigars to marque and boutique brands, our new store also features the Fine & Rare room, a stunning area that houses some real treats and hard-to-find cigars that we have spent years collecting.
Our new store model will soon include a craft-beer bar in order to fuse two passions that create the perfect marriage, especially in North Carolina where the craft-beer industry is alive and booming.
Joining us in the festivities on Friday were Matt Booth of the enormously popular Room 101 cigar brand, Alec Bradley Cigars founder Alan Rubin, representatives from Arturo Fuente, Davidoff, Avo, and Camacho, and the legendary Larry Palombo of Altadis USA. (Throughout his 44 years in the cigar and tobacco industries, Larry has traveled the world many times over, learning almost all there is to know about the plant. Palombo’s long journey through the world of tobacco has made him one of the premium-cigar world’s most respected individuals.) And what would a JR event be without a little homegrown talent? Well, our own Jake Billings from JR’s Selma, NC, retail store was rolling cigars all day long. Let me tell ya, if you were lucky enough have seen Jake in action, you were probably amazed; this young man can roll with the best of them!
Saturday ushered in another wave of industry rock stars that included Sam Leccia from Leccia Tobacco, Rocky Patel, Rafael Nodal, Drew Estate, CAO, and Foundry. Saying that a fun time was had by all would be an understatement—heck, just read some of the reviews:
“Great shop, had a great time at the opening!”
“I thoroughly enjoy this new facility...an awesome experience...it is a very relaxing atmosphere... great team of cigar specialists...”
“What a ‘GRAND’ grand opening! Wow, I found myself a new home!”
“I move to Mooresville in June and this will be one of my first stops once I am moved in.”
Per CEO Rob Norris, “The store is everything we are looking to achieve with the JR Cigar brand over the coming years. We are looking to provide consumers with a beautiful location to purchase a great selection of cigars for any palate, and then take the time to enjoy them in our lounge, private rooms, or two outdoor patio areas with fire pits. We have spent a lot of time in cigars stores over the past few years and we have, I believe, pulled together the best of best that is out there, as well as a few touches that are new to the industry.”
We are all proud to say that this is just the beginning; our Mooresville, NC, location features the new and future look and feel of our retail-store brand. Throughout the country, JR is poised to set a new industry standard on luxury, comfort, and a state-of-the-art cigar-buying experience. So stay tuned…because you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!