Sunday, October 28, 2018

Nestor Miranda

Had a nice time at a local cigar store.
Got to meet Nestor Miranda and get a box of his Cameroon La Aurora cigars.  And he signed the box which was nice.
I love supporting local cigar stores here in Louisville, and there are several very good ones to choose from.
La Aurora Cameroon Cigars

Friday, August 10, 2018

Alcohol tobacco and firearms!

     They need to pay my UPS and Mail carrier more money. I just love sitting on my ass and ordering online for the important things in life. O.K. the beer was delivered by a guest to my house, but they were not sure what kind of tobacco or guns I like so they brought beer. I usually like to visit my local tobacconist or gun dealer, but this week it was rainy and I may melt in the rain.
     The cigars are from Holts, an online and physical store in Philly that I have visited and used for years.
     They have these great samplers and small packs so you can try brands without buying a bundle or maybe your local shop does not carry certain brands. The ammo is from Midwayusa, another great online retailer that I use quite often. ( you know, zombie apocalypse, rabid squirrels, etc.).
Pretty soon when my mail order bride shows up I will be all set,.Just kidding Tamara,.
I still encourage visits to your local small business, but eventually Amazon will send bottled air and cash to everyone in the world and we will all be sitting pretty!

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Florida and the Cuban connection

     While on a recent trip to the Florida west coast I noticed a lot of cigar stores on almost every strip mall. In two of the stores were on site cigar rollers from Cuba. One shop in Madeira beach in the shopping area known as Johns Pass, was Cuban Paradise cigar & cafe. Two rollers were at the front rolling cigars, 10 hours a day producing a couple of hundred fresh cigars. ( see pics ) I sampled several of there Toro maduros which were excellent.
     Another cigar stand was in Dunedin. The down town area of Dunedin has quite a few breweries and restaurants, and our guest Mark asked if  I smoked cigars and we walked down the street to a little open air area where there was a little shed with a Cuban couple in it with hand rolled cigars in display cases. The story goes that Emile and Rose were both licensed Pharmacists, but their certifications were not valid here. So they opened a wine bar and cigar shop here and are doing very well. Both have their citizenship’s and are trying to live the American dream. The double corona I had was excellent and the ash could have stayed on all the way down the length of the cigar if I tried to retain it. ( see pics ).
     Where the tobacco comes from I did not ask, all I know is that my originally planned smokeless trip turned out to be a joy. So if your out and about in the St. Pete area keep your eye open for these and I am sure many other cigar shops.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Winter outdoor lounge

     Welcome to my outdoor man cave lounge! This is my lower deck that is enclosed with clear vinyl tarps and ridgid plastic roofing from Home Depot. The heavy duty 30 mil tarps were supplied by They are available in many sizes or custom sizes. I hung it with screws along the deck beam and posts, and secured to the bottom with 1x1 lengths along bottom.
     Three sides covered with clear products and back of house and slider on the other. Keeps the wind out and if I need heat I have the coffee table fireplace,( plenty of fresh air available, no CO issues thank you, I am a licensed professional). In summer I have mesh tarps from Harbor Freight for bug screen. T.V and cable connections, a smokers paradise. Not at all expensive to have temp walls if you have something similar. I can slide open the clear corrugated wall behind me for more or less airflow, usually a prevailing wind from one end to another, and the room can get up to 60 or more degrees most days inside. So if the winter blues have you shivering while trying to enjoy a smoke, then look into some clear tarps for a quick enclosure setup.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The perfect Golf Cigar

Over the last several years I have been trying different cigars to enjoy while playing golf.  The difference between smoking a cigar in a relaxing environment, sitting in a chair while enjoying a nice beverage among friends, is a whole different experience than smoking one while playing a round of golf.  I usually walk 18 holes with a push cart.  However, it is the same experience while riding in a golf cart. 
I am not bothered so much with a cigar flavor like I usually strive for on other occasions. I am more interested in how long a cigar stays lit and its ability to smoke it after having sat in my cigar clip while hitting the golf shot.  I hate having to constantly relight the cigar constantly between puffs.
In my experiments, I tried many different brands and types of cigars to try and find the ones that will be great to play golf with.  Here is what I found.  Size matters.  The larger ring cigars such as Gordo size tend to stay lit longer.  However, in addition they have to be loosely made.   Even the large sizes if they have been rolled very tight will not stay lit as long.  Maybe it is the air/oxygen that gets in the leaves that lets them burn longer without being puffed on that makes the difference.
Cigars like E.P. Carrillo Inch seemed to work very well and still fit in the cigar clips that attach to your cart.  Buy the larger size 50 ring cigars and test them by rolling in your fingers lightly.  If they compress nicely, I think you will find that you have a much more enjoyable round.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Oumuamua Cigar?

How is it that no cigar company has used this name yet?
An artist's impression of the asteroid, named 'OumuamuaAstronomers are to use one of the world’s largest telescopes to check a mysterious object that is speeding through the solar system for signs of alien technology.
The Green Bank telescope in West Virginia will listen for radio signals being broadcast from a cigar-shaped body which was first spotted in the solar system in October. The body arrived from interstellar space and reached a peak speed of 196,000 mph as it swept past the sun.
Scientists on the Breakthrough Listen project, which searches for evidence of alien civilisations, said the Green Bank telescope would monitor the object, named ‘Oumuamua, from Wednesday. The first phase of observations is expected to last 10 hours and will tune in to four different radio transmission bands.
“Most likely it is of natural origin, but because it is so peculiar, we would like to check if it has any sign of artificial origin, such as radio emissions,” said Avi Loeb, professor of astronomy at Harvard University and an adviser to the Breakthrough Listen project. “If we do detect a signal that appears artificial in origin, we’ll know immediately.”
The interstellar body, the first to be seen in the solar system, was initially spotted by researchers on the Pan-Starrs telescope, which the University of Hawaii uses to scan the heavens for killer asteroids. Named after the Hawaiian word for “messenger”, the body was picked up as it swept past Earth at 85 times the distance to the moon.
While many astronomers believe the object is an interstellar asteroid, its elongated shape is unlike anything seen in the asteroid belt in our own solar system. Early observations of ‘Oumuamua show that it is about 400m long but only one tenth as wide. “It’s curious that the first object we see from outside the solar system looks like that,” said Loeb. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Leaf and Cedar Cigar Store Louisville, KY

Finally found leaf and cedar cigar and pipe store.  It has been close to my area for a year now.  Has a facebook page , search leaf and cedar and it will come up.  The store has a reasonable selection of standard cigars like Gurkha and Kristoff.  Prices seem about right also.  Was able to pick up a Pappy Van Winkle way overpriced(not the stores fault), will rate it later.  If in Louisville be sure to check it out.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Another Pseudo Cuban?

    If Cuba and the U.S. really do open all embargo restrictions, are the Cuban cigars that a lot of people would like to purchase and try be the real deal? Here is another example of a possible fraud, bought on a cruise in the islands and given to me as a gift from one of my students.

   A Romeo Y Julieta corona. From the pictures the band is good quality with the correct embossed gold coins and dots. But the cigar itself was very veiny and lumpy. Smoking it was a workout with a very tight draw, and there was very little flavor. So in my humble opinion, this was a bad real cigar, or bad fake cigar. It really did not matter because I could not finish it. So give me my "hand rolled in house" cigars anytime because I do know the origin of them, these are the ones my cigar shop, Up In Smoke in Cromwell ,Ct. owners wife rolls, ( see picture in other blogs). So the hype is never worth it unless you buy from a reputable dealer, and then it still is not worth it price wise. Give me a box of nice smokable maduro's over a "Cuban" any time.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

April Cigar of the Month Selection

So this month included a Gurkha Legend Toro Maduro, Cognac Toro, Kristoff Premium Selection Toro, X-510 Robusto, and a Rocky Churchill.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Annual J Shepherd Cigar Events for Derby

Derby Cigar Week, Louisville's biggest cigar celebration is upon us once again for a precious few days. While others raise prices and gouge you for cigars, we take the opposite approach and bring to you the finest celebration of cigars, bourbon, and Derby this city has ever seen. We kick it off in style Monday the 2nd with Josh Bentley of Oliva Cigar, and an after party at Molly Malones.

Join us daily 4pm to 8pm for special guests, bourbon and cigar tastings, and a host of specials, free swag, and door prizes.

We have added an additional day this year on Sunday featuring a little something special on everything in the store. Also, Friday we have a limited supply  of some very special cigars that we can not legally advertise, but rest assured you will want to make a visit. Be sure to keep up with us on Facebook: @ J Shepherd for a complete description of daily events .

Our mailing address is:
J Shepherd
1429 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40204
(502) 479-1621

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Thursday, December 31, 2015

'Amazing Clubs' Cigar of the Month - 1

My wife knowing how I like cigars decided she would sign me up for a 'Cigar of the Month' Club.
This means for the next 6 months I will receive 5 random cigars in the mail.  I attached a picture of the first group.  It is a Griffins Robusto, Oliva Serie G Robusto, Leyenda Robusto, Camino viejo Churchill, and Cabo Rojo Toro.  Will be smoking and rating them soon.
If you like the cigars and want there website it is  I am not any way affiliated with them or receive anything for mentioning them.

Monday, December 07, 2015

La Casa Del Habano in Melbourne Australia

In Melbourne, This is the store to obtain Cuban cigars.  In fact, they only have Cuban cigars.  They are the Hong Kong importers of cigars.  They also have a large selection of high end humidors and accessories.  I met Satish Seeburn to Shop Manager, who was very knowledgeable about his cigar stock.  Let him guide you into picking which cigar is best for you if you have not smoked a Cuban before.  As always, many a cigar smoker still debates the value of Cuban cigars versus many other fine cigars from central America.  When the embargo happened a lot of the great cigar makers migrated to the Americas and took their growing and blending knowledge with them.  Sometimes you get a bad Cuban that draws hard like any other cigar, so don't be too harsh on the proprietor.
Price range is typical for Cuban cigars, from $24.00 to $85.00.  If they were cheaper it would be suspicious.  I agree with the Yelp evaluation that this shop is located in the bottom floor of the Grand Hyatt hotel at 123 Collins Street and they would not let the shop continue if it was not above board.  It is a very nice hotel inside and worth checking out the first couple of floors while you are there.

It is very accessible via free trams that travel all over center city in Melbourne as are most of the shopping areas.  I have included some pics from the store for you, and I highly recommend going if you are looking for a good Cuban smoke.  I picked up a Romeo y Julieta and will give it a review in the next post.

Australian Cigar Labelling Laws

Many Australians still refer to it as the nanny state since this 2011 law was passed.
It severely restricts how tobacco products can be displayed in stores as well as online.
So while in Melbourne, I discovered this first hand looking for some cigar stores to discuss and evaluate.  First all the cigars have to have generic labels covering the real labels, which if you are going to pay a high price for Cuban cigars, is very important to help evaluate the authenticity.
Then they have to be packaged in sacks that tell you that you are going to die if you smoke cigars.
In the states we are a far cry from this labelling, but it is probably coming.
Here is a picture of the generic labelling and sack for you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Rudyard Kipling piece from "The Betrothed" about cigars

Open the old cigar-box, get me a Cuba stout, 
For things are running crossways, and Maggie and I are out. 

We quarrelled about Havanas -- we fought o'er a good cheroot, 
And I knew she is exacting, and she says I am a brute. 

Open the old cigar-box -- let me consider a space; 
In the soft blue veil of the vapour musing on Maggie's face. 

Maggie is pretty to look at -- Maggie's a loving lass, 
But the prettiest cheeks must wrinkle, the truest of loves must pass. 

There's peace in a Larranaga, there's calm in a Henry Clay; 
But the best cigar in an hour is finished and thrown away -- 

Thrown away for another as perfect and ripe and brown -- 
But I could not throw away Maggie for fear o' the talk o' the town! 

Maggie, my wife at fifty -- grey and dour and old -- 
With never another Maggie to purchase for love or gold! 

And the light of Days that have Been the dark of the Days that Are, 
And Love's torch stinking and stale, like the butt of a dead cigar -- 

The butt of a dead cigar you are bound to keep in your pocket -- 
With never a new one to light tho' it's charred and black to the socket! 

Open the old cigar-box -- let me consider a while. 
Here is a mild Manila -- there is a wifely smile. 

Which is the better portion -- bondage bought with a ring, 
Or a harem of dusky beauties, fifty tied in a string? 

Counsellors cunning and silent -- comforters true and tried, 
And never a one of the fifty to sneer at a rival bride? 

Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes, 
Peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close, 

This will the fifty give me, asking nought in return, 
With only a Suttee's passion -- to do their duty and burn. 

This will the fifty give me. When they are spent and dead, 
Five times other fifties shall be my servants instead. 

The furrows of far-off Java, the isles of the Spanish Main, 
When they hear my harem is empty will send me my brides again. 

I will take no heed to their raiment, nor food for their mouths withal, 
So long as the gulls are nesting, so long as the showers fall. 

I will scent 'em with best vanilla, with tea will I temper their hides, 
And the Moor and the Mormon shall envy who read of the tale of my brides. 

For Maggie has written a letter to give me my choice between 
The wee little whimpering Love and the great god Nick o' Teen. 

And I have been servant of Love for barely a twelvemonth clear, 
But I have been Priest of Cabanas a matter of seven year; 

And the gloom of my bachelor days is flecked with the cheery light 
Of stums that I burned to Friendship and Pleasure and Work and Fight. 

And I turn my eyes to the future that Maggie and I must prove, 
But the only light on the marshes is the Will-o'-the-Wisp of Love. 

Will it see me safe through my journey or leave me bogged in the mire? 
Since a puff of tobacco can cloud it, shall I follow the fitful fire? 

Open the old cigar-box -- let me consider anew -- 
Old friends, and who is Maggie that I should abandon you? 

A million surplus Maggies are willing to bear the yoke; 
And a woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke. 

Light me another Cuba -- I hold to my first-sworn vows. 
If Maggie will have no rival, I'll have no Maggie for Spouse!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Blooming Plume!

" The plume boss, the Plume!" Or something to that effect. ( Fantasy Island ) In my opinion if you ain't got plume, then you may be smoking a less than perfect cigar.
   If you go into a walk in humidor and notice a slight whitish fuzzy dusting on some of the uncovered cigars, usually Maduros, that is called Plume. Mold on the other hand is blueish  green or other colors. The plume that you see is telling you that the humidor is doing its job. The oils in the wrapper on the surface slightly crystallize after being stored for some time. Mold is not good, and can contaminate other cigars in your humidor.
    I tried to take a picture of this but I have an older iPhone and have not upgraded the super stud phone 3.0. The cigar in question, a Super Toro in Maduro was hand rolled in house from Up-In-Smoke  cigars in Cromwell, Ct.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Meet Mike Rosales of RoMa Craft Cigars

Don't miss this Special Sunday event! Mike Rosales from RoMa Craft Tobac will be here Sunday, September 12th from noon to 3pm for a special release of rare RoMa Craft cigars. Meet the maker and get deals on all RoMa Craft cigars. At Riverside Cigar Shop and Lounge.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Kentucky Derby Cigars

COX's Smokers Outlet will be selling cigars at Churchill Down's as usual.  However, If you are looking for a nice cigar store, I personally like Jason's.  Here is some info on his specials this week.

Join us Monday April 27th thru Saturday May 2nd, for the biggest week of cigars Louisville has ever seen. I know what you are thinking, "but Jason, you already have an amazing selection of cigars and for less than everyone else!"  Yes, that's true, but during Derby Cigar Week, we take it a step further. 

We start with great brands and we make you offers you can't refuse. Along with great bonuses and free swag, we also have daily bourbon and beer tastings to pair with your favorite cigars. In addition, all merchandise from cases, cutters, lighters, pipes, flasks, humidors, etc. will be on sale. When others raise their prices and try to take advantage of the Derby, we do just the opposite and save you money, so you'll have more to spend at the track.

Check out our Daily Featured Brands:

Monday         - Unique Boutiques
Tuesday        -
Oliva & Padilla
Wednesday   - Rocky Patel
Thursday       -
Alec Bradley & ???
Friday            - Davidoff & Camacho
Saturday        - 
Arturo Fuente & LFD

Derby Cigar Week Hours:
Monday thru Thursday 11am to 8pm
Friday and Saturday 10am to 9pm

Daily bourbon tastings 4pm to 8pm.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Memorex II

"Hey, some friends of mine were on a cruise, and picked up some Cubans. You want a couple?" said my coworker.
Sure I said. So he brought them in to work the next morning, and behold, cigars that say Cohiba on them. Wow, how great is that. Well when you look at the attached pictures, one is glaringly OFF, the other is close but the leaf has lots of veining. More Cohibas are copied than Louis Vuitton bags. So I emailed My brother Steve to be sure, but it was kinda obvious. Oh well, I guess I will destroy them by fire, and blog about the results in a short while.

Peter Medved

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

H.Upmann Cigar Story

Nice article in Adweek about H.Upmann.  You can also read the reader comments on merits of Cuban versus Dominican cigars.  Yes, that debate that has been going on for quite some time.

Monday, December 01, 2014

A cigar and a Brandy at the end, Ben Guggenheim on the Titanic

"The billionaire Benjamin Guggenheim after having helped the rescue of women and children got dressed, a rose at his buttonhole, to die."  The two were seen heading into the Grand Staircase closing the door behind them. He was heard to remark, "We've dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen." He also gave a survivor a message saying, "Tell my wife, if it should happen that my secretary and I both go down, tell her I played the game out straight to the end. No woman shall be left aboard this ship because Ben Guggenheim was a coward." Guggenheim and his valet were last seen seated in deck chairs in the foyer of the Grand Staircase sipping brandy and smoking cigars. Both men went down with the ship. Their bodies, if recovered, were never identified. Guggenheim's chauffeur, RenĂ© Pernot, was also lost in the disaster.
From Wikipedia

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Never beat up your little brother

When you get older they sometimes send you surprise packages in the mail.  Thanks Pete.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cigar Driving

      Have you ever been frustrated when smoking a cigar while driving? Is the main reason because the smoke is more distracting than the actual driving? Correctly opening the driver window with the right amount of gap near the top of the door frame is crucial to smoke evacuation while driving.

      Depending on what type of car and whether the window is long as in a two door, or short, ..four door,,,has all to do with the airflow coming off the windshield and over the door frame. Also, using the A/C, or just the blower fan in the vehicle to bring in positive pressure air, especially setting it to blow from the floor area, because blowing from the middle dash vents will push the smoke into your eyes, this will help carry the cigar smoke up to the window top and the negative pressure zone outside the window at the top usually gets the smoke out smoothly without too much issue.

          I  purchased a vent visor specifically for this reason to increase the negative pressure zone, and to keep rain out during , what else, Rain. And another tip is when I have to stop at a store quickly, I leave my cigar on the outside of the car wedged between the windshield wiper arm and blade facing ash up, so as not to burn a hole in my seats or carpets in case it falls over. Because most new cars do not come with ashtrays today, that is actually an option for most cars. But please be responsible and not throw the finished cigar out the window, that's just bad karma. I use an old steel travel mug with lid and dispose of at home. 

Peter Medved

Monday, August 12, 2013

Riverside Cigar Shop and Lounge, Jeffersonville, IN

 I finally made the trip across the river to this cigar shop. Ever since Louisville banned smoking in bars/lounges, there has not been a 'legal' place to buy and enjoy a good cigar. Not only is this a cigar shop, but they have added the Match Cigar Bar to buy a great meal and drinks to enjoy along with your cigar. The cigar shop had a reasonable assortment of the main cigar brands and a few I had not heard of.(Reviews coming on some of them). They had generic wooden matches for those without their own lighters. I was disappointed they did not have some nice custom cedar matches, but ehh, if you did not bring your lighter to a cigar bar, whose fault is that. Pic of the walk in humidor is below. The Match bar and grill had plenty of seating. I thought it could have used more air flow and the vent fan they had did not seem to pull smoke out even though I was sitting right next to it. They feature a changing menu and a lot of different bourbons. The burger I had was excellent. See that picture below. There is another dance bar next door, so if you are looking for a night out with some friends then this is a great stopping point.
Just minutes from Downtown Louisville at 201 Spring Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Phone number is (812) 284-6198. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m Friday-Saturday.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Is it real, or is it Memorex?

We have an intern at work that wants to enjoy the finer things in life.  He is from Ecuador, very young and impressionable.  He likes good Scotch, bourbon and food, but he thinks wine in a box is a technical marvel and loves it.  He is going to throw a party for his friends and wants to add cigars into the mix, so he has been asking a lot of questions on what a bunch of newbies should smoke.

In comes his brother with a box of Cuban Cohiba Esplendidos.  I offered to store them in my humidor since they have been sitting in an office for "a while".  We opened the box when he brought them into the office, and they looked really good, for a while.  I wanted to be sure of what he had, so I took them down to my buddy Steve's cube.  He noticed right off the label on the outside was not positioned where it should be.  Steve pulled up websites where we could compare and what we found was the inside label had white showing, not a good sign.  And the little piece of paper was missing the tobacco leaf.  And to put another nail in the coffin the bottom had no stamp for manufacture date.

My Ecuadorian friend wanted me to smoke one to see what I thought.  Hey, I am here to help.  All signs are that it is Memorex (fake), but it was a very nice smoke none the less. The ash was a decent grey, the smoke was relatively think, but I did have to touch it up a couple time where it wanted to burn uneven and it smoked a bit fast for a Churchill (1 hr 15 mins).  Then the final nail, the band was a little thin and virtually no embossing.

After revealing my findings, my good buddy Steve brought in one of his, pictured in this blog as being given to him by a Cuban friend.  He wanted to know if his were real, so he offered it to me to smoke so I could compare.  Hey, still in a helping mode, so I took another one for the team.

Yet another very fine smoke, but with some differences.  Even being in a humidor for just 3 weeks after 5 years of sitting in a box dying, this cigar smoked for more than an hour and a half and burned even, no touch-ups necessary.  The smoke was thicker, heavier and the ash was a little darker grey.  And this one was stronger and grew as it went along where the first one was very mild throughout.

Very interesting experiment and I was more than happy to assist.  One is counterfeit and one is real and you can tell the difference.  However; not sure it would have been so noticeable if there was a couple weeks between them.  As it was, I had 3 Cuban cigars in 4 days and one turned out to be Memorex, but I think my friend and all his buddies will still enjoy it and probably better for a first smoke.

Thank you Luis and Steve and do not hesitate to call on me again. :-)

Oh yeah....The band on Steve's Cohiba was wider, better quality, slightly heavier paper and it was embossed.

Here is the bands for you to compare, they are actually starting to get better than they used to be.
Which one is fake and which is real?  Scroll over the letters hidden below with your mouse to see.
The one on left is real, notice the comma after Habana and the squares are more consistent.