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If you’ve been reading my submissions you probably know I’m an old guy. To a few, I’m may be a bit younger, but to most of you, I’m the old man in the room. Many of you know that I enjoy cigars and selected beverages like Single Malts and English Ales. I’ve also had a love affair with cars throughout my life. Over the last year I’ve come to realize that many, many of you of all ages enjoy your personal rides along with great cigars as well.

I’ve been a member of numerous “Car Clubs” over the years. It’s interesting that when gathered with any group, sooner or later I’ve gotten acquainted with fellow cigar smokers. Early on after moving to Arizona I met a fellow member who is a dedicated PADRON smoker and Corvette owner. I soon found out he was paying more than he should for his cigars. He quickly became a loyal Cigar Thief Customer!

Whenever we get together at our local gathering place, I make sure to bring my “mobile cigar smoking center” so we have everything we need to enjoy our cigars while we mingle with our fellow club members. As enthusiastic as we are about cars, our shared passion for good cigars ranks just as high. Taking a road trip with friends and finishing the day with a nice meal then enjoying a favorite smoke is a wonderful experience. I recently purchased a 2021 F-Type Jaguar Base Coupe and quickly joined the Arizona Jaguar Owners Club. We had our first monthly gathering and I met some great folks. And yes…….two members turned out to be Premium Cigar lovers. Needless to say, we spent as much time talking about cigars as we did about Jaguars!

I empathize with our friends living in areas where the winter climate is not conducive to these types of gatherings. I remember garaging and covering up my Aston Martin in New York around Thanksgiving and not seeing it until the spring. I also remember smoking smaller sized cigars while shivering outside. During the winter months I’ve heard from many of you valiantly attempting to enjoy your favorite smokes while dodging snow, sleet and freezing rain. Here in Arizona, I seek refuge in my newly air conditioned garage for this experience when the temperatures top 100 degrees!

It’s been a long winter. As the season begins to slowly get warmer for many of you, I look forward to hearing about your favorite rides as well as the cigars you love.

As always, we at The Cigar Thief continue to thank each of you for being our valued customers. And please, don’t hesitate reaching out to us with any request or feedback.



At a recent outdoor gathering of my car club, one of the members told me he was an occasional cigar smoker. Since I always carry a few cigars with me when attending social events, I suggested we enjoy a cigar with our espresso. As I handed him a Camacho Connecticut Toro, within lightning speed he removed the cello wrapper, pulled the entire cap off  by hand and then reached into his pocket to retrieve a standard book of paper matches. Before I could intercede, he grabbed about six matches , struck them and immediately put a road flare looking burst of flames onto the end of the cigar and quickly began puffing. I’m sure onlookers thought they should call the fire department. Within a minute, he said, “You know, cigars haven’t been tasting  good for me lately.” as he exhaled a sulfur laden stream of  smoke.

I’m sure the vast majority of you know  this is a great example of how not to cut or light a good cigar and that you also know why it tasted the way it did for my co member.

But what about that great , perfectly cut cigar you carefully light with a butane torch that begins to burn looking like it was possessed by the devil?



We’ve spoken about why some cigars have poor draws. As you know, premium cigars are handmade so human error can’t be avoided. No manufacturer knowingly wants to turn out a cigar that can’t be enjoyed with an ample, free flowing draw. I was once given an entire box of genuine Cuban Cohibas. I soon realized they were all so tightly wrapped from about an inch to the cap that I couldn’t draw on them. I ended up having to cut an inch off each one to smoke them. 

After hearing from many of you asking me why you’re cigars are burning in so many different erratic ways, I thought we’d take a quick look at the most common “Bad Burns”.  While there are some facets out of your control like the quantity or quality of any cigars contents and assembly,  there are a few reasons why cigars don’t burn evenly.

A word of caution. In the interest of not boring you, I’m going to be brief. If what we talk about leads you to get more specific and detailed information, that’s the idea.

Up above, you’ll probably recognize the “Canoeing” illustration at the top of the page. This issue is usually caused because the cigar is unevenly humidified in your humidor or it was lit up incorrectly. Check your humidors humidity level and rotate your cigars inside frequently. Also make sure you have some space in between them. You may find out you need a bigger humidor! Please use one of the widely available inexpensive butane torch lighters. Forget matches and Zippos. Hold the lighter about an inch or so away from the foot and allow the end of the flame to heat up the tobacco. In a minute or so you’ll see some smoke rising. Keep the flame going around the entire end. When you start puffing you can slightly touch the flame around the entire foot. You’ll soon see an even  burn ring develop. Canoeing can also be the result of fast puffing which will overheat the cigar. So slow down!

Rotating the cigar as your smoking it can slow canoeing along with laying the cigar down in an ashtray for a bit so see if things even out. If you think things are going real badly, cut off the entire part of the cigar that’s misbehaving and try again.

That picture of a fork like ash is formally known as Splitting. This is usually caused by smoking your cigar too quickly… me! It can also be caused by noticeable changes in temperature and humidity differences from where your smoking and where the cigars are stored. Knock off the ash, slow down, let the cigar cool off and continue on.


If you’re wondering why your cigar isn’t tasting quite right and you happen to look at the foot and see an empty hole in the filler like the picture above , you’ve got what’s known as a “Runner” and it isn’t your fault. Whoever made what your smoking didn’t do a good job. Toss it and hope the rest of the batch is ok.


 So, you’ve done everything right and your cigar is off to a great start and you see something like this! No, it’s not a gremlin inside digging a tunnel to escape. It’s what we call ”Mouse Holes”. And no, it’s not your fault either. When a pocket of air or dried out tobacco exists inside a side of your cigar when it’s being made, that little part burns at a much higher rate. Not to worry. These types of annoyances usually pass quickly.


This strange looking occurrence isn’t your fault either. It called a “Runner” which is usually caused by  a large vein in the wrapper that acts as a fuse when you light the cigar. The bad news is if the vein is pronounced and spans the length of the cigar, your chances of enjoying this particular one are nil. You can try letting things cool down and relighting it. You may get lucky but I don’t think so.

While you can’t control how your cigars are made and how they’re stored until you get them, you can keep them in the right temperature and humidity and follow a few steps making sure they have the right environment so they’re ready for your enjoyment. You can be rest assured that all the cigars we have available for you on The Cigar Thief are stored in the right atmosphere right up until you make your purchase. Our humidor room is constantly monitored and maintained so you can continue buying from us with confidence.

Thanks again for you valued patronage. Happy smoking!



As you cruise along our great site you’ll see some of my reviews stating that a particular cigar will gain strength and or intensity as you smoke it. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this at one time or another. Other cigars may be described as smoking smooth to the finish among many other characteristics.


Some of us wait for these changes and rejoice when they occur. I’ve often gotten a kind of nicotine buzz with many full bodied cigars which is usually my alarm bell that I’m done. Some reviewers give you fair warning of what to expect at some point in time during your smoking experience.


If you want to cut to the chase, it’s easy to say when the cigar you’re smoking starts tasting bitter or not to your liking, it’s finished for you. But hey…some of us may wonder just why this is happening half way or two thirds of the way along? Let’s face it, if you’re smoking a ten or fifteen dollar beauty and you’re finished at the halfway mark, leaving what’s left on the table hurts!


The first unromantic scientific fact you have to understand is that a cigar is a combustible nicotine and tar delivery device. As it burns down it heats up causing the tars and oils to accumulate which begins to change the flavor. Different blends of tobaccos will burn differently. Knowing that, there are a few things you can do to minimize how this occurs.


Are you an over-smoker!? I love cigars. Every now and again I get the feeling that my taste buds get fatigued. Sometimes it seems that my palate is tricking me. I have some favorite sticks as you do. When I smoke one and it tastes totally different from what I know it really is, I’m certain it’s time to take a short break from smoking.


For me, the ultimate cigar experience is enjoying a favorite stick with either a Single Malt Scotch or Craft Ale. Sometimes after lighting up I have to catch myself from Machine Gun puffing! I’ve learned to slowly enjoy each draw to taste the complexity of what I’m smoking. Taking your time will also allow the cigar to minimize the heat generated and slow down whatever changes will occur. If your cigar is well made and properly blended, these changes will be less severe and the flavor more consistent with the length of your smoke.


Every now and again you may want to purge your cigar along the way. Instead of drawing in the smoke, gently blow through the cigar. This practice can act as a sort of reset allowing the cigar to kind of catch its breath and settle down to where it was before you sensed an unpleasant taste.


While I enjoy some cigars that seem to creep up in intensity and cause me to buckle up, I’m equally impressed by those sticks that have great taste and remain smooth to the finish.


Oh…and never, ever try to smoke a half smoked cigar the next day. When the tar and oils have cooled and settled onto the remaining tobacco the whole game has changed in the wrong  direction.


Again, I’ve often said, if you like a cigar it’s a good one and if you don’t it isn’t…for you!




Many of us have purchased a premium cigar, sat back, clipped it and lit up expecting an enjoyable experience only to find out that whoever made it wrapped the contents so tight you couldn’t even draw on it. It’s not an uncommon event. Some folks have made tools to poke through the cigar to clear an opening for the smoke. I keep an old fashioned ice pick at the ready if it happens to me. This is a great example of a bad cigar.

I owned a Deli decades ago and had a customer that stopped by every morning at 6 am. He asked me to cut a 2 inch chunk of hard Italian salami to go with the bottle of Guinness Stout he purchased. He’d go out to his car and consume the salami, wash it down with the beer then light up a Punch Double Maduro Rothschild and smoke it down to the ring. I used to call it the “Breakfast of Champions!”

While I have enjoyed many terrific Punch Cigars over the years, the one he favored was always a tough one for me. It’s intense strength and extremely robust flavor didn’t agree with my palate. When I asked him why he preferred it he told me, “They’re smooth as silk.”

I remember recommending one of my favorite cigars to a friend of mine. Several days later I asked him how he liked it. “It sucked” was his quick response.

As you shop around our great website, you’ll see a lot of time tested main stream brands as well as new ones. Many smokers want at least a basic idea of what they can expect if they try a new cigar. That’s one of the reasons I’m here at our great company! I’ll be more than happy to try and give you as many simply said, unbiased opinions about the cigars and companies that make them or the folks that own the brands. Keep in mind an important item, it’s my opinion. That’s why I’ll keep the thoughts I share with you very broad. Your opinion of any cigar is all that matters to you. In short, if you like it, it’s good and if you don’t, you won’t smoke another one.

While I admire and respect most of the cigar based Internet sites, publications and their coverage of all facets of the cigar industry, I’ve often marveled at the complex and intricately detailed reviews such as the one below:

  • Initially light bitter cocoa notes with a peppery background
  • Settles in quick as the cocoa smooths out and becomes more prominent
  • Pleasant floral aromas waft off the foot early in the burn
  • A solid white ash develops with a slightly wavy and medium char line
  • Cedar notes join the profile
  • The cocoa notes morph into vanilla
  • Fruit notes brighten the profile moving into the second third
  • Aroma shifts to a hint of sweet nut
  • Mild spice enters midway
  • Bitter notes enter deep in the second third
  • Spice ratchets up in the end of the second third
  • As the burn enters the final third, it burns a tad hot to the touch

Two of my friends smoked this particular cigar. When I asked them about hints of cocoa, floral scents, vanilla and nuts, one said it was OK the other said it tasted like shit.

I recently met a fellow cigar smoker in my Arizona car club. I noticed he was smoking a Padron. I commended him on his great choice and mentioned a few different cigars I’ve similarly enjoyed for a whole lot less money. “I’ve tried everything and always come back to these even though it costs me $1,200.00 a month to smoke them.”

Wow! What a loyal one-brand customer. I then asked him when he stopped trying different cigars and he said three years ago. When I think of all the great cigars that came to market since then I lose count.

I’ve often said you can’t sleep with a thousand partners in your lifetime but you can smoke a lot of different cigars. Don’t be afraid to try new cigars. There are dozens of companies making new and unique products year after year. Like me, you may very well discover some real contenders to enjoy immensely. Keep your eye out for new cigars on our website and don’t hesitate to reach out for our help!




Greetings to our valued Cigar Thief friends. In May I entered the Jaguar I had in a local car show sponsored by a great regional charity and won Best In Class! As much fun as that was, the real reward was meeting a local personality by the name of Eric Isaacsen who put this event together. This Michigan native who migrated to Arizona with his wife Dawn has been producing and posting terrific videos for car enthusiasts on YouTube for years. It turns out that Eric is also a huge cigar lover. It didn’t take long for us to hit it off.

When he suggested that The Cigar Thief and myself be the topics of one of his episodes, I was flattered, excited and heartily agreed. We met at his home, sat down and spoke candidly about my background while enjoying one of our sites exclusive cigars, the A.J. Fernandez Enclave Connecticut.

So if you’d like a birds-eye view of me in person and how we enjoyed this great cigar, follow the link below. And please feel free to post your comments.




It’s hard to believe over two years have passed since I joined our small family owned business. Since then, Cigar Thief has grown through thick and thin. We’ve had to compete with multi billion dollar companies, dealt with Covid-19’s effects ( I almost died from it in 2020), navigated manufacturer back orders, price increases, product shortages and as all of you know……seeing historically high inflation affect nearly everything in our lives.

With that being said, we here are grateful for your patronage through all this.

Together, we’ve all learned a lot about cigars over the years. I’ve enjoyed communicating with so many of you to share thoughts about our favorites as well as answering a wide variety of your questions.

In January and July of this year I visited the two biggest cigar trade shows in the US. While navigating throughout the huge amount of aisles, I was amazed to see the vast arrays of new and lesser known cigar brands on display. These company owners were eager to explain why their creations were the next great products to get behind. Keep a close eye out for some of these manufacturers that we’ve decided to support. You can be rest assured if we feel confident enough to partner with these manufacturers that their cigars will be worth a try. So stay tuned!

Who knew that outside of America, VEGA FINA is the biggest selling non-Cuban cigar in the world being sold in over 50 countries! You may want to check out this brand to see what the rest of the world loves. They offer both Natural and Nicaraguan blends available in popular sizes. A five pack of robustos is around $30.


The world is a big place, but I had know idea that even today, MACANUDO is the best selling cigar on the planet……PERIOD! Over the decades, this iconic brand has adapted brilliantly in satisfying the never ending wants of the world’s smokers. The success of the Inspirado brand proved they are still a force to be revered and will be dominant in the industry moving forward for sure. Check this extensive line out as well. A five pack of robustos is also around $30.

As many new brands continue appearing, it’s no surprise how familiar names like Romeo y Julieta, Partagas, La Gloria Cubana, Acid and many others just keep rolling along satisfying countless smokers for decades.

Let us know your favorites as well as what you’ve tried that we haven’t. Our primary goal is to keep you satisfied!



After posting on May 20th about some great brand offerings that were priced relatively affordable, many of you reached out in agreement. It’s always great to hear from our Cigar Thief smokers. A bunch of folks asked me to keep digging around for brand editions I felt were worth noting and worth considering even if they were a bit pricey. I took some time and went through my own humidor as well as reading the array of industry publications available and came up with some obvious choices. Let us know what you think should you try some. Enjoy!



Curivari Buenaventura Cremas C 100 (Nicaragua, 93 Points)

How often does a 93-point cigar retail for around $6? Not often enough, but that’s all this creamy, nutty smoke from Curivari will set you back. This is a lighter version of the core Buenaventura line, different due to its Connecticut-seed wrapper from Ecuador. The cigar could easily cost twice as much. On a personal note, virtually every Curivari cigar I’ve smoked was terrific!


Días de Gloria Short Churchill (Nicaragua, 93 Points)

Cigarmaker A.J. Fernandez culled tobacco from his four oldest farms in Estelí, Nicaragua, to compose a blend that he calls a homage to the glory days of Cuba’s cigar industry before Castro. There’s no Cuban tobacco here, but the cigar is a wonderful expression of specific Nicaraguan terroir.


Espinosa Habano Lancero (Nicaragua, 92 Points)

Named for its Cuban-seed, Ecuador Habano wrapper, this long, thin cigar is all about concentration, as it puts a very condensed smoke squarely onto the palate. This is due to the thin ring gauge and excellent draw. There’s an interesting tension that exists here between intensity and balance.


Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Gran Consul (Nicaragua, 92 Points)

At a 60 ring gauge, this fat belicoso looks more like a round of anti-aircraft ammunition than a cigar. Nevertheless, it’s a big, bold smoke from Nicaragua’s oldest producer of premium cigars and offers what just might be the quintessential Nicaraguan smoking experience.


Pichardo Clasico Natural Toro (Nicaragua, 93 Points)

Tabacalera Pichardo is turning out some impressive cigars, especially the Clasico Natural, a variation on the core Clasico line that switches out a Sumatra-seed wrapper for a leaf of Ecuador Habano. The result is a lovely smoke that’s nutty and precise.


Brick House Churchill (Nicaragua, 92 Points)

A cigar company as old as J.C. Newman often has a big book of old trademarks it can resurrect, and Brick House is one of them. While it’s positioned as a value brand, it certainly doesn’t smoke like one. The cigar speaks of autumn with its notes of apple, baking spices and cedar—a Churchill that truly goes above its paygrade.


E.P. Carrillo La Historia Senador (Dominican Republic, 93 Points)

Part one in what was to become an epic trilogy of cigar brands, La Historia is made by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. It’s driven by a Mexican wrapper and backed up by Nicaraguan filler for a smoke that’s full of dark chocolate, black licorice and coffee.


Padrón Dámaso No. 12 (Nicaragua, 92 Points)

The Dámaso line was Padrón’s entry into the world of milder smokes and the robusto-sized No. 12 shows how a company known for stronger cigars can show restraint when it wants to. Medium-bodied and full of flavor, this is the perfect choice for someone who wants to go milder without sacrificing character.


Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V (Nicaragua, 92 Points)

A big Salomon shape like this can be intimidating, but don’t let the appearance scare you. In reality, it’s a bold and brilliant assortment of aged Criollo ’98 tobacco from four of Nicaragua’s growing regions—Jalapa, Condega, Estelí and Ometepe.


Rocky Patel Sixty Sixty (Nicaragua, 93 Points)

Birthdays and anniversaries are taken very seriously in the cigar industry, and Rocky Patel decided that his 60th birthday needed a special smoke. According to Patel, cigars from his Sixty line were made two years before release, and this chunky grande is leathery and woody with hints of nuts, spice and coffee bean.


La Aurora Preferidos Gold Robusto (90 Points)

La Aurora is the oldest cigar producer in the Dominican Republic, with a brand that was first rolled in 1903. The company makes a wide array of smokes, including this robusto, made from an intriguing combination of tobaccos from four countries: the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Ecuador and even Cameroon. That’s quite a mix, which comes together in a blend that smacks of honey, nuts and even citrus.


Casa Magna Colorado Robusto (94 Points)

When two great cigar families put their blending skills together, the result can be phenomenal. Such is the case with the Casa Magna Colorado Robusto (5 1/2 by 52) This former Cigar of the Year, is a joint creation from the Quesadas of the Dominican Republic and the Plasencias of Central America. With chocolate, spice, wood and so much more, it’s a cigar that delivers astounding amounts of flavor.


Camacho Corojo Figurado (93 Points)

It seems as though this Davidoff made figurado (6 1/8 by 54) has grown in overall acceptance since its introduction in 2013. While the jury was surly in and out depending on the year, it’s relatively safe to assume that this complex tasting, medium to full bodied Honduran puro is worth a try.


Tatuaje Reserva K222 (93 points, $14)

Cigarmaker Pete Johnson has a beauty in this American-made cigar, which is Cigar Aficionado’s No. 13 Cigar of 2021. The 5 7/8 inch by 52 ring gauge K222 was made in tribute to his dog Kona. Most Tatuaje cigars are made in Nicaragua at My Father Cigars, but the Reserva line is made at the company’s tiny rolling gallery in Miami. It’s a hearty, medium-to-full-bodied smoke full of molasses, coffee bean and red pepper, all before a cappuccino finish.


Herrera Esteli Miami Short Corona Gorda (92 points, $9.80)

The Herrera Esteli Miami line was launched in 2016 as a single-size limited edition available to select retailers before becoming a national release in 2019. The original size of the line, the Short Corona Gorda (back then called Corona) has the distinction of being our No. 24 cigar of 2020. Blended by Drew Estate’s Willy Herrera, this 92 pointer retails for a little less than $10, tough to do given the high prices of American labor.


Don Pepin Garcia Original Exclusivos (91 points, $10.50)

Like the Tatuaje brand, most My Father cigars are made in Nicaragua at My Father Cigars S.A., but Don Pepin Garcia Original line (popularly known as “blue label”) is made where it was born, in Miami. It’s a massive smoke, an “A” size measuring an impressive 9 1/4 inches by 48 ring gauge. This cigar can be kept burning for hours, making it perfect to smoke from the afternoon barbecue all the way in to the evening.


E.P. Carrillo Pledge Apogee (93 Points)

The E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel was named Cigar of the Year by Cigar Aficionado in 2020. A somewhat longer and significantly fatter size in the Pledge line, the Apogee (6 1/4 inches long, 58 ring gauge, $15) is our Cigar of the Week. It’s a 93 pointer, robust and flavorful, with a complex mix of sweet and tannic flavors that combine for a memorable smoking experience.

We are more than excited to add one what I feel is an amazing new brand on our site. Check them out and grab a five pack to try. You’ll thank me after you smoke them for sure!

Antonio Lam founded Reinado Cigars in 2009 after collaborating with Yadi Gonzalez-Vargas of Flor de Gonzales Cigars leading to the company’s first Core Line blend being produced by Master Blender Omar Ortiz’s Agros Tabacos Industriales in Condega, Nicaragua.

Needless to say, Core Line was well received and garnered industry accolades including Cigar Journal’s 92 rating. Reinforcing this initial success, soon came the company’s second Grand Empire Reserve line in 2010 from the same factory. Both Grand Empire’s Original and Ecuadorian box pressed blends were hits as well with multiple 90+ ratings and strong sales. By 2012 Grand Empire Reserve landed on both TOASTED FOOT and STOGIE REVIEW’s top 10 lists in 2012. Not bad for a relative newcomer!

When Antonio’s father was diagnosed with dementia in 2015 he decided to take whatever time was needed to care for and make sure his Dad’s needs were being met. This life altering event re enforced Antonio’s priorities of putting his family’s well being above all else.

In January of 2021 Antonio relaunched the company partnering with Aganorsa Leaf’s famed Tobacos de Jalapa S.A. Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua producing the Grand Apex line. As expected, Grand Apex was successful with 90+ ratings. At this point, it became obvious that Reinado’s focus on overall quality and consistency was being achieved.

In May of 2022 Antonio announced Reinado’s newest creation, the C29 which is affectionately named since it took 29 blend iterations to get to the final product! All the tobacco used to produce C29 has been aged 8 years including the Ecuadorian grown Connecticut leaf wrapper. With Antonio being the primary blender, it’s become very clear his years of research, dedication and passion has been the driving force making the Reinado name
synonymous with desirable, small batch, super premium boutique cigars.

In addition, Reinado Cigars is a proud supporter of the Dementia Society of America with a portion of all sales donated to the organization.

One thing I can say about our great bunch of Cigar Thief smokers is they’re very well informed about most of the major cigar makers and the countless offerings available to us all. It seems like “Boutique” and “Small Batch” companies are springing up all the time. Many come and go while some hang in there hoping to catch on in the marketplace. Others pay their dues in the highly competitive cigar industry and over time attract and keep a devoted fan base. You know that we at Cigar Thief are constantly looking for the next superstars and will continue to do so. Offering our great customers new brands we think are worth trying is a practice we enjoy and feel is very important. As time passes, I’m going to highlight companies I think are worth noting for you. These are cigar makers whose products I smoke and really like, yet you may not be familiar with them. SO……… here we go!

Edition #1 : HIRAM & SOLOMON

What many people may or may not know is how the Hiram and Solomon super premium cigar brand is tied to the fraternal order of the Freemasons. If you’re curious about the world’s oldest and largest fraternity, visit

With that being said, two members of this organization, Brethren Fouad Kashouty and Brother George Dakrat enjoyed cigars together and often thought about the creation of a cigar good enough to bear the iconic square and compass symbol on its label for all of the groups discerning smokers.

Beginning in 2014, Fouad and George traveled to the Dominican Republic to meet Master Blenders with the firm desire to make their concept for a super premium cigar a reality. From there they made it to Nicaragua with the same goal in mind. More importantly, they wanted to fully participate in the blending and have the final say in the offerings being created.

The first three editions produced were and still are amazing. Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason not only launched this small, boutique company onto the world stage, each brand coincides with the first three steps of participation into the Freemasons organization.

As more brands were produced, countless smokers came to know the Hiram & Solomon brand being synonymous with perfect made, expertly blended masterpieces. After George’s retirement in 2020, Fouad continued the company’s management alongside his wife Romy. It was not a surprise that in 2021 they were ranked #1 boutique cigar by the prestigious Cigar and Spirits magazine . I’ve tried all of their cigars so check out my reviews to see what I think. I highly recommend and feel they deserve a place in your humidors.




Now that summer has officially begun, we hope you’re all having some long awaited and well deserved fun in nicer weather. And of course, enjoying your favorite cigars outdoors in whatever wide open and inviting spaces that are “Cigar Friendly” in your area.

Many of our Cigar Thief members have told me they really enjoy getting together with fellow cigar lovers to sample something new to everyone in their group. Some tie this activity with BBQ’s, Cars & Coffee events and televised Racing or Sporting events. Out here in Arizona, we just had a Memorial Day Race party. I recorded the Indy 500 and Formula One Monaco races and invited a bunch of great folks over to our home. With the temperatures still in the 90’s for now and ultra low humidity, stepping outside in the shade with a cold beverage and a cigar is very enjoyable. Doing it with a few avid cigar smokers makes it even better. 

As we spoke about the high prices of just about everything including gas, which in Arizona in now over $5 a gallon and still rising, I made a suggestion to my two buddies. “How about trying a nice cigar you’ve never had?” I had taken the bands off some Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Natural Churchills and handed them out. Everyone lit up and quickly began enjoying the mild to medium body and great aroma of these mystery smokes. “Boy, if I had the money, I’d smoke these every day.” and “I guess when you pay more, you get more.” were the first remarks from my two pals. After about an hour as the cigars approached their nubs, I informed them they were smoking a $4 cigar. Needless to say, they were pleasantly surprised and impressed.

As much as I love and enjoy Super Premiums and countless high line cigars, when good weather arrives and sticks around many of us smoke more cigars during the month. Of course, some folks are willing and able to smoke what they want whenever they want and I tip my hat to these fortunate people. For me and many, many others, enjoying a pricey favorite on the weekends is still doable. But many of us have discovered the amazing array of affordable, value priced bundles of hand made premiums offered by many manufacturers.

If you’re a veteran of Cigar Thief, you’re probably well versed in this great category. If you’re a newcomer to our humble, family owned cigar marketplace, check out my “Bundles of Joy” article from March 2020 to catch up on all the choices awaiting you of truly affordable, terrific smokes for chump change.



When I sign onto Cigar Thief each day as I’ve done for 2 years, I’m still amazed with all the new cigars coming to market. While boutique small batch companies continue introducing themselves and their offerings, the major manufacturers are doing all they can to keep their existing brands vibrant. If you’re like me, picking something new to try has gotten more confusing if not daunting. I’ve often said that your palate determines if a particular cigar is good or not……for you. Buying an expensive cigar solely based on anyones review, rating or recommendations seems to be a good reason until you find out you don’t like it. This is one of the reasons I keep most of my reviews short. Strength, body, draw, construction are the basics. When it comes to flavor notes, interpretation becomes personal.

What all of us can agree on is price. Unless you have your Ferrari in the garage of your mansion, what you pay for a cigar matters. Some of my favorite smokes range from $2-$6. I’ve had a lot of fun over the years giving an unbranded cigar to folks that smoke very, very expensive ones. “Wow, this is amazing!” is something I’ve heard many times. When I say it’s a 2,4 or $5 cigar,  they exclaim disbelief. While most smokers know that manufacturer offerings of bundled cigars traditionally mean the lowest priced entries, but maybe you’re not a bundle buyer. You could be pleasantly surprised at some of the amazing boxed/tubed brand styles available flying under the radar.

If you feel you’re not getting enough cigar for your hard earned bucks, check out some of what I feel are universally great cigars for more than a fair price. If I’m wrong, at least trying won’t cost you a fortune.

  • AJ Fernandez New World Cameroon
  • Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba boxes
  • Arturo Fuente Curly Head Deluxe
  • Curivari Picadores
  • Cusano
  • Baccarat
  • Davidoff Private Stock
  • 3X3 Tubos by Davidoff
  • El Reloj by JC Newman
  • EP Carrillo Grand Prize
  • Foundry Chillin’ Moose
  • Helix Maduro
  • Isla Del Sol
  • La Aurora Maduro
  • La Galera
  • La Vieja Habana
  • Las Estrella Cubana
  • Nicaragua Rustica
  • Punch Knuckle Buster
  • PDR El Criollito A Flores Half Corona
  • Rocky Patel Catch 22
  • Castle Hall Dominican by Gurkha
  • The Brick by Torano

Let me know what you think of these if and when you try them. We always like to hear any kind of feedback. As always, thanks for your business no matter how much or little you spend.