Cigars & Cars

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.

Cheers!

Richie

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Toothy Cigars?

As you cruise around our great site as well as reading cigar reviews and descriptions you’ll see the word “toothy” being used as a characteristic of some wrapper leaves. After receiving numerous requests for what this term means, here you go.

Take a look at your cigars. Is the wrapper silky smooth and near perfect? Does it appear almost seamless as well? If so, it’s not toothy. Pictured below is what we can safely say are toothy wrapped cigars.

It’s easy to see the raised veins, bumps and tiny pimple like dots all around. All of these attributes make up what’s described as a toothy wrapper. 

  • Why is this worth noting? Every facet of these present on the wrapper contain their own mini pockets of tobacco oil over and above the oil content of the rest of the leaf.
  • What does this mean? As you smoke the cigar and these areas are ignited you’ll get more flavors and taste notes for you palate on top of what the cigars blend of fillers and binder create.
  • Bottom Line? Don’t be afraid of rough, seemingly imperfectly wrapped cigars. You’ll be missing out on what many seasoned smokers look for in a cigars appearance giving us more of what a cigar offers.
Happy Smoking and Cheers!
Richie
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Onwards & Upwards!

ONWARD AND UPWARDS!

Last month I informed all our valued Cigar Thief shoppers about the positive additions and changes our young company would experience as 2021 proceeds. After speaking with many of you who experienced “glitches” while visiting the website, we humbly offer our apologies for the growing pains we’re experienced in our constant efforts to make our platform better. What I can say is that things will improve quickly. As always, we encourage all of you to communicate directly with us if you encounter any issues so we can expedite your requests personally to your utmost satisfaction.
Since it’s inception, Cigar Thief’s strength has been the ability to work with numerous distributors carrying a vast array of premium cigars. This concept enabled us to offer as many choices as possible to fulfill your requests. What all of us are finding out is that we have to offer even more choices for our shoppers to keep up with all the new brands becoming available. In order to give you more shopping options, we want to formally introduce our new “Sister” site:www.Cigarniverse.com

Please visit us and let us know what you think about this newest addition to our family owned enterprise. What we can tell you about this new website is that it’s definitely a work in progress. We’re hoping this entity will give us a better reach to those of you in countries outside of the USA as Cigar Thief continues serving our domestic shoppers. We can also carry many more popular brand styles whose manufacturers require specific pricing in order to sell and ship their products on a mail order basis. Either way, we have you covered! As the Premium Cigar Industry continues to face challenges and changes we want to stay ahead of the curve so all of you have the best selection of products and personalized service you’re accustomed to.
As I’ve said before, we are a small group of regular, hard working folks who truly appreciate and value your business and feedback. As time moves on, we will continue to reflect what you, our customers want. Keep your requests and suggestions coming on all fronts at: [email protected] and [email protected]

Cheers!

Richie

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Congratulations to all of us!

We made it! And hopefully everyone of us can put last year in the rear view mirror…….FOREVER!


All of us at Cigar Thief are looking forward to a new year filled with lots of positive changes to make your cigar shopping experience better and better as the year progresses. The Industry as a whole faces many challenges. Extreme weather, Covid-19 and material shortages just to name a few. We know that cigar prices will continue rising across the board and we will do our best to continue offering as many cigars as possible for the lowest prices we can. Your loyalty and patronage deserves our efforts to continue satisfying your cigar needs. Without you there would be no Cigar Thief and we know it!


As 2021 moves along we will be offering you more choices, more virtual events, more content and more options to make visiting our family owned site an even better experience on many levels. 


Again, from all of us to all of you…….THANKS! As always, don’t hesitate reaching out to us for any reason so we can help you any way we can.

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A Merry, Happy and Healthy!

Over these last months, I’ve immensely enjoyed becoming connected with so many of our website shoppers from around the country as well as in other countries! You’ve allowed me to share my thoughts and experiences as I have been granted windows into many of your life events as well. No politics, no division, no shaming, no canceling, no left or right, no criticism. Just unison of the shared enjoyment of cigars and the goodness within our lives.


As you may have discovered while reading my submissions, I’m a pretty transparent person. Like most of us, I enjoy Facebook as well as my industry involvement via LinkedIn where anyone can read about my entire working life.

Giving this exact time of year, I’m going to take some personal liberty to finish my contributions of 2020 by sharing with you what happened to my wife and myself within days after my November submission was made. Soon thereafter both my wife and myself contracted Covid-19. My wife barreled through her episode within days and recovered quickly. My experience escalated into a hospital admission accompanied by the fear and uncertainty we’ve all been made aware of since this virus hit our shores. The short version is I’m alive and considering the alternative, that’s all that counts. It was a really, really tough episode…….Really!


On behalf of our small company and myself, I want to wish all of you, our great shoppers all the best during this year’s Holidays and a wonderful New Year coming. Your patronage is more appreciated than you can imagine. It is because of each and everyone of you that the idea of Cigar Thief became a reality that is now known in the cigar world.


Again, thanks for everything each of you have done to help our small business. From our family to yours, HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Cheers,Richie……and Jennifer says hi as well.

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“WINTER” IS COMING

Back in April I shared some brief thoughts of what was to become a world altering event. As springtime transitioned into Summer then Fall it became starkly evident that COVID 19 would be with us for the foreseeable future. I hope and trust that you and your families are healthy and well. I watch the “News” too and understand what we continue to face. My only thought is that there are many spokes on the wheels of this country so I will always remain optimistic.

Throughout the year I’ve tried to pick a variety of topics that our common love of smoking cigars could be woven into. For most of us, cigars are enjoyable on many different levels. Getting to know many of our customers has been terrific. Hearing how cigars are coupled into your varied lifestyles has been fascinating. It seems as though the words FRIENDSHIP and FAMILY dominate them all. Our hobbies and selected interests also seem to be key contributors to the overall enjoyment of smoking a great cigar.

Lifestyles and activities will begin to change for many of us. For me here in Arizona I remember putting my BBQ grill away for the summer. It’s difficult to cook outside when it’s over 110 degrees! I recently brought it back out to prepare my wife’s favorite……RICHIE WINGS!


And yes…..of course I enjoyed a great cigar and beverage while doing it!

From what many of you have told me, hunting, fishing, hiking, car/motorcycle rallies,camping,cigar group gatherings,wine/whiskey tastings, sports watching and boating seem to be the top activities. I’m sure everyone is exercising an “abundance of caution” and exercising social distancing with a new found heightened sense of urgency considering the times we now live in. Continuing to live our lives to the best degree we can is obviously challenging but surely doable as so many of you have told me.

Traditionally, one of the most frequent occasions matched with enjoying cigars has always been any kind of celebration. A new job, a new car, a new child, an anniversary, a milestone, a new home, a great vacation, a graduation, a team victory and many many others.

I’ve tried to share many thoughts with all of you since I became a Cigar Thief team member. Recently I had the occasion to celebrate as well.

I was ill many years ago. It was an arduous journey to wellness. While I’ve always realized we are all victims of our humanity, when the defined status of your own mortality arises, you take serious note of what could happen. After my recovery I began a yearly regimen of getting checked out on a variety of fronts. As those days in a given year drew close I was always anxious and nervous. I learned all to well that you could be feeling fine and not be. When good results were reported, I sighed in relief year after year for more than a decade.

This past September 11th (of all days), the results of this routine were not good in appearance. I then began a journey of more tests, scans, exams and procedures that seemed to elevate the perceived gravity of what I could be facing. While my doctors remained stoic with their words, it was apparent that if the final results weren’t negative across the board, I would be facing an incurable disease head on on. Waiting for these findings was excruciating for me an my wife equally. “Putting your affairs in order” are words that have serious weight. I’ve always realized the truth that no one get’s out of this world alive but it’s a whole other notion when you’re given a timeline for your exit off the planet.

It wasn’t until November 3rd (of all days) that I received a call from my doctor that I was 100% OK on all fronts. Being relieved is an understatement of how I felt hearing his words. After hanging up the phone we laughed, cried and did a happy dance. And yes, I immediately poured myself a very stiff glass of whiskey and lit up a great cigar to celebrate.

While I was sipping and smoking I yet again realized how important it is to be thankful and happy for what we have, not what we think we want as well as a crystal clear understanding of the saying, “Your health is your wealth”.

While I speak for all of us here at our small grass roots company, I personally want to wish you and your families a very happy and HEALTHY upcoming Thanksgiving. Enjoy all you have and hold dear. Winter is state of mind and will pass.

Cheers,

Richie

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Do you guys have or can you get what I want?

As the seasons change throughout the country we, at The Cigar Thief, want to thank you for your patronage and patience. Over these last several months our small family owned marketplace has experienced both growth and growing pains. While growth is a good thing, pain hurts. Unlike our giant multi million dollar competitors, we have relied on your input and requests to guide us in our quest to provide the best cigar selection and customer service.

In case you didn’t know, we are a team of four. Not fourteen, not forty, not four hundred. Just the four of us. If you visit our site on a regular basis, hopefully you’ve noticed the new brands we continue to offer. We all work diligently each week to make additions, content enhancements and improvements. Our young webmasters continue to firmly remind me that all of what I’d like to see and do can’t happen as quickly as I’d like.

Being a very small firm we are proud to be more reactive than large companies. We follow one rule: Without our customers, we don’t have a company. We listen to everything you say and want to hear more from all of you. Unlike virtually all our competitors, if you want us to get you a product and we can get it, we will! Many of the offerings on our site have been acquired on behalf of our customers requests.

We are excited about offering virtual events on a seasonal basis at least four times a year to begin with. My hope is to have them monthly. The ability for us to meet and speak with any of our valued customers like you will continue to be a guiding factor for our growth.

Thank you for your business. And please, please continue reaching out to us offering you requests, suggestions and yes…even your criticism. We want to be the company you want to do business with on all levels and need all of you to accomplish that goal.

Cheers! Richie

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Taxes, Taxes, Taxes!

There’s an old saying, “Only two things are inevitable, Death and Taxes”. I kind of agree about dying, but when it comes to taxes, we’ve all see countless examples of folks successfully evading them.

When a tax is attached to a product such as a sales tax, you must pay it if you’d like to buy it. Let’s forget about where this money ultimately goes because that’s a whole other story! Gas tax, you pay it along with everyone else that has a vehicle to keep it going. I really don’t mind these two taxes because the vast majority of people pay them.

Over the years I spent in the industry it was interesting to watch cigarette and cigar taxes continue to increase across the country. Throughout my travels many people would always ask me why these tax increases always passed on the federal and state levels. The answer is simple. They only piss off a small percentage of voters that smoke. Try passing a $1 tax per six pack of beer and and a huge amount of people across the political spectrum will overwhelmingly reject it. And don’t forget about Political Correctness. Smoking doesn’t fall in that realm either.

While increasing the price of a pack of cigarettes gets noticed, many smokers don’t know that just about every state in the union has some sort of cigar tax which retailers must carry over into their prices. We’re not talking SALES TAX here. We’re talking about a specific, separate state tax on the cigars you buy.

Some states have a percentage base tax on the wholesale price. For example, New Jersey’s is 30%, Massachusetts is 40%, Alaska is 75% and on and on. Other states calculate this tax per cigar. Connecticut charges .50 cents, Arizona charges around .22 cents. It’s not hard to see how this tax effects your overall purchase depending on where you live. If you’re fortunate to reside is states like New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Florida, they have no cigar tax.

For example, if a wholesale box of 20 cigars cost a Massachusetts retailer $50, he then has to pay the state another $20 now costing $70. If they’d like to make a 15% profit for operating their store, they’d add on around $11 bringing the price to $81. If this particular state’s sales tax is 7%, then your paying about $87. Buy the same box in Pennsylvania and it cost you $67. I think you get the picture.

We’re fortunate at The Cigar Thief to be based in the great state of Pennsylvania where lawmakers have upheld a zero tax status for premium cigars. As our valued customer, you’re fortunate to benefit from this. While we must collect your state’s sales tax, that’s it … at least for now.

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Do Ratings Count?

While living in New York the majority of my life I had a vast network of contacts for most every need like trusted plumbers, electricians, carpenters, handymen, masons and mechanics. I also had my favorite restaurants, hotels, beaches and local travel destinations.

As a cigar smoker I’m sure you have favorites as well. Many of us are creatures of habit and gravitate to the same selections on a continual basis while more and more of us seem to search for new and different choices. I’ve often said if you like or love a cigar it’s a good pick. If you don’t, it’s not. No matter what anyone says. I think we can all agree that variety is a good thing. Trying new and different things is fun and interesting no matter what.

At Cigar Thief we are constantly working to provide our valued shoppers like you the best arena of brands to browse to decide what cigars you’d like to purchase. As our customer, you make the final decision of what you buy.

No doubt when you want exactly what you want, we hope to have it at the best price and ship to you at no charge as quickly as possible. It’s when you want to venture into uncharted cigar brand land, we want to give you as much information as possible to guide your decision. At the time I’m writing this, we’ve just added a bunch of new cigars for your review. I make a weekly effort to post my opinion of each brand style we offer so at least you know what I think. In many of my reviews I refer to the higher ratings certain selections have garnered over the years by respected industry publications.

While your personal taste perception is the most important factor deciding if a cigar is good or not for you, my thoughts and information posted will hopefully serve as a friendly barometer when you consider trying something new to you.

I understand that a 90 plus rating does not necessarily mean you will automatically love a particular cigar. But I do think certain brands that have consistently scored high numerical ratings over extended periods of time, years and even decades are worth noting. I’ve seen a zillion cigars come onto and go off the market as others became the flavor of the day only to be forgotten and lost in time.

I still believe favorable ratings can be relevant guideposts in your searching for new choices of cigars. I’ve listed a few for your consideration. And most importantly, please don’t hesitate posting you own review on our site so others can read your opinions as they make their own decisions as well.

 

Cheers!

Richie

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Goodbye Nat Sherman

As the attached article states, Nat Sherman International will be out of business sometime next month. I have fond memories of being the company’s Regional Manager of New York State many year ago. They were a great family to work with. As a retailer, I was the first tobacconist the carry their premium cigars in my Long Island store.

Over the years their cigar offerings expanded appealing to virtually every smokers taste. The Host line became a barometer for mild, sweet cigars while the Timeless brand achieved high ratings for robust, complex medium to full bodied flavors.

We have been proud to offer their cigars on our site and will try to keep as many of them in stock as possible. If you’re a fan, you’d better stock up. While industry rumors are saying that Altria will attempt to find a buyer after the pandemic subsides, don’t hold your breath! Farewell to a great American Company.

Ninety years after it opened its door for the first time, it is closing down. Nat Sherman International Inc., which has been owned by cigarette giant Altria Group Inc. since 2017, will cease operations by the end of September, shutting down not only its midtown Manhattan cigar store but also its entire wholesale business.

The decision comes several months after Altria began looking for a potential buyer for the cigar subsidiary; the company announced it as considering the sale of Nat Sherman in October.

“We worked hard to successfully transition Nat Sherman International to a new home. The Covid-19 pandemic created new challenges that were unfortunately too big to overcome,” said Jessica Pierucki, general manager, managing director for Nat Sherman.

Premier cigars were never a part of the Altria story. While the company had cigars in its portfolio prior to the acquisition of Nat Sherman, it is a machine-made cigar operation (Black & Mild) that is far closer to its core cigarette business than to handmade cigars Back in October, Pierucki told Cigar Aficionado. “While we recognize the strength and values of the premium cigar business, it’s not core to Altria’s tobacco portfolio.”

Altria is one of the largest tobacco concerns in the world, with annual revenues of $25 billion. It acquired Nat Sherman in January 2017, buying it from the Nat Sherman family for undisclosed terms. Altria’s major interest in Nat Sherman was the company’s cigarette business, which began in the 1940s.

The Sherman cigarette division, which Altria separated from the cigar division after the acquisition, will remain in business.

The story dates back to 1930 when the first version of the store opened in Manhattan at 1400 Broadway. The current location at 12 East 42nd Street, marks the fourth location of the shop.

Nat Sherman International has 24 employees. The cigars store (now known as the Townhouse) is not owned by the company, and is leased. All of the company’s cigars (such as Timeless) are made under contract, so the company does not own a cigar factory.

Check out what we have left here!

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