We’re proud to announce our first cigar event of 2014! On January 14th, come in out of the cold and celebrate with a glass of Glenfiddich 15 and a Hoja de Flores Black Label cigar.
“The Smoker Social” will start at 7:00pm and take place at Merchants NY Cigar Lounge, an iconoic New York City venue that has supported our events since late 2013. We’re excited to be working with management at Merchants to bring you another epic event. You can see photos of our last Smoker Social here, where we had Turei Cigars and Brugal 1888 sponsoring.
Tonight, I’m smoking a Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial paired with a glass of Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch bourbon. It’s a great combination, but this smoke is special for another reason entirely: I’m enjoying the pairing at Cigar Inn, the winner of the 2013 New York City Cigar Lounge of the Year.
That’s right, for the second time in as many years, Manhattan’s Cigar Inn has won the FineTobaccoNYC Cigar Lounge of the Year award. The award is given to the cigar lounge or bar that receives the most votes in a city-wide survey of cigar enthusiasts. The Cigar Inn won the vote with a commanding lead, with Nat Sherman coming in at a distant but respectable second place.
We announced the survey in late November, allowing responses for nearly two weeks, with votes coming in through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and email. All New York City boroughs were represented in the vote, though the majority of survey voters reported living in Manhattan.
Cigar Inn won for many reasons. First, the lounge has become a regular hangout for members of multiple enthusiast cigar groups in NYC: New York’s Grown & Sexy in the City Cigar Group, BOTL (Brothers of the Leaf) NY Chapter, and of course FineTobaccoNYC. Cigar Inn’s advantages, however, go further than general popularity. Partners Gus, Billy, and Bass seem to have done the impossible: create a world-class cigar experience in New York’s over-regulated environment, make a profit, and expand. Cigar Inn already had two locations (one on 70th and 1st ave, the other where I sit now, 53rd and 2nd ave), and has now opened its third location on 73rd between 1st and 2nd ave. Other advantages include:
Status as the only Cigar Aficionado humidor and lounge
The biggest cigar event in New York City is coming December 5th. Cigar Aficionado’s annual “Big Smoke” attracts hundreds of cigar smokers from around the tri-state area, and it’s no wonder why. All attendees to the Big Smoke enjoy premium spirits, food, and also receive 30+ premium cigars from the hottest cigar brands, which makes the $240 ticket price a no-brainer. Here’s the link to purchase tickets.
This year, the Big Smoke is located at Pier 92 (711 12th Avenue at 52nd St and West Side Highway) and runs from 6:00pm to 9:30pm.
Cigars at this year’s NYC Big Smoke include:
A. J. Fernandez
H. Upmann Legacy
Joya de Nicaragua
La Aroma de Cuba
La Flor Dominicana
La Gloria Cubana Serie R
My Father Cigars
Oliva Serie O
FineTobaccoNYC is proud to support this Cigar Aficionado event, and we look forward to seeing you there! To purchase tickets, follow this link.
This past week I gathered some spirits and cigar aficionado friends of mine for a bourbon and rye blind tasting at Havana’s Cigar Club in East Meadow NY. Our goal was to have all of us bring bourbons or ryes for a total of 20 bottles together for the tasting. There were five guys total including myself with backgrounds ranging from sommeliers to certified tobacconists. All of us arrived at the private club at 11:00 am ready for the challenge. Another cigar associate was present as his job was to pour all the spirits as well as number them so we would have no idea what we were tasting. In addition we each had to fill out cards for every spirit tasted and evaluate them using a hundred point scale. We gave points for 4 separate criteria; 1. Appearance 2. Aroma 3. Taste & Characteristics and 4. Finish. After tasting we tallied all the points up for a top 5 best of the best. It was quite an afternoon with many surprises as to what we “Thought” was what. I urge anyone who hasn’t to organize your own blind tasting and you too may be surprised at how you taste. So without further ado, here is our official top five list and congrats to these wonderful spirits. Enjoy!
From Richard Stabile of Long Island Distillers makers of LiV vodka, Rough Rider Bourbon and Pine Barrens Single Malt this Rough Rider shot out the gate with three tasters commenting instantly on its aroma and complexity. This rye had it all for us; spice, caramel, butter, toasted oak and some wonderful heat. All that with a silky mouthfeel and a finish that lingered on our taste buds for days. All of us agreed the Three Barrel aging was a brilliant idea that added to its intertwined flavors and finish. We need more of these innovations and more of this Rye!
#2: Rating 96 Points- Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition Small Batch.
This very close second in our tasting is one of my favorite bourbons. There are four different bourbons comprised here ranging from 11-17 years old. The nose on this yielded cinnamon, all spice and even a bit of citrus. Notes of vanilla, oak and caramel dominated leaving an aged oak finish. A delicate bourbon due to its age and an amazing expression of what quality blending can accomplish.
Yet another choice bourbon that blew us away. This spirit gave off a candied nose along with some citrus and dried fruits. Its initial spice gave way to leather, tobacco and cinnamon. Subtle oak on the finish along with a shot of heat hit all of our sensory spots. I’ve always been a fan of the different style of Eagle Rare even in their lesser offerings and this one is not to be downplayed. A stylish bourbon.
#4: Rating 94 Points- Templeton Small Batch Rye.
We were surprised how far ahead this Rye got in our ratings but despite its seemingly gimmicky claims, this Rye stood out amongst they fray. Its nose was reminiscent of the holiday with pine, allspice and woods. The cinnamon and spice came forward along with a buttery mouthfeel and heated finish. I can’t say for fact that this is a “Prohibition Era” spirit but it’s sure tasty for this day and age.
#5: Rating 93 Points- Kings County Distillery Bourbon.
We must have had NY on our minds as yet another NY spirit made our top tastings. This small batch bourbon out of Kings County delivered fine malts along with a lot of corn on the nose. The flavors gave hints of charred oak, leather and touches anise. The oak finish smacked on the sides of the mouth and kept us salivating for more. Yet another unique style that cut through the rest.
As you’ve probably guessed it was a tough afternoon sifting through choice bourbons and ryes at a private cigar lounge; fortunately we bit the bullet and suffered through the day. Our scientific method yielded the most unbiased ratings we could deliver. You’ll be happy to know we treated ourselves to some luxurious cigars afterward while dutifully sipping on the winner. All for you dear readers, all for you.
Victor Hernandez of City Cigar Life recently announced via Instagram plans to hold a special photo shoot at the Cigar Inn 53rd and 2nd ave location. More specifics were forwarded to me by email:
On Saturday November 16, 2013 Victor Tiburon Hernandéz Founder of CITY CIGAR LIFE, will host a photo shoot, for its upcoming website;www.CITYCIGARLIFE.com. To take place at Cigar Inn, at their 53rd Street location from 12-3pm. This is not just a photo shoot but a chance for all cigar lovers to come and meet and build.
Should you need further information please email me. Thank you very much.