Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Anti-Tobacco Legislation in the United States

It's seems that in today's society more and more of our personal freedoms are under increasing attack. Seat belt laws are being enacted by almost every state in the county, using cell phones while driving is coming under fire, smoking while children are in the car (something that I understand, but government should not be trying to regulate such things), amongst other outrageous laws that Congress wants to enact are ruining citizens freedom of choice.

I can understand why smoking bans sound good to the government: they help to prevent ordinary citizens that are non-smokers from being around people in public that are smokers. But what if you are someone that does not drink? Do you think that there should be a ban on alcohol to prevent people from becoming drunk and disorderly? Looked what happened when the 18th amendment of the Constitution was passed in 1919 banning the sale and consumption of alcohol. This newly ratified piece of the Constitution basically led to an underground movement all over the country that drank illegally, caused people to make alcohol in their bathtubs that was poisonous and lethal, and led to a whole crime network that lasted until the law was abolished in 1933. I don't quite think that a mass amount of smoking laws would create such a radical movement as alcohol, but at the same time I believe that smokers would seriously protest their rights to be allowed to smoke.

Currently, smoking laws have just about banned all smoking in public places and even places outdoors in a lot of states. Cigar bars in this country, especially in Boston, are coming under serious heat. The health director for Boston's belief is that closing down the cigar bars will help to "de-normalize" smoking and encourage people from taking up smoking. My problem is that smoking should be allowed in cigar bars. That is what cigar bars are built for, people that want to smoke cigars. If you are not a smoker and go into a cigar bar and becomes bothered by the smoke, then that is your fault. You went into that establishment knowing what was going on inside the bar. There are places for non smokers, so it is only fair that there should be a place that smokers can go. It's not fair that Boston's health director is singling out tobacco use as the main health concern in the city. Personally, any kind of disease you can get from alcohol is just as bad or even worse than from consuming tobacco.

The CRA, or Cigar Rights of America, is an organization that is trying to combat the ensuing amount of smoking bans in this nation. The organization's belief is that smokers should have just as much the right to choose to smoke as non smokers do to not smoke. Smoking is a personal choice, and that these personal choices should be protected. The best way the organization advices to combat anti-smoking legistlation is to contact your representative via email. Handwritten letters get even more attention by politicians because someone took the time and effort to sit down and write out a letter about an issue that is important to them. The CRA's website is, so go check them out tell them that you support there cause.

The last thing I want to metion is the Tobacconist Preservation Act. If this act were passed, then all people that work at smoke shops would be allowed to smoke on the job. This protects a tobacconist do there job. Sometimes tobacconists need to sample there products, and this act would help them in doing and keeping their job. If we don't allow smoking in smoke shops, where else are we to legally smoke? It only makes sense to me that smoking in smoke shops remain a legal procedure. You can sign a petiton for the act at

I hope that this country starts to realize how many personal freedoms they are taking away from honest citizens that just want to relax and smoke with other buddys out in public. Please contact your representatives and senators and tell them to lay off the smoking bans. If you do not smoke, then at least protect other's rights.

Until Next Time,
Keeping Lighting Up

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cutters and Lighting Tools

Ok, Erik is back for the second time today. I'm still new at the whole blog thing, so bare with me. I'm trying to come with things to write about. While I wait for the snow to come into Massachusetts and hopefully shut down all of my activities for tomorrow (*crosses fingers*), I have thought of a topic that I am sure has come up on a number of cigar sites, forums, and blogs: cigar cutters and the methods of lighting a cigar. I will talk about each of the various methods used to cut a cigar and light a cigar and will tell you what I use and why I use my said method. Let's begin.

Cutting a cigar is the first step one needs to take in order to smoke a cigar. Otherwise, how do you expect to draw the smoke into your mouth? It is critical that before I even mention the different types of cutters out there that I explain to you how to cut a cigar.
Cigar Cap
As you can see in the image, every cigar has a cap. A cigar's cap is what keeps the wrapper from unraveling itself. You can tell where the cap is by identifying the lines on the head of a cigar. Once you find the line that defines where the cap is, all you have to do is cut just above that as to not cut more than needed. No one wants to have a cigar fall apart on them due to poor cutting!

The guillotine cutter is used to take an entire section off of the head of the cigar, just right above the cap. What's left on the head of the cigar is the tobacco of the cap of the cigar. That would be where the cigar will be smoked from.

Guillotine Cutter

The V-Cut does not remove an entire section off of the head of the cigar. As its name says, the cutter will cut a v shape into the cigar's head, giving the smoker adequate draw and also be good for people that either don't wish to take that much off of the cigar or want less smoke volume.


This style of cutter is much more creative, in a sense, than any of the other cutter styles. With cigar scissors, you are able to open up the head of the cigar as much or as little as desired. This method can help with tight draw issues and can produce an overall more favorable draw out the cigar than other cutter types.

A punch literally punches a hole into the head of the cigar. This helps when you want to smoke a fuller bodied smoke but do not want to have so much of the flavor coming out at you. I find that the punch is extremely good when you don't have scissors available and have a cigar that is too fat for other cutter styles.

Lighting Tools:
First and foremost about lighting tools is the idea that the cleanest burning flame is desired for lighting a cigar. Disposable lighters, Zippos, and paper matches are big no-nos because the oils from these flames will tamper with the flavors of the cigar.

When lighting a cigar, it is a good idea to toast the foot, or the bottom of the cigar first. This simply insures that your cigar will burn even and will not have patches where the there is unlit tobacco. When toasting the foot, remember that the idea is that you want light in a circular motion around the foot to get create a brick red char. Once that is achieved you can either put the cigar in your mouth and draw while lighting in a circular motion, or blow on the foot to get the cigar to burn evenly. Once the foot is a gray color all the way around, the cigar is lit. Now onto the tools that are used to light cigars.

Matches are the classic way to light a cigar. Some even say that matches are the only, proper way to light a cigar. Wooden matches are the only kind of matches that should be used to light a cigar, because the wood will help to preserve the flavors of the cigar. When lighting a match, you want the cellophane to burn off before rolling the foot of the cigar with a match. If you do not have wooden matches around, here's a good tip: you can light a piece of Spanish ceder that comes in some cigar tubes and light the cigar that way.

Butane Torch Lighter:
The flame that is produced from a butane torch is very clean burning, so none of the cigar's flavor will be tampered with. I am a firm believer that it is easier to use a butane torch to toast and light a cigar. Butane torches come in single, double, and triple flames. Butane lighters require to only be filled with a butane fuel, and not the liquid fuel Zippos use. The cheapest option in butane lighters is to go to Wal Mart and pick up a Ronson butane lighter for $3.

Personal Preferences:
When I am preparing myself for a nice smoke, I usually pull out a guillotine cutter and a butane torch. I like the guillotine cut because it allows the cigar to give off the most amount of flavorable smoke possible. When lighting the cigar, the butane torch just makes sense because I am able to get a much more even burn with less time worrying about a match going out or the match dying out too fast. Plus, butane torches are windproof!

That's it for this post, so I hope you will read this post and make the correct decision on how to perpare you cigar for smoking in your style!
Until Next Time,
Keep Lighting Up

La Aurora Barrel Aged Robusto

La Aurora Barrel Aged
Filler: Nicaraguan, Corojo, and Piloto Cubano

Dominican Corojo oscuro (also known as Maduro)

Body: Medium-t0-Full

The La Aurora brand is supposedly the oldest maker of cigars in the Dominican Republic. All of the tobacco that is used in La Aurora cigars is aged inside of rum barrels for a least a year made from oak, which you can sense in the taste of the cigar during the smoke and even in the pre-draw. The idea behind using barrels to age the tobacco of La Aurora cigars is the thought that they bring the tobacco blend to their peak flavor profile.

Appearance and Construction
The wrapper of the cigar was dark brown, but not as dark as black. It had a reddish-tan tinge to it. The cigar looked like it had several large veins in it and had minor, almost pimple-like, dots that adorned the cigar, but nothing to be concerned with. Overall the cigar did not look like it's wrapper was damaged, so good construction. It seemed tightly packed, but that could have just been the particular cigar that I had. The band of the cigar looks modeled after one of the rum barrels it was aged in.

The Smoke:
In latter posts, I'll try to write a more detailed review of my experience while smoking cigars. For now, I'll give you a general overview of what the flavors of the cigar were and my overall thoughts on the smoke.

After several failed attempts with my crappy white-tipped Cigars International matches, I got the cigar to light and immediately noticed the flavor was a mild spice which was in the medium-body range. Just like I stated earlier, you could really taste the oaky nodes, almost as the main theme, mixed with the slight spice and an almost undetectable amount of sweet. The smoke had a supprisingly dry, salty flavor (if that at all makes sense). It was more like in the aging process someone put 1-2 drops of vanilla on the tobacco, it was that slight. The finish of the cigar lasted around 10-20 seconds max, almost making you want to smoke faster than normal. As the cigar was smoked closer and closer to the band, the spice kept intensifying and at this point the slight vanilla sweetness was nonexistent. Towards the end of the smoke the predominant flavors were a peppery spice and the oak flavor came through as the main feature in the cigar. There were leathery nodes in the smoke as well. The flavors of the cigar kept me smacking my lips the entire time I smoked, the same way that you smack your lips while eating a peanut butter sandwich. I finally decided that the weather in Massachusetts did not want me to continue to smoke the last 1 or 2 inches of the cigar, so I put down for good knowing that I just had a real treat of a cigar.

The Verdict:
I enjoyed the La Aurora Barrel Aged Rubosto very much. When rating the cigar out of 10, I give the cigar a 7.5 out of 10 for a couple of reasons. One reason is that I've had much better cigars that were in the medium range than this cigar. I also tend to like more creamy and smooth cigars, simlar to the Perdomo Lot 23 Natural. The lack of a smooth, creamy smoke did not detrack from the experience, it's just a personal perference. I think that the flavors of this cigar are an aquired taste, which is another reason I don't rate the cigar as high as I do. So to wrap up the review, great smoke that I recomend you try if you like the flavor profile and want to try something cheap from your local smoke shop!