Go All Out With American Kick Ass Cigars & Give Some Respect

As I continue on my quest to find new cigar luvrs, I am noticing how much my tastes have changed from that very first stick back in Key West. What I thought was the ultimate in flavorful and decadent has changed and I find myself gravitating towards cigars that challenge my senses and deliver a little bit of love in different ways.

That is what I think about American Kick Ass (AKA) Cigars. I've tried the Nth Degree and loved it. The Hybrid is probably my favorite of the line (review to come) and during a recent #SundayCigarHerf, I found a whole lotta luv for Respect 2013 ... prolly because I just love a man in uniform.

The AKA Respect line is a tribute to all branches of our US Military and a percentage of the sales of the Respect cigar go to the Wounded Warrior Project. So when you think about what the US stands for and why we celebrate July 4th -- without bringing politics into this -- when you smoke a Respect cigar you are helping a wounded veteran.

So, while we are gearing up for celebrating my country, I took it upon myself to think of every luscious man in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines who gives his body, mind and soul to our nation. In fact, while I'm paying "respect" to my new cigar luvr, I'm enjoying the feel of the cigar against my lips and totally savoring our every moment together.

Respect started out with a blast of white pepper that seemed to be totally appropriate for this macho cigar. As the pepper subsided a bit, a rich, roasted coffee note emerged in the forefront and mixed in with some wood and earthy-like flavors.

Throughout the first half of the stick, the coffee remained in the forefront of my palate with the pepper distant but still detectable. Then the most delicious sweetness emerged and tasted a bit like cherries to me. That flavor stayed consistent until a scotch-like peat taste emerged and I think that's when I really started to fall in love with the complexities of Respect.

I do need to say that the ash held on for both of the cigars that I smoked for this review. I was way past midpoint when the ash fell and a delectable nut, pepper and sweet coffee flavor emerged and rode with me all the way to the last possible puff.

Burnt fingers all the way here ... ha ha ... I even finished the cigar in my corn cob pipe that my friend Cliff gave me. Politics aside I have developed a deep admiration for my military man ... my cigar that salutes the military and provides me with a lovely way to spend the afternoon with my macho smoke -- Respect .... This could be the BEST thing you bring with you to that BBQ this Summer!  Enjoy

For more information about the Respect 2013 AKA Cigar go to

Wishing you long ashes -- The Robusto Cigar Babe

chat with me on Twitter: @RobustoBabe
share photos with me on Instagram: #RobustoCigarBabe

The Moment I Put My Lips on the FHK Cigar I Knew It Was Luv

I suspected that when I met Mr. FHK that we might have a brief affair. His brother Tantrum left me satisfied ... but I was left thinking long and hard how I really wanted more.

So when the Chairman of the board suggested I spend the day with FHK from Ezra Zion ... I jumped at the chance to make his acquaintance. And why not? This sleek and finely crafted cigar caught my eye the moment I was holding him in my hands. I couldn't wait to steal away some time with Mr. FHK ... So I herfed him ... for close to an hour one afternoon in April and then I told all my friends on Twitter about our experience ...

Oh and he looked so good too. I chose the "Inspired" 50 x 5.5 vitolas with the deep chocolate shaded San Andres Maduro wrapper with the exotic Indonesian binder with  Brazilian and Nicaraguan filler . As I admired and manicured my new treat, I could smell a strong earthy scent wafting in the air prior to lighting it. It was a cross between a stinky earth, chocolate and nuts.

Upon lighting I knew right away this cigar was different than his brother Tantrum. As I brought FHK to my lips and took my first few puffs, I could taste strong flavors of cream, oak, leather and cocoa powder. The multi-dimensional in flavors immediately got my attention as the earthy background flavor and a slightly bitter espresso caressed my palate and made me want more ... so much more.

I knew it wasn't my imagination -- this stick had a ton of flavors that I believe would turn on even the most jaded cigar smoker.

As I continued through the 1st third, I picked up a subtle sweet spice that melded perfectly with the oak, leather, cocoa and earth.

One thing I have to mention is the buttery feeling that this cigar leaves in your mouth. You experience in the very beginning and it continues throughout the smoke. It's beyond creaminess, where a thick slippery feeling in your mouth that provides the perfect background for attracting these delectable flavors to hang around and cling to your taste buds.

Working into the 2nd third, I detected similar flavors to the first part of the cigar with an addition of grass, espresso and almonds. These flavors rounded out the profile nicely giving me a flavorful experience with every puff. The best part about this cigar is it teaches you to let the smoke play in your mouth while you detect the variety of flavors. Truly enjoyable third.

When I got Halfway through the FHK  my glorious ash fell and everything changed. I could tell that the FMK was playing with me ... with my senses .... bringing me close to falling in love and then changing the rules with a new flavor profile.  Suddenly a strong tea flavor emerge and the buttery feeling dissipated slightly bringing on a toasty bread sensation. To be honest, the tea was a nice welcome, almost  like a cleansing sensation midway the smoke.  The buttery toast flavor stayed with me for a few more puffs.  I wasn't surprised when my mind began to think of afternoon tea -- and how this cigar would go fabulously with some crumpets!

The Final third ramped up again with a dark chocolate goodness mixed in with espresso and black pepper that carried me all the way to the end. This perfectly conceived creamy and flavorful smoke makes  you wonder where FHK has been all your life ... the flavor melds and perfectly proportioned mild to medium profile makes this cigar an impressive gift for any aficionado.

Maybe it was a girl's instinct or the way that he tantalized my taste buds with his buttery goodness ... I knew this cigar was different from the others. While we enjoyed each other's company for about an hour, I really didn't want it to end. And even a few hours later that afternoon, my mind went back to Mr. FHK. Would I ever see him again and how could I find him for just one more afternoon ... hell, I'll take a long evening with this stick. I truly loved some of this flavorful  goodness
Truth be told,  I did go back to FHK. The first time I  smoked Ezra Zion's FMK I was drinking water and my second encounter was with a pear ale. I stayed light with the accompanying drink as I didn't want to overpower the flavor profiles and lose some of what I experienced the first time. It turned out to be a good choice but I imagine you will find countless other pleasures to add to this smoking experience. I hope you will share those with me soon.
I just know whether you are a novice smoker or a seasoned pro, you will truly enjoy this flavor bomb that gives you a variety of dimensional flavor in every puff. It might be the perfect cigar to share with your friends or introduce to a family member ... or perhaps, what about dear old mom or dad?  
Don't miss this delectable cigar from Ezra Zion ... it's sure to become a go-to pleasure experience for me.

For more information about Ezra Zion FHK Cigar go to 

Wishing you long ashes -- The Robusto Cigar Babe

chat with me on Twitter: @RobustoBabe
share photos with me on Instagram: #RobustoCigarBabe



Will the Ruby 1502 Cigar Turn You On Too ?

At least once a week, I will meet an old friend to relax, sit back and enjoy each other's company. It's usually a lunch or late afternoon date at a local lounge, and it leaves me with a  fabulous feeling that stays with me ... long after the cigar smoke has dissipated. I love my smokey daytime interludes. A couple of weeks ago I met Ruby ...

When Gary Griffith of Emilio Cigars sent me the 1502 Ruby to try, little did I realize that this beautifully constructed cigar would become my new old friend. 

The moment I lit the 1502 Ruby I was treated to a mix of sweet grass & pepper that increased prominently as I continued to smoke. And just when I thought I was getting intimate with the early flavors, an undertone of citrus emerged -- tho I can't put my finger on whether it was a tart tangerine or grapefruit, but it made the cigar all the more interesting ... I gazed closer at my new friend. I love surprises and this was unexpected. 

Deep in conversation with my cigar, with pepper, citrus and grass still present I started to detect a slight sweet coffee in the background. And halfway through the earthiness,  a touch of coffee and cocoa emerged, building with a deep tobacco flavor that caught my attention.  

Even though I was relaxed, involved with my new cigar luvr, I could tell everyone at the Stogie Cigar Lounge in Rockville Center was staring at me and my Ruby. And I don't blame them. Ruby was attractive, sleek, gave off a beautiful scent that turned heads. Everyone wanted to have my Ruby, but I refused to share my new luv. I did however talk about Ruby--  shamelessly flaunting him to the guys in the lounge. 

I was getting into the final third of the Ruby when the flavors began to develop and become more earthy & peppery. A little spicy to my palate, but very delish to the last puff. Thank you Gary for introducing me to a new friend. I just know Ruby & I will be seeing each other again, real soon. 

Will 1502 Ruby cigar be your new cigar luvr ? It's pure enjoyment & fun finding out ... Let me know what you think of my new friend. 

A portion  of this review first appeared on the website -!1502ruby/c41y

For more information about 1502 Cigars: or  go to to purchase and ask your local B & M to stock these beauties.

Wishing You Long Ashes ... 
Robusto Cigar Babe 

Find me on twitter @RobustoBabe
Share with me on Instagram #RobustoCigarBabe

My After Dinner Reunion with the Digestivo Cigar

As you may have guessed, I use Twitter (@RobustoBabe) to find out about new cigars, follow interesting people and sometimes enter contests for sticks I really want to try. It's also my favorite place to join with friends from around the world for a virtual Puff-by-Puff Cigar Review  that we've branded as #SundayCigarHerf -- I hope you will join us for the next Twitter herf.  Just connect with me on Twitter or follow the hashtag. Everyone is invited and the Sunday crew is usually quite exciting and fun.

It's through Twitter that I became acquainted with @shy_ronny who is one of the owners of Bodega Premium Blends. Ronny invited me one evening in December to a Launch party at Nat Sherman's Townhouse for the Reunion Cigar Line to announce the release of the Aperitivo and the Digestivo cigars. If these cigars sound like something you would read on a menu, you are not wrong. The company created these cigars around a concept of before and after dinner smokes. Exactly the way cigar smokers usually enjoy their stogies ... around a meal.

My first reaction was, HOW COOL. Good friends and family members  Ron Plane, Gino Domanico, Stephane Barjolin and Rob Mariani really thought through the concept for this line (you can see it in their unique packaging) and I hope they will continue putting out cigars with a menu or celebration theme inmind. There is nothing better than sharing a great smoke with a group of friends and family around a good meal. So, Gino, what do you suggest for say, Brunch? ... mmmhmmm something to think about.

Since I like dessert better, I went straight for Digestivo with a Mexican San Andres wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and filler, it's a very attractive cigar with a light sheen and spicy pre-lit scent.  I was expecting a multidimensional smoke --- one that would fulfill my evening desires -- and the Digestivo did not disappoint ! 

Upon lighting there is a spark of black pepper with a touch of a spicy red pepper in the background that lingers slightly on both the front and middle of my palate. The Nicaraguan tobacco is flavorful and rich, with some underlying oak and small amount of earthiness.  This cigar gives off a thick white smoke that has a very nice scent, one that you wouldn't mind sitting a room filled with it. I'd consider this smoke to be a full bodied profile.

As I smoke further into the cigar, a bittersweet cocoa emerges and a touch of espresso with the spicy peppers subsiding just a little and my palate begins to get acquainted with a creamy taste. Then all of a sudden a delectable sweet black cherry emerges that compliments the cocoa very nicely and then after a few puffs it fades into a complex leather with some accented sweetness. Talk about dessert, this cigar reminded me a little of chocolate covered cherries, but not in a syrupy calorie laden way.

Midway through the smoke a delicious wine soaked oak emerges, mixing very nicely with the leather, earth and touches of pepper and cocoa. I think this is when I realized that I didn't want this cigar to end.

The Digestivo never got too hot to handle so when I smoked it down to almost the nub, I wasn't shocked when my mind starting thinking about smoking another one. Digestivo could become my go to cigar when I'm hanging with friends, during a cold winter night sitting around drinking Pinto Noir. It's a delightful cigar from a new brand and I'm honored to have been one of the first people to try it back in December 2013.

Since then I've smoked this cigar with a variety of drinks: first with 15-year aged rum, then with water during a successful virtual twitter cigar herf that I hosted last month & House of Emilio sponsored, then most recently by myself one afternoon when all I wanted was a little sweet time in the company of  friends at my local cigar lounge in Bay Ridge.

My take: You gotta try this cigar for yourself. Then, let me know.

For more information about Bodega Cigars: or go to to purchase and ask your local B & M to stock these beauties.

Wishing You Long Ashes ...
Robusto Cigar Babe
Tweet me @RobustoBabe
Share with me on Instagram @RobustoCigarBabe

Hand-Rolled Cigars at Oro Cubano Lounge in Vineland, New Jersey


Being a born & bred city girl, I sometimes take holiday breaks and long weekends away from bright lights, big city to star studded night lights in the wilds of South Jersey. One weekend, I was feeling a little cabin fever and took a ride into town looking for a fun night out. Found, just a few miles out of the woods, in New Jersey's largest city of Vineland is probably one of the most comfortable and authentic Cuban cigar lounge owned by Israel Aryen & Alex Rigo: The Oro Cubano Cigar & Hookah Lounge in Vineland New Jersey.

You'd totally miss this place if you weren't looking for it as it's an unassuming shop on the main drag on Delsea Drive, not too far from WaWa ! Tucked into a strip mall next to a car dealership, the Oro Cubano is very large, with the lounge off to the right and a  nice-sized walk in humidor with a cigar rolling station in the middle of the room. This is where you might find Israel Aryen creating his hand-rolled, custom blended cigars -- and it's exactly where he greeted me the other night as he explained how he has worked in the cigar business his entire life.

Aryen asked me if I wanted to try his cigars, so to be polite, I of course said yes. Aryen was trained under Pepin Garcia in Cuba, so how could I say no? He explained how tobacco is blended and aged, and then his brother Alex explained what kind of complexities I can experience with their sticks. Then, Aryen sat down, took out an unwrapped cigar, a large leaf and a tool, and he rolled the cigar in front of me. It's was lots of fun to watch him. Then, Alex escorted me to the lounge which sported a beautiful bar, a pool table and areas for groups, singles and couples to smoke in complete comfort with Latin music playing in the background, and large tvs in all the appropriate places.

I sat down, water bottle in hand, cut and lit this fine looking cigar and enjoyed the smoke for upwards of an hour:

Toro-sized Oro Cubano Cigar

The pre-lit scent is black pepper, mixed nuts, oak with mild tobacco. This stick lights easily and hold a nice ash with the first third exuding a strong black pepper, oak and cedar that turns to almond, pecans and develops into a medium profile.

The 2/3 levels out to a mild plus cigar, with a short hit of pepper that subsides quickly letting the mixed nut flavors become the dominant taste for a good portion of the cigar. Then, in the last third the profile shifts to medium and for a brief couple of puffs a strong earthy flavor develops and subsides, bringing a clean spicy white pepper, and a continuation of roasted pecans with a slight molasses flavor that stays with the still till the very end.

I was surprised by the flavor dimensions in this light colored stick and look forward to trying other custom blends by Oro Cubano. Maybe Aryen can pick out a Maduro for my next visit. While I really enjoyed the gorgeous lounge they have, complete with semi-private group areas, it's the hospitality and personality of the owners that keep me going back whenever I'm visiting family nearby.

Here is a video of Aryen at Oro Cubano rolling cigars:

If you are in South Jersey, coming back from Atlantic City, Wildwood, Cape May or live in the area, check out this cigar haven, located at 744 N. Delsea Drive in Vineland NJ (856) 690-4422

My Thoughts Are Haunted by the Gurkha Ghost

Being active on Twitter & Instagram, I not only get a chance to share my cigar likes, loves & challenges, I also love to hear what everyone else is smoking.   A fellow reviewer, whom I affectionately call "Houston," described the Gurkha Ghost as if it was pure gold. 

Even though we have similar tastes, I actually didn't believe him. I had a preconceived notion that Gurkha was a harsh cigar based on a stick  I tried, but couldn't remember it's name, a few years ago. So, I went looking for the Ghost. I searched locally in NYC, NJ & LI - but it never materialized. My first Ghost was a gift and the second appeared at a Staten Island lounge for $8.50. 

After a little whining on Twitter, an amazing package of goodies came from a not so secret friend and behold, the Ghost appeared with its beautiful holographic band. I was blown away with the gift, and open-minded enough to not let this succulently delicious smoking experience disappear. 
An attractive 5x 52 and alluring medium plus bodied cigar, the Ghost blend showcases a dark Brazilian, Arapiraka Maduro wrapper, complemented by an aged Criollo 98 binder with Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers.

The thing about the Ghost is that it starts off as one type of perfectly conceived smooth tasting cigar, then with the flavor shifts & dimensions emerging, the cigar becomes the ONE you don't want to get away. I was super impressed with the pre-lit scent of the cigar -- supple  leather with a deep tobacco, nutmeg, cinnamon and a little black licorice. I took my time enjoying the aroma and when I finally lit this baby, the smoke was voluminous & white. It had a sexy scent that I wanted to permanently perfume the room. 

The initial 1/3 started off with a woodsy, earthy flavor, a touch of black pepper & a little sweet cream. It burned nicely, the ash was dense & held tight at least 1/2 way into the experience before falling and then the flavor shifted big time in the 2/3 and a completely different dark cocoa flavor emerged sharply changing the dimension of the stick. The earthiness subsided leaving the rest of the flavors to intermingle prominently on the palate. 

But it was during the last part of the cigar when really decided I didn't want my date with Gurkha to end -- and I do believe the feeling was mutual because the burn rate slowed and we spent a good amount of time enjoying each others company. Then in between a few puffs, a tidal wave of flavors swelled with caramel, sweet cream and bittersweet cocoa swirling  on my palate and tingling my lips. I ended my brief Ghost affair with a long slow burnt caramel kiss and sat back against the leather chair enjoying the smoky aroma for just a little while more. 

The first time I smoked the Gurkha Ghost was with drinking water and my second Ghost haunting included an Ice Wine from Hungary. But from the flavor profiles, I could imagine this cigar pairing well with Port, Cappuccino, Cherry Stout and countless other pleasures. 

This is a cigar to savor, enjoy each dimension of flavor in every puff and share with friends. You won't be disappointed in the Ghost. It may even haunt your thoughts days following the experience. 

Portions of this review has appeared on Cigar Tipsters:!gurkha-ghost/c1ah8

For more information about Gurkha Ghost go to 

Wishing you long ashes -- The Robusto Cigar Babe

chat with me on Twitter: @RobustoBabe
share photos with me on Instagram: #RobustoCigarBabe


Ezra Zion Tantrum Is A Power Pack of Flavors

After searching for this cigar for months, a twitter BOTL took pity on me & sent the Tantrum as a gift  - arriving just in time for New Year's Eve !

While I was very surprised by the size of the Tantrum ( a slightly thicker petit corona; 4.4 with 44 ring gauge ) -- this little baby was a power pack.  Made with aged Nicaraguan tobacco & a Cuban Seed Corojo wrapper, the Tantrum is nicely constructed, burns beautifully, holds an amazing ash & never needs  relighting.

Lately I've been enjoying the smell of cigars prior to lighting it. The Tantrum emits a lovely tobacco, pepper, spice and nut scent that romances your senses. After lighting the stick, I was blown away by the powerful tobacco and black pepper notes on the forefront of my palate, with an underlying earthiness that helps the flavors transition into the next few puffs. Then I was treated to a punch of oak and leather that overtook the profile through halfway, then all of the sudden everything changed.

My favorite part of the cigar is when the profile changed to medium-full and a small raisin sweetness emerged, with a slight but welcomed roasted almond flavor. These flavors stay down to the nub with that punch of black pepper returning during the last two inches of the stogie.

What I loved about the Tantrum was the way new flavors are introduced with every puff.  Just when I thought I had a handle on the peppery spice, other notes  emerged to tantalize my tastebuds while teasing my palate throughout the smoke. 

Downside -- it was a little too full bodied for me.

Upside -- it was a flavorful delight, not unlike a sexy kiss with a bold Latin love that left me wishing the smooching would never stop. Burnt fingers all the way here.

For more information about the Tantrum & Ezra Zion's other cigars go to

Wishing you long ashes -- The Robusto Cigar Babe

Chat with me on Twitter @RobustoBabe
& Share your pics with me on Instagram #RobustoCigarBabe