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