Sunday, March 30, 2014

Your Not so Run of the Mill Pairing

There are a lot of things that trigger an idea for a pairing. Sometimes it's the wine, sometimes the cigar, sometimes it's just a thought I had while driving.
This time I happen to come across the wine and the cigar at about the same time.

Since both of them are not your average sampling, I thought that I'd pair them together.
Looking at some vague tasting notes I knew it could work and here is my findings.

Foundry Tobacco Company Xenon

Cigar Box Reserve 2012 Malbec

The Cigar: 
This one is going to be interesting to talk about since there is really no information available on this cigar other
than the tobaccos are a secret. The name of the cigar is Xenon, the 54th element in the periodic table of the elements. It is a part of Foundry Tobacco's Compounds, Elements and Musings line of cigars. It seems a lot of the cigars in this line by Michael Giannini, are limited runs of exotic and different tobaccos that they were able to procure. If you read the cigar box almost every tobacco growing region imaginable is listed, including Mysterioso and "Smoke It". The one thing I do know is that it is a box pressed,  maduro wrapped torpedo that is long on complex flavor. Oh, i can't forget to mention the UFO on the box and cigar band. Why not, right.

It produces a full rich smoke and was constructed very well. No issues with the burn at all. All and all it is a shame that this is a limited production cigar. It is really a good solid medium bodied smoke with all the deep notes you'd expect from a good maduro wrapper.

The Wine:
At first glance this seems like your normal Malbec from Argentina. With a great name to pair with a cigar. I mean how can you go wrong with a wine named Cigar Box?
But then the more I looked into it the more I realized that their process of making this malbec is totally different than most. Starting with the grape is that the Malbec grape is 100% hand picked, destemmed and then only partially crushed. Then the must is cooled down to preserve color and flavor and then fermented in tanks for 10 days.
This wine has a very smooth and long flavor with fruit forwards flavors of deep plum and a smoky finish. The Cigar Box Malbec is very well balanced and can stand up to this maduro cigar very well. It would really pair well with grilled meats and barbecue.

The Pairing:
When I first lit the Xenon, I could tell the pairing was going to go well. The aroma from the wine mixed harmoniously with the smoke from the cigar.

The Malbec gave off this wonderful deep fruity aroma that mixed with the lighter smoke of the cigar. The Xenon didn't put off a lot of smoke but it was very flavorful. The first third of the cigar was a bit unbalanced then once I got passed that it balance out and the sweetness of the maduro wrapper worked in concert with the silky, deep fruit of the Malbec.

Another good thing about this pairing is the price.
The Cigar Box 2012 Malbec is about $12.00 and the Elements Xenon is under $7.00 a stick.

But you really have to hurry because the Foundry Xenon is a limited production, once it's gone, it's gone forever. Tying a new cigar/ wine pairing. Foundry's Elements Xenon cigar with Cigar Box 2012 Malbec #wine #winepairing #cigarphotography #cigarart #cigarporn #cigarpairings #Cigar #cigars #smokingcigars #FoundryTobacco #CigarBox #Cigarboxwine #nowsmoking

via Instagram

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cigar of the day, Camacho Criollo. #camachocigars #torchitup #cigarphotography #cigarart #Cigar #cigars #cigarsmoking #nowsmoking #smokingcigars #cigarporn #cigarpairings

via Instagram

Cigar Wrapper Repair

We've all had a cigar that due to storage or transportation, the wrapper was not in the best shape. I recently saw this video and thought it was a really great trick to repair a cigar in which the wrapper was peeling or cracked and thought I'd share it here.

Thanks to Cigar Advisor for the tip.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Cigar of the day, Romeo y Julieta 1875, 125th Anniversary Churchill. #RomeoyJulieta #cigarart #cigarphotography #cigars #cigarsnob #cigarporn #nowsmoking #smokingcigars #cigarpairings

via Instagram

Cigar News, another cigar ban

Northampton, MA, a town in Western Massachusetts as of June 1st has banned smoking in almost any place imaginable and even cigar shops. They are also banning the sale of cigars under $5.00

As of June 1, smoking will be prohibited in public and private clubs, workplaces, city parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, swimming areas, nursing homes, within 25 feet of city buildings, all outdoor areas of restaurants and bus stops and taxi cab waiting areas.

 The interesting part for me is that they are banning smoking in private clubs. In this incident only an American legion is affected and as they stated in a public hearing, when people join they are told it is a smoke friendly environment, so it is their choice to join or not.

You can read more on this at the Daily Hampshire Gazette

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A stroll outdoors with an Alec Bradley Family Blend. #cigarart #cigarphotography #cigars #AlecBradley #nowsmoking #smokingcigars #cigarporn

via Instagram

Warm Cigar Photos

Copyright Michael Barone
Today, the weather in the Northeast is supposed to warm up. Time to dust off the gold clubs, grab a herf-a-dor and stock it with cigars.

I am hoping to get out and at least hit the driving range today,
maybe 9-holes.

Feeling the breeze a bit warmer reminded me of my trip to Nicaragua so today, I though I'd share some warm cigar feelings.

Copyright Michael Barone

Copyright Michael Barone

To find more cigar art for your cigar den, check out my Etsy store Cigar Photography

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Smoking with George Rico

via Instagram

Smoking with George Rico in the studio promoting his new custom blend cigars.
 #GeorgeRico #GARcigars #granhabano #cigars #cigar #cigarlounger #cigarphotography #nowsmoking #smokingcigars #smoke #cigarlife

New cigar, George Rico, American Puro. All American tobacco. #American #GAR #GeorgeRico #cigarphotography #cigars #cigar #cigarart #cigarporn #cigarsnob #cigarpairings #smokingcigars #nowsmoking

via Instagram

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Top 10 Pairing

It's the weekend of St. Patrick's Day and while a lot of people might do a pairing of a candela cigar and an Irish whisky or a Guinness, being Italian and went another way.

I had the pleasure of meeting the owner and blender of this cigar and once I tried it I added this cigar into my weekly rotation. Then after trying a few different ones, I found what I consider a pairing that ranks in my all-time top 10.

        Leccia Black

       Rosenblum  Cellars  2010 Contra Costa County Zinfandel

The Cigar:
 This cigar is one of the first to come out of Leccia Tobacco. Sam Leccia who previously worked with another premium cigar manufacturer has branched out to create his own Leccia label. And if this is one of his first, I really can't wait for his next cigars. 

This cigar is a five country blend, handmade in the Dominican Republic.
The Leccia Black is a medium to full bodied cigar and really complex. There are notes of dark chocolate and black pepper with a subtle smoky back.

It has a wonderful Ecuadorian Habano wrapper with a smooth and spicy Nicaraguan Rosado binder. That wrapped a great blend of fillers featuring Nicaraguan & Dominican Ligero  leaves, which are the top priming of the plant and prized for their full body. A Brazilian Mata Fina tobacco grown in the Bahia region of Brazil that is sun-grown and has medium strength, natural sweetness This leaf is normally used as a wrapper but here as a filler. To finish off this five country blend Sam used  American Dark Fire – a typically pipe tobacco.  This aromatic tobacco from Kentucky and Virginia is aged over a gentle fire gaining a rich smoky aroma with great body.

All and all this cigar is suburb with wonderful complexity and a smooth even draw.

The Wine:
 this is one of my favorite Zinfandels. The 2010 Rosenblum Cellars Contra Costa County Zinfandel. It is 100% Zinfandel grape that is barrel aged in a combination of American, French and new oak.

A really robust wine with a mix of dark fruits like plums, some chocolate and a subtle spice. It would go very well with a nice steak dinner, barbeque or even a good pizza. It is an extremely smooth and silky wine.

An interesting thing about this wine is the region of California where the grapes are grown.

The Contra Costa County vineyards have a sandy soil with warm days and cool evenings helping these ancient Zinfandel vines produce a very distinct flavor profile with great depth of character.

This pairing of the Leccia Black and the Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel is defined by depth. 

Both the cigar and the wine have a great depth of character that really complements each other.

The deep bodied Leccia Black really pairs well with the rich flavors of this Zinfandel. This Zinfandel is not overpowered by the cigar but balances perfectly.

Another thing that makes this pairing on my top 10 list is the price.

The robusto size of the cigar is about $9.00 where a bottle of this Rosenblum Zin runs about $25.

Either together or alone, you really can't go wrong with the Leccia Black cigar and the Rosenblum Cellars 2010 Contra Costa County Zinfandel. I highly recommend them.


Smoking with Sam Leccia My next pairing, Leccia Black and Rosenblum Cellars 2010 Zinfandel #cigarphotography #cigarart #cigars #cigarporn #cigarpairings #lecciatobacco #lecciablack #Zinfandel #RosenblumCellars #nowsmoking #smokingcigars

via Instagram

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hygrometers Go Wireless

Photo by Xikar
OK, I know everything these days is going wireless. TV, radio, lights, you name it, it's wireless. Now Xikar has introduced a wireless digital hygrometer system.

No more opening your humidor to find out that your humidification device has been empty and your cigars are sitting at 45%. This little baby can sit out and tell you the humidity and temperature of up to three different humidors. Not only that, it tells you the time. Sweet right!

For more information check out
Xikar PuroTemp

New cigar of the day, Villiger Talanga. A nice Connecticut seed wrapper cigar. #cigarart #Cigar #cigarsmoking #cigars #Villiger #Talanga #nowsmoking #smokingcigars #cigarporn #cigarpairings

via Instagram

Villigar Talanga, a 94 rated cigar and in #12 for the year by the Cigar Journal.
A Connecticut seed wrapper encases a Habano wrapper from the Jalapa Vallery of Nicaragua with Nicaraguan fillers. A mild to medium smoke perfect for anytime of the day.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

New Esty Cigar Art Page

Being a photographic artist I have finally opened a store on Etsy. Thought I'd try it out and see how it goes. If you are interested, please check it out at Cigar Photography

If you are interested in purchasing anything put in the coupon code "blog1" for 10% off.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Art of Cigar Photography

My blog has mostly been about my enjoyment of a cigar and the perfect libation to pair with it. Having that end of the day cigar with the perfect wine is always one of my favorite quality of life moments.

But I'd also like to share another one of my cigar passions, photography.

I am lucky enough to work in the cigar industry as a photographer and this affords me access to cigars to produce some of my own work.

I would like to share some of my favorite photographs with you now.

If you'd like to see more of my cigar art, check out my website at
Barone Photoart

Diamond Crown Maximus

Padilla 1932

Padron 1964

Nica Rustica

Opus X

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do photographing and smoking them!

All images copyright 2014
Michael Barone,  Barone Photography Studio, All Rights Reserved