Posts Tagged joya de nicaragua

CigarPhoto at Cigar Safari 2012 (after)

In May of 2012, I was able to cross another item off the bucket list – a visit to a tobacco-growing country. Although there is obviously more than one, personally, Nicaragua is at the top of THE list. I was very fortunate to receive an invite from the Drew Estate ‘The Rebirth Of The Cigars’ company to join the famous Cigar Safari trip. I have heard nothing but positive feedback from fellow brothers of the leaf so the Drew Estate didn’t have to wait too long for my acceptance.

Few other fellow cigar enthusiasts have joined the same Cigar Safari trip so I encourage that you visit their websites or magazine, respectively.

- Casas Fumando
- Cigar Brief
- Cigar Explorer
- Cigar Press
- Half Wheel
- Nice Tight Ash
- Stogie Review

The Cigar Safari was not only filled with tons of knowledge sharing, exposure to nuts and bolts of the industry, blending seminars, tasting seminar but also plenty of camaraderie and laid-back conversations lasting through the night, literally. I could attempt to summarize the Cigar Safari play-by-play but I would most likely run out of adjectives so instead, I will highlight few points and let photographs do the rest of the talking.

The amount of knowledge, information, tips, tricks and passion that was pouring out of Jonathan Drew and Steve Saka throughout the trip, was simply mind blowing. If you know Jonathan, you know he can make your ears “bleed.” Well, between him and Steve, they made all of our ears bleed, and some … in a good way ! Just when you think you know a little bit about cigars and the industry, trust me, you don’t know much. Those guys are uber-cigar-geeks and will hypnotize you with the cigar knowledge.

Not only was I invited to the Nicaragua, today’s Mecca of cigar industry, to learn about the craft and the country itself ‘from the ground’, I was given an opportunity to see and absorb all of it from the bird’s-eye view, literally. Never I imagined that I will be flying over Lake Managua in the helicopter, learning about the country, learning about the cigar industry, learning about Joya de Nicaragua & Drew Estate collaboration, with one and only – Dr. Alejandro Martinez Cuenca as the private guide. What are the chances ??? Seriously ! From cigar-geek’s and photographer’s perspective, this was simply – a bliss !

Speaking of knowledge and misconceptions, Jose Blanco dropped a significant load of knowledge during the Tasting Seminar. This is another one of those ‘must attend’ learning classes. Jose will take you through the basics, will challenge your knowledge, will address many misconceptions and most importantly, open your eyes and palate so going forward, you can elevate your appreciation for cigar smoking experience.

There are many other topics that could be covered in this post but I will leave you, the reader, with photographs and have you ponder over the cigar industry and Cigar Safari. No words can describe the amount of work that goes into the production of the product that you and I both enjoy – the premium cigar. One has to see this operation and the beautiful Nicaragua with his/her own eyes to appreciate what I have attempted to illustrate. If you ever decide to pack your bags, don’t think twice … The Cigar Safari is your ticket to the “Nica Paradise.”

At the end, I would like to send a special THANKS to:

- Drew Estate family for their generosity and hospitality – Jonathan Drew, Steve Saka, Pedro Gomez, Johnny Brooke, David Lafferty
– Joya de Nicaragua family – Dr. Alejandro Martinez Cuenca, Jose Blanco, Mario Perez
– Pete Johnson of Tatuaje, Jaime Garcia of My Father Cigars, Gary Griffith of Emilio Cigars
– Oliva Cigar Company
– and others (sorry if I forgot to call you out) who contributed to this amazing adventure !

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Liga Privada Lounge Grand Opening – Barrister Cigars

On 15JUN2012 I attended the Liga Privada Lounge Grand Opening at Barrister Cigars. In case you have been living under the rock for the past few years, Liga Privada is Drew Estate’s current flagship line. David Mallow’s (owner) establishment has been selected as the third Liga Privada Lounge in the US. In addition to the very broad selection of Drew Estate’s cigars presented at the Grand Opening, the Barrister Cigars shop was and will continue to be decorated with Drew Estate and SubCulture Design Studio Fan Club (club spearheaded by extremely talented artist – Jessi Flores and his team) art work (e.g. paintings, display cigar case, flying pigs, banners, etc). In attendance were: Jonathan Drew – Drew Estate co-founder, Gary Drew (Jonathan’s father), Kevin McCormack (Regional Sales Rep at Drew Estate), and many fellow cigar enthusiasts. Overall, great event as one would expect from the Drew Estate family ! If you are in the area, check out the Barrister Cigars – Liga Privada Lounge. If you are not in the mood for Liga Privada No9, at least you can scope out the place and enjoy SubCulture Design Studio Fan Club art work.

Effective 15JUN2012, the following three locations are your Liga Privada Lounges:

Barrister Cigars (North Lounge)
2565 US Highway 22 W # 2
Union, NJ 07083
(908) 964-3000

Wooden Indian Tobacco Shop (East Lounge)
95 South Eagle Road
Havertown, PA 19083
(610) 449-7001

Leaning House Fine Cigars (West Lounge)
21 1/2 State St
Belle Vernon, PA 15012
(724) 483-2333

Please consider the following post:
* Liga Privada Unico Serie ‘Feral Flying Pig’
* Liga Privada Unico Serie ‘L40′
* Liga Privada No9 ‘Flying Pig’

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CigarPhoto at Cigar Safari 2012 (before)

CigarPhoto is off to Nicaragua attending the Cigar Safari – an event sponsored by Drew Estate ‘The Rebirth Of The Cigars.’ This will be our first cigar trip to the ‘cigar motherland.’ I’m looking forward to learning, sharing, experimenting and most importantly, spending quality time with the Drew Estate family and fellow cigar enthusiasts. Of course, I hope to share my trip live via iPhoneography. If you are interested, check my FB page at I also hope to take few decent frames with my other equipment. That will be shared after the trip.

Pursuit of passion !!!

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New Jersey Cigar Festival

- click on photographs - 

Cigar industry is blooming … period. Not only we are seeing quality products out on the market but cigar smokers and aficionados can now discuss those products in-person with manufacturers. On Sunday, 03APR2011, that opportunity presented itself in New Jersey. Riverfront Stadium, the home of the Newark Bears was the home of the 1st New Jersey Cigar Festival. David Mallow, mastermind behind this project and the owner of Barrister cigar shop, despite questionable weather and last minute obstacles, was able to pull of a pretty good event. In reference to manufacturers, one was able to chat with few of the heavy hitters in the cigar industry: Miami Cigar & Company; Alec Bradley; Drew Estate; Joya de Nicaragua; Reinado; Rocky Patel; Los Blancos; Maraya; Martin Family; Villiger; Xikar as well as CRA; The Guayabera Lady; The Metropolitan Society; Smoke N Lounge.

David Mallow approached me couple weeks before the Festival and asked if I was interested in coming over and photographing the event. Perfect opportunity to catch-up with fellow Brothers/Sisters Of The Leaf, chat with the manufacturers, and last but surely not least, expand my personal photo project – ‘The Cigar Smoker.’ I believe I have accomplished all three. I was able to catch up with my friend – Barry Stein from In manufacturer department, I finally met David Lafferty – Regional Manager at Drew Estate. We have exchanged few laughs and talked about a very ‘sensitive’ subject – ‘Liga accounts’ (* LoL !!!). It is always a pleasure to chat with Miami Cigar crew – Chris Lenzo & Arielle Ditkowich (La Sirena). To get to Arielle, one has to walk through/around couple other ‘sunday’ photographers. Next time ! A day wouldn’t be complete without chatting with a good friend of mine, Antonio Lam – the head of ‘Reinado‘ empire. I admire Antonio’s passion and wish him all the best. If you live in North Jersey and you are a cigar smoker looking for a cozy place with great camaraderie, there is nothing better than The Metropolitan Society private club. George Koodray (President) and Nick Verdi (Vice President) were present at the festival and it was a pleasure to catch up with a ‘bada bing’ crew.

Below is a visual summary of the event and contribution toward my ‘The Cigar Smoker’ project. Enjoy !

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