Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is it finally time for a short smoke?

I don't know about where you live, but last night in to the Lehigh Valley we had rain, hurricane-like wind gusts, and bone chilling temps. IOW, it's frickin' COLD out there!

So, I got to wondering, this could signal the end of the long outdoor smoke this year for cigar smokers in the Northern regions of the country, and time to take out the little cigars. To make matters worse, I miss my chiminea, which isn't allowed on the deck of my new condo. Fortunately, I do have a tin of Panter Dessert, which comes in mighty handy at times like these. They have a nice light coffee flavor and aroma, but they're very small (2 7/8" x 25) and usually burn my fingers near the end.

Truth be told, I'm really not a big fan of little cigars. IMO, they just don't add-up to the flavor and enjoyment of my usual Toro, but in fairness I have found a few short smokes that come mighty close to the big guns. Assuming I had no choice other than a small cigar, here are few of my top picks under a 40 ring:

Padrón Corticos (4½" x 35): Very rich in taste, with all that earthy Padrón coffee & cocoa bean essence.

Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Juniors (4" x 38): A lot of bang for a short smoke, and these also come very close to the large Vintage line. The 1990 Maduro are also a good small cigar pick.

Famous Exclusive Minis (4" x 30): Relatively new at Famous Smoke Shop, but the size is perfect for a short smoke, and they're quite flavorful. Plus, you get 50 in a box, so you can really stretch 'em out.

Arturo Fuente Cubanitos (4¼" x 32): A little classic that's nutty and rich in flavor.

Avo Puritos (4" x 30): A nice little winter alternative with lots of smooth, creamy flavor.

CAO Italia Piccolos (4" x 38): Complex in flavor and very aromatic. The 38 ring helps a lot.

Those are just a sampling, and I should also mention that most of the cigars I cited are made by hand. The best advice I could give you would be to pick the small cigar that you know you'll have time for. When it's really cold the wider ring gauge small cigars smoke much longer, so be prepared. If you just want to get a fix for somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes, go for the Panters I mentioned above, or take a look at little cigars from Winterman's Café Crème line and Al Capone. If you want a little more luxury, the Davidoff Club, Demi Tasse, and Mini cigarillos are quite nice.

Just about all of the major manufacturers make a small cigar these days, so as you would do with traditional-size cigars, experiment. You'll find the little cigar that'll keep you warm during the winter stretch.

Any other suggestions? Please leave your comments.

~ Gary Korb

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