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MJL

Name Your Favorite Bundled Cigars

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MJL

I am lucky to live in Miami-Dade County. This place is cigar central for the United States. Good, high quality cigars made by folks who know their business are pretty easy to find in this town. I have become so used to smoking the "Segundo" or seconds of the big brands that it is a rare day for me to buy a box of first quality cigars. Indeed, I tend to get gifted more first quality cigars than I purchase. I currently have about 700 +/- cigars in my humidors maybe a tad more. The vast majority are in bundles. The bundles are just the same quality of tobacco but may be over runs, cosmetic flawed, or apprentice made cigars. Most are constructed well and smoke just fine. All seem to age just fine in humidors and improve with proper storage and aging. So here are some of my favorite bundled cigars. What are yours?

1. Old Fashioned from Mikes Cigars. These are seconds of some major brands like Macanudo, Hoya de Monterrey, Punch, etc. They come in Honduran and Dominican variates and both are excellent bargains. This is especially true when Mike's offers free shipping.

2. JR Alternatives from JR Tobacco. These are just amazing. Every single one I have smoked have been superb. I have not seen any cosmetic or construction flaws. The JR Alternatives of Padron's and Remidios are are actually so close in flavor, appearance and smoke that it makes one wonder. The downside to these is the insane, stupid shipping prices JR charges ($2.50 per item). I rarely buy these through the mail but do make it a point to swing by JRs when traversing North Carolina to stock up for the year. JR often does not have their advertised varieties of these in stock. This is due to the sporadic supplies of these so be prepared to have a number of different ones you want so you do not peg your purchases on one single type that may not be present in stock.

3. Consuegra from Mikes Cigars. These are clearly seconds as you will see some that look poorly and some with bad construction but, in my experience it is quite rare to find one poorly constructed. I would estimate one in a couple hundred may be a hard smoker depending on storage conditions. On rare occasion you will get an entire bundle that smokes poorly due to construction problems I tend to grind these, still high quality tobaccos, up for smoking in my pipes. Consuegra come in Honduran and Dominican varieties with the Dominicans being the clearly superior smoke and flavor winner. The Dominicans tend to sell out VERY quickly when they come in and supply of these are sporadic as they are imported as they accumulate enough seconds to make a run of them.

4. The Brick. These are seconds of Carlos Torano cigars are, like their first quality brothers, are amazing. I like the box pressed maduro variates. These tend to be perfect in quality and these are priced a bit more than other bundled cigars.

5. El Credito Super Magnums. These are a little secret that even a lot of folks in Miami are not aware of. These are, to my knowledge, sold only at the El Credito factory in Little Havana. These are the seconds of La Gloria Cubana Serie R and priced at least 30% cheaper than the first quality cigars.

6. El Titan De Bronze. Again these are a little known gem that even a lot of folks in the Miami area are not aware of. This little firm is located across the street from El Credito (La Gloria Cubana) in Little Havana. They sell their seconds at their little factory and they are amazing. These are likely the nicest folks in the Miami cigar industry.

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BourbonJoe

Thanks for the info. I smoke Consegura all the time, but they are probably the Hondurans. Got to try the Dominicans.

Joe :usflag:

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MJL

Joe,

The Dominicans hard hard to come by. I find that Mike's get them in, usually in the Fall, and they sell out very quickly. They are that good! I am not sure who else carries these cigars as they are from Mike's Cigars but I did see some for sale at JRs. Again the best prices seem to from Mikes Cigars. I get their email notifications and they do put Consuegra and the Old Fashioned on sale at least once a month.

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Whiskey Willie

MJL,

What about Moore & Bode cigars? If I recall, M&B are (were?) made in Miami. I want to say that they came wrapped in a bundle of white craft paper...

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MJL

Willie,

You know, I have never gotten around to trying these cigars. I reckon this is the result of my being a cheapskate.

There are a number of small rollers in the Miami area that produce cigars for larger makers and sell some extras under their own names. I would reckon no one outside of the tobacco industry or a few others even know about these firms. I have smoked more than a few cigars from these smaller rolling firms and some are nice but more than a few are iffy. I have not included any mention of bundled cigars from these firms due to my issues with construction with some of these. If anyone is interested I know of a little local firm that rolls nice cigars that are very flavorful but I must admit that I have had enough issues with their rolling to eschew them from my humidors.

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Whiskey Willie

MJL,

There was a tobacconist in Boston, just up the street from my office, that carried M&B's. Yeah, M&B's were a bit more than I wanted to spend on a regular basis but I still treated myself to an M&B Miami blend Biship once a week.

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MJL

Willie,

As it turns out I just spent much of the last summer doing academic research in Boston so I am pretty familiar with the current Tobacconists there. If I had to guess I would say it sounds like you are describing J.I. Perettis off Boston Common or Leavitt & Pierce in Harvard Square. I guess it might also be Brookline News & Gifts but I did not see the selection of cigars there that would support stocking an arcane Miami brand like you described. Ehrlich's is basically gone as it currently exists as a name only. There is a cigar bar near Fanuiel Hall that claims to be the home of Ehrlich's but all I saw was a few jars of pipe tobacco....no store at all. On the other Leavitt & Pierce blend and sell Ehrlich's pipe tobaccos and oh so wonderful they are! I am a huge fan of DPE, Judges Mixture and Black & Gold. All of these were old Ehrlich blends that are now being sold be Leavitt & Pierce in Harvard Square.

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Whiskey Willie

MJL,

It pains me to know that Ehrlich's is no longer. That was my store...Great cigar selection, great pipe tobacco selection...But most importantly, leather chairs to sit and enjoy a fine smoke. It's been over 10 years since I've been in Boston, but if I recall Leavitt & Pearce was a sister store to DPE.

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ratcheer

I was on a trip to North Carolina, this weekend. I stopped in at JR's, just to see the place. While the cigar store was very nice and extremely well-stocked, the rest of the store was a major culture shock.

It is basically a huge hillbilly outlet store. Is anyone else here familiar with the John Boy and Billy Big Show morning radio program? They have a recurring skit about a fictional "JD's" outlet where they rattle off all kinds of silly things you can get, but the main thing at the end is always "and discount cigarette outlet". I am now certain that this skit takes off on JR's.

Their highway billboards leading to the store touted cigars, cigarettes, "world's largest" perfume selection, NASCAR souvenirs, linens and mattresses, Western wear, bath accessories, etc, etc. It was downright weird.

As the Big Show ditty goes,

JD's, JD's,

What a Southern Boy needs.

Tim

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MJL
MJL,

It pains me to know that Ehrlich's is no longer. That was my store...Great cigar selection, great pipe tobacco selection...But most importantly, leather chairs to sit and enjoy a fine smoke. It's been over 10 years since I've been in Boston, but if I recall Leavitt & Pearce was a sister store to DPE.

Well, Ehrlich's tobaccos are excellent and a real treat but the store is sadly gone. I have no compunction to revisit Perettis after experiencing their bad attitudes all summer. I liked their tobaccos and may well place some orders with them for some of their blends but their employees need an attitude adjustment. The good folks at Leavitt & Pierce were in stark contrast as always keen to please, answer any question I asked and, in the end, got the bulk of my business. I had intended to spend $400 or so at Perettis before I ever stepped foot in the place but they put me off so badly that I just ended up buying some samples of their excellent pipe blends but nothing more. I did end up dropping major coin at Brookline News & Gifts and Leavitt & Pierce where I became acquainted with the DPE line.

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MJL
I was on a trip to North Carolina, this weekend. I stopped in at JR's, just to see the place. While the cigar store was very nice and extremely well-stocked, the rest of the store was a major culture shock.

It is basically a huge hillbilly outlet store. Is anyone else here familiar with the John Boy and Billy Big Show morning radio program? They have a recurring skit about a fictional "JD's" outlet where they rattle off all kinds of silly things you can get, but the main thing at the end is always "and discount cigarette outlet". I am now certain that this skit takes off on JR's.

Their highway billboards leading to the store touted cigars, cigarettes, "world's largest" perfume selection, NASCAR souvenirs, linens and mattresses, Western wear, bath accessories, etc, etc. It was downright weird.

As the Big Show ditty goes,

JD's, JD's,

What a Southern Boy needs.

Tim

Tim,

Which one of the JR's did you visit? I have been to all three in NC and can say the one outside Burlington is the best of the lot. I never really have the time to take in much of the rest of the store as I usually go long in the tobacco shop and my wife is usually steaming mad about how long I take in there. That said, the rest of the building is just a hoot. It is like some sort of bad slice of the cheapest portion of American culture; a large dose of NASCAR culture meets the trailer park crowd with an added helping of retirees arriving by the bus load. You gotta love the absolute kitschyness of a place like JRs.

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ratcheer

I think they called it Statesville. It was near the intersection of Interstates 77 and 40.

I agree about loving those kinds of stores. It really is a slice of American culture that most people never see or even hear about. I have been a "Southern boy" all my life, but I had never encountered anything like JR's. I did breeze around the rest of the store, but nothing else really grabbed my attention.

Tim

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MJL

The Statesville store is the smallest of the three and the most run down. The Burlington store is about 30 miles east and worth the extra few miles. It is at least twice the size and is like a trip to Myrtle Beach, Panama City and every shabby, crappy roadside flea market in the south all pushed into one building. I swear if you cannot find a velvet wall hanging of Elvis and Jesus I would be highly surprised.

Oh, as a lifetime Southroner I find places like this highly fascinating. too. Intellect goes straight out the window when you walk through the doors They trigger my "dang" button. That is to say I walk around just commenting "dang" at everything I see.

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smokinjoe

There's a store over in Ybor City that has a very nice bundle. El Sol Cigars has their "Smoke a Cuba--Vega I". It's a very tasty robusto sized Dominican leaf, that is rolled there in Ybor City. Very nice burn, mild, and very consistent. For under $2.00 per, they're a quality smoke at a great price.

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Cigarman Chris

I find Flor de Oliva to be fairly good bundled smokes. Maduro is my favorite.

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MJL
I find Flor de Oliva to be fairly good bundled smokes. Maduro is my favorite.

The Flor de OLiva are really awesome smokes. I rambled into Thompson cigars while on a visit to Tampa a few years ago and found them closing out some bundles of Torpedos of this brand. I could not help myself and ended up walking out with ten bundles. I have been smoking these on and off for the last few years and can attest that they do age well and age better. I particularly like the little sweet flavoring they add the the head. A nice touch indeed.

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The Boozer

Picked up a bundle of La Finca's, Toro size for about $22 + tax, or about $1.25-$1.30 a stick. Good solid cigar. This is the bundle not the box. Mild to medium in strength. Nicaraguans have certainly mellowed out over the years, especially compared to the product from the 1980's and early 1990's. That stuff used to just knock me on my ass!!. We got a JR in the Mitten so avoid the shipping charge put gotta pay the State tax, which isn't cheap.

TJ

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Single-Barrel

My go to bundle is the Brick (as mentioned earlier) JR does put out some good alternatives. My favorite JR alternative is (if they have it) the Rocky Edge Toro in Maduro and the Ashton No. 50 in Maduro. I have always got good quality with these 2 alternatives. Cheers

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MJL

I have been trying to find a local seller of The Brick and damn if they are hard to find. I am a great lover of Torano cigars and if have been searching down their seconds. Funny, as the are a local SoFla company but the seconds do not seem to find their way down here.

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MJL

Found a supply of The Brick in Key Largo awhile back. The smoke just fine but the wrapper leaf is weak. It tends to shred and unravel but these smoke so nice it is worth the extra care.

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OHMatt

My current favorite "bundle" (they are boxed at bundle price) is Tobacco Baez Serie SF. This is a mixed filler cigar made by Pepin Garcia. I get a box of 20 for $36, and they are wonderful.

-Matt-

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fricky

Call me a cigar snob but life is too short to smoke mediocre cigars. I have not had a bundled cigar that compares favorably with a good first-run cigar. JR Ultimates are quite good; however, their alternatives do not compare well with the original. I limit bundled cigars to mowing the lawn to keep the gnats away.

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OHMatt
Call me a cigar snob but life is too short to smoke mediocre cigars. I have not had a bundled cigar that compares favorably with a good first-run cigar. JR Ultimates are quite good; however, their alternatives do not compare well with the original. I limit bundled cigars to mowing the lawn to keep the gnats away.

How many do you smoke a day fricky? During the week, I typically smoke one on the way to work M-F. Tuesday I usually go through 3 cigars and Thursday is typically 5 (I hit a 3 hour event every Thursday). I rarely smoke on the weekend, so that is 11 a week average..

I only smoke cigars that taste good to me (not just OK). I find increasing price doesn't equate to the better taste, and diminishing returns apply. Firsts will look and burn better, but not taste any different in my experience. I don't care for JR Ultimates, and do not believe in "alternates"; that is just hogwash IMO. Lately I have shyed away from the Altadis and General Cigar/Swedish Match brands that JR pushes. If I find in the future that I again favor that taste, I would likely buy the Consuegra seconds from JR for the trip into work. A few good but inexpensive cigars I can think of at JR: Sancho Panza Double Maduro Quixote $47/20, Mayorga Maduro Robusto $41/20, Plasencia TKO $43/25; each of those are "bundle priced" but packaged in a box.

This morning I had a Vegas Cubanas Imperiales (Torpedo), made in Miami by Don Pepin Garcia. Sadly these didn't sell well at my favorite local store, but thankfully I snagged about 20 of them at the closeout price of $3.60 a stick. (they typically sell for $6 - $7). Tomorrow morning will likely be smoking a Tabacco Baez SF, a $1.80 stick with flavor I love.

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Whiskey Willie
... Lately I have shyed away from the Altadis and General Cigar/Swedish Match brands that JR pushes...

I hear ya, OHM...Macanudos just haven't been the same since Swedish Match bought GC. I swear the blend is different and I know that Mac Hyde Parks are not rolled as well as they used to be.

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OHMatt
I hear ya, OHM...Macanudos just haven't been the same since Swedish Match bought GC. I swear the blend is different and I know that Mac Hyde Parks are not rolled as well as they used to be.

Nothing against D.R. as a lot of good cigars are made there, but I haven't bought a Macanudo since they moved out of Jamaica to D.R.

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