This is my first trip report and review, it is a bit long but the TL:DR of what we smoked and notable eating spots of the trip is at the bottom.
I've always looked forward to my trips to the big Apple, the food is great, the buzz gets me going and most importantly getting to meet up with friend and BOTL @torsion. There have been a couple trips previously but this was to be the final meet up in NYC (also, his wife was away👹) as his time in the city is done. This meant a celebration like no other, cigars, food, drinks, in that order. The goal was not to smoke as much as possible but to smoke as well as we could. The final total was 22 cigars in a week, although we had planned to sample some NCs we never got round to them. The rules were laid out, we would smoke the same cigars and compare notes and experiences.
On arriving, I was greeted with a bag of choice sticks, ranging from Por Larranaga to custom Canonazo. We started the evening with ramen and sake on the Upper East Side before heading to Cigar Inn. We started our first night with a Trinidad Fundadores, the lounge was pretty crowded and smoky which may have affected our smoking experience. The fundy was my first and I was greeted with what everyone raves about. Following that we sparked a custom canonazo doble. At this point the room was pretty smoky, I had a pretty plugged draw and we were not getting the full flavours. But day 1 was in the bag and the question what are we smoking next” became the recurring question throughout the trip.
Saturday/ Day 2 to a headed to Nat Shermans Town House on to visit our favourite salesman Adam and smoke. The Nat Shermans team have always been hospitable and have no airs, they make anyone feel welcome and never scoff at your budget, but Adam is the main man. We were invited to the Johnson Club Room and we knew we were going to be there all day. The day started with a connie B which was another first, mid to full body throughout, big flavours which made the big ring gauge a bit more tolerable. A quick lunch at Chipotle before getting back to business and starting a Romeo Y Juiletta Churchill. This has been one of my favourite cigars because of the sweetness and format, this did not disappoint. Dinner was going to be phenomenal as we were booked for Cote, korean BBQ place, @torsion had hyped this up to me well before the trip. The pictures don’t do any justice to the food, we had the butcher block, an additional steak and a bottle of wine before proceeding to the courtyard of the the Lotte Palace Hotel. This time we sparked a Custom Behike 54 and were let down as the cigar seemed to have no oomph, the flavours were mild, muted and had no evolution. Granted it was an easy smoke but would be the last boring cigar of the 22. We wrapped up the day with a Club Allones which was a stark contrast from the custom Behike, both in format and flavour.
We started Sunday/ Day 3 at Davidoffs kicking things of with a custom double robusto monster although we had a bottle of Iwai Mars blended Japanese whisky I didn’t want any of that. This cigar raised my expectations of what a cigar could be, this was followed by a Bolivar Royal Corona from 2014. We had a brief intermission and acid trip at Mission Chinese before heading back up to Lotte Palace for a PLPC, which amidst all these insane cigars really held it’s weight.
On Monday/ Day 4 we started late after @torsion was done with work. We headed straight for Club Macanudo where I was treated to a custom double perfecto. This cigar was complex and had great evolution throughout, a real treat. Despite the format it smoked with little issues and was really quite different throughout. This was followed by a custom Alex lancero before finally wrapping the night up with a Ramon Allones Hermitage RE Rusia. Both of which paled in comparison to the custom.
Christmas Day/Day 5 this was going to be our rest day as all the lounges were closed. we started the day slow with a bottle of Pierre Jouet and smoked salmon and capers before getting bundled up with our thermals and hand warmers in tote to sit outside of Central Park west to smoke a custom robusto extra. After a brief lunch of scallop linguine we continued with a pleasantly complex Des Dieux before calling it a day to make way for more drinking and eating.
Wednesday/ Day 6 straight to Davidoffs where we started with a custom lancero from a BOTL, this was followed by a Siglo iv at this point we were joined by a friend who wanted to be introduced to the world of cigars. @torsion set her up with a SCDLH el Principe which she enjoyed as her first ever cuban. From there we moved on to a Partagas 2017 LE which seemed rather uncharacteristic of a Partagas and imo a little underwhelming. We adjourned for dinner at Nom Wah, egg tarts from a bakery (it’s a little tradition that we have) before heading to Existing Conditions for drinks. The Toki Lowball was totally unassuming, it was made with a variety of teas and Suntory Toki but it drank like a heavily peated whisky. i had the Saratoga Paloma and Waffle Turkey 101, the Saratoga Paloma was light and very refreshing and the salinity of the Saratoga springs water really stood out, the Waffle Turkey was a waffle infused bourbon with maple syrup and not only does it taste like waffles it had a rich buttery mouthfeel as well. After this brief intermission, we headed back to Macanudo where I had a ’18 Lusi while torsion had a Don Alejandro. Lusis, to me always paled in comparison to the 898 which I think has more punch and flavour and this was no exception. On the other hand the Don Alejandro was a complete let down, poor draw, moderately interesting and overall mediocre cigar.
Thursday/ Day 7 was slated to be a big day (yes after smoking all those amazing cigars torsion somehow managed to top it). We had intended to head to Nat Shermans and pick up an order for a BOTL and had hoped to be invited to the Johnson Club Room to spend the day. However, plans had changed and we were denied access so we started our day with a CoRo and boy was I pleased we started with that. This was the ultimate morning smoke, paired with our dark roast Dunkin’ Donuts coffee I could not ask for more. We moved on to Davidoff to start on a Vintage H.upmann from 1960s which was wildly different from anything else we’ve had. Although medium body the flavours were clearly from a different time, the construction was phenomenal not needing any touchups or relights the entire time. As my first vintage this really blew me away. This was followed by an El Rey Tainos. Before we headed back to grab another bottle of Pierre Jouet, some halal and a custom Canonazo. This was also a doozy as on the cold draw it tasted nothing like how it smoked but once it got going I could not put it down, finishing it in 45 mins. There was not a better way to wrap this absolutely bonkers trip and I am glad that this was how we were going to remember our meet ups in the big apple. As I write this in the Canadian winter I think to myself, wtf am I going to smoke next
1. (Tied) Custom double robusto, Custom Lancero
3. Custom Canonazo
5. 1960s Upmann
6. Custom Double Perfecto
7. H. Upmann Connie B
8. Trini Fundy
9. RyJ Churchill
10. Custom robusto extra
11. HDM De Dieux
12. Boli Royal Corona
13. Custom canonazo doble
14. RA Club Allones
16. ERDM Tainos
17. SIglo IV
18. RA Hermitage RE Rusia
19. Custom Alex Lancero
20. Partagas Lusi
21. Partagas LE 2017
22. Custom Behike
Notable places we ate and drank at
Cote Korean BBQ
Places we smoked at
Bench outside of Central Park