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About 5thStarChicago

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  • Birthday 03/23/1978

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    Chicago, USA

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  1. I chose the CoRo... only in the hopes that they are as good as the one from the last blind taste challenge.
  2. Thanks. With Hamlet around, it's hard not to have fun. I'm hiding the Scotch from him until at least 6:30...
  3. -POSTED WITH EL PREZ'S BLESSING AND PERMISSION- As Hamlet Paredes is well known and a friend to many fellow members here, I thought I'd share an event I'm hosting this Wednesday for any members in or near Chicago. This Wednesday May 8th 5pm - 8pm, Hamlet will be at Up Down Cigar in Chicago for a rolling demonstration, Q&A and party! We've been supporters of Hamlet's U.S. cigars for a while and have a great time when he's in town. If you're free, come have a drink and some of his cigars with us. For attendees, we'll be teasing our new Up Down Exclusive collaboration with Hamlet, the Hamlet 25th Anniversary Corona. $49.00 ticket includes: - Meet & Greet with Hamlet to discuss all things cigars - Rolling demonstration - 6 Hamlet cigars including a sneak preview of our new Up Down Exclusive - Beer from Goose Island - Special promos on all Hamlet cigars Space is limited to 40 people. Please call Up Down at 1-312 337-8025 to register. Feel free to PM me or call with any questions. Cheers, Phil
  4. I can vouch for Vigilant. I have seen some of their commercial build outs and they are top quality builds. I'd consider them in an instant for a custom job. I think they aren't mentioned much because they are pricey and there are so many Chinese knock offs for 1/3 the price.
  5. Illusione & Tatuaje were my favorites but the La Aurora Hors d'age is the non cc of 2018 in my book. Can't smoking them.
  6. Just returned to the U.S. from the Havana via Miami last week. Miami customs is a breeze. Worst case, you pay a duty on over $800 dollars worth of stuff but I've never been asked anything by customs in miami. Regarding leaving Cuba, definitely get Facturas for boxes and receipts for custom rolls. They seem to be cracking down on if you have 2 boxes or more. I've been harassed the last 2 times I've been there and heard horror stories from others so get those facturas!
  7. I attempted to do this years ago but gave up quickly. I smoke too often, have tons of cigars and don't have the discipline to update a spreadsheet every time I smoke Why ruin the cigar smoking experience with accounting and inventory management?
  8. Elie Bleu if you have the coin and want the best finishes on earth. They are nothing short of spectacular. Their Casa Cubana series is amazing.
  9. Prez, I trust you're including myself and Amy in your head count?
  10. I'm one of the owners of Up Down Cigar. Hotel Lincoln is only about 4 blocks north of my store (1550 N. Wells). Please come say hello while you're here! I'm always happy to see fellow FoH members. Cheers, Phil
  11. Mine are more cigar centric in general but I like these: It's a Vette, cuts like a knife CHAVETA (the blade used to cut wrapper leaves to size) The car is black so MADURO (MADURO 5 as a Cohiba specific shout out) It's a convertible, so refer to sun grown wrapper SUN GRWN
  12. The cigar that got me into cigars many moons ago was the NC HdM Excalibur No.3 maduro, followed by the Ashton Aged Maduro (40's and 10's). The Ashton immediately dispelled the notion that maduro = strong. I've been lucky with consistently great Party 1 Mads I really enjoy them, to the point that I'll smoke a great one over a D4 any chance I get (to answer the posed question). Today I gravitate towards lighter wrappers overall but still love good maduro and sun grown wrappers. I think the U.S. market has huge influence over HSA's planning (Altadis is annoying but not dumb, as someone earlier pointed out) so more and more maduros and large ring gauges are crossing into Cuban production (it hurt my soul the first time I saw a Cuban made 56 ring gauge cigar). I have no real idea the percentage of CC's made that are purchased by Americans but I'm sure it's high and here, dark cigars and big ring gauges are extremely popular even though shade wrappers still dominate overall sales (strong as balls cigars get all the press, mild smooth and balanced actually sells the best). With more and more Americans buying Cubans cigars both illegally and legally, HSA is creating familiar looking products (both darker & big ring gauges) to appeal to a wider array of consumers. It doesn't hurt that filler tobacco is cheap so they can make fatter cigars for higher prices and fatter margins. Since the average American cigar smoker (and the completely cigar ignorant tourist) is mostly ignorant to Cuban cigars, their flavor ranges and prices , they'll pay the high prices and the inconsistency isn't noticed or a concern since they aren't on the shelves here and aren't bought regularly. It's also why so many counterfeit cigars are still bought. FOH is clearly made of up above average cigar smokers so our personal perspectives are totally different. HSA isn't nearly as concerned about us as they are the masses of the ill informed. Me and my staff all love skinny smokes and love educating customers on why they matter and why they should be smoked. That seems to need to be taught to people, though, as the stereotypical image of a cigar isn't a 6 x 38 or a 4 x 42. Unfortunately. Keep the maduros coming as I'll never object to variety. Just bring more reasonable pricing along with them.

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