Far too many of us buy rolled treasures in tiny batches. Two here…six there, and that’s fun and keeps the palate stimulated, but these impulses can cost, because, as with just about anything else, when you buy more of something… From Cortez Cigars comes a great solution: its 20 count Salomon Brazil Maduro & Criollo Dominican Republic, at a remarkable $180, offers handmade sticks (seen here) in the rarely seen shape of the Salomon (also known as Diadema, Figueroa). They are a blend of Criollo 98 Cuban Seed Dominican, Havana and Natural Sun Grown Brazilian Maduro. Deep, strong espresso and dark chocolate flavors are accented by an earthy character; they’re the perfect humidor staple. (Also available in a Connecticut wrapper with Havana Ligero). 152 Main Street, Eatontown, NJ,cortezcigars.com
BARN SMOKERS UNITE!
Cofounder of Drew Estate in 1996 (along with partner Marvin Samel) Jonathan Drew has, since being named company president last year, been charged with overseeing a fast growing portfolio (such as the Herrera Esteli, Norteño, and Liga Privada), but he’s also having some fun, including being a prominent voice in the company’s dependably raucous Barn Smokers a movable feast of educational and celebrational events that bring aficionados to where tobacco is grown and processed. This year’s tour kicked off May 19 in Florida, but is scheduled to make a first ever close to New York City stop in Strasburg, Pennsylvania on June 23. Paying tribute to, as Drew describes, “the tobacco growing traditions of Lancaster County, where early Amish settlers have grown the plant since the early 19th century,” MB Roland, Buffalo Trace spirit maker, and John Drew Brands will be cosponsors. In addition to receiving two “experimental” Pennsylvania broadleaf blends, attendees (tickets are $90) will receive 10 additional cigars from among Drew Estate’s lines, along with a catered meal. There will also be a raffle, its proceeds going to the Cigars For Warriors foundation and its mission of “providing premium cigars and accessories to U.S. troops serving in active combat zones.” drewestate.com
Park it, Smoke it
At just 4,200 square feet, and technically termed a “vest pocket park,” Paley Park is the one of the tiny handful of New York City public spaces (besides the sidewalk) where cigar smoking is legal (at project financier William S. Paley’s insistence). And it’s a gem; designed by Zion Breen Richardson Associates, the space was completed in 1967 as an oasis in the midst of Midtown frenzy, and manages to include in tight quarters a 20 foot waterfall, a canopy of honey locust trees, walls covered in ivy, and comfy furniture. The water acts as a white noise counter to honking traffic, and the space is further sound shielded by having just one access point. 3 East 53rd Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenues.
Fire and Earth
The classic vodka martini is as reliable as they come as far as cigar/cocktail pairing is concerned, but we find that a little olive juice supplied “dirt” brings out the flavor in smokes like an Arturo Fuente Exquisito or an Upmann Cameroon the results silky and sophisticated as hell. Now, one stop tippling can be had with this Dirty Martini Gift Set, featuring Grey Goose Vodka and “extra dirty” Stirrings Olive Brine, plus olives, a shaker, and even a martini glass! $145, spiritedgifts.com