Download Episode 19 Part 1 Here

Download Episode 19 Part 2 Here


Ocean State Cigars

Stogie of the Week:

J. Grotto Series Silk

Origin: Raices Cubanas, Honduras
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Binder: Double Binder: Indonesian, Criollo 98
Filler: Honduran Trojes, Nicaragua Jalapa
Strength: Mild/Medium
Vitola: Toro & Torpedo
Age: N/A
MSRP: $6.75 to $7.50


Paul is the owner and operator of Mr. “J’s” Havana Smoke Shop (Also lovingly called “Joyals”). He has created a new company called “Ocean State Cigars” which distributes premium handmade cigars such as the J Grotto Series and the J Grotto Series Reserve. He is here with us tonight to talk about the blending process and his new cigar called “Silk”:

  1. Why “J Grotto” in the name of your cigars?
  2. Which country does the tobacco used in all your cigars from and where is it blended?
  3. How do you choose which leaf to use for filler, binder and wrapper? What qualities do you look for when selecting wrapper, binder and filler?
  4. What is different about the leaf used in all your cigars, does it come from different regions, farms or priming’s on the plant?
  5. How do you select which blend will ultimately be the one used in one of your cigars?
  6. Which sizes do you use to sample the blend and why?
  7. How long to you age the tobacco used in your cigars? Is it aged before its rolled, after its rolled or both?
  8. What seize are most popular and how do you determine which sizes your cigars will be offered in?
  9. Tell us about this Slik, what is the binder, filler and wrapper?
  10. What is the strength and flavor profile?
  11. Why do so many people like to smoke a Connecticut shade wrapper? Why do many people not like it?


To win a five pack of the J. Grotto Reserva Corona Gorda and a couple of extra’s from Stogie Santa and Tim submit a picture of you smoking a cigar to us at by June 1, 2012. The winner will be picked on the podcast in June!

This week we are drinking

Old Weller Antique Original 107 Brand Bourbon

What We Have Been Smoking

Paul’s List

  1. Padron 1926 40 Years – One of the best smokes I had all week. Subtle spice, cocoa flavors, perfectly balanced, the right amount of strength and complexity, absolutely perfect burn and construction. Oasis.
  2. La Flor Dominicana Ligero L300 – Nice toasty nut flavor on this stick, tons of age on it too. Came in a gift set with three sticks and a cheap cutter and lighter. Fiver.
  3. El Museo by La Flor Dominicana – One word: Boring. This stick had really nothing going for it, it was flat and didn’t hold my attention. It could be aged out, would have liked to smoke it when it first came in. This stick retailed for $30.00. Also, I think the band is pretty ugly.
  4. Guillermo Leon Corona Gorda – I got this stick for $3 or so on auction. Its a nice smoke, nice spice and smooth toasted nuts and wood. While some find complexity with this blend, I wonder if they are smoking the same cigar. Fiver.
  5. Viaje Skull and Bones WMD (March 2011) – Both the MOAB and the WMD are smoking so awesome right now, finger burners for sure. There is this hint of sweetness coupled with some spice and pepper that is just outstanding. WMD = Box worthy. MOAB = Oasis.
  6. La Flor Dominicana Double Press – The first two thirds of this stick was so awesome. Carmless type sweetness, smokes perfect, easy draw. Finish was a little blah, but overall a great stick. Fiver.
  7. Joya De Nicuragua Antano Dark Corojo – I smoked the bellicose, and really enjoyed it. The burn is tough, requires some touch ups. The flavors are dark, rich, and cocoa. I’m saying’ Fiver right now, but with some age these could be box worthy if the construction holds up. The one I smoked was almost 3 years old.
  8. La Aurora Cameroon Preferido – Love the Cameroon wrapper on this stick, it gives off some serious spice, but doesn’t overpower. Its not a very strong stick, so I like these after breakfast. They have all smoked perfectly. Box worthy.
  9. Quesada Oktoberfest – Draw was snug on this one, so had a tough time getting the flavors from it. I will stand by my assessment that they go really well with beer. My favorite beer of all time, hands down, is G. Schneiender and Sons Aventinus. This cigar and that beer is the perfect paring. So, if you enjoy beer, this is a box worthy purchase. I do plan to re-visit this combo very soon.
  10. Opus X Magnum O – This was my smoke of the week. Paired with some scotch, this Opus did not have the overpowering nicotine strength of many Opus. It had sweetness, leather, and spice that was balanced perfectly. I loved it so much I had to poke the end and continue smoking it. Very enjoyable experience. This stick was only about 2 years old, and right now has to be one of my favorite production Opus sizes. Box Worthy (even for the non-Opus smoker).
  11. God Of Fire 2005 – Thanks to Mark Jr. I enjoyed the crap out of this cigar. The complexity was amazing, sweetness, spice, toasted nuts, snug draw. The best GOF I’ve had to date.
  12. Tatuaje Avion – This was my disappointment of the week. The draw was way too loose, and I smoked the first third and put it down. Also, this ties for my ugliest label of the week award.
  13. Opus X Perfecxion X 2009 – Not the best Opus from the CFCF 2009 box, but not the worst. I like this size, draw was snug, but enjoyable flavors.
  14. Partagas 898 Varnished (’98) – Nice smooth, cedar flavors, not aged out, a solid vintage Cuban. However, not the best vintage Cuban from this year (Sancho Panza was better).
  15. Viaje Oro Reserva – Another one with too loose of a draw, ruined it for me.
  16. La Aurora Cien Anos Lancero
  17. Arturo Fuente King T Tubo – This stick was young, in that even the second hand smoke burned your sinus. However, it got better as it went on and presented some unique flavors and was very enjoyable. This is a fiver (almost box worthy), and let them age.
  18. La Verite VintageL’Esprit de Vérité Robusto- 2008 Vintage – Wrapper came apart on me, which seems to happen with this stick. I recommend you put these at 70%, not 63-66% like I had them. Carmel sweetness, need to re-visit.
  19. Tatuaje Seleccion De Cazador Unicos (Brown Label) – Great smoking stick, tons of smoke, nice spice, awesome flavors, a winner. Fiver.
  20. Quesada Selección Epsana Robusto – Short robust is still my favorite, I get more flavors from the short than the regular robust.
  21. Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 8-5-8 Rosado – Oasis Period. Mild, smooth, yummy.
  22. Partagas 8-9-8 Varnished (MAY 01) – Awful construction problems, stay away from these.
  23. Padron 1926 #6 Maduro – The balance of spice and cocoa make this smoke a winner every time. However, the draw was a little tight until I pulled out a stem. While Padron has awesome contraction, it leaves Davidoff as the only brand where I’ve never had a construction problem.

Tim’s List

  1. Wicked Indie Toro – This 100% Nicarguan Puro features a Habano wrapper and eight year old binder and fillers. Medium bodied and very smooth. The flavor profile initially consisted of cedar with an equal amount of spice and sweetness with a very bready base. Burn and draw were perfect and I found the smoke to be dry on the palate but not in a bad way. The strength and the spice pickup a little on the second and last third. The spice was definitely similar to what I have picked up when smoking Corojo tobacco. In conclusion, I would smoke it again while hanging around the yard. The price is right at about $5.00 a stick. “The Angler”
  2. Gurkha Widow Maker – Paul gave this to me a while back after picking up some on auction at a very reduced price. CI lists the MSRP for a box of ten as $500.00 but have them currently at $125.00. This is a 7 x 52 Churchill with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. The flavor profile was a perfect balance of coffee, chocolate, and spice with some occasional floral notes. Medium in strength but medium/full in flavor, this stick poured smoke and was smooth. Probably the best Gurkha I have had and at the reduced price “Box Worthy”. At the listed MSRP not so much.
  3. Gran Habano #3 Habano Pyramid – After recently smoking the Gran Habano #5 Corojo, I decided to revisit the Habano #3. This time I grabbed a smaller vitola (6 x 52 Pyramid) than the 6 x 60 Imperiales I smoked last time. Medium in bodied, this stick had a nice balance of sweet cedar, leather, and spice. The performance was good but I did find the finish to be a bit dry. I enjoyed it but to my surprise liked the larger vitola better. The larger ring gauge just seems to work for this blend. “The Angler” for the Pyramid but “The Fiver” for the Imperiales.
  4. Liga Privada T52 Toro – This Liga Privada T52 Toro had been resting at the bottom of my humidor for about a year. The age has mellowed this stick a bit but it was still as comforting as always with its complex mix of flavors and subtle pepper. As always, a perfect burn with tons of smoke. You really cannot go wrong with this smoke. “Box Worthy”
  5. The La Aurora Cien Anos Lancero – Wow this is probably the best burning Lancero I have ever had. 90+ minute smoke time and lots of smooth flavor. Probably the best 100 Anos I have ever had. “Box Worthy”
  6. Tatuaje La Verite 2009 L’Espirit de Verite – With the Sun making an appearance for the first time in four days, I grabbed something special for lunch today. Pete Johnson’s La Verite 2009 has a perfect balance of cedar sweetness and spice with an incredible creamy finish that just coats the palate. Expensive but worth every penny. “Box Worthy”
  7. La Arome de Cuba Mi Amor Churchill – Notes of wood, spice, espresso and raison sweetness. The spice fades a bit and mocha later on. The finish is long and the flavors linger for quite some time which is not a bad thing! Good burn with strong ash but the Robusto is the better representation of this blend IMHO. “The Fiver” for the Churchill but “Box Worthy” on the Robusto.
  8. Liga Privada Feral Pig – After five months of rest I decided to kick off the weekend by revisiting the Liga Privada Feral Pig. This little piggy began with lots of earth, leather, and some pepper. A nice syrupy sweetness creeped in on the second third and I could detect some espresso. The last third kicked my @$$ with an increase in and strength. Two hours of bliss. “Box Worthy”
  9. La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero A Oscuro – Saturday afternoon, I grabbed a La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero A Oscuro gifted to me by Bill Berris of the Cigar Snapshot Podcast. This 9 x 47 cigar offered up some smooth, dark flavors including espresso, leather, and some Ligero sweetness. It did begin a little tight on the draw but opened at the halfway mark. Less strength than the Chisel but more flavor IMHO. Smooth and balanced, this two hour journey was probably the best part of my weekend. “Box Worthy”
  10. CAO Sopranos – The Tony Soprano – Paul had gifted me this 6.5 x 60 beast last Fall and I have been just waiting for the temperature to rise enough to enjoy it. The age has mellowed this cigar a bit since the last time I smoked it but it was still smoking great. Coffee, leather, and spice flavors presented themselves in a very balanced manner. Burn and draw were an A+. Smoke time was about 2.5 hours. While enjoyable, I still like the Robusto (Associate) the best from this line. It may be a bit gimmicky, but it is a solid smoke IMO. “The Fiver”
  11. Room 101 San Andreas Papi Chulo – This full bodied Petit Corona offered up lots of leather, earth, and pepper. It didn’t change up much but it is a Petit. Great burn and draw. Took me close to an hour to finish. “The Fiver”
  12. Joya De Nicaragua Antano Dark Corojo Peligroso – Wow this 4 x 42 Nicaraguan Puro has been on my short list for some time. This little power house poured flavor and anormous amounts of smoke on each draw. I will be picking up more real soon. “Box Worthy”