While on my recent trip to western New York I sought out a cigar shop. As I do about anywhere I travel. There just happened to be a place right around the corner from where I was staying. Nice Ash Cigars So not only was that serendipitous, but it turned out to be a gem of a find. Why? well I’m glad you asked. You see I have been in cigar shops in just about every destination I go to. In many of these shops they have had their own store blend. As much as I won’t give bad reviews, if I don’t like it I just won’t talk about it, most of these in house brands have been lacking. So as I am walking through the ample and well controlled environment of the Nice Ash Cigars humidor looking for some go to sticks as well as something new. I stumbled across a chest of non bundled, non cellophaned cigars. Two different wrappers a Connecticut shade and an Ecuadorian Cubano wrapper.
Of course I grab the darker maduro looking Ecuadorian wrapped one and ask the clerk about it. He tells me they are rolled in shop by hand. The tobacco is ordered brought in and rolled in this shop. So with a little trepidation I decided to buy one. A caveat before I go on. I am no cigar expert and don’t claim to play one on the internet. I am a cigar smoker and I enjoy them. So if you are looking for a Cigar Aficionado, or Cigar and Spirits style review I may let you down. I will tell you what I did notice about this cigar though. First thing when you pick it up you can feel the weight firmness of this stick. The wrapper is solid and dark, the weight suggests plenty of filler, and the firmness tells me it was wrapped well. I have noticed throughout the many cigars I have smoked that you can tell a lot just from the feel of a cigar, and this one felt surprisingly nice. (don’t forget I at this time still have my preconceived notion about in house cigars). Another give away to the quality of this smoke is the band. Not only a well designed band but it is held together by a detailed black and gold wax seal. Another signal, when someone pays that much attention to the inconsequential details that usually suggests that painstaking detail went into the other work. Gregorio of Gregorio Cigars well done sir.
Would you smoke the damn cigar already. Ok Ok So this darker wrapper is the Imperial. The initial aroma consisted of cedar and cocoa. I gave a couple pre-light draws and got a nice white pepper taste on the tip of my tongue. Lighting up and smoking I tasted coffee and earth with a hint of chocolate again. The stick had a nice firm but not difficult draw. While smoking the cigar maintained a nice ash and burned evenly all the way down. During the smoke I also picked up aromas of old library like books and paper and leather with the flavors of spice and cedar. This turned out to be an amazing smoke good medium full to full flavored. Complex flavors that slowly changed over time. After a little of the stick had burned I eventually paired up with my favorite smoky Laphroaig. The Imperial stood up well and complimented the smoky peaty scotch. The Imperial would also go well with meats and cheeses. Needless to say I did go back and buy more before I left town.
After deciding that I loved this cigar I jumped on the old internet. What do I find? The clerk at the shop was Gregorio himself. A quick look at his website gives you this man’s pedigree for the training he went through to learn to roll these masterful sticks. It will also inform you that he is available for hire for demonstrations, interesting this is the first time I have ever seen that service offered. Gregorio was an extremely personable man and never once did he ever seem pushy about his cigars Very knowledgeable about the make of them yes, pushy never.
So if you are in the Western New York area and looking for a good smoke. Stop by Nice Ash Cigars. If you are looking for an old favorite I bet you will find it. If you are looking for something new try one of the hand rolled right in the Buffalo area Gregorio Cigars. If you need any help I’m sure Gregorio will be more than happy to assist you. If you are into supporting local businesses or love the philosophy behind small batch then it doesn’t get any more small batch than an operation of 1.