The Aston Cigar Company was founded in 1985 in Philadelphia by Robert Levin. Ashton cigars are handmade in the Dominican Republic in the legendary Arturo Fuente factory. In the early 2000s, Ashton expanded its operations by partnering with rising cigar-maker, Jose “Pepin” Garcia. It was then that the partners developed two new cigar brands in Nicaragua.
The Ashton VSG Belicoso #1 is a mild smoke with an attractive creaminess and faint notes of pepper. Its Dominican tobacco is aged for three-four years and combined with a golden Connecticut shade wrapper. The result is a full-bodied cigar that’s strong and flavorful, yet also smooth and elegant. One of the benchmark Ashton brands, the VSG Belicoso #1 boasts a strong, oily and flavorful leaf with a caramel, nutty taste that’s a definite palate-pleaser.
Punch cigars are the world's second oldest cigar brand still in production. Founded in 1840, it was first made with tobacco grown in Cuba’s Vuelta Abajo region by Don Manuel Lopez. Lopez manufactured his Havana Punch for the British market, and thus, took its name from the popular “Punch And Judy” puppet show. In 1930, Punch cigars was bought by Fernandez Palicio. However, when the Castro regime came to power in 1959, Palicio left Cuba for America.
In 1964, Palicio sold his company to the Villazon family. The family continued to make Punch cigars in Tampa, Florida with tobacco imported from Honduras, but with Cuban leaf. In an interesting twist of fate, Villazon’s buyers purchased thousands of bales of Cuban leaf right before President Kennedy imposed embargoes on Cuba. This ensured they could continue using Cuban leaf way past 1965. Meanwhile in Honduras, the government wanted to expand the country’s tobacco-growing industry, so the Honduras-American Tobacco S.A., or HATSA, was formed.
With rising U.S. Labor costs and a lack of Americans who knew how to roll cigars, Villazon decided to move virtually all of his production to Honduras. There, he met master blender Frank Llaneza, who rebuilt Punch cigars with Honduran, Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos, rolled in oily Ecuadorian Sumatra wrappers.
The Connecticut-wrapped, slightly mild Grand Cru is one of the company’s finest cigars, preferred by celebrities such as NFL Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor and Terry Bradshaw; Smokin' Joe Frasier; actor Wayne Knight, and e Street Band drummer Max Weinberg.
Romeo Y Julieta Bully
Ring gauge: 50
Filler: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Indonesia (slightly oily)
Romeo y Julieta cigars were born in Havana, Cuba in 1875 and take their name from Shakespeare’s tragic characters. While the cigar brand has always been popular, it gained true prominence at the beginning of the 20th century when it was purchased by Jose “Pepin” Rodriguez Fernandez. He was the former head of the Cabanas factory in Havana. Because Fernandez was such a great salesman, the cigar soon became very popular with rich people around the world, including one of its earliest admirers, Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill was also among the more than 20,000 fans who demanded personalized rings for the stogies. Another admirer of these cigars was jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.
The Romeo y Julieta Bully has a medium-bodied profile with notes of cedar and earth.
Wrapper Type: Cameroon
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Origin: Dominican Republic
Strength: Mellow - Medium
Wrapper Color: Medium Brown / EMS
Arturo Fuente started making cigars in the back of his house in 1912 with help from his wife and two sons. From the very beginning, Arturo’s focus has been on blending tobacco of the highest quality.
The Hemingway Short Story began life as the famous Arturo Fuente Perfecto cigar in the 1920s. By the 1940s, the cigar makers were too old to make them anymore. However, in the 1980s Arturo’s grandson Carlos Fuente, Jr. decided the time had come to bring the classic Perfecto shaped cigar back to life. It was reintroduced as the Hemingway Short Story, but it’s still the same mellow, smooth classic cigar of yesteryear. You may think you’ll just smoke this cigar while you’re mowing the lawn or driving through town, but you’ll probably end up sitting down, relaxing and enjoying its deep flavors.
How do they taste so good? It begins with the air curing process the mature leaves undergo; then the leaves are hung in barns or wooden sheds and slowly dried to release their natural sugars. During this stage, the leaves turn from green to yellow and orange, then to brown. The next step is a fermenting method, which lasts for six months.
Meanwhile, the wrapper tobacco is packed in bales and aged for a minimum of two years. After aging, this tobacco is placed in Dominican rum barrels.
After the cigar is created, Macanudo adds an extra step to the cigar-making process; they age the cigars in a cedar-lined room to bring out even more flavor. The result is a mild, smooth cigar you’ll want to smoke again and again.
It's important to match the body of the cigar with the body of the liquor. Pairing cigars with wines and spirits is just one part of the balance. Ultimately, what tastes best to you is what will work and what won't. As always, if you need a recommendation, one of our wait staff will be glad to help.