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Ask the Experts

Have you ever been smoking the same cigar as someone else and you think it’s great and the other person really doesn’t care for it?  Everyone has different tastes and preferences.  What one person may like may not be what another prefers.

Here at Lil Brown Smoke Shack, Larry and I want to provide you with more than one perspective to show two sides on one cigar.  Now Larry and I may or may not agree on how we rate a cigar, but that is the whole idea, to give you the reader the opportunity to see two sides to one cigar and make a decision for yourself.  We offer our opinions and ratings as a guide, but in the end it is up to you try the cigar and decide if you like it; and please let us know what you think of the cigars we review.

Leave a comment on the blog and let us know your opinion.  Let us know if you agree with our review or not, or if you agree with Larry or I or not.  We want to provide you information through our reviews to open up the conversation.  So join the conversation, read the reviews, try the cigars, and give us your input.  Happy Smoking!!

 Larry Watkins

Years smoking cigars:

I have been smoking cigars for over 40 years.  The first time I was spotted smoking by my parents, I was smoking a hand rolled cigar I had bought at a smoke shack in the lower valley.  I was riding with a friend who was old enough to drive, and my parents passed us and saw me “puffing” on a big cigar.

Types of cigars I like:

I like them all! Ok maybe not all.  I like well made, hand rolled cigars from all over the world.  I many times will choose full-bodied spicy cigars, but I also like the mild to medium cigars.  It depends on my mood, the time of day, or what I’m doing at the time I choose my cigar.

My Critique style:

Ok, I’m not the “artsy” type.  I smoke 6-8 cigars a day so I know what I like, and am able to tell you why.  Don’t expect me to tell you about “floral notes”, a touch of “chocolate”, or cedar.  Sometimes I will taste some of these things, and when I do I will let you know, but don’t count on it.  I will however tell you if a cigar is worthy of your attention.

Matthew Sackmann

Years of smoking cigars:

I’ve smoked cigars for 13 years now. My first cigar was a Backwoods when I was 18.  My friend and I snuck out on my parents back deck when they were out of town and nervously lit up.  We thought we were pretty cool, but were real nervous, not wanting someone to smell the smoke and get us in trouble.  I assure you, I have come a long way since then.  I have always been intrigued by cigars, the relaxed lifestyle they promote and artistry that goes into the final product.  While I have not had a Backwoods in several years, I have to admit, they do hold a special place in my heart.

Types of cigars I like:

Like Larry, I like them all.  My mood and time of day tends to dictate what kind of cigar I will enjoy. Typically I like milder cigars in the morning and fuller bodied cigars as the day goes on.  If I were to pick my favorite, I would have to say medium bodied to medium full bodied cigars that are rich in flavor and not heavy in spice.  Toros tend to be my favorite size; not too short and not too long.  When I smoke, I like to relax and enjoy and I feel rushed with a Robusto, but Churchill or Double Corona really cuts into the liquor budget.  A Toro offers the right mix.

My Critique Style

This is where Larry and I really differ.  I’m artsy and he’s old fartsy.  He gives it to you straight, where I like figuring out the different flavors and characteristics of the cigar.  I am always trying to hone in on what I like and don’t in a cigar.  It’s part of the enjoyment for me.  I admit I can go a little overboard with it, but what the heck it’s my cigar, my time and my enjoyment.  One thing that really chaps my hide is a bad draw, so if you see a low(er) rating for a cigar, look at the draw score.  Look, I buy cigars to enjoy then, not to strain my face and neck muscles to get some smoke.

Cigar How-Tos

1. How to Select, Cut, Light, and Smoke a Cigar

2. How to Roll Your Own – Injector Method

3. How to Roll Your Own – Roller Method

4. How to Select, Load, Light, Clean, and Smoke a Pipe

5. How to Chew Tobacco

6. How to Use Snuff

7. How to Refill and Repair a Butane or Zippo Lighter

8. How to Season your Humidor

9. How to Calibrate a Hygrometer


One response to “Ask the Experts”

  1. Josh says:


    I recently purchased a box of cigars from an estate sale, but have found absolutely no information on them and am hoping you can shed some light my purchase. The wooden cigar box has engraved/printed on it “Placensia..Número Cinco..Camerun Seed Wrapper..contents 25 cigars made in Honduras.” The seal is green and white and among several words has the date 1971. Any information on these cigars would be much appreciated. Thank you.”

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