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From my friends at Empire Cigars:

Please be our guest…The 2011 Pork n Puff is set!!! Saturday September 10th we will be hosting Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars for our yearly pig blowout. There is no greater celebrity in the cigar industry than Pete and we are extremely lucky to have him. This year we will be roasting 2 pigs since we are expecting a very large crowd. Both Walt and Rich will be crafting beer for the occasion, so get ready to party.

Sincerely,

Hal Rubin

More information will be out soon and I will update this as we learn of the time.

As is the tradition at the Pork n Puff, all box purchases will earn you a ticket into the drawing for a 42″ flat screen TV, an IPad 2 and my 2000 Millennium Opus X Humidor ($5,000 value). Pete is sure to bring lots of cool swag as well as some great smokes you can only get at his events.

Join us afterwards! – Following the Pork n Puff pig roasting, we will be having an after party with our new friend and partner at Amra’s downtown. For those of you who haven’t been there, you’re in for a treat. Dave Mellin is a great guy and really knows how to host a party.

Lots more details will follow (time, deals, etc) but I wanted to give you lots of advance notice so you can save the date.

Save the Date
September 10, 2011
Time – Noon – 5pm

After Party at Amras

5-Until

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So last Friday, the folks at Empire Cigars in Raleigh, NC had a very special event.  This was the worldwide release of the Nosotros cigar by Dion Giolito made in collaboration with Jonathan Drew and Drew Estate.

Dion and Jonathan were supposed to be there, but Jonathan ended up at another shop for a similar event (?).  This was  ok, because I was very interested in picking the brain of one of the cigar industry’s biggest up-and-comers, Dion Giolito.  This guy is known for his palate and cigar flavor memory, and like me is a true cigar geek.

I walk in a little before 4 and Dion is already there chatting with Hal Rubin, the owner of Empire Cigars.  I introduce myself and shake hands say a quick hello to some of my buddies before checking out the sticks.  Four sizes were available that night – the Corona Larga, Robusto, Corona and Churchill.  Dion told me the Toros and the 660s will be in by the end of the month.

I’m in line waiting to get a box (the Corona Largas) and Dion is standing near/above (he’s like 9 feet tall), so I start talking to him.  He asks which size I picked, I show him the CLs, and he tells me that they are 60 days from the table and suggested I try one or two now and put the rest away for at least a month.  You gotta love a guy that up front and open about his product.

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Be there or be square!

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Last Friday we had the privilege of having one of the most popular figures in the cigar industry at Empire Cigars – Don Pepin Garcia!

Pepin showed up promptly at 3pm and the festivities began with Empanadas and Mojitos.  Our pal Hal Rubin, the owner, also splurged on a few bottles of Zaya, a 12-year old rum from Trinidad which was absolutely fantastic.

Dave preparing for the fun

Dave preparing for the fun

There were great promotions that night, discount on boxes of DPG cigars and a free 5-pack with every box purchase.  Box purchases earned a ticket for the raffle which included a few pipe and baseball cigars and a few ashtrays as well.

100_1982

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DonPepinEvent

June 5th @ 5pm!!  This should be an awesome event!  I’ll be there taking pictures and trying to shmooze with the man behind Tatuaje, DPG, San Cristobal, Cabaiguan, Tabacos Baez, La Riqueza, La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial and many others!  Be there or miss out on an oppurtunity to speak with a legend in the biz!  Check out the Empire Cigars website for maps and contact information.

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Wow!  What a blast!  I was lucky to be one of a lucky 100 to get tickets to the AVO Companero dinner at Sullivan’s in Raleigh, NC hosted by Empire Cigars and the birthday boy himself, Mr. Avo Uvezian!

Avo Uvezian

Avo Uvezian

I arrived at 6pm sharp at Sullivan’s and was escorted to the back room where I was greeted by my buddies Hal, Dave and Oscar of Empire Cigars (poor Derek was stuck minding the store).  They shook my hand and gave me a bag with an Avo XO Intermezzo, and AVO 787 Toro and an AVO Signature Double Corona.

I lit the XO first as it was the mildest of the three and I wanted to start off slow.  The XO was a great starter cigar, it was creamy and woody and it got my palate ready for the night ahead!  The Final Four began, so everyone had something to do while waiting for the birthday boy to arrive.

As soon as Avo showed up, unmistakable in his signature straw hat, I realized I forgot my camera.  I looked at my pal Matt of Matt’s Cigar Journal, and he too forgot his camera!  So needless to say that bummed us out, but there were plenty of pictures taken that night.  Luckily many others did:

The Birthday Boy

The Birthday Boy

Shortly after Avo’s arrival we were served our appetizers of crab dip with toast points and fried calamari.  I can’t eat shellfish, but the calamari was perfectly cooked.

After the calamari, I lit the AVO 787 Toro and was greeted with slightly richer flavors than the XO, loaded with coffee and cocoa.  This never has been my favorite as it was modeled after the Avo 22 LE but has not come close to tasting as good as it’s predecessor.

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Last night, which happened to be the Grand Opening of Empire Cigars (formerly Capital City Cigars), featured the unveiling of a brand new cigar for our buddy Hal Rubin – the Cheroot by La Flor Dominicana.  A review of the Cheroot will foloow soon.

During the night, the featured cigar was the Cheroot, but it was also a La Flor Dominicana event hosted by Empire Cigars, featuring great specils on all La Flor cigars, catered by Carrabas!

It got busy quick, and Larry, Derek and Hal were swamped all night!

Hal, Larry & Derek working hard!

Hal, Larry & Derek working hard!

The store was jam-packed with happy & hungry smokers!

 

 Check out the La Flor section!  Coronados, Double Ligeros, Ligeros, LG Diez, Mysterios, Limitadas, you name it!

 

 

Here’s a pic of Hal’s new baby, the Cheroot!  This one’s all Ligero, baby!

Everyone had a blast, thanks for putting on such a great event, guys!  Special thanks to Brad(?) of La Flor for spending a couple of minutes chatting it up with me.  🙂

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