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No 360 June 25 – July 8, 2015

Cigars in Winter

The patterns of nature are well established, with small deviations in the exact dates of the beginning and ending of each season.
However, winter is definitely here now - and for many parts of the country it spells out dry air.
This can be bad news for your cigars if you do not check the condition in your humidor, or storage space.

The relative humidity should be around 70%, but feel the cigars. They will tell you more than the normal analogue (analog) hygrometer. If they are hardening up, losing their sponginess, and possibly cracking, they need more moisture.
Read more.
If you’re not too happy working by feel, buy yourself a digital hygrometer, which measures humidity and temperature.

If the inside of the humidor feels bone dry remove all the cigars and give it a wipe with a damp (not soaking wet) cloth. Allow the moisture to be absorbed before replacing the cigars.
Your digital hygrometer will tell you the true story.

Check the humidifier: is it filled, and are the holes clean. If you have a nano-bead humidifier, are the beads still swollen and opaque in colour? If not submerge the humidifier in distilled water. If this doesn’t work it needs replacing.
When wet, the nano-beads will release moisture if the RH falls below 70%, and absorb moisture if the RH goes way above 70%. They should maintain a reasonably constant relative humidity no matter how often the humidor is opened. However, it always pays to check – your digital hygrometer will help.

Remember the 70:70 rule.

Once you have the humidity in the humidor under control check the general surrounding area. Winter is the time for heaters to be switched on, sunlight to be allowed in, and doors to be kept closed. Any of these, or a combination of these, can adversely affect your cigars.

If you are in that part of the country where the winters are cold and wet – you still have to worry about the temperature – make sure the cigars aren’t too warm.

Cigars don’t like heat!

Watchpoint: If you have more than twenty or thirty cigars in one humidor remember to rotate them occasionally.
Don’t suffocate those at the bottom.

Thought: The cost of a digital hygrometer is little more than the cost of 3 good cigars.
To help you possibly save more than 3 cigars we offer:

From 2 – 15 July, 2015
25% off Digital Hygrometers
Only from Wesley’s Shops and Online Store.

Ensure that the storage area is cool, and with good humidity your cigars will be a real joy to smoke throughout the winter season, and for the rest of the year.

Colin Wesley
No.360 June 25 – July 8, 2015

You can read previous articles from "Across the Counter" in The Library.


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No 361 July 9 -22, 2015

The Gentle Art
(Alfred Dunhill)

 Pipesmoking will be a relaxing pastime;
that is, once you have overcome the initial concerns that accompany the decision to smoke a pipe.

  • Will there be a sore tongue, a harsh taste, or possibly a troublesome mouthpiece that can be too loose, too tight, or blocked?
  • What about the necessary rituals of ongoing maintenance and cleaning of the pipe to prevent a bitter taste as the mouthpiece oxidises, or as the bowl is in danger of an overdose of carbon build-up?
  • You’re enjoying the rhythmic rubbing and polishing, the scraping and reaming; then you run short of pipe spray or bristle cleaners just when you have decided to do a satisfying clean-up while you watch the Rugby on Television.

Through web articles you have discovered that maintenance is not a chore thanks to the various polishes, creams, sprays, assorted pipe-cleaners and proper instruments which have been developed to clear the way through any trouble spots.
You are settling down nicely.

Then you notice that the rim of your favourite pipe is showing signs of wear and tear!
Could this be from being “knocked out” on the edge of your large stone ashtray (or a brick wall)?

And why is there so much ash spilt on the floor?

Worse still, you notice a burn mark on the outside of the bowl.
Is the pipe burning through?
Or is this the result of accidently resting the pipe in a bed of hot ashes in the ashtray?
(Now you really rue not buying that little fold up “deckchair” style pipe rest that could sit next to your ashtray.)

Actually …… maybe it is the ashtray that is at fault?

Well you are not the first, nor the only, budding pipe smoker to have these thoughts, so an answer has been devised that addresses these three problems.
A combination of

  • a generous size ashtray,
  • fitted with a cork knocker,
  • with a pipe rest as part of the ashtray.

We have 3 models of this combination which do the job:
From China     79-J0842 – restful smoky glass
79-J0715 – classy black ceramic
From Italy (home of a distinguished Ceramic industry)
79-SavW1012 - Savinelli Sidecar ashtray in 3 brilliant jewel colours.

From 16 -29 July, 2015
You can own one of these for 25% less than the normal price
Only from Wesley’s Shops and Online Store.

Add one of these to your kit, and then you can relax – no more problems!

Colin Wesley
No.361 July 9-22, 2015

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No 362 July 23 – August 5, 2015

What can the Cigar ash tell you?

The formation and colour of the ash that develops during the smoking of a premium cigar is very often a point of interest and discussion amongst cigar smokers.
But really, what can we learn from the ash with reference to the cigar that is creating it?

According Rick Hacker, Cigar Guru, and the author of The Ultimate Cigar Book,** the colour of the ash indicates the approximate mineral content of the soil in which the tobacco was grown, and nothing else.
(** 4th Edition is available from Amazon.com in Hardcover or Kindle)
The level of magnesium is a major influence in this regard: too little in the soil and the ash is dark and clinging.
The more magnesium the lighter the ash, but which may then be brittle and flake off too easily.
A generalisation is that the lighter the ash the sweeter the taste:  the darker the ash the more intense the taste. You’ll probably find this out for yourself, as you smoke the cigar.

This is one of the stages where the expertise of a blender is put to the test.
He must be familiar with the mineral composition of the soil in which the leaves were grown, the pH of the soil (affects the combustion rate), and much more.

Longer ash can act as an insulator and may cool the smoke.
(Note: Short-filler cigars by their nature, do not normally have a long enough leaf to form a long ash.)

A long, firm ash on the end of your cigar also indicates that the wrapper has been properly cured and aged.
While this may look good, a pleasure to contemplate as you savour the flavour, it loses its appeal if it drops off sloppily onto the table or carpet.
Maybe rather pre-empt the problem, tap the ash off gently after about 2-3cm – far more elegant.

What is needed to avoid this fall from grace is a proper cigar ashtray.

  • Enough capacity to collect all the ash
  • A sufficiently long channel in which to periodically rest your cigar when smoking
  • Space to lay down your cigar when it is finished – to allow it to go out naturally without any bad smell.
    (As you know you should never stub out a cigar – unnecessary and smelly!)

It is said that Sir Winston Churchill never travelled without his cigar ashtray – packed in a special box.
Our travel range includes fold-up / swivel-closed ashtrays (and a portable rest for emergencies).
But these are not only for travelling – when closed they are ashtrays in disguise – beautiful wood/leather boxes to grace any desk or coffee table.
When your cigar is finished - just close the lid to cover the remnants, until they are cleaned out.

We also offer classic-style ashtrays in brilliant crystal; glowing wood – maybe trimmed with leather.
Large “branded” ceramic models to add character to your smoking area (careful cigar balancing required).
Just browse through the selection.

Naturally since they are an accessory to one of the world’s most affordable luxuries, cigar ashtrays are usually of fine materials and elegant design:

And that’s what cigar smoking should be – elegant!

And then imagine one for your own use.

Don’t just imagine, because from next week (30 July) we will deduct:

20% from the price of the branded ceramic ashtrays
25% from the price of any of the other cigar ashtrays.
Don’t delay - the offer is only until 12 August 2015.

Practical, elegant (that word again) and essential – don’t miss this opportunity to enhance your smoking pleasure.

Colin Wesley

Good news from Cuba: the Vegueros Mananitas are back in stock.
This budget priced brand is anything but a budget quality smoke.
Constructed only from tobacco from the Vuelta Abajo in Cuba, this is a premium cigar in every respect, except price.
Vegueros Mananitas
Petit Piramide 46 x 100mm

1x4 in a sleeve box                  R369.50
4x4 in a pack (16 cigars)         R1478.00

 Stocks are limited – buy now – they’ll be gone tomorrow.

No.362 July 23 – August 5, 2015

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No 363 August 6-19, 2015



Every time I sell a Lorenzo pipe in my shop I marvel at what great value for money these pipes offer.

Whether it is a

  • Lectura to join the Gandalf followers,
  • Pavia (9mm), for a first time pipe buyer,
  • Spot-carved (9mm) or a Rustic (9mm) bent for its rugged appearance,
  • Unique TwoTone finish Filtro pipe (9mm) for class,

I know that each Lorenzo pipe will give a good smoke.

Lorenzo pipes have a feel and style all their own.
And the unsnappable Teflon pegs on the pipes with a 9mm filter option ensure a longer mouthpiece life, and a cool dry smoke.
Even if most Lorenzo pipes don’t have the design of the Marca Dry, the filter system helps absorb the excess moisture and the resultant smoke is very satisfactory.

The finish and grain may not be as flawless as a top Stanwell, Savinelli and definitely not as a Dunhill.
But then you don’t take a delicately designed sedan over a 4x4 mountain trail.
The car might survive the trip but it could end up showing definite signs of wear and tear, spoiling its perfect appearance.

You are looking for

  • a good working pipe,
  • that will bring a smile to your face when you light it up, inside or outside,
  • despite having damaged the rim by repeatedly knocking it out on a rock, or tree ……..

look no further than a Lorenzo.
The thorough curing process lays a good foundation for these tough pipes to deliver the goods.

The warmer weather is not for away, so when you start re-checking all the outdoor gear to plan a weekend away, consider your pipe selection.
Do you have a robust, tough pipe to take along?
One that will still give you a very good smoke?
One that won’t embarrass you if you bump into a fellow pipe smoker?

The answer is Lorenzo.

From August 13 to 26 you can pick up and get acquainted with
a Lorenzo Filtro Two Tone pipe
and pay 25% less than the normal retail prices of R545.00 and R595.00

Within the full compass of pipe smoking, the belief that “one pipe fits every occasion” is certainly not the case.
“Horses for Courses” is more appropriate for a pipe collection
Think about it and choose wisely.

Think Lorenzo!

Colin Wesley
No.363 August 6-19, 2015

You can read previous articles from "Across the Counter" in The Library.


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No 364 August 20 – September 2, 2015

“Nub” – a generic?

Habanos has recently presented two new short relatively thick cigars, and a travel pack of Petit Robustos.
First an H.Upmann Half Corona (90mm x Ring 44) followed very recently by Montecristo Media Corona, the same size; and now a delightful 10-pack of 5 assorted Petit Robustos (102mm x Ring 50).
Googling the cigars for reviews, three comments caught my attention:
“You do still find the familiar H.Upmann flavours, but with ……….. the nub length,”
 “the size is almost a nub
“Although a small cigar, I savored it for more than half an hour, and was in danger of burning my fingertips from smoking it down to the nub

So - What is the “nub”?
As defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
Nub: a small part that sticks out, a small piece or end.
Nub: the main point of something.
As in: the nub of the story/problem/matter/argument; a synonym for gist or point, in this context.

In “cigar speak” it came to describe, or mean, that last, virtually unsmokeable, few centimetres of a cigar. When the cigar is pretty-well smoked out.
Then in the early 2000s Sam Leccia, a sales representative of Oliva cigars, sensing that his market was looking for a short really thick cigar, rolled in his garage his first 4 inch (102mm) x 60 ringsize cigar, and named it Nub.
Now instead of nub describing the end of a cigar smoke it encompassed a whole cigar:
The Nub: a 4 inch x Ring 60 bombshell.

Cigar Aficionado in March 2008 described the concept:
Just the sweet spot -- that is the theory behind the Nub, a new line of short, ultra-thick cigars made by Oliva Cigar Co.
The concept for the Nub is based on the idea that the average cigar usually finds its sweet spot -- the part of the cigar that is most flavorful and balanced -- at the 3 1/2 inch- to 4-inch (90-102mm) point of a cigar. No Nub is longer than 4 inches long. Oliva says Nub cigars are loaded with copious amounts of tobacco; some of the cigars are as thick as 66 ring gauge, or more than one inch in diameter. The large ring gauge not only produces abundant amounts of smoke, but consequently forms a dense ash which, Oliva says, insulates the cigar as it burns, keeping it cool and maintaining its flavors.

The large ringsize allows the blender to introduce more leaves to create a complex blend within the short length, resulting in a smoking time of around 25/30 minutes or more.

The concept was an immediate success.
The Nub became the “must have” cigar for all cigar shops; and other Brands tried to slot a “nub” into their range of sizes.

Back to the comments I found.
It may be that “nub” in the cigar world will become the generic term for a short thick cigar – just as “BIC” is often the generic for a ballpoint pen, in the UK “to hoover” is to use a vacuum cleaner (after the original Hoover brand), and the term “Robusto” relates to a cigar of loosely around 124mm x Ring 50 after the original Cohiba “Robusto”.
(It is noteworthy that in a recent Cigar Insider survey, the true Robusto was still found to be the best selling size cigar in American shops.)

But a 60 ringsize could be, literally, more than a mouthful for some smokers, even when less than the full area of the foot has been opened up.
When time is short, these smokers would sacrifice a little complexity for comfort, enjoying the Petit Robusto size (102mmxRing50) or the new Cuban vitola, 90mmxRing44
We may find that while the classic nub size cigar will remain at 4 inches x Ring 60-66, the term “nub” will be used for cigars about 90-102mm in length with ringsizes anything from 44 to 66.

The word “nub” has a nice sound to it and will, I think, become part of “cigar speak”, appreciated and understood by all cigars lovers to mean a short, thick, satisfying smoke.

Going back to the original meaning of “the nub of the matter”, (ie. getting to the basics / stripping away non-essentials), this has in cigar terms come to refer to the ever-decreasing length of time available to enjoy a cigar.
Interestingly, according to Hunters & Frankau, the original half corona format (102mm x Ring 40) was actually introduced in 1907 by a British importer who wanted a cigar that could be smoked after theatre, but wouldn’t keep his wife waiting. It became popular in the 1920s and 1930s.
The half corona size was the shortest long filler cigar made in Cuba.
However, now we have the new vitola 90mm x Ring 44 – “almost a nub”.

So what “nub” variations do we have to offer?
La Aurora Sumo Short Robusto                     102 mm x Ring 58
La Aurora Principe Short Robusto Claro        101 mm x Ring 50     
La Aurora Principe Short Robusto Maduro    101 mm x Ring 50
Hoyo de Monterrey Petit Robusto                  102 mm x Ring 50
Montecristo Petit Edmundo                            110 mm x Ring 53
Vegueros Entretiempos                                   110 mm x Ring 52
Montecristo Media Corona                              90 mm x Ring 44
H.Upmann Half Corona                                   90 mm x Ring 44

And what cigar cutters can we offer for the ultra-thick cigars?
A wide range – but limited stocks:
73-J1014 32mm, Black with self-sharpening blades              R    85.00
73-J1351 25mm, St. Steel with self-sharpening blades          R  399.50
73-J1815 Credo, from France, cuts up to ring 70                  R  345.00
73-J1611 25mm, Ergonomic grips                                         R  330.00
73-J1955 24mm, Colibri Slice Cigar Cutter; Blk lacquer        R1695.00
73-DHPA5248 Dunhill Stainless Steel, up to ring 54              R3470.00

And of course
73-J3021 Cigar scissors – most sizes                                      R295.00

Now for a special offer!

From 27 August to 9 September 2015,
you can buy one of these 7 cutters for 25% less than the normal retail price.

73-J1014 32mm, Black with self-sharpening blades              R    85.00
73-J1351 25mm, Stainless Steel with self-sharpening blades  R  399.50
73-J1815 Credo, from France, cuts up to ring 70                   R  345.00
73-J1611 25mm, Ergonomic grip                                           R  330.00
73-J1955 24mm, Colibri Slice Cigar Cutter; Black lacquer      R1695.00
73-J3021 Cigar scissors – most sizes                                      R  295.00
73-DHPA5248 Dunhill Stainless Steel, cuts up to ring 54        R3470.00

If you prefer a little less smoke, try the “Cuban Cut

Any of these cutters could be used for this cut.

Colin Wesley
No.364 August 20 – September 2, 2015

You can read previous articles from “Across the Counter” in The Library.

Footnote – New “almost nub” cigars

#1 The best value in a Cuban “nub” cigar: the Vegueros Entretiempos - back in stock.
This budget priced brand is anything but a budget quality smoke.
Constructed only from tobacco from the Vuelta Abajo in Cuba, this is a premium cigar in every respect, except price.

Petit RobustosPetit Robusto 52 x 110mm (Almost a “nub”)
Packing 1x4 in a sleeve box                R551.50
 Stocks are limited – buy now – they’ll be gone soon.

#2 Seleccion Petit Robustos
Petit Robustos Petit Robustos

10 assorted Petit Robusto size cigars
(102mm x Ring 50), 5 Brands;
Presented in a wooden Cabinet.



2 x Cohiba Petit Robustos - old band
2 x Montecristo Petit Robustos - old band
2 x Partagas Petit Robustos
2 x Romeo y Julieta Robustos
2 x H. Upmann Petit Robustos

This vitola is not normally available in the individual brands.