Gregory Mottola

Gregory Mottola
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Fuente Fuente OpusX: America’s First Cult Cigar

Posted: Sep 10, 2015 12:00am ET

You may or may not know this, but 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the Fuente Fuente OpusX cigar. I'd say that this brand has the distinction of being America's first true cult cigar. Other cult brands have followed, but none have achieved quite the same cult status.

Mondo Tobacco: My Eleventh IPCPR

Posted: Jul 29, 2015 12:00am ET

I've always looked at the IPCPR as being the World's Fair of cigars, full of small booths, large pavilions and exhibitions from all over the world of tobacco. This year's convention was my 11th show. When I went to my first IPCPR in 2005, it was called the RTDA (Retail Tobacco Dealer's Of America). A few years later, the name was changed. I always thought it would have been wonderfully wry to simply call it the CPR but I'm afraid the irony might have been viewed as antagonistic and most wouldn't have appreciated the joke anyway. Funny how the PC police have such an underdeveloped sense of humor.

A Charity Dinner And Rare OpusX Cigars

Posted: May 29, 2015 12:00pm ET

Remember when you were a child and one of your old aunts or uncles would produce a silver dollar for you if you hung around them long enough? Well, that's exactly what happens when you hang around Carlos "Carlito" Fuente Jr., only it isn't silver dollars or buffalo nickels that he presses into your palm. Rather, it's a rare OpusX cigar, and it's usually an exotic shape that you've never heard of. Or if you've heard of it, you've never actually seen one. It is indeed a delightful treat, but not one that made me lose sight of the reason I was with Carlito in the first place.

Falto Cigars: A Case Study In Uncommon Tobaccos

Posted: May 4, 2015 12:00pm ET

About eight years ago, a cigar retailer just outside of Indianapolis asked me to try some little perfectos from a brand I had never heard of called Falto. They kind of reminded me of Fuente Short Stories, only they were a little longer and a little thinner. That December, I get a newsletter from a shop announcing that they were carrying this same small brand. The Falto cigar brand is owned by La Garrita Cigar Company out of Puerto Rico, but it's not a Puerto Rican cigar. It's a Dominican cigar and it is has been quietly manufactured at La Aurora for 20 years.

ProCigar: A Tour of Two Family Factories

Posted: Feb 21, 2015 12:00pm ET

The cigars certainly pile up here at the ProCigar Festival. Everywhere you turn a cigar manufacturer is either handing you a smoke, or a beautiful young lady is giving you a gift pack of cigars with a smile that you'll probably remember on the plane ride home. The first box, for example, is a strikingly minted case courtesy of Vrijdag Printing, the Dutch lithographers that turned 110 this year. It comes with a Xikar cutter (the X875 to be exact) and lighter as well as 11 cigars ranging from a Fuente Fuente OpusX Angel's Share and Davidoff Colorado Claro to a Quesada Selección España and Saga Blend No. 7.

ProCigar Festival: Ernesto and an Earthquake

Posted: Feb 19, 2015 12:00am ET

If you're looking for a draw-testing machine at Ernesto Perez-Carrillo's Tabacalera La Alianza factory in the Dominican Republic, you're wasting your time. "If you need a draw tester, than you shouldn't be making cigars," he said succinctly. He didn't just say it to me, but to an entire group of attendees at the ProCigar Festival. The tour of his factory was one of many being offered at this week's Dominican Cigar fest.

Atabey and an Argument for Good Packaging

Posted: Feb 6, 2015 11:30am ET

A curious delivery came to me in the mail the other day. Cigars. Nothing strange in that respect, but when I opened it, I was struck by the packaging. To be honest, I was more than struck. I was impressed.

Now, anytime you talk about packaging in the cigar world, you often get a knee-jerk uproar of dismissive barking from the righteous and the skeptical: "I don't care about packaging, I just care about the cigar," or "You don't smoke the box, you smoke the tobacco," or "You're just paying for the packaging. It's all—" Let me stop you right there.

A 50-Year-Old Scotch From The Glenlivet

Posted: Oct 14, 2014 3:00pm ET

I have mixed feelings about this blog. Part of me wonders what the point is in talking about a Scotch that so few people in the entire world are ever going to taste? Another concern is overall tone. People tend to have immediate emotional reactions when they read about something they'll never be able to have. How do you write about your experiences with a $25,000 Scotch without coming off as though you are gloating? When I ran this concern by executive editor David Savona, he told me I had it all wrong. According to Savona, the scarcity of the Scotch in question is the very reason to report on it. He told me that because so few people will ever try it, I have a duty to our readers to report my findings. He's right. Here it is.

My Day with Jonathan Drew

Posted: Aug 14, 2014 3:00pm ET

The last time I wrote a blog that included oysters, the story ended with me running out of John Besh's August restaurant in New Orleans and beelining it to a toilet in the Windsor Court Hotel across the street. Not that I got sick off of Besh's food. The oysters actually came from another place a few hours prior. It was the summer of the infamous BP oil spill in the gulf. No matter.

Pigs, Pinot and Puros

Posted: Jun 25, 2014 12:00pm ET

Cigar dinners are rare. I remember there was a time in the not-too-distant past where restaurants had no problem renting out their private rooms for exclusive cigar affairs. If a bit of smoke occasionally wafted out into the main dining room when a door opened, people generally shrugged it off. Now, that same bit of smoke causes tirades of public indignation, not to mention fines, lawsuits and, worst of all, the threat of being closed down.

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