In 2009 we did an article about the Bobalu Cigar Company. Based in Austin, Texas, the shop is very unassuming. On my first visit we found Armando Armas, master cigar roller, busy at his bench in the front window of the shop. He was there on this visit as well, and still rolling world-class cigars. I went to Bobalu again with my friend Bill and my wife, who also enjoys the aroma of a good cigar. Bill was an avid Fuente Hemingway and Opus-X smoker, until I introduced him to Bobalu. Now, his favorite is the Bobalu Connecticut Shade wrapped yellow-banded cigar in the robusto size.
This trip, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Jeff Lipton, owner of the Bobalu Cigar Company. Jeff is a warm and friendly person and more than happy to sit and give you a sample cigar to smoke while you are making your cigar choices. You will sit and smoke with him with fresh Italian coffee while watching Armando and his team at Bobalu roll, band, wrap and box cigars. The aroma of aged tobacco leaves sends you to a cigar smoker’s nirvana. If you remember, Jeff only sells the cigars he and his team make. About 20% of all Bobalu’s cigars are made on site, the rest are coming from two different tabacaleras, one in the Dominican Republic and the other in Esteli, Nicaragua. Boblau has 25 different blends of cigars, and Jeff is certain that everyone can find a cigar that they will like. This brings me to my next topic, the new Bobalu website.
Bobalu’s New Webiste
The new site has been over 6 months in development, but the idea has been in Jeff’s head for a very long time. He has come up with a software program that helps you find the best Bobalu blend for your taste. The program is based on input from you about all the things you like about a cigar to include strength, body, flavor, aroma, size, shape, favorite country of origin, type of tobacco and so on. You can also use the program to enter your current favorite cigar, for example if your favorite cigar is a Davidoff robusto, the program will match you up to the Bobalu Yellow Label Connecticut Shade. Often the program will give you a few choices of Bobalu cigars. There are many other cool sections in the new website, but I am not going to spoil any more of the surprise. Jeff is hoping to launch the site before the end of 2012.
The 15th Anniversary Cigar
The Bobalu Bullet is the cigar that was blended to celebrate their 15th year anniversary of offering, in my opinion, some of the very best cigars made. This cigar is a blend of Cuban seed Dominican and aged Nicaraguan fillers with a fantastic Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, Dominican binder and triple capped in the traditional Cuban style of cigar rolling. All of Bobalu cigars are rolled in a modified Cuban entubado technique. This perhaps the only thing that is traditional when it comes to making cigars. Jeff said to me “We have always done our own thing here and will continue to do so, it is what makes us unique.” And, unique is the band on his Bullet 15th Anniversary cigar. It features bullets all over the band, crossed bullets on the front with a helmeted cigar-smoking skull in the center. The cigars smoke perfectly with just the right amount of spice for the aficionado, and mild enough for the novice. They are 4.5” x 60 ring gauge cigars that sell for $6.95 a stick, or 5 packs for $24.95. For the review I was smoking a new size for this blend, a 5” x 44 corona. The cigar ash holds on for 2” and the entire smoking experience will last about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
All of the cigars that Bobalu Cigar Company produces are great cigars and great values. One of the pictures with this review is a box of cigars I had custom banded (at no extra charge) with the logo of one of the companies I consult with. I will leave you all with a quote from Jeff Lipton about the 25 cigar sampler he offers with contains every one one of his blends….. “If you cannot find a cigar you like in our sampler, you won’t find a good cigar anywhere.” I happen to agree with Jeff 100%.
I mentioned that my wife, Darlene was with me on this visit to Bobalu. She was in the shop with us for 2 hours and has been with me with whenever I have smoked any of the many blends of Bobalu cigars. All of the cigars have had an aroma that she likes. This is a real testament to the care that goes into the blending of these unique cigars. My humidor is never without cigars from the Bobalu Cigar Company.
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