The Raji From Smoke Inn & Drew Estate

Drew Estate The Raji

2021 marked the 25th Anniversary of the opening of the first Smoke Inn premium cigar store, and on Friday 05/06/22 Drew Estate and Smoke Inn’s owner, Abe Dababneh, celebrated the landmark achievement with the launch of a special cigar that not only commemorates Smoke Inn’s historic birthday but also honors Abe’s father and mentor, Raji Dababneh. This cigar was blended by Drew Estate Master Blender Willy Herrera and produced at El Titan De Bronze, the Little Havana boutique cigar factory that’s owned by Herrera’s family and where all Herrera Estelí Miami cigars are made. While the top band is visually the same as the Miami release it is a completely new blend and something Willy says is unlike anything else he has blended. Also every Herrera Estelí Miami Smoke Inn 25th Anniversary Raji cigar (yeah I know, it’s a mouthful, deal with it) features a commemorative band around its foot. I was fortunate enough to make it to the event and pick up a couple of boxes so you know a review had to happen, so let’s get into this thing.

The wrapper is the color of dark roasted coffee beans with a fair amount of mottling, some noticeable veins running along the body and a soft powder coat finish. The cigar was firm to the touch but a bit bumpy giving it an overall rustic appearance. The odor from the body is cedar, barnyard and hay. From the foot the hay really stays out and notes of sweet tobacco. The cap cuts easily causing no damage to the body. The cold draw is a little on the firm side but not tight, I get flavors of Licorice, heavy cream some bread and a hint of spice. After all the preliminary things it is time to light this thing.

Straight away the cigar starts off with the taste of well seasoned meat with a nice briny flavor that gets your salivation going when you press your young to the roof of your mouth and a pepper finish that lingers. Smoke production is ample and has a medium weight mouth feel. On the retrohale I notice more of the pepper and a sneaky sweetness hiding.

Moving into the second third of this cigar the meatiness is still present with the spices picking up a bit and the flavor of well aged tobacco that has a slightly sweet floral taste. The burn stays even with no need for touch ups and the smoke continues to billow out leaving a lovely aroma in the room.

In the final third, which is almost always my favorite, the flavor really picks up. At this point the cigar basically becomes a meal with a taste you can nearly chew on. The meat flavor becomes dense and is akin to eating a steak that was prepared just right and finishing with a rich spiciness. The burn line stays even for the duration and the smoke production was like a freight train.

This ended up being a phenomenal cigar that I took down to a nub I really can’t say enough good things. It finished out to a medium/medium full flavor that stayed with me for while after smoking that kept reminding me how good the cigar was. It would pair well with just about anything but my suggestion for a non-alcoholic drink would be a black tea and for booze definitely a nice bourbon on the rocks or bring out the subtle sweetness in the cigar with an old fashioned. If you’re not in Florida to pick one up in person they will be available on Smoke Inn’s website while supplies last and with how good these are they won’t last long. In fact I’m going there now to pick up another box.

FOOT NOTE: The Herrera Estelí Miami Smoke Inn 25th Anniversary The Raji cigars are packaged in 10-count boxes that are adorned with the Smoke Inn logo. Ramping up the celebration and honoring Raji Dababneh even more, Raji’s signature is emblazoned on the bottom of every box. Along with a commemorative Raji ashtray every box purchased between now and the end of August (if stock holds out that long) will give you an automatic entry into the Smoke Inn/Drew Estate Little Havana Weekend Drawing that will be done on September 14th. (The trip time will be determined in October.) Winners will experience a celebratory Dinner Thursday Night Near Smoke Inn’s Headquarters in Boynton Beach. Friday the group will depart to Little Havana where we will tour the legendary El Titan de Bronze Factory where the Raji Cigar was made along with other Little Havana Sites, Plus a Special DE Experience. Lunch and dinner will be provided. The experience will end with a Saturday Morning Special LIVE broadcast of KMA Radio from Smoke Inn HQ with a specially catered Brunch. If you’re not in Florida to pick one up in person they will be available on Smoke Inn’s website while supplies last and with how good these are they won’t last long. In fact I’m going there now to pick up another box.

Wrapper –  Mexican San Andrés

Binder – Nicaraguan

Filler – Nicaragua /Dominican Republic


Rating: 4.7 out of 5 pints.

  • Mitch Rockwell AKA El Prez is the founder of Distinguished Ruffian. While starting out as a chef at a young age he was introduced to cigars while cooking for various people. He left that industry and became a Licensed Optician and Hearing Instrument Specialist but, cigars and cooking are his real passion.

Epic La Rubia Robusto

Epic Cigars La Rubia

Welcome back Ruffian family. Today, I’m bringing you a review I promised a couple of weeks ago. I’m tackling a new brand and new cigar, La Rubia, by Epic. Released in 2016, Dean Parsons, owner of Epic cigars, wanted this to be “not your average blonde.” I’m really excited to take this journey with you because I have yet to smoke one before this review. Dean said he worked on this blend for close to a year before he got it how he envisioned. La Rubia (The Blonde) has an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, Mexican San Andres binder, with fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. This cigar is made at the Charles Fairmorn Factory in the Dominican Republic. This is a 5 1⁄2 by 52 Robusto. The MSRP in 2016 was $7.66. After having Dean on our Ruffian Zoom for the release of the VIP Year 4, I was impressed by his knowledge and his demeanor. Dean is a great guy and couldn’t wait to try his sticks. With all the fluff behind us, let’s get into this cigar.

Upon first glance, the wrapper is golden brown with just one prominent vein running the length of the cigar. After straight cutting this bad boy, the cold draw has leather and vanilla. I spark it up with my soft flame lighter and get to the meat and potatoes of this blend.

The beginning starts out super creamy with a hint of nuttiness. The retrohale has some leather with a tiny white pepper bite on the back of the tongue. Further in, a vanilla sweetness starts to show along with some great oakiness coming towards the end of the first third. The draw is perfect as well as the burn. As expected, it’s on the mild/medium range in both flavor and strength.

Pushing into the second third, some black coffee hits me in the face and the finish still has that nuttiness that was prominent in the first third. The retrohale has a bit more white pepper bite than before. The creaminess is still there, albeit much less than when I started. The strength and flavor are more around the medium range as I move toward the end of this third.

Kicking into the last part of the cigar, there is a SIGNIFICANT leap in body. Super dark espresso jumps my palate while the retrohale has some deep leather and wood notes. Cedar, hazelnut, and vanilla all seem to be present with each different draw I take. The smoke output also drastically increased towards the end of the cigar. Amazing draw and construction continue throughout. I smoke it down as far as I could without burning my lips. One of the best final thirds of a cigar I’ve ever had. Medium strength and Med/Full flavor! Wow!

Well, not much more to say than, DAMN! This cigar is just flat-out good! Not only is Dean Parsons a great guy, but his cigars are also Epic! I’m not a huge Connecticut wrapper fan, but they definitely have their place when they are this good. I’ve just started with this brand and if the rest of their portfolio is as good as this, we are all in for a treat. This could be an anytime smoke, not just for the morning. From a novice smoker to a seasoned vet, this cigar has something for everyone. I suggest you give them a try and maybe introduce someone you know to this cigar. There are plenty of retailers that carry these and have them in stock. Grab them up now and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Smoking time was 1 hour and 30 minutes.

T Money score: 4.5/5. Rebuy Box. Enjoy these cigars with your friends. Get a new smoker to try one, it would be a great place to start. As always, do something nice for someone today and until next time, Smoke Well!

Wrapper –  Ecuador

Binder – Mexico

Filler – Nicaragua /Dominican Republic


Rating: 4.5 out of 5 pints.

  • Travis Peterson AKA T Money is the Co-Captain of the Arizona/New Mexico Chapter of Distinguished Ruffians. He started his cigar journey in 2007 and hasn’t looked back. Outside of cigars he has a passion for brewing beer, playing guitar, bowling and golf. He is also a self proclaimed grilling and smoking expert. 

Dos Cientos: by Joya De Nicaragua

Dos Cientos

Now here is a very interesting and dynamite cigar to add to the Joya De Nicaragua already premium collection of magnificent smokes; Unfortunately Dos Cientos is a one-time release which was came out in August 2021. As stated by Joya Cigars “Dos Cientos; which means “200 years” was masterfully blended to celebrate the bicentennial of Central America’s independence from the Spanish Empire. It is a super-premium and limited-edition cigar that embodies our region’s history. It features a multi-origin blend with tobacco from different Latin American territories; Dos Cientos provides a very distinct smoking experience in my opinion of course.” 

Last 15th of September 2021 had marked the 200th anniversary of Central American Independence. This set the stage for the creation of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua to commemorate the occasion. As Juan Ignacio Martinez, president of Joya de Nicaragua explains in a press release “For us there is always a link between the past and the present. We are who we are today because of the decisions that were made hundreds of years ago. Dos Cientos pays tribute to those 200 years and who we are today as the leading cigar producing country and region in the world.” 

Dr. Alejandro Martinez-Cuenca the owner of Joy de Nicaragua added “The leaf’s role in the development of our culture and our society has been fundamental. Tobacco was ever present as we created our own economic, political and cultural identities. That was the moment in which we became what we are today as a region. We want to celebrate that achievement of our own birth as a country and as a region, so we’re showcasing tobaccos from different Latin American countries-Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. We are paying tribute to the Latin Americans and the Americans who achieved independence to craft their own destiny.” 

With a Habano wrapper from Ecuador, the binder being from Mexico, fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic; the monumental story behind “Dos Cientos” certainly gets my palate perked with curiosity. With a nice oily leather and chocolaty look to Dos Cientos, it most certainly gets my eagerness to spark this cigar up! Before I get into my review of this cigar; I wanted to express that it took me two to solidify my review. My first experience of Dos Cientos did not burn or draw correctly; my second attempt had exactly what I was hoping for; smooth, extremely tasty, and the burn was on point. 

Taking a few cold draws before lighting it up really got my senses going due to some hints of cardamom and dried fruit which I don’t always get from the cold draws. Upon lighting up an immediate explosion of profiles came to mind; bakers spice, leather, brown sugar, cocoa, espresso, and that dried fruit hung around. Smoking right into my first third the intensity of notes smoothed out yet the various profiles are still very present to describe. Cardamom, cinnamon, dried fruit, chocolate, almost an essence of toasted pine nuts came to mind, with that sweetness of brown sugar still lingering on the palate. One observation I will mention; have you ever had toasted pine nuts? Pine nuts, once toasted (like all nuts) will excrete oils; some more than others yet pine nuts certainly will excrete more than most. I bring this up because during my journey I was getting that oily residue around my tongue. Not a bad taste at all, in fact it enhanced the experience. 

Smoking right into my second third most of the profiles stayed consistent but some moving to the front of the line and some getting shifted around, fresh baked bread and baked plantains joined the palate party. The construction held strong, the burn was very consistent, and the flavors were really impressive. Chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, caramelized plantains, earthiness, toasted pine nuts, fresh baked bread, and that swirl of cardamom in the background really makes me want to hoof this cigar down but took my time to really get the most out of Dos Cientos. 

Burning right into my last third, some of the profiles like toasted pine nuts, fresh baked bread, cardamom, and cinnamon started fading away while black pepper comes to the table, along with sweetened espresso and the traditional chocolate taste became a rich dark chocolate with that essence of brown sugar still lingering. I smoked this right down to the nub and it did not get hot or did I taste any type of bitterness to end the journey prematurely. 

Over all I rate this cigar 4 out of 5 and absolutely worth the $17 price tag. The Dos Cientos is available in a single 6×54 toro size. Production is limited to 3,000 boxes of 21 cigars per box. Of that number 2,000 boxes will be sold in the U.S. while the remaining 1,000 are designated for international markets. To remind you this a “one-time” cigar so if you see one, make the purchase and hope you have an exceptional cigar experience as I did! Enjoy!

Wrapper –  Ecuador

Binder – Mexico

Filler – Nicaragua /Handuros/Dominican Republic


Rating: 4.0 out of 5 pints.

  • William O’Connor, AKA Billy Kartwheels, is the Co-Captian of the Distinguished Ruffians NY Chapter. Billy has had an interesting life, going through college, being in the Navy and living on a submarine, he has visited 48 states (hitchhiking through 35) of them and even lived in a Hare Krishna monastery for some time. After having numerous brushes with death durring his travels he has decided it was best to take it easy and appreciate life to its fullest all while smoking a cigar at the same time.