Cinco Decadas

II Saints from Felix Assouline

Felix Assouline II SaintsIf your In the market for some dapper mens accessories ranging from bracelets to belt buckles and in the mood for a great smoke all at the same time this reviews for you. II saints is a French brand making guys like you look like some godly character from Game of thrones. Its almost like steam punk meets mid evil with a sprinkle of rugged tossed in there for added measure. Check them out and you’ll see what I mean.
II Saints come in 24ct boxes and your size options consist of:
La Douce Nuit 5×50
La Petite Mort 52×5
La Nuit Blanche 6×54
Les Copains D’abord 6.5×56
L’ange Noir 56×6.5
(Read this with Morgan freeman in mind)
This bad boys Filled with Jamastran, Jalapa then held together by a Jamastran binder then wrapped with a beautiful Jamastan criollo 98 wrapper. Its firm to the touch with a slight spongy feel and like most premium cigars were rocking a triple cap At a glance the Jamastan criollo 98’s wrapper is phenomenal with a butter like
smoothness yet just enough tooth to give it the edge. A sniff of the foot and your greeted by a pungent earthy tone. Weapon of choice? Straight cut. I’d say the cold draw is pretty muted slight hints of earth but darker almost like soil, get me?
For some reason I felt fancy today and lit this smoke up with a piece of cedar, something about the whole “frenchness” behind this smoke inspired me. First third pretty much took a 180 on me from what I had in mind that this smoke would be. Medium pepper, earthy, hints of dark chocolate with a sweet finish to tie it all together. A sweet after taste, nothing major at least not worth mentioning just yet.
Second third is where things start cooking and the strength comes in. Definitely a full bodied smoke and the retro hale really confirms that. The aromas on this smoke are heavenly, you get your classic aged tobacco smell we all love and care for with an added touch I cant really put my finger on, you’ll have to smoke this to understand.
The dreaded final third is a love hate relationship I’ve made with this cigar. Like most full bodied smokes the final third is a hit or miss due to the tar build up. This cigar fortunately was consistent through out with the burn being razor sharp and flavors remaining strong. There wasn’t any flavor changes on this cigar but its something I didn’t mind being that the flavors were blended so well to begin with.
Wrapper: Jamastran Criollo 98
Binder: Jamastran
Filler: Jamastran, Jalapa
Price: $9.00 – $13.00
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 pints
Article by Andy Melo



June 2019 – “Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” (Benjamin Franklin)

Benjamin “Benji” Menendez and Manuel “Manolo” Quesada: two of the greatest of all time. Cigar industry pioneers, builders, blenders, visionaries, creators, and friends. True legends of the business, Menendez and Quesada are teaming up for the first time in an exciting new passion project from Michael Giannini and Ventura Cigar Company (VCC). Led by their longtime friend, Giannini, Menendez and Quesada have each collaborated on a namesake blend for Cuban Cigar Factory. A celebration of tradition and talent, this collaboration for Ventura Cigar Company’s Cuban Cigar Factory is bringing the importance of Old-World Cuban expat expertise to the palates of the present and generations to come.

Behind the Blends

Benji Menendez enjoyed an early beginning in the Cuban tobacco business at his father’s factory. Forced to leave his home and livelihood when Castro came to power, Menendez had to start completely over. However, as a seeker of opportunity and a purveyor of fine tobacco, he soon established a new

foothold, becoming a mastermind behind cigars and factories in nearly every cigar-making country. His career has been legendary, working in 8 different countries to produce some of the best cigars to hit the market.

“I still think about the cigar factory every day of my life,” says Benji Menendez.

The Benji Menendez for Cuban Cigar Factory: available in a Robusto, Toro, and Belicoso, a rich, silky smooth blend featuring a Dominican binder, Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, and a Connecticut Ecuadorian wrapper.

Manolo Quesada is a fourth-generation master from a lineage of tobacco growers, brokers, and blenders that stretch back over a century. His career began in pre-Castro Cuba, where he first developed a taste for the intricacies of tobacco at his father’s company. Also forced to leave Cuba by Castro’s rise to power, Quesada went to the Dominican Republic, where he founded MATASA in 1972, from the humble beginnings of a chair, a phone, three rollers, and $100. Over the decades, MATASA has flourished under Quesada’s intuitive, expert eye for quality and flavor, making his knowledge for the past and present a natural fit for the Cuban Cigar Factory project.

The Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory: available in a Robusto, Toro, and Belicoso, a rich and savory blend featuring an Ecuadorian binder, Dominican fillers, and a Habano Ecuador wrapper.

“I feel like I’m a Rick Rubin of the cigar industry,” says Michael Giannini, General Manager at Ventura Cigar. “I’m bringing people together- people who I admire, my great friends who laid the foundation of the cigar industry, and people of the next generation. The creators and the consumers. Everyone has something to offer. We have a duty to engage this talent, not to let these great minds and their priceless knowledge fade away. They’re now our mentors, an inspiration to us all, and they’re still here. They’re still on the court, so let’s play ball. Let’s show everyone what we can do.”

Both Cuban Cigar Factory cigars are created at the MATASA factory in the Dominican Republic, in collaboration with Ventura Cigar Company. They are set to debut at IPCPR 2019, and are planned for a late summer ship date. The Benji Menendez and Manolo Quesada blends will each be available as follows:

Robusto: 5″x50, $12.99 each or $259.98 for a box of 20

Toro: 6″x50, $13.99 each or $279.98 for a box of 20

Belicoso: 6.25″x52, $14.49 each, or $289.98 for a box of 20


Ventura Cigar Tommy BahamaJune 2019 – In partnership with Island Lifestyle Importers, Ventura Cigar Company is announcing the arrival of the “Hula Paradise Collection” from Tommy Bahama’s cigar accessories collection. The collection will premiere at this year’s International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Anchoring the new collection is the limited release Hula Paradise “Just Another Day in Paradise” Humidor- a striking mahogany wood humidor with a three-dimensional metal inlay that wraps around its top three sides, and is reminiscent of a premium cigar band. It also features a Tommy Bahama Hula Girl strumming a ukulele within the center of the artwork. The humidor is both a conversation-piece and a storage necessity, storing up to 50 cigars and including internal humidification and a hygrometer. The MSRP is $175.

The “Hula Paradise” collection also includes a tabletop quad-torch cigar lighter ($99.95), a portable dual-torch cigar lighter ($85.00), a metal cigar cutter ($75.00), and a 610 travel cigar humidor ($40.00). The lighters and cutters feature the exclusive Accu-Body-Cast-Design (ABCD) made to highlight the exclusive Tommy Bahama artwork. The 610 travel cigar humidor is a crush-resistant, air-tight, water-proof, floating case that will accommodate six Churchill or ten Robusto-sized cigars.

“This new collection has such a great vibe,” says Michael Giannini, General Manager for Ventura Cigars. “It brings the party to the gathering and inspires people to slow down and make time to enjoy the good life. Which, of course, includes a cigar or two. Come by our booth at IPCPR and check it all out.”

Island Lifestyle Importers is the exclusive designer, manufacturer, and world-wide licensee of Tommy Bahama branded luxury cigar accessories, which are known for their innovative designs, cutting-edge technology, and island theme-inspired artwork.

Ventura Cigar Company and Phillips & King International are the exclusive wholesale distributors of these new products, as well as the entire Tommy Bahama brand of cigar accessories, also providing wholesale marketing support for the brand. Ventura Cigar Company and Phillips & King are wholly

owned subsidiaries of Kretek International. Tommy Bahama Luxury Cigar Accessories will be displayed and available for purchase in the Ventura Cigar Company booth (Booth #818) at this year’s IPCPR show.

For more information on the collection, or any other products in the Ventura Cigar Company portfolio, please visit or send email inquiries to