Written by Puff Staff

Saturday, 13 October 2012

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When in NC, Check Out Empire Cigars-The Vault

Former New Yorker Hal Rubin sounds like a character in a sitcom—who’d expect a financier from the Big Apple to settle in North Carolina and open a cigar shop?



That’s just what Rubin did a few years ago, opening his first cigar shop in Raleigh. He had no plans to expand, but changed his mind when he found an old bank building vacant in the quaint bedroom community of Apex, NC.

Rubin told a reporter, “When I saw downtown Apex, I fell in love. It reminds me of the small towns in Upstate New York. And the fact that this was a stand-alone building was just too good to pass up.”

The 2,000 square foot bank building on North Salem Street has been converted into Empire Cigars-The Vault, complete with a walk-in humidor holding over 1,000 cigars. The smoking lounge contains three flat-screen TVs plus comfy leather seats, and there’s also an outside patio.

The shop has been open only a few days, but word has gotten around Apex, luring a varied crowd of cigar smokers to Rubin’s new location. “It’s a diverse group,” Rubin commented. “It’s exciting to me to see the demographic changing. We have women who come in – it’s not just a guy thing anymore. The stereotype is that this is for the conservative older guy, and that’s just not true anymore.

“We do have some lively discussions in here. But it’s always civil. It’s the ‘Cheers’ atmosphere. This is a place to unwind after a hard day’s work. I’d love it to become a central part of this town.”

Buying a Rolls? You’ll Have to Pay Extra for the Humidor

Times must be even harder than we think they are, when you can blow over 400 grand on a luxury car and not even get a fridge or a humidor included as standard equipment.



The new Rolls-Royce Phantom is a landgoing yacht that exudes pure luxury, and with a starting price is $403,000, it should. Of course, that’s just the stripped down model, so it’s not too hard to add several thou to the total tab by adding a few extras.

The true cigar aficionado must have the wood-lined cigar case that tucks into the glove compartment, which will set you back an additional $4,050. And along with your cigars, you’ll need the rear-seat cooler that perfectly fits small bottles of champagne, just $4,100.

OK, most of us won’t be cruising in a Rolls anytime soon, unless we win the lottery, but we can dream, can’t we?

Iconic Leaf Cigar Co. Introduces the Recluse

There’s a new maker of premium smokes called the Iconic Leaf Cigar Co. whose founders have chosen to keep their identities hush-hush for now, so it makes sense that the company’s first cigar would be called Recluse.



Here’s what the Iconic Leaf site has to say about this new cigar: “Every Recluse is rolled in the old Cuban tradition of tubing, which is taking each filler leaf and rolling it into a tube instead of folding it. Once all the filler leaves are each individually rolled into a tube shape, they are brought together and surrounded with the binder. This is time-consuming but creates an effortless draw and an unparalleled smoking experience. We then box press each cigar to compress the leaf and reduce air space.”

Made in Santiago, Dominican Republic, each Recluse has a Brazilian maduro wrapper, a Cameroon binder and Dominican filler tobaccos.

Introduced at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show in Orlando this summer, the Recluse Toro is available now and sells for $7.80 each.

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