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Gurkha Symphony: The Smooth Operator Cigar

gurkha symphony Gurkha Symphony: The Smooth Operator CigarBy Haroon Mihtar

Size: Robusto 6×50

Price: $9-$10.00 individually (substantially cheaper if purchased in bundle/box)

• Wrapper: Connecticut

• Filler: Nicaraguan

• Binder: Dominican

• Size: Robusto 5×52

• Strength: Mild-Medium

I smoked my first Gurkha symphony in a sampler pack I ordered from an online catalog, and it was phenomenal to say the least.  As long as I can remember smoking Cigars I have always heard customers throw the name Gurkha around.  It was one of those things when you hear a name and want to ask but are too preoccupied with your own purchase to engage.  A few weeks ago I finally decided to put an end to what all the hype was about with this boutique cigar; so I went ahead and ordered a sampler pack.

One of the first things I noticed about the cigar which is tattooed with a double band donning the fat Gurkha warrior on one and the signature of the boutique owner Kaizad Hansotia, on the other. The sandwich certainly looked the part of a premium cigar with the light Connecticut shade wrapper and fancy bands.

The Smoke:

The moment I lit this baby, it was evident I was not dealing with a bargain basement cigar.  The moment the first jab (first draw) hit me I knew I was dealing with a major contender in the premium cigar market. This Cigar made its firm impression right of the bat, light, creamy and a draw that I can only beautifully describe as like straw.

This Cigar maintained a consistency that would have turned any Cigar smoker a believer.  The 1/3 of the cigar had a mild smooth character that was surprising considering even the mildest of cigars start with some sort of punch so to speak, but this one maintained its integrity of mildness.

As I started the 2/3 of the cigar it was now clearly evident this cigar was not about to fold under the bright lights, it was here to stay, the cigar maintained the smooth consistent character without hesitation, the only thing that I found to be a bit disappointing was the uneven burn and ash which was not consistent.  Notwithstanding it was on its way to a late round TKO victory in my book but we still had the final third.  As the bell rang for the final third of the cigar it stepped up like a true contender and performed to near perfection with an immaculate finish that can only be described as light peppery, smooth, creamy and buttery to the point I thought I was smoking a stick of Land “O” Lakes butter.

I knew it was something special when I began to hear Etta James “At Last” Play in my brain. It was the exclamation point to a phenomenal cigar that I would recommend to any true aficionado that appreciates a premium mild cigar.  The mild consistency of this Cigar is as intriguing as a Chicago 1920’s Brothel.

RATING: 8.7 (on a scale of 1 to 10)

CAO Gold , Tony Borhani’s Bahia Trinidad , Makers Mark 562 Bourbon Seasoned Cigar

Haroon Mihtar Cigar 300x223 Gurkha Symphony: The Smooth Operator Cigar

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Perdomo Reserve 10th Anniversary Champagne Robusto Cigar

Perdomo Reserve 10th Anniversary Champagne Perdomo Reserve 10th Anniversary Champagne Robusto CigarBy Matt Goldstein 

Size: Robusto

Wrapper: Triple Fermented Connecticut

Filler: Cuban seed Nicaraguan blend

Strength: Mild/Medium Body

The outer plastic wrapper is a beautiful yellow-champagne color like a bottle of Crystal, and the large black and gold label matches well.  The Perdomo Champagne Reserve is a tight role so it’s not soft like a normal cigar.  Before lighting, the triple fermented wrapper smells sweet and tangy.  The wrap is stiff, tight and slightly cracked.  It lights easily and the draw is flawless.  The beginning of the cigar has a light and smooth flavored smoke with notes of honey and wood.  The cigar was dipped in Cognac and still has a subtle, light flavor.  The middle of the cigar is much stronger with a thick robust and smooth aftertaste.  The final 1/3 of the cigar had a slight hint of pepper and oak.  Again, the draw is flawless.  This cigar smokes very well. 

The Amazing Story of Perdomo Cigars from their web site: 

Our story traces its roots to San Jose de las Lajas, Cuba, an agricultural and industrial municipality located 27 kilometers southeast of Havana, where Silvio Perdomo was raised. He apprenticed first at Cuesta y Cia. in the early 1930’s before leaving to practice his art at the H. Upmann factory from 1937 to 1945; and at the famed Partagas factory until 1959. It is also where his son, Nick Perdomo, Sr. was born and began his apprenticeship in 1948 at the Marin & Trujillo factory before earning accolades for his craftsmanship and making his own way to join his father at Partagas. “Things were going so well then, my father and I were just beginning to establish ourselves and obtain recognition for our work,” said Nick, Sr., an imposing wrecking ball of a man with a soft voice and a heart as big as his frame. “But then Castro destroyed everything – our country, our lives and our freedom.”

A quiet and peaceful man steadfastly opposed to Castro and the communist revolution, Silvio Perdomo was soon arrested in his own home and quickly tried and incarcerated in the notorious Isle of Pines prison where he endured his harshest treatment. Three years later he was transferred to La Cabana, a murky 18th century fortress overlooking Havana Bay. For the next 12 excruciating years, Silvio suffered through squalid conditions, torture and near-starvation at La Cabana and four other Cuban prisons.

Nick, Sr. was also a target of the wrath and violence inherent in establishing Castro’s “New Cuba”. Ambushed by pro-Castro guerillas, he was shot and critically wounded – within view of the very home his father Silvio was arrested and abducted from. “The political views of my family and I were very anti-communist , and (then former president Fulgencio) Batista used to visit the factories frequently,” Nick, Sr. recalled. “Batista didn’t smoke cigars but, because it’s one of Cuba’s main exports, he was very interested in what my father and I were doing with the different cigar shapes and styles we were experimenting with.” Nick, Sr. then laughs gently, shaking his head. “The communists must’ve thought I was a close friend of Batista. I’ve still got two bullets inside of me to prove it.” Hunted while being cared for in the home of a close friend, Nick, Sr. managed to escape Cuba before fully recovering from his wounds through a sponsorship hastily arranged with the Catholic Church. His arrival in Washington, D.C. yielded a startling discovery. “I knew the streets weren’t paved with gold, but my sponsors had no place for me. Nowhere to live or eat. Nick Sr. now pauses and his eyelids narrow. “But I thank God for coming to America. It has given my family the precious opportunities of freedom they never would have had in Cuba.” Nick, Sr. now points at a large American flag he has on the wall of his office, “When I raised my right hand before this beautiful flag it was one of the proudest moments of my life. Even though I’m proud of my Cuban heritage, I bleed American red, white and blue.”

Check outCAO Gold , Gurkha Symphony , Tony Borhani’s Bahia Trinidad




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Gin & Sin: Hendrick’s Gin with Cucumber and Oregano

fresh dried oregano 300x240 Gin & Sin: Hendrick’s Gin with Cucumber and OreganoFrom Barbuzzo Mediterranean Kitchen & Bar 

By Matt Goldstein

If you’re a fan of the gin martini with cucumber than the Gin & Sin with Hendrick’s Gin, cucumber & oregano will be you’re new drink of choice.  Barbuzzo’s take on the Gin & Sin adds fresh oregano to the gin and cucumber with Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth.  We’re not talking about oregano out of a jar.  This fresh but dried oregano is shaken right off the stem and smashed into the cucumber.  With a dash of Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth, the Hendrick’s Gin is shaken over ice with the oregano suffused cucumber and poured in an ice filled glass with mashed pieces of cucumber.  The Barbuzzo gin and sin is exceptional, complex, delectable and refreshing.  We will most likely be ordering fresh oregano with every cucumber gin martini we drink.   

hendricks gin 300x192 Gin & Sin: Hendrick’s Gin with Cucumber and Oregano



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Oliva Seri G Torpedo: A Review

oliva serie g torpedo 300x300 Oliva Seri G Torpedo: A Review By Matt Goldstein

Wrapper: Cameroon

Filler: Habano Seed, Nicoraguan Long Leaf

Size: Torpedo

Strength: Medium Body

The first third of the cigar is very smooth and light with an excellent rich flavor. We dipped the tip of the cigar in Courvoisier Exclusif Cognac and the flavor matched very well with the African Cameroon wrapper. The middle and last third of the cigar are stronger and toasty. The aftertaste has a hint of coffee. This is a great smoke for the price and perfect for after dinner, especially if that was grilled fish tacos, and grilled turkey and beef fajitas marinated in olive oil, lemon, garlic and grill time dusted with a Taste of Texas seasoning. The Oliva Seri G Torpedo has great appearance, good burn, excellent taste, and good consistency with a solid draw. Overall, it’s a great cigar.

Check outCAO Gold , Gurkha Symphony , Tony Borhani’s Bahia Trinidad




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The Makers Mark 562 Bourbon Seasoned Cigar: A Review

makers mark cigars 224x300 The Makers Mark 562 Bourbon Seasoned Cigar:  A Review By Matt Goldstein

Wrapper: Sumatra

Filler: Dominican Republic

Binder:  Connecticut

Size:  Torpedo

Strength:  Medium Body

 The 562 Torpedo Cigar by Maker’s Mark is a bourbon seasoned small batch hand made cigar from the Dominican Republic.  The long leaf tobacco is grown with Cuban seeds in the Dominican, and aromatically seasoned with Maker’s Mark bourbon.  The cigar is then sealed in a glass tube with the Makers Mark signature red wax.  The seal is air tight so there is no need for a humidor. 

The first 1/3 of the Makers Mark 562 Torpedo Cigar is smooth with slightly sweet smoke and a sweet flavorsome wrapper.  The middle of the cigar brings a lot more flavor and is slightly dry with hints of wood.  The 562 Torpedo smokes well and is a great cigar. 

Check outCAO Gold , Gurkha Symphony , Tony Borhani’s Bahia Trinidad




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Tony Borhani’s Bahia Trinidad

cigars 1111 Tony Borhani’s Bahia Trinidad The Best Bang for Your Buck in the Entire Cigar Market!

By Haroon Mihtar 

Wrapper: Nicaragua (Sumatra seed)
Filler: Nicaragua & Dominican Republic (Cuban seed)
Binder: Ecuador (Sumatra seed)
Size:Pancho 52 x 6
Strength: Mild-Medium Bodied

There are very rare products in the cigar industry that one can rant and rave about in regards to quality and price.  Tony Borhani’s boutique Cigar Brands Bahia are on the list.

This well constructed Nicaraguan beauty is everything a man can want in a cigar with its great light up start that hints mingling notes of cedar, cinnamon and creamy butter.  It has a great smooth light along with a consistent smoke that ranks up there with the very best of cigars.  As I continued my beautiful journey smoking this cigar, I found myself in the jungle with a bunch of beautiful semi-naked Amazon women warriors….wait.  I am sorry that was a different cigar and dream.

Notwithstanding I must say this cigar is my favorite everyday cigar.  It has won my heart over, but I won’t get in too deep about the experience of our affair.  Let’s just stick with the major points.  This is without a doubt the best bang for your buck cigar in the whole cigar industry!  The quality of the cigar is just way above anything one would imagine for the price it goes for.

I bought 3 bundles of 20 cigars for $29.95 each from cigars International which puts each cigar at a price point of $1.50 per cigar!  Need I say more?  Pound for pound this is the best cigar on market for the price hands down, and yes you’re an idiot of you don’t buy at least a few bundles for your humidor.

Haroon Mihtar
Senior Cigar Aficionado

Check out – CAO Gold , Makers Mark 562 Bourbon Seasoned Cigar , Oliva Serie G, Toro

Haroon Mihtar Cigar 300x223 Tony Borhani’s Bahia Trinidad

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The Hendrick’s Gin Cucumber Martini

hendricks gin 300x192 The Hendrick’s Gin Cucumber MartiniA Must for Every Gin Drinker!

By Matt Goldstein 


One might not think that adding a cucumber to a martini is the most enticing; however, when it comes to Hendrick’s Gin, the cucumber gin martini is a masterpiece.  Hendrick’s is a small batch gin from Scotland infused with cucumber and rose petals.  When drinking the cucumber gin martini, the flavor if the infused cucumber comes through with an excellent balance.  The cucumber is a little more than subtle but not overbearing in anyway.  For any gin drinker, it’s a must!

Hendrick’s Recommends: 

2.5 parts gin

.5 parts dry vermouth

1 cucumber slice 

Stir in a mixing glass and strain in a chilled martini glass.  Garnish with a cucumber.


Gin cucumber martini 380x285 300x225 The Hendrick’s Gin Cucumber MartiniWhiskey Goldmine Recommends:

2.5 parts gin

.2 parts

2 thin cucumber slices

Pour a touch of vermouth into a martini glass, swirl around the glass and pour it out.  Pour the Hendrick’s gin into an ice filled shaker and shake hard for 10 seconds.  Pour the gin into the martini glass and drop the cucumber slices right in the gin.  




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Sly Fox Brew Pub and Restaurant is Fresh Craft Beer at its Finest: Pikeland Pils, Route 113 IPA, Phoenix Pale Ale

SlyFox logo.jpg 300x300 Sly Fox Brew Pub and Restaurant is Fresh Craft Beer at its Finest: Pikeland Pils, Route 113 IPA, Phoenix Pale AlePikeland Pils & Route 113 IPA Making a Name for Themselves

By Tim Rodgers, Goat Race excerpt by Matt Goldstein

After living in center city Philadelphia and the New York City area for some time after college, I had reservations about moving to the outer suburbs of the greater Philadelphia area.  The anxiety didn’t stem from being deprived of the Brooklyn Pizza, the pastrami, or even the Philly cheese steak, but whether or not if I could get a decent craft beer.  To my delight, the Sly Fox Brew Pub and Restaurant was merely a mile from my house.  Several 100 growlers later, and having my first-born’s christening party there, I figured I’d let you all in on the Phoenixville/Collegeville’s dirty little secret.

Founded in 1995, the Sly Fox has become ingrained as a staple of dining and nightlife in the Phoenixville area.  Founded by Pete Giannopoulos and family, and now headed by brew-master Brian O’Reilly, the Sly Fox line of craft and seasonal brews have taken home several prestigious awards.  The Pikeland Pils German style pilsner has won the gold medal award at the Great American Beer Festival in 2000, 2007, and a bronze medal in 2003.

pils top 300x97 Sly Fox Brew Pub and Restaurant is Fresh Craft Beer at its Finest: Pikeland Pils, Route 113 IPA, Phoenix Pale AleWhat stood out immediately for me was the freshness of the ingredients used in crafting the brews.  The hops used in making the Phoenix Pale Ale and the Route 113 IPA are top notch.  I was blown away.  “A big, flavorful IPA for all the hopheads out there, brewed with imported Pale and Crystal malts, and hopped with Centennial, ascade, Columbus, German Northern Brewer, & UK East Kent Goldings. Bold and spicy.  16.4 OG | 113 IBUs | 7.0% ABV.”

I constantly come back to get my growler filled up with these two fine ales.  On Tuesday, you can get your growler filled for 1/2 price, and as a Sly fox growler card member, I get my eighth growler filled up for free. 

The fine folks at the Sly Fox have now expanded their operation to canning their fine ales and distributing them in the mid-atlantic markets.  I’ve seen their Pikeland Pils on tap in several downtown Philadelphia hot spots.  Therefore, you don’t even have make the trek past historic Valley Forge to get the Sly Fox Incubus a Tripel ale in the abbey style.  Publisher Matt Goldstein and myself have thrown back several of their Saison Vos in style many of times, and have stumbled out of there to tell about it!

 I am calling on all you hopheads, proud stout connoisseurs, Belgian fiends, and beer aficionados alike to check out the Sly Fox Brew Pub.  However, we here at the Whiskey Goldmine have our reputation to keep.  Therefore, I must be honest about the food situation.  It could use improvement to get the complete and ultimate experience.  I usually get the crab cake sandwich or burgers, which are really good, especially washed down by the fine brews.  The staff is super friendly, and very which you unfortunately do not find that often these days.

The Goat Races:  In order to come up with a name for their new beer every year, the Slyfox gets pretty creative.  Do they have fans write in with ideas or name the beer after a former king or philosopher like a normal brewery?  Of course not.  The Sly Fox has goat-herding beer drinkers from far and wide come to the brewery and race a goat across the parking lot.  The name of the goat that wins the race becomes the name of the beer.  And fear not Goldmine fans; the Whiskey Goldmine will be racing a goat across the parking lot for sure.  We already have a stable of goats to choose from.  Hopefully the goat we race is already named Goldmine Beer Whiskey Imperial Barley Wine Stout.

Check your local beer supplier to see if they carry the Sly Fox brew or visit them in the Phoenixville or Royersford locations.

Check outEarth Bread and Brewery , Rock Bottom Brewery , Village Whiskey


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CAO Gold: A Mild Bodied Churchill Cigar

cao gold cigar CAO Gold: A Mild Bodied Churchill Cigar by Haroon Mihtar 

Cigar: CAO Gold
Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Strength: Mild Bodied

When I first started smoking cigars a while back and ever got a request to suggest something “nice,” this was the cigar I would recommend with my then virgin knowledge.  It is a rich flavor with mild smoke. CAO Gold has a marvelous golden brown wrapper with a few veins but nothing that stands out in a course or vulgar way.  It was well rolled with a decent weight to it.  I used a V- cutter on this cigar as it’s the perfect way to cut a cigar without compromising the integrity of the wrapper.  The pre-light draw and aroma were kind of farm land like with firm yet subtle notes of hay stacks and earth, usually the trademark of a mild cigar. As I smoked I couldn’t help thinking about this one nice experience I had with a College cheerleader at the Hyatt Regency Hotel …. Ok we won’t go there.

From the first light of the CAO Gold there is a fluent creamy smoke. The first third of this Nicaraguan sandwich offers some illusive notes of wood and nuts. The second third of the cigar, the wood character moved to the front with an insinuation of sweetness similar to caramel. In the final third of the cigar, the timber tones remained, but the paramount note was that of nuts which left me with a very enjoyable nutty conclusion. The cigar had a great even burn throughout that never needed to be touched up.

The draw of the Cigar was somewhat of a disappointment.  It was good but I just expected a lot better from CAO  The bottom line is that the CAO Gold is a real good mild cigar with a really good flavor from that even a seasoned veteran can enjoy. I found it to be a very relaxing smoke that will please just about any palate. Price wise I will pull no punches at about $8-$10 a Cigar, it’s a bit overpriced.  Notwithstanding the CAO gold has gained a reputation the world over as being a premium cigar that commands respect and love.

Haroon Mihtar
Senior Cigar Aficionado

Check out –  Makers Mark 562 Bourbon Seasoned Cigar , Oliva Serie G, Toro , Gurkha Symphony 

Haroon Mihtar Cigar1 300x223 CAO Gold: A Mild Bodied Churchill Cigar






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Oliva Serie G, Toro: A Mild Bodied Cigar

oliva serie g Oliva Serie G, Toro: A Mild Bodied Cigar Cameroon Wrapper-Nicaraguan Filler

By Haroon Mihtar

I light up and get a fantastic aroma.  The initial taste is smooth and a kind of spicy. That slowly settles down and the creamy smoke begins to give a nut, and almost buttery flow.  Nearly halfway down, a little leather and cocoa sneak in and out.  The puffs are plentiful and remind me of a good Asian massage I once had in Chicago.

The draw on the cigar was good and flowed with little effort.  As I continue my journey smoking I began to see myself on a beach in Aden on a cool night.  Nice. Furthermore if you’re looking for a Cigar to compliment a Coffee this is the lottery ticket, I had a Starbucks red eye and it was a marriage made in heaven.

Along with the African Cameroon wrapper, this Toro size gem features a Cuban-seed Habano binder and a Nicaraguan filler – Construction and assembly is very good, although I would highly recommend they be well humidified as to avoid stiffness, as toward the end, the wrapper began to develop some small splits.

Overall The Oliva Serie G is one of the best buys for your money at around $3.50-$4.00 a pop.  It’s a great buy for those looking for a medium bodied Cigar at a good price.

Haroon Mihtar

Senior Cigar Aficionado

Check outCAO Gold , Gurkha Symphony , Tony Borhani’s Bahia Trinidad

Haroon Mihtar Cigar 300x223 Oliva Serie G, Toro: A Mild Bodied Cigar




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