San Francisco Grant’s Tobacco shop closed

Grant's Tobacco shop closed

Grant’s tobacco shop, a historic landmark in San Francisco has closed. It was shocking to me to find out this way, walking all the way through market to suddenly have this sad view of the shop. I have good memories of the time I first encountered the shop, made new friends and had a great time. I was looking forward to have more of that nice time there on my visit to San Francisco.

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Montecristo Signature Series Humi-Savor Travel Cigar Case

A few weeks ago I received the Montecristo Singature Series Humi-Savor from Montecristo. It’s a very nice travel cigar case that holds one piece but has the added benefit of having humidity control.

It’s a hard metal case with an internal base and a coil that will adapt to the size of your cigar to hold it firmly inside. The overall length is 8 3/8 inches and it can hold up to a 6×60 sized cigar. The top cover is a hard transparent plastic cap that seals the case tightly.

On the bottom part, there’s a plastic container with humidity pearls that expand when added distilled water. Those pearls will hold the humidity in the case for several days, maybe even weeks.

I loved this gift, specially these days that I’m visiting my parent’s house and can’t bring my humidor with me. This case will protect my cigar from any damage in my backpack and will also keep it fresh for several days until I light it up.

Although I got it for free, I’ve found it on several online stores at around the $25 USD price, which is not bad at all. I really recommend it for travelling smokers. Before having this, I used to save the crystal containers some Cohiba Coronas come in, but one day one of the containers broke and I had glass all over my bag and a torn cigar wrap. The Montecristo humi-savor is a much better and safer way to transport your cigars. If you have other tips for travelling smokers, please share them in the comments.

I plan to receive the new year celebrating with this 75th anniversary limited edition tobacco cigar from Montecristo. What are you smoking for new years?


Grant’s Tobacco shop

Montecristo hope operation package

While walking in the financial district of San Francisco, I stopped by Grant’s Tobacco shop. It’s a traditional tobacco shop that’s been around since 1849. I usually don’t stop by any tobacco shops in the US because cuban cigars are illegal, and most of the cigars I smoke are cubans. But I got curious about some humidors and decided to step inside and take a look.

Turns out they were having a small event, thanks to Montecristo (my favorite cigar brand) and they were selling the Operation Hope package, a box with 5 cigars, two of them limited edition, a lighter and a cap for $50 USD and the profits would contribute to the Montecristo Relief Organization, helping victims of hurricanes and other natural and economic disasters in the Caribbean.

They also offered free drinks and snacks, and since it was a great deal and also a good cause, I bought the package. As if not all of that was pretty good already, there was also a raffle for a beautiful Montecristo cigar ash tray and a cutter.

That night I hanged at the shop for a while to smoke one of the cigars (the one missing in the picture) at the smoking corner they have, have some snacks, and met a few cool people. Later on I was hanging around at some clubs with some of them. It’s fun and interesting to meet new people when travelling, and Grant’s shop made it very easy for a shy foreigner like me to socialize and have a good time among strangers.

Later, while I was travelling back to Mexico, I checked my emails and to my surprise, I won the raffle! The guys at Grant’s Tobacco were so cool that they are even sending me my prize all the way to Monterrey, Mexico! I’ll post pictures of the prize as soon as I get it.

I really had a great time at the shop smoking a cigar and talking to people. Everyone is very friendly and the staff give you good tips and advice on cigar care and smoking. If you’re in San Francisco and enjoy tobacco, don’t forget to stop by Grant’s.

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My cigar humidor & basic tips for cigar care

My humidor

I’m very happy that my girlfriend recently went to Cuba for work travel, and she brought me back some very nice Cuban cigars. My humidor has been almost empty this year and today is fuller than ever before.

I’m normally not a smoker. At least not the regular kind of smoker. But when I’m in the mood for a smoke, and that’s just a couple times a year, I do smoke cigars.

Cigars are a very expensive and artful hobby. And I say hobby and not vice because, at least for me, its a once in a while thing. But you really enjoy them once you appreciate the care of making them and the craft of storing them appropriately.

Here are some simple tips on how to select and store a cigar:
1. Choosing a cigar, is like choosing fresh bread.
Choosing a cigar is not as simple as buying cigarettes. Cigars are hand made and the tobacco is pure, no chemicals added, no extras, just pure tobacco. So stores must know how to store them to sell them. Unfortunately most stores or places that sell cigars don’t know how to do it properly. The technique that I use to pick a cigar is very simple, I squeeze the cigars very gently and see how soft it is.

Since cigars need humidification to preserve the leaves, bad cigars are typically stiff and hard. A good cigar is soft. Think of how you choose fresh bread, you pick the softest one and sometimes you squeeze it a little bit to see how soft it is.

2. Store a cigar in a dark humid place.
Remember, its all about the freshness of the leaves. So store your cigars where no direct sunlight hits them and where there’s no heat that can dry them.

3. Control humidity
If you’re going to get serious about smoking cigars, buy a humidor. You can find very expensive ones and very cheap ones. Just make sure they’re made with a good wood and its all sealed inside. No cracks or spaces between the pieces of wood that make the box. You need the humidor to preserve the humidity inside and not leak out. Humidors almost always have a hygrometer, which is a clock-like tool to measure humidity. I like to keep my humidity at 70. If you don’t have a humidor, you can two a small plastic bags (zip-lock). In the first one, put a damp cloth, on the second one, poke holes on the bag and place the cigars inside. Put the cigar bag inside the other one and close them both. Its a hack, but works! I use this technique to restore dry cigars to a smokable condition.

I can keep writing about cigars all day, but I think this is basic stuff to get you started on cigars. And I just got delivered some New York style pizza for dinner and smells great.

Anyways, so this weekend I guess its going to be one of those days where I’ll relax with one of this nice fresh Cuban cigars, and either a mojito or a glass of cognac or whiskey, depending on the weather.

For me, a cigar is one of those simple things in life to enjoy.