Leaf&Barrel

Cigar Cufflinks

About BilleBLVD

There is no better way to get to know someone than to start answering questions.  Over the years I have frequently been asked the following:


  1. How long have you been smoking cigars?  I have been smoking cigars for over twenty years.  Starting with cheap cigars to project an image but I soon grew into my own and started to understand the nuance of cigars made by different manufacturers.  As I continued to mature I gained an understanding of tobacco from different regions, different wrappers, and the importance of construction and aging.  
  2. Why did you start this website?  I wanted to share what I knew with the world.  Cigars and cigar pairings are a passion of mine and I take it very seriously.  Starting a website was just like going to the lounge to communicate with other smokers.  Its just a different kind of medium.  Lastly, I felt ostracized by snobbish cigar, wine and spirit reviews.  Its seamed that they were more concerned with sounding like an expert than truly sharing their passion with the public.
  3. How do you rate cigars?  There is a really long answer to that but I rate cigars according to what I like.  I like full bodied and full flavored cigars that are distinctive and my rating system penalizes cigars that are mild and lacking in complexity.  I have seen people lump construction into one category but I really see it as two different categories.  The most important aspect of construction is draw which is also a component of how the cigar burns. Then you have the aesthetic of the cigar.  But, I have seen beautiful cigars that smoke horribly and ugly cigars that smoke wonderfully.  I breakdown construction into two categories, draw and aesthetic.  I believe that a cigar should be beautiful so I consider the sharpness of the foot and head, the tightness of the seam, and the texture of the wrapper (etc.).  The draw is parsed out to reflect the texture and density of the smoke, the smoke output, and if the cigar is burning hot (to name a few).
  4. What makes you different from other reviewers?  I only rate and review cigars that I like while others will smoke any cigar that is sent to them.  In addition, I smoke at least 2 or 3 cigars and pair them with different wines and spirits before I hone in on the viability of a pairing.  I have had many cigar makers send me cigars that I will not review because I don't like them.  This is the reason that so many cigars receive scores into the 9's but there are many cigars, especially Cubans and ultra-premium cigars that smoked fine prior to the review but fall short at the time that I review the cigars.  If I review it, its good. 
  5. Why so many cigar and Scotch reviews?  Scotch and cigars are like peanut butter and jelly, they go together well. However, I personally feel that red wine is the best pairing partner because its so universal whereas with other spirits you really have to get it right.
  6. What is your favorite Scotch region? Islay, hand down.  Its distinctive, genuine, and smoky which is perfect for cigars.
  7. How did you get started smoking cigars?  I wanted to look like a big shot and ended up falling in love with them.





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