Ulysses S. Grant: An American Cigar Legend

In the pantheon of famous American cigar aficionados, Ulysses S. Grant stands above the rest. His vast accomplishments are only equaled by his voracious appetite for cigars. Anyone who with even a cursory knowledge of American history knows Grant’s role in fighting the civil war. But Grant’s incredible story starts long before the Civil War and continued long after. Entwined with that story was his burning passion for premium cigars.

Born in 1822, Hiram Ulysses S. Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio, to his parents Jesse and Hannah. From a young age, Grant set himself apart from others. Showing an incredible ability for horsemanship from the early age of two, Grant was soon proving so adept he assisted his father’s business. Famously, when he was eleven, a traveling circus came to town with a trick pony that was trained to buck and throw off any rider. Offering a five-dollar (3700 dollars today) prize to whoever could tame it, men from all over the town lined up to try.

After so many had failed, Grant stepped forward and simply said, “I believe I can ride that pony.” With no reigns to clasp, and its mane cut short, Grant wrapped his arms around the pony’s neck. After a long and frenzied attempt by the pony to buck him off, Grant emerged victorious when the animal finally settled and let him ride.

That indomitable spirit would serve Grant for the remainder of his life. Seeing in his son the beginning embers of greatness, Jesse Grant wrote his local congressman asking that he nominate Ulysses to attend the prestigious Westpoint Military Academy. The congressman evidently saw the same in young Ulysses and followed through with his nomination.

After four years at West Point, Grant began the mandatory term of duty in the United States Army required of all West Point graduates. During that, he quickly gained a commendable service record during the Mexican-American War. Rising from quartermaster to first lieutenant, for his continued acts of bravery during battle.

It wasn’t till after his first war that Grant became an avid smoker, and it’s no wonder why. Grant soon found himself under constant stress from seemingly endlessly poor luck. Finding the leisurely pace of peacetime difficult and his superiors disagreeable, Grant left the military and settled on an eighty-acre farm with his wife Julia.

Civilian life only worsened his luck. The farm languished and Grant’s attempt to find employment as an engineer and a clerk didn’t go any better. He even attempted to start his own real estate business but to no avail. Grant was so forlorn during this period, it’s said he smoked up to twelve cigars a day to relieve his constant stress.

Things would change for Grant and the whole nation on April 12, 1861, when Confederate troops attacked Fort Sumter. Lincoln quickly called for seventy-five thousand volunteers for the Union Army. Grant was quick to answer the call, forming a local volunteer militia to assist the war effort.

Denied a recommission to his old rank by the man he would ironically replace as commander of the entire Union Army, General George B. McClellan, Grant worked his way back up through the ranks. Starting as a military aide to Ilinois Governor Richard Yates, Grant’s proven ability as a soldier soon had him promoted to Colonel.

The turning point for Grant’s life, and the entire Civil War, came with the battle of Fort Donelson. A strategic position that was key to advancing further South. Grant’s plan was dismissed by his superiors, who insisted he conduct the attack in tandem with a navy operation. Grant knew Donelson could turn the tide of war, and immediately set out to capture the fort.

After several probing attacks, Grant has a strategic retreat to meet with reinforcements. The remaining division was soon attacked by the Confederates, but Grant personally rode through miles of frozen wilderness with reinforcements to defend their position. Blocking the supply lines for the Confederate troops, the enemy retreated back into the fort only to face bombardment from the Union Navy.

The commanding Confederate Generals fled, leaving Fort Commander Simon Buckner to face Grant. When meeting to discuss an end to hostilities, Buckner asked what terms of surrender would be acceptable. Grant replied there would be “no terms but an unconditional and immediate surrender.”

Buckner complied, and Grant’s actions were the first major victory for the North in the early days of the Civil War. Grant was soon promoted by Lincoln to Major General before later being promoted to head of the Union Army. Earning the nickname “Unconditional Surrender” Grant, newspapers described Grant smoking a cigar when victoriously capturing Fort Donelson.

Becoming an instant national hero, everyday people from across that nation showed their thanks by sending Grant cigars. Legend says he received up to ten thousand before the end of the war. Now that’s a reward! Considering his achievements and love for cigars, it’s strange Grant is as closely associated with them as say, Winston Churchill. Maybe we should start calling extra-large cigars Grants?

Do you have a famous historical cigar smoker? Let us know in the comments.

Ferio Tego Takes Victory Lap with Two New Sticks.


It was not that long ago that smokers everywhere cried out in anguish over the shuttering of the Nat Sherman brand. But hope springs eternal, as the blends that once made Nat Sherman famous, were revived under the new Ferio Tego label! All the favorites were revitalized and rechristened, from the Metropolitan to the Timeless, all heralded by two new flagship cigars: the Generoso and the Elegancia.

After a year of rousing success, Ferio Teog has decided to celebrate with two new versions of the cigars that helped forge their new identity. The 2022 Elegancia retains its polished profile using a blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobacco and an Ecuadorian wrapper but enhances its tasting notes with white pepper, earth, leather, and caramel. While the Generoso 2022 takes its bold blend to the next level with the taste of earth, wood, black coffee, nuts, and luscious cream; all blended by the world-famous Plasencia family.

Take a page out of Ferio Tego’s book and celebrate all the changes you’ve made this year!

Wondering where to buy cigars? Mike’s delivers near and far!

Cuba Aliados is Back!


Some of the older smokers among us might remember the Cuba Aliados name. It was one of the many brands that rose to prominence during the cigar boom of the 90s that tragically faded away once demand slowed down. For anyone who misses its nostalgic taste, we have good news!

Oliva has announced that it’s reviving the Cuba Aliados brand with two new product lines! One will be a recreation of the original blend using Honduran tobacco under the supervision of Julio Eiroa, aptly named Cuba Aliados Original Blend. The other will be a new limited edition cigar by master blender Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, of course, called Cuba Alliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo.

Cuba Aliados Original is notable for changing its filler source to be a Honduran puro, while the blend was originally conceived with Cuban tobacco. Considering the embargo isn’t going away anytime soon, the switch to Honduran tobacco is understandable. Early reviews are praising Cuba Aliados Original Blend for its authenticity, mentioning a profile with the taste of mocha, chocolate, earth, leather, and notes of sweet wood.

The Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, unlike the original blend, features a mix of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco for its filler and is highlighted by an Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper that has been aged for over five years. Aficionados can expect a profile with creamy, spicy, and earthy flavors.

Wondering where to buy cigars? Mike’s delivers near and far!

20 Acres by Drew Estates: Truly One of a Kind

Drew Estates has always been keen on innovation, going above and beyond to always be on the cutting edge. This week, we wanted to spotlight a blend that not only epitomizes their commitment to innovation but just so happens to come from our very own home state of Florida.

20 Acre Farm by Drew Estate is rooted in the rich history of Florida tobacco. After the embargo, many of the best Cuban tobacconists took their talents to the sunshine state, causing a boom in the industry that helped introduce cigars on mass to America. While most manufacturers have moved to Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, or various other nations, Drew Estates decided to return to Florida for 20 Acre Farm.

True to the name, the tobacco for these cigars is grown on an exclusive 20-acre farm here in central Florida. Taking full advantage of the state’s climate, 20 Acre is a glorious sun-grown blend bursting with natural sweetness in addition to its robust medium-bodied profile. All of it is complemented by notes of white pepper and citrus.

20 Acre hopes to be a trailblazer for other brands to begin growing in Florida. After smoking a few, I definitely think they’re onto something. Maybe the next time I’m driving home on the 826, I’ll pass a few up-and-coming tobacco farms on my way.

Wondering where to buy cigars? Mike’s delivers near and far!

Judge Rules in Favor of Smoker’s Freedom.

Every cigar lover keeps a keen eye on the news regarding regulation. Tobacco as a product is already heavily regulated, with new rules being proposed constantly. Just this past month, the FDA ordered Juul products off the market, concerning many smokers.

In an ongoing lawsuit concerning the FDA’s attempt to more closely regulate the premium cigar market, the federal judge overseeing the case has largely sided with cigar manufacturers. The judge has invited further briefing before issuing a final ruling on July 26 but has called the FDA’s attempt to impose new restrictions on cigars “arbitrary and capricious”.

A group of happy smokers

The judge further stated “The agency’s statement that ‘all cigars produce toxic smoke’ is exactly the sort of nonresponsive, circular reasoning the court faulted previously. Instead of addressing the relevant data before it, the agency resorted to a common refrain to obscure the issue,” he wrote, referring to the FDA’s claim that there was no data provided to support the idea that there are different patterns of use among premium cigar smokers, patterns that result in lower health risks. The FDA statement, he wrote, “was not accurate then, and despite litigation counsel’s efforts it is not accurate now.” 

Cigar smokers and makers alike are overjoyed at the decision and cautiously optimistic about what this means for the future of the industry,

Wondering where to buy cigars? Mike’s delivers near and far!

Liga Privada Unico Papas Fritas are Back!


Part of the cigar business is listening to your customers, and we heard you all loud and clear. Liga Privada Unico Papas Fritas Cigars are back in stock! The supremely unique stogie is here once more, and we got plenty for everyone!

For those who haven’t tasted the unique joys of the Liga Privada line, we’ll try to put it into words. The entire Liga Privada line is completely one of a kind, born from Drew Estate’s tireless experimentation. Hundreds of blends are crafted and discarded before those chosen few are found that exceed all expectations. The blends that are chosen are so rare, that they are given a single vitola.

Which brings us to the Liga Privada Unico Papas Fritas. Built using a superb and beyond remarkable blend of powerful Honduran and Nicaraguan Cuban-seed premium tobacco, capped with an incandescent Brazilian Mata Fina binder, and encased in a matchless, oily and sumptuous Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro combination wrapper.

As this blend is extraordinarily difficult to create, we only have a limited amount in stock. Aficionados need to act fast to get a box before we run out!

Wondering where to buy cigars? Mike’s delivers near and far!

Cigar Pairings: Buchanan 12 and Oliva Connecticut Reserve

When I tell people I work for a cigar seller, the question I get asked the most often is “Do you get a discount?” It happens without fail. One of the people who ask about it the most often happens to be my brother, an avid smoker. As it happens, I do get a discount. But I try not to abuse it. Since my brother is staying for the summer, I decided it was a special enough occasion to warrant the discount and picked up two boxes of Padron 2000 and Oliva Connecticut Reserve Petite Corona.

That week, two lifelong friends came over to catch up. They brought with them a bottle of Buchanan 12-Year Deluxe. Whiskey cries out for cigars, so we broke out several of the Oliva Petite Corona. Despite our advanced age, the activity we all agreed on while smoking and drinking was Settlers of Catan. Believe it or not, the game can get heated.

We set up the board, poured the whiskey, lit the cigars, and started enjoying ourselves. The first few sips of Buchanan are very fruity, not too strong. None of us personally like it with ice or a chaser, but it’s the right temperament that you can add them if you prefer it. The Oliva offers similar vibes, being ever mellow and creamy in the first third.

After a few more sips the fruity notes give way to chocolate notes, which compliments the creaminess of the Oliva. Before you’re lulled to sleep, there’s a mild bite of spice in the Oliva that really perks up the whole experience. The spice itself smoothes over with a high note of toasted almonds, which pair exceptionally with the more subtle notes of chocolate in Buchanan. Kind of like making your own Snickers bar.

After going through a dozen or so cigars and half the bottle, the game wrapped up around midnight. It was one of those inauspicious nights that didn’t take much planning but will stay with me forever. The type of nights that cement why people are friends for twenty years and will be so for another twenty.

What are your favorite cigar pairings? Let us know in the comments!

Wondering where to buy cigars? Mike’s delivers near and far!

Cigar Pairings: Redbreast and Baccarat

Every so often, we find a cigar pairing that’s too good not to share. As much as we sing the virtues of cigars themselves, the right drink elevates even a truly excellent smoke. The way the flavors mingle, the smoke lingering on the palate as it’s washed in the peaty tastes of liquor, is a singular experience.

I was gifted a bottle of Redbreast 12-year-old whiskey in the past month by an old friend, who raved about it. Breaking out the glasses, we set about enjoying ourselves. My buddy was right, Redbreast was exceptional. It was strong but had a smooth, almost honeyed aftertaste. The initial flavor is spiced, although not overwhelming. I could definitely taste some fruit notes in the mix, the most palpable being orange or tangerine. Definitely citrus. The taste lingers for quite some time, so sips were taken every two to three minutes. I take mine neat, but I could see others easily drinking it on the rocks.

But the right whiskey calls out for the right cigar. One of the benefits of working for Mike’s is the discounted access to plenty of premium smokes. Checking my humidor, one particular blend caught my eye. Baccarat. I usually go for one of their sticks when I want to relax, as Baccarat is one of the mildest, most soothing smokes on the market. Since the Redbreast was already strong, Baccarat was the natural pairing choice. Picking out two No. 1’s, we went back to the Redbreast

It worked beyond my wildest dreams. The notes of cedar in the Redbreast came alive and danced from the Baccarat’s natural sweetness. every time the spiced notes of the drink required a moment, the Baccarat had a natural cooling effect on the draw. The creamy profile on the cigar practically made the whole experience feel like a full meal. Both were incredibly smooth, so none of the flavors ever seemed to fight each other. Every sip of the Redbreast felt like it was waiting for the draw from the stick to really excel; almost like they were made for each other.

It was a great night with a longtime friend made even greater thanks to some exceptional cigars.

Wondering where to buy cigars? Mike’s delivers near and far!

Escobar Cigars Triumphant Relaunch


Escobar Cigars may be relatively new to the scene, but they’re already making waves. The word Cuban is not tossed around lightly in the cigar world. After all, the embargo is still in effect, much to the annoyance of many old-school aficionados. They’ll be pleased to taste any Escobar cigar and find out its claim of “Cuban” inspired tastes isn’t an empty boast. While they were first launched back in 2018, the entire line was transformed into its current glorious form after one man came into the picture.

Hail to the king

That man was Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, better known as the rapper Nas. The world-renowned artist is a long-time smoker and told Rolling Stone “When the team at Escobar Cigars initially approached me, I was immediately drawn to the brand by the exceptional quality of their product, from the craftsmanship to the enjoyable smoking experience. Of course, the name instantly stood out to me as well, since ‘Escobar’ is an alias I’ve been going by throughout my career.”

Escobar Maduro

Not content to just be a brand ambassador, Nas invested in the company and became its co-owner last August. Since then he’s worked to revitalize the entire brand and bring it into the modern cigar world. Every single Escobar cigar is built from three distinctive varieties of Nicaraguan tobacco, sun-grown in the fertile volcanic soil. The results speak for themselves, with Escobar’s flagship Habano blend sporting a medium to full-bodied profile with notes of vanilla and white pepper, dried fruit, caramel, and herbs. While Maduro vitolas sports the completely powerful tastes of chocolate, black pepper, dry coffee, and firewood. Demand is already sky-high, so curious aficionados will want to act fast!

Wondering where to buy cigars? Mike’s delivers near and far!

Ferio Tego: From the Ashes of Nat Sherman


There were many smokers left saddened by the shuttering of the Nat Sherman Cigar brand. After first appearing on the scene back in 1930, Nat Sherman rose through the ranks to become one of the premier boutique cigar brands. There was always something strangely heartening about Nat Sherman’s story, the well-told tale of starting in a single New York City shop and transforming into a sprawling brand is made all the more rousing by the fact that it was accomplished during the Great Depression.

Ferio Tego's flagship cigars

For those who miss the unique style of Nat Sherman, we have good news! After being acquired by Altria, Nat Sherman was absorbed into the existing structure to focus primarily on its luxury cigarette brands. While the name Nat Sherman was taken, the blends it was loved for were left to the former employees of Nat Sherman. In 2021, they banded together and formed Ferio Tego to bring back the beloved flavors that once made Nat Sherman cigars famous.

A message from Nat Sherman

We here at Mike’s Cigar had a long-standing relationship with Nat Sherman and were saddened to see them go. We’d enjoyed their particular flavors so much, Nat Sherman even commemorated the grand opening of our revamped store in Bay Harbor, sending us a pair of golden scissors to honor the occasion. Those scissors still hang proudly in our lobby to remember the glory days that Nat Sherman heralded.

A Genroso Cigar from Ferio Tego

In addition to its flagship Elegencia and Generoso cigar lines, Ferio Tego offers the critically acclaimed blends for Timeless and Metropolitan that were once under the Nat Sherman Umbrella. Already earning well deserved high scores from the experts at Cigar Aficionado, Ferio Tego in their own words “is never to arrive, but rather to voyage, making brief stops along the way, recognizing achievements and failures alike; and, with humility and thoughtfulness, adjusting course if necessary, to continue the journey.”