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Otherworldly Smoke

Richard Carleton Hacker

Given the ongoing presence of vampires in the media, plus a fascination with the zombie apocalypse, few cigars are more timely yet surrealistic than those by Paul Stulac, with their gothic gold, gray, and black bands and boxes depicting skulls flanked by angelic wings. And yet, the real Paul Stulac is a down-to-earth entrepreneur who hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and whose Smoke on the Water cigar store is a mecca for those visiting this Canadian seaside city.

Stulac’s dream of having a premium cigar line has metamorphosed with five distinctively named shapes: Ghost (6x58 toro), Angel (5x58 robusto), Phantom (6x53 torpedo), Skull (7x58 Salomone), and Cross (7x64 gigantico). Each is gently box pressed and priced from $8 to $10, depending on size. The otherworldly names of each shape are printed on gold and black footbands.

“I saw a void in the nontraditional marketing area of upscale cigars,” says Stulac. “I wanted an image that fit the Robb Report–style reader who was looking for a bit of an edgier concept, while still enjoying premium cigar qualities.”

Using four-year-old wrappers, Paul Stulac cigars are hand-rolled by Enrique “Don Kiki” Berger of Tabacalera Estelí in Nicaragua, and they feature an all-Nicaraguan binder and filler and a choice of two different wrappers, Ecuadoran Habana or Brazilian Araparica maduro. The cigars that are currently available have been aged for about one year, which results in an oily wrapper that emits a rich and spicy aroma with hints of leather and wood. There is an underlying sweet roughness in the flavor that is deserving of a snifter of Knob Creek. A sixth shape, a tubed 6x58 Vampire, will be the strongest cigar yet, and is scheduled to make its appearance in plenty of time for Halloween. (www.paulstulac.com)

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