During my College years, I was the guy that would always show up to the party with a Cigar. That lead into friends asking for one, which further lead me into providing cigars to others. I quickly learned that there are two kinds of cigar smokers, the ones that cherish the experience and flavor, and those that want to look cool with a big stogie in their mouth. It turned out most of my friends were the latter. Like most of you, I couldn’t afford to be “throwing away” good cigars on people that didn’t appreciate them. Eventually, I learned what was good for party friends, and what is best kept for me and my cigar friends.
Over the years, your palate develops the more cigars you light up. You learn to distinguish between common flavors found in cigars, like cedar, oak, various nuts and fruits, plants, cocoa and much more. The easiest way to monitor how your palate changes is to keep a mental note, list, or take photos of your humidor. With that, you learn to pair cigars with certain foods and drinks. The moment I learned to pair my cigar with specific foods and drinks, it opened up an entire new level of appreciation.
The reason I am giving you all a little bit of my history with cigars is two fold. The first being this is the first time I am talking about cigars on AGW. It’s an entirely new avenue that I plan on developing and sharing with all of you. The second is that I’ve been fortunate to have met some wonderful people who revolve their lives around the Cigar, either in making them, owning a shop or just sitting around making great conversation kicking back in the lounge watching the game. You need to know about them and some of their great cigars.
One of those really good guys I met is Michael Abdoulah, owner and proprietor of En Fuego Cigars and Lounge in Las Vegas, Nevada. Michael’s been involved with En Fuego since 1998, and recently took the helm 4 years back. Several people I’ve met commented on the lounge and their cigars prior to meeting with Michael. I was in town on business and needed a break. What better way than to sit back in a big, comfortable leather chair and talk shop with some guys over a cigar and see for myself.
En Fuego is located just off the Las Vegas Strip, at 328 West Sahara Avenue. At night you’d never miss the electric red sign, but during the day keep a sharp eye as it’s located in a small strip mall you could zoom right by.
It was a Wednesday, sometime around 2pm when I stopped by the shop. During my time there must have been 20-30 guys coming and going, at least half staying to share a smoke and a few good words. The vibe inside En Fuego is very welcoming, everyone says hello, most will strike up a conversation and everyone wishes you a good day when they leave. We’re losing manners to social media, it’s nice that in nearly every lounge I’ve visited, the guys and gals I’ve met still have them.
The lounge has a compliment of oversized leather chairs, a pair of flat screens on the wall, a few private lockers, poker table, good sized walk-in humidor and a hidden gem in the back. Between each chair I found a large ashtray, lighters and even a few power outlets scattered about. There is also a fridge by the register filled with sodas, water and more.
If you want to take some En Fuego schwag home with you, there is no shortage of ashtrays, t-shirts, travel humidors and more. During my next stop I’m grabbing one of those ashtrays.
When I mentioned the hidden gem in the back, I was talking about Antonio. Antonio has been rolling cigars for over 30 years, starting in the Dominican Republic. He now rolls exclusively for En Fuego. Customers can come in and watch how the magic unrolls, or rolls rather. I’ve seen cigars rolled before, but like watching a great painter work, every roller has his or her own technique.
Antonio shared with me how he learned to roll, choosing good leaf and even how to spot flaws. En Fuego has an entire line of handmade cigars, rolled on premises. They ship anywhere in the world, so if you fall in love with a stick during your visit, you can still order them back in Wisconsin or Italy.
Every part of the process is done inside the shop from rolling and pressing, to packaging and aging the cigars. This is something I’ve definitely never seen in a cigar lounge.
Each cigar is tucked away for a designated amount of time before they are allowed to be consumed. Custom Cigar Labeling is also available. Say you’re having a going away party for your buddy Don and want his face slapped on the side of a stogie. Not a problem.
The humidor carries a generous amount of brands, including their own custom blends. I let Michael choose a couple smokes for me to familiarize myself with En Fuego and also spend a little time chatting in one of those big comfy chairs.
First up, I got into their Sweet-Tip Toro (Ecuadorian Connecticut). The absolutely gorgeous wrapper was rolled to perfection, smoked really great throughout and carried a sugary sweet taste until the end. I enjoyed this cigar with a soda, as that was all I had with me but promised to try it again later with a cappuccino. The smooth flavors of this cigar would pair well with the richness of a good cup. Definitely more flavorful than several other Connecticut’s I have tried. I’d recommend this cigar to those with a lighter palate or as a morning pick me up.
As our conversation unfolded into politics, it was time to get into something more serious. This house blend Maduro Churchill (Dominican Maduro), takes the filler from the En Fuego Natural and wraps it in a dark Maduro wrapper. The first quarter of the cigar brought cocoa and buttery creaminess. Something I didn’t expect looking back at the cigars coloring. The smoothness moved into a heavy flavor of caramel and taffy. Almost a sugary-salt taste. I moved from regular soda to ginger ale but wished I was sipping on bourbon for this one. I smoked this cigar until the very end wanting more. Tons of flavor, medium bodied, a great choice for the avid smoker to end an evening.
I had a really great time visiting with Michael, Antonio and a few of their regulars at En Fuego. I don’t think I can visit Vegas again without a stop into the shop for a cigar. Do yourself a favor and bookmark this page so you remember where to go the next time you and your friends visit Las Vegas. The guys are warm and welcoming, the cigars are great, and the prices are on the money. There’s no need to spend $30 at an overpriced cigar stand inside one of the big casinos. Get yourself to a real cigar lounge with guys who know their stuff.
Head on over to En Fuego’s website to learn more and be sure to let Michael know you heard about them here on AGW when you visit. Cheers!